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”. Yup…..that recipe is a keeper!!!!!!! Oh dear! 12 of these beauties!!!!…..Well, maybe not at this very moment………………. 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………………………….
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……. 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????)……… At our previous meeting, I presented the “Paint Chip Challenge/Gift Exchange” for Christmas and Ann needed to do her drawing……….. 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!)…… 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……………
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. The above photo shows the excess being trimmed with my fave “duck-billed”/applique scissors. 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. 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…….. Oh so close to the finish!!!! Then, on to the bodice, bustles and a couple of special requests by the bride.
It may be right under your nose!!!!!! Just keep those “peepers” peeled!!!!!!!
From here to………Hem #1 of 6: Hem #2 of 6……………. 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.)
(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)
A doll “bunting”
Some bobbin work.
Hand pieced/hand quilted (above).
Til next time………..for my friends on this continent……..try not to melt!!!!!!!!
“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! 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……….. For an idea of size, a ruler along side……
Thread: (top & bobbin) Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly, 70 wt. Batting: Hobbs Heirloom, 80/20 (cotton/poly)
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……….. And the chosen motif………. 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)
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………………. Looking pretty good (in spite of my negligence in adding the appropriate soil treatment!).
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……. 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!!!!).
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…………….
Freedom is never free!!!!!!
What is behind this festive celebration!
Happy Independence Day!!!!!
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………………
For now/a while. The design wall looks a tad different…… There might just be some “Killer Bees” about to put together some similar formations! Stay tuned. The mystery deepens…….