Tuesday, November 13, 2012

{Post 1,089} Candle Holders Finished!

Here are my 4 completed candle holders.  Too bad we can't eat in the dark!  

{Post 1,088} New Hand Project Started

This is my latest hand-piecing project.  It will be a very long and slow process, but I wanted to document it for myself for the future.  I started by cutting up one brown and one cream (for alternate squares).  I have used 2 pinks so far.  As I come across pieces large enough (5-1/2" square) of the creams for the alternate squares, I will add them to the pile.

These are LeMoyne stars.  I am making them all brown and pink with one cream background per block.  If history repeats itself, I will have many fabrics represented by the time this is a finished quilt top.  I am thinking of making a bed-sized quilt and quilting it by hand, so look for the finish in about 14 years.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying the hand piecing.  

I might even get all fancy and use some brown alternate squares or (!) pink ones.  Pink was the favorite color of one of my grandmothers.  I've never been fond of it, but I like it in these.

Here is the other project I am working on today...machine quilting my green scrappy square shams to match my Christmas quilt (which is on the bed as I type).  I took my DH's advice from the last time I nearly went blind quilting with matching thread and am quilting with the muslin on TOP instead of the usual backing location.  It's going well, and I might finish them today!

{Post 1,087} Fall Candle Holders

Here's another Pinterest-inspired project that was more difficult than it should have been.  But now that I have some experience under my belt, I'm rolling along and nearly finished.

These are four fall candle holders.  The Mod Podge (MP) is wet in the picture.  They are quite pretty when dry.  I know this because they were dry before I put on this last coat of stuff.  Later I will post a picture of them with candles inside.  

This came about because someone asked me if I was "doing" Thanksgiving at my house.  We made the decision some years ago that we would always stay home for Thanksgiving (barring any very unusual circumstances).  We invite others who are not traveling to see their families and take in single college students that would otherwise be alone for the day.  It's usually a big ordeal.

Well, this same person asked me what I was using to decorate.  The question took me by surprise, so I answered, "Food."  I truly hadn't thought about it.  What is more beautiful than a bountiful buffet including a wide array of desserts?  I knew I'd be cooking all day Wednesday as well as Thursday morning right up to the 20-minute feast.  It did get me thinking, however.

I had pinned a picture of a clear glass jar that had fall leaves Mod Podged to it.  It was made by a CHILD!!  How easy could that be?  It was actually quite frustrating.  They had left out a few pertinent details.

The most important (but unmentioned) was that a large-mouthed jar was necessary.  At least something you can get your hand down into (for placing the candle!).  I tried a regular-sized canning jar.  No go.  I peeled off my leaves (which was easy because the stinkin' things didn't stick in the first place) and washed the jar.  

I eventually found out these important steps:

Gather a variety of leaves in both color and size.  You might have a tiny space that needs a little more color.  We have some great leaves around here.  Rachel was getting them for me as we came home from an errand.  We saw a magnificent red-leaved tree in someone's yard (fairly close to the house).  I told her to ring the bell and ask them first in case they looked out the window and saw her making off with their leaves.  When Rachel asked how many she could have, the lady said, "Take them all!"  Hahaha...that's someone who does NOT like to rake!

One must "press" the leaves to dry them and make them perfectly flat before using the MP to hold them to the jar.  I did this by layering them in an old phone book (the one I use for paper-piecing foundations, incidentally).  The first batch was pressed for 3 days because I was out of town.  I did a batch last night for just a few hours, and they were divine.  Place something heavy on the book or whatever to really PRESS them.

Make sure your leaves are not too thick.  I had some fabulous green leaves (I don't know which kind...not magnolia--I'm not that stupid!) that refused to bend around the jars curved surface.  See the little white string in the above picture in the lower right-hand corner (in the shadow of the MP bottle?)?  That's waxed dental floss.  I would not be outdone by a recalcitrant leaf, so after applying more MP to the outer surface of the leaf, I wrapped the dental floss around the jar to keep the stem and top of the leaf in place (ha!  take that you stupid leaf!).  Victory was mine.  Later I carefully unwrapped the string and put another coat of MP on.

At first I thought I'd just use canning jars I had here.  That idea quickly went south because I didn't have any wide-mouthed ones.  I didn't want to buy any jars either.  Ironically enough, as I was leaving yesterday to take my daughter to her piano lesson, I texted her teacher that if she was just about to throw away a large-mouthed clear jar, save it for me...I was on my way.  Ironically enough, she WAS about to pitch a salsa jar.  It was PERFECT!  I also repurposed two natural peanut butter jars.  Since we switched to a mostly whole foods diet over a year ago, we don't buy much stuff in jars.    Another sacrifice on my part (I'm such a martyr).  My fourth jar IS a wide-mouthed canning jar, but I only had the one.  I purposely used 4 different sized jars.  The perfectionist in me just had to let that detail go!

Whew--if you've read all this, you are either a true friend, or someone with too much time on their hands.  Picture of the finished product later...and some quilting!