Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

There's a goblin at my window.
A monster at my door.

The pumpkin at my table,

keeps on smiling more and more.

There's a ghost who haunts my bedroom.

A witch who's face is green.

They used to be my family

'till they dressed for Halloween.
(Spooks by Sandra Liatsos)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Needleturn Applique With Texture Magic

I've been appliqueing dresses from "All Dressed Up" designed by my friend Nanette of Freda's Hive.
And I thought to myself: I wonder how some of the dresses would look if I used Texture Magic?
I used the needle turn method with freezer paper as my technique, and I think it turned out well.

I think adding texture really prettied up some of these party dresses.

I tried applying the Texture Magic to various parts of the dress.
On this one I just put TM on the bottom of the skirt.

I used different stitches when sewing the Texture Magic to the fabrics.

This one was a simple 1/4" grid, with the use of my presser foot as the guide.

On this one I used Texture Magic in the middle. I thought it looked like I added an apron to the dress.

For the stitching I went around like a boxed shape.

For this dress I put Texture Magic on the yoke. Doesn't it look like it's been smocked?

For all of the dresses with mixed piecing, I sewed the Texture Magic piece to the fabric, and then cut out the dress.

Some of my dresses have ribbons. I will add button on others once the quilt back from the machine quilter.

I really had fun experimenting with hand applique and Texture Magic, and am so pleased with the results.
Remember, if you want to adapt any of your patterns using Texture Magic, you can find the Conversion Chart on Superior Threads web site. This chart shows you how big to cut your pieces to allow for the shrinkage. It can be downloaded and kept right by your sewing supplies for future use.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jackie's Give Away

Jackie of Canton Village Quilt Works is having a fantastic Give Away!
You might want to run over there and enter because she has some great prizes.
This is just one of them!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How To Seed A Pomegranate

I've always been a little intimidated about removing pomegranate seeds from the shell. The process always seemed to take a long time and was very messy.
This is no longer the case.
Last night when I was at my BIL's house he showed me the fastest method for seeding pomegranates.

First he cut the pomegranate in half, and held the cut side over a bowl. With his fingers slightly separated he whacked the top several times repeatedly with a spoon. Right away the majority of the seeds completely fell into the bowl.
He seeded about 6 pomegranates within minutes, and filled the bowl to the top.

I had googled "How to seed a pomegranate". They showed a laborious 7- step method of scoring the pomegranate, soaking it for 10 minutes in a bowl of cold water, and then peeling and carefully removing the membranes. Too much work in my opinion. Should I send them on to Stan?

Once the seeds were gathered, Stan filled the bowl with water. Any left over membranes floated to the top and were easily removed. He then placed the seeds in a stainer to drain the water.

Pomegranates have many health benefits. They are brimming with antioxidants, improve heart health and good blood circulation.
Some studies show that regular consumption not only stops hardening of the artery walls and build up in plaque, it even reverses these problems.
The pomegranate is native to the regions of Persia, and some remains have been found from 1,000 BC near the borders of Eastern Europe.
Many cities in Turkey use the pomegranate as their official logo.

Pomegranates have a short season, but may be frozen. My SIL Kathy will lay the seeds on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, she will transfer them to a zip-lock bag and return them back to the freezer. They can then be used in many recipes.
This morning Mr. Cactus and I had pomegranate seeds on top of our warm oatmeal. Yum!
When the early pioneers first came to deserts of Southern Utah they found it easy to grow pomegranates and pecans. They created "Dixie Salad" which is still a favorite in this area today.
Apples, chopped
Pomegranate seeds
Pecans, chopped
Whipped cream, enough to blend them with.
(Some people also like to add grapes, bananas or crushed pineapple)

When I saw McConkie's pomegranate trees, I wanted to plant one in our backyard also. I originally found a little Charlie Brown type pomegranate twig at Costco for $16. I thought there wouldn't be too much $$ output if it died.
This is my tree now. Right away it began to flourish, and grew rapidly even in the intense heat of summer. I have gone out and talked to it, and told it how proud I am of it's growth. I'm hoping by next October to have some fruit to brag about.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pomegranate Jelly

A few months ago I was having dinner at my in-law's house, and they served pomegranate jelly with Kathy's homemade rolls. I about slid off my chair, the flavor of the jelly was so wonderful.
I told them that the next time they make jelly, I wanted to watch the process.

Pomegranates grow especially well here in the St. George climate, and are usually harvested in October. This is just one of the McConkie's trees.

Isn't this a beautiful fruit?

My brother -in- law Stan is a master gardener. His hard work provides a wide variety of harvest.
He's also a "make do" kind of guy. I will show you step by step his very technical process for making pomegranate jelly.

First Stan took two small pieces of 2 X 4's and put them together with a hinge. He then pressed a whole pomegranate in between the wood, catching the juice in a pan. He repeated that process over and over until he had 3-4 cups of juice.
Yes, very high tech.

I asked Stan what he calls that squishy thing. He said "I don't know...squishy thing sounds good." Kathy called it a "press".

I think it took around 8- 10 pomegranates to have enough juice for one batch of jelly.

Next Stan strained the juice to remove any seeds or membrane.
The McConkie's are very frugal. Using an old (but guaranteed very clean) nylon stocking worked well.
Watching Stan and Kathy made me think of the old adage "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." A great life lesson, especially in today's economy.

The jelly needs to be stirred constantly during the cooking process.

I admire Stan for helping and often initiating the canning projects. He and Kathy usually work together.
The entire process, from picking the fruit, to completed jelly worked up rather fast.
Once the sugar is added, the jelly only boils for 2 minutes. It's then ready to be funneled into jars.

Tomorrow I will show you Stan's amazing technique for easily removing seeds from a pomegranate. I didn't even see this one on the Internet. But that Stan: he knows a lot of STUFF.
3 1/2 C. pomegranate juice
1/4 C. lemon juice
1 package pectin
5 C. sugar
Put fruit and lemon juice in an 8 quart saucepan. Add pectin and stir thoroughly. Make sure all the pectin is dissolved. Put mixture on high heat and bring to a boil. Stir constantly to keep the jelly from scorching. Add sugar and mix well. Stir constantly to a boil so it can't be stirred down.
Boil EXACTLY 2 minutes. Remove from heat and fill jars.
*The recipe says to water bath, but Kathy never does. She adds a clean hot lid, twists on a ring and the jars usually seal on their own. If she ever has one that doesn't seal, she will add a little melted paraffin wax on top.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spooktacular Swap Finished

A few months ago Jane of Jane's Fabrics and Quilts organized a Halloween swap. I had never participated in a blog swap before, and felt like it was time to jump in with the rest of you.

This was called the Halloween Spooktacular Swap 2009.

I think around 100 of us joined.
(Top part of the quilt)
Today I finished putting all my blocks in a setting. It's always hard to decide what to do. I framed each block in an orange fabric and then put them together with traditional sashing.
The quilt ended up being a long "Double Size" at 78" X 107"

Bottom part of the quilt.

Jane organized us into groups of 12.

We were asked to make (12) 12 1/2" X 12 1/2" blocks with a theme.
I made witch's shoes and socks for my group.

We were also asked to make (12) 9 patch blocks, that ended up measuring 12 1/2" X 12 1/2 ".
This is one I received and I love how they are fussy cut.
We then mailed 24 blocks back to Jane. She sorted them all out and sent 24 back.

Some of the people in my group I already knew and some I did not.
This is from Jackie K. of Canton Village Works.

People's originality in designing a block was impressive.
One of the blocks was embroidered with a 3-D spider.

This one is a Buggy Barn design with 3-D legs.

Some used the latest fabrics.

Others were more traditional.

People took a lot of time to make their blocks, and I loved them all. I will think of the talent of these ladies every time I look at my quilt.

And of course every quilt I make lately I think of ways to add Texture Magic. For this project the TM went into the corner stones.
I really enjoyed participating in this swap. Thank you Jane for all your hard work in coordinating us!