Scrappy Saber Sawtooth Quilt Update!

I had no idea this 8 pointed star block was also called the Sawtooth Star.  I guess it all depends on what you grow up with or learn as you learn your quilting.  Apparently it’s fairly popular…so nothing new here.

However, just like the Churn Dash block quilt, this block is super easy to make and very quickly I’ve produced quite a number of them from my stash pull.

I’ve been using EQ7 to come up with some kind of placement for the blocks.  Here’s the latest.  It is built like a medallion quilt only the medallion portion are the 16 sawtooth star blocks sewn together in the center…

Scrappy Saber Sawtooth Star

From there I get the best of both worlds.  I’ll get my strings in as a border around the center and then the remainder blocks get a spacing between them as then next border.  It looks complicated but trust me it actually is turning out very simple.  Completely based upon  a 2-1/2″ base.DSCF8783

The string blocks are being made WITHOUT paper.  I can’t stand removing paper from string blocks and I really find that step completely unnecessary.  I am trimming down the strings into 5 inch blocks…DSCF8785

The blocks will be cut in half (2-1/2″) and placed zig zaggy around the center 16.  Then the 2-1/2″ strip will be cut in half again to yield the block separator…DSCF8786

…for the third border.  This is why I LOVE EQ7!  I would never have been able..okay…maybe never is a strong word, but seriously, EQ7 did this calculation for me within a few clicks.  I was stunned at how simple it all was.  The best $150 I’ve ever spent!!!

Can’t wait to see how all this is going to finish.

Happy Quilting!


Epic Fermented Pickle Fail!

This is my second attempt at naturally fermented food.  And my second FAIL.  My first attempt was sauerkraut gosh, that was 2 and a half years ago and I’ve not tried it since.  But somehow all the Youtube videos make it look so easy and fool-proof.

Harrumph I say!

So today was completion day for the fermented pickles and I brought up the crock from the basement… DSCF9196-001and looked under the hood, removing my weigh down bag and plate…DSCF9197-001I skimmed off some scum and took out a pickle…DSCF8772Eww!  Oh my goodness…this thing is a mush turd with a hint of garlic and dill.  Completely gross.  After a few minutes of what to do I decided to pour the whole batch out into the sink and dissect a few…DSCF8768I began to pick them up and some were hard!  Oh maybe I didn’t have an all out disaster as previously thought!  I sorted out the mush from the ones that actually were firm..  DSCF8770The mushy ones are on the right, only about 5… DSCF8773The ones on the left were really quite firm…DSCF8774
Ever the analyzer I proceed to dissect the lot. The fermented mayhem is splayed out before me…DSCF8775
…and I slice and inspect…DSCF8776 DSCF8779 DSCF8780

Okay…it looks alright…  but how does it taste.  I get up the nerve to taste it.


I can’t even describe accurately what the taste was.  Tinny?  Yes, it was a bit salty.  No, it didn’t taste spoiled, no it wasn’t slippery it was just really really awful.  I’m thinking it might have been my spices that were making such a bad taste or too much dill.  I don’t know.  As far as the mushy cukes I think I waited too long to get these cucumbers into a brine.

I’ve been reading about pickle problems and from what the experts (Ball) say fermented pickles need to go from field to crock within 24-48 hours or else they get soft.  Certainly I had a few softies.

Oh well.  Live and learn.  Hopefully my next attempt at the Uncle Kruncker Pickle factory will go more smoothly!

Happy Happy everyone!


Stash Challenge Progress

Just to re-cap.  Out of the fabrics I’ve pulled from the stash…DSCF9126

I’ve been making these pieces into these 8 pointed star blocks…DSCF9178

The combinations of fabrics are completely wild.  As you can see in the photo above and below I’m having to push the fabrics to coordinate!  In the above photo I’ve used 3 different greens and 3 different neutrals with that novelty bear square in the middle.  But it turned out which is really amazing me!  Here’s another wild combo…DSCF9177

Another novelty center with different pink squares and 2 different neutrals for the star points.  (Mom, you’ll recognize those ballet slippers!).  I love looking at these blocks and thinking about where these fabrics came from.  A trip down memory lane.  The upper right hand corner pink square is from our dog groomer (she makes a collar cover when they go…always something fun!), the ballet slipper print came from Mom, that was a dress she made for one of our nieces, the 3 other pink squares are part of Bari’s 1st collection that I used in my crutch bag (oh so many memories of that experience…3 years now) and there’s Olivia’s quilt and a night gown in there too!  So fun…

25 blocks have been completed.  Now the question is do I set them without sashing…DSCF9172

…or with a sashing (not sure what the sashing will be at the moment…so just think separation of the blocks right now)…


I have more to make to use up the scrap and it looks like a queen size quilt will take approx. 64 (an 8×8).  Still not sure what size I should make or if I should do multiple smaller ones.

Anyone want to do a quilt along?  Or a free motion quilt along?  If you all are game I’d so make a couple of smaller ones.  Any takers?

More to come!

~Happy Quilting!


Dwasifar’s Restored 201!

Here are a couple of pictures of one of my readers’ restored Singer 201.  When I wrote my blog post “Why a Singer 201 will always be a favorite” way back in 2008 I had no idea that I’d have so many people comment on that post and share their own love for these old beauties.

It brings me great joy to see what you all have done!

Here is one that I’d like to share with you all and it comes from Dwasifar.  He writes…

“Yesterday my wife and I were at a thrift store, looking for something else entirely, when we came across an old sewing machine in a blond wood cabinet marked $30. The owner said, “Furniture’s 25% off today, and I guess that’s furniture, if you’re interested.” So I forked over $22.50 and into the car it went.

It was covered with dirt and crud, with surface rust on the foot and needle shafts, but I figured what the hell, I can see what it’ll do. She already has a near-mint 1968 Touch & Sew that we got the same way, so I figured it was worth the gamble.

Once we got it home I looked closely at it. Model 201, with a serial number that worked out to 1957 manufacture. It would barely run at first, but it was trying hard. So I cleaned up the outside, read the manual, opened it up, and did a lot of careful cleaning and oiling. The surface rust came off the metal parts with a little 00 steel wool and some polishing with a piece of jute twine. The internal mechanicals looked clean, some of them almost new. The motor brushes looked good (although I did crack one of the plastic brush caps and had to epoxy it back together). Even the light worked.

After about 90 minutes of cleaning, oiling, and reassembly, I plugged it in, pressed the pedal, and WHIRRRRRRRR away it went, as if 57 years had not actually elapsed since it rolled off the Singer line.

I put a new needle on it and turned it over to my wife; she threaded it up (after a couple of false starts) and after a little bit of tension adjustment it was sewing perfectly, quietly, and FAST.

Now I have to clean up the cabinet. That’ll take longer. But apparently this is quite the find. She’s really happy and excited about her “new” old Singer. I’m happy I brought it back to life, but from what I’m reading here, that has a lot more to do with Singer’s engineering than anything I did.”


Dwasifar 201 before

And here is his beauty all spiffed up.  I love his restoration on the cabinet, don’t you?

Dwasifar 201 after

Regarding the cabinet, Dwasifar mentions …

” The cabinet was pretty much trashed by time and neglect, with the finish flaking off and a lot of sun fade, so I wasn’t really worried about ruining it, which let me be more aggressive than I might be with a piece of fine furniture.

I sanded all the old finish off the top, except for the edges; I left the original enamel on those, because it covers the edges of the veneer. I gave it two coats of stain and six coats of satin polyurethane to make a tough and durable work surface. The base is made of cheaper wood and was not really practical to refinish, so instead it got three coats of dark brown satin enamel for a contrasting appearance. I left the drawer fronts alone for now; the color match to the newly refinished top is pretty close.

It’s not perfect – you can see wear and old damage in the edges and painted areas if you look closely. But it’s way better than it was, and the wear gives it character.”

I love it!  Great job Dwasifar and thanks for sharing!  I hope you get many years of use out of your 201!

To read more about the 201, the comment section of that post is still open and I share it publicly…you can read it HERE.  Enjoy!

Happy Sewing, Happy Quilting, Happy Restoring!


Sure, We’ll Take a Half Bushel! – Pickling Till I’m Blue!!!

Hey Everyone!

On our way home from Michigan over the weekend we stopped off at a farm looking for cherries.  We bought a couple of pounds of tart cherries but what we were so thrilled about were the cucumbers!

I know, only us right?  Jim loves pickles, especially if they are spicy or hot.  I like sweet pickles but I don’t eat that many of them.  I’m more about getting my hands dirty and making them!  So we make a good pair.  I make them, Jim eats them…and I eat some of them!

Do you see that big box behind all these jars?  That is a half bushel box.  It was LOADED with cucumbers on Sunday and I am just now down to the last recipe…DSCF9167

I picked out some new recipes this year, some new spicy ones to try!  The first is this Zesty Bread and Butter….DSCF9168

It has Horsradish and Ginger in the recipe and I added some Jalepeno to each jar just to kick it up a notch.  Can’t wait to give them a try.

Then we did 2 kinds of Dill.  One is a vinegar based Garlic Dill, you can see those in the Quart jars in the back, the whole cukes look like they are floating…DSCF9169

…and I put up a ceramic crock with a brine over more cukes (sorry no photo of that) and those are down in the basement fermenting the old fashioned way.  Then, finally, with that last batch of cucumbers I’ve sliced them up…DSCF9170

…added salt, stirred to coat all the cucumbers.  The recipe says to let them sit for 3 hours so I found a lid and I’m letting them sit!DSCF9171

After that there’s this whole complicated process of rinsing, adding brine, sitting, rinsing, stuffing into jars and then canning so I’ll have to update you all later on how that went.  For now, I’m home, I’ve got 3 hours to clean up the kitchen and living rooms, do some laundry and hopefully get out to the garden to weed.

I love summer!

Happy Pickling Everyone!


Time to Harvest Lavender!




Oh Glorious Lavender!  It is time!

If you grow Lavender you’ll know what I mean when I say “It’s Time!”  Lavender has a short window of opportunity to get it harvested, usually within a week…


The flowers bloom…DSCF9140

…usually it takes a few days before all of them bloom…DSCF9158

…and then they need to be cut and dried.  I leave some on the plant for the bees but most all of it gets cut!  This is enough to make a small sachet…just heavenly!

If you’ve never had a chance to grow Lavender or gone to pick some now would be the time (in the Midwest)!

Have a great day!  I’ll be working on my scraps…


Stash Patrol – Working Out the Working Stash by Pulling out the Scrap!

I’ve had this on the ‘To Do’ list for awhile.  I’ve been wanting to completely remove every little bit of fabric from this stash that is less than a fat quarter and get it cut up into useable pieces.

Here’s a look at what the stash looks like before I started my organization…


It’s not that bad.  You can tell I’ve been ‘working’ it.  Pieces have been moved around, re-folded, put back and so forth.  It has been 2 and a half years since I took this next photo…


That was my stash back then.  At the time of that post ,  I can totally see how my stash has evolved, been used and grown over the last few years!  I’ve also completed several quilts during that time but now I think I’m at the point of max capacity.  This is the space I’ve given myself to contain my quilting fabrics and now I need to pull out the smaller pieces, re-organize and evaluate.

Up top I have backings, patriotic, Christmas, the Angel fabrics I brought back from Mom’s and a smattering of miscellaneous (oh, that killer miscellaneous stuff…gotta do something with it!)…DSCF9123

Top shelf of the bookcase has my neutrals (I’ve been avidly collecting those ever since I started a few of Bonnie Hunter’s quilts), reds, yellows, browns, oranges…I suppose the ‘warm’ colors….DSCF9119

Middle shelf contains my greens, pinks, greys and black and whites…DSCF9121

The bottom shelf holds blues, teals and batiks…DSCF9122

After pulling out anything that didn’t belong I’m left with this!DSCF9130

Oh, it is so fun to PET a clean and organized stash!

Of course I still have to deal with a Halloween ‘Kit’ that isn’t in there yet.  It is my only kit but not sure where that will go now.  Hopefully that will get cut and into my in progress pile soon!  As for all those smaller pieces…DSCF9126

I’ve got my work cut out for me now.   I think an interesting challenge will be to see what I can do with this pile of pulled fabric.

So…I decided to sew up some 8 pointed star blocks to wet my whistle a bit.DSCF9127  Would I like how these are coming out?  All scrappy willy nilly?  The ones on the left were my inspiration, I had made those earlier with scrap red white and blue.   The ones on the right are the current ones…DSCF9133

Not bad.  I think I will continue to play this week with these easy blocks.DSCF9135 They go together very quickly and I think I can whittle this pile down fairly quickly!  It is an interesting challenge to only use the scrap fabrics I’ve pulled out of the stash.  I wonder how many of these blocks this stash will make?

Have you challenged yourself with a scrap stash project?

~Happy Quilting!



Baby Quilt Leader/Ender Project All Finished! Ready for Gifting

Hi Everyone!
I finished this last night.  Just in time to be wrapped up and given this afternoon at a baby shower.

This was my Leader/Ender project that was constructed in-between the Roll Roll Buzz Saw topper I posted a few posts back.


Detail of the quilting…  DSCF8649

Free Motion Quilted on my Bernina Sport 801, Cotton Batting, 40wt thread in an all over pattern I call Dew Drop Backtrack.DSCF8651 DSCF8653

And the back…DSCF8655 DSCF8657

I think it turned out just great.  As with everything we do, I know I could do better but I’m proud of this one and hope it will find plenty of use…

Talk soon.  It is a busy day today as we get ready for the shower and travel an hour to get there!

Happy Quilting!


Camping and Quilting – Tackling Two Loves at Once!

Summer happens so quickly around here.  For months we deal with cold and snow and then almost like magic the weather turns warm and summer happens!

If we don’t get out and enjoy it we’ll miss it.  That is why I LOVE our new camper.  This past weekend was an annual trip to Van Buren State Park.  We’ve gone the last 3 years and off and on over the years since way before we were even married (1991 ish).  So a long time.

The trailer makes this trip SO much more enjoyable.  Not even kidding.  Just pull it, back it in, plug it in and we are good to go.     DSCF8591

Van Buren State Park is an older park and the sites are fairly decent but somewhat close together.  They allow two vehicles per site and several tents so camper density can get pretty thick.DSCF8592

I’m sure it is only because it is small and there’s such a big demand.  The sites reserve quickly every year 6 months in advance!

Lake Michigan is the big draw…DSCF8571

The campground is only a short walk to the lake.  I broke the rules and brought Holly out to the beach.  NO DOGS on the beach the sign said so I walked the dunes south toward the power plant…DSCF8572

Once down there we jumped down and I let Holly cool off…DSCF8575
She’s turning into a real aqua dog…DSCF8576

A quick dip and back up the beach and back up onto the dunes.  Then I got busted.  Yup.  I’m a delinquent.  Just minding my own business out walking the dog, took a dip and I was cited for breaking the NO DOGS on the beach policy.DSCF8578

Seriously?  So the dune is okay but the wet sand is off limits.  I wasn’t even close to the swimming beach area.  Nope.  Rule Breaker!

Fortunately I’m not that great of a liar and I calmly explained I was just out walking the dog.  I didn’t come intentionally to break the rules it just happened.  They let me go, most likely because I didn’t have any ID on me but did take my camp site down and gave me a heavy dose of reprimand.  Sheesh.

So basically, if you ever go to VBSP, don’t bring your dog.  In fact, there’s not very many places in Michigan you CAN bring your dog to the beach.  We took Jamba last year to a dog beach in South Haven but it was really really tiny and very rocky.  One would think Michigan hates dogs.

So back to the campground and looking forward to lunch.  I mean, pretty hard to give this face a ticket…DSCF8588

And lunch it was!  We made grilled pizzas!  This was a request to bring these back again from last year.  I brought the mixer and made the dough using the kneading beater attachment.  So easy!DSCF8582

The dough rising in individual servings on the picnic table…ready to be made into personal pizzas!

DSCF8596    Yummy!!! DSCF8607

Then back inside to work on the quilting of this baby quilt.  This is the 16 patch top I was working on as the Leader/Ender project while putting together Roll Roll Buzz Saw.DSCF8562

Not the best set-up, I was a little low in the the seat and I could feel it in my shoulders but it worked.  You can see some of the detail of the quilting…DSCF8563

I call this Dew Drop Backtrack, an allover pattern.  Really easy to do…DSCF8564

I sketched up a mock up.  Sketching out the idea really helps to figure out the travel pattern.  I originally thought I would need some of those zig zag filler spots, and actually sewed a few in a couple of places then realized I didn’t need them.  I was able to just make smaller and smaller Dew Drops to wind my way in and out of spots.DSCF8565

I’m just finishing up the last section and will have this finished for Saturday!  I’m going to give this as a shower gift.  It is always a good thing to get something made and then gifted.  I hope the recipient will enjoy it.

At night at camp we made s’mores and Jim even broke out his pineapple upside down cake recipe.  He loves to cook something in the ground using the coals from the fire.  DSCF8567

He ad-libbed it mostly using Jiffy Lemon cake mix as his base but did follow a recipe as a guide.DSCF8568      Then before we knew it was time to pack up and get on the road.

While breaking camp the kids spotted a toad!    DSCF8605 DSCF8601

Use a cup!  Hurry, don’t let Holly get it!  Awe!  Look how cute this little toad is…DSCF8606

We tried to identify the species but none present were experts.  We moved him back towards the woods and away he went…

…and away we all went too with promises to come back again!

~Happy Quilting, Happy Camping!


Roll Roll Buzz Saw Top Finished!

The wind was only slightly blowing.  I finished up this top yesterday and brought it outside to take a picture of it… DSCF9113  Getting a photo of the top was a little tricky… DSCF9117       Some of the outtakes… DSCF9097-001 DSCF9099 DSCF9101 DSCF9103

I’m glad I didn’t stop with this top.  There were so many times I thought to just give up, put it all back in a box and forget about it.  Don’t we do that a lot?

I kept plugging away at it and now, a few months later, the top is complete.  I’m considering adding another solid green small border like the inner border around the outside just to make it easier to finish and square up once that time comes.  It will also help keep my triangle points pointed.

Now I need to figure out how to quilt it!

Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting Everyone!