Friday, July 24, 2015

What I've Been Up To

1. 2 very long days, a week apart, on the road, looking for housing for college girl. After looking at 21 places, we finally found it.

 We were alternately patient...sweaty...tired....hungry...impatient...exhausted...and just plumb tuckered out.

2. Spending time behind my trusty mower trying to keep up.

3. Cooking for unexpected company as our neighbor delivered our winter supply of big bales and he and DH got caught in a torrential downpour (that blue sky didn't stay blue for long) so we wiled away the evening over chicken fajitas and good conversation as the storm raged.


4. Branding some late calves and feeding a few extras. Made me grin when I started cracking eggs at 3:30 in the morning and the eggs smiled back:

5. Stitching a binding and looking forward to a finished quilt soon.

6. Trip 3 to move college girl into her humble abode.

Made me smile to see that these were the first things she unpacked and set out:

Alas, no kitties allowed so unpacking this made her sad:

So her beloved feline will take up residence with us. We already have another one of her kitties, but they are good cats. They spend 90% of their time outdoors and wander in from time to time for a bite to eat and some lap time.

7. Being thankful for another good rainstorm although it was accompanied by much lightening that struck a tree close to the house

as well as the transformer by the house, twice in two days, knocking out our power.

8. Eating lots of this in an attempt to keep cool. The temps have soared well past 100° this week.

9. Making Soft Scrub and using it on the stove and tub, Sparkly stoves and tubs make me happy.


10. Finalizing plans for something that, for now, I have to keep under my hat :)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hooked on Yarn

I have wanted to learn to knit for what seems like a coon's age. I see Judy over at Patchwork Times is always posting cute projects and Nancy over at  Wyoming Breezes has me yearning to knit socks. As does Carol over at The Polka Dot Chicken And then things like this pop up on Pinterest.


and I am more determined than ever. I don't care if its 100° outside, I would wear hats like this every day!

And this scarf! How long do you reckon it'll take me to learn how to knit something like this?


Alas, I am a klutz...and a bit clumsy. I get mixed up with 2 needles although I did manage of make a scarf to wear with my denim coat. I'm not giving up though although now I need a yarn project for a time and I'm not sure knitting needles are allowed so I turned to crochet. My friend, M, who is a knitting fool, lives in Texas and when I moaned to her, she pointed me towards U-tube and lo and behold, I made something!

 Don't laugh at my wine glass mannequin. I didn't have any cute little babies handy for modeling so a wine glass is what you get. Its rather silly how happy I am about this little hat. I really want to make hats for babies in ICU and children battling cancer. I have a gift card from Hobby Lobby from Christmas and I think I'll start a yarn stash.

I was completely thrilled with my new little hobby so I jumped right in to another hat. A different pattern as the first pattern just called for crocheting a rectangle and stitching up the sides and gathering the top. This time I thought I would tackle crocheting on the round.

LOL. Something went terribly wrong. I got the round part right, but I was aiming for a hat. DH and DD are amused and to tell you the truth, so am I. I haven't a clue what I did, but it looks like a flower and I'm keeping it because some little girl may enjoy having a flower on her hat.

I know these are all the same colorway, but I'm just practicing before I go wild with the yarn and my third attempt was met with success:

I may have conquered my quilting UFO list, but I just may be on the way to creating a UFO list filled with yarn projects, but I am having fun!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

And Then There Was One...

 I made some progress on the Don't Fence Me In quilt this week. It's the last UFO and I have procrastinated on this one time and time again. I think this fabric has aged long enough:

If I recall correctly, I bought this to make valances for a front room in the house we lived in in Texas. Plan B. A quilt. I knew I wanted to make it bigger than the 42" width of fabric and that meant I'd need to piece the strips and match the horses. I thought about it long enough that I had convinced myself that it was going to be a big mess, but once I finally gave myself a good talking to, I just gave it a shot and it didn't turn out half bad. I can live with it. No horses tails are growing out of shoulders so it'll do.

Then I had to reconstruct a pieced strip I had made many moons ago.

I have no idea how I made it, but I still really liked it and I needed to make more. I didn't have a pattern and apparently those particular brain cells have ceased to exist so new brain cells were called into action. I had run out of the original fabric so new fabric was pulled and cut and pieced. I snuck (I was always taught that wasn't a word and 'sneaked' is the proper form, but that sounds awkward) in a few minutes here and there and after 10 days I finally had a quilt top.

Now I have a question. To border or not to border? I've still got plenty of the brown and blue and cream and black fabrics. Presently it measures 77" x 87". I don't need it for any particular spot, but I just couldn't decide whether it would look better with or without a border. Any thoughts?

I may actually get to cross this one off the UFO list one of these days if I can stay focused. I wouldn't bet on it either. :) I've got 7 quilts at the quilters and this makes 8 so there will be lots of binding going on around here at some point and another baby quilt is in the works. Pinks and Grays and my stash is VERY limited on both.

 We've had  3" of rain since Thursday night - most of it early this morning and that means it's too wet to get around much without tearing up the roads so we're not venturing far today. We've got friends coming out to watch UFC fights tonight and fajitas and queso are on the menu I'll be donning my apron before long, but until then, I'm going to settle on a design and see what I can dig up.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hourglass Blocks and a Good Read

I've had a few questions about the hourglass blocks I shared the other day so I figured I'd attempt to walk, those of you that are interested, through the steps I had taken to make them.

These blocks began with 2 Butterfly Garden Layer Cakes I had sitting in a bin and a need to stitch something simple. Something that didn't require thinking or figuring. Some people would say boring, but I just wanted some time with fabric under a needle while I listened to an audio book. This is what I was listening to:

Once Upon a Town

I highly recommend it. I love nonfiction and this story takes place in North Platte, Nebraska during WW II. DH grew up around the same area. This book made me sad because I wonder what has happened to our country. Could this still happen today? WOULD it?

OK, I'll get back to the subject at hand before I step up on my soapbox. :)

Choose 2 layer cake squares and stitch 1/4" all the way around. Doesn't get much simpler than that. Then take them to your cutting mat and slice them 4 times like this:

I'm fairly certain I saw a tutorial on this somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it at the moment. Stitch each one along the short side:

If you stitch along the bias side, you will end up with 1/2 square triangles. Press and you have a pile of these. I forgot to take pictures so I had to un-stitch this one to get one:                          

Pick out the 2 little stitches above your horizontal seam and spin your seams for a flat block:

 My ruler is not lined up in this photo but trim your block to 6"

Each set of 10" squares makes 4 hourglass blocks and before long, you have lots of pretty hourglass blocks.


I also made the little hourglass blocks in this quilt

with leftover jelly roll strips. I used a different method for these and it involves that handy dandy Easy Angle ruler. Just choose 2 strips and set right sides together. Then line up your ruler on the strips at the 2 1/2" mark and cut.


Flip your ruler over, line up with the 2 1/2" mark again and cut:

 I love this thing. Bonnie Hunter is the queen of the Easy Angle ruler and she has a tutorial here for making 1/2 square triangles. Just one more step and you have the makings of an hourglass block - aka: 1/4 square triangles.


Press seams to the dark side:


When you stitch these two pieces together, they will nest nicely. Then take just a minute to pick out the 2 vertical stitches above the horizontal seam:

When you press your finished block. you can spin your seams and a little cute 4-patch will appear


And once you trim:


you will be left with a pretty little hourglass block with good points and flat seams:


 A 2 1/2" strip yields cute little 3" blocks and there you have it. Its way past my bedtime so I hope this makes sense for those of you that inquired. I've got a baby quilt to plan in pinks and grays and I've still got a hankering for hourglass blocks so I may be stitching up more of these.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Busy Bees

The days seem to be getting away from me lately...a sure sign that summer has arrived. Thankfully, we've not had the intense heat this year that generally cloaks our summers around here. The showers have transformed our usually 'dry heat' into sultry days with heavy air although you'll laugh when I tell you that the humidity has been hovering around 40%...that's sultry for us desert rats. And its the reason I am trotting down the road at 5:30 in the mornings. Its the coolest part of the day. Our girl has been DH's sidekick lately so after I fix breakfast for them, I head out the door. As long as its light enough for me to avoid stepping on a snake, its light enough.


We've been honey bees. Our wet spring brought on a prolific wild flower crop this year and the honey bees are taking advantage.

One night we heard incessant buzzing when we went to bed and we quickly zoned in on the problem. Apparently, a colony of honey bees decided to take up residence in one of our bedroom walls. We didn't want to kill them all...they are fascinating and helpful creatures, but we certainly didn't want them building their hive in our wall either. We found their entrance and DH bought a powder he used in hopes of making them leave. Regular wasp spray had no effect on them. Once we thought they had vacated the premises, DH sealed up the holes - he had drilled a few more in order to be more effective.

 Then a few days later he called me to another building and pointed out this:

I briefly...very briefly... considered taking up beekeeping as we love fresh honey, but  it was a fleeting thought. They are welcome to make their home here without our interference.

 On the sewing front - I've been piddling. I pulled out 2 old layer cakes and commenced to stitching and slicing. I just wanted an easy, 'no thinking required' project and this fit the bill nicely although there was more trimming than I would have liked:

But I ended up with 160 blocks to show for it. Then blocks were stitched into rows and that's as far as I've gotten.


I added borders to the little hourglass baby quilt:


And I did manage to get the stars appliqued onto the Rodeo Baby quilt and pieced a backing so this one is ready for Jackie too


Now I've got to spend some time behind my trusty lawn mower and help sort some cattle in the pens before I can call it a day. I'm thankful for leftover brisket in the fridge for supper and clean sheets on the bed. Its been a good week.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ice Cream Crunchies

I'm sharing an oldie but a goody today. This is probably one of the first recipes I ever added to my collection after we were married. My MIL...who is a wonderful cook, shared it with me. I didn't know how to cook when DH and I were married and my MIL probably wanted to insure I fed her baby boy well and that meant dessert after dinner.

I had hits and misses in the kitchen...many misses, but DH was kind and patient and I was a fast learner. If it brought a twinkle to his eye, I made it again although truth be told, even the misses often brought a twinkle to his eye. He was and still is, a good sport.

Writing this brought back a funny memory from when we were dating. I had invited him over for supper one night and when he got up to rinse his plate and place it in the sink, he turned and said, "What is THIS?"
I had not expected him to take his plate to the sink, but his Mama had apparently raised him right, but now my secret was out.

 See, I had attempted to make gravy, but it had a ton of lumps in it so I figured I could just strain the lumps out and I had left the colander...with the lumps...sitting in the sink. Thankfully, lumpy gravy was not a deal breaker and he married me anyway. Whew! Catastrophe averted! I remember how we laughed in that college kitchen apartment that night. For a long time after that, I would ask him if he wanted lumps with his gravy. *Grin*

I made these last week for the crew and sure enough, they were a big hit so I thought the recipe was worthy of sharing with y'all.


1/2 C light Karo syrup
1/2 C peanut butter
3 C Rice Krispies
Vanilla Ice Cream

Butter bottom of rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Set aside. Add Karo syrup and peanut butter to a medium sized pot and stir together over medium heat for a few minutes until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in Rice Krispies. Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread into a very thin layer, packing down a bit.
Pop in freezer for 30 minutes or so to set. Remove from freezer and cut into squares. I buy the ice cream in the rectangular containers for this recipe - its easier to slice. Slice the ice cream and sandwich between two layers of cereal.

I doubled the recipe for the crew and its a good thing I did. I also probably needed to make the cereal layers wide!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Stitch Here and a Stitch There

A stitch here plus a stitch there equals progress. Just odds and ends to share this week. I cooked for a crew for 3 days this week and those 2:30 am wake up calls gave me some extra time behind the sewing machine.

I really enjoyed embroidering 16 of these soon to be corn hole bags (bean bags) for a  friend's son's wedding. They are planning a variety of yard games for the reception (Doesn't that sound like a fun idea?)  and T sent me the fabric with a request for an embroidered monogram on each bag.

And I pieced the Fun Flower Baby Quilt into a top

 I also made this valance for my kitchen window a while back, but I don't think I ever shared it.

 I had run across the fabric while searching for something for a friend at Joann's and knew it would be perfect in my kitchen.

And I finally stitched up some matching potholders this week:

And an apron may find its way under the needle soon.

 I also finished out the week by piecing this top for the Rodeo Baby baby quilt. There will be strips running across the top and the bottom that will have appliqued stars running across them as well as a star in the center, but the center blocks are pieced.

I hope to get the stars appliqued and make a plan for the Don't Fence Me In horse quilt this week.

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