Changing the Gauge on your Canner


When I got ready to start canning this season I knew I was going to have to do something about my current canner.  I had it tested and even though it was still reading accurately every time I use it the gauge fills with steam and becomes hard to read.

At first I thought I was going to have to buy a new pressure cooker/canner. I went ahead and checked Amazon and found that I could order just a gauge for less than $20, score! The only down side was several people left comments about it not coming with a nut and that it didn’t include instructions. I looked at my current one a figured it couldn’t be that hard to install so I ordered it. We have an Amazon Prime account so 2 day shipping was free. I assumed since I was ordering it on Friday I wouldn’t have it until Monday but Amazon just added Sunday delivery to our area which is also free for Prime members. If you are interested in an Amazon prime account you can try it out for Free for thirty days. You can use it, take advantage of the free shipping as much as you want during the trial and cancel if you don’t like it.


Anyways, back to my gauge! I received it Sunday and immediately dug into the box. Imagine my surprise when I saw this beauty next to my current one. It is 1,000 times better. I was happy to see that replacing it was easy but like others warned it did not come with a nut to hold it in place. The nut from my old gauge did fit but if for some reason yours does not or you no longer have the gauge take your new one to Home Depot or Lowes and you should be able to get one for less than .25. My new gauge looks great and I am ready to start canning tomatoes!

I went ahead and made a quick video of how to replace it. It really is simple and worth doing to ensure you can read your gauge accurately and that it is reading accurately.

Summer of Tomatoes


It has been an amazing summer so far! I started my summer off visiting my daughter for her college graduation. A few weeks after I returned my husband and I took an 11 day motorcycle trip last month to The Blue Ridge Parkway and since school is out I have been able to spend a lot more time with my boys! School being out has also meant I have gotten to teach more kids sewing classes, I always enjoy those. Summer time also means gardening and lots of canning!

While we were on our trip Texas received a lot of rain. That is good and bad for the garden. I left with plants about to my waist and returned to a jungle where most the plants were to my shoulders or head. The weeds also went wild, that’s the bad part of so much rain.

IMG_4410This should be filled with herbs but the weeds and fallen tomato plants took over. I spent several hours trying to pick the tomatoes, getting rid of the bad ones, pulling weeds and trying to pull out dead plants. After three days of work it began to look like a garden again. IMG_4420This was my first harvest after getting home. I still had another two bags worth of tomatoes I went back and picked that evening after it cooled down. I was pleasantly surprised to find that despite it being around 100 degrees out most days lately I have tomato blossoms and baby fruit still forming. IMG_4419So, instead of working on sewing post I have been canning tomatoes, making homemade rotel, drying tomatoes and much more! I can’t wait to share some of the recipes with you later this week. I have also been canning black beans, pinto beans and black bean soup.

Sewing 101: How To Clean Your Sewing Machine


 If you’re not sure what pieces you can take out of the machine or how to put them back – consult your owners manual, still not sure contact a professional!

When I teach sewing 101 the first thing I go over is the tools of the trade. Then we go over the parts of a sewing machine and end the class with showing them how to clean a sewing machine. It is the number one thing you can do to keep your sewing machine running smoothly.  Keeping it clean will prolong the life of your machine and help ensure your projects come out nice.  Lent is an unavoidable part of sewing. The more you sew, the more lint settles into your machine, use cheap thread and fabric and you will create even more. A little regular cleaning will keep your machine running smoothly. And a clean machine is also a quiet machine. Not only will regular maintenance  help your machine to run better, it can also save you money in major repairs.

 How often you clean your machine depends on how often you use it. Viking recommends cleaning a machine after at least every 15-20 hours of use. But more often is fine. Take a peek inside the bobbin case. If you see lint beginning to accumulate, it’s time to do some maintenance. 

Any time you experience trouble with your machine, check to see that it is threaded correctly, change the needle and then try cleaning it. Quite a few problems are caused by mis-threading, bad needles and an accumulation of dust, lint or thread bits accumulating on the working parts of the machine.

Change Your Needle: It’s important to remember how much work your needle does. It goes up and down through the fabric at an incredibly fast speed. Needles are thin and a lot of stress is put on them.  A bent or dull needle can result in skipped stitches, broken or looped threads, runs or pulls in your fabric or worst of all, damage to your machine.

 In this video, you’ll learn how to thoroughly clean your sewing machine. If you are unable to view the embedded video, click here to watch >>Cleaning Your Sewing machine << on YouTube.


  • Screw Driver
  • Small Lint Brush
  • Vacuum
  • Vacuum cleaner attachment kit
  • Tweezers
  • Owners manual

 A Note On Canned Air: “Compressed” or “canned” air is actually fluorocarbon gases that are compressed into liquids. These gases are ozone safe but are potential greenhouse gases. I DO NOT suggest using it for several reasons but the biggest is because most service centers say not to!  When you use can air you are pushing lent and thread particles further into the machine not to mention all around you. Secondly because it does leave a residue and moisture behind. Why not just blow with your own breath? For the same reasons. Your breath contains moisture also and will eventually cause erosion damage to your machine.

Oiling: I don’t recommend oiling your machine. Viking machines do not require oiling and I believe that this step is best left to the professionals.  Actually, I recommend getting your friend a yearly check up.  That’s right, sometimes they need a little preventive medicine to keep things in working order. I view it the same way I do my truck, a little preventive maintenance and TLC will prevent larger problems down the road.

Professional Service: A good service person adjusts tension and timing during regular service, as well as cleaning areas of the machine that you cannot reach without taking the machine completely apart. Pay special attention to your warranty and owners manual. Do not remove parts that are not listed in the owners manual. Do not fiddle with parts you are unsure about, this can void your warranty.

Do you have any other tips regarding good machine cleaning habits? 

Texas Women Bloggers

ModCloth Gifts for Guys Collection and Summer kick Off

You may not know it, but ModCloth isn’t just for the ladies. They have an awesome selection of dude-approved goods, too!  With Father’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to find a gift for dad in the Gifts for Guys collection. Don’t forget to mention the Free Express Shipping offer on US orders of $125 or more with code EXPRESS, making it the perfect time to  also stock up on some loot for yourself.

Here are a few of my favorite featured products:

Every Sizzle Day Beverage Sleeve from ModCloth Job Well Done Spatula from ModCloth Wrench Your Thirst Bottle Opener from ModCloth What’s Up Croc Bookends from ModCloth

It’s almost officially summer, which means the start of backyard BBQs, outdoor activities, and road trips. Their adorable Flair for Adventure jewelry collection, inspired by exploring the good ‘ol U.S. of A., is great for those that want to show off their wanderlust this summer. Grab your favorites from this curated collection of nostalgic treasures before they all get scooped up!

Midnight Train to Gorgeous Bracelet Set from ModCloth Interstate of Bliss Bracelet from ModCloth Arty in the USA Earring Set from ModCloth Drive-Ins and Moonlight Bracelet from ModCloth

Sewing 101: Tools of the Trade


When I teach Sewing 101 at Joann’s the very first thing I cover are the tools of the trade. You can easily spend a small fortune on tools so I suggest starting with the basics and adding to your sewing basket as you find tools you know you need or want. The tools you need vary based on the type of sewing you do but the ones below are your all purpose tools.


Scissors: Buy good ones and take care of them. Sharp tools are the key to enjoyable sewing. Cheap scissors will eat your fabric and make you miserable! Make sure you have a separate pair that you use for cutting paper, patterns and anything other than fabric.  I like Gingher because of the reliability. I can cut through 3-4 layers of heavy fabric and the cut is just as clean as if i was cutting through one layer. Bonus: If you stick to only cutting fabric with them you will never have to sharpen them!

Small craft scissors or  Snip-Eze  Embroidery Snips: I always keep a pair of small craft scissors or snips nearby when I am sewing. I find them much easier to use when clipping threads.

 Seam Ripper: This tool has a sharp edge and hook that snip through stitches to remove the.  Sadly sooner or later, you will make a mistake and this little gadget will become your best friend. You might want to have more than one on hand. I have a small one and a large one. These also do become dull and must be replaced.


Pins and a pincushion: You will need regular pins for cotton fabric and ball point pins for knits.  I use the Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion. I have one by machines, one on my cutting table and one next to my ironing board. I love not having to worry about spilling my pins!


Sewing machine needles: You’ll need extras for your machine since they will gradually become dull with use (remember, sharp is best!), and you’ll want to swap out your needles for various fabric weights. Larger number = thicker fabric. Here is great article by Sew Mama Sew on Sewing Machine Needles & How to Choose Them.

Hand sewing needles: Most sewing projects will require a little bit of hand finishing, like sewing on a button.

Tape Measure: Compact and flexible, it is a must no matter what type of sewing you are doing.

Water soluble pen and/or tailor’s chalk: I prefer Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens. They have a fine point, come in a variety of colors and best of all when you iron the marking instantly vanish.  When I can’t use my FriXion pen I use a chalk pen. * always test a scrap piece of fabric first*

Seam gauge: A short ruler with an adjustable flange, a seam gauge is typically used for measuring seams but it can double as a ruler. I often use mine when making adjustments on a paper pattern.

Steam iron: A good quality iron makes all the difference. You want it to be heavy, have several settings and make sure it has steam!

What are your essential sewing tools? Let me know in the comments!

Sewlosophy Serendipity Swing Coat and Beret


 One of the things I do each morning is read through a few of my favorite sewing blogs. Working from home can get lonely and reading the blogs is a way to connect and I usually find some wonderful inspiration.  A few months ago while reading my Bloglovin list I noticed a call for pattern testers  from The Mother Huddle! Destri was launching a new pattern company – Sewlosophy Pattern Co. and wanted testers. I knew her readership was big and getting picked wasn’t very likely so you can imagine my excitement when I got the e-mail letting me know I was in!

As part of the pattern testing process, I received a free copy of the pattern for the swing coat and the beret. I received no other compensation and all opinions in this post are 100% mine. With that said I have nothing but praise for this collection. Destri thought of every detail. I often think ahead when I am sewing and no sooner than I would start to wonder about something Destri was answering it.


I made the swing coat and beret in a size 8 for my niece. The coat was a little bit small for her but that is because she had grown since the last time I measured her, I forget how quickly they grow. Despite it being a little short in the arms my niece loved it, so much that I am making her one in a size 10 right now!


The instructions were easy to follow and very detailed. My favorite part though has got to be the videos! That’s right videos are included to walk you through making each piece. The videos make such a difference even if you have been sewing for years.

The swing coat with a reversible design features sweet gathered raglan sleeves, a button closure at the yokes, and a 3/4 length cuffed sleeve adding to the relaxed style of the swing coat.  You can use a hook & eye closure or a faux button technique included in the tutorial too. This style has so many possibilities to suit your little one’s personal style you’ll be sewing it over and over!


The beret is a quick project with the sweetest results.  Fully lined with a hidden elastic casing in the back, the hat can be worn reversible making it great for coordinating with different ensembles.

If you have a little girl that you sew for this set is a must! Right now you can use the code SEW10 for 10% all purchases until Monday June 2. So if they buy the bundle it will be 40% off. Want something even sweeter than that? How about the chance to win the complete set? Yep, Destri gave me a set to give-away on the blog!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Learning to Sew: The Desire


“I want to learn how to sew.”, “Someday I’ll learn to sew”, “there is no way I could learn how” or “I want to sew but I don’t have time”.  Have those words ever come out of your mouth or swirled around in your mind? If so stay tuned because I have been working on some blog post just for you!

I’ll give you a little background that will leave you saying if she can learn I can learn! I grew up with a mother that sewed and encouraged me to learn too. I would sit and watch her sew and on occasion I would make things for my dolls but it was usually with fabric scraps and tape. I had very little interest in using a sewing machine or hand needles. Fast forward a good bit and here I am with three kids one of which is a daughter that wants to learn to sew. I knew some basics but the thought of creating something from a pattern scared me. I called my mom up and asked her for help. I can just imagine the joy that gave her. She always told me one day you’ll wish you had sewed with me and paid attention! Ok, mom you were right. I wish I had paid attention but I didn’t. She brought over an old sewing machine that she was no longer using, some fabric, pins and thread. She then gave me a crash course in threading the machine and basic pattern reading and said have fun and practice. What??? You think I am kidding but no. My mom adores us but she knows I am a hands on person and do best figuring stuff out.


At the time I thought ‘I’ll never get this” but I had to, my daughter was counting on me to help her make a dress and I was pretty certain a fairy godmother wasn’t going to pop out and do it for me.  Funny what we can do when our kids are counting on us. Somehow after reading a few sewing books we got the dress made. Keep in mind this was at least 17 years ago so there really weren’t that many, if any, blogs on sewing, Pinterest wasn’t around and Youtube sewing videos were nonexistent.  The dress was pretty sad looking but Sydney wore it and  because of that I was determined to get better. I started finding time to sew and within a few months I was making things that I wasn’t ashamed to be seen in public wearing.
Bib ApronAfter a few years of sewing on my moms 20 year old machine I got a new one and a serger. I started venturing out into home decor, more complicated clothing patterns and even started making my own patterns. Slowly I began having friends ask me to make thing for them and offering to pay me. Eventually I listed a few things on E-Bay and then set up the Hearts & Home website. I have also managed a Husqvarna Viking Sewing Center where I  taught customers how to use their machines, quilt and sew. I currently teach the adult and children’s sewing a quilting classes at a local Joann Fabrics store.

I tell you all of this simply so you know the biggest thing you need to have in order to learn to sew is a desire or a need. So, if you want to learn to sew, improve your sewing or pick up some tips to make your sewing time more productive while creating professional looking items stay tuned.

DIY Hair Accessory Round Up


I have medium to long hair and although I like the length I  don’t like to have it touching my face, especially when I sewing. Yesterday I was digging around in the drawer I keep hair stuff in and realized I am in desperate need of some new ways to keep my hair back but still looking nice. I decided I would look around online for some ideas to make myself since I have an abundance of “stuff” that I am pretty sure I could make “something” with, here is what I found.


Head Scarf


DIY Jeweled Headband


Leather Hair Tie



 Bejewelled flower headband / diy project


 Chanel Pearl Hairpins


Soft and Comfy Bow Headbands Yellow and Gray_thumb[5]

Soft & Comfy, Big Bow, 3-in-1 Headband {Tutorial}prez_headbands

After watching this video for a DIY Braided Leather Tassel Bracelet I am determined to braid some leather and make a headband out of it. Maybe something like this one only with leather.


DIY pearl hair piece 


 Bobby pins and old buttons 



If you are looking for more inspiration be sure to follow me on Pinterest and like me on  Facebook.

Replacing the Snaps on a Leather Vest


For the last month or so my husband has been having a problem with the snaps on the leather vest he wears while riding his motorcycle. In windy conditions the vest was often forced open because the inner spring inside the snap was no longer secure. Can you imagine riding down the road with a piece of leather flapping behind you, not enjoyable.

We considered a few different options including just replacing the vest but finally settled on replacing the snaps. I wasn’t sure how hard it would be to remove the old snaps but considering a dry cleaner charges $25 per snap I figured we should give it shot! Not to mention the fact that Scott’s vest is full of patches and most have meaning behind them. We knew we could remove the patches but once you do they don’t look right when placed on another item. The other reason was his vest is worn in and comfortable, something that doesn’t happen overnight with leather.

buffaloThe first thing we had to do was locate the buttons. He has buffalo nickel buttons and he wanted to keep the same style. I found several places online to order them from including one that is local, Tandy Leather. We gave them a call and found out they keep those particular ones in stock, score! We also had to purchase a  punch set tool and anvil.


Supplies and Tools Needed:

Snap Tool and Anvil
3M Rubber Tape
Rubber Mallet
Drill with a metal drill bit

The video will  show you how to to remove the old snap and then how to replace it with new ones.  The steps are the same regardless of the snap style or what you are putting them on. If you are replacing them on light weight fabric you may find it easier to use the Dritz Heavy Duty Snap Fastener Plier Kit.

If you are unable to view the embedded video, you can click here to watch >> Replacing the Snaps on a Leather Vest << on YouTube.

Was replacing them the right choice? Well, the buttons were $3 each, we needed 4 and the punch tool and anvil was $6. For $18 dollars plus tax we were able to purchase everything needed, compare that to around $120-$200 for a new vest. It only took about 20 minutes for all 4 snaps and we learned something new. Oh, and Scott got to keep his broken in vest so yeah I would say it was worth it.