Monday, March 10, 2008

What I Did Last Weekend

I didn't know if it would ever happen, but I FINALLY finished my Thimbleberries Village quilt top on Saturday. The small guild to which I belong had a sewing day that started at 9:00 a.m. (I got there around 11:30) and finished...well, I left at 9:30 p.m. and there were a few gals that were still in full swing.

I wanted to take a project that was already in the works so that I didn't have to do a lot of cutting or take a lot of tools. I happened to have all the the blocks for this quilt already assembled, just needed to get them all put together in a top. That was the easy part. I was surprised at how long it took me to get those four simple borders was an all day affair. I probably would have thrown in the towel and taken the project home to finish on another day, but my guild members all but bolted the door and wouldn't allow me to leave until it was finished. That was just the encouragement that I needed and I'm glad that it's finally done!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Playing in the Mud

We interrupt this quilt blog to bring you a new recipe... I used to make these cookies all the time when Soccer Boy and College Girl were much younger. They loved them and so did all of the neighborhood children. I never quite knew what to call them. "You Know...The Peanut Butter Cookies That You Bake In a Mini Muffin Tin and Then Stick a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the Center" just seemed like too long of a name for these kid friendly delights. One day when my friend, Laurel, was making these cookies for her boys, they came up with the perfect name and it stuck...Mud Puddles.

Mud Puddles seemed so appropriate. Especially since they have a brown ooey gooey center. And boys know all about mud puddles, don't they?
College Girl came home over the weekend to visit her friend whose mother passed away from cancer last Monday. When I talked with her in the middle of last week she asked if I would please make her some Mud Puddles when she came home. I knew it had been a long time since I had made them, but I didn't realize just how long it had been until I mentioned them to the Ballerina (a.k.a. the Chef) and she had no idea what I was talking about. Now, not only does she know what they are, but she also knows how to make them!!! And so will you...

(Approx. 4 dozen cookies)

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar

1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Then add:
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. soda
1 1/4 c. flour

Roll dough into a small ball and put into a mini muffin tin. Ball should fill up 3/4 of each cup. Bake at 375 deg. F. for 8-9 minutes, until they just begin to turn brown on top. Remove from oven and press a mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup into each cookie. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and gently remove from the tin with the edge of a knife.
Just a note: Laurel and I used to scour the markets after the major holidays when the seasonal candy went on sale. One market would sell the candy for a $1.00 a bag. We'd stash away the peanut butter cups and pull them out when we were ready to make cookies. A cheaper way to make cookies when you're on a budget!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Name That Dish

My husband's nephew is getting married in a couple of weeks and yesterday I attended a bridal shower for his soon-to-be wife. Lately I've been making personalized Pyrex baking dishes for my nieces and nephews and they seem to be a big hit. I don't know what it is about seeing your name etched in glass, but it makes brides-to-be very happy! So, here's a little tutorial if you would like to give it a try.
First, gather your supplies. You'll need to purchase some glass etching cream and clear contact paper. If you don't have an Xacto knife, an el cheap-o paint brush, rubbing alcohol and cotton balls, you'd better pick those up while you're out. You'll also need to print out the name onto a piece of paper, using a large, cute font. Unless you're a glutton for punishment, keep the font simple.
Of course, you'll also need a glass dish. Lately, I've been buying a double pack of covered Pyrex dishes at Walmart for under $15.
Tape the paper to the window (or a light box, if you have one). Make sure that it is placed so that the back of the paper is facing you. You're going to trace the letters so that they are reversed or backward. I'm sure you get the idea from the picture. Use a Sharpie to trace the letters onto the clear side of the contact paper. I'll admit that I've made the mistake of writing on the paper side of the conact paper. Take it from me, that doesn't work very well. LOL!
Clean the backside of the dish using the rubbing alcohol and cotton balls. Once dry, peel and apply the contact paper to the back of the dish. Rub well, making sure that there are no air bubbles. Use extra care in those areas where there is raised lettering on the back of the dish.
Use the Xacto knife to cut and remove the lettering, making your stencil. On a sunny day I do this outside on my porch, making it easier to see where I have cut. Yesterday I did it under the light in my kitchen.
Shake the jar of etching cream well and use the brush to paint the cream onto the stencil. Be generous...this stuff goes a long way. Be careful to not get any of the etching cream on your skin or clothing and make sure that your work surface is covered with paper.
Allow the etching cream to remain on the stencil for 20 minutes or so. I'm kind of the impatient type and don't really enjoy watching etching cream dry, so I "help it along" by continually moving the cream around with the paint brush during the 20 minutes.
Now rinse the etching cream from the dish using lots of warm water. Remove the stencil then wash and dry the dish.
Ta dumm! Wasn't that easy?! But're not finished yet.
I also included the recipe and most of the ingredients for Grandma's lemon cake. This is a great way to pass down a favorite family recipe!
Put it all together, add a bow and tag and your gift is ready to give!

Of course, you don't have to limit yourself to putting names on your dishes. I've seen them done with simple flowers and other designs, too. I'm thinking about doing a quilt block...maybe an Ohio Star. Be creative and have some FUN!!!

Note: You can pick up the etching cream at most craft stores. If you live near a store that gives 40% coupons, make sure you take one. A large jar costs around $20, but unless you're considering going into business, a small jar will do. I bought a large jar and have made well over two dozen dishes. I've probably only used half the of etching cream.

Here's another note: Xina said that her etching didn't show up very well and was wondering why. I honestly don't know, but my friend used my etching cream one time and had the same problem. When I asked her if she shook the contents of the bottle first she said that she had not. I always do and have always had pretty good success. Hope this helps!

Xina...I hope you come back to read this because I could not reply to your email. To get replies to your questions you need to change your profile and check the box that says "show email address" or something like that.