I haven’t hit my sewing room since last Sunday. Honestly, I just haven’t been inspired to. I’m thinking that I went on such a feverish productive jag over the last couple of months that I’m a little burned out.
So this week I’ve been thinking a lot about future projects… I looked at a lot of pictures, savored color and fabric combos, bought a pattern or two, and spent way too much time on Pinterest. I also ordered a few more pieces of shot cottons for my stripes and shots quilt, as well as some KFC Fabric to make pillow cases to go with my new bed quilt.
An order of a few more pieces of shot cottons arrived a couple days ago. So I did get into my sewing room tonight and pressed and cut a few more strips for the stripes and shots quilt. I now have 20 sets cut and ready to go. That’s half of what I’ll need for this quilt.
I have a few more pieces of shot cottons that should arrive this week, then I can start pairing up the duplicate strips of the solid shots with the additional 20 unique stripes I have waiting. I may start sewing these pairs together this week. I want to sew them on my Featherweight.
I had one last quick project I wanted to make tonight for a holiday gift at the request of a friend… before I put my Bernina away for a few weeks.
Several years ago I made a bunch of “corn bags” for friends and for people at work as holiday gifts. Basically, they are a flannel bag containing feed corn that you can put in the microwave and use as a heating pad or to help take the chill off. I was first given one by a sister in law many years ago and I used mine so many times and so often it literally fell apart!
This time of year I heat mine up a couple of times every day to warm my hands while I’m working. I just get so cold sitting all day and when it gets dark so early.
I make two different styles. One is a simple rectangle about 8×12. The other kind is about 7×20 and has baffles or section filled with corn. It’s great to throw over your shoulder, around your neck, or to wrap around your hands.
Since I had made a bunch of these a few years ago I still had some feed corn in the garage and had pieces of flannel left over. I like to use a dark flannel since it will get lots of use and the corn bags are not washable. If it gets too dirty and ratty, you just have to throw it away.
I start with cutting a piece of flannel 8 inches by width of fabric. Then I trim this folded piece to 8 inches by about 20.5 inches — so unfolded it would be 8 inches by 41 inches. .
Then I press a 1/2 inch hem along one long side of this piece.
Once that 1/2 inch hem is pressed, fold this piece of fabric in half, right sides together, so that what were the selvedge edges are together. Sew along the long edge that does not have the hem pressed over and one short edge. Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Leave the long hemmed edge at the top un-sewn.
Turn this piece right side out and press. It should now measure 20 inches by 7.5 inches.
Using a piece of chalk or a chalk pencil, mark off five four-inch sections.
The edges with the folded hem should line up nicely. You will basically have a long flannel pocket with five open sections. Sew along each of the lines you marked, back tacking at the start and end of each line of stitching.
Now it’s time to fill these sections with corn. I get 50 lb bags of whole feed corn at the farm store. You can buy smaller quantities on Amazon but it’s a lot more expensive.
Make sure you get whole corn. You don’t want to get cracked or ground corn. And you want feed corn. Not seed corn.
And for the love of God… don’t use pop corn!!!
So, why do I use corn instead of rice? The corn seems to hold the heat longer. I think it also holds up better over time than the rice.
To fill the bags I make a funnel from a piece of paper and some tape. I put about 1-1/4 cups of corn into each section. You can adjust to be as full or loose as you like.
Once the corn is in the first section, hold up the bag so the corn falls to the bottom, away from the opening. Then put in a couple of pins horizontal to the opening to keep the corn away from the opening so you don’t sew over corn when you close this.
Continue filling and pinning until you have all five sections filled and penned.
Then take this whole thing to you sewing machine and stitch one long line along the open tops of the bag, making sure to keep the two sides of the bag with the folded hems lined up so that your line of stitching catches both edges.
And that’s your corn bag. I heat mine on high heat for 3 minutes. You should test this out in your microwave and for your personal preference. I like mine really hot! Try 1-1/2 minutes first. If that’s not warm enough, try 2 minutes. Go up in 30 second increments until you find the right time for you. Be careful because you can get warm and cold pockets in the corn. I shake mine up a bit when I comes out of the microwave.
When I woke up this morning it was snowing. We don’t see a lot of snow in Portland and people usually do panic a bit when a storm comes through. It snowed almost all day. This is looking out the front of my house across the street during the early afternoon.
Here’s a view of my back yard first thing in the morning.
After snowing most of the day, here’s the accumulation we got.
It’s a little sad as snow storms go. But it was a great day to be inside and warm just watching the snow fall.
Since it wasn’t much of a day to be outside, I managed to get my living room cleaned and got my basic holiday lights up.
I love having all these lights during our dark and dreary winters. It makes me feel so much better and makes the house feel warm and cozy. I don’t typically put up a lot of holiday decorations. I might pull a few out of the boxes in the garage, but for me it’s really all about the lights.
I also took advantage of a snowy day inside and got most of my Christmas cards addressed. I’ll work on them over this week and have them all ready for the mail later this week. Here’s the photo I took for my card this year. I wanted to show one of my quilts and just couldn’t leave the dogs off.
We had a few windy days early this week and it all brought down a lot of leaves.
I have two huge Sweet Gum Maples on the south side of my back yard. They provide lovely shade to my yard during the summer months. And they drop A LOT of leaves all through late November and all of December.
My yard guys came on Wednesday and got them all taken care of. That’s a lot of leaves!
They were working in an absolute downpour. But once they were done and gone, the sun came out.
One of those big trees is still full of green leaves. I’m glad my yard guys will be back next week.
I’ve decided I’m going to make pillow cases to go with my new bed quilt, rather than making shams. I had hoped to use fabric from my stash rather than having to purchase more fabric, but I didn’t have any pieces that are in the quilt that are large enough. So I ordered a couple yards of the Lotus Leaf fabric, shown at the bottom of this photo. That will be for the body of the pillow cases.
The cuff and accent band will be made from the stripe and zigzag that are from my stash. All three fabrics are in the quilt. The zigzag is left over from the backing and the stripe is left over from the binding. So once the Lotus Leaf arrives I’ll be ready to go.
I’ve made a god number of batik pillow cases over the years. I’ve given a lot of them as gifts in sets of two. Here’s the pillow case pattern I use.
I went and played pickle ball Saturday morning. It was cold and windy but the sun was out. Someone took a photo and posted it on Facebook. I’ve drawn a black arrow to show where I am on the court. I’m wearing a teal fleece and black baseball cap.
Happy work week!