Tuesday, October 28, 2014

a case for prewashing

When cleaning out the mother-in-law's apartment after moving her into assisted living we came across this wall hanging that her mother had made.  Nobody wanted it so I took it.
It needed a bath, which I finally got around to doing the other day.  :-)  I hand-washed it in a sink of cool water with some serious toothbrush time in one spot on the white background that was a yellow greasy looking stain.  Which, thankfully, when it dried is not that visible.

It dried with the puckered look you see in the photo.  While examining it closely to figure out why it was not flat this is what I observed.
The gray fabric of the basket had shrunk!  Damn!  I can do one of two thing, leave it as is OR unpick the basket and re-appliqué it and hope like hell it doesn't shrink any more.  I'm going to go with the first option because I'm not that great at appliqué and sometimes less, is more.

The moral of the story is pre-wash your fabrics because I'm sure Hubby's grandmother would be upset about the puckering.

Oh! And here is a picture of Psycho Cat.  Isn't she the most pitifulest thing you ever saw? 
She doesn't fool me.  I see that red gleam in her eyes.  LOL

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

mug cakes

I was hungry for a piece of cake, but didn't want to make a whole cake; not even a single layer cake because I will eat the whole thing in a short time frame.  You know a piece with dinner, a piece for a bedtime snack, a piece for breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, just because it is there until it is gone.  So I thought how about a mug cake.  They equal a large slice of cake, get my fix and it won't be in the fridge calling my name.  JuuDddYyy  JuuDddYyy  Aye Taaaste Gggoooddd!

So I wondered around the net looking at recipes.  One of my problems with mug cake recipes is no one tells you the volume of the mug they are using.  My mugs range from one-cup to two-n-a-quarter cups.  So would the recipe overflow in the microwave if I used the one-cup mug or am I going to need a magnifying glass to find it in my big mug?  Nobody answers that question.  I tend to error on the side of too large.  I don't want to waste any cake batter! ; >)

I found a recipe over at thehungryhedgehog called apple cinnamon mug cake.  Jess says it makes a small cake and comes with an icing recipe.  The cake looks about the size of a cupcake so I doubled it and sprinkled powdered sugar on top.  It was okay, if you really like cinnamon.  I went back to the web checking apple cake recipes for the cinnamon to flour ratio, which confirmed my feelings there was way, too much cinnamon and not nearly enough apple.

The first thing I did was make up a batch of Apple Pie Spice I found at southernfood.about.com
I just realized I use twice as much cinnamon as they call for.
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cardamom

Next up I re-hydrated some apple fruit leathers I had made a while back .8 ounces or 22 grams of dried apple to a half-cup of boiling water let set ten-fifteen minutes to re-hydrated; then blend well.

My rendition of Applesauce Mug Cake

I used my two cup mug but a cup-n-a-half would probable be big enough.  Spray the mug with non-stick spray or grease.  Use a cereal bowl to mix it in. 

6 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp sugar (can use brown)
1/4 tsp apple pie spice
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp applesauce
1 Tbsp vegetable oil or melted butter
1 Tbsp milk or 1 tsp of powdered milk and 1 Tbsp of water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract.
1 Tbsp chopped nuts (optional)
1 Tbsp chopped raisins or dates (optional)

Mix the dry ingredients.  I added the nuts and raisins to the dry ingredients.  Then the wet and mixed until the dry ingredients were wet and no lumps.  Scrap the batter into the prepared mug and microwave 60 to 90 seconds depending on your microwave.  I would stop it at 60 seconds and use a toothpick to see if it is done before adding the last second 30 seconds. 

Because I doubled the recipe, I think it would work in two one-cup mugs.  I would shorten up the time to 45 seconds before checking so see if it was done.

I found a Butter Sauce Recipe for an apple cake that I liked the looks of and now that I want to give credit to the blog I found it on, I can't find the blog again. Crap!

EDIT: think I found it:  http://www.food.com/recipe/chunky-apple-spice-cake-with-vanilla-butter-sauce-15682

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp heavy cream or 1 tsp of creamer and 1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp brown sugar or 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix first three ingredients in a 1-cup ramekin.  Cook in 10 to 15 second bursts stirring between each burst until it has thickened about 90 seconds total. Carefully pull out of the microwave and add the vanilla extract.  Pour over the cake hot.  I loosened up the sides of the cake so the butter sauce would run down the sides of the cake and bottom too.  There is more than enough here to cover the two smaller mug cakes if that was the way you made it.

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

well here i sit

Well, here I sit...time to make a blog post and, well, I didn't get much accomplished this week.

I got the quilt for my niece pin-basted and three blocks quilted.  I got tried of fighting the quilt in the spot I had my sewing machine.  So I moved everything back into the second bedroom, my sewing machine, computer, and ironing board.

Then, I went to the living room and moved hubby's computer and the printer back in with my stuff.  The living room looks better, I just need to gather up the odd computer paraphernalia and get it moved out of the living room.  My bedroom feels less cramped, so that's better.

The closet in the second bedroom is getting a cleaning out.  I have a spot on one wall I want to turn into a cutting table like I had in Kansas. 
But I'm stuck because I have to sort through his music and computer stuff.  I felt my chest tightening up with my asthma as I was trying to decide what to do with his stuff, so I have backed off there.  I've babied my lungs the last couple of days.

Been fighting the computer and places he had accounts set-up trying to get things shutdown.  Me and the cable company are about to come to blows.  There is no place on their web site to report a death and dealing with the stupidity on the phone is wearing thin.  I suppose I wouldn't be so aggravated with the cable company but I don't watch TV.  In fact, I don't even know how to turn the boob-tube on.  I have four remotes setting on the lamp stand.  Which one operates what?  I don't know!  And no where, on any of the electronics, is there a simple on/off switch!  This probably hasn't helped my asthma either, come to think of it.

Enough grousing, I hope everyone is having a good day.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

making a quilting stencil

While I was out cruising the web I stopped by Amanda Jean's blog crazy mom quilts a while back and she was showing a quilt she had complete with a free-hand quilting pattern I thought would look good on my jelly roll/lasagna quilt.  I don't free-hand quilt because, honestly, I don't want to put the practice in to be good at it.  So what to do?
Remember making your own stencils before you could buy Mylar quilting stencils?  Being the antique that I am (Actually I'm still only a collectible because I'm still less than a hundred.) and inheriting a few from my mother, I did just that.  Time to get the old trusty paper and pencil out, again.

My first step was to draw a strip two inches wide (that's the width of my fabric strips).  Find center, and then draw two lines the width you think you want the quilting to be.  The first try I decided I would make the quilting one-inch wide.   Using the cap off my vitamin bottle to make my curved line I drew a sample.  I thought the first try was too wide, so on the next try I cut the width of my curved line down to a half-inch.  I liked it much better.
Next, I opened up a cereal box and drew the pattern on to it, then cutting the design out.  I used my graphite and white quilting pencils to draw the pattern on four of the nine patches of the quilt.  As you can see I drew the curved lines down the centers of the strips both front and back of the selected blocks.
Kind a looks like jigsaw puzzle pieces to me!  I think it helped the over-all look of the quilt having some blocks quilted this way and some with stitch-in-the-ditch.
For the borders I decided a large diamond would be just the ticket for finishing off the quilting.  Also notice, I used white thread for the large blocks and black thread for the border.  Don't be afraid of using different color threads for the quilting it can make a dull quilt come to life.

I think I am going to continue channeling my mother today and stay in my nightgown all day.  Maybe do some baking (cookies and bread) and a pot of soup sounds good, too.

I hope everyone is having a good day!