Wednesday, May 30, 2018

How We Unwind

Most folks escape to other destinations on weekends or holidays for vacation. We rarely do. It's just hard to leave a ranch when you've got thousands of critters depending on you. Plus, most places are overflowing with people during typical holidays, summers, and weekends and being hermits, we tend to avoid crowds. :)

No crowds here:

Or here:

We need rain for many reasons, but one of the reasons we pray for rain is so our dirt tanks don't dry up. We need the water for cattle, but we don't want to lose our fishing hole either! Skeet would be so disappointed

He enjoys fishing as much as we do:

And the fish were biting on Sunday. Every time we threw in a line, we'd reel one in. We'd throw the little ones back and add the rest to our stringers. There's anther stringer of fish in the water. We chose the 5 largest fish to keep and we had grilled fish for dinner twice.

And lest you think we're completely anti-social, we're having friends over for supper tomorrow evening. It's too stinking hot to do much in the kitchen. Fajitas - homemade salsa - guacamole - chips - Summer Berry Pie for dessert.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Another New Quilt Project

There are other things I really ought to be stitching, but the leftovers from my triangle quilt top

were pleading for me to not stuff them back into the bin, lest they be forgotten. Choosing a pattern is often the most time consuming part of the quilt making process for me. I scroll through my saved quilts on Pinterest. I search out new ideas in the patterns I already own. I thumb through magazines. And wait for inspiration to strike.

This time it took 3 days. I love this quilt I found online:

It didn't take long to cut a stack of 5" squares:

And begin laying out the design:

Initially, I used a Bella solid for the tan, but I remembered I had this wood print and I debated back and forth about which to use.

The wood won out:

It makes the pluses look like they're hanging on a barn wall. I'll use the solid in another project with the last of these fabrics because it matches so well and I don't want to waste it.

I LOVE this design and no, I didn't use a pattern. I looked, but was unable to find one. I found the original quilt at She Can Quilt  so I just did the figuring myself. Laying everything out takes a while, but the sewing is quick and simple.

A few years ago I made a couple of Plus quilts and I've been wanting to make another since I finished these two, both using jelly rolls:


And this one:


This top finishes at 58.5" x 63.5". I like the asymmetrical balance, but I would like to make it bigger without adding a border so I hope to play around with some graph paper and see where that leads.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Triangle Quilt Top

After much cutting...well, really just cranking the handle on the Go! cutter:

 lots of stitching:

endless pressing and copious amounts of starch:

My triangle quilt has been pieced:

It's 51" x 61" and I wish it were bigger. I have more fabric, but I got tired of sewing those little 4 1/2" triangles. I'm pretty happy with it. Most of the points match well:

A few, not so much

But I'm not un-stitching.

And now I'm at a crossroads as I'm not sure how to quilt it. My first inclination is to use straight line quilting. Jackie doesn't do straight line quilting, but she thinks that would suit it well. What do ya'll think? I don't really want to do a crosshatch...I think because I see that in a lot of big box store quilts, but maybe that's what it needs to secure all those seams.

Jackie has spoiled me. I don't want to quilt this, but I will.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bunny Hop Baby Quilt and Book Question Answered

*In my previous post, I had a question in a comment from an anonymous reader. I thought I'd answer her question here since I didn't have any contact information. She asked where I stored all of our books. Bookshelves. Many bookshelves. There is one in every room. Each bedroom (3) has one - plus a 5' x 6' bookshelf in the office. There are two in the living room and one in the hallway. Oh, and one in the mud-room-entryway-laundry room for cookbooks. :) Then there are 4 BIG plastic bins stashed in a couple of closets with books from when the chiddlers were young. We are definitely a family of devoted readers.

As for today...I have a finished quilt to share.

Through the years I've collected quite a few jelly rolls on sale and although I don't buy them anymore and haven't for a few years, and they do look cute hanging around, they are even cuter in a quilt.


I needed another baby quilt for a little girl and since this pattern was on hand


and I had this jelly roll


Combined with this Sizzix die:

It just felt like a good fit:


We have an abundance of rabbits around here. At  any given time, you can walk outside and see 25 bunnies scampering about. We have both jack rabbits and cotton tails.

Just over 3 years ago, DH noticed this bald faced bunny hanging around:

We've never seen one like this and the other day we saw him again. Wild bunnies have a pretty short lifespan around here, but our little furry friend must be pretty clever as he's either beaten the odds, or has passed on his sweet markings to his offspring.

These soft colors made a sweet quilt and I like these bunnies a lot. I think they'd be cute in any fabric
I backed it with a pink and brown swirl print from the line as I wanted to use it up and I used a brown for the binding.

Jackie's daughter is a teacher and she moonlights as a Jackie's sidekick at night. She quilted a swirl across the bricks and added a little bit of custom quilting around the bunnies that set them off so nicely and gave them some added movement. They really look like they're hopping across the quilt. Result: One sweet quilt that measures 41" x 44"

Finding anything green around here these days is close to impossible and pretty outdoor photos were just not in the cards on the ranch so I cheated and took photos at a park in town where they have this stuff called grass...and it's green:

 We are in desperate need of rain. Two days ago we had 1/2" of rain here at the house, but 1.3" east of the house and it filled up dirt tanks. Yay! Until then, we've  had 0.2" since the first week of October. My Vinca Major is about the only thing that seems to thrive and apparently bunnies don't like it or it too would be gone, but rest assured, you will, more often than not, find a hound dog or cat carving out a cool spot:


So  I popped into this park for 5 minutes because this sweet little quilt deserves a pretty backdrop

And a little shady spot to escape the brutal summer heat:

On to the next jelly roll!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

For the Love of Books

I adore reading. Those of you that have been reading here for some time, know that. There never seems to be enough time to curl up with a good book, hence I sometimes turn to audio books. Still, nothing replaces the experience of turning the pages of a real book.

We read to the kids every day from the day they were born...really...from day 1. When we found out we were expecting, we left the doctor's office, went to a bookstore, and bought children's books. The first piece of furniture we bought was a bookshelf for the baby's room. A love for books was curated early in our home:

One can never have too many books:

This is one of my favorite pictures from when the kids were little:


Little bookworms:


Grow up to be big bookworms:


When I made a road trip a few months ago, our girl took me to the local used bookstore. Oh, my word!! Talk about amazing! I was completely overwhelmed and felt like a kid in a candy store...only this was so much better!

We were there for a couple of hours and it wasn't nearly long enough. I didn't even scratch the surface. I could have easily spent days perusing the shelves.

This place is a bookworm's dream. This'll do for today:

The store takes up 1/2 of a city block and it's housed in this gorgeous building:

I was sad to leave it when she moved, but she recently sent me a text:

She found a new place to explore!

This past week, a new PBS series called The Great American Read began. A show about books? Yes, please. Through a survey...they didn't ask me...they have compiled a list of the best 100 books and you can vote all summer for your favorite. The Great American Read

Every time I think, "Oh, that's my favorite...or THAT's my favorite and the next minute I'm declaring, No, THIS one."

 I cannot pick just one, but therein lies the beauty...there is always another book...another story...another adventure...another page to turn.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Road Trip Goodies

On Wednesday, my friend, C, and I met up for a road trip. We were on a quilt shop mission and armed with ideas and projects. During work on Monday, we forged a plan of action . C made a list to best make use of our time and avoid back tracking:

When your driving time is 7-8 hours and you don't want to come home in the middle of the night, you look for ways to use your time efficiently.

Last year there were no quilt shops in this town, now there are 5. We had plans to hit 4, as the 5th was in a neighboring town and we had already driven 3 hours to reach our destination. She had actually driven an hour previous to that just to get to my house.

She's a ranch wife too and just finished cooking for their crew last week as well. We were both ready for a day filled with fellowship, food, fun, and fabric. I took some photos and will share some of the shops, but today I'll share what I brought home.

I found the tan hexi print on the 1/2 price rack at the first's perfect for the backing for the Honey Man quilt. There were only 2 yards, but I'll add a strip of the honey-colored piece I used for the sashing. The black bee fabric is just a small piece leftover from making the top. I bought the chicken wire on the top right for a background for a future quilt. The middle floral is for a baby quilt and the little blue floral at the bottom was another 1/2 price bargain I just wanted to add to my stash.

 The next shop yielded a red piece to make the last block for my Tail Feathers quilt and the 2 prints on the bottom left are going into a 30's quilt I'm working on with my Quilt Squad group. The 2 plaids are going into my plaid bin for a couple of quilts on my -to make- list.

 The next shop yielded 3 1/2 yards of this Lori Holt Bee Basics for $3/yd...I just couldn't pass that up.

So, I think I was well behaved, but temptation was whispering in my ear all day. I could have easily brought home a whole lot more. I always enjoy spending time with C. She's a joy and a blessing and a day of fabric therapy was just what we both needed.

DH left at 3 a.m. again this morning to help the neighbors so I worked on a few things in my sewing room. I pieced the backing for the Honey Man quilt, made the last block for the Tail Feather's quilt and pieced the top. I also began pulling fabrics for another quilt the other day.

I pulled out my Go cutter and cut the triangles for it. I've always wanted to make a triangle quilt so we'll see where this goes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Sewing Again

On Sunday I had big plans to spend some time in the sewing room, but I was just too wilted after my week-long cooking marathon. I felt a lot like Skeet:

I cleaned like mad on Saturday afternoon even though I desperately wanted to take a nap, but I knew I'd never relax on Sunday unless everything was set to rights. There are enough leftovers in the fridge and deep freeze for all week and Sunday was nap day with a little laundry thrown in so I didn't feel like a complete slug. I curled up with some fun reading material  that arrived during the week:

DH is helping the neighbors 3 days this week so he'll have more trudging out to the barn to saddle up his horse in the middle of the night mornings. I get up with him and make his coffee although he tells me not to each morning, but I can't go back to sleep.

However, that does leave me time to sew! I have to go to work at the sale barn on Mondays, but there's a lot of sewing time between the hours of 3 a.m. when he leaves and 8 a.m.

When our girl was home a few weeks ago visiting a good friend and his dad, who was in the hospital, she asked if I had a quilt to give to his dad. Those hospitals are cold and their blankets leave a lot to be desired. Of course I had a quilt and Michael loves it! However, I only had one that was really suitable for a fella. That made me think I needed to make a few so I started browsing through my fabrics and patterns. This pattern from Sew Emma caught my eye a while back and I finally ordered it:

And I started pulling fabrics. I didn't realize how hard it was to procure a group of fabrics for a guy. I can easily pull together a western or patriotic or hunting/fishing collection, but a random grouping proved more difficult from my stash. I settled on blues and reds and browns. Many of my fabrics are tone on tone, but this seemed to need some fabrics with a little movement and I struggled to find 15, but I dug deep and pulled what I thought would work, I did pick up 1 red and another with all three colors in town to round things out:

And blocks came together quickly:

Looking at the above photo, I like the look of the red plaid and I think this would be wonderful in all plaids. Isn't it fun how we never run out of quilts we want to make? 😁 Hopefully I'll get this pieced into a top during the week as our girl told me about a dear 80-yr old gentleman that sells honey 7 days a week and I ordered a honey/bee collection of fat quarters:

I just need to decide on a pattern:

because I think the Honey Man needs a quilt. 😄
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