Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thrifty Internet Find ~ Seuss "Bump Thump" Quilt Kit

As you all know, I absolutely flipped over the Lorax from Kaufman Fabrics and purchased enough yardage to make two quilt tops.  After scanning through the older prints and hoping the Sneetches might show up in the future ;) , I ran across their "Cat in the Hat" fabric.   I was excited to find this "Bump Thump" quilt kit designed by Heidi Pridemore.  It fits the Seussian theme perfectly, and the size (75 x 88") makes for a bold  yet playful quilt.  Unfortunately, the sticker price was $99.00, and my quilting funds were running low.  I resigned myself to the idea of buying random yardage for a scrappy quilt... at least until a week ago. :)  While wandering around the Internet, I stumbled on a clearance sale (almost as good as a yard sale!) and purchased the kit for a fraction of the price.  How much???


I am happy to say that Mr. Cat arrived at my post office on Wednesday... I have been admiring him ever since! ;)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baby Jack in the Pulpit ~ Welcome Spring!

The warm weather in Illinois has certainly had an impact on the plant life.  Early growth has been threatened by the touches of frost on a few chilly nights around here.  Thank the heavens that my plants have not suffered to much from the frigid temps.  My personal favorites are the Jack in the Pulpits.  I have loved them since first sight on a field trip back in grade school.  :)  A few years ago, my son and I transplanted a large Jack in the Pulpit and a few smaller ones that were about to be lost in the process of a new shed being constructed.  This last week, they began to send their shoots up and luckily missed the frost!  I haven't seen my large Jack yet, but several of these little six inch guys are popping up everywhere.  I am thrilled that they are taking so well to their new environment.  My goal is to eventually transplant some of them over onto our empty lots and create a little forest.  :) 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Primitive Black Cat & Witch Halloween Softball Bowl Fillers

This week, I have been working on some primitive Halloween softball bowl fillers.  Remember when I said that Americana themed ones were going to be next! LOL  The softballs for those got painted and mid sketching... Well, my mind started dreaming of witches and cats. ;)   I just love Halloween colors and folklore! *sigh*

This one is called "Witch's Flight".  I decided to give the moon a harvest glow, instead of the traditional blue to white finish.   The yellow/white glow makes the witch pop out crisp and clean... Silhouettes are one of my favorite things to create.  The black cat was inspired by the vintage mache cats of years gone by.  They were and are so creepy and cool... very Cheshire in appearance.  Although one does not reside in my house yet, I love viewing them on Ebay.

Next, a more homespun look was used to create "Spooky Cat".  The black cat (adapted from an old pattern that I used to paint years ago... Sorry, I cannot remember the artists name at the moment!)  has such a prim look to him...  Just like he jumped out of the sewing scrap bag!  The other side is adorned by a favorite fall treat, candy corn... Truth be told the mallow pumpkins are my favorite! ;)   

These two pieces will be taken downstairs to be sanded and roughened up.  Then, they will head to the spray booth.  I already have plans to make a set with matching spindle posts for a solitary display.  The Americana ones are just going to have to wait in the wings for a few weeks.  Halloween and Christmas items just keep popping into my head.

And just when you thought that I turned my back on my little gourds, the other work in progress on my table is a snowman gourd "make do".  I have never attempted one of these and am having a blast with this one.  It started out with plans of being a pumpkin, but the face shape called out to be a snowman.  I  am so excited to get him finished and put him up to share! :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Homemade Cadbury Cream Eggs Recipe

Here is a little recipe that can give you that taste of Easter all year long!  :)  It is a homemade version of the Cadbury Cream Egg.  I spotted this recipe online and had to give it a whirl.  They received great reviews on their debut Easter Sunday.  So with the family taste test out of the way ;), I am putting this gem up to share with friends.  In order to give credit to the blog where I located this recipe,  you can get the original list of ingredients by clicking on the name of Susan's blog, "The Royal Cook" .  Below is how I made my eggs with a few minor changes... 

The photo below is the filling consisting of the softened butter, corn syrup, salt, and powdered sugar.   (I forgot the salt, and it still tasted great.  I will add it the next time.  Well... Maybe... If I remember! ;) )   An electric beater was used to mix in the first two cups of powdered sugarThen, I switched to mixing by hand for the next two cups. (I've burned out a mixer before combining thick fillings... OOPS!)   The white mixture gets very thick and pliable like a taffy.  After completing the filling, a little over a quarter of the white mixture was transferred to another bowl where 4 drops of yellow food coloring were added and  mixed to an even yellow.  

A rounded aluminum teaspoon was used to scoop out the white filling.  It was dropped onto a nonstick cookie sheet.  Another spoon works great to push it out of the scoop, since warm fingers will make the mixture more sticky. :)  The cookie sheet with the white filling was popped into the freezer.  The yellow mixture (non scooped) was placed into the refrigerator.  They were in there respective places for 5 to 10 minutes for easier handling.     
I skipped a picture due to messy hands! ;)  The white and yellow filling was pulled from the fridge.  The white was flattened, and a 1/4 teaspoon was scooped from the yellow bowl and placed in the middle.  It looked like a little fried egg!  The white was then closed around the "yolk" and placed back on the tray.  I completed six wraps, placed the entire cookie sheet into the freezer to firm, then completed six more, and repeated until finished.  After all the wraps were made, I let them sit in the freezer on last time before dipping. 

An  11.5 ounce bag of Nestle's Milk Chocolate Chips were used for the outer coating.  My microwave and I are not always simpatico with concerning chocolate ;), so I decided to create a double boiler by taking a little sauce pan and holding it afloat in a larger pan of boiling water.  The milk chocolate chips melted fast!  To make the chocolate smooth, I added only a 1/2 a Tablespoon of the Crisco. 

Nothing left to do but dip the eggs! :)   I removed the eggs from the freezer, set them (one at a time) into the milk chocolate with a fork, scooped chocolate over them until thoroughly coated, and lifted them out and onto their cookie sheet.  Voila!

Here is the finished product!  My hubby had two gone right away and said they were even better at room temperature.  And you know what??  It only cost me roughly $3.00 and an hour of time to make 22 eggs.  (Okay, I could work on shaping them more like eggs next time! ;) )  Cadbury Eggs are 79 cents a piece at our store.  Plus, I still had quite a bit of dipping chocolate left in the pan! :)


For those friend's with little kids, I think this would be a fun Easter project.  My hubby sure is looking forward to having another batch in the house! ;)     

I hope that everyone had a Happy Easter... Welcome Spring! :) 

Friday, April 6, 2012

My Son's New Humane Society Pet

Most people go to the animal shelter and find themselves torn between the high spirited dogs and fuzzy felines that longingly look through their cages... Each face telling its own story.  Our little terror Mew was an abandoned kitten.  We love her with all of our hearts.  (I would like to personally say, "Bless you!" to all of the wonderful individuals that work to find these pets a home.  They are true angels on earth.) 

Although I have no need to go to the Humane Society, my son and his friends like to visit the animals.   After one such trip, a discussion took place of a poor wayward animal that my son wanted to give a home to.   Leave it to my kid to find the right size animal to beg to save the life of! LOL  So after a few days of heated debate, we welcomed the newest 'living' addition to the Pumpkin Hollow family...

Snoopy the Rat 

Snoopy was discovered on a local ladies window sill eating seeds.  She came to the shelter and asked for a trap.  A half of an hour later, she returned to the shelter and said that the tame rat walked right into the carrier.  He eventually made his way into a cage across from the larger animals at the Humane Society store in the mall with a price tag of $5.00.  After being guilted over the potential of him becoming snake food,  I gave in and my son brought him to our home.

He is high spirited but loves to be scratched on the side of his muzzle.  I am always the one who is blamed for spoiling the pets, and this little guy is now one of the group and no exception.  I bribe him with my favorite snack... Cheetos.  He goes crazy for them!  We limit him to one a day; since not long after taking the initial photos, he has over doubled in size. ;(   Unfortunately or fortunately for Snoopy, my son is now on the hunt for some exercise equipment for him!


Monday, April 2, 2012

A Thrifty "Hand Me Down" Find ;) ~ A Kenmore Zig Zag Sewing Machine

I am happy to introduce the newest arrival to my sewing circle... a Kenmore #1941 Zig Zag machine.  Isn't she a beauty?  :)  Her chrome detailing is a little flashier than my #1310 Zig Zag (aka Kenzie), and she sports a few more features in her repertoire.  A quick initial inspection reveals that she has a flip switch for power, a lever for reverse, less knobs, hidden storage, and a detachable base for easy cuffs.  She is snazzy and will be a welcome work horse to my sewing experience.  Plus, I am sure Kenzie will be happy to have a friend to share the load! ;)

I love these steel bodied Kenmore's (I dread to think that they are probably considered vintage by some! ;) ).  They can stitch through numerous layers without even a hiccup.  When working with linty felted wool, there is no other option to me.  I need a machine that is tough and can be cleaned with a simple brush and vacuum but is accurate enough to piece together my quilting projects.  This newest addition is a "super high shank" gal, so I purchased an adapter to enable her to use my 1/4 inch piecing presser foot.  I am anxious to see how she likes my Aurifil thread.  Kenzie wasn't too thrilled with it!  

Since Kenzie loves to stitch through multi layers of felted wool projects, I have moved her upstairs into my wool project construction area.  This will be great, since all my recycled felted wool can be found stored in tubs nearby.  My quilt fabric is located on the main floor of our home, so the newest Kenmore will reside in the sewing area of my front room.  She will be set up and ready for working on all of my quilts at a moment's notice. :) 

I will be giving the #1941 a trial run this afternoon on some new blocks for the Skill Builder Challenge.  I have every confidence that things will go smooth... You see this machine and I have a history that goes waaay back.  Her one and only owner was my Mom!  :)    I am confident that our future adventures will be much more enjoyable for both of us than our previous ones, since I have taken the time to actually learn the basics! ;)

Without further ado... Here she is in all her glory...  The newest addition to the Pumpkin Hollow Stitching Circle...