Cyborg Sewing

Have you ever wondered about technology and how much it is involved in our daily lives?  I’m not talking about how it influenced our lives, I’m saying how much it is involved.  I don’t mean using the computer for work, or Facebook-ing, or even our smartphones. I mean every day activities of life. Neither did I until these past few days. Stop rolling  your eyes, I am not going to get all philosophogical, but I did have a moment.

E55AB486-636E-46A5-ABF8-5DA2264CC617Big D. and I took a ride to Lancaster—Ephrata PA to be more exact. My goal was to bring my Bernina 440 QE to be serviced but ended up walking out with an upgrade – 770 QE.  It was a huge leap of an upgrade.

Now mind you, I was happy with my 440 but Ervine from Hinkletown Sewing made me a “offer I couldn’t refuse”.  I said good-by to my 440 (until now I realized I never named her…she was always “440”. How impersonal!  Like a cyborg. Come to think of it, my New Home doesn’t have a name either – only my Featherweight.  Do only featherweights get a name?  I will leave this for another discussion.) and put the newest addition to  my family in the car. I have to admit there were feelings of guilt leaving 440.  Sometimes my attachment to inanimate objects is a little much.

It was on the way home I realized that “770” really IS a cyborg.  It is ALL computerized.  It was then I though how much technology is involved in my life.  My washer, dryer, car (that “low tire pressure” light gives me such anxiety) all computerized.  I don’t know what I would do without navigation – I think I’d forgotten how to read a map. MY COFFEE MAKER!! – EEEGADS! Even my camera doesn’t use film anymore.

Does technology really make life easier or just more convenient? Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool that 770 can cut my thread and raise and lower the presser foot just by pushing a button.  But honestly how hard is it to grab the scissors or raise or lower the lever (oh, by the way, 770 doesn’t have a lever to raise/lower the foot). I just don’t know the answer.

I often think of past quilters/sewers when I use my Featherweight, I think of their creativity and their ingenuity. I am excited to get to know 770 and maybe think of future quilters and creators.




Shamrock Shenaigans

Shenanigans were abound this St.Patrick’s Day beginning with the fact we celebrated on March 18th.  I had registered for the New Jersey State School Nurse Associations Spring Conference and guess what day it was on?  How did you know?? March 17th.  The conference was well worth waiting the extra day.  In a way, St. Patrick himself was sending his blessing, as St. Patrick’s Day fell on Saturday.  If I wanted to have any of my chromosomal offsprings to enjoy  the classic Irish-American corned beef and cabbage (yes it is Irish-American. The early Irish immigrants “borrowed” using an inexpensive cut of meat -brisket from the Jewish immigrants and made it their own. The things I know) dinner with me, it was not going to be on Saturday.  So in the end, it worked out for all of us.

My Irish Grandmother left me her famous Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe.  Well, she really didn’t technically “leave” it to me – she showed me how to make it. Every year I make this and every year I ask myself the same question, “Why do I only make this on March 17th?  I should make this more often. It is so easy”.  The answer is, I don’t know. It’s delicious and I hope you enjoy it too.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

You will need:
1 -4-5 lb corned beef
2-3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 palmful whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 onion-peeled and cut in half
1 palmful whole cloves

This is want you need to do:

To a large stock pot add: garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, onion, and whole cloves. Place meat on top and cover sufficiently with cold water.  Bring to a boil and lower to simmer. Simmer for 2 hours.


Remove the meat from the pot and place in shallow pan. Set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Add to the water, carrots, cut into chunks, and small new potatoes and boil for about 20 minutes.  Add quartered cabbage and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender.


Wow! That’s a lot of carrots! There were a lot of us for dinner. Did you notice the green pistachio muffins in the background? When I quartered the cabbage, I kept the core intact.  I find this prevents the cabbage from falling apart while cooking.   I cut it off before I platter the cabbage.



While the vegetables are cooking, make a paste  from dark brown sugar, spicy brown mustard, and ground cloves.  Smear the paste on the fatty side of the meat and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until the sugar melts.  Remove the meat from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes or it will be stringy when you cut it.  Cut it against the grain.

This meal goes really well with a cold Guinness.




A New Fresh Look

Have you noticed Memo’s new fresh look?  Special thanks to my web designer, Nick, who added some well needed sunshine to the site.  The grey background is gone and so is the 1980’s mint green.  Sometimes all we need is a fresh coat of paint and not a total remodeling.

I am much happier and I can’t wait to share with you all that goes on.

I’m Already Falling Behind…

So by now you know I am participating in Lori Holt’s Bee Happy Sew-Along This week in preparation she has posted the cherries and bees blocks.  I was so excited last week that I was on task and keeping up (it must be said that Lori has posted that she knows everyone sews and different rates and not everyone’s schedule allows them to sew all day or even every day, however there is a schedule…and…well, I’ll end my thought here).

Bee Happy Sew-Along Schedule







When school starts I don’t know how on earth I am going to keep up.  I will try. The cherry block are soo sweet, but they took me all morning and they are really not even done.  I still have to appliqué the pieces on (insert heavy sigh here) so they look a little wonky in the picture.

I know not all the material is from the Bee Happy collection. I’m improvising with some of my 30’s repo’s. I makes it more of my own.

On Task

Lori Holt’s Bee Happy Sew-Along is just about to get on the way.  She has posted “Be Prepared” instructions for anyone loving this sweet quilt to get a head start.  I am taking full advantage of her organization and have started constructing the flag and pinwheels. IMG_0960.JPGLori might be organized, but take a look at my cutting table….Yikes!  The pile of dark scraps are leftovers and I have found the perfect project for them, if I can add about 10 hours to my day.

I’ve got to say, this is the first time I am actually not behind in a sew-along or class.  We still have plenty of time and she is posting again tomorrow.  You have plenty of time to get in on the action. Visit her blog at Bee In My Bonnet and join in on the fun.


I’m taking advantage of  a typical August day in New Jersey – Hazy, Hot, and Humid by finishing up my Black Cats and Pumpkins quilt.  I constructed the 36 – 6″ star squares last night during Sew What and spent th

Section 1 of 4 

is morning assembling the quilt.  It is copy of a quilt I found on Pinterest (Oy… Pinterest.  Enough said). I used Lori Holt’s patterns for the pumpkins and Stars from her Vintage Farm Girl book and downloaded her pattern for the cat from her blog – Bee In My Bonnet.




I add a 1/8” stay stitch around the circumference of my quilts before I quilt them or send them off to be quilted on the long arm. This is something new I have just added into my quilting regime. Chris – my long arm guru – took me that it keeps the quilt from distorting when on the frame.  So I do it.

I haven’t decided to add borders or not.  The original pin has – what I think – is a 2″ inner border and maybe a 4″ or a 5″ outer border.  Here is it  without any borders. What do you think? To border or not to border?

The bottom left large square photos as if it has no star points.  They are a deep purple and blend into the black in the picture. 

For some reason I feel this need to hunting for a Snickers bar.  #Some treats!!



In “The City”

This past weekend, Big D. and I went to visit Nick in the city.  It’s funny.  It’s always been: We’re going “into the city, up to the city ” or we are “in the city”. Like NYC is the only city in the USA.  My family does not refer to Philadelphia as the “city’.  We always go “to Philly”.  I wonder if other communities around big cities refer to their city as “the city”.

Nick has been in his apartment for just about one year and he has been slowly ticking off “tourist” destinations that he wants to visit.  He happened to mention that he was heading to Katz’s deli after our visit was over.  Little did he realize that our visit just extended itself to include a trip to SoHo for pastrami sandwiches.

I know you all have been to Katz’s deli even if you live clear across the country.  How do I know this?  Have you ever seen the movie When Harry Met Sally?   YEEESSSS  THAT DELI!  I must confess – I never saw the movie.  Shhhhh.  Don’t tell.

I hope if you ever find yourself “in the city”, you visit Katz’s Deli.  Don’t forget to order “what she had”.



Mythology and Multitasking

Growing up, my mother would say, “If you want something done, ask a busy woman.”   Throughout the years I have often come back to this philosophy especially when I found myself “multitasking”.  I know every woman who is a mom, works -part time or full time and enjoys interests outside of these two elements of her life….multitasks!  You know what I’m talking about…arguing with the insurance company on the phone while making dinner and entertaining the dog all the while thinking about the on-line training modules needed to be completed  before school starts.

So, when I was at the the new exhibit, The Brain at the Franklin Institute, I was astonished, even agased, to learn that multitasking is a myth.  How preposterous.  Big D. just stood by me and shook his head as to say, “Told you so”.  For many years, I would race through 2 or 3 tasks while he completed one.  Hmmmm.IMG_4969    I wonder if this  has any impact on Alzheimer’s Disease.  Strong, competent, and intelligent women of my family – phenomenal multi-taskers, have subcommed to this horrible disease.

I pride myself on making decisions both at home and in the health office based on evidence based research.  I think more research is clearly needed but I think for now I am going to try to focus more on the task at hand and less “multi-tasking”.

Do you multitask?  What do you think about this?   Well, I am going to sew some blocks for my Black Cats and Pumpkins quilt, while I get some laundry done and see what’s in the refrigerator for dinner.


IMAX and Sewing Mechanics

I find sewing no matter where I go.  I’m like the loop part of the Velcro and sewing things just come to me.

Big D. and I went to see Dunkirk at the IMAX theatre in the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (the movie was amazing… a must see). If you haven’t been to IMAX this is one of those movies that is just awesome in that theatre.  But, I digress.  We were in the gift shop and I looked out the window into the adjoining exhibit and what did I see??  A Sewing Machine! We “happened to” find our way into the engineering exhibit to find mechanical engineering explained via a sewing machine.  I was elated.  I could not believe it.  Teaching engineering by showing how a sewing machine works.

My photography isn’t the best with the light reflection on some of the pictures.   As you went through the exhibit, each concept of mechanical engineering was explained via this  poster display (along with other related objects – but we all know which one was the most important.  It was sooo super cool.  I wonder if I had seen this as a high school student would my career path been altered?

Anyway, they had a small display on how the first sewing machines caused a revolt and the most beautiful treadle machine.  The things you find when you are going to the movies.

So, no matter where you go, there is always sewing! Where have you unexpectedly come across a sewing/quilt related item/theme while doing something else?



Loving Lancaster

While on our way to Hershey, we usually drive through Lancaster and this trip was no exception.  I love Lancaster Co. Pa.  The drive is peaceful and off the beaten track – translation: We are not on the turnpikes.  Michaela and I have our usual haunts to visit and sometimes we pick up a new eatery or antique store or just something new.  This time….nothing new but it was enjoyable just the same.

Please don’t worry, I was driving and poor MIchaela was hanging out the window snapping shots for me.

We did visit our usual quilt shops: The Log Cabin and Zooks Fabric Store however we did not get a chance to go to Burkholders.  Honest, Burkholders is like a candy shop for fabric-aholics. You could spend hours there and believe me…I have. There are so many more shops you could spend days going to all the quilt shops. IMG_4932

I saw this in a shop in Kitchen Kettle.  Life is Good whenever you are shopping for fabric.

Happy Fabric Shopping