Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Concentration" Game

I've been wanting to make a set of these for awhile. My DIL's dad has been hospitalized, and her niece and nephews are often at the hospital with their parents for long stretches at a time. I noticed they were playing Dominoes the other day, and thought maybe they'd like some variety while "camping out" in the waiting room. These are based on that old TV game show "Concentration." I remember watching this show, hosted by Hugh Downs, when I was young.

I cut 3 1/2" squares using my rotary cutter/ruler/mat, although I did make a clear plastic template to fussy-cut some of the squares to get the best look. I cut 20 squares of one fabric for the backs, and 10 pair of different fabrics for the fronts. I used a layer of Warm & Natural inside. I used quarter-inch seams and after turning, I topstiched all around.

I needed to make these quickly so my son could take them to the hospital on Sunday and so I had to choose the fabrics from the stacks I had readily accessible. You could vary both the size and number of blocks based on the age of the child and situation where they would be used. I chose to make small-ish blocks so they would fit on the small tables in the hospital waiting room, but larger blocks might be fun for little kids. Sixteen would have probably been enough, with a 4x4 configuration, but I kept finding more fun fabric, so I finally decided they needed 20, with a 4x5 configuration. Here's a picture with the blocks facing down to start the game.

The first move is to turn over any two blocks.

If they don't match, the blocks get turned back and the players try to remember what they were and where. The next move is to turn over two more blocks, and if one of them matches one of the first two, then they can try to remember where that first one was to make a match.

If they get a match, the player removes those two blocks and makes a pile of their matches.

Anytime a player makes a match, they get an additional turn; if they don't make a match, then the next player gets a turn. The game continues until all the blocks are matched and the one with the most matches wins. Here's a pic of all the blocks facing up.

My favorites are the pickles and the popcorn - no, I'm not pregnant, haha. I also used crabs, apples, pirates, skeletons, spiderwebs, hearts,  sundaes, and the white rabbit.

Of course, I needed a bag to put them in. Fortunately, I had this one laying around. I think my DIL's niece, Nessa, will like the bag as much or more than the game, LOL! I've made a TON of these bags over the years - they are fun and practical for all kinds of uses - I use one for makeup and another for my camera and gear. They have two zip pockets, and an interesting way the zips are applied to form the pockets. And of course, I can make more bias tape, which I adore! Anyways, I hope the kids enjoy the game, and that DIL's dad gets better real soon.

Walker Bag for a Friend

I made this awhile ago, but just didn't seem to get it posted. I was asked to make a "walker bag" for Aunt Pitty Pat's Aunt in California. Since I had several patterns for walker bags already, I said I could make one. Well, the pattern we settled on called for pre-quilted fabric and I didn't have anything suitable, so I had to do the quilting myself, and that added considerably to the time it took to complete this project. At least you can get whatever look/combination you want that way. The pattern is Simplicity 2300. I didn't think very much of the instructions - I've been sewing since I was 5, and usually give a cursory glance, if any, to pattern instructions unless I run into trouble. I had to reread parts of these instructions over and over. I just think they could have been WAY more clear. But it all came together in the end, thank goodness! This is a wrap-around style, with tabs and Velcro. Here's a picture of the "inside" or back side, showing the tabs that wrap over the handles.

This is the "outside" or front. The pockets are gusseted, which provides a lot of room for all the stuff her Aunt needs to pack around :-)  I used an assortment of Lakeside coordinates for the bag.

Here it is, kinda wadded/folded up.

APP requested a special holder for Auntie's water glass, so I fashioned one and put a removable, Duck Tape-covered inset of foam core board to give it stability. When I took this pic, I tried to "faux wrap" it around whatever was handy, to make it look like it would if it were on a walker - if you look closely, you'll see that I used my large storage container that I keep all my selvages in...am I the only one who folds each selvage up neatly?

There are pockets all the way around, although I'm wondering if the largest, front pocket would have been more functional if it had been divided. I got to makes LOTS of bias tape, which is always fun - love making my own :-)

I also included a second bag that I'd made years ago for someone but then decided it was not sturdy enough for their purposes. But APP said to send it along, since her Aunt has 2 different styles of walkers (for inside and outside) and the smaller one would be great for her outside walker where she doesn't need to haul around as much stuff. I love the pink elephant fabric!

 APP said her Aunt LOVED her new bags and got straight to work, filling them up with her necessities! 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pickles? Pickles? Warning: Not for the Faint-at-Heart!

Yesterday, we (Ben, Autumn, and myself) made pickles - dill and refrigerator. It was Autumn's idea since she's never canned anything. I had previously helped her make freezer jam, but I haven't canned anything in more than 13 years and it took me awhile to round up the canner and the rest of the apparatus, but I found everything but the canning funnel - it's on my grocery list now. We did 7 quarts of dills and we are soooo proud of ourselves! Autumn did a great job of packing those cukes into the jars.

Ben wanted to make some Refrigerator Pickle Medley. He'd made these when he and Adam were in 4-H and although we couldn't locate his recipe card for these, we were able to find them quickly on the Internet - don't we love the Internet!!! You chill the veggies for 3 hours on ice before packing them in a container and adding brine. 
The cukes for these pickles needed to be slicely thinly. I got out the Zyliss Mandoline, installed the 1.5mm blade and started slicing, but using the tube that guards important digits from the very sharp blade wasn't working very well, so I just slid the cukes across the blade with my fingers, knowing how sharp it was and how low I could go. Ben said he wanted to slice. He was going way too fast and I said "This is the kind of thing a mother just doesn't want to watch..." and didn't even get the words out of my mouth when he sliced a big chunk right out of his thumb! The chunk was clinging to the underside of the slicer! I didn't think to take a picture of it, and yes, we washed the slicer:-)
Then Autumn said "I'm really good at cutting myself" and took his place. One cuke, and HER fingertip was clinging to the bottom of the slicer! Even bigger chunk than Ben's! This time, I DID take a pic - and aren't you glad I did? YES THAT WHITE OVAL IS A RATHER LARGE CHUNK OF AUTUMN'S INDEX FINGER!!! Ugh.
Bandaids were procured. Ben wanted a SpongeBob Squarepants.

But those finger cuts (machete whacks?) tend to bleed a LOT, and Autumn's just woudn't quit.
After about a half hour, Ben said "Where's the Super Glue?" Autumn said "Does it burn? You first!" But finally after 2.5 hours of Autumn's finger bleeding, Ben made her use the Super Glue and it worked.
Needless to say, mom finished the slicing, and my fingers are fine, thank you very much. We also discussed whether to compost the fingertips. Or perhaps, feed them to the dogs. We finally decided to just put them down the garbage disposal ;-) It's just never dull at our house...