Monday, November 23, 2015

What I've Been Up To

My sewing time is about to come to a halt for a while, but its for a good reason. Our girl and her pup arrived yesterday and have settled in for a week:


Good thing he likes a bath. He's discovering all sorts of treasures around here:


 She even brought a delicious apple pie she had baked the day before. Her Daddy loves apple pie and he loves it twice as much for breakfast!


We've been spending lots of time putting out mineral:

Searching for cattle:


And filling up the hay shed:

Hubby brought home a deer on Saturday. He found him on the north side of the ranch and was able to stalk 10 yards away from him. That's close! He said he was making too much noise so he took his shoes off and moved in closer to him for about 70 yards in his socks through the sand burrs and mesquite. Then he hobbled back to his shoes and pulled the burrs and thorns from his socks. :) So we dined on tenderloin that night and will be putting the dehydrator to work making jerky for the better part of a week.

Then we had a cake calamity in the kitchen:


And yes, that is the way it came out of the oven. Do not ask me what happened. I have made 300 of these through the years and alas, this one was a total loss. Our girl said that we needed to mark the occasion with a moment of silence.

I don't know if I'll ever get that pan clean again and we won't even talk about my oven. I am so glad that I keep aluminum foil on the bottom of it. I had to redeem myself:

On the sewing front, before our girl came home, I managed to get all the blocks pieced for Ginger Belle, squared them up, and stitch the top together:


and then I decided, yep, you guessed needs to be bigger. So back to making blocks. In order for the design to stay balanced, it needs two more rows both vertically and horizontally. These are 15" blocks so that adds 30" both ways. Perfect for a king sized bed.

I had this in my stash that'll work for a backing:


And I will be making a scrappy binding, but it'll have to wait because we are going to soak up the essence of Thanksgiving this week even though we'll be missing our boy and hoping he'll be here for Christmas. I don't know if I'll be popping in between now and Thanksgiving so I wanted to wish y'all a blessed one. We've been enjoying such a pretty autumn this year. This morning it was 16° when DH went out. I am going to hang onto autumn as long as I can.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Fun Flowers Baby Girl Quilt

I recently finished this happy little quilt that I pieced from leftovers from a previous project:

I love the addition of that black and white dot! It made everything else pop and it was the perfect binding:


Jackie quilted it using a pattern called Flower Power and it's 45" x 45".

It's a pretty day to just hang out around here this morning:


We had our first freeze the other day, but I hope this fall weather hangs around for a good long while before winter settles in:


I didn't have quite enough of the flower print for the backing so I just added a bit of this pink dot from my stash to frame it on two sides:


I had fun trying to figure out how to best use what I had left from the original project and I hope it'll become a favorite for the little baby girl who receives it.


That's 11 finished quilts so far this year. I'm hoping to squeeze in two more since they're Christmas quilts. It feels good to be finishing quilts although you probably won't be surprised when I tell you that I'm starting new projects as fast as I'm finishing old ones!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Inspired by...

I have a blogging friend, Nancy, who blogs over at Joy for Grace, and she recently began a weekly link up as a way for bloggers to share the inspiration behind their quilts. Here's the link to the first one and I'm linking up this week here. Quilty Inspiration #7

It made me stop and think about my own source of inspiration so thank you, Nancy for the inspiration for this post. :) In a recent email. Nancy wrote:

We quilt bloggers usually post about the fabric for a quilt, the first blocks, the progress, the final quilt -- which gets so many kudos -- and yet I think what happens in our minds and imaginations before we ever put cutter to fabric is equally important in the "life" of a quilt.

Not only does she make beautiful quilts that she hand quilts, but I should mention that Nancy has a wonderful way with words too. The quilts we make have meaning and are made with love, but they have to start somewhere. There must be an initial creative spark that draws us to make that first cut or reach for that particular fabric.

Recently, I finished this quilt and I blogged about it here. Family Tradition Quilt. Our ranching lifestyle was definitely the inspiration for every stitch. It was as if the designer, Shelly, had designed it for us personally and when I first saw the pattern, all the pictures I shared in the Family Tradition post instantly came to mind. I could have share hundreds more, but I thought I probably shouldn't get too carried away. :)

Whenever I attend quilt shows, I am always curious to know what inspired the quilt maker to make that particular quilt. I know there's a story. There's always a story.

Sometimes it's as simple as a piece of fabric like this piece for me:

I was in the little local quilt shop with a friend about a month ago. I didn't need a thing. I was only there for moral support. :) And then she pulled out this fabric. It's called Indian Summer. We both knew instantly that we were going to be making a quilt with it and the brainstorming began. It makes me laugh to think of others who were close by and perhaps listening into our conversation. She and I play well off each other and I can only imagine that our spoken thought process probably sounded confusing. One of us often says what the other is thinking and it is always intermingled with much laughter.

It was the coral colors that spoke to her and for me it was the wild abandon of the entire collection of wildflowers. I've been collecting floral fabrics for a few years now for a simple patchwork quilt and this one pretty much summed up all I had been trying to capture in one fabric.

I had brought this book:

to show her this quilt

that I wanted to make using fall fabrics. After a quick conversion of blocks to make that floral the focal point, we had a plan. I went home that night and began to pull fabrics

and a week later I had made 58 square in a  square blocks:

I brought my stack of supporting fabrics to the sale barn to share with her and we shopped together for others to fill in the gaps. I have a stash and I thought every quilter did, but not C. She buys exactly what she needs for each project and nothing else. I do believe this is the first time I ever bought 1/8 of a yard of anything! I told her I couldn't bare to watch them cut such a small sliver.

So my Indian Summer quilt started with a fabric, mix one part quilt pattern, and 2 parts friendship, fold in a variety of supporting fabrics, stir in a double dose of laughter, a little math to add our own spin, add a few stitches and you have the beginnings of a quilt!

Do I NEED to add another quilt to my list? No, but as C would say, "What does need have to do with it?" and who am I to argue with such logic?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bunny Hill Baby Boy Quilt

I picked up two baby quilts from Jackie on Monday after work a few weeks ago and happily settled in to bind them over the rainy weekend:

I'm sure some of y'all are sick of the rain, but around here, we've never seen enough rain to be tired of it. I've heard we're in for a cold, wet winter, but that remains to be seen and I'll be sure and let you know when we've reached our saturation point. :)

In the meantime, I have this sweet little finished quilt to share that I made from scrappy leftovers from the original Bunny Hill line called Lily and Will:


 This is the original baby quilt I made with it a few years ago:

I used left over jelly roll strips, added that plaid from my stash, pieced them into hourglass blocks, and added the borders to make it a bit bigger.


Jackie quilted this darling little moon and stars pattern across it:


And I backed it with that sweet plaid print and pulled a brown from my stash for the binding.


It measures 40 x 40 and is patiently awaiting the arrival of a little baby boy...unless its a girl!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Helping the Boss

No ranch help means that I am called into action more than usual these days. Poor DH really does deserve better help, but hey...I'm cheap labor! And we've worked together for 30 years so he's stuck with me.

The horses needed a little tlc:

Combing out witches' knots:


And we needed to process the heifers. The pictures aren't great because I'm not very skilled when it comes to moving cattle through an alley, sliding gates, spraying them, and taking pictures at the same time. I always thought I was a decent multi-tasker, but apparently not. DH brought them up in small bunches:

   While I worked the gates and brought them into the alley:

We just run them through the chute, pour on Cydectin and give them a quick vaccination:


And then DH drove them out of the pens:


 about 5 miles to El Tank


where I picked him up:

Happy heifers:


We finished up just before noon and were thankful that there were leftovers for dinner. After dinner, I had a date with the lawn mower. We've had a spectacular year in the rain department and I've spent a lot of time behind this thing. Hopefully I'll be putting it away for the winter after this round. I can't get over how green everything is around here at the end of October.


I am loving these shorter days, but it seems like we aren't getting much done. I guess it makes for more sewing time in the evenings, but I just don't sew once the sun goes down unless its hand stitching bindings or working on a cross stitch project. Speaking of...I haven't done any cross stitching since last winter. I left a project partially undone.


 This seems like a good time to pick it back up. I might even stitch past 9 tonight...unless I'm needed early in the morning. Guess I better check with the boss. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Family Tradition Quilt

For those of you finding your way here for the first time through Amy's Quilt Festival, welcome! The quilt I entered in the festival has a story and I wanted to share the reason I had to make it with y'all. We ranch in the southwestern desert and ranching is a way of life for us. Its not only what we do, but it is who we are and the kids have always been a part of everything we do.

I had to document our girl flanking calves.

She's been holding calves in the branding pen for a long time:

The kids learned the ropes at an early age


And they learned well

They grew up in the saddle

And spent many a day learning the fundamentals of horsemanship

and of one ornery mule:

Teaching the kids the family business and working together as a family has been  one of the greatest blessings through the years:


So when my friend, Shelly, of Prairie Moon Quilts, designed this quilt and shared it over at Riley Blake , I began rifling through my stash immediately:

It was a given that I was going to make it. It could not be more perfect! I spent a bit of time getting the letters cut out for the applique during the NFR:


I loved every minute I worked on it and I had a vision for what I thought might work for the quilting. I rarely take a quilt to Jackie with a vision. I hand them over to her and tell her to do as she pleases and every single time, she chooses the perfect design. However, this time I asked her about quilting a barbed wire pattern.

 I had a picture of the sashing in a quilt I had seen at a quilt show years ago that I showed to her and she sketched it out on a sticky note. She and her daughter, Sandy, who is a teacher, and a quilter,  worked up a plan together after we met and when I picked up the quilt a few weeks ago, I was so tickled with the outcome that I may have gotten a little teary eyed. Look at this fabulous quilted barbed wire!

 Sandy quilted the perfect design in the stars as well and the combination, just puts an already perfect quilt over the top.


I chose a denim blue I had in my stash for the backing and a red denim for the binding. The brown thread was the perfect choice and looks wonderful on the back too.

The quilt measures 70 x 80 and I'm over the moon about how it turned out:

And no quilt photo shoot is complete without a little wind in these parts:                                  


Shelly, thank you for designing the perfect quilt for us!

I'm entering this quilt in Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival. Its always such a great source of inspiration so pop on over there and enjoy the show. Thank you for stopping in for a visit and thank you for letting me share a little piece of our life at the end of the dirt road.
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