Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Under the Needle: April

I had a difficult time staying focused this month. Much of it was spent in the kitchen, thus, this post is a mixed bag of simple quilts and fabrics that have found their way under the needle throughout April.

I bound this little baby quilt

And that's my one and only finish for April. I made the blocks and pieced this top using the last of my Farmers Market FQs

I've had the piece on the right for a long time and I was tickled when I unearthed it because it's perfect for the backing. However. it's not big enough so I'm working on a plan that will somehow incorporate these fabrics:

I cut and pieced this  simple little gingham quilt one afternoon:

I'm not sure the fabrics work together, but I tried several and this was the best of the lot so I just went with it. I really like the sweet simplicity of gingham so I pieced 3 others with fabric in my stash:

I also pieced my little farmhouse patchwork quilt:

Lots of quick, simple stitching in 10 and 15 minute increments. Sometimes, when life gets busy, I just need to feed fabric under the needle.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Donning That Apron and Wielding the Rolling Pin

Last week I only had 2 days that I needed to cook for a crew. This week, I'm back in the kitchen for 5 days. It's branding season. Our sale was on Tuesday, due to Easter, so I spent Monday planning my menu and making my list. Our boy wasn't able to be home for the weekend, but our girl and her 2 hooligans made it. Here she is introducing Harvey to the new kittens:

 We cooked yummy food

and enjoyed catching up before diving into branding mode.
DH and I put out hay for bulls last week:

The chicken coop got a good cleaning in preparation for the new tenants as I moved them from their brooder:

And DH enjoyed the company of our girl on his feed runs - she posted this:

I fed the crew breakfast on Tuesday morning and left dinner in the Crock-Pot along with fresh cornbread and dessert before I headed to the sale barn and then hit the grocery store with a long list. One of my errands was to have something laminated and I was shocked when I was asked to sign a waiver. A WAIVER? Yes:

You know, just on case I decide I want them to UN-laminate the item I had asked them to laminate. Alrighty then. I'm pretty sure I snorted with astonished laughter at the very kind attendant when he explained the need for my signature  for that reason. When I actually read the waiver, I saw it was more of release of liability should your document be damaged. Oh, for heaven's sake! I just wanted a pattern laminated.

Yesterday I made biscuits, gravy, eggs, sausage, and put out some fruit. Cleaned that up and made Salisbury steak with gravy, rolls, mashed potatoes, a corn casserole, salad, and caramel fudge brownies with ice cream for dessert. I even had time to mow the yard before the crew pulled in at 1. And before you think that was a lot, I'll tell you that I was in bed at 7 that night. My co-worker and I were talking about how we used to do all of that on a daily basis (and then some!) when we were raising our families and not even blink, but now...in our 50's...it's just a lot of work. 😀

I shouldn't have set down to tap out a post this morning because it's going to take some effort to trot back into the kitchen, however, duty calls:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A Little Leftover Pink and Brown Baby Quilt Finish

When I was a new quilter, I didn't have a clue about how to buy fabric. I was always afraid of running out. Now that makes me laugh. But when I found fabric I loved, I bought a lot. Find a collection I loved? On sale? Buy a yard of everything, plus one of those adorable things called jelly rolls. Made sense. Thus, after 10 years, I still have pieces of the original Bunny Hill line:

I have made this quilt:

And this one:


A boy version:

And another:


A few years ago, I pieced this one and only recently finished it:

I love the simplicity of hourglass quilts:

Jackie, once again added this perfect quilting:

I made it 40 x 45 in order to use that piece for the backing. I still love these fabrics.

They make such a sweet, soft baby quilt:

And the box still has fabric, but I have a goal to empty it. I am now more cognizant of how much I really ought to buy when something catches my eye.

However, I DO have a big bin of another line that I was smitten with when it came out years ago and I bought a yard of everything when it was $4.00/yard...and lots of yardage when I found some for $2.00/yd. And I still love it...even though I haven't used any of it yet. 😏

Monday, April 22, 2019

Cherry Salad

I have another treasured family recipe to share today. This is one of the first recipes I inherited from my MIL and SIL when DH and I were married. I married into a family of great cooks. I love new recipes, but it's hard to beat the ones that evoke wonderful memories of family gatherings over the years. I made this as an Easter dinner side dish yesterday and realized I hadn't posted it. It doesn't get much easier than this

Cherry Salad

1 can Cherry Pie Filling
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 8 oz container Cool Whip
1 can Fruit Cocktail, drained
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 bananas, sliced
mini marshmallows

Stir cherry pie filling and dry vanilla pudding in a large bowl  until well combined. Stir in Cool Whip, fruit cocktail, pineapple tidbits, bananas, and a handful of mini marshmallows. Refrigerate. Dig in!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Crock-Pot Pizza

It's been a while since I've shared a recipe, but we're veering into branding season around here and the topic of conversation is turning towards recipes. My coworker / friend and I are both addicted to quilting, but we are also both ranch wives that often find ourselves cooking for a crew - thus recipes are also frequent topics of conversation. On Monday, I  mentioned that I was planning on making this and she said, "Send that to me". I told her I'd post it here. So, here you go, C! 😊

I've been making this recipe for a coon's age. It's filling and inexpensive and it feeds a growing family well. I'm fairly certain it came from a Taste of Home issue. However, I haven't made it for a crew in years, but today I had to make dinner, bake bread, and dessert, and leave the house at 9:30 (after serving breakfast at 5:30) - drive 40 minutes to pick up the crew and their horses, and 40 minutes back, and have dinner ready. So a crock-pot meal helped me pull it all together. C - double this for your men, but I only had 6 today. Still, they cleaned out the Crock-Pot.

Crock-Pot Pizza

1 pkg (12 oz) egg noodles
2# ground beef
1 chopped onion
pepper - seasoned salt - granulated garlic (or fresh minced garlic)
28 oz spaghetti sauce
A handful of chopped mushrooms (the original recipe called for a can)
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
4 oz sliced pepperoni, halved
1 chopped green pepper
3 C shredded mozzarella
3 C shredded cheddar cheese
Red Pepper Flakes - I just keep this on the table and folks can shake to their content

*Cook noodles to al dente - drain and set aside. In large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, green pepper - season with pepper, seasoned salt, and granulated garlic. Stir in spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, pepperoni, and Italian seasoning. Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce, 1/3 of your noodles, 1/3 of both cheeses. Repeat layers twice. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through and cheese has melted.


I served it with rolls, green beans, and a salad. Apple Crisp and Ice cream for dessert.


DH and I have been cutting down on carbs around here, but that won't fly and all bets are off when I've got a crew of hardworking cowboys to feed. 😉

Saturday, April 13, 2019

On Ringo Lake Finish

A few years ago, when Bonnie Hunter announced her On Ringo Lake Mystery, I caved to temptation. I'm not brave enough to stray from her color pallet when it's a mystery quilt and these colors were out of my comfort zone, but I was intrigued by the combination. I began by digging through my stash and admittedly, I made a few purchases in order to add a little more variety, but future quilts will be better for it. :) And between the digging and shopping, I came up with these:


I wasn't able to keep up with the clues as they were posted, but I didn't worry about it - I just enjoyed stitching as time allowed and eventually, the blocks came together.


After the layout was revealed, I stumbled upon this image on Pinterest and I set off in a new direction. All I was able to find was the image and it said it was pieced by Forest Jacobsen, but there was no link.


 It required some un-stitching of units and some deconstruction of the image in order to bring it all to fruition. It also required a restructuring of the setting triangles - the top one is the original design and the bottom is the new one:


  I also ended up adding a brown piano key border and brown binding because I had leftover pieces that were already the perfect size and thought it might ground or tone down some of the coral and turquoise. I also just really like brown:


But the top sat for a good long time before it was quilted:


 I bought yards and yards of this print years ago for $2.00/yd and it finally found it's home on the back of this quilt:

Jackie used a turquoise thread and her quilting brought such great movement to Bonnie's clever design:

My version finishes at 86 x 100 and I take my hat off to Bonnie and her mad designing skills. I'm not generally one to dive into mystery quilts, but I always learn something new and it gives me a whole new appreciation for pattern design.

DH had just finished his feed run and pulled up as I was perched atop the ladder, clipping the quilt to the side of the barn. Skeet was wore out, but he jumped out of the feed truck and plopped down without any persuasion on my part. He's a lot like DH in that respect - neither will pose for a picture.

As you can tell, we're still waiting on rain...the ground is bare. Nary a green sprig to be seen, but the wind wasn't howling and that makes it a good day:

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Pitter-Patter of Little Feet

Chicken feet. 😁

Yes, I brought home a dozen little fluffy baby chicks last week and set them up in the bunkhouse in an empty stock tank:

They are growing fast as evidenced by their burgeoning feathers from one week to the next:


I'm currently getting 7 or 8 eggs from 10 chickens, but about every 3 years or so, I bring in new chicks, as the older girls will at some point reach the end of their egg-laying days. Don't worry - they still get to live out their days being pampered with the rest of the feathered flock, roaming the homestead in free-range fashion and digging through the horse pens in search of delectable morsels.

In the meantime, these little peeps:


Are being kept toasty warm under the heat lamp until they outgrow their nursery tub:


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A New Sewing Machine

Well, that's really misleading. It's not really new. It's the same machine I've been using for 10 years, but I took it in for a cleaning. I've always hauled my machine to town every 18 months or so and shelled out $75 for a tune-up. Or so I thought. Apparently the fellow who came to the local quilt shop and took in machines to clean a few times a year, wasn't as thorough as I thought because although I clean out under my bobbin, remove my needle plate and clean around that, and attach a tool to my vacuum cleaner to remove lint every couple of months, this is what I was gifted when I picked up my machine a few weeks ago. Truth be told, I'm kind of embarrassed to even show it to you:

When I made the trip to visit our boy a few weeks ago, I dropped off my sewing machine as I drove through a little mountain town with a wonderful quilt shop. I blogged about the shop here:

                                                           A Quilting Stitchuation.

 Jackie's husband is fastidious when he cleans machines and my old faithful sewing companion now purrs like a kitten. Honestly, it worked fine before and I didn't have any problems with it, but I had no idea how off everything was. My sewing machine was an investment a decade ago. I almost hyperventilated when I bought it because I don't spend that kind of money, but it's been a gem and I want it to last many more years and I try to take care of it.  I felt awful when I saw that zippered bag, but I'm sure glad Gene is so meticulous. It was $75 well spent and stitching can now commence because there are quilts to be made!

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