I Must Have It

Quilting has been a lifetime passion for me, ever since I first starting working on my first quilt with my grandmother when I was a little girl. She was a seamstress and was incredibly skilled at quilting and all kinds of sewing projects. She was the one who introduced me to the idea of crafting, and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful.

In fact, it was my grandmother who bought me my first ever sewing machine. She’d taken her time, looking for the top sewing machine for kids, and then presented me with it for my 7th birthday. I was delighted, and I’ve never looked back since.

Over the years, I’ve made countless quilts, using them myself, giving them away as gifts, giving them to charity or even selling them at craft fairs. There’s nothing I enjoy more than planning out a new quilt – choosing the materials, the colors, the stitches, the way it’s all going to fit together. It’s such a fun thing to do.

But after all these years, I’m ready to embark on more adventurous quilting projects. I’d like to be able to use embroidery to create more exciting patterns and to be able to do more decorative detailing on the different squares. I’ve seen some really exciting projects online that involve embroidery, and while I could do it by hand, that would take a really long time, and, if I’m truthful, my embroidery skills aren’t the best. An embroidery machine will ensure that my quilts have a professional finish.

My old trusty sewing machine may be an old workhouse, getting the job done, but it can’t handle embroidery. I’ve decided that it might be time to invest in a new embroidery machine that can take my quilts to the next level. Of course, I won’t get rid of my old machine just yet, but I’m looking into one of the most innovative computerized machines that can handle a greater variety of projects.

I’ve found from my research that the best computerized sewing machine can do hundreds of different stitch patterns, and can even customize them to suit my needs, so I can create my own patterns too. I love that idea. I’ve got so much inspiration just bubbling away in my head!

I’ve been looking into which models could fit the bill, and I’ve found a couple that I’m pretty impressed with.

 

Juki HZL-F600

I’m super impressed with what this machine can offer. It may be expensive, but it’s professional quality and is ideal for a passionate crafter like me. It offers a huge choice of onboard stitches as well as a lot of automatic features that blows a lot of other models out of the park. This model has over 600 stitches, including 4 types of fonts, 16 buttonholes and lots of other decorative and utility stitches. I can do everything I’ve ever dreamed of with this sewing machine. This model also allows me to create customized stitches of my own and patterns of my choice, and the memory can save up to 70 of them.

 

Juki HZL-F600

 

There are so many customizable features from programming needle positions to choosing the volume for alerts! Yet even though it’s a pretty complex machine, it’s surprisingly user-friendly with easy to navigate menus and a simple layout, and as for the basics, it has an automatic threader and drop-in bobbin for extra convenience. It can handle all kinds of materials and is perfect for quilting thanks to its crazy quilt stitches and the extension table for additional space for large projects. On the downside, however, this is an expensive model at around $1000.

 

Brother SE400

This machine combines sewing and embroidery in a high performing machine for a professional experience at an affordable price tag. There are 67 inbuilt stitches, 5 fonts and 120 frame pattern combos and further patterns can be imported from a computer. It has seven point feeds for smoother fabric feeding, an illuminated needle area and an auto threader. There’s also a bunch of handy accessories like screwdrivers, bobbins and scissors. With its intuitive design this is a versatile model that is highly recommended, however, it doesn’t have the table extension of the Juki model and it doesn’t have the crazy quilting stitch patterns.

 

Brother SE400

 

I think I’m going to go with the Juki, but I might have to save up a little first!

 

Wedding Quilts

I’m a sucker for tradition, especially when that tradition involves crafting. I think there’s nothing so perfect as giving a quilt as a wedding gift. One of the most traditional gifts there is, I think a quilt is a truly memorable and touching way to commemorate a special occasion, and there is no more special occasion than a wedding. A quilt for the marital bed has long been a classic wedding gift, and it’s one that I try to give every time I’m invited to attend a celebration.

There’s something wonderfully personal about a quilt that’s been made especially for you, and I love to make people feel special in that way. Just think about how special people feel when they are given a personalized gift such as their embroidered name on clothing. A customized quilt is even more personal and heartfelt.

My friend’s daughter is getting married in a few months, and I’m already planning a special wedding quilt for her. I’ve been sketching out a few designs, and I’ve almost finalized it.

 

Quilted fabric

 

There are many traditional wedding quilt patterns. Probably the most famous is the double wedding ring pattern. This resembles two wedding rings, interwoven, and is quite tricky to create but looks very beautiful. It’s possible this style of pattern dates back to the 1600s when Germanic people came to Pennsylvania to settle. It was certainly a popular design on a range of decorative objects during the early period of American’s colonization, although it didn’t become highly popular for use on quilts until the 1930s and 40s.

There are some other popular traditional patterns to choose from too. Love knot patterns are also a great choice for weddings (or engagements, or anniversaries too for that matter), and lovebirds are another great choice for weddings.

Floral patterns which echo the theme of the wedding’s color scheme or the bride’s bouquet are also a popular choice, and there are many beautiful flower quilt patterns out there that will look wonderful in any couple’s bedroom. Roses are probably the easiest and best choice for a romantic floral wedding quilt, since this is the type of flower which is most commonly linked with passion and love, and they look gorgeous when worked into a quilt.

Although the double wedding ring pattern is probably the most common, it’s not what I have in mind for my friend’s daughter. I’d rather make something a little more unique. That’s why I’m making a memory quilt. There are lots of ways to make a keepsake or memory quilt, either by using photo blocks by printing photos onto fabric, by making an autograph quilt with signatures of special people in the couple’s life, or by making a beautiful family tree quilt using applique. All of these are wonderfully original options and can be made in a range of colors to suit individual tastes and needs.

I’m not going to give away all of my quilt design for the happy couple, but I’m pretty confident that they’re going to find it really personal and special to them. I can’t wait to get started!

 

Nursing A Sore Throat

I woke up this morning with an awful sore throat. It was agony, like sandpaper every time I swallowed. It seemed a bit like overkill to go to the doctor about it, so I decided to try out a few home remedies first.

My mom used to tell me about a whole lot of simple home treatments to try so I decided to give some of them a try. The good news is that my throat’s already feeling quite a lot better. Mom really does know best!

I thought I’d share some of her advice with you since her remedies have worked so well for me. These are some of her best home remedies for a sore throat which she says that she’s tried and tested over the years and which have always proved to be very helpful for her.

 

Sore throat

 

Gargling with salt water. Salt in water calms inflammation by reducing the acidity that makes the throat irritated. It also draws irritants and infections out onto the throat’s surface so that body can tackle them more effectively. Simply dissolve up to half a teaspoon of salt in 8oz of warm water and gargle every couple of hours.

Drink cold liquids. Although it isn’t nice to take those first couple of swallows, the icy liquid dulls the pain of a sore throat and prevents swelling by calming inflammation and numbing the throat.

Avoid acidic food. One of the main causes of sore throats is acid reflux, and so avoiding any foods that cause this problem will help to stop the sore throat from getting worse. That means avoiding fried food, sodas and citrus fruit. Also, you should avoid eating for at least an hour before bedtime since eating just before lying down promotes reflux.

Take antacids – if reflux could be the cause of a sore throat, taking reflux meds like antacids help to stop the pain before it starts.

Sipping turmeric tea helps to beat the inflammation of a sore throat and relieves suffering.

 

Little girl while taking medicine

 

Simply add a couple of dashes to a cup of tea and drink.

Take ibuprofen – this anti-inflammatory eases irritation and swelling while also stopping throat clearing and coughing which stops the throat from healing effectively. Ibuprofen should always be taken along with food and you need to ensure you’re following the dosing instructions.

Get plenty of rest. Tiredness causes immune system problems and if you’re exhausted your body can’t heal itself properly. So go to bed, take some time out and avoid being stressed for a while to give your immune system a boost.

If all else fails and you try out these remedies with no avail, you should visit your doctor after 48 hours if the pain is still there. It is possible that the problem could be caused by a bacterial infection such as step b, and it won’t go away without taking a steroid or antibiotic treatment to cure the infection and relieve the pain.