Archive for August, 2012

A Luscious Lemon Meringue Pie to Celebrate Summer

August 28, 2012

Nothing says “summer” to me quite like the taste of lemons and this one was divine after a long hot day …

Perhaps it is the book title alone that speaks to me  – Handheld Pies: Dozens of Pint-Sized Sweets and Savories by Rachel Wharton & Sarah Billingsley/Photography by Ellen Silverman – anything that suggests it is made by hand deserves at least a few minutes of my attention. Or, maybe it is the fact that the pies are made in darling, individual serving sizes – the lemon meringue pie was made in glass jars.  (I actually used individual Pyrex bakers that I picked up at a garage sale.) The single servings should have been enough, although my husband and I split another one just in case it wouldn’t keep well till the next day.

With another week of 85 degree plus days ahead, I may just need to make these one more time before summer’s end! Happy sewing – and baking!


Tidying up the Purse with a New Quilted Sunglasses Case

August 21, 2012

My sunglasses case has been in tatters for some time, so with a new pair of sunglasses, I decided it was time to be out with the old and in with the new. This simple case makes use of those small left over fabric pieces from other projects, or if you have just little bits, is small enough that you can piece the dimension you need.

Here’s the how to:

1. If you have a fabric sunglasses case that works for you now, just measure it, adding 1/2″ for each seam allowance. My new sunglasses are curved so they needed a bigger case. I cut two pieces of fabric – one for the lining and one for the outside – measuring 9-1/2″ x 8-3/4″. Cut the batting slightly smaller – I cut a piece measuring 8-3/4″ x 8-1/4″.

2. Make the quilt sandwich in the sequence indicated in the picture below. First lay the lining fabric down, then stack the outside fabric right on top, then center the batting on top of that. Smooth it all out so there are no annoying wrinkles anywhere and pin the layers all together.

3. Stitch around the edges using a 1/2″ seam and leaving a gap of about 4″ along one edge for turning. If you have a walking foot, use that for best results. When finished stitching, clip the corners; turn and press. Stitch the opening closed using your sewing machine and stitching close to the edge. (Under normal conditions, I would stitch this opening closed using a slip stitch, but since the case will take a beating in my purse, the machine stitch will just be more durable in the long run.)

4. Quilt using a favorite stitch or try something new – this is an ideal project to experiment a bit to see what looks best with your fabrics. If you don’t like the end result, you have maybe lost 45 minutes, not hours. When finished with the quilting, I found I had to make a decision: While I intended to make a sunglasses case, I kind of liked the finished result at this point and toyed with the idea of stopping here and enjoying the piece as a hot pad. However, my need for a new case won out, so I finished it up …

5. Fold the quilted piece in half lengthwise and stitch the bottom and side seam using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn and press.

Enjoy and happy sewing!

P.S. This is a great kids sewing project – for themselves, a teacher or friend.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers – Quick to Fix, Good to Eat

August 16, 2012

To speed up prep time, lay out all the ingredients first.

This Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burger has become a go-to recipe at the end of busy summer days. It’s also a great one to pull out at the last minute when you have lost track of time and need something homemade, healthy and flavorful.

It seems we change the recipe up a bit every time we make the burgers based on what we have on hand; this includes substituting yellow, red or orange peppers for the green one; adjusting the seasonings; and replacing regular bread crumbs with Panko (Japanese bread crumbs – available at Trader Joes).

Add ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, a pickle, and a whole wheat bun – then take the picture!  Patience was not on the menu this night, thus the picture above.

As an aside, we eat a lot of veggie burgers in our house but have grown weary of the prepared ones at the grocery; plus even though the prepared ones are not that expensive, you can make them for a lot less. Over the years, we have had an ongoing contest in our house to see who can find the recipe that we ALL like – one that yields a veggie burger with the right amount of firmness, even crunch (and definitely not mushy); good flavor; and easy to cook. With this recipe, I have pulled slightly ahead! Not one to rest on my laurels, however, do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share here?


Simple Knitting by Erika Knight

August 11, 2012

At the library, my eyes are always way too big for my strength and free time. My armload of books on one recent visit included Erika Knight’s book Simple Knitting: A Complete How-to-Knit Workshop with 20 Projects published in 2011The classic knitted designs made with gorgeous yarns, beautiful photographs by Yuki Sugiura, the simple but clear illustrations, legible typefaces, the paper the book is printed on, and the text all combine to create this feeling of calm – definitely not the vibe I typically give off when knitting – and simplicity.

Great photographs and descriptions of individual stitch patterns.

As a big fan of Eileen Fisher clothing (but an owner of few pieces) and cardigan sweaters, this sweater really spoke to me … I might just knit this sweater over winter.

Make sure to click on the links above for more inspiration from Erika Knight (her blog is here) and Yuki Sugiura.

Happy sewing, knitting, making!

Fold Over Elastic Hair Ties – Quick to Make, Fun to Wear

August 5, 2012

Over the last few years, we’ve gone through a few tween trends – Japanese erasers, rubberbands, and scented pencils – but none as affordable or useful as fold over elastic (FOE) hair ties. In recent weeks, they have been appearing in a lot of the shops in our area, usually around $4 for 2 or 3. The hardest part of making the hair ties is selecting the FOE colors – and at about 50 cents a yard, you can actually afford not to be selective! The best part, they take about one minute to make. Here’s the how-to:

1. Gather the supplies: 5/8″ FOE, scissors, 12″ ruler. FOE is available at most fabric shops; we purchased it at The Needle Shop in Chicago.

2. Cut a 10 to 12 inch length, angling the ends. This will allow you to loop the tie over your hair two to three times. My daughter has been wearing her ties a lot and we have not had a problem with fraying. If your’s don’t cooperate, try a bit of Fray Check on the ends.

3. Tie a knot and, if necessary, trim the ends a bit to shorten.

4. Wear!

Some girls are making FOE headbands – just experiment with the length to cut or measure the circumference of an existing favorite stretchy headband and add a couple of inches to tie it off. And, Sew Can Do has instructions for making shoelaces … who knew!

On a side note, I’ve used FOE for pajama waistbands and it is a bit trickier to work with than I would have thought. One of the best tutorials on the topic is here at Angry Chicken.

Happy making!