Monday, February 27, 2012

Making Something from Nothing--A Selvage Quilt

I love making something from nothing!  Selvages that would normally be thrown away are sewn into a stunning quilt.  I love string quilts.  This has that same look.  I found this pattern on the internet, and it is called Red Zinger.  I believe the designer is Karen Griska.  This one will hang in my daughter's  art classroom.

More Quilts

I am going to try to put the quilt pictures I have on for your viewing pleasure.  I regret that I have given away or donated a number of beautiful quilts that I haven't documented.  Oh, well!  This first one is a pattern of which I forgot the name.  

The bottom quilt is a Pickle Dish pattern in brights and pastels.  It was sewn using paper foundation piecing.  I have a tendency to love these spiky circles as you will see!  Kitty Boy just loves to be on a quilt and in a picture.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Passionate about Quilts

For as long as I can remember, I have loved quilts.  My grandmother was a quilter, and we always had wonderful quilts to sleep under when I was growing up.  Having no central heat, it would sometimes take three quilts to be cozy and warm through the night.  When I was a young newlywed, I went to Canton First Monday Trade Days and came home with a rich silk and cotton quilt that I proudly displayed on the wall.  From that point, I became a passionate collector of beautiful antique quilts.  I couldn't even begin to say how many quilts I bought and sold over the course of about fifteen years.  One day, not long after I began teaching school, a new passion overtook me.  Friends at school, most notably Vickie Vetrano, taught me about the modern art of quiltmaking.  I say modern because of the new tools that were available that my grandmother never had.  The rotary cutter improved the process of quiltmaking immeasurably, in my opinion.  I had dabbled in "old fashioned" quiltmaking several years earlier.  Let me just say, it was not my cup of tea!  With this new whiz bang rotary cutter and a new appreciation for machine quilting, I was more than interested in taking this craft up as my favorite pasttime.  I was permanently hooked!  This is a partial picture of the quilt that hangs in my living room. It was designed by Blackbird Designs and called When the Cold Wind Blows.  It reminds me of an antique quilt I would have bought in that other life.  It was the first time I used the turned edge applique method called heirloom by machine.  It has nine blocks, although you can only see six in this picture.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sausage Cheese Balls

I had a request for the sausage cheese ball recipe we used.  Here it is!

3 cups Bisquick baking mix

2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

1 pound fresh ground sausage (can use hot or mild)

Dash garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together.  Add a little warm water if this is not moist enough.  All this mixing is probably better done with clean hands.  Form mixture into 1-inch balls.  Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  This will freeze well before or after baking.  Enjoy these little morsels of deliciousness!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stars and Sprigs Applique Blocks

I had so much fun with the Kim McLean design of Lollypop Trees.  I thought I would do the other one that I love, Stars and Sprigs.  It is equally insane, but beautiful.  The border is the insane part.  Just wait until you see that!  I have never attempted one so complex.  Here are the first applique blocks that are completed.  I actually substituted some of Jeana Kimble's designs--the bird and the antique rose.  I am not getting any housework done!  I need company to come for motivation.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Artistic One, Susan

I got lots of compliments on my Lollypop Trees Quilt, and I appreciate every one of them.  Some said I was artistic, but what I really am is creative.  I am not happy if I am not being creative, and that's the way I have always been.  If I was purely artistic I would design every quilt I make.
  The creativity gene is strong in my family.  My maternal grandmother, Della Cox Ritter, did every craft that was popular in her day.  She quilted, crocheted a million miles, tatted, embroidered, and sewed all the family clothes except coveralls and jeans.  Grandmother even made her own undergarments!!  My mom sewed and knitted.
  My cousin, Sue Ritter Harvey, was truly my inspiration.  Sue was 15 or so years older than me, so by the time I was a teen she was well into her creative life.  She was a master knitter and designed many patterns.  She sewed like a dream, did beautiful mosaic work, even did furniture making and carpentry.  She also managed to look like a beautiful, tall, and sophisticated model while she was doing all these things.  I wanted to be just like her!  Well, it didn't work out quite that way.  However, if she were still alive today, I think she would have loved my quiltmaking skills.
   The younger generation has some creativity going on.  My second cousin, Ana Kristin Clerc, is a talented knitter among other things.  She designs knitwear and teaches classes.  Another cousin, Mason Rankin is a photographer of some note.  I believe his specialty is architectural photography.
   This brings us to my daughter, Susan.  She has an art degree and teaches the same at a local high school.  She is a portrait artist.  I am in awe of her work.  She can create incredible and realistic detail with just pencil and paper.  Susan is truly artistic, and this mother is proud.  This is one of her portraits called The Mustache Man.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Close-up of Lollypop Trees

This black thing in the picture is Kitty Boy.  He's cute--we say it everyday--and he thinks he needs to be where the action is taking place.  This green block is my favorite.  The colors are brighter and more beautiful in person!

Lollypop Trees Quilt

Lollypop Trees designed by Kim McLean was a quilt that was screaming at me to be made.  I had collected Kaffe Fassett fabrics for several years.  My daughter particularly likes his style, and she had requested a quilt made from my ever-growing stash.  Along the way, I think she even bought some to add to the pile.  I thought about a few other quilt patterns, but then I saw Lollypop Trees.  That did it!  These quilts that are somewhat daunting when I first begin, go so much better when they are the "screaming at me"  kind.  It is turned edge applique by machine.  I use light weight interfacing to turn the applique and then stitch in place with a machine blindhem stitch using fine silk thread.  It looks as close to hand needleturn applique as a machine can make it!  I love the technique and will be teaching it at the May meeting of Country Patches Quilt Guild.  I machine quilted it with my great Juki Tl98Q and my new favorite thread, Glide from FilTek.  It is very fine and also very strong.  I only remember the thread breaking twice in the whole marathon!  Remarkable!!  I quilted for the better part of 4 days--about 6 hours a day I estimate.  Yes, it was a LOT of work.  It was more fun than I can describe!!  I am very proud of the quilt and of my quilting. Susan loves it--mission accomplished!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

The perfect treat just in time for Valentine's Day, Mini Cherry Cheesecakes.  As a matter of fact, we always made this at school for V Day!  I would try to be so careful to guard these little bites of deliciousness while they were refrigerated to be eaten the next day, but somebody always got past me to snitch a few!! Don't miss that. This is such a great recipe, so quick and easy.   They are perfect at Christmas.  They can be frozen if desired.  One note is that this is actually the original recipe; we made half this recipe at school.  Also, it is really not sweet enough to eat without the cherry pie filling or strawberry, or blueberry.  My opinion.

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 vanilla wafers
1 can cherry pie filling
 24 paper cupcake liners

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake in center of oven.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla until light and fluffy(don't skip the light and fluffy).  Line  muffin pans with paper baking liners.  Place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each.  Fill cups about 2/3 full with the cream cheese mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for 17 minutes.  Time this carefully and take them out!!  They will be dry if they are overbaked.  Top each with 1 tablespoon pie filling and chill.  Beware, they don't taste good when they are hot.  Let them chill before serving!