Wednesday, March 26, 2014

King of the Jungle Baby Quilt

I'm just tickled with this little quilt! When the planning began, I spent a lot of time online, searching for just the right fabric. I needed fabric with a jungle theme for a special little baby boy. The nursery was the most amazing nursery I had ever seen and I wanted to find fabric that coordinated. That meant  I needed something not-babyish, for lack of a better word, but I wanted something sweet. the minute I saw this fabric, I ordered it, but it sure did take me a long time to stumble upon it. Sometimes that technology I'm always fussing about comes in kinda handy! :)


Then I pondered for weeks over how to turn it into a quilt. I wanted the animals to be the focus so I settled on stitching them into a square in a square. I pulled fabrics from my stash and auditioned a ridiculous number before whittling them down.  

 And then I hemmed and hawed about whether I ought to quilt it or take it to Jackie. I thought leaves would be a cute quilting design and I knew that Jackie's quilting would be just the ticket. I'm a beginning machine quilter and my leaves would be pretty sad looking leaves at this point. Jackie used a light gray thread and the quilting design is called 'blowing in the wind':



When I picked it up, Jackie said that her daughter, who teaches and quilts too, wondered where I had bought the kit,  but Jackie told her that I just put it together from my stash. As cute as it is, I think the quilting always brings it to life.

I love the backing:


I used the same dotted fabric for the binding that I used in the sashing squares:


And I found that binding a baby quilt doesn't take nearly as long as the big quilts I usually make:


I ran into Hobby Lobby when I was in town to pick up some animal print tissue paper and as I walked through the store, I found this box:


Well, there was no way I was leaving the store without it. Look how perfect its going to be to wrap this quilt up:


And to top it all off. I was going to use my 40% of coupon and when I got home, I looked at my receipt and  the gal had charged me only $1.99 for the $19.99 box and with the coupon, I paid $1.19. What a deal! However, I'll go back when I'm in town next week and fess up. Wish I had caught that while I was there, but I was on a mission to get out of town... as usual, and I just wasn't paying attention... as usual. :)

I just rolled it up and sealed it into another perfect box for mailing:


It measures 42 x 48 and it is on its way to a sweet little baby boy.
The process for this quilt took much longer than I wanted, but I'm really happy with the way it turned out, and I hope it will be much-loved.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Peek into My Fabric Stash

Yesterday the wind did not blow so I cleaned house and worked in the yard and garden. I also added a set of shelves to the closet where I keep my fabric stash. I had to assemble the shelves in the closet and it was quite the fiasco. I bought the heavy duty shelves at Sam's since I knew they were going to be carrying a lot of weight.

These boxes were just stacked before and  it was a chore when I wanted something since what I wanted always seemed to be in the bottom box. This is the best way for me to keep my fabric semi-organized.

I have a box for creams, blues, reds, browns, greens, flannels, children's prints, and some boxes share colors like yellows and oranges and pinks and purples. My western stash gets 2 boxes...or is it 3? :) And then I have a box for Christmas fabric and 30's and one for fabrics that are in the reproduction spectrum.  Some of the boxes are full, but some of them are not even close. The small boxes are for strips and squares and  certain things I want to keep together for future projects. It's not fancy, but it works for me and now it will be easier for me to access it. And in the interest of full disclosure, I may or may not have 3 more boxes stashed under the bed. Now do you see why I don't need any more fabric in this house?

I am still binding the quilt I have been binding for a couple of weeks and I picked up a baby quilt from Jackie on Monday. Having quilts to bind makes me happy. Now if I could just find the time to bind them!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

On the Road Again

Warning: Snakes and a photo of DH giving a cow a shot are included below. Thought I'd give you a heads up in case you'd rather not see that. :)

I imagine many of y'all are on the go much of the time, but although we're always busy here, we're HERE. I don't like leaving the dirt road, although I like it very much if it means we get to see one of the kids. Since our boy is currently deployed in Japan and floating around on a ship somewhere, our girl was the one we made a quick trip to see. She is working at an equine breeding facility and that means that spring break for her isn't much of a break. She worked 70 hours that week. We ran up to see her on Saturday and took her her horse. She says that her life improves immensely when she has her horse and with the days getting longer, she finds time to ride almost every day.

We stayed Saturday night and went to a sports bar to watch UFC fights with her. Logan showed up with his brother and his sweet wife and another friend, Luis, and we all skootched together to watch the action:

 We splurged on sports bar food which was really yummy, but made us feel not so good the next day. We were really tired and sluggish and yes, we're blaming it on the food.

We drove back home on Sunday in ridiculous winds that had been blowing for days. I had cleaned the house as best as I could and I was looking forward to coming home to a clean house, but once again, my kitchen windowsill looked like this:

And the dirt was clinging to my windows. There were a few...a VERY few raindrops that came through, but nothing ever even hit the ground. It was all horizontal due to the lovely winds. This is dry, caked on dirt:

Very thankful I had not cleaned my windows. :) The week before I took this shot:

When it looks like this, it means it's covering every flat surface. But, around here, it's what you expect when it's spring in New Mexico so you just laugh, clean it up...again because you know how blessed you are to be living this life.

On Monday I went in to work, and I had 3 extra passengers. Not sure if I ought to post pictures or not, but we have a friend who is a taxidermist and when we were at the safari banquet he had mentioned that he could use a few rattlesnakes. DH has been running across them and 3 of them made the trip to town with me on Monday:

DH laughed when he looked at my grocery list and said he wondered how many people have lists that include:

Take snakes to Phil.

Today is Thursday and DH has 4 more for Phil. They are worse than kids. The men, not the snakes. :)

We ran through the sale fast and I was done by 12:30 so I grabbed the other 2 clerks and took then to lunch as a thank you for being so kind and patient with me. Then it was time for errands and it was 7 before I got home where DH was bringing in a cow that had been snake bit so we ran her into the chute and doctored her before turning her out into the pens on hay:

DH has been studying this for the past week:

  It's a bull sale catalog and on Tuesday we drove 3 hours north for the sale:

It was another crazy wind day. The winds were 60 mph, and that's sustained winds, not gusts. It was NOT fun, but we came home with 6 pretty boys.

Here's hoping I won't have to leave the ranch again until Monday morning.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Granny Square Pieced

It took me 4 years to make 56 blocks for this quilt.

 That's pitiful, but I loved making every single one and I finally managed to get them sashed and stitched into a top.This top makes me happy, happy, happy!

This year I'm on a fabric fast, and thus far, I've not brought one piece of fabric into this house. I've bypassed many a quilt store in my travels since my last fabric purchase in September and I even walked into JoAnn's and touched some of their quilting fabric, but I only bought some adhesive for cards. The whole point to this fabric fast is to decrease the mountains of fabric I have and I'm beginning to wonder how long its going to take until I see a difference.

This morning I was pulling and cutting some strips for a small project when DH walked in and our conversation ranged from the weather to hoof care, and from guineas to fabric, and from UFC fights to mesquite. He asked me what I was making and after I told him, I added that I was using what I had and wasn't he impressed that I had not brought one scrap of fabric into the house since September. He laughed and I told him, "I'm a quilter. How can you not be impressed? That's 6 months. " He grinned, chuckled, and as he walked out, he said,"That just means you bought way too much in the past!" Rascal!

 I did post that I would allow myself to purchase fabric for backings though, and I don't have any big pieces, so I'm on the hunt for something for this quilt, but I've still got to add the borders. Presently, this top measures 69 x 78. The pieced  border should add  about 7" per side, making it 83 x 92. And yes, I'm debating about making it bigger. It'll be a nice size for a full-sized bed, but I'm trying to decide if I want it for our king-sized bed. I am binding a quilt for our bed right now so it probably doesn't make sense to make this one bigger, but since when do I  listen to sense? If DH was here right now, I'm sure he'd have a smart remark for that too! :) 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Waffle of Insane Greatness

Confession. Back in my newlywed days, I served hubby Eggo Waffles. I am nothing if not honest. But then I ventured out into a box of Bisquick. Yes, he still loves me. Next, I found a homemade version of a dry mix  that I could make up ahead of time and keep in a Tupperware container. With a growing family, we went through it fast. I've flipped lots of pancakes and whipped out a lot of waffles in my time.

Now  that we are empty nesters, the demand has decreased greatly and with our new eating habits, I don't think we've eaten a pancake or waffle in a couple of years, with the exception of when I make them for the crew.

I cook breakfast every morning...mostly for hubby, because I'm not a big fan of eggs for breakfast unless they're mixed up with good stuff and in the form of a breakfast burrito. :) But a few weeks ago, when I asked him what sounded good for breakfast, he said, waffles? That DID sound good. However, I did not want to make up a huge batch and I was feeling adventurous. This empty nest thing is all about trying new things so I turned to trusty Google. Google is a gamble. Well, this time we hit the jackpot.

In all honesty, the name of these waffles was what made me want to try them. I mean, how can you fail with Waffle of Insane Greatness? That is an awesome name! And we think these are awesome waffles!

My waffle iron makes regular waffles. We're just not fans of the Belgian waffles. The waffle-syrup ratio is  off for us :) These take a little longer than your average mix and pour waffle recipe and if you're looking for healthy, this is not your recipe. but then again, waffles don't generally wind up in that category  anyway.  But if you want to start out your Sunday  morning on a good note, these are the way to go. Just pencil in a good long hike later in the day.

Waffle of Insane Greatness

3/4 C flour
1/4 C cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C buttermilk
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla

*In a medium bowl, combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well.

* Add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar, and vanilla and mix well.

* Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat your waffle iron. I used the highest setting on mine for a crispy waffle. No soggy waffles allowed. The recipe which I found here, says not to spray your waffle iron since there is plenty of oil in the batter, but I did spray it the first time. We do not care for overly sweet waffles since syrup is sweet enough. I have a homemade syrup recipe too, but there's a buttermilk syrup I'm going to try next.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Easy Street is Finished

Last year...ummm...make that year BEFORE last... :) Bonnie Hunter rolled out her annual mystery quilt and I jumped in. This was my first mystery quilt so I played it safe and followed her color scheme even though it was way out of my comfort zone. Bonnie is a big proponent of using your stash, but I sure didn't have much of anything in these colors so I shopped and boy did I have fun! I needed a variety of black on white prints and I didn't have even one in my stash. Who knew there were so many fun prints out there? Well, needless to say, I now have a stash of black on white prints in my stash. :)


Each week, Bonnie released a clue and I tried to keep up, but I don't have a lot of sewing time, so I just stitched what I could and it was so much fun watching the pieces grow.

When I had completed the top, I spent a  long time pressing it and I realized just how clever Bonnie is in her designing. It's a very cool pattern.


And once again, Jackie worked her magic on it:

  I started binding it during the Olympics, but I didn't get to finish it, so when I spent last week in Texas, visiting my Mom and tending to her personal and business taxes, I managed to finish it as we visited in the evenings.

I had planned to take pictures off of her deck, but we had so much to do that there just wasn't time so I once again turned to my trusty chicken coop:

And took advantage of a day without 50 mph winds and flying dirt. That chicken print is my hands down favorite:

Easy Street measures 96 x 96. Seems I have a hard time making small quilts. :) This is my first finish of 2014, and it feels good to cross one off of the UFO list.

 I'm now working on binding another quilt on that list that I'm really excited to finish and show you, but for now, let's let Easy Street have her day:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Trotting in Circles With Both Eyes Crossed and My Feet Tied

Yep. That pretty much sums up my days at the Sale Barn. I love the work and the people, but I am not sure which way is up at the end of the day. The work is not difficult, but they are are training me in 6 different jobs and I might do 1 or 2 or three in the course of a day and then I may not be called to do one of them again for months. Well, heck. By then, I have forgotten what that particular job entailed. Can't recall whether this buyer wants this amount for freight for this client or whether this person is assigned this commission or whether Benny gets the green  and cream copies or the white and yellow ones. And I haven't a clue which pens to assign for which head. There is a definite method to the madness, but I can't make heads of tails of it. When I think its a head, its a tail. And we won't even go in to the dreams I've been having since I've hired on! LOL.

And lest you think I'm complaining, I am not. It's been an adventure and I'm bound and determined to make sense of it all, although I may very well be senseless when that time comes. :)

They had a special sale 2 Saturdays ago and I trained in a new position that I flew solo in yesterday. I kept hearing, "We do this today, but you won't have to do this on Monday." And I told the buyers to be sure and bring their patience with them on Monday and if they didn't appreciate Dana now, they were REALLY going to appreciate her when she got back! One of the girls is going to Egypt for 3 weeks this month. I told her I would greatly appreciate daily prayer.

And can I just add that the gal I work for is just awesome. She is a champion multi-tasker and juggled not only all of her tasks, but my never-ending requests and questions. Everyone I work with is great and I truly appreciate their help and kindness.

I took a batch of Cowboy Cookies and everyone kind of wanders in and out of the office throughout the day and soon the cookies had disappeared. The buyers came to my window with cookies in hand,  and as we conducted their business, they commented on how much they liked them. One buyer requested I leave a batch at his house. They were all very patient and sweet and kind. Cookie power! :) Homemade cookies have been known to soften a curmudgeonly cowman or two in the past and I figured if THAT didn't do it, I could bring out the big guns next week and make them cinnamon rolls. That is IF I still HAVE a job next week!

 If not, I guess I could just sit outside on the curb and sell my cinnamon rolls.
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