homepage: Dr. Carol JVF Burns

# CAROL'S BLOG

Blog is short for weblog (weBLOG).
Check here to see the latest information about my site (and, occasionally, about my life in general).
It isn't a conventional blog—it just lets you know what I'm currently working on!

Saturday, May 16, 2015
Julia's Oriental Trading Post order arrived, so I'm finishing the 45 table decorations (15 tables, 3 for each table). We're using gold 4.5" mini paper lanterns. Here's the system that is working well:
• I bought a 100-lb bag of washed, screened, and kiln-dried sand from Lowe's for about \$10.00. (Walmart was charging almost \$15.00 for what looked like about a 30-lb bag!)
• wrap each collection of flowers loosely with floral tape; extend the stem with a small piece of pipe cleaner, as needed
• assemble the paper lantern by putting the metal bracket piece inside; this youtube video How To Set Up a Paper Lantern (1:45) was helpful to me to do it in a way that doesn't tear the lantern (they're quite fragile)
• insert the flower stems through the bottom of the lantern (the part without the hook on the bracket); attach to the top of the bracket by twirling around a couple times
• carefully hold the lantern between your legs, with the flowers hanging down (toward the floor); be careful not to crush the flowers
• push two gallon plastic bags (the cheap twistie-tie type) inside the lantern, one on each side of the bracket
• pour a heaping cup of sand into each side
• twist the tops of the two bags together, seal with a twistie-tie, and tuck the excess plastic and tie inside the lantern
This looks great! They have a good weight, and won't blow over in the wind. The flowers are secure, so they don't jiggle around or come out. And, they're easy to dis-assemble after the wedding for re-purposing. Plus, the lanterns, sand, and plastic bags are not expensive.
As of this writing, I'm about 2/3 done with the 45 table decorations.

Thursday, May 14, 2015
I've finished the concept discussion and exercises for Amplitude, Period, and Phase Shift.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
I've almost finished the concept discussion on Amplitude, Period, and Phase Shift.

Monday, May 11, 2015
Finally, back to Precalculus! With my CAMT talks and Julia's wedding flowers finished, I've gained back time in my days. When I've been away for so long, it takes a while to get going again. (My last real work on a Precalculus lesson was March 23.)

Upon re-reading (after such a long hiatus) I made some minor edits to my two most recent sections, Graphing Generalized Sines and Cosines and Graphs of Sine and Cosine. And, I've begun the concept discussion for a new section: Amplitude, Period, and Phase Shift.

I also ordered one pound of dried rose petals for Bethany to sprinkle at Julia's wedding!

Saturday, May 9, 2015
Julia, Bethany and I spent over six hours arranging the 600 paper flowers into bouquets and table decorations for Julia and Tony's wedding on May 23. Such fun!!!! Julia did an incredible job choosing the flower types and colors. Bethany has a real natural ability at flower arranging!

Thursday, May 7, 2015
I FINISHED THE WEDDING FLOWERS!!!!! Just about 600 of them!!!!!!! Julia and I will start creating the table decorations and bouquets on Saturday. I'll keep adding new flowers to my ‘repertoire’ over the years. I hope to make beautiful flowers for gifts, to make my home beautiful, fun crafts with kids (perhaps grand-kids!), and on and on!

Felting should add some wonderful textures to my mini-landscape quilts.
Here's an introduction to felting and felting tools.
So far, I have a:
• piece of felting foam
• Clover fine-tip felting tool
I'm getting an assortment of wool roving, a raking tool (for mixing colors), and some spare needles.

Monday, May 4, 2015
I updated my monthly stats and website income for April.

My quilling tools arrived!
• circle template board
• circle sizer
• mini mold (this video uses the mini mold and the curling coach; she makes a cute little flower pot)
• quilling comb
Over 500 flowers done! I'm on the final stretch! Julia's wedding is this month—the count-down is on!

I've got all three CAMT talks cut-and-pasted onto index cards (so I can stay coordinated with Ray, who will be manning the computer). I put morsel titles into my first talk; I'll test with Ray before doing the same with my other two talks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
WOO HOO!! I've finished all $\,180\,$ ‘morsels’ for my three CAMT talks! I've been working on them for months. I'll spend the next few days ‘giving’ the talks to myself, to fine-tune the length; then, I'll try them out on my family. Then—I can get back to my Precalculus lessons! I've been away from them for far too long.

I plan to use these Sulky Iron-On Transfer Pens for my next big project—the mini-landscape wall quilt to capture Julia's wedding! My hope is that I can print out a photo in the desired size; put it on my lightbox and use the pens to mark the lines I want on the wrong side of the photo; then transfer to my fabric for cutting/embellishing. Here's another video. Important hints:
• shake markers first
• draw with marker on wrong side of image
• the cheaper the paper, the more transfer images per drawing
• pre-heat the fabric with iron before transferring
• protect ironing board with non-stick pad
• use temporary spray adhesive to prevent shifting
• will smudge if you iron too long
• cut away transfer line if it isn't going to be covered with thread or such
• after cutting out a little piece that requires machine embellishment, can sandwich between two layers of water-soluble solvy and press lightly; this will hold it in place (use a machine embroidery hoop; see below) and prevent shifting for sewing detail
I've also learned that there are four kinds of stabilizer sheets:
• tear away
• cut away
• water away (water-soluble)
• heat away
I'm thinking the tear-away will likely be best for most of my projects.

I've searched for about 1.5 hours for an embroidery hoop that is low enough to fit under my presser foot; think I finally found it through a link at this video: How to Do Free-hand Machine Embroidery. Hooray! It's a Darice Spring Tension Hoop, and a user comment specifically says: slides under the presser foot okay.

This is a very detailed video: Free Motion Machine Embroidery, Part 1, with Christopher Nejman.

Monday, April 27, 2015
Here's the fringe and looper foot. I plan to use this (the ‘fringe’ version, which gets cut) for ‘grass’ in my mini-landscape quilts!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
I've just about finished 250 of the 600 flowers for Julia's wedding!
I'm adding some quilled flowers to my repertoire:
Basic Quilling Techniques

Thursday, April 16, 2015
I'll probably buy this Embroidex Flower-Stitching Presser Foot. I'm getting an amazing collection of presser feet for my Janome sewing machine!
Update: I did get it, and it works well, even with the limited specialty stitches on the Janome 2212.

This has been a crazy-busy week, with morsels (my CAMT talks), flowers, and working on Pebble. Busy, busy, busy days!

Friday, April 10, 2015
Hooray! I'm finally finished with my ‘flower prototypes’, and ready to have Julia ‘place her wedding flower order’! I've got a collection of almost 40 flowers that I can make, covering a wide variety of styles, techniques, and materials. Over the next couple years, I'll probably add most of the remaining flowers in the Paper to Petals book to my collection of ‘flower cards’ (which include a sample and instructions). For now, though, I think we've got plenty to create lovely flowers for Julia's wedding!

Sunday, April 5, 2015
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Yet another rose! I'll call this the Wrapped Rose.
Basic technique: cut three different-width strips, roll them around different-diameter cylinders, cut to form petals, then gather-and-wrap around a stem. It works well in light crepe paper.

I'm calling this flower Spikey. I use 3" and 3.4" strips (instead of 4" and 4.5"). It works okay in light crepe paper.

Here's what I'm calling a sunflower.
The origami method shown here takes a long time, so I've created ScanNCut templates to cut all the pieces for me!

Friday, April 3, 2015
Here's a beautiful origami flower. It works great with heavy construction paper.
Susan's Garden Lily also uses heavy construction paper.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
I updated my monthly stats and website income for March.

Here's another crepe paper supplier: Carte Fini (fine Italian papers).

I've been working on my flower-making almost full-time. I've got 13 different ‘cards’ (with instructions and samples) done!

Sunday, March 29, 2015
Here's the Susan's Garden Rose tutorial. I created two ScanNCut files for the complete flower (petals, leaves/calyx) to eliminate the multiple passes through the BigShot for all the pieces needed. It's a lot of work!

I've done this in both felt and heavy crepe paper (180g), and they're both cute!

I just got the Distinctive Shirring Gathering Foot (video, 4:05) and it works fantastic for gathering crepe! By using the top slot, you can sew two crepe strips together, with one gathered and the other smooth. For crepe rolls, I use the longest straight stitch, tension 4, on the Janome 2212 sewing machine.

Saturday, March 28, 2015
I stumbled across this flower-shaped treat box and think it will be a great ScanNCut project. I don't have time to make it now, but I don't want to lose it.

I've decided on a way to document/showcase the flowers I'm making. I'm laminating a piece of heavy cardstock, then cutting the 8.5"x11" paper into four pieces (down the middle each direction).

A sample flower (titled) gets hot-glued on one side. I can show different versions of the same flower: e.g., different materials (crepe/tissue); cutting the petals different ways on the crepe grain.

Instructions (or where they're located) with tips (e.g., easy/hard, uses Big Shot, uses ScanNCut, uses crepe/tissue etc.) goes on the other side. A bit of velcro to hang them. Then, you can see the flower type at-a-glance, and re-arrange to see how different ones look together.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
We've been working on Pebble (our ‘little house’) a lot this week!

Here's a good floral wire taping technique. The hint about having the tape on a diagonal to the wire made it go much better for me. Plus, the way the right hand can scrunch/press it in place as you go helps get a firm attachment.

Here's another floral wire taping technique. Her orientation of the wire/hands doesn't work as well for me as the prior video. But, at about 2:40 she shows how to finish the top of the wire to get a clean look. She only does it once, and it's fast, so you'll probably have to watch it several times (stopping the video at critical moments). Wow—these people who know how to do things can make it look so easy! If I made my own videos of my first attempts at all these things (and the disastrous finished products) it would be hysterical!!

Monday, March 23, 2015
I added some negative value of $\,k\,$ problem types to Graphing Generalized Sines and Cosines. Now, I've got a complete sampling of graphing problems.

I found a place to get professional-quality floral tape: SPI Supplies. I've ordered both Parafilm and Floratape. The cheap stuff is way too hard to work with. This was pretty pricey with shipping (they're not really geared to individual buyers), but now I should have enough tape for Julia's wedding, and also potential future weddings!

Sunday, March 22, 2015
Well, I couldn't leave it alone! I added two more problem types to Graphing Generalized Sines and Cosines, so now I've got four-step graphing problems for sines and cosines for both argument types. (No negative $\,k\,$ values, though.)

Went to a Phoenix dance competition that Ray was competing in yesterday. (I love to dance with him, but I'm not so fond of competing, so he has other competition partners.) He did great!

Thursday, March 19, 2015
I'm calling Graphing Generalized Sines and Cosines finished (at least for now).
I don't have the graphing variety I ultimately want, but I've been working on this section since the end of February, and I need to move on!

I got a Brother ScanNCut from Craigslist for \$250. It's amazing! I've been playing with it for hours. Here are a couple good tutorials: I've found that the Brother-recommended cutting depths are too deep, and cut into the tack sheet. • For copy paper, they recommended 3: I used 1, and it cut fine. • For thin construction paper, they recommended 3.5: I used 2, and it cut perfectly. Here's a series of 7 ScanNCut Feature Videos by Brother Crafter. Wednesday, March 18, 2015 Crepe paper flower videos from the place we'll probably order the crepe paper for Julia's wedding flowers. Crepe paper is hard to find! Monday, March 16, 2015 I did more work on the concept discussion for Graphing Generalized Sines and Cosines. I put graphics in the tabular example, and added four-step examples at the end. I've finished my second (of three) CAMT talk preparations! Making good progress! Saturday, March 14, 2015 Wow. I haven't put anything new up since February 26th. I've been working on this section for weeks: Graphing Generalized Sines and Cosines, like$\,y = a\sin k(x\pm b)\,$and$\,y = a\cos (kx\pm B)\,$. I worked on it for more than a week, then ended up throwing it all away and taking a totally different approach. I don't want students to just memorize lots of different formulas—unfortunately, given the opportunity, they often will. I'm fairly pleased with the results (no exercises yet, just the concept discussion). Thursday, March 5, 2015 I've been sick for almost a week. I'm sick of being sick! Tuesday, March 3, 2015 I adjusted Reference Angles based on excellent suggestions from my husband, Ray. When I talked about only needing to know a reference angle and a quadrant to find trigonometric values, he reminded me that some angles don't end up in a quadrant—they end up on an axis. I clarified that point. I'm ‘stitching in the ditch’ of my first apple core quilt today! It was going to be for Ray and me, but Bethany likes it so much that I'm giving it to her. • First quilt on my new Janome sewing machine! • First project using the special curve sewing foot! (Curves still require a lot of patience. Think my next few quilts will have nice straight seams...) • First project using 505 Spray Fabric Adhesive! (I used it, instead of pins, to hold the cover/batting/backing together. It's amazing!) • First project using the even feed foot (it works FANTASTIC on the cover/batting/backing sandwich)! This will be a very special quilt for me, since it has so many ‘firsts’! I need a weekly fall-back plan, for when I'm just at a loss for what to have for dinner: • Meatball Monday (pasta) • Taco Tuesday (or burritos) • Wok Wednesday (stir-fry, usually with chicken) • Tater Thursday (super potatoes; shepard's pie) • Fishy Friday • Soupy Saturday (homemade soup; canned soup and grilled cheese) • Scrambly Sunday (eggs, quiche) Monday, March 2, 2015 I updated my monthly stats and website income for February. Oops—I had never updated my auxiliary files to correctly reflect January's earnings. It wasn't too far off—it was saying \$49.55 when the actual January income was \$51.06. I've got February correctly displayed! Saturday, February 28, 2015 It's Joshua's 20th birthday! Happy birthday, Joshua! Here's a nice introduction to free-motion sewing. When attaching the free-motion needle, the bar on the attachment must go over the needle bar on your machine as shown in this video. (I didn't do this initially, and the foot wouldn't lower onto my fabric!) I didn't need to do any of the adjustments she talked about (I'm using the Distinctive generic foot on a Janome 2212)—it worked great right out of the package. The feed dog must be dropped for free-motion sewing. To drop the feed dog on the Janome 2212 (see video link below): Remove the front cover and expose the bobbin. On the right, there are two sets of three triangles: one set is higher (on the left) and the other lower (on the right). Push the metal “L” down and slide to the desired position. In the process, I stumbled across this excellent introduction to the Janome 2212. Lowering the feed dog: about minute 21. Cleaning out the bobbin area: about minute 24. Friday, February 27, 2015 Some new flower dies: Here's a good snap fastener video. I've bought a Dritz Snap Fastener Kit with Tool for$2.78 (it's an add-on item) that has the metal tool I need, so I can use the hundreds of 7/16" gripper snaps that I ‘inherited’!

Thursday, February 26, 2015
I've finished the web exercises for Graphs of Sine and Cosine.

I got some more accessories for quilting and flower-making:
• Janome Even Feed (Walking) Foot
Use the tiny screwdriver than comes with the Janome!
Be sure to put the bar above the needle screw!

This next video shows how to attach the quilting guide.
(You have to push down a bit.)

I tried sewing through a cover/batting/backing ‘sandwich’ both with and without the even feed foot. The even feed foot certainly helps eliminate the puckering problem!

Monday, February 23, 2015
I'm right on (my self-imposed) schedule for my CAMT talks. This is a lot of work!
I bought two Janome special presser feet for a ‘horizontal rotary hook model’ by mistake—my machine (Janome 2212) is an oscillating hook model. I'm trying to sell them (at about half price) on Craigslist. Silly me!

Update: No Craigslist bites (too special an item, I guess). But I've discovered how easy it is to do Amazon returns! I even gave the package to the UPS driver as he delivered something else for me. Wonderful!

Saturday, February 21, 2015
All my sewing and craft stuff was getting out of control, since I'm getting so many new things to make Julia's wedding flowers. Ray has a ‘boxes system’ that I adore—he has hundreds of boxes—all the same size, all labeled, all neatly stacked—holding tools, household items, holiday items, more. Now, I've got my own mini-box system! I'm using 94¢ plastic shoe boxes from Walmart (with lids)—they're inexpensive, sturdy, stackable, see-through, and the lids work really well, clicking on and coming off easily. I tested a few for months to see if they'd continue opening/closing well, and so far, so good. So, all my sewing/crafts are now organized, and I LOVE IT!!! (Of course, I gave my label maker a good work-out in the process...)

Friday, February 20, 2015
I've finished the concept discussion for Graphs of Sine and Cosine.

I got this Dash yogurt maker at a garage sale (without instructions). I love the web!!
Customer service was nice enough to send me these Dash Yogurt Maker instructions (pdf).
Here's a yogurt recipe. (It's delicious! After refrigerating, I added sliced strawberries to some, and shredded fresh coconut to others. Yum!!!)

I got this Crop-A-Dile at the same garage sale. I ‘inherited’ many gripper-snapper snaps and eyelets, but had no tool to use them with. It does eyelets beautifully, but I'm at a loss for how (or if) it does snaps (but it says it does)!

Thursday, February 19, 2015
I'm making good progress on Graphs of Sine and Cosine.
The graphics are taking me a long time to create, but I'm pleased with the results.

I got my new Janome 2212 (pronounced ja-KNOW-me) sewing machine today! It's a dream!!! After decades, I'm finally (mostly) retiring my Singer Touch and Sew. I'll still use it for some of the fancier stitches; and now we'll be a two-sewing-machine family, so Bethany and I (or Ray and I) can sew side-by-side!

In searching for information about dropping the feed dog, I chanced across this gem:
(This is a good discussion about the fabric stabilizers that are required.)
I think this will be FANTASTIC for my mini-landscape quilts!!

Here are some Janome youtube tutorials:
• a great little introduction to the Janome 2212
Pay attention to how he uses the thead cutter!
My thread kept coming unthreaded when I started to sew again—I think I wasn't stopping the needle at the highest position. Now, it's working great!
• the four-step buttonhole Who needs a one-step buttonholer when it's this simple?
• Janome binder foot (2:10) The point-with-pull-thread is a very helpful hint. The proper width is CRITICAL. One inch is TOO WIDE, and it doesn't work. I've found that 7/8" is perfect. It didn't work well for my quilt binding: the three layers (top/padding/backing) was too thick, and it didn't work well on the curves. But, for straight binding, it works beautifully.
• Making Your Own Bias Binding Strips Great, efficient technique for sewing the bias strips together. At the end (starting about 7:30) there's a double-bind quilt binding tutorial.
• Another good tutorial on making your own bias tape. I might get the bias-making tool she uses (ironing method) for when I need a wider binding than the Janome gives me. (The video is partway down the page.)
• the Curve Master Presser Foot
Make sure the fabrics are positioned so that they separate—top fabric curving to the left, bottom fabric curving to the right.
another Curve Master video
This makes my apple core quilt sewing MUCH easier! It took me about a half dozen tries to actually get it to work smoothly, but once I got the hang of it, it really helps.

Monday, February 16, 2015
Ray and I are going to build a tiny house!
Here are links I don't want to lose track of:
This Group Organizing online service works great: SignUp Genius. Just used it for Bethany's Friday morning potluck breakfast. Effortless! Cool!

Sunday, February 15, 2015
Some videos I don't want to lose track of (for products I've purchased):

Friday, February 13, 2015
I've started the concept discussion for Graphs of Sine and Cosine.
I made this Mug Rug. It came out very pretty!

Thursday, February 12, 2015
In the past few weeks, I've made lots of jam: pineapple, cantaloupe, apple, apple core, lime, and mandarin/lime. Having fun!
I finished the web exercises for The Period of a Periodic Function.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
I finished the concept discussion for The Period of a Periodic Function.
Ray came up with a great example of a non-constant periodic function with no least positive period.

Monday, February 9, 2015
Yes! Finally back to Precalculus (after just about a month)!
I've just about finished the concept discussion on The Period of a Periodic Function.

Also, I've been trying to find some practical uses for all my tiny fabric scraps.
Here are some things I've found:
Here's a FANTASTIC collection of fabric flowers, with links to how-to-make tutorials: 40+ Charming Flowers to Make

Friday, February 6, 2015
Get ready! PI day (3/14) will be extra-special this year:

3/14/15 at 9:26:53 AM

gives the first nine decimal places of $\,\pi\,$:

3.141592653
Pretty cool!

These are paper flower tutorials that Julia found and likes: Wednesday, February 4, 2015
I'll use quilt self-binding technique (part 1) and quilt self-binding technique (part 2) for finishing my paper-pieced quilt wall hangings. (Decided to make my squares into two small wall hangings, instead of a bed quilt.) Ray and Bethany each made a square, too!

Monday, February 2, 2015
I updated my monthly stats and website income for January, and archived 2014.

I like to print my monthly calendars (for keeping track of family activities) from here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I'm almost done with my first CAMT talk (56 of 60 morsels).
I've finished sewing Ray's shirt.

I've been playing with flower ideas for Julia's wedding. Real flowers are very expensive, so I recommended fabric flowers that could then be taken home by guests as a remembrance of the day. Here are some prototypes:
• tissue paper flowers
She talks about making a stem first; the flower instructions start at about 2:20.
This is easy and inexpensive to make; perhaps wrap around napkins.
If using cheap tissue paper, be careful not to tear the paper as you're scrunching up the petals.
Basic technique: pleat a rectangular piece of fabric/paper; wrap wire around middle; fluff/shape.
• a fluffy tulle or organza flower (requires a glue gun)
basic technique for each layer: repeatedly fold a long strip of fabric; cut petal shape and unfold; singe edges to curl petals; baste along long edge; gather; shape into circle and secure
• one-piece Kanzashi flower Cool idea; I love the folding and gathering idea. I've tried two, and they haven't come out very well. I was trying to use fabric instead of ribbon; that may be the problem.
basic technique: do a special folding of a long strip of fabric (or ribbon); baste along (special) folded edges and gather; singe edges; shape into circle and secure
• shabby chic flower This one is great for using up little pieces of fabric and miscellaneous buttons (for the middles). I went out and bought a small hot glue gun.
basic technique: fold small individual fabric squares in a special way (for each petal); glue onto a circular (felt) base; if desired, repeat for more layers; glue on center adornments (stamen, buttons, etc.)
• individual petal Kanzashi flower $\,7\text{ cm}\approx 2.75 \text{ in}\,$;   $\,4\text{ cm}\approx 1.5 \text{ in}\,$
This is beautiful, but ribbon is expensive, and I wasn't able to get even one petal to look ‘right’ with three tries—I don't think I'd be able to make 150-200 of these for a wedding!
• Japanese hair flower These are similar to the petal style above, but are a much smaller flower. I like the use of the common pins to hold them together until sewing. I recommend starting considerably bigger than $\,5\text{ cm}\times 5 \text{ cm}\,$ for your first one! The finished flower can be glued to a circular felt base.

Friday, January 13, 2015
I finished the web exercises for Periodic Functions.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I finished the concept discussion for Periodic Functions.
I thought this one was going to be quick-and-easy, but it actually took me a long time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
I've been working on my CAMT 2015 talks, where I'm a featured speaker.
I've finished 22 (of 60) morsels on my first talk (of three).
I'm also making good progress on my paper-pieced sampler quilt;
I've finished all the traditional blocks, and am starting the travel blocks.
Also, Ray's shirt (that I'm sewing) is coming along well.

Thursday, January 1, 2015
Happy New Year, everyone!
I updated my monthly stats and website income for December.
Next month, I'll archive the year 2014.

Blog Archive, 2014
Blog Archive, 2013
Blog Archive, 2012
Blog Archive, 2011
Blog Archive, 2010
Blog Archive, 2009
Blog Archive, 2008
Blog Archive, 2007
Blog Archive, 2006
Blog Archive, 2005