Waggons West Etsy Shop

Monday, April 30, 2012

More Stitching

 Nothing very exciting around here.  Just some more stitching on custom orders.  I didn't get pictures but we spent the morning embroidering names and dates on squares of denim for picnic quilts to be given to a set of preschool teachers.  The rest of the squares have hand prints from each of the kids.  They are adorable.  I'll try to get the momma to send me some pics to share. 

What is on your sewing table today?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Digitizing and Stitching. Stitching and Digitizing

I am working away on my free software trying to get better at digitizing things.  I'd be very happy with this little project if I wasn't trying to make it so big.  But then I would not have had to figure out some more of the little features on the software. 

I'm going to have lots of funky samples.  Perhaps it is time for a grab bag giveaway....


Spud one has a friend who is a regular visitor at dinner time.  I enjoy having him join us because he enjoys food and always tells me he likes it!  Tonight we made a quick pot of jambalaya.  He wants the recipe so he can make it himself.  The following is an approximate guide to making jambalaya soup.

1 - 2 packages Eckrich all beef smoked sausage.

slice thinly and fry in the bottom of you soup kettle.  Remove to drain on paper towels.  Reserve 1 Tbls of drippings in the bottom of the kettle.

1 - 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or whatever you have)  cut into bite-sized cubes

Saute in kettle until no longer pink.

1- 3 sm onions chopped
Add to kettle halfway through cooking.

Cook until the chicken is slightly browned and onions are pleasantly soft.

1 cup chopped red pepper

Add to kettle during the last minute of sauteing chicken.

1 large can crushed tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
garlic to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

Add to kettle.  Bring to a simmer.  Add sausage and adjust seasoning.  Use bullion to add salt if needed.  Let simmer at least 15 minutes or all day.

Serve over rice in soup bowls.  Store left over rice and soup separately. 

This makes a soup rather than the more traditional jambalaya that is mixed with rice and served on a plate.  The rice is added to bowl at serving time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Easter Island Adventure

I spent my day working on my digitizing skills.  A customer requested a flag patch for Easter Island.  The flag is very simple but there are some tiny details on each end.  I wasn't able to get much of it to come through at this scale. It was more of an adventure than I anticipated as I had to update my software (thanks dear!) before I could get started.  Then I had to figure out the new features.  It is more sensitive than before which meant that I had to do a better job of cleaning up the original.  Once that was done, it did a much better job. 

Funny thing is, I had it completely finished and then I checked the measurements.  I was off by quite a bit so I had to adjust the size and start stitching all over again.   I think it looks more like a happy face than an odd red banana.  Hopefully my customer will like it. 

I have been working on another request.  We've gone around the circle a couple times on this one.   I really like how these look.  I can see making them with initials or names.  I'll have to play around with it some more once we figure exactly what they want. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day 2012

This weekend was Earth Day.  It is a weekend filled with festivities for our Environmental Group.  We had two different events this year.  A small festival at a local manufacturing plant and a booth at the big Earth Day event downtown. 

 We had beautiful weather for the small event.  It was sunny, a light breeze and just warm enough to enjoy being outside.  Instead of taking the sunpainting to this event, we took a small upcycle project where the kids could make bracelets out beads and old t-shirts.  All of the kids there participated including this wee one who knew all her colors.  She is working with one of our board members and her adult in this picture. 

We took the whole shebang sunpainting gear downtown for the main event.  We had a full roster of volunteers for the entire day and all three spuds plus one rolled out to help set up and paint.  This picture gives you an idea of what we encountered most of the day. 

The rain woke me up when it started pouring about 3 am.  It rained intermittently until some time afternoon.  It was too cold and too wet to even try getting the sunpaint out.  Fortunately we brought some of our macroinvertebrate friends along with us.  That is what is fascinating everyone in this photo.  Unfortunately, we didn't bring the bracelet materials. 

It actually turned out to be a pretty good day.  We were all frozen, but the crowds turned out.  The good thing was that the folks who turned up at Earth Day in the cold rain were serious about the environment.  They were looking for concrete ideas and solutions.  They wanted volunteer opportunities.  They wanted to participate.  The more dilettante folks who are quick to join a cause but slower to heed a call to action stayed home.  The festival was less colorful but in many ways far more productive than usual. 

*As a side note, given how busy this month is between stream cleaning projects and Earth Day Events, I had planned to use our sunpainting project, public art, as my iron craft entry.  Not so much to show for it.  But that is how it goes. 

Friday, April 20, 2012


This weekend is Earth Day. That means I have a LOT of stuff to do. I'll share more about that later. This weekend is also the only date for our annual Spring Tea at church. I get to make the cupcakes.

Before you get impressed, let me tell you how much I cheated on this project this year. I did not make the frosting. I did not make the royal icing flowers. I did not even bake the cupcakes.

All I did was put the icing on the cake.

Thanks to my little friend and her mommy for baking the cupcakes. And thanks to Spud 1 who got me the beautiful pansies and daisies as a gift. A a note of recognition to our local cake shop that has the best frosting and the least expensive frosting flowers. Oh and then there is Costco with the box of mini brownies that used up the flowers and frosting and filled up the box. Total cheating, but some days that's how it gets done.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It is probably not a good thing...

... when you look at your very large stitches and decide that it is OK because there are some very small stitches right next to them.


I was all set to tell you about this baby quilt this morning. I was looking through the pictures I took of it a couple weeks ago before I had the binding completely stitched down and I noticed that they ALL looked like this!

EVERY one of them had the other rumpled quilt in the background. Not pleasing rumpled, as in oh, there is another quilt in the background. Rumpled, rumpled, as in what is that strange thing over there. And, of course, it is just close enough that I can't get the whole quilt in the shot (OK, the whole quilt that isn't in and of itself all rumpled as I was trying to keep it from sliding further). I just had to laugh at the whole set of pictures!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gone to the Dogs!

My mother-in-law and her puppy have been visiting from up North for the past week. It has been a busy time with school plays and work and baby showers and visiting places. Inevitably, with all the quilts in progress around here, one ended up under the dog.

That led to a long discussion about dog beds and whether or not she would sleep in one if we made it for her. We decided that if we made one and told her no she would be in it every chance she got.

While only sort of paying attention at a meeting last night, I figured out how to make a little quilt that would say NO. Of course, they were packing to leave this morning so I had to work fast. I grabbed the scrap bag and pulled out some strips and colors that I though would work. They absolutely had to be ironed. (I'm going to have to think about how best to handle the scrap bag in the future.)

I used some muslin and started free piecing. It was a very liberating experience because I just kept telling myself, I was making a quilt for a dog -- it doesn't matter. I started with a square of muslin for the center of the O and then pieced around it. I started with a rectangle for the N, cut an angle across it and inserted the Michigan strip. I missed getting the pieces placed so that the angle came out on the sides. I ended up trimming it down so that it would have a chance to look N-like. That is why the N is so much smaller than the O.

Just for fun, I made the asterisk the same way. Then I started adding muslin around the edges until the three sections were close in size. I stitched them together, trimmed the edges and added some strips to make it big enough. I made the sandwich with a scrap of cotton batting and more muslin for the backing. (I used 'the original' spray baste. For the record I don't like 'the original'. It stinks. It is too gummy. It is good enough to use up on the dog quilt but I won't use it on anything I am hand quilting or anything I care about.)

This was one of the fasted, sloppiest FMQ sessions I've every had. I tried to doodle a puppy in the center of the O but of course did it upside down. I wrote the dog and owner's names just to see if I could. They came out better than I thought. I did some hearts and flowers and leaves and a lot of loopy and crossing stippling. Again, it was very liberating to play with it because it doesn't matter. It is for a dog.

When I reached that point, I was ready to quit and was going to save putting on a scrappy binding for another day. Then I remembered a discussion we were having on the MAQ Swap thread at craftster. I have been looking for an example of a zig zag raw edge finish. I put in some red thread and did a wide zig zag around the quilt. I actually went around 3 times because I was having some stitch issues and because I knew this quilt would become good friends with the washing machine. I think it turned out looking kind of cute that way. I trimmed around the quilt after I did the stitching. If I thought about it longer, I would have stitched again over the edge after I cut it. But again, it is a quilt for a dog!

So the puppy has her very own NO* quilt. I finished it in just over an hour! And I think she likes it.

Liked to Connie's Tuesday Link Party. Go on over there and see all the great projects each Tuesday.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Signed. Sealed. Delivered. Welcome Baby.

It is baby central in this neck of the woods this Spring. Baby quilt Number 1 is officially finished and delivered. This is a very simple quilt for a little boy.

There are 5 green prints, all assorted quilters cottons (from my mad dash through Hancock's of Paduca!)
The binding is one of the Kona grays.

The backing is part of a cut of fabric from IKEA. I used it because of the clear graphic nature of the print that seemed perfect for a new baby. It seems to work ok with the green and gray on the front.

The details (mini tutorial)

The large print fabrics were 9 x 36 inches.
I cut 8 width of fabric strips from the Kona and sewed them together end to end.
I used that long strip to make the sashing and border. (It turned out to be an efficient way to cut and use the fabric without ending up with a lot of little bits. I was worried that the seams would be a problem, but you really don't notice them, particularly now that it is quilted and washed.)

I use 2 inch strips for binding. Keeping it simple by using the Kona for that as well. The quilt measures approximately 40 x 60 inches.

I used a rather fluffy poly batting to make it soft and washable. The quilting was to be geometric and I managed to stitch using gray thread around all of the sashing and binding. I used my walking foot, but I had a very hard time getting it to move through my machine. I am not at all sure what the problem was. I ended up doing a very loose stipple in the rectangles using a lime green thread.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Felt Badge

I jumped in to a new sort of badge making through the craftster felt badge swap.

This is the badge I made for PJHerbert.

Cutting out the felt was a LOT more challenging than I had imagined. I even started with the freezer paper method. I could not control the felt and scissors on this scale. The leaves worked out OK. I cut out about a bajillion and chose the ones that most looked like leaves. The flowers.... well lets just say I was able to come up with a few flowers that didn't look like misshapen lumps and leave it at that. The flowers and leaves are made from craft felt. They were stitched down with regular thread. The beads were attached with the same thread. The background is a piece of wool felt remnant from the party purses.

I used embroidery floss to do the blanket stitch around the outside. I added a back to hide the stitches. There were plenty of stitches that needed to be hidden. I didn't quite hit the back perfectly but enough to be satisfied.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pictures Sooner

My mother-in-law bought eye-fi cards for Christmas. It looks just like the standard SD card that goes into your camera to hold your pictures. Only this little gizmo has an antenna. It causes your pictures to automatically download onto your computer. Take pictures. Set the camera next to the computer. Watch your pictures come up on the screen. No wire. No leaving the card in the computer. Done.

I confess to not doing any of the set up although it is my understanding that it was pretty much a plug in and go process.

*Oh... I should make a disclaimer. I have no connection to Eye-Fi and they didn't ask for a review.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chocolate Egg Nests

This is a guide rather than a recipe because I don't actually have a recipe. I've never measured anything. I will do my best to explain it and you can email me if you need some help. However, it is pretty foolproof and forgiving.

Start with some good chocolate. I used a bag of Ghirardelli white chocolate chips this time. Melt it using your preferred method. Technically you should do it over hot water, carefully keeping the water out and tempering ti as you go. Since you are mixing in coconut, tempering is... a waste of time... erhm not essential. I melt in the microwave. No more than 30 seconds at a time and stir well in between. Starting adding coconut until you get a pretty stiff dough. I used about a half a bag of coconut to the bag of chocolate chips.

Drop the dough onto waxed paper and press in three jelly beans or in this case three Cadbury chocolate mini eggs. Let set up. Plate like cookies or wrap individually in plastic wrap.

Yes, you can use regular chocolate. You get brown nests.
If you want them to look more like the commercial nests, add a small amount of green paste food coloring to turn the chocolate green before you add the coconut.

Leslie's Art and Sew

I messed up the link the Leibster Award to Leslie's Art and Sew. I apologize to Leslie and to those of you looking for her wonderful blog.

I have to say it was seriously weird... the post is in a funky font and when I went to change things the text describing the blogs I nominated was not visible. I highlighted it and saw it was there then changed the font color so I could see it.

But all that aside, go check out Leslie's blog!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Liebster Blog

How exciting. I opened my page to see a comment from Angela of Angela at Home. I met Angela through a blog hop hosted by Michele at Quilting Gallery. It is always interesting to check in with her and see what she is doing. Let's just say I'd love to be in her quilt guild. They are always doing amazing things. She makes some amazing quilts. Instead of the usual bloggy catching up chat, Angela completely surprised me with my very first blog award, the Liebster Blog Award.

Let me tell you it was a real thrill. The thing I liked the most was that she enjoys reading my goofy stories. Thank you so much for the award Angela!

Here is the scoop on this award. It is designed to recognize small blogs with fewer than 200 followers.

The Liebster Blog Award rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Link back to their blog.
3. Copy and paste the Liebster award to your profile.
4. Pick 5 blogs that you feel deserve to be in the spotlight (they must have @200 followers or under).
5. Blog about it and leave a comment for your nominations to let them know that you have chosen their blog

1. I have to nominate Annie from Bohemiannie! Art. She is one of the most creative people I've 'met' on the internet. I love her art. I love her style. I love her stories. Definitely worth a read!

2. Buttoncounter. I clicked over to buttoncounter to leave a comment and I ended up staying and reading page after page. She has lovely quilts and can tell a story.

3. Leslie of Lesliesartandsew. You need to check out Leslie's blog to see what fantastic thing she is making and to see if she is sharing a tutorial for it. She makes amazing things.

4. Kira of Oops I craft my pants... that has to be one of the best blog names on the interwebs. I can't find the number of followers on her page. It certainly ought to be well into the hundreds of a bajillions. Since it isn't labelled it must be less than 200 right....? You must click over and see what she is making today. I am looking forward to her new videos as well.

5. Stuff my Daughter says. Kevin has got to be the best single dad I know. It is so much fun to watch him with his kids. His daughter is a real sweetie and Kevin's take on her conversations is always enough to brighten your day.

There are a whole lot more blogs that are worthy of some bloggy recognition. These are the first ones that came to mind as I was contemplating this award. But seriously check my blogroll. You won't go wrong with anyone on it.

Happy Easter

I hope you are having a wonderful day today. I will post the recipe for these bird nests tomorrow.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Red Underwear

My dad was one of 5 brothers (with a lone sister in the middle of them). They had a tradition of wrapping up the same pair of red underwear each year and giving it to one of the boys for Christmas. Some one re-introduced the tradition when my cousins and I were in our teens and twenties. There was always the dread extra package under the tree at the family party. Sometimes it was well disguised. Sometimes it was just an extra package. It wasn't getting the underwear that was such a problem. It was the fact that you were expected to put it on and model it! Over your clothes. For everyone. People with cameras. Have you ever contemplated putting on a pair of long johns over top of your velvet Christmas skirt and sweater? In front of 30 or so of your closest family and prankster cousins, with cameras? Think about it. Gotta love those family traditions.

As an aside, not everyone dreaded the underwear. One cousin loved to get it because he would wear it for the rest of the winter. I think his wife had to pry it out of his hands to wrap it up and pass it on. Thus the underwear started to fade from its original red to a reddish orange.

It always reminds me of an old Girl Scout Song

I just lost my underwear
I don't care, I'll go bare
Bye bye long johns

They were very dear to me
Tickled me, Eee Hee Hee
Bye bye long johns

If you see them you'll know where to find me.
They were the only ones who knew all about me.

I just lost my underwear
I don't care, I'll go bare
Bye bye long johns...
Long johns, bye bye.
I know the internet is full of what is probably the correct version, but this is the one I learned way back when.

When I saw this fabric with the long johns on the line, I knew I had to start making some special presents for some very special people. Now the question for them is... is the package a sweet little mug rug or ...

The details... this is a little mug rug about 8 x 8 inches. It is made from Heather Ross Laundry Line fabric that is a cotton linen blend. It is mixed with linen and the orange is another print from the same collection. I is machine pieced, has a cotton batting and is hand quilted with pearl cotton and quilters cotton. The little flower is a raw edge applique.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Few Test Samples: Cheshire Cat and the Caterpillar

I am working on some Alice in Wonderland patches.

This first one is the Cheshire cat. Keep in mind this is a test patch for proof of concept and not a finished product. There are some stitch issues and I totally boofed one of the color changes. It does, however, give you an idea of what it will look like. I went for the Disney-ish colors. This patch is a bit oval and measures about 4 inches long.

The other sample is an Urban Threads design of the caterpillar on a mushroom. It is also about 4 inches in diameter. (They have a version of some of the other characters, but no jabberwocky.)

I am not sure if I will be able to shrink them much more. I can probably get them down to about 3 or 3.5 inches. I think I will leave these large ones as sew on rather than iron on. They are made from very soft denim and would work well sewn onto a softer garment or a pair of jeans. Without the iron on they will move with the fabric.

Hopefully one of the designs will work for the purpose.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

And the Dog REALLY Did Eat My Homework

Or at least it feels that way!

They say things happen in threes, well we are starting on something like number 10 around here oh nothing serious, just a whole bunch of little annoying things going wrong. A hail storm that necessitates a new roof and its attendant hassles, some car repairs for hail damage, some car repairs for functional problems. A little good news, the lightening strike grounded to the outside of the house sparing our electronics and wiring. A little bad news, it took out the control box for the grinder pump so we have to remember to manually turn it on for a bit each day. My computer is on life support. Thank goodness for Spud 3 and his flash of brilliance that has me limping along. My phone, I use for email and everything else but work and documents and designing badges needs to be replaced.

So no phone, sort of no car, no computer today! And I have a bajillion different things pop up that all need attention. Critical things. A meeting where I have to give a presentation with no way to download it to anything that is useful. A bunch of potential donors needing love. Arghhhh....

Ok. Thanks for listening. I feel much better now.

Oh, and the really nice lady at the Verizon store totally made my day better. They even gave me the secret handshake to make my phone work until the new one arrives. Totally Awesome.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Too Hot

My computer has a lovely problem that is making it TOO hot. In addition, when it does run, there is something funky with the way it loads pages. So I likely won't be posting much for the next while until it is fixed. Guess that means I can get some work done!

Thanks for the award Angela! I will fulfill my obligations once this mess gets resolved.