Projects Abound

It is sometimes tough to keep up with all that I am involved in.  I have put this blog on the back burner for too long.  Last month my daughter, Laura, (http://laurasphotojournal.wordpress.com/) told me about a free photo "class" she was signing up for through Paper Coterie  and told me I might want to give it a try.  Tracey Clark’s Picture the Holidays involves taking a photo each day in December using the prompt of the day.  Well, it is nearly December 5 and I finally got one photo taken, tweaked to my satisfaction and posted on the Facebook site. 

So many of these participants have such wonderful photos and ideas and I was having a very real block on the photos.  I knew that I could probably have created something in fabric much easier than a photo.  So this afternoon I decided to change my focus by going to the basement and getting out the Christmas decorations.  I sorted some items, bagged some for Goodwill since they did not seem to have meaning for me any longer.  I put a few decorations up in only a few places.  When I came upon a box containing picture frames, I found an old frame that once belonged to one of my relatives many, many years ago.  I thought of the prompt from December 2--reframing Christmas.  I decided that I could reframe a Christmas card in this antique frame.  It had lost its luster, so I took out some gold rubbing paste from my scrapbooking supplies and highlighted the carved details of the frame.  I put a small sleigh with seasonal decor next to it, took many photos, and got one I liked.   I played with it in Photoshop Elements and liked the effect of the plastic wrap, so that is what I posted.

So, I just needed to divert myself to get a bit of creativity flowing.  I still have a few days of catching up to do, but I will get there.  As for sewing, I am going to be a bit behind on that as well!


Christmas Stocking

This past weekend I made a Christmas stocking using the woven fabric technique I used on the potholder.  I have a pattern written up for people who want to make this lovely stocking.


New Projects

   During the last month I have been working on a number of things.  I finished my daughter's Halloween costume.
   I watched a video on a woven quilting technique on the QNN website.  I tried it and designed an elegant potholder.  I will be teaching a class on December 10 on how to make one. 
   I went to the chestnut grove and picked chestnuts.  I have never eaten chestnuts before and I will say they are not bad.  It is a bit of a process to get them out of the shell and ready to eat, but it was fun and a great learning experience.


Busy Week!

This past week has been a busy one.  I have been working on creating the pattern for the "BOO" Table Runner and am almost done.  I have tested the sewing dimensions of the letters (just not the 36" x 48").  I decided to post the photo of the unquilted top.  I can see many possibilities for modification of the pattern by adding fussy cut novelties around it, or faces in the middle of the letters O!  Using the larger size letter patterns, one can make a wall hanging or throw.  Place the letters so it is read from top to bottom and it can be a banner on the door.
Well, here it is.

I am working on the letter V next, which leads to LOVE.

To let you see the other patterns, I decided to post them.  These patterns are written with just a few tweaks left to perform.  I am very happy with how this is going.  I embellished the L as an after thought to show some possibilities for people.

Visit http://www.patterspot.com/ to see some of my other patterns.

I also spent quite a few hours on Friday making Quince jam (more of a paste).  A friend had a bush with 16 small fruits on it and was happy to let me have them.  (About 40 years ago my mother made quince jam from fruit given to my dad.)  I decided to try something with the fruit I was given.  I searched for recipes and discovered that quince can be used in so many delicious sounding items.  The aroma of the fruit was heavenly and I would have been happy to have let them set on the countertop diffusing that pleasant smell;  but, instead, I cut these nearly rock-hard fruits, sliced them into 8ths and cored them.  Each fruit (about 2-1/2" in diameter) had about 30 seeds!  Then began the long process of cooking them for about 2 hrs. until they softened, stirring often, making sure they did not burn.  Then after sieving the pulp, adding 1 cup of sugar for each cup of pulp, cooking that until it thickened, putting the steaming sauce into 4 half pint jars (and one little tiny jar) and cooking in a water bath, I was done.  I now have GOLD!  The other recipes for pies, cakes, candy, etc. all took more time than the jam, so I am happy.  I have enjoyed a little dab on crackers with a small slice of cheese and it is so good--similar to what I think the Spanish recipe for Membrillo and Manchego cheese would taste like (but membrillo took hours to make).


Today's Pattern Publication

Halloween Banner

Snowman Banner
Tree Banner
I have been working diligently on a pattern to upload to Pattern Spot.com and have finally uploaded it.  It is titled: Wavy Panel Project and this one has a special bonus pattern included that I have not put in those sold in the stores. I have sold quite a few printed patterns to a local fabric store, Patchwork Dreams, in Howard City and I hope I have as much success with this one through Pattern Spot.  The project is so versatile--a project for any season or occasion--and quick to sew up.  It actually looks harder than it is. 

I sewed one letter from my Pieced Block Letter pattern in two sizes and so far there are no glitches in the sizes of the pieces, so that is encouraging.  I have a few tweaks on the written pattern before I print some for store shelves and Pattern Spot. I just think these letter patterns will be great for T-shirt quilts, memory quilts, bags, banners, and so many more possibilities.  Can't wait to post a few photos once I get a few more designed.

Here is the recipe I modified and mentioned in my last post:

Banana Peach Bread
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder(I use sodium-free)
1/4tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
3 egg whites
1/3 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas
1 cup peaches, peeled and chopped into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and banana.
Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.
Fold in the peaches but do not overmix.
Divide into two loaf pans sprayed with PAM or similar cooking spray.
Bake 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Saturday Quilting Progress

Today was the second session of the hand piecing class I have been teaching at our local quilt shop--The New Ewe.  I began the morning by sewing a few more 6" blocks for demonstration.  The ladies in the class are on their way to completing enough blocks to make tablerunners (their choice of project).  The next class on October 1 will be learning to hand quilt the 3 layers of their quilts. I have actually enjoyed hand piecing and was happy to have had the project to work on when we lost power for 49-1/2 hours due to a severe thunderstorm with very strong winds that came through on Saturday, September 3.

This afternoon I made some banana peach bread using some of the peaches from the half bushel I bought at the local farmers market on Friday.  It turned out quite tasty.  I adapted a recipe I found on the internet.  I will post the recipe in the near future. On Friday evening, I made banana peach jam (from a recipe I had used 30 years ago) and some low-sugar peach jam.  I still have peaches left, so on Monday I plan to can no-sugar peaches from the AARP recipe in the latest newsletter.

Later this afternoon I worked on writing the directions for one of the patterns in my series "The Pieced Block Letter" by Patchwork Breeze.  I have a nice cover graphic, three sizes of letters in each pattern and directions that I think are easily understood. I want to finish two patterns a week and get these uploaded to PatternSpot.com where quilters everywhere can quickly purchase and download the patterns to print on their computer printers.