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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Stitch Here ~ A Stitch There

For the past month or so,  I've been setting my alarm to wake up really early so I can spend some much needed time with my sewing machine.  You'd think that since my job is all about quilts that I'd be piecing and sewing all the time.  Wrong!  Make no mistake, I love my job and I'm lucky and grateful to get to do what I love, but I really don't get to sew much anymore.  I've been missing it terribly.  I know that many of you work, take care of the house, the kids, hubby, and often extended family members, volunteer, etc, and don't get to sew much either.  There are loads of reasons why we don't get to sew as often as we'd like.  I really wanted to change that....to find some time to sew, and it seemed that getting up a zero dark thirty was the best way to make that happen.  (I'm a morning person, so that's what suits me.  I can't stay up late.)  Do you do that, too?  

I wanted to make a few small quilts as gifts for Christmas.  There are several people on my list whom I know would appreciate them.  So, in the early morning hours, when the house is quiet, I've been spending time in my sewing room piecing.  J*O*Y!!

I don't piece a thing unless the fabric has been starched sized first.  I'm a big, big believer in sizing or starching yardage.  It helps ("helps" is an understatement of epic proportions!!)  in all aspects of piecing from cutting, to sewing, to pressing. (I have lots of tips and hints all about this in my Heartspun Quilts Hints book, including how to starch fabric in your washing machine!) I have lots and lots of scraps.  You, too?!!  

I keep my large selection of scraps organized in several ways, and one of them is to keep a big (unorganized!) bag of pre starched sized scraps handy, so I can be ready to sit and sew when I have a few minutes to make units, and blocks, and in this case, little quilts.  

This morning, I put the last border on the fourth (and final) little quilt I'll be giving as a Christmas present.  I'm feeling on top of the world, not only because I've been piecing, but also because I made the four little gifts I wanted to make.  Win, win!!  I'd like to show you what I made, but the recipients are regular readers of my blog.  

I think we can all say we never have enough time for all the things we'd like to do.  There's a never ending amount of tasks we have in any given day, and if we don't make time to do the things we love, and that make us happy, then we live to work, not work to live.  

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you may remember that at the beginning of the New Year (2013), I set two goals for myself.  The first was to find good soup recipes and make more soups.  I love to eat soup, but I didn't have many really good soup recipes.  I'm happy to report I've done a fair job of making some good soups this year.  The other goal was to learn to make pies from scratch, especially pie crust.  I haven't been successful at this....having found no time to even try, and here it is November.  

All this "not having more time to do the things I love, and that make me happy" got me to thinking how quickly time flies by, and if I (read "we") don't make the time, then what?  This quilter ain't gettin' any younger!  Hence, greeting the crack of dawn at my sewing machine.  So, a few weekends ago, I decided enough was enough.  It's apple season and I wanted an apple pie!

Here's my first attempt at pie crust and apple pie filling from scratch.  Not bad.  Not good either!  Teehee!

It looked pretty as a whole pie and as a slice, but it wasn't all that great.  My family doesn't agree as they scarfed it up, but I know I'll keep searching for the perfect crust and filling recipes.  I am very happy that I took the time to play....to try.  It was very good for my soul.  

So, the moral of the story is, let's try to find time to do the things that make us happy.  That lift our spirits and fulfill the soul.  A cup of soup, a slice of pie, and a stitch here and there!


  1. You hit the nail right on the head! Aren't we all guilty of putting off things because it is so easy to say "I don't have the time?" Bravo and I hope this post inspires others to "just do/try it!"

  2. I recently bought a soup cookbook, and every recipe I have made from it has been truly amazing. If you're a soup lover, I highly recommend it. The book is "Soup's On!" by Valerie Phillips.

    1. Oooh...I don't have that one. I'll have to ask Santa for it! I have 300 Sensational Soups by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds. That's a good one, too!

  3. Great post and I could not agree more.

  4. I want to make four little quilts!! I am so anxious to see yours after they have been gifted and you can share them!
    I'll have to bring you some of my favorite soup recipes in January. I have 6 or 8 "go to" soups that are frequently on our table in cold weather. : )
    I admit, I sew at night--after all the "work is done". Maybe that is why days go by that I don't sew. "A woman's work is never done," right?
    We are getting to that pie crust--don't despair!!

  5. A great tale and moral :-) How neat that you were able to squeeze a few extra hours into the day. I'm sure the quilts will be appreciated and those pies will improve with time.

    1. Thanks, Raewyn! I hope to be able to keep doing it. Wish me luck!

  6. The best advice I've been given in a LONG time! I think I'll take it! :)

  7. Pam, I've been trying to find the time to sew also. Have people I'd love to make for. As far as a piecrust goes, I make a terrible one too! I have a recipe using hot water that you just pat the pie crust into the pan, but I've yet to try it. Guess I'll have to suck it up and give it a try. If it works, I'll share with you. Also have one using vodka instead of the water. Will keep you posted. Bev Eckert

  8. From one Pam to another, the best pie crust I've tried is in "The Martha Stewart Cookbook Collected Recipes for Every Day". Page 7, Perfect Pie Crust & page 446 Old Fashioned Double Crust Apple Pie - Say what you will about Martha, but the woman can cook :) This is the only apple pie & crust that I make/eat. Good luck!

  9. Loved your topic today. I feel so much better when I get some sewing time in. So many projects, so little time....plus, all the wonderful fabrics!! As far as the pie crust - it is like sewing - it takes practice. I starting making my own pie crust 39 years ago... I use the same Pillsbury Cookbook pie crust recipe and it turns out good each time. I use the pie crust scraps to make little cinnamon pinwheels - a family favorite. I'm sure you will do better each time you make a pie. Jan D

  10. Thanks Pam for your inspiring and encouraging words. I used to make homemade crusts all the time around the holidays using Betty Crocker recipe and always used Crisco. Tip from my mom.

  11. Hi Pam,
    I feel pretty good too because today I finished the last Christmas present that I am making - a total of 6 gifts. Some were small quilts or quilt related projects but not all. It was a lot of fun making these special gifts for my friends. I love to create even if the entire project is not original.

    As far as the piecrust goes, I did make a few pie crusts from scratch and "not too good". So I tend to make a "fruit crisp" (less calories) or use Pillsbury pie crusts in the dairy section (not too bad).

    Charlotte S. from CA

  12. What a lovely post, I think it will hit the spot for many!

  13. Hi Pam,
    A good morning to you. I just read your post and I recognized everything you wrote. The wee hours in the morning when the house is still dipped in silence are mine. Radio softly playing (so I can still hear Siep snoring) a cup of tea nearby and some hand applique: heaven!!
    Lately I'm taking the time to bake bread. The smell is amazing and the results are getting better and better. Eating a slice warm home made bread with garlic butter: delish!!
    Thank you for Always writing inspiring posts, Always make me smile and make the mood even better!
    Hug for you from Anita (in a cold Holland).

  14. Oh I wish I was a morning person. Unfortunately I am an owl who comes awake when the lights go down and can stay awake til the early hours. If I have to get up early, I go to bed and lay there in the dark, thinking I may as well stay up, rather than get a little sleep and then feel like I have the flu' when the alarm goes off.
    It's a shame, I know I miss the best part of the day, but try as I might, I can't re-programme myself.
    I'd love to be a lark, I'd get so much more done because I'd have so much more light.
    I guess we're all different!

  15. As hard as I've tried at times, I can't reprogram myself to be anything but a nightowl. I love the quiet in the evening as much as my husband enjoys it early in the morning. :-) As far as apple pies, the best I have found is Grandma Ople's at allrecipes with over five thousand five stars! It's a keeper my husband the apple pie taster says. Soups are wonderful to have in the crockpot while having a busy day stitching. Favorites in this house are chili for hubby and pasta fagioli with lots of veggies for me.
    Nothing ready for Christmas yet, but a few projects underway! I'll get there by midnight some night!

  16. I'm a great time waster - mostly on this dang computer! I hope to get better about my time management next year...
    Pie crusts - The Chew on ABC TV had Carla Hall doing a great pie crust demo this week, sorry I don't remember which day...but I imagine you can see her doing it not just the recipe - had great tips! Good luck!

  17. I am a morning person also! I love just sneaking into my sewing room and working on something... even if it's for only a few minutes. It's all progress. Your pie looks wonderful. I am trying to gather up more pie and soup recipes also... and now is the perfect time of year for them both.
    Little quilts is a great idea for special friends and family. Hmmm, now you have me thinking!

  18. I have a really good soup recipe called " Is it Soup Yet?"...have made at least half the recipes in the book. As for pie crust...I use the Betty Crocker book recipe...but usually only about 2/3 of the water called for...for me that is the trick for a better crust...so it "just" holds together, doesn't get too "pasty" I am making a creamy low-fat cauliflower soup today...almost every weekend make a pot of soup.

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