Wednesday, October 26, 2011


When my machine is not in use, I like to cover it to keep the dust off.  It came with a carry bag when I bought it, but I don't want to take it out of my sewing table and put it in the bag each time, so I came up with this cover/cozy.   It was an easy pattern, however, I had to alter the calculations just a bit on the instructions for the angled pieces in the spool and under the arm.  The back is the exact same as the front.  The embellishments include 2 black buttons for the knobs and 2 buttons sewn together on the very top so it's easy to pull off.   This is another one of my "fly by the seat of my pants" type projects.  I roughly sized up my machine by noting the height, length and width and chose the pieced sewing machine block that I found online at the website.  This is a 12" finished size block, so I made 2, one for the front and one for the back.  I added the black strips to each side of the blocks to get to my length measurement.  The black and white diamond fabric for the gussett was measured according to the width measurement.  I sandwiched each section (front, back and gussett) with batting and backing and quilted each piece.  Then, I sewed the sections together and bound the edge with a black binding strip and finished with the embellishments.

Something Sweet

There is something about Bisquick.  I've used it for nearly 30 years.  As a newly wed, it was a quick solution to making easy meals.   In a pinch, I sometimes bought the cheaper brand, but it just wasn't the same.  Years ago, I used to send away for the little cook booklet with a box top and postage that many brands offered. I remember it coming in the mail and always being surprised at how thick the booklet was and marveling at all the great recipes inside.  I wore the Bisquick booklet out completely and had to throw it away.  Deeply regretting this move, I emailed the company and asked about a particular recipe, but they didn't have it in their archives.  So I searched and searched through my recipe box as sometimes I would write a card out and put it in my box just in case I ever lost a really good recipe or couldn't find it again in the booklets I had accumulated.  I am glad I did this routinely as I found the missing recipe misfiled and would like to share it here with you so you can give it a go and see if you think it's worth treasuring.  I still have some of the booklets and recently my DH has bought me this wonderful Bisquick cookbook.  Now to make some coffee and enjoy some easy homemade danish pastry. ;o)

Bisquick Raspberry Braid
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
2 cups Bisquick mix (regular or reduced fat)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup raspberry jam (or any favorite jam or preserve but not jelly)
egg wash - 1 egg whisked with a dash of water
Icing - recipe follows
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Or 200 degrees C.
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.  Cut in Bisquick until crumbly.  Stir in milk until combined.  Turn out onto a floured board and knead 8 to 10 times.  Roll dough to a 12"X8" rectangle.  Turn onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Spread the preserves down the center of the rectangle of dough.  Make 2 1/2" cuts at 1" intervals on both long sides of the dough.  Do not touch the preserves.  Fold strips over the filling which will look like a braid.  Brush with egg wash.  Bake in the center of the oven for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned and done in the center.  Cool slightly then drizzle with icing.   Store covered in the refrigerator.
Icing:  1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp. soft butter, 1-2Tbsp. milk or enough to thinly drizzle over the top.  Blend all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On Retreat

Quiltworks is the best place to stay for quilt retreats or taking classes on offer.  DH and I just got home from a 5 day retreat.  I spent nearly every moment at my machine while DH found himself immersed in his novel or off on a hike.  There is plenty to do in the area and is a central location to the Lakes District.  Please go here to find this wonderful studio in the beautiful county of Cumbria. 
I worked on my own UFO's and was inspired by other talented ladies.   In August, I took a Kate Dowty class and made this pebble wall hanging which I call Sweet Wells.  Sweet wells is one of the many becks in this area.   
At retreat I started and nearly completed a sewing machine cover; and  a 12" square block which will be a calendar top.  There will be several more of these made and will be changed with the months.   A small doll size pillow/sample which has applique, piping and a ruffled edge, but it's not finished yet.  I also started quilting the maple leaf quilt I've shown in a previous post.  It is so good to just think sewing/quilting the entire time and not have to drop it all to make a phone call, go shopping or prepare meals.  There are no distractions here if you don't want them and plenty of inspiration.  If you've never been on a retreat, I highly recommend finding one in your area and meeting other talented people or go with your own group.  It's therapeutic.  ;o)