Monday, December 31, 2012

Quilt Labels and Snowflakes

I hope all of y'all had a blessed Christmas! I know we did although this is the first year our Marine was not home. :( I guess kids grow up and that is what they are supposed to do, but this Mama sure does miss them when they do.

He actually worked on Christmas Day. Another Marine was slated to work, but he had a family and our boy took his shift so that he could be with his family. Made me cry that he made a choice like that. So proud of you, Son.

Our girl was home for a week, which is never long enough. She worked hard this semester and I'm telling you, we are 'pop our buttons' proud of how she is living her life. She has earned this break, although she is working full time while school is out.

 We had a houseful again. My BIL and his 3 kids drove through and stayed for dinner. Leftovers were on the menu. After all, it was the day after Christmas and we had enough leftovers to last us until Easter. The marshmallow shooters were a big hit.

There hasn't been  much sewing going on around here, but I did manage to make some snowflakes this weekend to send to Connecticut:

 Good gravy these take a lot of thread, and they take a long time to stitch out, but look how pretty they are!

I also made some simple thank you notes:

Making snowflakes may be the only snow we'll get around here. DH came in and laughed when he saw me working on both of these projects simultaneously. He asked me if I was trying to make it snow. Yes, please.

And here are a couple of quilt labels I made using the Digitizer Jr. program I received as an early Christmas gift:

This is the first one I made - it's for our boy's quilt:

Then I made this one for our girl's Dirt Road Gypsy Quilt:

I wish I had thought to add a Scripture to the label on our boy's quilt, but the idea came to me after I had sent his off to him.

Then my machine stitched this one for a dear friend's grandchild's quilt:

This embroidering is going to take some time to figure out. 83 minutes and 53 colors?!

I ended up stitching it twice because for some reason it stitched the little monkey three times and it was too thick, causing my thread to break numerous times. Lots of time and thread wasted, but once I figured out to start the stitching 2/3 of the way through, it worked beautifully.

Now I see that I forgot to add my name to it. Sigh.

Another sweet friend had her first grandchild on Christmas Eve so a  baby quilt will be the first order of business this next weekend and I'm already planning out the label. :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Did You Know Santa Really Lives in Arizona?

It's true! The day after Christmas, DH brought home a fat envelope. A really, fat envelope. It was a Mary Poppins envelope. I kept pulling things out of it, like Mary Poppins' bag. The first thing I pulled out was this:

How cute is this little snowman? I KNOW!

He is grinning up at me as I enjoy a mug of hot tea and yes, I am grinning back at him! And yes, I know he does does not have a mouth, but he is grinning with his eyes. And no, I do not have whiskey in my tea.

I was the grand prize winner for Christmas Through the Year and Darlene sent me a whole slew of  lovely, lovely gifts.

An oven mitt made from Countdown to Christmas fabric!

4 charm packs of a really pretty Moda line called renewal. I have plans for these! A quilt of course and it will fit right in with my home.

Here is a super cute table mat that is perfect for spring. I am smitten with patchwork and this fits the bill perfectly!

Look at this cute kitchen towel! I love red - it's so cheery:

Darlene even included something I am quite frightened of:

 Yes I am afraid of bags  with zippers. :) Or more accurately, I am afraid of making them. This one is laminated and sporting yummy strawberries.

I love this bookmark! Must make some of these!

A magnetic pin caddy which will come in quite handy as I am forever forgetting where I have put my pincushion and now I can have pins in 2 places all the time. I tend to migrate when I sew.

This darling table mat is just as cute on the front,

as it is on the back!

And this fun table runner certainly spruced up my dining room table.

And here is everything under the tree. I used those red Clover clips to hang some items from the tree. I'm telling you, those clips are just too cool:

  Honestly, I feel guilty. I mean Darlene and Cheryl helped ME out with this club and here I am receiving gifts. If it wasn't for the two of them, I would have been up a dry creek bed and all  the paddles in the world wouldn't have helped. Instead, it was smooth sailing all the way and you can bet I'll be doing this again in 2013!

Darlene, I can not tell you how much I appreciate each and every stitch. I'm fairly giddy over each item and rest assured they will be loved! Thank you!

Now the rest of you ought to get geared up and come along for the ride next year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Through the Year Recap

So who's still stitching for Christmas? I'm still stitching, but not for Christmas. This time of the year, the lists get longer, but I'm a list gal. They help keep me focused, or at least that's the plan.

In January I joined up with Darlene and Cheryl for Christmas Through the Year and I am so very glad that I did!

It has made December much less chaotic. Thanks to the two of them, I am not chasing my tail so I tip my hat to both of you - thank you for all of your hard work, monthly reminders, link-ups, and never ending tutorials.

I thought I would show a recap of the gifts I made this year...

Like most of you, I've got a houseful this week. Lots of people coming and going so my computer time is scarce, but I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of you the Merriest of Christmases. May your holiday be blessed with His presence and may your New Year overflow with all of the things that bring you joy.

 I love this Christmas special. I have fond memories of watching this with my Dad who loved it as much as I did and then later, it became a tradition with our children.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When the Wind Blows in the Desert

It looks like this:

 Bet these fellas aren't enjoying themselves either:

These pictures look like they are taken in sepia, but they are untouched and straight out of the camera with a bit of cropping:

Yesterday we had 65-75 mph sustained winds. All. Cotton. Pickin. Day.

I am so glad I didn't clean the house on Tuesday. This old, leaky ranch house is covered in grit. Every windowsill. Every floor. Every bookshelf. Covered in lovely, grit. LOL.

We have been trying to gather estimates for a new roof. No one wants to drive clear out here, but we have two. Yesterday, I was certain the roof was going to go. Don't laugh. It has happened before. I have the picture to prove it

and if you care to know, here is the story: The Typical Day

Here are the shingles on the shed waving to me:

So this morning I walked around and gathered up these, lots of these:

I get tired of picking these up and I imagine DH gets tired of patching the roof. One of my favorite sounds in the world is rain on a tin roof, but even tin roofs aren't wind proof as you can see.

I've read quite a bit about the dust bowl. We had just a taste of it yesterday and it doesn't taste so good. I went to help DH out at the barn yesterday and ICK! Instant sand blasting. Don't women pay for facials with gritty stuff in it? Ha! I got mine for free, but gritty teeth are not so much fun.

This kind of wind just wears a body out. DH was out in it all day long. I logged in maybe 1 hour in it and that was 1 hour too long. Honestly, last night we just sat and looked at each other in a weary, defeated sort of way.

Will you think I am crazy if I say that even after days like this, I love my life? I do!

 Our daughter's cat stayed with us when she ran away to college, and he wanted out yesterday. Just threw a fit so I let him out. He goes out during the day anyway. Wish I had a video camera because the wind just rolled him across the yard and he is no small cat. He is white and fluffy and he gave me a disgruntled look when I let him back in and told him, "I told you so." I swear he even gave me a tail flip. DH thought I had lost it. I told him it was only a temporary insanity.

And I'm blaming it on the wind.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Poem I Had to Share

I know a sweet lady from a scrapping site whose little girl is waiting for a heart. She posted this the other day and said she found it on FB. I do not know the author, but be forewarned that it is hard to read without crying. Still, I had to share it because I think it is beautifully written:

We pray for children
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.
And we pray, for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted 

who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.
We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
Who sleep with the cat and bury goldfish,
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
Who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,

Who slurp their soup.
And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed,
and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at
and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.
We pray for children
who want to be carried
and for those who must,
for those we never give up on
and for those who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother...
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
kind enough to offer it.
We pray for children. Amen

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blogger Day of Silence

Monday, December 17, 2012

Prayers and a Pillowcase

I was up early this morning and spent a little bit of time catching up with some of my favorite bloggers. I read this post from Amy about how a Connecticut quilt shop was collecting pillowcases for the children  attending the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Amy has a link in her post for the Quilter's Corner shop as well as their address..

We all want to DO something and as quilters, this is something we can all do. I still can not find the words, but prayers and a pillowcase are a start.

On another note: I can not understand how the Post Office can be in debt. I seem to spend an awful lot of time...and money there.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Digitizing 101

I've been playing with an early Christmas present today:

Excited to begin making some fun quilt labels:

And hoping I don't get sucked into browsing the thousands of embroidery ideas online because there is still Christmas baking to do!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

And the Giveaway Goes to...

Thank y'all so very much for chiming in on last week's giveaway. There were 202 comments and this morning random number generator chose #199.

So congratulations to:

Maria Kievit said...
Haven't bought too many presents yet, and the house is half decorated yet, but with the kids help and a good day shopping here or there, I will get it all done. Thanks for a nice giveaway.

I've emailed Maria and will send her package out to her as soon as I hear from her

I don't feel as if I can post today without at least mentioning the tragedy that took place in Connecticut yesterday. My deepest sympathies and prayers go out to all of those touched by this senseless, unspeakable act. 

Sometimes there are no words, but always... there is prayer.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

I made this the other day  and forgot how good it was.

It's fast and easy and you cheat by using store bought pie crust - I use the Pillsbury that comes in the canned biscuit section of the grocery store and two cans of soup. I got this from a cookbook put together by a great group of gals on a scrap booking site I  belonged to for over 10 years. For a long time I didn't even know you could buy pie crust like this.

I figured quilters love fast and easy as much as anyone else. Heck, every one's so busy these days. I love to cook and 95% of my cooking is from scratch, but I love a good shortcut as much as the next person.

I usually keep cooked chicken in the freezer. I cook it in butter with onions, pepper, granulated garlic, and seasoning salt and then dice it up. Then, when I need to make this or chicken enchiladas or chicken soup (I keep chicken broth in the freezer too), or chicken and dumplings, or chicken quesadillas, or that chicken and peppers dish we love, it's handy and ready to go. It's  big time saver for me. I'm pretty good about planning meals, but I was a whole lot better at it when the kids were home.

I make this in an extra large pie pan that I received as a gift years ago, but I imagine you could use a regular deep dish pie pan.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 package Pillsbury Pie Crust
16 oz mixed vegetables
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Cream of Potato Soup
3 C cooked, diced chicken
1 beaten egg
1/2 C milk

*Lay pie crust in bottom of pie plate. Add vegetables, soups, milk, pepper, cayenne, and chicken into a large bowl and combine well with a wooden spoon. Pour into pie plate. Top with remaining pie crust. Brush with beaten egg, Bake at 375° for 45-60 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown. Serve up in a big bowl:

Go back for seconds:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Looking Back on That List From January

Alternate title: What I Did NOT Sew in 2012.

The list of quilts I posted in January and had hoped to complete  looks mighty sad. Those good intentions just didn't seem to make it very far this year. Out of 18 on that list, I only completed 6 and then I made one more that I added later.
I feel as if I sewed all year long and yet I only finished 7 quilts? Sigh.

1. Quilt of  Valor - FINISHED
2.   Marine Quilt - Hugs From Mama Quilt for Our Boy - this is the hst quilt I made for him for Christmas for his barracks. - FINISHED
3. Jungle Baby Quilt - FINISHED
4. Road to Spring -  FINISHED
5. Scrappy Log Cabin - FINISHED

6. Meadow Friends Strip Quilt with Applique - Fell in love with this line and bought a boatload of it when it was half off. I have a plan so it gets a spot on the list. It's even cuter in person! Ummm...the fabric hasn't budged all year.

7.Flannel Snowman - Just lacks the binding. I kept telling Jackie to push it back so I just got it back from her. Hopefully this will be my first finish of 2013.

8. Western Skies - Sent this one off and will have it back after Christmas

9. 30's Raw Edge Circles Quilt - Sending this one to Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts after the first of the year.

10.Western Many Scrappy Trips - FINISHED

11. Made in Cherry Quilt-Along - Jackie has this one

12. Scrappy Granny Squares -  I'm up to 18 blocks. Hoping to move this one closer to the top of the list in 2013.

13. 30's Irish Flower Garden - This one has been at Jackie's for a long time. She is learning how to custom quilt, but her customers (me included) aren't giving her any time to do that. Still at Jackie's. I keep telling her I am in no hurry on this and I'm not.

14. Everything from Carrie Nelson. :) Sigh. Not making much progress on this one. :(

15. Patchwork Wool Quilt - hand quilting needed. Planned on working on this
before Christmas, but Christmas sewing took over. Well it's Christmas...again. Just received the wool batting for this last week. Basting this weekend and beginning the hand quilting.

16. Christmas Quilt - Bought a fat quarter pack of Countdown to Christmas on sale because I was fairly certain I would regret it if I didn't. Still need to settle on a pattern, but I'm so glad I grabbed this up. Still in it's handy dandy little project box.

17. Charlie Brown Christmas Quilt - should I even add this to the list? The fabric's not even out yet. I've already exceeded 12, but I saw a glimpse of it somewhere when people were posting about Quilt Market and it is a 'must have' in this house. See? Fabric is in the house, but that's about it.

18. Ordered this book to make this quilt. Fabric is pulled and ready to cut.

This is the quilt I made that was not on the original list.

19. Dirt Road Gypsy Quilt - stained glass looking quilt I made for our girl for her bed.

Stay tuned for a new list!

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Dream of Burlap

Some people dream of Alaska...or winning Olympic medals...or the Heisman trophy (Go Johnny and Texas Aggies!) And although SOME people may THINK I live a more colorful life (ahem!), life at the end of the dirt road is not THAT exciting. LOL.  Judy. you just caused never ending fits of laughter, the likes you have never seen. Lord have mercy! What am I going to do with you, girl? Surely I can never leave the dirt road again. And I can never meet Vince - I could never look the poor man in the eye. I have wondered if I would ever be known for anything. This is not exactly what I had in mind. LOL.

The other night I dreamed about burlap. See? Not exciting.

I do not want to know the meaning behind that (and Judy - don't even think about it! LOL), but I woke up at 3 and could NOT go back to sleep. That doesn't happen to me very often. I'm a gal who likes her sleep...a lot! I dreamed that I needed to make burlap bows. Not elaborate bows. In fact, very simple ones. So I rummaged around very quietly and set to making some:

And then I made more:

And then they migrated from the cutting mat to the tree in the dining room:

  And then the sun came up and I had more wood to haul. I'm going to hide that chainsaw. :)

These are super easy to make. I just used a 2 x 10-12" strip of burlap and folded it over into a loop, pinching it in the middle. Tie some green jute around the middle, slip a button on, and tie a few knots:

These little binding clips, which I dearly love, came in quite handy:

They kept me from having to pinch the burlap and tie the jute around it at the same time. It was like an extra hand and who of us can't use an extra one of those this time of the year? Now if I can just teach those clips to scrub floors, but I guess they've earned their keep, they helped me make some pretty cute bows.

I'm a little afraid to go to sleep tonight.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tis the Season...For a Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed - thank you for playing!

Quilting Gallery is hosting another fun Blog Hop Party this week so everyone plop down for just a bit in your cozy spot and take the time to join in on the fun. Quilting Gallery is celebrating a birthday - 5 years! Click on the above link in order to see the list of participating bloggers starting on Monday.

There are lots of blogs to explore and visit and while you are up to your elbows in Christmas preparations, this is a nice way to enjoy a bit of fun and hopefully win a little something for YOU. This is what is up for grabs from the end of the dirt road:

There are 2 - 1/2 yard cuts of Power Pop by Jenean Morrison for Free Spirit and a Mighty Bright Lighted Seam Ripper. I'll even send it to you in this cute little Christmas drawstring bag.

Heaven knows I made enough of them this year! I love these little bags, but those of you that read here, already know that! For those of you that don't, welcome! Here is the tutorial from Jeni at In Color Order. If I ever send you anything, it'll probably arrive in one of these bags. I'm a little obsessed. :)

I'll even sweeten the deal with some chocolate because after all...tis the season! :)

My giveaway is open to everyone, far and wide. If you have a mailing address, and you are chosen as the winner, I will send it. The only rule is that you HAVE to leave me a way to contact you if you are a non-reply blogger.

 Just leave me a comment telling me if you have all of your Christmas shopping finished. I'm betting some of you even have everything wrapped!

Entries will be accepted until midnight, Friday, December 15th (EST).  The winner will be announced on Saturday because at midnight EST I will be settled in for a long winter's nap. Thank you so much for stopping in and putting your name in the hat! Y'all have fun!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Peppers

I made this for dinner one day last week. It's one of my favorite chicken recipes. With a freezer stuffed with beef, elk, and venison, I have no business cooking chicken, but it was in the freezer too and I was craving this.

This is not an oriental sweet and sour recipe.When I think sweet and sour, I think oriental food. This is kind of tangy.  I found this recipe last year on Mennonite Girls Can Cook. The original recipe called for sausage and no peppers. It was good, but I took a few liberties and changed it up.

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Peppers

4-5 chicken breasts (or whatever you have)
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped

1 C Ketchup
1 C water
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
4 Tbsp sugar (the original recipe called for 6 Tbsp, but that was a bit too much for us)
6 Tbsp vinegar
2 tsp paprika
4 tsp dry mustard

*I brown my chicken in a bit of butter and olive oil, seasoning with pepper, granulated garlic, and seasoning salt. Then I remove the chicken and let it cool before cutting it into bite sized slices. Meanwhile, add the peppers and onion to your skillet and scrape up all the good stuff from the bottom of the pan. Let your peppers and onion hang out for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Love these colors!

  While peppers are cooking, mix up your sauce. (I doubled the original recipe because I love this sauce!)

Then just add your chicken to the peppers and stir in the good stuff:

And there you have it:

Serve over brown rice and throw together a salad (and treat yourself to a good piece of homemade bread alongside. We're cutting down on bread around here, hence the lonely spot on the plate.) and dinner is served!

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