Thursday, July 31, 2014

Raw Edge Applique

Raw edge appliqué describes the process of creating fabric pictures using fusible web. 

The secret to raw edge appliqué is this tool, the Applique Pressing Sheet.  For many years, I would arrange my web backed fabric pieces on their background and hold my breath and apply the iron.  Now I press my pattern pieces to this sheet and if I don't like the way they look, I can lift them up and put them somewhere else.  This sheet is also perfect if you are following a raw edge appliqué pattern, like the one I used to make this Forget-Me-Not block.
I used this Dana Verringia pattern, the Appliqué Pressing Sheet and an iron to put this block together.

I completed all of my layered pieces first.  I put them together in layers by first taking the paper back off the piece that would be on top and iron it to the piece it will be on.
Then I took the paper off of this piece and ironed it to the bottom piece.  I did this with all of the flower and leaf pieces.

Then I placed Applique Pressing Sheet on top of the pattern.  I placed the numbered pattern pieces on  top of the sheet and pressed them down with a hot iron.
You can see that these flowers are numbered 11, 12 and 13.  I put the flower labeled #11 first.
Then I added flower piece #12.  I had to move this flower over a little to cover the stems.  Sometimes you have to improvise.
Then I added flower piece #13.
When the piece was completely ironed to the Applique Pressing Sheet, I gently pulled it off the sheet.
You can see the pieces are glued together by the fusible web.
I then put the completed flower piece on the prepared background and ironed it in place.  
If you like to do raw edge appliqué and you don't have an Applique Pressing Sheet, you might want to think about getting one.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Blueberry Muffins

Alaska blueberries make delicious muffins.  This recipe makes cake-like muffins that are great for breakfast.  This recipe uses the cookie-type process rather than the quick bread process for mixing ingredients, so you will need an electric mixer.
 These gems are the perfect component to a well-balanced breakfast meal.

Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins or 1-1/2 regular size muffins

1/2 Cup Butter
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
2-1/2 Cups flour
2-1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cups milk
1 Cup Blueberries

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Use muffin tin liners or spray the muffin tin with cooking spray. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and mix until creamy.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk to the creamy mixture, continuing mixing with the electric mixer after each addition.  When after all of the ingredients are well combined, gently fold in the blueberries until just mixed.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Muffins are done when a tester comes out clean.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Alaska Wild Flowers

Alaska is blessed with beautiful colors in the Summer.  
Purple Lupin start the color procession in the early Summer.
They are followed by the pinks of the Alaska Rose
There are two types of Alaska Rose that grow in Petersburg, the Sitka Rose and the Nootka Rose.  They look very much alike, especially the flower, however, if you look closely at the leaves and bushes you will see a bit of a difference.  The Sitka Rose is found in a rose bush.  The Sitka leaves are a bit larger than the Nootka Rose leaves.  They are a little more clumped together and a little darker green.  

The Nootka Rose is found on a spindly bush.  These roses are climbers.  The Sitka Rose flower looks just like the Nootka Rose flower. The 5-7 leaf bunches are flatter and more spread apart than the Sitka Rose leaves.  The most significant difference seems to be the fact that the Sitka Rose is a bush and the Nootka Rose is a climber.

In all of my years living in Alaska, I have never seen this!  This Sitka Rose bush is right next to the road.  Isn't it lovely!  I wonder if it's an albino rose.  Is there any such thing?

The Wild Celery were abundant this year.  There wasn't a dry eye in town and I bet these plants were the culprit.  Don't let the delicate white flower fool you.  They carry a powerful pollen punch.
Little yellow Monkey Flowers bring color to the ditches along the roadway.
Yellow Arnica also dot the landscape along the roadside.
The Wandering Fleabane grows in the drier parts of the muskeg.
The White Bog Orchid is another little muskeg flower.
Orange Hawkweed grows along the roadside and in meadows. While this is an invasive species, not native to Alaska, it is a lovely addition to the colorful show.
Another orange beauty is the delicate Wild Columbine. While both flowers have a yellow center, surrounded by an orange flower, they are very different looking.

 My wildflower post wouldn't be complete without the blue and yellow of Alaska's State flower, the Forget-me-not and the sweet yellow Buttercup.  The ditches along the roadside are a cloud of blue and yellow during Midsummer.
Fireweed flowers bloom in later summer.  According to one source, when the top flowers of the Fireweed have bloomed, Summer is over.

The summer season in Southeast Alaska is pretty short.  We are so lucky to have such colorful beauty during these months.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alaska Wild Berries Quilt

I LOVE raw edge quilt projects.  The tracing and cutting are mindless activities I can pick up when I have a couple of spare minutes now and then.  Raw edge projects come together quickly, satisfying that need for immediate gratification.    

One of my very favorite raw edge pattern artists is Dana Verrengia.  She specializes in Alaska designs.  You can see here work HERE.

I used the berry patterns in this book to put together a 5 block wall hanging.

 Watermelon Berries
The sides and corners
The unfinished quilt

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Blueberry Cheese Pie

This recipe is a speedy way to get the yummy goodness of blueberry cheesecake.
For the filling and crust you need sugar, eggs, vanilla, cream cheese and sour cream, oh and 2 pre- made graham cracker crusts.
Mix the ingredients, pour them into the crusts and bake.
For the topping, you will need sugar, blueberries, a lemon, cornstarch and cinnamon.
Cook these ingredients in a pot until thickened.

Blueberry Cheese Pie
For the pie
2 packaged graham cracker pie crusts
2 8oz packages cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
1-1/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
For the blueberry topping
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
juice of 1 large lemon
4 cups fresh or frozen berries.
(if you are using fresh berries, add 1/4 cup of water to the pot)

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla until just blended.  Bake in a 350 oven for 30-35 minutes.  The center will still be a little jiggly.  Cool for 1 hour at room temperature.

Mix berries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon in a 3 quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil and continue stirring for about 2 minutes, or unit the mixture is thickened.  Spread blueberry mixture over cooled cheesecakes and put them in the fridge for about 3 hours before serving.  Store leftovers in the fridge.

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