The Devil's Marshmallow Madness

Last night while making dinner, Jack and I decided to make cupcakes.  Seriously.  Apparently dinner in itself was not at all challenging enough.  I had Devil's Food or White Cake box mix.  Since we were already adding cupcakes to dinner why not make it Devil's Food.  We finished dinner and the cupcakes were cooling when I lost any and all ability to function, thus deciding that frosting would wait until today.

I have been on a bit of a cupcake baking spree.  Along with baking cupcakes, I have been testing lots of frosting recipes.  I have stumbled upon a super yummy Buttercream frosting that the kids Love!  I believe it has more calories than the cake but is it good!  This morning Jack and I were discussing our possible frosting options for Devil's Food Cake and all of the kids said, "Make the Buttercream!"  Tired of Buttercream and the fact that my jeans fit a little tighter than they did in January, I opted for Marshmallow. They have far less calories,( at least that is the story I am going with.)

I searched and searched for Marshmallow Frosting recipes and they all looked basically the same.  The Marshmallow fluff recipes looked delicious. However marshmallow fluff is not one of those pantry staples I keep stocked.  Dreading going to the grocery, one-more-time, I opted for the frosting recipe without the fluff.

 The recipes without the Fluff are pretty straight forward.  Sugar, egg whites, water, cream of tarter and of course vanilla( always optional when baking. )  The recipe called for heating water and sugar until you get a syrup, whipping the egg whites with the cream of tarter and then streaming the syrup into the egg whites and whipping until cool.  Simple.  Easy.


Funny how hindsight is always 20/20.  I remember reading the recipe which said, "heat water and syrup until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes." As I was stirring (constantly, per the recipe) I was thinking that this was very similar to the recipes that call for light corn syrup.  I even got out my candy thermometer to make sure I didn't overheat the syrup.  This all took about 10 minutes, not the aforementioned 2-3 minutes.  I took the syrup mixture off the stove at 175 degrees, well before the soft ball stage on my Candy thermometer.  (mistake!  Big FRIKIN' mistake.)

I continued on with the recipe as it was written, streaming the syrup into the egg whites.  Beating, and whipping and beating and whipping.  I must have looked at the recipe 10 or more times.  Yep, it said, "Continue beating the frosting until cool and billowy, about 5 minutes. Immediately spread the frosting on the cupcakes and top as desired."  

Fast forward 30 minutes, still beating, still mixing.  still not billowy.  A large undulating mass I had and still as liquid as my coffee, which by this time has gone Cold!  (Don't worry it is still good that way.)  Now I improvise.  I started adding Powdered sugar, vanilla, more powdered sugar, I even refrigerated it!  Eventually I reached a consistency that I thought would surely stiffen as it settled.  HA!  HA!  Hardy-har!   

What a drippy, sticky, non-billowy, mess.  Oh but it is yummy.  Ginger told me.  She tested it when I accidentally dripped once, or twice.  Now I have Devil's Food cupcakes, topped with the Devil's own Marshmallow frosting.  But wait.. There's more.

A few mini-marshmallows, mini-chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of gram crackers.  Yep, you guessed it!  A SMORE cupcake.    Trust me they are just as messy as the name implies.

I considered lightly toasting the frosting, but what a sugar headache I had! Sometimes it's better to say enough is enough and change into sweats.


Coming right along...

Well, I had hoped to have this quilt top finished by now, but little things keep popping up to delay this finish.  I am sure it is all for the best, but I am sure anxious to get moving.  Here are a few pictures to wet your whistle.



Today is a rainy, cold and gray day here.  To make matters worse my circuit breaker is starting to smell of rotten fish.  Odd, yes.  The last time this happened John was able to replace the burning and melted breaker.  This time he is not in a position to do so.  For now the furnace is off,  the water heater is off and the washer and dryer are off until the electrician can come make repairs.  Not only that but all of the outlets in my sewing room are also off.

What I would like most to do is to quilt.  Maybe first shower, then quilt.  Okay. Maybe first shower, then get warm and then quilt.  Regardless I am sitting here waiting for the repairman to show up.

As I was sitting here I thought of a story I wanted to share...

Recently my Daughter has taken to dying her hair.  Two small strips on either side of her head.  For a time they were hot pink and now they are blue.  A very pretty dark cobalt blue.  This is not a color that everyone can pull off, but on her it works.  I have said it before, but I still marvel at her self confidence. She could care less what others think of her blue hair, she loves it and that is all that matters.   Her friends, classmates and acquaintances ask her often, "Why would you want to do that?"  "What were you thinking?"  Her answers vary but basically tells them, "Because I like it."  Short sweet and to the point.  She likes it and what others think is of little consequence.

Driving somewhere the other day, she was commenting on how much she enjoys changing the color of her hair.  She continued on saying, "My friends cannot believe you let me color my hair!  They all comment that their mom would NEVER let them color their hair.  When they ask me, 'Why did your mom let you do that?'  I say, 'Because she is fun!"  (okay, my heart swelled when I heard this.)  Then she turned to me and asked, "Why don't you care if I color my hair?"  I went on to explain that it is only hair, it isn't even her entire head just a few strands.  I continued on with my soliloquy making comments about picking your battles, life being about choices and living with them, and something about gaining independence. I was certain at this point I had completely lost her, as she seemed more interested in examining herself in the mirror,  I ended quickly with, "Just tell your friends your Mom is letting you express your individuality."   She pulled her gaze away from the mirror and said, "Ah, Yeah.  I think I'll just stick with, "My Mom is fun."


Scrap! It's Love.

I have mentioned I have been doing the craftsy.com class on Filling Negative Space.  Part of the requirements for the class are to have several quilts tops to quilt along with that have, wait for it, Negative Space.  I have many quilt tops of my own waiting to be quilted, however very few of them have negative space.  After finishing up my Christmas Tree Skirt (Which by the way I have decided to call Christmas Gems.) I needed another such quilt top to start quilting on.

I really wanted to use up the scraps and piles of fabric I already own.  Why? I am not sure I will like the final quilt.  Why use up great fabric and then hate it?  Two. I am not in the market for more fabric currently.  And, Three. When I am in the market for more fabric; I will have cleaned out the old stuff to make room for the new.  Oh, the Irony.

I have seen many quilts that have words appliqued, quilted on or in them and quilts that are bold and bright.  I wanted just such a quilt.  I drew inspiration from Tonya Ricucci book Word Play Quilts.  I just wanted something quick to stitch together that would have plenty of negative space for quilting. With Valentine's Day just around the corner.  I decided.  Love.  Would be a simple yet appropriate word to display on the quilt.

Once I had the letter blocks assembled I just had to play with the layout.  I have been doing a lot of that lately.  hmm.  Now I have some video's to watch before I can decide just how I want this quilted.

Happy Valentine's Day, Ya'll.


Kristin's home for wayward scraps

This past month has been full of reorganizing and throwing away.  I filled up an entire bag full of scraps and tossed them out. It feels good that some of them are out of the house, but part of me is still mourning. Seriously, I may need them sometime.  No idea when I would need them.  But I could. Sometime.

In my quest to reorganize I ran across a stack of half-square triangles that had been cut and sewn.  I acquired them from a friend who, for some unknown reason, passed them on to me.  I am sure she was cleaning out, reorganizing and throwing away.  Either that or it could be that I look like the perfect person to start a home for other people's scraps.

Within the mix of half-square triangles were a smattering of broken dish blocks.  I am guessing the half-square triangles were on their way to becoming broken dish blocks before being ousted.

Lucky for me they hadn't yet been sliced or diced just sewn.  Emma and I spread them out to see how many there were and them we started playing with them.  It is utterly amazing how many different combinations one can create with triangles.

Currently they are hanging out on my design board.  Or what the rest of the family calls the Floor.  Having a sewing room with clipped ceilings is not beneficial to the design process.  Every so often I wander up to the sewing room and play with the half-square triangles.  Perhaps this week I sew them together, or I could give them away to an unsuspecting friend. (evil laugh)


With only 11 months to spare

Are you ready to see something fabulous!  Good, because I am ready to share.  My Christmas Tree Skirt is quilted.  It is trimmed.  It is bound.  And with only 11 months until I get to use it....Ta-Da!

I am at a loss for a name for this particular quilt.  I was thinking of something along the lines of "Facets of Christmas." or "Christmas Gems"   Nothing has succeeded in catching my attention thus far.  

I took my newly finished quilt out to a section of our neighborhood that is loaded with Loblolly pines.  It was the closest thing I could find to a Christmas tree without actually dragging my artificial tree out of the Attic.  

To attach a closure or not to attach, this was my conundrum.  Ultimately, I decided two bows at the intersections of the hexagons was plenty.

After much deliberation I decided, I should say, my kids decided it should be bound with red.  We tried all the options, green, gold, cream, but decided the red was just the thing.  I think they made the perfect choice.

The backing shows off my dense quilting nicely.  I was pleased as punch when Emma stated. "Wow!  It is reversible!"  She is currently my new favorite.

St. Mary.

Emma's CCD/Religious Ed class was given a project on saints.  Each child was given a saint and instructed to make a pop-bottle model and write a short report on their saint.  Emma's Saint, St. Mary of Nazareth.  The report was mostly painless.  There were a few minutes here and there where I thought I might have to leave the house for a few hours but I survived.  (Lots of deep breathing and meditation).  Seriously, though she did a great job.  After the report was written it was time to craft her model.  I sent her up to sort through my very modest stash of fabric.  She came down with what she claimed was perfect St. Mary blue, a small amount of white satin bridal fabric and some lovely gold braid.  Just what the native Nazarenes were wearing that year.  Most of the students in the class were using Styrofoam for their Saint's head.  Although Emma's said one poor child used a giant Marshmallow for the head of their saint.  Emma however, would not have a Styrofoam head only pure paper mache would do for St. Mary.  Add some google eyes and a red sharpie for lips and TA-DA!  The perfect St. Mary head.

This weekend I helped her put it all together.  The smile on her face was worth every nail I chewed off.  After the model was finished Emma was insistant that it was only proper to take St. Mary out for her very own PHOTO SHOOT.

Don't you just love it!


Christmas Tree Skirt--the quilting

This weekend the long-arm machine was flying!  I quilted, and quilted.  Every chance I had I would sneak away to quilt.  This Christmas Tree Skirt is calling me!  I have certainly gotten through the January doldrums.  Now we are off  and running.  I believe I am flooded with ideas of new quilts I would love to make.  Seriously I cannot write, draw or sketch them out fast enough.  I have not had a single thing on my mind other than quilting.  A fact quite obvious to the dust bunnies, or small mammals growing in my dinning room. Are you ready to see some pictures?

Quilt front--just off the machine

Since I have been taking my craftsy.com class I have been looking for different designs to use in negative space.  In the ivory hexagons I quilted six pointed starts and doodled lines around the starts to set them off.  I tried to free hand the stars but my perfectionist tendencies jumped in and asserted that I use a straight edge.  

I quilted a six petaled flower in the green hexagons.  I was afraid to quilt to densely in the green hexagons.  I wanted the fabrics and color to speak louder than the quilting.

Here is a picture of the back of the quilt.  I let the kids choose the backing.  The red is perfect for setting off the white quilting lines.  (Although the mistakes are also quite obvious.)  I used a swirl pattern (a new design for me) around the outer edges of the quilt.

Now the tough part, cutting through my finished quilt.  Keep your fingers crossed.


The Christmas Tree Skirt Do-over

So here is the "NEW AND IMPROVED" Christmas Tree Skirt.  Don't you just Love it!  

I am so happy with the design. Even thought I didn't quite succeed in the "Modern" image I had floating around in my head,  It does look beautiful.

I am glad that I grouped like triangles together.  Even though I really like the scrappy look, in this particular quilt it just wasn't working for me.  I obviously still have to trim the corners,  then it's up on the Long-arm.  

And by the way I found the original layout.  Drastically different, don't you think?