Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Baking

To pick up where I left off yesterday, I have several more photos (thanks to my wonderful husband) of the things I've been baking lately.

I made Banana Bread from the Flour cookbook.  I've talked about this book before.  I think it's an incredible book.  Nothing I've made from here has turned out bad...nothing.  Her instructions are incredible and the taste of the product is divine!  This banana bread takes a bit more work than most but it's worth it.

I made a Frozen Strawberry Pie from the Taste of Home Pies Recipe Card.  But the recipe called for frozen whipped topping and I have an objection to using that kind of stuff in my deserts, so I made my own whipped cream version of it and used that.

I also made some Chocolate Malted Cookies from Taste of Home 100 Best Recipes 1011  However the cookies spread way too much and ended up looking nothing like the picture of the recipe.  It could have been because I chose to use butter instead of shortening.  It may also just have been not enough flour.  I'll probably try these again sometime and make sure the flour is measured precisely as well as chill the dough before I bake the cookies.  That should help.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Baking Frenzy

I haven't done much sewing lately, but I've been baking like crazy.

I love baking probably as much as I love quilting.  Lately it's been very cool weather here and I know that when it warms up I won't be wanting to heat up the house with the oven, so I'm having a good time baking now.

I've made a few different batches of brownies.

There was the Carmel Witches from the Fat Witch Brownies book:

Then I made the Celestial Brownies from Milk &Cookies :

Then I made the Coffee-n-Cream Brownies from Taste of Home's special edition Brownies and Bars:

After that I decided pie was the order of the day and made a Banana Cream Pie from Martha Stewart's New Pies and Tarts:

I think that's enough for this post :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Block Project - Block 12 - Nelson's Victory

I finally was able to get to the sewing today.  Wednesday was crazy busy and yesterday I was suffering from a case of the blahs.  But today I made it back to work on the blocks.

I have been thinking a lot about how just one block doesn't really show the versatility of a block.  You can't tell if there are secondary patterns, etc.  So I have been kicking around the idea of making multiple blocks of each to see if any secondary pattern emerges when they are put together.  I had intended to do so on today's block, but I got distracted by another issue.

Today made me really appreciate the value of doing a test block.  I had picked out the colors for the block and thought I'd like them, but when the block is put together I can see that my 'medium' is really too light and kind of washed out.  I think for this block to shine there really needs to be a bit more contrast.

I really enjoy making the blocks because I feel like I'm learning so much as I move along.

Without further musing on my part, today's block is Nelson's Victory which is block number 6 on page 57 of Jinny Beyer's The quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns.  This block is 4 inch finished.

I did the half square triangles by using the method where you cut two squares, draw a line and sew on either side of it and cut them apart so the first picture has the half square triangles already made.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jam Thumbprint cookies

My husband requested these.  They are pretty rustic, since I really did use my thumb to make the center for the jam.  He loved these cookies as a child and says these are better than he remembers them as a kid.  I had one and they are pretty tasty.  :)

I got the recipe off the web somewhere and it was very non specific about how much flour to use so I had to do some experimenting with the dough.  It also didn't have any salt, but I changed that and added some.

I really enjoy baking things he loves so I was glad these turned out well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No block today

I worked for a bit to make one of the blocks today, but I needed to be able to get to some fabric that was under some heavy boxes.  My arm is still not problematic so instead of incurring my husband's wrath by hurting myself I decided to wait for his help to move it.

I'll post two blocks tomorrow!

In the meantime, I thought I'd leave you with a couple of pics...

These are the blocks I've made so far:

And here's the blocks I'm working on for a quilt for a friend.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My husband requested cookies as my next baking project, so last night I whipped up a quick batch of my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  I've tried a variety of premium chocolates and I happen to like Guittard a lot.  My grocery store carries their Milk Chocolate and their Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips.

My husband likes Chocolate Chip Cookies made with Milk Chocolate chips and so that's what I used.

I really love baking.  I like to eat the stuff too, but more than anything I get an intense satisfaction out of people enjoying my baked goods.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Block Project - Block 11 - Lights and Shadows

I'm back on the block project now that I'm mostly healed up.  I did a couple of blocks before my surgery and didn't post them because the pictures were not very good.  As an aside, the baking pictures are all taken by my husband...you can tell who is the photographer in the family.  :)

I may post those at some point, but for now I'm going to start fresh.

The block is Lights and Shadows block number 5 on page 57 of Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns.  The block is 4 inch finished.

Lemon cake

I'm really trying to bake several times a week and so I'm trying a lot of new recipes. I saw a recipe in Everyday Food. The recipe uses the entire lemon, which intrigued me, though I was somewhat skeptical of how it would turn out.

The finished cake looked fine, though it had a strange texture, almost like a cross between pudding and cake.

I don't know if that's the intended texture or if something went wrong with my baking.  But aside from that... there was an unpleasant bitter taste, presumably from the lemon rinds.  I'd really like to know if it was me or the recipe, but I definitely won't make this again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Yesterday I didn't quilt.  My arm is giving me fits still and I was worried about hurting it further, so I decided to bake my husband that coffee cake he's been wanting me to bake.

I have a tried and true recipe that I know he likes, but I enjoy experimenting.  A few months ago I bought the book Flour 

Everything I've made out of this book so far has been incredibly delicious and she had a recipe for coffee cake so I thought I'd give it a go....

This is how the cake turned out:

Notice that huge dent in the top. Here's a better shot:

The cake tastes great. I just have no idea what I possibly did that caused that cratering effect.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What happens next...

My machine is back from the hospital.  :)  I asked what had been wrong with it and the clerk taking my money said they hadn't written it down.  Since I don't know what the problem was, I certainly hope it got fixed..  I'm ready to dive in sewing again and see.

It seems such a long time since I was able to sew and I can tell my arm is still going to give me issues, but I'm really anxious to get back to my "block a day" and to sew some quilts.

When I started this blog it was going to only be about quilting and other blogs would be about the other things I wanted to talk about.  I don't know why I segmented things so much, perhaps because I sometimes feel my life is rather disjointed with parts that don't quite fit.  I'm an older woman married to a much younger man with an adult son.  I love my family, quilting, MMOs, reading, baking and our dogs.

I've decided that I'm no longer going to confine this blog to quilt stuff alone.  Especially since I'm writing it as a personal thing and not because I expect any readers.

This past weekend I wanted to get some fabric cut out for a quilt.  That didn't happen.  I ended up playing Rift on Saturday.. I think I'm going to do a whole separate post on video games and me.  I believe I'm the only 50ish woman who quilts and plays video games...

Today's goal is to get the fabric cut out for at least one quilt....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back again

Arm is a lot better now.  Not completely healed, they say that will take another three months or so, but I can type again and I was anxious to get back to sewing.

I tried sewing a bit while my arm was still in the sling.  Quilting withdrawal had me with the shakes.  :)   But my attempt quickly ended badly when the machine ate a bunch of the fabric on the patch I was attempting to sew.  It was difficult to get it back out.  I have occasionally  had issues with corners being eaten a bit but nothing like this.

I thought perhaps it was just a fluke but wrestling with it while my arm was still in a sling was too much hassle.  So I stepped back and decided to wait for my arm to heal more before sewing.  When my arm healed enough to try sewing I kept having issues with the thread breaking and more patch corners being eaten.  I decided my machine needed to be serviced.  So... sewing has to wait a bit longer.

In the meantime I'm really looking forward to some hand work.  Applique has always been a favorite of mine and after watching the latest The Quilt Show I'm really excited about doing some applique again.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Snail's pace

Recovery is slower than I'd like.  I have wandered into my sewing room a few times and looked mournfully at the machine.  I can't wait to get back to it.

I get the sling off my arm in one week and one day.  My husband has been teasing me that I'm like an animal caught in a trap and I'm ready to gnaw off my own limb.

I haven't been able to do much of anything I enjoy.  Cooking and baking are difficult if not impossible, no sewing, so I've been left with reading.  Thank god for my Kindle.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Well I'm back home and healing.  Yesterday the doctor told me I can type and move my hand on the arm that's been operated on.  I can even bend it at the elbow, but I am not to lift it and I still have to wear the sling.

I'd like to see him type that way!

I'll post more blocks as soon as I can.  The husband driven posting didn't work so well...partially because the day I went in for surgery my husband came down with a full blown case of the flu.

Life is interesting!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Surgery tomorrow

Well, I'm a little anxious about tomorrow's surgery.  I haven't always had the best of luck with surgery and I want to make sure I do what I can to up my odds of recovery.

Today I'll be working on getting things as together as I can.  I'm going to try to get a few posts done so my husband can just publish them.  We'll see how it goes.

So if I don't post here for a bit, it's because I'm working on the recovery!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Block Project - Block 10 - Slanted Diamonds

Today's block is block 10 on page 57 of Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns.  Slanted Diamonds is the name of the block.

When I took the shots, I had miscut the diamond pieces.  So you will find that on this first picture the size of the patches is wrong.


Here I've cut them down to the correct size.  I had to 'reverse sew' after I noticed the problem with the size.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Block Project - Block 9 - Goose Chase

Today's block is the last block on page 56 of Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns.Block 9 is listed as Goose Chase.

Here's the piecing sequence:

I really don't understand why Blogger is jacking with some of my images.  For some reason it rotates some of them when I upload them.


My friend Yvonne is amazing.

I'm a fairly insular person, I don't go much of anywhere and I have health issues that make it difficult when I do.  So, in many ways the Internet has been a lifesaver.  I met Yvonne through a blog post a couple of years ago and I feel blessed that we connected.

I've always thought the best kind of friend was the kind that supported you when you need it, and kicked your butt when you needed that.  Yvonne fits the bill!  We like similar things and have some extremely different tastes.

She's also amazingly thoughtful.  For instance, my feet are somewhat deformed and I have trouble with socks.  Yvonne knitted me a pair!  Just look at how wonderful they are!

One of the best things she ever suggested was that we get video cameras and chat while we sew.  It's really like having a friend over.  We can chat and sew and have a great time.  I just wish we could loan supplies through the Internet!  I don't know how many times I wished I could just ask her to pass me a seam ripper!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Block Project - Block 8 - Sailboat

I had a much easier time today with the block. I think yesterday was just a difficult day all the way around. This is block 8 on page 56 of Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns.

I'm still using my hand dyed fabric and today's block is 6 inch finished.

Here is the block piecing sequence:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Block Project - Block 7 - Duck's Foot

Today's block gave me fits.  I am sure it was just me having a rough day.  I want to redo the block again at another time.

The block is listed as block number 7 on page 56 of Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns.  In addition to having some issues with the block I also had some issues with the camera.

Here's the block piecing sequence:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Block Project - Block 6 - Birds in the Air

The block for today is block number 6 on page page 56 of Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns. The block name is Birds in the Air and I'm still using my hand dyed fabric.

Per usual, here is the block just cut out and laid in position to piece it:

Okay so Blogger is misbehaving and no matter what I do this image comes out in the wrong orientation.  As you will see from all the other photos, which it does not mess with!

Here's the block after the square in the upper right hand corner is pieced:

Here we have the triangles added first the right side:


Then the left:

And finally here is the block all sewn together: