I recently had a bushel of apples in my house and spent the better part of 3 days making gobs of applesauce. While we are doing a pretty darn good job of going through these jars of sauce I had a hankering to make some applesauce cake.
I don’t have too many cookbooks that I’ve hung onto since I was first married almost 18 years ago, but I do have one: The Fannie Farmer Baking Book. It was gifted to me by a family that I had babysat for years at a shower and I’ve treasured it for the memory of that family and also because it’s just a great baking cookbook. I have started altering some of her recipes a bit (mostly becase I don’t use vegetable shortning) and this is one of the recipes I played around with a little. It turned out amazing and was even better 3-4 days later. So enjoy!
adpated from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book
makes 2 loafs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil, but you could use whatever)
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat (or you could use 2 1/2 cups all purpose)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups hot applesauce
1 cup raisins
1-2 cups chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350*. Grease two 8.5×4.5 loaf pans.
Mix together the butter, oil and sugar, beating until smooth. Add the eggs and mix well. Mix together the flour, salt, soda, and spices and add to the creamed mixture along with the applesauce, raisins and walnuts. Beat until the batter is well blended.
Spread evenly in the pans and bake loaf cakes for about 1 hours (check after 45 min) until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool in pans.
Figuring out how to pull your thread from a brand new skein can sometimes make you want to pull your hair out (see what I did there? ha!) Sometimes it turns out beautifully like the white skein still in it’s wrapper on the far left. Other times it ends up completely unraveled and in a huge knot of thread, see the middle example. And then other times I try my hardest to keep the wrappers on it (so I know the thread color number) and it ends up like the blue thread with a huge knot in the middle. Ugg!
Nicole at Follow the White Bunny did an awesome experiment with three different brands of floss trying to figure out which end to pull from. They were all different (go figure) but what a super helpful experiment! I generally use dmc so I have to ingrain in my head to always pull on the number end. Go check out the results!
When I started really getting into hand embroidery, probably one of the things I had the most frustration with was transferring patterns. There are lots of opinions and options out there to transfer patterns, some work better than others and some probably work better FOR others than others.
For me, the biggest halleluiah was my purchase of a light box.
There are a handful of lightboxes out there and most of them are about this size and range in price. I actually bought this one at Hobby Lobby and with a 40% off coupon it ended up being very affordable.
There are things I like about it and things I don’t and at some point I would love to upgrade to a higher end box that lays flat on the table and is a bit bigger. For now, this one works just fine.
Basically you lay your pattern on the box and then your fabric on top of that and flip on the light. It couldn’t be easier than that. Obviously you can only use lighter fabrics, but this has worked well for me even with a light grey. It works well with linen or weaved fabrics too. Yes, you can hold your fabric up to a window (ouch! after a while) or I’ve seen people make these with clear lidded plastic storage boxes and christmas lights. It’s all the same idea and it’s a must if you are going to be transferring lots of patterns.
My second great investment was in the transfer papers that Sublime Stitching sells.
Now, DMC sells an “embroidery transfer paper” and honestly it’s crap. Don’t buy it. It’s like chalk and flies off the fabric as soon as you lightly blow on it. For a long, long time I had no good solution for stitching onto dark fabric. There are iron on pens, chalk pencils etc. None of these worked for me because they didn’t hang onto the fabric long enough. Enter Sublime Stitching.
Their carbon transfer sheets are nothing short of awesome. She has super fast shipping and the white transfer stays on (even for my super huge embroideries) and it doesn’t rub off very easily. Basically all you do is lay your fabric on the table, place your carbon sheet print side down, put your pattern on top of that and using a ball point pen trace your pattern. I like to gently life up the corners every now and then to make sure I’m getting a good transfer, but I’m telling you that these papers are miracles.
Those are my two favorite ways to transfer patterns. What’s yours?
A few Tuesdays back I shared my low-cost solution to threading needles in my sewing classes using floss threaders. I thought that I would share an update on how that’s going…primarily because it’s a mixed bag of results.
For the most part, I like using the floss threaders because they are cheap and if they break or get lost it’s not a big deal to pass off another one. I have run into issues of them not fitting through the eye of every needle. I think it’s a mix of the thickness of the floss threaders and sometimes the eye of the needle not being exactly the same from needle to needle.
Some of my girls have had a hard time with the floss threaders, so I’ve passed off a few of the Loran needle threaders that we used last year. I’m still not sure that these are my favorite either.
But, this past weekend I taught an Introduction to Embroidery class and while I was gathering up supplies I came across these threaders at Michael’s and thought I would give them a whirl.
I have to say that so far, these are my favorite. They are much simpler to use (and fit well within my class budget) and they seem easier to hold and I’m excited to try them out with my little girls this week.
Who knew the world of threading needles could be so complicated!
One of the things I fail greatest at is keeping track of and recording the details of my embroidery projects. When I first started out designing, purchasing and printing patterns I quickly realized I was going to have to come up with some way of keeping track of just the patterns themselves. At that time I wasn’t even thinking about keeping track of the thread colors I used or the fonts I used when designing a pattern.
The first thing I used to organize all my patterns was simply a large binder with plastic sleeve protectors in it. I tried using dividers to section out my patterns, from stitch-alongs I was doing and cross-stitch patterns. When I started doing all my applique projects it also became necessary for me to have pockets to keep the letters that I was using from falling out.
I quickly grew tired of going through this notebook and decided that I would try file folders instead. I sorted out my patterns and this is pretty much how I’ve functioned that last while. When I remember, I write down the fonts I’ve used and the thread colors, but honestly it’s a battle to remember.
A few months back I discovered an amazing stitcher named Kimberly Ouimet and immediately started following her on flickr. She designs and stitches just beautiful work and one day she posted a photograph of her embroidery planner on flickr and I immediately grabbed it up. It’s a fantastic tool to use for organizing projects. There are places to write notes, thread colors and more. I want to get into the habit of designing or printing a project and then attaching this to the pattern. It’s one of my long term goals especially for 2015. (note: she also has a version for knitters…check it out!)
How do you organize your projects for future reference? Any tips for this lovely Tuesday?