Thursday, November 29, 2012

Whiz Kid With a Twist Quilt for Our Boy

Has everyone recovered from their Thanksgiving Holiday? I don't know about y'all, but it is all speeding by way too fast.

I actually found myself in town on Black Friday this year, but it was just to haul some Christmas decorations and a tree in for our college girl. She had a friend driving back to Oklahoma and I drove to town to meet her. I loaded her up with the Christmas Express and then you can bet I skedaddled out of there as fast as I could. :)

So today, I actually have a finished quilt to show. I do believe this is the fastest quilt I have ever put together. I started it on Oct. 17 and finished piecing it on the 21st. Then I handed it over to Jackie and let her work her magic. I just wanted a simple meander across it.  I stole minutes here and there after I picked it up and on November 24th I added the last stitch.

On Monday morning, when I loaded up to make my way into town, I took along the quilt in hopes of snagging a picture. Lo and behold - there was green grass by the library:

This started out as the Whiz Kid Pattern from Kiera Vanella, but then I started playing with the hst's. I really like this layout for these hst's and I hope our boy will like it too. Hopefully it'll remind him that his Mama is never far away, even though the map tells a different story.

This quilt measures 76 x 94. Our boy is 6'3 and I wanted him to be able to have room to stretch a bit and still keep his toes warm! :) I used two different blues for the binding simply because I could not decide between the two. The cream is this eagle print I fell in love with from the Stonehenge Stars and Stripes line:

I used it on the back as well.

I am going to link up with Christmas Through the Year

over at Darlene's later this week. This is the last month to link up and after this, we're on our own. Thank you both so very much for keeping me on track all year! If it wasn't for you two, I'd be pulling my hair out right about now. I'm super excited because I actually made something each and every month! Next month I'll share everything I've made throughout the year. Even though I have outgrown  my Christmas box, I am still stitching away on small  gifts. Cheryl keeps adding wonderful tutorials every month and I keep finding fun things to make.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gray, Gray, or Gray?

I am joining in with Bonnie Hunter's new Mystery Quilt this year. Seems like she's going to have a whole lot of company on this one. I've never participated in a mystery quilt and she promised that this one was going to be simplified, thus she has named it Easy Street.  Do I NEED a new project 5 weeks before Christmas? No, but this has nothing to do with need and no one says it has to be done NOW. Still, this looks like fun and who can resist that? :)

I loved the colors she pulled although they are completely out of my comfort zone. Still, something tugged at me to make this so I pulled from the bottom of my bright colored stash box and came up with more than I thought I would.

 I think that stuff really does multiply while it sits on the bottom of the pile. There is no other explanation. Apparently fabric multiplies by mitotic replication. Ha! I DID learn something in school!

However, I had no grays. Well I had the one gray in the photo above, but although I love it, I thought it would be too busy and dark and compete with the brights. So I turned to the Internet and came up with two more options. Alas, I now find myself in a dilemma. Thankfully I have y'all,  from whom I can procure wisdom. :)

The original gray:

A gray on gray dot:

This is the mirage gray from Connecting Threads. It's similar to a Moda Marbles

Here's a shot of all three:

 And now I think I have become addicted to grays and black on whites. If y'all need some black on whites, I left you some over at Fabric Shack . It's the only shopping I did this weekend.

I suppose gray is gray,  but I also have this kind of trouble choosing paint colors.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday Night Supper by the Fire

Last night DH and I were out tending to evening chores. I was cleaning out the chicken coop and he was setting a live trap to capture yet another critter. So far we have confiscated a pack rat and a couple of skunks. We walked by the fire pit and DH piped up, "How about supper by the fire tonight?" Have I mentioned that I am married to a brilliant man? :)

Who knows how to build a great fire:

Another glorious New Mexico sky at sunset:

Our big meal is at noon so at night we pretty much eat light...leftovers or something in a tortilla. At noon we had elk tenderloin...perfection and it was even better at night, by the fire. Add a bottle of Cabernet, some cheese, and crackers and soak in the good life.

Winding down:

Perfect way to end the weekend:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Smiles from a Mailbox

I love my mailbox. Poor thing looks a little worse for wear and a bit forlorn. Perhaps a new coat of paint next spring will spiff it up a bit. After all, it has treated me well and it deserves a little TLC. It sits at the end of my dirt road and brings me such lovely things!

I have been remiss in sharing these treasures and it seems appropriate that I do so with Thanksgiving just around the corner.

I have been blessed to meet one of my blog readers, Doniene who blogs at Now it's Just Quilts and one day I was completely surprised to find this darling mini at the end of my dirt road:

It is a sweet reminder of my beloved Texas and a precious new friendship. And look at the back!

I LOVE that feed sack backing and her beautiful hand quilting!

 Then one day a package that included this darling, darling little bag. Every single day I use this little container and although it brings me much joy, it also whispers, "Shame on you for not posting me on your blog".* Hangs head* A dear friend sent this to me in a birthday package and I'm confident that she won't rat me out about how long I've had it. :)

It is weighted at the bottom and it could not be cuter. It has denim and selvages and polka dots - what's not to love?! Although I think it was initially intended as a thread and scrap basket, and I have used it as such, it has also held clothespins, and finished hexies, as well as my chocolate stash:

It's always where I can see it because it makes me smile. Thank you so much T - you are a treasure!

Then I had these gorgeous socks arrive one day out of the blue and they were accompanied by this medicinal chocolate!

 Carol from The Polka Dot Chicken sent these just in time for Fall Cow Works which really does require medication long about day 8! These are my happy socks and happy socks are made for this:

Bed jumping is for the child as well as the child at heart! :)  Thank you so much dear lady - I am over the moon and when they are not on my feet, they sit on my dresser because I can not bear to put them away in the drawer. :)

And one day a big box arrived. It would not fit in my mailbox so the mail carrier left it by the cattle guard and when I opened it, I found the entire set of these lovely, lovely books from Denise.

I am hoping that the winter is long and cold because I have a lot of reading to do! This bookworm is very grateful for this delicious stack of books - thank you sweet friend!

I wish all of y'all could just gather around my dining room table and let me feed you. It's what I do when I want to show people how much I appreciate their kindness and generosity. Thank you so very much!

I will be spending the winter wrapped in a quilt, with my nose in a book, a slice of Texas by my side, with warm happy feet, dining on chocolate from my pretty bag, and giving thanks for ALL the people that God has brought into my life - not just the ones that give me things! LOL. I've got it made! :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

WRCA and Sneaking Off For Some Fabric Therapy

This past weekend we ran away to Amarillo for the WRCA (Working Ranch Cowboy Association)  Ranch Rodeo Championships. This is an amazing organization and you can read more about them HERE if you are interested. They do so much, but in a nutshell, they support and promote the working ranch cowboy. They provide scholarships (thank you so very much for that!) and they have a crises fund for cowboys who have been hurt or are ill and when we unfortunately lose one of them, benefit ropings and bronc ridings are held.

This weekend is our vacation. We try and get away for it every year. It's like our family reunion because we have the opportunity to see people from all over the country that we only see once a year. We have friends from Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Ohio, and New Mexico that we look forward to catching up with during this time of year. It's like a family reunion for us!

Sorry, no pictures. My camera came back from an elk hunt and refused to take another shot and I was not about to lug my big camera around all weekend. Just picture lots of boot, hats, spurs, leather, and colorful wild rags mixed in with horses, cattle, trailers and lots of cowboys, ranch wives, and kids all converging upon the Civic Center in Amarillo. There is lots of visiting that takes place during those 4 days! We never stay for the whole thing because by the time Saturday rolls around, we have visited until we can visit no more and all of the browsing and shopping and ordering of new toys has taken place and we have had our fill of people. It gets crazy crowded in the trade show and only shuffling takes place due to the crowds. It makes me want to hyperventilate when there are that many people.

I always sneak away for a few hours when I make it to the big city and y'all know exactly where I am headed! :) My first stop was Joann's because I was in search of chenille for some baby projects. Why is this stuff so difficult to come by?! I picked up a 1/2 yd of the blue and pink because those are the only colors they had. No white. Or a soft green would have been nice. :(

My Oklahoma partner in crime was with me and she was such a good sport as I loaded up my cart, which was soon overflowing and then it was on to quilt shop #1 where I didn't do as much damage as I could have done, but I did enough. After all, I had another quilt shop to visit! :)

I have decided to really pare down my fabric purchases next year so perhaps I am stocking up, but I'll fess up to what I bought since most of you understand this sickness that we call quilting. However, this weekend I learned that many of my 'real life' friends also read my blog. I had no idea that they were all stalkers! :) So I am pretty sure they will NOT understand. Just about everything I bought was on sale so that makes me happy!

I bought some pieces that caught my eye for Bonnie Hunter's newest mystery quilt called Easy Street. Here is her post about it and I've seen lots  and lots of posts popping up and it looks like there will a ton of us joining in on the fun. I had no gray and am still unsure if I'll go with this one. It may be too dark, but I really like it. Here it is with the black on whites I need for it as well:

And here are the rest of the colors I picked up to go along with what I pulled from my stash. I'll post about that another time:

I'm planning a blue and brown zigzag quilt using flying geese so I pick up odds and ends for that when I run across them as well as a red for that Christmas quilt I didn't get made this year. :) Most of what I bought on Friday was 1/2 yard cuts:

I ran out of the snowflake fabric for my little pine trees and I found more so I picked up 5 yards of that as well as 4 yards of this Christmas fabric for borders and bags and a table runner backing:

I couldn't help picking up 1/2 yard cuts of some Christmas fabrics for more bags:

And I came home with these two fabrics for a gift bag for my Mom's birthday in May:

And THIS is my "couldn't resist, just had to have it because I knew I would regret not buying it when it was no longer available fabric" :

The end! It is cold and windy here and I need a  nap! This vacation stuff wears me out!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wrapping Up Christmas

I don't know what's come over me. I've mentioned before that I'm a firm believer in no Christmas anything until the day after Thanksgiving. I LOVE Christmas music, but don't even THINK about playing it until the day AFTER Thanksgiving. And here I am promoting Christmas each and every month of the year! I'm going to blame it on Darlene and Cheryl and their Christmas Through the Year program. Yes, I am very thankful that I have a box overflowing with handmade Christmas gifts, but I am still struggling to come to terms with this new train of thought. However, I think they have created a monster.

Last week I started stitching up a couple of the Lined Drawstring Bags that Jeni designed last year. Click HERE for her tutorial. I bought her pattern which includes a variety of sizes as well as instructions for figuring how to stitch up any custom size. I highly recommend it! I love, love, love these little bags! One:

turned into 2 

and then 2 turned into 4

  and before I knew it, 10 little bags were perched upon the table.

And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they continue to multiply.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Forest of Trees in the Desert

I can't stop making them!

It started with one little tree:

  And I needed 15 for Jim's quilt:

But then the snow arrived and I couldn't stop:

 The 12" trees began to diminish in size:

And increase in number:

The tree building continues...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New fabrics, new project, and a few bargains for a non shopper

Last week I drove 75 miles to my favorite quilt shop. I make it to the shop about twice a year and I manage to do a good amount of damage. When I got home, the house was empty and there was no one to share my treasures with! I'm thinking y'all will be a little more interested in my acquisitions than DH will anyway. He's very sweet, but I can't very well expect him to get excited about my fabric purchases. He just grins and gets a twinkle in his eye.

We have a friend who we shoot with out at the trap range who is battling cancer and I visited with a fellow shotgun quilter (I don't think there are too many of us around. LOL) about making him a quilt. She knew immediately which pattern would be perfect and we began to plan a course of action. Thus, my reason for making a fabric run. Like we NEED a reason! :)

Gail chose a pattern from this book:

And she loves applique so she will piece the center panel and change the bear into elk:

 and I am in charge of these fun trees:

So I immediately raced home and began to pull possible shades from my bin of green fabrics:

I had no idea I had so many gray-green pieces! It must have something to do with my love for my dirt road and my camo-hunting-fishing-camping-loving family I saw a lack of variety in my overflowing bin and started counting back to my last quilt shop visit - 6...7 months. Yep, it's time. :)

Alas, greens were not the only thing that caught my eye. I was in search of a backing for my Scrap Star Jar Quilt:

But now that I have it home, I'm not sure. This may or may not be part of the reason I have a stash. :)

My orange collection is sorely lacking and I have some pumpkin projects in mind...for next year

A fallish/Halloweenish quilt will be in the cards as well:

DD saw this and said it would make a darling pillowcase and that she still liked holiday pillowcases. Hint. Hint. So next year will be the year of the pillowcase for her. I send her care packages on a regular basis so I'll tuck a pillowcase in each one.

 I did manage to find a few greens to brighten up what I had for the trees and I think I'll be able to make it work:

And a few very fun fabrics for a secret project:

Then I popped in at Alco. For those of you who do not know, Alco is a dollar store kind of establishment. I am not a shopper, but I have found some really cute decorations there and this trip was no exception. I picked up these washcloths for a few baby projects. $2.99!

I found these two signs that I had to have, but I have no idea where to put them. 10 bucks.

Then this basket did not have a price marked and it was the only one.

 They rang it up at 50 cents! I thought it would make a cute gift basket, but since it was the only one, I'm not sure I can part with it. :)

And that concludes my shopping for this season. Purchases of fabric online are exempt. :)
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