Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bicycle Bag Tutorial

I am so in love with riding my bicycle right now.  The weather has been co-operative and I have put quilting on the back burner to make more time to be on my bike.  This happened to me a few years ago.  It's hard to find a balance when the 2 things that you love to do on pretty opposite ends of the spectrum.  I made a small quilt to depict my dilemma.  I called it Crossroads.
It measures 24" x 24".  I used lots of my hand dyed fabric and did a lot of handstitching. I felt then, the same way that I feel now. Balancing quilting with the joy of being on my bike is a challenge. I won't ride when it is raining or if the temperature is below 40 degrees. Then there is always the concern about car traffic on the roads.  I try to be smart about when and where I ride. So I try to seize every opportunity.
I own 4 bikes.  One of them is a folding bike and that resides in Key West.  I fold it up at the end of our stay there and store it in the owner's closet.
For 2 months, I ride it all over the island, usually with Bailey in her basket that hangs on the handlebar. I try not to get get behind the wheel of  our car the entire time we're there.  It's a good thing my hubby does all of the grocery shopping.
In PA I have a hybrid bicycle that I use for riding with Bailey, only places where there are no motorized vehicles allowed.  I also have a carbon fiber, high performance road bicycle that I "graduated to" in my previous incarnation as a crazy, obsessed cyclist. Then I have my beautified road bike that I ride most of the time now.
 The bike used to be a white Bianchi.  I searched high and low and could not find a pretty bike at that time.  The manufacturers were not catering to women.  I really wanted a pretty bike.  Instead after riding it for about a year, I beautified it.  I brought it to a special shop that paints cars.  They painted it blue (my favorite color), added my stickers of 2 things that I loved(spirals and dragonflies) and sprayed clear coat on top.  I named my bike "Dragonflyer". 
Of course a girl needs a place on her bike for the essentials like a cell phone and camera, in addition to a storage bag for those necessary tools and spare inner tube.
I made this one about 5 years ago out of tapestry fabric. Velcro kept the flap closed and the raw edges were zig zagged.  It did the job, but it was time for a new fun one.
This one was fun, fast and waterproof!
I bought the laminated fabric at City Quilter in New York several year ago
and it was waiting for just the right project.
If you want to make one, here are my :
 You will need :
Fabric for outside: 12"x16"
Fabric for lining: 12"x16"
1 - plastic zipper (>16")
5/8" Velcro - 2 pieces 3" long
Walking foot or a Teflon foot
Layer the Velcro so that the hook side is up and the loop side is up. 
This will allow it to catch when you wrap it around the handlebar.
Baste across the top.
 Layer the fabric and the lining wrong sides together.
Mark a chalk line 3" down from the top across the bag.
Make as vertical mark so the Velcro can be placed 7" apart.
Baste the Velcro in place.
Mark another line 1/2" above the first line.
Then fold up the both layers of fabric to encase the Velcro and stitch across,
using either a walking foot or a Teflon foot.
You can see how I had a bit of trouble stitching with a regular foot, so I put on my walking foot.
The next steps are for inserting the zipper.  If you need more detail go to this blog:
 Place the zipper along the top edge of the bag, right sides together.
Make sure the tab end of the zipper hangs at least 2" off the end.
Stitch  with a 1/4" seam allowance.
 Trim about 1/8" from the seam allowance and fold the zipper to the inside.
Stitch a scant 1/4" from the edge on the right side.
 Sew the other half of the zipper to the other side of the bag, starting with right sides together.
Trim, flip and top stitch just as you did with the first half.

Turn wrong side out.  Make sure the zipper tab is located on the body side of the bag.
 Stitch up the sides.
Either zig-zag to finish the edges or serge them.
 To create the side gusset, fold the bottom edge to meet the side seam, at a 90 degree angle.

 Stitch across the triangle 3/4" from the point.
 Trim and zig-zag or serge to finish.
Turn it right sides out.
 I love the look of a gusset and it is so easy to do!
 The finished bag.  It is just adorable.
Attach it to your bike with the Velcro straps and wait for your fellow riders to say
"Hey, where did you get that cute bag?"  ;-D


Monday, July 29, 2013

Christine's Amazing Oatmeal

I just returned from a quilting getaway with The Quiltinis, my quilt group. 
 I would show you what I made, but I didn't finish anything!
But, I had a great time because I combined 2 of my loves.  I rode my bike each morning and then sewed the rest of the day.  Maryland is a great place to ride.  It is nice and flat.  Saturday morning, Christine took me on a ride to Betterton  Beach.  It is a small town located on the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Sassafras River.  I love destination rides and anything with  a water view makes my heart swoon.  It was a nice easy paced ride and we chit chatted for the entire 24 miles.  We even stopped at a pottery showroom to check out some hand thrown ware.  Since it was such a beautiful ride, I did a repeat on Sunday (without the pottery and without Christine).
I usually have some type of instant oatmeal for breakfast.  The real instant one where you rip open a package and dump it into a bowl with some water and then cook it in the microwave. I have never made oatmeal from scratch, if you don't count oatmeal cookies.  When I returned from my Sunday ride, Christine offered me some of her high efficiency oatmeal that she makes.  I should really say creates, because Christine doesn't follow recipes. Now she is quite the energizer bunny.  She juggles a million things at a time and never, ever, stops to rest.  I am just overwhelmed  by her energy level.  I get exhausted when I hear about what she accomplishes in a day and in a week, Wow! 
The oatmeal was delish.  It was hearty and full bodied and healthy.  It really filled me up.  She made a big pot and told me that it would be instant oatmeal for the rest of the week. I even went home with some. (Thanks CK.)
She shared what went into that pot and I thought I would share it. I'm going to try and make it myself this week.  I'm calling it Christine's Amazing Oatmeal
Start with a pretty large pot
Into the pot, put:
8 Cups of water
1/2 C raw wheat berries
1/8 C Flax Seed that she ground a bit
1/8 C sesame seeds
1/2 C steel cut oatmeal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
Bring to a boil and cook 1 hour
Then, add
1 C oatmeal, old fashioned (not quick)
1/2C quinoa flakes
Handful of raisins and cranberries
Chopped walnuts
Cook 5 more minutes
Add honey and brown sugar to taste
Christine cooks with what she has, so if you can't find one of the ingredients, add something else.  That's her style. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Mosaic Bike Ride

There is a great place to ride your bike not far from my house. It is called the Schuylkill River Trail.  I love to ride it from Valley Forge to Manayunk.  It is a multi-use trail that is predominantly paved and there are NO CARS and you often have a view of the river.  We went out yesterday
(Bailey & me) and rode a little over 15 miles.  The view is fantastic.

It is a beautiful ride.
I rode a little further than I normally do and was so excited to see all of this community art. 
Most of it was mosaics. 
 Painting and mosaics
Mosaic close-up
Under the bridge is this work in progress
This mosaic wall was made by a school group
 There were lots of these.  I'm not exactly sure what they are. 
 They look like steps, but are just plopped in on the ground.
They are so well executed.

Discovery is so much fun.

Monday, July 22, 2013

We Love Pinterest

Many months ago, I received a text from my pregnant DIL.  She had seen something very cool on Pinterest - a book wall! She sent me the photo and wanted to know if the future grandfather, aka my DH, could make one for her.
It was installed this weekend.
It was perfect.
The whole room looks just adorable. 
And check out these Tom's baby shoes she received from one of her childhood friends.

A couple of hours after we left, I received this photo.
She received all those wonderful books from her Philly and CT baby showers.
She is looking forward to many hours of sharing all these books with her baby .

Thursday, July 18, 2013

License To Sew

How cute is this?
 I made it today using the fabric license plate that I bought at Miller's Quilt Shop in Lancaster during our fabric shopping trip on Tuesday. At first I wasn't going to buy one, but I am sure glad I changed my mind.
I am so tempted to make it my mission to start collecting them from other shops participating in the Row By Row Fabric Shop Hop. Each of them are different.  However, not every shop offers them and with the price of gas, I am hesitant to take off on a road trip, and come home empty handed.

I visited another shop hop quilt shop today- Steve's Sewing Vacuum Quilting in King of Prussia, PA.  I was going to take my friend Kathy to Longwood Gardens, but the almost 100 degree weather concerned me.  Outdoors was not a good place to be.  This is what we found at Steve's - our very own beach!

 This is the Row By Row Shop Hop offering from Steve's. 
If you don't want to make a quilt, their row by row would make a lovely tablerunner. 
There were kits in 2 different colorways, at a great price of $5.00 each.
 I bought the orange with the black and white.

And the reason I went to Steve's?
I bought myself a new family member.
Welcome home Baby Loc.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Feeding A Quilter's Spirit

I am still unpacking from my teaching stint at MAQ.  It was a wonderful experience, as an instructor, to stay in one place and really get to know students over the course of 3 days.  I can't wait to go back next year and reconnect with my new friends.  my classes will be chosen by the board, so I don't know yet what they will be, but mark your calendars - July 18-20.
My friend Kathy flew in from Utah to take a workshop from me.  We met during a workshop from Lisa Call in Philadelphia last year.  She has been spending a few days with me, which has given me an excuse to leave my studio and visit some highlights of the Philadelphia area.  Monday we went to visit The Barnes Foundation.
This museum recently was moved from a Philadelphia suburb to the city amongst a lot of controversy.  Dr. Barnes, a wealthy scientist,  collected and arranged its contents, which includes a ton of paintings by Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso along with PA Dutch blanket chests and metal hasps, in a specific format to fit his view of art. He collected the art before it was popular.  His collection was not well received by art critics, so he turned it into an exclusive educational facility with limited access. He died in the 1950's.   Specific instructions were left in his will about the collection, that included leaving it in the suburbs.  It has since been moved to downtown Philly, as the culmination of a lot of wheeling and dealing.
 There is a great documentary about it called The Art of the Steal.
 I have been to see the collection in the suburbs a couple of times.  This was my first visit to the new Barnes.  Other than the cavernous lobbies with expansive seating, the collection is presented in an identical manner.  If I had been blindfolded and dropped into one of the rooms, I would not have known the difference. 
Yesterday, we just had to head to Lancaster County to check out the Amish and a bunch of fabric shops.  A couple of other women from MAQ joined us as we visited the best of the best.  We started at Burkholder's, then  stopped at Zooks and then The Country Store.  And of course lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, The Kling House, where sitting on the porch you can watch the Amish buggies clip clop down the street.  At The Country Store, we came across the Pennsylvania/New York Row By Row Quilt Shop Hop.  There are over 60 shops participating in Pennsylvania. 
Each shop has instructions for a row of the quilt.  This is the pattern from The Country Store:
 They also had a kit for the pattern.
 The theme for the rows is country fairs.  These canning jars are perfect for Lancaster County.

The we were intrigued by the shops participating in the Shop Hop.  We started our trip back home so that we could stop at one more - The Quilt Shop at Miller's.  Their row was a pinwheel pattern , and they also had a fabric license plate. We found out that some of the shops have them. (cost $3.99)
I think I need to make something from it.  Stay tuned.