Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Remedies for a Sticky Dilemma

Here are several helpful tips and suggestions for removing sticky residue you’re your iron. Many of the solutions can be found right in your own cupboards.

1. Sprinkle some table salt on a piece of fabric (not a good piece as it will get iron burned) and just run the iron over the salt. Do not use this technique if the sole plate is Teflon.

2. Pull off a square of wax paper, sprinkle table salt on it (use about a teaspoon) and then run your iron over it and in circles.

3. Mix 2 tablespoons of salt with 2 teaspoons of vinegar to form a paste. Use it to clean lots of things, as well as an iron.

4. Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Spritz it with water, lay it on a folded towel and run the hot iron over the damp side of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser until clean.

5. Squeeze a bit of inexpensive toothpaste on a clean dry rag and rub in circular motion on HOT iron. Use a cotton swab to remove residue from holes.

6. Run the sole plate of your warm iron over a fabric softener sheet.

7. Sqeeze a bit of Hot Iron Cleaner paste by Faultless onto a dry terry cotton towel and rub the iron in a circular motion until the sticky residue has been removed.

8. Use the ceramic polish that is recommended for cleaning the ceramic hotplate on a cooktop. It doesn't scratch at all but gently removes the gunk when applied using an old cotton facecloth.

9. A quilter from Australia recommends a squeeze paste product called High Speed by Pental. Squeeze the paste on the hot iron plate and then rub over a scrap piece of fabric.

By Vicki Miles

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day full of bags

I am fascinated with Japanese handicrafts. They are made with love and care. They are also so beautiful and delicate. I am making quite lot of Japanese related crafts but before showing their photos, here is a bit of background.

I cannot remember when I first heard about Japan; probably when I was at school during history lessons. In 1939 Japan invaded Mongolia but quickly, with the help of Soviet Red Army, Mongolian Army expelled them from our borders. After the war was over, near the capital city we had a cemetery with graves of hundreds of Japanese soldiers. During the 1990s many of their remains were returned to Japan.

In April, 2007, my husband and I and our one-year old daughter, who had just started walking, went to Japan to see the cherry blossoms. Our first stop was Tokyo, where we spent a couple of days looking at nearby gardens and frankly, recovering from jet lag.

We went to the Four Seasons Hotel's Japanese Garden. In early April the hotel was holding 20 something Japanese and Western style weddings in one day! We met a Japanese mother and daughter who had dressed for a wedding and asked to have their photos taken with us - sorry, we were tourists! As you can see daughter was wearing kimono with long sleeves, which means she is not married.

After Tokyo we went to Fukuoka and saw a beautiful Japanese garden. In a small plot of land, big rocks will represent the mountain, white gravel will be the sea, and these will be mixed with bridges, temples, waterfalls, bamboo and many carp.

During the 1980s not only Mongolian children but also adults sung a very famous Mongolian song about origami folded paper crane. It was for remembering a little Japanese girl who was ill after the American atomic bomb fell in Hiroshima. And her dream was to make a thousand cranes to recover. We visited the memorial and people all over the world would send origami cranes. I do not make many origami but I can make an origami crane by heart.

Kyoto was our last stop. It was divine for me as I found some craft shops and I was happy to shop till I dropped. There were so many fabrics and bags to buy. Like a typical woman I bought many, but left only three for myself after giving most away. You can see them here. The biggest one is for evening, the medium one for my mobile phone which has little geisha doll hanging from it, and the little one is for my coins; it has a frog symbol for money.

While we were walking in Kyoto's Gion district, a classical tourist area, two maikos (training to be geishas) came to us, asking to take their photo with our daughter! Usually, when tourists see geishas and maikos they ask to have their photos taken with them. In our case it was the contrary. We had our little darling and many Japanese called her kawaii - cute.

After my Japan trip I started making sashiko, traditionally hand stitched on blue working clothes to reinforce them, hence the tradition of white stitching on blue fabric. Nowadays, it can use any coloured fabric or thread. I decorated my daughter's leggings with sashiko stitch:

While searching on the internet for Japanese crafts I found a pattern for a Japanese knot bag. I made it with my Asian-patterned fabric. The handles have different heights.

Recently, I found some Japanese bags that I made a while ago. These bags have a little story to tell. Eight years ago after arriving in Portugal I went to learn Portuguese. A Japanese man was studying with us and at the end of the language course he gave to all female students Japanese scarves. The scarves were beautiful but I was more interested in how Japanese women kept their scarves. I made a couple of bags to keep my scarves, but the fabric is not Japanese. These are square scarves folded and hand stitched in sashiko style.

I hope you enjoyed reading my little story of Japan. One day I would like to go back and shop in the craft paradise in Tokyo.

By Javhlan Byamba

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quilt group was at the IWP Fair

It is almost the end of September and here in Portugal it is sunny and 30 degrees outside. I really do wish to feel cooler. My country, Mongolia, had its first snow and I am missing cooler temperatures or snow.

Cascais Cultural Centre hall was full holding International Women in Portugal's (IWP) Activity and Business Fair. There were many Portuguese and international women and children. These women came to become members of IWP or renew their membership, and to find some activities to join or to see members own businesses.

Cascais Cultural Centre

IWP has many activities and any woman can get membership and join different activities such as: Portuguese language and culture, Arraiolos - Portuguese carpet making, or other language groups - English, French, Italian, and German. For the active sports women there are tennis, walks, and golf. After having done some fitness you can wine and dine with International Diners, Aspiring Chefs, Night Life and Wine Time. Of course, there always will be Baby and Toddler group for young mothers.


Ursula and I represented Patchwork and Quilting group at the Activity. Thank you to Irene, Therese and Ursula for showing your beautiful quilts. Because of that we had some ladies who were interested in joining our group.

by Javhlan Byamba

Monday, September 21, 2009

365 free motion quilts

Leah Day, who has been quilting only for 4 years, she gave her tasks to make 365 free-motion quilt designs. On her website and on her blog she makes designs every day. Designs are not just for experienced quilters but also for beginners too. She gives clear instructions and the most importantly videos, which are very useful for visual learners.

Follow her website and blog and you will learn a lot about her and her short but full quilting experience.

By Javhlan Byamba

IWP Activity & Business Fair 2009

International Women in Portugal (IWP) is holding Activity and Business Fair at Cascais Cultural Centre on Thursday 24 September from 1030 to 1230.

For more than 20 years of
its existence, the IWP has been a bridge between locals and expats. It offers more than 30 activities for its members: language classes, sports, cooking, craft, book discussions, mothers and toddlers groups, etc.

This is a chance to get know the organisation if you are not a member; and for the old members it is a chance to renew their membership and find out more activities.

By Javhlan Byamba

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quilt Bar was full

Another long, hot Portuguese summer is nearly over and soon the rainy season will start to feed thirsty plants. Our thirsty quilters are back from their holidays and almost free from their visitors. They are full of ideas and already have too many quilts to finish before another summer comes. So this Thursday the Quilt Bar was full (including me with a camera in the mirror).

Therese brought her new project. This time she was making a table runner for her sister, and she taped all her blocks to keep them in the right order. Previously she had sewn blocks together in the wrong order - she has learnt from that! She is a very generous quilter because almost every single quilt that she makes will be (or was) a present.

(From left) Irene, Corinne and Therese

Irene was working on her favourite tiny projects and was quiet and busy. She made a little "Sunny Days" quilt with embroidery . She did most of the sewing and now she has to do lots of hand stitching. She makes so many little things with so much patience and they are gorgeous!
Our Queen, Regina came after spending summer in Algarve. She was quietly sitting and hand stitching the blocks for her yellow and blue quilt. At the end of the day she said that she did too much in so little time. Keep going Regina!

Ursula, our sewing machine expert went around helping people and gave some advice how to use their machines. When she finished this she gave a little talk about Jenny Bowker's workshop. Jenny Bowker has been in Portugal already twice and many ladies enjoyed these workshops. Now I have proper sewing machine and if she comes next year I might have luck to see her art. Ursula showed us pictures of some of the amazing quilts.

After reading from Angela's blog that she made a basket, Ursula tried as well. She said that it was easy.
Sally started her new project but this time she was not sitting patiently and working hard. Usually, when she starts her project she almost does not sleep and eat and the very next day her quilt will be ready to be shown. She chose to have a more relaxing morning.
Anabela arrived that morning with her Christmas project. She was ironing, cutting, sewing and even managed to play with my three-year-old daughter. When Anabela left the Quilt Bar she needed to go to a quilt shop to buy more fabrics for her project. (Sorry, no photos of her working hard; next time).

We had three American ladies Garen, Cathy and Bette, all of whom were busy with their work. Garen was helping as usual to ladies because she is a very experienced quilter.

Corinne is new to quilting and visited us. She is the proud owner of a new Bernina and tried to do free-motion quilting. But her machine was having problems (even if I think she did very well on her example) and Garen advised her what to do.

If you have problem with free-motion quilting you should try the following things:
  1. change needle, it could be blunt;
  2. change thread, sewing machines are too complicated like us women;
  3. change fabric, fabric thickness could cause problems;
  4. at last call Mário our Bernina dealer, he is good with solving problems.
Happy quilting,
by Javhlan

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jenny Bowker workshop

Jenny Bowker came once more to Portugal and she had four days of workshop in Caldas da Rainha. I was so lucky to attend the last two days. The workshop was about playing with Kaleidoscopes. It was great fun, we learned a lot about designs and colors. Jenny had some wonderful quilts to show us. Some she took out of an exhibition and it was exciting to have a close look at her work.
We hope that she will return again next year. She has so much more to show and to tell us.

This is one of the kaleidoscope quilts that Jenny explained to us. It is called MANDALA

A great kaleidoscope! It has the name GLEAMING COHORTS

This is HASSAN WITH THE GLASS. Hassan blows glass in a tiny room in the centre of a square opposite the Qaitbey Mosque in the City of the Dead in Cairo. This quilt has so many details and I was looking and working my soul in it for some hours at the workshop!

A wonderful work of Jenny Bowker!
There are so very many details again in this quilt. It was for me a "dream-come-true" that I could look at this so close and even hold and touch it. Normally you should not touch a quilt............... I know!

This is Abu Ali at his house looking out a window. The kind smile in his eyes is breathtaking real. Abu Ali sells metalls on the Friday Market in the City of Dead in Cairo.

the beautiful quilt! Photo by Jenny Bowker

Jenny is explaining what we need to do and how to get started.

Fabulous Quilting!!!!!!!!!

Alda made this quilt for Mário on the new Bernina 830,so he can display a work of this machine in his shop. He was very much pleased with this. We all admired Alda's work very much. She did this very nicely.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Birte's Baby Quilt

Birte is so very busy!! A baby-girl is born in her neighbourhood and she made quickly a quilt as a welcome present. We can clearly recognize Birte's favourite colour in this quilt again!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Birte's Birthday Quilt

Birte finished the quilt for her sister's birthday, that will be next week. Birte was very busy and she made two beautiful quilts with lots of roses this summer. She sent a photo of the quilt. It is only missing the label, then the quilt can be presented to Birte's sister.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Holidays over!

For some of us summer holidays have finished and we met at the Quilt Bar on 3 September. Arabella and I have not sorted out ourselves with work but we helped Irene cut her jeans circles. She is now preparing to make a new quilt and her sister gave her lots of nice fabric when Irene visited her in Holland. Irene came with bagful of work.
When Garen left Malaysia in 2002 her quilting buddies gave her blocks to remember them and on Thursday, I think Garen finished this long lasting memory project. This is Garen's Halloween quilt/applique. I liked Ursula's different sun quilts. They were drawn on freezer paper and and she sew straight on the fabric.

By Javhlan


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