Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grandma Parks' Mystery Muffins

Grandma Parks made these mystery muffins while visiting last week. YUMMY.

1 package devil's food cake
15 oz. can pumpkin
chopped pecans
chocolate chips (I used mini chips)
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. (I used Pam) Mix cake mix with pumpkin, add vanilla. (I used a mixer) Drop into cupcake tin (I used an ice cream scooper) Sprinkle top with chopped nuts and chocolate chips (I skipped the nuts and spooned 1/2 bag of mini chips into the batter...hey we like chocolate here!) Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes then remove from cupcake tin to wire rack.

The ingredients...

...the batter will be thick...

...into the cupcake tin (I had 16)...

...the end result...YUMMY! Tastes like a brownie!

You can't taste the pumpkin in it and pumpkin is loaded with fiber. I googled cake mix muffins and found a few variations on this. One was with spice cake mix and cinnamon chips. Grandma Parks clipped this recipe from a newspaper but didn't remember which paper or when....

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Checkerboard Border Quilt

The Checkerboard Border Quilt

1. Yardage Requirements (these are generous)
  • inner panel: 1.5 yards
  • inner border: 0.25 yards
  • checkerboard color 1: 0.5 yards
  • checkerboard color 2: 0.5 yards
  • border (not pieced): 0.75 yards
  • binding: 0.5 yards

2. Pick your fabrics. The inner panel can be a panel or a piece of fabric that has a large motif that you don't want to cut. I usually *go for* an obnoxious looking inner panel such as Elvis here. Black is the inner border, blue and pink are the checkerboard colors and the co-ordinating Elvis print will be the non-pieced portion of the border.3. I cut my inner piece at 33.5 inches by 48.5 inches. (Well...I add an inch on each side as wiggle room to square up...if I wish. But I tell you, that after making a few of these, you will notice very rarely is the fabric printed on the straight of grain so it is almost impossible to *square up* the motiff). I fold the fabric one way and make the cut then...

....fold the other way and make the cut. I fold the fabric in half and use the half measure. For example: if I want 50 inches long I measure and cut at the 25 inch mark. Sorry...this picture is the shorter cut :) 4. I put it up on the flannel and take a lookie and *see* how straight. Don't be fooled by the *bad* camera picture. Elvis is off by about .25 inches...I can live with that! :)
5. I cut the inner border at 1.5 inches (finished at 1 inch...notice the *fuzzy* pic this time) and piece and apply inner border in usual manner.

6. I cut my checkerboard strips at 3.0 inches. Four (4) of each color...and sew the strip sets together.7. In this particular set, I pressed to the blue then subcut my units 3.0 inches. I like to line up all the paired units on my big ruler and take them to the machine to sew. When I get ready to cut my subunits, I make sure the seam is down on the bottom strip. This just seems to make the 4 patches go through my machine easier :)

8. Sew the units into 4 patches and press. There are a few extra units that are made here. I simply put the extra away and someday I will have a whole quilt top made with the extra units!

9. Measure your 4 patches and note this measurement.(mine measured at 5.5 inches...yours might be different!) very IMPORTANT step...measuring the 4 patches! Place your corner 4 patches on opposite corners making sure that the colors are in the same placement. For example: blue kiddy corner to the quilt top. Continue placing 4 patches so the color alternates along the top. I usually place 4 or 5 vertically and 3 horizontally
10. Cut the non-pieced portion of the outer border at whatever your 4 patches measured. Mine were 5.5 inches. Cut 4 of these. (Sometimes I *cheat* and use more 4 patches and less yardage :) )
11. Now comes the tricky part...assembly of the outer borders. I piece the vertical (sides) first then the horizontal (top and bottom). I take the 4 patches from the flannel I want to sew and place them at the machine exactly in the order to sew. Since you pressed in one direction, the seams should butt together. If not, twist until they do but make sure your checkerboard is still intact. Sew and press the seams. Now take that little unit and put it where it is going EXACTLY matching the corner. Measure from the last unit to the end of the quilt top. Add .25 inches (seam allowance). This is your measurement for cutting the nonpieced part of the outer border. Cut, sew to little checkerboard unit, press towards nonpieced fabric.

This picture is just to give you an idea of *how* I measure...not the meaurement I used :)

12. When I sew the side borders on...I actually have the border on bottom...quilt top on top at the machine. I do this so that I can match the 4 patch exactly to the top. A little goofy I *know* but it works for me :)13. I make the top and bottom borders in the same way as the side borders. Keep in mind that the length you cut your non-pieced portion of the border is going to change. I cut each border as I make the little checkerboard unit.

14. Sew the top (or bottom) border on...I pin to match the seams in the checkerboard units......oops I missed on this one :)15. and here is the Elvis Checkerboard Border quilt top to a flimsy state!

16. It actually takes me about 3 -4 hours to make this top. I cut and piece the panel and inner border one time. Make the 4 patch units at the next sewing time. Then make the outer border assembly and finish to the flimsy state a third time at the machine.

17. The disclaimer: sew at your own risk! This pattern works for me. I hope it will work for you.

18. The original pattern this quilt is based on appeared in the magazine McCall's Quick Quilts September 2002 issue and is called 'Memories of Childhood' by Marsha Stifel Mellendorf.19. Here are some examples of quilts I have made and gifted using the Checkerboard Pattern.