Sunday, September 25, 2016

Quilted Wall Hanging

Today I put the finishing touches on the wall hanging for my newly-remodeled kitchen. 

With just a bit of paint and new hardware I had changed my 1980's kitchen of golden oak cabinets to an updated palette--pale gray cabinets, oil-rubbed bronze door knobs and drawer pulls, and sage green walls.

Both the light-colored cabinets and green walls are rather neutral tones; I knew that I need a few pops of color. "Traditional" tones in a kitchen are the primary colors--yellow, red, and/or blue. But, you know me. I don't do traditional. My wall quilt reflects that attitude. The accent colors in my "new" kitchen are golden yellow and purple.

The patterns that I used to construct the quilt are shown below. I will tell you step-by-step the order in which I sewed the units that make up the quilt (but I am assuming that you understand the basics of quilt construction).

Diagram A is the pieces you will need to construct the four basket blocks that make up the center medallion of the wall hanging.

Diagram A

Diagram B is a diagram of how those pieces will be assembled to construct one basket block. Begin with strip number 1 (on the far right). The top piece is the 2-inch square; next add four half-square triangles, and then lastly another 2-inch square. Strip numbers 2, 3, and 4 are constructed entirely of half-square triangles. Half-square triangles are used to construct Unit 5. Units 6 and 7 are a 6-inch long strip with a half-square triangle at one end. And finally, Unit 8 is a large half-square triangle. 

When each of these Strips/Units are complete, sew them together in order. 2 is sewn to 1. 4 is joined to 3. 5 is sewn to the bottom of the 4/3 unit, and so on.
Diagram B

Diagram C is a schematic of how to join together the 4 basket blocks to form the center medallion.

Diagram C

Next, you need to add the four 1 1/2-inch wide sashing strips. I did mine in a monochromatic sage green print. You will need to cut two strips 2 inches x 20 1/2 inches, and two  strips 2 inches x 23 1/2 inches.

The next step is adding the four background triangles. Each of these should be cut so that the straight grain of the fabric is the "short" side of the triangle, and the bias (diagonal) of the fabric is the long side of the triangle. 

Finally, it is time to add the fruit and flower appliques to each corner. These are adapted from a pattern that was published by American Patchwork and Quilting, April 2001, Issue 49.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Easy Weekday Spaghetti Carbonara

Some time ago, as Carb Diva (my super hero alter-ego) I wrote an article entitled You Can "Carbonara" Just Like Olive Garden where I explained in great detail how to replicate a meal that was, at that time, being served at Olive Garden restaurant. 

It's a great recipe (if I do say so), but not one that you can quickly whip up when your family is starving. It's more of an I-have-all-Sunday-afternoon-to-cook type of recipes. If you do have all afternoon, please visit my Carb Diva page. If you don't, try this one. 

Easy Weekday Spaghetti Carbonara 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
3/4 pound turkey bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces dry spaghetti
1 large egg
1/3 cup half and half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat until butter melts and begins to foam. Add diced onion and turn heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn golden. Be patient. This will take about 10 minutes. Return the heat to medium; add the diced turkey bacon and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is cooked and crisp. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Beat together the egg, half and half and parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the spaghetti well and return to the pan.

Immediately add the onion/bacon mixture and toss; add the egg/half and half mixture and toss again until spaghetti is coated with sauce. If the sauce seems a bit thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water.

Makes 4 generous servings. Top with additional grated Parmesan if desired.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Thought for Today

Two Thousand One, Nine Eleven
~ Paul Spreadbury, York Beach, ME,
Two thousand one, nine eleven
Five thousand plus arrive in heaven.
As they pass through the gate,
Thousands more appear in wait
A tall bearded man with stovepipe hat
Steps forward saying, “Lets sit, lets chat.
They settle down in seats of clouds
A man named Martin shouts out proud
“I have a dream!” and once he did
The Newcomer says, “Your dream still lives.”
Groups of soldiers in blue and gray
Others in khaki, and green then say
“We’re from Bull Run, Yorktown, the Maine”
The Newcomer says, “You died not in vain.”
From a man on sticks one could hear
“The only thing we have to fear.”
The Newcomer said, “We know the rest,
trust us sir, we’ve passed that test.”
“Courage doesn’t hide in caves
You can’t bury freedom, in a grave,”
The Newcomers had heard this voice before
A distinct Yankees twang from Hyannisport shores
A silence fell within the mist
Somehow the Newcomer knew that this
Meant time had come for her to say
What was in the hearts of the five thousand plus that day
Back on Earth, we wrote reports,
Watched our children play in sports
Worked our gardens, sang our songs
Went to church and clipped coupons
We smiled, we laughed, we cried,
we fought Unlike you, great we’re not”

The tall man in the stovepipe hat Stood and said,
“Don’t talk like that!
Look at your country,
look and see You died for freedom, just like me”
Then, before them all appeared a scene
Of rubbled streets and twisted beams
Death, destruction, smoke and dust And people working just ‘cause they must
Hauling ash, lifting stones,
Knee deep in hell, but not alone
“Look! Blackman, Whiteman, Brownman, Yellowman
Side by side helping their fellow man!”
So said Martin, as he watched the scene
“Even from nightmares, can be born a dream.”
Down below three firemen raised
The colors high into ashen haze
The soldiers above had seen it before
On Iwo Jima back in ‘44
The man on sticks studied everything closely
Then shared his perceptions on what he saw mostly
“I see pain, I see tears,
I see sorrow - but I don’t see fear.”
“You left behind husbands and wives
Daughters and sons and so many lives
are suffering now because of this wrong
But look very closely. You’re not really gone.
All of those people, even those who’ve never met you
All of their lives, they’ll never forget you
Don’t you see what has happened? Don’t you see what you’ve done?You’ve brought them together, together as one.”
With that the man in the stovepipe hat said “Take my hand,”
and from there he led three thousand plus heroes,
Newcomers to heaven
On this day, two thousand one, nine eleven.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Easy-Peasy Fruit Dessert

I don't remember the source of this recipe, but the card on which it is written is old and faded. It has been around for a very long time.

This is an easy-to-do recipe that even the kids can help with:

Fruit Pudding

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 can fruit pie filling (any flavor except lemon)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Melt butter in a 12x9-inch glass baking dish
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and milk
  4. Pour mixture over melted butter. DO NOT STIR
  5. Pour over this 3/4 cup sugar. DO NOT STIR
  6. Pour in pie filling (including juice). DO NOT STIR
  7. Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream.