Friday, September 26, 2014

Irish Flower Garden Quilt

And here's my oldest UFO - finished!


 I started this quilt in November of 2010. I bought Eleanor Burns' Irish Chain book and began collecting 30's prints.


Looking back at these fabrics and my box of leftovers, I am still smitten with these prints.

I knew I wanted to add something in the empty spaces between the chains and hexagon flowers seemed to be a perfect fit so I commenced to learning English Paper Piecing and then I hand appliqued the flowers:


The finished quilt is 70" x 89". This was the second quilt I dropped off at Jackie's that needed custom quilting, which is why it's taken this long to finish. Again though, I did not need it for anything in particular. Jackie  has a fast turn around time if you need something quilted in a certain time frame, but I rarely need that. There are only 2 quilts I asked her to quilt a quickly. One I need in 7 weeks and she had it to me in a week and the other I needed ASAP for a little 5 yr old girl who was getting a new heart and she had that to me in 2 days. 99% of the time, I tell her to just put it on the back burner because I'm in no hurry and I know others might be. I told Jackie she could never, ever retire. :)

I like the little swirls she added to the border:


It took me a long time to settle on a backing and I didn't particularly care for the one I chose at the time, but I like it better now:


And I think this is the first time in 5 years that she hasn't had one of my quilts. So I hurried up and finished one up, pieced the backing and dropped it off... along with a dozen eggs. :)

This quilt feels fresh and sweet and reminds me of a bygone era before I was even born.


Can one be reminded of something before their time? I'm not sure if the 30's were a fresh and sweet time though. I am currently reading 'The Worst Hard Time' and I'm fairly certain I would not be strong enough to weather what people from that time endured.

I'm adding this one to the quilt ladder that is now full:


Wonder if Grandpa will mind making another one...or two. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

When the People Are Away


Ever wonder what your pets are up to when you're not looking?  DH and I walked into the house the other day and this is what we saw:


Our girl left one of her cats here when she headed back to school. She's pretty much the perfect cat. She is sweet, likes to stay outside at night (which is why our girl didn't take her back with her) and comes in to sleep all day...unless she hears the sewing machine. Then she wakes up and assumes her sewing assistant duties.  She follows me around when we're both outside and she gets along with the rest of the feline barn crew. I love this cat.

When we walked in, she was perched atop the buffet, had these two cattle feed tags between her paws, and seemed for all the world to be studying them intensely. We burst out laughing and she glared at us as if she didn't appreciate the interruption, and then went back to her inspection of the ingredients. 

Wonder if I can convince her to tend to our taxes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New Life For an Old Project

I finally cut up my Portobello Market quilt top.


 I knew it wasn't working, but I was absolutely clueless as to what to do with it. Well I finally made a decision. Its finding new life as a Plus Quilt.


I've got the first couple of rows stitched together, but the rest are still in pieces. I'm cooking for the crew for a few days this week, but hope to sneak in a few stitches here and there.

I wanted a pattern that would make the best use out of the fabric I had on hand and I have been stalking the Plus quilts that have been floating around the Internet for some time. Most of them use modern fabrics, but I kind of like the combination of these vintage-y fabrics in this modern pattern.

 I almost nixed the idea because most of them use larger fabric pieces than what I had to work with, but then I figured that I could adjust the pattern to accommodate my fabric. I wanted to take advantage of my layer cake and that led me to using 3" strips. This is all I had leftover from a single layer cake square:


Then I stumbled upon Just Crafty Jess's tutorial  as well as a handy pdf sheet from For the Love of George with a layout that simplified things greatly. I don't know how big I am  going to make this quilt. I just plan to keep adding to it until I run out of Portobello Market fabric.

Ummm...side note: Yesterday I was hunting a particular fabric... and a cat. I found both, but I also unearthed more Portoballo Market fabric in a bin. I must have REALLY liked this fabric. :) I've probably got enough for a couple more quilts. LOL.

I've noticed that there are 2 different schools of thought on the Plus quilts. Some are solely constructed of squares and some use rectangles and squares. I am using 3 x 8" rectangles and 3 x 3" squares for this one, but I plan to make more Plus quilts and I'll use squares on the next one and then decide which method I prefer.

There is a lot of trotting back and forth going on as I don't have a dedicated sewing room. My sewing machine is in the our bedroom and I've laid out my pluses on the bed in our girl's room, which is where my iron is as well. With each seam, I'm hopping up and wearing a path on the floor back and forth through the hallway. Its the only way I can keep the pieces straight. It works for me.

With both kids grown and only coming home occasionally, I really have no reason not to fix up a sewing room, but I guess I'm just not ready to make the change. :)

I think I am smitten with this pattern and that surprises me because I tend to be drawn to the more traditional patterns.

 I would really like to make a couple of baby quilts though, as well as  one using the Moda Grunge fabrics. I snagged a fat quarter bundle on sale a few weeks ago and if I can bear to cut into it, it may just end up in this pattern.

It feels good to be working on something new. I've decided that if I start one new project for every 2 UFOs I finish, then I'll be making progress. Come to think of it, this IS a UFO, but it feels like it has a new lease on life.*Rolls eyes* That's a sign that it's way past my bedtime and I am in need of sleep. I should not be allowed at the keyboard in the middle of the night.


Friday, September 19, 2014

MY UFO List is Getting Short!

I started the year with 16 unfinished quilts and I'm down to 5. I'm sorely tempted to finish those 5 before I start any new projects, but there might be  a quilting law against that and the temptation to start something new is strong and squabbling with the temptation to finish these. I've only started one new quilt this year. The "begin something new" voice is getting loud.

I've got 2 finished quilts to share as soon as I can get photos taken.

My Granny Square Quilt is pieced and at the quilter's and the binding is made so I've taken it off of my working UFO list because I can.

And my Raw Edge Circle Quilt is at the quilter's too. That leaves 5.

1. One of the quilts is DH's wool quilt and I'm basting it today and getting ready to start hand quilting.



2. I've finished making these blocks:



 for this quilt:


 I'm currently working on the applique. All the letters are cut out and fused to the background, leaving only the stitching so that ought not to take too terribly long. I love this pattern from Shelly at Prairie Moon quilts and I think it'll be perfect in my entry way, which is also my mudroom - laundry room.

3. I don't even know if the Wild Horse Quilt can be considered a UFO. I cut off a piece of the focus fabric back along 2009 and began to piece together a border strip as a test to see whether I liked it or not and I did, but I ran out of fabric. I'm not working from a pattern - I'm just making this up as I go along, but I'm back to square one. I seemed to do that a lot when I first started making quilts. Today I'm thinking I just ought to go with coordinating pinwheel blocks in alternating rows with the horse fabric, another row of nine patches, and maybe add a pieced border.


4. This strippy scrap quilt is my leader-ender project.


5. This one just needs to be deconstructed and an entirely new plan made. I hadn't even made a quilt when I saw this fabric at the local quilt show and I decided then and there that I needed to learn to make quilts. This is an old Moda line called Portabello Market. Apparently I didn't think I needed a pattern either. Let's just cut here. Yeh, that looks good. And let's cut some squares and I'll just pull this a little tighter to make it fit since I cut it too short. :)



I still like the fabric, and somewhere along the line I found a layer cake:



but the 'Who Needs A Plan?' quilt needs a new plan.

And I've got a whole slew of new projects clamoring for a spot on a fresh new list.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Spice Snickerdoodles

I'm sharing another recipe I found on Pinterest because it's simply too good not to share. If you like soft cookies and pumpkin...the wait is over and if you don't, you are missing out. :) And if you don't like pumpkin pie, chances are, you will still love these. And no,  I don't like pumpkin pie. Is that un-American?

I'm telling you... these are Fall in a cookie.

I made these on Sunday evening and took them to work on Monday. Let's just say these made it to my favorite cook book immediately and I'll be making them again... tomorrow.

I didn't have any pumpkin pie spice so I made my own from here. It could not be easier:

Pumpkin Pie Spice

4 tablespoons  ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves

This recipe is from Shelly, over at Cookie and Cups

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs plus 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • Coating
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

How to Make
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. In bowl of stand mixer cream butter and both sugars together for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in both egg and additional yolk into butter along with vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary.
  4. Mix in Pumpkin Pie Spice, baking powder and salt until combined.
  5. Reduce speed on mixer to low and mix in flour until dough comes together.
  6. Chill dough for at least an hour.
  7. When ready to bake, line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375°
  8. Mix coating ingredients (light brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice) together in a bowl, set aside.
  9. Roll dough into large balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and then roll into the sugar/pumpkin pie spice mixture, coating completely.
  10. Bake for 7-8 minutes until cookies are lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool.

I did not use parchment paper and I baked mine for almost 15 minutes. I baked the first batch for the 8 minutes the recipe called for and they were not baked through. However, it might have helped if I had read the directions and baked them at 375° instead of  350° . :) 


I was skeptical about not using cream of tarter too. I've never seen a Snickerdoodle recipe without it, but fear not, you won't miss it. The recipe also states that this dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour. Don't skip this, otherwise the dough is too soft and you will fuss at it... and me, for not playing nice and refusing to shape itself into balls. Better yet, make the dough the night before.

I'm off to mix up another batch!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Change of Plans

We spent most of this past weekend prepping for a week of cow works. Yesterday was a busy day at the sale barn and then I planned on feeding the crew for 4 days, with a long day working the Horse Sale on Saturday. Our local quilt show is this weekend and I didn't see any way I was going to find time to even stick my head in the door.

Y'all already know that around here, our plans are often dictated by the weather and with a forecast like this:


our plans have changed. Thankfully, we cancelled before I loaded up with mountains of groceries. And we're praying that we actually get to put these to the test the next couple of days:


The county's been out for 3 weeks working on the road.


This is the first road we've ever lived on that was maintained. I made the maintenance crew a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies last week. DH said they sure did brag on 'em, but I can't have people hanging around the ranch and not bake something for them.

So, with the change in plans, I have a bit of time to play:


I'm hoping to get the last 2 pieced borders on my Granny Square quilt and get a backing made for it today. And here's hoping the good Lord brings us a gully washer! I won't even complain if it's too wet to go to the quilt show!

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Friday Finish - Pony Tales Baby Quilt

A few weeks ago I finished up one of my oldest UFOs. I started this little quilt in 2010 - about a year after I started quilting. I discovered this pattern at a quilt show in Dimmit, TX and I knew I had to have it. Then the perfect fabric crossed my path in Lovington, NM and the cutting began.


I used this fun cow print for the backing:


 And I wish I had more of this sweet flowered print in my stash:


I'm hoarding the last yard. These were part of the 2009  "Wanna Be A Cowboy" line by Samantha Walker for Riley Blake.

This was my first attempt at hand applique and I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. I remember thinking I had lost my mind, but that didn't keep me from moving forward. I also recall how long it took me to choose each and every piece and I didn't have much of a fabric stash at the time.

These little faces are just too sweet:


I found that I really enjoy hand applique, but its going to take lots of practice to neaten up those stitches:


The thought of quilting it terrified me so I took it to Jackie, who had become my new best friend. :) Alas, she did not offer custom quilting. She said she was hoping to pick that up eventually, but honestly, all of us quilters kept her so busy that she didn't have any extra time on her hands...until now.

Her daughter is a teacher and she quilts too. Sandra helps Jackie in the evenings and during the summer and this year they bought a second quilting machine, took classes, and they now offer custom quilting.

Through the years, she would mention this little quilt and I assured her that I didn't need it, but if she tired of having it hang around, she needn't keep it. She said no, she was looking forward to quilting it, and she took care to take it out and refold it often to keep it from becoming creased. She said that, often, customers would notice it and inquire about it.

When I started working at the Sale Barn, 3 of the gals also quilt and one of them was talking about taking a quilt to Jackie and how she saw the cutest quilt and she sure wished she could find the pattern. I laughed when she described it and said, "That's mine".

I told Jackie that they were more than welcome to practice on my quilt. I make them to use and do not need perfection. This was one of my first quilts anyway and my first attempt at applique and I told them both to just have fun with it.

And I think they did a wonderful job! Look at these darling little flowers


And I'm impressed with their first attempt at micro stippling. I've struggled with that. Look how cute this is!


Our horse crazy girl was still home when I picked it up and started working on the binding and she fell in love with it. She said I was not permitted to give it away. I had to keep it for when she had children and I told her that was the plan..the far, far away plan. :)

Its the smallest quilt I've ever made and at 36 x 42, I worried that it was too small, but it could be used  as a wall hanging in a nursery. Our girl kept insisting that babies are tiny and do not need excessively large quilts. I reminded her that they grow quickly and she piped up, "Well that just means you'll have to make them lots of quilts as they grow". I can do that. :)


So, I may not need it now, but I'm as tickled to have it back as I am sure Jackie is to be rid of it!
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