Black Forest Cheese Cake



Black Forest Cheese Cake will impress your family and friends.  Only don’t tell them how easy it is to make.  When ever you want a wonderful cake for a special occasion, you can go wrong with this one.  It is made using a chocolate cake mix, cherry pie filling, container of fudge frosting, can of condensed milk and 8 oz. package of cream cheese.  You will also need three 9 inch round cake pans.



To prepare the pans, spray them with vegetable baking spray and line them with parchment paper.  I brush the spray to make sure it is evenly coating the pan .

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix chocolate cake using the directions from the box.  Then divide the batter evenly into the 3 cake pans.

Cream Cheese Filling

1  package (8 oz.) cream cheese

1 can sweeten condensed milk (14 oz.)

2 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon of corn starch

1 large egg

Warm cream cheese to room temperature by putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Some times it takes another 15 seconds to take the chill off.  Beat cream cheese until smooth with butter.  Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until creamy.

Spoon the cheese cake batter in the center of the top of chocolate cake batter in each cake pan .  Don’t worry about it being level and keep it about a inch from the edge.



Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.  The cake will be pulled away from the sides of the pan and the cheese cake part may giggle a little in the center but it will firm up as it cools.   Also the cheese cake part will sink as it cools.


Leave in pans until the cake is completely cool.  The parchment paper will make it easy to remove the layers.   You just peel the parchment paper off after you remove the layer from the pan.




Choose the layer with the deepest indent for the bottom layer.  You will want the cheese cake facing up.  You will fill the indent with about half of the cherry pie filling.  Spread some frosting around the edges to keep the filling inside.



DSCN1424 Now add the second layer face down on top of the bottom layer. You will have the 2 cream cheese fillings together with the cherries in between.


Peel the parchment paper off and frost a thin layer of frosting on top.



Remove the parchment paper from the third layer and place on top with the cheese cake facing up.   Frost the sides of the cake with the rest of the frosting.


Finish the top with the rest of the cherry pie filling.  This makes a really tall cake.  You may have to hold it together by inserting drinking straws to keep it from sliding around.  Just cut 3 straws a little shorter then the height of the cake.  Just push them in evenly spaced in a triangle from the top.  This will hold the cake together.  I didn’t have to do this time because it was sitting straight.



Chill and serve.  My family kept waiting for me to photograph this so they could eat it.  It didn’t make it to the refrigerator until it was a quarter gone.


One container of frosting only covers it with a thin coating so if you want a thicker coating it will take 2 containers.


Rising Sun Quilt Block-Sampler Quilt



his is the last block in this 19th century sampler quilt.  The block is the Rising Sun from the period just before the Civil War.  It was one of the few block patterns that had a name during that period.  I looked for a long time for this pattern on the internet but could not find a free pattern for it.  I was also having a hard time locating a pattern for it in my collection that was not a large size block.  I did find a 13 inch block pattern for the rising sun.  I had to redraft it to fit in a 12 inch finished square. I then printed it out on artist tracing paper so I could paper piece it. It is an easy design to paper piece.


I made four copies of this on artist tracing paper.  I cut out the eight pieces.  This pattern is worked in sections.  I marked the light and dark sections and numbered them in the order that they would be paper pieced.  That kept me organized and less likely to make a mistake in order.  I finished the sections.


This is how they are assembled. I had to hand baste them first because of how stiff the pieces are with paper in them.  I needed the lines to follow the curve so I did not pull the paper out until after they were assembled.  Also hand basting allows me more control over how the points are worked in. I didn’t have the time to fiddle with all the diamonds so they were perfect.  I rather liked the rustic look of the piece and some of that will quilt out and not be noticed.




It was time to make the center.  I used a round small bowl that was the right size to draft the circle. The paper was pulled off of the back of the center sections before I started. I left the paper on the outer sections so I would have a line to follow later.  Then I pinned it in the center to applique. I turned under the edges as I pinned.  I will make sure my points are nice and pointy and the circle will not be perfectly round but close.  If I did it a perfect circle some of my points would be cut off or not touching the center which is more noticeable then a slightly wonky circle.



I used a round 10 inch plate to make my next pattern piece.  I traced the curve on a corner of a piece of paper leaving plenty of space for squaring up the block.  I also used one of the sections as a guide for the size. Remember in the 1840’s women used what ever they had to help make a curved pattern.  They figured it out even with out being able to read or write. A string and a couple of pins could make an arch.  You could even score the paper with the pin if you didn’t want to attempt it with a pen.


I sewed the 4 sections together and checked to make sure the circle was the right size to fit around the block. It was a little too big so I took a bigger seam to correct that.  Sorry about the smug on the lens but I did want to show that all you do is lay it down over your block.  You will be able to tell because you need the circle to be smaller then where the points end.



I sewed the curve by basting it first.  You don’t have to baste but I like to have all my points sharp and this way works well for me.  I don’t have all those pins to worry with as I sew.  I just follow my thread line.  I pulled the rest of the paper off after I was done.  Steamed pressed it and squared it up to 12 1/2 inches.



Now I will start on the quilting.  I will sash these blocks and layer them with backing.  I plan to do this in sections and bind them together.  There is  30 blocks in this quilt.  When I am done the quilt will be queen size.


Carolina Lilly Quilt Block – Sampler Quilt



I needed more novelty blocks for my sampler quilt to give it more visual appeal.  I actually didn’t want to do any applique blocks in the series because I feel that technique needs to be taught in several lessons.  So that will make a future diary series for our group at a later time.  This is a pieced block of stylized flowers that was made in the 19th century and has stayed popular through the 1930’s.  It is still a pattern that is well loved even today.  Many like to make this pattern as a red and green quilt that can be used for Christmas.

In Barbara Brackman’s book,”America’s Printed Fabrics 1770-1890,” she features a pattern call Cactus Rose.  She also shows the original block in turkey red and green fabrics from the 1840-1860 time period. Carolina Lilly is very similar to this pieced flower. You can see this quilt on the back cover of her book pictured on this blog with a great book review of “America’s Printed Fabrics 1770-1890.”…

In Brackman’s Civil War Quilts, there is some history on the Carolina Lilly block. There is a nice picture of that block from that period farther down the page.…

The National Museum of Natural History has a wonderful picture of a quilt from 1840-1860 of a Carolina Lilly quilt.  If you click on the picture you will get a full page picture.  You can see the turkey red fabric now has white holes in it.  The black dyes then contained metals that oxidized and ate through the cotton. I have chosen some turkey red fabrics that have been reproduced from that period for my quilt block


Pinterest also has a wonderful picture of a 1870’s quilt.…

I did find the Carolina Lilly pattern that could be down loaded for free in a PDF file.  Make sure you use the 12 inch finished block.  I also used the 13 inch pattern for my half squares then squared them up as I went along.  I found that I needed the extra because they were hard to set in with y seams. You have a choice of the two pattern sizes.

Pattern for Carolina Lilly…

PDF for 12 inch finished block.…


You can still use your rotary cutter by laying the pattern pieces under the plastic ruler. I also scissored cut some of mine because I was using small scraps.


You start with laying out your lilly and sewing together the petals. Check closely your 1/4 inch seam allowance as you sew.  Even with careful checking the biases will hard to make each flower the size you want them to be.  I used the 12 in pattern for these pieces in this pictures.




The next step is the most challenging of this pattern.  You have to set in the background pieces.  That is done with a Y seam.  In my last diary there was a great video showing how to sew hexagons with Y seams.  I used this same technique with these.



Setting in those background pieces took the longest time to do.  After that everything went together at a normal sewing speed.  I did find that later I had to replace a couple of them with a larger piece to square up right.  Those did go in easier then the first ones. The next step was to sew the two large background half squares.



Now that is done, it is time to applique the stems to the center background block. I pin them down as I folded the edges under.  Actually that was fun after doing those Y seams and was a nice break.  I was able to press them with an iron so the edges stayed under while sewing.  I used a tiny little blanket stitch on my sewing machine and green thread that matched.  I have speed setting on my machine so I slowed it down at first until I had a feel for it.  I am very pleased as to how it turned out. You can’t see the stitching. It certainly made me feel better after those crappy Y seams.


The two other lilies was sewed to the center block to complete row two. I used my rotary cutter to square up the bottom of the first row and the top of the second row before I sewed them together.  They went together nicely on the first try. The basket half square also went on with out to much trouble. The basket weave print is also a reproduction of a fabric from the mid 19th century.



The block squared up to 10 1/2 inches at this point.  I think the pattern wanted it to be smaller.  That really isn’t a problem because the last few pieces can be squared down.


I laid the next pieces out and thought about how I would make this fit into a 12 1/2 inch unfinished block.  The basket fabric is very busy so looking at it I knew no one would notice the bottom point cut off when I sewed the two bottom pieces to the basket.





The bottom half square was sewed on cutting the bottom of the point off the basket. It looks nice and no one will ever know that was not the way the pattern went. It squared up to the size I wanted.


I am real pleased with it.  The colors actually looks better then in the pictures.  I was doing this at night and the pictures doesn’t show how well all the shirting and various red and greens work together.  I am keeping with the scrappy theme of the quilt.

I will only have 2 more blocks to do for the next diary.  I will be searching for something interesting to add to this quilt to finish it off. Then I will show you how I sometimes quilt my quilts.


Oatmeal Batter Bread-Easy



Most oatmeal bread recipes make a dense loaf but I wanted a lighter easy oatmeal bread.  After trying several recipes I decided to adapt my batter recipe into an oatmeal bread.  It turned out good.  It had a chewy crust and was light inside with a little oatmeal texture.  The brown sugar give it a little hint of molasses and sweetness.  It was a no fuss quick recipe.

I have a small organic food store near me that I can buy in bulk.  I get my oatmeal there and small bags of specialty flours.  I also buy my spices there.  I actually found it cheaper to do that then buying at the grocery store.   This recipe calls for a half of cup of oat meal flour and a quarter of a cup of rolled oatmeal.

Oatmeal Batter Bread

1 1/4 cup warm water

1 package of yeast

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1/2 cup oatmeal flour

1/4 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Prepare a standard loaf pan with baking vegetable spray.

I warm 1 cup of water in my microwave,  pour it into a large mixing bowl.   I add my butter,  brown sugar and a 1/4 cup of tap water.  My butter is usually cold and my microwave heats the water up a little bit too warm.  I blend these for a few seconds with the mixer until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved.  By this time my water mixture is cool enough for the yeast to sponge in.   In the picture below this is what your yeast mixture should look all bubbly after it sits a few minutes.



In the mean time measure out all your dry ingredients into a bowel and whisk together.


Now add your dry ingredients a cup at a time and let your mixer do the work until it gets to thick for it.  Then you can finish mixing the rest by hand.  I have a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook so I change from the paddle to the hook and let it do the work.  When it is all blended it should be very sticky.  You spread it into your loaf pan with a spatula and sprinkle a little extra rolled oats on the top.


Then I spray the top lightly with vegetable spray so it won’t stick to the plastic wrap.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise.   I live at sea level and it is hot and humid.  So I just washed dishes and kept an eye on it.  I already had something in the oven so the oven was ready to go.  It took just 20 minutes to rise.


You don’t want it to rise any higher then that.   Bake for 45 minutes until it is done.


It will lift right out of the pan after you let it set for about 5 minutes.  Let it cool before slicing.    My family hangs around complaining because I make them wait for it .  If you cut it too soon it will be too soft and moist.  I make them wait a little while so the center can finish baking and firming up.



Hexagons-Sampler Quilt


Hexagons was one of the earliest patterns that the ladies brought with them from Europe.  They would make their hexagons by folding paper and cutting.  Once they had their hexagon that they liked from that, then they would trace and cut the amount they would need.  Scissors were an expensive item and so were needles and pins.  Paper was always saved for reuse. Women in England was given money to purchase small items like pins from their husbands, fathers, and boy friends as an allowance or gift.  That is where we get the term “pin money.” Women was expected to keep their hands busy so they would carry these small needle craft projects with them to work on even when visiting others.

There is a wonderful story about Martha Washington.  Instead of the President and the First Lady staying in Virginia, they stayed for a while in New York City.  The First Lady would have open visit afternoons a couple of times a week, so ladies could call on her. It was found in a diary that a couple of ladies was not sure if it would be proper to bring their needle work with them on a visit to the First Lady.  They were sure it would not be proper but kept the small projects in their pockets.  After the tea was served, Martha brought out her mending and started to work on that.  The First Lady was not going to behave like royalty and the visitors were so relieved that they had something to work on too, so that they would not appear to lack proper social graces.

The Gourmet Quilter has a great video tutorial on English paper piecing.  It is eleven minutes long but I think it is one of the better ones offered and well worth watching.

Now we are going to move on to machine sewing hexagons.  I like doing them this way.  It may seem a little fussy with picking out stitches.


McCall’s on line pattern file has a pattern using hexagons for a 12 inch block. The templates from the 12 inch block PDF not the 13 inch block is what is going to be used for the hexagons to make my rosette.  I am not following their pattern but doing a traditional pattern.…

PDF down load for the templates.…

I printed the template on card stock.  This was because I had decided to scissor cut the hexagons from an assortment of small scraps from the 19th century print fabrics I had. The card stock would hold up well for me to trace with a pencil enough pieces for this one block.


I used a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the templates out.


Using my quarter inch seam allowance ruler I checked to see if the smaller template was the correct seam width.  It was so it would be perfect for checking out my seams as I sewed.  I was going to sew this on the machine like the first video using my seam ripper as I go.


I cut all my hexagons out to use in a Grandmothers Flower Garden layout.  I am sewing them together then will only have to applique them down on the background fabric.

Time to get started sewing.


It took me about an hour and half to make this.  It is always slow with a new sewing technique or the first block of a quilt.  I am still getting used to my new machine and quarter inch foot.  Lining up to sew the pieces took me a couple of hexagons to keep from drifting off to the right with my seam.  I solved that by putting a pin to hold the finger pressed seam down.  I made sure it became my point to aim for.  After that it went smoothly.  I kept checking my size of the hexagon with the smaller template.  One of the things that can go wrong with hexagons, they can get wonky and out of shape.  That will throw your whole rosette off.  Placing the small template in the sewed hexagon you will be able to see if it is out of shape.

It worked out just fine in size.  As you can see in the picture above that is fits into a 12 1/2 template.  I haven’t folded in the quarter inch yet for to applique.


Pressing takes a little time.  I didn’t press it until I was done with the second row.  I made the center in the same steps and direction that was done in to tutorial.  I just added the second round the same way.  I picked my seam endings out after sewing the seam.  After I was done my wrong side looked a little rough and I wasn’t sure I would get nice little twirls.  The intersections did twirl and laid nice and flat.  I pressed from the outside to the inside using the tip of my iron at first with steam. I followed the pressing instruction on which way to press the seams.


On the close up you can see that the hexagons where scissor cut so it don’t have the professional look to it from the back side. I used the card stock small template to fold and press the edges over.  I used a stiletto to hold the edges down so I would not burn my fingers with steam.  Now I had fold lines in the right size to pin in place.


One last check to make sure that the rosette is going to be inside the 12 inch line.  The template in the picture is 12 1/2 inches. It fall just in side which is where I want it. The hexagon is never a good fit from all four sides in a square block.  The trick is to check the long side which is the two sides with one hexagon.


Here it is ready to be appliqued down.  I made sure I had extra inches in the size of the background block.  I will be able to center it after I am done with the template and have that insurance that I don’t fall short on one of the sides. The shirting fabric really frames the rosette.  I thought it looked dull and boring on just muslin.  I will take my time and carefully hand applique it down.  The color of the thread will be grey and I will use a size 10 between needle.  I like the little needles and tiny pins to applique with.

I have a set of plastic rotary hexagon templates but chose to use a paper template so you could see how it can be done with out a lot of expensive tools.  Also at the same time can be sewn by machine.  I remember several quilts that were made using that rosette to applique on a large white muslin block. Black embroidery floss in a blanket stitch edged the rosette.  This is a wonderful block to learn to sew and that is why the Grandmother’s Flower Garden was one of the most popular quilt patterns in the 20th century.

Chocolate Swirl Cheese Cake


I love cheese cake.  All kinds of cheese cakes I find hard to resist.  Many years ago I clip this recipe off of the back of the box of baking chocolate.  It is not too sweet and rich in chocolate flavor.  I have modified the recipe a little so it would not be too bitter sweet dark chocolate for my family.  I just reduced the amount of chocolate squares in the recipe.  You make it in a pre-made graham cracker crust from the grocery store.  It is just the matter of mixing up the cheese cake batter and baking.

Easy Chocolate Swirl Cheese Cake

2  squares of semi sweet baking chocolate
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese room temperature
1/2 cup sugar ( divided into 1/4 cups)
2 eggs (1 for each flavor)
1/2 teaspoon for each flavor

1 graham cracker of chocolate cookie pie crust

Pre heat oven 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream one package of cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Melt chocolate squares in microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes until almost melted.  Stir until completely smooth.  Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to cream cheese mixture and beat in until blended.  Add melted chocolate and beat until blended.

Place chocolate batter in the graham cracker crust and spread evenly. Use spatula to scrap out all the chocolate batter.

In the same bowl mix the other package of cream cheese and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add the other egg and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour on top of chocolate batter in the pie crust.  Take a knife and swirl a round the batter.

Bake for 40 minutes.  It will still look soft in the center but it will firm up.  If you bake it too long when it cools it will crack on the top.  Let cool a couple of hours before serving.

This is a great recipe when you are looking for something special.  I usually buy cream cheese on special after a holiday or when marked down for quick sale.  It is a nice way to enjoy cheese cake that is inexpensive and easy to make.

Elisabeth Gurney Frye-How Quilting Came to Australia

Quilting has a rich history in America but many quilters don’t realize that Australia also has a strong history in quilting. It played a major part in the women’s role in helping to settle that country too.  It was all because of one women named Elizabeth Gurney Frye.


During the 18th and the first half of the 19th century, England sent their convicts to settle their colonies.  London was over populated and many lived in squallier. The ruling class saw the forced exile a way to solve this problem.  Beside Londoners many was transported from Scotland and Ireland also.  After England lost their colonies in the USA through revolution they needed another place to send their convicts.  In 1788 the first ships arrived in Sydney, which was called Botany Bay, to set up the first penal colony of New South Wales.  Just to get convicted in an over crowed prison was not enough to be transported, the convicts had to be skilled labor or educated.  The British chose not to use slave labor this time to build the colony. This was probably because of growing anti slavery sentiment among the ruling classes.   Many was convicted to 7 to 14 years sentences to the penal colony but the sentences usually was commuted before the time was up and the person was given land in Australia.

A young 18 year old Quaker girl visited Newgate Prison in London and was shocked at the conditions that women and children was living in.  Her name was Elizabeth Gurney Frye (May 21, 1780 – Oct. 12, 1845) and was a member of the Barclay and Gurney banking families. She was influenced by the American Quaker William Savery to go out and do good works for the prisoners, poor and sick. She organized schools in the prison for the children and prison reform groups.  One of the group, which was the first nation wide ladies’ group was British Ladies’ Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners.  Mrs. Frye felt that the prisoners did not need punishment but help and education to become productive in society.  The women prisoners were organized into groups that could vote on rules and learn genteel skills like needle work that could earn them money.  Mrs. Frye also was the first women to give an argument in front of the House of Commons to further prison reform.  She was the force behind the eventual reforms in prisons and sentencing.

The British Ladies’ Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners taught the women to do needle crafts.  They also donated supplies to the prisoners.  Usually the women was placed in groups of 12 before they were transported and given supplies for quilting while aboard ship.  This was to give them something to do and also have something to trade or sell when they arrived in Australia.

One of the many improvements the Society implemented was to offer prisoners useful tasks, such as needlecraft, to keep them occupied during their incarceration. The Society donated sewing supplies, including tape, 10 yards of fabric, four balls of white cotton sewing thread, a ball each of black, red and blue thread, black wool, 24 hanks of coloured thread, a thimble, 100 needles, threads, pins, scissors and two pounds of patchwork pieces (or almost ten metres of fabric).

These provisions were carried by the 180 women prisoners on board the Rajah as it set sail from Woolwich, England on 5 April 1841, bound for Van Diemen’s Land. When the Rajah arrived in Hobart on 19 July 1841, these supplies had been turned into the inscribed patchwork, embroidered and appliquéd coverlet now known as the Rajah quilt.…

Most likely this quilt was made by women who had no choice but was forced to make this one. They were after all prisoners. The inscription on the quilt leads you to believe this was ordered done by their supervisor, Miss Kezia Hayter, who was hand picked by Mrs. Frye to supervise them on the trip. It is not known if Mrs. Frye knew of the quilt before she died because it was sent back to be presented to her to prove their success but the quilt must of returned to Scotland.  Miss Hayter had a romantic affair with the Captain of the ship who was from Scotland.  The quilt was discovered in a trunk in Scotland in 1987 and was purchased by The National Gallery of Australia and returned to Australia.  Because of it’s fragile nature, it is only shown for a month each year.

of the
Convict Ship Committee
This quilt worked by the Convicts
of the Ship Rajah during their voyage
to van Diemans land is presented as a
testimony of the gratitude with which
they remember their exertions for their
welfare while in England and during
their passage and also a proof that
they have not neglected the Ladies
kind admonitions of being industrious.
June 1841…

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