Thursday, July 21, 2016

On Many an Afternooon

Yesterday we hit 21 consecutive days above 100 degrees. The record was 12. This is the forecast for the next 5 days:

Chance of precipitation: 0%. Insert sad face while praying for rain.

 I usually spend time outside in the early morning hours tending to chickens, guineas, the garden, the yard,  sneaking in a walk,and getting dinner together while DH works with his horses, shoes them, or rides. Our afternoons are often spent in the pickup checking waters, fence, cattle, and putting out mineral:

I think this girl has the right idea:

We stopped to fix some fence:

Although in all honesty, DH fixed fence and I took pictures and handed him tools:

More fence to fix...always more fence

I'm not strong enough to to get the wire tight enough. Note to self: eat more Wheaties.

I sure hate that he's having to do this when it's 103:

This is a never-ending job, but this is where we can often be found on many an afternoon:

I'm sure glad the days are getting shorter because by the time we pull back into headquarters, the sky looks like this and we're plumb tuckered out...and ready for fall. This summer heat wears this old body out:

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lined Drawstring Bags

I've probably made 30 of these little bags since 2011:

Yes that is a snowman in my kitchen, and yes it is July, but the picture was taken in December. :) These bags are the brainchild of Jeni over at 'In Color Order' and you can find her free tutorial here. She also has a pattern for sale and I love the numerous size options. Most of the ones I have made have been for Christmas:

But I have made a few for kiddos and used them to wrap pillowcases:

One year I made lots of potholders for friends and I made matching drawstring bags for the gift bags:

I've made a ton of those potholders too - Deanna, over at Wedding Dress Blue shared a great tutorial for these  here and I can't tell you how much I love these potholders.

I actually need to make more since I've given them all away and friends, and friends of friends, keep requesting them. Those of you who have them, had better be using them because they get better when you do. Last week I made a few more of the gift bags  with the leftover chuckwagon  fabric:

I gave the small one to our girl with a tea towel and money for lunch when she drove through on Monday with a 24' trailer to pick up a load of supplement for her heifers. I got to hug her neck and meet her assistant and then she brought me their leftovers which was perfect although it would have been even more perfect if I had eaten it with them. :)

When I was sorting the other day, I also ran across this western tapestry fabric. Probably about 10 years ago, my MIL made pillows and she gave me the leftovers:

I never knew what to do with it and last week it just hit me that it would make great drawstring bags. I just made sizes that would make the best use of the fabric I had left which amounted to 1

2 - makes a nice gift bag for a wine or whiskey bottle


little bags and a laundry bag that is 30" tall.

I gave it to our girl when I met up with her yesterday to get Harvey. We are keeping him while she is away at a Nutrition Conference and I thought this would be a useful way for her to store her dirty laundry while at the hotel. They are fun and fast to put together and I love the extra touch they add to whatever you are gifting.

Monday, July 11, 2016

What I've Been Working On

Currently, I'm in 'use it up' mode. I had previously made a few quilts using these fabrics, but I still had some in my stash and it was time to get the rest of it into useful quilts.

So I made another little strip quilt with the rest of the chuck wagon fabric. I liked the previous one I made so much that I made another using the square in a square blocks although I used different fabrics:

And the last of it turned into 2 lined drawstring bags which still need their ties run through them so I'll share those in a day or two. Then I pulled fabrics for this print:

that also made appearances in previous quilts:

And I pulled out my favorite pattern again:

And no, there's no purple in the focus fabric, but I needed another color and I think this'll work. I've got enough of both prints for backings

and enough of the flower print leftover for probably another quilt so I'm brainstorming patterns because this is NOT going back into a bin! As of now, I am making hourglass blocks:

Our temps have consistently been between 105 and 112 and them are wilting temps for this old gal.  Stuff still has to be tended to on the ranch, but we try to save running around in the pickup to check waters and cattle for the heat of the day and when I don't tag along with DH, that's my time to sew. I don't like to sew when he's home in the evenings unless I'm binding a quilt or working on an EPP project and sitting with him.

This weekend we had UFC fights both Friday and Saturday so that gave me some hand stitching time and I've made a little bit of progress on my EPP stars since I last posted about it. I am absolutely smitten with making these little stars:

I can't recall if I've already posted these, but if I have, just pretend I haven't. :) We also made a trip to Odessa, Texas and picked up a new flat bed gooseneck trailer on Friday so that gave me 6 hours of stitching time although I didn't stitch the whole time:

I was pretty impressed with the fact that I was able to thread my needle while barreling down the road.

I'd say there was a whole lot of stitching going on around here last week. Here's hoping the trend continues!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tackling the Hidden Fabric Stash

I've got this storage trunk that has been the recipient of every stray piece of fabric that needed to be moved off of my cutting surface, ironing station, or sewing area in order to make room for what I was currently working on for months. This is stuff I needed to stash before the house filled up with family and friends, before Christmas, before branding, before I started a new project. When the piles began to topple and became unruly, the trunk was a quick solution. And the trunk was full before I knew it. :)

 When I couldn't put my finger on a particular piece of fabric that I knew I had, I would rummage through the trunk and discover the fabric I'd been hunting, as well as new pieces that I had forgotten about that would spark inspiration and send me off on a new tangent:

Yesterday the mercury soared past 110 degrees again and I figured it was a good afternoon to tackle this scary task so I sorted:

I found orphan blocks:

And discovered that I apparently have a weakness for kitchen inspired prints:

I packed away some of the piles into their respective color bins:

I filled empty bins with fabric I wanted to keep together but as of yet, had no designated project:

And for solids

Designated others for lined drawstring bags since they had already been cut out for that. :)

And I pulled some scraps to cut diamonds for my EPP project and squares for my leader-ender project:

Better! I still stashed some bigger pieces for backings in here and a few of the bins that were previously empty have been reassigned for future projects:

Whew! That was a job! One I'm glad I finally finished - now let's see if I can keep it that way!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Buster Bar Dessert

Here's another recipe I've rescued from the deep, dark, depths of my recipe files and it's perfect for these 110 degree summer days. My MIL gave this one to me too, back when DH and I were first married and I had to feed a crew. I have collected a lot of dessert recipes through the years and this one has stood the test of time, but I hadn't made it in years. It was time to bring it back to the table. We had forgotten how good it is!

DH ran into someone at the sale barn he hadn't seen in over 20 years and he said the fella remembered what I made and do I still make this and that and he talked about how I would make donuts the last morning of works, and did I still make those rolls with the meat and potatoes and green chile in them? I don't consider myself an outstanding cook, but I have to admit that it's kind of nice to hear guys compliment what I make when they run into DH. DH climbed into the truck and told me I was famous. LOL. I'm glad I wasn't there because I would have been embarrassed, but its very sweet.

This last time we worked, we had a new guy on the crew and after day three, I heard him pipe up: "Darn! Do ya'll eat like this all the time?!" Um. No. Our 50 yr old waistlines won't allow it. :)

I served this to the crew recently and then I had 4 bites for breakfast the following morning. :)

Buster Bar Dessert

1 stick butter, melted
1 15 oz pkg Oreo cookies, crushed
1/2 gal vanilla ice cream, softened
1 1/2 C peanuts
1 13 oz can evaporated milk
1 stick butter
2/3 C chocolate chips
2 C powdered sugar

*Mix 1 stick melted butter and crushed cookies well and pat into 9 x 13" buttered pan. Set aside. Put the softened ice cream into a bowl and mix in the peanuts. Spread this over the cookie crust. Put in the freezer until set. In a medium sized pan, combine milk, butter, chocolate chips,  powdered sugar, and bring to a boil. Boil for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over the ice cream and return to the freezer to set. I make this the day before I plan to serve it so that it will be properly frozen.

Note: The original recipe called for margarine, but I don't keep margarine here so I have substituted butter, but I have used both through the years.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bloom Where You Are Planted Quilt

Bloom Where You Are Planted

That has always been one of my favorite sayings and I really had to put it into action when we moved here 11 years ago. It was a really difficult transition for me to move from our beloved mountains to this flat desert. It took me a couple of years to acclimate and I was obstinate about accepting the change. God wanted to bless us here and I kept pitching a hissy fit and telling Him that I did not understand why He planted us here. But He makes no mistakes and all of His plantings are intentional...and perfect.

I wrote this a few days ago to post about this quilt today and then this morning I opened up my devotional and read this:

I am  going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert...There I will give her back her vineyards. (Hosea 2:14-15) -from Streams in the Desert Devotional

The NKJ version reads:
 Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her the vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Anchor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land  of Egypt.

Yep, Perfect timing, once again.

I'm an optimist by nature. A glass half full kind of gal. Make the best of it. Cowboy up. Hitch up your britches and get on with it, but I struggled with this. I was still thankful for this lifestyle, and for each moment with hubby and the chiddlers, but I sure did miss those mountains.

It took a while, but soon, I began to see the beauty in this land:

The blessings that bloomed in the most unlikely places:

And so I continue to bloom where He has planted me and I've come to love this land. I am always amazed of the desert wildflowers that grow in this place of little rain and since it is really hard to grow blankets of wildflowers here, I decided to change my medium from seeds, to fabric.

For some time, I've had the hankering to make a simple wildflower patchwork quilt. I've collected floral fabric for a a few years, gathering bits and pieces that appealed to me here and there:

I finally set about cutting 5" squares from each fabric and stitching them into pairs last fall. I'm fairly certain that I had photos, but they seem to have vanished.

I wanted simple with flowers just tossed about in wild abandon and I wanted a whole mess of them:

Mission accomplished. :)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Dirt Road Walkabout

We don't have to walk our dogs out here, they get plenty of exercise just being ranch dogs, so I guess our dogs walk us. :)

If dogs can laugh, Skeet is doing just that:

I was happy to have a walking buddy again and Skeet and I took off on his maiden voyage the other day:

Standing water in the middle of the road makes everyone happy:

Some rain gauges had .5" and some had 1.3" and we are thankful for every drop:

It's good to slow down during the busy day and stop and smell the roses...or in this case, the thistles:

Anybody home?

Muddy paws equals happy puppy:

Wish I had this much energy. Hard to resist someone when they're this happy to see you!

The long road home:

I am ready to be home and I am not waiting for the pokey human to open this gate:

Me and my shadow:

Me and my shadow after - notice his tongue hanging out on his shadow:

It was the first of many adventures, but  we were both ready for a nap when we got home:

Did someone  say NAP?!

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