Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Scrappy Christmas Quilt

I know everyone has packed away all things Christmas, but I'm squeezing in one more quilt finish this year and it's a Christmas quilt.

I LOVE Christmas! First and foremost, I love celebrating the birth of our Savior. This little nativity I made is the first thing to go up when I pull out the decorations:


I love soaking in time with family and spending time with friends. I love cooking and baking all the Christmas favorites - our yearly Cranberry Sour Cream Pound Cake is only made once a year - Jesus's Birthday Cake:

I love tradition. The only thing missing all these years was a designated Christmas quilt and it had to be scrappy. I have 2 Christmas quilts that I lay at the foot of the bed in each of the kids' rooms - this one:


And this one:


And I love them both, but I wanted a Christmas cuddling quilt to snuggle under while watching Christmas movies and munching popcorn by the light of the tree. I collected fabrics for years:


I settled on this pattern from a 2013 Quiltmaker issue:


Cut and pieced blocks last year:


And finally handed it off to Jackie to work her magic. Cute Christmas lights on a green Cuddle fabric.

 I bought yards and yards of this fabric for $2.00 / yd years ago and pulled it out for the binding:

And I savored stitching the binding while visiting with DH in the evenings:


At  68 x 88 it's a good snuggle size.

My quilt holders wanted to stay incognito:

But antics ensued:

As they are wont to do around here:

Oh, to be young and nimble again!

No quilt holders were harmed in the production of this post. :)

This is my final finish for the year and it's already become a treasured part of the Christmas Season at the end of the dirt road where shenanigans, naps and quilts are always welcome:

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Finally - A Quilt Finish

Hold on to your hats. I've actually got a finished quilt to share today. It's been a while.

A few months ago our son mentioned that his girlfriend would really LOVE a quilt. It makes my heart happy that the kids enjoy and appreciate the quilts I make because I love making quilts for them. When they come to visit she often walks around admiring the ones I have out and it's always heartwarming to see everyone curled beneath them in the evenings. She loves turquoise and horses and when I stumbled upon this fabric, I knew it was the perfect fit.

I wanted something youthful and modern for the design and this pattern made the cut:


I chose a turquoise minky for the back and Jackie quilted this fun design across it with turquoise thread:


I enjoyed stitching on the binding in the evenings and it finished at 53 x 67:


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

A message from Skeet:

From all of us at the end of the dirt road - may the magic of Christmas fill your hearts and homes as we celebrate the birth of the Savior.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Dangerous Pecans

So, when I asked DH what he wanted me to make the most for Christmas, he said Praline Pecans. It has become a tradition that we buy a cone of them from a vender at the WRCA in Amarillo when we are there every November as we leave and head home. Through the years I've tried a few recipes here and there, but it was never THE ONE. Well, this year I tried these and Eureka!

We can't keep our hands out of them. I'm not going to link to the original recipe because when I try to go there, it tells me it's not a safe site and I don't want to send ya'll anywhere that's unsafe. 😉. And I saw them on Amazon: 2lb 6oz for $44.99! Holey Moley!

We have a Safari Club Christmas party to attend later this week. The meal is catered, but everyone brings something for the desert table. When I asked DH what I ought to bring, he just looked at me. We've been married long enough for me to know his answer was these Whiskey Praline Pecans.

Initially, I made one batch to try. They disappeared. I am taking a double batch to the party, but I can't make them until that day or there won't be any to take. I will triple the batch for us at Christmas. That will give us enough to share with the neighbors.

 Whiskey (Bourbon) Praline Pecans

1 lb pecan halves
1/4 C sugar + 1 Tbsp for later
1/4 C brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1 large egg white
2 Tbsp whiskey or bourbon
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp vanilla

*Preheat oven to 250°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 C sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, and salt. Set aside.
In a 2nd bowl, combine egg white, whiskey or bourbon, honey, and vanilla. Whisk together until frothy. Add pecans and stir to coat. Remove pecans with a slotted spoon and add to sugar mixture, leaving extra liquid behind. Stir until all pecans are well-coated. Sprinkle extra Tbsp of sugar over pecans and give a quick stir. Pour pecans onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 80 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Pecans will be sticky until they cool. Good luck restraining yourself from eating them all. In fact, I made 6 batches. 😲

I know someone will ask - you can use any whiskey or bourbon. You can't really taste it in the finished product, but I used Maker's 46 because that's what was in the cabinet. And no, the cayenne doesn't make them very spicy. At least not to us so I add just a smidge more than the original recipe.

DH suggested I try this with almonds so I did. Two thumbs up!

However, the pecans hold the coating better due to their shape. I guess you could say we're going a little nuts around here. 😊

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Chaos Free Zone Ahead

On Wednesday I went to the hospital for an outpatient procedure...nothing serious, but something my Doctor didn't see any sense in putting off. It is rare that DH or I find the need to spend time in a hospital and we are grateful daily for our health and never take it for granted. In fact, the anesthesiologist and nurses said they rarely see folks who don't take any medication or have any conditions or issues. I pray we can both keep it that way.

We were surprised when they handed us a buzzer that would go off when they were ready for us. And this screen was in the waiting room with the current status on patients for those in the waiting room.

 It reminded us of the ones at the airport, letting folks know what was happening behind the scenes.

Maybe that's the norm for every hospital, but we'd never seen it. We were impressed with the efficiency and kindness shown us throughout our visit. I convinced DH to run some errands and he replied, "I'll wait until they run you into the loading chute", LOL. Those of you who are ranch wives will understand the humor in his remark. I don't know if a day ever goes by that he doesn't have me laughing. He was back when I woke up and we were back at the ranch in time for him to make his feed run.

My nurse turned out to be a gal who is one of our dayworker's girlfriend so we had a good visit before they knocked me out.

I wore a pair of hand knitted socks sent to me by a generous blog reader a few years ago and every doctor and nurse that walked by commented on my beautiful, happy socks so thank you, Nancy...your socks were a hit. :)

All is well and I am leisurely enjoying the last few days leading up to Christmas. I'm doing some baking, finishing up a little wrapping, and working on a quilt binding today. The bedrooms are spruced up and ready for guests and the fridge is stocked. There's brisket, sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob for dinner today and plans for some reading, a walk, and a nap. I planned to have everything pulled together by this past Tuesday evening so I wouldn't feel rushed and I'm thinking I need to make this an annual goal because it's really a nice way to spend the week before Christmas. Hustle and bustle's not in my nature anyway. I like to be productive, but I don't do chaos and taking time to enjoy the sweet peace of the season is just what the doctor ordered. 😊

Gotta go tend to pecans in the oven...I'll be back tomorrow with the recipe...yum!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

On My Door

I've had the same Christmas wreath on my door for at least 20 years and I've been on the hunt for something new...something different. I didn't know what I wanted, but I'd know it when I saw it and I saw it HERE. This was it:

                                                sisal rope wrapped around metal wreath frame

In an earlier post I shared this photo when I was working on it:

I finished it

 and I love the way it turned out!

I want to make a smaller one next that I can use during the year. The original is a 12" wreath. I biggie sized my version.

My mom doesn't have a cell phone, but she was at a gathering with some friends and one of them texted me about something. I had told mom about the wreath so I sent a picture to her friend, J, so mom could see it and J asked me to make her one. Of course...but not THIS Christmas. LOL. my fingers need a break anyway - that's a lot of weaving!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Let it Be Christmas Everywhere

That's the title of an Alan Jackson song that went through my head as I sat down to write this post. Oh, December! I love it. I love the anticipation of Christmas. All the planning and baking and decorating. I love the celebration of Christ... the traditions... the memories. I love the quiet moments. I love having a houseful even though we all have to share one teeny bathroom. We get by pretty well.

My dad was in the Air Force and he was stationed in Denver with a good friend who had 8 kids... and one bathroom. He posted a morning schedule outside the bathroom. Everyone got 15 minutes. If you were late, you were out of luck. 😏 I'll bet those kids learned the importance of being on time!

I used to stress out about Christmas, but I've gotten wise in my old age. No stress allowed. However, like everyone else, the list of things to do is long. And for some unknown reason I decided I needed to paint a bedroom 2 weeks before Christmas - a bedroom with bad paneling no less. It's actually my sewing room that masquerades as a guestroom on occasion. Sigh. Who does that?!
A crazy person.

It took me two days because I had to use Kilz and then paint and we have 9' ceilings. I worked on two walls at a time and moved everything from one side of the room to the other. Done! Now if I can only remember where I stashed everything when I get back to sewing!

We had the Sale Barn Christmas Party Thursday night - always a fun gathering, but we didn't stay late as we were both plumb tuckered out. They had a really good band that played the best music and I remember a time when we would have danced until the last note was played. Thursday we lasted about 10 songs.

I finally got the tree decorated. It's not a magazine worthy tree, but it's filled with memories from the past 31 years and it brings me such joy as I unpack each ornament:

Today I am attempting to make a wreath I saw online:

And the house is filled with the smell of Christmas goodies baking in the oven. I asked DH and the kids to each choose their favorite because I was not making 20 different goodies this year. DH wanted praline pecans so I sorted through lots of recipes because I really didn't have one. I'll share them in a few days because I need to make more. Let me just say these are ADDICTIVE and I think they're going to become everyone's favorite.

My mom is arriving next week. She'll be here for 9 days so I'm working on a grocery list because I am hoping to avoid the grocery store over Christmas. She mailed a package of stocking stuffers because she said she wouldn't have room for them in her suitcase. My mom is very thoughtful...she even remembers Skeet

I'm also enjoying stitching binding on a Scrappy Christmas quilt as we watch the WNFR each evening although we have a hard time keeping our eyes open past 9.

I hope that you too are taking time for all the things that bring you joy as we close in on Christmas

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Snow Day Continued

I had too many photos from the snow this weekend to pile it all into one post so this is Snow Day: Part II:

Brought to you by Skeet:

Who's first order of business is to check in with the local feline supervisor

Our chicken yard was transformed:

Into an igloo!

The cats have taken up refuge

With the chickens:

And guineas

With 12 chickens and 6 guineas, the coop is full, but don't tell the cats because this is where I find them on a regular basis:

At least I think they're cats. Maybe they're just channeling their inner chicken. Better start laying eggs if they want to hang out in the nesting boxes.

Skeet secures the perimeter

Before taking time out for play

Rabbits beware

Hound dog at play

can you say HAPPY?

Skeet's got life figured out

No stress allowed

Life is good

Jump in with both feet


or in this case, 4 feet

I could learn a lot from this hound dog

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