Snapshots of life and crafts on our little homestead

Archive for the ‘tutorials’ Category

Dehydrating winter squash

When I rotated our cold room produce there were a few winter squash that were reaching the end of their storage life. The Hubbard, butternut and buttercup squash that were starting turn around the stem ends were roasted, puréed, dehydrated, ground into powder and moved to dry goods storage.

I find that dehydrated wInter squash re-hydrates well and can be used in any dish that calls for puréed squash or pumpkin. I have also found that most winter squash is interchangeable in pies, quick breads, soups and stews.

The process I use to create squash powder can be found in the images below.

Large Hubbard squash from our harvest this past fall
Seeds and associated pulp removed
Seeds ready to be washed and dried for planting next year and
pulp set aside to feed to the chickens
Roasted chunks ready to be mashed and placed on dehydrator sheets
Dehydrator loaded and ready to start. For my type of dehydrator
this process will take about 10 hours.
What the squash will look like at the end of the process
Place the dehydrated squash in a blender and process to a fine powder
Dried squash powder
place the powder in an airtight container and store away from direct sunlight.
For most recipes mix 1/4 cup of powder into about 3/4 cups of warm water and let sit for about 15 minutes before usinig.

Tree of Life Quilt: Part 2

To create the large number of half triangle squares for my tree of life quit the following quick piecing method was used to create 16 half triangle blocks at a time.



To start with you will need: fabric pieces cut for both triangles in the block, mechanical pencil, rotary cutter, and ruler marked at the cut point. I am making 1 1/2 inch blocks so my fabric pieces were cut to 6 I inches by 9 iniches, and ruler is marked with painters tape at 1 7/8 iniches.


Next on the back side of each of the light fabric pieces make a grid with pencil. An inch at the bottom and right, and in my case 1 7/8 iniches intervals up and from the right to left.


Next add the stitch guides by drawing a diagonal line through the squares. For this 16 block piece you should end up with two diamond shapes inside of the grid. Then sandwich the marked fabric piece with the contrasting fabric piece face to face.


Stitch a 1/4 inich away from each side of the diamond lines.


The stitched fabric sandwich should look like this picture.


Cut along all of the pencil lines. It is easiest to cut all of the straight line first, then move onto the diagonal cuts.


Once all of the pencil lines have been cut you will have 16 half square blocks that can be pressed and tails trimmed.

Holiday bell tutorial

Last year our family decided that all adults would receive homemade items as holiday gifts. The first year we gifted mostly goods from the kitchen along with a small craft item. This year I was able to start a bit earlier so more creativity could be applied to items in the gift baskets.

One of the gift items I made this year were needlework holiday bells. The creation of the items allowed me to try some new patterns and create products that may be treasured and passed down to younger family members.

Holiday bell

I was so happy with the way that bells turned out that I desired to share a tutorial defining the process with you.

  1. Measure out two pieces of canvas. For the bell in this tutorial I used Aida 14 cloth in a cream color. The larger canvas size made the pattern very easy to complete.
    blackwork bell pattern
  2. Choose a pattern and border for the bell. I have a fondness for Blackwork so I used free patterns found at Blackwork Journey, Imaginesque, or Wyrdbyrd’s Nest.
    holiday bell canvas pieces
  3. Stitch your selected pattern and border on one canvas piece and just a border on the second piece. The patterned piece will be used for the outside of the bell and the unit with just a border will inside.
  4. Cut about a 1/2 inch border around the stitch pieces and press the border under.
    holiday bell stitching pieces together
  5. Sandwich the backsides of the two pieces  together and hand stitch around the edges.


  6. Fold the stitched unit i half with the inside of the up, then hand sew each end from the fold to abut 1/2 way down the sides.


  7. Fold the unit in half on the other side keeping the inside of the bell to the outside, and stitch from the fold to about halfway down on both sides.


  8. Turn the bell right side out.


  9.  Shape the unit into a bell shape by adjusting the folds. Next add your favorite accents for the clanger and hanger.

    Holiday bell

Hexagon Flowers

IMG_0967I love these hexagon flowers — they are very easy to make and scale. They also help in using up leftover fabric and batting. I cut a large number of fabric and batting units and carry them with me to work on during car trips, waiting for appointments and  to work on during meetings at work.

The following will step you through cutting and sewing together the units.

  1. Cut 8″ fabric hexagons (6″ & 4″ ones work as well if you like smaller units). Note: the finished flowers will be half the size of the fabric units.
  2. Cut 4″ batting hexagons (3″ & 2″ ones for smaller units).IMG_0970
  3. Mark the center of the  batting and the center of fabric hexagons and each of the sides on the back of the units.
  4. Layer the hexagon, right side down, with the batting hexagon centered on top of the backside of the fabric hexagon. Keep the layers centered and take a couple of hand stitches at the very center, or use a fusible spray.
  5. Fold opposite sides of the fabric hexagon around the front, matching the center marks on the side of the hexagon with the center of the batting. Hold in place with a few hand stitches.


  6. Continue folding all six sides of the fabric around to the front, leaving the folded ears loose.
  7. Fold the hexagon in half; pin the ear (triangle) so it lines up perfectly. Sew the triangles, wrong sides together, along the small batting hexagon.


  8. Open up each ear and flatten. With right sides together, fold up the loose point at the center so it lines up with the outside point of the hexagon. It will look like a diamond with the wrong sides of the fabric showing.
  9. Bring the two long raw edges together. Press in place.


  10. Bring the top half of the diamond down to meet in the center of the hexagon. This will give you 3 dimensional diamonds, with all sides finished, on top of a hexagon. Take one or two stitches to tack the points down.
  11. Stitch a small button in the center of the hexagon to cover the center tips of the diamonds.



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