Monday, December 11, 2017

Buttercream Candies

Still working on candies...after talking to my cyber stitching pal Mary Anne Richardson. Here is the link to the original recipe she used from Averiecooks. These are "traditional" butter mints...but since mine are not all mint flavored...I'm changing the name to Buttercream Candies.



I adjusted the process/recipe just a bit because I had gotten Wilton's "Treatology" set of pure extracts for Christmas baking this year...and wanted to try more flavors than just the traditional peppermint (which of course I also made). The results were great...ingredients are few..and I had everything on hand already...so win win!

RECIPE (My way)

1/4 cup softened butter (salted)
2 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar (halfed)
4 Tablespoons sifted confectioner's sugar (halfed) 
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
Extract (see recipe instructions)
food coloring 

I used the paddle attachment on my mixer for the entire process (rather than switching to the dough hook). Instead of doing her entire recipe...I did part of it, then halfed that..and continued. Here are the instructions:

1) Place 1/4 cup softened butter and 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk into mixer bowl. Add the 2 cups of sifted confectioner's sugar (1/2 cup at a time...mixing between to combine). This creates the "base" mixture. The consistency is about like good buttercream frosting at this point.


2) Half the base mixture...so you now have two parts to add flavor/coloring to. Place one half into a separate bowl but you can leave the first half in the mixer bowl.



3) For each "base" mixture...add 1/2 cup confectioner sugar and continue beating on medium speed until incorporated.



4) Add your food coloring (optional) and your extract. I used pure extracts so my amount was 1/4 teaspoon for each base mixture. Begin with that, taste...and add more if you want. Incorporate with the mixture, or with a flat wooden spoon.



This will create a "pea size" type of mixture...similar to pie dough before it becomes actual dough).


5) Remove the mixer paddle. Scrap the bowl down. Add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and knead it into the mixture. You should now have a dough that feels about like children's PlayDough. Form into a ball or log and wrap in plastic wrap. Set aside. (you can refrigerate...if you are going to have to walk away for a while). (NOTE: This is too thick to go through a Cookie Press...as you can see above, I tried...so don't waste your time if you had that idea. :) Hugs!)



6) For each of the flavors made...divide into 4 parts. Each will be about a large as a golf ball at this point. Roll each part into a cigar shape/size. Cut into individual candies with a pastry cutter, knife, or pizza cutter (if you are that talented). I cut mine to about 1/4 inch thick pieces. Place on cookie sheets and let "air dry" for about an hour before placing into airtight containers.


The "airing out" helped the candies get a little crust on the outside which I think will help them to keep from sticking together.



If you are really motivated...you can roll this out like sugar cookies...and cut into shapes. I tried that...but it is entirely too much work IMHO. Perhaps for a wedding or special event...or if you have "helpers" in the kitchen.


One recipe makes two base batches...so you can have two flavors. I repeated the recipe/process and had four flavors: Lemon, Peppermint, Apricot/Champagne, and MochaLatte/Caramel. All are wonderful...so I will be doing this recipe again for sure! THANKS again MaryAnne!


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NEW 2018 Course Registration Calendar is now "live"



I updated the Registration Schedule for 2018 Courses in the course tab above.

Basically...

.... All courses will remain free of charge.

The BCQC-1 (Basic Crazy Quilt Course-1) is a “REQUIRED” course and must be completed before any other course can be taken. This course contains all of the basic handouts and general instructions that are also used in following courses.

The BCQC-2 (Basic Crazy Quilt Course-2) is not required…but I do encourage you to consider taking it after the BCQC-1 has been completed because covers two key elements for beginner/intermediate crazy quilters: 1) COLOR…all you ever wanted/needed to know about how to choose and use color in your work and 2) PLANNING…you will be given the keys to creating your own crazy quilt blocks without having to follow a set theme or pattern.

The ICQC-103 (Intermediate Crazy Quilt Course-103) is all about embroidery motifs. You’ll begin with basic types and expand that knowledge to include more complex embroidery patterns. Monograms in ribbon, beads, and embroidery are included in this course as well as more elaborate seam designs.

The ICQC-104 (Intermediate Crazy Quilt Course-104) is advanced motifs. It should be taken after the ICQC-103 is completed. This course included various motifs that include different applique methods, silk ribbon flower borders, dimensional applique and the creation of embroidery/beaded/printed slips.

The ICQC-105 (Intermediate Crazy Quilt Course-105) is advance silk ribbon motifs. A variety of printable design patterns are provided so you can easily print directly to fabric (or trace if you prefer). The silk ribbon will be 2mm, 4mm, 7mm, and 13mm in size giving a vast variety to the types of flowers you can create. Motifs will include minimal applique. The finished motifs are usually realistic floral designs except the last task. This “fantasy flower” task will help increase your creativity by designing floral elements that are more imaginative than following a specific per-determined natural flower; the results are always surprising in their elegance and beauty.

NOTE: I hope to offer new courses this year as well…but must first get finished with my latest book proposal for C&T Publications which is due to them in April. So, perhaps I can work on new classes for release this summer after that.

REGISTRATION CALENDAR:
BCQC-1 (15-17th every other month…beginning in January)
BCQC-2 (15-17th every other month…beginning in February)
ICQC-103 (5th-7th every third month…beginning in February)
ICQC-104 (5th-7th every third month…beginning in March)
ICQC-105 (5th-7th every third month…beginning in January)

I have not yet decided on the dates for the Traditional Quilting Courses or an Specialty Courses. When I do, the 2018 Annual Course Calendar will be adjusted.

So, if you have been waiting for a course…mark your calendars now! As in the past…no advance and no late registrations are accepted. Watch SHAWKL.COM during the calendar registration time-frames for specific instructions on how to register for the current course at that time. 

Also, if you have an idea for a class in crazy quilting techniques...I'd love to hear from you. Just leave me a comment below. I'm thinking about new courses beginning in the Summer...so ideas are welcome. I may not be able to work them into my plan...so no promises...but you just never know. :) Hugs!

Trim Medley

Need trims for crazy quilting or scrapbooking? I just loaded a new item to my Etsy Shop...as I'm de-stashing my trim/ribbon/cording items. The lace trims I posted about a couple of days ago got me in the mood to include trims as well to my shop.


This collection of trims will be cut in 1 yard lengths each. These work wonderfully in crazy quilts and can be couched or sewn into place easily along seams.





All orders will include:
4 pieces of Satin Ribbon
2 pieces of Sparkle Yarn (this will be 3yds long)
2 pieces of Soutache cording
5 pieces of Gimp Braid Trim
(Photographed at the top of this post)
1 piece of Velvet Ribbon (either blue, lime green, or black at random)(Photo above)
4 pieces of Assorted Trims (random selection) (Photo below)


The photos show all of the standard pieces that will be in every order (all items above except the last assorted one). This last photo shows my stash of assorted trims, of which I'll select four at random to include in each order.


The total yardage of trims will be 22 yards...at a cost of 40 cents per yard!

All orders will ship First Class in a small padded envelope. Hugs!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Martha Washington Candies

Working on some candies today..and thought you might also appreciate a recipe and a "tip".



My refrigerator freezer will not hold a lot ...one cookie sheet at a time. So, I have gotten creative and look at the results!


These little stainless steel condiment cups, turned upside-down over four of the candies...make little risers that another cookie sheet can rest on! The little cups are available on Amazon...but you could substitute coffee cups, etc. as long as they can stand the freezer without breaking.

I'm now off to make peanut butter balls...and will add two more trays. These candies both need to freeze so they can be dipped into melted chocolate later tonight.

Beautiful Lace Trims


I just put a new listing in my Etsy Shop. Beautiful lace trims just perfect for crazy quilting or doll making!


These five white lace trims are all rayon so they dye wonderfully! The set will be 1/3 yard of each of the five trims. If you order multiples, I'll cut the order as one long piece rather than individual sets.



You can easily cut some of these apart to create tiny lace motifs (leaves, roses, peacock feathers, etc.) for crazy quilt embellishments.


Each order will be shipped first class in a padded envelope.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fancy Seam #40


The seams for Page #17 (Seam Designs #41-45) will be stitched by Katie Bock, so remember to check them out at her blog:  Sewing with Katie

Then, see you back here for Seam #46...hugs!

Fancy Seam #39


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fancy Seam Design #37


Wet on Wet Cookies


I'm still working on "practicing" the art of cookie decorating. This techniques is called "Wet on Wet" because the basic layer of frosting is immediately added to by the 2nd layer of frosting...instead of waiting for the first layer of Royal Frosting to dry.


I like the polka-dots..and can see where this would be cute for a children's party or a baby shower using the correct colors for the party's "theme".


The chevron design is nice...but I still like the polka-dots the best. I need to remember to pop the little air bubbles when finished the decorating...but was so nervous trying the technique that I totally forgot that step! I'd also like to get a "rounder" look to the icing when I float it on the cookie...but at present am just going to be happy that it is not running off the edge!

I'm having the best fun just learning...hope these clearly unprofessional results inspire you to want to bake Christmas Cookies too!



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

Cookies!


My first attempt at icing cookies...and with using stencils. Not professional by any means, but I'm still happy with my first try.









My first few cookies had too much icing...and the letters "peaked" like little mountains...


...but I kept trying, and began to get a little better at using less icing.


Tried my rose stencils too...they were larger than the cookie...but part of the design still looked nice.

And, the best part about icing cookies?...You get to eat your mistakes!



Friday, December 1, 2017

Fancy Seam Design #31

Today's seam is stitched by Phylis Latham! The design is on page14 of the Crazy Quilting Volume III: Fancy Seam Designs book (available on Amazon). Hugs!


The seams for Page #15 (Seam Designs #32-35) will be stitched by Katie Bock, so remember to check them out at her blog:  Sewing with Katie

Then, see you back here for Seam #36...hugs!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fancy Seam Design #30



Today's seam is stitched by Phylis Latham! The design is on page14 of the Crazy Quilting Volume III: Fancy Seam Designs book (available on Amazon). Hugs!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Soaps are Finished...

...finally! I've been doing a batch every few days to get the variety I wanted for my gift boxes. These are the last...and they are by far the prettiest I think.


These are the new molds I talked about yesterday, and the tops are so pretty! Love the look with the Apricot/Peach fragrance. The soaps are mostly a Goat Milk base so I'm calling these "Peaches and Cream"...which is actually a type of sweet corn we love to grow around here.


This next group is the Lavender Scrub bars; which all have plenty of dried lavender included in the soap. Both of these just have simple circular labels placed on the back.



Lastly, this is a really fun soap that has actual cocoa powder included to get that really dark chocolate layer. The scent is Mint Chocolate, so added a small swirl layer of green tinted Goat Milk base to the top. These look good enough to eat!


Here are the paper wraps for the sliced bars and the circle scent name labels for the odd shaped bars.

Ah, it's good to have a project complete!

If you are interested in just gifting a few bars of soap to friends, co-workers, or family I'd recommend that you don't worry over creating the base soap...but just purchase the Melt'n'Pour variety. It is basically the base soap BEFORE any color, scents, or additive are included. You can make small batches and add scents, colors, and such to each batch. That way, you also don't have to deal with the "nasty and dangerous" lye to create the lye water to react with the various fats/oils used in the base soaps. My favorite place for scents, colors, additives (and they have melt'n'pour soap bases) is Bulk Apothecary. Check them out!



Fancy Seam Design #29



Today's seam is stitched by Phylis Latham! The design is on page14 of the Crazy Quilting Volume III: Fancy Seam Designs book (available on Amazon). Hugs!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pincushion Assembly Line

I found another scrap of the red velvet, so should get about seven of the Strawberry Trios done...rather than the five I had originally cut out. So, am working to get all of them finished and available to ship.


If you have never created a strawberry pin cushion...consider doing so. They are seriously so pretty...and you can do so many different creative techniques to embellish them.


There are a couple of "tips" in creating these that I thought I'd pass along as I'm doing these.


1) Sew a machine seam around the curved top edge to help "hold" the hand gathering and keep the fabric from fraying as you gather the top.


2) Place your hand gathered running stitches just under the machine sewing line so when pulled they will be pulled against this line. Use a good sturdy cording to gather rather than thread as you'll be pulling it A LOT! This is a Size 50 Merc Cotton...which was given to me; but reminds me of nylon cording it is so strong.


4) Fill the pin cushions with emery to really make them special, they are small enough to use to sharpen your pins/needles with and the extra weight is so nice. If you need emery, I sale it on my Etsy Shop as well as these pincushions. It has to be shipped priority mail...but one cup will last a long time. One cup will fit in the same box as one Trio pincushion set...so you can save postage (I'll reimburse you the strawberry postage amount) by getting both at once. After you fill the strawberry with emery (to about 1/4 from the gathering stitches)...place a little circle of batting down as a buffer. You may need a pinch of poly fill as well to fill out the gathered top area as you pull it closed.



3) After pulling the gathers tight, hold this tension and begin to "lace" back and forth across the top area (still going under the machine sewing line) to flatten out the top area and smooth down the gathers. Go from side to side with long stitches.



Here you see the medium strawberry top after all of the gathering and lacing has been finished. I've made a last little tacking stitch, but left the loop up some...so I could draw my needle/thread through that. When I pull this thread, the loop will tighten down over it creating  a nice "tie-off". The long tail will remain until all of the embellishing work is finished for the top.

 So, almost all of these are not gathered...next I'll start the embellishing. But first...I need a nap!

Christmas soap is almost done!

At least, all of my Christmas soap is poured. I still have to design labels for today's batches...and get the "presents" all together. Hopefully, I can show you that tomorrow.


I got these new silicone molds, but they are only about 1/2 inch tall...so I'm thinking they are probably designed more for cookie baking that soap pouring. But, never-the-less...my Apricot-Peach soap will be welcome with pretty designs on top anyway. I'll free these in a little while, and share a photo of the finished soaps tomorrow.



This next group is a Lavender scrub bar, I chose one of the flowers molds to pour these up into. There are dried/crushed lavender buds within the bar and the smell is wonderful!



Last is a Chocolate-Mint bar. This will stay in the mold until tomorrow most likely, just because this large mold take much longer to create a solid bar that the individual bar molds do...even though they are all silicone molds. This also needs to be supported on the sides...which I'm going by stacking my long medicine organizer/butter-dish against one side and my blender/can-opener on the other side. If it is not supported in some way, the side tend to "balloon out", which would make a strange shaped soap. There are wooden frame boxes that hold these, but the one I ordered is not here yet...so I'm being "creative".

Hope you are considering making a few of your Christmas gifts this year...it is really fun!

Hugs,




Fancy Seam Design #28



Today's seam is stitched by Phylis Latham! The design is on page14 of the Crazy Quilting Volume III: Fancy Seam Designs book (available on Amazon). Hugs!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Pincushions - Trio of Strawberries!



I'm working on some Christmas presents..and creating these opulent velvet pincushions. They would also work nicely as Victorian style tree ornaments!


These are life-size, the largest has a baby strawberry attached. All three are filled with emery so have a great "weight" to them. All are created from velvet and feel so nice!


All are adorned with beads of glass, crystal, or metal.


The larger has a silk ribbon flower motif at the front accented with tiny glass beads and Krenik metallic braids. The photo does nothing to show off the subtle differences in the 3 greens used, or the lushness of that velvet with silk flowers! Velvet leaves are on the baby and large strawberries.


The single red one is beaded with black crystal flat spacers and glass rocailles. The leaves are glass beads.


Both have beaded hanger tops with metal spacers or caps. The photos are not near as good as the real things, but the sun is setting here so the "natural light" is not so good.


The set could be divided so you could "gift a friend" and still have one for yourself!


I only have supplies for five of these...so don't wait too long if you are looking for a really pretty gift for a sewing buddy, co-worker, friend, or yourself!


You can find them at my Etsy shop!