Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  

My House screams FALL in every way imaginable!!

From October 1st until Thanksgiving everything I bake has something pumpkin in it.  I love to try new recipes and this one is a keeper!  It's the best so far.  The pumpkin is made from chopped pecans and mini chocolate morsels (thanks to my in-house artist Kristen).

King Arthur
pumpkin gingerbread with orange glaze
You can either make this gingerbread as a loaf or muffins or 9X9 baking pan. Either way, the orange glaze adds the perfect finishing touch! 

3/4 cup (6 ounces) butter or vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cup (9 ounces) brown sugar
2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup (2 ounces) crystallized ginger, minced
1/2 cup diced pecans or chocolate chips (optional)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) molasses
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
Prepare: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare your pans -- grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans for loaves; if you're making muffins, grease 24 muffin cups or line them with muffin papers or 9 x 9 baking pan.

Mix: In a large bowl beat together the butter and brown sugar until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, ginger, and nuts, if you're using them, then mix well -- the batter will look crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in both the molasses and the pumpkin until they are evenly distributed. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips, if you're using them. Scoop the batter into the greased loaf pans or the muffin cups -- filling the cups about 2/3 full.

Bake: Bake the muffins in the preheated 350°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on the edges and the middle springs back when touched. Bake the loaves at the same temperature for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before taking it out of the pan(s). Let it cool a bit then glaze, if you like (see below). Yield: 2 loaves or 24 muffins.

Orange Glaze
1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1/8 teaspoon tangerine oil or orange oil OR 1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) water or milk
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together all the glaze ingredients until smooth, adding additional liquid, a bit at a time, until the glaze has the consistency of molasses or will drizzle from a spoon in a long strand.



Gourds and leaves are everywhere.




And Nature is so beautiful this time of year!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

So, if you've ever wondered what girls who like to quilt and craft do on their precious nights out sit back, relax and take a peak...

This is the all time favorite Halloween decoration I have in my house.  I've never met a kid who didn't want this wall hanging for their own!


I blogged instructions for an easy skirt pattern this summer.  Mary Ellen made the skirt out of a tablecloth!  Yes!  Don't tell anyone she really wants to wear it!

Jen loves the pattern too and made this beautiful skirt.  The bigger the pattern on the fabric the better it comes out!  You really can't make a mistake that why I made so many!

Jen's cat Flip is the luckiest guy in the world.  Every once in a while he gets a new quilt

and pillow sham to match!!  Of course this print is of kitties at the movies!

Barb made this Oz quilt.  She has lots of great ideas because she teaches different craft classes.

And this amazing art quilt of a scene from her friend's house in Maine.  She did all of this beautiful work from a photo!

 Diane is a free spirit.  She embellished her shirt with these blocks.

And here's her latest creation - in the making!  What's it going to be again Diane?  I keep forgetting!

And, here's the gorgeous flannel quilt she put together from blocks she found at Goodwill!  If anyone recognizes these blocks please give a yell!  We are interested in finding out more about it.  Kind of reminds me of Mary Engelbrecht's colors.

Dianna has been working on this felt mat for a while.  The camera doesn't do it justice.  It's gorgeous!

And she knit these warm socks!

 Cathi is making small purses using bendable rulers for the opening.  She just finished a beautiful crocheted pumpkin but I forgot to photograph it - next time bring it for me please Cathi!!

Jane made this felted purse.  She gave Sue the directions.  One day Sue took some photos of how she felted her bags and sent them to me so I could blog them.

Anne has a gift.  She hand quilts everything she makes.  And the amazing part is she does it in record
time.  It would take most people years to finish the big quilts she makes.

She always has a new and different project.  They all are just gorgeous!

She made this for her friend's house in Maine.  It looks like it belongs in a cabin!  It's amazing.  She uses up what she calls "scraps" for projects. Really works of art.  I really want this quilt!!!  We all do!!

Here's Sue's vintage Grandma's Flower Garden.  She's been working on this on and off for a long time.  It's so detailed and all done by hand.  She finishes everything she starts!  It's a real treasure. 

I just finished this!  I'm proud to have finished something I started!

There are many more ladies who do fabulous, beautiful things.  I'll keep updating as they let me photograph!

A few weeks ago I brought Bernie (my beloved sewing machine) to Claire's house because I had some questions about her.  Claire was in the middle of sewing while watching Harry Potter on the big screen TV in her massive sewing room.  I'm jealous Claire!  I got to see all of her beautiful quilts but she wasn't too thrilled when I asked if I could photograph them.  Hopefully she'll change her mind!  Her "pearl" of wisdom as I was leaving was always fold your quilts in thirds so they won't crease.  I went home and did that!  Thanks Claire!

So if you think our group is all work and no play - NOT!!!  We are loud.  We shout across the room.  Everyone talks about everything and anything.  There are a million conversations going on at once because we're masters of multi-tasking!  We laugh and have so much fun!  We never want to leave because we really like hanging out together!

This is what happens on a really wild night!!

 Thanks Donna for modeling!  It's hard to believe this but Donna is the "go to" girl in our group.  She can figure out any mess we get ourselves into!  She's also game for anything!
So if you don't belong to a group maybe you should consider it?  You have nothing to lose!