April 15, 2014

The Catherine Quilt Project...

One of my goals for 2014 was to take time for projects that were just for me, just for the sake of creating.  One of the ventures on my list was sewing and the other was cooking.  So you'll be seeing more posts about these + my usual paper crafting on the blog.  I hope you enjoy following along with me on my many ventures.  

Today I'm excited to share my newest crafty venture....the Catherine Quilt.  I'll be sharing more on the inspiration for this quilt, the style of quilting I'll be doing and just what I envision this quilt to become.  I'll be sharing posts in the form of quick, project updates with just a few photos here and there.  For today I'm sharing the brand new fabrics that just arrived for my Catherine Quilt.  Aren't they so pretty?

The line is called Sweet as Honey and is from Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics.  You can find Bonnie Forkner's sweet blog here, full of fun projects, recipes and simple living ideas.  To see more of Bonnie's post about the Sweet as Honey fabric line just go to the end of a blog post and click on the "Sweet as Honey" label & all of the corresponding posts will show up.  You'll definitely want to find the Sweet as Honey Blog Tour which features 25 bloggers' projects using the Sweet as Honey fabric line.  
If you're already in love with this fabric from the first glance, you can order the fabric online or be lucky enough to have a fabulous shop near you that carries it.  I ordered mine from Fat Quarter Shop and had great customer service.  Below, the top row is the Spring Harvest fat quarter bundle and the bottom row is the Autumn Harvest fat quarter bundle.  I may have ordered some additional yardages of my favorite prints too.  
From my own stash, I'll be sprinkling in these fabrics.  
 So here's what my fabric mix up will look like. That pink tone is really not that bright though. 
Instead of white backgrounds, borders and sashing, I'll be mixing up these beautiful linen pieces that I've been collecting.  Just gorgeous, right? 
I'll be back with more inspiration on my Catherine Quilt soon.  For today I'll leave you with a link to my Catherine Quilt Inspiration Board on Pinterest.  I've spent countless hours pinning some wonderful quilting samples, hand quilting ideas and samples from the Sweet as Honey line. I'll showcase some of my favorite inspiration pieces here on the blog too.  In the meantime, I hope you are inspired to create a beautiful quilt of your own.  Thanks for stopping by.

April 11, 2014

Recipe.....Turkey Pot Pie (Part II)

This week we're hosting turkey hunters so what better recipe to showcase than my Turkey Pot Pies.  You can see my original post here with the recipe.  In today's post I wanted to show you my second round of pot pies, this time using cooked chicken.  I started off with the sauteed veggies and chopped chicken.  
 Two big batches of the creamy sauce, ready for all the fillings to be added.  I made two pot pies on this day....one for my family and one for a family whose son just had shoulder surgery.
 All the veggies, meat and seasonings are added.
 About that time, my mom stopped by for a visit.  Jordan and I were just about to start filling the pie crusts.  My mom taught me how to crimp a pie crust so I gave her the honors today on one of the pies.
 As always, her little pinched edges were perfection.
 Then it was time to cut vents in the pie.  I asked Mom if she wanted the honors.  What she did next made me freak out a little. She started carving into the crusts.  What the?
 But she worked her magic and created the most beautiful designs on the crusts.
My maiden name is Wheat so she thought that wheat stalks were perfect on pies.  Would you look at that pretty picture?   I  never would have thought of it.  I usually just cut simply slits for vents.  
 The pies couldn't go into the oven without a little brushing of milk.  That's always been my mom's secret to beautifully browned crusts.
 Boy, did they turn out pretty.
 There's something so beautiful and rustic to me when you bake a pie or bread from scratch.  You can definitely tell there is a handmade feel to each piece.
 It was suiting to use these pot holders that my mom sewed up some time ago.  She was into a phase where she used old jean pockets which I love.  The log cabin design is also a favorite.
 Just beautiful.
 One for our family and then this pie went on it's way to our friends house.  I always think a basket lined with pretty linens is a fun way to delivery homemade goodies.
Our friends loved the chicken pot pie.  My mom said she is waiting for her invitation soon for more pot pies.  Sounds like a good reason to roast up a turkey to me.  

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!  I've got a fun new post coming up introducing a new project.  I can't wait to get it all together so you can join along in my progress.  Any guesses?

April 8, 2014

Recipe....Turkey Pot Pie (Part I)

I love it when a recipe comes together and you can say, "This is the one!" Last year around Thanksgiving I was searching for the perfect pot pie recipe.  After lots and lots of time searching for the perfect pot pie, I came across this one from Deep South Dish. I knew I was on the right track.  After lots of tweaking, I think I've cooked up just the right pot pie recipe that my family loves.  It's rare that I try a recipe and leave it as is.  That was the case with this recipe so I thought I would share my version at the end of this post.  

Introducing my Turkey Pot Pie....it tastes as good as it looks.  I have to admit that this pot pie sticks out in my memory much more than my turkey dinner.  It was that good.  I have fond memories as a child of my mom fixing the little store bought pot pies that came in the little tin pie pans.  I had them a lot after my half days of Kindergarten.  I remember that I would carefully turn the pie over on my plate, hoping that the crust wouldn't break apart.  Then I would break off all of the crisp crust and savor it for last.  Mom always served us bread and butter with our pot pies so we could sop up that last bit of gravy.  
As good as I remember those little pot pies were, the homemade version is always better.  It starts with a creamy base finished with half and half and lots of seasonings.  
Then lots of meaty goodness from leftover turkey or chicken.  My husband loves that there's lots of meat chunks in this pie.  No skimping here.
Then fresh/frozen veggies are mixed in.
Then fresh, diced potatoes are folded into the mix.  Your meat and potato lovers will thank you.  I'm telling you, this pot pie is filled to the brim with homemade goodness.  
You need to find a deep dish pie pan for this pot pie.  It's oversized which means there's plenty for everyone at your table.  I prefer to bake mine in my Longaberger pie plate.  If your filling is just too much for your pie plate you can always put the remaining filling into a small baking dish and top with a few canned biscuits.  
Okay, I cheat on the pie crusts.  The pot pie takes a little time to assemble so I like to have my pie crusts all ready to go.  I must admit...I love the taste of Pillsbury pie crusts.  They're flaky and taste so buttery. It's on my list to perfect a homemade pie crust but until then, let's roll with it.  Don't judge.
I roll out the pie crusts just a bit so that they stretch over my deep dish pie plate.
Then I fold under the crusts to seal in all the ingredients. 
Next it's pie crust crimping time.  There is an art to learning how to crimp a pretty pie crust.  I learned the pinch and twist method from my mom.  She can make a pie like nobody's business.  
My Jordan has perfect her pie crimping skills too.  It must be a family thing.  Next, cut slits in the pie top for venting.  I'll be sharing my Part II post later this week where my mom comes for a visit and shows me the most artistic pie venting ever.  Stay tuned.
Bake as directed and then become the most loved cook in the world.  Isn't it pretty?  They say a man can pick a good woman by the look of her pie crusts.  I read that in some historical fiction book once where all the ladies brought their pies to a pot luck and the men got the ladies to go along with their pie.  Well I certainly want to keep my man so I learned real quick-like a good secret from my mom.  Brush the pie crust with a little milk for the perfect browning.  If it's a sweet pie, she always sprinkles sugar on the top too to make the pie crust have a nice crunch. Mamas know best.  
Let the pie rest for 10 minutes or so before cutting into it.  This is very hard for my husband.  He likes things scorching hot out of the oven.  That's why I purposely don't call him to supper until I'm ready to cut a pie.  But would ya look at this below?  Talk about a meal all stuffed into a delicious crust.  This is culinary heaven, folks.  Like maybe one of the best things I've ever made.  
This particular pot pie was made right after Thanksgiving using leftover turkey.  Filling. Meaty. Delicious. Flaky Crust. Creamy.  Melt in your mouth.  Comfort food at it's best.  

Fast forward to last week and I decided to make two pot pies of the chicken variety.  I made one for my family and then we baked one for a family whose son just had shoulder surgery.  I baked up my mom's Chocolate Sheet Cake also for good measure.  I was immediately asked for both recipes.  You know that's a good sign when you get recipe requests. I'll show you that version later this week that has my mom's signature pie venting technique.

Now for the recipe....a big thank you to Deep South Dish for the inspiration for my version of Turkey Pot Pie. I hope you enjoy!

Recipe: Old Fashioned Turkey Pot Pie 

By Michelle Wooderson (Fall 2013)…..adapted from Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 45 min | Yield: About 8 servings

 Ingredients:

• 1 pound of cooked turkey or chicken (about 2-1/2 cups cubed) I use leftover Thanksgiving turkey or one whole, cooked deli chicken without the skin
• 2 large russet potatoes, peeled
• 2 cups chopped vegetable mix (I use a combination of frozen mixed vegetables (corn, green beans, peas & carrots) or fresh carrots, fresh celery, fresh onions…all chopped into small cubes
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 6 tablespoons of salted butter
• 6 tablespoons of all purpose flour
• 1 can chicken broth
• 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
• ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley, crushed
• 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano or thyme, crushed
• ¼ teaspoon garlic powder • dash of season salt, to taste
• 1-1/2 cups of half and half
• splash of milk to brush top of pie crust
• 2 homemade pie crust, or 1 box of Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened to room temperature 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Chop the potatoes into small cubes and place into a microwave safe dish with a little water. Cook on high for about 6-8 minutes or until tender. Set aside.

In non-stick skillet coated with olive oil, add the mixed vegetables and garlic. Stir on medium heat until vegetables are tender. Add potatoes to the skillet. Set aside.

In a large skillet (I prefer my cast iron skillet), heat the butter over medium heat. Add the flour in a tablespoon at a time, stirring in before adding the next. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is bubbly and there are no remaining lumps, about 5 minutes. Slowly begin to incorporate the chicken stock, stirring vigorously until fully incorporated. Add in the dry seasonings and stir in well. Remove from the heat. Stir in the half and half until smooth.

Stir the chicken into the cream mixture, then add the vegetables; mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Unroll one of the pie crusts and place into a 9-inch, ungreased deep dish, glass pie plate. Gently press the crust down into the bottom and edges of the pie plate. Pour the hot filling into the crust and top with the remaining crust, tucking the top crust up under the edges of the bottom crust. Flute the edges and cut vents into the top of the crust. Brush the top of the crust with milk.

Bake immediately at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove and place strips of foil around the edges of the crust to prevent over browning. Return to oven for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Note: Use a deep dish pie plate for this recipe. This recipe makes a large pie that will be filled to the brim so you need a little larger dish for this recipe.

Note: This pot pie is so good, it’s the ultimate comfort food. I suggest doubling the recipe and gifting the second pie to friends or family.

Deep Dish South suggestions for other toppings:

Biscuit Topping: Prepare the filling as above, eliminate the pie crusts and make a batter using 1-1/2 cups of all purpose flour, whisked together with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder. Stir in 1/2 cup of milk, blend together and add 1/4 cup of butter that has been melted. Pour batter on top and bake at 425 degrees F for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until crust browns. You can also use canned biscuits for a shortcut or if you have extra filling leftover.

Cornbread Topping: Prepare the filling as above, eliminate the pie crusts and make a batter whisking together 1 cup of all purpose cornmeal, 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 cup of half and half or whole milk, 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of melted and cooled butter and 2 large eggs. Pour batter on top and bake at 425 degrees F for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until crust browns.

April 7, 2014

Layered cards... using Gossamer Blue March Kits

Today I'm sharing a set of cards I made using items from the Gossamer Blue March Kits.  I'll be sharing my April projects all throughout the month. 
There were so many fun papers and embellishments, perfect for creating lots of pretty layers with gold accents.
I loved this little set of die cuts, the photo corners, wood dots, gold shimmer tape and especially the wood grain roll of tape.
I die cut my wood tape using a metal die and my Cuttlebug.  It cut through it really easily.
Each layered accent has a bundle of messy string and a snippet of ribbon.
Very dimensional and full of detail...these will most likely be hand delivered in a flat sack or mailed in a bubble mailer.
Tip:  I like to stitch and adhere all of the layers to the patterned paper that will be adhered to the main card base. This way I can hide all of my stitching and work on the layers a little at a time.
Hope you enjoy!

April 4, 2014

Friday Finds...for the love of watercolor

I'm returning today with a Friday Find post.  I'm featuring some nifty little finds that I've transformed into the most fun mixing palettes for your watercolor paints.  They're all in my shop now.  I'll be happy to refund excess shipping costs for combined orders.  Enjoy!

Darling little Nippon dishes......
 An egg plate perfect for those deviled eggs on Easter....or a beautiful mixing palette with lots of individual wells.
 Loved these old beauties....boomerang shaped dishes with the loveliest florals....
 One of my faves is this simple divided dish...theres 3 of these listed so you could customize each palette with different color schemes....
 Milk glass with gold edging.  So on trend...perfect for a mixing palette and a little side dish for paints and bits & baubles...
 Last but not least I've found that these glass flower frogs are perfect for keeping brushes on display while painting....pencils, markers, small scissors, etc also fit into the holes.....
I've kept a few lovelies for myself so I'll be including those in photos when I do some painting.  Thanks for joining me today.

April 1, 2014

Workspace Wednesday...Painting with Watercolors

Today is Workspace Wednesday and I decided to paint with my new Gouache watercolors. I had the paints in these flower palettes from when I made some color swatches and I didn't want the paint to go to waste.  So paint I did.
It's been a long time since I've been in a watercolor class and practically any and all techniques that I learned are long gone. I really want to get better at painting florals so here we go with the practicing.  I spent quite a bit of time just mixing colors and tested them out on my watercolor paper. I tried for some tiny, intricate flowers and I wasn't feeling it.  I switched up things and went for a more impressionist look of flowers like you see at the bottom below.  Much better. 
 Then I went bigger and looser, adding a wash of water onto my watercolor paper first.  I like this look but I really need to study some flowers, watch some videos and keep on practicing.
 Then I had enough space for one last flower.  This was my favorite.  The hint of a blooming flower.....a variation of colors....and lots of white space.  Whaddya know....I put paint to the paper today. I'm kind of fond of that little messy blob.
It's just a page full of trial and errors.......but I started.  You gotta do it. Just start....
 I also wanted to try my hand at the script lettering.  You can't get better if you don't try.  Put the paint to the paper....and I did.
 I set a goal to start painting in the new year.  It's now April.  Today was the day.  Pardon the language but my dad used to tell us kids to "shit or get off the pot" when we should be up and doing something.  He was right even though I hated it when he said that.  I was intimidated to paint, afraid it wouldn't be good.  But who cares. I'm not doing this to please anyone but me.  I'm doing it for me.  Just for fun.  Just to be surrounded by art and paint and color.  It felt so good, you guys.
I hope that today is your day to start something you've been longing to do.  Just start.  Today.
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