Preparations…

One of the things I love most about living in Alaska is the extreme change in seasons.  The days get noticeably shorter and the temperatures descend week by week.

Our winters are long and there are lots of chores to complete before the snow flies. This weekend I tackled a few.

First, I installed new weatherstripping around my front door.  I went to check the mail the other day and it was getting dark.  I had left the light on inside and as I went to go back in, I noticed all the light I could see through the gaps in my door!  Yikes.  No wonder it’s felt so drafty the past few winters!

The new weatherstripping is magnetic (high tech!).  It was pretty easy to do.  The pieces come longer than necessary and they’re trimmed to fit (just with kitchen shears). The pack I got had 2 sides and a top piece.

In the trim around the door, there’s a kerf, or groove in the trim that accepts store-bought weather stripping.  So handy!

Here’s a handy graphic showing how it works.

While in the process of trimming the weatherstripping to fit my door, I ended up cutting a perfect cross section:

The tree shaped part is what is jammed in the groove.  The magnet on the bottom seals to my metal door.

It’s not easy to take pictures of weatherstripping, but rest assured that magnetic strip is sealed tight against the door! (That’s the trim on the left, the weather stripping in the center and my door on the right)

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Fusible Web Appliqué 

Remember I told you I had plenty more posts about the Row by Row quilt I did?!  Well, I wanted to expand a little on fusible web appliqué. 

I use a product called “Softfuse.”  You want to make sure whatever you use is meant to be stitched through, and I like Softfuse because it doesn’t feel like cardboard when it’s fused together.

Most appliqué patterns come with 2 parts: a page of items to trace (usually reversed since the fusible web is applied to the back of the fabric) and a layout page so you can get the pieces put together correctly.13-IMG_4749

I trace the outline of each piece using a sharpie (use black and not colors!).  Then I cut roughly around the shapes arranged by color.  I fuse these to the corresponding fabric with a hot iron.  Then, I turn on a good tv show and cut, cut, cut.  I use a nice pair of scissors made for detailed fabric cutting.  I splurged on them at Joann’s (with a 50% off coupon!).  There was enough cutting for this quilt that my hands got a little crampy.  Actually I just realized I had told someone (in a self-deprecating way) “eh, yeah, you just iron these things on…”  Geez, I should have remembered how my hands felt when I trivialized the amount of work I put into this!

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So here’s a shot from one of my cutting sessions– you can see my fine point sharpie, some bears, a tree and some dragonfly bodies I had already cut out.  The dragonfly wings are waiting to be cut.

After everything’s cut out, you fuse it to the background fabric!

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Love those fish!!!

Softfuse is soft but it doesn’t seem to hold up to much abuse, so you definitely should sew it down.  I used an invisible thread (filament) for most of the blocks but I didn’t sew everything down.  I kind of wish I had but I can always do that later if it bothers me.  For now the quilt is hanging in my office!  It makes a very colorful decoration!