DIY Four Circle Table Topper with Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment

DIY Four Circle Table Topper with Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment

I’ve been eyeing a special attachment for my Bernina sewing machine for quite some time.  I was at Mill House Quilts in Waunakee this past week, where they have all the newest Bernina sewing machines along with a great assortment of attachments and feet.  Then I saw it, they had it in stock!, so I finally decided to buy it — the Circular Embroidery Attachment.  (cue the trumpets) Ta da!

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I have lots of ideas of how I  want to use the attachment (none of which included embroidery–hehe), so I got online to find a few YouTube videos to visually see how to attach it to my machine and how they used it.  Here are some great links if you’re interested:

The attachment comes with 2 screws and a nifty small screwdriver, and attaches to the bed of my machine with one screw in the hole on the right of my pressure foot.  One video suggested taping the other end near the pin to be sure it doesn’t wiggle (which I did—see blue painter’s tape in the second photo below).

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There’s a sharp pin under that plastic nob on the left of the tape (see above).  You carefully take off that plastic bit and poke the center of your fabric through the sharp pin and replace the plastic bit, and that’s all there is to it.  You place the fabric under the pressure foot and “step on the gas” and it glides around in a circular pattern all on its own with little help from you.  You do need to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t wrinkle and bunch up, but if you’re doing the project I’m doing, it’s not necessary.  The directions recommend using a open embroidery type foot, but since I’ll be sewing through a few layers with batting I’m using my walking foot.

The pin is on a sliding mechanism so that you can adjust the size of the circle you want to sew.  The distance between the pin and your needle x 2 = the size of the diameter of the circle.  So for this particular project, I measured and slid the pin at a distance from the needle so the circles would measure around 8-1/2 to 9 inches.

So here’s my first project using the Circular Embroidery Attachment – A Four Circle Table Topper.

I went through my stash of unused layer cake squares and chose 8 coordinating fabrics (4 peach/pink and 4 mint green), and cut 4 squares of batting to match.

Then I layered them starting with the batting on the bottom, mint fabric face up, then peach/pink fabric face down (so the 2 fabrics are right sides together).

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Line them all up and use your ruler to find the center and mark a dot lightly with a water soluble marker (or other washable mark).  Then take it all over to your sewing machine and put the pin of the circular embroidery attachment through all the layers at that center mark and feed the right end (edge) of the fabric under the pressure foot.

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It’s so easy!  It walks (sews) itself around in a perfect circle and comes back to exactly where it was started.  LOVE IT!

Here’s my short (very short) YouTube video showing how it works on my machine…(my very first one)…

After trimming around the edges with a pinking shears (or pinking rotary cutter if you have one), you cut a small slit along an edge being sure to only cut the top fabric.  Be sure the cut slit is in a spot where the fabric will eventually be folded over (so the it will be hidden).  Then turn the circle inside-out, using a blunt ended tool (like a bamboo paper folder, purple-thang, or bamboo skewer) to be sure all the edges are nice and crisp, and press.  OH, you might want to use a tiny bit of water to get rid of the water soluble mark you made in the center…you don’t want to permanently heat set it into the fabric with your iron.

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Use a ruler and a water soluble marker or chalk, draw a square box within the finished circle (being sure that the cut slit falls beyond the square in the outer edge (see top of the photo below).  Each of the corners of the square should just touch the edge of the circle.  I was lucky enough that my square ruler was a perfect fit.

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After making four of these, place them on a flat surface and see what arrangement you like best, turning up two edges on each one to expose the fabric underneath… it’s important that the “flap” that has the cut (used to turn them right side out) is in one of the seams so it’s covered.  Then it’s similar to sewing a 4 patch together—Take the 2 upper circles and match them BACK to BACK using the drawn lines as a sewing guide, pin,  and sew them together edge to edge, do the same with the lower 2.  Then sew the top 2 with the bottom 2 and it will look something like this..

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Iron the flaps down and use your favorite decorative stitch around each edge of the flaps (petals) to finish.

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I chose a blanket stitch in green variegated thread, but you could opt to use a straight stitch, any decorative stitch, or just tack the flaps at each center point.  You could even hand sew them down if you wanted to.  You need to at least tack them down (or sew them) to be sure that the cut you made to turn the circles inside out is completely covered.

And here it is, all finished

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What’s nice about this pattern is the quilting is done as you go, and the back is as interesting as the front…

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So it’s completely reversible.

And no worries if you don’t have the attachment…you can create these table toppers by tracing a circle (using a platter or template) onto the fabric and carefully sewing on the line.  That will work, but I’ve found this is a time saver, I can make any size circle,  and just looks a bit better too.

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I think they make a wonderful gift—Mother’s Day is coming up.

So I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that you’ll try making a reversible 4-circle table topper.  I have them for sale in my Mulberry Patch Quilts Etsy Shop if you’d like to purchase one instead, along with lots of other ideas for Mother’s Day.

I’ll be posting other ideas for using my Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment in the future…hope you’ll come back again! And be sure to post a comment below on how you use your circular attachment—any tips or ideas?

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

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Wine Coaster DIY

 

I wanted a little gift to send to a friend for her birthday—

I came across several tutorials on the internet and TV for making wine coasters, all with similar ideas—a little folding magic and voilà!  Easy-to-make and fun-to-enjoy coasters!

 

Ah hah!  The perfect gift…  easy to send with the card, and I can make it from my stash.

 

These coasters will fit perfectly over the bottom stems of the average size wine glass, but you can also use them as regular coasters…for any beverage.

 

Wanna make some?

Here’s how I did it…

First, grab 5 fabrics and cut a 4-1/2” circle out of each one.  I found that a nested set of circles I have for machine quilting worked perfectly as a rotary cutting guide for my circles…

Next, leave one circle alone (base circle) and press each of the other 4 circles in half.  I cut enough to make two…

Now the layering part.  Put your base circle right side up…then place each folded circle (with the folds toward the inside and the raw edges in line with the base circle) like this:

Be sure to tuck the last one under the first…it’ll make sense when you do it.

Now the sewing part:  sew a 1/4” seam around the entire perimeter through all layers…you might want to trim with a pinking shears (but you don’t’ have to)

Just turn it right side out through the center of the folded circles…give it a good pressing…and like magic…voilà…a lovely wine coaster…and my favorite wine from our local winery–Wollersheim Winery 🙂 A great place to visit BTY, if you’re coming to the Prairie du Sac area of Wisconsin!

Or a lovely coaster for any beverage!

Wish my coffee looked like this

hmmmm…Time for a coffee break!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

 

Art Quilt Backing Technique for Hanging on Wall

I’ve been working furiously this week-end on creating a new autumn leaves art quilt using the “confetti” technique to add to my collection for the McGregor Marquette Center for the Arts display (opening May 16th).

Starting with a piece of my hand-dyed aqua fabric as a background, and shredding up several different hand-dyed shades of red, green, brown, black and yellows, I started “painting” by sprinkling the “confetti” onto the background.

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then adding tulle netting and heavily free-hand quilting it with variegated cotton thread in shades of green, gold, red.  Finally adding the tree trunk and limbs in black fabric, quilted in black cotton thread…

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I decided to try a new technique for backing the art quilt.  I first stiffened it by adding Pellon craft fuse-on interfacing to the back lining, and then cut four squares (5″ each) and pressed them in half–adding them to each corner of the back of the quilt.  The raw edges are sewn into the binding and the raw edges will be encased when I fold the binding to the back and hand stitch it closed.

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Then I can simply add a thin wooden dowel to both the top two triangles to hang it on the wall, and I can add another dowel across the bottom (tucked into the bottom two triangles) to keep it from “curling” over time.

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I’ve seen this technique before on some “Pinterest” sites, and I think it might be the best way to hang smaller art quilts.  So for the smaller ones (those under 24″), I adopting this technique from now on.  There are a lot of great tutorials out there…here’s a great 2 minute tutorial via Craftsy by Beth Ferrier:

http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/02/hang-a-wall-quilt/?SSAID=644388&sasClickId=41k0_6sgt9

For my larger art quilts, or for those going to shows, I’ll add the usual hanging sleeve in the traditional way.  Here’s a great tutorial for how to do that:
http://www.quilts.com/sleeeves.pdf

All that’s left to do is to add my label to the back, and my art quilt is finished!

On to the next…

Happy Quilting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

 

Fun Way to Fold a Fat Quarter of Fabric

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Here’s a fun way to fold at “fat quarter” fabric to give as gifts, or just for fun…

1. Lay your fat quarter out flat (this is some hand dyed fabric I’ve just finished and am giving as a gift)…

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2. Fold one long raw edge to the center…

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3. Fold the other raw edge to the center…

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4. Next fold in half along the same long edge, encasing the raw edges inside the fold…

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5. Fold one short raw edge to the center…

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6. then the other short raw edge, so they meet in the center…

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7. Fold one corner to the bottom edge

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8. Then the other corner to the bottom edge (they’ll meet in the center)

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9. Tuck one corner into the other corner and there you have it!

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10.  All the raw edges are encased within the folds, and it’s cute as can be! 🙂

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So, what do you think?    Do you have a fun way to fold your “fat quarters”?

 

 

 

The “Go Pack” Baby Quilt

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During the Wisconsin Shop Hop, I found these great Wisconsin fabrics at my favorite quilt stores.  The green and yellow just screamed Green Bay Packers–so I had to find a few other fabrics to go with them into a “Go Pack” Baby Quilt.

Have you discovered the spectacular YouTube Tutorials from the Missouri Star Quilt Company?  (If not, be sure to click the link on their name to view them).  I just love Jenny–she’s inspiring and fun.  Anyway–Even though I used her YouTube Tutorial on the Disappearing Nine Patch I had to “sketch” it out myself on the computer using EQ7 (Electronic Quilt 7 software) first to be sure of the size and amount of material:

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Then I cut out the squares…

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…sewed them into 9-patches (first rows, and then sewing those rows together).

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Don’t you just love the football-theme fabrics?  As I mentioned, several of them are from the Wisconsin Shop Hop (designed by Kim Schaefer for Andover Fabrics).  One has the names of Wisconsin cities printed on it).  There’s also a referee-type stripe, some random green & yellow circles/stripes, and even green turf with yard lines.  I added some fabrics with footballs and helmets (Robert Hoffman).  Fun.

The next step was to cut each of the 9-patch blocks right down the center–both ways…

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And then put them up on my design wall and scramble them–making sure no two seams matched…

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My backing wasn’t wide enough–so I had to add a few strips of fabric, which just screamed–add the words “Go Pack” in green on the yellow strip!  So I fired up my Cricuit to cut out some paper templates, traced and cut them out of green fabric, and added them to the backing with a zig zag stitch.  Now the back is big enough…

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I think deciding what design to quilt is the hardest part.  Do you agree?  I always get stuck.

I decided to follow the fabric designs–going around the little helmets, footballs, and do an overall loop-DE-loop in-between.

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It was fun to make, and is now for sale in my Etsy Shop.

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Next time I give this a try, I might do it in pastels — I loved the scalloped border that Jenny used in her tutorial, so sweet.  (hmm…I might need to get that special scallop ruler… Can we ever have enough plastic rulers?)

Thanks for stopping by!

DIY Ironing Board Topper

So, I’ve seen the large extension boards at the quilt show vendors that go over your existing ironing board to make the ironing surface larger.  They make the surface ideal for ironing your larger quilt projects.  But the cost (around $130+) a bit prohibitive.  (Because I’d rather spend that money on more fabric!!!)  🙂

I found a few websites via Pinterest that showed how to make your own.  This is how I made mine…

Materials:

  • 1/2-inch thick plywood cut to size
  • wood planks (1-1/2 x 1/2 inch) cut into six 12-14″ pieces
  • Nails or wood screws
  • Low-loft cotton batting (use 2 layers)
  • Muslin or other cotton fabric to cover the top (I used 1-3/4 yd muslin)
  • Staple gun & staples (I used 1/4″)

I went to two home improvement stores before I found out that only Home Depot (in my area) will cut plywood to your specifications!  🙂  (Going to the store was the hardest part for me, because I’m terribly intimidated by lumber yards–I feel like a fish out of water…maybe like most men might feel in a fabric store?)  Because of my small sewing studio space, I had my board cut to 22″ x 54″ so it would fit nicely into the space I have (the real “Big Boards” are larger, about 60″ x 22″).  So measure to see what your needs are.  I found out that you have to pay for the entire plywood sheet (mine was sanded on one side and cost $20)–so I asked him to make a few extra cuts & I’ll use the remainder for shelving or some other project–and it will fit in the car!!  He was so patient.

You’ll also need some type of sturdy, inexpensive planks that will be screwed into the plywood board to nest (snugly fit) over your existing ironing board.  The directions I found on Pinterest called for 1-1/2 x 1/2″ wood planks, but Home Depot didn’t have any–so I used 1×2″ pine instead (6 foot section cost me $2.75).

STEP 1:  Lay your bare existing ironing board on top of the unsanded side (least pretty side) of your plywood.

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STEP 2:  Using a magic marker–mark the outline of the ironing board on the plywood to use as your guide.

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STEP 3:  Position the 1×2’s (or whatever size planks you find) on the OUTSIDE of the drawn line, because your ironing board will snug right into the inside.  You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

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Pre-drill holes in the planking & board (don’t go all the way through to the top of the board!), positioning the wood planks on either side, top and bottom where the ironing board will sit.  Screw together (make sure screws are short enough that they don’t poke through the top).

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Now’s the time to double check and be sure it fits over the top of your ironing board so you can re-position if needed.

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STEP 4:  Cut a length of fabric a few inches longer and wider than the board and lay right-side down on the floor.  I used some cotton muslin I had on hand—but wouldn’t a fun print look nice?  Just be sure the fabric is cotton (so it won’t melt under the heat of the iron).  Then put 2 layers of a cotton batting (low-loft) on top of the fabric.  Then lay your plywood on top of that.

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STEP 5:  Using your staple gun, pull slightly on the fabric & batting to make it snug around the plywood (but don’t stretch the fabric too much) and staple it down.  Start at the corners , then staple each of the ends opposite each other (top and bottom, side and side).  Check the bottom (which will be the top) to be sure the fabric is nice and smooth with no wrinkles and continue stapling to secure nicely.  You can trim any excess fabric & cover with duct tape if you like.

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THAT’S IT!  You’re done!

Just lift the plywood up and over and position it on top of your existing ironing board.  It should fit perfectly!  Made to order!

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Now I can iron an entire length (42″) of fabric off the bolt, or long strips or borders on my quilts!  It will be wonderful for ironing binding…  YEAH!!!

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And when the muslin top gets dirty or messy, all I have to do is take it off and staple on a new one.  All for less than $25 (I didn’t count the fabric & batting, which I had on hand).

 

Here’s one of the many sites where I got the idea:

http://wildonionstudio.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/how-to-make-an-ironing-board-topper/

 

Scarf Dyeing with Natural Plant Materials

I love the process of dyeing fabrics, and have been dyeing cotton fabrics for years using Procion Dye. So a couple years ago when some beautiful scarves caught my eye at a gift shop and I found out that they were made using natural plant materials, I knew I had to find out more.

I immediately searched for a class, and found one at Ohlbrich Gardens here in Madison taught by the talented and informative Shelly Ryan (The Wisconsin Gardener from PBS)–see this link for an even better tutorial!   If you get the chance, sign up for a class with her–she’s an amazing person!

We made several scarves that day.  I’ve recently gotten back into it, after being asked to teach a little workshop for a few friends. I hope you’ll give it a try as well…here’s how.

First, I purchased 100% silk scarves through Dharma Trading Company made especially for dying. They have many styles and sizes to choose from. The ones I used were “Habati 8mm hand rolled China 100% Silk”.   The protein-based silk fiber takes the plant dye beautifully, but is durable enough to stand up to the process.

You’ll also need:

Dye–plant material. You can use everything from flower petals, to leaves and ferns, to weeds; search your kitchen scraps for carrot peelings, red cabbage, onion skins, avacado; or your herbs and spice cabinets for tumeric, cinnamon, tea leaves; or even coffee grounds. The sky’s the limit!

Mordant–to bond the color to the fiber, you’ll need to have on hand either steel wire, copper wire, even a penny will work, or a spray deodorant that contains aluminum.

Acid-based liquid–to release the color from the plants–vinegar (white or cider, doesn’t matter), wine, fruit juice.

Also have on hand some sturdy plastic zip-lock bags (I used freezer quart-size), waterproof bowl or tray, rubber gloves, and a sharpie pen.

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Lay the silk scarf on your work surface with half on the surface and half hanging off. (This is the point where you would spray it lightly with the deodorant before adding plant materials if you’re not using steel or copper.) Layer the plant materials on top of one half of the scarf in any way you choose–you don’t need to worry about covering every square inch–just have fun. There’s no wrong way! Experiment! Use one or two things, or pile on a bunch of different things. My scarf (in photo) had red onion skins, turmeric (spice), cinnamon, coffee grounds, & shredded carrots on it!

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Fold the other half of the scarf on top of first half and from one short end start rolling it; then make it into a ball (or roll again like a cinnamon bun) and secure with the steel or copper wire. (Be sure the steel wire is not galvanized–we want it to “rust”.) If you used the deodorant spray earlier instead or the wire, you can use yarn or string to tie.

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You might want to write on your baggie with the sharpie pen what plant materials you used, in case you’re keeping track. Then place the scarf it in your baggie and add whatever acid-based liquid you want–I chose to use white vinegar, cheap & in my kitchen already. You only need 2-4 tablespoons! Just enough to thoroughly wet it.

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Then close up the baggie and place it in a waterproof bowl or other container–this is just a precaution, in case the bag should leak.

Now the HARD PART…you have to WAIT! Place the baggie away from kids & pets, and out of direct sunlight, and let it sit (cure) from 3 days to up to 2 weeks. I know it’s hard–but it will be worth it. I mark the “reveal” date on my calendar and try not to think about it…

When the “reveal” day is here, put on your plastic gloves (the vinegar might be a bit irritating to your skin) and over a lined wastebasket, or outside in the yard, “pour out” any remaining vinegar & shake out all the plant material. Now take the scarf outside and hang it over a tree branch or bush (or clothesline) and let it dry out for a few hours.

WAIT TIME AGAIN! Now you’ll bring it inside and just let it dry for about 2 weeks. I know, patience is a hard virtue!! But you will be rewarded…

After the two weeks is up you can wash your scarf in warm water (I like to use my sink with a little Woolite or mild detergent) and rinse it thoroughly. Then before it drys completely, iron it with a hot (silk setting) iron to set the color.

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That’s it! You have a beautiful hand-dyed scarf to wear or give as a gift. Here’s how the scarf turned out with the onion skins, etc.

Here are some other examples:

Dandelions, Raspberry Hibiscus Tea Leaves, Strawberry Tops, & the dreaded Garlic Mustard:

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What a great way to commemorate a special event (anniversary, birthday, funeral), by using flowers from a bouquet. My son sent me a dozen light pink roses for Mother’s Day, which unfortunately only last a week or two. So I used the fallen petals in this scarf along with other petals from the garden and some Seattle Chai Tea (because he lives in Seattle)…

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And finally, here’s a scarf made with celery and spinach leaves, oregano and turmeric, coffee grounds, and I threw in a few frozen blueberries just for fun…

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After folding over the second half of the scarf, I smashed it a bit with the flat side of a meat tenderizer just to make the juices come through a little more…

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I hope you’ll give dyeing scarves with natural plant materials a try. It’s really a lot of fun. I can’t wait to try other items from my garden and refrigerator–wonder what will happen with avocado? red cabbage? So many plants, so little time! 🙂

For more information, see Lauren Maple on PBS “Sewing with Nancy” segment.