Friday, May 16, 2014

Mistakes Can Be Good - Sometimes!

One evening last week I came home from work with the intention of doing some baking. I had taken out, what I'd thought was partridge berries to make some muffins before I'd left home in the morning. In the summer we spend a lot of time picking berries and other fruit to do us throughout the winter. I usually package them up in small vacuum sealed bags so that they stay fresh longer. And, there's just enough in a bag to make a batch of muffins or whatever else I decide to make.

Anyway, I came home, got out the ingredients to make some partridge berry muffins, but for some reason the bag of berries didn't look right. They were awfully small and looked redder than partridge berries. On closer inspection I realized that what I'd taken out was pomegranate arils. 

Now, I've never used pomegranate to make muffins and I wasn't quite sure you could make muffins with pomegranate. But, I had them out and thawed and I wanted muffins. So, I sat down, wrote out a list of ingredients that usually went into muffins. Didn't know if it would taste good or not, but there was only one way to find out. So, I went to work and started mixing ingredients together. And boy, am I ever glad I wrote them down because these are some of the best muffins I've ever tasted. Much better than partridge berry, although, I love those too. I've decided that this recipe is too good to keep to myself. So, here it is.
Pomegranate -Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups flour
½  cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
½ cup oil
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pomegranate arils
1 cup chocolate chips
1 egg (beaten)
½ cup butter

Cream butter and sugar. (I used real butter, not margarine) Beat egg with a fork until yolk and egg are combined. Add vanilla, oil and beaten egg to butter and sugar and beat again for a few minutes until well combined.  Mix baking powder, baking soda and flour together in a bowl and add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour.

Stir in pomegranate arils and chocolate chips.
Spoon into muffin pan, filling cups a little more than 3/4 full.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
And there you are. I hope if you decide to make them that you enjoy them as much as we do. Sometimes mistakes can be a good thing. Not always, but this time, it was.

Until next time, happy baking and happy sewing!

Please take a minute to let me know what you think of this recipe should you decide to try it. I would love to know if you liked them.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Not a great week! But I survived!

It's been that kind of a week! You know - the kind when you'd like to go back and start Monday all over again, except the next time it would turn out much better.

First of all, last weekend I discovered that I didn't have the fabric to finish the quilt I was working on and was going to have to go buy more.So, I had to put that aside and work on something else until I could get to the fabric store to get some. Bummer!
Then, I got the news on Monday that I'm back at my day job full time again. Now, don't get me wrong - I don't mind my day job, but it takes time away from my sewing. And that's where my passion lies. Unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills. At least, not yet, but I can hope. So, enjoyment takes second place to responsibility. 

Tuesday, I woke up to a blanket of snow. Too much snow, considering it was May 6th and flowers should be blooming. It's nothing new for Newfoundlanders, but it's still discouraging to get up in the morning and see 4 inches of snow on the top rail of your patio. 
Wednesday, I just don't care to repeat. Ever!!! It was a day that started off bad and went downhill from there. Nothing at work went right. Came home that evening and started sewing and took back more stitches than I sewed in. At least that's what it felt like even though I know that's an impossibility. I did manage after too many attempts to count to get this artist brush roll finished so the evening wasn't a total waste.
Thursday on my lunch break at work I started to draw out the pattern for a new quilt. I think it might be very pretty. I love designing so my mind is constantly whirling with ideas and my hand is constantly going with a pen. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night. (much to my husband's dismay. Imagine having someone constantly flicking the light on to write something down, then turning it off and five minutes later having them turn it on again to do the same thing) He doesn't ever complain though, bless him! This pattern is in the beginning stages now and I will post a picture later when it looks more like a quilt.

But today's Friday and it's a good day! Well, for the most part anyway. There was a glitch in what would have been an otherwise perfect day. It's my day off (this is my weekend to work). I started the day with a sale in my Etsy shop and I got fabric to finish my quilt. 
 I actually just got back from the fabric store and I can't wait to get started. So, it's off to the sewing room.

I've taken pictures of the process and will be posting a tutorial on this later for those who are interested. Stay tuned.

Until then, happy sewing!

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Diamonds are a girl's best friend!

I used to make a lot of quilts years ago. It was my thing and I loved it. There is nothing, in my opinion that looks nicer than a handmade quilt. And you’ll never guess how many quilts I have in my closet today... None! Not one single quilt. Well, if you made so many quilts, where did they go, you’re probably asking. Well, some I gave away, some I sold, but the majority of them, my darling daughter claimed. She loved my quilts. Said they kept her nice and warm. Now my daughter is the type of person that in winter there are so many blankets on her bed that once you get in and pull the covers up, don’t try to move because you can’t. It’s like being entombed alive! 

Making a quilt can be a very satisfying experience. A lot of work goes into a quilt. The cutting, the piecing, the sewing, and so on. You get to the part where it’s finally time to put the binding on and you think, ‘Yay! I’m almost finished.’ 

Not quite.

There are a lot of beautiful patterns you can add that will give your quilt that extra oomph! Make it stand out so that when anyone who doesn’t sew looks at it they will oooh and aaah and shake their heads in amazement. Lavish you with such praise that you will feel the glow hours after they’ve left.

One of the easiest and most basic patterns you can give to your quilt is the Diamond Pattern. I’ve made a quilt block 13" X 13" which is what I will be using. Please excuse the photography, because it really isn't the best.

Start by drawing lines the same width apart on your block. I've drawn mine at 1" intervals but you can use whatever measurement you want. Play around with it to see which size you would prefer.
Next, turn your block 90 degrees and measuring from the outside of your block mark ticks at 1" intervals. I'm hoping you can see them on this photo. Stitch across the second line you've marked out on your block.
For those who like a visual I've marked the diamond out with fabric marker which will disappear within a day or two. I begin at the upper mark and travel to the edge. When you get to the edge, stop your machine leaving your needle in the downward position and turn your fabric. Do that at each turning point. I travel to the start of the next diamond and turn to the lower side, travelling across the quilt that way, then turn to finish the top. See photo below.

The next photo shows the complete line done across with both sides of the diamond. I'm thinking I should have used a different color of thread so that it would be more visible but hopefully, you can see what the results are like.
This pattern can make a very ordinary quilt look spectacular. And it doesn't require a lot of practice. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If there is anything that I didn't make completely clear please feel free to leave a question in the comments section and I'll be happy to clarify.

Until next time, happy sewing!