Make Homemade Laundry Starch, Ridiculously Easy.

How I think I look when I'm ironing.

How I think I look when I’m ironing.

I had one of those “why didn’t I think about this before” moments this evening. I’m an ironer, I iron my jeans, my pillowcases, and even my lunch napkins. The thing is, I sometimes, well most of the time, let things pile up and end up doing a lot of ironing at once. I’m also a laundry starch fan, preferably my blue jeans could stand up on their own when I get done ironing them. That means I go through a lot of starch.

I gave up on spray starch years ago and started using liquid starch in a spray bottle. Problem is I’m about as good at remembering to buy a jug of starch as I am at getting the laundry done promptly. Tonight things had come to critical mass and I really needed to get some ironing done, and oh course, I was out of starch. So as any modern girl does I Googled “Homemade Laundry Starch”, and went, “Duh.” I knew laundry starch was nothing but cornstarch and water. So I dug out my much ignored box of starch and made up a batch. It was way too easy. Recipe is below (as if anybody really needed one).


3 cups + 1/4 cup water

1 Tablespoon of cornstarch (it’s way back there in your cabinet, trust me)

A few drops of essential oil

Put the 3 cups of water on to boil. While you are waiting, mix the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup of water. When the water boils, add the cornstarch and stir. Turn off the heat and add the essential oil. Cool and put in a spray bottle.

I used magnolia oil, it smells great. This recipe makes a fairly heavy starch, you can adjust the amount of cornstarch to your preference, or just add more water to the bottle and shake well.

File this under stuff I should have figured out long ago.

Just Staying Busy, Very Busy

I have a new kitten in the house, his name is Starbuck, but I’m seriously considering changing his name to Captain Destructo. His newest thing is scaling the blinds, realizing he can’t get down, then just letting go in free fall onto the floor. Kittens are amazingly resiliant creatures, no harm has come to him. I can’t say as much for the blinds.

starbuckStarbuck is either a complete ball of energy, or asleep. I love having a kitten around, the older 2 cats not so much. My old lady cat, Princess just ignores him, as she does anything and everything that annoys her. Ziggy, my younger Maine Coon, on the other hand, seems near to having a nervous breakdown.  Things are getting better slowly, but I get the sense that he would really rather not have the kitten practice his ninja moves on him.

On the work front, I’m mainly doing name and business patches. Not terribly exciting, but it does keep me going. I do get excited when I get an order from a cool business, I did some work for vehicle performance parts company last week, that was fun. It reminds me of the days when I was working with folks like that during my racing days. Sometimes I miss that, but not really. It seems like you remember all the fun stuff and forget about all the travel, long days in the heat, and stress of competition. But it sure was fun when we were winning.



The patches did come put week, and it’s always fun to work with folks who know exactly what they want and are pleased when I can make it happen.




I’ll be working on getting some new embroidery designs up on Etsy today. I’m loving the the ability to do direct digital downloads, but getting everything in order has proven to be quite a challenge. But once I get it down, it should go much smoother. I hope.


Giant Moths and Embroidery Design

Wedding dress is still on hold. Not the man, just the dress. I sometimes worry that folks look at me like this:

morello  I’m not a crazy stalker, I swear.

Anyway, I’ve been working on some new designs. They started out as something I was working on for a tote bag, that turned into more of a purse, that I’m still working on. Anyway, I came up with these…

Moon Design

Moon Design


Moth Design













I came up with these while I was sitting out on my porch one evening. The biggest moth I have ever seen landed on the wall beside me. I thought it was a bat at first, it was about 6 inches across. After some Googleing I found it was a cecropia moth, and that they are fairly rare in these parts. Strange fact: they don’t eat, in fact they don’t even have mouths, they’ve done all their eating as caterpillars.

I have been wanting to offer some digital downloads of my designs, so I did put these up in my Etsy store. Wow, there’s a lot of work involved there, beyond even the tweaking and testing of the designs. Making everything available in a variety of formats and sizes, as well as coming up with a decent description that covers all the bases takes some time. Now that I have the first ones roughed out, I’m hoping it will get easier down the line.











My Muslin Fabric Finally Arrived

I never thought it would happen, but my muslin fabric finally arrived today. Here’s a pic, I had a hard time capturing the color, it’s a very very deep navy. 

ImageIt’s also a bit heavier than my real dress fabric, but I think I can work with it.                     



ImageThat’s Genie and Madge in the background. They’ve been keeping me busy while I waited for my fabric to arrive. Genie showed up today, she was an Ebay purchase and the dirtiest machine I had ever seen. They had cleaned up the case, but not the machine itself. In fact, I’m pretty sure the bobbin area hadn’t been cleaned since it was made in the 70’s. It hadn’t been oiled or greased either, I was afraid to plug it in until I’d done some work on it. I pulled actual felt from around the feed dogs, and there must have been a kitten’s worth of lint in the bottom of the case. But now she’s running well for me. I’m going to play around with it a bit tonight. 


Madge, the blue Touch and Sew was an inheritance from my Mother-in-law that I have had for several years. She bought it new, I’ve still got the receipt, it cost almost $400 in the 1960’s, and she got very good use out of it. That machine made my husband’s and sibling-in-laws clothes from childhood to wedding, her grandchildren after that, as well as many of her own outfits, quilts, and home dec items. 


The machine had set for several years before she came to me and she had a few problems. The techs call these Touch and Throws for a reason, they have a wind in place bobbin, and nylon gears. It was sewing when I got it, but I could not get the stitch to balance or the bobbin to wind well, so I sent it out for repair. It came back worse than it was when I sent it in. I tinkered around with it for a bit, then just gave up on it, and kept it around for sentimental reasons. 

Last week I was looking through a magazine that showed some needle felted embellishments, and I thought they were pretty cool. I have some hand needle felting stuff around but could see that it just wasn’t going to work for this kind of stuff. I tok a look at needle felting machines, but even at their relatively low price, it still seemed a lot for a machine that just does one thing. Then I saw the conversion kits for regular sewing machines that feature multiple felting needles, and I was intrigued. But then I thought, you don’t need a bobbin, or timing for this. Madge came to mind. 

I’m still in the experimental phase, but I think I have Madge converted to felting, with just what I have around. But that’s another post. 

Singer 99 (Mostly) Reassembled

I got my Singer 99 put back together, for the most part. I ended up having to do a lot of gluing and shimming to get it to sit level in the case. So now I’m waiting for the glue to dry on the studs in back before I give it a test run. 

ImagePlease excuse the paint runs I didn’t notice until I got the machine back in the base. It’s not coming back out of there, the damn thing must weigh 30 pounds, I had to get the man involved just to get it back in. I’ll just do a quick sand and spray as soon as the weather warms up again. There’s really not much you could do to make it pretty anyway. 

I bought this machine as a back up, and it really hasn’t worked out for me. It’s a great machine and will sew everything I throw at it, but it just hasn’t been a go-to for me. I thought I’d use it when I had a free motion quilting project on my big computerized beast, but it seems I’m much too spoiled for that. Everything I need to do either seems to involve anything but a straight stitch, a larger machine bed, or both. I may take this up to our lovely second home in Iowa (crappy apartment the man is staying in for work) and leave it for when I’m up there. I’ll just have to careful about what projects I bring with me. 

In other news, I made a ton of these over the weekend..


I designed these one night and put them in my Etsy shop a few months ago. I’ve been very surprised by how many folks have been interested in them. I love giant lizards setting things on fire, but didn’t realize other people would too. 

I’m still waiting on my muslin fabric for the wedding dress.


Muslining My Wedding Dress

I got all inspired yesterday and decided to start the muslin for my wedding dress. I got out my pattern and took a look at the fabric I’d ordered, then I looked at my stash. Not a thing that would work. I couldn’t believe it, I could practically open a fabric store with everything I’ve got.

I just didn’t have anything with a similar wight and hand as the fabric I’ll use for the final dress, so I did something about it. Yes, I was forced to order more fabric. Luckily I found something I think will work, at a reasonable price.

Muslin fabric

Muslin fabric

The fabric in question.

The real dress fabric.

It’s a brocade of a similar weight and hopefully will make a dress that I can wear on other occasions without looking too much like my wedding dress.

I know I could do a quick fitting muslin out of something else, but I really want t go through all the steps of making the dress. That way I can find any little things in the construction that might give me problems. I’m picky like that.


And since I had some time, I decided to work on the case of a Singer 99 that I had purchased a few months ago. The machine itself is very nice, a crinkle finish with enough cosmetic problems to make it a very usable machine, and it sews like a pro.

crinkle 99


The case is a different story. It has just enough scratches and peeling veneer to make it very poor candidate for a careful refinishing, so I decided to just do a quick and dirty repaint.

I just sanded it enough to take paint and went for a spray can hammer-tone finish in gold, because I had the paint around. Since the paint on these machines are know as a Godzilla finish, I thought it was appropriate. I’ll try to get everything back together and post some pictures today.

I also had good access to the bottom of the machine itself and took the opportunity to clean it and oil and grease it. Good thing I did, looks like the previous owner only used oil. So my machine may run even better after I get it back together.

So the sewing day wasn’t completely wasted.

Finding Trims, Time, and Peace

Yes, I’m procrastinating, but only a little bit, I really have been busy. 

I went up to see the finance last weekend, he’s working 7 days a week right now, so most of my “sewing for time” went away with that. I did get a chance to stop by a fabric store and take a look at some trims, you know the ones I’m not sure if I’m going to use or not, and buy a couple of things. 



This is what I came up with, I think I hate them both. These just isn’t a whole lot out there in the stores I can get to. I did find one a really loved, square crystals set in sort of a square gold link, it would have been perfect, but it was gold. I really need something in a white metal. I’m almost certain I won’t end up using either of these for this project. They just don’t look nice enough. I’ll try to look around online, but I know I’m going to get overwhelmed. We”l see.

The time thing is quite another matter. I came home early yesterday morning and had to attend a friends mother’s funeral. This has become all to common. We’re all at the age we’re losing our parents, and that seems to be the only time we get together anymore. It truly sucks to be at the time of life when you try to remember which funeral was the last time you saw someone. 

I woke up this morning thinking, “I remember that person.”, as me memories of folks of my parents generation went through my head. I’m becoming like them, with all the people who have gone on being very real, not just stories of folks I don’t remember.  It makes me wonder if I’m silly to be making a wedding dress at this point in my life. But I’m going to do it anyway.


My fabric came! My fabric came!

My fabric came, and it’s just perfect. I haven’t had a chance to do a darn thing about it yet. Life’s been very busy. It’s been all lawyers, birthdays, motorcycles, and custom orders.

My Loverman turned 50 last weekend, so there was all the hoopla about that, and he bought a motorcycle (insert mid-life crisis joke here). I also had a couple of custom orders for the pincushions pictured below. They are a bit labor intensive, so between that and the ebay stuff, I get nothing else done yesterday.


Then there was the whole Craftsy situation. I have been try to purchase a class for my mother-in-law (who’s birthday was over 2 weeks ago) and have had no luck. The darn thing just wouldn’t go into my cart. When I emailed customer service, they suggested I switch to Google Chrome, I thanked them for the suggestion, but declined.

They did offer me the class for free, which was really nice, but it seems to take advantage of it, I’ll have to change my browser to Google Chrome. I’m just really not into that. I use a Mac, and an iPhone, a lot. The iCloud thing works well for me. I really don’t want another browser on my computer just for one website, it seems a grand waste of space.

The last email I received from them in a “pretend-you-are-speaking-to-a-2-year-old” tone, detailing how to install Google Chrome, kinda brought out the sarcastic beast in me. So I’m thinking that free class may be a no go.

I do like Craftsy, their content is excellent, I’ve loved every class I’ve ordered, but they are leaving a bad taste in my mouth right now, and my mother-in-law still has no class, paid for or not.

I’m hoping to get the pattern alterations on the wedding dress done today, and the muslin cut. I’m thinking I won’t have to do much more than a small bust adjustment, since the pattern isn’t much fitted below the bodice.


I’m going with current measurements. If I should lose some weight (yeah, I’m not betting on that either) before I need the dress, I can always go with the big bra option. I always lose weight in the boobs first. I’m still debating if I should just consider the muslin a future source of quilt and appliqué materials, or actually make the dress out of something I might consider wearing. I think inn the right fabric, and minus the trim (which I’m thinking about not using anyway) the lines of the dress are simple enough I could come up with something I could actually wear. I’ll have to take a look at my stash.

I Just Spent $50 a Yard for Fabric OMG

OK, it’s for a very special dress, and it’s from Mood, but I’ve never in my life spent so much.  It scares the heck out of me.

The fabric in question.Italian Pale Turquoise Abstract Brocade  and it’s godamn polyester.  I also purchased an eggshell lining at a price I usually pay for fashion fabric. Yes, I will be muslining, thank you very much.

It’s for this pattern, Burda 7112, view B.

Burda 7112I cannot wait to receive it. I’ll have to just look at it for a while, feel it, get to know it, and really build up my confidence before I cut it.

I’m still debating about the neckline trim. I’m thinking with the brocade, the dress is not going to need it. Once I get a good look at the fabric, I’m thinking I know which way I want to go.

I’m super excited about this project and may start the muslin tomorrow if I have time. Which I probably won’t. It’s my man’s birthday, and he’s going to need my attention.

Burda 7112

My Blog Doesn’t Recognize Me Anymore

I’ve been ignoring this blog way too much lately. Like a cat after you return from vacation, my blog is pretending to not even recognize me.

I promise I’ll start to pay it more attention.

Lately I’ve been working on a lot of appliqué. I started this one for my fiancée, but it turned out a bit girlie. Sooooo….

Looks pretty cool on my jacket. Sorry Marty.

Looks pretty cool on my jacket. Sorry Marty.

peace guitar patch 2


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