Sunday, May 29, 2016

English Paper Piecing Projects

I've always been drawn to English Paper Piecing projects. The only one I've ever done is this Irish Chain version. It allowed me to make hexie flowers without committing to an entire Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. It was a good way to test drive English Paper Piecing. :)

A few years ago, Bonnie Hunter shared a hexagon project. Here's the link. I didn't want to use her picture without her permission and I know how crazy busy she is. And I started cutting hexies in blues and browns and creams:

I liked having a portable hand stitching project and worked on it in spurts:

This is where I left off early last year:

And there it sat, abandoned on the back of a shelf. Now the hand stitching bug has hit me once again, but I've lost my passion for this one so I think I'll find a stopping point and finish it off.

When I was visiting my Mom back in February, we visited with friends of hers and the wife is a quilter. She took me upstairs and showed me some of her quilts. I'll share some at a later date, but she shared this one particular quilt top that I fell in love with:

This was pieced by her grandfather's first wife who passed away during childbirth in 1899. It was passed down to June and I was simply charmed by it. Old quilts like this are truly a testament to 'making due'. Not only are some of the stars made up of different fabrics:

But some of the points are even pieced using impossibly tiny scraps:

June is at a  loss as to how to finish it, or even if she SHOULD finish it. Parts of it are so fragile where fabrics have deteriorated.

I was so touched that she shared it and the story behind it with me and I am now on a mission to make one.

I am using a package of these Quilt Patis templates that I bought 2 or 3 years ago

 and pulling fabrics:


One down. Umpteen more to go, but this is a project I intend to savor one stitch at a time.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What I've Been Up To

 Last week I was away, spending time with my mom for her birthday. It rained a lot and even when it doesn't rain, the humidity is just so oppressive. It's hard to breath and even the smallest outdoor activity, like cleaning off the deck and re-potting plants, left me drenched and wrung out. I'm so glad that I was able to spend that time with my mom and help her tend to some chores, but I am definitely a low humidity kind of gal. Thankfully, 1" of this glorious rain ended up in the headquarters rain gauge at the ranch.

On Sunday, DH and I spent a little time at my favorite fishing spot

where we once again, caught dinner:

The baby chicks are growing fast and have been relocated from the brooder - really just an old water tank - to the coop. They have their own little patch of the coop where they are safe from the big girls who are not very hospitable when it comes to sharing their home with the new tenants.

 Hopefully, after a few weeks, they will have acclimated to each other and peace will reign in the coop. I'm bribing them! :)

We've had such a pretty spring, but it seems summer has made a rather bold entrance this week as today it's expected to reach 100.

 I'm thinking I should have planted more watermelon in the garden. When it gets this hot, watermelon is the only thing that sounds good.

Much of my mornings this time of the year are spent outside trying to get ahead of the heat. This morning I was walking at 5:30, soaking in the cool of the morning. And this afternoon, while the wind howled, DH and I spent 4 hours in the truck, hauling cattle to another sale barn:


 In sewing  news, I'm working on the Safari quilt:

And stitching on a binding

This time of the year, it's a slow process as I do all of my binding in the evenings and by the time I sit down at night, I'm just plumb tuckered out and ready for bed. And yes, that's usually before 9:00. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rodeo Baby Quilt Finished

I'm still not getting a whole lot of sewing done, but it feels good to be working on things again. Those 3 a.m. mornings give me some extra sewing time. I've still had the odd day of cooking for the crew and my lawn mower is getting a workout, but when Jackie called and told me she had 2 baby quits ready for me a few weeks ago, I pushed things aside and stitched the binding to the front of this quilt. It took me a week to hand stitch it to the back, but I finally finished it.

This cute pattern is by Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts. It's a free pattern she designed for Riley Blake and I knew I had to make it as soon as I saw it even though she shared it last year and it's taken me this long to finish it.

 I made this one for a baby boy with fabrics from my stash, but my coworker made one for a baby girl and I hope to make one too. Tis' the season for babies around here. Here's a link to the free tutorial

Rodeo Baby

I pieced the back and included an extra block I had

And here's a good look at the fun pattern Jackie quilted on it

This one makes up to a nice size - 48x66" that will be useful as the baby grows which we all know happens overnight. I'm actually saving this one for a little boy when he's 4 or 5.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Reeling in the Memories

We're a fishing family. We've never been to a lake or river or ocean. All of our fishing has taken place on the ranch in dirt tanks. When I look back at pictures from years past, they are filled with family...with horses, ranching, hunting, camping, shooting, and fishing.

I don't think we've thrown a line in the water since the kids left home though. How sad is that? So when DH asked what I wanted to do last Sunday, I piped up, "Go fishing!" And fishing we did go:

This is fence tank. When we moved here, it was the first place we fished.

The morning was absolutely perfect. Cool enough for light jackets that we shucked a few hours later. It just does not get much better than this:

We caught 12 Bass. Well, perhaps I ought to amend that. DH caught 11,

 I caught one. LOL.

We only brought home 3 to eat and threw the rest back to be caught another day.

These tanks were once filled with Catfish and Perch and Bass and Sunfish, but the drought dried all, but 2 of the tanks up. We have even made desperate attempts at rescuing some of the fish and relocating them to the tanks that still had water, both here and in Texas.

Lots of good memories have been made at the end of a fishing pole around here:

And there are more to be made!

Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after...Henry David Thoreau

Monday, May 9, 2016

Walking on the Wild Side the sewing room. :) This time my adventure is confined to fabric and thread. I've been thinking for some time that I would like to make a quilt to auction off at the Safari Club Banquet in February. Animal prints were a given and when my friend, Cheree, told me about an animal print fat quarter pack that was 40% off, I snapped it up. Another 40%  off sale at the little quilt shop in town, and I snared the perfect sashing fabric. I'm hoping this'll work:


When I saw Jenny's tutorial for the Sashed Hexi Quilt, my mind saw animal prints so it all came together quite nicely. I made a test block just to confirm that what I saw in my head matched the final result and I was tickled with the outcome:

1 block down. 11 more to go.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Morning Visitors

DH helped the neighbors 3 days this week. That means the alarm is set for 2:30 a.m. and that makes for a long day. I know what you're thinking, and yes, any sane person would crawl back into bed after he left at 3, but I never claimed to be sane. :) But I sure do seem to get a lot done on days like this. This morning I was at the sewing machine at 3:30, but today's post is not about sewing.

We've been without Internet service since Saturday and the technician was scheduled to come out this morning. I've been procrastinating about mowing and thought I'd tackle that as soon as the sun came up, while I waited for him.

When I walked out to let the chickens out and roll out the mower, I spotted these antelope grazing in the cool air and soaking up the early morning sun. So I naturally ran to the house for my camera:

The air was so sweet this morning. They paid little attention to me as I snapped a few frames:

This one looks like he's whispering, "What kind of critter do you reckon SHE is?"

I couldn't believe how docile they were as I slowly approached them. I was only about 20' from them:


They continued to graze and go about their business


As I kept walking towards them, they kept walking towards me and that really surprised me! I think I may have stopped breathing as they continued to walk closer.

Once we were about 10' apart, I stopped and just soaked them in, along with the glorious morning... my lawn mower forgotten.


 I was out there for over an hour before a pair of rabbits hopped between us and they turned their fluffy white rumps to me and trotted off.

This morning was such a gift and what a spectacular start to the day!

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