Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Refried Beans Recipe

I only have a couple of recipes I am known for: apple pie (my mom's recipe), clam chowder (Scott's mom's recipe), French onion soup, and refried beans.  After a recent party, where we had a tostada bar, I had several requests for the recipe, so here it is:

2 cups of mayocoba beans (one pound bag) pinto can be substituted, but mayocoba beans are coming more and more available.  We even saw them at a Walmart in Arkansas. I heard that 1/2 of each kind of bean is also good, I haven't tried it yet.
2 quarts of cold water
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
one can of evaporated milk
1/4-1/2 pound of shredded Mexican cheese (anything you can find, I even have used a "Mexican mix" of jack, cheddar, and longhorn)
salt and pepper

Dump the beans into a colander and pick over them and wash them.  Put them in a heavy bottom large pot with the water. Add garlic and bring to the boil. Immediately reduce heat and cook slowly, undisturbed, until beans are very tender, at least three hours. Make sure water just covers the beans, you can add more hot water to cover them. Salt lightly. I have also put them in a crock pot on high for about the same time and it worked just as well if not better. Note: Stirring the beans clouds the broth. This is not bad, but not necessary. Drain the beans reserving the liquid. Heat the lard, fat, or oil in a skillet, add the warm or cool beans and garlic in batches and mash them, you can use a bit of the cooking water to get them to your desired texture (I use an immersion blender to mash them). Mix well, and once they are hot, stir in the evaporated milk and then the cheese.  Add salt to taste and a lot of fresh ground pepper. Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently until everything is heated through.

Note: Beans sour if covered and refrigerated while they are still hot. If you made a big patch, cool them before storing by spreading them in a roasting pan.

Garlic and beans under water
Simmering beans
Melting bacon fat

After mashing them with potato masher
Creamy goodness with the immersion blender
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Permanent Papel Picado Banner

I am working on spiffing up my art show display table for the Tucson Open Studio Tour on November 10 & 11.  So I made a table cover and it was missing something.  Well being that it is the time of year for Dia de Los Muertos, I was inspired by the tissue paper cut-out banners. I wanted the same festive look, but a little more enduring.  Here is what I came up with:

Supplies & tools:
Cotton fabric & thread
Sew in interfacing
Paper (I used just printing paper, but water soluble water would have been better)
Cord (I used clothesline rope)
Sewing machine

1 - I drew out a pattern on the paper, remember it's supposed to look like a cut-out so you need to think of shapes that wouldn't fall out if cut out. Also, they tend to be symmetrical as if they were cut out of folds.

2 - I then sandwiched four layers: the bottom/back layer, the interfacing, the "hole" layer, then the top fabric layer and finally the pattern.

3 - I cut around the paper, leaving a flap from the top fabric layer, that would fold over to create the tube to run the cord through.

I folder this over to the back before I stitched all the way around.
4 - I then sewed around the whole paper about 1/4 of an inch inside.
Sewing along the paper, with the top fabric layer folded under to create the tube.

5 - Next I sewed on the pattern, following my lines as best I could.  I sometimes needed to use free stitching, by dropping the feed dogs and removing the sewing foot. This takes some practice, but I have done it enough when quilting, though I am not a pro.

6 - Remove as much of the paper as possible by soaking it in the sink.

7 -  I then washed it in the washing machine to try to remove all the paper.  Not all of the paper came off, it's especially noticable on the darker fabric.  Water-soluble paper would work better.

8 - Then I carefully cut out the top layer (the yellow in this case), inside all the sewing shapes.

Here is the finished banner:

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Art Show Table Covering

I have been invited to have a table at the Tucson Open Studio Tour November 10 & 11. I did it last Spring, pretty spontaneously, but this year I decided to step up my game and make my display a bit more spiffy, starting with a table cover.  Based on my experience last year, I decided to add some pockets and loops.  Here is the process:

1 - I chose fabrics I already had in my stash. You can easily spend more on your display then you can making during the show.  I cut the black fabric one inch wider all away around the folding table.

2 - I made some tabs and pinned them at the both front corners and the middle.  These loops will make it easier to hang signs down the front.

3 - I then made four pockets to hold things like pens, phone, money, scissors, business cards, etc. These things needs to be accessible, but not cluttering the table.

4 - I then pinned the muslin around the edge.  I had the muslin overlap at the back to provide access to storage under the table.

5 - Here is what it looked like so far.

6 - I added a ruffle along the bottom.

7 - Here is the final - though it needs some fancying up.  And I have an idea - stay tuned.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reverse Applique Pillows

Scott (husband) is having a garden party for some business associates and is fixing up the landscaping around his office. Anyway, he asked me to make a pillow from a dish towel. After I turned on the Fleet Foxes station on Pandora (good mix of Bon Iver, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, Explosions in the Sky),  I squared the towel off to fit a standard pillow form, I had some leftover fabric along the bottom and I thought I could cut out some of the shapes to make a couple of reverse applique pillows to go with it.

Shapes that I cut out -

I then ironed on some medium weight one sided fusible interface to give the towel shapes some sturdiness. 

I cut out two 15 inch squares, for each pillow front.  I found the middle by ironing each front into two crosses and then laid the shape in the middle, right-side down.

I sewed around the edge of the shape, about 1/4" from the edge.

This is what it looks like on the front.

I then snipped a hole in the brown fabric in the middle-ish of the shape. And then I cut around the whole thing, inside the stitching about 1/4 inch.

This is what it looked like.

After that I made two panels for the back.

The panels overlap so I could slip the pillow form in.

I laid the pillow top down first, facing up, then the longest panel facing down, then the short panel on top. Pinned them all together and stitched all way around. Then put in the form.

Here are all the pillows lined up on the garden bench.
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Zoe's Apartment

During our visit during Parent's Weekend, I was able to take a couple of pictures of Zoe's apartment. She lives on campus with one roommate.  They each have their own room and bathroom, but share a living room/kitchen.  It is really modern with grey walls.

 This is the view when you first walk in the door.

Her roommate and her father made this cute love shelf, that sits in the entry way, in front of a locked utilities closet.
The couch on the right came with the apartment. Zoe and her roommate and another friend made the mobile.

I made this lamp, well painted it and changed the shade, see previous blog post.

I made the "H" pillow, Zoe made the back pillows and stuffed the rice bag.  The side tables were two Ikea lack tables glued together with upholstery tacks lined up around the edges. You can buy tacks that are already pre-spaced you just need to nail in about every fifth one.  Easy to do.

Zoe and I dip dyed the curtains, starting by dying the Ikea curtains all grey and then bleaching out the top. Apparently the curtains had polyester so we couldn't get them to white, but instead to this yellow, which turned out okay anyway.  There is a border of fabric at the top that is a floral yellow pattern.

Well, this apartment won two awards "Most Pinteresting" and "Best Overall." Pin It