Lucy Boston

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

house building, 'tis the season:

Were talkin' gingerbread, here...

so when you have 22 people
who want to make gingerbread houses
all at the same time,
it isn't really, truly gingerbread.
I'd be baking gingerbread for weeeeeeks in advance.
And I'm not that crazy -
Instead, we start with some type of "foundation"-
the guys/aka contractors build "houses" -
"building" = cardboard and tape guns and scissors and knives
on the butcher block in the kitchen...
Here's a peek at the back of some "construction":
The "contractors" fulfill special requests -
real architectural stuff here, don't you know.
You can request a barn and silo and you'll get a reasonable facsimile.
There are also inspirational questionable pieces built...
the kind where you get the basic shape given to you
and you have to come up with something...
to make this box house foundation work.

Anyway, then there are
the "decorators" or "designers" ...
(there was a true-life
 interior designer this year-more on that later)
singles and pairs...
they are given icing bags and
a plethora of construction materials
and start to shingle and side and install windows and
do some landscaping
and work in some blue sugar water features...
you know, the regular gingerbread/construction stuff.
(the crisco container is empty - it was possibly going to be a round house)
Eventually, there is a
Parade of Homes.

But that is tomorrow...
Bet you can't wait, can you?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the turkeys were here!

The turkeys were here!
No, not my family - the cookies!

One small gathering of family on Thursday night -
not my house & I didn't have to cook a thing!

One bigger gathering of family on Friday night -
yes, my house,
full traditional dinner
followed by gingerbread house making...
only 20 of the 27 people made gingerbread houses. 
That was a whole houseful of fun :)
And a whole houseful of not just cute little houses and creativity,
but also icing and candies and sprinkles! 
[Thanks, Sweetie for being on clean-up crew while I got to go to the quilt shop to teach a class :)]

This afternoon, another family gathering -
this one even more peeps, but not my house.
And not quite as much cooking.

And, there are a few of the turkeys left -

Still talking cookies here, you guys!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving & p.s. the recipe for mashed potato dinner rolls

The turkey is thawing,
the house is mostly cleaned...
(well, there's still some flour
floating around in the air from all the roll making,
so I may have to dust after all)
Family is heading this direction!
I can hardly wait!!!

Hope your holiday is WONDERFUL!!!
Safe and happy wishes
from me to you.

P.S. here's the requested recipe
for the
Mashed Potato Dinner Rolls
(makes about 30-36)
1 cup mashed potatoes (cooled)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
Mix the above ingredients together in large mixing bowl
(I use my stand mixer for this).
Gradually stir in:
1 cup hot water (this should make the mixture moderately warm to the touch)

In liquid measuring cup:
1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp. *yeast
Stir to dissolve.
(*I purchase bulk yeast, but I think this is one little package)
Add the dissolved yeast to the warm mixture in first bowl.
Mix in 7 to 8 cups of all purpose flour.

Mix well, then knead for 5 minutes.
Place this kneaded bread mass into a large, clean bowl,
cover with a clean tea towel &
move to a warm place to rise for 1 to  1 1/2 hours.
Turn dough onto a floured surface, sprinkle top with flour and roll out to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  Cut into rounds, using an upside-down large plastic cup or a doughnut cutter:
Score** and butter the center of each round. 
Fold each in half at scored mark and place on a baking sheet.
Cover again and place in a warm area,
(mine go sit by the fire)
letting the dough rise the second time - approximately 45 minutes.
Bake at 400 degrees for 9 to 12 minutes. 
They will be golden brown and are very soft and moist.
When cooled, you can brush with melted butter.
You can make these ahead of time, as they freeze well and can be thawed and popped back into a warm oven right before serving time.

**to score:  take a butter knife and push an indentation across the center of each round...not quite cutting through the center of each circle...
the scoring/buttering process is a family thing, as this allows them to have an "opening area" when it's time to make sandwiches, as they don't have to be sliced.

P.P.S.  My sister says: if, when you make these the first time, and they are like hockey pucks clay pigeons, don't give up - try again and they will be great!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

primitive eye candy & signs that you are a country gal

First, thanks soooo much to Laura for letting us roam your home.
Wait, the real reason we were there
was to work on our Path to the Civil War quilt, wasn't it? :)
We did work,
but first and in-between and during work on our quilt blocks,
we ogled.
We oogled
We drooled.
And we dreamed.

(really, we did all of those, I wasn't the only one !!! )

Laura and her hubby have the best
old farm house.
Inside and out!
Here's my version of the home tour:)
As you come to the side entrance of the house,
you are greeted by the best ever sandstone, foundation-rock, sweeping, step entrance.
And a fenced, raised, herb garden.
The herb garden is being guarded by a three-seater.
Yes, a three-seater:  as in out house.
(right there, you know you are going to be in for a great treat!!!
a real, old, three-seater!!!! in the garden!!!)
Well, it used to be a three-seater out house.
Now it's the garden shed.
Way too cute!
Then you step onto the little side porch - seating provided for taking off the muddy boots.
There is the greatest old wooden screen door.
(You know you are a country gal if the old wooden screen door gets you excited!
So nostalgic - the sound of a wooden screen door banging closed...)

Then inside the door...
I didn't want to move.
I just wanted to stand there and look!
I didn't even want to move to close the door!

My, oh, my!
Talk about eye candy!!!

It was like being in the
greatest antique store
general store
step-back-in-time EVER.
But warmer.  And lived in.
And I just wanted to move in.
But, Sweetie would miss me, I think...

There were old, re-claimed, wooden plank floors.
There were old, re-purposed-brick floors.
Then, everywhere you looked there were the greatest collections.
Quilts in every cupboard.
Quilts hanging and quilts on the backs of chairs and on the couches.
Little orphan quilt blocks made into pillows filled baskets.
There was Flow blue china.
There was yellow ware.
There were wooden bowls.
There where spice cupboards.
There were hanging cupboards
and floor cupboards and corner cupboards
and screened pie cupboards.

And if that wasn't enough,
each of the great cupboards
had it's own collection that lived with-in!
There were kid-sized cupboards
and a big ol' bowl of metal toy horns.
At the front entrance there were a whole bunch of little cabins.
Yes, we were there to try to get our Path to the Civil War quilt closer to completion.
But, every time I looked up from stitching, there was more eye candy!!!

And, then, to top it off:
she had a great lunch for us!
A great lunch that her hubby put out into a great spread!
(I'm gonna' have to get Sweetie going on this kind of thing!)

So, go back and peruse the pics again...
Every time you look, there's something else that you didn't see last time you looked!
The BEST primitive eye candy ever!

And, I know that I am a "country gal".
But I may have just proved it by admitting that
old, wooden screen doors and
three-seaters get me excited!

Oh, yeah,
I hand-stitched the center of this quilt block:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

thimbles, super glue & duct tape

the consensus is ...
yes, we thimble.
Yes, we all have favorite brands.
Yes, we have multiple thimbles, sitting everywhere and in each project bag.
Yes, we have permanent holes in our fingers from pushing a needle.
Yes, there are issues with our thimbles. 
They are good until they start to wear thin.
And, as Mary on Lake Pulaski replied about her thimble:  
"UNTIL it catches on lightweight applique thread
and keeps pulling the thread out of the needle -
then I throw it across the floor".
I know that feeling, exactly!!!

Someone else emailed me that you can put a dab of super glue (the gel kind works best)
on the place/hole on your finger.  That way, the needle doesn't find it's way in.
I'd be concerned about super glue addiction.  And, do I want those chemicals being absorbed by my skin into my body?

No, our favorite thimbles are not easy to find.
I know when I find a QS that has my favorite kind of thimble I buy a handful.
Not one for each size of my fingers on that hand!,
but five of the same size -
so that when I've pushed/needled enough that a hole is wearing through it,
I have another one ready to open and use. 

It's kind of like putting on a new blade on the rotary cutter.
You hold off for so long, trying to be frugal, I guess.
And when you finally break down and open the new package,
you wonder why you waited so long!!!

So, I went to the Ohio Amish area recently -
Quilt shops galore.
Quilting friend and I didn't hit them all,
but not a single shop carried
my favorite, blue plastic, diamond back thimble...

What am I going to do? 
I have projects calling my name!
I have relaxation to accomplish!

I may have to get out the duct tape as a last resort!
It does come in pretty colors now for a reason!

Monday, November 14, 2011

more meandering

I finished another couple of quilts this past week -
no, not my own, but I got to meander over them for others!
I only wish they were my own!

First, Louise's magnificent star:
She is a new quilter, and so prolific.
This is the gal, who for her first class,
did the CrabappleHill Winter Wonderland.
Her first time doing red-work and first time piecing blocks. 
And it was magnificent!
Not perfect, but truly magnificent!!
Anyway, back to this weeks' meanderings.
Isn't it a beaut? 
She just has one or two more quilts and
she'll have made one for each of her family members.
(I wish I was on her Christmas list!!!)
 And, she even pieces the backs specifically for each recipient:

And, not to be outdone - Joell's work of art:
Perfect points and great color choices, as usual.
And, check out her backing - cats in the colors of the quilt top!
Almost like she had it planned :)

This is another person where I'd like to be on her gift list!!!

Great job, gals!  It was a pleasure!

the thimble-ing debate!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

pushing a needle aka: thimble-ing

Do you use a thimble?
wool and cotton applique,
sometimes even piecing...
Those are the times when I would put a thimble on my finger.
To push a needle.
Way too much of my time, though so enjoyable, is spent pushing a needle.
And it all falls to the
same exact point
on the same finger!
So, yes, I thimble...
as I have a
permanent hole in my finger
from stitching waaaay too much.

Yes, there is a callous there,
but there's also a little "hole" that the back end, eye of the needle ALWAYS seems to seek out and push in, making me jump and say ouch.  You'd think there would be enough callous by now that my finger would be immune to the puncturing pain,
but, no, after all these years, it's still there.
Maybe it's because I'm also always cooking and washing dishes and trying to keep my hands soft.
Maybe that's the reason it's always vulnerable.
So, yes, I always wear a thimble.

I have a few thimbles- though not as many as my scissors :)!
I like the little inexpensive leather ones on the left, above... 
They are made of soft leather and they have an embedded little metal plate that fits right on that vulnerable spot.  But, they eventually wear thin and come apart at the top seams, then, sooner than you can guess, you have become a leather repair person!  Not what I want to do in my spare time- repair leather.

Also, I like the little blue, soft, plastic ones (center, above) that have a diamond cut-out on the nail side.
Though after about a month or less of stitching, I've pushed through to my finger.
You can see on the bottom blue thimble that dark area?  That's the "wear" area, right where there is now a hole - all from needle-pushing so much.

Those are my two favs.

I even purchased one of those more expensive thimbles (the gold one on the right, above)

that is
medically designed for joint protection
and fitted to your thimbling finger by
a medically licensed thimble specialist...
(really, that's what she said---medically licensed thimble specialist!!!).
It's heavy, though, and not my first choice...

I also have a few old, metal thimbles from Great Grandma B and other relatives, but they don't really fit well, though I've tried.

I have some old plastic advertising thimbles, which I have never even thought of trying.
I've tried those little sticky plastic dots.

I have a few of those collectible thimbles from different places around the globe, though I don't think that most of them are made to be worn and used- though I did find a nice Mexican-silver thimble that fits me, but is very decorative with inlaid gem-stones that is pretty, but has the gems right where I "push".

So, let me know your favorite thimble -
or even if you have some secret about stitching with or without one.

My thimble-ing finger will thank you!

Happy Stitching,
sore finger and all!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

a new quilting home

So, the Local Quilt Shop- Always In Stitches, 
where I worked for the past few years
has closed it's doors.
Yes, I'm still sad.
I miss the folks that I worked for and with,
and all the folks that were customers of the shop that I may not see again.

But, I'm not the type to worry long over the "tangled threads", I guess.
What is meant to be will be (there is a bigger plan, I'm sure).

I do have a new place to work...
It's The Good Wives and Company.
I've written about them before:
this is where I got my little 1/4 inch hexies
and, I shared some of the goodies I've found there.

This LQS "fits" me -
I think I've told you before that when it comes to fabrics and wools
that I live a little on the dark side, haven't I? :)
Well, the gals of the GW also live a little on the fabric dark side.
They are all just as friendly and helpful as AIS was.
And, they've asked me to teach, which I love.
I think we will get along splendidly!

A few folks expressed concern that it is soooo far for me to drive,
but, really, it's the same distance north as the other shop was south.

So, anyway, I worked this past week
helping them (the GW) get ready for their Winter Open House,
then helped out Friday and Saturday
for the Open House itself and it was a blast!!!
(My normal days there will just be Tuesday and Friday,
so I can still quilt to my heart's content on the other days.) 
AND, I had quilters coming in and hugging me,
saying they were "so glad I had found a great, new home".
(thank you so much, gals - it was nice to see you all, too!)

I couldn't have expressed it any better:
that's what it feels like - a new quilting home!

Monday, November 7, 2011

meandering again

Here are the latest tops that I got to meander over for other folks
(aren't I lucky???!):

This was a block of the month that Bea did:
 This is also Bea's - it was another almost king-sized:
It's a pretty pink and chocolate concoction, isn't it?
I only have one more of hers to meander over,
and I think she's ready for Christmas!
 (wouldn't that be nice?-to be ready for Christmas?).

Next, is a very thin, woolen, whole-cloth by Margaret. 
She called it a "woolen challis",
and although I hadn't heard that term -"challis"-
used in a very long time,
it is indeed a very soft, finely woven wool. 
Her daughter contacted me and
asked if I could do something
more contemporary with it in the way of quilting.
So, here's a close-up right before I took it off the machine.
You can see the pattern of the fabric is a small check,
so I did a graphic-square/rectangle free-motion thing
all over it in a very soft blue/grey thread. 
I'm going to have to remember this
woolen challis, whole-cloth idea for myself -
next time I need a quick but special gift - whole cloth it shall be!

Later, quilt friends!
More stitching is calling me...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Way too busy, part three

Another busy part of this Autumn:

There's a new grandbaby!!!
My fav sonny and fav d-i-l had their first little one!!
I'm way too excited, and showing it, I know...
(They haven't asked me to go home yet when I'm there, so I guess I'm doing o.k. !)

Here's the quilt that I made for him before he arrived:
He sure was a "kicker" before he arrived,
so I thought this fit him :)

Back to the quilt...
I used that Minky product for the back of the quilt...
You know the stuff - It's super soft, and this was kind of long, furry stuff
so it will be a great texture thing for him.

But, boy was that a pain to use for backing!!
If you've used it yourself, you'll know what I'm talking about.
I think it stretched to twice it's width when pulled taunt on the machine!

Minky is NOT a machine-quilter's friend!!! Just saying.

I had to re-load it going the other direction, and that worked, but I sure was concerned about it being stretched too much and then making the whole quilt contract back to regular size after it was taken off the machine!

I've heard that there is now a new product that is the same softness and is Minky-like, but doesn't have the stretch...
I don't know the name, nor have I seen it, but I'll be looking for it.
Wish I would have known!

Don't forget -
today is the day to set your clocks back an hour -
I'm planning on using my extra time wisely -

off to play in the quilting studio!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Busy, part two

First, I never heard from Alecia of NY - one of the cinnamon-grunge candle winners, so I re-drew and the new winner is.....
Diane - the first comment left.  I've emailed her and will get these gifts out ASAP!
Thanks for playing along!!!
Now, on to the busy-ness:

It's been super busy around here -
as Sunday night was The Annual Bonfire/Chili Cook-Off. 
It was a great gathering! 
Lots of friends/neighbors, lots of great chili,
and the weather was cool cold and crisp!
And of course, lots of laughs and visiting!

Someone asked how many years I have been hosting this event,
and I decided I don't know. 
I'm going to have to make a sign:

*don't know how many years, as we are all gettin' older and can't remember :)*
The chilies were all great - there were eight contenders!
I had to triple taste before I voted :).
The was even a potato chili soup for the non-chili eaters!

neighbor Mike on the left - he knows how to sample chilies!!
The winners this year were
Taco Chili and Male Chauvinist Chili.
Both had a great, hot bite to them,
but not so hot that you couldn't taste them.
There were also fifth-pound franks to roast over the fire.
Of course, there were breads & corn breads, corn chips, cheeses, onion cassarole, and toppings galore.
AND a big ol' chocolate cake, cookies, a couple of apple pies and ice cream in case you were still hungry.

Going to have to add another tent and more tables for next year, as it was packed full this year!
Oh, and, the things you can learn about your neighbors
as you sit around a bonfire to talk!!!
neighbor Jim counting his fingers
It's nice to laugh that hard.