Monday, February 18, 2013

Making Cornbread Mix Go Further

I was invited to make a soup, chili or something to go with it for a pot luck event. Not having a great soup recipe, I considered side items. Having two boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix in the pantry seemed like a good idea to make. Each box only yields 6-8 muffins. That didn't seem like a proper offering. I looked around at variations for the mix and also additions and found some good recipes. One I followed loosely.

Cornbread Muffins
I saw some recipes adding corn. The recipe I liked called for creamed corn and I didn't have any. I did have frozen corn. After perusing creamed corn recipes, I liked this one.

I ended up making a half recipe of creamed corn with 8 ounces of frozen corn. Using 3/4 cup of milk instead of a full cup would have probably been perfect. As I made it, I ended up draining off some of the liquid.

My recipe ended up like this:
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
6oz plain Greek yogurt
2 boxes of Jiffy mix 8.5oz

Creamed corn: 1/2 bag 16 oz frozen corn cooked, 1.5 TB butter, 1.5TB flour, 1 cup milk, 1.5 Tb sugar, pepper (drained some liquid off)
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

This yielded 11 regular sized muffins and 24 mini muffins. The muffins were very moist and got nice reviews from my kids. I liked them better than the plain mix because they texture was less gritty.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Girl Scout Quilts Completed

Finishing the two Girl Scout quilting projects coincided with me purchasing a used HQ 16 sit down mid arm quilting machine. This gave me extra motivation to complete the parts and get to quilting.

Beginning with the pink ribbon quilt, I finished putting the rows together. There were a couple squares put together where the seam allowances were too big and the row was too short. I did end up ripping out them and resewing. For the most part, it went together fine. Another step I needed to do that I don't usually need to do was to square up the quilt front. The edges were just not straight. A three inch striped border pulled it all together.

For the back, I had purchased striped fabric and knew I would need to piece the back. After measuring, I figured I wasn't too short and adding a column of leftover squares would make up the difference. Pink ribbon and brown squares were mostly what was left. Because I don't usually follow quilting patterns, there are many shortcuts I haven't learned yet. In researching quilt ideas for the "Blip on the Radar" quilt, I found a triangle trick using squares. It worked out well and went together quickly.

Back of the Pink Ribbon Quilt
The blue quilt had additional problems. This group didn't always sew the squares together all the way to the end. As I sewed the rows together I had to fix some of the seams. After some consideration, I decided not to add a border to this quilt, but to add an additional row and column of squares. This seemed to work better. The paisley fabric had been give to me at some point. I don't even recall where it came from, but is a nice wide fabric and I had a lot of it. It worked well for the back without needing to be pieced.

Finally I was ready to quilt. I was a little nervous to be using this beast of a sewing machine, but I had also practiced with it enough to know it was a better option than using the cramped quarters of my regular sewing machine. It felt very different sewing on the big quilt versus my small practice pieces. I could go much faster and travel further. My meandering quilting pattern seemed to be fairly spaced out and went fast. It was certainly a time saver.

For the blue quilt, I considered trying a different quilting pattern for the stitching. A paisley pattern would have matched the quilt well, but I was concerned about committing to the whole quilt and having it take too long.

Because I needed a new thread color for the blue quilt, I tried out some Gutermann I had on hand and could not get the tension right for the HQ 16. Finally I bought some new thread designed for machine quilting and it made all the difference! It was a Coats and Clark variegated blue. It was new to me using a variegated thread and I liked the effect.

Typically I hand sew the bindings on and after considering ways to machine sew it on, decided to go with hand sewing.  It is a longer process, but fairly mindless and can be done outside of my sewing room.

I look forward to bringing the completed quilts to our next Girl Scout meeting and showing the girls how a bunch of squares they sewed together can transform into a beautiful quilt. The next stop for these quilts will be to be donated to the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. They will be offered to newly diagnosed women.

Hair Streamers

My daughter and two other girls are planning on doing a hula hoop routine for their school's talent show.  I helped them with the hoop choreography and shopped for matching tank tops.  We talked about all the girls wearing high pony tails for the routine and maybe having a ribbon in their hair.  I checked out my ribbon stash to see if I had coordinating colors.  Because I had created quite a stash for my hair bows, I had all kinds of options!

Green & Black Hair Streamer
I chose different widths and colors and even added a organdy white ribbon in the mix.  They really are straightforward to make.  First, layer the ribbons, then stitch through all the layers in the middle.  The next step is to wrap the thread around the middle a few times to cinch it together.  Finally add the hair band and a small 3" ribbon which has a single knot in it.  I also used a flame to melt the ends a bit to prevent fraying.  Sewn all together it is quite secure and I'm sure will look great!