Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quilting Time Out - County Fair Bake-Off

So last night my friend sent out a message that her group was sponsoring a bake-off at the county fair. (Sounds awfully Kermit meets Miss Piggy at the beginning of The Muppet Movie, doesn't it?)  She gave a few details, like event time and the focus ingredient (apples).  I thought, what the heck.  The little girlie and I can whip out an apple cake in the morning.  So we did.  It's called "Harvest Pound Cake" and is from the Betty Crocker site.  I didn't use the nuts though, because I don't like them in baked goods.  I figured we'd go, support my friend and then be stuck with a cake that the judge hated, even though I've enjoyed it.  No way was I going to ruin my tasty apple cake with nuts.  It didn't come out of the pan quite the way it should have & I lost a chunk.  I did pick it out of the pan & stick it back on.  Since the cake was glazed in a caramel sauce, I had something to make sure it stayed there.  Other than that, it looked pretty good.

With cake baked, we headed off to the fair, where it promptly began to rain once we were ten feet from the car.  Awesome.  Now I'll be wet & told that my cake sucks.  Luckily we parked fairly close to the bake-off tent.  We had about 45 minutes until the start of judging, so we wandered around looking at rabbits, chicken, sheep and llamas. 

Back at the judging tent, we sat through the two items in the crusted category (a pie & a dumpling) and the two items in the bread/muffin category (one bread and one muffin).  The pie and bread won their respective categories.  Then came the miscellaneous category.  It was my cake vs. some apple cookies.  The cookies went first.  The hubs and I thought my cake wasn't going to make it.  So far, the judge had chosen the first item tasted for each category.  Mine was being tasted second.  She commented that the cake didn't seem to want to come out of the pan, but that it was common in Bundt pans.  Whew - at least that wasn't the issue I thought it would be.  Then she commented on the apples - apparently they sank to the bottom of the pan.  I say that apples will be apples & to leave them alone... (picky, picky, picky...).  She did say that it had good flavor!  YAY!  Then, as my daughter would say, BAM, she picked mine to win. I did not, however, win overall bake-off champion.  That went to the apple pie.

Eight Year Quiltiversary! - December's Quilt Guild Article

Musings on the start of my quilting addiction...

This month marks my 8 year quiltiversary (the anniversary of my first quilt).  My niece’s 3rd birthday was coming up and I decided to get her a doll bed.  I found an unfinished one at a craft store and painted it.  She needed bedding, so I made it a little pillow and mattress.  I crocheted a small afghan.  Something didn’t seem quite right though.  I decided that the little bed was not complete without a patchwork quilt.  I’d never used a rotary cutter, sewn tiny squares together or actually quilted anything before, but I didn’t let that stop me. First, I checked out some books on quilting from the library.  It seemed simple enough.  I decided what I wanted to make and headed out to the fabric store.  That’s not a place that I’d been in often since my childhood when my mom would drag my sister and me there to buy some plaid double-knit atrocity that would later become matching bell-bottoms (she made us go out in public in them.  We’ve since burnt the pictures).  I spent an hour or so trying to find four or five fabrics that I thought had a perfect little girl quilt feel to them.  I took them home, cut them up and sewed them together.  Most of the seams matched.  One was about a quarter of an inch off.  I decided it was ok & moved to quilting.  I did a stitch in the ditch without a walking foot and then finally managed some little free-motion hearts.  I had no clue how to even set up my machine for free-motion quilting.  I was thrilled to have it done and my niece loved the set (again, she was 3).  I vowed never to quilt again.  Six months later I was in a machine quilting class.  Shortly after, we moved to Crawfordsville and I joined the quilt guild.

I’m so grateful for all of the advice and assistance I’ve received from everyone since joining.  I can match seams now and hold my own quilting.  We are very lucky to have such an amazing group of talented and helpful quilters here!