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Monday, November 26, 2012

Design Studio Update: Photo Studio for Quilts

Over a year ago I converted my guest room into a design studio or craft room for my sewing, scrapbooking, painting and other creative pursuits.  I updated it again to have more storage and now I've updated it again to help me take photographs of my handmade quilts.

I've been using thumb tacks, push pins and even safety pins to hang my handmade baby quilts so I can photograph them for our Etsy store.  This has left hundreds of holes in my wall and has caused my post production color issues as my wall is slightly pink.

I had been doing research on backdrop systems photographers use for photo shoots, homemade pvc alternatives, quilt hanging wood blocks, really everything I could think of.  On a visit to my favorite furniture store, Ikea, I found the perfect thing -- a curtain rod with curtain rings with clips! Great news, its not expensive or hard to install either ;)

I can move my storage containers around, quickly and easily clip up a quilt and take pictures.  When I'm not photographing quilts then I can put my storage containers back.  While I mostly only use a small portion of the curtain rods and clips for the majority of our baby blankets, I got a curtain rod long enough to support a a king size quilt to show off my larger master pieces.
With the white clips and rod I can more easily find true white when correcting the color of the pictures.  I also added colorful, inspirational fabric in black frames to help provide more color to help the graphics program make better 'automatic' adjustments.

Ikea Shopping List:
Racka curtain rod
Betydlig wall/ceiling bracket (I got 4 for the length of my curtain rod)
Vasentlig finial set
Syrlig curtain ring with clip and hooks (comes in 2 sizes, I got 4 packs)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Celebration

As always, Thanksgiving was a special family gathering for us this year. It was just our immediate family and grand parents.  We spent a lot of time talking, munching on olives, catching up on each other's lives -- new jobs, home projects, ideas about the world.  Jeanine, my mom and the 'traditional' partner of Creative Tradition, spent most of the morning in the kitchen prepping and cooking.

Thanksgiving is really her favorite holiday.  She shows her family love through cooking and on Thanksgiving she really gets to shower us with food and love.  She had the large bird in its bag, in its pan and in the oven before most of us arrived. The table was also dressed and ready with scraps of paper telling everyone what food went into what serving dish.

While waiting for the turkey to cook we had an opportunity to Skype with our far away family.  We got to watch my younger nephews playing, dancing, nearly walking, doing somersaults, having fun.  Its nice to be able to connect with family across the miles. It may not be the same as having them in the same room with you but seeing smiles and hearing voices is a wonderful thing.

As the time got closer to the meal everyone stepped up and helped in the kitchen stirring gravy, mashing potatoes, carving the turkey or really what ever mom asked of us. It made the kitchen a little tight to maneuver at times, especially with heavy, hot dishes but the feeling of family was palpable. My sister and I acted like the children we are in our hearts and stole little bits of food while mom chased after us with a wooden spoon. Despite the drama, hot plates, and MANY cooks in the kitchen the table got set, food was served and the family began the meal.

Table set with side dishes, waiting for the carved turkey.

A perfect Thanksgiving plate!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Crockpot Creamed Corn

One of the Bass Thanksgiving traditional foods is Jeanine's creamed corn. It's rich, creamy with bright bursts of sweetness when you bite into the corn.  This year my in-laws weren't able to join us for Thanksgiving and they requested this recipe to make and bring to their potluck Thanksgivings with their friends.  It's great for fall or winter potlucks as you can make it in a crock pot and keep it warm all night long.

Gulliver's Creamed Corn

2 boxes (8 oz) frozen corn
1 c milk
1 c whipping cream
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 T sugar

On the stove pot:
In a large pot, melt butter.
Stir in flour till well mixed with butter.
Add rest of ingredients.  Cook until thickened.
In a crock pot:
"I use the crock pot to give me more room on the stove and you don’t have to watch it as closely so it doesn’t burn. I put mine in in the morning on high and then once it’s thickened, I turn it to low until it’s time to serve." - Jeanine

At meal time, creamed corn is served in vintage colored, textured glass dishes my mother inherited from her Aunt Mary.  They are green, orange, brown and red... perfect for our Thanksgiving table.

Mom loves her cream corn unseasoned. She says its so everyone can season it to their taste but really I just think she prefers the sweet cream taste.  I usually season it with sea salt, ground pepper and would serve it with some chopped parsley to brighten the flavor.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tart Cherry Pie

Cherries are one of my favorite fruits and cherry pie is one of my favorite Thanksgiving pies.  Growing up when mom would make extra pies to feed everyone it always seemed there was never enough cherry pie!

2 cans red tart cherries in water
1 1/2 c sugar
5 tbsp corn starch
pie shell and top crust

Drain cherries, saving the juice.  Mix sugar and cornstarch together so there are no lumps.  Pour mixture into juice in a saucepan and cook, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick and clear.  Cool for about 5 minutes then add the cherries and stir.  Pour into a pie shell and top with the crust.  Put a whole in the center of the top crust to let the steam escape.  Bake at 425 for 40 minutes or until the crust is done.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Traditional Granny Smith Apple Pie

It's not Thanksgiving with out mom's traditional apple pie! Mom prides her self on stuffing her pies with more fruit than the usual bakery restaurant bought pies so you can always tell her apple pies based on the big domed top crust.

8 to 10 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
pie shell and top crust

Put a little water in the bowl with the apples and sprinkle a little sugar and some cinnamon over the top.  Mix well.  Put into the pie shell and put the top crust on.  Crinch the sides closed using your thumb and first two fingers or a fork. Put a small hole in the middle of the top to let the steam escape.  Bake at 350 about 50 minutes or until the pie crust looks done -- slightly golden and flaky dry.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thanksgiving Pecan Pie

I absolutely love Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving!  My husband is allergic to walnuts and pecans so I don't ever cook with them any more. So Thanksgiving is one of the few times a year I can indulge in my love of these nuts as my mom, Jeanine, the 'traditional' partner of Creative Tradition, usually bakes them. She uses the recipe on the back of the Karon corn syrup and uses Grammy's Pie Crust though it would still taste yummy if you used a store-bought graham cracker crust.

We usually half slices of pecan pie as it is very rich. And well, it's Thanksgiving!  If you take half slices of pie you can taste every pie and not feel guilty for eating 4 full pieces!

Karo Pecan Pie

1 c Karo corn syrup
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c sugar
2 tbsp margarine or butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c pecans
1 unbaked pie shell

Stir together the first 5 ingredients, then add the pecans.
Pour all into the pie shell and bake at 350 for 50 – 55 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Real Pumpkin Pie

A family favorite at Thanksgiving is mom's famous pumpkin pie. We never were allowed to carve pumpkins for Halloween.  We could pick out our own pumpkins and put them on display at the front door. But after Halloween, before they rotted, mom would cut up the pumpkins, roast seeds, and boil the pumpkin flesh in preparation for Thanksgiving pumpkin pies.

I've had bakery restaurant pumpkin pie before and it was good, but the pie filling was so mushy.  Using real pumpkins and not canned gives a better texture and very fresh taste.  It is more work but definitely worth it!

2 c pumpkin
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c whipping cream
1/2 c milk
1 unbaked pie shell

Combine pumpkin, sugar, and spices.  Blend in eggs, cream, and milk.  Stir until well blended.  Pour into pie shell and bake at 400 for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean.