Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Lots of Summer Projects...of the Non-Fabric Variety

I've had quite a few folks wonder if we ever get bored around here. The resounding answer is no...never. Life is full and there is always something going on and yes, it almost always involves work. The list is long and the ranch house is often at the bottom of that list. I'm fine with that. I'v never focused on all the things these old ranch houses really could use. I'm a glass half full kind of girl so I guess I get really excited about the little things we DO fix and for the most part...99% of the's US doing the fixing. I'm so grateful for DH's handy genes. But this summer we called in reinforcements.

Our 10 year old air conditioner sprung a leak in the coils and when it's 110° and hotter, we truly appreciate working refrigerated air:

So Jared came out and replaced the coils. Nothing is ever easy in an old ranch house. This installation required a saw

and a flame:

and some demolition:

Which led to some new sheet rock and a new door for the heating cooling units:

That didn't solve the problem though and he ended up coming back and replacing the entire unit:

And while we're at it, let's replace the hole in the wall that was here when we moved in. A strategically placed cabinet hid it all these years:

We've also needed to replace some doors and windows in the bunkhouse

as well as 2 windows in our house:

I cannot tell you how excited I am to no longer have electrical tape on this 95" long window in my mudroom-entry way-laundry room::

And I don't think anyone has ever been happier to have a new kitchen window...especially one with rain on it!

The old one was double-paned and it leaked water and dirt horribly.

Proof: my windowsill would be covered in dirt when the wind blew


You could not get it clean and it wouldn't stay open so I improvised:


Not that I have a view, but a clean window makes me exponentially happy! The window installation also made it necessary to paint the side of the house:


Wonder what I could do to make it necessary to build a porch. It should be illegal to have a house without a front porch. And the new cake bin was delivered:

This is where we store the cake...aka: cubes, or feed for the cattle. DH built and welded the supports and then he and the north camp man dug deep holes and set the supports with a pallet of quick-crete:

The country was out working our road:

Leaks needed fixing:

Hay was delivered:

And all these extra hands needed sustenance in the form of cookies so I've been busy:

And as I shared at the start of this post, MOST of our projects require work. Most. But not all. After DH cleaned out a storage tank,

 we went swimming:

And then I went home and took a nap. I'm not even the one doing all the work, but this summer is wearing me out.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Under the Needle - August

 July and August are supposed to be our rainy season. We're still waiting...and praying. I've only had the mower out once and that was just to cut one little part of the yard where I've been watering the trees like mad in an attempt to keep them alive.. but hope springs eternal and today I am happily stitching as the rain puddles outside my window:

We've had a lot going on around here, but a girl that loves to make quilts will always squeeze in dabs of time to work on them. After I finished our Girl's Sequoia Quilt for her Birthday, I stitched up a couple of puppy-inspired drawstring bags to send flea and tick meds for her hound puppies. It's less expensive at our vet clinic than anywhere else:

I also finished piecing all the blocks for my Scrap Dance Waltz quilt and it is now a top waiting to be pressed:

It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that it's already August, but August it is. I was craving some mindless sewing so I have been sewing HSTs for a pattern using a layer cake:

It took me 4 days to draw my lines and get the squares trimmed and starched, and and then my mom called and asked if I could make a baby quilt for a friend of hers. Of course! I was tickled that she asked. The theme is woodland critters. She told me that the invitation was cute so I asked her to have the neighbor, who is also a friend of ours, send me a photo of it:

Yep, cute! And I remembered this fabric a friend has used for a baby quilt a few months ago:

Perfect. And then the dilemma began. Settling on a pattern is often the most time consuming part of the quilt making process for me. This fabric is sweet, but it does not play well with others. Plan A looked promising:

Until I laid it all out:

No. Plan B:

No. On to plan C:

Better, but not quite and I did a lot of ripping to add that brown. Then I thought of another tweek, but I just did not have the heart to rip it all out again and remake those QSTs. So I thought about using 9-patches and commenced to making those.

Still not loving it. That was plan D. Sigh. I'll be back with plan E. Sheesh.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sequoia Quilt

This quilt was made especially for our girl. Today's her birthday and she had requested a new quilt for her bed. I love that the kids both appreciate handmade gifts and that they especially love their Mama's quilts. :) I told our girl that I wanted her to have some input on this and I made her scroll through my Quilting Inspiration Pinterest board. She loved everything about the Sequoia quilt so I ordered the book (that cover quilt is on my list too!)

I fretted over fabrics. The original quilt is only  56 x 70 so I enlarged my blocks to 6", but she loved the color of the original so I went in search of something similar. I stayed with a solid black and gray, but chose textured fabrics for the lagoon and white:

 This is such a simple quilt, yet the design is striking. Simple HST's...lots of them, 176 to be exact, but I love their versatility. Simple masking tape marked the rows:


I marked off each one on a copy from the book in order to keep from turning anything around and it worked like a charm:


I made them over the course of a week and I took the time to sliver trim each one:


I was stumped as to what to use for a backing, but we settled on this wide gray

 and I bound it in the lagoon.

 A Sarah Plain and Tall marathon was on TV as I worked on the binding. The scene I captured is when Jacob falls to the ground as it finally begins to rain, bringing an end to a prolonged drought. That's exactly what it'll be like when we finally get a good rain here:


After a run through the washer, the quilt spent some time on the line, soaking up as much of the New Mexico sunshine as it could hold for our girl:


See how dry we are. Not even a weed. I especially love the quilting pattern that Jackie chose:


It gives the quilt great movement and an additional southwestern design element to the graphic piecing:

When it came time to photograph it, I was stumped. My usual chicken yard fence location wasn't quite tall enough:

Although the wind was blowing quite nicely and it held up that big ol' quilt without nary a clip. Honestly, I just climbed up the ladder, laid it close to the fence, and the wind just sucked it up against the fence. It finishes at 90 x 110 so it's a pretty good size. There wasn't a spot on the hay stack that worked either, but the side of the barn turned out to be perfect:

Guess it's soaking up some of the New Mexico wind to send to our girl too:


Heck, I think it was trying to get to her without being sent in a box. Air mail...or wind mail:


I love everything about this quilt from the first stitch to the last,


but the thing I love the most about it is that it was made for this pretty incredible kid:

Happy Birthday, Sprout! Love, Mama and Daddy


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