Adding sashing (those pretty inner borders) to a quilt can give it a clean and completed look. It’s quick to do and actually very simple!

Heres the How-To for Sashing:

Measure your completed block. Do not cut your sashing fabric until you’ve completed all of your quilt blocks. Cut your sashing fabric into strips with a length of your block size and width of your desired sashing thickness plus ½”. For this tutorial, I’m doing a finished sashing width of 1” so these strips are cut at 1 ½”. You will also need to cut 1 ½” squares (whatever size sashing you’re using). These squares are “keystones”, you could do them as a miniature block or a different color or use the same sashing fabric like I did. These squares will ensure straight lines throughout your quilt.

Sashing Tutorial

Sew the vertical sashing strips onto the blocks, creating a row.

Sashing Tutorial

When you iron, iron towards that sashing (away from the block). I find this creates a cleaner, sharper look.

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Sew the horizontal sashing strips onto the keystones.

Sashing Tutorial

When you iron, iron away from the keystones. This will insure your sashings lock together nicely when you put it all together.

Sashing Tutorial Sashing Tutorial

Sew sashing row to block row.

Sashing Tutorial

Repeat until your quilt is completed.

Sashing Tutorial

For an example of a completed quilt using sashing, check out the one I made in honor of my grandmother – “Violet”.

How To Cut A Pineapple

About 9 months ago my husband drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid. (Really, I can’t complain!) The CrossFit gym on base has classes during the lunch hour, and if I don’t pack him a lunch he’ll run to Einsteins Bros. Bagels on his way back to his desk. In an effort to stay healthy, he always gets the fruit cup in addition to his bagel sandwich. (Fruit with lunch is an Everson household rule) The fruit cup has pineapple in it, and an addiction was born. He always examines all available fruit cups and buys the one with the most pineapple.

When you buy a pineapple from the store, there’s usually a tag on one of the leaves telling you how to cut the fruit. If you’ve tried this, you know as well as I do that it’s not as easy as the cartoon drawings make it seem. And I was determined to find an easier way if Stuart was going through a whole pineapple every 5 days!

For a while I’d cut the entire pineapple into circles, and then trim off the skin and cut around the core. Although this method is simple, it’s time consuming and very sticky.

Here’s how I do it now!

Here’s what you’ll need: a sharp knife

Here’s what you’ll do: Chop off the top and bottom of the pineapple and stand it up on the now flat bottom. Run your knife between the flesh of the pineapple and the skin. Cut the flesh of the pineapple away from the core. Cut into cubes.

How to Cut a Pineapple 1 How to Cut a Pineapple 2

How to Cut a Pineapple 3 How to Cut a Pineapple 4

Fun fact: Eating an entire pineapple 1-3 days before getting your wisdom teeth removed will help to prevent swelling! There is a chance that doing so will affect your taste buds’ opinion of the fruit though.

Half Square Triangles

Adding Half Square Triangles (HSTs) to your block repertoire can add so much versatility to your quilting designs. There are multiple tutorials out there for creating HSTs, but this is the way I was taught and it works beautifully well.

Here’s the how-to for a Half Square Triangle:

Your first step will be to determine what size square you need to be working with. Think of the HST as simply replacing a solid square. Take the size of that square and add 1 1/8” to that. Example: a 4” finished HST will need to be cut to 5 1/8”. Don’t forget to ALWAYS make a practice block with scrap fabric before committing.

You will then cut your fabric to that new measurement. Sandwich the two fabrics so that right sides are together.  Half Square Triangles 1

Draw on the center line of your sandwich. Then draw on a line 1/4″ from that on each side.

Half Square Triangles 2

Sew on the two 1/4″ lines.

Half Square Triangles 3

Cut down the center line. You now have two HSTs. Open them up and iron to them open – unless your quilt pattern suggest otherwise, iron so that the folded seam is pressed against the darker of the two fabrics. “Quilters always iron to the dark side”.

Half Square Triangles 4

You will now have to trim down the HSTs to your finished size plus ½”. So for that 4” block, you need to trim the HST down to 4 1/2”. Do this by treating your diagonal seam as straight and trim off the top and right side to just slightly larger than size.

Half Square Triangles 5

Flip the block and now align your ruler with the cut edges. Finish to the right size (4 1/2″).

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With HSTs you can assemble pinwheels, diamonds, and even the ever-so-popular chevron. You can even use them in the border of a quilt to create a candy cane stripe zigzag!

Half Square Triangles

How to Peel Tomatoes

I have a slight addiction/OCD when it comes to peeling things. It all started with my first Christmas. It’s Christmas morning, we’re opening presents. It’s all new and exciting. But then it’s nap time? Nap time on Christmas?! Well I didn’t think so! When my mother came back into my room, I had managed to peel the wallpaper off the wall by my crib. I still peel things – it’s why I never get my nails done. If there’s tape on a door/wall, it’ll be removed before I finish walking by. If paint is peeling off a desk, it’ll be stripped before class is over. And I happily open up all new CDs and DVDs. So why I didn’t think I’d like peeling tomatoes is beyond me!

When a recipe called for peeling and crushing fresh tomatoes, I thought about skipping that step and buying them out of a can. But when I saw that the tomatoes at the grocery store were in good shape, I decided to just go for it. It’s actually really easy (and fun)!

Here’s what you’ll need: paring knife, gently boiling water, bowl of ice water

Here’s what you’ll do: Cut an “x” in bottom side of tomato (opposite end of stem). Put in water for no more than 30s until the tomato starts to open up. Transfer tomato to the ice water. Peel!

How to Peel Tomatoes

How to Peel Tomatoes How to Peel Tomatoes How to Peel Tomatoes

Freezing Herbs

My husband and I have no shame in admitting that we both have black thumbs. So naturally, I do not grow my own herbs. Maybe 17 years from now when we own a house I’ll attempt it. Or maybe my future children (no mothers this is not a hint) will be blessed with the green thumb of my grandfather, my parents, and mother-in-law. Even if you can successfully grow your own herbs, this tutorial will help you during the winters when your plants are in hibernation yet you still want that freshness.

I try my best to plan my weekly menu to generate as little food waste as possible, but even still, the herbs go bad before I get the chance to use the entire bunch. I can’t even successfully keep them thriving in a glass of water! I’ve tried wrapping them in damp paper towels in the fridge because I read to do that somewhere on the internet (and they can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true). Yea, I couldn’t do that either.

Here’s what you’ll need: An ice cube tray! (Well, you need a freezer too…)

Here’s what you’ll do: Chop up your herbs. Pack them into an ice cube tray. Boil water. Pour over herbs. Freeze. Remove into freezer bag. Each ice cube yields about 1 tbsp fresh herbs. When you want to use them, simply pull out a cube and toss into your dish!

This quick how-to method works for soft leafed herbs (i.e.: basil, cilantro, mint, parsley).


Note: These herbs are now for cooking. I haven’t tried letting the ice cube melt to see what the delicate leaves will look like. If you try it out before I do, let me know if you can still garnish your dish with previously frozen herbs!