All Things Andrea

All Things Andrea

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Who is Chomping Now??!!

So much for my fall crop of broccoli and cauliflower - someone chewed the leaves down to the stems.  :(

Irene Aftermath

Just a few small branches from my Redbud tree...

... and a downed sunflower that couldn't withstand the hurricane wind gusts!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Seed Saving

A friend had given me a yellow cherry tomato plant this spring which bore such sweet, delicious fruits that it prompted me to try saving some of its seeds.  I am pretty sure it is not a hybrid ( a plant that does not produce true to its nature year after year) since the plant came from an organic farm, so I'm hoping I'll be able to start some plants from these seeds next spring and enjoy some more of its yummy, healthful treats.

One of my long-term goals is to grow only heirloom varieties of plants so that I can save my own seeds from year to year, thus cutting the expense of purchasing seeds.  So, this is a good way to start!

Hurricane Irene Activities

Making Watermelon Rind Pickles,


and finally assembling the much-needed bookshelf I had purchased for my bedroom from IKEA last month.
I covered the back of the bookshelf with fabric that matches my dust ruffle.

I was pleased with how it turned out!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quilter's Design Wall

A recent issue of McCall's American Patchwork and Quilting magazine suggested using a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth to create a design wall.  Now why didn't I think of that?!  I've been needing to come up with some type of inexpensive solution for quite a while now.  I had tried using a flannel sheet, but it wasn't stiff enough, and the quilts blocks would easily fall off.  But, this works perfectly!  And, I had two 60x84" tablecloths on hand - exactly what I needed!

What's the advantage of a design wall?  Well, you can always lay out your quilt blocks on the floor, but few people have enough floor space to do that, especially when it comes to a large bed quilt.  The nice thing about this approach is that you can mount your blocks, then leave the design wall up for as long as necessary.  No more crawling around on the floor or stepping on the fabric to reach a center block.  And, you'll get a much less distorted sense of what your quilt will look like if you can look at it straight on vs. viewing it at an angle on the floor. 

The magazine suggested to simply put duct tape on the vinyl side of the tablecloth, then cut slits for the hooks and hang it with "Command" hooks.  I chose to stitch buttonholes in case I would want to use the tablecloth for its normal intended use in the future.  However, after stitching the buttonholes, I'm thinking they knew what they were talking about; the needle holes caused the vinyl to tear, even though had I reinforced the flannel side with non-fusible interfacing before sewing the buttonholes.  I think I'll still be able to manage, though.

These "Command" hooks are the greatest invention.  I HATE putting holes in my walls (I prefer options down the road vs. being locked into the holes I've created!), and these allow you to hang something without any damage to your walls.  They come off easily when you no longer have need of them.

I mounted the hooks right up next to the ceiling.

I spaced the hooks and buttonholes so that I can hang two overlapped 60x84" tablecloths for large quilts,

or one 60x84" cloth for smaller projects.

The flannel backing works just like those flannelgraph story boards from Sunday School.  Just be sure you get a decent quality tablecloth; the cheap, flimsy ones don't have much flannel backing to them anymore.

The beauty of this system is that I can simply remove the tablecloths when I'm done with the project, and no one is the wiser.

The hooks do show, but it's worth it to have such a great quilting aid!

(Sorry about the poor quality of these pictures!  :(  My quilt studio is in my basement, thus very little daylight.)

Watermelon Rind Pickles

I grew up knowing about watermelon rind pickles, and can remember my Great Aunt Mary collecting our rinds in her dishpan after dinner out on the lawn at her home.  My mom used to make them as well.  I had never been motivated to try attempting them until this year, when I grew my first ever watermelon.  What a thrill!!  It was so sacred, so special that I couldn't bear to throw any bit of it away.  I know pickles are not exactly a healthful thing to make or eat, but I figure the value of fond memories can negate the negative effect of all that sugar.  I found my mom's recipe, but only the ingredients - not the directions.  So, I'm not posting the recipe until I know for sure if they are good enough to eat.  I'm planning to serve them to my family for Christmas dinner.  :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quotes Worth Contemplating

"When your dreams turn to dust, maybe it's time to vacuum."
- Marie Bostwick, A Single Thread