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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My second love, cooking (not quilt related)

I'm sure you will all think I am crazy, but I love winter. Not because of the weather, but because when it gets cool I start to do more cooking. My husband doesn't like me to cook too much in the heat of the summer because he doesn't like me heating up the house so as soon as it starts to cool, I get to make some of my favorite dishes.

My mother was a home economics teacher so you can imagine that growing up I ate a lot of wonderful meals. I got my love of cooking from her (along with my love of sewing). Almost everything was made from scratch (except for the occasional TV dinner which were all the rage then). Also I have a husband who loves to eat (and it shows)!

When we moved to North Carolina I had this huge family kitchen and I was a stay-at-home mom with two small children. My mom never made bread from scratch but I always watched Mike's aunt make Easter bread every year and loved the way fresh bread tasted a smelled, so I started to make my own bread. There is nothing more enticing than the smell of fresh bread in a kitchen, in addition to being more healthy since there are no preservatives in them. (These are the Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey bread from the King Arthur Flour website.)

I enjoyed the whole process. The kneading, shaping, and watching the dough rise. The only problem was as I got older my hands couldn't knead the bread anymore so I bought a bread machine. The bread machine helped with the kneading but I still like to shape the dough so I would only use the dough setting. I also discovered the dough hook on my mixer and that helped too.

This winter I wanted to experiment with new breads and doughs so I made some new things. I also discovered Craftsy cooking classes and King Arthur's website.  Some of the Craftsy classes I signed up for are King Arthur Flour's Best Sandwich Bread, Homemade Holiday Breads, and the Bread Monk's Baking Sweet Yeast Breads, Challah, and More. If you click on those links you will get 25% off the regular price if it is not already reduced. (Coupon Details: Get 25% off the full retail price of any Craftsy class. Excludes classes from our special Mastering in Minutes series as well as from our partner, The Great Courses. Cannot be combined with any other coupons. Expires April 10, 2018.) These are affiliate links not mine. Craftsy has a special promotion and enrollment that you can also purchase a monthly subscription and see all of the classes that you want before purchasing them, included with this subscription is a 14 day free trial. (You can also get a chance to see my class to see if you would like to purchase it.)

Here is my Challah. It is a Jewish braided bread that is usually made on Friday for the Jewish sabbath. I got this recipe from a cookbook called California Jewish Cooking.

From one of my Craftsy classes I finally learned to make perfectly round rolls! I made a large batch of rolls for Thanksgiving. They were so big everyone could only eat one so I had to freeze half of them! This was King Arthur Flour's Big Batch quick dinner rolls recipe.

I also used another of their roll recipe (Soft white dinner rolls) to make my Christmas tree bread for Christmas dinner. It made 16 rolls which was the perfect number to make a tree!

I'm sure these photos will make your mouth water. Just looking at them, I think of the wonderful smells and tastes. One more King Arthur recipe I tried was their Cinnamon Star Bread. I had to make one for me to make sure it was okay and one for my friends who were coming over for Christmas dinner as a gift.

I hope this gives you some insight into another part of my life besides quilting! All of these recipes you can find on the King Arthur Flour website (just a fan, I don't get paid to say this).

Remember: Always do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading and feel free to share with your friends.

Monday, January 8, 2018


I don't make yearly resolutions because I always know that I keep them for about a month (if I am lucky) and then they just fall by the way. I did tell myself that I really wanted to start up my state block challenge again. I stopped at Florida. I had a few following me and thought maybe with my larger Instagram following more would join me. I sure hope so.

I looked over the blocks that I had finished and thought that I would start with a whole new set of fabrics to make it more interesting for me (and you). So I laid out the blocks (I chose 16 of the ones I did) and decided to sew them together to make a wall or small lap quilt. I hope those of you who did join me in this challenge would also put those blocks in a quilt and share them with me. I'll be posting the finished quilt in future blogs.

What my post is about today is to show you how I go about making a quilt with my Kaleidstars block. I first choose which symmetrical fabric(s) I want to work with. I had just gotten in two new Jane Sassaman fabrics in my shop and, of course, had to start to play! You can get the fabrics here:
Queen of the May and Scandia.

So I get out my Marti Michell Magic Mirrors (available on my website) and start playing with both fabrics.

After looking at all of the design possibilities, I cut out all of the diamonds. I used both fabrics so I had to cut four repeats of each fabric for each block. In my book and iQuilt class I show you how to get perfect repeats every time. Then I played with the combinations. You can get my iQuilt DVD here: iQuilt Kaleidostars.

 Next I had to audition different color backgrounds.

I decided that I liked all of the colors so I chose to make my Parfait pattern from my book Kaleidostars.  This block uses the 17" Kaleidostars templates.

Next I pieced the blocks. I love how easy the blocks are to put together. I realized that the corners of the blocks should be dark so I picked out a wonderful black dot fabric (available on my website) that has every color dot in it that coordinates with the fabrics.  

 Here is how the blocks came out.

See how easy it is to put together. No "y" seams! 

Now to sew the blocks together! Each block is framed with its color, then framed in black. A border of each of the colors to match the blocks is then added, and last, one more black border.

I hope this gives you a glimpse of how I design my quilts. I am selling kits for this quilt on my website: Jane Sassaman Parfait quilt kit. To sweeten the pot, I have added my 17" Kaleidostars templates, my Kaleidostars book, and my 1/4" seam guide at NO EXTRA CHARGE! The whole kit would retail for $134.50 and is only $80! There will be a limited number of kits available, so be sure to get yours early.

*********To make this more interesting, please leave a comment at the end of this blog and tell me what  SYMMETRICAL FABRIC on my website you like the best and a winner will be drawn to get a fat quarter of that fabric along with my 1/4" seam guide.

On my next post I hope to have the first State Block challenge blocks up.

As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading. Please share this blog with all of your quilting friends.