Saturday, March 30, 2013

Christmas Through the Year - March


Only by the skin of my teeth do I have something for my Christmas box this month. Honestly, I just finished these about 30 minutes ago. I worked on lots of projects, but nothing for Christmas. I've been so focused on knocking things off of my PHD list, that when I finally came up for air, the month was coming to a close.

At the first of the month, I come out from under my rock to see what everyone else is doing and I make my list. Then, when I poke my head back out and blink a few times, I realize the month has all but passed me by. Thankfully, I can sew under my rock and having Internet access allows me to check in with y'all, but time rushes by as fast under my rock as it does for those of you above ground.

Here's my contribution for March - Rice bags:

I like that the cover is removable for washing:

I used this hay print, that I love, on the back:

I've had rice bags on my list for some time, and finally got a few made for some ranching friends. Here's the tutorial I used. Keep one in the freezer for a cold pack and one out to heat in the microwave for when you need to apply heat. You can add a few drops of essential oil if you'd like, but these are for ranching families and I'm not so sure the men in these families will want lavender scented heating pads so these are unscented. These are about 8 x 10 and perfect for a sore shoulder or back.

And I have one pillowcase to add to my box too:

I have more cut out, just need a few minutes to stitch them up. I'm linking up with Kim over at Lily Patch Quilts for Christmas Through the Year. Last month I was tickled that my name was chosen for the monthly drawing. I won a $50 gift certificate from The FQS! I'm still contemplating what to choose - it's like being in a candy store. SO many wonderful choices! Thank you Kim and FQS! Don't put me in for the drawing this month, but I wanted to link up so I could keep myself on track.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bohemian Baby Quilt

 I pieced this little quilt on the spur of the moment, although that spur of the moment took place last year. :) Not because I needed a cute baby quilt - although every time I turn around, I seem to be hearing about the impending arrival of a new baby lately, and I think a few extra baby quilts will come in handy- but because I was just inspired to do so. I had a charm pack of Bohemian Festival that I snagged on sale, and I wanted a very simple layout that would allow the fun fabrics to shine, and then I added a bit of raw edge applique using my Go! Cutter. I've got a long way to go, but I've got to start somewhere.

I then took a deep breath...for a very long time... and after basting:

I finally put the needle down into the fabric in an attempt to machine quilt it. The result? Some very wonky free motion quilted flowers in each square:

And some straight line quilting in the sashing.

And you know what? I'm pretty happy with it. It measures 40" x 40" and hopefully it'll spend much of it's life being loved and dragged around and snuggled. I think that is a very nice way to spend your life if you are a quilt.

The most exciting part? I think this makes me a quilter! :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Smothered Chicken

Yes, we are ranchers.
Yes, we raise beef.
Yes, we have a freezer filled with ranch raised beef.
Yes, we sometimes eat chicken.

Once, during one of our cow works, our girl came in to get another syringe and said, " Don, wants to know what your fixin for dinner".
I replied, "Chicken enchiladas".
When she came in to wash up for dinner, just ahead of the rest of the crew, she said, "Don says you're not supporting the beef industry".
So I whipped up a beef burrito and stuck a toothpick in the middle of it with a sign that said, "Proudly supporting the beef industry" and put it at his place setting. He ate the burrito and the chicken enchiladas, and we laughed about it. He's such a dear man.

This is what was for dinner yesterday, but don't tell Don:

It's not even really a recipe, but one of the gals who lived at North Camp with her husband gave this to me years ago, and we love it. I think her recipe called for green onions in place of the green chile, but we put green chile in just about everything around here.

I season some chicken and brown it on the stovetop. Then I add sliced mushrooms, chopped bacon, NM green chile, and some grated cheese. Let that cook for about 5 minutes and you are good to go. I added a salad and some roasted red potatoes and dinner was served.

On the menu tomorrow: BEEF :) I should invite Don.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I am a creature of habit that has learned to fly by the seat of her britches. We all know that Google reader is going away. When I first saw the message pop up, I had a look on my face like this:

I don't have a smart phone or any of the nifty tablets or an IPad. We have one desktop computer and I kept tabs on y'all through Reader. Then I started seeing 2 options pop up so I am trying out both of them.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


The jury's still out but here's an informative article that may help you decide: Feedly vs Bloglovin . Thus far, it hasn't been too painful.

Now I am off to bed. It is closing in on 8 pm and I am shutting down.

Some things never change.

Friday, March 22, 2013

7 New Mouths to Feed

On Tuesday, DH and I went on a road trip. We went shopping. Yes, I actually had fun shopping!  And we came home with these:


:) We went to a bull sale.


 It included 7 hours in the pickup, and 6 hours at the sale, and we had a ball!

So, how many of you are thinking, "She has GOT to get out more!" :)

I really DID have a wonderful day. We lived in the same area where the bull sale was held when we were first married and we're about to celebrate 26 years. So it was so good to reconnect with old friends who all look amazing and are still the nicest people. DH doesn't get away from the ranch much and during these sorts of outings, he gets to visit and I love it when he does. My old boss (I once worked for the ASCS - Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service - sure glad I didn't have to answer the phone!) jumped up and sat next to me and I enjoyed visiting with him in between bulls.

I behaved and sat on my hands during the sale because I have been known to get myself into trouble at livestock sale auctions. If M is reading this, she knows of what I speak, but long story, short, I was sitting next to M at the local sale barn and telling her the story of when our roof blew off.

 Perhaps not the best choice of stories to be telling at an auction.

Apparently I talk with my hands and how do you tell a story about a REALLY windy day without using your hands? DH tapped me on the knee and asked if I was paying attention. OYE. So it seems as if I was about to purchase a horse. LOL. Chalk that up to my most embarrassing moment ever, but I learned my lesson. Let's see how long THAT lasts. :)

Thankfully we only came home with the 7 bulls DH bid on. Whew.

On the way home we stopped to get fuel. 8 miles to the gallon does not good fuel efficiency make. And look what we found:


Yes, that is a seagull, and there were about 15 of them. In the middle of NM. Hundreds of miles from the nearest body of water and about 1000 from the nearest ocean. Someone was using a defective GPS and took a wrong turn. Poor fellas. I guess they were headed south.

We left them behind and turned towards home. 380 miles and we passed a total of 4 gas stations...2 each way. LOL. Most of our trip looked like this:


We fueled up coming and going and do you know that fuel was .10 cents more expensive on the way home? Same day. Same station. What's up with that?

So our new babies are getting settled in and are being given the royal treatment. Here we are cranking up our catering service:


The next morning I walked 2 miles to take these pictures, but the weather was just glorious and they were forecasting vicious winds later in the day, so I took advantage of it and stayed out all morning.

At first, my arrival warranted a few curious glances:

Hello grumpy:

Doesn't he look grumpy? Just wait until the wind blows later today. Then you'll really have something to be grumpy about! Before long, they didn't give a hoot that I was there at all:


Apparently this is good stuff. Look how they close their eyes when they go in for their next mouthful :


Hello handsome:


Yes, I know you would like some green grass.


So would we. We're working on that. I found a few blades in a draw, trying very hard to grow:


But most of the country look like this:


Back to my knees, but even in a drought, this is a good life. Make that a wonderful life. :)


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stitch Me Up!

Today is the first day of the Stitch Me Up Embroidery Blog Hop and I'm up. Madame Samm and Jane are hosting this fun hop and they sent out pages and pages of designs from which to choose.  Thank you both so much for all of your hard work.

I am new to embroidery so I was eager to put my name in the hat. Jane offered a great deal on some wonderful embroidery thread and I think it's fair to say that I am hooked. We received 10 spools of this lovely # 12 Presencia Finca Perle Cotton

 and size 9 John James embroidery needles.This thread is a dream to work with and once I chose my pattern, I went to work. I had intended to take some 'in progress' photos, but I got a bit involved and forgot. I decided to make a needle case because I have been wanting to make one for ages. I copied my pattern and made it smaller. Then I used this tutorial  and in no time at all I had this:

 I bought some linen and now wish I had an entire bolt! I love this stuff!

Isn't the green grass pretty? This is pretty much the only green for miles around. This patch of pretty green grass is courtesy of a leaky faucet, and it's not much bigger than what you see here:.

I followed Amy's lead in her tutorial and pieced the back. Everything she makes is simply lovely. I chose scraps from the floral strips I used when I made a set of floral pot holders for a friend last year:

Perhaps I am smitten with floral fabric because our lack of rain keeps me from having a flower garden:

And now I have all sorts of embroidery ideas going through my head and I'm wondering just how many needle cases a girl needs.

Here are today's stitchers so pop in and take a gander at what everyone else is stitching up, and then follow along until the 29th  for more inspiration. Bet you'll be itching to embroider something before the week is out because there's a whole slew of creative minds hopping in on this one.

WEDNESDAY March 20th


Monday, March 18, 2013

Summer Berry Pie

This is...hands favorite pie. Through the years I have made lots of pies...hundreds and hundreds. Pie is hubby's favorite dessert...and breakfast. Pie for breakfast has been known to happen around here.

Once we were all eating apple pie for dessert...which was pretty much a weekly occurrence .. and our girl, then 6, asked her Daddy what his favorite pie was. A thoughtful expression overtook his features and he contemplated before replying, "Guess." Needless to say each child took turns naming a pie,
*Hubby shakes his head*
"Pecan?" and the list continued. Before long, they were inventing pies. Hubby finally raised his fork and looked at each child with a twinkle in his eye, and says, "I like 2 kinds."  looking at our boy, he grins, "Hot." and turning to our girl, "and cold." They both broke out into fits of laughter, and hubby's eyes twinkled brighter.

That was a long time ago, but it seems like only yesterday, and telling it now REALLY makes me miss the kids and those days. Last week our girl was home from college and I whipped up this pie while she was out moving cattle with her Daddy. She said she needed to come home to see her Mama and Daddy and get her butt in a saddle. :) She was only home for 48 hours because although it was spring break, she is working towards getting into Vet School and her job does not have a spring break. So lots of cooking and baking and salsa making ensued.

We all love this pie and I hope y'all do too. It's a great one to make when those summer temps start to soar because you never have to turn on the oven. I found it in a magazine many moons ago, and rarely does it last past one moon around here:

Summer Berry Pie:

Graham Cracker Crust (Sometimes I buy it, sometimes I make my own)
3/4 C sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 C water
1 small package red jello (I love cranberry, but it has been hard to find)
1 C each blueberries, sliced strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries (yes, you can use the frozen mixed berries if you prefer) and I usually add probably twice that many berries - so probably 6 or 7 cups of berries total.
Cool Whip or whipped topping of choice

*Mix sugar and cornstarch  in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir in water, stirring constantly until smooth. Cook on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for a few minutes until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat, and stir in gelatin until completely dissolved. Stir in berries. Pour into crust and refrigerate for 3 hours or until set. Garnish with whipped topping and leftover berries.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chimneys and Cornerstones QOV

Today I've got another finished quilt. I finally feel like I'm making progress. I've always got a QOV in the works. HST's make great leader enders and I love how versatile they are. This is my 3rd QOV and I also made one for our boy, and the red and blue boxes are still overflowing.

I love making these quilts to honor our veterans. We don't have a QOV group anywhere in the vicinity, but there is always a need and at the Quilts of Valor site, there is a spot where you can request a destination where you can send your QOV.

This hst layout is called chimney's and cornerstones:

Once again, Jackie did a great job quilting this:

I pretty much let her make the quilting decisions, and she always chooses the perfect design.

I found this piece for the backing at Hobby Lobby:

This one measures 65 x 80", and hopefully, whoever receives it will know that my sincerest thanks for their service and sacrifice and prayers are stitched within.

I hope that one day there will not be a need for these, but until that day arrives, I'll just keep making them.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Garden Envy and Cups of Hope

Yes, there is such a thing, and I have a bad case of it. Judy, over at Patchwork Times has me drooling over her garden. That woman has the greenest thumb I've ever seen. She and Vince harvest huge amounts of produce from their garden ...all...year...long.

Yes, I know it is only March. and much too early to plant here, but we've had a few amazing days where the wind did not blow the stuffin out of you and my fingers were itching to play in the dirt.

When we moved here, people told me that gardens were hard to come by, but a few people have managed to grow one in town...kind of. Out here, it is a different story. I've got all the land in the world to play with, and dirt as far as the eye can see, but its not growing dirt, and far from garden dirt. It's good old desert dirt, and about the only thing that grows prolifically here is mesquite...lots and lots of mesquite. When it rains - the operative word here is WHEN - this country grows good grass for cattle. And the wind blows...a lot...and hard...for days on end.

Doesn't make for very friendly garden country. Still, I am nothing if not persistent and in years past - WHEN it does rain - I have had decent yields.

I bought  the Square Foot Gardening book and devoured it. I built boxes. I bought the components for Mel's magic mix. I brought home tons of garden dirt from the local seed store when they practically gave it away from bags that had broken. I started a compost pile. I hauled manure. I have glorious those boxes. Great dirt. No vegetables.

Mel promised no weeds...or at least few weeds. Ha! I have one word: wind, Mel. Wind. The wind blows every single seed I have not planted into those boxes. However, I really don't mind weeding. I love spending time out in my garden.

I water religiously, but we don't have great water out here and I am here to tell you that the lack of rain is the biggest problem. We average about 11" of rain annually out here, and the past 3 years, we've been lucky to get 5. It's been tough. Really tough. When it does rain, my garden actually transforms overnight. It's a sight to behold! Alas, it is a rare occurrence.

So I present to you, my little cups of hope:

In a few weeks these little cups will be bursting with healthy, green, new life. They will be happy. I will be happy. I hope they'll forgive me for taking them out into the cruel world, where their chance of survival will not be pretty.

However, I'll tough it out. I refuse to give in. I will not be swayed. Where there's a will, there's a way. And where there is rain...there is a garden... that in the filled with hope.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rocky Rail Fence Baby Quilt

When the original line of Bunny Hill came out, I was drawn to it, but it was different than what I usually buy. It was very pretty though and I ended up caving and buying a couple of jelly rolls. What is it about jelly rolls that make you want to buy them? I never know what to do with them so they just sit and look pretty.

A few months ago, Jenny over at Missouri Star Quilt Co. posted a tutorial on a rail fence with a twist. You really ought to pop over there and look through their tutorials. They come up with the most clever ideas. I've never been a big fan of the rail fence pattern, but I loved it with the addition of the diamonds. Perfect. So I grabbed a jelly roll and before I knew it, I had a pieced quilt top.

Jackie quilted a great pattern called Dusty Miller across it and turned it into a sweet baby quilt:

I used this sweet polka dot piece on the back. It shows Jackie's pretty quilting beautifully:

It is bound with a Moda Marbles brown (I think), and although a brown binding isn't very exciting, I think it's the perfect frame for this little quilt:

And no, these pictures were not taken on the ranch. I made another trip to Texas recently and along the way, I scouted out a spot to snap a few photos as I drove through my beloved Hill Country:

 I'm going to call it Rocky Rail Fence. Diamonds are rocks and I took the pictures in the rocks and it's about as creative as I'm going to get today:

This one will be going to a new baby who hasn't arrived yet. It ended up being 38" x 50" once it was washed and properly crinkled.

I love it and I get to cross another UFO off of my list. :) I know I'll be making more using this pattern. It's a super quick pattern and makes a really cute baby quilt. I have a few I need to whip up for a big baby shower. I saw that Sew Cal Gal had posted about a baby shower at 29 Palms for expectant Mamas who's husbands were deployed. I'm going to send a couple of quilts so that's up next. In fact, I had better go check on that. I hope I'm not too late!

I'm linking up with Michelle over here for week 10 of Let's Make Baby Quilts. She's making 50 this year!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hearts for Katy

Years ago, I was on a scrapbook site where I became acquainted with a sweet lady who has a wonderful husband and two darling kids. Their daughter, Katy, has had a heart defect since birth and it has been a precarious road for 5 years. On Valentine's Day, she received her new heart. Praise God!

So many prayers are being said. That she heal without complications and for the well as the family that lost their child and gave a precious gift that allows Katy to continue living. I can not imagine. My prayers are that this family find comfort in knowing that they too are in my prayers and I ask for God's arms to comfort them during this difficult time.

So as Katy begins healing with her new heart, I began cutting 2 1/2" squares for a quilt of hearts:

Some time ago, I stumbled upon a blog that shared a quilt with patchwork hearts. I can not for the life of me recall which blog it was, so if you happen to read this, please let me know it was you so that I can edit this and give you proper credit.  (Edited: Aha! The mystery has been solved! Michelle posted about it recently here.) She said she had been making these for some time and I think she said she found it in a magazine. I printed out a picture of the heart back then and began working from that. Katy's favorite color is purple so with the addition of purple and a bit of green, these hearts began to take shape:

I pushed all other projects aside and pieced this fast. I ran it to Jackie on my trip to town last week and she added this lovely heart design for me lickity split:

Purple is Katy's favorite color, so purple Minky gets the starring role on the back. I love this pink flower for the binding. I think it came from Hobby Lobby, but I could be mistaken. It happens frequently. :)

I forgot to get a picture of the label, but here is the completed quilt.

  And it is now on it's way to snuggle with Katy.
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