Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shipping Day...Brrrr....

This past Saturday, we shipped out our calves. Its been a good year and we were thrilled with the bottom dollar. Everything worked beautifully and we truly feel blessed. That being said....it was a might chilly Saturday morning when everyone headed out to the pens to saddle their horses. Brrrrr. I think this guy is glad he's sporting his winter coat, but I'll bet ol' Jack Frost was still nipping at his nose:

   DH said it was 15° when he stepped outside! Blessed as we've been, I'm thinking everyone was praying for that blessing to warm up...and fast!
Seems that every year, when shipping day rolls around, it dawns as the coldest day of the year. So I know that the morning will begin well before dawn because everyone will appreciate a good, hot, hearty breakfast and I had better keep the coffee on.

I was accused of having lost my senses when I wandered outside, but it's been much too long since I got to enjoy some time behind the camera and I felt for the brand inspector (who is a friend and I hadn't seen in far too long), and the truck drivers, and the buyer. So I hauled out some coffee and some hot chocolate (for the truck driver's little boy) too. It was down right frosty out there and my pictures are horrible because my camera decided to put up a fuss and complain about the temperature. It wouldn't focus and kept giving me an 'error' reading that I have never seen before and then it just simply refused to do anything. So I apologize for these sad little excuses for photos.

Bringing in the herd:

Hard to believe that only a few short weeks ago, all of this grass was green. We're so thankful for the good, wet year we've had and that we've got good grass for the winter so brown grass, this time of year, is a blessing. Beats no grass. We've had years like that too.

These teenagers don't get too many days to sleep in around here:

Sometimes those early mornings just roll around a bit too early so as long as you're not caught sleeping on the job, a few extra winks are snuck in every now and then:

Driving the calves down the alley towards the scales:

He's probably wishing he hadn't neglected to pull on those long johns this morning:

Just whistle while you work...

 Turning back calves:

The Bovine Express has arrived:

After the calves were loaded and headed to their new homes, everyone gathered in the dining room to warm up. The coffee cake muffins were devoured, the coffee was poured, and the visit and stories were entertaining and I think everyone was just thankful to have the opportunity to thaw out for a bit, but then again, it's the end of November...in New Mexico...and shipping day, so its to be expected.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall Finish!

Finally! Gosh, it's been a long time since I've finished anything! For all the time I spend working on projects, I certainly don't seem to be getting much accomplished. Some days I feel as if I'm working backwards!

But today is a good day! I finally finished this little fall quilt for the back of the loveseat.

 It just measures 51x51", but I love it. I adore fall colors and this certainly won't be the last quilt I make with the colors of autumn. I didn't use a pattern - just pieced 4 patches with 6" squares on point. This is the first time I pieced the back. I was inspired by all the cute pieced backs I've been seeing floating around in blogland.

I was excited to get it finished in time for Thanksgiving. I know - I'm cutting it close, but it can drape over the back of the couch for a few days and curl up with a family member or two before being folded into the armoire to hibernate.

I follow a fun blog called Quiltstory, that always includes the wonderful stories behind the quilts that are shared. The stories are what make quilts so priceless and everyone has a story to tell. Over time, those stories are what make up our history.

On Tuesday's they host Fabric Tuesday and invite fellow bloggers to share what they're working on. Its always fun to see what others are creating so I thought I'd share this quilt today. Hop on over there to see what others are stitching up and be inspired!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The WRCA and a Bit of Fabric Therapy

This past weekend we went to Amarillo, Tx for the WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo. Its the one weekend a year we actually all get away from the ranch. Grandpa stayed and kept an eye on things for us - thanks Grandpa! This is always a highly anticipated weekend for us. We're kind of like kids in a candy store. Thousands of ranching folks descend upon the metropolis of Amarillo and take part in the festivities. One of these days we'll stay for the 4 days of fun, but we generally only get to stay for 2. Which really is about our limit because by the end of the second day, we're peopled out.

This weekend is somewhat like a family reunion for us because  we see friends from all over the country as well as catch up with folks just down the road whom we seldom get to see. We even ran into some of DH's relatives from Nebraska and I got to spend some time, although not enough, with a dear friend from Oklahoma.

The entire shindig takes place at the Civic Center I'm pretty sure we all walked miles and miles during our stay. There are 4 nights of Ranch Rodeo competition,a huge Expo with hundreds of booths (where your entire Christmas budget can be spent and you had better get everything looked at before Saturday because if you venture into that hall on Saturday you will feel like a salmon swimming upstream with 10,000 buddies), musical entertainment, cowboy poetry, auctions, lots of food (including fabulous spiced nuts), and a ranch horse competition. The ranch horse competition is held in the arena that is actually an ice hockey arena and it is ridiculously cold in there, but we're diehards and spend at least 2 hours first thing in the morning, watching the horses...and shivering to keep warm.

I am a horrible blogger. I didn't take very many pictures, although my intentions were good. Here's one of our friends competing in the ranch horse competition:

I didn't take any of the rodeo. I just had my little pocket camera along and it doesn't take very good action pictures in an arena.

So you get random pictures like this:

Yes, those are curtains, or swags..in our hotel room. We got a kick out of them because we felt like we were in Europe instead of West Texas. DD said she thought it looked like we were staying in Persia. I didn't even know she knew Persia existed since Geography is not her strong suit. Can you tell we don't get out often? Doesn't take much to entertain us.

We weren't even staying in a swanky hotel.

On the first morning we awoke to this:

It had been 70° the day before, but that's West Texas weather for you. We scraped off a couple inches of snow off of the truck and headed to the arena where, two hours later, I scraped another 4" off.

The trees were still showing off their fall coats. I don't think they were expecting this:

After all the hobnobbing, I try to sneak off and hit the town for a bit of fabric therapy. This year I attacked with a plan and a list and boy oh boy, did I have fun! I'm debating whether I should even fess up to all I brought home. Honestly, if only quilters read my blog, they would understand, but the rest of ya'll would think I had taken leave of my senses. I keep telling myself I only get there once a year so if I divide it all up into 12 months, it doesn't look so bad. Yeah, I didn't fall for it either. I bought a lot of fabric. I spent a lot of my cooking check from cooking for the crew this fall.

A lot of the yardage I bought was for backs of quilts so that added up quickly. I got backing for this quilt:

As well as this one:

And some snowflake flannel for the back of another one.

I bought 9 yards (yes, 9) of this lovely, rich brown from Moda's French General line for the Granny Square quilt Moda Lissa designed that is in the October issue of American Patchwork & Quilting:

I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and have been searching for a rich brown. I will go through that brown like crazy. It was the perfect brown for the horse baby quilt I pieced and I've already used it for borders.

I couldn't pass up the Fun Flower line either. I think it'll make a darling baby quilt for a little girl...or two: Seems as if there are a lot of babies on the way around here. There are a couple of odds and ends mixed in here too:

Then I mostly picked up lots,

and lots

of half yards. I am addicted to scrap quilts and I went through my stash before I left, cutting strips for some projects waiting in the wings, so I picked up some things to fill in the blanks. Looks like I had lots of blanks to fill, huh?

I guess I really shouldn't be let loose in a quilt store alone. I really have lots of self control when it comes to other things. I have no desire to shop for clothes. I am perfectly content with our 11 year old truck. I don't buy dishes...or jewelry...or shoes. My weakness is fabric, but I'm fairly certain that those of you that quilt, have the same condition...or sickness...or obsession. We're all in the same boat and as long as we've got our needle and thread and stash, we'll just keep sailing along. I know I'm not alone...I read your blogs!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Custom Made Sewing Table

A few weeks ago, when I went to the quilt show, something caught my eye. You've probably seen those quilt ladders. Well, I've been eyeing them for some time and sure enough, there was a booth filled with them so I sauntered in and met the builder. My eyes quickly darted from the ladders, to the pretty coffee tables with glass storage for quilts, to the nice wall cabinets for thread storage. So we began to visit... and visit...and visit some more. I was thrilled to find out that he was a local resident and just about the nicest guy you could ever meet. Come to find out, he also makes these very cool sewing tables. Well, they really set on top of a table, but they allow you to have a even surface with your sewing machine so that you can eliminate that drag when you're quilting. He custom makes these for any machine and he'll make them any size. Mine is just a standard 2' x 4' because I just don't have a lot of room, but I love it!

It just makes sewing and quilting so much nicer! It allows my space to be portable too which I sometimes need for it to be. He'll make an actual table with cabinets and drawers too (he made one for one of the lady's who works at the quilt store), but I think this a great solution for those of us who don't really have a dedicated sewing room.
On the plus side, we've got great windows in this house and the light is wonderful here.

He's made them for lots of the quilters in the area. Here's  the one he made for me:

My sewing machine just slides in from the end and nests neatly in this niche. I don't have it butted up against there just right in this photo:
Its got a great storage space underneath. At he moment, I have some of my thread tucked in on the left end:

And just to the left of my machine, I have this utensil organizer that houses small items like my scissors and  my walking foot and needles:

The lady that quilts some of my quilts has two of these tables and she told me that the little organizers work well.

There's another cubby behind the machine on the right side too, but I don't have anything stashed there yet.

I love the color too. I told Bobby to just use whatever he had. I'm sure glad it wasn't pink! Not that I have anything against pink, but this just fits in with our home better.

Bobby even offered to drive out to my house to take the measurements of my machine, but I just hauled it in to him. Added bonus: when I walked into he and his wife's home, I got to see all of the amazing things he has built. Wish I could show you pictures, but he probably already thinks I'm a bit strange and it just may confirm his notion if I started snapping pictures in his home. I wanted to rip his kitchen cabinets off of his wall and take them home.

I've also been looking for a microwave cart and yep, you guessed it: there it was in Bobby's home. Guess what he's building me next? I think he needs to adopt me.

But for now, I am hunkered down right here whenever time allows

...and even sometimes, when time doesn't allow. Burnt cookies, anyone?

  In the meantime, I am simply over the moon about my little sewing table. I left the ladder so that Santa could bring it to me for Christmas.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

While Hubby was Away Hunting...

...I reverted back to my night owl days

...I still could not manage to sleep past 6 even if I went to bed at 2

...I took a sabbatical from the kitchen

...I realized that a king-sized bed is too big when he's not here

...I thought I should try staying in my pajamas all day but never made it past 7 am

...it took me 1 minute to make the bed in the morning

...the ice cream bucket stayed full

...I spent glorious time in the mornings out with the horses, spoiling them even though they are ranch horses and not pets

...I missed the jingle of his spurs

...I baked cookies and gave them to the UPS man because hubby was not here to eat them

...I realized I could live off of tortillas, cheese, and pico de gallo, substituting a potato for the tortilla one day

...I made a pot of coffee for him out of habit (I love the smell, but do not drink it)

...I spent many a hour playing with fabric

...I missed him a lot

...I sewed every day until the cows (and hubby) came home
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