Friday, April 10, 2015

Chuckwagon Cowboy Baby Quilt

Our friends and neighbors to the west just welcomed a new baby into their midst and what kind of neighbor would I be if I didn't make a baby quilt? Grandma Lillian, whom I've talked about before, is going to be a great-great-grandma for the 4th time and this one lives right next door to her. First grandson too. I love sewing for babies. Its such a nice way to welcome a new member of the family.

Seems I am always making big quilts and it surprises me how fast a quilt comes together when I make a baby quilt. Their colors are red, blue, and brown with a country feel so my stash was raided for just the right fabric.

                                  

This is hard fabric to quilt with. It would make a cute backing, but its fabric that doesn't lend itself to cutting up for piecing a top very well. After much contemplation, I decided a simple strip quilt might work. I love the square in a square block and after a bit of figuring, and some pulling of coordinating fabric, I set to stitching.

                                  

It finished at  40 x 52"after a run through the washer and dryer.

                                                      

I was very thankful for a handful of Color Catchers:

                                 

I knew Jackie had this fun western quilting pattern so I had her use it on this quilt:



And yesterday I got to spend some time in the company of a beautiful baby boy who I hope will make good use of this little quilt made especially for him:


Quick, simple, and made with love for a special little boy:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Splorin' With My Sweetheart

The chiddlers used to call it that when they were young. They would often meet in secret and whisper their plans of epic adventure before approaching me with wide, shining eyes, "We're goin' splorin' Mama!"

They spent their childhood splorin' . There's lots of adventure to be discovered on a big ranch. They never wandered too far - once in a blue moon they would cross a fence line, but a 3000 acre pasture was big enough to hold a childhood worth of  daring exploration. They would always return dirty, but happy, brimming with stories and starrrrvinggg!

I guess they come by it naturally. Their Daddy and I like splorin' too.

Saturday was a splorin' day.

We left out early and drove about 2 hours south to a little place in the Guadalupe Mountains called Sitting Bull Falls.

About an hour into our trip. I told DH, "Remember when we were first married and didn't have 2 cents to our name and we would set out on little day trips and explore the area?"

DH said, "You mean like today?" LOL. Yes, like today, honey.

Here's a picture from one of those trips. I remember telling DH that this would make the perfect first home for us:


That was 28 years ago. We would take one or two days a month and do just that. We didn't have any money and we would pack a sandwich picnic lunch, jump in the pickup and take the road less traveled. We would find a spot and hike along rivers and creeks and mountains. We always took along the denim quilt his mom had made us for a picnic blanket as well as the library books we were currently reading.

When we arrived, the Falls were closed, but after reading the fine print on the posted notice, we concluded that we weren't breaking any laws. So we left the pickup in a parking lot and hiked the .6 miles to the picnic area, wound our way through that and hiked another 1/2 mile to the falls.

We're in a drought. In a desert.

                                                   

So all you really get is a bit more than a trickle, but it was such a pretty place to spend the day.


Its part of the Lincoln National Forest so there are miles and miles of trails to hike I marked our trail in black.


The recreation area and trails were built by the CCC:


I am married to a mountain goat.


This man claims to be out of shape and I just laugh. I walk 5 miles just about every single day, but we live in flat desert country and hiking in the mountains makes me feel like a wimp. Still, I was  a happy wimp. DH kept having to stop and wait for me because I was camera happy


I could not stop taking pictures


You can't take a wannabe photographer to a place like this and expect her NOT to take pictures!


We hiked up and over the falls

                                       
down creeks


                                        

 into green valleys

                                            

past interesting  walls of rock

                            
across streams


and found ourselves at this cave


Sure wanted to go spelunking!


DH found me an anniversary walking stick as we hiked

                                      

Pretty much made for the best day together! It was past dark when we arrived home to chores by flashlight. First order of business was to order a couple of books of detailed maps. We've got more 'splorin to do!

Monday, April 6, 2015

UFO Recap

The Portobello Market Plus Quilt

                                      

DH's Wool Quilt

                                       
my Summer House Quilt

                                     

That's 3 ufos crossed off the list. My 30's Raw Edge Circle quilt is at Shelly's for quilting. Its my oldest ufo. I still need to make the binding for it, but as I recall, I was stuck on that. I just couldn't decide what color to use on such a busy quilt. Should I use a solid?

                           

Charleston Pavement, a pattern from Shelly, is at Jackie's for quilting

                                         
as is Holly and Vine

                         

and Christmas Tree Farm

                      

and  my Granny Square Quilt

                                            

Last week I pieced a baby quilt using this fabric and I took it to Jackie too.


I just finished piecing The Three Rs quilt, another pattern of Shelly's this week and Jackie will get it on Monday

as well as a top I'm calling Back in Time...I'm working this one up as a pattern.

                               

When Jackie was contemplating quitting her job, she was unsure of whether she would have enough business as a long-arm quilter. One of my co-worker quilting buddies took her 6 quilts last week. I think we have you covered girl!

Sounds like I may be spending the rest of the year binding quilts.

And that leaves ONE ufo quilt on my list! Its this Don't Fence Me In quilt. This is an old picture.

                                

I don't know if its really a ufo or not. I'm not using a pattern and I ran out of the fabric I was using so I'm starting from scratch. This fabric lends itself to a kind of strip or row quilt so that's kind of where I am at the moment.

I am also pulling fabric for a scrappy quilt for our girl's best friend at college - she's graduating in May and our girl chose this pattern by Alison over at Cluck Cluck Sew . So that's moving to the top of the priority list right now.

I don't know why I'm so determined to knock out every single ufo on my list. Somewhere along the line it just became a challenge.

I've got a pretty long list of quilts I want to make though and that means the ufo list won't stay empty for long.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Wayward Chicken

The other evening, I was out tending to chores. I always take a head count when I shut the chickens up just to be sure everyone is present and accounted for. I counted 10.
10? I seem to recall that I've had 9 chickens for some time.
 I counted again.
And again.
And when I mentioned it to DH that night, he tilted his head and the look in his eyes seemed to tentatively question whether his wife had finally lost her senses.
Perhaps, but there are 10 chickens out there in that coop!
The next morning? Still 10 chickens.
This one did not belong.


She's a smidge smaller and lighter in color and she seems to prefer pecking through the horse pens instead of meandering through the grounds between the coop and the house.
The family at North Camp has chickens, but the are 9 miles away and there are approximately 357 coyotes between here and there. When you are a coyote, chicken is always on the menu. Did someone say 'coyote'?


So when Jake came over to get feed, fuel, and help drench a 2-yr old heifer that has been sick, I mentioned my extra chicken. Kassie said she noticed one had been missing but she doesn't have a coop for them so they truly do run free and once in a while she may lose one or two.

We finally surmised that my new addition to the flock had hitched a ride on the back of Jake's feed truck and apparently she bailed when he wasn't looking and had pulled up to get fuel. DH said he had noticed a chicken on Jake's truck before when he was over at North Camp and Jake just shooed her off. She must have hidden herself between

the feeder and the truck this time:


 I can just picture that chicken hunkered down next to the feeder in a flatbed pickup, flying down the highway.

I called Kassie before work on Monday and told her that her chicken might want to come home. She didn't take too kindly to being cooped up at night  When I let the girls out in the morning, she could not find her way out of the enclosed yard. She just did not know what to do with a fence in her way. There are only 9 chickens in this photo because Carol was in her nesting box, doing her job, but you can see Kassie's chicken peering through the fence:


It made me laugh, but she is gentle and I just walked up to her and set her in the doorway and she made a beeline for the horse pens. My chickens didn't want anything to do with her and the feeling seemed to be mutual. I saw one of my girls peck at the newcomer. Shame on her. That's no way to welcome a visitor.

So Kassie came over and when she stepped out of the truck, that little chicken ran to her and she scooped her up, set her in her lap, and home they went. I could just see that chicken thinking, "Mama, Mama, Mama!!" when she was running to her. LOL


And when she got home, I'm sure she had quite the tale of adventure to share with her circle of feathered friends who had all been wondering where she'd been hiding.


The boys think we are much too easily entertained by our chickens, but I think this may have the makings of a children's book...who among you can draw a chicken? :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Summer House Quilt

I've got another finish to share with y'all today. In my never-ending quest to use some of the pre-cuts I have collected, this quilt pattern came to my attention.  


This was a fun, fast, quilt to make - its a Moda Bakeshop pattern  that uses a layer cake and you can find it here. I found these Summer House Layer Cakes on sale a few years ago and  I couldn't resist. The colors are so vibrant and fresh and they just bring a smile to my face.

                                                       

I backed it with this blue print and this pink dot for the binding, both from my stash:

                                                   

This makes a 58" x 58" quilt which is perfect for a nice sized baby quilt or a lap quilt.

                                                       

I always tell Jackie to just quilt whatever she is inspired to quilt and she always chooses the perfect design:

                            
I took this in to show the gals at the sale barn - 3 of them are quilters and we always bring our projects in to share - and they are all making quilts using this pattern.


It doesn't look much like summer around here at the moment - no lush green anything for a pretty backdrop, with the exception of that lilac bush that is on the verge of blooming, but a finish is worth blogging about and I have one less UFO on my list. :)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Why I Need 6 Feet

This blogging medium has introduced me to some amazing people...kind, generous, thoughtful, inspiring, talented people. People who live far, far away. People with whom I know I would love to share a good visit over a glass of iced tea and a piece of pie. One of those people is Nancy, who blogs over at Wyoming Breezes. She makes beautiful quilts for QOV,  knits the prettiest socks, and shares the most interesting photos of her world travels. Honestly, girl, I would love to hear your story. I think people live fascinating lives.

A while back, when I picked up my mountain of fabric, I was thinking of Nancy. The prices were just too good not to share and I thought she might be able to use some for backings for QOV. We visited over the phone and after texting back and forth, I sent her some fabric.

I didn't expect anything in return, but Nancy, being one of those amazing, kind, generous, thoughtful, talented, inspiring people I mentioned above, sent me something absolutely wonderful! She sent me not one:



 not two:


but THREE pair of her incredible wool socks:

 

Thank you does not convey how over the moon I am about these socks, Nancy! You have spoiled me and I am overwhelmed and grateful! Not to mention that I am now more determined than ever to learn to knit socks.

I don't care that I live in the desert SW and that its going to be 85° today. I am not waiting for winter to wear these. DH laughed at me the other day when he walked past the bedroom and saw me contemplating the top of the dresser.
"What are you DOING?", he asked.
My reply?
"I can't decide which pair to wear first."
Yes, 6 feet would be mighty handy right about now.
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