Friday, October 14, 2016

Microwave Bowl Potholder

Several months ago when we were visiting my cousin Kim she showed me one of her projects.  She is a quilter, and it's always fun to see what she is working on.  That day she showed me a Microwave Bowl Potholder.  It was a quilted potholder in the shape of a bowl.  Its purpose was to hold a bowl of food when you put it in the microwave.  Bowls generally get quite hot when they are microwaved and can't be held with bare hands.  This is a potholder that wraps around the bowl so it can be taken out of the microwave without burning your hands.  It also keeps the food warm because the potholder helps retain the heat in the bowl.  I thought it was really cute.  Then one day when I returned home from shopping, I found two in my door.  She had made me a couple for a gift.  It was such a nice surprise.  I used them right away and now I will not heat up anything without them.  I wanted to make more.  I thought it would be a good kid project and wanted to make some with my granddaughter.  Her schedule is always so busy, so we never got around to it.  I decided to make some myself with the pattern Kim sent.

The microwave potholder my cousin made for me.

The pattern called for cotton fabric and cotton batting.  I have tons of fabric, but I wasn't sure which were cotton and which fabrics were polyester.  I learned that the easiest way to figure it out was to burn the fabric.  If it is polyester, the fabric will melt and leave a hard blackened piece behind.  If it is cotton, it will burn and leave an ash.  I took samples of fabric and burned them.  Apparently polyester will also melt in the microwave but I wasn't going to test it that way.  I found several all cotton pieces.  Next I had to find cotton batting.  First I found some sold in quilt size pieces but then I finally found some sold by the yard.  All cotton thread is also recommended.

If you want to make one, the first thing you do is cut is cut two squares of cotton fabric and two squares of cotton batting.  The size depends on the size bowl you use.  In my case, the potholder from Kim is a good size for a cereal bowl.  It uses a 10 inch square.  The potholder I made first fits a sauce dish.  That was made with a 9 inch square.

After the squares are cut, lay the batting pieces on the wrong side of the fabric squares and pin together.

Draw lines from corner to corner and center to center.  Stitch on the lines. 

Each piece has 4 darts that are made at the center lines.  I marked down 2 inches from the outside edge on this 9 inch square and 2 1/2 inches down on the 10 inch square.   Make the darts by folding on the line and stitching from 3/4 to 1 inch from the fold line, tapering to the dot.

Then trim the excess fabric from the dart and press open. 

Make two pieces the same way.  I used coordinating fabrics so the potholders can be reversible, but both pieces can be made with the same fabric pattern.

The darts make the bowl shape.

Pin both pieces with right sides together, matching the darts and the corners.  Stitch around the outside using a 1/2" seam allowance leaving about 3 inches open.  Turn the potholder right side out making sure the corners are pushed out.  Hand stitch the opening closed and top stitch around the outside edge.

Small 9 inch square for sauce dish.

It is amazing to me how much I use these.  My description of how to make them could be hard to understand, but an internet search has many different variations that may be easier for some to understand.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Love My Bluebirds

Whenever I do one of those Facebook activities where they determine your life in a video or a collage of the things or pictures you write about most, nature and bluebirds are always front and center.  Given the place and life I live, this isn't a surprise.  For those who read this blog regularly you will know I write to excess about the Eastern Bluebird.  So here I go again.  My last bluebird blog was written on August 2, 2016.  If you search my blog for bluebirds, you are apted to get several posts. This last one talked about hatching four babies on the fourth try.  I thought that would be all until next Spring, but I was wrong.  Today the whole family came for a visit.  We had Mama, Papa and the four kids.  They ate a few mealworms and checked out the young ones birthplace.   I had seen them, off and on, in the woods for the past two months, but never together and always on the move.  A cold front is moving in this afternoon and it was likely they wanted to make sure their summer home was still there and ready for their return next Spring. Hopefully they will all remain healthy and can return.  There isn't room for everyone here but many of our neighbors have available houses. 

I recently read this poem on a Bluebird page I follow.  There are a lot of people who love to see them.

 by Ruth E. Goodwin, as published in Sialia vol. 12, no.1, 1990

All blue birds are not bluebirds, a fact you should know. You can’t always find bluebirds wherever you go.
The bluebirds are rare, and their numbers are small; In some places you simply can’t find them at all.
But when they’re around – oh, what a sweet sound! Just the sight of one somehow can make your heart pound.
They’re a pretty soft blue, with a rust orange chest; If you put up a bird house, they’ll pose for you best.
A bluebird’s a blue bird, that everyone knows. But not all blue birds are bluebirds, as you now know.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Beauty of Fall 2016

It's Sunday October 9, 2016.  It's my oldest daughter's birthday.  There is no predicting the weather at this time of year.  It can be very warm or very cold.  We can have rain, wind or sleet or we can have warmth and sun.    Fortunately today is a beautiful sunny fall day here in Wisconsin and a lovely day for a birthday.  These cool crisp fall days can't be beat.  We haven't had a frost yet so we have all the beautiful hues of fall.  Everything is bathed in a golden hue with splashes of red, brown and green.  It's too bad the news and social media are lighting up with so much anger and conflict.  Hopefully after the American Presidential election is over, things will calm down.  As a distraction I am spending time outside walking our yard to see if I can find some of the beauties of nature.  There were many. I will publish some photos today and again in about a week when the tree color peaks. 

The milkweed pods are bursting and the breeze is spreading the seeds. 

Garden mums.

The Toad Lily is blooming like crazy.  I imagine it will freeze before all those buds burst.


Tardeva Hydrangea

Limelight Hydrangea

I cut a few hydrangeas and they are so big they almost tipped the vase over.

My fern grew so large outside, I gave it a haircut so it wouldn't drag on the floor.

The leaves are gone from the poplar tree leaving behind this years Baltimore Oriole nest.

Pine straw and pine cones cover the yard.

I will post more fall photos another day.  I have a feeling that after tonight's debate, I will need another diversion really soon.