Saturday, January 30, 2010

Homespun French Braid Top

Finished! With the top at least. Had a 'design' change with this one. The braid panels are supposed to all lay in the same direction. #1, #2, and #4 pointed one direction. #3 and #5 the other. So...I could either unsew and resew #3 and #5...OR just do #1. As you can tell, my panels alternate. ;o)
I've had this one laying around for a few weeks. The homespuns (plaids) are prone to ravel so instead of the usual quilter's scant 1/4" seam, I used a large 1/4" seam...just under 3/8". I have yet to vacuum my sewing room carpet. It's so bad you can barely see the color! LOL
I try to make all of my quilts to fit my bed. It's a queen with a double pillow top mattress...which makes it tall. The quilts aren't quite king-size, but larger than queen. This one measures 94 x 100".

The backing and binding will be the solid 'butterscotch.'

Thursday, January 28, 2010

English Muffins

I've been seeing recipes for English Muffins on several websites.'s my first batch. The recipe made eight.Yep, here's the missing muffin. ;o) Sliced and lightly toasted...(toaster is having a browning problem)...With an egg inside. Great breakfast yesterday!Today's breakfast...buttered (and lightly toasted) English muffin with homemade pear preserves!Emeril's Kitchen recipe:

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups warm water (the recipe stated room temperature, but my yeast did not I poured that out and used water at 110 degrees F)
1 (1/4 ounce) envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose)
2 teaspoons alt
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening (I don't keep that...I used lard)
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

Lightly grease a large bowl with the oil and set aside.

Combine water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl, stir well, and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the cornmeal and mix with a large wooden spoon until well blended, about 3 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 minutes or until smooth; adding more flour 1 teaspoon at a time if the dough is too sticky. Place in the oiled bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Dust a baking sheet (or a sheet of parchment paper) with cornmeal.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal portions. Roll into smooth balls and place evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a slightly damp kitchen cloth and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. (I used a cast iron griddle.) Add the dough balls, non-cornmeal side first, in batches, and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the muffins over, press down on them with a large spatula to flatten slightly and cook until golden brown on the second side about 5 minutes longer. (Okay...I cooked over low-medium heat for 6 minutes on each side.)

This was not at my house...but didn't store-bought sherbet with a couple of homemade sugar cookies served in clear punch cups and seldom used white tea cups make a nice presentation for a buffet catered by The Friends of the Daingerfield Public Library?!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I have Feedjit over at the bottom of my right-hand sidebar. It tells me where my visitors are from and how they got here...via HGTV MBs, direct, via a search engine, etc. I try to check it every day. Once I had a visitor from the Vatican! You better believe that I blogged about that.

In the last day or so, I had a visitor from Port Chester, New York. He visited me via Google. This is what he was searching for:

"i got circumsized 2 weeks ago, i have a bubble between some stitches, is that normal?"

OUCH! I hope he got an answer somewhere out there! ;o)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Movies and Quilts

!!!!Okay!!!! Where'd the underlines come from???

I've seen some really good movies lately.

Blind Side
... Okay. If you haven't heard anything about this one, you must be living under a rock!

Sherlock Holmes... I LIKE Sherlock Holmes. I watch
the weekly series on LPB (my PBS station).

It's Complicated... Hilarious! Yet thought provoking.

Shogun, Have you made the molten cakes yet? Did you notice that the recipe on the box states that EACH cake serves 2?! Carol and I just lau
ghed. They weren't really serious...such a fun-loving company! ;o)

I received a couple of comments on yesterday's post about the ONE hand-pieced, hand-quilted quilt at the quilt show.

I prefer a completely hand-made quilt. However, I have machine-pieced and hand-quilted. I've also learned to do some machine quilting on my regular sewing machine...for small items like tablerunners and placem
ats...children's quilts...and for people who appreciate my quilts, but may not take as good care of them as I would.

Of my two grandmothers, Daddy's mother was the quilter. She was a shoddy quilter. Everything was done on the sewing machine. Nothing met or matched. Even when she was using the old cotton batting that would ball up if you didn't quilt it close enough, her machine quilting lines were 4-6" apart. At a f
amily reunion back in 2000, I asked my aunt and cousins if they had any of Ma's quilts. No one did. Except for my mother and me. Mama would run rows of hand quilting between the machine quilted rows while she was watching television. The one quilt Ma made for me...this one...
You can see how it twists...and some of the turtle feet don't match up at the intersections...yadda...yadda...yadda...

Mama told me not to get it dirty until I could either hand quilt between the rows, or could maneuver it on the sewing machine. When I was in high school, I did about two or three rows of hand quilting. Right. Row upon row of stitching 1" apart. Nah. I didn't have the patience or the 'want-to' back then. I opened up Mama's Singer one day and started machine stitching row after row after row...then turned it the other way and did the same. So that quilt is preserved.
BTW, my other grandmother, Mama's Little Mama...embroidered some beautiful dresser scarves. That's hers (I think...or Mama's) in the above photo. Also in the photo...the quilt was a wedding gift to Mama and Daddy. The scissors on top of the scarf...Mama's oldest brother Harry bought those for her when she took home ec in high school. I used them in home ec too and have possession now. The little strawberry for needles was Little Mama's.

Little Mama's mama, my great grandmother, crocheted doilies and made quilts. I've quilted a few of the tops she made in her old age. I fingers touched every seam she sewed. Makes me happy just thinking about it.

She made this top for my cousin, Harry Wayne...he's in some of the family photos I've posted.
Mama handed me these blocks one day. I put them together for Jonathan.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chocolate and Quilts

A much better combination isn't it?!

Carol and I had a blast while Sam and Elton were gone. Carol brought a bottle of wine. We raided my refrigerator for supper while these delicious cakes were baking.
Unfortunately, the interior wasn't molten. RATS!!
But when I baked the second pair of cakes last night...perfection.
After watching two movies...The Proposal and Murphy's Romance we went to bed.

PS...Just one glass of wine each.

The recipe for the Dark Molten Chocolate Cakes is on the back of a package of Baker's bittersweet baking chocolate squares.

1 package (6 ounces) Baker's Bittersweet Chocolate
10 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease 6 (6 ounce) custard cups - I used ramekins. Place on baking sheet.

Microwave chocolate and butter on high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. (I checked after 1 minute then every 20 seconds.) Stir with a whisk until chocolate is melted. Add powdered sugar and flour; mix well. Add whole eggs and egg yolks; beat until well-blended. Divided batter evenly into the custard cups.

Bake 14 to 15 minutes or until cakes are firm around the edges but soft in the centers. If you do this, they will be over cooked. Check after 10 minutes!! My first two baked only 12 minutes and were cooked solid. Let stand 1 minute. Run a thin-blade knife around cakes to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with raspberries, if desired. I didn't have any raspberries, but a drizzle of chocolate syrup didn't hurt a thing! ;o)

Make ahead: Batter can be made the day before; pour into prepared custard cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, uncover and bake as directed.

To continue...Sam and Elton decided to drive up to Springfield Missouri and back. Knowing me as well as they should (see below post about the .357 Smith & Wesson)...there was no sneaking around when they got back about midnight. Parked the pickup with their goodies in the shop. Made plenty of noise when they opened the door. Went to the appropriate bedrooms and fell in to bed with the appropriate wife. ;o)

Carol and I were up fairly early and thought we might get out before they were up. Didn't happen that way. Carol made sure Elton had some coffee. I told the men that the refrigerator held bagels and cream cheese and a little milk. We headed out to the quilt show in Jefferson.

This was our favorite quilt.
The ONLY hand pieced and hand quilted bed-size quilt on the premises! Can you believe it? I have one I intended to enter but never got a hanging sleeve on it. I would've gone home with no less than a 2nd place.

We shopped (looked) a bit. Ate lunch at a really great bistro-type place. Antiqued and junked some. IF I were into collecting old machines AND had a place for them...these two machines were only $75 each!

I also saw a similar treadle machine in a cabinet. I think it was a Minnesota. Never heard of that before.