Zig Zag Forever.

I almost can’t wait for 20 years from now when I look at this quilt (or pictures of it) and think, “Oh my goodness…I was totally into that whole zig-zag craze.” But you know…I’m a sucker for it. Bring on the freaking zig-zag chevron goodness. Lately, quilts have been the specific object of my chevron obsession. The ones that are all bright and cozy and perfect. Gathering up a barrel of scrap fabric, I decided to undertake one for myself. IMG_5967 IMG_6528 IMG_6527 IMG_6539 IMG_6537IMG_6190 IMG_6517 IMG_6451 IMG_6444Beside the obvious fact that it was time consuming, the pattern is relatively simple. Rectangles 3 1/4″ X 6″, sewn together into blocks with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Alternate blocks to make your zig-zag pattern and sew rows together on the diagonal. Then sew the rows together and trim it all down to square. Bam.

Zig Zag Quilt

I used up my scraps for the patterned sections, with a higher quality white cotton for the rows between. I found an old king-sized sheet with a nice, subtle, blue pattern at a thrift store that has that perfect sheet feel. Ya know, crisp and soft at the same time? I used that for the backing and binding. It’s 17 blocks across and 24 blocks down (12 rows of pattern, 12 rows of white). I honestly can’t remember what the final measurements are and I’m too comfortable on my couch to get up and measure it right now. It would qualify as a slightly small full. I lay it out on my queen-sized bed regardless of it’s smaller size, and it’s perfect.

Go zig-zag.

I think I can…

I know this could be awesome. I’ve got a pile of projects waiting to be…well serged. But dammit I can’t even thread the thing.

IMG_5776Honestly…I’m not really sure how it was even created in the first place. It almost seems mistakenly put together. I imagine a bunch of people in lab coats and protective goggles standing around: “Well folks, I don’t think we can get this thing…oh wait!…Ok yes, we got it working…does anyone know how we did that?”

Besides all the hemming and altering of clothes I currently own, here are two projects that I can’t wait to get going on:

This absolutely adorable jersey bubble skirt – I can already see my niece running around in this. Bubble1 These fabric napkins must be in my hands as soon as possible. The pop of color and lovely slub linen are just too perfect for me. I think they’d make great Christmas gifts. Napkins

Sigh. I’ve got a serger. One that I can tell is awesome. Lent to me by a lovely women. Now…to thread it.

Cleaning your oven…with magic! (AKA baking soda and dryer sheets)

I don’t think I’ve ever posted about cleaning anything. The exception being this Pinterest Fail. Really, I’m not that good at cleaning and I don’t keep things clean so why would you want to hear from me about it? Recently I’ve been trying to be more “responsible” and annoying stuff like that. It seems to me, taking care of our things (AKA cleaning them) is responsible because, A. they last longer, which prevents us from buying more crap, B. a clean home-environment is a healthier and more pleasant place to exist and C. you’re allowing your space to be welcoming and open to others. Not that you can’t have people over when your place is trashy, but really, who wants someone to come into their home and be distracted by nastiness? I’m not talking immaculate level cleaning here folks. I’m talking basic upkeep. I SUCK at it. So I have to talk myself into all these reasons why it’s good for me to put down Candy Crush and/or turn off my sewing machine to sweep, wash the comforter or clean the oven.

So in my quest to clean the oven, which I was dreading, I went to the store and was a little worried about the products I saw there. They were either too chemically, too expensive or too something. I don’t know what that last one is, but I like listing in thirds.

Google. ALWAYS the solution. I googled, “Easy and safe way to clean your oven”. And BAM! I stumbled upon two incredibly cheap ($3 for me) and sorta easy way to clean your oven. This may not be news to some of you cleaning veterans out there, but baking soda is your best friend. Since this discovery yesterday I have already used it to clean out my kitchen drains and treat a mosquito bite. Marissa, at FinelyGround.net, shows you how this miracle product can clean ovens no problem.

At first I thought to myself, there is no way that just baking soda and water will clean my oven. NO WAY. Well, it’s a freaking Christmas miracle, cause it totally works. Still takes some elbow grease, but that comes with the task. You basically spritz your oven with water, sprinkle baking soda and go to town with a hard bristle brush. Wipe clean, and keep hitting the worst areas until it meets your standards. I went out and bought a new box of baking soda and used almost the whole thing. I found that a baking soda paste worked really well. I used a pan scraper to easily scrape off the worst of it, after baking soda had sat on it for a while. (Some let baking soda sit overnight…I don’t have that type of patience).

My before pictures turned out blurry somehow, but I promise you there was some pretty nasty, pretty burnt-on grossness. It was hard to see through the window. Here is an after shot:

IMG_5300Now before you dive into oven cleaning, I found this other seriously amazing trick to cleaning your oven racks. Now you might be thinking, “Who cares about clean oven racks?”. Before I had a clean oven I can tell you that I sure didn’t. After you have a clean oven the dirty racks just make it look like you’ve never cleaned…which is discouraging…which for me is bad cleaning mojo. If I feel like all the work I did was for naught, I’ll just stop and not clean again until 2015. This method of cleaning felt like an experiment, making the whole process, well fun. Jill, over at OnegoodthingbyJilee.com, explains that there are anti-static agents in dryer sheets that weaken the bond between the food and the pan(s) while the fabric softening agents soften the baked-on food. So she filled her tub with hot water, some dish soap for good measure (1/4 cup), 6 dryer sheets (I did a few more), and let them soak for 18 hours. I only let mine soak for about 4 hours. Best would be overnight I assume.

034You can kinda see the baked on grossness here. My jaw dropped when I checked on these bad-boys a few hours later. I used a dryer sheet to scrub away at the gunk…it just floated off. So much to my surprise that I hollered, “Matt! Get in here and look at this!”.

Now, there were still parts that didn’t come off easily, but I can tell if I took my pan scraper to ’em they would come off no problem, or if I let it all soak longer. I stopped with about 75% gunk removed. Which pleased me and looks clean in my oven.

SO BOOYEAH! Look at me, being all adult and taking care of things. Got any tricks I should know about?