Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mismatched Dinner

I tried three new recipes today, which, although they really were mismatched, went together just fine. The first was the Olive Bread appetizer from ThePioneerWoman.com. Green and black olives, mayo, butter, and monterey jack cheese on French bread. I made one recipe and quartered the loaf of bread. Three are in the freezer for another time. One I baked for tonight. This would be really good with drinks. It's definitely what we refer to as a "back home" recipe. Nothing fancy, no frou frou ingredients - canned olives in fact, but good eats.

The other two are from Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen, which I bought during our trip to Seattle this spring.

Smoky Eggplant - grilled eggplant and onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice tahini, and parsley served with crispy flatbreads ( I used red onion). This was good. The flavor is more delicate than the other two dishes. This would be great for a party or for a Mediterranean tapas style meal.

And Grilled Chicken Skewers with Tangerine Ginger Glaze. The chicken was really tender and flavorful. This was excellent! I used orange juice instead of the tangerine, but no other changes other than using the microwave to reduce the glaze instead of a saucepan. It's hot here today! I glazed the chicken several times during grilling and had retained some glaze to be served with the chicken. With some rice, this would be a good main dish. Done on small skewers, it would be a great pary appetizer. We'll definitely make this again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scrappy Log Cabin

I finished putting these wonky log cabin squares together with the rest of the triangles from the grandmother's fan lap quilt for my mom and the circle quilt for the Craftster Charity Unswap. I have a number of fans left for another project, but there were also many triangles that were cut but not pieced. I'm not really a fan of the fan block for myself (har har), so I decided to use them another way. I want to add an outer row to each block using the same center fabric, Quilter's Only in Parchment, and piece the blocks with no sashing. I think I am going to use 4 inch strips to give me a 7 inch "sashing" look between the squares. Hopefully, this will also make a larger quilt since these blocks are 6 inches. I have at least one more row that is not pictured here. I haven't done the math yet. I'd like to keep this one for myself, but it has to be big enough. I have a purple print and a purple solid for the back. I haven't decided.

Well, the doors still aren't done. They ordered the wrong hinges and the sweep still isnt in, or is in, but the hinges are reordered, I can't keep track.

In the meantime, I finished a Tshirt quilt I did as a commission. I've sworn her to secrecy though, as this is not something I want to get in the habit of. I did promise to make one for her second child. That may be my last one. They aren't hard to do, and I think the second one will be easier.
First, decide on the size of your squares. I chose 16" because she wanted a twin size quilt and most of the shirts I had to work with were large. A large square also set off the image from the shirts so each one was distinct and clear.

Before cutting the tshirts to size, I ironed on lightweight knit interfacing. This was a significant portion of the cost since each shirt needed 1/2 yard of interfacing. Once the shirts were faced, I cut them to size. They were much easier to handle at this point; the edges did not curl and the shirts did not stretch much. I used a 16 1/2" square template and rotary cutter to cut them so I did not have to reposition or rotate the shirts, avoiding stretching them out of square. I really think this is very important to accurate cutting and piecing.

Some shirts, however, were from Little League and smaller than the 16 1/2" I needed to cut. For some, I cut them open up the back and horizontally through the back of the sleeves. This allowed the shirt to open flat and gave me the size I needed by including part of the sides and arms. Most tshirts don't have a side seam, so no problem there, but cutting this way does include the sleeve seam and part of the sleeve. For others, I cut a smaller square of the image and used the back of another shirt to add borders, or appliqued the smaller square onto the back.

The person this was made for played baseball, so some shirts were not standard tshirts. Some were V necks or had more of a scooped neck with 3-4 buttons. For these shirts, the buttons would have created a problem if I cut them the same as the tshirts. I cut them at the shoulders and used the back or the sleeves to fill in the neckline. The button plackets were basted before being pieced. I even created a pocket using one of the the button plackets by using a sleeve and attaching it before piecing the front. V neck shirts were treated the same way, with sleeves used for filler in the neckline.

In these pics, you can see some of these adaptions. The "G-Unit" shirt, top right, has the placket stitched down and I used the back of the shirt to fill in the neckline, matching the stripes. The Marlins shirt was so small! I appliqued it onto the plain back of a white shirt. The green Fall Ball shirt, second row on the right, unbuttons to reveal a remote control sized pocket. The Red Sox shirt next to it has a border sewn onto it to get the right size. I used the back of the shirt for the blue pieces and a separate shirt's sleeves for the red squares.

The green 2 shirt in this picture was a soccer shirt with just that tiny logo on the front. I used the number on the back and the logo from the front and pieced this shirt. There is also a red 7 shirt pieced the same way.

I did a sample layout for the client. I laid the squares on a sheet on the patio and took the picture from inside the house to get the whole thing in one shot.

I then pieced the front. Because of the size, the back had to be pieced also. I did this horizontally and aligned the seam, which I topstitched on either side, with a horizontal seam on the front. I placed the fleece and tshirt top right sides together, sewed with a 1/2 inch seam all the way around except for two squares on the center bottom. Once the quilt was turned right side out and pin basted, I topstitched 1/2 inch around all edges, stitching 1/4 inch in the center bottom where the quilt was turned.
I used my machine to tie the two layers together at the intersection of the squares using invisible thread on the top and thread to match the fleece on the bottom. This worked really well as I had to check carefully to see where I still needed to tack. The stitches really disappeared on both sides.

Here are a few pics of the finished quilt:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sweets and more sweets

Just a few pics of some recent baking...

Chocolate chips cookies, from the inauguration of the new oven after the POS died during the self clean cycle again.

It's still so shiny and clean. It's a Frigidaire Professional Series free standing gas oven with convection and warming drawer. It did a nice job baking three full trays of cookies at once. I turned them one time and pulled the bottom tray out first. They were very evenly baked.

A fruit tart which I totally cheated on by using a Pillsbury refrigerated crust, baked in a 9" tart pan, filled with purchased filling from the restaurant supply, and topped with - wait for it - fruit I actually cut up myself and a glaze of thinned apple jelly. It was very pretty and very tasty despite the lack of homemade-ness. Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

And last but not least, some treats for the dogs. They don't really taste like anything, but the dogs like them, even picky Milo.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Seattle Part II

Well, it really should be titled, "Watching Jess and Shane Cook" because they didn't let us do a thing in the kitchen, which was a really nice treat.

Since Salumi is only open Tues-Fri from 11-4, we weren't going to be able to eat there. Jess picked up some of their meats for us to try and we started with a couple different varieties, a stoneground mustard cheddar, a second cheese that I've forgotten, and some assorted breads and crackers, including a pumpernickel Jess brought back from London.

That's the pumpernickel on the left:

We got almost all the ingredients for dinner at the farmers' market: fiddlehead ferns, asparagus, spicy salad mix which included tulips (way crunchier than I expected), and potatoes. We picked up the fish - black cod - at the fishmarket and Jess and Shane whipped up a feast.

Thanks guys! It was phenomenal!