Things I can’t do… very well

I love to put up my successes on the blog, makes me feel like I really get things accomplished day to day. But the fact of the matter is there are a few things I really haven’t been able to figure out. So if you have these special skills why don’t you share with a sister and let me know how you get this stuff done right.

Thing one: making oatmeal.

Quick oats, old fashioned, hell I’ve even tried steel cut oats. They turn out like this: crunchy/soggy/lumpy/disgusting every time. This is yesterday’s attempt. First I tried the microwave. That ended with a complete microwave cleaning: top, bottom, and door because of an oatmeal explosion. I didn’t even know you could explode oatmeal. I’ve tried it with milk, water, sugar, no sugar, and every other possible combination. Here’s the thing, I like oatmeal. I remember my mom making it for breakfast. I’m sure this memory has been clouded by time, but I swear she just threw things in the pan and let it simmer while getting us ready for school. She made it looks so easy. So before I go and put all of this oatmeal into cookies, ideas?

Thing two:

Getting my stuff put away. I was going to say keeping my room clean (yes I have my own room; mainly for this reason), but the room is clean, it’s just not tidy. And I do have it organized, I’ve just always got to may things going on.  Yikes. Bj likes to do a little pantomime: He puts his hand in a fist, pops the top and throws an invisible grenade in there, to show me things have gotten out of control. I’d have to agree. What to do, what to do.

Thing three:

Machine binding a quilt. I have seen this all over blog land. Quick, get a bias tape maker (the thing you use to pull your strip of fabric through and then iron the bias tape together) put it over your quilt, sew it on, and done! Not so my friends. First of all I suffered some major steam burns trying to wrestle with the cheap-o bias tape maker I got, then cursed my machine trying to get the thing on. I know it took me longer than hand binding when all is said and done, and my hand binding, well I’m going to say it, looks perfect. I don’t like it when I can’t be at the front of the class with a crafty activity, but I finally had to give up and just make two lines of stitching to get all the edges into the binding. It’s horrible, but it was looking like Bj was never going to get his Christmas quilt (I know! Christmas!).

If you have had any success with the above items please, tell me how you got to be so fantastic. It’s just not fair of you to keep all that information to yourself!

Join the Conversation


  1. 1. Oatmeal
    Buy instant. Boil the water and then pour it into the oatmeal.
    2. Putting Things Away
    Don’t learn to clean your room. Learn to embrace your clutter. 🙂
    3. Machine Binding
    Never tried it. I’ve always just don’t it by hand. It’s my favorite part of making a quilt because I wrap all up in it while I sew the binding on. Sigh. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that.

  2. I love oatmeal too… Rolled/quick oats are best made on stove top. Boil the water, throw in the oats and turn the heat down to a medium low. Then you MUST keep stirring. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. You don’t have to stir fast, but you have to stir it regularly to keep it from exploding (it’s gets so thick that the oatmeal creates a sort of barrier that the heat has nowhere to escape until it builds up enough energy to pop it’s way out – much like a volcano! Volcano of oatmeal!!!!) 😀
    However, steel cut oats are best made in a slow cooker. My fav is 1/2 cup oats, 2 cups water, 1/4 tsp each of nutmeg and cloves, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tbsp of maple syrup and then seeds/fruit of your choice (sunflower, pumpkin, dried cranberries, raisins etc). Cook over night on low. In the morning, throw on nuts if you like and serve with milk (and more maple syrup if you choose to.)

  3. Oatmeal…I have this every morning and this is SO easy. It depends how you like your oatmeal, I like mine thick, just enough water to all be absorbed, so if you like it thinner I’m not sure if it turns out as well. Two smallish handfuls of Old Fashioned Oats, a shake or two of salt, and as much water as you like. 1 minute in the microwave. Done. No pan to clean, easy. I then put brown sugar, cream, frozen berries, jam, etc in.
    As for the binding…The last quilt I made my mom helped me make a binding by cutting out my fabric on the bias and then piecing them together in 3 or 4 pieces. I don’t remember the particulars, but I can find out if you are curious.
    You can do it! (In that funny accent)

  4. Well I just don’t agree with boiling the water, then putting in the oatmeal.
    Here’s how it done: Just put oatmeal in a pan with enough cold water to cover and a bit more (maybe a bit more than that). Anyway it comes to a slow boil, simmer slowly for a few minutes, add a bit of butter, turn off the heat and let it just sit for a couple of minutes. That’s how your Great Grandma used to do it and it turned out perfect every time. I know you are dieting, but I really think it was the butter that made it so good. You just have to cut the fat our later in the day… Maybe only one girl scout cookie instead of two.

  5. Hi Amber, I am an Avid Quilter & Scrapbooker and I have an easy binding tip for you to try. I NEVER use the binding tapes, they just don’t work. So here’s what you do.Find a Co-ordinating Fabric that will go with your quilt top and buy enough for the size of quilt you are making. Use your rotary cutter and 24 inch quilters ruler and make a “straight edge” on the fabric. Meaning with fabric folded, line up the top of the ruler and Square up your fabric and cut it with the cutter. Then cut 2 1/2″ strips of this fabric until you have enough strips to go around your quilt, maybe 6 for a lap size. Then sew these long strips with right sides together. I make a right angle with the two strips and sew on the diagonal, and cut off the excess triangle piece. Once you have all the strips sewn together,fold in half with wrong sides together and iron. Now they are ready to sew on your quilt. Just line up the edge of the binding to the edge of the quilt and sew. I sew on the top side of the quilt. Be sure to mitre the corners and join the ends when they meet up and then you can hand sew the binding over to backside and your done! Hope that helps you out

  6. 1) Oatmeal: I buy the store brand (not name brand) of quick oats. Put 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup water in a bowl, microwave for 1 min 40 sec. Garaunteed perfect! Then I like to add brown sugar and cinnamon to sweeten it up. It’s healthier than the instant oats in a packet because you can control the amount of sugar and stuff you put in it.
    2) Clutter: That just takes practice. Make the conscious effort to put something in its place once you are done with it. If there is no “official” place for it, maybe a trip to the container store is worth while…??? Sometimes I feel like I’m ALWAYS cleaning up. So, I’m trying this method myself, and when I go to just toss something in a room, I think ‘if you put this away now, you won’t have to do it later.’ So far, it seems to be working!
    3) Machine Binding: Huh? What? You know this is completely foreign to me, so I’m not even going to attempt to give any kind of advice, fake or real. 🙂

  7. Coming out of lurkdom to say….hoooray! you ARE human!! LOL. Just kidding…but seriously, i am so in awe (and just a teeny bit jealous–LOL–in a nice way) of all your cool successful projects…but I really don’t have any tips for your un-successes. I’m right there with ya on wishing I knew how to do the binding…in a way that isn’t complicated at all, so when you figure that one out, I’ll look forward to learning from you…*grin* I don’t eat oatmeal very often (just instant) and I’m one of those somewhat organized peoples that are fairly good at doing it but really stink at explaining it. LOL. Anyways, all that to say that even with a few unsuccessful projects, your skills still amaze me. LOL! back to lurkdom now. =) =)

  8. I’ve never had oatmeal – it sounds American to me.
    Is it like porridge?
    I am compulsively tidy so I just can’t comment on the tidying up the room thing, ‘cept maybe…if you quickly rushed to put just 1 thing away every time there was an ad break on TV, maybe it could be done AND count as excercise.
    Also I haven’t made a quilt. Yet. People here tend to erm…not use them. It’s another thing that sounds American to me.

  9. can’t help you with the oatmeal…
    love the smell of it and I love oatmeal cookies, but can’t stand eating a bowl of it. I think it’s a texture thing.
    and Alicia just posted a tutorial on bias tape binding on Posie Gets Cozy this morning!

  10. I applaud your attempts with the oatmeal. I’m not good with oatmeal but I haven’t really made many attempts. I’m more of a cream of wheat type of gal. I didn’t really grow up eating it plus even the gluten free oatmeal makes me a little sick. Though I did find a good GF version of cream of wheat. My hubby is very good with the oatmeal though. And it’s like you mentioned about your Mom, he just puts it all in without measuring and it turns out perfect.

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