Sunday Recipe: Roasted Veggies

With lots of goodies coming in from the garden, I wanted to share with you roasted veggies, one of my favorite new way to cook them.

As most of you know, Dave and I share cooking duties here at Happy Acres. I cook two weeks and he cooks the next two weeks. One of our favorite dishes in roasted veggies.

In the past I’d line a baking pan with foil, spread out the veggies, and bake. That was good, but the secret to even better roasted vegetables is the cast iron skillet.

Roasted Veggies Recipe

  • Veggies: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, fennel, potatoes, carrots
  • cast iron skillet
  • olive oil and salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When oven is ready, put the cast iron skillet in the oven to heat up.
  2. While the skillet is warming, rinse and cut vegetables in small pieces. We’ve found kohlrabi roasts best in thin slices. Toss veggies with olive oil and a little salt. Of course, you can also add other spices.
  3. After the skillet has warmed up for 30 minutes, carefully remove it from the oven.
  4. Place the vegetables in a single layer on the bottom of the skillet.
  5. After roasting for 10 minutes, remove the skillet from the oven and turn the veggies over. Put back into the oven and continue roasting.
  6. Check back in another 10 – 15 minutes. Usually it takes about 30 minutes. However, your time may be different depending on how you cut the veggies and your oven.

Roasted kohlrabi

What I love about this treatment is it’s easy and it absolutely delish! If you have mom’s old cast iron skillet – we are using Dave’s mom’s skillet –  dig it out and start roasting. If you’ve been roasting your veggies without the cast iron skillet, do give it a try. You will be surprised at the difference.

Hope you’re having a great Sunday! See you later this week.


Posted in gardening, Recipes, Sunday recipe | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

June Green Challenge

For the month of June I’ve challenged my Icy Delights students to make a combo with a green and another color. This is a good exercise in seeing how the colors play together, and a great way to find a new favorite combo. Because of how the dye colors split in ice dyeing, you never can be sure what you will get unless you try.

Everyone who participates will be in a drawing for some dye and other goodies.  I decided to join the group by playing too.

I’m not a big fan of Lime Squeeze, so I combined it with 14 other colors to come up with 14 different combos. I do like the majority of the pieces. Here they are all together.

I would never know that Lime Squeeze is in every piece. At the end of the month we’ll all have more combos to play with.

If you’d like to join in the challenge, check out my Icy Delights class here. 

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to play a bit with resin. I’ve been wanting to do this for several years, but hated to drag myself away from my dyeing. I saw something on Facebook that convinced me that I needed to try it. So this past weekend I played with the resin on a tile. The flecks in the tile are glitter and they really sparkle. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to capture that in my photograph.

Anyway, I feel it’s something I need to explore further.

In the gardening arena, we continue to wage our war against the deer. The shade garden contains a variety of hostas we’ve purchased over the years. The hosta addiction started back in 2009 when I was chair of the local master gardener’s garden walk. One of the gardens on the walk was almost all hostas. We both fell in love with this plant and decided to dedicate part of our new shade garden to hostas. The deer in our area seem to think the shade garden is a buffet just for them. We’ve done about everything we could do to keep them away from food and plants in our yard. The main garden is fenced. The blackberries are netted. Dave has purchased a variety of concoctions spraying them every couple of nights to keep the deer away. We’ve done everything but fence and throw down human hair. So last night we gave up. We went out and cut down all of our hostas. I thought I was going to cry. We decided if we can’t enjoy them, neither can the deer. I’ll be digging the hostas up either this fall or this spring, and finding something else to plant there that is less deer friendly. Below are before and after pictures of a few of the hostas in this area.

We may need to turn this into a fern area since the deer don’t seem to care about them. We’ll see. We’ve got plenty of time now to decide what we’ll do with this area.

Thanks for dropping by and letting me whine about the deer!

Posted in fiber reactive dyes, ice dyeing | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Sun Printing Tips

I’ve been sun printing now for almost seven years. Since that time I’ve learned a bit about this fun technique so I’m sharing some tips with you today. Check out my other sun printing posts here.

  • The most important thing you need to know about sun printing is that it is all about HEAT, not sun. So if you have a sunny day and it’s cool, more than likely you won’t get a good print. Humidity also helps because it slows down the drying process. What is happening is as the fabric dries, the pigment is pulled out from under the masks. If it dries too quickly, the pigment won’t be pulled out and you won’t have a good print.
  • Also, make sure it’s not real windy.
  • You can use any kind of paint, but I’ve found my favorite and the paint that gives me the best results is Setacolor Light (formerly known as Transparent). It and Dye-na-flow don’t change the hand or feel of the fabric.
  • If you don’t care about the feel of the fabric, you can use any kind of paint. I would suggest using a paint that has a lot of pigment instead of cheap craft paint. Golden Fluid Acrylics work well, but are a bit pricey. Check out here for my comparison of textile paints vs screen printing inks.
  • Using botanicals or really any masks can be tricky if they are rigid. The masks need to sit flush against the fabric.
  • Using masks that cover large areas with few cutouts such as large flowers won’t look real good. Look for masks that have openings. For example, the following picture shows wood feathers. The resulting fabric is just large areas of white.

  • If working outside, make sure you keep the fabric wet before you set it out for printing. You can spritz it with water to keep it moist, but be aware that you will be watering down the paint.
  • I’ve found cutting plastic sheets to size and then using a foam core or cardboard as  carriers, allows me more time to get them ready for sun printing. I also can do this in the dye studio (garage) away from the sun, and then carry them to the sun.
  • Lastly, since they are sitting on plastic they tend to feel dry on the top but aren’t dry all the way through. Leave them to fully dry and don’t peek!

Those are just some of my sun printing tips for right now. It’s a fun technique. I hope you will try it if you are so inclined.

I was on our local WEHT Local Lifestyles program yesterday demonstrating sun printing. However, the four-minute segments are never long enough! Here is the link to the video.

I’m wearing on the show my new necklace made with my ice dyed bamboo knit.

Meanwhile I’ve been doing a bit more of ice dyeing for the June Challenge for students in my online Icy Delights class. Here are just a few of the pieces I’ve dyed.

What is amazing is the main color in these pieces is green! That’s what is so exciting about ice dyeing. Every piece is like opening a present.

Do you have some sun printing tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for dropping by. Sure hope you are taking some time for yourself.

Posted in fiber reactive dyes, ice dyeing, sun printing, surface design | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Over Sun Printing

Today is all about over sun printing. Over sun printing is like over dyeing or over marbling. We are sun printing over an already sun printed piece. For directions on how to sun print, check out my posts here.

If you don’t have an already sun printed piece, go ahead and sun print your fabric. Once it’s dry, iron (to heat set), and then sun print again. If you have any questions about sun printing, check out my tutorials here.

For the above piece I used fresh ferns from the shade garden as the masks. I’m using Setacolor Light paints. This is the original piece.

It’s pretty, but it needed more. Also over sun printing is a great way to fix those “mistakes” or pieces you really don’t like. I added magenta over the wet fabric and added additional ferns. Here is my result again.

I went looking in my stash for a couple old sun printed pieces to over sun print. Here is the original.

Number stencils

Number stencils and potato masher sun print

I added orange and added the letter stencils again.

Another original.

Crafters Workshop Harlequin Stencil Sun Print fabric

Crafters Workshop Harlequin Stencil sun print fabric

I added orange and needlepoint canvas.

Here is another fern print which is a bit brighter than the first one I showed you. I forgot to take a before picture.

My friend Lisa Chin wrote a good post about this technique on the Printed Fabric Bee blog back in September. Check it out here.

I love how over sun printing adds a bit of complexity and depth to the piece. As I mentioned earlier, I also love how it can fix a piece.

I’ve learned quit a bit over the last several years about sun printing. I’ll be sharing some tips in my next post.

It’s such a fun technique that produces beautiful results. I hope you will try it this year.

Linking up to

Off The Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Mary

Can I get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Artist


Posted in fabric, Fabric paint, sun printing | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Cherry Picking Time

Cherry picking came a bit earlier this year. Last week I harvested almost a pound – enough for a cobbler – from our little tree we planted back in 2007.

It made this yummy cherry cobbler.

Friday we went to Farview Orchards which is 45 minutes from here.

This is the only orchard in the area that grows cherries – both sweet and sour. Dave and I love to stock up on both kinds for the freezer so we can eat on them all year long. We picked 20 pounds in 45 minutes and then we went home to spend two hours processing them for the freezer.

Here is just one of the boxes from our harvest. Puddin and Ace had to check it out.

Cherry picking brings back such great memories. My first time picking cherries was at Dave’s house in 2005, just a few months after we met. We spent the day harvesting his cherries and putting them up. We always thought when we planted those three trees in 2007 when we moved here, that eventually we’d have as many as his old tree provided. However, two of our trees died and then the old tree that was here when we bought the place was cut down by mistake by the tree service. So every other year we head up to Farview and pick a bunch for the freezer. Now we are stocked up for awhile.

We’ll make lots of cobblers with the tart cherries. I also like to make cherry pie cake (aka cherry upside down cake) with them. The sweet cherries we will use for smoothies and add to our morning dry toasted muesli.

Back in the studio I’ve been stenciling on my dry brush dyed fabric.

Also, I’ve been ice dying a bit. I’ve offered students in my Icy Delights online class a challenge for June. Everyone entering the challenge will be put in a drawing for a prize from me. Sharing their dyeing with the other students will give everyone more ideas for their ice dyeing projects.

I decided I’d take some time yesterday to also participate in the challenge. Taking boring white fabric and making it into beautiful color is why I love it so much. This bunch is waiting to be washed.

Hope you’re having a colorful day!

Posted in Baking, dry brush, Favorite things, preserving, stencils, traditions | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Cherry Picking Time

Five marking tools

I thought I’d share the  five marking tools I really, really like for those painted canvas pieces.

First up is this neat wood clay roller. It comes with three other rollers and you can buy it online or at Blicks. I just love the marks this roller makes.  You can see I used the roller with several colors, and then added white lines as the top marks.

This wood fabric stamp can be found at craft stores and online. I just love the marks it makes, but then I absolutely love wood stamps.

Here are the last three.

The brayer with dots also comes with an extra roller with lines. I found mine at Tuesday Mornings, but you can also get it online. The old potato masher I’ve used a lot with my soy wax, but it also works great with paint. I don’t remember where I found it. The last is a cheap foam stencil brush. I don’t like to use it for stenciling, but sure love the circles it makes on this canvas.

These are just five of my favorite marking tools.  I showed one of my finished art quilts using these canvases on this post. Below are the two I’ve finished so far.

This second one I like even better than the first one.

Now to make one more. I’ve never been real good at working in a series. I’m trying to learn to be more disciplined!

Hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend.

Posted in acrylic paints, canvas, surface design | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Peppermint 100% Coconut Soap

If you’re new to the blog, you might not know that Dave and I make our own soap and have done so for the past seven years. If you’re interested in our soap recipes, check out this link.

When we were in Hawaii several years ago we met a soap maker. That’s not really unusual since when we travel we always scope out new soaps to try, and love talking to soap makers. However, she made 100% coconut oil soap. She had lovely long black hair and she used it also on her hair. Of course, we bought a bar and absolutely loved it. So we just had to try making it. It has become our favorite. Below is a picture with this soap and another new one Dave wanted to make.

Peppermint 100% Coconut Soap and Licorice Soap

The soap is easy to put together since we’re only using one oil. Coconut oil can be purchased at your local grocery store, Costco, or Sams. Coconut oil is super cleaning and may tend to dry skin. However, when you increase the superfat percentage to 2o, it becomes mild and good for your skin. It also has a great lather. Our recipe includes the 20%.

The only downside to this soap is that it takes almost 10 minutes to trace. By the end of the session, the stick blender is pretty hot.

If you’d like to try it, here is the recipe. We used to make large batches, but have found we really like smaller ones. This recipe can be changed using any essential or fragrance oil you like. We recently made a batch for me using Mokalata fragrance oil. It’s a great blend of cocoa, coffee and vanilla – Yum!

If you are not familiar with cold process soap making, please read the instructions Here.

Peppermint 100% Coconut Soap

Coconut Oil – 450 grams or 15.87 ounces

Distilled water – 171 grams or 6 ounces

Lye – 65.9 grams or 2.3 ounces

4 teaspoons Peppermint EO added at trace

This makes 1 pound of soap.

Before making any soap from any blog including mine, check the recipe through one of the online soap calculators.

On the art front, I entered the Threads of Resistance exhibit. This was my entry.

A piece of my ice-dyed fabric was used for this project. I showed my process back on this blog post. Over 550 art quilts were submitted with only 59 chosen for the traveling exhibit.  I didn’t make the cut, but it was great to participate.  You can see all of the entries here.

It’s been raining here so I’ve been able to get a little sewing (and soaping) done.  Have a great week!

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Painting canvas class

There is nothing like a new online class to inspire me.

I just completed “Paint & Stitch: Vibrant Acrylic Quilts” on This painting canvas class is taught by the talented Katie Pasquini Masopust.

I learned a couple new things, and I feel this class really stretched me.

I’ve painted on canvas, but never took her approach of painting. She has you paint on  three at a time, and then cut them up to make a quilt.

Here are my finished canvases.

It was so hard for me to cut them up. I love all three of them, but especially the red/orange one. I made my first two blocks to begin the process.

And after much playing, here is the quilt just waiting to be bound.

I’ve started on my next art quilt that will include these three blocks. If you are wondering where the red/orange went, I’m using the lighter areas of that canvas.

I like this set much better. I’ve never worked in anything quite abstract like this, so it’s been an interesting experience.  I like the idea of working on three different canvases so you end up with lots of fabric to play with. I’m thinking I can get three art quilts from these canvases with some fabric left over.

As you know, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, I absolutely love online classes. This is the first class I’ve taken on Iquilt in a long time. The only thing I don’t like about that platform is you can’t view other students’ questions. Otherwise, the classroom is easy to navigate, and Katie got back with me quickly on my question. Some of what I learned in this class can be transferred to working with my ice-dyed fabric.

What a great project the kids at Sharon Elementary, the school just down the road from me, participated in lately. I walked down there yesterday to get a good look at their painted rocks.

Love these painted rocks.

Lastly, lots going on in the gardens. I’ve been harvesting asparagus every day. Saturday while cutting the grass I noticed one of my recently purchased plants had flowered. Isn’t she a beauty?

Hope you have a great week!

Posted in acrylic paints, art classes, art quilts, online classes | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

How To: Reverse Applique

I’ve wanted to try reverse applique for quite a long time. I’ve also been looking for ways to use my ice dyed stash. Here is my tutorial on this fun and easy technique.


  • Three pieces of fabric: top, one that will show, and backing
  • batting
  • fusible web
  • fabric marking pen
  • scissors
  • iron
  • sewing machine with your favorite color thread
  • Design to trace

Let’s get started. Iron fusible web to the back of the front piece.

Now to one of the fun parts. I drew a Monstera leaf on cardstock, cut it out, and then traced it on the fabric. However, you could draw anything on this top piece.

I used a chalk pen to trace the shape onto the top fabric. Just be sure whatever pen you are using can be erased.

This is how it looks after I was finished tracing.

Now make the fabric sandwich before you take it to the sewing machine. Be sure to remove the fusible paper backing on this top piece.

Layer in this order: background fabric, batting, fabric that will show through, and your top fabric. Do NOT iron the top and second fabric together.

Machine baste the layers together. You could pin or clip them instead.

Now you’re ready to stitch on your lines of your image. You could use your free motion foot. Use either a contrasting thread or one that matches the background. I tried both ways, and really liked both of them!

Here is how it looks when it’s done.

This is where the magic begins. I start with a seam riper and carefully put a hole in just the top layer inside the design. Then start cutting.

Once it all cut out, clean off your marking lines, and then press.

Now you can continue to quilt around the image or even inside the image. Square up your piece and finish as you desire.

Reverse applique is so easy and I love the results. I thought this was a perfect use of my ice dyed fabrics. However, it’s a great way to showcase any of your favorite fabrics.

Talking about ice dyeing, my Icy Delights online class has been open a year now! Almost 200 students have taken the class producing absolutely stunning fabric, clothing, purses, and more. The Facebook group has been quiet for the past couple months, but with the weather warming I’m looking forward to seeing many more pieces.

Judy Sall, a wonderful fabric dyer and also known as “Tie dye Judy”, is  a student of the class and she recently wrote a blog post about ice dyeing on the “Fire” blog. You can check it out HERE. If you aren’t familiar with that blog, it’s a great group of fabric artists who share their knowledge every month. I am proud to say I was a part of that group for a couple years, but left due to other commitments.

If you’d like to know more about Icy Delights: Dyeing Fabric With Ice, check out my promo video. I’d love for you to join us.

It has finally quit raining, at least for a day or two, so I plan to get out and get some gardening done before the heat hits. Have a great week!


Posted in ice dyeing, Reverse applique, Sewing, tutorials | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Flag Swap and more

Back in February I posted about this Positive Prayer Flags swap. Last week I received my six flags.

Aren’t they beautiful? I’ve added the extra flag I made so I end up with seven flags from this swap. I’ve hung them under the ones I made last year.


Much of my time has been spent outside, weather permitting, weeding and mulching. I finished the asparagus patch way earlier than in the past.

We’ve been enjoying this asparagus. This was one of the dishes I fixed recently – Asparagus Mimosa.

I also got the screened porch ready for eating and sitting.

I’ve still been painting on rocks – testing different supplies to share with you soon. This first rock is a large one that sits outside in our landscaping.

And here are a few in one of my rope bowls.

It’s been fun experimenting with different supplies looking for my favorites.

Since I’ve been spending so much time outside, I bought some new gardening shoes and I absolutely love them!

We have our first bluebird babies. Here is one of them just out of the nest. Isn’t he cute?

Bumblebees have been working hard on the blueberries. I’m looking forward to my daily harvest soon.

That’s all for today. I have a couple tutorials and some other stuff to share in May. I just need time to post! Hope you are having a good Sunday and thanks for stopping by.

Posted in drawing, flags, gardening, rocks | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments