Friday, March 24, 2017

HST Rodeo Rider Baby Quit

I haven't been doing any sewing this past month, but I have had a couple of quilts to bind and I've worked on those a little bit off and on:

This little quilt top came together awfully fast last year. I had 2 charm packs of a Riley Bake line called Rodeo Rider, but I didn't have a clue as to what pattern to use until I ran across a HST layout on Pinterest that originated here

Perfect. This is also the photo I showed a friend when she was looking for a pattern. She made it in turquoise and grays and it is beautiful. I used a navy that I had in my stash from Connecting Threads and set to stitching. The Riley Blake charm packs only have 22 squares and once I used the 2 packs I had, I picked up a third in order to make it a little larger. This one is going to our girl's best friend from childhood. She is a barrel racer and they are expecting their first baby, a girl.

Jackie quilted this wonderful paisley across it to echo the paisley found in some of the prints and I love the way it shows up on the pink polka dotted fabric I used for a backing:

This measures 40" x 48" and I'm just waiting for the arrival of the sweet child to add the label and send it on it's way to Texas.

I really like this layout for HSTs and I think I'll be making it again...soon. I'm trying to get ahead by stashing a couple of baby quilts, but I'm giving them away as fast as I can make them. :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

I love Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches and I will order them every time I see them on a menu. We seldom go out, but everyone in my family knows that's what I'm going to order if it is available and if it isn't, I also love a good quesadilla. However, I order with trepidation. It's hit and miss as to whether or not it's going to be good or not.

When we were in Vegas a few years ago, the hotel/casino had Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches and they were SO good! I had them twice and then I discovered a little hole in the wall place in town and a couple of friends told me that their Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches were amazing. They were right. As good as the ones in Vegas.

So I decided I'd try to recreate them at home and DH said I nailed it. The thing I don't like about most of them is soggy bread. I wanted something that would hold up to the filling so I went with a Ciabatta bread, slightly toasted...Yum! I've never found one served on Ciabatta. Sometimes I buy the Ciabatta bread and sometimes I make it. And the addition of the jalapeno gives it that extra zip that really makes my mouth happy.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

Ciabatta Bread - we like ours toasted
1 lb good quality deli roast beef (Yes, I know it's expensive)
a few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced
Sliced mushrooms
1 sliced jalapeno
Cheese slices - Swiss or Provolone or Pepper Jack - these have all worked well for us

*Saute onions, green pepper, mushrooms and jalapeno in a Tbsp of olive oil and a little butter for 5-10 minutes We like a little char on ours. Slice roast beef into thin ribbons and add to skillet with a few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce, sauteing until warmed through and a little browned on the edges. Pile onto Ciabatta bread and add 2 slices of cheese. Top with second piece of toasted bread and dig in!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Putting Her to Work

Our girl was home for a short visit last week. The university sent her to our nearest town to pick up a truckload of feed and she finagled a way to spend a few days with her old folks. That always makes the old folks happy!

And as is par for the course, she gets put to work. :) Truth be told, she said she was coming to help with whatever needed doing. When our kids left home and ventured out into the world, they often remarked on the lack of work ethic they encountered. Few people were willing to put in extra effort or they expected compensation for a little additional labor. I understand the concept of overtime, but in a rural capacity, it does not exist. You just work until the work is finished and in farming and ranching, it's never finished. You don't get paid extra and there are no bonuses.Thus, we raised 2 children who were taken aback when faced with peers who balked at putting forth extra effort when manual labor was involved.

We had a big area of 6' tall weeds that needed whacking and burning between the barn and the round pen. I spent 2 mornings fighting my way through them with a heavy metal rake until I thought my arms were going to fall off. And I realized that I am no longer 25. :) But I managed to get through 90% of it in 2 days.

When our girl arrived, she joined me and we finished clearing the area as DH began to burn the dried weeds on Friday morning.

It did not escape our notice that fires were causing terrible destruction in the plains as we worked. We were all mindful of our rural friends and firefighters and silent prayers were whispered as we kept a watchful eye on the flames.

The pitchfork and I have also forged a meaningful relationship these past few weeks as I've been pitching hay to the beef from a large bale that broke. Another reminder that I am no longer a spring chicken.

However, on a positive note, my old lady arms are getting toned! Well, perhaps toned is a bit far fetched, but they are less flabby. :) Our girl accompanied me as we put out mineral in pastures other than the ones I feed on a regular basis. She scurried up top to check the storage tank in Red and White:

She tossed 50# sacks of mineral into the back of the feed truck with her 23 yr old arms as if they weighed nothing. I told her that when you are my age, the first 3 weigh 50# and then they get progressively heavier. By the time I have handled the 10th sack of feed or mineral, they have doubled in weight. :)

And she snapped sneaky pictures of her Mama, posting them online:

Yes, tis' the season for babies! Stay tuned for my annual baby bovine photo shoot. :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Oven Lovin'

I've had a Frigidaire gas stove for 22 years and as much cooking and baking as I do, I think I finally wore it out. Through the years, DH has replaced parts on multiple occasions and in the past 6 months or so, it has been  a crap shoot as to if it felt like baking or not. It was finally time for a new stove. It completely quit 2 weeks  ago and I can tell you that it's been no fun. In the big scheme of things, it's not a big deal. Others are dealing with much bigger issues, but I sure do miss my oven.

When I think of all the meals I've cooked and baked through the years, it makes me a little nostalgic and I kind of hate to see it go. Is it odd to become attached to an appliance? It has served us well through the years and I guess it's earned it's retirement.

So last week, I made a trip to town to scout out the possibilities. There's a Home Depot in town, but 95% of what they carry is glass top stoves and that just does not work with my cast iron collection. Besides, I'm a gas stove girl. In a perfect world, my dream stove would be one of those commercial 6 burner stoves and I'd have double ovens, but alas, that's not going to happen. My little kitchen is already cramped.

Then there are 2 local appliance stores so I popped in to each of those. We used to have a teeny, tiny Sears store, but it closed so the pickings are pretty slim when it comes to selection. Still, I think I hit the jackpot at store #1. I found this GE stove:

5 burners. Double oven. Gas. In the scratch and dent section. Yes, please!

There was only one itty bitty ding on one side that I couldn't even see when I tried to take  a picture. The delivery man's name is Magoo. How fun is that and he was a very sweet man. Had to take a farewell shot of my old stove as Magoo carted it off:

The bottom oven has a convection mode. I wan't looking for that, but I hear about them a lot. It came with the middle griddle and I added a center grate, but they sent the wrong grate so when I called and asked about it and a manual, Kent said, " Look in the bottom drawer." I told him it was a double oven and he told me to look there. I said, "No manual, but there's a pie and cookies in there." He laughed and said, "Already?!" Yes, sir, already!

 I am celebrating! I am baking! Pie is on the menu!

Pie AND cookies!

Because I have 2 ovens!

Cue the Snoopy happy dance!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bringing Home the Tree Quilt

Yes, I know it's March, but our girl was home for a few days and I finally had an extra quilt holder to get a picture of this quilt so you get a Christmas quilt post in March, plus the story of why I made it.

It all started 30 years ago. :) Cutting a tree for Christmas has always been a family tradition. When we were first married, we ran a ranch that didn't have many trees so sometimes we had a Christmas bush. :) One year we kept procrastinating and when we finally cleared some time to get a tree, we had a blizzard. Christmas has never been about the presents. I don't need presents and it's not about the tree either, but I need a tree. :) So we shoveled through cattle guards with fence high snow

to fetch a tree:

When we lived in West Texas, we lived and ranched in the mountains. Yes, Texas has mountains. And when December rolled around, we always looked forward to trekking up Mount Annie which was on the ranch:

and choosing the family tree.

I was always thankful that DH was at the wheel because it was a precarious climb: It was one of our favorite traditions and even in July, we would spot a beautiful tree and exclaim that it was perfect for our next Christmas tree.

Those are treasured memories

When we moved from Texas and left our dear mountains, we were devastated. And that's not an understatement. It was a hard transition and we missed our mountains.

We were loath to leave behind our Christmas tree tradition so we drove to the nearest mountains, 2 hours away, and continued our old tradition in a new place:


Bonus: my in-laws live there and we get to descend upon them and raid Granny's kitchen that always includes something delicious from the oven!

And I discovered that those new memories are just as precious as the old ones! So this quilt is a reminder of those special times and I knew I wanted to make it the minute I saw it online:

It's in this book:

I pulled all the reds and greens from my stash that felt like they belonged in this quilt in 2012. The stack on the right is also for a project I haven't started yet. :)

And enjoyed piecing each and every tree

Jackie's daughter, Sandy, quilted this pretty holly motif in all the trees:

And the Puss n' Boots blocks were stitched with a gorgeous snowflake:

I loved the plaid for the border when I found it and Sandy added these fun stars:

It finishes at 80" x 94". She did a beautiful job on it and finally it is finished!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wild Fires Auction Quilt

The last week has been challenging  and scary for the Texas Panhandle, along with parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. Wild fires have ravaged the central plains and lives have been lost. Few people not living in the area or involved in agriculture were even aware of it while the fires were burning . For the most part, it's been ignored by mainstream media, but that's a whole nother soapbox. People who do not make their living in agriculture have said, "It's just cows", but they couldn't be more wrong. When you depend on those 'cows' for your livelihood, for putting a roof over your head and food in your children's mouths, it becomes so much more than that. Ranching is not just a paycheck or a job. It's not just what you do. It's who you are and in the past week, we've seen people rise up and come together in support of those who are grieving, dealing with huge losses, and those who fought to contain the fires that caused so much devastation. In the Texas Panhandle alone, there were over 1500 hd of cattle lost and 500,000 acres were burned. That's land that provided feed for cattle and other livestock. Total cattle numbers have not yet been tallied, but it will number in the thousands and 2 million acres in all have burned.

In Kansas, we know the Gardiner family, that lost over 500 hd alone and 80% of their land was burned. We have attended their Bull sale in years past and the ranch has purchased bulls from them. They lost their home as well, but thankfully, no lives were lost. We know John Erickson, of Hank the Cowdog fame, and he lost his home as well when the fire burned his ranch.

7 people have lost their lives in these fires. In Texas, 3 young people, 2 of whom our daughter knew, gave their lives while trying to rescue stock.

Our girl read this online and it is said so well that I just had to share:

Tera Rooney Barnhardt said it best:
"This man lost his life's work in a fire. Generations of cow families that represent some of the best genetics in the industry. No one will march about this. No one will occupy any streets for this. No one will riot or loot or act ridiculously heinous for the cause. In middle America they'll put on their boots tomorrow, alongside their neighbors and friends, and they'll go to work. Because that's what builds a lifestyle for generations of middle Americans. Boots on the ground...even if it's on fire, blowing away, or filled with tears."

Thankfully, the fires have now been contained, thanks to the brave men and women who put their lives at stake to do so. The agricultural community is coming together in droves and donating hay and feed and water and supplies and auctioning off chaps and saddles and tack in order to raise money for those affected.

We wanted to help in some small way so our girl set us up to auction off this scrap quilt I made using western fabrics, a few years ago.

Originally I called it Back Roads, but I made a new label for the auction and now it is called "Panhandle Proud". People have coined that phrase and are selling t-shirts as a fund raiser so I made this label:

We wanted to include a scripture, but we couldn't decide which one so I turned to my dear friend and fellow ranch wife, M, and she texted me Psalm 46:1. So thank you, M. You have chosen the perfect one.

All proceeds are going to the WRCA Foundation  Wildfire Relief Fund. Here's the link to the auction post on FB if you would care to share it on your timeline.

Auction Link

I've had some inquiries as to how to donate so I've edited this post to add this link to an article that includes ways that donations are being accepted if you so choose. Thank you for your prayers and generosity.

WRCA Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund

In devastating circumstances, people come together, and not just in agriculture. We see it every time there is a need, but I will say that it warms your heart to see people drop everything and do what they can and many of you do that every day in your daily lives, many of you from behind your sewing machines, as you sew for charities and organizations and loved ones. When the world spins out of control, it's good to know that others are showing up, picking up the pieces, standing in the gap, praying without ceasing, thankful that God is in control.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tilted Bears Baby Quilt Finished

It's been a long time since I had a finished quilt to share. I may have a quilt holder here this weekend to help me take pictures of one that I finished in January, but it's pretty big and this one is small enough that no quilt holders are necessary:

This quilt started with the fabric:

I'm thinking I found it at Hobby Lobby many moons ago and it sat in my fabric stash for a long time. I still think it is just too cute. It has a vintage feel and who doesn't love teddy bears? They're timeless.

I just didn't know what to do with it. I knew it would make a cute backing, but I needed an idea for the top. Enter, the tilted square block. I shared a bit about the making of these blocks HERE, but I'll include that on this post as well. I didn't have a plan, but at some point thought about using a tilted block and that just stuck so so I pulled some coordinating fabric and gave it a test run.

I didn't use a pattern - just did some figuring and used the old noggin. I made a few paper templates in order to test things out. The red block had too much of a tilt so I regrouped and settled on the dimensions in the blue block.

Using a 5" square for the center block, I ended up with a 7" block.

There is some waste in making these blocks this way, but it worked for me. I made 15 blue blocks and 15 red. Chain piecing them made them come together quickly and once all the blocks were made, I made a template using template plastic to trim my blocks to size.

The template plastic is too thin, but it worked. Jackie chose a cute pantograph with numbers tossed about that is perfect and I used  brown burlap print for the border and red Grunge for the binding:

The quilt finishes at 45" x 54" . I've been wanting to make up a few baby quilts for future arrivals and this is one of those quilts. I've still got enough fabric left for another quilt. Maybe one using a square in a square. Plus, I think some of it will make a cute pillowcase. According to my notes, I started this one back in September so although baby quilts generally come together quickly, sometimes they just take a little time. :)

Edited: I just posted this a few hours ago. Our girl called since then and told me that friends of hers just had their 3rd baby, and 1st little boy yesterday. I made quilts for their first 2 and I knew they were expecting again, but had lost track of the fact that this little blessing was expected so soon so it looks like this little quilt has found it's forever home and that just tickles me to pieces!
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