1.30.2011

Homemade Applesauce...mmmmmm!


There's nothing like the smell of homemade applesauce wafting through the house on a cold winter day. It's easier than you think and MUCH better than commercially prepared versions.

The trick is to use older apples. If you use fresh ones, they are especially crisp and take considerably longer to cook down.

When we seem to be collecting older apples in the bottom bins, I make a batch of fresh applesauce. It usually disappears in a day or two.

The recipe changes, depending what we have on hand but this time around we had 2 different types of apples---Granny Smith & Gala. The Gala is pretty sweet, so we didn't require as much sugar as usual. If you are using tart apples but prefer a sweet sauce, be sure to use the full amount of sugar/substitute.

Our recipe is for a thick applesauce. For a thinner version, be sure to add more water or juice to the mix.

  • 2 bags of apples washed, cored & peeled, netting roughly 10 cups diced apples (sprinkled with one tablespoon lemon juice to prevent premature browning).
  • 1 cup water (apple juice can be used if you reduce added sugar).
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar----or equivalent substitute
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (if unavailable, sprinkle a pinch of clove or use a splash of vanilla).

Combine all ingredients in a pan & bring water to a boil. Simmer until softened on low-medium heat (this batch took over an hour but was larger than usual). 

Stir occasionally until apples are fork tender.

Cool & refrigerate in an airtight container.

* If you prefer a consistent texture or are making this recipe for toddlers, puree in a blender or food processor after your apple mixture has cooled.*

If you're a crock pot queen, mix ingredients & set on low for up to 6 hours.

I let mine cook on the stove while I'm prepping & cooking dinner and cleaning up my mess. By the time everything is done, I have dinner on the table and the sauce is cooling for dessert.

1.29.2011

Bonnie's RSVP Blocks

Bonnie Brodmerkle was kind enough to create the following 3 blocks for RSVP:

Album: free pattern available here.

Peace & Plenty: free pattern available here.


Carrie Nation: free pattern available here.
Beautiful blocks and great pattern ideas!
Thank you so much, Bonnie!!

Happy Piecing,
Heather

1.28.2011

Skirt REMIX

One {plain} tan skirt + one cute print shirt = a new to me skirt:


The Skirt REMIX.


The ruffle was made from strips cut from the full width of the shirt and the circles were constructed from the sleeve areas. 


Have no fear...the buttons have not been forgotton. Waste not want not. They're in my button stash for another project.


Add a simple black top to my 'new skirt' and I'm officially ready for 
date night. 

*Hint Hint*, Mr. Fabulous.

close up of the circle details



Before Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, it was 

"Use it up, Wear it Out, Make Due or Do Without". 

How do you upcycle?

1.27.2011

RSVP Designs



The ladies at RSVP are beginning to turn their blocks in. 

The latest arrivals include several from Nora Braun & Shirley Johnson. 

Great job, ladies! Thank you for supporting RSVP's annual quilt fundraiser.

Indian Trail FREE pattern available here.



 The directions for Hidden Well can be found here. Nora's is an original variation of this block.



piece.
Heather

1.23.2011

A Little {adorable} Sewing Project



Aside from being fantastically delicious eye candy, the projects included will surely inspire you to add another goodie to your repertoire. If you have a moment, be sure to browse Sandi's site: Sandi Henderson Design. GORGEOUS.

To make the "Mary Jane Slippers", I chose to incorporate a well loved dress that no longer fits. I probably could have held on to the frock for another neighborhood munchkin, but it's a fave...and we're a bit attached. 


For those of you utilizing clothing in your projects, there is no need to rip seams. 
Simply cut along both sides of the seams and collect the larger pieces of fabric for your pattern. 

I also included a RK Jennifer Sampon print called "Block Party" to add some contrast. Love that fabric!
{In hindsight, wish I'd have purchased another few yards (OK a bolt) of this fabric...it goes with everything}.



 Divine footwear for the Lil' Miss...perfect for hardwood floor skating. 
OH Yay!

Happy Sewing,
Heather
=)

1.22.2011

A Contrary Wife

McCall's Quilting Bear's Paw Variation or my personal favorite,
EQ's Contrary Wife Variation

RSVP Block 2: Contrary Wife Variation

McCall's Free Pattern {Bear's Paw Variation} can be found here.
I hope you're piecing up a storm and keeping warm this weekend.

If you haven't checked out the BLOCK-A-PALOOZA button, be sure to take a little tour. Quilt Dad is coordinating a blog tour with free patterns for a fun Waiting for Spring quilt along.

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

piece.
Heather =)

1.15.2011

What's Black & White & has Dots all over?

McCall's Free Pattern: Kaleidoscope Variation
EQ version: Spiderweb Maltese (with addition of lines between row 4 & corner pieces)

My latest sample block for RSVP! I had to include some polka dots....I heart dots!! 2011 quilt blocks for donation are black and white, if you'd enjoy piecing along with us.

You may find a free download of the Kaleidoscope pattern here.

For readers unfamiliar with RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), they're an amazing group of talented people who give their time generously to local communities in 4 counties in Northeast Indiana. There are other RSVP agencies throughout the US but the Auburn office is particularly close to my heart since they have so many active quilters who share their experience with beginner quilters, regardless of age.


That's not all they do....here's a short list of some of their activities:

Food Pantry: volunteers assist in all aspects of the pantry, benefiting numerous community members

Pack the Backpack: school supplies are collected by seniors, packed & distributed to local schools

Crisis Bears are made for children in need, distributed through local hospital staff & law enforcement officers

Clothes for Preemies  are sewn & sent to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.

Lap quilts, Cane Bags & Walker Bags are sewn & delivered to Nursing Homes.

Quilts for Campers: RSVP volunteers create quilts for each young camper with a debilitating illness at "Camp Whatcha Wanna Do".

Mentoring: Experienced seniors  assist 4H members interested in sewing

The majority of fundraising for this agency is done through a quilt show, an auction & a quilt raffle. The blocks collected will go towards the raffle and other quilt projects.

The group can certainly use any sewing related items including fabric, notions, templates, patterns, thread, etc. The fabric can be any color, preferably quilter's cottons & flannels (for some preemie items).

How can you help?

If you'd like to donate blocks and/or fabric, please contact me for details at heatherl02 {at sign} yahoo {dot} {com}.

If you have extra sewing supplies that need a new home (it's a good one, I promise!) you can mail your goodies to me for delivery or send them directly to RSVP.

If you are no longer in love with a quilt top (or finished quilt) and would like it to go to someone who will greatly appreciate it, please let me know. It can be mailed directly to RSVP c/o Shirley Johnson.

RSVP/RETRO blog

107 West 5th Street


Auburn, IN 46706-1740

USA


(260) 925-0917


I post a free pattern almost every Friday on Twitter & will be adding some more samples and links on the blog. I hope you'll join in the fun!

Thank you.
HAPPY QUILTING!!

=0) Heather




1.02.2011

2011 Resolution to Organize?

Organization challenge?? Bring it on!

If your new year's resolution has ever been to reorganize your stash, clean your sewing room or to de-clutter the house, back door storage could be the solution you've been looking for.


When limited space has you feeling a little cramped, why not utilize some space that you take for granted…behind the door?

Behind the door storage rocks!

It’s out of the way,

You’ll have easy access to it,

AND you can find a super deal on an organizer!


I chose an inexpensive shoe organizer for about $10 a couple years ago. With a clear vinyl holder, you’ll save time searching for your bits & pieces.

Originally, I came up with this system for sorting my scraps. It works well---but collecting selvages takes a considerable amount of time so I thought this would be best for a long-term selvage storage solution. Since I like the color of the fabric showing on my selvage projects, this method of organization is perfect for my purposes, dividing my pockets by color as I did initially with scraps.

Don’t collect selvages or scraps?

You can always use this for your spare tools, acrylic templates and/or gadgets in the over the door storage

{saving your scraps and selvages for a quilty friend}
…or you can use a pegboard system for those and find another option for your shoe sleeves.



Not a gadget girl?

What about extra sewing and quilting pattern storage? I like to keep patterns in sections of similar projects and by size. The larger pocket organizers would work well in this case.


Holiday fabric taking up needed space? Many quilters keep their holiday fabric separated from their main stash. For those of you organized enough to prep yours in advance {unlike me!} a sturdy version might be just the thing for you.

Are your stash strips in sad shape because they're no longer in the pretty jelly roll bundle? Perfect storage solution!



Binding, trims, ribbons and embellishments are all well suited for this type of system, too. If you have rickrack and binding jammed into a drawer, set your drawer free and see everything you have on hand at a quick glance.


Stick to a theme for your behind the door storage and you’ll always come out ahead. Now this is just in the sewing room...imagine what you can do in the kids' rooms with these little beauties!

*When purchasing, look for metal grommets & hooks especially for fabric storage.*

Patterns, trims & selvages won't weigh much initially, but over time, you'll be happier with your purchase if it has the ability to hold what we all hold dear.

Happy Organizing.
Heather
=)