Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gettin' It Done and Christmas Through the Year - January

So, I did manage to finish my list of things to get done in January, but it was by the skin of my teeth. I bit off more than I could chew last month.

1. Finish my snowman quilt - actually, I already got this one finished the other day, but it was a UFO coming into the New Year so I am counting it. DONE

2. Bind my Western Made in Cherry Quilt - aka: Barn Star Quilt DONE

3. Finish making all the parts for Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street and piece the blocks.DONE

4. Piece a baby quilt for a friend's 1st grandchild. DONE - well, it's pieced, but I still need to finish the applique. I still have the rest of the day to do that. :)

5. Adding a 5th one in case #1 doesn't count. LOL  Piece the leftover blocks from my Western Many Trips quilt together. DONE

So that's 2 UFO's crossed off the list! I'm aiming for 3 more this month since they just need binding, although Jackie still has them:

1. Make binding and bind the Chimney's and Cornerstones QOV

2. Make binding and bind Scrap Jar Stars

3. Make binding and bind Bunny Hill Baby Boy Quilt

4. Piece Easy Street

I'm linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times for Getting It Done! I think this is going to really help me stay motivated this year. Thanks Judy!

And the end of the month also means it's time to post about Christmas Through the Year. This year, Kim, over at Lily Patch Quilts is our gracious hostess. So pop over there and link up your January project. I can't say enough about how much this helped me last year so you can bet I'm all in this year! I know everyone's probably tired of Christmas, but truly, you will be grateful when December rolls around and you have a box filled with handmade gifts! Thank you Kim for keeping us on track this year!

This month I made 10 more lace snowflakes. I can't stop making these. I know I am sending some to my Aunt in Germany in December and I think they will be a really nice touch tied to brown paper packages

I'm glad no one was around to see me take this picture. This is an old apricot tree that grows in a corner of the yard, sheltered on two side by the house. A fence is on the third side, and I just wanted sky in the shot, so in order to get this shot I had to bend as if I were about to attempt a back flip. I guess our old dog, Gus was there, but he won't tell how ridiculous I looked because he gets a raw egg with his supper every night and he loves me, and tonight he'll get 2 eggs... just to be sure!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby Quilt Crazy

While I was in Texas last year...and at the quilt shop...

You know very well  what happened next. There is no use in me denying it...

I bought something. OK - more than one something. Gee, this fessing up thing is rough.

I could not resist these darling little ducks.

Nor these super darling owls! Oh, Judyyyy! I thought of you when I saw these owls.

Last year, when I was in this same shop in San Antonio, one of the girls that worked there, Cheri, was just beginning to release her first pattern. She had 3 that would be ready in a few days and when I saw this one:

I fell in love right then and there and made arrangements for her to send me all three patterns the second they were hot off the press.

The ducks and the dresses are super cute and super simple, but I am always drawn to simple patchwork and the touch of applique makes it extra special. And these frogs!

I gushed over her frogs so much that I am fairly certain she was becoming concerned...and then thrilled when she heard that I lived in a different state. I am completely smitten with these frogs!

This time she had 6 more patterns out and she told me that Martingale was publishing her book and it is due out next year. I began to do cartwheels...internally so as not to alarm them anymore than I already had.

We had a lengthy conversation about publishing and let me just say that I take my hat off to those of you who are published. Sheesh! It is not for the faint of heart.

Just since the first of the year, I have learned of 3 babies set to arrive this summer.

I cut out and started piecing the little duck quilt the other day:

My goal is to make the 4 patterns I currently have before the book comes out. You're laughing aren't you? I hear snickers...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rise and Shine!

Around here we get a pretty early start to our mornings. It varies, but around here, early means before the sun comes up. Could be 3 am. Could be 5 am, but that's sleeping in. :) I wasn't born an early bird, but being married to a rancher for 26 years has made me one and  if I sleep until 6, I feel as if I have slept the entire day away.

At  times I am called to chauffeur the men, shuffling rigs and outfits. ie: pickups and trailers - from one part of the ranch to another.

 Drive to location #1 and drop pickup #1 off.

Squish into pickup #2 and drive to location #2 and drop off cowboy # 1,2 and 3 and their horses.

Drive to location #3 and drop off cowboy #4, 5, and 6 and their mounts.

Then drive back to location #1, leave pickup #2 there, drive pickup #1 back to the house, and start a batch of bread dough.

This takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, and you might be surprised to know that I love doing it because it often means I get shots like this:

And this:

And this:

Rain is so rare that these kinds of shots are almost nonexistent:

There are just some things in life that are worth getting up for:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Barn Star Quilt Complete

While I was in Texas, drowning in paperwork, helping my mom, and being social, I did manage to stitch the binding onto the Made in Cherry Quilt I made last year during Sara's quilt along. Finished UFO #2!

Presenting Barn Star:

 I tried to hang it in the barn, but Its too dark in there so a casual toss over the barn door is all you get:

Barn Star is 80" square and I am thrilled with the finished result! Jackie purchased a new barbed wire quilting design and it is perfect for this quilt Its a simple stipple with little barbed wire star looking points randomly stitched along the wire. That backing is a barbed wire print:

The backing is probably the oldest fabric from my stash. It was once a set of curtains in my home many moons ago:

I'm betting I've had it for about 15 years. I wasn't a quilter back then, but I used to sew for the kids a lot and now it has finally found it's permanent home.

I bound it with the black fabric from the King of the Ranch line. That seems to be my 'go to' print for bindings on these western quilts and I am going to be sad when it is gone.

I used 50 different prints in the star. Here are a few close ups of some of the prints:

I can't choose a favorite. I love them all:

After stitching this and my huge Western Scrappy Trips quilt, my box of western prints still won't close...and I have 2!

Now, how do I hang this thing on my wall?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fabric Has Been Selected...I Think

On the day I went to visit the CPA, whom I adore, I drove right past a JoAnn's. I am hoping to tackle some applique quilts here some time in the near future, and wanted to pick up some light fusible. Well, of course I had to walk past the fabric. It can't be helped and yes, something jumped off the shelf and landed at my feet:

  And then it called out to all of it's buddies:

 and before you knew it, I had the makings of a quilt in my cart:

And I decided I really like this combination although I posted that initially, I was perplexed by it. Hmmm...looking at this photo on the computer makes me think that middle yellow is going to scream in the quilt. I'll probably change that out for a more subdued piece. I think it will be much happier if I turn into a duck...stay tuned for that one. I've got enough for both if I change my mind though.

Of course, the fact that it was on sale, made me love it even more and I even chose backing:

So all systems are go on Haley's Wedding Quilt!

Seems like the minute I made that UFO list and vowed to concentrate on it, all diligence went out the window. I'll tell you, new projects sure are bossy. :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

As I Escaped Town, I Shopped

Once I left my Mom's on Thursday morning, I pointed that truck west and let the diesel scream. However, I hit the brakes when I stumbled upon a cross stitch store. Shoot, I haven't been in one of those for 20 years. No pictures since I didn't have a camera with me. I know. Bad blogger. Still, very cute store called Stitches From the Heart.

A while back, Carol over at The Polka Dot Chicken, mentioned she was going to stitch the Santa's Village from Needleworks and I had to stitch along (well, Carol didn't TELL me I had to...I just HAD to) so I ordered the pattern.

  Each month you get a house to add to Santa's village and they're just tiny little things with all kinds of cute details. The second one should be here shortly - they had already stitched it. (Shhh...I was told the third one is the Post Office.)

However, I didn't have anything to stitch it on, and since Carol was not here to hold my hand, I figured I would take advantage of the next best thing. I have been wanting to try linen so I picked up a piece of that...ouch! Expensive stuff! Good thing I had some birthday money in my pocket! One minute it was there, and the next minute, it was gone. Funny how that happens.

The manager was there and happened to be stitching the Santa Village too. As soon as I mentioned "Santa Village", their eyes lit up and the manager was so sweet to show me hers and visit with me about it. Looking at the linen, I had a conversation with my eyes. When they first saw the linen, my mouth said, "Oh! That is lovely! I'll take it!"
But my eyes replied, "Hold on there girlie! Just how do you expect me to SEE those tiny squares? Did you not notice that they are MINUSCULE and that WE are OLD?"

Not to worry. The kind lady magically presented me with this handy dandy magnifying glass. DH laughed when I called it my magic microscope. All set!

I was good. I only picked up one more pattern and it is a small one, but I can't wait to get started on it. When you see it, you will say, "Well, OF COURSE she would get THAT!"

See why it had to come home with me? I think I'll have to switch a couple of things on the shadows though. I don't like the way you can't see the details of the letters on the T, A, and S.

And this is a piece I have on the back burner. I've had it for a couple of years, but haven't decided what to stitch it on. I bought it the same time I bought my Little Bit Kit, but I needed a break after stitching that little guy, which by the way, was a HUGE hit with my in-laws. White is not my favorite thing to stitch on, but that may be the best option with this or the clouds would be rustic-y if I used something with a tea stained look, and I think the white will make the colors pop on this piece. I'll be saving my pennies for more linen.

The best thing about this windmill is that we don't have to pull it!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Don't Fence Me In

There has been no sewing going on lately, only number crunching and tax prep. I recently spent some time down in Texas with my mom. Since Daddy passed away, I have become the resident real estate accountant. I told Daddy I didn't sign up for this, but since I'm a Daddy's girl, and would do anything for him, here I am.

It was good to spend some time with my Mom and to catch up with family friends and help out with the business, but I have a hard time breathing in the city. By the 3rd day, I'm beginning to hyperventilate and this pretty much is my mantra the entire time I am not on my dirt road:

Believe me, I praise God each and every day for letting me live this lifestyle. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany for heaven's sake. Isn't it cool how he gives us the desires of our heart? As soon as I turned down my dirt road last night, those windows came down and I threw my arms out...well, actually only one arm since I was driving, and belted this out. I could breathe and that 30° fresh air was glorious!

I can be social when I have to be, but a fish can only be out of water for so long before you would be smart to throw it back in. If you don't, it's going to take matters into it's own hands...well, fins...and slap you with it's tail in order to be released, and I like to think I'm a nice gal and really prefer not to do any slapping.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Time for Easy Street and a Weather Report

Starting a new "non-Christmas" project in December is probably not the smartest thing I've ever done, but I like to live dangerously. :)

I was finally able to spend some time on Easy Street. I couldn't resist diving into Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt. And judging from the blogs I have read, there are an awful lot of us joining in. In fact, many of you are finished. I'm behind, but what's new? I've only had little patches of time here and there, but I've been chipping away at the clues and have started piecing blocks:

When Bonnie posted the 3rd clue, I was hoping to get to that one by the time she posted the 5th. That did not happen. These colors are a departure for me, but sometimes stepping out of my comfort zone is a good thing. I like the green, but there is a lot of it. 

 I love Bonnie's design and this version is going to be a new project for me.

DH and I went to town the other day to run errands and I left the house with this pile:

And no, they are not late Christmas gifts. :) I struggle with getting things into the mail. I can get things gathered up and probably locate the perfect box eventually, but getting them actually INTO the mail is hard. Still, I rarely make a trip to town where I do not visit the post office. I keep hearing how they are struggling financially and I wonder how that can be. There is always a line and I am always leaving my money there. However, I do love sending little bits of happiness.

We did get some rain last week and we are thankful for every drop. And yes, .5" is cause for celebration in this parched land:

As ranchers, we are very mindful of the weather and puddles are blog worthy during a drought:

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Project

We have a dear couple who have been treasured friends for years...going on 2 decades. Yikes. Their daughter is delightful and getting married and of course a quilt must be made! I was initially thinking of Easy Street. Those used to be 'Haley' colors, but alas, children grow up and now we are looking at a more subdued color palette. Her Mama said their colors are more on the masculine side in grays and creams and yellows. I am thinking a chevron quilt. With the exception of the grays I bought for easy street, and some cream, my stash isn't much help.

I started browsing on the Internet and here are a few selections I am contemplating:

What do y'all think? This is SO out of my comfort zone, but I am delighted to make something they will love! Maybe 3 yellow, 3 grays, and 3 creams?

I'm thinking of adding some of this darker gray I bought for Easy Street, but did not use. Binding, perhaps?

I'm thinking I ought to wait until I have the top pieced before making that decision.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Snow Shots

Now that the kids are gone and I can no longer take pictures like this when it snows:

Or this:

... the horses alone, have become my subjects:

They no longer pay attention to the lady with the big , black, clicking box stuck in front of her face:

Look! A horse with 4 ears!

Alright ranch lady, I think you need to go find yourself some kids.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gettin' it Done - January

I figure I am going to need all the help I can get this year in tackling my UFO's. I wouldn't be concerned except for the fact that new and irresistible projects keep popping up, demanding to be made.

Judy, over at Patchwork Times is having a monthly Getting It Done! party. 4 goals a month. That's all. I think I can handle that. Some months, probably better than other's , but I am nothing if not optimistic and I think this may be just the kick in the britches I need.

January Gettin'  it Done! Goals:

1. Finish my snowman quilt - actually, I already got this one finished the other day, but it was a UFO coming into the New Year so I am counting it.

2. Bind my Western Made in Cherry Quilt - aka: Barn Star Quilt

3. Finish making all the parts for Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street and piece the blocks.

4. Piece a baby quilt for a friend's 1st grandchild.

5. Adding a 5th one in case #1 doesn't count. LOL  Piece the leftover blocks from my Western Many Trips quilt together.

Monday, January 7, 2013

UFO's Beware!

  Have you heard this song?
My List

I love lists, and I love this song, but today's list is about quilts so nothing as important as Toby's list although I have one of those too.

This list helps me stay focused on my quilting goals and hopefully keeps me from adding to my UFO collection. In fact, this year I want to finish every one of these projects. Don't all quilters say that every year?

This is my master list for the year and I'll break those into monthly goals...kind of like eating that proverbial elephant. :)

1. Chimneys and Cornerstones QOV - pieced this from leftover hst's from the ones I made last year although I had to make about 100 extra hsts. :) On it's way to Jackie's.

  2. Scrap Jar Stars - finally settled on a backing. Ready to take this to Jackie too.

3. Made in Cherry - This one needs binding:

4. Bunny Hill Baby Quilt - this is a rail fence with diamonds pattern that I made from a tutorial over at MSQC. I whipped this together on the spur of the moment and don't think I even posted about it. It's ready for Jackie too - think she'll open the door when she sees me coming?

5. Bohemian Festival Baby Quilt - another one I just put together lickity split - I need to add a bit of applique and a border or two, and then I am going to attempt to quilt it myself.

6. Baby Gypsy Quilt - I am making this using the left over blocks from college girl's Dirt Road Gypsy Quilt.

7. Western Scrappy Trips - Oops! - more left over blocks. When I started making these, I didn't have the black fabric in the correct position to make a chain throughout the quilt so I am going to make a new plan and use these.

8. Granny Squares - this is YOUR year Granny!

9. Horse Strip Quilt - I played with this fabric about 3 years ago and never came to a decision about how to piece it so I am going to do something with it this year.

10. Portabello Market Quilt - I bought these fabrics when they came out - about 5 years ago? Started piecing something and then folded it away. Time to do something with it. It may need a complete overhaul.

11. Easy Street - Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt - working on some of those steps today:

12. Pony Tails - Haven't shared any of this one because it is one I pieced before I started posting about quilts. Needs custom quilting around the applique.

13. Irish Flower Garden - At Jackie's. Poor Jackie.

14. 30's Raw Edge Circle Quilt - Off to Prairie Moon Quilts in a bit.

15. Western Skies - I am having Shelly quilt this one and then I'll have some binding to do! My favorite part!

16.3 R's Quilt  - I love this pattern! It fits me to a T! This is a pattern from Shelly over at Prairie Moon Quilts. I made one block and the it was put on the back burner. Time to bring it to the front.

17. Wool Quilt - ready to baste and begin hand quilting

18. Let it Snow! Quilt - this is the one I finished two days ago and posted about.

This is a list of every, single UFO I had as of January 1st. I am determined to get these finished. Let's see how far that determination gets me this year. If this was all I had to do, I would have these whipped, but alas, my real life calls and I squeeze the quilting in where I can. Right now, my real life is telling me it is past my bedtime, and I would be wise to heed its call. :)
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