Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Top is Complete!

The lap quilt top that I cut out this past Wednesday evening is finished.  I think that's a record!  It's not a big quilt, just 43" x 55," but that's quite large for a lap quilt.  It was intended as my contribution to our quilt guild's supply of lap quilts for the local long term care facility.

But I'm so delighted with it that I'd really prefer to keep it.  It would be nice in the second bedroom (tv/computer/sewing room) in our condo.  That would be so nice, and as long as I make another quilt to donate to the long term care, I'm in the clear with this.

I like it so much because of the cheerful colours.  Everything on the top except the narrow blue borders came directly out of my stash.  I don't think I could find another 48 6 1/2" beige squares in the stash.  The bindings will be the same bright blue.

That bright blue was actually bought for binding on the Delectable Mountains quilt (posts to come on that project), but I decided that with the cheddar yellow border a blue binding would be a little too outré.

This week I need to buy some backing to put this project together.

Then I can start cutting out squares for a replacement donor quilt!

Friday, May 23, 2014

That was Quick!

Wednesday morning I brought Dear Son #1 to the Calgary airport, after a great week-long visit.  Wednesday evening, starting about 7 p.m. I cut out squares for a lap quilt.  Our quilting guild plans to make new lap quilts for the local long-term care facility this coming winter.  Since I don't plan to be here for much of that time, I thought I should make my contribution this summer.

I cut out 48 6 1/2" squares of assorted beige fabrics from my stash.  Then I cut out 96 4" squares of nice, bright fabrics.  I drew a line diagonally across the 4" squares.

Thursday morning I sat down to begin sewing two 4" squares to opposite corners of the 6 1/2" squares, chain piecing, of course.  Often I will work on 10 or 12 blocks at a time, but this time I opted to chain piece all 48 squares.  Here they are in process.  A not so big pile of 6 1/2" beige squares and two piles of bright 4" squares.  The squares are being sewn to one corner of the beige along the diagonal lines.

Then I turn the pile around and similarly sew a 4" square to the opposite corner of the beige.

The next step is to sew a seam about 3/8" closer to the corner than the first seam.  That will give me "bonus" half square triangles with very little extra work.  They'll make a nice border.

Here's the finished pile of blocks, ready for the corners to be cut off.

 On the left, the piles of blocks ready to be pressed open.  On the right the "bonus" half square triangles.

 By 7 p.m. Thursday the blocks were finished and I laid them out on the living room floor.  This is just one option for layout.

I picked them up carefully, keeping the rows and the place of each block in the row all in order.  The rows were labeled, 1 through 6.

This morning I looked at them, having put them up on the design wall in the sewing room.  The design was nice, but somewhat static.

I rearranged them by turning every other row in the opposite direction.  This appeals to me much more.  It's actually the same design as the black and white background quilt I've been working on now and then for about a year.  That quilt is close to finished and I'll show it when it is complete.

This is the completed top, minus the borders.  A border suggestion is beginning on the left and on the right.  I think I will go with the tiny blue border and then the half square triangles flipped from side to side.

So this is the state of the quilt 48 hours after I started cutting it out.  What fun that was!
Size: (without borders) 36" x 48".

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Skimpy Betty Crocker

I guess I have to apologize again, for the delays in the tutorial on Delectable Mountains.  I still have the sore throat, although I am improving greatly.  Thursday night was the first night since May 1 that I slept through the night without waking myself up with a coughing fit.  I promise I will get back to showing the process for Delectable Mountains very soon.

Right now I want to share what I discovered this morning about packaged cake mixes, specifically about Betty Crocker cake mixes.

We don't usually have cake or cookies on hand, but Dear Son #1 is visiting right now, so a few goodies are in order.  Today I decided to make a batch of cinnamon buns and then a chocolate/cherry cake.  I think I've posted the very simple recipe at some time previous, but here it is:

CHOCOLATE/CHERRY CAKE (like Black Forest Cake, only easy)

1 package of chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of Almond extract
1 can of cherry pie filling.

Mix these ingredients together and bake in a 9 x 13 pan.  Ice with chocolate icing (bought or homemade).

I noticed on the cake mix box the following: "NEW Bake Times."  That's kind of strange, I thought.  Could they have changed the ingredients so that it bakes faster?  I finished mixing the batter and put it into the pan, and noticed: THERE IS QUITE A BIT LESS BATTER THAN THERE USED TO BE! So this is one of those sneaky things that food manufacturers (that's an oxymoron, isn't it?) use to get more money for the same product.  Charge the same amount, but put less in the box!

I looked at another cake mix in the cupboard, a Duncan Hines mix.  The ingredients in that box weight 515 grams.  The ingredients in the Betty Crocker weigh 432 grams.  Shame on you, Betty Crocker!

Then I read the list of ingredients: "enriched wheat flour, sugar and/or golden sugar, corn syrup, cocoa, baking soda, corn starch, modified corn starch, soybean and/or cottonseed oil, shortening (so far, nothing terribly objectionable), propylene glycol mono esters of fatty acids, monoglycerides, carob powder (fine), monocalcium phosphate, salt (o.k.), sodium aluminum phosphate, dicalcium phosphate, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, artificial flavour, citric acid.  Do we actually know what those things are? Do we really want to ingest them?!!!

And then, in bold print, as a warning: CONTAINS WHEAT (Quelle surprise!!), MAY CONTAIN MILK INGREDIENTS (!!!)  Oooh, be careful, little mouth, what you eat!

I know--there are people who are allergic to milk ingredients, but I doubt they would be using a cake mix without checking the ingredients.  On the other hand, could all these chemical additives be at least partly responsible for, among other things, obesity and increasing problems with allergies and food intolerances?

By the by, did you know that there is actually only a very small percentage of the population that is truly allergic or sensitive to gluten?  All these gluten-free products are a marketing device (read scam).  Ridiculous are the products that never did contain gluten that are now advertised as "gluten free."

That's my rant for the week!

I guess I have to look up my old chocolate cake recipe, all normal, ordinary ingredients.  A little bit more work, but definitely a better cake than what I'm getting today! 

Sunday, May 4, 2014


This was the view out our bedroom window when I raise the shades this morning!

I've been incapacitated since Wednesday with a horrendous sore throat.  I'm on the road to recovery now, and hope to get back to posting the Delectable Mountains tomorrow.  I've discovered that we're missing a photo of one of the steps, and will get that out tomorrow (hopefully)