Color Burst

It has been several months since I posted about quilting.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been sewing, just that I have been working on some time-consuming projects.

One of the projects I am working on is another scrap quilt, this one made with various types of long cabin blocks set into diamond shapes.  The quilt idea was rather easy to design in EQ8, but has proven very tricky to actually sew.

The idea behind the quilt was to make an asymmetrical starburst with half of the star on one side of the quilt and overlapping bands of off white making up the other half of the quilt.  The color scheme incorporated the transitioning through the colors of the rainbow for the starburst.

The log cabin blocks are completed.  There are four red/orange blocks, eight yellow/green blocks, twelve blue purple blocks and twelve cream blocks.

Three of these were not too difficult.  But, the blue and purple blocks were rather challenging with the corner inserts on each side.  This block is also called a Pineapple block, which I have done before in a square form in a Christmas Bed runner.  In the square form, this block just takes a bit more time than a traditional log cabin block.  However, in the diamond form I found this to be very tricky.  Each block had 45 pieces, and I needed to make twelve of them.

I like how the color transitions turned out. Now on to piecing the quilt blocks together.

Suncatchers for year-round flowers

Another gift recently given was to my younger brother.  He grows Dahlias in the summer and they are gorgeous.

Living in Wisconsin, these beautiful blooms are only around at his house for a few months each year.  With his birthday coming up, I thought I would make him some sun catchers to bring some color to the winter months.

The background was a single sheet of clear glass, with strips of the same glass used as the hanger.  The stems were green noodles, the leaves were scraps of transparent green glass, and the flowers were various sizes of glass frit.  The project was fired following a Contour Fuse schedule.  Quick and easy project with a lovely outcome.

Glass Votive Candle Holders

Now that Christmas and a few January birthday gifts have been given, I can post some recent projects.  Today, I am showing some votive candles that I made for two in my extended family.

In November, I completed a four panel fused glass project for my sister-in-law.  After making this four seasons picture, I decided to make a matching votive candle that had the four seasons depicted on sides of the glass.

First, I fused together two pieces of clear glass to form the main part of the votive. Next, was to add the trees.  Since the votive candle was small, the trees would need to be made from something other than traditional fused glass – that glass would be too thick.

Option 1. Bend brown stringer to look like a tree.  I tried this but never could get two trees to look alike.

Option 2. Draw trees with Glassline paint  I thought about it and wanted to try something that would look better than hand drawn.

Option 3.  Cut trees out of fusible transfer paper.

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This is the option I decided to go with. A few years ago, I had used transfer paper to make a sign for another sister-in-law’s kitchen.  While printed black, the iron oxide in the toner fuses to the glass with a nice sepia tone.  This brown color should work nicely for trees.

Using an older model black laser printer (the toner cartridge needs to have a high iron content), I printed a black square on the Photo Transfer Paper.

Then, I used a paper punch in the shape of a tree to make four tree shaped transfers.  Each punched image was then transferred to the four corners of the glass and allowed to dry.

Using medium and fine frit in various colors, the ground and leaves were added to the trees.

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Around the same time, I decided to make a votive to match the “Cook’s Kitchen” sign.  For this I made grape vines using the tree punch but cutting off some of the branches and turning the direction of the tree.  Green confetti glass was used for the leaves and medium weight purple frit was used for the grapes.

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The glass was then contour fused and slumped over a metal mold.

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Pretty gifts to give to a couple special ladies.

Homemade Citrus Marmalade

After Christmas, my family headed to Arizona for some sunshine and a chance to visit my parents and celebrate their 60th Anniversary.  The weather was delightful, with highs in the mid 70’s.  Whereas, in Minnesota, the temperatures were well below zero.

With the help of my younger brother and sister, we also moved my parents into a senior living center.  This meant that they would be selling their home, including the many fruit trees.  During the years that they have lived there, they have enjoyed having fresh lemons, peaches and oranges available right in their backyard.  I too have enjoyed the fresh fruits.  Each time I have visited them, I have taken some fruit back to Minnesota with me.  Since their house will be sold, this trip was my last opportunity to take some fruit home.

As in the past, this year my plan was to make some citrus marmalade.  While most recipes call for making marmalade out of oranges, I prefer the stronger flavor achieved by using equal amounts of juice from oranges as well as lemons.  I also prefer the enhanced fruit flavor obtained when using SureGel Low Sugar Pectin – less sugar, more fruit per bite!

The first step in making marmalade usually involves cutting up pieces of the fruit skin to make the strips that are present in the preserve.  I am not real fond of the large chunks of skin that this normally creates.  Instead, I use a small grater to grate the skin off of the fruit – the size is similar to fresh lemon zest.  This creates a marmalade that spreads nicely, looks more uniform and tastes great.   This also leaves the white part of the skin still on the fruit which makes juicing the lemons and oranges much easier because your hand has something to hold onto.  Today’s batch included six lemons and twelve oranges.  Since each lemon was about twice the size of the oranges, this resulted in equal volumes of juice after squeezing the fruits. A result was 72 ounces of marmalade.  Yum!

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Ten 4 oz jars and four 8 oz jars.
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Delightful on a whole grain roll!
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My extended family.