Saturday, October 20, 2018

Under the Needle: October

2 weeks of Fall Cow Works has kept me out of the sewing room, but I love this life and there is more to it than sewing. Still, as a quilter, I am always thinking about what I want to work on next and adding to that list...that very long list...that seems to grow longer all the time. I keep a binder with patterns and ideas I have found online, in magazines, or shared by friends:


And a basket with purchased patterns and a few of my favorite books:


No shortage of inspiration!

This month I finished stitching up this top:


It uses 3 1/2" squares because I was using scraps, but I can't wait to make another one using 5" squares. I love the design....simple, cute, fast. I didn't use a pattern so I can't link anything.

Then I made this top (the stripe on the right of the photo is the backing)


using a great pattern made in EQ7 and sent to me by my blog buddy, Dorian, who blogs over at Ridge Top Quilts, when I was contemplating ideas for this quilt:


I need another baby quilt and this will be perfect...thank you Dorian! Now I am working on these blocks:


I started this last year. I wanted a scrappy Christmas quilt and have gathered Christmas pieces for years.


The pattern is in this magazine from 2013:


The 9-patches have been my leader-ender pieces lately, but then one afternoon I just listened to a couple podcasts and before I knew it, I had them all stitched and pressed::

                            

Hopefully I'll get the sashings stitched in and have a pieced top before the end of the month.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Favorite Brownies

Brownies are pretty simple, but I'm a simple girl and I only had 6 boys on Friday so I switched out my planned dessert because I didn't want a lot of leftovers. I had everything for brownies so brownies it was. I mean what's a home without the ingredients for brownies on hand for those emergency brownie baking sessions? I imagine everyone has a favorite brownie recipe, but the boys REALLY loved these so I'm sharing it here. I guess I've never made brownies for them before because you would have thought I had made some heavenly dessert - which I guess these must be because they sure did gush about them as they were shuffling out the door. The kids made this the first time on 11-30-01 and it's been our go-to brownie recipe since then.


Back in the day, this cookbook was a gift for our girl when she was 8 and this recipe comes from it:


The page is stained and smudged which is a testament to a well-loved recipe:


I made 2 changes to the recipe: I added about 1/2 C chocolate chips and about 20 Rolo candies. I made this in a pan that measures 8 x 11, but you can fix it in whatever pan you have. Another variation we have used is to substitute the small Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for the Rolos. For bake sales - we make them in muffin tins. We like the fact that these are a cross between a cakey brownie and a fudgy brownie. They are neither and both at the same time. 😋

Disgustingly Rich Brownies

1 C melted butter
2 C sugar
3/4 C Cocoa
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C chocolate chips
20 Rolo candies
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional)

*Pre-heat oven to 350° In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and cocoa. Stir in melted butter. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips, flour and salt. Do not over mix. Pour into prepared pan (spray with cooking spray or rub with butter). Press Rolos into batter.

                         

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick, placed in center, comes out clean. The boys got pretty quiet when I brought out dessert and that's always a good sign!
                             
                         

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Special Delivery

Not only did the good Lord choose a great guy as my partner in this life, but He also threw in some pretty cool in-laws. On Friday they stopped by and dropped off 3 quilt ladders that my FIL made


along with a box of mountain Jonathon apples:


So, I'm back in the kitchen peeling and chopping and slicing:


We'll soon be munching on dried apples - a favorite treat


Some will also find their way into the deep freeze for future apple pies and crisps and others will be cooked down for applesauce, but the first 2 were today's dessert. It's hard to beat a good bakes apple on a cool Fall day:


There were no words...only murmurs of delight and sighs of contentment. Hopefully I'll find some time in the sewing room this week. After all, those wonderful quilt ladders really ought to be filled!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Week 2

We're in the middle of our 2nd week of Fall Cow Works. 6 days. Breakfast at 5. Alarm set for 3:30. I've intended to write a post all week and now it's already Friday. Nights have been short and days have been long, but we're getting there. At this point, we're running on empty.  We're putting out lots of hay in the pens:


While DH runs the tractor,



I cut the twine



and Skeet supervises:


The boys have been spending their days gathering pastures, weaning off calves, hauling them to the pens, and running them through the chute - where they receive a vaccination and are treated with Cydectin before being sorted:


The pens are filling up with freshly weaned calves:


As for me, I've been spending my days in the kitchen.


On Monday I left Taco Soup in the crock-pot, Fritos, grated cheese - corn - and cookies for dessert before I headed off to work at the sale barn. I took the BQ5 quilt to Jackie after work before heading home. I cleaned the kitchen, took a shower, and hit the hay. Long day.

But after breakfast and dinner, a few preparations for the next day, a trot with Skeet, I was hoping to sneak in a few stitches, but I've yet to darken the doorway of my sewing room. That doesn't mean I'm not thinking about it though. If you're a quilter, you get that.

I saw this quilt last week:


And I immediately made a beeline for my scrap basket. I didn't see a pattern, but it looks simple enough. I dug out some scraps from a quilt I made back in 2012. That's a long time to be stuck in the bottom of a scrap bucket. I just wanted to make the best use out of what I had and that happened to be 3 1/2" chunks. So I made a few blocks over the weekend



And laid them out:


I really like this little pattern and I think I have enough to make a baby quilt...one stitch at a time...between batches of bread dough and dishes.

                                      

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

New Quilt Project

Recently our son asked me if I would make a quilt for his girl. He said she would really love one and that it would be the best gift she ever got. It made me happy that he asked and that the kids appreciate a handmade quilt. I wanted some direction, but the only help I got was that she loves horses and turquoise. So, the search was on. I settled on this fabric:


Sent a photo of it to our boy and received a 2 thumbs up. Next step: choose a pattern. Oye! Often a sticking point for me. I knew I wanted something with a modern flair and a little pizzazz and I probably looked at 10,000 choices. I looked through everything I had. A friend lent me her idea binder. I Googled. I Pinterest-ed. I Flicker-ed. And I settled on this pattern:


  It's a version of a BQ pattern...BQ5. You can see it here: BQ5
I dug through my stash, but was unable to come up with anything suitable although I did find this crackle background.

                      

 I looked in town and found this turquoise:

                      

It's called Shadow Play by Maywood Studios. The pattern arrived on Monday:


 I cut it out this morning

                             

and blocks are coming together quickly:

                             

Next time one of us has to go to town,  I'll swing by Jackie's and dropped it off to get it in line for her Christmas quilting run.

I have quite a bit of the main print left and am contemplating a second quilt. Before I had chosen a pattern, I ordered a few pieces, hoping they would coordinate. Shopping for fabric online when you are trying to match something is always a gamble, but I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived:

                        

I chose 3 Grunge fabrics and they could not be more perfect. I also have this arrowhead fabric in the top left corner of this next shot. It's not from the same line, but it has all the same colors - I won't use it in this quilt, but I'll add it to the next one:

                      


For now, I had better finish piecing this top!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Twice Baked Potato Heaven

I made this dish for my cowboy crew on Tuesday and realized I hadn't shared it with ya'll. I've never met a potato I didn't like and my waistline can attest to that. I have cut back on them a lot, but I will bring out the good stuff for family gatherings, holidays, and my boys, aka: the crew...and ya'll.



I think this recipe came from a magazine...probably a Taste of Home issue, but it's written on a recipe card in my favorite recipe binder and if you like potatoes, this one is a good one.


Twice Baked Potato Heaven

5# potatoes, peeled, cut and cooked
1/2 C butter
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 C sour cream
10 slices bacon, cooked and diced
2 C shredded cheese
1/4 C green onions, diced
salt and pepper

*Drain your potatoes. Add butter and beat as if you are making mashed potatoes. Add cream cheese and continue mixing. Add sour cream, pepper, salt. Stir in 3/4 of the bacon, 3/4 of the cheese, and the green onions. Top with remaining bacon and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°. Dig in!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Company at Midnight

This week I'm setting the alarm at 3:45 for 5 a.m. breakfasts. I take showers at night because I just can't at 3:30 in the morning and because we work outside with cattle and horses and dirt. I'm pretty low maintenance and can be somewhat presentable with teeth brushed, face washed, and clothes on in less than 10 minutes while the oven preheats. So, we're turning out the lights by 9 p.m.at the latest.

Last night, we were watching the weather. Who am I kidding? Around here we are ALWAYS watching the weather. Yesterday it was 92 and today we might hit 52. It dictates everything we do and at midnight the radar looked like this:


So, we were on standby as far as our cow works. A big, loud storm came barreling through. Lots of lightening and thunder. The kind that makes you bolt out of bed. Then the electricity went out. So DH called it in and the co-op came out and got us back up and running:


It was just a fuse up on the transformer here at the house, but by that time, it was after 2 and we were wide awake. We tried to doze a little, but sleep was futile and just after 3, DH called our camp man and cancelled our day. Soon after, he made 6 more calls and shut down the crew. We had 0.7" here at the house. Our neighbor to the east had an inch and we share the road we were needing to travel today. It looked like it rained harder on the SE end where the pens are and there is no way they could run trailers in and out of there today, but rained out is a good problem to have.

And for those of you wondering if we'll get naps, the answer is no. DH made a trip to town and the phone won't stop ringing - crew. co-op, cattle buyers, brand board, truckers, packing plant, oil field, and the fellow who raises bulls we buy - he's been talking to folks all day. He's had me tending to the paperwork and emailing side of ranch work, but there are leftovers and it's still wet and drizzly so it's a good day, but 9 p.m. can't come soon enough.
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