Friday, May 22, 2015

Melissa's Yoga Mat Spray - If you do Hot Bikram Yoga, you need this!

I practice Bikram Hot Yoga and it's no secret you can sweat a lot in each 90 minute session. This can wreak havoc on your yoga mat. 

 I did some research about cleaning yoga mats. I had been rinsing mine off with a hose and hanging it in the sun to dry. There is a lot to be said for the sun. It is very purifying and better yet, it's free.
I went to a new studio (Bikram Yoga Danvers, MA) recently after moving north from my annual winter retreat in Florida where I frequent Bikram Yoga on the Island in Merritt Island, FL.

I noticed a bit of a change in my yoga mat and it could just be that I wasn't in the very strong Florida sun any longer which had a very cleansing effect on all that dried sweat. 

I don't like to buy anything I don't already have so a scrounged around the house to see what I had that I could used for a cleansing yoga mat spray. I wanted to use some essential oils I had on hand and I had some tea tree oil which has a lot of antibacterial properties. 

I know you can use witch hazel or vinegar instead of vodka. I decided to use vodka because I figured the alchohol in it will definitely kill the bacteria that causes that yucky old sweat smell. I recently researched some natural deodorant recipes that use vodka.

I love my yoga mat and don't want to buy a new one so I think I need something as high test as possible and that cheap old bottle of vodka was just gathering dust on a shelf. Maybe next time I make the spray I will try vinegar or witch hazel.

Melissa's Yoga Mat Spray

1 c. Spring water
1 c. vodka
40 drops tea tree oil
1 teaspoon lavender oil
1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil 
1 Spray Bottle ( either reuse something you already have or buy one at the $1 store)

Put all the ingredients in the spray bottle and shake well. 

I hang my mat on the cloths line in the sun with a pants hanger. You could use your shower rod in your bathroom too. I spray down the mat (both sides) and then hose down with my garden hose, let dry a few minutes and then give a light spray again. Let dry. The scent of the essential oils give your mat a nice clean fresh scent and you haven't used rough chemicals. 

Happy Hot Yoga,

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Prayer Shawl Knit in Multitone Purple Frog Tree Chunky Alpaca by Melissa Abbott

Prayer Shawl Knit in 

Multitone Purple Frog Tree Chunky Alpaca 
by Melissa Smith Abbott
While visiting Meredith, N.H. this summer, I happened up a wonderful knitting store there called "Pattern Works"  and bought this wonderful little book with 15 different knit Prayer Shawls. The book called out to me and even though I wasn't planning on doing much knitting, I bought the book. Prayer Shawls are usually knit with love infused into every stitch. I had the idea that I would like to do one. The little book slips into your bag easily and I started carrying it around looking at it and eventually settled on a pattern I thought would be beautiful on page 4. The pattern is called "Southwest Color" and it is by Cynthia Guggemos.
The Shawl is so comfy, cozy, and soft!

It knit up into a perfect length for me!
This is the Cover of the Little Prayer Shawl
Pattern Book I bought at Pattern Works in Meredith, NH

I wanted to knit the shawl in something special, something very soft and comforting. During the later part of the summer a friend who knits quite a bit told me about a wonderful soft yarn called Frog Tree Chunky Alpaca. I looked online and later found some at Coveted Yarn in Gloucester, MA in a wonderful purple variegated color. The pattern calls for 5 skeins of medium weight yarn and a size 9 circular needle but since this was a larger chunkier yarn I used 6 skeins (really about 5 1/2) and I boosted the needle size up to a size 11 circular.

Label of the Frog Tree
Chunky Alpaca Yarn
Pattern Page #4 "Southwest Color" 
out of the book

 "Knit Prayer Shawls, 15 Wraps to Share"

View of the Pattern Up Close

What a great and beautiful Meditative Object. I made this as a gift to myself. I often knit things for friends and family but I decided that the next thing I knit will be for myself and boy, do I sure appreciate this Shawl. It is incredibly comfortable. The greatest gift to myself that I could make!
Prayer Shawl Knit in Multitone Purple Frog Tree Chunky Alpaca by Melissa Abbott. Begun in August 2014 and finished in November 2014 in Gloucester, MA

Happy Knitting,
Melissa Abbott
November 2014
Gloucester, MA

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Quilts from the 2014 Seaside Piecemakers Quilt Show in Melbourne, FL

2014 Seaside Piecemakers Quilt Show in Melbourne, FL
Estelle Oyler's Little Blue Ribbon Quilt
"Strawberry Lemonade"
on the Top

Margie Engles Underwater World "Ocean Song"

"When Crotons Cut Loose" by Ellen Lindner

Close Up "Leaf Study" by Elizabeth King

Leaf Study

Close Up Chronicle X

Chronicle X by Arlene Herman

"Crazy for Galena, IL" by Cindy Dolaway

"Earth's Carpenter Star" by Sheila Bland and Charlene Tulino

"Surf Song" by Diane Whitson

"Sparkling Sea Glass" by Mona Collins

"Scrappy Trippin" by Suzy Pritchett

Close up of "Season's of the Meadow"

Close up of "Season's of the Meadow" by Susan Schering

"Luna" by Barbara  Miro Soumar

"Highland in the Storms" by Sara E. Jones

"Ocean Song" by Margie Engel

"The Last Journey" by  Vonda L. Frenes

"Etude" by Peggy Horsfield

Close Up of "Midnight Dance" by Peggy Hensel

"Midnight Dance" by Peggy Hensel

 There were over 200 quilts at the March 2014 Seaside Peacemaker's Quilt Show at the Melbourne, FL. It was so hard to pick my favorites of the show but these are some of them!! So inspiring!

Happy Quiltmaking,
Melissa Abbott

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bailey Island Hobo Project

The Bailey Island Hobo Bag Patterns are from a company in Maine called Two Aunties in Maine. They have quite a few patterns that use up leftover fabric in an interesting way. I learned about them from seeing a finished bag posted on Facebook by a Florida Quilting Buddy from The Seaside Piecemakers Quilting Club in Melbourne, Florida.  "Grammys Quilting Studio" Grammys Quilting Studio. The Quilting Club had had a member teacher class and this project was something they made.  After seeing the bag online, I ordered the pattern from the AuntiesTwo Website I felt guided to try my hand at making one with leftover scraps. I decided to use a Blue/Black theme rather then a tropical looking bag. I am happy with how the colors worked but would be inspired to try something more colorful next time around. I did this project in December 2013 around the New Year.

 This is a fun project, comfortable to carry and easy to make.  
Got lots of leftover batting?  How about 2 1/2" fabric strips? You can use that to make your bags. The bag is very lightweight and a dream to use. The large interior pockets make it so easy to find things too! I had thought I wouldn't want to use a shoulder bag but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I was intrigued by Carol MacLeod of Aunties Two after viewing her website. She has all kinds of projects that are so beautiful, they are total fabric art. I must say I have become a fan and would make another bag again soon. I might try the larger bag version included in the pattern.

My finished Bag with Pattern in the Foreground
Sew all the Tubes Quilted Tubes Together
Add these roomy pockets for the Interior


If you have made this project and have something to add to the review, please comment!
Happy Quilting,
Melissa Smith Abbott
February 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Paperless Piecing Star Quilt

Quilt Top: Before being Quilted
I made this quilt in the winter of 2013 after seeing it demonstrated at a group that meets in Satellite Beach, FL. They are a fantastic organization committed to projects like children's hunger, education kids in schools quilting, and donating quilts to homeless children and those less fortunate . Spearheaded by Margie Engel, who is a friendly force of nature and the dynamic Sheryl Milner together they hold a torch for educating the art of quilting. What a Blessing they are! I was welcomed into their group and this was one of the first projects I worked on there and it came out spectacularly. Being a novice quilter, it was gratifying to learn some techniques in a very positive way with a demonstration and then time to work on the project. I adore fabric and color.

You fold a pattern and stitch along the sides as a template

Stitching along fold

Lining up the fold of pattern with pieces of cloth

The Blocks!

An Idea I never ran with!
Stitching along fold line

Variations of what you can do with this Template!
Lining things Up!


Cutting out the block after stitching together the pieces that are sewed together along fold lines

You assemble 4 of these stitched patter pieces to create a star. Ingenious!

This is Sheryl Milner stitching along the fold

This is the Quilt after I had it quilted out and it looks fantastic. I had it professionally quilted at . The Quilt Place is a state of the Art Quilt Shop in Rockledge, FL run by a wonderful woman named Theresa. Not only do they have several long arm quilting machines constantly working, they have over 12,000 bolts of fantastic quilting material. I think they did a fantastic job!

These are the Quilts I made in the winter of 2013

I really loved making this series of quilts and it was a fantastic learning experience for me!
Template - Measures 6"x6"

Sheryl Milner's Instructions: 
RST=Right Sides Together
The Numbered Side of the Pattern is the WRONG side of the block. This is the side all the sewing is done.
The back side of the pattern is blank, it is the RIGHT side of the Block. This is where the fabric will show.
1. Fold the line between #1 and #2. This will be your sewing line.
2. Lay fabric for #2 Right Side Up on the Table
3. Lay the fabric for #1 Right Side down on top of #2 (basically RST with fabric #1 on top)
4. Lay paper pattern with it folded back on fabric leaving 1/4" of fabric beyond the paper. Space #1 on paper will be lid back on fabric. Pin or hold in place and unfold the paper over so you can see the sewing line.
5. Sew on the Line. You can take a couple of stitches beyond the end of the line.
6. Turn over to the fabric side and finger press the seam.
7. Fold back the paper between #2 and #3
8. Trim off the excess fabric of #2 so only 1/4" shows beyond the fold line.
9. Lay Fabric #3 with RS (Right Side) up on table.
10. Lay your pattern on top of #3 RST matching the edge of the fabrics.
11. Unfold the paper so you can see the sewing line. Sew on line.
12. repeat, repeat, repeat until all pieces are sewn on. 
13. Trim block to size leaving a 1/4" all around
14. Paper is removed after all the pieces are sewn together.

Happy Quilting,