What's on My Food?

Find out what's on your food at: whatsonmyfood.org

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Making Quilted Post Cards

Hi Boys and Girls!

I know, I know...this is nothing new. The making of quilted post cards has been around for years. However, I never tried it until now. Maybe if I show you how I did it and tell you my mistakes, this project will be easier for you! I thought it was going to be a piece of cake...

First of all, a good book is handy. I have two books that were very helpful. One is by Cheryl Malkowski called Quilt-O-Grams.

This book is well-organized and has lots of sample cards. The supply list is really helpful too...but here in New Braunfels not so much. Mail order is necessary for me for some of the supplies. Well, there is a new mega JoAnn's...http://www.joann.com/ in Austin....

Another book I really like is Positively Postcards by Bonnie Sabel and Louis-Philippe O'Donnell. The samples in this book are art pieces. I like the samples of fabric with the cool thread that will embellish your card. These quilted cards with batting should be mailed in an envelope.

With these two books, I felt I was ready to start this project!
One of the hardest supplies to find (I never did, actually) is Fast2Fuse. This is stiff interfacing with fusible on both sides. This eliminates the need to add fusible web to the background fabric and paper or cloth backing. It is available through C&T Publishing http://www.ctpub.com/ but I was in a hurry and did not order it. So what did I do? Well...it was like re-inventing the wheel.

First, I chose my Texas-theme fabric.

 Then I backed the fabric with Steam a Seam 2. This is used for applique. It has adhesive on one side. Steam-A-Seam 2 Double stick Fusible Web By The Each

Then I used very stiff interfacing which was adhesive on only one side to cut my post cards. Since I want to mail these, I cut each card 4" by 6" and they will have to be hand-cancelled. 

I used Steam a Seam 2 on the background fabric which covered one side of the card.

From my choice of fabrics, I fussy cut items I wanted on the card. Fussy cutting is easier if the fabric is fused first. Cut around the item you want...for instance, I wanted the boot with Texas wildflowers http://www.wildseedfarms.com/ and then I wanted small chiles.

Also the cowboy fabric has cool saddles and horseshoes.The boot, saddle, chiles and horseshoe and branding iron are fussy cut and fused onto this background fabric.

Here is a picture of the quilting...which I am not happy with and will probably experiment with high sheen threads like from Superior Threads. http://www.superiorthreads.com/ or maybe I can find them at Oak Leaf Quilts http://www.oakleafquilts.com/
I think using a high sheen poly tread will give the cards some punch. What do you think?

I like this a lot better. I quilted all the cards with
Mettler Metallic #7633 Copper. I fused Hoffman 1895 batik on the back where and wrote the address on one side of the card and on the other:


Finally, a double zig-zag stitch all around the card gave the cards a nice sturdy border. I will mail these to the six lucky recipients!! Let's hope I get six cards in return...I am pooped...

I think I will order my Fast2Fuse now!

Until next time....Happy quilting, sewing, crafting!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

First Evening of Passover---The Seder Dinner

Hello Boys and Girls:

This evening is the first day of Passover. It begins at sunset but also officially begins with the lighting of the candles on the Seder table are . The Passover Seder is a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is held on the evening of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, which corresponds to late March or April in the Gregorian calendar. The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This story is in the Book of Exodus (Shemot) in the Hebrew Bible. The Seder itself is based on the Biblical verse commanding Jews to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt: "And you shall tell it to your son on that day, saying, 'Because of this God did for us when He took me out of Egypt.'" (Exodus 13:8) Traditionally, families and friends gather in the evening to read the text of the Haggadah, an ancient work derived from the Mishnah (Pesahim).The Haggadah contains the narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt, special blessings and rituals, commentaries from the Talmud, and special Passover songs. Seder customs include drinking four cups of wine, eating matza and partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate. The Seder is performed in much the same way by Jews all over the world. (Google "seder dinner" to read more.)

The first thing that greeted us when we walked into our daughter Shannon and son-in-law, Aaron's home was the colorful dining table set for celebration. We knew this was an evening of great importance but also of celebration.

Our Seder dinner was compiled of friends and family of different religions and ethnic groups. What a beautiful experience to be able to sit down together and remember in song, food, drink and written passages
the struggles of liberation many cultures have experienced and are still experiencing today. The symbolism of the Seder dinner rings true to our present-day struggles as it did for the Israelites a thousand year's ago. We were all there united by faith in God that no human should be a slave bound by hatred or persecution.

The Seder Plate is of utmost importance.  Rabbi Haas presented this plate to Shannon and Aaron for their first anniversary and their first Seder dinner. Each section has a food which symbolizes a struggle. For instance, the parsley is dipped into salted water and eaten to symbolize the tears of the people of Israel. The egg symbolizes new life or new beginnings. Each of us at the table had foods in the Seder Plate, except for the lamb shank. As Rabbi Hass read in Hebrew from the Haggadah, we took a bite of the foods. We also participated by reading narratives as a group.

Mrs. Haas prepared the Matza ball soup. It was served after the Seder Plate. This was very good and reminded me a bit of homemade noodles. The Matza balls are made from wheat and dropped in the chicken broth which has been prepared with carrots, onions and celery. Another food which is just "tradition" was
gefilte fish. This is a compressed piece of several fish and spices. I have not acquired a taste for it so I guess I will have to work on this one. With all of this is the "4 glasses of wine." Each glass has it's own symbolism and readings. The main course was brisket, cooked to perfection. Shannon also served green beans and potato salad. We were all having a wonderful time. Well, the 4 glasses of wine had a lot to do with it...but, the symbolism was awesome. I really want to watch Exodus again. This experience also illustrated how we are all the same...different but the same. We believe God is good.

As you experience Holy Week or Passover, reflect on what binds us together as humans. Hope. Tradition. Love. Beliefs. We believe in new beginnings. That is why we have hope that our world will become a better place. No slavery. No bigotry. No starvation and no torture. We are surrounded by hope. Baby chicks, lambing, wildflowers, budding oak trees. We cannot ignore the message God is sending us...a new beginning is about to be born.

What traditions do you and your family share this time of year? How do you celebrate spring?

Until next time...share a meal with someone you do not know...raise a glass of wine and toast life's blessings...sit and watch the birds build a nest...breath slowly...love deeply...

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Lion King Named Duke

Hi Boys and Girls:

I apologize for my absence. It was hard to formulate my thoughts or even talk about my common quilting projects or even give you recipes and pictures of food! You see, I lost my Lion King, my Duke.

One sunny morning, I found this little kitten on the patio cleaning himself and totally relaxed. This little guy acted like this was his place. I never got him off that patio for 15 years. What is totally ironic, Duke looked just like Rex who had died a few months earlier. I was still in mourning with Rex. I did not want another kitty...no one could replace Rex. However, I believe deep in my heart that God sent Duke to me because I was so unhappy. After all, how can you grieve with a little kitty licking your face or purring happily asleep in your arms?

So, Duke became part of my life and our household. Duke followed me everywhere. In the sewing room, Duke had to either be on the sewing machine while I am sewing or right next to it! He was either on my foot while my foot was under the sewing table or laying on the fabric while I was trying to cut it.

Duke inspected all fabric that came into the house. I created a rule: If Duke liked the fabric, I kept it. If Duke did not like the fabric, it usually got shoved into a cupboard and never cut! How did I know if he liked the fabric? That is easy! Duke was just like me and had to snuggle his face into the fabric...roll in in...sleep on it. OK, I did not go that far but you know how it goes when you fall in love with a fabric. It goes something like this: "Oh my gosh! I ADORE this fabric. Feel it! It feels like butter...it is so BEAUTIFUL!" And then the fabric is brought to my face so I can snuggle into it.

Duke loved to have his pink nose rubbed. He had the sweetest nose. He also loved to bump heads...my head with his head. I would lean down a bit and lower my head and he would bring his head up to mine. We would stay in that "kiss of the heads" for about 30 seconds. It was sort of like how Alaskans rub noses to show affection.

So why am I mourning the loss of my Duke? A lot of people would not understand the loss of a pet vs the loss of a human friend or family member. The grief is the same with the exception of public and private support. When a friend or family member dies, people send condolence cards, flowers, food and phone calls. There is a public display of support...at the funeral, grave site and home where everyone gathers to eat and remember the loved one who died with jokes, stories and toasts. But with a pet there is not that outward showing of sympathy. There may even be remarks like, "Just get over it. It was only a cat. You can get another one." I was fortunate no one said that to me.

The stages of grief are very similar as when losing a human. Denial.
For about 6 months I knew something was wrong but I did not want to admit it. I knew if I went to the vet with Duke, there would be something seriously wrong. Deep in my heart, I knew that to be true. Deniel later turned to guilt until the vet told me there was nothing that could have been done to save him.

Bargaining. I did not do much of that. Well, maybe I did. I asked God to just let him die in his sleep.

Anger. Yes, I was a bit angry that his life was ending after only 15 years. Little Crissy lived to be 20 so I thought Duke would live that long.

Sorrow and Sadness. Yes, I was sad. But I have to say my sorrow and sadness was a bit diminished with the help of my vet and staff. They were so kind! I did receive several cards of sympathy. That really lifted my spirits. I cannot thank them enough for thinking of me. Sorrow and sadness brings apathy. I didn't feel like cooking, taking pictures, quilting or other things that I love. I was depressed.

Resolution. I have accepted that Duke will not be greeting me at the door. It was good to bring him home from the vet and bury him in our backyard. Roberto made a nice coffin and I wrapped Duke in a small quilt. Roberto made a cross for the site. He is buried so I can see the cross every day from the kitchen window. It is ok to look at the cross now and remember what a really sweet cat Duke was.

My other two kitties were a little lost without Duke. Sinbad became very needy and seemed to want more snuggle time. This was not like him. Angie wanted to sleep really close to me every night so I let her. I have since read that this is not a good idea. When other pets mourn, they want more attention. If we give them more attention it never stops. So, I am guilty of giving in to my other kitties.

So, in closing, if you have lost a pet I know how you suffered. If you have not lost a pet but have lost anything you love, you have gone through the stages of grief. Don't deny your grief. When someone asks how you are, tell them the truth. Share with them that you have lost someone very dear to you. When I shared with people I trusted why I was sad, they responded positively and made me feel better.

Tell me about your pet. I would love to hear about that little animal that brings you so much joy and gives you lots of love.

Until next time...snuggle your pet, caress your fabric, smile at a stranger and keep eye contact until they smile back, when someone cuts you off in traffic just say, "God is not finished with them yet."