Friday, February 25, 2011

Blooming Pinwheel Quilt

Another finished quilt! Wahoo! Actually, it's not about finishing them, it's about the journey. I love thinking about the recipient as I'm piecing the blocks. The recipient of this quilt is still waiting to make her entry into the world, but I visited with her Mama the other day for a bit and they are over joyed. Its refreshing to hear someone who is actually enjoying every minute of this miraculous journey. She and her DH are so excited and eagerly gathering little, pink, girly things.

I haven't had much cause to quilt with girly fabrics so I went on a hunt for something special. I didn't have a clue as to what that was, but on a hunt I went. And I searched a long time for just the right fabric to jump out at me. When I found this "Quite Contrary" fabric, I knew I had to have it. Didn't have a clue as to what I wanted to do with it though so I bought some companion pieces that never found their way into the quilt. So the hunt continued and I finally rounded up a few that had potential. Still didn't know where this little quilt was headed. Somehow I decided to try a pinwheel after I saw this great tutorial here...and I was hooked. It measured 42x32. I wanted to make it a bit bigger, but the addition of another column offset the 4 pinwheels on each corner and it bugged me. So a smaller, more balanced quilt was born.

I'm making myself add a  label. I should have done that before it was quilted. Why is that so hard for me to do?

Karen, over at Sew Many Ways is having a Sew Darn Crafty Linking Party and I thought I would join in the fun. It's a fun way to discover new bloggy friends and ideas. Lots of amazingly talented people out there!

Now that the last stitch has been sewn, I am completely head over heels in love with it. I prayed for this child as I stitched. That she may have a life filled with love and laughter, good health and joy, and most importantly may the love and grace of Christ fill her heart and guide her days.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What's For Supper Dinner?

 This morning I was working on a list for a menu and I thought, "What's for Supper?" and then my thoughts seamlessly continued..."Grandpa?"

"Chicken Fried Steak. Mashed Spuds. Cream Gravy. Buttermilk Biscuits. Black-eyed peas. And Peach Cobbler with homemade ice cream. " Must be said like Grandpa.

 "YUM! YUM!"

Remember Hee Haw? Yes, it was corny, but it was honest to goodness-fun for the family- clean entertainment. And here lately, I've been wishing for a Grandpa like that. You know, one that cooks.

Come to think of it, don't know if I've ever heard of one of those.

Yesterday I read a post from a friend who was bemoaning the fact that it's hard to come up with ideas of what to cook and even if you have a idea, you most certainly will not have the required ingredients to make said meal. I hear you J.

Cue Grandpa's 'What's for Supper' scene.

Around here, our big meal is at noon and we call it Dinner. Our 'supper' is generally light:  leftovers, something thrown in a tortilla, or popcorn.

There are days I have it all together and then there are days I do not. However, I figure we can all relate to those 'not' days when you find yourself staring vacantly into the refrigerator and pantry and sighing. You may even have small (or not so small) kidlets clinging to your britches clamoring for their next meal because they are S-T-A-R-V-I-N-G. Those days are a thing of the past around here, but grown kidlets in men's clothing can be just as convincing.

One of the things I have done is make a master list of everything I cook. I have it on the inside of a cupboard door and refer to it on those days I am at a loss. Some things get made more often than others and some only get made once a year, but they are all things we deem as keepers. I'm pretty lucky. My crew isn't picky. They're wonderful guinea pigs although I've made my fair share of "what were you thinking?" recipes. Here's my list:

What’s for Dinner?

1.Catalina Salad
4.Sloppy Joes
6.Barbeque Sandwiches
7.Taco Soup
10.Layered Mini Lasagna Casserole
11.Taco Lasagna
12.Bolognese Lasagna
13.Crock Pot Pizza
14.Beefy Beans & Cornbread
15.Beef & Cheese Enchiladas (red & green)
16.Chicken Enchiladas
20.Steak Tampequena
22.Chicken Fried Steak
23.Smothered Steak
24.Swiss Steak
25.Slow Cooked Pepper Steak
26.Buckaroo Bundles
27.Beef French Dip Au Jus
28.Hamburger Cornpone Pie
29.Pour-a-Pan Pizza
30.Hungarian Goulash Soup
31.Black Bean Sirloin Chili
33.Hobo Casserole
34.Potato Soup
36.Chicken Tortilla Soup
37.Chicken Strips
38.Smothered Chicken
39.Chicken Spaghetti
40.Chicken Pot Pie
41.King Ranch Chicken Casserole
42.Chicken & Dumpling Casserole
43.Fried Chicken
44.Ravioli Casserole
45.4-Cheese Chicken Fettuccine
46.Ham & Swiss Stromboli
48.Pioneer Woman’s Sandwich
49.Marlboro Man’s Sandwich
50.Burgundy Steak
51.Steak Burritos
52.Salisbury Steak Deluxe
55. Venison Backstrap or Tenderloin
56. Beef Tips
57. Chicken Parmesan
58. Homemade Pizza
59. Barbeque Chicken
60. Fajitas
61. Grilled Sausage
62. Breaded Pork Chops
63. Chef Salad w/ grilled beef or chicken
64. Tortilla Stack

Now I won't guarantee you'll know exactly what your cooking every single day, but it does seem to help.

I also try to make a menu for each week. Just jot it down on an index card and then you can refer to the recipes when you're making your grocery list.

I have lots of cookbooks, but I keep our favorite recipes here.

Friends are another great source and mine are great cooks who are more than willing to share their recipes. Something they're completely sick of making might be your family's newest favorite dish! Works both ways! Just added #27 from here. Scroll down for the recipe. Thanks Naomi!

And I'm always looking for new recipes to add to my list so y'all send 'em this way!

In closing, here's a hint: Keep the ingredients for a Cherry Pie on hand at all times. It's guaranteed to put a sparkle in their eye and stop that tummy from rumbling... at least until the next meal rolls around and if y'all ever find a Grandpa like Hee Haw, send him my way.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Bit of Progress

I finally feel as if I'm getting back into the swing of things. Sometimes life just whisks you off without your consent and you may as well enjoy the journey.

 The older I get, the more of a homebody I become. So, I figured I really ought to be making some kind of progress with all of these projects in various stages of completion now that I am able to catch by breath from the wild ride that was January. I've had various requests (ie:loving nagging) asking that I share some of what I've been working on so here you go:

I pieced this baby quilt together with the Fun Flowers line I bought back in November when we were in Amarillo. Still needs a border, but I think it makes a bright, fun quilt for a little baby girl:

While I was in Texas and perusing the aisles of "Memories by the Yard", this "Quite Contrary" fabric caught my eye for a baby quilt and I pieced this top:

I think it will be perfect for DD's piano teacher's baby arriving in March.

I stitched this up yesterday. I should have made the whiskers brown too:

You have no idea how soft this little guy is! I attended an embroidery class on Friday and although, we were supposed to be working on combining digital designs, I went off on a tangent, as I am wont to do on occasion, and fell into the world of quilted applique using Minky blanket. I brought home a CD and DD immediately requested a quilt filled with the little critters. LOL. I have to admit that they are insanely soft and darling. No matter that she is 17. I do think I'll add one to a couple of the baby quilts I have in the works.

I also made 17 of these blocks:

I still have about 19 more to make, but ran out of the background fabric. Happily, it arrived today so I am back in business. I bought the entire bolt of this scenic fabric and plan to use it for the back of this quilt as well. Who knows, there is a lot of fabric. It may end up in a number of quilts and then I will be so sick of it that I will wonder why I ever bought it in the first place. However, as of now, I still really like it. I'm debating on the sashing, but I'm leaning towards a rich brown.

Here are the 5 completed blocks for the Granny Square quilt I am working on.

This was on the cover of the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. It was designed by Moda Lissa and I am hopelessly in love with it. It belongs on our bed and one day I hope our bed will be in a little log cabin where this quilt will finally be in its rightful place. Each block measures 9" square so I'm thinking it may be a while...a long while, before I have enough blocks for our King-sized bed. In the meantime, I have hundreds of 1 1/2" fabric strips covering every hanging surface available.

And finally, a finish or two! They are small finishes, but finishes nonetheless! I sewed on the binding for this baby quilt while I was away too. I made one like this a year ago or so and had enough leftover squares cut to stitch up another.

I finally sewed on the bindings for these little XL Hot Pads while I was at my Mom's. I am a great fan of many quilty blogs and I found this great tutorial here: Spun Sugar Quilts

These were originally made as Christmas gifts, but alas, my sewing machine ran off during the holidays and I was unable to complete them. However, I now have them tucked away for next year and am telling myself that I am ahead of the curve instead of woefully behind it. So those of you who I exchange gifts with and read my blog, note to you: Do not make these. You will get one for Christmas. Hopefully you will have a memory that is similar to mine and forget you ever saw them by next December and you will be completely surprised. If your memory is better than mine, just pretend. After all, you are my friend and friends do these sorts of things for each other.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Music to My Ears

Today is day 5 of the big freeze. And we're calving heifers. Below zero temperatures are not conducive to healthy baby calves. I've been praying like mad that the little critters stay put until the mercury reaches a more pleasant level. We once brought one little guy in the house, towel dried him off and wore out a blow dryer trying to get him warm and dry before reuniting him with his Mama as quickly as possible so as not to cause him too much stress.

Aren't you impressed that I could even find these 23-yr old photos?

Ignore his cloudy blue eyes. Old photo taken with flash.

No comments about the big hair. It was the 80's. The cute, curly-headed guy next to me is what you should be looking at.

Otherwise, I'm not complaining about the cold because unlike other areas of the country, we are not dealing with 4' of snow, or horrific winds, or treacherous ice. We only had about 4" of snow, but it's been so dry this winter that we would have gladly welcomed more. Perhaps it would have insulated the ground a bit more and we would have had running water. It's the first time I've been thankful that we have to haul our drinking water from town because those 5 gallon jugs of water came in VERY handy this past week.

We have heat and everyone is healthy so we're praising God for our abundant blessings. Just makes me realize how much we take for granted. Taking a shower every day and the feel of squeaky clean hair. Being able to flush a toilet instead of traipsing outside when it is -10° at 2 am. Sorry bout that. Too much information? Just keeping it real. Going to bed each night with a scrubbed down kitchen and a shiny, clean sink. Better?

So after 4 days, this:

is music to my ears and a sight for sore eyes.

Alas, it also means that DH and DS are spending the next few days fixing leaks. DH is making a run into town to the local farm store to load up on plumbing supplies. I imagine he won't be the only one and he will run into every local rancher who will also have their arms filled with a variety of connectors, and elbows, and couplings, and valves, and pipe, and they will all be spending quality time with their shovels and the tractor digging up said leaks this weekend. Sigh. I had better go dirty up some more dishes that I can't wash and make him his favorite cookies until he calls me out to take my turn at the shovel.
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