Friday, January 30, 2015

The Creative Process

My friend Joan, over at Moose Stash Quilting, gave me this lovely portfolio for Christmas.

Isn't it lovely? See the little Sunbonnet Sue on the front? She's holding a precious little pink heart button which means Joan still loves me after all we've been through together!

How did she know I love certain bugs (only CERTAIN ones, mind you) like dragon flies and butterflies? 

 Inside, it has a zipper pocket for pencils and things with a black patch pocket for a card or two.....

....opposite, there's a pocket where you can slide in a large sketch pad! Oooooo......... was too blank and too white and so I had to make marks on it right away. These weren't the first marks, though. Earlier, I drew ten little birdies which you will see later. But now, I'm drawing some new Sues and Sams for small wall pieces. This one is Sue with her baby.....

Wall hanging and quilt patterns around here always begin on paper.....they get sketched in pencil...

and tried out in various venues. This one has a 2" border around it. Then they are traced, inked and scanned and they become, then, electronic images...... these in my graphics program (JASC). Here, you see Sue and Sam.......bare line drawings and colored line drawings. I can capture fabrics from online and JASC will "pour" them into the white spaces in the drawings to color them.

I can also take elements from other projects and add them to a drawing. From the file for "Harvest Kitty" pattern, I borrowed a pumpkin to put in Sue's hands, below. Previously, she was holding a roast turkey. I thought that might be rather macabre, next to Sam holding the live, she has a pumpkin. 

 Here, you can see them larger with the fabrics in place and the original bare line drawings.

Then, I layed the piece out in Electric Quilt 7 as a 7 1/2" x 12" Candle Mat. Here are the EQ7 instructions for cutting the block. I imported the picture of Sam and Sue, placed them next to a 6 1/2 square Maple Leaf Block and......there it is...... 

....a clear picture of how the Candle Mat might look when it is finished.

Once these images are made, I can use them as I build my pattern instructions in Word. Next, I make a cloth sample of the Candle Mat. It's in the making of the sample, that more changes occur in the pattern. Most of my patterns sail right through that portion fairly well; once in a while, one doesn't work out. But, c'est la vie! That's life. Not every sketch gets to grow up and be a full-fledged quilt!  

But most do. Stay tuned for more about the Creative Process. Are you designing your own quilt pieces? How are you doing it?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Minced Meat Tartlets and Turnovers

I've wanted all through the holidays to make this recipe but never found the time. But last week, a window opened and Voila! Minced meat. I'll show you the recipe below but here are two things you can make with minced meat: tartlets and turnovers.....

Aren't they lovely? The tartlets are baked in a muffin tin (12 cup). The turnovers are made from the same rounds that line the muffin tins, but, just folded over and pressed all around the curve. But here's the proceedure for making the minced meat.

In the largest non-reactive bowl you have, mix the raisins, currents, spices and nuts very well together. Let stand while you prepare the fruit.

You can use any kind of apples and oranges and lemons you like. This is what I had on hand and it made a little more than the recipe says.....about 4 quarts. The recipe will make about 3 quarts. It's very forgiving if you vary the ingredients a little. I go by taste. If I like it, it'll make a good pie or tart.

I ran the apples through the peeler.

I had a mixing bowl full.

And lots of scraps for my neighbor's horses. Yum.

I ran all through a grinder: oranges, lemons, apples.....then, added the spiced mixture and mixed it well.

I covered it close with Press 'n' Seal.....

And added extra protection on top to discourage tasters and felines.

Let it stand overnight like that. Then, dot with butter and bake at 300 degrees F., covered with foil,  until the butter is melted and all is steamy and hot.

I let it cool and then packed it in quart yogurt containers to freeze. I haven't tried canning this. You'd want to thoroughly cook it, first, and I've thought that would be a little too much cooking.

Yesterday, I took a quart of it out and put it in the fridge to thaw. Today, I made the tartlets and turnovers. They are good. Here's the recipe for the Minced Meat, itself.....

Mix together and set aside:

12 oz. Raisins
8 oz. Dried Currents
4 oz. Ground Almonds or Pecans
1/2 c. Candied Orange peel or Orange Marmalade
2 c. Brown Sugar
1 t. Ground Cinnamon
2 t. Ground Allspice
1/2 t. Ground Nutmeg
1/2 t. Ground Ginger
1/2 t. Ground Cloves

Grind together:

2 pounds, or 10 to 14 Small Cooking  Apples, cored & peeled
 3 Whole Oranges, seeds, stems, navels removed
 1 Whole Lemon, seeds, stems, navels removed

Grind separately:

8 oz. of Suet (you can use 1/2 c. butter instead, which you don't have to grind and you add at the very end, the following day)

Mix the spiced blend and the ground fruit together well in a large non-reactive bowl. Add and mix in well:

7 T. Brandy or Apple Cider

Cover closely and let stand at room temperature overnight. The next day, uncover and dot with 8 oz. of ground Suet or 1/2 c. Butter. Mix in well, cover with foil and bake at 300 degrees F. until hot, steamy and the suet or butter is melted (about 3 hours). Mix well, again, and let cool. Pack in quart jars and freeze for up to 6 months (I, actually, have kept it longer and it was still very good).


To Make Minced Meat Tartlets....

Open 3 packages of rolled dough and let set until pliable or make dough for three crusts (1  2-crust pie and 1  1-crust pie). Using a 4" round, cut out 12 circles. Using a 1 1/2" round, cut out another 12 circles. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or add paper liners to each cup. Fit a 4" round of crust into each cup and fill to the top of the crust with minced meat. Pierce the 1 1//2" rounds with a fork and press onto the top of each tartlet. There will be a little space around the edge which is okay. They have to breathe and expand. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake in a 425 degree F. oven for 20 minutes.

Note: If you didn't use paper liners, run a knife around the sides of each cup to loosen. Let stand until the pan is cool to the touch and cover it with a piece of foil and a metal rack that fits the muffin tin. Flip and gently remove the pan. Invert each tartlet. Some will break a little, but they hold together fairly well until served.

For the Turnovers.....

Using the rest of the dough, make 5 or 6 turnovers by putting a teaspoon of Minced Meat on each round, folding it over, moistening the edge and sealing it by pressing a fork all around the curved edge. Some juices will ooze out but just press the edges together with your fingers as you place them on a pice of parchment on a cooking sheet. Pierce the top with the fork a couple of times, too, to ventilate. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake these about 13 minutes in a 425 degree F. Oven.

With the scraps that are too small to do anything with, you can sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar and bake a few minutes on cookie sheets; or, mash them all together and make another turnover....a big one. It'll be rustic, but delicious.....or make more little ones. The dough will be a little tougher but it'll work.

Right down to the very last crumb!