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By Edie McGinnis
I’ve been a little jealous of my friends lately. It seems as though they are all off to one retreat or another. As much as I would love to go play, I’ve been too busy with work to run away from home. So here I am, sitting at my computer, thinking about what treats I could contribute if I went. I know, that’s just sad, isn’t it?
I have been accused of being a pretty good cook by my friends, so if they aren’t missing me at retreat, maybe they will at least miss my cooking. And please don’t tell anyone the secret I’m going to share with you here: I’m really just lazy.
I take treats that are quick and easy. I don’t spend any more time in the kitchen than absolutely necessary. After all, I have fabric to cut, supplies to round up, my sewing machine to pack, as well as all the little things that I can’t live without when I’m sewing. Oh, and then there’s clothes. I have to pack them as well.
One of my favorite treats to take is Apple Roll-Ups. My grandma made them for me when I was a kid. She used her leftover pie dough. I’m too lazy to make pie dough, though, so I grab a box of ready-made piecrusts. Here’s what you need to make these yummy things.
Makes 16 roll-ups
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 8 wedges each
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup water
Slice each of the two piecrusts into 8 wedges. Wrap a wedge of dough around each apple slice. Place each piece of pastry in a 9” x 13” cake pan, and make sure the pieces aren’t touching. Brush each with melted butter. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the pastries. Pour the water over the pastries. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 425-degree oven.
I can guarantee that you will not bring any apple roll-ups home. You will be lucky if they last long enough for you to grab some for yourself.
My next favorite dessert to take is a Black Forrest cake. There are people who go to a great deal of trouble to make this kind of cake. I am not one of those people. I opt for the easy out, and it looks like I’ve gone to a great deal of trouble.
Quick and Easy Black Forrest Cake
1 dark chocolate cake mix
1 tub Cool Whip
1 large can cherry pie filling
Follow the directions on the box of cake mix, and bake the cake in a 9” x 13” cake pan. Let the cake cool. After it has cooled, ice the top with Cool Whip. Spoon the cherry pie filling on top. Looks impressive, tastes great and it’s done in no time flat.
My third favorite thing to take requires more time, but hardly anyone makes it.
Orange Oatmeal Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of one orange
1/2 teaspoon orange oil or 1 teaspoon orange flavoring
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup craisins
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. While it’s warming up, cream the butter and sugars until smooth. Add in the eggs, vanilla, orange zest and orange oil and beat well. Stir in the baking soda and salt, and add the flour. Stir in the oats and the craisins, and mix well.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for a minute or two. Place on wax paper to finish cooling.
I’m still pouting about not being able to get away and join my friends. Maybe I’ll just do a little baking this evening, when I’m done working.
Edie McGinnis is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Friday.
Mrs. Bobbins is always one to find a good deal out there in the quilt world. Now she brings her amazing talents to you … with her weekly Bobbins’ Bargains!
Every Thursday, Mrs. Bobbins will select one of our books and offer it to you at a very special price … 75% off the current listed price!
Better yet, your shipping is FREE in the continental U.S.
Better, better yet, “Five Gets You a Freebie!” If you order a Bobbins’ Bargain just five times, you get a free copy of any of our books! Take your pick. We’ll contact you by email once you’ve qualified for a free book and take your order. Plus your shipping on that one is free as well. Easy as pie!
This week’s Bobbins’ Bargain is “Stars!: A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts.” See and learn about the fascinating quilts created by members of the American Quilt Study Group as a research and study project. Patterns are included for 10 of the 39 study quilts.
The book retails for $26.95. Your price using our Bobbins’ Bargains promotion code is just $6.74, plus your shipping on this book is free in the continental U.S.!
Be sure to use this promotion code before checkout:
Please make sure to click the “Apply Promotion Code Now” button after entering the code. The discount won’t apply unless you do so. Please verify that you’ve received the discount before checking out.
Click here to order. And remember … your shipping of this book is free in the continental U.S.!
By Donna di Natale
Ironing is not my favorite chore, so my husband finds it ironic that I’m so interested in collecting irons and learning about their history.
While I don’t care for ironing, I love to quilt, and quilting involves a lot of pressing. My new modern steam iron makes that task a dream, but pressing hasn’t always been so easy.
The process of ironing fabric to make it smooth or pleated has been around for centuries. As early as 400 B.C., the Greeks were ironing their linen robes with a goffering iron, a round bar much like a rolling pin. The Romans, Chinese and Vikings all had various instruments for smoothing cloth. By the 1300s, the English had developed the flatiron, an apt name for flat iron bars with a metal handle. The flatirons were heated in a fire, covered with a piece of cloth, and then the fabric to be pressed was pulled between two bars. If you had multiple flatirons, you could heat some while pressing with others.
It wasn’t until the 15th century that a box-shaped iron was invented. The box iron, or slug iron, was hollow. Hot coals, bricks or slugs (heated metal inserts) were placed in the box, and then a handle was attached. Because the iron didn’t need to be constantly reheated, this was a time-saving device and hung around for several hundred years.
By the early 19th century, the development of cast iron products had changed life in so many ways. The cast iron stove, for example, and the sadiron, which is still found in antique shops. Sadirons are solid cast iron, weigh about 10 to 15 pounds and are shaped somewhat like a small football. Early sadirons had cast metal handles on top.
In 1870, Mary Potts, an American, made improvements to the sadiron that made it heat more evenly. She also patented in 1871 a wooden handle that attached to the iron with a spring clip. Of course, these irons tended to rust, because that is what iron does, and perhaps they were responsible for many of the rust-colored stains found in quilts from this period.
In the mid-1800s, the gas iron was invented. Early gas irons were heated on a miniature gas stove. The real change came around the turn of the century, when a small gas tank and burner were attached to a metal iron. Naphtha or alcohol fueled the burner. When the burner was lit, the iron heated up. These irons were much lighter and didn’t cool until they were turned off or ran out of fuel. The one shown here was made by the Coleman Co. sometime between 1926 and 1948. These irons are easy to find and are still in use where there is no electricity.
The electric iron was invented in the 1800s and was widely available in the early 1900s. Of course, these were only handy if your home happened to have electricity.
In 1920, thermostats were added to electric irons, making it possible to press most any fabric without scorching. Fabrics still had to be dampened with a water sprinkler to really get the wrinkles out.
This lead to the invention of the steam iron around 1926. Again, a small tank was attached to the iron, but this time the tank contained water instead of fuel. Small holes were punched in the bottom of the iron plate. As the water heated, steam came through the holes and moistened the fabric while you ironed. Soon the water tank was contained within the iron, and the so-called modern iron had arrived.
Irons were no longer made of iron. They were chrome plated, enameled metal or cast aluminum. They were pointed on one end and squared off on the other so they would stand up. Irons became an item of beauty as well as utility. Their streamlined shape was well adapted to the artistic tastes of the 1940s and ’50s. Conveniences such as a steam or dry switch, nonrusting alloy sole plates, rotating cords, automatic shut-off and cordless models followed.
As quilters, we know the right tool for the job is important. The right iron is certainly one of these tools. If you are a steamer like I am, you look for the most holes in the soleplate. You want a pointy tip for opening or turning seams. The iron needs to be fairly lightweight but heavy enough to press multiple layers of seams. It needs to be leak-proof so as not to stain the fabric.
Looking back at what early quilters had to work with, we have come a long way from a rusty 15 pound chunk of iron.
Donna di Natale is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Wednesday.
For more quilty laughter from Mrs. Bobbins, get The Big Book of Bobbins by clicking here! Just $7.95!
By Edie McGinnis
Just the name of the town conjures visions of quilts. Paducah, Ky., is home to the National Quilter’s Museum, the American Quilter’s Society and one of the largest fabric stores in the country, Hancock’s of Paducah.
Until a few weeks ago, the only time I had ever shopped at Hancock’s of Paducah was during quilt week. Mobs of women with carts loaded with bolts of fabric stood in line at the cutting tables. They were chatting with people they had never met, having fun and laughing as they waited patiently for their turn at the cutting table.
They would also inspect the carts of the women around them. It wasn’t unusual to hear, “Are you buying all of that?”
“No, I’m just getting three yards.”
“Will you pass it back to me when she’s done cutting yours?”
“OK. It’s sure a pretty piece! It’ll look great in the quilt I’m making.”
Everywhere you looked in that store were lines of quilters. And they were happy to be in those lines waiting. Waiting to have their fabric cut, waiting to be checked out and waiting for their friends.
And the husbands! Oh, my, there they were, sitting on benches outside waiting for their wives. They all had that long-suffering, glazed look in their eyes husbands around the world get when they know their wives are doing a little out-of-control shopping. Or a lot of shopping. I’ll bet they can see the dollars flying out of their wallets.
Yes, it’s a total madhouse during quilt week.
Two weeks ago, when I stopped on a Friday afternoon, it wasn’t quilt week. It was an ordinary day and I was on my way to the National NeedleArts Association Nashville Needlework Market. I had been driving in some very ugly weather and was anxious to get out of my car. I pulled into the parking lot of Hancock’s.
It was raining hard, but I managed to get a parking place right in front of the door. It seemed odd. I wasn’t used to being able to park so close to the building. Ordinarily, I would have to walk quite a distance to get in the place.
There were only three other customers in the store. I could see clear across the room and walk down the aisles without running into anyone or having people smack into me with their shopping carts. I could shuffle through the bolts without getting in anyone’s way.
While I’m sure Mr. Hancock prefers the mobs of people that frequent his store during quilt week, when he can sell batting by the truckload, I was enjoying wandering the aisles freely and seeing the sights. They have quilts hanging from the ceiling, and I got to look at them, all of them. What fun it was to see them and be able to take in what they look like in a leisurely manner.
I chose a bolt of fabric, walked up to the cutting table and was able to get it cut right away. What did I buy? Well, I bought this piece of French General by Moda, because it seems as though the acres of yardage I have of this fabric just wasn’t quite enough. And besides, who could resist those sweet little birds flying around on the red background? Certainly not me!
Edie McGinnis is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Friday.