Monday, August 31, 2015

Tropical Orange Papaya Cake

So earlier today I was shopping at my favorite discount store, and I ran across a couple of cans of Libby's Tropical Chunky Papaya mix in natural fruit juice. I also purchased a classic yellow cake mix and decided to bake when I got home.

1 15 oz can of Libby's Tropical Papaya Mix with juice. Drain and reserve the juices into a measuring cup.
1 16.5 oz box yellow cake mix
1 3 oz Orange gelatin dessert mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup of oil
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut flavoring
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground cloves and nutmeg

Add as much water as needed to make 1 full cup (8 oz) of liquid combined with the reserved fruit juices from the can.  Mix together with cake mix, eggs, oil, spices, extracts for 2 minutes. Add in gelatin, coconut and drained fruit chunks and continue mixing for 5 minutes on medium speed until smooth.

Pour into a prepared bundt pan (I used Bakers Joy spray with oil and flour). Place into a pre-heated 325 degree oven (if using a non stick pan, otherwise 350) oven for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done when the tested comes out clean.

Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes before inverting onto serving platter. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

A very economical cake to make. Gelatin was .49. The cake mix cost $1.25. Three eggs are 1.25. Oil estimate to be .25 and the coconut and fruit maybe $1.25 total. $4.49 or so not counting the spices, extracts and spray which I keep on hand. Makes 12 servings costing about .375 cents per serving

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thread Choices - Day Three Thread Weight

Okay, I admit it. I am very late in posting the third installment of my Thread Choices discussion. You see I got very busy with the long arm business (which is wonderful) and I also had two deadlines for quilts to be completed of my own for various reasons. So better late than never, what follows is the third installment of this discussion on thread choices regarding THREAD WEIGHTS.

Thread Weight

I don't know about you but when I started sewing and even up until the point where I started my long arm quilting business, I really didn't know that much about thread weight.  Sewing thread weight was probably not something I even thought about when I learned to sew as a child.  We bought small spools of thread in the closest color that matched what we were sewing, usually clothes.  The local fabric store had Dual Duty by Coats and Clarks and that was it.

These days, I am a big fan of Essential cotton thread from Connecting Threads.  It comes in a wide variety of colors and 1200 yard cones.  Its 50 weight and sews well in both of my Berninas and my featherweights.  The cones are compact with little waste and its 100% long staple cotton with a satin finish.  And lets face it, its economical.  If you are thrifty, try it.  I think you will like it.  It sews best with a 80/12 needle.  I have also used it successfully in my long arm machine when I needed just the right color and didn't have it in one of the other bigger cone brands I normally use.

But let's discuss thread weight numbers before I continue.  The smaller the number the heavier the thread.  The larger the number the more delicate or finer the thread thickness.  An easy way to remember this is that thread weight is the opposite of needle sizes.  In needles, the bigger the number, the bigger, heavier the needle.  In thread, the 30 weight threads are pretty hefty and they will require a needle with a much larger eye to successfully sew them.  A 50 or 60 weight thread can work with a smaller eyed needle which leaves less of a hole in the fabric when sewing.

When I started long arm quilting, I bought several large cones of Signature Cotton thread in various colors.  Its a 40 weight thread so its pretty strong and works well in my long arm machine.  I also purchased some PermaCore Thread which was also a 40 weight thread, but I bought it because it came on really big cones of 6,000 yards.  It works very well in my machine and I still will use it today if the color I need is in that thread line and I can get it easily.  Below is a picture with Signature on the left and Permacore on the right.  I also use Signature cotton to piece with on my domestic machines. with a size 80/12 needle.

More recently, I have started to replace my long arm thread collection with Superior threads.  I love the OMNI threads, which is a 40 weight polyester thread that comes in over 170 colors and it gets along best with my Gammill when quilting.  It is such a high quality thread that it doesn't shed or break and I can quilt fast and long with it with no issues.  I can use a size 80 domestic machine need or a size 90/4.5  long arm needle to sew.

Another Superior thread set that I really love is Magnifico.  This thread is a high strength Trilobal polyester thread that comes in at least 200 colors and is a 40 weight thread.  Its shiny and beautiful.
This thread looks great on quilts that need extra spark to them, show quilts and when you want the quilting stitches to really show on the front and back.

So Fine #50 is a 50 weight thread also made by Superior.  Its a really high quality thread that works well both in the top and bottom for quilting and you can use a #16/3.5 needle to quilt with it. This thread is flat (no shine) and it looks great on applique and background fills. There are 134 colors.

Bottom line thread by Superior Threads is a  60 weight thread.  Its a super fine polyester thread and it works beautifully in both the bobbin and the top of my Gammill machine. It has a slight sheen to it and it also comes in pre-wound bobbins from the manufacturer.  You can see how fine it is in the photo below, wrapped around my fingers.  It doesn't shed and you get alot more on a single bobbin load than other threads, meaning you have to change your bobbins left often.

So remember, don't be afraid to try new threads in your machines at home.  The larger the thread weight, the finer the thread.  And always remember to use the correct type of needle in your machine for your thread choices.  It will make your sewing fun and easy.

I just want to note that I have not been compensated for my review of these various threads by their manufacturers.  The content of this blog post is just what I know from my own personal experience.

#Threadchoices #threadweight #superiorthreadsrock #Essentialthreads  #love2longarm

Monday, August 24, 2015

Clover Wonder Clips

Do you like to do your quilt binding by hand? Or do you prefer to apply it front and back by machine? This weekend I was under the gun to finish a quilt binding for my latest original quilt and it needed to be finished for photographing ASAP. I actually had two quilts to bind, the other being a charity quilt I had made and quilted.

I took both quilts to the sewing day for my modern quilt guild. It was nice to just have hand work to do for a change. No lugging a big machine in from the car to the meeting room. I grabbed my pins, snips, thread, needle and a couple of those little leather thimble dots before heading out. I got here right in time and was one of the first to arrive. Got myself set up and started out to stitch, happily greeting people as they arrived. One of the ladies, the lovely Stephanie Mullen had not brought anything to work on. She offered to help me bind the charity quilt. I set her up with needle and thread and she borrowed snips and pins to get sewing.

There was one small problem. I only had about 10 straight pins. Not enough to share to do binding on two quilts. Stephanie asked around and another quilter, Kimberli loaned us these two boxes of binding clips. I had never used the, always opting for either straight pins or metal hair clips to hold the binding in place as I sewed it down. I asked if I could try them and I was immediately convinced how wonderful these WONDER CLIPS by Clover really are!

They come in sets of 7 or 8 or a 50 pack in their own little storage box. They are very small, made of red and clear plastic, similar to a clothes pins with a metal clamp. They have a rounded side and a flat side to them. The flat side is clear plastic and has these wonderful hash marks them so you can use these to ensure your bindings are straight as an arrow while sewing. The reverse is red plastic and more rounded, especially useful to ensure your bindings are "full". Those of you that had entered your quilts in shows to be judged know that this is something that most quilt show judges will look at and comment on if the quilt edges do not fill up the bindings clean to the edges. While this is normally not a problem for me, these Wonder Clips make it so easy to ensure your binding goes on straight.

The best feature of these clips are that you will never get stuck by pins again nor snag your skin, clothes, furniture because there are no sharp edges. I cannot tell you how many times I have stuck myself to the point of bleeding while binding quilts. No more ouchies! While I haven't tried to use them yet to apply binding on the machine, I am told they work great for this as well.

While these Wonder Clips may be considered expensive at a list price around $32, they are the perfect item to buy when on sale or when you have a 50-60% off coupon to use. I was fortunate enough to have a 60% off coupon that expired yesterday plus my teacher 10% off card, so I was able to get them at the big J store for almost 70% off. I was thrilled to save on something I wanted but didn't want to pay full price to buy. While I believe in always supporting my LQS whenever possible, this was one of those rare times where I felt the need to save some bucks and shop at the J store. Now I can go and spend the money I saved at my favorite LQS! Win, WIN! I also think that these would make a great grab bag exchange gift if you can score them on sale with a coupon like I did.

Thanks to Kimberli MacKay for the ability to try out a new notion. And a special a thanks to Stephanie Mullen for working on binding the batik charity quilt. It's great to have friends that share and sew.

And here is a photo of the finished quilts....

#wonderclips #quiltingbindingtools #Cloverclips #lovetolongarm #easybinding

I want to note that this endorsement is of my own free will and I was not compensated by Clover to write this review.