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Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Easiest and Best Homemade Pizza EVER!

Not only was this the best TASTING pizza I've ever made, but it was also the EASIEST.   I used *THIS RECIPE* from King Arthur Flour, but altered it a bit.   

This recipe is perfect for TWO people, and only takes about an hour from start to finish.  

For the Dough: 
*1 package Rapid Rise Instant Yeast
*3/4cup Warm Water
*1cup Bread Flour
*1cup All-Purpose Flour
*1t Salt
*Garlic powder (or fresh garlic)
*Pizza Seasoning or dried italian seasoning (for the dough) 
*1T Olive Oil 

Pizza Toppings:
*Pizza Sauce (or marinara) 
*Shredded Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese
*Chopped Onions
*Chopped Red Pepper
*Sliced Banana Peppers
*Or any pizza toppings you like!

I don't like cheese, so half of the pizza is NO cheese. 

1.  Empty the yeast packet into a small bowl, and pour 3/4 Cup Warm Tap water over top of it.  Give it just a small stir - not too much.  Cover with plastic wrap and stick it in a warm area.   I just put it outside in the shade, it was 90 degrees yesterday.  Leave for 15 minutes. 

2.  In a LARGE bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, 1t garlic powder and 1t Pizza seasoning.  

3.  Make a pocket in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in your yeast/water mixture and 1T olive oil.   Stir with a fork as much as you can.  Then, flour your hands and start kneading the dough.   You may need to add a bit more flour.  For me, this dough was incredible easy to work with.  After kneading for about 5 minutes, roll the dough in olive oil, place in bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.   Stick the dough in a warm place (I put it outside in the shade in 90 degree weather.)  Let it rise for 1/2 hour.  

4.  After you dough has risen (it will double in size) Punch it down, and with floured hands, knead for another minute or two.   Let your dough ball rest for about a minute. 

5.  Roll your dough out on a floured surface.   Roll it so that it's about the same shape as the pan you're going to cook it in.   I used a rectangular pan, so the dough looked like an oval before I transferred it to the pan.   

6.  Cover your pan in parchment paper ~or~ lightly cover with olive oil.  Transfer your dough to your pan, and with your fingers, smooth the dough out to meet the edges of the pan.   Make your crust as plump/full as you wish.  I LOVE the crust so I Made mine kind of big.   Keep in mind your dough will rise significantly when cooking.  

7.  Once your dough is in the pan to your liking, cover and put it in a warm place for 15 minutes.  

8.  While your dough is doing its final rise, you need to preheat your oven to 450 and start preparing your toppings.   

9.  After the dough has sit for 15 minutes, uncover and lightly brush the crust with olive oil.   Sprinkle the crust with garlic powder, sesame seeds, italian seasoning, oregano, or any other seasonings you desire.  

10.  Before adding your toppings, you should prebake the crust for 5 minutes.   

11.  After 5 minutes, pull your crust out of the oven, and add your toppings as you desire.   First sauce, then meat, then veggies, then cheese.  ;c) 

12.  Cook pizza for 15 - 20 minutes.  In my small oven it took the whole 20 minutes for the cheese to get good and browned.   

The crust was soft, chewy, but crispy on the outside, the toppings and cheese were marvelously cooked and browned.  I'm telling you people   IT. . . WAS. . . AWESOME!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Things I learned from this project:
#1 - Don't expect to finish a quilt of this size in a week.   (Although it only took  me a little over a week with no sleep)
#2 - King size T-quilts take not 1, not 2, but THREE packages of fusible.  That's 30 yards.
#3 - Dont even think about trying to take a photo without at least 2 other people helping you ;c)
#4 - You're going to need more than just a queen sized bed surface to lay out your shirts and graph them!

Here are all the shirts, ready to be cut, fused, and sewn!
 In order to lay out all the shirts and graph them, I had to lay out the shirts sideways on my queen-sized bed. I put a table on one side, and some laundry hampers turned upside down on the other side. ;c)
 Just graphing a little less than half the quilt took me a whole day.
 Here's the whole quilt graphed:
 The quilt TOP finished, hung up sidedways on my design wall.   all 85" x 95" of it.
 A curious thing happens when I'm finished with the top:   This is the same box that all the shirts came neatly packed in.  The box was FULL when it got to me.  Now that the top is done, the box is full, OVERFLOWING actually . . with those same T-shirt SCRAPS.  One of my friends says this breaks some law of physics or something.   LOL
 And finally, the finished quilt.   Thank you to my helpers:  James (my hubs) and Mark (my mom's hubs) ;c)
A closer look: 
Some notable things about this quilt/project:  
 This quilt was for a teacher who was retiring.  All the fellow teachers got together, signed the shirts, and had them made into a quilt.  This "SISTERS" block was made because they refer to each other as "sisters."   I took some sparkly cream fabric, and using raw-edge fusible applique, stitched the letters on top.  The letters were made using one of the shirt scraps.  I like how much depth the T-shirt material gives to applique.
 One of the lady's made a cross-stitch and signed it and included that into a quilt.  I LOVED this cross-stitch!  I hate to pick favorites but this probably WAS my favorite block.   I quilted my squigglies AROUND the block, but didn't want to quilt over top of her beautiful hand stitches. ;c)  Now I wish I had gotten a better photo of it.
 Look at all of these SET-IN Seams!!!!   I have a choice to make when making these T-shirt quilts:  I can hurry up and graph them, not paying any mind to whether the seams are Set-in or not, and do the work LATER, when I'm actually sewing the pieces together.   ~or~  I can take my time graphing it, and try my best to AVOID set-in seams, so the stitching goes faster later.  
On this quilt, I chose to hurry up and graph it.   Another thing is, I actually LIKE the way the set-in seams look.  It makes the finished quilt look more like a puzzle and less "block"-y.
 This is the teacher who is retiring I believe.   They had her photo printed on a T-shirt at walmart.  
 This next block is interesting because it was a baby onesie.  Instead of unsewing (ripping out) all the seams on the onesie, I just appliqued the front area to a white background.   One of the t-shirts used in another area of the quilt was almost the exact same weight/material as the onesie so I just used that as the background.   Also, in the process, one of the ladybug's eyeballs came undone.  I had to restitch both of his eyeballs because I didn't have exact matching thread.  So one eyeball would have been darker than the other if I didn't do both of them over.  LOL

So that's it!!!   My biggest quilt to date is my Carolina Christmas which is 90" x 90"  This quilt is 85" x 95" So I would say it's a tie!   
 It wasn't difficult to quilt thanks to my Juki Industrial machine, but unfortunately couldn't do anything really "fancy" with the quilting because of the size.   This quilt is so sentimental, and has enough differences in color and pattern, it really doesn't need a whole lot "extra" anyway.   

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jaime's baby Owl Quilt.

Another Baby? Another Quilt!!!
 I told Jaime she couldn't HAVE an owl quilt, because I already made one for Tiffany ;c) BUT, I surprised her, and instead of 1 owl, there's two.   Which is fitting because this is her 2nd baby ;c) So that's her two children Morgan and Jack in OWL form sitting on a branch.

 Here's the quilt basted and fused.
 Here I used raw-edge applique, and a straight stitch with my darning foot.  I appliqued the pieces first then filled in the background next.
 Here's the background all filled in:
And here's the first feather quilted.   I quilted a feather in the colored areas.  The green areas uses a shiny variegated green thread from Gutterman.  
 The blue area uses a Teal shiny variegated thread by Sulky.
 I added the borders right after I fused down the pieces.
 Here's a couple closeups of the quilting ;c)

 Here's some photos of the back.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Painted Dahlia

(Please Pin one of these two photos please and thank you!!) =cD

I had a little time in between customer projects for some "play" time. ;c) When I saw THIS QUILT made by Pat at "Color Me Quilty" I just HADDDD to try it. . like RIGHT THEN.  
Awhile back my friend Kellie and I drove up to Craft3000 in Parkersburg, WV.   They are the only craft store anywhere near me that still carries procion mx dyes and they have a HUGE collection of textile paints. I had never been to the store before and so I purchased a few dyes and a a few colors (red/yellow/blue/green&brown) of Jacquard textile Paints.   It's been awhile but I finally pulled them out to give them a try.  
Another thing I wanted to try was the giant dahlia pattern.   BUT, instead of doing a regular pieced quilt, I just used the design and decided to make it a wholecloth quilt.   It's not "giant" (only about 52cm wide) - it's more FUN size. ;c) 

 First I searched for Dahlia patterns online.  I found one that was PERFECT because it was a 24-bit, MEANING, I could open it up in PAINT and play with it.
I colored it in the way I liked it and saved it.

Then I went back to black and white so I could print it and trace onto my fabric.  
If you all are not familiar with the program called "POSTERAZOR" you SHOULD be.   It is an invaluable tool for quilting.  It's a completely free program that allows you to take a photo and make it any size you want.  Then it turns it into a .pdf so you can print it.  It's completely user friendly and I would pay big money for the program. . but like I said, it's completely free.
I measured my fabric and it was around 55cm wide so I made the dahlia print out at about 50cm. 
I taped the pattern together and laid it under my fabric.  Then I used a clover water soluable marker to trace the pattern.  

 I basted the quilt and then quilted feather plumes in each of the dahlia's petals.

 I then quilted MORE feathers in the borders .  There's no such thing as TOO much feather right?
 Then I got my paints and started painting each feather a different color.

 Here's my messy workstation half way through ;c)
 I stopped at Joanns and using my 1/2off coupon got some metallic paints, some WHITE, and a new paintbrush.   Where the feather came into the vein, I was dotting that part by dipping a pencil into the paint.  This small paintbrush worked MUCH better than that.

 I finished all the petals and here's my mess now.   LOL.   I mixed up the paint on the shiny side of some freezer paper.  I"m not sure what I'm going to do with the rest of the quilt.  I might leave it as-is, or I might go in and paint the center gold and the little squares at the end of each petal silver.  I dunno. Any suggestions?   I also thought about using brown.

This has been a real eye-opening experience for me.  After finding out how EASY it is to paint a quilt, the possibilities are really endless!!!  Be sure to check out the link to Pat's blog at the beginning of this post to see how she did hers.   She used all "Lumiere" paints, meaning they will work on even dark colored fabrics and they're all metallic.  
As I was working on this I looked through my photos I took at this year's International Quilt Festival, and I think NOW I realize how some of the quilts were done.   They were PAINTED!!!! I just can't believe it.   
My next project I definitely want to try painting on black fabric with the Lumiere metallic paints.
I really think with these methods I could make a quilt that I felt confident enough about to enter into a quilt show.
BUT, is painting a quilt cheating?  I think I kind of thought it was before trying it myself.  But it's SO much work. . maybe even more work then actually appliqueing each piece.   But it's less limited to the fabrics you can find or dye.   Your color palette is only limited to your imagination.