Monday, October 03, 2011

A “Pressing” Question!

This is one of those times where a simple question in email form turned out to be a question I’ve answered more than once, so there might be more than just one of you that this post might benefit!

The email came from Kay, and she asked:

Hi Bonnie:

I am a new blog follower and love to read your old and new posts. I have a question. From the blog post of yesterday where you showed your hotel room setup, what is the brand of your iron? I have a Rowenta travel iron and love it, but can’t keep them. I am on my 3rd one.

Thanks for all your inspiration, and isn’t it nice to have a job that you LOVE!

Kay

I have found the one sure way to kill an iron is to put water in it. Of any kind. Purified, Tap….it doesn’t matter. Water Kills Irons!

Even expensive Rowenta irons will die a slow messy drippy death if water is put IN the iron. Besides that, who wants to travel home from a workshop with an iron that still has water in it and is going to leak all over the inside of your car, or on your project?

Not me! Even “cheap” irons will last years and years if you keep them DRY!

If I need steam, I keep a spray bottle of water next to my machine and just spritz my block parts when needed. But most of the time I just use a dry iron. Unless the fabric is really wrinkled badly...it really doesn't need steam to get a good press on the fabric.

I know for certainty that you can take a perfectly square half square triangle unit and distort it way out of shape just by the simple adding of steam into the equation!

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As for my little travel iron? It's from Walmart or Target...It's a little Conair. It might have been around 20 bucks. I like this one because the handle does NOT compact down....it's not a moving part like on some travel irons, and those that have a collapsible handle can break easily, or they wobble. I need sturdy. This fits the bill for me! And it gets HOT. The temp settings are adjustable.

I also know that there are cute little mini quilting irons that look like “little girl sized” play irons in a variety of colors. I don’t think they get as hot. And I know that the cords fall out of them when you use them, at least on the ones I’ve seen. Though they are a cute novelty, I like the size of this one and the adjustable temp setting better!

Happy PRESSING!

And In Rolls October!

Are you feeling it in the air? That change of seasons? ((Yes, and that goes for you “down unda” folks too, I know your spring is just beginning!))

Temps must have easily dropped 20 degrees between Friday and Saturday. And there I was in 52 degree weather with nothing but a denim overshirt for warmth. WHAT was I thinking? I guess I was hoping that just a bit more of that South Easternly Indian Summer would stick around!

While shopping in Cordova, Alaska I treated myself to a couple lovely items from “Copper River Fleece” ---I just love how the vests and jackets are bordered with really unique trims, something that is DISTINCTLY Cordova! ((Yeah, I wish I could have treated myself to at least one of the models on the Copper River Fleece home page too! LOL! Okay, well, maybe in an EARLIER life time!)) and needless to say, I thought it would be a few weeks yet until it was cool enough down south here to wear my new fleecy wear –but I was wishing that I had brought them WITH me!

((And as a side note, yes….I’m still posting things about my Alaska trip in between other things because there hasn’t been time to go through all the pics yet!))

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I was signing books in my Copper River Fleece vest when Terri snapped this photo…

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Not a great pic either, but I love this thing! And I think the reason why I love it so much is the whole story of how Copper River Fleece started as a small business, by a woman who had a dream, and took it all the way up to where it is now.

And this business owner has hired kids who have taken home-ec classes at the junior high/high school, taught by Terri --- and given them jobs of sewing on all the trim. These kids have skills! And they are learning that if you work hard toward your dream, whatever it is, you can achieve it.

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So many trims to choose from! You can take any item, choose the trim you want, and they will sew it on for you! ((Yes, I have visions now of buying loads of trim at Mary Jo’s and adorning all my outer wear with it..LOL! Probably will never happen due to time restraints, but hey….FUN!))

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Look at all these fun trims! I just loved the whole display for all the color splash it gave!

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These trims showcase Native Alaskan designs drawn by a local artisan. ((I hope I got that info right!)) They were GORGEOUS on the jackets!

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Even MORE to choose from! Terri and I were also encouraged to go upstairs to where the trim was being added to the items:

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Everything is done up here in the loft….with 3 machines and a serger!

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Here’s a jacket in the process of having its trim added. The young gal working this day was one of Terri’s former students!

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I’ve been told you can spot Copper River Fleece due to the distinctive trims. I believe it! See how the native trim design just gives this jacket a punch?

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Two more jackets with their trim added!

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This is the jacket that came home with me!

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I LOVE the design on the trim!

And with these cooler fall temps in full force, I know that my Copper River Fleece will be with me on my drive up to Maryland for my visit with the Pax River Quilt Guild this coming weekend!

I plan to be a sewing fiend today --- music up loud in my basement studio, working away on our November Mystery! Oh, it’s coming together just GREAT! I’ve received emails asking when the yardage lists, etc will be posted. Look for those around Nov 1st.

I’m teaching on a cruise with Pat Sloan early November, and returning from that trip on Nov 13. I’m thinking our first clue will go live Nov 18th! Sound good?

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Pecan Pie Bars

Yummy Scrummy Gooey and Good!

I’ve had several emails for the recipe for the Pecan Pie Bars --- so here you go! Maybe it’s time to practice on these so you can have them for Thanksgiving? Mmmmm!

Don't you just love the recipes that come from a buffet lunch with the girls? :cD

Crust
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened

Bars
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups corn syrup (karo)
  • 2 1/2 cups pecan halves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Prepare and bake Cookie Crust as follows: Spray 10 x 15-inch baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

  3. Beat the sugar, flour, salt and butter at medium speed until mix is fine crumbs.

  4. Press into pan.

  5. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until light brown.

  6. While baking prepare filling as follows: Beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla until blended.

  7. Stir in pecans.

  8. Pour over hot crust.

  9. Bake 30 minutes.

  10. Cool and cut into squares.

Enjoy!

**Note** This recipe can easily be split in half, or made in two smaller containers rather than one large 10 X 15 pan!

People, Places & Projects!

One of the interesting things of traveling place to place to teach quilting, is the history of the places I get to visit. Sometimes the most INTERESTING histories come from the smaller out-of-the-way places.

Sometimes getting off the main interstate takes me to a place I’ve never been before.

Have you ever heard of Oak Ridge, Tennessee as a “Secret City?” Anna gave me a little tour of what she could of the Y-12 area. I had to come back to my hotel room and read more about it:

From 1942 until 1949, Oak Ridge a city of 75,000 people did not exist on ANY map. The 100,000 people working here to both build and operate the world's first successful uranium separation facilities were locked in a battle with Germany and Japan, although they did not specifically know exactly what the true nature of the "battle" was, they only knew THEY HAD TO WIN IT.

Oak Ridge grew within a matter of months to the fifth largest city in Tennessee, but was a SECRET CITY. A city that required special badges to be worn by all inhabitants, even children. 840 buses brought people to work here and took them home. The city operated twenty-four hours a day. The plants operated day and night. Thousands of rail cars brought materials into Oak Ridge and ALL of them left empty.

Doesn’t that sound like a plot for some kind of Hollywood movie? We'll, it is not. It was real, it happened here in this little sleepy area with it’s rivers, rolling hills and ridges! I found THIS ARTICLE to be really interesting!

But while the whole “Secret City” was about splitting atoms, plutonium, and uranium with the focus on ending WWII, we ourselves made messes that had us stating

“It looks like a BOMB went off in here!!”

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We were playing with our strings and turning them into Spider-Web blocks!

It was a wonderful day with the ladies --- some who had come from Georgia…..some from down by Chattanooga, Some from Nashville, and some even from Ohio! Those who travelled in found that they were only strangers up until the introductions were made, and then everyone knew everyone. And we were friends. Quilters are just like that, you know? '

One of the great things I enjoy is walking table to table to table and “eaves dropping” on conversations, and sharing in the stories and the laughter. It’s infectious! You just can’t “NOT” have a good time when hanging around with Quilters, even if you are strangers at the beginning of the morning!

Add a buffet table for lunch, and that seals the deal! There are some shots of our yummies in the slide show above. Pay very close attention to the pecan pie bars..Oh yeah, man! Those were delish!

I’ve got a couple more hours before check out time in the hotel…project coming along nicely! It will be a beautiful day for a drive, leaving the Secret City on my way back home through the Smoky Mountains ---

Thanks for everything, Ritzy Thimble Quilters! It’s been a ball! Let’s do this again, shall we?