Hexie Squeeze Punch

A student told me about these Fiskars hole punches. Now that I have tried them I can tell you how they work. 


All sizes squeeze easily on card stock if you cut 1 sheet of paper at a time. You are can recycle paper (like heavier magazine inserts) or use pristine sheets. 

  • Medium = 1/2″ on each side
  • Large = 3/4″ on each side
  • X-Large = 1″ on each side

The X-Large grip is too big for my hands so I’ll ask Steve to do those for me if/when I need them. 


The same student also told me that if you punch a hole in the center of each paper it’s easier to remove them with a toothpick or awl which makes sense. I couldn’t find my normal hole punch so I used the one that cuts 1/8″ holes, 1/4″ would probably be better. 

Honestly, I have very little spare time for cutting hexies so I won’t use these often. But I’m happy to have them in my drawer, just in case :-).

FYI: I couldn’t find them from a quilt supplier so I looked on Amazon. 

When your ironing board needs a facelift…

I’ve had this ironing board from Reliable for many years and I love it, except for one minor thing. Well, two minor things. #1: The piece that slides onto the end of the board to square it up wants to come off when I fold it up and carry it to the closet (which rarely happens). I have trained myself not to grab it by it’s end. #2: The covers that go with the board do not want to stay on and they get dirty. (The getting dirty part is my fault.)

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Yesterday I decided that I would re-cover the board in the easiest way I could think of. I left the old cover in place and cut 2 yards of a more neutral fabric and trimmed it about 8-10″ bigger than the board on all sides. (I didn’t measure, sigh.) I pressed a 3″ hem on each side and ran a length of nylon cord inside the hem, thinking that it was easier to sew it in place than it would be to insert it later. I made a cut in the casing at one narrow end for the cord ends to go through.

Once sewn, I ran the ends of the cord through a toggle, placed the fabric right side up on the ironing board, and cinched it down. I stood the board up on it’s end for easier access. As I looked at the bottom of the board, it occurred to me that I could wire the two parts of the ironing board together. Why didn’t I think of this years ago?

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It turns out that I started with way too much fabric, but it works, but it did not fit the board tightly. The old cover has elastic bands that hold it tight and I borrowed that idea. I cut more elastic and used safety pins to hold it in place. Seriously, who besides me (and you) is going to know that I did it the easy way?

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I had not realized until I made this change how distracting the blue cover was. This quieter color is much, much better.

And, in case you are wondering, I have made serious progress on the Kauai Road quilt, seen on the wall in the first photo. Here’s a snippet, quilted. I love this quilt!

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Weeding tips…

anudge asked for tips on how I weeded out my stash. Here goes:

I used to keep my linen, vintage, hand-dyes, etc., in their own separate groups. I realized that I forgot about them when I was pulling fabrics for a quilt so I decided to merge all of my fabric.

I emptied the top shelf in my closet. I worked standing up at the long dresser in the bedroom where my fabric lives. I worked with one stack of at a time. I touched every fabric and decided to keep it, or not. The ‘nots’ went into bags.

The keepers were sorted into stacks of solids, lights, mediums, or darks. Where it made sense, I grouped similar shades of a color together. For example I have yellow-greens in one stack and blue-greens in another. I know that my stacks are going to eventually get messed up so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on this.

Next I pulled my ‘special’ fabrics, sorted them and added them to the cottons in the closet. 1-yard big print pieces that will be used for backings are still separate.

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Let me show you how it works with a much smaller group of fabrics. The back story is that I have been inspired by friends to work on a quilt using Liberty of London fabric. My friend, Kathy (hi Kathy!) sent me a fat quarter bundle from the Liberty shop in London — how cool is that! I do love these fabrics from the bundle…

I don’t love these 4 fabrics. If they were just plain old fabrics in my stash, they’d be gone.

But I’m going to make a Liberty of London quilt and can’t afford to be picky! Plus all the fabrics in the bundle actually do play well together. (It goes to show that you can make just about any fabric work, but that’s another story.)

And the bundle fabrics look really good with my other Liberties…

So what does this mean? It means that there are some fabrics I like and some that I like less. When I have too much fabric, I have to decide what no longer fits. Making decisions is hard and it can wear you out if you over-think it. So I don’t think too much as I’m sorting. I put the cast-offs in a bag so that I’m not tempted to bring them back.

If you have more fabric than I do (and that’s a real possibility) I would suggest tackling one color at a time. If you start with yellow, pull all of your yellows, from everywhere. Put them on a big table or bed. Work through them. Put your tidy stacks on the shelves, ignore the cast-offs, move on to the next color. Don’t give up (you’ll be tempted). Power through it, you’ll be glad you did

 

Removing chalk lines…

Lorraine D. emailed recently asking me how to remove the white chalk lines that she’d used to mark her quilting design. I don’t mark tops often and when I have, the lines are usually gone by the time I’ve finished quilting so this isn’t something that I’ve had to deal with in a long time.

I do know that trying to erase the lines can mar the fabric so I wouldn’t recommend that. Washing can work but isn’t always an option. I suggested shaking it out like a rug, as long as that wouldn’t hurt the quilt. What I could picture in my head was the chalk dust flying out of the quilt. (Hanging the quilt on a line and whacking it with a broom also came to mind but that seemed extreme.)

But Lorraine came up with a better idea:

As I couldn’t sleep one night, I thought of placing it in the dryer with several bath towels, on no heat. I now have an almost perfect quilt. 

That is a trick I’m going to remember!


I think it looks perfect as it is :-).

A peek into Linda’s stash…

Linda sent me this photo of her fabric stash. She is using hanging shoe and sweater organizers and they look a lot better than I thought they would. In fact, if I did not already have shelves in my own fabric closet, I’d use this system. I like the way the fabric is compartmentalized.

Linda's Fabric Stash

Linda’s Fabric Stash

Linda has a lot less fabric than she used to have, and a lot less than I have. But you know what? This looks like a really good size for a stash. I know I have too much fabric (again). It’s too hard to find what I’m looking for, especially when I don’t really know what I’m looking for. Having too many choices can make choosing harder, not easier. I am looking at Linda’s very tidy closet with envy :-).

In other news, my foot is doing really well! The doctor had me cut the bandage to relieve the pressure on my foot on day two and that took the pain away. I can even put a little weight on it today (as per doctor’s orders). I’m still only allowed to be up only 5 minutes at a time. The rest of the time I have to sit with my foot up. The better I feel, the harder that is to do, but I’m sticking to it.

Taking care of the ‘girls’…

After we discussed Maya Angelou‘s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings‘ at my book club last week, we found ourselves talking about bras. I’m not sure how we got there, but I know I did some of the talking because I had recently learned things I didn’t know about bra fitting. As it turns out, Jacquie knew way more… and she shared links!

The video by Caty 135 is worth the time it takes to watch it. Here’s what I figured out. I have been in a bra that was both too big and too small since I have had boobs. Sigh.

And then you should read this blog entry from Brittany, Herself. Very informative.

As it turns out, cup sizes are not the same at each band size. It is a proportional relationship. I am not particularly well-endowed and had mostly been fitted in C cups. For that to fit my body, I had to have a bigger band size. I’ve been covered, but never supported, forever. Amazingly enough, I am now in a 32 or 34 band and, gasp, a D or DD cup. That cup size on a bigger band would be bigger as well. On a smaller person than me, that same D cup would be smaller.

If you already knew all this and have been in the correct bra size forever, good for you! If you know someone who obviously needs to know what you know, please do gently share the information. Lorna, Elanor, and I went to Nordstrom’s today and we each came home with bras that fit and we are happy, happy, happy!

Silicone baking cups!

The New York Baking Company contacted me to see if I would like to write an honest review of their silicone baking cups. It took me a while to realize that they probably contacted me because of my blog name, piece o’ cake, rather than the fact that I sometimes write about baking but that’s OK because I do, in fact, sometimes write about baking!

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I’ve seen these silicone baking cups before but had never bought them. Not because they are too expensive (they aren’t), but rather because I wasn’t sure how they would work. Well, I can honestly say that they work great!

I made the Birthday Cupcakes from The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. The problem with gluten free cupcakes is that they have a tendency to fall apart as you peel them out of the papers or try to remove them from a cupcake pan—more so than cupcakes made with wheat flour do. Using the silicone baking cups for GF cupcakes provides a good test for this product.

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The baking cup released the cupcake without tearing it up! I didn’t coat the silicone baking cups with butter, oil, or a spray.

Our grandson, Jack, was spending the night so I decided to frost the cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Jack loves peanut butter! I used a new recipe which said to blend together 4 tbls butter, 1/2 cup honey, 1 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter. I added chocolate chips.

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This frosting is not stiff because you don’t add powdered sugar. Once I realized that I re-read the recipe and it said to place the frosted cake (cupcakes for me) 2 1/2″ beneath a hot broiler for about 1 minute. It would never have occurred to me to do that with a frosted cake but what the heck… I decided to give it a try. (And, no, this is not an April Fool suggestion :-).)

Luckily Lorna was with me. She said silicone does not like to broil and sure enough, the package says not to heat the silicone baking cups above 475°. I carefully removed the frosted cupcakes from the baking cups which was a lot easier than I thought it would be. The baking cups sort of turned inside-out, ejecting the cupcakes. I placed the cupcakes on a baking sheet and slid that under the hot broiler.

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The recipe said to watch the cake carefully and pull it out when the frosting bubbled, but before it burned. That took less than a minute and even so, some of my cupcakes are browner than I would like. The frosting didn’t exactly harden, but it did get less soft once the cupcakes cooled. They are pretty on the plate and they were so very tasty!

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I did put the silicon baking cups back on the cupcakes that were not immediately eaten to keep them from drying out. That, too, worked like a charm.

My honest review of the Silicone Baking Cups from The New York Baking Company is that they are truly wonderful! I have 12, I’m going to get 12-24 more because I know I’m going to be using them a lot.

Side Notes:

  • The cookbook from ATK is a wonderful, marvelous cookbook! I made the flax bread too (twice!) but that’s another story.
  • This frosting would be very tasty on bread—broiled or not.
  • And now that I think of it, baby marshmallows would be a nice addition to this frosting.