Sunday, February 7, 2016

It's a Matter of Fixing Mistakes When Sewing Machine Embroidery Projects!

Fixing Machine Embroidery mistakes!

Yes, I have been playing and learning more about my Embroidery Machine.  I promise, there have been several 'mess-ups' and some were beyond repair.   Case-in-point, I have some dish towels hanging in my kitchen that are the left-over-beyond-repair-projects.  They work just fine.....they just look a bit funny.

Yesterday, I was using my machine to embroider a design on a little pull-over for my Grandson.  He loves Minions, Trains, and Angry Birds......which gives me plenty of material to try!

How to Fix Some Mistakes When Using Machine Embroidery!

As I mentioned before, I am still in a learning phase with my Embroidery Machine, mostly because I don't have a tremendous amount of time to focus on it.  I have attended courses and read about embroidering on ready-made pieces of clothing.  I'll be honest, some of it seems like too much time to invest in a little person's garment! So, I purchased a fleece pull-over yesterday from the local membership club.  It made a great blank canvas to try something new.

First, I decided to unpick one side seam to open up the garment. This way I could lay it as flat as possible.  The seam was coming apart so well that I thought I could rip the seam apart.  BIG MISTAKE!!!!  I ended up ripping the fleece!  Luckily it ripped along side of the seam!  I knew I could fix that bit of poor judgement later.

Fixing Machine Embroidery mistakes!

Well, trying to entertain a 4-year-old with Lincoln logs and a Lego Car Wash while attempting this was quite a distraction.  Any errors that I made were not his fault, they are totally mine.  I love his desire to include me in his play.  I ended up having a the Car Wash on my counter as I sewed.

Here is how I began.  I used a 'sticky back' stabilizer that allows me to hoop the stabilizer, score the 'wax paper top' and pull this layer away.  This allows me to carefully place my garment on the 'sticky' layer.  The Fleece was a bit thick to hoop.  I began stitching my design.  As I mentioned, there was a cute distraction nearby, and realized I had uploaded the wrong design!  Initially I removed the hoop and tried to unpick the microscopic stitches.  Then, I decided to upload the correct design and see how much of the error I could cover.  Yes, I know....this is LAZY!  However, I saw it as a way to save my sanity.....and the garment.

Fixing Machine Embroidery mistakes!

Well as luck would have it, many of the 'errors' were being covered by the correct design.

Fixing Machine Embroidery mistakes!

Even when the image was complete, there were still stitches from the 1st (error) design.  See the arrows, they show the remaining errand stitches.

Fixing Machine Embroidery mistakes!

Okay, for round two of my mistake-making.  My little 4-year-old visitor wanted to try the 'Engine'.  (That is his word for my Embroidery Machine as he says it is loud like a Train Engine).  I was letting him use the touch screen to enter his name.  I positioned his name above the embroidery pattern and cued my little visitor to push the 'green go button".  It started stitching nicely....until I ran out of bobbin thread. (Isn't that they way it always goes?).  My little friend ran off to play until I 'fixed it'.  I then discovered that we had put an 'a' instead of an 'e' in the program which would mean that we would be spelling his name wrong.  

Here was my dilemma, if I cancelled the 'pattern', I would lose the correct placement of the letters I had already sewn.  If I let it continue, I would not only have to unpick the wrong letter, but also have to try to line it all up again and insert the correct letter.  (Didn't I tell you this was a series of errors?).  I finally decided to try to 'skip' the error letter by cuing my machine to move to the next letter in the series.  Do you know what?  It worked!

Now, I had a missing letter.  I deleted the pattern, and just entered 'e'.  I used the arrows on my machine to try to line up the letter to fit where it should.  Initially when I tried to embroider the 'e', it was too low and the horizontal bar of the middle part of the 'e' was where the bottom of the letter should be.  I repositioned and touched the needle in the middle until I found the place where it should go.  Eureka, I worked! An added bonus was that the stitching of the "e" covered my initial lettering mistake. 

I did have to unpick the areas that were not covered. However, the task was much less than it would have been if I had tried to remove the entire stitching error area before adding the correct embroidery pattern.  It only took a few minutes. I always try to unpick from the underside. With a material like fleece, it was easier to see the stitches and remove them.

Fixing Machine Embroidery mistakes!

Next, I had the issue of the torn fleece.  As I noted before, it tore along the seam line.  I used a straight stitch to reestablish the seam.

Fixing Machine Embroidery mistakes!

Then, I serged the edge to make it look as clean as the other edges inside.  So, how was it received? 

Fixing Machine Embroidery mistakes!

"I wove it Nonnie!"  Translation:  "I love it Nonnie" (I am his Grandmother and that is my 'grandma' name).  He almost wore it to bed. He already ate a Tootsie pop (which his Grandpa gave him) and got a few pieces of sucker stuck to it. A true sign that he really loves it.

  • Even with the best plans, mistakes happen.
  • Try to do things like this without a cute distraction!
  • Even errors can be overcome if you catch them soon enough
  • Covering errors with a design is a viable option
  • Skipping part of your design (when in error) is a successful strategy.
  • Using ready-made clothing is so great because you don't have to assemble the garment as well.
  • This has taught me: 1) have PATIENCE (which is often in short supply with these types of tasks), and 2) I can do this again and may try something a little more difficult.
  • Even with the drama, I enjoyed the antics and precious time I had to spend with a cute little 4-year-old Grandson!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Encore post: Make your won Copycat Little Caeser's Pizza Dough!

The following is an Encore post that was originally published in 2010.  It is one of the most popular posts on this blog, so we thought we would share it again for those who may not have had the chance to see it.  Happy baking!

Copycat "Little Caesar's Pizza Dough"

I have your attention with that title don't I?  We are continuing to focus on unique ways to use your flour.  This recipe can make some wonderful things.  It comes from a post from "Savory Seasoning" (See the recipe at the bottom of this post!).  My thanks to this blog for posting this fabulous recipe!

Now, we are not just going to make pizza.  We are going to make this a matter of convenience.  In all seriousness, that is exactly what we are going to do.  Remember that Bread maker we pulled out a few weeks ago, it should still be easy to access at this point.  Get it out.


The reason we are going to use this machine, is that it will do all the work.  This is very important to the LRH, and most likely everyone else, because I have a long list of things to do every day.  So, on a day you are home, and still have that long list, you can make up several batches of this and save them for later.

Pour in your warm water.

 Put in all your dry ingredients (yeast, sugar, salt).  Then add your honey, olive oil and flour.

Turn it on your dough cycle and leave!


 When the cycle is done, take the dough out and punch it down.

Place the dough into a gallon zip-lock bag.  My sister states that she keeps her bags and uses them over and over to put this same dough in.

This is how it looks just after I zipped the bag.

Put it in the refrigerator overnight.

This is how it looks the next day.

Lessons to be learned:
  •  It took me about 3 minutes to put everything into the bread machine
  • I only used my Food Storage ingredients.
  • I got a lot done while the bread machine did the work for me.....did you catch that?  It did the work for me.
  • Convenience:  If you make several batches in a day, you have dough for other days.  How does that work?  Take it out of the refrigerator, punch it down, wrap it in plastic wrap and get about 3 balls of dough into that same zip-lock bag and freeze them.  On the day you want to use it, take it out in the morning and let it defrost in your refrigerator.  By dinner time, it is ready to go.
  • It is a lot less expensive to make this from scratch than to purchase dough from the store or from a mix.
  • The hands on time was less than 10 minutes per batch.
  • You can make more than Pizza dough with this.  The first thought are those wonderful bread sticks that can be made.  Watch the blog for more ideas of how to use it.

Here is the recipe for "Little Caesars Pizza Dough".  

Little Caesars Pizza Dough

1 1/4 cups (9.7 oz) warm water (approximately 120° F)
2 3/4 tsp. dry active yeast
2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP Honey 
1 TBSP Olive Oil 
2 Tsp. Salt
1 1/2 cups (8 oz.) bread flour or all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (8 oz.) whole wheat flour (optional, can use 100% bread flour or all purpose flour)

Mix water and yeast in mixing bowl and allow it to proof for 5 minutes. Mix in sugar, honey and oil. Then mix in 1 cup flour and the salt. Continue mixing in all the remaining flour until you get a nice, soft dough. Knead until dough is soft and smooth (approx. 10 minutes). 

Finish kneading on a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Place in the refrigerator in a covered container coated with olive oil for overnight. For the perfect flavor, it is best to time making the dough 24 hours before baking the pizza's (for pizza Saturday at 5pm, make your dough Friday at 5pm). If you are short on time you can sacrifice some flavor and make this dough first thing in the morning and place it in the fridge until dinner that evening. 

3 hours before baking: Remove from fridge and either divide dough in half for two 12” pizzas or leave whole for one somewhat thicker 16” pizza. Work each piece of dough into balls. Allow the dough to come back to room temperature (this process generally takes 3 hours).

45 minutes before baking: With your pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven, preheat your oven to 475° F to allow the stone to get hot enough (this process generally takes 40-50 minutes).

15 minutes before baking: Shape dough into desired pizza crust, sprinkle pizza peel, wooden cutting board or upside down cookie sheet with corn meal, flour or rice flour. Place pizza crust on top, then add toppings. Gently slide pizza onto the hot pizza stone and bake for 9-11 minutes. 

Try it today!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It's a Matter of Cutting Cinnamon Roll Dough...with a Twist

I love Cinnamon Rolls.....don't you?  Making them takes some time, but the end result is such a reward.  I recently was spending time with my sweet Mother. She was making Cinnamon Rolls.  I had forgotten about a technique she uses to cut her rolls.  Without using this technique, you rolls can be flat and misshapen.  Are you ready to learn from the best? 

Cutting Cinnamon Rolls with....Dental Floss:

After preparing the dough, brushing with butter and placing your cinnamon-sugar it is time to roll and cut your rolls.  My Mother states that you carefully roll you dough and pinch the edges together.  Shape the roll into a nice even roll.

My Mother takes a length of....Dental Floss.  That's right, dental floss.  Slide it under the roll to the desired width of the roll you desire.

Cross the ends over each other at the top of the roll.

See the crossed dental floss at the top? Pull the string at both ends and cut the roll.  

See the beautiful slice?

See how beautiful they look when they are placed on the cookie sheet?


Try it!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's a Matter of an Easy Neighbor Gift!

Are you finalizing your Christmas plans only to find a few friends who may not have made the list?  If so, here is a fun and easy gift you can put together rather quickly!

Making a Treat Bag from a Dish Towel:

I saw this gift option at my local sewing store.

The instructions are published by Brother.

I am blessed enough to have a  sewing machine that can do Machine Embroidery.  The Instructions from Brother direct you to embroider your design near your hem border.  If you do not have such a machine, you could cut a square of holiday fabric and applique it to the towel.  The design that I chose is an "Anita Goodesign" entitle "Christmas Pot Holders".

Fold up each edge and sew along the sides (at the 8" mark) with "Water Soluble Thread" in the needle and traditional thread in the bobbin. 

Next, open the corner of the towel and sew across it to form the corner (at 3 and 1/2 "). Press.

Using Safety pins, secure them from the inside of your Treat bag on the back and sides.  Turn the bag inside out and thread your ribbon through the 'loops'. 

Place all your fun goodies in the bag. I am including Bread (made from my Bread maker), Hot cocoa packets and a couple of ornaments for the recipients.

Bring the flap down over your treats and tie it up with the ribbon you have threaded through the safety pin loops.

The Instructions from Brother included a poem that should be attached. I didn't particularly care for their version so I decided to get poetic and write poem. 

"As we celebrate this Christmas Season
Let's remember that He is the reason.
He gave us life and the gift of choice.
He gave us redemption that we may hear his voice.
Like the gift of forgiveness, this bag can transform 
Just wet the seams to give it a new purpose to perform.
A towel will emerge where a treat bag once was
To serve you and yours, have a  Merry Christmas!"

Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mary's Treasure Box....a new Christmas Tradition (Updated).

A few years ago, I wrote a post about a wonderful book called "Mary's Treasure Box" which depicts Mary (the Mother of the Savior) sharing memories with her Granddaughter.  After I published the post, the author of this wonderful book wrote the following comment on our Blog:

Carolyn Kramlich said...
"Christmas Greetings in 2013. I was so surprised to see that you too had made a treasure box like I did so many years ago. I'm Carolyn Kramlich, the author of Mary's Treasure Box. My book has been out of print for several years now, but I still find comments about it online. In fact, it is being republished in 2014-2015 by B & H Kids, a Baptist publishing house in Nashville...retooled with new illustrations.
I'm so thankful that you've kept Mary's story alive. My inspiration was a box in my basement where I had collected items from my own son's birth and childhood. I was suddenly struck with the thought that perhaps Mary was a sentimental mother like I am...and perhaps you are too. I'm so glad I saw your blog!  cwk"
Ms. Kramlich reached out to me again this year with the following information:
Carolyn Kramlich said...
"A new version of Mary's Treasure Box has been published by B&H Publishers in Nashville. If you go to my website, I have about 8 links to various book vendors that carry the book for as little as $9.99, but it doesn't look the same. The publishers and I decided to retool, revise, and re-illustrate the book to make it a little more kid friendly. The illustrator, Bruno Merz,worked with Max Lucado on his last children's book project so I'm in good company! I've also changed my pen name to C.E. Walz, which is my maiden name to honor my parents, both now deceased. Website:"

Making your own version of "Mary's Treasure Box":

I wanted to be authentic, so I found real Frankincense and Myrrh in this beautiful set sold at our local Catholic Supply Store.  I also found these online.  Most recently, I see that Deseret Book also has these in their stores. Don't wait until the last minute, I learned that I was lucky to have purchased the last set in my local store. 

Some of the items that are needed are boxes/containers for the Frankincense and Myrrh. Initially I found little cardboard boxes at my local craft store.  However, I came across these ring boxes that seemed to fit the story best. They were not very expensive either. The gold bracelet that is called for in this story is actually a hanging earring base that is intended for additional beads etc to be attached to it. (I have, however, cut off a small circle that was on the opposite side of the small circles that is intended for the earing hook to be attached too).  I guess that I felt it looked a little 'regal' with the other small circles still attached..  

I made "Treasure boxes" for each of my married children who have had little ones at home.  I placed Frankincense in one box and Myrrh in another.  I learned that I needed to put a rubber-band  on the round box as the lid easily slid off and the contents would spill.  (I gave my adult children instructions to remove it before the story was read to the grandchildren). 

You will also need a 'flute' (a small toy whistle), and wool.  

I took poly-fill (like you would put in a quilt or a pillow) and rubbed a sharpie marker in certain spots.  I them just rubbed the poly-fill against itself to make the grey wool.  In addition, you will need a piece of linen which I found in my fabric scraps.

The book essentially calls for 2 different bundles.  I put the stated items into squares of maroon and gold fabrics with blue and maroon ribbons (as shown in the original version of the book).  

Place both bundles in a wooden box (which I picked up at the craft store)

So, how did we read this book to our grandchildren in different parts of the country? I made a power-point with the pictures from the book.  I scheduled an on-line meeting (from a free service) so that they could see us.  

As we came to each point in the story where something was being spoken of, the children and their parents took the objects out of their bundles and experienced the story with actual items.  I think we all really liked the real Frankincense and Myrrh!

Since we read this to our Grandchildren on-line, we have purchased copies of this wonderful book for each of our Adult Children so that they can continue this tradition in their own homes.

However, if you wish to do this, start early.  It is worth the effort.   You can order the new version of Mary's Treasure Box here.  Merry Christmas!

Good luck!
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