Feeling Frugal…Starch your $$$$

Ha! Gotcha’ didn’t I? I could call it STRETCH your dollars, but this was more fun!

Well, if you are a quilter…or love to iron things to a nice crisp finish…I am blogging about something I have been wanting to try for a long time.

Everyone…I mean EVERYONE knows how nice Mary Ellen’s Best Press is! I love it too!

best press

We all also know there is a plethora of info on Pinterest. Some time ago I saved this post about “Quilter’s Moonshine”  and finally tried it this morning. Maybe because I used my last spritz of Best Press and didn’t have a backup!! Woe is me!

The recipe calls for starting with a gallon of distilled water, but I wanted to test it out first so cut the recipe down, using only 1/4 of the ingredients.

Quilters Moonshine Ingreds The very expensive ingredients…NOT…use the cheapest vodka you can find.

Quilters Moonshine recipe







I used 4 cups distilled water (I actually used filtered water), 1/8 cup (2T) starch, and 1/4 cup vodka.



The result is a little on the cloudy looking side…



So, I put it to the test. No sticky residue on fabric or iron. The finish is a bit softer than Best Press, but that would only mean adding a bit more starch to your recipe for your personal preference.

Quilters Moonshine 2

Just look how much it makes. If you are frugal and want to give this a try, I am thinking you will not be unhappy with the result. I pay $9.95 (if not on sale) for one bottle of the great Best Press. I am NOT knocking it AT ALL! This concoction, which I do not plan to drink, by the way, was just a few cents for this batch!

Happy Quilting…Happy Pressing!

I will post if I have any further results to share.


Canadian Railway Trip – Part 1

Having already traversed the northern United States via Amtrak, Portland, Oregon to New York City, a few years ago, we decided to try the Canadian Railway system this year. It is touted to be much better than Amtrak and different scenery, especially as it goes further north in the mountains. It is also more expensive, though with the great exchange rate on the Canadian dollar, not so bad. We boarded the train in Vancouver, British Columbia and were headed to Toronto.

Via route

The train station in Vancouver is like many…an old building that has been used for years and houses the bus station too. This one was charming and sufficient in what it had to offer.


So let’s get started. We booked a sleeping car, as the trip is over four nights. Comparatively, the car we had was smaller and bigger than our Amtrak trip. (We had to change trains in Chicago before and changed room types…thus the and) It is like an RV…use of every space. This cabin had bunk beds, which fold down, and then two chairs during the day.  Funny truth, we slept in one bed all but one night…tried the bunks and the room felt so cramped…plus, we used to sleep in his mom’s twin bed, so we could do this! We also had a toilet and a sink/vanity. The shower was shared and a few steps down the hall.

The train seemed to rock and roll more than I remembered, but we refrained from putting that old note on the door, “If this train is rockin’, then don’t be knockin’!” It would have been on every door!

On the first night, there was no real food service, as we departed about 8:30 PM. They did offer nice h’ors doeurves and champagne in the lounge car, so we could toast the beginning of the trip.

20160329_203915 Otherwise, we settled in and got adjusted to our new digs…and remembered how to sleep in a twin bed!

The food is included when you get a sleeping car. Three full meals a day and snacks/beverages all day and night in the lounge car. The food was quite good…better than Amtrak. And don’t worry, one never leaves hungry from these four-course meals. Also, given that there is little exercise to be found, other than the walk from the dining car to the lounge car or your room, you don’t really need that much food!


I didn’t get pictures of all the menus, but different every day and an effort was made to include local dishes. Riding the rails and having good food with new friends and beautiful scenery was certainly not bad!

After meals, we would hang out in the lounge car with some really nice people…British, Canadian, Aussie, and US…quite interesting and engaging!

I will leave the trip post at this point and continue in part 2.

Note: Except for the map, all images © Valorie Webster