Monday, May 28, 2012

Quilt + Pillow = Quillow

It's a quilt. It's a pillow. It's a Quillow ... and it's finally done!

I had one of these made for me when I was a child.  I used to enjoy cuddling up on my bed or the couch with my feet tucked warmly in the pocket.  I loved it, so I decided to try to make one for my daughter.

I am not going to teach you how to make a quilt. If you don't know how, ask someone who is a better quilter than me. I've kinda made it up as I went along.

This quilt is three different fabrics. 
I cut dozens of 4 1/2" squares and sewed them all together into the quilt top. I made the back with two large panels of each of the three colors. I put some batting in the middle and machine-quilted between each square.

Now I know I don't use a proper border technique, but I don't care. I cut long two inch wide strips and folded it in on itself and sewed it around the edges of the quilt after trimming it.

So that would have been the end of it if I was just making a quilt, but I wanted to turn this into quillow. I made two four-square by four-square panels and added some batting and quilted and edged them the same way as I did the quilt. Next up was sewing that panel to the bottom center of the back of the quilt. I sewed it around the right, bottom, and left sides of the panel, leaving the top open. Sew it on good. It is going to get used and abused.

All done sewing! To turn it into a pillow, fold the sides in even with right and left sides of the pillow panels. 

It should be about in thirds. Then, fold the top of the quilt towards the top of the panel, stop a few inches before the panel. Fold that in half. 
Turn the pillow section inside out and tuck the folded quilt into the pillow. And now you have a pillow.

You could add any fabric to any quilt or blanket that you already have, as long as the proportions are right.


Demonstrating the "foot warmer" feature

Monday, May 21, 2012

Giant Chocolate Donut Cake

This was much easier than it looks and turned out much better than I expected. It wasn't until I saw the finished product that I decided it was post-worthy and then it was too late for in-process photos. Maybe I'll have to make another one and take more pictures.

The key to the whole thing is the pan. My husband bought it for me for Christmas. He got it at Big Lots for $5 apparently, but I am guessing you can get them online or in other stores.

It is silicone, there are two identical pan pieces, one for the top half, one for the bottom.

I preheated the oven as directed on the box cake mix. I prepared the batter according to the box directions. Then spray the pans thoroughly with Baker's Joy to ensure easy cake removal. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Mine have max fill lines inside them.

The instructions that came with the pans gave recommended bake time, I think it was about 30 minutes. You can do the toothpick test to check. Let them cool in the pans for a bit then cool completely on a rack.

Flip them back over and use a cake leveler to get a nice even surface on each. I used standard store-bought icing to put a layer across the cut surface of the bottom cake. Then carefully flip the other cake over on top of the first, being careful not to break the cake and line up the edges as best you can.

Next step is icing. I scooped more out of the same container as before and put it in a microwaveable bowl. I warmed it up for 10-15 seconds - enough to make it soft, but not too runny. (If you make it too runny, like I did the first time, add another spoonful of room temp icing and stir.) Pour the warm icing over the top of the donut/cake and let it drizzle down the sides a bit. Once you've got the icing good, top with chocolate sprinkles.

Serve to a delighted birthday boy (or whoever you feel is deserving of a delicious cake, maybe even yourself).

Of course, you can make any combination of cake flavor and icing and decorations you want. You could even hollow out a "trough" and put a filling in before putting the top cake on.

Enjoy! And let me know how it goes.