Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Project!

How is it possible to have a stack of patriotic material like this...

and still need fabric to dig into a project?! I have been itching to join in on the Quilts of Valor project and I think I finally settled on a pattern:

I just finished piecing my first Irish Chain (which I will share when I get the binding sewn on)and I'm eager to make another, and even thought this is not an Irish Chain, I like the way the 9 patches frame the stars.

I found the pattern here. Well it's just a picture of the pattern. I'll have to do a bit of figuring in order to come up with the right measurements, but I think I can handle that...even if I am an Aggie!

I have some blue that would work, but I don't think I have enough and I haven't a clue where I bought it, or if it's even still available so I'm on the hunt...again!

Apparently I don't have a very big stash because I haven't arrived at the point where I can shop from it yet, but I'm working on it!

Yesterday I helped a friend with a catering job and wouldn't you know, the hostess just happens to be a passionate quilter! Between servings of salmon and prime rib and a number of mouth watering appetizers and side dishes, we snuck off to take a peek at her studio. She is also a Texas A&M fan so felt right at home! She had a beautiful patriotic quilt completed as well and it just gave me the inspiration to start cutting!

So, even though I've got projects not completed (isn't that what makes me a bonified quilter?!), I'm jumping into a new quilt and I feel like a kid at Christmas!

Alas, I'm having to take a forced sabbatical from my sewing machine because we have to turn off the power for a bit today. I'll post about that in a day or two! Off to cut what I have!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Honey Bun Cake

How is it that I have been blogging for over 2 years and I haven't shared this recipe?!

Another steer buyer was headed our way the other day so I popped this yummy cake in the oven. The kids say I feed everyone who wanders down the dirt road and I suppose there is some merit to that, but hey that's not a bad thing, is it?

I figure if someone's driving all the way out here, I can at least feed them. Said buyer, was slated to arrive at 8 in the morning. Too late for breakfast and too early for dinner, but I figured DH would bring him in for a cup of coffee while he wrote the check and what better to serve with coffee than this warm treat!

A fellow 4-H horse-judging mom was kind enough to share this recipe with me years ago and it's been a hit around here ever since. We're starting our spring branding next week and it'll probably find it's way to the table during breakfast one day so I'll be making it again.
It starts with a cake mix, but don't judge me for it.

Honey Bun Cake

1 yellow cake mix (1/2 c reserved)
1 C softened butter
4 eggs
8 oz sour cream
1/4 c milk

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c dry cake mix
1 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbsp milk
*Reserve 1/2 c dry cake mix. Mix rest of cake mix with butter, eggs, and sour cream and milk. Pour 1/2 into a 9x13" pan. Combine brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and cake mix and sprinkle over batter. Top with remaining batter. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and poke holes in cake. Drizzle glaze over cake and enjoy!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Granny's Quilts

I finally found a day where I had time to drag all the quilts out onto the clothesline!

This is what started it all. When DH and I married, his mom gave us this quilt (and the bug was planted), This Lone Star graced our bed for years:

Then the kids started coming along. She made this one when DS was born. Looks like I might need to freshen this one up with a run through the wash. It's been hibernating in the cedar chest for a lot of years.

This one almost three years later when DD arrived:

Granny made a flannel one for each child as well, but those really were loved to pieces...literally.

A few years later she made this one for DS.This is the first quilt I ever worked on. She sent the blocks, had me cut out the applique pieces, and iron them on.
Then she made this Sunbonnet Sue for DD who loved to wear hats when she was little. Each block has a unique button stitched on it and every block is different. One of the Sunbonnet Sue's is even chasing a turkey with a hatchet! LOL! Love the prairie points and I hope to try those on a quilt soon! One day we were visiting Granny and Grandpa and Granny was showing me a few of her newest creations. She picked up a blue jean quilt and a flannel quilt and tossed them aside. I said, "Wait! What are those?" She answered, "Just a couple other quilts I made, but no-one will want them." I told her that our kids cherished the quilts she had given them and she said, "They are the only ones of the grand kids that do appreciate them. Do you think they would want them?"

Um...yes! So DS has the Blue Jean one. It's rag quilt with red flannel:

Oops! Can't find it anywhere. What do you wanna bet DS snuck it off to college!

And DD has the flannel one that she still snuggles with at night. She has loved all the flannel right out of it.

About 10 years ago this was my Christmas gift: It's flannel too and hangs at the foot of our bed where we often pull it up at night. We often sleep with the windows open and more often than not, the desert air gets pretty chilly in the early morning hours so I reach down, pull up this cozy quilt, and whisper a prayer of thanks to Granny, before dozing back off.

I have this little strip quilt on the back of our couch. It's all little strips of leftover western fabric.

Then she once gave me this little lap quilt:
Grandma Kate made it. Grandma Kate was Grandpa's Grandma - the kids, great, great, grandma! Love that those prints are once again all the rage and that we have a piece of this wonderful family history.

Now, Granny generally makes smaller projects. Lots of table toppers like this one. Sorry I didn't iron out the creases. This is a Christmas table topper, but it sure did photograph funny. The middle of the blocks look brownish, but they are actually have hollyberries.

and wall hangings like this:

Granny doesn't machine quilt anything so all of these are hand quilted.
So I can either blame this obsession on my MIL who gave me my first quilt or on her son, whom I married!

My only fear is now that the bug has hit me full force and I am making them myself, she won't give us any more! I need to remedy that because we treasure every piece she's ever given us and I fully adhere to the principal that one can never have too many quilts!

Just got off the phone with Granny and I told her that even though I was now making quilts, we still loved the ones she gave us and she told me I was getting one for Christmas! Yippee! But how in the heck am I supposed to wait until Christmas now?!

Once the kids even wrote a poem all by themselves about her quilts when they were 7 and 9 and they recited it for her. Granny doesn't cry, but she teared up that day. I'll include it here:

Granny's Quilts

Some of Granny's quilts are big
Some of them are small
Some of Granny's quilts are short
Some of them are tall.

Granny's quilts are blue and yellow
Red, and pink, and green
And every color
In between.

Granny's quilts make us smile
They keep us warm and snug
When we wrap up in them
It feels just like a hug.

We love to look at Granny's quilts
They're beautiful and bright
When we curl up with them
They make us smile with all our might

Some of Granny's quilts have buttons
Some have pictures of candy
And every time it's cold outside
They make us feel just dandy!

We treasure her quilts
When we read at night
They're fun to hide under
Reading by flashlight.

Granny's quilts are full of love
She quilts them day by day
Granny's quilts are awesome
In every sort of way!

We love you Granny!

A clothesline full of quilts has to be one of my favorite sights!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Behind the Lens Instead of the Sewing Machine

So I haven't been hiding behind my sewing machine ALL the time. Every once in a while I come out from under the stacks of fabric and participate in my real life. Grin!

Last week we cut some more Corriente bull calves and DH asked me to come take pictures so that we could send them to prospective buyers. Those particular pictures aren't that interesting since they are only pictures of the horns. When I loaded them on the computer I wanted to crop them a bit, but DH told me that they were not going to be published in a book or hung in any art gallery so there was no need to 'pretty them up'. Sigh. Apparently they were fine as is because we sold the steers! Yeah! Some are going to Montana, some to Colorado and the rest are already in North Dakota.

I always enjoy snapping pictures when the guys are working and I don't get to nearly as often as I would like, but this time I didn't have a big crew to feed and there were plenty of leftovers for dinner. I love it when things work out that way!

DD anticipating the moment she'll be called into action:

Duty calls:

Not many teenage girls would call this fun, but then again, this is not your average kid:

Teamwork is the name of the game around here:

Bringing in the next bunch:

It's nice having DS come home to help on the weekends:

Maybe these skills would come in handy in the UFC:

A few hours behind the camera lens is so relaxing and rejuvinating. I get lost in the view from the lens and rarely is there an episode where I don't end up getting in the way. When I start seeing this and hear the crew hollering at me :
Then I get shots like this:

I love that this lifestyle affords us the opportunity to work together as a family and we're thankful that Grandpa is still in good health. At 73, he's still spry and agile and can hop atop a fence at a surprisingly quick speed when need be. This is where DH gets his work ethic.
Work and fun are one and the same around here:

Just a swingin' (Hey, it's my blog and every now and then a little corny-ness may sneek in)

These Corrientes are ornery. They fuss and fight every second and it's a lot of work trying to wrestle them into submission. DS, at 6'3 and 190#, makes easy work of it:

I've had lots of questions about our way of life. Seems there is a common notion that a cowboy's life is romantic. Well, yes...and no. All depends on your definition of romance! As for me, it just doesn't get any better than this.

Just wish I could find a way to make this into a quilt!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ogallalla Quilt Show

Yesterday a friend and I made a mad dash for the border...the Texas border... and immersed ourselves in a day of all things quilty. We left the house at 6 and three hours later we arrived at our destination...the booming metropolis that is Dimmit, Texas. Dimmit is one of those small (4,000), cozy farming towns in the Texas Panhandle and this weekend it was descended upon by a big crowd of quilt crazed women and a few tag-a-long hubbies who are REALLY good sports! I imagine that, today being Saturday, it'll be even more crowded so I'm glad we went yesterday. It was actually possible to enjoy the quilts and snap a few photos.

This little, sleepy town put on a good quilt show...about 250 quilts and oodles of inspiration. Quilters are the friendliest people and you can tell right away how passionate they are about quilting. I didn't see a grouch in the bunch and we enjoyed some delightful conversations with fellow quilt-addicts. While I browsed the booths, searching for that elusive piece of fabric I couldn't live without, Holly perused the offerings and every time I turned around, she was visiting with someone she knew, or striking up a conversation with a new face. She found the cutest sheep fabric and although I'm not a fan of sheep, these were adorable. She and I hadn't caught up with each other for probably almost a year and the lengthy drive gave us the perfect opportunity to visit.

The quilts were stunning and the pictures I took simply can not do them justice, but I'll share a few that caught my eye.

I've never jumped on the Batik bandwagon and I'm still holding off because I really don't need to start another stash...of anything! However, I really liked this. The background is all Batik squares and I think she did a wonderful job of dispersing the colors.

Here's one made my a man who said he wanted to spend more time with his wife so he took up quilting. How sweet is that?! I told DH about it and he just gave me that look. Somehow, I don't think he'll be joining me in this venture any time soon!

I liked this one made with patriotic colors. I've had a hankering to make a patriotic quilt...or two...or three. I have quite a stash of patriotic fabric and I really like the idea of making a quilt for the Quilts of Valor.
I'm not a purple person, but this one just had a lot of eye appeal. The colors were so rich and regal - so NOT me! LOL! Although my mom was once approached by a sheik on a flight to Europe and he inquired whether I could be part of his harem! I think I was 12. Sure am glad she wasn't mad at me that day! What a hoot! So if I ever make one like this, I guess it could be my Harem quilt! LOL!

Sometimes it's the stories behind the quilts that make them interesting. This one was designed after the floor in a vacation cabin's bathroom. OK. Just goes to show, you never know just where the inspiration for that next quilt will appear! LOL! I will admit that I have been a bit obsessed with quilting lately, but if I ever get to this stage, please stage an intervention! LOL!

I liked this one because DS is crazy about playing the guitar. I'm not going to show it to him though because he will want one just like it!
The quilt show's theme this year was "How Does Your Garden Grow" so I left there with a strong desire to dig in the dirt, especially after oogling over this one. This was my favorite quilt.
It's entitled Victory Garden and the detail in this piece is just amazing! The quilter used trapunto and it just made these veggies pop. The combination of this technique and the quilter's fabric selections gave everything such dimension and texture.

I'm the kind of gal that likes quilts with a lot of cuddleability and simplicity. And don't tell me that's not a word, even if it isn't. It should be! And this isn't a quilt to cuddle with, but good gravy! It's really something! It made me want to just pluck those vegetables right off the fabric!
I only picked up a couple of pieces of yardage that I knew would be perfect. Perfect for what, you ask? I haven't a clue, but I'm fairly certain they will be perfect in something down the line and everyone needs some barnwood in their stash!

I was thrilled to find this book. It's hard to find equine related ideas and the colts in this book are wonderful. I don't think I'll be putting a hat on one anytime soon, but this book gives you lots of options. Some of them are decked out a bit oddly, but I suppose that's what makes it versatile although I can pretty much guarantee that the ones that end up on my quilts will be au-natural although I'm not ruling out a little paisley colt.

Look at his darling little colt:

And there a whole herd of cute little colts:

I simply could not leave without this pattern. I think it will make the cutest baby quilts and the vendor had it made up for both a baby boy and a baby girl. Just way too cute!

I picked up this strange looking contraption too. It looks suspiciously like a math ruler; something that has close ties to Geometry.

Shudder. Eeewww, I think my hands are beginning to break out in a cold sweat.

I have unpleasant memories of High School Geometry class and I'm realizing that the good Lord is probably getting a chuckle (I'm certain he was chuckling while I was sitting in Geometry too since he knew this would happen!) out of the fact that I am now choosing to work with geometrics! I'm going to join in on a hexagon quilt-a-long online and this ruler is needed for the class. This should be interesting. You know, maybe Mr. Loller should have taught us geometry through quilting!

Come to think of it, that never would worked...I despised the thought of anything related to domesticity back then. Yes, God. I hear you chuckling.

Whew! Long Post...sorry, but what a fun day! However, the amazing weather is much too enticing to stay inside any longer. I am headed out to work in the yard and I promise to leave the quilting world behind in my next couple of posts! I'll probably still be quilting, but I just won't tell you about it! LOL!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ranch Hand Baby Quilt

I just put the last stitch in this simple little baby quilt (50 x 43) for a friend's first grandchild. I didn't do anything fancy with it because I didn't want to cut the focus fabric into little pieces. It's got horses and little cowboy bears on it and in places it says 'cutest ranch hand' - very cute. I took this photo before I washed it. It's in the dryer right now, getting all soft and wonderful!

I'm still trying to master the art of machine quilting and I need to carve out some time to practice because I really like the look that meandering adds to a quilt. However, in the interest of time, because as I stated in a previous post, it might be beneficial to give a baby gift while the child is still a baby and we all know how quickly they are not, I tried something new. I quilted this one with a diagonal straight stitch using painter's tape (who knew?) to mark my spacing. I wasn't sure I liked it at first, but I persevered and I like it a lot now. So much so, that I want to keep it... but I won't. It's headed to Texas in a day or two for a new baby who, if he's anything like my DD, will still be enjoying it 16 years from now!

Around here, quilts are loved...treasured... and used!

When I finished it, DD said, "You do know that when you give away a quilt, a little piece of your heart goes with it don't you?" A surprisingly wise and astute comment coming from a teenager who abhors sewing, but loves quilts. It was her way of trying to convince me to keep it.

I know that love is not a concrete thing, but I think quilts are love, defined in fabric. I have heard some people compare quilting to pregnancy...without the contractions! LOL! Well, I don't know about that, but it is a long process and a labor of love.

I don't know why I've become so addicted to this. My MIL is a quilter and she gave me my very first quilt. It was a wedding present and it graced our bed for years. That may have been they beginning so if DH complains about the ever increasing piles of fabric that seem to magically appear around our home, I can say, "It's all your mother's fault." LOL!

He did laugh and ask me if there was a group for quilting addiction. I told him yes, but the only catch is that it only fuels the fire to make more quilts!

If the wind doesn't blow (not much chance of that...after all, it's spring New Mexico), I'll pull out some of the quilts my MIL has given us through the years and post them tomorrow.
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