Thursday, December 20, 2012

Marjorie Johnson's Cream Wafers

I've always wanted to make Marjorie Johnson's cream wafers. They seemed very similar to what Aunt Sharon used to make. Her cookies were petite and melted in your mouth. But what cutter to use?
I rolled out dough to 1/4" between plastic wrap and then cooled in fridge.
I only worked with half the dough at a time.
Since dough was thin already, rolling to an 1/8" was easy.
Dip in sugar. I used a coarse sugar.
Cookies are so delicate, you need to frost with a pastry bag. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Applique My Way to the Finish Line

Recently I attended a weekend workshop with Chris-Roberts Antieau.
Chris makes great applique folk art like this one:
The quality and detail of the sewing in her pieces is sooo gooood.
Chris taught us some of her sewing secrets (which I'm not sharing). But I'll let you know some tricks I discovered as I finished my piece at home in Minnesota. Here's how far I had gotten:
 I still had pieces to add and needed to figure out how make that happen. I didn't have a solid pattern to start with and my design was changing as I worked.  So--piece of glass I used in college to mix paints on--to the rescue!
If I didn't like the design, a wet paper towel wiped it clean.
To cut out the pieces, I was able to compare size to the sketch, without making a pattern.
Next step was the sewing. Chris had given us a brief lession. She had a nice acrylic extension table attached to her machine to make it level when you sew. 
Since I didn't have one, I just set my tabletop ironing board next to my machine.
My machine just didn't have the mojo to do a tight zigzag, like Chris's machine does. So sometimes I would sew over an area twice to make it thicker.
I made test pieces along the way to work out color and stitch width. 
I cheated a bit by using a brush pen Sharpie® marker to fill in where the sewing maching didn't.
For the eyes, I used this tape measure fabric I had seen on the internet a few years ago.
Being a graphic designer, an X-ACTO™ blade became my chief cutting tool. Great for cutting threads, but EVEN BETTER FOR GETTING THE PAPER OFF THE BACKING. Just slide the blade between the layers and voila! Easy to tear it away!
Did I mention that sewing long straight stiches was easy, but tight curves were difficult? I tried free-motion quilting on my machine by dropping the feed dog to do the type. I wasn't very good at that and then this happened: the foot snapped in two.
So I limped to the finish line so I could call it FINISHED. I used a marker to sign the piece. 
I don't think Chris has to worry about me putting her out of business.
Time to clean the basement.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The more you LOOK, the more you SEE!

Funny how this:

Can become THIS:

 Went to the opening of the MOSIAC show called Putting the Pieces Together at Concordia College featuring the work Judy Sell, Glen Riddle and a few others.
Judy's work is always fantastic. I think this is one of my all-time favorites:
You need to see her work in person. This is REALLY big! Flower and bird embellishments give it great dimension that a photo can't capture.
 Glen's work is equally fantastic. It has a great raw quality. He uses bones, stones and rattlesnake skins in his work. Love the earthen-like grout color.
Below is Glen's ELVIS mirror. I could see my old lunchbox plaid pattern in it. Like his use of an old metal dollhouse panel. And the mirrors are broken. Love that!
This is Lori Greene's CIRCUS piece:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Mini Loaves

I like that CI's cookbook is called HEATHLY. I'm not into low fat or low sugar substitutions. Amazingly, this recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Bread has only 1/4 cup of butter in it. So what's the work around?
You cook the pumpkin, butter and spices on medium high heat for 7 minutes. Was templeted to add cardamom, but chickened out.
I used 3 mini loaf pans and it baked only 25 minutes.
Sprinkled generously with Sugar in the Raw.
And being that there is so little fat in the recipe, slathering with butter is guilt-free.