Monday, August 3, 2015

Quilt Progress

I've been working on a baby quilt.  This one has rubber duckies all over it in different fabrics.  Once again I am going solo, without any expert help, so there are times I have to cut new squares or waste material in other ways.  I always try to buy extra so I don't have to match fabrics from one store at another.  Now that I make scrap fabric baskets, I don't mind having the left over bits and pieces of fabrics.

 

The rubber duckies are appliques, so I bought some clear plastic to cut out templates.  The only kind they had was with a grid, but that made it easier to see when then templates were on the counter.  They were pretty easy to cut.

 

I ironed some fusible interfacing on to the fabric.  On the wrong side.  You know, after you do it on the RIGHT side and say a bad word. 

 

Then I traced the duck parts on the paper and cut them out.

 

The small blue squares are placed in the corner of the light green and yellow green larger squares and then sew on the diagonal.

 

Cut off the excess and press to one side.

 

You have to peel the paper backing off the cut outs.  Place the glue side down on the squares and iron them in place to glue them down.  I ironed one duck, one wing, one beak and one eye on each square.  Try to make each one a different combination.  One set of duck parts is backwards and one of the duck tails is different.  So maybe the baby can play., "One of these things is not like the other..."  What do you mean you never watched Sesame Street? 

 

The pattern called for hand stitching the edges of the ducks parts with a blanket stitch.  I tried it and didn't like the way it looked. 

 

I also worried about little finger picking at the edges and lots of machine washing and decided that machine stitching was the way to go.  In some places I had to do one stitch, turn the fabric and do one more.  For the whole thing.  But it was still faster and better than the hand stitching and I like it. 
 
 

I need to do 18 squares for this quilt.
 


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Friskies Pull and Play

I saw this toy advertised on television.  It sounded like a fun treat for the cats.  So I bought one.

 

It came with wiggly, edible (for cats, at any rate) strings that you peel and insert in the top.  The base is weighted and you can fill it with cat treats. 

 

It looks kind of like a Weeble.  You remember, right?  "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."  There is a small opening where the treats will fall out if rolled around on the floor.

 

The cats were very interested and ended up eating all the wiggly strings.  I have to hide it in the pantry for now.  When the dog came back in he was too interested.  He could destroy it in one chomp.

 

They can have it again when RJ goes outside with Lee.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lemon Raspberry Tartlets

I like to make a different baked treat for each morning we have guests.  We recently had a wonderful couple who were staying for three nights.  They had scones the first morning, chocolate croissants the next and I needed something new to fix for the third breakfast.  I found a recipe for berry and lemon curd tartlets and they sounded perfect.  I just LOVE Pepperidge Farm!

Lemon Raspberry Tartlets

Pepperidge Farm puff pastry
lemon curd, 1 teaspoon per tartlet
raspberries, 1 per tartlet  (or three small blueberries)
1 egg  for an egg wash
powdered sugar for dusting

 

Get the puff pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw until you can unfold the pastry.  You want it to be very cold and stiff.  Dust the counter with flour to prevent sticking and preheat the oven to 400°.

Place parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet on a cookie sheet.

 

You need two circle cutters for this.  One slightly smaller than the other.  I was able to get 4 circles from each pastry strip.  Cut the inside of each circle with the smaller cutter, but don't remove it..  I placed the circles on the silicone (or parchment) and then made my second cut. 

 

Be very careful not to cut the silicone.  I had to use a blunt end of a wooden spoon on a few circles to release the pastry from the cutter.  Be very careful not to press on the pastry too hard.  It will affect how well the tartlet shell rises.

 

Whip up an egg with a Tablespoon of water and brush it over the circles. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until tall and crispy brown.  Remove and let cool completely.

 

Take a sharp paring knife and gently cut around the inside circle.  Press the inner circle down to make a little pocket inside the tartlet.  This is where you will place a bit of lemon curd. 

 

I used purchased lemon curd and added a fresh raspberry on top. 

 

I also tried a few blueberries on top.  It made for a prettier presentation!

 

Dust with powdered sugar.

 

I also served fresh fruit with heavy cream whipped with a bit of sugar and vanilla extract. This kept our guests busy while I made the omelettes.

 

They were a hit with our guests who described them as "not too sweet and the flavors are nicely balanced." when asked for a review!

I have an idea to make this with Nutella and raspberries or strawberries.  Or both.  I can't wait for my next guests, so I can try it out for them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ashley

This can't be comfortable.

 

Can it?

 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Basket!

I found a fabric at Jo Ann's that I thought would be great for a basket.  I found a pretty faux turquoise embellishment that matched the fabric.  Some glue and thread and I was in business.

 

This time I made an oval base.  I placed tape to mark where to start and stop the bending to make the sides of the basket.

 

Mmm.  Maybe a little taller.

 

I made handles on this basket.

 

I sewed the embellishment with invisible thread this time.

 

I like this one.  Maybe a Christmas gift.
 


Friday, July 24, 2015

Welcome Baby Card

I finished the baby afghan I was working on and sent it off.  But it needed a card to go with it.

I searched through the images on the Cricut Design space and found one I liked.  And $.99 cents later I was in business.

I chose a yellow patterned paper for the envelope.  I just had to remember to change the cutting depth from light card stock to paper.  I also used the light grip cutting mat so the finished product would be easier to remove.

I recently visited a Hobby Lobby store and found some cutting mats at a pretty cheap price.  Then I used a coupon and spent less than $4.00 a mat.  I am still learning the machine and have already destroyed one.  That be the cost of learning...my opinion.

 

A bit of cutting...the machine did that.  But I slid the mat in!

 

A bit of gluing...my job

And a finished card.

 

I sealed the card with some baby stickers and off went the package.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Black and Blue Pie...with PEACHES!

The blackberries were huge and cheap.  The blueberries came in a huge clamshell and were also cheap.  I decided to make a pie!  I had one very ripe peach sitting in my fruit bowl and decided to toss that in, too.

 

Black and Blue Pie...with PEACHES!

2 piecrusts
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup peeled and diced peaches  or 5 cups mixed berries of your choice

zest and juice of one lemon
2 Tablespoons butter, softened

2 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon cream

 

Heat the oven to 425°.

 

I love pre-made pie crusts.  Set them out to become room temperature.  I used an 11 inch stone baking dish.  If you use a regular 9 inch baking dish, just use 4 cups of berries.  Because of the larger size baking dish, I sprinkled some flour on the counter and rolled the piecrust a bit larger.  I sprayed the baking dish with Pam and set the crust inside.

 

Gently mix the sugar, berries of choice, peaches, corn starch, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest in a medium bowl.  Place the  berry mix in the pie crust and dot the top with the softened butter.

 

Place the second pie crust on top.  You may need to roll it a bit bigger, but mine fit.  Tuck the edges in to seal in the berries and crimp all around the pie.

 

Mix the egg with the cream.  Brush it on the top of the pie and then sprinkle the sugar on top of that.  Pierce the top in the center to let out the steam.

 

Bake for 35 or 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  If the edges become too dark, you can cover them with foil to prevent burning.

 

Serve warm.  If you are feeling indulgent, serve it with ice cream.  That's what I did.