Monday, November 29, 2010

quilting progress

As I alluded to a few weeks ago, I have finally started the quilt I am trying to get done before Anne's deployment. It loosely follows an Elizabeth Hartman pattern I discovered very much by accident while skimming International Quilt Festival

The basic idea is that you draw the contour of the trees on freezer paper. Then you trace those contours onto a second piece of freezer paper and divide it into patches, cut the patches, then construct.

I am not following the pattern, but I am borrowing the idea and technique. It is coming along very steadily (largely because I am growing in the area of daily disciplines) and I am very excited . My goal is to be at the quilting phase by January so that I can work on it while I hopefully spend 5 weeks in new staff training.

These are my trees - currently they have taken over a wall in our dining room (thankfully neither my husband nor roommates seem all that bothered by it)

For a variety of reasons I am trying to make the bulk of it out of fabric I already have - especially these old t-shirts. They are so full of memories, and way to worn out to wear - no better resting place than a quilt :-D

But Anne did help me pick out a few new materials including this green.I look forward to sharing more progress along the way - I am so stinking pumped!

Also - love this and its Christmas cousin


Sunday, November 14, 2010

saturday morning

fabric blogs

Many of you know (or at least can tell) that I am falling in love with fabric arts (mostly quilting) and I wanted to take a moment and share links to some of the blogs I am currently in love with ...

diary of a quilter


happy together

Also I think I will completely change the direction of the quilt I am making for the little sister (deadline:her April deployment) originally it was going to be a collection of 49 9x12 squares but when I was about to check out of hobby lobby with the muslin I needed for the t-shirts I saw this , was completely lovestruck and I have spent my evening thinking through the pattern and making design adjustments (like using squirrels instead of birds). Ambitious much? I know - it is my learning weakness.

I am now following her blog as well - Oh Fransson

Monday, November 8, 2010


I heard this recipe described on NPR during my short commute home. If the winter passes without trying it, I will be disappointed.

Citrouille Farcie (Stuffed Pumpkin)

This incredibly dramatic French dish is perfect for a Halloween party. This recipe is adapted from one I got from Patricia Deshaies Britton, a French woman now living in the U.S. The recipe is from the southwest of France. "It's easy, friendly and fun with a nice table and good company," she says. Julia Child has a similar recipe she calls le potiron tout rond. If you have any cut up pumpkin lying around, add to the mix.
Citrouille Farcie (Stuffed Pumpkin)
Enlarge David Deutsch for NPR

Makes 10 to 12 servings as side dish

1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs

4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound bacon

1 Cinderella pumpkin

1 tablespoon soft butter

Salt, to taste

8 ounces gruyere, coarsely grated

1/2 pound creme fraiche (or 1 cup heavy cream)

Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

Fresh thyme leaves, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Tear bread into small pieces, place on jellyroll pan and sprinkle with minced garlic. Heat in oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dried.

Meanwhile, cut bacon into dice and fry until crisp. Remove from grease with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towel-lined tray.

After bread is toasted, remove and turn oven up to 400 degrees.

With a sturdy knife, cut a cover off the pumpkin about 4 inches in diameter. Hold the knife at an angle while cutting. Scoop out the seeds and strings and either set aside to roast later or throw away (into your compost heap, of course.)

Butter the inside of the pumpkin and the underside of the lid with the softened butter. Season the inside of the pumpkin with salt.

Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (An alternative is to place the pumpkin in a pot or tureen in case it collapses. I lived dangerously.)

Inside the pumpkin, layer bread, bacon, cheese, creme fraiche or cream and sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme. Repeat until pumpkin is full. Replace top on pumpkin and place in oven.

Cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the pumpkin begins to soften on the outside and the filling begins to bubble. Turn tray once or twice during cooking.

Lower heat to 350 degrees and cook 1/2 hour more, until the pumpkin is tender but still holds its shape. If it's getting too brown, cover it loosely with foil.

The pumpkin may be kept warm in a 200-degree oven for 1/2 hour. It does, however, stay hot for a very long time.

To serve, remove cover and dip into the pumpkin with a long-handled spoon, scraping the flesh off the pumpkin's bottom and sides for each serving.

More Squash-buckleing thoughts

The littlest Belle

Saturday, November 6, 2010

done with one ... starting another

About a year ago I decided I wanted to pick up quilting again. I had started a t-shirt quilt with my Grandmother a long long time ago but any time I wanted to pick it up again it was just too emotionally overwhelming. I decided that there is no simpler quilt to make than a baby quilt, a friend at work was pregnant so I had grand plans of making a quilt for her.

Between my normal penchant for distraction and for not doing things the easy way (like following directions – or for that matter reading the entirety of directions) the baby in question is almost a year old but none-the-less I am glad to be done.

Obviously it has flaws, but I am not displeased with it and I look forward to giving it to the lovely little lady.

Being done with the quilt has freed me up to start my next project (well one of them) is a rag doll for my niece. Hopefully it will be ready for Christmas. And the best part is that I am getting to use some of the random plethora of fabric I inherited from my Grandmother (the pieces for the body are actually some of my great-grandmother Mary Lou's ... she had an affinity for brown)

Shall We

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lots of projects to try...

I am in the middle of three projects right now and two of them really need to be finished before I start new ones ... but here is a long list to choose from (not that I didn't already have a bit of a que worked up but hey - this is how I roll).

t-shirt turned cardi

a personal mannequin

a longer cardigan

ruffle skirt

cuff skirt

homemade leggings


All because of the refashionistas ...


Monday, November 1, 2010

Cider Spice Chiffon Cake

When I have (or barrow) the right pan - I should like to make this.

Cider Spice Chiffon Cake

Serves 10 to12

Separate the eggs when they’re cold; it’s easier. You will need a tube pan with a removable bottom for this recipe. Our favorite, the Chicago Metallic Professional Nonstick Angel Food Cake Pan, has both a removable bottom and “feet” to support the pan while the cake cools. If your pan is footless, invert the cake onto the neck of a wine bottle to cool.

5 large eggs , separated (see note)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups plain cake flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons apple cider
2 tablespoons cream cheese , softened
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. WHIP WHITES Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. With electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium- high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until just stiff and glossy, about 1 minute; set aside.

2. FINISH BATTER Combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice in large bowl. Whisk cider, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla in medium bowl until smooth. Whisk wet mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Whisk one-third whipped egg whites into batter, then gently fold in remaining whites, 1 scoop at a time, until well combined. Scrape mixture into 16-cup ungreased tube pan.

3. BAKE CAKE Bake until tooth- pick inserted into center comes out clean and cracks in cake appear dry, 55 to 65 minutes. Cool, inverted, to room temperature, about 3 hours. To unmold, follow photos below.

4. MAKE GLAZE Whisk apple cider, cream cheese, cinnamon, and allspice in medium bowl until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour glaze over cooled cake. Let glaze set 15 minutes. Serve.

anticpate, supervise, ta-da!