Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Answered Prayers

If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know that I talk about rain...or the lack thereof...A LOT. Ranching in the desert is a challenge although farming and ranching is always a challenge no matter where you are since we're all so dependent on the weather. Yesterday morning DH and I both woke up at 2 a.m. when it began to rain. There was a 20% chance of precipitation, but we didn't really expect any. Often we've had 90% chances and not a drop fell. Needless to say, neither one of us went back to sleep. DH got up to watch the radar and I opened windows and lay there praising God. At 4, he couldn't wait for daylight and pulled on his mud boots, rain slicker, and tromped out the the pens with his flashlight. When he came in, I looked at him questioningly and he grinned, asking me if I wanted to know how much was in the rain gauge. When  I said 'yes', he handed me his rain slicker. Funny man. I didn't get a picture until the sun rose, but we're pretty tickled:

Most of ya'll are probably chuckling, but 1.5" makes a huge difference out here. We're thankful for every drop and praying for more because you should see how excited we get when the dirt tanks are full! :)

Quite Contrary Lone Star Baby Quilt

We made a trip to town last Thursday to get a load of horse feed and calf manna and I made a detour to see Jackie. :) She had 2 quilts ready for me to take off her hands.That leaves 7 there, but I have 2 more ready to take to her so I don't know if that counts as progress or not. :)

This baby quilt was first up in the binding que:

Yes, another star using Amy Smart's tutorial for a Lone Star Baby Quilt. :) Jackie turns my little pieced tops into such pretty quilts with her quilting magic:

I seem to be on a roll with baby quilts, but my supply has been depleted and the babies keep arriving! I chose a pink from my stash for binding:

And a sweet baby girl will be cuddling with this one in a few weeks:

I  think I'm making a dent in this Quite Contrary fabric:

I don't remember how much I bought about 6 years ago at a San Antonio quilt shop, and I still think it's darling, but I'll be glad when I've used it all and you probably will too because there are more quilts to come. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

In the Garden

I missed having a garden last year and I was eager to get one planted this year. Alas, I was away at the optimum time to plant and got everything into the ground late. I didn't plant much on account of the fact that I knew I'd be away some this summer and I don't want DH to have to take care of the garden - he's got enough on his plate. He would gladly do it, but I told him it's my call. :)

I always have company in the garden who faithfully inspect the daily offerings:

refreshments included

and sit at the ready in case the plants get out of line:

as they keep me apprised of any garden shenanigans

The zucchini is producing abundantly, as zucchini is wont to do:

My squash plants were eaten by a sneaky nighttime marauder. :)

The cantaloupe

and watermelon

 are growing in wild abandon. I've got lots of green peppers and this purple pepper adds an unusual and fun color to our salads and recipes:

And the tomatoes are finally producing fruit

The jalapenos are HOT this year, but we love them and I incorporate them into a lot of recipes:

I've got to bring in more dirt and get onions and potatoes in the ground and once the sweltering heat of the summer dissipates, there will be a whole slew of lettuce for our munching pleasure. I love spending time out here. It seems to be a favorite gathering place:

The one critical ingredient that is missing this year is rain. We had an inch in early June and not a drop since then. That makes for a challenging year to garden, but gardening is a challenge in one way or another every year!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

On Many an Afternooon

Yesterday we hit 21 consecutive days above 100 degrees. The record was 12. This is the forecast for the next 5 days:

Chance of precipitation: 0%. Insert sad face while praying for rain.

 I usually spend time outside in the early morning hours tending to chickens, guineas, the garden, the yard,  sneaking in a walk,and getting dinner together while DH works with his horses, shoes them, or rides. Our afternoons are often spent in the pickup checking waters, fence, cattle, and putting out mineral:

I think this girl has the right idea:

We stopped to fix some fence:

Although in all honesty, DH fixed fence and I took pictures and handed him tools:

More fence to fix...always more fence

I'm not strong enough to to get the wire tight enough. Note to self: eat more Wheaties.

I sure hate that he's having to do this when it's 103:

This is a never-ending job, but this is where we can often be found on many an afternoon:

I'm sure glad the days are getting shorter because by the time we pull back into headquarters, the sky looks like this and we're plumb tuckered out...and ready for fall. This summer heat wears this old body out:

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lined Drawstring Bags

I've probably made 30 of these little bags since 2011:

Yes that is a snowman in my kitchen, and yes it is July, but the picture was taken in December. :) These bags are the brainchild of Jeni over at 'In Color Order' and you can find her free tutorial here. She also has a pattern for sale and I love the numerous size options. Most of the ones I have made have been for Christmas:

But I have made a few for kiddos and used them to wrap pillowcases:

One year I made lots of potholders for friends and I made matching drawstring bags for the gift bags:

I've made a ton of those potholders too - Deanna, over at Wedding Dress Blue shared a great tutorial for these  here and I can't tell you how much I love these potholders.

I actually need to make more since I've given them all away and friends, and friends of friends, keep requesting them. Those of you who have them, had better be using them because they get better when you do. Last week I made a few more of the gift bags  with the leftover chuckwagon  fabric:

I gave the small one to our girl with a tea towel and money for lunch when she drove through on Monday with a 24' trailer to pick up a load of supplement for her heifers. I got to hug her neck and meet her assistant and then she brought me their leftovers which was perfect although it would have been even more perfect if I had eaten it with them. :)

When I was sorting the other day, I also ran across this western tapestry fabric. Probably about 10 years ago, my MIL made pillows and she gave me the leftovers:

I never knew what to do with it and last week it just hit me that it would make great drawstring bags. I just made sizes that would make the best use of the fabric I had left which amounted to 1

2 - makes a nice gift bag for a wine or whiskey bottle


little bags and a laundry bag that is 30" tall.

I gave it to our girl when I met up with her yesterday to get Harvey. We are keeping him while she is away at a Nutrition Conference and I thought this would be a useful way for her to store her dirty laundry while at the hotel. They are fun and fast to put together and I love the extra touch they add to whatever you are gifting.

Monday, July 11, 2016

What I've Been Working On

Currently, I'm in 'use it up' mode. I had previously made a few quilts using these fabrics, but I still had some in my stash and it was time to get the rest of it into useful quilts.

So I made another little strip quilt with the rest of the chuck wagon fabric. I liked the previous one I made so much that I made another using the square in a square blocks although I used different fabrics:

And the last of it turned into 2 lined drawstring bags which still need their ties run through them so I'll share those in a day or two. Then I pulled fabrics for this print:

that also made appearances in previous quilts:

And I pulled out my favorite pattern again:

And no, there's no purple in the focus fabric, but I needed another color and I think this'll work. I've got enough of both prints for backings

and enough of the flower print leftover for probably another quilt so I'm brainstorming patterns because this is NOT going back into a bin! As of now, I am making hourglass blocks:

Our temps have consistently been between 105 and 112 and them are wilting temps for this old gal.  Stuff still has to be tended to on the ranch, but we try to save running around in the pickup to check waters and cattle for the heat of the day and when I don't tag along with DH, that's my time to sew. I don't like to sew when he's home in the evenings unless I'm binding a quilt or working on an EPP project and sitting with him.

This weekend we had UFC fights both Friday and Saturday so that gave me some hand stitching time and I've made a little bit of progress on my EPP stars since I last posted about it. I am absolutely smitten with making these little stars:

I can't recall if I've already posted these, but if I have, just pretend I haven't. :) We also made a trip to Odessa, Texas and picked up a new flat bed gooseneck trailer on Friday so that gave me 6 hours of stitching time although I didn't stitch the whole time:

I was pretty impressed with the fact that I was able to thread my needle while barreling down the road.

I'd say there was a whole lot of stitching going on around here last week. Here's hoping the trend continues!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tackling the Hidden Fabric Stash

I've got this storage trunk that has been the recipient of every stray piece of fabric that needed to be moved off of my cutting surface, ironing station, or sewing area in order to make room for what I was currently working on for months. This is stuff I needed to stash before the house filled up with family and friends, before Christmas, before branding, before I started a new project. When the piles began to topple and became unruly, the trunk was a quick solution. And the trunk was full before I knew it. :)

 When I couldn't put my finger on a particular piece of fabric that I knew I had, I would rummage through the trunk and discover the fabric I'd been hunting, as well as new pieces that I had forgotten about that would spark inspiration and send me off on a new tangent:

Yesterday the mercury soared past 110 degrees again and I figured it was a good afternoon to tackle this scary task so I sorted:

I found orphan blocks:

And discovered that I apparently have a weakness for kitchen inspired prints:

I packed away some of the piles into their respective color bins:

I filled empty bins with fabric I wanted to keep together but as of yet, had no designated project:

And for solids

Designated others for lined drawstring bags since they had already been cut out for that. :)

And I pulled some scraps to cut diamonds for my EPP project and squares for my leader-ender project:

Better! I still stashed some bigger pieces for backings in here and a few of the bins that were previously empty have been reassigned for future projects:

Whew! That was a job! One I'm glad I finally finished - now let's see if I can keep it that way!
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