I store all kinds of things about cooking, quilting and some surprises in my cupboard. Check it out.

Obsessed with Knitting

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I’ve tried knitting in the past without success and without one finished object, but have been looking for another hobby since my quilting is limited now because of back problems to small wall hangings and similar projects.  My younger daughter is an expert knitter and keeps me well supplied with socks, scarves, hats, mittens and beautiful shawls….two of the most recent ones…

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From past experience, I didn’t feel I could ever make such beautiful things, but I was inspired by her work for various charities and hoped I might be able to make some of these simple items.  For Christmas, I asked her for some very general knitting supplies to get started and she gave me a wonderful reproduction bag from WW II England filled with yarn, needles, patterns and instructions.

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The bag commemorates all of the knitting the women of Great Britain did during the war.  The Women’s Volunteer Service pin is actually one from the era, which my daughter ordered from England.

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The day after Christmas, I started reading through the instructions, checking out the online links (YouTube is great), and started a child’s scarf.  During the month of January, I completed four children’s scarves for Scarf It Up in Northern Kentucky.  They collect scarves for underprivileged/homeless adults and children….

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…and three adult scarves for Knit Your Bit.  This group collects adult scarves starting in September that they hand out on Veteran’s Day to vets visiting the National World  War II Museum in New Orleans.  Red, white and blue scarves are the most popular.

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Amazingly, I’m able to relax and knit comfortably and, even better, I actually complete what I started.  Thank you, daughter, for a wonderful gift and a new obsession.

Stars and Pinwheels QAL – Block 9

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This is block 9 in Susan’s Stars and Pinwheels QAL, called Arizona 2 with Flying Geese.

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/stars-pinwheels-qal-arizona-2-with-flying-geese/

I’m continuing on this QAL to make a different small project with the featured block each month.  I reduced the size of the block to 7 inches to make it a good size for my mini quilt rack.

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I used scraps from a lace curtain over fabric to make the setting triangles and found some pretty braid to embellish.

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With Valentine’s Day approaching, I added a vintage mother-of-pearl pin to the center.

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This was an easy block and turned out so pretty.

Lemon Custard Bread Pudding with Sauce

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This recipe is adapted from one in a favorite cookbook from the 1970s – Redbook Cookbook (1976), offered as a premium with a subscription to Redbook magazine.  This was originally a custard bread pudding recipe which I adapted by adding lemon extract and by making a favorite sauce with lemon juice and grated lemon peel.  It’s lighter than most bread pudding with a delicious custard.  Heavier bread like Italian, French or sourdough would be the best to use for this.

The pudding is baked in a deep casserole dish which has been placed in a shallow pan of hot water.

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LEMON CUSTARD BREAD PUDDING AND SAUCE


4 cups day-old bread cubes
3 cups milk
¼ cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp lemon extract

Heat oven to 350.  Grease a deep 1-1/2 qt. baking dish.

Place bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside.  Heat milk in a saucepan over low heat until little bubbles form at pan edge.  Remove from heat, add butter, sugar.  Stir and pour this mixture over the  bread cubes.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat eggs well and add salt and lemon extract.  Slowly stir tje egg mixture into the bread/milk mixture.  Pour into greased dish.  Set dish in a baking pan and add one inch of hot water to pan.  Bake for 55 minutes until set.  Let cool in dish on a rack.

LEMON SAUCE  (1-½ cups)
½ cup granulated sugar
2-¼ Tblsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup cold water
2 Tblsp. butter
½ cup lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water.  Stirring constantly, heat until mixture boils.  Remove from heat and stir in butter, lemon juice and lemon peel.  Serve warm over bread pudding.  Makes about 1-½ cups.

Refrigerate leftovers of pudding and sauce.  Bring to room temperature or heat briefly in the microwave to serve.

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Ringin’ in the Appalachian New Year

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My older daughter and I went to a really great event on Sunday called Ringin’ in the Appalachian New Year.  It was held in the large cafeteria of Holy Family school in Price Hill (a suburb of Cincinnati).  As you can see by the poster, there was something for everyone with continuous music from 1 PM to 5 PM….

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One portion of the program included hoe-down style square dancing and I was so glad to see my daughter on the floor enjoying herself after two years of medical problems …

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Admission was something for the potluck dinner, although no one was turned away who wanted to eat.  I brought my Swiss Chicken and Orzo Casserole which I baked and then put in a hot pot to keep warm.  There was a wonderful spread of food including chicken, ham, three kinds of bean casseroles, cornbread, salad, bread and lovely desserts – all delicious.  There was a contest for the best “corny” dish and a pie contest.  I haven’t entered a pie contest in over 30 years but brought along my favorite Concord Grape Streusel  pie and won first prize.

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The Memory Quilt mentioned in the poster is a collection of memories of Appalachian and country life that attendees have written over the years and collected in binders – a quilt made by writing rather than sewing.

We don’t usually have anything special that we look forward to after New Year’s in January, but from now on, this event will be highlighted on our calendar.

Clementine Pudding

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It’s that time of year again when we often find a few remaining Clementines and we’re tired of eating them out of hand.  This is a good way to use Clementines and enjoy a bright, orange flavored dessert.

First, to prepare the Clementines:

Wash and dry three Clementines, remove stems and place in a microwave-safe dish.  Cover Clementines with cold water, put a lid on the dish and microwave on high for approximately 10 minutes.  Clementines should be quite soft and look something like fresh, ripe apricots.  Let cool in microwave – be careful, they get very hot.

Cut the Clementines in half and process as finely as possible in a food processor or blender (remove seeds if necessary but, yes, process both rind and flesh).

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Makes about ½ cup.  Set aside.

Note:  Clementines can also be covered with water and boiled on the stove top for two hours.  Clementine puree can be frozen.

CLEMENTINE PUDDING


¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt

1 egg
1 cup cold milk
1 cup hot milk
1/2 cup Clementine puree (See instructions above)
1 Tblsp. undiluted orange juice concentrate

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, egg and cold milk.  Slowly whisk in hot milk and cook over medium high heat until mixture begins to boil. Lower heat to medium and continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add Clementine puree and orange juice concentrate.  Stir and allow to cool in the pan, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on top.

Pour into six dessert dishes.  Good at room temperature or chilled.  Refrigerate leftovers.

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Stars and Pinwheels QAL – Block 8 – Christmas Pinwheel Star

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This is block 8 in Susan’s Stars and Pinwheels QAL called Christmas Pinwheel Star.

https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/stars-pinwheels-qal-christmas-pinwheel-star/

Since I’m making a small project each month with the featured block, I decided to use this block in a cover for a lumbar cushion.  Because the cushion is curved, it’s difficult to cover and I used a lined 30 inch x 10-½ inch panel with Velcro on either end to fit over the center of the cushion.

I reduced the size of the pattern to 8-½ inches unfinished (2.5 and 3.5 inch squares) and added borders plus some longer pieces for the cover to join in the back.

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I thought this was a very pretty block and it was easy to put together with half-square triangles.

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Farmer’s Wife 1930s Book – Quilt

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One of my birthday gifts in September was a copy of The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt book plus 20 fat quarters of 1930s reproduction fabric.  I had fun picking out blocks that I would like to make at random and using a couple of the pretty fat quarters along with some white fabric to make 6-½ inch unfinished blocks.  This is the first one I tried, “Addie”….

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Then I tried “Mrs. Smith”

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…and “Martha”.

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I did all of the piecing by machine and used the CD provided with the book to print out the patterns.  I like to work with small blocks, so the 6-inch finished size was good for me.

The book includes assembly diagrams for piecing the blocks and template cutting instructions with full color pictures.  It also includes 99 letters from the 1930s depression era to the magazine, “Farmer’s Wife” with stories of how they were surviving and enjoying life in the middle of the depression.  My daughter found my book on eBay about $10 cheaper than the advertised price.

I used 22 different blocks from the book (plus two repeats) to make Christmas lap quilts for my two daughters (36 x 48 inches).  I placed the blocks on point and added white fabric to complete the quilt tops.

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The borders were made from scraps of the fabric in each quilt.

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I pieced together scraps to make the backing for the older daughter who likes batting and a cotton backing.

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The younger daughter prefers fleece as batting/backing and I chose a pretty pink fleece with hearts for her quilt.  For each quilt, I made a duffel bag of Christmas fabric scraps to use as a gift bag and then later to use as a storage bag.

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I love the blocks because of my own memories of the 1930s and because they were made from treasured gifts.

 


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