Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wins and food

See, I CAN learn a new way of getting the photos on my blog. It took a while - because it did get frustrating but perseverence paid off.
See this gorgeous tie-dye fabric? I won it from Judi at http://approachable-art.blogspot.com/ Judi is a self-taught paper and textile artist located in Houston, TX and she is having a lot of fun dyeing her own fabric. I had forgotten the 'extras' she included and so it was quite a surprise when I opened the envelope and found not only the fabric (much prettier in person than the photo) but also the book she used it do the dyeing from and another envelope filled with her odds and ends of scraps. Way too much to take in all at once. I will be having fun with these. Go have a visit at Judi's blog and take a look at her studio and the other fabric she has dyed.
And Kim was getting rid of some of her books and patterns and was having a multi-giveaway. You could choose what group you wanted if your name was drawn and I chose the chickens. My eldest daughter now has a new home that came with chickens so I thought I could make something for her and her husband for Christmas.
OK, so what do you think? Soft taco shells? Wraps? My son thought so but then he looked again.It's those circles I cut from behind the bull's eye blocks. 20 of them. I have a plan but I'm not ready to share yet.
And here's a gratuitous shot of some food. We now have a bread machine and my daughter and her boyfriend have been using it to make not just bread but pizza dough. Both of these are totally vegetarian pizzas.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blocks swaps and surprises

Here's a couple of things I completed in between those wonderful repair jobs.
First up is the BOM (block of the month) buck-a-block with thangles. The red one had already been done but I hadn't taken a picture of it. I have no idea what I will do with them when I have all of them but I do have co-ordinating fabrics set aside. They are 7 inches square.
I decide a little while ago to enter a bull's eye swap being held by a yahoo group I belong to called Learning Fibre Arts (Learning FA.) I had been wanting to do the bull's eye quilt since I got the instructions from a friend of mine a couple of years ago. Now seemed as good a time as any. You had to cut 20 - 9 inch blocks. Sew an 8 inch circle on top, trim the back and then sew a 6 inch circle on top of that and then trim it too. My friend's instructions were to make 48 blocks and add a 4 inch circle on top. I may just cut my cut-offs to 4 inches and add them to the 20 blocks I will be receiving back. Oh, and you just have to sew these 1/4 inch from the edge so there is no turning under. How easy is that? The swap was to help you get rid of your stash. Huh! not even so much as a dent!
I worked backwards and sewed the 6 inch to the 8 inch circle, trimmed the back and then sewed all those onto the 9 inch background block, trimming again.
The background fabric had to be in beige using solids, tone-on-tone or small prints and could be any shade from light beige to tan in colour. Once you get your 20 blocks back, you then have to cut them up into quarters and arrange them any way you want. Here's a tutorial http://pagesperso-orange.fr/struss/bonus/bullseye.htm
And now, look what arrived in the mail. A while ago Barb had a Christmas in July giveaway on July 26th. I didn't win the big one but she was so nice, she had a second and third prize. I won third and here's what I received.
Barb was so generous and thoughtful. The wonderful Christmas cornucopia was wrapped in a beautiful green fat quarter with a lovely red ribbon and inside was red and green ric rac and embroidery floss. Just in time too because I had been thinking of making some Christmas items - early for once! Thanks again Barb.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm back

The computer is fixed. It turns out that it was a software problem and fixable. Whew!
I would like to publicly thank my daughter whose lap top I got to use when she wasn't using it. That's how I managed to stay on top of my emails and blog surfing. It also was an enormous help so I didn't have to use the library computers. There, you usually have to wait for one and with my library, it is a 15 minute time limit.
Today is a real scorcher outside and it may break a temperature record. It is 31 (87.8 F) out there but feels like 39 (102.2 F) with the humidity. The record for today is 31.6.

I am still working on my list of projects and have photos BUT, with the fixing of the computer, I have to find my camera software to re-install it. So, for now here are some wee bit older photos (like from last month.)
The theme of the party was horses. The young lady who threw the party was moving to Whitehorse (that's the capital of the Yukon Territory) to teach. My daughter, Maili, made these horse cupcakes to take to the party. Dad and I did the shopping for the chocolate wafer biscuits, the icing and the marshmallow peanuts (the horses' heads are soft marshmallow candies)
And, of course, they were brought to the party in their own corral. Very clever.
And then there was the birthday party. Again, Maili's friend threw the party for herself and invited friends. This time it was owl cupcakes. Sorry for the poor quality photos. This time chocolate cookies were used with the white icing in the middle of the cookie being put to use for the eyes - and then smarties were added. I see that the beak was, once again, the peanut marshmallow cut into a triangle. I think I would have had the same colour eyes on each but that's just me. Probably more fun this way.
Here's the paliament (that's the collective noun for owls, honest, I'm not making it up - go see for yourself but you have to scroll down http://palomaraudubon.org/collective.html.) There were more but I guess they were shy and didn't want to be photographed.
And lastly, mini burgers. Before Eric went out west to BC (he comes home today,) there was a birthday party for him and two others - but at our place. Two of them turned 25 and Eric turned 27. Big sis made mini burgers this time out. So, so cute. These were all made by the creative Maili with the help of the internet. Loads of ideas out there.
Many thanks to all my blogging buddies out there. It seems computer problems have been epidemic as I heard many other stories.
P.S. While I was without my computer, and while I was using my daughter's, I did manage to enter a couple of giveaways. I won a couple and will update you all later.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How to make the perfect soft-boiled egg

I don't know about you but for years I have eaten nothing but hard boiled eggs. Why? Not because I preferred them but because I could never make a really good soft-boiled egg. Finally, a couple of months ago I decided I would see what my cookbook said about boiled eggs. The Better Homes and Garden cookbook stated that a soft-boiled egg was a three-minute egg. I figured I had nothing to lose except an egg or two so I followed the instructions. Beware, that in order to be successful, you should stay in the kitchen for most, if not all of the time it takes to do this. (BTW, here's my disclaimer: I never claimed that this blog would only be about sewing or quilting.)
In a pot of cold water, place your eggs and turn on the burner. Not all of these are going to be soft-boiled since they don't go well in salads. I usually cook more than I am prepared to eat right away.
Take note of the time when the water starts to boil.
Let the water boil for 3 minutes - or four if you are uncertain and don't feel you want a really runny egg. Sometimes this takes a few tries. Do not leave the kitchen! Come on, 3 minutes without tv watching or yacking on the phone won't kill you.
Get a cup and fill it with cold water. Get a spoon too so you can scoop out your egg.

When your 3 minutes are up, scoop out the egg and place it into the cup with the water.
Don't over-fill the water or you may have to clean up the mess.
See? Egg in water.
Put it under more cold water. Eggs tend to hold the heat. My dad used to do this all the time - just let the water flow. After about a minute or less stop the water or if you are an environmental person who wants to leave something for their children, just keep changing the warm water with cold water (if you live in California use less water.)
Crack your egg open and eat. See? A perfect soft-boiled egg. I like salt on mine. I know I eat too much salt but I can't help it. Food is bland without salt. I guess I should have done the photo presentation better - like putting it into an egg cup. Oh well, I wanted to eat it right away and not use a spoon.
The other eggs stayed boiling for another 8 minutes or more - thus making them hard-boiled and good in salads or for egg salad sandwiches or just to eat as is.

I wonder if this counts as my first ever tutorial?