Sunday, March 15, 2020

Compilation of Baking Through the Alphabet with the Musical List

A long time ago, I began "Baking through the alphabet" with my kids.  It was fun!  And we made it through the letter Q, and then I did W for some reason.  Then, even though I wasn't planning to go back to work yet, I scored a job as a special education teacher and all of this fell by the wayside.

Fast forward to now.  Now I have other relatives hoping to find musicals that are fun to watch and I realized that I didn't even have a compilation of the musicals set here.  So, here they are.  Linked are each of the blog posts with the baking we did with each letter A-Q and W.

And below are the musical titles for each letter of the alphabet.

Who knows?  If our school cancels for a few weeks, we may be able to finish baking through the alphabet and watch some more great musicals!

Q - I couldn't find any musicals that begin with the letter /q/.  But here's the post about German Cheesecake that was amazing!  "Quark"

W -

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The 21 Year Quilt - or The Giving Quilt

When I was 17, my church suggested that each young woman to do a project, similar to an Eagle Project in hours required, etc.  These could be anything; learning to sew to learning to bow hunt.  For one of mine, I chose to make a quilt for when I got married.

My dad is a huge cross-stitch fan.  He does amazing, tiny, intricate types of cross stitching for fun.  So, I decided I'd give cross-stitching a go and cross-stitch some of the squares for my future quilt.

Well, it turned out that cross-stitching isn't my favorite thing to do for fun.  So about halfway through the first cross-stitched square I was thinking to myself that this was not the best idea for me...and I should have chosen archery or some other avenue like that.

  Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. 
Life is like that-one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all 
right like the embroidery. --Oliver Wendell Holmes

But, I'm also not a quitter and am super competitive, so I didn't want to give up, nor admit defeat!  Instead, I asked, begged really, my mom, my aunts, cousins, friends, sister, all to help me with the cross-stitched squares.  I mean those Eagle Scouts get to utilize the time and service from others for their project, so I was game for that kind of assistance!

However, even with the help of friends and family, I still wasn't going to finish it in time for my graduation (the deadline).  So, I hurriedly learned how to make some small quilts and was able to give them to hospitals and nursing homes.

With the deadline passed and the smaller quilts-making making it so I could indeed say I made a quilt, the larger, cross-stitched quilt was put on the back burner - the very back burner.

Fast forward nine years, I then had one child and one on the way. We had recently moved to the KC area and I was tending my sister's girls in her home.  As we were unpacking some things in my own home, my sister, Giselle found the pieces to the cross-stitched quilt.  "What? You still haven't finished this? Bring it with you when you watch the girls, and when I get home (she was a teacher) I'll help you put it together."

And so, we stitched the squares together in two afternoons.  We had a mutual friend who was an amazing quilter.  Giselle suggested that I go to her house and see if she had suggestions on how to back such a large quilt without having a seam down the center.

On our next trip to our hometown, I took the quilt and visited Mrs. Wallace (our amazing quilter friend).  We spread it out on the table and said we wanted to just use a large sheet. She nixed that idea because "it would be too hard to quilt though".

Shortly after we got home, my sister died unexpectedly and I became blessedly busy with four littles and didn't worry about the quilt for a while.

And by "for a while", I mean another twelve years!  When I mentioned to my sister-in-law, Mandy, that I've had this quilt for over 20 years started and it hasn't been finished yet.  "What!?! Come on- you've already done most of the hard work. We're doing this!  It will go pretty quickly."

And so, after about three mornings of super guided sewing, the quilt is finished!!

It is the 21 year quilt because it took that long to finish.  But my niece, Mandy, suggested calling it the Giving Quilt because so many people helped to make it happen - they all gave of their time and talents to help out.  Each person's name, or initials, is stitched into the square that they cross-stitched.  I love that I have that little piece of each one of them!

Those people are: Robyn Anderson, Alan Eastman, Jill Gillis, Jody Ahlstrom, Nicole Ashcroft, Julie Menzie, Mandy Beyeler, Carol Allred, Sarah Richards, and the three to have already gone on to heaven, Barbara Wallace, Ann Johnston, and Giselle Fleming.  I couldn't have done it without you!

Our lives are like quilts bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Furniture Fridays: When Sanding Deglosser Fails

If you've read other posts of mine, you'll find that I usually LOVE Sanding Deglosser!  It has a lot of the benefits of sanding, only with the ability to reach the little nooks and crannies of your furniture project, and without the mess of sawdust flying about.

I've done many projects with it.  It speeds up the prep-time to paint and generally just makes my life easier.

During the last two weeks however, it has failed me!  Twice!  Both of my pieces of furniture were very old, antique pieces. They both had chipping varnish, or places where it had completely worn off.

On the chair, featured last Friday, I used sanding deglosser in order to prep it to spray paint a bright, fun color.  The small bench/table that is shown in this post, I first sanded, then used sanding deglosser.

When I spray painted both pieces, many parts of the furniture became mottled and splotchy!

Like this...
And this!

I don't know why that happened but I'll tell you what I did to fix the problem.  Chalk Paint.  As mentioned before, I'm a new user of chalk paint, but it seemed like a plausible solution.

Homemade chalk paint - I used this recipe at the ClumsyCrafter

For the chair, I just finished out the project with chalk paint and buffed wax.

For the bench, though, I had yellow chalkpaint, but it wasn't quite the color I was looking for (because you know I'm just using stuff I find around my house, or that of my friends' houses).  But I had yellow spray paint that was really close to the color in my fabric.  

After trying twice to eliminate the splotchy paint, I covered the bench with light yellow chalk paint.

 When that was dry, I spray painted the piece the yellow I wanted.
I believe the chalk paint acted as a binder for the spray paint to bond to.

I think my foam is too thick for the small bench, but other than that, I like how it turned out!


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Baking Through the Alphabet: The Letter Q

The Letter Q:

Letter Q Meal:
  • Quiche
  • Quince
  • (you could also eat quail or get some delicious queso or have a quesadilla

For our baking project, we tried Quark Cheesecake.  Did you know that Quark is a German style cheesecake that doesn't even have cream cheese in it?  I've never made quark, nor have I ever made a real cheesecake, like the kind that you bake, before making this.  So I can tell you that it was not too difficult!  It took some planning and some extra time, but it was worth it in the end!

First of all, while my daughter was at school, I made the quark.  The recipe I found only requires two ingredients: buttermilk and heavy cream.  Quark Recipe

You mix the two ingredients together and "bake" them in the oven on 200 degrees F for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Below is a video showing how it separates after baking. 

 Once it is finished, pour the mixture into a cheesecloth and colander and let it drain for 45-60 minutes.

The "curds" leftover after running the quark through the cheesecloth.  And the "liquid separated out as well.  

Beat it until smooth.

Place smooth quark in a clean bowl and put in the fridge.

Once my daughter got home, we started to make a traditional (as closely as possible) Quark Cheesecake.  We used this recipe here:  Isolde's German Cheesecake Recipe.

You'll notice that the recipe calls for "vanilla sugar".  Anyone ever heard of it?  I never had.  Sadly it takes about a week for it to be ready, so I skipped it this time and just put in regular vanilla and didn't even add a bit more sugar.  But it turned out beautifully anyway.  Here's a recipe for vanilla sugar just in case you ever want to give it a go for your next baking needs (sounds fun!).  Vanilla Sugar  Apparently, you can use it as regular, granulated sugar, to enhance the flavor of you baked goods.  Sounds like another baking project in the near future!

Apparently, I forgot pictures of the cheesecake making progress, but here is the cake in the springform pan.  

Little hands ready for a bite!
(Sorry about the yellow lighting at nighttime for this picture - it tasted better than it looks here!)

Letter Q Musicals: (* = ones that are , in my opinion, decent or fun to watch; ** = kid friendly; *** = the one we watched for our alphabet musical)

  • We couldn't find any musicals that start with Q, but it gave us time to watch a favorite of mine that starts with "S" (since there are so many, I was happy to split it up a bit).