Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog...

Taking a break here gals! I'm presently adding to the population of the great state of Texas for a bit. Just visiting my Mom and wallowing in real estate acccounting and shredding 30 yrs worth of business paperwork. Keeping 7.


We've been running nonstop since I got here. I can't keep up with my 71 yr old Mom! Nevermind what that says about me. Maybe the 'always on the go' genes will kick in later? One can only hope! I'm always busy at home, but it's just a different routine. The mornings don't start as early around here, but the nights are much later than I am used to.


I brought along some hexagon's to work on flowers some in the evenings, but even that time has been negligible. However, we're getting a lot accomplished and that's one of the reasons I came down. Mom and Daddy's anniversary is coming up and that'll be a hard day so I'm glad I could be here.

It's good to have some time just to visit too. We're catching up between visits to every carpet store on the planet. Surely one of these stores carries the perfect carpet. We only need one. That's not asking too much, but thus far, it has eluded us.

Mom's car was in the shop and after 2 trips, we're hoping it's fixed properly this time. We're having the tile grout cleaned too and they didn't do a very good job, so everything is still in disarray while we wait for them to clean it again. I'm thinking that taking pride in a job well done is becoming a thing of the past. I just don't get it.

My Mom volunteers a lot and she and Daddy started a citizens police academy group to support the local police a few years back. They're involved in everything that happens around here. We had 10 people over the other day for a fund raising meeting - food included. They have a function later and they're selling nachos and popcorn and raffling off a pretty scrap quilt. Think I'll be buying some raffle tickets!

I'm hoping to sneak off to a quilt shop before heading back home, but we'll see. I'm missing my family and my sewing machine, but I'm enjoying my time with my Mom and hopefully I'm helping her with a few things.

I'll have to catch up with everyone when I get back. Computer time is negligible unless it involves accounting. Ya'll behave while I'm away!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pulling out a UFO

I'm at a stand still with some my current quilting projects.

I'm in need of more fabric.

Come to think of it, is there a quilter in existence who isn't?


So this weekend I pulled out a project that's been stashed away for a while. Last year I started a Texas Log Cabin top and this weekend I pulled it out again. Here's the pattern:




I miss Texas. When we moved, I even considered redrawing the state lines. Grin! No, I don't have that power, but let's just pretend I do!

And here's a peek:


It may be a while before I can actually show the completed quilt because I am certain another project (or 2) will catch my fancy and I'll flit off in another direction before long, but I still really like this pattern and hope I can keep my nose to the grindstone long enough to make some real progress.


This morning started at 4:30 and now it's 6. Breakfast has been devoured, dishes have been washed, laundry has been started, bed has been made. Leaves lots of time in the day!


I need 96 blocks and had made 14. Everyone says the Log Cabin is easy to piece and it is, but these strips are only 1.25" and when I was cutting them I thought I would be cutting forever! The goal was to make the original quilt which is 67"x94". We'll see.


As soon as I started piecing more blocks this weekend I noticed that something was off. The previous blocks were quite a bit smaller than the new ones. Sigh. New quilter syndrome must have been present. I must have been so excited about learning to quilt and thought I could just whip out a quilt in no time and I jumped in with both feet, not paying close attention to the importance of the 1/4" seam. Apparently my newly acquired 1/4" quilting skills were not up snuff last year.


The good news is that I have made 10 new blocks this weekend.

The bad news: I now find myself ripping the 14 blocks apart and resewing them. Sure hope there's a good movie...or two..on tonight.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rain and a Recipe

This morning we received 2" of rain! Let me tell you, this is a cause for celebration! The arena's flooded, the dirt tank just outside the yard is full and puddles abound! Woo! Hoo! I guess, unless you live in a desert, rain's not a big deal, but around here we measure it by the drop. And this could not have come at a better time! This country will come alive with this moisture. Praise God for His perfect timing!

Today I wanted to share this with you:


O'Henry Bars - yummy, yum, yum! These could not be easier and I guarantee rave reviews!
O'Henry Bars
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c Karo
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c peanut butter
2 c Rice Krispies
1 c peanuts
1 c chocolate chips
Melt butter in a medium sized pot and add Karo, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Melt and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add Rice Krispies and peanuts. Stir until combined and pour into a 9x11" pan sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and spread when melted. Refrigerate for a bit and serve. That's it!
I'll bring these to Cowboy Church next week so those of you attending can try them. This batch will be long gone, but I'll whip up another one...because I love ya'll!
DH and Grandpa were sneaking a bit during breakfast this morning. I halfheartedly teased them, but DH said that it constituted as a breakfast food because it had cereal and nuts and peanut butter... for protein. Sigh. That's male logic for you. It's no use.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mom's Irish Chain Quilt


I am having so much fun playing with fabric! Being a new fairly quilter, everything is new and exciting and I want to make it all! I've always sewn for the kids - lots and lots of cute western shirts and dresses and jammies and pillow cases, but only now, that they are almost grown, have I discovered the world of quilting! I honestly don't know how I would have found the time when they were small, but I'm enjoying digging through my stash and finding new ways to re-purpose that fabric I had to have into my newest quilt...and, admittedly, buying new yardage.

My newest pattern, which is rather simple and old as the hills for all of you experienced quilters, is this Irish Chain. I enjoyed making this so much and it went together fairly quickly, well it would have gone together even more quickly if I had made up a paste up sheet like they suggested, but no...not me. So, I soon found myself ripping out stitches. sigh.

I have heard that this quilt can be assembled in one day. Really?! Oh, I suppose it could be done if you did nothing else all day, but who does that?! Between the steer buyer, and the vet, and the livestock inspector, and cooking for people that think they need to eat, and opening up gates for county water truck drivers, and hauling a crew down the road to drop them off in another pasture...honestly...a day?!

I made this for my Mom's birthday which is May 17th and I'm so proud that I wasn't working feverishly to finish, it 2 minutes before I gave it to her! Shoot, I have 5 extra days! That's enough time to make another quilt...or 2!

The colors match their living room and I thought she might enjoy it in the evenings when she sits down to read (which is the only time she sits down). I have always struggled with what to get my Mom because she doesn't collect anything or really have any hobbies, although she's busy all the time. For Christmas I gave her a really pretty box with 30 homemade note cards and she liked that. She writes notes and cards to people almost daily. I hope she enjoys this quilt too.

As for me, I plan on making a few more of these! In fact, that 30's fabric I shared in the previous post is already cut up and being sewn into strips. I think it will make a cute scrappy Irish Chain and I'm thinking of sneaking in some hexagon flowers somewhere too. Wish my hands would work as quickly as the ideas that keep popping into my head do!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Need to Mow...Want to Sew

I'm in need of some fabric therapy...and sleep. I've been cooking for a crew this week and when the mornings start at 3 am, the days get pretty long. Getting out of bed at that time of the day is for the birds. Well, come to think of it, even the birds aren't up at that insane hour!

Quilters - keep scrolling. Pattern selection advice needed!

My week has consisted of cooking and cleaning and washing dishes and I'm beat. How is it then that I enjoy branding and shipping season so much then? I love having the crew gathered around the table. When they jingle into my kitchen and descend upon the food I've made, it makes me happy, although they remind me of a swarm of locusts. How is it that I can spend all morning cooking and they devour everything in sight in a matter of minutes?!

All went well this week although I missed out on snapping pictures. They worked the beef cows and they were miles away on the north side of the ranch. I can't get away from the kitchen long enough to make the trip there and back and still have dinner ready so any extra time I stumble upon was spent mowing. The weeds and grass are about to stage a mutiny and I'm beginning to think I'm fighting a losing battle. I've been swapping my soapy, bleach water for grass clippings all week and the dishes keep getting dirty and the grass keeps growing.

So today we should be done for the week...cooking for the crew anyway. I don't know what the plans are for the upcoming week (things change around here by the hour) so I'm taking advantage of a day away from the kitchen. I'm abandoning the mower. I'm draining the sink. I'm running away. To a quilt store and there is a very good chance that I may be coming back home with empty pockets.

I am rationalizing my trip by telling myself that this trip will help me finish some of those WIPs that quilters are notorious for having.

I found this for a backing for my scrap quilt. This is the second quilt I ever pieced and there are plenty of chopped off corners in it, but I adore it anyway. Scrappy quilts just beg to be cuddled with!



I've had these 3 Thimbleberry fabrics in my stash for quite some time. I was thinking of something Americana, but I can't decide on a pattern. This is becoming a regular thing with me. Any ideas?




I still haven't settled on anything, but I came home with a couple of coordinating pieces and I'll let them hang around together for a bit and see if they decide they want to play together.


The horse quilt is still unfinished as well, but I ran out of the fabric I was using so I either need to find a substitute, which means I'll have to take what I've made, apart, or keep searching for the fabric I started with initially.


I auditioned a few others with what I have already pieced and came home with them as well, but I'm still going to be scouring quilt stores for that brown/black crackle. This quilt is being made up along the way too. There are so many womderful patterns out there. I really should be using them!


For Shelly at www.prairiemoonquilts.wordpress.com/ who adores western fabric like I do:

This is the selection of western (and some southwestern) fabrics to choose from. Would you believe that I came home with only 1 piece?! This was the end of the bolt and I couldn't pass up the discounted price. I'll use it somewhere!


I'm also working on a Hexagon Quilt Along online over at http://www.jaybirdquilts.com/ , but I'm caught up there, although I can't decide what fabric to use for the contrasting triangles. I'm hoping this is one of those quilts that comes to life once it is completed, because right now it just looks... sad. Funny how just switching from a white to a cream made them wake up so I came home with this. Not very exciting to look at, but I'll be excited when it's finally together!



It was fun to try something new! Of course being a fairly new quilter, everything's new!

The dear ladies at the quilt store were so helpful all morning. It's like having your own personal shoppers at your fingertips and sometimes when faced with so many choices, it's nice to have someone else's point of view.

I probably shouldn't even mention that I have a strong desire to start piecing flowers for a Grandmother's Flower Garden should I? For the longest time I would simply bypass the 30's fabrics and tell myself I didn't need to start adding another genre to my stash. Well, that is no longer the case because I paused in front of them and before I knew it, I was the proud owner of these and I am excited!



Lately I have been noticing that everytime a quilt made with 30's fabric catches my eye, it makes me happy and I see a quilt forming in my mind bit by bit. It's kind of a case of "buy the fabric" and "the quilt will come".

I'm beginning to think that insanity has set in, but perhaps it's simply a case of what happens when I don't get to play with fabric for extended periods of time. Good thing I had access to a lengthy theraphy session today. It was touch and go there for a bit!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake Dessert




Well that's not a very good photo, but I can't retake it because there's not a speck left so this is what you get.

I made this yesterday for the crew. It's one of my 'go to' desserts in the summer when I have a crowd to feed and I have yet to hear any complaints. I've had this in my recipe file for years.

Something about the combination of strawberries and vanilla ice cream and angel food cake just comes together to make a wonderful summer dessert.

It doesn't photograph very well though, but just take my word for it - this is good stuff!

Strawberry Shortcake Dessert

1 large Angel Food Cake
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
2 c milk
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 large box strawberry jello
2 c boiling water
1 10 oz tub of frozen strawberries

*Break cake into pieces and put into a 9x13" pan. Mix together vanilla pudding and milk. Add softened ice cream. Stir to combine and pour over angel food cake. Mix together strawberry jello and boiling water. Add frozen strawberries and mix. Pour over pudding mixture and cake. Refrigerate and let set for about 4 hours.

I generally make my desserts the night before, but this will tend to get soggy, so I make it the morning I plan to serve it. It's quick to throw together though (unless you make the Angel Food Cake from scratch, which I do sometimes) so it's not a huge time commitment.

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Walking in High Cotton

I'm doing the happy dance! Want to know why? See this? This is what I'm over the moon about!

Isn't it beautiful?

So long swamp cooler! Yep, you read that right! We banished the swamp cooler and installed refrigerated air! Woo Hoo! Yippee! I'm practically giddy! No more damp floors. No more warping of the nice oak furniture! No more wet books! No more sweltering 100°+ days in the the house! No more clammoring up on the roof and having serious discussions with said swamp cooler unit!


It took two days and 4 guys. Here they are removing the swamp cooler...so long baby!



DH had to dig a ditch through the yard from the electric pole and the only time I frowned was when I found out that the unit had to be installed in my front yard, right in the middle of the bed of Vinca Major that after 5 years, and umpteen wheelbarrows of dirt, has finally started filling in. But, it's a minor problem I can deal with. Think we'll put up a fence around it, about 2 ft from the unit, and let the vines shimmy up it


Ditch filler-inners:




This was not a fun job on this particular day because the wind was steadily gusting at 50+ mph.


Right now Jared is my hero!


I'm so cotton pickin' excited! And thankful! And blessed!

We're fresh air people though and for the most part, we prefer to have the windows open, but
my kitchen turns into a sauna in the summertime and I just won't know what to do with myself now! We're branding this week and I'm just jumping for joy in my nice, cool kitchen! Happy, happy, joy, joy! Even when the alarm went off at the insane hour of 3:00 this morning, I was not dismayed because I know that when the mercury rises during the day, I will be able to walk over to this handy dandy control unit and push that cute little button!


Ahhhhh....! I'm walkin in high cotton!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pull!

This past weekend we made our annual trek north to Raton for the 4-H State Shooting Sports Competition. Seems we were just there, but apparently an entire year has passed. Don't know when that happened!



This year we upgraded and stayed in the competitor's housing... with heat! Usually we rough it and stay in the little unchinked log cabins and cook everything outside. That was always lots of fun, but it was nice to change things up a bit this year. We went from this (little 400 sq ft cabins that sleep 12 in bunk beds):





to this:


I will admit that the little cabins have more character but, my old bones appreciated the addition of heat and inside facilities. We had a nice little kitchen that made it convenient to feed everyone. That refrigerator is packed and there are still 4 coolers!




I made my breakfast pockets and buckaroo bundles, like I do every year, and with everyone bringing food, no one ever goes hungry on a 4-H trip!




This is the fifth year the kids have participated in shooting sports here. Now that DS is in college, he wasn't able to attend, but DD is keeping the tradition alive. Here she is getting some pointers from DH:

A friend of DD's and her Mama drove over to meet us and we enjoyed getting to know new friends. We all met via the Internet and it was fun getting to meet each other. The joined us when we went to eat at K-Bobs. They are brave souls as the rest of the team is comprised of rascally teenage boys,whom we love, but who need to learn a bit about decorum.


We left the ranch early on Friday morning in order to get in some practice time before the competition on Saturday.


DH and DD ended up shooting 11 rounds on Friday! This is just plain fun for them,



but come Saturday, it was time to get serious.


DD shot really well and she ended up as the girl with the highest score (there were about 30 girls competing), However, she wasn't happy with that. She wanted to beat all the boys too and she has made it her mission to make them all cry next year. LOL! She certainly gave them a run for their money though. She was in the top 10 scores against the boys. It was fun to watch coaches and competitors from other counties watch her and comment on her ability to dust those birds. We had a couple coaches ask us what the chances were of us moving to their county. LOL!



Since she was competing as an individual (no one else in our country shoots shotgun), she shot with other counties. One of the coaches told her not to embarrass his boys and when she finished shooting he approached her again and said, "I told you not to embarrass my boys". It was funny.
Got birds?


The girl is in her element in the shotgun range.




After the competition, we kicked back and DH and DD shot some 5 stand.


They had never shot it before, but I'm thinking it won't be the last time.



I sat up in my litle perch and punched the various numbers to call for the targets which were thrown from different directions.


We had amazing weather for the weekend. About 50° and sunny skies...until a little winter storm blew through and brought in cold wind with snow flurries for about 20 minutes. DH and DS shot their last few rounds really quickly and made a beeline for the truck.


Later everyone gathered in the common room and DH taught the kids how to play Spades.


Another table had a poker game going. Poker for bullets:
Then there was the annual dance where I only took one photo because I only took my big camera with the outside lens so here is DS with Charlie.

Since we're working cattle this week, we had to leave out early, before all the awards were given, but she was in the top 10 for scores. She shot 84 out of 100. Well done girl and yes, next year you can make all the boys cry!


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