“Awesome” Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve done any type of ‘food’ post BUT here goes….. First, the “back story”. Growing up in St. Paul, Mom/Grandmom and I would take the bus downtown to shop. One must-do stop was Dayton’s department store (now Macy’s) and their bakery. Yup, they had a bakery!!! And the most out-of-this-world bran muffins! Now, you may ask…..What could possibly be that great about a bran muffin?”!!!!!???? The muffin itself was moist and filled with plump raisins and, here’s the lusciousness……., they had an outside chewy layer of caramel and, on the bottom (top??, as they were actually inverted!) a slice of a wonderfully soft date. Heaven!!!! Fast-forward to a day ago when the site “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” posted a recipe for……….. “Sticky Bran Muffins”. IMG_6454          Yup…..that recipe is a  keeper!!!!!!! Oh dear! 12 of these beauties!!!!…..Well, maybe not at this very moment……………….IMG_6455  Closer to ten and a half setting there  right now….DH agree these are pretty good (understatement!!!)! The link is here-Mennonite Girls Can Cook. I’ve made many of their recipes and they are all fantastic!

        I do think their photo (above) is staged a tad better than mine but the date piece on the bottom is an absolute MUST to be authentic “Dayton’s Bran Muffin” (IMHO, you understand!) I leave you now…ummmm…..I think I hear a piece of sweet loveliness beckoning………………………….

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An original……………….

Last Monday was the monthly gathering of my smaller, local quilt group. It was perfect weather (the major heat of the previous days had somewhat abated) and the rural location gave ample opportunity for some deer watching. There were many things shared that night…..here are just a sampling. Gwen has another graduation coming up, so another quilt is definitely needed! She had spent some 3 days getting this stack of blocks put together….30 in all and, I believe, she said they were around 14” square…….IMG_6453 The larger center area is made up of 4 blocks, actually and she used batik charms for a “jump start” on the piecing. Carol hosted a gal-friend’s overnight stay and received this lovely appliqued wool covered journal “Thank you” (ummmm, shall we say that a bit of camera shyness is going on????)……… IMG_6450 At our previous meeting, I presented the “Paint Chip Challenge/Gift Exchange” for Christmas and Ann needed to do her drawing………..IMG_6452    The “rules”/challenge is to make an item (anything) that utilized the 3 colors drawn + 1 color of your choice. I included 3 “free” colors that could be used (black, white and tan/beige) as neutral background, or whatever. The color combos definitely were interesting and, as shown by the above example, will be a challenge. The finished item will be wrapped,  the little baggie (w/ the paint chips) attached and given at our Christmas get-together. Some of the gals have either completed or are well underway with their projects!!!!  The last photo is of Joan’s (pronounced “Jo-ann”) very original quilt for one of her grandsons. (note: click to enlarge!)……IMG_6449 The background is machine pieced but all the applique work is needle-turned!!!!!! Gorgeous!!!! She drafted the appliques from either coloring books or totally original! AND she is hand quilting this one (her preferred quilting process).                                           Til next time………how is your ‘stitchin’ summer’ going???? As always, I so luv it when you come to visit! Sending cozy hugs to you all……………

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Monday Design…..er….table????

Another client quilt. Who doesn’t just LUV a blue & white piecing?? A pristeen, simple “Trip Around the World” setting. IMG_6441     All prepped to be basted (Sharon Schamber’s method). IMG_6447    Do you see those gorgeous paisleys??? Yup, another fave!!!!IMG_6443    This will be an e2e (edge to edge) stitching and, I’m just sure, it will have some of these lovely swirl figures somewhere. Stay tuned……….        Note: the bridal gown alteration is complete. A tiny take-in at the very top of the bodice, 7 hem layers and 4 bustle loops and buttons.

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Hem Homestretch…………..

Having completed the first 3 hems, here, I move on to #4….the lining to the satin layer. Now, at this point, I must point out the process for hemming these formalwear items: mark the finished/desired length with pins (my preference), fold just below pinned line (which adds approximately 1/8”) and stitch close to folded edge. Carefully cut away the excess fabric being careful not to snip beyond the stitching.IMG_6437   The above photo shows the excess being trimmed with my fave “duck-billed”/applique scissors. IMG_6435    If you’re not familiar with these, they allow you to snip away fabric while protecting the under layer. Words just can’t describe how well these complete this process!!!             Next step is to turn the edge, and stitch, to complete this very narrow finish.IMG_6438       Any DSM(domestic sewing machine) will work well for this part of the process, but my Juki 2010Q….with the single hole /straight stitch throat plate……makes this stitching even smoother. A quick touch of the iron and these types of hems are completed without the need of a rolled-hem machine foot! Now, all that remains are the last 2 3…….yes, 3! hems!!!! *sigh* It appears I  mis-counted by 1!!!! 2 layers of crinoline net and the final lining remain……..IMG_6439    Oh so close to the finish!!!! Then, on to the bodice, bustles and a couple of special requests by the bride.

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Hem #3….and counting……………

For those of you remotely interested on how this is progressing……….IMG_6432    The “horsehair” hem braid is reapplied…IMG_6434   The excess satin fabric is trimmed, the hem folded up and pressed………..IMG_6433    and I will tack the braid at the seams to secure, resulting in a hem that has no stitches showing on the right side. This finish, also, gives support for the fabric at the bottom edge when there are one, or more, layers on top of that one. Just a technical FYI…..the dress was constructed with this hem done before this satin layer and its lining were applied to the bodice. The seam allowances and braid were inside the 2 layers, without any hem stitching showing. So cool……luv commercial techniques/processes!!!! However, I was not going to take the dress apart to achieve the same results so, hem #4 will be the (now free) lining to this layer. TMI?????? Stay tuned…..to be continued…………………

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Looking for quilting inspiration?????

It may be right under your nose!!!!!!IMG_6431IMG_6430       Just keep those “peepers” peeled!!!!!!!

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Moving along………

From here to………Hem #1 of 6: IMG_6424                                                                                Hem #2 of 6…………….IMG_6425   Both hems done……and I’m done for the day! A West facing room on the 2nd floor of a 100+ yr old farmhouse……well, let’s just say it’s right toasty!!!! (And, yes, we do have central A/C and a window A/C unit in the 2nd floor hall and I use extra small fans(!) but……………………it is 94 warm degrees.)

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As the excessive heat warnings are thrown at us……..

You may find me sequestered in my little studio surrounded by lacey goodness in need of a ‘nip & tuck’ here,IMG_6423 a hem adjustment thereIMG_6422 and, of course, several “bustles” to finish.               IMG_6420  What are YOU doing to take your mind off the current “toastiness” that may, or may not(?), be occurring near you?????

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A Wordless Wednesday quilt guild “wrap”………….

IMG_6388IMG_6389IMG_6391IMG_6394(note: take 1 coffee cup + “wrap”. The upper portion/pocket folds to the inside of the mug leaving the smaller pockets on the outside to hold miscellaneous gizmos near your machine)

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A doll “bunting”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some bobbin work. IMG_6408

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6410IMG_6411IMG_6412IMG_6413IMG_6415IMG_6416    Hand pieced/hand quilted (above).IMG_6419IMG_6417

Til next time………..for my friends on this continent……..try not to melt!!!!!!!!

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I’ve said it before…..

“Finishes” are definitely a ‘good thing’!!! To refresh your memory, this client’s quilt, is a healthy ‘queen’ size and is a perfect example of a scrap quilt (each square, finshed, is 3.5”). The fabrics range from 100% cotton to 100% poly! For the backing, the client provided a sheet (hems opened/removed) that must have poly but, if not, is a high thread count! IMG_6359   So, because the client wanted to be absolutely sure the quilting didn’t add too much stiffness, she wanted a very open motif. Enter “feather swirl” on a larger scale! The stitching is best seen from the back………..IMG_6377IMG_6381IMG_6386IMG_6387   For an idea of size, a ruler along side……IMG_6382IMG_6383IMG_6385 IMG_6379IMG_6380

Thread: (top & bobbin) Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly, 70 wt. Batting: Hobbs Heirloom, 80/20 (cotton/poly)

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Design Wall…..er, Table……Monday……..

A client’s quilt that is true “patchwork”. It came to me with the very specific request that it remain soft and drape-able after the quilting.The denser the quilt stitching the stiffer the finish (especially with certain battings). For anyone who does sit-down FMQ (free motion quilting) knows…..doing an even, all-over, larger motif presents some challenges. Because of the smaller vision field, keeping the motifs similar in size and evenly spaced demands that I visualize more than what is in front of me. It gets easier as the process progresses.

  The “blank canvas” this time………..IMG_6359    And the chosen motif………. IMG_6362IMG_6364   The quilt is approximately 84”x 92”……a generous size, to be sure!!!

Thread: (top & bobbin) Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly, 70 wt (Turkey Red/top; Honey/bobbin) Batting: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 (cotton/poly)

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I’m not much of a gardener, but………

Sometimes there is a “success” story. Usually it’s a perennial…..something that seems to reappear each Spring without my assistance! I present my fave…..hydrangea……………….IMG_6365   Looking pretty good (in spite of my negligence in adding the appropriate soil treatment!).IMG_6366

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A message from Minnesota officers: Let peace prevail

Minnesota Prairie Roots

Peace ad published in Faribault

NEARLY NINE HUNDRED MILES from Dallas, Texas, and an hour from Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a message of peace published this morning in my local newspaper, The Faribault Daily News.

The full-page ad on the back page of the front section comes from the Faribault Police Department and the Rice County Sheriff’s Department. In a succinct 13 words, these law enforcement officers deliver a powerful statement to our culturally diverse community.

It is the final three words that I find universally hopeful: Let Peace Prevail.

Let. Peace. Prevail.

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Cannele Bordelais………………..?

It’s what is on the table for this morning’s repast. But……what is it??? It’s a carmelized custardy piece of heaven!!!! And, because ‘they’ say a picture is worth a thousand words…….IMG_6351  Trust me……there were more!!!!! Ummmm……well……I was a tad lax in grabbing the camera. The special tartlette form is found here and, yes, they’re supposed to be copper and the insides brushed with melted beeswax before pouring the batter in BUT let’s get real!!! This is what I use…….

And it works great (sprayed/brushed with oil)!!!!!!

The recipe I follow is this one (found here). The time MUST be lengthened to 1 hour and 20 minutes on the lowest rack setting in your oven. Check your oven temp for accuracy! I cut the recipe to 1/3 and it makes 7 (this is done for waistline safety!!!!).

Canneles:

Makes 18 to 24 depending on your molds

750 milk (2 1/2 cups)

50 gr butter (2 TB)

3 eggs plus 3 egg yolks

200 gr granulated sugar (1 cup)

1 Tb vanilla extract

1/4 cup rum

155 gr flour (1 1/4 cups)

In a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, add the butter cut into dices. Mix well and let cool to lukewarm. In a bowl, mix the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla and whisk until foamy. Slowly add the rum and flour. Add the milk slowly and whisk until smooth. Pass it through a sieve if necessary. Let the batter rest in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. When the batter has rested, preheat the oven to 375F, position a rack in the center. Divide the batter evenly among the canneles molds, generously coated with cooking spray or well oiled if you use copper. Bake for 35-45 minutes. The will be scortching hot right out of the oven, so let them cool 20 minutes or so before enjoying them.

So…..check out Amazon and the rest will be an amazing eating experience!!!! Til next time, I hear a cannele beckoning…………….

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Independence …………

                                           Freedom is never free!!!!!!

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Let us not forget……………..

What is behind this festive celebration!

Happy Independence Day!!!!!

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Sunday, July 3rd………………………

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A gorgeous July 2nd Saturday………………

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FOREVER MAY IT WAVE………

006An “oldie” but totally in keeping with the patriotic them of this time!!!! Let’s revisit!!!!……………………………….

Treadlemusic

Over the years many things have changed. Most have been advancements that have brought convenience, added safety and have increased our quality of living here in the great USA. Other changes have caused me to stop and think What were they thinking? “Rights”…..we all have them and, most of the time, we take them for granted. After all, this is America! But to say that someone has the “right/freedom of speech” to burn the flag to prove his/her point/political view, etc is ludicrous! It is the very symbol of all that we hold dear and we must not do “business as usual” in regards to these freedoms, for all too soon these things may fade into history. The glorious red, white and blue, proudly and long may she wave! Have a wonderful, safe, joy-filled 4th of July and, please, take a moment to remember what it is that this…

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I just know …………………..

You all have been holding your breath just waiting to see some photo updates of our (almost!!!!!) complete garage saga. Life in Rural America, USA, is full of these exciting moments just waiting to be shared. OK, ok……on with it………….begun last April (here), progressed to December (here and here) when it went into a “holding pattern” over the winter/while we scurried off to Texas, and, now, we have arrived here……… and…..IMG_6344    The final set of shutters……IMG_6341  See that handy gizmo/machine??? That has allowed DH to safely side the entire structure including all the way to the peaks without a very tall ladder and some tricky gymnastics or treks to the ER!!!!

So….let me bore you with my fave spot (next to my Ms Sweetie and Ms Juki!!!!)………..IMG_6336IMG_6337 IMG_6338

And my view????….this…………….IMG_6345  We’ve come a long way, baby!!!!!!! Til next time………and just maybe more quilting related….but……….hmmmmmm

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The celebration will soon be upon us………….

And I will begin to hear how the summer is well spent!!! Yikes, folks!!! Let’s ratchet back a bit and take in each moment that we have now! We are promised only the “now” and not the next second.

Lest I dwell on this heavy topic too long, I leave you with this Snoopy/Woodstock pic………………

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Flower Garden….gone….

For now/a while. The design wall looks a tad different……IMG_6322 There might just be some “Killer Bees” about to put together some similar formations! Stay tuned. The mystery deepens…….

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