Lucy Boston

Saturday, December 31, 2011

feeling Eve-y

Yep- that's a word - Eve-y...
And a feeling.
I'm sure of it.
It all started when
I was planning my menu
for our New Year's Eve gathering...
this feeling hit...
that's when I decided I was feeling Eve-y.

Our friends in the Netherlands
celebrate Old Year's Eve...
I haven't been there for that celebration, but
it sounds like it is an all afternoon to midnight celebration -
mostly outside, weather permitting,
with bonfires, and food and libation.
Then, fireworks and singing at midnight.

I'm thinking that their weather
must be more moderate
than ours here in Ohio.
I surely can't see us out all afternoon and evening,
splashing in the rain/freezing rain/snow mix.
Especially this year, as we've had record rain fall,
and tonight is no exception to that record breaking event.
But, I digress...back to the Eve-y feeling:
Maybe I was really feeling reminiscent, but I don't think so.
I'm sticking with Eve-y.
Anyway, I was planning the main food dishes for New Year's Eve...

The Main-main dish is usually lasagna.
Secondary main dishes are soups,
shredded meats for sandwiches, 
and heavy appetizers.
Way too much food,
because on top of all of those main- and secondary-main dishes,
there are side dishes.
Sides galore.
AND, I really don't know how and why, but
lasagna became a New Year's Eve tradition.

Lasagna equates to New Year's Eve food?
No, I think I'm feeling Eve-y!
So, I decided right then and there,
with Eve-y pushing my buttons,
that I would make a different Main main dish!

Shells stuffed with chicken, pancetta and spinach!
ready for the oven!
Yum! and, I haven't made this for awhile,
so, another reason to make it for the Eve-y dinner.
Here at the Lifey/Stitchy homestead
we are folks of tradition, I guess.
But, I'm changing it up!
My Eve-y feeling is that strong.
Just hope it doesn't cause a huge, squawking uproar - feathers a-flying type of thing!
You know how tradition can be...

Here's the recipe:

Chicken Pancetta Spinach Stuffed Shells
with Asiago cream sauce:
12 oz jumbo pasta shells, boiled (per pkg instruction) drained & set aside.
Into a large skillet:
1 Tbls. olive oil and
1/2 pound pancetta, diced small, brown about 5 minutes.
When browned, remove pancetta to a bowl and
to the skillet add:
one pound of diced chicken breast meat. (Ididn't do chicken this time)
Cook throughly.
Add the pancetta back to the skillet and stir in:
2 pounds frozen spinach, thawed & drained
(I used fresh spinach, just wilted it in with the cooked pancetta before adding the cheeses)
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup asiago cheese
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg or cinnamon
Stir to combine; turn off and remove from heat.
Stuff this mixture into the cooked shells-about 2 tablespoons in each..
Place stuffed shells into an olive-oiled baking dish.
Now, the sauce...
In saucepan, melt:
1 Tablespoon butter
Add: 1 clove minced garlic and brown slightly-about a minute.
Add: 1 cup cream and bring to a simmer. 
Turn down to very low and add:
2 cups grated Asiago cheese,
2 Tablespoons of dried parsley (1/4 c fresh),
and a couple of good grinds of pepper.
Continue stirring about two minutes until cheese is melted. 
Pour over stuffed shells
(you can shred a little more cheese on top if you like, but it doesn't need it)
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Serves: 8 with chicken added, 6 with no chicken added.
Super easy-only about a half hour prep time, and so impressive!
If you want a no meat dish, this is excellent - just leave the pancetta and chicken out of the recipe. Brown onions instead.
I often make/serve the meat on the side anyway.
This is a recipe that is very similar to a "Giada" dish, but I don't think she has the chicken in her shells.

and should shake things up a little bit!
I'm not going out and dancing in the rain at midnight
like those Dutch friends,
but I am feeling just a little Eve-y!

Hope you're feeling a little Eve-y too,
and that your celebrations are wonderful,
safe and filled with laughter!

See you next year!
(I always wanted to say that!:)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

going going

Almost gone...
Well, those last few weeks of the year sure flew by!

I was going to do a little year in review picture thing-y, 
but realized that that would take some a lot of time.
And, since daughter is still in town visiting, 
no offense, 
but I'd rather spend more time with her
than sorting through quilt pictures.

I did find one picture,
speaking of gone...
Nap?  Gifts?
Gifts?  Nap?
Looks to me like this two-month-old has set his priorities.

I may have to take his lead more often.
Can napping be considered a resolution? :)

Hope the last week of this year is great for you - maybe with a little nap time included.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Deer friends

Merry Christmas!!!
Merry Christmas to you, also, dear friends!
I hope your holiday is everything you'd like it to be,
how ever you celebrate it.
And, I wish you a happy, healthy and abundant New Year.

p.s.  the deer friends, above, are from a great cookie cutter
(and butter cookie recipe) that I got from
Cookies 3 (cookies cubed) - made in Michigan, USA.
We LOVED making them! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

it's a grand time

Well, I finally got some decorating done in the house...
here's the first day of decorating:
Here's the end of the week,
another picture from the same view:
Yep, that's a different pic,
but not a thing has changed!!!
Oh, well, good intentions!

At least most of the boxes of "stuff" are out of the walking paths.
And, the ladder is against the wall, not open in front of the television.
It was so bad that it was overwhelming and I didn't want to do a thing!
Do you ever get that way?
(I even ran down to the end of the driveway to meet the mail lady,
so she wouldn't see in my house if she came to my door.:) 
That's how bad it was!!!
It's better now, though, thanks for asking!

I have most of my list of chores done...but I keep adding more things. 
I'm not letting it get to me though;
if it happens is happens.  If not, oh, well.

The end of this week
I am going to have my Sis's four children over
and we are going to bake cookies and decorate them-
the cookies, not the children...
and make up some trays to distribute.
(this is the day that Sis finishes up whatever she has to do without the kids underfoot...
whatever that may be...I think this year it is just the wrapping.
Her children aren't really at the age anymore to be underfoot -
it's just my excuse to kidnap all of them for a day!)

Here's a pic of the new cookie cutter I got!
Looks like fun, doesn't it?
And we have a grand time,
messing in the flour and sugar and sprinkles.

Later, and happy day to you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

folded Bow Tie block projects

In retrospect, I look back on that bow tie tutorial
and first I think...
wow, I can sure use some hand lotion!

Second, that was a LONG way to go
for such a quick and simple block.
So, when you see that tutorial,
don't be daunted by the fact that there are a ba-zillion pictures.
I was just trying to make it clear to you on how easy the block was to make...
clear as mud, right? :)
Really, they are simple!

So, anyway, here are a couple of pictures of finished projects.
Here's a point-y table runner - it's about 48" long.
And, here's a rectangle version for a table topper:
(They both have about the same number of squares in them, just laid out differently.
And, of course, the top pic has the muslin squares trimmed off on the ends of the runner.)
I used my home machine and stitched around each bow tie...
all down one side on the whole line of bow ties,
then back the other side of the whole line.
I started on the top-left corner,
and zig-zagged my way down and around each bow
to the bottom right-hand corner. 
 I used red thread on the red bow ties.
So, on the back, the quilting looks like it is rows of bows.
Then I used my Sashiko machine
and cross-hatched the alternate muslin blocks.
I've quilted a couple of these and they work up really fast!

Here is a pic of my basket of blues in progress.
I might have almost enough,
then I will start putting them together
with a muslin alternate block.
I want to make this look like an old and loved quilt,
so I'm going to make it
"be like a cookie" and
take a dunk in the coffee.
I don't drink coffee,
but my quilts do!
I love that look.

OK, that's all for now.
Let me know how your obsession is going.
I have heard from a couple of folks
that they are holding off on starting this until after the holidays.
Good luck with that! :)
I'm off to find me some good hand lotion
before I start stitching again!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

fabric + folding = one bow tie = obsessed

This is my new newest obsession in fabric
(see below * for obsession definition).
Warning:  addiction ahead!
Folded fabric bow ties!

You just take a square of fabric,
do some folding 
& use four applique pins. 
Hand whip-stitch-
yes, this step requires the use of a hand needle and thread,
(it doesn't have to be pretty stitching,
so if this hand-stitching step freaks you out, get over it! ...
it doesn't even have to be matching thread).

After it's stitched, remove the pins,
give a slight press and trim.
Folded fabric bow tie!

From my pile of my blue fabrics.
I cut two, five inch squares of each fabric.
Took the whole stack of squares to my lazy girl chair one night
(while Sweetie was pretending to watch tv with his eyes closed).
In less than two hours I had over 50 Bow Ties!!!
that were ready to press and trim.
You just throw in some alternate squares of muslin
and you have a quilt top!
All from my blue stash fabric.
Or, they could be done all in red-
what with the red/white show in New York recently.
Or, they would be great done up in all one fabric line,
like from a pack of charm squares.
Or all scrappy as in a square swap or bow tie swap.
And, they are addictive - just you wait and see*.
As this is a project that is
hard to talk someone through over the phone,
I thought I'd give some basic instruction
and add some pics here...
Enjoy!  and don't say I didn't warn you!

folded fabric bow tie tutorial:
step by step (or picture by picture) instruction:
My squares are 5 inches square (& will finish at 3 1/2 inches).

for each bow tie, use
one square of fabric, right side down:
fold in half and finger press at the outside edge of the fabric block
open and fold in half the other direction, finger pressing the same as before.
Open the square of fabric, as below, and keeping fabric right-side down to the table,
take the crease on right-hand side & move it up to the right-hand corner,
keeping fabric edges squared up with each other.  Pin here in this corner.

Turn the square one-quarter turn clockwise.
2nd side: take the new right-hand side crease up to the new right-hand corner and pin again.
 3rd side: Turn the square again one-quarter turn clockwise
take the new right-hand side crease up to the new right-hand corner and again, pin.

4th side: Repeat with the last corner, by again turning the square one-quarter turn clockwise.
take the last crease up to the last corner and pin.

You will have something that looks like a funky fortune cookie
- a little poofy in the middle:
Give it a little hand-pat on the "poofy-ness".
If you have folded it correctly, it will look like this:
a square in a square
on the wrong side of the fabric,
and a four patch on the right side of the fabric.

Again, working on the back or wrong side of the fabric-
the square-in-a-square side...
I drew little arrows where you will hand-stitch: 
The thread is a single thread, knotted at the end.
This is a basting stitch -
it will need to be gathered later,
so DO NOT take more than one stitch in each side!

Take a small stitch into the edge of the TOP square only.
Turn the pinned piece one quarter turn clockwise
and take a small stitch into the next edge.
Repeat this one-stitch-baste around the whole top square...
Remember, there is no tacking or back-stitching.
This should bring you back to where you started to stitch.
Take one more stitch back at the beginning, right beside the beginning stitch where you have the knotted thread end.  DO NOT knot or tie off yet!
If this is done correctly, you will now have a square in a square in a square - the top square being thread!  see above.

Pull the basting thread that you just stitched:
It should gather the back side of the fabric into a four petal flower looking shape:
Pinch two petals to the left and two petals to the right:
(it doesn't matter which two go right or left, just pinch with your finger and thumb, as above.)
Now you will take a tacking stitch in the middle where your needle and thread are.

Since you already have your needle and thread here,
whip-stitch out to the right side, stitching through the layers of the petals.
When you get out to the end, make a small knot,
then whip-stitch back to the center.
Now whip-stitch out the the left side,
knotting when you finish.
Cut thread end,
Remove the four pins.
and you have this...
the back side

and the front side:
It's a BOW TIE!!!

I like to press from the back, using my iron to "square" the bow.
I don't press the center of the block, as that would smash the center of the tie,
and make it loose it's 3 dimensional effect.
Square the finished bow tie to 3 1/2 inches,

using the 45 degree line on your ruler against the bow's corners:

Sew into projects!

*I made so many of these blocks, I knew I really was obsessed...
But my definition of Obsessed with a capital O:
how small can I make this bow tie? 
a one inch square...
It makes a trimmed 3/4 inch bow tie!
Obsessed-capital O!,
 or crazy,
you choose.
And, don't forget that I warned you!!!

(: In a couple of days I'll show you a couple of my projects and how I did my quilting on these bow ties...
that will give you time to become obsessed, also :)

Happy Stitching!

Monday, December 12, 2011

drooling again

I love blueberries...
blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes,
fresh blueberries right out of the bowl.
But, especially, I love Blueberry Crumb Cake.
In little bun rolls, in layer cake form,
by the yard...we are talking fabric here...

Have you seen it?
Blueberry Crumb Cake?
The Blueberry Crumb Cake by Blackbird Designs (click here)?
Alma teased with a picture of Blueberry Crumb Cake this past September,
and I haven't stopped thinking blueberries since then!

At our local shop hop "Spree"
that was me -
the one with the slobber all over my face and down my clothing...
it's blueberry gorgeous!
AND, there's a new book!  Just look at that applique! 
Thanks, Alma and Barb!
Can't wait!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the one that flew...

and flew, and then flew again...
It's a great one, isn't it?
She grew-up on a mountain in North Carolina.
Came to the flat-lands of Ohio, but only stayed a long weekend
 then went back to that mountain top.
Once back home, she flew on to California
to find a new home, all warm and sunny.
Yep, she's a cross-country traveler!