New Craft Room

With three of our four boys living out of town, we have several unused bedrooms in our house.  Earlier this spring, I decided that these unused rooms could be put to better use.

Until recently, my long arm sewing machine was in the smallest of these bedrooms (11′ x 11″), a tight fit for a 10 foot table.  My domestic sewing machine was in our laundry room.  And,  my craft supplies were in various closets throughout the house.

One of the unused bedrooms is a fairly nice sized room.  At 12′ x 15′, it is almost 50% more space than the small room that I was using.  So, I decided to move my crafts into this larger room.  Sorry boys, but the guest room is now in a bit smaller!

After spending a few months planning out the change, I have recently settled in to my new craft room.  I love my new space, and so does my cat Onyx.

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I now have all my crafts (except fused glass) are all in the same room.  This means that I can work on multiple projects at the same time.  I can set my long arm sewing machine to stitch out a computer guided pattern, while cutting a paper craft project on my Cameo cutter and piecing another quilt on my domestic sewing machine.

When moving in to the room, I sorted and organized all of my supplies, and even found some things I forgot that I had. I may not complete more projects, but I will certainly enjoy working in this room, especially with the large corner window.

Some useful features in the room:

  1. wall mounted TV with cable and an HDMI connection view on-line programs,
  2. a love seat that is also a sleeper sofa (a place for someone to sleep if all of our boys come home at the same time),
  3. a side table by the love-seat  to hold my coffee, computer and other items I need handy,
  4. noise cancelling headphones (to block out the sound of the sewing machine when I am watching a program on the TV),
  5. several thread organizers for the various spools/cones of thread that I use,
  6. a large closet for storing a cart with my Cameo cutter, my large format printer and lots of other supplies,
  7. storage cubbies underneath my long arm table,
  8. two desks, a dresser and shelf unit with even more storage,
  9. a mounted drapery rod that is large enough to hang a queen sized quilt for photography, and
  10. an attached bathroom.

Since I now had a dedicated craft room, I also wanted to add a design wall.  Originally I thought that I could make something that utilized the quilt hanging rod. After purchasing fabric (Kaufman Framework Flannel Gridwork), I added a lining and rolled it onto the rod.

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Unfortunately the flannel kept wanting to unroll and not stay neat and tidy.  To try to solve this problem, I added Roman Shade cords to the back of the flannel.  But, when pulled up, the fabric would also slide together on the rod and again not stay neat and tidy.

So, I ultimately attached the flannel to some wooden boards and made true Roman Shades to use for the design wall.  These boards were  mounted at the edge of the ceiling and drop down when needed.  I could only mount one section on the main wall of the room because I did not want to block the air intake which was located on one end if that same wall.  To give me more design space, I mounted the second section above the closet.

This is not ideal because large projects will be split into two separated spaces when working with the design wall.  However, it does put design space very near my sewing desk.  This will be handy when I am in the middle of a project.  I will just have to get used to having large projects split into two sections.  But, since I really didn’t have a design wall before, this arrangement is certainly better than nothing.

Wind chimes from wine bottle.

IMG_1933When I started making fused glass mushrooms, I had to ask friends for empty wine bottles because I generally don’t drink any alcoholic beverages and so we had none at our house.  In doing this, I was received several colors of bottles – dark green, olive green, clear, blue, brown and amber.  Since the green are the only ones that worked well for mushroom stalks, that left me to think about other ideas for the different colors of bottles.

So, last week when I needed something to recognize an outgoing president of one of the organizations I am a member of, I decided to use one of the clear wine bottles to make another unique recognition item – a wind chime.

Supplies:IMG_2678
  • Clear Wine Bottle
  • Kinkajou bottle cutter
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Adhesive Stencil
  • Armour Etch Glass Etching Paste
  • Craft stick
  • Gloves, eyewear, apron
  • Drop Cloth
  • Coe 96 white glass
  • Heat resistant wire
  • Wooden Disks/Beads
  • Chain
  • Various Beads
Instructions:
1. Following the directions for use, cut the bottom off of the wine bottle using the Kinkajou bottle cutter.  I scored and cut about one inch up from the bottom.  Smooth the edge with glass file or glass sanding pads.
2. Clean the surface of the glass with rubbing alcohol, making sure to remove all finger prints.  Firmly adhere the cut stencil on the bottle.
3. Apply the Armour Etch paste to the glass following the suggestions in my original post about glass etching.

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4. Create a wind scope or wind sail.  I cut two tooth shapes out of white fusible glass.  These were full fused together with a wire loop at the top to facilitate assembly of the wind chime.
5. Using wire and pieces of chain, string together the beads to a visually pleasing length.  I used a wooden wheel shape for the striker and a wooden candle cup turned upside down to keep the beads from pulling out of the bottle.
The resulting wind chime creates a pleasant sound and a unique piece of visual art!

Happy Easter, He is Risen! Καλό Πάσχα και Χριστός Ανέστη!

Yes, I know,  I am not Greek Orthodox, nor am I from any of the countries that observe Orthodox Easter.  But, since we were traveling last Sunday, we had our Easter celebration today.  And, since Easter is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, shouldn’t we celebrate every day of the year!

He is risen indeed. Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!

Prior to leaving for Spring Break, I spent some time making an Easter plate for my kitchen plate holder.  I think it turned out really well.

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The creation of this plate involved several steps:

  1. Base of plateIMG_1607
    • Bottom glass – clear layer of glass measuring just under 7″ square
    • Top glass – medium blue outer border 1/2″ wide, green noodle (standing on edge) and varied sized pieces of variety of transparent blue glass in a patchwork pattern
    • Light amber glass cut in 5/8″ strips to make the base of the cross
    • 7″ square stainless steel form, lined with shelf paper
    • Full fused
  2. Pieces of purple transparent medium frit to make grapes full fused (visible on the right side of the stainless steel form in the photo above)
  3. Green noodles and stringer, bent by holding the glass in the flame of a soldering torch
  4. Dove and dove wing cut from thin iridescent white glassIMG_1609
  5. Leaves cut from thin green glass
  6. Cross cut from dark amber glass, slumped over 1/8″ fiber paper to be able to “weave” the glass
  7. Cross, dove, vines and grapes place onto base glass and light contour fused to the plateIMG_1612
  8. Slump in a plate mold.

Big Island Vacation

Spring Break –  a chance to get away to warmer weather.

Day One – departed MN at 1 pm CDT, layover in LA and arrived in Kona at 8 pm HST – long day!

 

Day Two – over an inch of rain made for a wet day but a stunning sunset.

 

Day Three – Lavaman Triathlon start and finish were on the beach  outside our lanai.  We watched, but did not participate – drove to see the Pololu Valley and northwest coast line instead.

Day Four – drove to Hilo, still overcast, but we were able to see Rainbow Falls and Pe’epe’e Falls before the rain fell. Another gorgeous sunset.

Day Five – a long walk by the villa lead to finding several very friendly resort cats!

Day Six – Long walk along the beach, drive into Kona, and more time at the beach.

Day Seven – Volcano National Park, Ki’lauea Crater, Thurson Lava Tube and Chain of Craters Road.

Day Eight – Helicopter Ride and Petroglyph Field

 

Day Nine – Drove to Ka Lae, also known as South Point, is the most southerly piece of ground in the US and Flight Home.

Happy Pi(e) Day

In honor of National Pi Day (March 14 or 3.14), I made two pies for my birthday treat to take to work.

Peach Pie with Pecan CrustIMG_2627

Pastry Dough

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup ground pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together shortening, butter and sugar.
3. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder.
4. Combine creamed mixture with dry ingredients and ground pecans.  Dough will be crumbly.
5. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
6. Press dough into pie plate and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Peach Filling
5 peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs corn starch
1 small pkg peach jello

1. Place peach slices and water in a microwave safe bowl and cook at high for four minutes. Drain water into a separate bowl.
2. Mix together sugar, corn starch and jello.
3. Slowly sprinkle mixture into hot peach water.
4. Heat to a rolling boil.
5. Remove from heat and stir in peaches.
6. Pour mixture into pecan crust.
7. Refrigerate until set.

 

Almond Pear TartIMG_2628

Pastry Dough

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten

1. Place flour and sugar in food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
2. Scatter butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse to coarse mixture.
3. Add egg and process for about 10 seconds, until clumps form.  The dough at this stage will be very sticky.
4. Wrap dough and freeze for one hour to make dough easier to handle.
5. Press dough into pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.    Note: a removable bottom tart pan would make serving easier since the crust tends to stick to the pan.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Custard Filling
2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 large egg

1. Mix flour and sugar together.
2. Add butter and flavoring and blend until smooth.
3. Mix in egg. Pour into crust.
4. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Pears
2 pears, peeled, halved and cored
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice

1. Bring water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Add pears and allow to sit in hot syrup for 30 minutes.
3. Remove pears and place on paper towel to remove excess moisture.
4. Cut each pear half into thin slices and arrange atop the filling like spokes of a wheel, pressing down into filling.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

If you try these recipes, I hope you enjoy them.

Contentment… Chasing an elusive goal.

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Nearly every day while perusing through social media, we see the best of our friend’s lives. I am guilty of only posting happy things that make it appear that my life is always great.  I write my blog to display the crafts, cooking and family activities that turn out well.  I avoid showing my mistakes and failures.  Perhaps one of these days I will write a blog postings about these “Epic Failures” to show that not everything goes as planned.

But, when things are not going well, viewing these happy postings on social media can make a person feel down. Friends vacationing in fun, exotic places – why am I not with them?  Friends buying new retirement homes in warm sunny locations – why am I living in cold and snowy Minnesota?  Job successes – why do patients (actually make that parents of patients) complain when I try to provide the best possible care for their child? And many more examples.

Last Wednesday, I was frustrated to be dealing with the second migraine in five days that did not respond to my prescription medication.  If you have every experienced an intractable migraine, you will understand the discomfort I was in. And to top it off, around mid-day abdominal pain started.  I was like – oh great migraine induced nausea, I haven’t had to deal with that for a while.  After a couple of weeks of many unexpected, less than ideal events, I had a few tears of frustration that afternoon.

Overnight my abdominal pain became much worse, prompting a trip to urgent care in the morning and Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) later in the day.  Being in too much pain to even be able to knit, I had a lot of time to stand around (it hurt too much to actually sit down) and think and realize that I needed to change my perspective on my life.

I needed to embrace contentment and gratitude for what I have been given.  Rather than being concerned about my parents’ health, I should be grateful that they are settled into a senior housing center that has nursing staff available when they need the help.  Rather than being jealous about the fun vacations my friends are on, I should be grateful for the vacations I may be able to take in the future.  Rather than complaining about the snow, I should be grateful that spring will be here in just a few weeks.  I should be more grateful for my loving husband, four wonderful sons, warm home, etc.

But more importantly, I should be content in the grace given by my heavenly father. Through God’s grace, I have been given much and should seek contentment and anchor my joy in God himself rather than trying to change my circumstances. I need to take to heart the statement in Erik Raymond’s book, Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age (Crossway, 2017), “If you want to be content, think less about yourself and more about Christ.”

Dresden Village Fused Glass Clock

img_1350Wanting to add some color to my sewing room, and make something functional, I decided to make a fused glass clock.  Actually, I just needed an excuse to work with glass again .

Looking at ideas on-line,  I found lots of pictures of clocks that other people had made (see photo below for some of my favorites).  While all of these were great, and any one of them would have been fun to make, I really wanted to come up with an idea that was unique to me.

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So, one day while I was looking at some pictures of quilts, I came up with an idea for my clock.  The quilting project I saw was called “Dresden Village”.  This pattern involved using the Dresden Plate pattern to make a center table mat that depicted houses around a circle.

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Since the Dresden Plate pattern involves pie shaped pieces sewn into a circle, I thought it would be an ideal pattern to use for a clock.  The circle could be divided into 24 pieces each with a 15 degree angle.  Pieced together, the taller houses mark the hours and the smaller houses mark the half hour.  To further differentiate the time, I made the doors of the taller houses with black noodles and the smaller houses with red noodles.

 

 

IMG_1280The house numbers were printed on photo transfer paper and the windows were dichroic slide paper.  Black glass was used to add a roof to each house.  Glass Frit of various sizes and shades of green were used to create trees and shrubs in the “Central Park”.  The clockworks were added.

Now I have a colorful clock in my sewing room!

Clock Ideas
Other clock ideas I liked