Saturday, January 28, 2017

Two-Steppin' Mystery Quilt

Last week I stumbled upon a new to me blog called My Carolina Home through 2 quilts I had pinned and will have to make. This is Scrap Dance Waltz, last year's mystery:

Are you ready for a quilt along?  Since this isn’t a mystery, I thought we could do updates every two weeks and take 8-10 weeks.  I’ll give you lots of choices for sizes and finishing. …

And this is Scrap Dance Tango:

Scrap Dance Tango is Published (From My Carolina Home):

I really like both of them and I saw that another Scrap Dance mystery was just beginning. Add the fact that it is called Two-step and Carole referenced George Strait, whom I happened to play pool with once, many moons ago, and I decided to jump in.

 I grew up in dance halls. Well, not literally, but I sure spent every chance I got shuffling across a lot of dance floors in Texas. We paid .50 cents to dance to George Strait at The Crystal Chandelier in San Marcos back when he first started. Gruene Hall, The Bluebonnet, and St. Hedwig's were also places we'd gather, not to mention the street dances in Wimberly and I pretty much danced my way through college at Texas A&M. Whoop! Gig' em Ags! :)

I was a tomboy and although my poor mom tried, she never could talk me into shopping anywhere for clothes but the feed store. She was born and raised in Vienna, Austria and shook her head at her redneck only child. I'm fairly certain she still shakes her head. I was a good kid and didn't get into trouble, but I wore a lot of leather off the bottoms of my boots in those days.

Writing that makes me think I may be digging out the western prints again for this one. One clue a month for 7 months. I like the laid back pace and am looking forward to pulling fabrics.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Quilt I Just Have to Make

I love all things Carrie Nelson and have several of her quilts on my list to make. So far, I've made two:
I've made 2 Hobo Quilts - the original name of the pattern is Pick and Choose:

And Ginger Belle:

Last year she became a part of the Moda family and she writes the Moda Cutting Table Blog, which I follow. I saw this quilt there the other day on THIS post she wrote and although this isn't one of her designs, I knew I had to make it. It's called Old Dirt Road, by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings, and it called my name...loudly!

 I recently had a birthday which explains why I relate to the 'Old' part, and well, you all know how strongly I identify with dirt roads! 

Then add the fact that I love the pattern and my box of brown fabrics will not close, although I also have this fat quarter pack that I'm considering using:

Then again, it wouldn't resemble much of a dirt road if I used it and I've got a really good variety of browns from which to chose:

 Maybe I'll just make 2. :) Once in a while a pattern comes along that just makes you push everything else to the side and say, "I must make you NOW".

I think this is it!

Yep, "Old Dirt Road" sums me up pretty good and it just might be my perfect quilt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January Sewing

Since it's already the 24th, the January sewing isn't going to amount to much. With the exception of joining my Quilt Squad group last Saturday, and stitching on a binding, I haven't done any sewing since a few weeks before Christmas.

We had an old worn out office chair in the office that I finally threw out so my sewing chair ended up as the new office chair. That left me chair-less in my sewing space so I began the hunt for a new chair. My sewing machine table sits on top of another table. That puts my sewing machine at 34" and a regular office chair never really was quite high enough. I always padded it with pillows so during my chair search, I decided to go with a drafting chair. Buying something like this online is a gamble and I hemmed and hawed while I compiled my list of possibilities. A chair is such a personal choice. Thankfully, this one is just right for me although it's got a modern look that looks out of place in our home. The armrests sit farther back than I am used, but I don't really even need the armrests and they can swing down and out of the way, and the back is not adjustable, but I actually love that for sewing. It's very supportive.

So now that I've got a place to perch, sewing can commence, and yes, I can still reach the foot pedal. :) And I'm finally carving out a little bit of time to play with fabric. I've got a few things to finish, but my UFO list is in pretty good shape. My main goal is to get everything back from the quilters' and finish those.

When I was cleaning and moving some random items around the other day, I picked up the project box that had these blocks in it and it became the first project I'd work on this year.

 I had worked on  this stack of leader-ender blocks last year and started piecing them into a top today. I never did empty my box of 2 1/2" squares, but I'm thinking I may be adding a patchwork border in hopes of leaving me with an empty box.

The inspiration for this quilt came from Lollyquilts...she called it Crayon Box:

As I sewed, I started thinking about quilts I wanted to make this year. This one has been on my list for a few years:

It's called Saddle Tramp and it pretty much fits the bill when it comes to my love of scrappy quilts.

I also need to add a border to Stars and Strips and get it to Jackie:

Then I ran across this table runner that needs to be quilted:

And I've had this Valentine's Day table runner top hanging in my closet for a number of years:

Time to see if I can get it finished this year. That ought to keep me busy and out of trouble for the remainder of January. I can count on the busy part, but don't hold me to the out of trouble part. :)

Friday, January 20, 2017

One More Page

It's been a while since I chimed in on what I've been reading and I'm always reading something.  I've generally got 3 books going at once. I'm usually listening to an audio book, reading something on my Kindle, and as much as I enjoy those mediums, I am still a big fan of actual books and always have one of those on my bedside table.

Last year I joined the 2016 Reading Challenge presented from The Modern Mrs. Darcy. I read everything on that list with the exception of War and Peace. That was my 'book that intimidates you'. The intimidation continues. I started it, but it just hasn't captured my attention yet, but I'm going to give it the old college try once again.

Today I'm sharing a few titles I really enjoyed in the past 6 months or so:

The The Lake House by Kate Morton.

Just finished this one. I listened to it on audio and LOVED it. Great story, loved the narrator's accent, the well-developed characters and probably one of my all time favorites although that  list is pretty long. This isn't a classic, but a really good read.

I'm presently listening to Quail Crossings and so far, it's getting two thumbs up too.

I read Still Life, the first in a series by Louise Penny and am looking forward to reading the next installment. I like mystery and suspense, but I do not like gore and bad language, and this has neither.

I also enjoyed A Man Called Ove,

 loved The Nightingale,

The Life We Bury 

Whistling Past the Graveyard

Ordinary Grace

The Noticer

Just seems like I've been picking up stories I've really enjoyed lately. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and News of the World are up next!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What's For Dinner: Reboot

Originally, I posted this 5 years ago, but after chatting with a blog reader a bit as well as with a couple of friends at work, this seemed to be timely once again. I was going to write a new post, but when I went back and re-read what I had written, I couldn't think of one thing I would write differently.

I still use my master list although I have added quite a few new recipes, but the post is the about same:

This morning I was working on a list for a menu and I thought, "What's for Supper?" and then my thoughts seamlessly continued..."Grandpa?"

"Chicken Fried Steak. Mashed Spuds. Cream Gravy. Buttermilk Biscuits. Black-eyed peas. And Peach Cobbler with homemade ice cream. " Must be said like Grandpa Jones.

 "YUM! YUM!"

Remember Hee Haw? Yes, it was corny, but it was honest to goodness-fun for the family- clean entertainment. And here lately, I've been wishing for a Grandpa like that. You know... one that cooks.

Come to think of it, don't know if I've ever heard of one of those.

Yesterday I read a post from a friend who was bemoaning the fact that it's hard to come up with ideas of what to cook and even if you have a idea, you most certainly will not have the required ingredients to make said meal.

Around here, our big meal is at noon and we call it Dinner. Our 'supper' is generally light:  leftovers or something thrown in a tortilla.

There are days I have it all together and then there are days I do not. However, I figure we can all relate to those 'not' days when you find yourself staring vacantly into the refrigerator and pantry and sighing. You may even have small (or not so small) kidlets clinging to your britches clamoring for their next meal because they are S-T-A-R-V-I-N-G. Those days are a thing of the past around here, but grown kidlets in men's clothing can be just as convincing.

One of the things I have done is make a master list of everything I cook. I have it on the inside of a cupboard door and refer to it on those days I am at a loss. Some things get made more often than others and some only get made once a year, but they are all things we deem as keepers. I'm pretty lucky. My crew isn't picky. They're wonderful guinea pigs although I've made my fair share of "what were you thinking?" recipes. Here's my updated list:

What’s for Dinner?

1. Catalina Salad
2. Hamburgers
3. Hotdogs
4. Hotlinks
5. Sloppy Joes
6. Steak
7. Barbecue Sandwiches
8. Taco Soup
9. Meatloaf
10. Lasagna
11. Layered Mini Lasagna Casserole
12. Taco Lasagna
13. Bolognese Lasagna
14. Crock Pot Pizza
15. Beefy Beans & Cornbread
16. Beef & Cheese Enchiladas
17. Chicken Enchiladas
18. Red Enchiladas
19. Tacos / Tostadas
20. Burritos
21. Quesadillas
22. Steak Tampequena
23. Spaghetti
24. Chicken Fried Steak
25. Smothered Steak
26. Swiss Steak
27. Slow Cooked Pepper Steak
28. Buckaroo Bundles
29. Beef French Dip Au Jus
30. Hamburger Corn-pone Pie
31. Pour-a-Pan Pizza
32. Hungarian Goulash Soup
33. Chicken Noodle Soup
34. Black Bean Sirloin Chili
35. Chili
36. Hobo Casserole
37. Best Ever Potato Soup
38. Stew
39. Chicken Tortilla Soup
40. Chicken Strips
41. Smothered Chicken
42. Stuffed Green Peppers
43. Chicken Spaghetti
44. Chicken Pot Pie
45 .King Ranch Chicken Casserole
46. Chicken & Dumpling Casserole
47. Fried Chicken
48. Ravioli Casserole
49 4-Cheese Chicken Fettuccine
50. Ham & Swiss Stromboli
51. BLTs
52. Pioneer Woman’s Sandwich
53. Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich
54. Texas Hash
55 .Salisbury Steak Deluxe
56. Roast
57 .Ribs
58. Venison Backstrap or Tenderloin
59. Chicken Parmesan
60. Homemade Pizza
61. Barbecue Chicken
62. Fajitas
63. Breaded Pork Chops
64. Chef Salad w/ grilled beef or chicken
65. Tortilla Stack
66. Chicken Milanese
67. Parmesan Dijon Chicken
68. Baked Beef Stroganoff
69. Green Chile Pork Stew
70. Smoked Chicken
71. Smoked Pork Loin
72. Brisket
73. Chicken & Rice with Peas
74. Grilled Cheese with Bacon & Green Chile
75. Sweet & Sour Chicken with Peppers
76. Cajun Chicken Fettuccine
77. Bourbon Chicken
78. Quail Soup
79. Dove Fricassee
80. Steak Bites
81. Stir Fry
82. Ham
83. Ham-Pasta-Egg Scramble
84. Zucchini Boats
85. Cajun Salmon
86. Catfish
87. Chicken Salad
88. Frog-more Stew
89. Cheesy Meatball Skillet
90. Pulled Pork
91.Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Now I won't guarantee you'll know exactly what your cooking every single day, but it does seem to help.
I also try to make a menu for each week. Just jot it down on an index card and then you can refer to the recipes when you're making your grocery list. I have lots of cookbooks, but I keep our favorite recipes here.

Friends are another great source and mine are great cooks who are more than willing to share their recipes. Something they're completely sick of making might be your family's newest favorite dish. I'm always looking for new recipes to add to my list so ya'll send 'em this way!

In closing, here's a hint: Keep the ingredients for a Cherry Pie on hand at all times. It's guaranteed to put a sparkle in their eye and stop that tummy from rumbling... at least until the next meal rolls around and if y'all ever find a Grandpa like Hee Haw's Grandpa Jones, send him my way.

We've got folks coming to pick up calves tomorrow and when DH asked them what time they'd be here they said, "Noon." Makes me laugh. Everyone shows up here bout noon. Guess we'll be having company for dinner. I pulled out a roast that I'll cook today and we'll have barbecue sandwiches, steak fries, coleslaw, and strawberry cheesecake for dessert. I'll probably bake some cookies today too so I'll have them on hand to send along for their trip home.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Old Windmill

I love windmills and through the years, heaven knows, I've worked on more windmills than I ever imagined I would. I have learned to read hand signals with the best of them and those of you who are ranch wives and work along side your husbands, know exactly what I mean by that. We become professional mind readers as this wave means one thing and that wave means another, unless it's accompanied by a head tilt then it means the same as the first. LOL. Honestly, we ranch wives have a sense of humor for a reason.

I wish I had pictures from the days when we were first married and we worked on windmills all the time, but it was just the 2 of us and that required all hands on deck. The ranch we lived on had 24 and nary a week went by when we weren't working on at least one. When the wind didn't blow, we had to hook up pump jacks to them and that required a whole other set of repair skills.

Poor DH married a gal that didn't know the first thing about windmills, but I'm a fast learner, although I might have dropped some sucker rod down the pipe once or twice. That won't make any sense to those of you who are not well versed in windmill speak, but in a simplified version, the sucker rods are jointed, and sometimes there were 12 or 15, and you often have to pull them using a block and tackle in order to replace the leathers or fix the check which is seated at the bottom. If you drop the sucker rod before they are connected, then you get to pull all the pipe to retrieve said sucker rod. In other words, this does not make for a happy hubby. Most of you could care less, but for those of you who have a mechanically inquisitive mind, I've included a simplified diagram:

I look back now and laugh, but there might have been a tear or two during those marathon windmill sessions and I think I ought to be awarded some kind of honorary degree since I'm pretty sure I have reached some sort of windmill pulling sidekick status through the years.

I still love windmills though and I have a hard time passing one by without capturing it with my camera:

Thankfully, this ranch only had 2 working windmills on it and we've converted them to solar wells so my windmill pulling days are over.

And you had to slog through all of that for me to tell you that I am working on a windmill once again:

I started this last year, or maybe the year before, but I became frustrated with the chart. I've done a lot of cross stitch through the years, but this chart is printed so tiny - each square is less than an inch - and I just could not keep track of what went where. It may have something to do with my aging eyes too:

but even with a magnifying glass and my reading glasses, I was unpicking more stitches than I was stitching so I laid it aside. Then a few weeks ago, I took the chart to town and had it enlarged for .33 cents.

 Money well spent and I am back to windmilling.

I had to pull a few stitches from when I worked on it previously, but at least I haven't dropped the sucker rod!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The First Week of January

The first week of the New Year was a busy one. After getting over that nasty stomach bug, scrubbing down the house, and putting away Christmas, we made our annual trek to the big city of Dallas for the Dallas Safari Club Convention

Image result for DSC Convention

and survived the chaos that is big city traffic. We stay in the really nice hotel that is attached to the convention center simply to avoid having to deal with the traffic.

Image result for Omni Hotel Dallas Texas

Rooms are highly sought after. They open up reservations on a particular day in February for the following January and every one of the 1001 rooms are snapped up in less than 15 minutes so you really have to be on the ball. It always surprises me how many people we know when we go and I love that DH gets to spend time with his brother. You might be thinking that I go for DH, but I enjoy it as much as he does. It's always good to catch up with these 2 on the left. This is the organization that we chose when we went to Africa. Buzz and Miles are 2 of the genuinely, nicest people you'll ever meet. Buzz, center, is barely recognizable because in his natural state he is barefoot and stalking elephant. :)

Image result for Charlton Mccallum Safaris

They recently got into ranching so they were eager to discuss that with DH.                    
I'm not a shopper, but you can spend a lot of money here very fast.

Image result for DSC Convention

(Photos snagged from Google images because I was too captivated by everything to remember to take pictures)
The only thing we bought this time was some hearing protection. DH shoots so much and he's always worn hearing protection, but his hearing has diminished some and we want to protect what he has left. They are not cheap and he didn't want to get them. He said he wanted to get ME something for my birthday and anniversary and I told him that these WERE for me. LOL.

We spent from 9-5:30 walking through the booths and visiting with people and we still did not see it all. We had to get back home on Friday, but we spent the morning seeing the rest of the convention and revisiting a few of the booths before heading out. When we walked outside, it had started snowing. That doesn't happen a lot in Dallas, but Dallas traffic is scary enough without adding snow into the mix. It took us 2 1/2 hours to drive 65 miles

Most people were driving sensibly, but we passed at least 10 accidents. Thankfully, by the time we arrived back at my BIL's house, the roads were clear. We stopped in to pick up this:

Our taxidermy from Africa has arrived! We cannot wait to dig into it, but we also arrived home at 9:30 on Friday night to 3" of snow. The first thing I reached for were my flannel jammies:

 and this morning it was a whopping -1 below 0:

Chopping ice and feeding come before anything else so the crate will have to wait. We might get to 32 degrees today, but at least the sun's out and it promises to be a beautiful day:

Just ask Skeet:

I don't know if his cause for celebration has to do with us being home or the snow,

 but he is jubilant:

And everyone knows that the best treasures are always buried beneath the snow:

I pulled out some stew meat from the deep freeze and it's simmering away, making the house smell awfully good. Hopefully we'll be able to unpack our crate this evening and begin planning our Africa room. There will be moving of various mounts because we didn't want to mix continents and Africa deserves a room all to herself. LOL

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Quilt Review

It's been quite a while since I sat down with my sewing machine or even thought about sewing, but I thought I'd kick off the new year with a look back at the quilts I  made in 2016. I've added the links to the finished posts for each quilt if anyone wants additional information:

Holly and Vine


Don't Fence Me In


Zoe's Baby Quilt


Rodeo Baby


Butterfly Garden


Breath of Avignon


Lakeyn's Baby Quilt


Safari Quilt


Saddle Up


Ginger Belle


That brings my total to 10, but who's counting. The fun is in this quilt making journey and all of the amazing people I've met along the way. I was hoping to get one more bound, but I've been working on it for a month and it's still not finished so it gets scooted into the first finish for this year, once it's done, even though it's a Christmas quilt.

Now it's time to start thinking about new projects! I've got 8 quilts at the quilter's, and 2 more here ready to add to Jackie's pile. Maybe I ought to just focus on getting those done and not start anything new. Ha! Who believes THAT?! I know. Me neither. But I really don't know what I'll be picking up next. Like everyone else, I'm going to work on using what I've got and I'll see where that takes me. I'll just follow the trail of scraps and if my stash is any indication, I'm about to embark on the never-ending journey. :)
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