Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On the Road Again

Don't even come near me with a truck key right now. Last week was a good week, but I logged in many a mile...TOO many...x100.

Saturday we had a special bull sale so I worked and  Monday was a regular sale day so my week began with 2 trips into town.

On Tuesday we packed up and headed 3 hours north for our annual Angus bull sale:


On Wednesday we were in the feed truck all day.


Thursday DH flew to Dallas and we left the house just after 5 to take him to the airport.


Friday our girl and I made an impromptu trip 4 hours south to visit with some professors about their ruminant nutrition program. We left in the dark and we came home in the dark:


Sunday, DH and I drove to my in-laws...2 hours there, 2 hours back


And yesterday, I was back in town for work at the Sale Barn.

If you ask me to go somewhere and I growl at you, I apologize.

I am done.
Finito.
No mas.

With one exception:  if this fella is the one doing the asking, I'm loading up!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

DH's Wool Quilt

I am making slow but steady progress on my UFOs without adding too many more to the bottom of the list. This quilt was at the top. I am embarrassed to admit that DH and I chose these fabrics in 2010


The top has been pieced for some time


and I ordered wool batting last year and then spent some time on my hands and knees:


In December, I set to quilting it. The NFR (National Finals Rodeo) allowed me to make good progress on it. 10 nights of championship rodeo and DH's quilt was quilted!


My only regret is that I didn't make it bigger. I seem to do that a lot...talk about making bigger quilts. It finishes at 70 x 70.



I hemmed and hawed over a quilting design, but DH asked for simple. No swirls or doo-dads. No brands or western motifs. Simple. Unassuming. I asked several times while I was working on it and the answer was always the same.

                                        

As I was finishing up the squares and about to move onto the triangles on the edge, I realized I was going to run out of the yarn I'd been using. A quick search online told me that it had been discontinued so I called the store in Brady where I originally purchased it probably 3 years ago, maybe more. They had expanded and opened another store in Fredricksburg and moved all of their wool, and much of their yarn there. Phone call #2 brought success. Yes, they had the yarn and they were kind enough to send it to me. I also needed some wool for the binding.

                                                 

I gave DH the quilt at Christmas, but it lacked the binding so I stopped into the shop when I was driving through a few weeks ago and chose wool for the binding.

                                                       

They have a wonderful selection of wool and I will admit to hovering over the bolts and contemplating another wool quilt. However, common sense quickly prevailed. It gets cold in New Mexico, but unless we move to Alaska or Tibet, I'm fairly certain we won't be needing a stack of wool quilts.


Once I was back home, stitching commenced, but the double fold binding I always make was just too thick so un-stitching took place. I had already hand stitched down one side. I kept asking DH what he thought and he didn't want me to have to un-stitch it all, but we both thought the binding was awfully thick so I took it all off and trimmed down the binding. Now that its finished, I'm glad I did. Much better. DH loves it. When I had added the last stitch, clipped the thread, and presented it to him, he commented, "Just in time for our first 80 degree day!" Rascal.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Portobello Market Plus Quilt

A few weeks ago when I made the pilgrimage to Texas to spend some time with my mom, much of it  was spent in her office, buried in paperwork and all things tax related. Since my Daddy passed away, I have learned more about real estate corporations than I ever wanted to know. I miss him for countless reasons every day, but thankfully, with the Lord's help, I am able to help mom navigate the details.

I always take a quilt to bind when I make the trip. Our days are spent crunching numbers, but when we sit down in the evenings, I can decompress with needle and thread.

This little quilt is my first finish for 2015.

                                                     
 I bought this fabric probably 7 years ago from a vendor at the local quilt show. I wasn't even a quilter then, but I wanted to be and I was at my very first quilt show with a dear friend who just happened to be...the divine Miz. M, and she was a quilter. I wanted to be a quilter.

I fell in love with this Portabello Market line by Moda. I bought a layer cake and a few 1/2 yard cuts and through the years, I would pick up a piece or two when I saw it. I sketched out what I thought would make a pretty quilt and began cutting...and piecing...and I did not love it. Not even a little bit. So it sat. For years. It just wasn't working, but I still loved the fabric.

I never seemed to be able to settle on a pattern until I started noticing the Plus quilts popping up and I knew these fabrics were a good fit so I cut apart my lost cause quilt top.


 I didn't use a pattern. I just cut  things in order to make the best use of my layer cake which meant that I cut everything into 3" widths:


And the laying out of pluses began:


Lots of trotting down the hall into and out of bedrooms and back again ensued as this top came together and I love the end result:

                                                   

I didn't have enough of the brown paisley fabric and I really wanted to use that for the backing so I just chose one of the other prints and pieced a strip on each side of the brown paisley:
                                   

Jackie quilted a fun overall design called Cherries and Leaves across it and I dug into my stash until I found a suitable fabric for the binding:
                                   

It measures  52 x 60  and yes, I wish like anything it was bigger. I just love the way this pattern showcases an entire line and I will definitely be making more Plus quilts.


When I pulled this out to bind, my Mom fell in love with it, so even though she's seen it, she doesn't know that she will be getting it for her Birthday.


I've still got an un-opened fat quarter bundle of Countdown to Christmas from a few years ago and if I can bear to open it, it may be the next Plus Quilt.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Western Skies Quilt

I don't know how I missed sharing this quilt with y'all! I finished it last year and I guess I was SO excited that I just put it on the bed and completely forgot to post about  it here. I remember telling myself I needed to paint our bedroom before I shared it and then that too was forgotten. I must have taken leave of my senses because its probably my favorite quilt.

 I bought yards and yards of this fabric when I first saw it about 5 years ago.

                                         

I was a new quilter and I didn't have a plan. I just started playing with ideas and thought I might be able to fussy cut some of the scenes and make them the focal point. The minute I saw this fabric, a particular song started playing in my head. I adore Chris Ledoux and he has a song called "Western Skies". You can listen to it here:


There probably isn't a day that goes by that it doesn't go through my mind, and yes, I may even sing it a bit as I go about my day. Its my theme song. :)

When I brought this fabric home and spread it out on the bed, my eyes drifted to the painting above our bed:


 We have a friend,  Wayne Baize, who is a western artist and he painted this of DH about 15 years ago. My husband does NOT like to be in limelight. He doesn't want articles written about him, or to be the subject of a magazine shoot, or to be included in a calendar. He just likes to go about his business quietly without fanfare.

Once we went to a Cowboy Poetry Gathering and a bit and spur show. When we walked into the museum, there was a huge, life sized painting of DH on one wall. Wayne said it was a commissioned piece. DH avoided it completely and spent the remainder of our visit outside. :)

 That's Timber Mountain in the background which is where we lived in Texas and his favorite horse ever, Poncho, and Doc.

 Look how much it resembles the fabric in this quilt.

                             

I didn't use a pattern as I had to work around the fussy cut squares to build my block. And at the time, I didn't understand the concept of pieced borders and using fudge strips to make them fit so one corner square is cut off. I should have just left it out, but I can live with it.

                              

I sent it off to Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts to be custom quilted and she did an amazing job!
I love the barbed wire in the sashing and the rope she quilted in the border as well the stitching in each border square:

                              

She outlined each star block adding cool stitching around the star:

                              

O.K. - I love everything about it! Thank you so much, Shelly! I am thrilled to pieces with how you've brought it all to life! You are a master at your craft!

                                 

At 108 x 108, its another huge quilt. I need an intervention, but it spends the summer on our bed and makes me smile every time I walk in our bedroom.

                                

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Mountain of Fabric

So the Tuesday before last, as I was driving to my Mom's, I was looking forward to popping into a little shop that carries quilting  fabric. I was in need of some yardage for backings. The 9 hour trip makes for a long day in the pickup and the 15 minute stop gives me a chance to stretch my legs. Through the years, I have found treasures in this little shop every single time.

Her prices are unheard of these days and although she does carry some newer lines and pieces that are in the $10 range, most of her fabrics are in the $4-$6 range and they are quilt store quality fabrics, with the majority being Moda fabrics. They didn't ever have a lot of bright, modern fabrics, but when I'm in the market for more muted tones, this shop has always been a sure bet.

This time when I popped in and mentioned I was going to the back, they said that they no longer cut yardage from the bolts. Everything was 75% off, but you had to take the entire bolt...because they were selling out. The store is not closing, but they will no longer carry the cotton fabrics. WHAT? Repeat that please. No - wait a minute. On second thought - don't. It was hard enough to hear it the first time.

I was instantly overwhelmed. First order of business was to look for the backing for the Christmas quilt. I needed 9 yards. Bingo. How about the blocks I had just finished that would soon be a top and would need a backing. Check. My next QOV backing. Pulled that. I walked out with 8 partial bolts. And then thought about what else I had left behind for the next 8 days. Its not often you find quilt shop fabrics for $2.11 per yard.

So, yes, I stopped back in on the return trip and 8 more bolts found their way into the truck. And lest you think I am keeping it all and thus, wondering what on earth I am going to do with 156 yards, I am sending some on to a friend who makes QOV and sharing some with a friend who is my longarmer.

So that is how I ended up with 18 partial bolts of fabric


that ended up averaging out at $2.33 per yard.



The tan with little blue and cream paisley on the top of the photo below is earmarked for a quilt backing and the green plaid below it will be the backing for my Christmas quilt.




These three below are going into baby quilts. I have the entire line of that Meadow Friends line and the 2 bottom fabrics are coordinates:


The top one here will be for a QOV:


DH laughed out loud when he opened the truck door to help me unload and said, "I take it you found a sale?" Sure did!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

As promised! :) Here's the recipe for the Oatmeal Cranberry cookies I posted about a few weeks ago. I have seen many variations on these and many of them have white chocolate chips in them. I have a good recipe for those too, but DH likes these the best. He likes a crunchy-ish cookie and with a whole boatload of oats, these fit the bill. The combination of Crisco and brown sugar a oats seem to give them a tender crunch that wins him over every time. I left on Tuesday and I made these on Sunday afternoon so he would have them while I was away. Ha! When I came home from work on Monday evening, there was nary a crumb in the cookie jar. Not one cookie remained. :)



Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

1/2 C Crisco
1/2 C softened butter (I use unsalted)
3/4 C brown sugar
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 C flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
3 1/2 C rolled oats
2 C Craisins

Cream together the Crisco, softened butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Mix in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the oats and Craisins and bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes until golden. If you bake them a little longer, they will be crunchier. Kinda depends on your oven as to how long you bake them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Trip to Texas

Last Tuesday I packed up and headed down to see my mom. The weather was sketchy in places, 

                            

but the good Lord got me there safely. Its over 500 miles one way and takes up much of the day, but I like to take the back roads and soak up the changing scenery. I often listen to a book and "Morning's on Horseback", a biography about Theodore Roosevelt, accompanied me along the way.

I was away for 8 days and I don't think the sun ever peeked out. It was wet and drizzly, but never amounted to much of anything. No worries. I was huddled in the office shuffling accounting and corporation and personal taxes for much of that time. 

We had a good visit and I extended my stay just a bit so that we could visit about more than taxes. My mom has a bad leg, but it doesn't slow her down much. In fact, she wears me out, but there were odds and ends that I was happy to tend to for her like cleaning out her green house:


The only shopping I did was at the little fabric shop in Brady. I was in search of a backing for a Christmas quilt and suffice it to say I did not leave empty handed. I feel obligated to post about it, but you may think I've lost my mind...if you don't already.

Our girl came home on Wednesday evening, after her last class for the week and spent some quality time with her Daddy. She makes a hand whether it be in the kitchen or in the pasture and the two of them met up with some friends on Saturday night for a round of UFC fights.

She and I both breath easier when we're at the end of the dirt road:



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