Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Raggy Denim Quilt Tutorial

Let me give you the back story on this quilt.  I was cleaning my closet with Barbara and I was complaining about the upcoming auction project that I would need to do with my daughter's class.  My complaint was that I would go spend a bunch of money on fabric, spend a bunch of time on making the project, then one of two scenarios would play out.
In one scenario, I would end up very angry because someone "stole" my quilt for a measly price that would not cover my costs, much less my effort.   I speak from experience on this scenario.  In the second scenario, I would end up very, very angry because in trying to prevent the first scenario,  I would go win the bid for the quilt, thus paying for it TWICE and I could have just written a check and saved myself some grief.  So, in either scenario I end up, not happy, so I was not gung-ho about this project.

But as I vented, I shoved old clothes in a bag.  Clothes made of fabric.  Clothes made of FREE fabric.  And what clothes do everyone own??  Yep, you guessed it, jeans.  So I sheepishly asked Barbara if she would help me to retrieve all the denim from the bags.  It is bad enough to have to call in reinforcements to clean the closet and to ask them to re-sort the purge is almost insane.  Being the good sport that she is, she agreed and even offered a bag of jeans from her house!    The idea was born.  The class pitched in and donated all kinds if jeans and I was on my way.

Now about this tutorial thing.  I promised that I would do a quilt tutorial for you, so here it is.  I am not all that good at tutorials because I am not exact, nor do I consider myself any sort of an expert.  I am just a stubborn fool who is fearless and will not be beat.  If you are exact or a pro, this might just drive you to drink.   If you are up for an adventure in fabric, come along, because here we go.....

So, we have established that you need jeans.  My best estimate is that you will get 4-6 blocks out of the legs of the jeans.  This quilt took about 20 pairs.   I did not go for the pockets because of the additional bulk.  I decided to back the quilt in denim too and that would make it heavy without adding in another layer with the pocket.  If you want to back your quilt in a flannel, that will be good too.  You can also scatter flannel squares in among your denim, but I did all denim, so I will proceed with instructions for that.

I wanted this quilt to get as big as possible as fast as possible, so I cut 11 inch squares of denim.
First I scissor cut the inseam of the jeans open.  Next, I used a rotary cutter and a plastic quilter's ruler to cut the squares.  You can also make a template and trace the squares and cut them with scissors.  I cut and cut and cut and cut 84 squares of denim.
HEAR ME NOW AND BELIEVE ME LATER----Your squares DO NOT need to be perfectly square.  I will repeat, do not aim for perfection!  The seams in the jeans will make it difficult.  And overachieving efforts at perfection will become COMPLETELY irrelevant when you fringe the edges.  Just get it in the ballpark.  OK.  Really.

Next step- TOTALLY OPTIONAL.  After that, I took the squares to the school to the kids along with some various fabrics.   The kids cut a star of heat and bond.  They ironed the star to the back of the fabric.  Then they cut out the star and ironed the star onto the squares.  All of this scissor and hot iron action occurred under my watchful eye, commencing with a heavy sigh of relief when everyone made it through the process unharmed.  

With that complete, I cut out 42 10 inch squares of batting.   I  arranged all the front denim squares the way I wanted.  I tried to alternate shades of denim and the way that the seams in the squares ran.

I sandwiched a piece of batting between 2 denim squares.  This picture shows that batting a bit smaller than the fabric.  That is good.

Next, I went row by row doing the quilting and piecing.  For the plain denim squares, I marked them and  quilted from corner to corner to form an X.  

For the star blocks, I quilted a straight line about a quarter inch inside the star.  After that, I didn't want batting to wad up, so I sewed a 4 inch seam across the corners.  The 4 inches is irrelevant.  I just picked that because it looked good to me and caught the corners of the batting.

Though I usually quilt with 100% cotton, I went for a heavy duty all purpose thread.

As I quilted the squares, I sewed them into rows.   To do this, you place the BACK sides together and sew about a 5/8 inch seam.   Again, it doesn't have to be perfect.  All the fringe will hide flaws. It makes this a very forgiving quilt.   This will be going through 4 layers of denim, so go slowly and use a little longer stitch length.

I was using a very basic machine (Hello Kitty), so I used the medium stitch length.  Iron the seams OPEN when you do this.  It makes connecting the rows easier and it makes the fringing process easier.  

As each row was completed, I sewed the rows together.  When I did this, I sewed it once and then sewed it again right over the first stitches.  I thought it would add some reinforcement to these bulky seams.  I ironed these seams open too.

Finally, when they were all together, I sewed around the edge.  To do this, I double threaded the needle with red thread.  I had two spools, so I just threaded the machine with 2 threads.  It works just fine. You can uses different colors too.  That makes it interesting.   I sewed all the way around the front.  Then I flipped it over and sewed it over the same stitches on the back.  Again, reinforcement.

Here are a couple of pictures from the back side.  The X blocks form a diamond and triangle pattern.  The stars look neat and I really like how the corner stitching made little diamonds.

Then I clipped the seams.  Silly, stupid me thought this would be quick, but it took quite some time.  I clipped about 1/3 inch chunks.  Clip near the seams, but do not clip the seams.  If you run across some larger seams, you can trim them down, if you want.  Also, if you find any batting pieces more than peeking out, you can trim them back, but they will disappear once you wash and dry the quilt.

And now for the fun part.  Wash and dry the quilt.  This will fray the edges.  It will produce a TON of lint.  Dry it in 15 minute segments pausing to clean your lint trap.  This is NOT OPTIONAL.  Trust me.
When it is done, you will have a cool looking, extremely heavy (mine weighed 7 pounds!) warm, cuddly quilt.  

And for a little bonus, this is a quilt made just the same with a mix of denim and flannel.  My aunt made this with my Pappy's old jeans.  He was an amazing man and I cannot believe that he has been gone for over 20 years.   It is very dear to me.

If you decide to make one of these,  please feel free to send questions!   I am happy to help you if I can.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wise Man

Today, talking to my little man, I informed him that tomorrow is his Melly's birthday.  Melly is what we call my mom because Grandma or Nana just don't work for her.  Anyway, tomorrow is her birthday and I asked my son what we should get her.  I expected Angry Birds for the iPad, or a new Wii game, or tickets to Monster Jam to be his suggestion.  I was anxious to see what he would say.  With all the resolve of a confident, grown man, he looked at me and said, "Jewelry."  He went on to explain to me that ladies like jewelry.  He delivered this information with an expression that said "You should know this, Mom.", but he spared those actual words.    I then gave him a big, big hug and  I offered him Legos in exchange for him having this enlightening talk with his father.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Biography Day

So, today was biography day at the school.   The kids did their reading and report at school, thanks be to God.  At home, they got to make a diorama, a costume, a poster, or a prop to go along with it.  When my daughter came home excited about the project, I got excited with her.  It has been a long, long time since there was excitement over school work, but that is another story.  The only time the excitement happens is when a big, time sucking, mess making projects are involved. The bigger and more time sucking, the more exciting.   So, we took all of our enthusiasm and dove in!
First, we got a pattern from our friend Tracey who does costuming for the ballet company.

Next, we cut it out.  Well, Little Miss cut it out because this is her project and she is going to do as much of it as possible.

Climbing onto the table is an absolutely necessary step in the process.

We were up until after 10 PM this night because we got carried away.  Sadly, this was the night that all the Josh Hamilton relapse news broke and the tv was accidentally on the news.  Therefore, in addition to learning to cut out a pattern, we learned about addiction.  After that heavy, heavy conversation, I knew there was only one thing to do to lighten the mood.  Pinterest!  We had a grand time pinning puppies and nail polish and other things that are girly and wonderful.
For my lindsHow cute is that???

The next day, we went to Tracey's and she serged all the fabric pieces so that they would not ravel.  Have I mentioned that Tracey is amazing and incredibly kind?  Well, she is.  I also rotary cut the flag strips.  I don't let Little Miss use as rotary cutter yet, for fear that she will sever a finger.  And, I have cut myself with one before and it hurts.  I really don't want to deal with all that drama.

Once the strips were cut, I put the 1/4 inch foot on the Hello Kitty machine and she pieced the flag together--all by herself!!   Once that was done, she cut out stars and ironed them onto the flag.  How did the stars get so perfect?  Well, I got out my protractor and centered and measured and it took forever.  NOT REALLY!  I picked a few bowls out of the cabinet and found one that was the right size.  She placed the stars around and ironed the tips on.  Then she moved the bowl and ironed the centers of the stars and done.

While she worked on the flag, I began piecing the bodice.  Bodice.....That word strikes fear into my heart.  I am good at sleeves and good at skirts, but bodices are made up of funny looking pieces and they have to fit just so!  Little Miss pressed the seams for me.

With that done, she wanted to sew more, so she pieced together the skirt.  She learned how big a skirt is before it is gathered.

 She paraded around pretending to be a weight loss photo!

 We gathered the skirt and added it to the bodice.  Then Tracey came and gave me a tutorial on putting in an invisible zipper.  She is good and I am certain that it will still take me 4-6 tries to get it in correctly.  But we have a finished product!   She made her hair feather herself.  

Not so fast, my friends, not so fast.  Somewhere along the way, I got the BRILLIANT idea of making a dress to match for her American Girl doll.  It would be an easy little project.  A couple hours tops.  And it would be adorable.  Well, not a single one of those statements held true.  It was a pain in the rear.  A great big huge pain in the rear.  It took about 6 hours.  Even though patterns are written in English, I would swear that they are about as helpful as the Jell-o man on the IKEA instructions.  And it was not adorable, it was absolutely amazing!   
The lesson learned from this project was (please feel free to quote me and share this with your husbands!) is that at $25-35 an outfit, American Girl Doll clothes are not overpriced.  They come with shoes.  If I would have paid myself minimum wage to do this project, it would have been $45 dollars--plus supplies and no tights or shoes came with it!  That being said, I would go so far as to say at $25-35 an outfit, those clothes are a bargain!  Now you might ask, 6 hours, $45 dollars, was it worth it.    You bet your buns it was!  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What I want to be...

After a hard year, I let my little girl re-enroll in art class.   One of the first projects they did was a painting called what I want to be when I grow up.  It was done with crayon and paint and was a little bit crazy.  I love this one!  
This is what she did.....
She wants to be a baby nurse....and a mom......and a famous dancer.  I told you this girl has some big ideas!  
Look at the little onesie and hat on the table.  Look at the x-ray images on the walls.  From left to right, a brain, foot, ribs, sonogram, hand with thumb close up!  Look at the baby swaddled up!  (It is not on the floor, just in the foreground.) And look at all the pretty colors.  She is my child!   What do you want to be when you grow up?  Me, I have not decided!   

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I love having my little boy with me in the car.  Yesterday, I was driving in a parking lot and I misjudged how far a median stuck out.  As I turned, wham!  Front and rear right tires waylay the curb.  'Twas NOT my finest driving moment.  I began apologizing for the wild ride and George interrupts with, "Whoa Mom, that was awesome!  We got BIG AIR!"  He turned a moment where I felt like a total idiot into a moment where I felt like a total hero.  He's just that kind of guy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quilt in a day

So, this is my sig-a-ret quilt project.  I couldn't blog about it before because the recipient actually reads my blog!  She is having a baby shortly.  His name is going to be Owen.  Best name ever.
I did have it all cut out, but I didn't really get started until yesterday morning. I had to give it as a gift this afternoon......Let's just say I am deadline driven.

So, here are the pieces for the piano keys that go on the top and bottom.  I put these together one morning before my little man went to school.  That is all I had done going into Monday.

Completed piano keys.  Aren't they pretty?

My new project boxes from Costco.  So glad this was a 5 pack of boxes because I will them all full in no time!  All that pretty fabric must wait to get sewn.......

So the first thing I did Monday morning was get the name on.  I must say, again,  I am rather fond of the name they have chosen for their baby.  I appliqued that on the machine.  It took what seemed like for-ev-er, but really, it was the best applique and the hardest one I have ever done.  I was proud.  I even got a "Wow!" out of my husband.  

I pieced the back with scraps and orphans from my Texas theme quilt I did a while back.  It was my 5 year block of the month project.   I love the brown paisley.  

All pieced and pinned.  I started by taping the back nice and tight to the tile floor.  Then the batting and then the top.  I don't get wrinkly backs this way.  I do have to sweep and mop as part of my quilting process now, but I guess that is not all bad.
 In the machine getting quilted.  

I broke the light on my machine, so I had to hang a lamp from the handle so I could see what the heck I was doing.  I am going to have to get that fixed because Lord knows I will never finish a project before the sun goes down!  Quilting around the dangling light added a new element of challenge to the project.  

At 11:00, I sat down with my needle, thread and DVR to do the binding.  I used to hate hand binding, but I have grown to love it.  I woke my husband at 2:30 AM when I finished to snap this picture.  I still had my shoes on.  JUST KIDDING!   I tossed it in the washer and hit the sack.   When I got up, it went into the dryer and got all soft and quilty.  Love that!  This is one of my favorites!   I will take some better fabric pictures on the next one.
Nighty Night Everyone!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friend Friday Volume 2

As I promised, I would take Fridays (at least most of them) and write about my wildly talented completely awesome friends.  Today, I want to write about an old old old friend of mine.  Hello Kitty!   Yes, the Japanese cat.....quite possibly the only cat I ever liked.  I can remember being a kid and exploring the Hello Kitty store for hours.  Diaries, lip gloss, nail polish all decorated with the kitty and I loved it. This is not what made Hello Kitty my friend though.  She has proven time and time again to come through in my hour of need.  She is on my daughter's sewing machine.  Right at this moment, I am working on an auction project for the elementary school PTA.   I am sewing a raggy denim quilt.  (There will be a tutorial on this project!) This will be easy I thought.  E-A-S-Y!  Well, having that thought was my first mistake.  The idea was simple, but sewing machines are cantankerous things.  They KNOW when you need them to work the most and then they stick out their tongue at you and barf thread and laugh at you for procrastinating.   "You want me to do what?" they say, bringing a girl to her knees.  My brother actually told his wife he didn't want her to learn to sew because that is one of the only times he ever remembers hearing our mother swear.  Sewing machines can make the mildest mannered woman have a Clark Griswold type of tantrum shaking cords, muttering obscenities and karate chopping the antlers off of by-standing reindeer.
For the first time today, my new Janome sewing machine let me down.  It kept breaking threads and was completely non responsive to any tension adjustments.   I am not a sewing machine whisperer, so I did what I could to try to fix it and walked away.  I went to Hobby Lobby to buy some more thread.  When I got back, migraine in full effect, I gazed at the actual and figurative mess this project has made for me. But in the middle of the mess, I saw her, sitting on the counter and I could actually hear her yelling "Put me in Coach! I'm ready to play." Hello,  Hello Kitty!!!!!!!!!

This miniature size machine bought on clearance at Target for about $50 is intended to teach kids sewing. It is super simple with a dial, basic stitch functions and no computerized components.  It is simply a machine with all the determination of the Little Engine That Could.  It has saved my over ambitious booty on many occasion.  One might call her the 12th Man of Sewing Machines.  My ONLY problem with this machine is that I did not buy 2 of them!

So, today, Hello Kitty, I thank you for your well adjusted tension, pretty stitches and the fact that you work so well when your more fancy, more expensive friends fail me.  Please keep sewing through 4 layers of denim.  We will continue to create great and pretty things together.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Little Girl

There is, in my house right now, a little girl.  She loves to make a mess.  She dreams big dreams and has great ideas.  I cannot see her carpet because it is covered with clothes and shoes that she has not put away.  She loves to paint.  She likes ketchup on her sandwiches.  She is persistent and she is kind.  Her first word was baby.  Her favorite place to sleep is curled up next to me.  She loves musicals.  She loves nail polish and glitter.  She grumbles about the stuff she has to do because there is so much that she wants to do.  She loves to pick up worms, bugs, and seaweed.  She talks in her sleep.  She talks when she is awake.  Her favorite movies are The Sound of Music and Cheaper By the Dozen.  She would watch Disney shows for days on end if I would let her.  She wants me to have 10 more kids. She is the reason I wanted to learn to sew.  She wants a little fluffy dog.  She loves New York and Taylor Swift.  She discovered her feet for the first time on Christmas Eve when I put red shoes on her.  She loves horses.  She keeps me on my toes!  She is everything I am and everything I am not.   She will always, always be my dream come true.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

For this greatly over rated day of love, I am going to the elementary school to do a Valentine's party.  Doug will be attending the preschool party because I simply just cannot be 2 places at once.  Luckily the kids get that, but George has already said I should be HIS party planner next year.  Sheesh.  
After the party, I begin my usual Tuesday afternoon which I have come to call in my mind, the gauntlet.  Then home for a nice dinner with my husband, kids, and my mom. This is the only part of the day I am looking forward to.   Dad is out on business and even though I am somewhat cynical, I am romantic enough that I don't think you should be alone on Valentine's day.  We will be having steak, mashed potatoes, dragon tails--also known as asparagus, and Caesar salad.  For dessert, we have your choice of a root beer float, store bought chocolate cake and strawberries.  I am weeping at the store bought cake, but I am not at all sad that I don't have cake batter and frosting all over the kitchen.  People, life is all about compromise.

For Valentine's Day, I got flowers that I can plant in the ground and enjoy for a while.   I love that!  
This is some kind of African Daisy.  Isn't that a cool flower?  Some of the splendor is wasted because I don't know how to properly use my camera to capture the beauty of nature.

This one has tiny pink blooms all over it.  It is called Diamante Coral Rose. The color reminds me of the Sugar Plum Fairy's costume in Lindsay's production of the Nutcracker.  

For Doug, I made mashed potatoes.  He had a bowl for lunch and he is a happy, happy guy. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012


When George was just a little fellow, he came in from the backyard one day proclaiming, "I have a.......... sig-a-ret." What?  Mind begins to race!  

The internal dialogue is as follows, and I quote, "You are like 18 months old and you have a CIGARETTE! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!  Are Boomhauer and Hank Hill in the alley giving them out to the neighborhood kids?  Did you have a beer too?  Or a whiskey?  Where does it stop?  Get a hold of yourself, woman.  He is NOT drinking Jack Daniels and smoking in the sandbox.......Now have rational thoughts. Did he find a cigarette and eat it?  Just the butt or all the tobacco too?  Will I need to call poison control or go to the ER?  Surely at 18 months, he doesn't have the fine motor skills to light up.  But what if.........?  No smell.  No debris in the mouth, but something is wrong."  End of internal dialogue.

So I asked over and over, you have a WHAT?  My kids tended to be clear speakers, so I don't doubt their actual words too much.  The interrogation continued and it turned out that a sig-a-ret is a SECRET!   And the secret was a pants load of sand.  Wheeeeeew.  This I could deal with.  I wasn't ready to have that conversation.  
But, the word stuck.  And now, I have a sig-a-ret!   Look at all that fun delicious fabric.  It is going to become something great, but I cannot tell you or show you yet.  Even though it is gonna be amazing, I just cannot tell you.  Sorry.  But I can have a little fun with you, so with all the enthusiasm of a 4 year old, skip around and sing with me!

"I have a sig-a-ret!
                 I have a sig-a-ret.
                             I have a sig-a-ret.
                                           La la la la la la!"  


Friday, February 10, 2012


As, you might know, I was done with this week on Tuesday.  Well today, it is Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterword.  Rebecca Black Anyone??   If you have not seen this you tube smash, please do not deny yourself 3 minutes and 48 seconds of bad clothes and worse lyrics.  If it weren't for this catchy tune, I don't know how I would have ever mastered the days of the week.   The link is right there.  You want to click it. Go, now!
Ok, you are back!   You have returned to me and you are surely feeling enlightened about days of the week, bowls of cereyo, and the difficult teenage decision of where to sit in a car. And you are better for it.

But really today is FRIED DAY.  I am completely worn out.  Today was the teacher soup luncheon and the morning began with pulling together a Caesar salad for 60.  Back that up, Friday really began yesterday about 3 PM when I made a crock pot full of delicious tomato basil soup for the luncheon. Then ballet.  Then I cut approximately 65 11 inch squares out of denim for the auction project.  It is going to be fantastic, but geeeeze, my wrist hurts.   Then I washed and dried all 18 heads of lettuce for the salad.  
Then I passed out in bed, ONLY I didn't pass out because I tossed and turned because my husband was gone and because I came up with a business idea for a friend and I couldn't shut my mind off.  When I finally did drift off,  the "make the salad" alarm went off.
We drove to school today because I was toting a bowl the size of a baby pool full of salad, a crock pot, various garnishes for the soup and salad, and a bag full of 45 pounds of jeans and fabric.  The receptionist is beyond looking at me in a puzzled way when I come in like this.  She just says hello, gives me my volunteer badge and sends me on my way.  The crossing guard still has not quite gotten used to me.  We walk every day except days when there is lightning or days when I have a Beverly Hillbilly load to transport.  He suggested that I get myself a shopping cart to push back and forth because I am always hauling something.  He may be on to something.  
As a reward for enduring this somewhat lame, fried brain, poor content post, I shall reward you with the tomato basil soup recipe.  It came from The lady who posted it also took it to a teacher luncheon.

Tomato Basil Soup

1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth (you can use veggie if you want to keep it vegetarian)
2 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
1 package fresh basil from the produce section or about 18-20 leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick of butter
In a large stock pot, boil chicken broth and tomatoes.   While you wait for the boil, chop your basil.  Reduce heat to low.  Add basil and sugar.  Stir.  Add cream and stir.  Add butter and stir.  Stir, stir, stir.
When the butter is melted, you can eat.  I will blend mine next time because my kids want it silky smooth, but it is an extra step, so feel free to skip it.
I served it with Parmesan cheese and basil croutons for garnish.

And when you are at the grocery store, kindly pick me up a shopping cart.  I will be asleep on my couch until Monday-- I wish.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Only Wednesday?

Yesterday, I spent in the car running people back and forth and back and forth to and from here and there and everywhere.  Tuesday is usually busy.  If it were weather, my Tuesday is a hurricane.  But yesterday, a rescheduled tutoring session and the regional science fair turned my hurricane into The Perfect Storm.   Click that link to go to wikipedia and read up on the storm.  Fascinating.  I like weather.  I am a nerd like that.  But just to keep it real,  I really liked the movie The Perfect Storm which was based on a book, based on the actual real storm.  It had George Clooney and Diane Lane...what's not to love?     
I woke up this morning thinking it must be Friday.  Tuesday was so packed with activity, it felt like 3 days work.  But alas, it is only Wednesday.  No choice but to drag myself over the hump and knock this day out.
I had an appointment to buy back some of the blonde stolen from me by age and pregnancy, but my hair lady is sick.  Poor her!  She felt so bad about cancelling.  My response was, "Get well and don't worry about it.   When one goes 6 months between highlights, what's a few more days?"  Plus, I didn't have to worry about falling asleep in her chair.  If I sat still for 3 hours today, sleep would happen and drool would likely be involved.  
So my little man and I ventured out to get a few more supplies for an upcoming quilt.  It is upcoming quick. It was not mentioned yesterday, so yes, I am an idiot for taking it on.  After the mad dash to the shop for a couple of yards of fabric, we went to Blooms candy shop.  It is right down from the quilt store.   They have lots of old fashioned candies, Slo-Poke anyone?,  new candies, metal lunch boxes, and an awesome array of sodas that take you far beyond the usual Coke- Dr. Pepper- Pepsi varieties.  Today, I saw this......
Butterscotch Root Beer! Shut Up!  It is the perfect companion to a Butterscotch Bar for a snack. It is creamy, sweet, and delicious.  As the label says, Dang!  That's Good.   And all is right with the world.
The boy picked this.  He hasn't opened it.  I am going to pop it back in the fridge and he can enjoy it tomorrow after Pirate and Princess day at school.  You guessed right, he will be going as a princess...tee hee hee.
Signing off now to pull myself together for an afternoon of art lessons, dinner making, and the dreaded home work packet.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

I is for........

I got an e-mail for the Craftsy block of the month quilt in my inbox just the other day.  I had to check it out.  If you can tell by the button on the right, I am in.  Maybe I just wanted to put a fancy new button over there. It is animated and everything.  Scroll down to see it in all its glory!

Besides the snazzy button, I decided to take this on because
A.  I am a complete idiot
B.  I am all caught up on my sewing projects and was getting bored
C. My husband begged me to start something new because he adores threads all over the house
D. I am a complete idiot.

I will accept A or D as a correct answer.

You see, I am in the midst of helping my daughter make a Betsy Ross costume for her book report.  (Again, I am a complete idiot).  I am also making a raggy denim quilt for her class to auction off for the PTA. (IDIOT!)
I am also going to make my newest niece to be a crib skirt, a quilt and some pillows and do lots of other sewing for the baby shower I am hosting for her.  I am thrilled and honored to be doing this, but I am thinking that trying to be both Wendy Bellisimo and Martha Stewart makes me a delusional idiot.

But, I thought, it is only 2 blocks a month.  I can do that, no problem.  Idiot, Idiot, Idiot!  I have 2 Block of the Month quilts laying in wait of being assembled into quilts. I got so over them by the end of the year, I have never looked back. And the one I did complete took only 5 years!  F-I-V-E!

I tell myself, this time is going to be different.  For one, I have you, my fearless readers to keep me on track.  You can nag me to see my blocks.  This time, I am going crazy and buying the fabric here and there.  This makes the expense of the "free" block of the month go down a little easier and will cause me to be more bold and daring in my choices.  I have never started a quilt without a clear plan drawn out.  EVER.    So, here we go on a wild and reckless quilting adventure!   And here are my first 4 fabrics.  Red, daisies, and dots!  These will be used to make January and February blocks because by signing up in February, I am already a month behind. Story of my life.

Sometimes, being an idiot is a lot of fun!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Jalapeno Fudge

Because I took my Sunday nap and then spent the afternoon helping my little girl sew a Betsy Ross flag for a book report, my Super Bowl menu is super lacking.  So is my enthusiasm for this game, so I guess that fits.
I decided to be somewhat American though, so I whipped up some Jalapeno Fudge.  My mom made something similar when I was a kid.  We called it Jalapeno Cheese squares, but fudge sounds more decadent and these babies are rich.
Let's dive in.
Today, I had 2 assistant chefs!   So nice to have helpers in the kitchen.  They scatter like cockroaches in the light when I ask them to help clean up the mess though.  They are my children, no doubt.

So, here are the ingredients---
1 pound Monterrey Jack cheese
1 pound cheddar
1/2 cup chopped jalapenos
1 can chopped green chiles
2 eggs
1 cup flour
12 oz. evaporated milk
Food processor or cheese grater
9 x 13 pan

See the Dr. Pepper?  That is crucial.
That is for you.  Grab one and have a drink before you get started.  You won't be sorry.
Ok, now,   jalapenos.  I used some hot jalapenos and some Buc-ees Candied Jalapenos.  They are sweet, but not so spicy.

So, some of you are probably wondering, what is Buc-ees?  Well,
it is a convenience store with Buc-ee the Beaver as its logo and mascot.  It is on I-45 in Madisonville, Texas. There are others, but this is the only one I have traveled by.   There are billboards counting down the miles to it all the way down 45.   It is not quite like the billboard campaign announcing South of the Border on I-95, but they took their cues from that.  Buc-ees has all kinds of canned goodies, the most extensive soda and icee fountains I have ever seen.  And get this, clean bathrooms with no waiting.  There are about 50 seats in the ladies room.  They have real doors on them and they have hand sanitizer inside each and every stall.  They have an employee who works exclusively in the restroom to keep it up to their standards of cleanliness.  My uncle once said, "Buc-ees, it is a convenience store. I don't get it."  He is no longer in the stage of life of taking young children to public restrooms.  He doesn't get it.  And there I do again.  I have sunk to a new low with this aside...toilet talk in the middle of a recipe.  Sorry about that.

This is a close up of the jalapenos from Buc-ees.  They are a little bit darker in color than the regular jalapenos.

Chop, chop, chop.  

Next, get out your cheese and drop it in the food processor.  It will take you approximately 18 seconds to grate 2 pounds of cheese.  It is a beautiful thing.   

While you grate away, have your fearless assistants mix 2 eggs, 1 cup flour and 12 ounces of evaporated milk. This too will take about 18 seconds.  Mix your cheese, chiles, and jalapenos in the 9 x 13.  I didn't grease mine. Why you ask??  2 pounds of cheese have plenty of lubrication on their own.  I don't think these are going to stick to anything, except arteries.  

Now, dump the liquid over the top of all that cheese.  

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  
While they bake, if you are lucky, your daughter will decide to make chicken quesadillas for the whole family and you won't have to make dinner.  
When it is done, it looks like this. 

These are very rich.  Where I could eat the whole pan of Butterscotch Bars, I can only eat one or two of these.  My husband gave them a thumbs down.  He said it is nothing but cheese casserole and he is very anti-casserole.  Oh well, in life and Super Bowl, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  I am sure I have some cheese loving friends who will help me out with this.