In Stitches

Yesterday when I went into the sewing room, I did what I always do when I'm mulling something over. I picked up the "beta" block for the Elsie and Chris's contribution to the Live, Love, Teach quilt I'm making for my friend Lisa.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been staring at this day after day, trying to decide on the best approach. While I was fully intending to work on the Vintage Tin quilt yesterday, I went straight to work on Chris and Elsie's block instead. Sometimes the approach just clicks into place, and I have to do it. Before the afternoon was over, I had it finished:

Lisa tells me the Hostess pudding pie was a reward to the kids for passing their multiplication facts. It's fun to hear the stories behind these.

With this one finished, I've finished my goal of four during the month of July.

These are the four I have on the drawing board for August. Usually, I try to do these on the weekend. Since there are five weekends in August, I'll get a week off.

The most challenging of the next four will be the one in the upper right hand corner, which will be all embroidery. I'll be printing the one in the lower left on fabric since it was painted by Lisa's mother (who is very talented, I might add). That design decision was left up to Lisa when I explained that I wouldn't be able to replicate it exactly. Also, I'll be correcting the spelling in the one on the lower right. Clearly, there are weighty decisions in the making of this quilt. Quilting is serious business, especially in my sewing room where cats tend to rule the day.

Speaking of serious business, I'm seriously ready to go blind from the satin stitching on this snowlady's little quilt. I have most of the quilt blocks finished now, with just a few left to do. Also, I finished the cat this morning.

While looking at this picture, I've decided to redo the eyes on the cat. I want to change out the French knots for little straight stitches to make a sleeping cat rather than one that looks as if it's been surprised by the flash.

Also, I wanted to get back to you about the recipe I tried yesterday for Beef Bourguignon Pot Pies. I've linked to the recipe there because this was seriously delicious. Here's the picture from the website.

Theirs has a puff pastry crust, and that would probably be good. I was trying to create something that would travel well, and that means I need to be able to make it ahead and freeze it. Their puff pastry crust is used both for a bottom crust and a top crust, and I doubt that would freeze well. Instead, I simply used a top crust from the Pillsbury refrigerated crusts, and that worked great. It would easily accomplish my goal of creating something that can be frozen and reheated while we're on the road.

Here's the problem I had with that: The recipe only made enough to fill three of my 7-inch ramekins. I have a pile of these in my kitchen because they are great for making meals ahead, whether you're traveling with your meals or eating them in your own home.

Here's the picture of them from the Amazon website.

They are, for cookware, relatively inexpensive and widely available. If you can't find them, they are available on the Amazon website right here. They're great because of their plastic lid, and because they are a perfect size for one generous serving. 

Mike loved the pot pies, and he even went so far as to right down the name. He gripes because I make something really good that he likes, only I'm always trying new recipes, and so I'll make something once and then never make it again. I mean, how will I live long enough to try all the recipes I've torn out or printed off if I start making the same thing a second time? Honestly. Men. So...occasionally, I cut him a break and give him a special pick on the menu for the week. He wrote this one down so that he can ask for it again sometime. 

But to get back to my plans for this recipe, I want to make it again with all (or most) of the ingredients increased by 1/3 so that I can achieve my goal of two for dinner the day I cook it, and two for freezing to take along on our trip. When I make a pot pie with the Pillsbury crust, I don't put the crust on until I'm ready to bake it. They tend to stick to the plastic lid, otherwise. Also, for this recipe, I used frozen pearl onions. They're so much easier than having to peel all those little marble-sized onions, and they're already fully cooked. I just browned them well with the mushrooms, and then added them to the final stew, stirring them up, and then calling it good. No need for that final stint in the oven.

Okay...so that was a lot of talk about a single recipe, but it's worth it. If you want a good beef pot pie, this one is a winner. It seems like a lot of steps and a lot of time, but the recipe flows well. That means you can start browning the meat right off, and cut up your vegetables as you go along. It makes for less than half an hour of hands-on prep, and the oven does the rest.

Today I'm doing laundry. We got a nice soaking rain last night, which frees me from my watering duties. And that means I can spend the weekend in my sewing room. The Vintage Tin finish is in my sites.

7 comments from clever and witty friends:

Gina Loomis said...

Your blocks look fantastic! Can't wait to see how the challenging 'Inspire' block will turn out! Your stitching on the snowlady's quilt looks great! Thanks for sharing the recipe and your tips!

Barb H said...

I love that recipe! And I'll take Mike's word that it's a good one. Perfect for an autumn supper for the two of us. BTW, your quilting and stitchery are beautiful as always. :)

Valerie Reynolds said...

Oh this teacher quilt is going to be CHERISHED!!! I know I'd cry the biggest tears of happy full of gratitude if someone made me something like that!!! way to go Barb!

Lynette said...

The kitty on the quilt! :)

quiltzyx said...

I "filled in" more orange on the kitty on the quilt (in my mind) & it became George. :) I think I would have cheated & colored in the quilt with fabric brush-pens, but your embroidery is just fabulous!
The beef pot pie does sound yummy, I'm glad it worked out.
I'm with Valerie above & would be sniffling whenever I looked at it if I received a quilt like Lisa's. You're doing a great job on all those different blocks.
And guess what? I actually sewed & finished something this week. I made a zipper bag for my friend for her cords/earbuds/etc. for all of her various electronics. I'm so rusty there was quite a bit of rip-stitching, but I got it done in time for her to fly off to Boston & meet up with her hubster for vacay. Yay me!

Kate said...

You are moving right along on all those blocks for Lisa! It's been fun to see all of those pictures transferred to fabric and thread.

Lyndsey said...

I love the blocks you've made, they look fantastic. Good luck with the August blocks. I love the snow ladies blocks.