Thursday, July 16, 2020

Scrappy Shenanigans!

So much of THIS!

Just tell me how a girl is supposed to get ANY kind of quilting done – or even take photos when Lola steals the show with “downward cat” right in the middle of what is going on?

This little girl has come into her own now that Dresden has crossed the rainbow bridge.

I never really realized what a back seat she had taken – and how much of the Alpha Cat he was.

Now she is all about the affection and the love – giving and receiving – and just has to be in the middle of everything, whether it is on the cutting table where I am trying to audition blocks – or the bin of strings, or the sorting piles on the floor that was also yesterday’s chore!

Does this ever happen where you are?

I received a rather large bag of scraps from a friend, and I couldn’t wait to dig in.

The first thing I do is sort pieces by color family – this allows me to pick up each piece and determine whether it is a big enough chunk to be cut into Scrap User’s System sizes, or if they will go into the string bins by color family – or the current rainbow bin of strings where things end up when you really can’t determine what color that fabric is.

All of those smaller hunks, chunks and triangles?  Into the on-going Snails Trail project. 

So much fun!

Several of the “new to me” small pieces ended up in these blocks yesterday afternoon.  That sunglasses print cracks me up.  LOL!

I love fabric combinations that just do not make sense.  It’s kind of representative of my life!

And the truth of the matter is, I should have been working on something ELSE yesterday, but I just couldn’t make myself.  I’m happy I made even THIS MUCH progress.

As I was sewing, Lola was behind my back on my sewing chair, purring away, nearly giving me a vibrating chair massage while I sewed.

Silly girl!

Oh – the other amazing thing? And I wished I had taken photos of the process, but I didn’t.

I had a really gunky iron.  Someone at some time over the past few retreats (And I have no idea who) used fusible, and evidently ironed something fusible side up leaving me with an iron with a gunky black and burned soleplate.

THIS – in spite of there being notifications up on the wall that if you intend on using fusible, you need to cover the ironing surface and use your own iron.  This information is also given to everyone BEFORE coming to retreat, so they know.

Anyway – MUCH BLACK BURNED GUNK. (And I found a strip of the fusible on the floor while cleaning!)

The first method I tried to remove the gunk worked fairly well.

I placed an old towel in the bottom of a box lid and used course salt on top of the towel with the iron on hot (no steam) to remove most of the burnt on gunk. I rubbed back and forth and in circles - and it took a bit of pressure for the salt to do its trick.

The box lid kept the salt contained so it didn't go off onto the floor, and it protected my ironing board.

This was an older Black & Decker iron with an aluminum face plate – not stainless.

There were some spots that didn’t want to come off – that black gunk was on there but good.

So I turned to Google to see what I could find. 

This surprised me!

But what did I have to lose?

I was unsure if the pills needed to be the capsule kind or the white solid kind – and all I had was the generic brand white solid ones!

I placed a couple of the pills on top of the salt and just started ironing over them – the pills sort of melted, and then disintegrated, and when I looked – all the black was off of the iron.  Seriously.

After much elbow grease for a good 20 minutes with the salt – I wished I had known this first.

Tylenol?  Who knew!?  And the best part?  NO FUMES.  Of any kind.

Now, my irons are not the best or most expensive for this reason – I know things will happen.  I can dump and demolish an iron from the ironing board to the floor, killing that expensive iron in nothing flat.  My irons are picked up at thrift shops for somewhere around $3.99.

Accidents happen – and if this had not come clean I would have just pitched it and found a replacement the next time I’m in a thrift shop.

The salt and Tylenol experiment saved the day with this iron.

But please – NO MORE FUSIBLE with the retreat irons!

How about some of this for your sewing time today?

It had been several months since we last chatted, and this is a follow up after 4 months of being home due to Covid.

Laughter is the best medicine – give a listen by clicking the link above or also available through Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Today – Is it really Thursday already?

There is some errand running happening to get me ready for the weekend ahead.  I try to do that kind of thing mid-week away from the weekend shopping warriors.

It’s a beautiful, hot July day in Virginia – and my focus for today is accepting things as they are and moving forward through what IS.

Quiltville Quote of the Day

Just something I needed reminding of this morning.

Lozenges was our Leader & Ender challenge several years back. Free pattern from the free patterns tab at the top of the blog.

Have a wonderful Thursday!


  1. Hi Bonnie,
    I enjoyed your interview on the Quilt and Tell podcast and saved it to listen to it again! I love the positive energy of this podcast and always enjoy hearing your voice. You are an inspiration and I read your blog everyday. Someday I hope to come to The Quiltville Inn.
    Thank you so much for all that you do,
    Mary in New Mexico

  2. I needed this reminder too! Thanks Bonnie and have a great day! Great tip about the Tylenol! Who knew?

  3. I needed this reminder too! Thanks Bonnie and have a great day! Great tip about the Tylenol! Who knew?

  4. Incredible!! Thanks for passing along the Tylenol tip, Bonnie. Who would even think to TRY this method in the first place?!?!

  5. I really enjoyed the podcast, and thanks for the great tip about cleaning the iron, wow! I love household cleaning tips using things we already have on hand.

  6. I'm glad the Tylenol worked. Tips like this always make me wonder--who was the first person to think, "Ah, I'll try Tylenol to clean this burnt iron"? :) It's like the first person who thought to eat an artichoke--"This spiny thing looks good to eat." :)

  7. *Facepalm*

    Two hundred fifty-four triangles paired together, sewn, ironed, and set on the cutting table to trim--and now I realize I could have used them in scrappy Snail Trails blocks instead!!

    Ah well, like dust and dirty dishes--more triangles will always come my way!

    I think the majority of my cat pictures are of them sitting right in the middle of what I was trying to do. So glad Lola has a chance to be herself now.

  8. Hi Bonnie,
    could you please tell me what kind of pen you use on your quilt labels and where I might find them?. I have looked in your store and on your amazon page but couldn't find any type of marking pen. thank you for all you do for all us quilters. Hope to come to Quiltville Inn for a retreat soon.

    1. I believe they are Pentel Arts Fabric Gel Rollers. I have found I like them better than the Pigma archival ink pens. They write smoother and the line is a bit thicker. Bonnie probably has a link to them in her Amazon store...there is a tab at the top of the page.

  9. Nice hearing your voice!! Thank you...

  10. Oooo I need to clean my iron! I’m totally going to try the Tylenol trick thanks!!!!

    I had a thought about your post yesterday for making ends meet at the retreat house with everything being so up in the air. What about what your boys say about auctioning your quilts when they inherit them? Maybe auction a few older ones? Personally I would DEFINITELY pay good money to own a Bonnie quilt ESPECIALLY if it was supporting your small business and making sure it sticks around so I can visit someday. Just a thought. I’ll be sure to keep shopping in your store to support your business! Much love to you and your family!

  11. Lola's motto: Pressing matters.
    If you have trouble getting things done with one cat to help, try three.
    I've gotten to the place I keep a piece of folded parchment paper on the ironing board when I am using fusible products. Slip fabric and fusible or with fusible between the folds, and then press. Makes things much easier.
    And Goof Off comes in a water-based spray that cleans up an iron (hot or cold) in nothing flat.

    1. I have a roll of baking paper in my sewing room for that purpose, has saved my iron on numerous occasions when the mind has been wandering.

  12. Well, first, shame on the retreater who melted the fusible for not fessin' up or offering to do the clean up. Maybe if it happens again, you should keep the damage iron on display as a visible warning. You are wise to use cheap irons (as long as they don't leak). Good quote today which we probably all need to heed right now.

  13. Another great save is putting a towel on your ironing board, then lay a dryer sheet (Bounce or similar) on the towel. Run your warm (not hot) iron back and forth and in circles on the dryer sheet. Really works well.

  14. I LOVE the antics of Lola and Zoey. Such fun pets.

  15. So glad you posted the lozenges quilt. I just barely finished piecing mine and I love it! The pieces are big enough to really see and appreciate each rectangle. A race it was not, right? Love Lola to pieces!

  16. Great tip! Will have to remember it for the next fusible accident. We are experiencing similar with Monkey the Corgi, her personality/presence has expanded greatly in the two months since Dash, her partner in crime, passed away.

  17. Like some have mentioned "Who first thought to do this and why?" I just finished reading and watching a video on the Dirty Dancing lake and how it had drained itself and been empty since 2008 but is slowly filling back up. It was interesting to read and watch the video. They talked a little about the drainage system in the mts. of Virginia. They believe it to be unique and no where else in the world. I had to look and see how far away you were from the Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke Va. and you could make it there in a little over an hour! And you can stay in the cabin that Baby and her family stayed in! LOL Well, sorry about the long winded post. Have a great day!

  18. Thanks for sharing how to clean an iron. Who would have thought Tylenol would work like that.

  19. I noticed that Lola was much more involved with what you were doing. I thought it might be because Dresden was gone and she was lonely. It looks like she was just waiting to shine in her own right. She's a beautiful kitty!

  20. I have an old threadbare pillowcase I put over my object when ironing fusible. Easy to wash and protects the iron.

  21. It's good to hear a happier lilt in your typing. I had tears in my eyes for you yesterday. I had some suggestions, but... so concerned how it would be taken. SO kept my fingers quiet. LOL. Have a great day, and thank you for all the fur friendly points. I love our fur friends. THey make life better.

  22. A product called "Goo Gone" works well for this. It has a slight smell, but stuff comes off easy.

  23. Lola makes me chuckle as she is always right there by you, I’ve seen this happen before with a cat when the alpha passed on. It’s now her time to shine and it nice she’s so happy with you.
    Love your iron cleaning tips, I keep a silicone sheet by my sewing room iron ready to iron fuisable but sometime accidents happen.
    Stay safe
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxxx

  24. When I get gunk on my iron, I use a used dryer sheet on the plate as the iron gets hot--works like a charm! Have a great weekend!

  25. I love Snail's Trail, it looks really nice done scrappy. Your Lola looks so much like my Cali cat. What my sister calls "the basic grey flannel cat." She has two just like that.
    I think I can beat your gunky iron story--when we redid our kitchen, we opted to save some $$ and do the demo ourselves. The floor was a truly heinous linoleum glued down with some sort of mastic like substance. We went after it with long handled scrapers, everything we could think of, we were just chipping it off. Then we discovered that if it got warm, it softened enough to pull the tiles off. So we sacrificed a steam iron to the job. Unfortunately it was a good one, I thought we'd be able to clean it up and I could continue to use it. The steam ports were permanently clogged when we finished. But the floor was down to the concrete and the cost of a steam iron was way cheaper than the cost of demo done by the contractor.

  26. What I want to know is how did someone discover Tylenol would work in the first place? I always grab a fabric softener sheet and rub the hot iron on that. Does the trick every time.

  27. Why don't people just follow the rules? And if they don't when they screw something up why don't they take responsibility for ignoring the rules, happens all the time, drives me nuts.

  28. I was just admiring your Snails Trail blocks and noticed you have some Kansas State University fabric it. The purple with the wildcats. That fabric is a long way from home!I live in Kansas and 40 miles from Manhattan's KSU. Beautiful blocks!

  29. I just use plain ol wax paper like we use in the kitchen. Hot iron and just iron on it. Works great. Love hearing about the Tylenol. Who thought!

  30. Thanks for the iron cleaning tip and the update on your four legged children - I can't imagine a day without hearing about your daily antics. Your quotes are very timely and inspiring - thank you!!


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