Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Search for "Verna"...

...has paid off! I found her hiding under one of my other projects! Who knew?

Here are just some of the pieces of fabric and batting needed to complete this Verna Totse project for my boutique Poladora...

Not included are interfacing, elastic, and elastic fabric covering, which have not been cut yet, thread choice (which I hate since it means I have to wind a bobbin - why is winding bobbins such a dreaded task when it is actually such an easy one?!?), and choice of button. (I always choose the button last because I want something that goes with the overall personality of the Totse and that's hard to do until it's partially finished.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Golden Harvest Under Construction...

I spent all day sewing all of the different squares and pieces together to create this finished top (by "finished", I mean it's all sewn together now, whereas in the previous post they were just pieces sitting separately on my design board so I could decide where I wanted each piece to be).

Then, I pinned my mini Pizzazz top to a piece of Warm and Natural all cotton quilt batting (so the fabric would stay smooth while I stitched it to the batting), and then machine stitched all around the piece with a ziz-zag stitch (very tiny), to prevent fraying of the material top while I progressed with my process. I also ran a bead of Fray Check along the zig-zag to further secure the fabric from fraying.

I like to leave a little bit of batting all around the edge for my next step. I will trim it later.
Next step - on to the hand-embroidery of focal features within the focal fabric, using a special gold metallic embroidery thread (Madeira), to match the gold outlining of the print. I'll also do some gold beading in specific areas of the overall piece to make my "Golden Harvest" mini Pizzazz quilt more interesting and unique.

The hand-embroidery and beading will take the longest time in the process - so stay tuned!

Golden Harvest...

...will be the name I give this Thanksgiving mini pizzazz decorative quilt when it is finished! All you can see here are just the individual pieces laid out on my board in the pattern that I want to stitch it together in.

I try to look at each pizzazz as a painting and envision a source of light coming in from one corner at the top and washing down the "canvas" to the bottom opposite corner. This gives me an opportunity to "weight" the patches and it makes it easier to decide which patches should go where.

I can't guarantee that this mini pizzazz will turn out the way you see it here - because you just never know with me since I'm never satisfied! (I'm a first born perfectionist - it' a sickness...) But I thought you'd like to see part of the process in any event.

Isn't this a gorgeous fabric? It's soooo Fall - sooo harvest - soooo elegant...stop me please!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Not Your Average Egg...

Well, are you hungary yet? If not, you've either just eaten a big meal, or I take bad pictures...or both.

Our daughter Jen, her husband and our b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l granddaughter were here this weekend and I made them egg casserole for breakfast. (My husband actually does all of the cooking in our house - I only cook to impress company.)

Jen asked for the recipe and I thought "Great! This is a great way to further procrastinate on my 'Verna' progression! (As in not progressing.) Instead of giving it to her - I'll just blog it!" So, here ya go...

6 slices of bread (cubed) - I like to use potato bread
6 large brown eggs - OK, OK, white is fine too
2 cups of 2% milk
1/2 cup aerosol whipped cream - I prefer extra creamy (exact measurement not critical)
1 lb tube of Bob Evans original sausage - I know, I know, the arteries...
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup dry chopped onion - in the spice section at your grocery store
1 small red bell pepper (cut into tiny squares) - don't want to freak out the kids...
1/2 tsp vanilla - yes, really
buttered sheet cake baking pan or smaller - not too big or it will come out too flat

Note: This is a recipe you prepare the night before, and then bake the following morning for breakfast or brunch.

Prepare in this order:

Precook the sausage into crumbles the size of small marbles - remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Keep the pan with its drippings in it and add the red bell pepper (already cut up).

On low heat, spread out the pepper to evenly cook. Add 1/4 tsp of sugar to the top of the peppers. This will sweeten the peppers. (Peppers have a tendancy to "overwhelm" a recipe once in it - this reduces that effect and adds just the right flavor.)

While your peppers are cooking on low, blend your eggs, milk, shredded cheddar, chopped onion, and vanilla. (Time to turn over the peppers to cook on the other side.)

Add the bread cubes and make sure it's mixed evenly. Add your sausage (separately), and reblend evenly.

Pour mixture into the baking pan and even out. Take your now-cooked red pepper squares and evenly dispurse them across the top of the mixture in the pan. Use a butter knife to push each one into the mixture to varying depths. Sprinkle a little shredded cheddar over the top for fun.  

Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the frig overnight. This is very important. It allows these different flavors to merge in a way that they can't do if stuck right into the oven.

The next morning, preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Go fix your cup of coffee and if you need them, put your glasses on!...

Place baking pan in oven at 300 degrees and set the timer for 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, pick up the pan with two hands (using pot holders please), and see if the mixture moves easily back and forth in the pan with a slow rocking motion. If it does, it's not done. Check every 5 minutes thereafter until the center solidifies - don't let it get too brown on the top. (It may be a little loose in the very center when done but will harden up once it sits out for 5-10 minutes.) Don't forget there is melted cheese in there - it may not mean the eggs are not done.

Once it sits out of the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, it is ready to cut into squares for serving. Depending on the size of square cut, use a spatula or broad fork to remove each piece. These squares reheat in the microwave beautifully the following day - or freeze leftover squares in individual ziplocks for another day.

Bon Appetite! (Did I spell that right?!)