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Summer Recipe(s)!

With my sewing machine back in the shop for two weeks (this time at Sew Right in Bayside, Queens), I’ve been doing other things to occupy myself including a lot of cooking.  I made one of my favorite recipes yesterday, and it’s great and easy for summer so I thought I’d share it.  I don’t tolerate onions or garlic very well,, so I’ve posted both my modified easier-for-me-to-digest IBS version and the original so you can bake this up to suit your body and taste.

Grandmother’s Zucchini “Like a Quiche”

IMG_0243It smelled so good I forgot to take a photo before I ate some!

Ingredient list for more easily digestible version:

4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. bisquick*
½ c. garlic inflused canola oil**
¾ c. grated parmesan cheese
Generous ½ t oregano
½ t salt
3 c. zucchini (1 huge or 3 small)

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients other than zucchini in a bowl. To prepare zucchini, I tend to slice 1/8” wide rounds which I then quarter. (If you want to get fancy, reserve 6 rounds (don’t quarter) to decorate at end.) Combine quartered zucchini with other ingredients and then turn mixture into a non-greased 9” deep dish pie plate. If you reserved your ‘fancy rounds’, now press them into the top evenly spaced. This will give your final baked version a more polished appearance. Cook for 25-45 minutes in a preheated 350F oven. It’s done when it looks slightly browned and when you press in center, it feels baked/not squishy-wet.  Let sit for a few minutes after taking out to finish baking and then serve. Keeps well and also tastes great cold.

Notes:

* If you have IBS and are eating low FODMAP, use gluten free Bisquick instead.

** You can usually find garlic infused olive oil in the supermarket. If that’s all you can find, use ¼ c. of that, plus ¼ c. of plain canola. Or you can make your own garlic infused oil as follows:

Garlic-Infused Oil

Place your chosen oil (for this recipe, canola) and a peeled, quartered clove of garlic (keep it in larger chunks; you’ll be removing this later) in a saucepan and heat on stove at medium heat until you start to really smell the garlic (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat, cover and let steep for an hour. Remove garlic and you are ready to use your garlic infused oil.

**

For those of you who’d like to try the original, the directions are the same but swap out the ingredient list for my grandmother’s (Note: I think the garlic infused oil version actually tastes better so you might want to still infuse oil, add onions and just adjust the cheese for your more onion-y version).

4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. bisquick
½ c. canola oil
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
½ t oregano
½ t salt
½ c. onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, smashed
3 c. zucchini (1 huge or 3 small)

**
Regardless of what you make, enjoy! This is one of my all time summer favorites. A great way to enjoy the end of a delicious summer!

Sewing Machine TRAUMA.

My Brother NX450 was acting up the past month so I took it in for repair about 2 weeks ago to a new shop to me, Gizmo Notion.  I was encouraged by the incredibly nice shop owner/repair man.   He seemed great – I had such faith!

Ultimately, the machine is still not sewing well and in a couple ways is worse.  I took it to him because it was skipping stitches despite needle changes, race cleaning, etc.  Also the automatic needle threader had died several months ago and while I can live without it, it makes my life easier to have it fixed so….  When I picked the machine up, it seemed better (but he stated the threader could not be repaired at all) but I still was unsure if it was skipping stitches (it wasn’t).  HOWEVER, he put so much oil in the machine that now, a week later, I am still getting oil out of it.  Luckily it has damaged only one thing – which was a sample so who cares – but it has made me anxious about sewing a great deal with it.

Well, ‘not sewing’ is not a problem because it just will not sew this quilt sandwich.  It seemed clean enough and I’m on a deadline so I thought I’d take the risk.  I’ve tried adjusting the presser foot pressure, changed the needle… It just will not advance the sandwich consistently.  So I have about an inch of good and then an inch of tiny stitches – it just looks SO BAD.  And it’s hella hard to rip out.  Also the thread cutter suddenly won’t cut the bobbin thread.  What is going on?

Upshot:  2 weeks after taking it into service, it is no longer skipping stitches but it is now leaking oil, won’t cut thread and won’t advance the feed dogs properly.  It seems to do with the weight of the quilt (which is not large).  My sample sandwich of oil-stain fame will advance no problem.  But the actual quilt?  Nada.  I have made quilts on this machine before of similar size with absolutely no problems so this is an anomaly.  A very frustrating, ill-timed anomaly.

So I’m not sure what to do.  I can go back to him and demand he fix it but since oiling it seems to be his method of fixing, I’m just not feeling like he knows what he’s doing on this Brother machine.  That said, there are almost NO options for sewing machine repair here in NYC.  He is the closest to me and I don’t have a car.  It looks like my other options are both WAY out in Queens (involving multiple trains and a bus).  Do any of you NYers know of a repair place that you like?  Reviews for the garment district are horrible.  I am so sad – this quilt is a gift that was supposed to be delivered on Sunday and that’s just not going to happen. Also I go back to FIT classes in 2 weeks and I am a bit freaked out that my home machine is so wonky.

Thoughts? Advice?  Someone please save me. I’m at my wits end!

Thank you in advance for any help!

Update:  I swapped needles again, rethreaded everything and it seems a bit better.  But I’m doing this all the time.  So please lay those tips and repair info on me.  I can really use the help. Thanks!

Further Update: Nope. It is skipping stitches again and now the tension looks wonky. Stopping. Likely heading out to Bayside, Queens tomorrow. Good times.

MMM Quilt Front is done!

We were ‘down the shore’ last week for a blissful week off.  Or mostly off.  I did some sewing in addition to kayaking, swimming, jumping lots of waves, biking, reading and snoozing – of a secret project to be shown later – but for now, being there meant we finally had the room to show off the finished Modified Modern Medallion quilt-top I finished last week.  Behold:

IMG_0223 IMG_0216 IMG_0214IMG_0217It is of course *windy* down the shore but I think you get the idea.  The center (up to and including the blue) is Rachel’s design from her excellent Handstitched class.  Her quilt ended up being a true 60″ square Medallion.  I wanted mine to fit my bed so I added 6″ each to the top and bottom to mimic the shape of a double bed (the multi-colored ‘teeth’ section with loopy embroidered edges) and then added some extra rounds of scraps and an additional plain quilting (the yellow) round to bring it to my final chosen size of 75″X87″.  I’m very pleased with this extremely ‘happy’ quilt.  Can’t wait to quilt it!

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MMM Back – Going Scrappy!

I’ve started creating the back for the Modified Modern Medallion (MMM) quilt.  I originally thought I’d do the ‘big sheets of fabric’ thing just to get it done, but with the amount of scraps I have and the size of the ‘Nook overall (plus I LOVE these fabrics) I decided that at least part of the back would be composed of scraps. Here’s some of what I have so far:

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IMG_0197Obviously, this takes a lot longer to do.  But I’m hopeful, if the Airflute cooperates, that I can get some of this done next week while we are ‘down the shore’ and still be on target to have this sucker basted before I start back at FIT at the end of August.

I’m having some issues with my home machine, Brother N450.  I’ve cleaned the race several times, changed the needles, changed the bobbin and the thread and still, if I don’t rethread it ever hour or so, it is skipping stitches.  It feels weird when I thread it so I suspect there is something going on ‘behind the scenes’ where I cannot see it.  I’ll need to get it fixed pre-FIT so I’m just trying to limp it along until I go on vacay and then I’ll haul it out (literally, no car here in NYC) to Queens when I get back.  It is what it is.

I will run short of scraps for the back but I found some stashed other-beloved fabric that will hopefully blend in enough. The fabrics that are left on the screen are used in the quilt already.  The other three are the reinforcements.  Those coupled with some leftover solids should make it work.  Fingers crossed.

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Red Pillow – update

When I last worked on this project, it was just looking too white or blah or something:

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Between then and now, I bought 3 different red and pink fabrics to try to jazz this up.  This weekend, the Airflute and I sewed up some of the red and the pink.

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I’m still not sure about the red.  It may just be too much.  In a vacuum, with the small square strips removed, it looks good, but all together just doesn’t look integrated.  Plus I love the pink – so that red border may get swapped out for more pink.  I love the crewel work and then love the mini-squares with the pink; the question is that border for the crewel.

I also auditioned a background fabric that will surround the whole project.  Not sure which way to go but I may continue with the pink check fabric.  I want to work on the Medallion Quilt this week so I’ll likely drop this project again for a couple weeks but it was super fun to get to know the Airflute on this project.  I worked a lot with tension settings and also stitch length.  It took some futzing but I think the Airflute is going to work out very well.  I’m very pleased with it.

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IMG_0190What to do?  Going to let this mentally marinate for a bit.  Any preferences among you guys?  More soon.

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DIY Pressing Board

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Airflute comes up the long hill from the car, courtesy of my sherpa BF, Iowa.

With the addition of the Airflute to my bf’s home, the only thing keeping me from doing machine work upstate at the Craft Nook North was a pressing situation.  Given that our camping cabin is 10X10 (including a queen sized bed), a traditional ironing board wasn’t going to work.  So yesterday, I set out to make a pressing board, following this great tutorial I found via the powers of google.

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I mostly followed her instructions.  All told it took about 2 hours and that was probably longer than it would take someone else.  I wanted to learn how to use the saw (as opposed to just having Iowa cut the board down), so that added a few minutes.  (Iowa was impressed by my ability to really stick to the cutting line but really it operates visually just like lining up a sewing line with a presser foot.  Convenient!)

I sanded the edges and back, and then, because the back of the board was so rough, I decided to glue a piece of fabric across that with craft glue so that took a few minutes.

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To complete the pressing side, I laid a piece of batting over the front and then a second larger piece of fabric atop that and used a staple gun to fix it to the back of the board.  I toyed with turning the edges of the fabric under to make the underside of the board super clean but decided that was too fussy for a camping cabin ironing board.

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I skipped the suggested felt bottom as it seemed fine as is.  The final dimensions are 15″ X 22″ to fit perfectly on my small table up there next to the Airflute and I also sized it to fit in a large ziplock for storage/travel.  The only thing I had to buy outright for the project was the craft glue – the rest were leftovers I had on hand (the wood was Iowa’s cut off).  All told it cost about $5.   Fabric is home dec weight from IKEA.

Before:

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After:

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I sewed all weekend getting to know the Airflute a bit (so far so good, although the bobbin winder is wonky and likely needs pro help).  Being able to sew upstate  made being up here a lot more satisfying for me.  It’s always fun here but I’m often just reading or seam ripping small things that need to come out (ugh) – the crappy projects.  Ultimately, I often choose to stay in town when Iowa comes up here just so I can get something done.  Now I get to accomplish things AND see my bf and enjoy the birds.  Looking forward to many hours of sewing up here.  Excellent!

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FIU15! – Blue Pillow for Bedroom

Now that FIT is done for the summer, I’m getting back to my Finish It Up ’15 project (which, in the back of my mind is always abbreviated as “F it Up ’15” – less positive!).   I made a list of WIPs and tonight decided for an easy win – The Blue Quilted Pillow I was making for my bedroom. The  idea/pattern is from Crazy Mom Quilts.  I love the combination of bright fabrics in a sea of white.  My apartment is filled with color so white is always welcome. This project was done but not assembled.  Tonight to finish, I needed to cut a back for it out of fleece, insert a zipper and sew and finish the edges. The pillow form for this pillow is the guts of an old chenille pillow that was falling apart.  As the chenille was a favorite of my boyfriend (due to the soft factor), I decided to skip the back I originally made and use a soft fleece so at least one side would feel like his old pillow. After that, the only challenge left was the zipper.  I still don’t feel solid on zipper insertion (although I’m getting better) so I decided to try a ‘simpler way’ I found online.  Mistake.  The instructions really did not work.  Next time I will suck it up and just do it the FIT way with basting, etc. I had to actually sew part of it by hand to finish it (the tutorial ended up missing some steps – the dangers of the internets!). Zipper in, side seams sewn and finished all around and here is a close up of the finished product: Front.  It’s ditch quilted around each square: IMG_0134 Great fabrics, right?  Photo of soft fleece back: IMG_0133 Close ups on some favorite fabrics.  The fish are making an appearance in the Modified Modern Medallion Quilt as well.  The final pillow is 20X20.  Love it! IMG_0137 IMG_0138 IMG_0139 Good night all!