Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fabric Tinting Tutorial and A Give-Away

I came across a technique today that I was not familiar with and thought I'd share it with you. Plus, the author if the tutorial is having a Give-Away too.

Norma, author of Petit Debutant blog posted a tutorial on a technique for tinting fabric using colored pencils. The tutorial is well written and the end results are beautiful. Click here for the tutorial: Fabric Tinting Tutorial

But wait, there’s more. She is hosting a Give-Away. The winner of the Give-Away will receive the necessary supplies to do some fabric tinting on one of their own projects. Visit Petit Debutant to see how you can enter her Give-Away.

Have fun!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Trends and Traditions is Celebrating with a Give-Away

To celebrate her first year anniversary in blogland, Heather Mulder Peterson, author of Trends and Traditions blog, is having a Give-Away. Heather designs and publishes quilt patterns and as prizes for her Give-Away is offering a couple of quilts and a stack of charm squares with a couple of patterns. Visit Trends and Traditions to learn more on how you can enter her Give-Away.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Peep Into My Sewing Studio

I always considered myself to be rather organized in my sewing room. My philosophy has always been like goes with like, something I picked-up while in college, in chemistry no less. Throughout my sewing / quilting studio you’ll see where I have followed this method; scissors are all together, needles are organized by type and size, fabric is arranged by color or theme, embroidery thread is stored by type and color, etc. Everything is kept relatively neat and organized… until you get to my cutting table.

My project status is at an awkward state right and it seems to be spilling into my sewing studio. For instance, I’ve finished the top to my musical angels quilt and it’s ready to be machine quilted except I’m not ready to machine quilt it until my machine quilting technique is perfected. While I’ve been working on my machine quilting technique I’ve also been working on a couple of other small projects.

Here's a picture of my cutting table from Angle #1...

Angle #2...

And, Angle #3...

This is going to be a coaster. I still need to finish the edge with a satin stitch.

These will also be coasters but I'm not sure how I will finish the edge. These designs are larger than the first one I showed and I'm not sure I want to do an edge finish.

What's Baking In My Kitchen?

I love to bake and find myself a little picky about the things I eat because of this. One of the things I don't like is store bought bread, especially white bread. Although I prefer wheat or whole grain bread, I've had a huge problem in finding a recipe where the bread isn't like sawdust once it's baked.

In comes my friend
Judy, author of Gramma’s Quilting Room blog. We participate in a couple of quilting group’s whose members generally live in Washington State. We have lots of fun attending sew-ins and other group activities, as well as online events. So, Judy sent me a link to a blog with a Whole Wheat Bread recipe that she uses.

I printed the recipe and decided to make if for the first time yesterday.

I was surprised at how easy this recipe was as it only requires one rise after kneading. To get a good rise out of my dough, I preheat my oven to 170° before turing it off and placing the dough inside with a warm, wet towel over the dough. This provides a warm place for the dough to rise without the risk of cold air disturbing the process. This is the dough after allowing it to rise in my warm oven for about 1 hour. I placed the pans onto my counter while the oven preheated to the proper temperature to bake the bread.

After baking for 30 minutes, this is the end result. See how much rise I got out of the dough?

Here is the ‘crumb’ shot of my bread. I am very impressed with this recipe as it produced a tender, moist texture without it being dry like sawdust.

Once in a while you come across a great blog with a plethora of information. Patchwork Times is one of those places. So stop on by, print out a couple of recipes, and browse the Patchwork Times blog. She has some great quilting information too.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's a Give-Away at Lurline's Place

I just love give-aways, don't you? I also love reading all the wonderful blogs and absorbing the tons of inspiration I get from each one. My biggest problem is that I just don't have the time to sit and read everyone's blog. Well, that and any of my other responsibilities.

One of the blogs I read regularly is
Lurline’s Place. She always has great projects that she shares with the readers of her blog. She’s just a wonderful source of inspiration. Today she announced a Give-Away of ten 10”x20” strips, or fat-eighths, of some reproduction prints. They are beautiful!

So swing on over to
Lurline’s Place and enter her Give-Away. You never know, you just might be the winner!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Its a Give-Away at Quilt N Quilt Things!

Regena, author of Quilt N Quilt Things blog is having a Give-Away in celebration of her 100th post to her blog.

OK here is the list of items in this GiVe AwAy.

set of mini spool lights.
one mini wall hanging
one package of sew it! buttons
one cupcake pincushion
one package of quilt note cards
one bottle to store your old or broken needles and pins in to safely throw them away.
one "quilt diva" note pad
one Fons and Porter scissors lock to protect your favorite scissors.
one petal pouch full of a sweet treat
and 4 fat quarters
Plus a quilt
If you want to learn more about Regena's Give-Away, please visit her blog at Quilt N Quilt Things.
Good Luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's Cooking?

It has been awhile since I posted a recipe so I thought I'd share two recipes with you today. First, let me say I would have posted this yesterday but Blogger was having hiccups and rather than try to fight with it, I thought I'd wait until this morning.

I love make-ahead recipes because it makes preparing a meal so much easier. They’re especially welcoming when you’ve been working all day or you’re running late because the soccer game went into overtime. Two of my favorite recipes are Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting and Grilled Lemon Chicken. Super Easy!

My children always loved working in the kitchen with me while they were growing up and I always stressed for them to read the recipe and gather all of their ingredients before they begin baking. This will prevent you from getting into the middle of a recipe only to discover you don’t have everything necessary to prepare your food.

I gathered all of my ingredients to make my chocolate cake. Of course, after this picture was taken and I had started assembling my ingredients, I discovered the eggs could not be seen in this picture... But they really are there. I did not show the boiling water.

These are the utensils required to make the cake. The mixer is shown with the ingredients.

Prior to assembling the ingredients in my mixing bowl, I sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. I choose to use a fine mesh strainer over a deep bowl for this technique. Simply add the ingredients to be sifted and gently shake the strainer over the bowl.

The purpose of sifting is to remove all of the lumps from your flour and cocoa.

If you do have some lumps, use a spoon to break the lumps before proceeding to finish sifting the ingredients.

This is what they will look like. All of the lumps have been broken up and you have a light powder mixture.

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in mixing bowl.

Add the boiling water to creamed mixture and blend until dissolved. Add eggs and mix well.

Add dry ingredients to wet mixture. I use a 1/2 cup measuring cup and mix well between each addition. This will help eliminate any lumps that may form.

Batter will be very thin.

Pour into a 13" x 9" baking dish. I spray the dish with a cooking spray to prevent the cake from sticking. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool.

Once cake has completely cooled, add powder sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk to mixing bowl. Mix well. I use a wire beater because I like the light texture it gives the frosting.

With a rubber spatula, scrape the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure everything is mixed well.

You don't want to over beat your frosting, but you do want it to be smooth.

With an offset spatula, spread frosting over cooled cake.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

To make the grilled lemon chicken, you will need olive oil, a couple of lemons (even though I only pictured one), salt, pepper, chopped garlic, and chopped rosemary.

We'll use poultry scissors, a citrus reamer (or similar), a fine grater, small bowl, and a 13" x 9" baking dish.

I've washed the chicken in cold water and dried inside and out with a paper towel.

From the backside of the chicken, using your poultry scissors, cut the spine from the chicken.

The removal of the spine will allow you to lay the chicken flat on the grill.

Open up the chicken and remove any additional fat. You can either cut the fat out or, like I do, grab hold of it and pull. It peels right off.

The fat has been removed and I've wiped the inside of the chicken with a paper towel.

Lightly sprinkle both sides of the chicken with kosher salt.

Add olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary, and pepper into bowl. Whisk until ingredients are well combined.

You know it's combined when you can no longer distinguished between the olive oil and the lemon juice.

Add chicken to baking dish and pour marinade over chicken. Coat both sides of the chicken well. For a strong lemon flavor, put chicken skin side down in dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Remove chicken from refrigerate and allow it to sit at room temperature for 20 - 30 minutes while grill is preheating. Place chicken on grill and turn off burners underneath chicken. Grill chicken for about 20 - 25 minutes on each side. Chicken is done when juices are clear or leg moves easily. If chicken is not browned enough, place chicken over burners on other side of grill for about 5 minutes on each side. Allow chicken to sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice over chicken before serving.

Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting
350° 30 minutes

2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 cups boiling water
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In mixing bowl, cream together vanilla, butter, and sugar. Add boiling water, blend well. Add eggs and mix until well blended. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into 13” x 9” baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Allow cake to completely cool before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 – 5 Tbsp milk
Dash of salt

Add all ingredients into mixing bowl and beat until smooth. For chocolate frosting, add ½ cup cocoa. With offset spatula, spread frosting over cake. Cover cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Grill Lemon Chicken

1 – 3 ½ lb chicken, flattened
Kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp grated lemon zest
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3 lemons, for juice and zest

Wash chicken with cold water and dry with paper towel. Remove spine using poultry scissors. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with kosher salt. Combine olive oil. Lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and pepper in small bowl.

Place chicken on baking dish and pour marinade over chicken, coating both sides well. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken a couple of times while marinating.

Remove chicken from refrigerator and set out at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Preheat grill. Place chicken, skin side up, on grill. Turn off burners underneath chicken. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from grill, loosely cover with foil and let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over chicken before serving.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oh The Treasures Around Me...

I know I'm supposed to be working from my 'resources' but I needed to purchase some fabric with a large scale print so I could continue working towards perfecting my machine quilting technique. I had planned to purchase something inexpensive at JoAnn's Fabrics, but I also needed to go into our local quilt shop to purchase a couple of fat quarters as prizes for the winners of a couple BINGO games a group of us play.

So I’m in town running errands and make a stop at Calico Creations, the local quilt shop in Mount Vernon. It’s a small shop but the owner keeps a pretty good selection of fabrics in stock. Their inventory of sale fabrics is located in the back of the shop and this is where I usually begin BROWSING. By BROWSING, I mean scanning the shelves; maybe pull a few bolts out to TOUCH, and FLIPPING through anything that is resting against the shelves on the floor during my first GLANCE.

OK, I’ve safely made it through the first GLANCE of the sale fabric and I’m making my way over to the children’s prints. Having nine grandchildren, I’m always on the lookout for fabric I can use on something for them. I pull out a couple bolts to TOUCH the fabric and HOLD a couple of them next to each other to check for COMPATIBILITY, but I safely make it through the children’s prints on my first PASSING.

Flannels are next in line. I love flannels. They work great for sewing receiving blankets as baby gifts. But, although there are several cute prints, I decide I have a large enough stock at home and can BYPASS the flannels.

One of the winners of our BINGO game wanted blue or yellow Batik for her fat quarter. A true yellow and not orange-yellow, which I knew would be a difficult wish to fulfill. But I quickly GLANCED through the Batiks and since I was unable to locate a true yellow, I selected a blue Batik print. One down, one more to go!

The second winner of our BINGO game is working on a town quilt. For birthday blocks, everyone is stitching a building as contribution to her town. To go with this theme, she requested prints that would lend themselves to landscape items; grass, trees, brushes, etc. This quest might be more difficult because it will take me through the rest of the fabric in the shop.

I’m back to GLANCING and TOUCHING all the lovely fabric. I longed for some Moda and Amy Butler prints. I spent several minutes GLANCING at the black and white prints. And I drooled at all the Brights and Jewel tones. The same jewel tones found in all the luscious fall prints that now overflowed from the shop’s shelves. Oh the restrain it took to get through the first GLANCE and then the second GLANCE…

It was during my third GLANCE that I came upon a fall print with shades of orange, yellow, green, reds, and browns that I thought would be perfect for use in her town quilt. But, not before I found a couple more treasures…

I found these Amy Butler prints buried in the sale fabrics at 40% off the regular price. I'm participating in a Friendship Bag Swap and think these would look great in a Friendship Bag. Don't you?

Again, I found another coordinating print to go with the Amy Butler print and at a whopping 40% off. What do you think? Another bag or perhaps a pillow? Oh the possibilities!

After shopping at Calico Creations, I headed over to JoAnn's Fabrics in search of a large scale print to use for practicing my machine quilting. I'm not a fan of JoAnn's fabric because most of the time it is cheap and doesn't hold up well to use. However, since this was for practice use I thought JoAnn's was perfect. The prints above have a soft hand and the print has lots of connecting shapes that I thought would be perfect for practicing my machine quilting technique. I was a little put off by the price, but it will work and I can always use it for a set of small zipper pouches afterwards.

As I was heading to the counter to get my fabric cut, I happened upon this beautiful print. The fabric is so soft and the colors are lusciously vibrant. I could not pass this one up. I'm sure I could use another print to practice my machine quilting and in the end, it will make a great bag or something. YUMMY!

Oh, I almost forgot! Before I left Calico Creations I just had to purchase these three prints for Elijah's quilt. He loves cars and his quilt will have construction trucks on it. His bedroom is decorated in primary colors too. Don't you think these will go well with his trucks? Now I need to find some more TREASURES to add to my RESOURCES.