Sunday, June 27, 2010

Block #7, Peacocks (Civil War Bride Quilt)

I really enjoyed making this block.  I love to look at peacocks.  The ones I made, using civil war fabrics, aren't quite as brightly hued as a real peacock but I'm pleased with how they turned out.  I embroidered the feet as someone on the Civil War Blog suggested and was much happier doing them this way rather than appliqueing them out of fabric.  I'm discovering that the finishing details in a block are what captivate my attention and excite me.  This block was one that got me excited because there were lots of details to play around with............couldn't wait to see what the peacocks would look like when they were finished.   I just love seeing how a block evolves itself (anyway it seems like it takes on a life of it's own and creates itself the way it wants to be sometimes, if you know what I mean. I don't really know how to explain it but I just love that part.)  So here are my peacocks:

Count Down:  5 finished - 15 more to go

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Block #6, Red, White, & Blue Flowers (Civil War Bride Quilt)

Another block is finished.  I feel like I'm beginning to make some progress on this quilt - this is the fourth block I've made.  Since there are 20 blocks, it will be quite an investment of time and effort.  I found I enjoyed making this block a lot.  I thought of my grandson, who is in the military, as I was making it what with the red, white, and blue flowers.  If I counted right, there are 46 leaves in this block.  It actually felt like it went faster than the last leafy block I made.........and the last one had a few less leaves.  I think I may be getting into a groove here.  :-)

Count Down:  4 finished - 16 more to go

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Block #2, White Flowers (Civil War Bride Quilt)

When I originally saw the CWB pattern my first impression was that there were an awful lot of leaves.  I thought that if I ever made it, I'd cut back on the number of leaves I put in each block.  Then I decided to make the quilt and wouldn't you know it, I put every last leaf on this very leafy block.  I guess the charm of the quilt got to me and I just couldn't help myself.  So here is my block #2 with leaves galore.

Count Down:  3 finished - 17 more to go

Friday, June 11, 2010

Red, White, & Green Lasagna Recipe

This week I made what is now our new favorite lasagna and thought I'd share the recipe just in case you're craving lasagna.  This recipe is pretty easy for a dish that usually takes quite a bit of time to prep.

Red, White, & Green Lasagna

12 lasagna noodles (cooked according to package directions - 10 minutes)
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese (or half ricotta and half cottage cheese)
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, partially thawed so clumps can be broken up
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 eggs
1 lb bulk Italian sausage or ground beef, cooked & drained
1 onion, chopped (cooked in with the sausage)
1 (26 oz, approx) jar marinara pasta sauce (we like Prego with mushrooms in this)
1 (16 oz, approx) jar alfredo pasta sauce
chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley
¼ tsp Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, spinach, half the mozzarella cheese, 2 TB of the Parmesan cheese, and the eggs. Mix well. Spray a 15 x 9” baking dish, spread 1 cup marinara sauce, layer 4 lasagna noodles over sauce. Top with half the cheese mixture, 1 cup marinara sauce, and all the cooked sausage. Layer 4 more lasagna noodles, remaining cheese mixture, and remaining marinara sauce. Top with 4 remaining lasagna noodles. Spread Alfredo sauce evenly on top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning. Cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serves 10-12.

If this recipe looks familiar, it's a take off on the recipe I found on the back of American Beauty Lasagna Noodles.  I made some minor adjustments and we just loved it.  It would also be good without the turkey Italian sausage and even the eggs as a vegetarian dish.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Drawing" Faces Tutorial

I'll try as best I can to expain how to put a face on your applique lady (in this case the Civil War Bride Quilt - Bride Block).  If you can't freehand draw, like me, do a search at:   Google, Images, and type in free coloring pages faces or something similar.  Then find a line drawing of a face that appeals to you (such as on  Under most of the images during your search you'll see the phrase "find similar images".  That can also bring up some good results.

Print out the face you have chosen.  If it's not the size that you need, you may have to reduce or enlarge it.

Then take skin colored fabric (I used the reverse side of some peach colored fabric I had in my stash - beige fabric would also have been a good candidate for the way I wanted my Bride to look) and iron freezer paper to the reverse side.

Put your chosen face on a lightbox.  Put your fabric with the freezer paper on the back on top and secure both pieces down to your lightbox with painters tape or similar so they won't slip around.

Now draw the face lightly with a mechanical pencil.  Check your work, and if you're not happy with it, do a little bit of light erasing, and try again.  If you're happy with it, go over the pencil lines with a brown or black Micron pen (use one that has a fairly fine point such as an 01).

Now take some colored pencils (the inexpensive Crayola brand are fine or whatever you have) and give her color to her lips, cheeks, and hair.  A good rule of thumb is to use 3 different colors on her hair including a yellow to show as hightlights so it won't look flat. 

Her eye needs 3 colors, the white part of the eye you'll just leave your plain fabric, then you'll have a colored part, and a black center.  To make her come to life she needs a little sparkle to her eyes. To do that, take a toothpick and dip the end into some white acrylic paint. Put just a dot on the black part of her eye.

I then took a peachy colored or ochre colored pencil and add some shading to her face.  It would be all around the outside of the face, under the chin, etc.  If you're at a loss, look in the mirror and see where the shadows show up on your face and put the same ones on your drawing.

When you're happy with the results, cut out your drawing, leaving your turn-under allowance all around the outside edge.  Applique her down and you're finished.

This is a technique I learned in a class from ArleneS at the Quilted Apple in Phoenix, AZ.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Block #3, The Bride Block (Civil War Bride Quilt)

The other block I worked on for this month is the Bride.  I decided to put her in a wedding dress and give her a bridal bouquet instead of a second apple as shown in the pattern.  Her head is done using permanent micron pens and then is shaded with colored pencils.

Here's a close-up of the Bride.  You can double click on the picture if you want to see more detail.

Block #9, The Bird of Paradise Block (Civil War Bride Quilt)

I've logged a lot of hours working on two of the blocks for "The Civil War Bride Quilt".  The first block I made is Block #9, the Bird of Paradise Block.  The main fabric line I'm using is a Moda fabric called Rouenneries designed by one of their newest designers, French General.  This fabric is in shades of Turkey Red, grays, and oysters.  It was inspired by French textiles of the 18th century so fits in with the era of the Civil War.  I'm also using some Thimbleberries fabric and some reproduction fabric from my stash, and am using muslin for my background in a tea dyed color.  I've been longing to use the beautiful Rouenneries fabric that I got last year for a special quilt for my front room.  I wanted something with gray and red in it for in there.  This should work out great.

Here's a picture of the Bird of Paradise that I made.  He's kind of handsome, isn't he?