Quilting Cats

We had a significant amount of rain both yesterday and overnight. When I got up this morning, it was pouring rain. Surprisingly, when the sun rose, we found ourselves above the clouds, and we're expecting fairly good weather today. The birds will appreciate it when I fill their feeders.

It was a mostly sewing day yesterday, and several projects got some attention. In preparation for quilting It's Raining Cats and Dogs, I first quilted the placemats made recently. It gave me a chance to adjust the tension properly. These were done simply, with just a straight line grid. There are only three lines in the middle horizontally. The vertical lines extend all the way from right to left.

I wanted to keep the vertical lines evenly spaced, and so I stitched in the ditch along only the first and third strips on the right.

Today I'll add the bindings and get the hand-sewing finished off. It shouldn't take very long.

Smitty was very excited about yesterday's quilting start on It's Raining Cats and Dogs. He was just a kitten when the quilt was started, and it has a lot of cats on it.

He likes to warm up the machine with his cheek when we're getting ready to start. It's his gesture of good luck.

The pattern includes some photographs of the finished quilt blocks, and it makes it possible to see how the designer quilted it. I'm not saying I'll follow the quilting exactly, but it gives me a springboard from which to start.

I did the sixth block pretty much the way it was shown in the picture. It's hard to tell if the applique is outlined, but I'm outlining all of mine.

The design is fairly primitive and so my quilting is fairly primitive too. It's all done free-hand, including all lines. The pattern suggested this meandering looping star motif.

Also, some cross-hatching. I used a heart-leaf vine around the dogs at the top.

There are scalloped "shingles" in the roof...

And pebbling for the wall at the bottom.

And here is the whole block.

Sadie thinks this quilt makes an excellent foreground for her newest magazine shoot. She's considering posing for Catoria's Secret catalog. If you're not familiar with Catoria's Secret, I should explain that it includes unmentionables for cats. She's been working on her Bette Davis eyes.

This is one of her more purrvocative poses.

My quilting day ended mid-way through the afternoon so that I could test out another mini bundt cake recipe. This one is an Apple-Walnut Bundt Cake for Two.

It has an apple cider glaze that mostly soaked into the cake. It added some nice moisture without making it soggy. The first step is to caramelize some sugar before adding some apples to be cooked. When I made this the first time, I wasn't sure how to do that, and so I watched this video, just to be sure I was doing it right.

The original recipe was from Martha Stewart Living. This is my scaled down recipe for two:

Apple-Walnut Bundt Cake for Two
adapted from Martha Stewart Living


4 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon water
1 tart green apple, such as Granny Smith, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Coarse salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 large eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
3 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons apple cider

Make the caramelized apples:  Cook granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until sugar caramelizes, about 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir in apples.  Cook, covered, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Slightly mash apples with a fork (or potato masher) until broken down but still chunky.  Continue to cook, uncovered, stirring, until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Make the cake:  Butter a 6-inch Bundt pan.  Dust with flour, tapping out excess. (Or skip this step, and use Baker's Joy.) Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a medium bowl.

Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add egg.  Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour.  Mix in caramelized apples and the walnuts.

Transfer batter to pan.  Bake until cake is deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.  Let cake cool in pan set on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Turn out cake onto rack, and let cool completely.

Once cake is cool, make the glaze:  Whisk together confectioners' sugar and cider.  Drizzle over top of cake, letting it drip down the sides.

STORAGE:  Glazed cake can be stored at room temperature for up to three days.

* * * * *

This morning, I finished off Tree #9 for Twelve Trees for Christmas.

These are the trees I have so far.

Today I'll continue free motion quilting It's Raining Cats and Dogs. I think it will go fairly quickly, and I'm hoping to have it to binding stage by the end of the week.


Julierose said...

All the trees are beautiful but so far this latest "swirley" one is my favorite...that cake looks so good...hugs, Julierose

Dorothy said...

Busy bee you are. Glad to have been watching Raining Cats & Dogs from the start--and now to the end. :-)


Raining cats and dogs is coming along nicely by the looks--
and look at that forest of trees--so many different 'varities' of trees to pick from for the "Christmas" tree!!!
and your cat helpers are just delightful--
luv, di

Lyndsey said...

I love the tree embroideries, such a fun project. Projects like the trees are such fun as you have the pleasure of stitching them and you've also learnt some new stitches along the way.

quiltzyx said...

We actually had a tiny bit of rain this evening so far! Even had to use my wipers a couple of times....

Good to see that Smitty is giving the machine a rub for luck for you! Such a nice guy.

Lovely poses from Ms. Sadie!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I've been interested while you were showing your embroidered trees. But WOW, together they are stunning! I have a favorite but won't tell you which one. Your new project is cute.
xx, Carol

Louise said...

You're making great progress on the trees! How many are there altogether?

bcarlf said...

I just do dearly love those cats! I also love the Raining Cats and Dogs quilt and the Christmas Trees. The latest one is my favorite so far. I can hardly wait to see what you do with them!

piecefulwendy said...

So fun to see the 9 trees together. They all look great. Sadie loves the camera :-) and Smitty is handsome as ever. That little bundt cake looks pretty tasty!

kc said...

Aww, such sweetness wrapped in fur! Dunno that I would get anything done with furries like that around!the last tree is really pretty! Well, they all are, but that one is especially interesting. The apple cake looks yummy, I have apples on board, as well as all the other ingredients, but we are boondocking in the repair facility parking lot, so water and power are limited. I'm trying to be conservative on water, and oven usage, since we only have 100 gallons and 30 amps! Will have to wait till we return to the park to make it. Hope we can last that long!

QuiltGranma said...

I think you get more done in a day than I do in a week!