This is part 2 of my participation. I hope you enjoyed the post (Part 1) on 18-Aug (Day 2).
When I originally thought Summer in the Country and was looking at these fabrics, there were a couple that just said--Christmas in July. But we're doing the blog hop in August, so that wasn't quite right, but I just couldn't get the thought out of my mind.
So, I have a little Christmas in July concept, that has now been adapted to be a wall hanging that could be thematically decorated for any season. The other fabrics were used in examples shown in my Part 1 blog post from Day 2.
My primary fabrics are three SKUs; two from Green Acres and one from Countryside. I've thrown in a few other bits for the inner borders, and a woodgrain fabric for the frame.
You won't see the reindeer in this first image below, but it becomes the feature next.
This stack of hay bales next to the barn, has a cat and a dog (ok, maybe they really are a cougar and a wolf, but in this context I think they work as happy farm animals) and some bushes and grassy areas and even a bit of dirt road leading up to the haystack.
I created the cornerstones of the sashing by making 8 half square triangles (HSTs) at a time (you can find this technique taught by Eleanor Burns at Quilt-in-a-Day and also in my new co-authored book You Can Quilt: Building Skills for Beginners. Yes, they are small, but using this method they came together beautifully. This helps to give dimension to the bales. They are finished HSTs - 1/2" square; start with two 3" squares. The beauty of doing them this way, they all finish without bias edges.
The hay bales are cut 6.5" x 3.5" and the sashing is cut 1". I did improvise the inner borders (around the hay bales basically...and when trying to add the final woodgrain fabric border, it became clear that I hadn't kept things very straight, so had a few adjustments to make. If you want to improvise...just be careful to keep it squared up.
With the help of two of my friends, Nancy Goddard and Julie Tapley, we have seasonal decorations to hang on the hay bales. There are a variety of ways that they could be attached, including stitching a loop into the top of each bale --either in the piecing process or by hand after it is quilted. Then all 'ornaments' can be hung traditionally. A hook and eye mechanism --put the eye in the strategic spots and a hook on all 'ornaments'. Since some decorations may not be desired in the same locations all the time, perhaps a sticky Velcro system would allow for easy movement (Thanks to another friend, Linda Roberts, that for that suggestion). I'd love ideas for solutions!
I really knew next to nothing about doing machine embroidery. A couple of key things I learned through this experiment--there are designs that are rated for stand alone (i.e. it would make a patch) ..I don't think we used any of those, so a few of these are quite delicate, but they will work for this illustration. We also tried using a water soluable interfacing. Some worked better than others. You'll see on the spider webs that a clear film developed when it dried. That helped the stitching stay together even though it wasn't a design intended to be used in this way.
Here is the first concept -- Christmas in July ....or just really at Christmas!
Then a 4th of July celebration might look like this:
or consider many other seasons
Snow time --I always think of January for snow --used an Aurifil variegated thread for this one.
Appliqued onto polka dotted fabric for this heart.
Valentine's Day in February
St. Patrick's day in March or Easter Eggs ...sometime in the spring
Watermelon for summertime fun or even something hand made using my Queen of Hearts accuquilt Go! die and cutter and a few hand stitches with Aurifil 12 wt thread.
and how about the fall ....or Halloween.
Even thought a 12 Days of Christmas idea would be fun or even a countdown to the start of school. On the backside of the Christmas ornaments, use a nice light neutral fabric so you can write a number or use a fabric with numbers or print them yourself. Then stitch out a school house and let it be a fun countdown to school.
Now for this very yummy recipe!
Lemon Berry Bars
This idea developed in my childhood and continues to evolve. Start with a Russian Tea Cake recipe. Don't make the 'balls', just put the dough in a pan and bake it. Cool. Add a lemon pie filling and top with berries. They could be fresh berries or make a compote.
I chose to try using almond flour instead of wheat flour (often I use part wheat and part white flour). I have many friends and think I myself would benefit from minimal gluten, so have started experimenting with other flours. It actually turned out great.
Russian Tea Cake mix for the 'crust'
1 cup soft butter--just let it sit out for a while (I tend to use butter with olive oil premixed)
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla (I used some awesome Mexican Vanilla)
Sift and stir in:
Flour (I often use 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour and 1 c white; this time I used 2 1/4 cups Blanched Almond Flour - Gluten Free! ....and no sifting actually occurred, but you get the idea)
1/4 teaspoon Salt (I used Sea Salt)
3/4 cup Almonds (calls for chopped nuts ...I just put the whole almonds in --while mixing it broke them up a little bit, but not much, I like the crunch!)
Spread into a pan (use a bigger pan than this! unless you love a thick crust)
Yes, it fell, but that's ok. This made for a very thick crust --my weakness I realize, so it would probably be just fine in a larger pan and make for a bit thinner crust --it will go farther when serving it.
(this is from a recipe book my mom had in the 1970's) I wrote up a recipe card while in a high school foods class circa 1980.
Super simple ingredients --powerful punch!
Stir together until it thickens (beat it!):
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk --I notice that the can purchased at Costco recently is an ounce less than what they were in the 1970's!
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (zest!)
2/3 cup lemon juice -- fresh or ReaLemon
Spread on cooled crust.
Add Fresh Berries when ready to serve or make a compote and chill before serving---I used rows of fresh raspberries (they were huge! --those Driscoll berries are grown where I was born) and blueberries.
Cut desired size and garnish with a fresh mint sprig if you'd like!
Any ideas for how to attach the 'ornaments' on the hay bales?
The next blog in the Summer in the Country Blog Hop is Be A Quilter.
Use the Rafflecopter below for the main Island Batik Giveaways.
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My next blog post will be on 1-Sept as part of the EQ Seasons Row-a-long. Tutorials of how to draw rows featuring the four seasons and lots of giveaways. You do not need to have the Electric Quilt (EQ) software, but you might be inspired to enter to win it. My design will be a new paper piecing pattern incorporated in two sizes into a beautiful Spring row. See you then! Join this Facebook group if you'd like to get additional support for the EQ Seasons RAL.
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Randomly selected winner is Anita. You have been sent an email requesting your mailing address.
Thank you for all the 'fastening' ideas!