Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Little Bit of Progress

Thought I'd pop in and give y'all an update on my little stitching project. I don't have much else to show for the month of  February because this little critter has been hogging all of my time. This past Sunday was absolutely gorgeous and I spent most of it outside. Yesterday the wind blew. No, it REALLY blew. Think 50-60 mph sustained winds. All day.We live in the desert, surrounded by dirt. I felt really spoiled. I only stepped outside to chore and came back in feeling a bit like I had been sandblasted. I've heard that people pay good money for facial scrubs and I get mine for free. :)

I know that my stitiching time is about to decrease...dramatically, so I stitched like...well...the wind this month. So here's where I left off last month:

And here's Little Bit today:

It doesn't look like much, but I feel like all I did was stitch this month.

I am going to be really sick of brown, but I'm excited to give him to my FIL for Christmas.

What are y'all doing with your 'extra' day today? I am off to clean out the chicken coop! :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I am Smitten with my New Pincushion!

A few days ago I saw this post on Karen's blog and I was over the moon! I ran out to the shed and moved the tackle box, shoved the basket of baseball gloves and baseballs aside, reached into the dark recesses of the unknown whispering, "Please don't bite me. Please don't bite me", and pulled out the chicken feeder. Tada! I blew off the spiderless spiderwebs, dusted off the dirt and thus began my journey.

I have been stalking blogland for pincushions for months. There are lots of really cute ones out there and I have started a list of ones I want to make. How many pincushions does one quilting gal need?  Well I knew I wasn't going to stop at one and when DH asked me to haul him into town to pick up the feed truck, I was game. He was a little perplexed at my excitement. The girl that avoids town at all costs, and can often be heard chanting, "Please don't make me go. Please don't make me go", was in the truck before he finished his sentence with her sights set on the Farm Store. $2.89 later, I was a happy camper. Its a little embarrassing how giddy I am with this purchase.

I picked up a bag of crushed walnut shells at the pet store a few weeks ago. I  chose the smallest bag they had, and I'll be making more pincushions, but I'm pretty sure I have enough walnut shells for all of blogland. One thing I did differently besides use the walnut shells, was I encased the shells in a  gathered muslin circle and stitched the heck out of it so that the little grains would not escape. Then I gathered a second circle of my chosen fabric for the outside.

Its close to the end of the month and almost time for:

This is my addition for  the Christmas blog train this month.

Cheryl and Darlene are hosting this. So if you've made something this month to add to your Christmas gift stash, hop over and add your link today. Lots of great ideas are popping up!
Marquita and Lora, you are banned from making these because there are only so many adorable gifts I can come up with. I figure you'll forget about these by the time Christmas rolls around. Ducking...

The other thing I did was cut a circle of scrap wool and tuck it in the bottom of the feeder. It keeps the little spools from rolling around and trying to duck inside. Works like a charm! I just used hot glue to attach the pincushion to the feeder.

Also jumping in for the  Sew Darn Crafty Party:

Another great spot for you to add some new projects to your list and discover some fun new bloggers.
So, Karen, thank you, thank you, thank you! These are just perfect! You've created a monster because I picked up something else while I was at the Farm Store...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Clever Girl" Titled Revoked

When I was thinking of adding piping to my Made in Cherry quilt top, I received lots of encouragement. Staci even called me a 'clever girl' and it made my day. Alas, today I stand before you with a bowed head and a pouty face.

Oh. I made the piping. Miles and miles of  beautiful piping. And yes, it was simple so thank you Naomi and Karen for walking me through the process. However, I could not find a way to stitch it to the star and make it look right. Maybe my piping was too thick. It simply would not play nice on the points and once the tears appeared, I just banished it to a dark corner.

So my quilt top is pieced, although it is, and will remain, piping-less:

I'm thinking the piping would have really set this off, but the black binding will have to suffice.

Another incredibly blue sky day here in NM. The weather is forecasting gale force winds today so I scurried out to the horse pens in search of an appropriate photo spot before they hit. It's a glorious morning!

 and  it is with deep regret that I hand back my 'clever girl' title to it's rightful owner: Staci . Hope you're feeling better and on the mend Girl!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Finally Framed!

Thank y'all for all of your comments on my last post. I really appreicate your input and it looks like it was unanimous: dark it is! Alas, I haven't made any more progress in that department. I finally had to give in and make a trip to town where I did score 12 yards of cording:

Next up: piping!
I haven't worked on much else because my little cross-stitch bear has been hogging all of my free time. I am bound and determined to give this to my FIL for Christmas this year. Yes, I know Christmas is still 10 months away, but this project is 16" x 16" and I'm thinking I'll be needing every one of those days between now and Christmas. Honestly, if I have 5 minutes, I am plopping myself down to add a few stitches. I'll share my progress with y'all at the end of the month.

I did finish piecing my Many Trips top!

Yay!  I had some backing picked out, but the top is really busy and so is the backing I had chosen...too busy, so I ordered 12 yards of Caramel Mirage from Connecting Threads. Yes, 12 yards. This is a monster quilt. I'm going to blame it on Saska. She told me to make it bigger. :)
The caramel has a bit of a leather look to it and I also made the binding for it this week:

  I hope to get it Jackie, my long arm quilter, this week. I really dislike making the backing for quilts, especially ones this big. I think I'm just going to have her stitch a large stipple on it. I'm ready for a finish!

I have an old project to share with you though. A very old project. Actually, its been finished for years, decades even, but I never had it framed so I took it in to Hobby Lobby when they had 50% off of their framing, but yikes! Even with a coupon, it was pricey. Still, I put a lot of time into this piece and I'm happy to finally have it hanging on our wall:

On a side note, I wanted to reply to some comments, but some of y'all are non-reply bloggers and I have no way of contacting you. You may have your settings that way on purpose, but if you just aren't sure how to change them, its simple and SewCalGal has posted steps on how to do that:

If you use a Google/Blogger account to leave comments, you can verify your settings and fix them, if needed.
If you have a blogger account, to check your settings:

a) go to

b) click on Blogger Settings

c) be sure the box for "Show my email address" is checked.

d) click Save Profile
Back to my bear. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Asking Advice from the Experts...That Means You.

Ok. The pieces are cut. I think I'm going to go with this barn wood fabric that arrived while we were away  delivering mares to Texas. It was a fast, but good, trip as we were able to spend some time with the cutest niece and nephews and a very cool BIL.

Can you believe that I was surrounded by quilt shops and didn't even peek inside one of them? I know. I'm a sad excuse for a quilter. How many demerits does that earn me? I knew if I even got a wiff of fabric, I would end up bringing some home and honestly, I already have a problem. Its called a stash and it is really beginning to take over. Besides, I had a box waiting for me when I came home. ;)

DH was quite interested in something he spotted on the side of the road and he made me scale the fence and take a photo. Generally scaling a fence line is breaking one of the cardinal rules of being a Texan, but in this case the owners are fine with it. So he made me pose on the side of the road in the biting, cold , windy morning with the sun in my eyes in traveling-in-the-ranch-truck clothes.

I tried to tell him that he needs to take 10 or 12 pictures in order to get anything decent, but he was having none of that. One click and I had better hop that barbwire pronto or I may lose my ride. :)
 Makes for an awful picture, but the deer skull is cool. Its made out of metal and a lot of work went into it. DH welds and really appreciates the skill it took to make something like this accurately. Yes, we are rednecks. Jeff Foxworthy would be proud.

We stopped to grab a bite to eat at the last little town before hitting the ranch. This murial is right next to the little place we ate and I thought of y'all when I saw it. I can't paint my way out of a bucket so I am pretty impressed with people who can wield a paintbrush and make it look like this. Yes, the sky really is that blue out here.

Now, I am ready to sew this top together. I like the gray tone in this fabric and wish I had an entire bolt. I don't have any gray in the squares so I think it stands out enough. I really like the richness of it, but I wondered if it was too dark so on a whim, I flipped it over and I like the backside too. It looks more washed out. So tell me, which one should I choose?
The difference is more subtle in the photos for some reason. Light?

Or dark? The right side is actually darker than this.

Here's half and half. LOL.

I'm leaning towards the dark...or not. Sigh. I am so indecisive and its ridiculous. This is not rocket science however, your input would be greatly appreciated. Looking at the photos, there doesn't seem to be that big of a difference.  I'm playing with the thought of adding black piping to the star to define it more. I hope it works or I'll have an awful lot of black piping lying around! I'm actually kind of excited about adding the piping. Alas, it'll have to wait until another trip to town. I plan to hitch a ride if DH has to run in for anything.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My First Stitch

I did not grow up in a sewing family. My Mom did not sew. My grandmothers did not sew. The sewing gene does not flow through my veins. In fact I had a strong dislike for all things related to a needle and thread... or anything else related to being indoors for that matter. I loved to read, but I prefered to lose myself in the pages under a tree. In high school, all the girls took home-ec. I shuddered at the thought. I crumbled at the feet of the principal and begged him to let me take shop. He took pity on me and I was thrilled. My apologies to my husband who married me even thought I could not cook back then.

Looking back, I get the feeling that the good Lord was quite amused by that feisty teenager. He knew. He knew that one day I would be sucked into becoming domestic. He just quietly sat back and let me gallavant through those carefree years.

So how did I, the welding torch yielding teen, get to this point?

It started after a Idaho. DH and I both worked at Simplot Feedlot. I worked in the office and sat in a little room dispensing various feed mixtures into the trucks that pulled up below me. There was a lot of free time and a sweet girl that trained me told me that she would cross-stitch in between trucks. I imagine I looked at her in horror at the thought. She probably patted me on the shoulder and said, "'ll be alright." Then she lent me a book of patterns and I was hooked. This was in the 80's. This was my first project:

It looks very 80's. The little wooden hoop with lace and bow make me laugh today. It brings back good memories...and not so good memories of the smell that accompanies a feedlot. We weren't there very long before we were wisked away to run a ranch in New Mexico, but the friendships that we formed from back then continue and here I am, 25 years later, still stitching. When I asked for a sewing machine after our first child was born, I'm pretty sure my Mom thought I had taken leave of my senses. I still cross-stitched some, but I loved making clothes for the kids and somewhere down the line, cross-stitch was put aside.

I've been running across various blogs and feeling nostalgic when they share their beautiful cross-stitch  projects. I haven't sross-stitched in over 10 years. I've given lots and lots of them away, but today I pulled out some that I still had. I even took a piece in for framing when I had to take DH in to pick up his truck yesterday.

And...last year, I saw a piece that I had to make for my in-laws. I worked on it for a few months and then put it aside when the days became longer because by the time we came in in the evening, it was all we could do to eat, shower, and fall into bed. However, I am determined to give this to my in-laws for Christmas this year so I try to sit and stitch a bit in the evenings.

Here's my current project and this is where I left off last April:

My father-in-law is crazy about bears and this little fella's kinda cute! It's 16"x16" so I'll be stitching on it for a while.

And here are a few oldies. This one hangs in my kitchen:

And this one was in the cedar chest, but I dug it out and am looking for a spot to hang it. I thought the laundry room, but the laundry room is our front room, our mud room, our collection spot for every glove and spur and coat and hat and pair of chaps and it just doesn't fit. Besides the only wall in there is cinder block and it's a bear to get  nail in it.

See, I was drawn to quilts long before I ever even thought about making one.

Thanks for letting me meander down memory lane. I still have some pieces that I never framed and I think I'll take a piece in every month and get that done.

Here's my progress on this little guy for the month of January:

There's so much subtle shading in this piece. The white part has about 8 different shades and I bout went cross-eyed trying to work on his little body. My eyes simply are not what they used to be.
I'm hoping that this'll keep me accountable! :)
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