Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Blues (and the Greens): Hearts Knit Together

And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.
-Mosiah 18:21

It was only a week late, but I finally finished this little blues and greens project that I gave you a peek of the other day and got it off to the birthday girl. I like to tell myself that she had fun celebrating an extra day, but I know how special it is to be remembered on your actual birthday. (I have birthday issues, what can I say?) Since my blues and greens project is happy in its new home I can show you now (click on the image for a close-up).

I did the original table runner for another friend for Christmas and had so much fun with it that I decided that there were a few more people in the world who needed one. I found the paper pieced alphabet (by Kathleen Potvin) on-line and worked from there to come up with the design. I made a few modifications to this new one. In the original I did 2" squares in the checkerboard, but in this one I reduced them to 1½". I also made the sashing around the checkerboards smaller, at ½" instead of 1". And I did the machine quilting myself this time. That was interesting. I'm not sure how I feel about machine quilting yet. I mostly used my walking foot, but I did a bit of free-motion in the ½" sashing.

In my original runner, the family name was Lovell, and it fit so nicely with the heart alphabet. But I liked the idea making this same runner for other families as well, as love is part of a family. As I was putting it together and trying to think of a name for the runner (because obviously A Lovelly Table Runner only works for a family called Lovell), a scripture from the Book of Mormon (quoted above) came to mind. It talks about hearts being 'knit' together in unity. Of course, we all know that I didn't knit this, but I couldn't think of a scripture that talked about quilting and the idea of having 'hearts knit together' in a family seemed to really go with the name of this family sewn into the hearts in the table runner. My friend has a beautiful family. She is the mother of six children. I watch them in church and they sit quietly and take care of each other and treat each other kindly. Then I turn and look at my two Little Bugs teasing each other and want to crawl under the bench. Anyway, I decided to call the table runner Hearts Knit Together and incorporated the scripture in the label I put on the back.

Oh, and if you're wondering what in the world is on the plate in the picture at the top of this post, it is Texas Sheet Cake Brownies. YUM. My friend and I sort of have a tradition of including chocolate in our gifts to each other because we both know that the only thing better than a friend is friend with chocolate.

Texas Sheet Cake Brownies
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
½ cup (1 stick) butter or butter substitute
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk or ½ cup coconut milk mixed with 1½ teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons fat-free milk or coconut milk
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons butter butter substitute
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

• Heat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour a jelly roll pan (or stoneware bar pan) or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
• For cake, combine flour and sugar in a small mixing bowl; set aside. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat water, butter and cocoa powder over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Whisk in flour mixture. Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla and salt; mix well. Pour into pan.
• Bake 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a cooling rack and cool 10 minutes before frosting.
• For frosting, place milk, cocoa powder and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over warm cake. Cool completely. Cut into squares.

Yield: 24 squares

• Use real buttermilk and real butter taste better than sour milk and margarine.
• For dairy-free substitutions that taste as good as the real stuff, use butter substitute for the butter and substitute coconut milk for the milk in the frosting. For the buttermilk, add 1½ teaspoons vinegar to ½ cup coconut milk and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes; whisk to recombine and add to the recipe.
• The type of cocoa powder you use makes a difference. I like to use Hershey's Special Dark, which is a blend of natural and Dutch-processed cocoas, which gives it a deep chocolatey color and flavor.
• I cut mine into 24 squares and then cut them again down the length of the pan into 48 skinny rectangles.

This post brought to you by Finished for Friday at Lit & Laundry and Amy's Sew & Tell Fridays. While you're here, check out my giveaway, some pretty milk glass serving plates that belonged to my grandma.


Shay said...

As always your project is soooooo pretty. The brownies look pretty good too.

When did you get a blog button. How did you get a blog button.I've been googling until I'm blind trying to get a blog button. I'm stealing your blog button.

coley said...

wow lizzie, that turned out awesome!!

Michelle said...

Mmmm... My colors! Lovely! Lucky friend.

Jennifer Lovell said...

I love the new colors, too (but mine is still the best!). Nice job!

Wanda said...

Oh so fun! I'm sure your friend will treasure that beautiful table runner. I always have the same feeling as you when I quilt something myself. Never sure how I feel about it. But it looks good Elizabeth. The whole project is wonderful. I saw a recipe for Texas Cake in the current issue of the Paula Dean magazine and lamented the fact that I gave the magazine away to my friend and now didn't have the recipe. Well what do you know...I was rewarded the recipe through you! Smiles!

Miri said...

Pretty table runner! Mmmm, your cake recipe looks delicious-gotta try it!

Leslie said...

this is such a great gift idea

Threeundertwo said...

That table runner turned out great! Thanks so much for linking up to Finished for Friday!

Paulette said...

What a pretty table runner. I love the personalization.

Catherine said...

Such a nice idea to make a personalised table runner and a lovely background story with it. Thanks for sharing!