Thursday, March 27, 2014

From Messy To Clean And Usable

2014-03-19 15.25.02
I showed you this photo of my flannel board with some of the stuff removed a couple of blog posts ago.  Kind of messy around the edges and the center looked the same before I cleaned that area off so I would have a neutral background to snap my photo.  After getting the photo I looked at all the stuff I removed and decided to sort and put away or throw away  and remove the rest to make it usable as a design board or quilt display area again.2014-03-20 08.22.03
This is how it looks now – big difference isn’t it?  I have hung a few of my favorite small quilts for display.  Upper left a miniature given to me by my friend Geta Gramma from Romanian Quilt Studio.  Check out her blog, Geta’s Quilting Studio too.  The next one to the right is one I made my mother in law many years ago.  She died a few years ago and now this makes me think of her every time I look at it.  Next is a postcard made by Geta Grama.  The bird wall hanging was made by my friend Margaret.  The small blue one under the far left quilt by Geta is a piece I bought in Paducah of Hmong applique.  I thought I might stitch it into something but so far I haven’t come up with an idea for it.  The largest quilt is the one I just finished.

I like that it is cleaned off and now can use it again, beside the fact that it makes my sewing room/studio a little neater looking.  At least on the wall it is neater looking but my sewing table is full of pieces and parts of my current project which I will show you in a while after I get it finished.

Until Later,

Friday, March 21, 2014

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

IMG_8909I admit it, I love chocolate....chocolate cake, chocolate brownies, chocolate candy….anything that is chocolate.  Most times the calories or in Weight Watchers terms the Points Plus are high in chocolate cake or chocolate foods.  That is why I was so excited when a cousin served this absolutely delicious cake.  It is only 3 Points Plus per serving.  The cake is baked in a 9” x 13” pan and is cut into 18 pieces so that is a pretty generous serving.

The secret ingredient is a can of pumpkin.  Yes, you read that right – pumpkin – the kind you use to make pumpkin pie.  The next thing you might think is that it will make the cake taste funny.  The answer is nope, can’t taste it at all and the cake is so moist.  I am drooling just thinking about it as I type.  OK, here is the recipe.

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
Chocolate Cake Mix 15.25 oz  (whole package of dry mix)
 15 oz can of Pumpkin
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips   
1/2 cup Water   
Mix all the ingredients together and bake in a greased 13x9 pan @ 350 degrees F for 30 min. Test with a toothpick as you want it baked all the way through and with the added pumpkin it may take a bit longer to finish baking.  Cut 3x6 for 18 pieces.   3 WW P+  IMG_8908I don’t know what the calories would be so please don’t ask but know they would be lower because the you leave the oil and eggs out of the mix.  .If you leave out the chocolate chips you can lower the P+ and calorie values even more.  Serve slightly warm and the chocolate chips will be melty inside the cake. Yum! Add fat free cool whip for topping if desired.

Anybody that has eaten this cake has loved it and didn’t know they were eating a lower calorie version with pumpkin.  John really thought it was good and has asked me to make it again. 

Oh, I almost forgot….it is only low calorie if you eat one piece not several!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Self Portrait…Take 84….

IMG_9288Have you ever tried to get a photo of yourself….taken by yourself and have it look natural?  I was asked by the local newspaper to send them a photo of myself holding my miniature quilt as they are going to publish something about the quilt getting to go to the AQS quilt show in Paducah.  That was yesterday and the reporter wanted the photo today…YKES!

The reporter called late afternoon and the light was fading and I wanted a photo using natural light taken in my house rather than using flash which casts shadows so getting it done yet yesterday was out of the question.  I had planned to have John take the photos for me but he had commitments all morning and after lunch too so that didn’t work out either.  My only choice then was to take them myself. 

Got the tripod and the wireless shutter release all set up and the camera positioned in front of my design wall that I cleaned off for this photo shoot….well, partially cleaned off anyway.  Next decision was what to wear and took shots of 3 different tops and scarves before deciding the brown with the scarf was the best choice.  Decided a scarf hid my turkey skin neck a bit so wore one for the final photo.   Here are a few of the many goof up photos that wouldn’t work for various reasons and you can see how hard it is.  After all how do you smile naturally when there is no one there and then there is holding the quilt straight, position of the hands, backgrounds, hair, etc. to think about.
Head cocked a little too cutsie and don’t like the red scarf.  Wooden smile too.  
Problem with a finger in each of these…whoops!
Forgot to lower my hand that was holding the shutter release plus holding onto the back of the quilt makes it look like it is floating in air.  “Look ma, no hands” and it is tipped again.  I had a big problem holding the quilt level in a lot of the photos.
My scarf was overlapping the quilt in these two photos.
Too far to one side and the stuff I left on the design wall is showing.  (I know, a real mess right now!)  Plan to crop the photo but even cropped this would present a problem.  Had a hair appointment this afternoon to get a hair cut so decided to snap a few more when I got home and they do look better, I didn’t realize how frumpy my hair was before.  Actually, the one I cropped and sent to the newspaper reporter was the very last photo I took.  Finally I smiled naturally, held the quilt level and removed more stuff from the design wall so it wouldn’t interfere before I snapped the photo.  

Here is what my photo shoot set up looked don’t laugh too much.  Hard to believe there is so much stuff on my sewing table but I didn’t want to move it as I am in the middle of another project and it wasn’t showing in the photo anyway.  I had to sit on a pile of magazines to make me higher too.  I did have the blind up when I shot the photos but for this one I needed it down so you could see the room and all it’s amenities.
So, if you ever need a portrait of yourself and have hours to spend with someone who has minimum equipment and knowledge just give me a call!

Until Later,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Paducah Bound!

IMG_9883I received an email a couple of  weeks ago informing me that my quilt, “Silk Refrain” was juried into the 2014 AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky.  This is the first time I have ever entered a national contest so am really thrilled to have it chosen as a semi-finalist.IMG_0362This is a miniature quilt measuring 11.25” x 10.5” and is made of all silk fabric and thread with wool batting.  I blogged about making it on the following dates August 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 2012 and Oct. 29, 2012 and lastly Oct. 4 2013.  Just click on the individual dates to take you to the blog posts where I share my design process to the completion of the quilt and problems that incurred along the way.IMG_9327I have all the required paperwork submitted and now have to figure out what day to mail the quilt off so it arrives between March 30 and April 4 for judging.  I really hope the judges give comments as for me that is the most valuable part of entering a quilt in competition.  Of course we all know the areas our quilts have problems and hope the judges don’t see those but I have learned a lot from the judges comments from entering my quilts in the Nebraska State Fair and that has helped me to improve my quilting over the years.IMG_0363I have been attending the AQS show in Paducah for several years with my 2 sisters, niece and good friend.  They have been encouraging me to submit a quilt and finally I did and to my surprise it was accepted.  It will be even more fun to go this year and we are even going a day earlier for the awards night.  Will be fun to see the quilts and makers as they get their awards.  I don’t expect any award as I have seen the quilts that win – am just happy to have a quilt on display.IMG_0364The photo at the top of the page is closer to the true color of the quilt.  The other photos are just too green.  You know how hard it is to sometimes get the color correct in photography.

Over the moon excited!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quilting & Sewing Links List #6

color-chain-links-long-hiMore quilting and sewing links for your browsing pleasure. make custom camera bag camera carrier insert tutorial turn purse into padded camera bag Scrappy Trips Around the World-pattern Free pattern Quilted zipper bag tutorial machine quilting design fabric heart bookmark knit rag rug What's in pincushion strawberry video-make infinity scarf sew long fabric scarf 13 ways to sew a scarf ways to wear a scarf videos - ! 5 ways to tie long scarf video make an infinity scarf video tutorial 30 minute scarves by Nancy Zieman make a rolled hem on sewing machine sandwich box sewing kit resize blocks sewing maintenance simple drafting #1 simple drafting #2 simple drafting #3 Free projects, tips and techniques free patterns, demos, project gallery and forum piecing tips/tricks with quilt in a day rulers piecing tricks by Beth Hayes editor of McCalls Quilting make necktie onesie Libby Lehman-straight stitch-tips video online quilt jigsaw puzzle Project Linus patterns for children learn about bias binders video rotary cutting mat care using double needle cross wound vs stacked wound thread pin info replacing rulers hand held machine needle threader top Sewtopia tips denim trivia - easy method to hem jeans clean and oil vintage sewing machine part 1 clean and oil vintage sewing machine part 2 multiple videos on antique sewing machine care save time-2 spools of thread batting journal needle facts sewing over pins? sewing machine tension sewing room lighting raise table height drafting part 1 drafting part 2 curved pieced blocks in landscape quilts by Sue Rasmussen
Click on picture to take you to image page on
Until Later,


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