Sunday, May 31, 2020

Under the Needle: May

I'm still in Texas, but I wrote this post ahead of time before I knew I'd be away so I'm popping it in here just to keep things from snowballing.

I spent most of May either in the kitchen or outside or waging war on the Miller moths or in Texas so I didn't accomplish much in my sewing room. Oh, and I blogged a lot. 😄 Let's just say that May was a busy month everywhere with the exception of in the sewing room.

 I hand stitched the binding onto my Bloom Where You Are Planted Quilt

I did manage to lay out another QOV at some point, and I webbed it together after making a few changes. I made the HSTs a few years ago and they've been marinating in a bin, waiting their turn:

I also made the binding for another patriotic quilt I got back from Jackie and I am hand stitching the binding onto it:

That wraps up a pretty quiet May as far as quilting is concerned. I'm making a list for June. We'll see if that helps. 😉

Friday, May 29, 2020

Kitchen Disasters

Today's post is brought to you courtesy of Kevin the Quilter who's reply to a comment on a post sparked this subject. He asked me if I've ever cooked anything not worthy of eating or appetizing and I replied with this little story... I couldn't cook a lick when we were married. In fact, I made DH chicken fried steak one date night when we were in college. When he took his plate to the sink to rinse it after supper, he asked, "What's this in the sink"? It was a colander with the gravy lumps. 😂😂😂 He married me anyway. When I asked him about it one day, he replied, "You were smart. I knew you'd figure it out." 😂

Well, it took a while - and along the way there were a few more kitchen mishaps.

*chocolate chip cookies where the chocolate chips were taller than the cookie.

* rolls that were inedible, thrown out and are probably still sitting on the side of a mountain across the fence from the house we lived in 25 years ago.

*The pound cake that went rogue even though I've made it at least 100 times. And yes, that's what it looked like when I took it out of the oven

 I'm still perplexed as to what took place and no, I didn't throw the pan out. I saved it. That pan evokes a lot of pound cake memories. LOL. What does that say about me that I am emotionally attached to a bundt pan? Don't answer that.

*The time I accidentally put cornstarch in the biscuits instead of baking powder. Yes, I know the difference.

*The time I put applesauce out for the crew instead of the salsa when I made enchiladas. In my defense, I was running a high fever and a little delirious.


I have to thank DH for sticking with me. His mom is a really good cook. My mom is a really good cook. In fact one of the pieces of advice she gave me was, "You need to feed your husband." She worked 2 jobs, but always had a homecooked meal on the table when Daddy came home from work at 5:30. Apparently I took that one to heart, but I have to laugh because in high school I beseeched the principal to let me out of home-ec and let me take shop and Ag "because I was never going to need those other skills". The good Lord must have had a good chuckle during that conversation because He knew I'd need both. 😄

Thursday, May 28, 2020


First off, my sincerest apologies for not replying back to your recent comments on previous posts. I'm away from home and have yet to catch up.

A week ago Tuesday, my mom called and said she was having a cyst removed from her hip on Thursday. Of course she did not want me to come down, but of course I did. I drove down on Wednesday, and took her to her appointment on Thursday. Of course, they did not let me go in with her either so I sat out in the car and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I was really, really, really, wishing for some of that fresh, arid, New Mexico desert air because 2 1/2 hours in 98° / 90% humidity was not fun. And yes, I know we were not there for fun. I can pray just as well in 90% humidity as well as I can in 15%. I actually got a phone call from a friend as I waited and she was sitting in the parking lot of an emergency room in another part of Texas waiting on her husband. Yes, he's fine - not my story to tell, but she and I enjoyed a good visit. She is good for the soul.

They did not remove the cyst. They drained it and took biopsies and we sat a few days and waited for results. In the meantime, I did what I could for her, things that mattered to her, and we made the first move towards getting her into an independent/ assisted living facility. She has been rattling around in a 4000 sq ft home long enough. Daddy's been gone for almost 11 years. The facility won't be open until August and then there is a 3 month window for moving, but there will be much to tackle between now and then and I'm not even sure if she'll be ready to make the move at that time. I am letting her make the decisions...up to a point. 😉 Not easy with someone who has been a strong-willed, independent, business woman for her entire life. It has been a running joke in our family that she and Daddy are not entirely sure how I could be their child.

I also got her set up with a medical alert device as she fell in her closet while I was there and although she has framily (friends that are like family) in spades, I just felt like this was a smart addition. She's so weak and I spent the week being bossy and making her eat and drink. She said everything tastes like hay and I told her to channel her inner horse. Horses LOVE hay. 😄 But maybe I'm not a good cook after all.

I am learning how to roll her hair with vintage rollers and I jokingly told told her it was time to retire the rollers:

And talk about vintage! This is the hair dryer she sits under. I felt like I had been teleported back into the 50's and I wasn't even born then. LOL

In all honesty, though, she is having to deal with enough changes right now and I am not going to ask her to make any others. I think independence is important and I want her to be able to be in control of as much as she feels comfortable with.

I had driven through Fredricksburg on my way to my mom's and I stopped to buy some of their fresh peaches from a roadside stand. It's a good year for peaches! Yum! I bought enough to share with the neighbors and one of them brought over peach cobbler that night, still warm from the oven! She's a peach! 😄 She also walks 2-3 miles every morning and I have a standing invitation to join her. When mom was settled, I took her up on her offer and enjoyed some wonderful fellowship. with this dear lady.

I know my mom is not doing well because NEVER has anyone eaten anywhere in her home except for at the table and I curled up in a chair in her bedroom the next morning and visited with her as I ate a bowl of peaches with ice cream...and I didn't get in trouble!

I am staying until biopsy results came back and I take her back to see her doctor.

And of course I took a quilt to bind while I was there

Mom and daddy have this lovely sun room and it's my favorite room in the house:

I felt badly leaving DH to fly solo in the midst of the Great Moth Invasion, but it simply could not be helped. He and Skeet are holding down the fort.

I imagine trips to Texas will become more frequent for me. I do wish we were closer, but I see changes coming down the pike. I would absolutely move my mom in with us, but she would not do well here and it's 2 1/2 hours to a decent medical facility. We only have 1 bathroom and it's not very user friendly for someone in her condition and her entire community is in Texas. My mom is very social and community is her only hobby. She doesn't read (except for the daily paper), work puzzles, garden, or sew and I don't think I can convince her to pick up quilting. 😉

So, in closing, we've been having all sorts of fun. Mom doesn't have much of a sense of humor, but I'm laughing and praying my way through this for both of us and Jesus is a constant source of strength and comfort.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

This is a pubic service announcement. Stop what you're doing and make this cake. I don't know how I made it this far without this cake in my life. I made this for the crew last Friday and they LOVED it and now you can love it too! You're welcome. 😄

Tres Leches is a popular cake here in New Mexico. It translates to 'three milks' and is a moist cake that incorporates 3 different types of milk. I recently ran across this chocolate version on Pinterest and when I made it the angels sang.

My boys are such good sports and excellent guinea pigs. I always tell them they need to be completely honest about the food I serve up. If they don't care for it, yet tell me they love it, they will get it again. So I am counting on them to keep me dishing up food they love.

I love to bake, but rarely do so these days as DH and I are trying to make healthier choices in our...ummm...wiser years. 😄 DH grew up with dessert. My MIL ALWAYS had dessert...every day, she still does, and for 30 years, I did too. And now when I cook for the crew, it all tastes especially extravagant. Cooking for them allows me to indulge my love for baking.

Most folks make the original Tres Leches cake the night before in order for everything to soak in completely. I made this at 4 a.m and served it at 1 p.m. and it was perfect. I think it would tend to get pretty soggy after a day or two, but I wouldn't know. There was just a sliver leftover and I had that for breakfast! 😋

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

1 3/4 C flour
1 3/4 C sugar
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C buttermilk
1/2 C canola oil (I used vegetable oil because that's what I had)
2 large eggs - at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 C freshly brewed, strong, hot coffee

Milk Glaze
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 C 1/2 n 1/2
3/4 C evaporated milk
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

Whipped Cream Topping
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa
3 C very cold heavy cream (whipping cream)

*Preheat oven to 350*. Spray 9" x 13" pan with baking spray. In a bowl put flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt - mix well. In a 2nd bowl (you can use a stand mixer for this, but I don't have one and I just used a handheld mixer), mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla well. Slowly add in the dry mix with mixer on low. Remember: slow and low or you will find yourself in a cocoa infused cloud(ask me how I know). Once that is well mixed, add the coffee - continue mixing until well combined. The batter will be very thin. Pour batter into baking pan and bake for about 35 minutes or until center of cake springs back when you touch it. While the cake is still warm, poke holes all over with a fork.

Make the glaze:
Whisk sweetened condensed milk, half-n-half, evaporated milk, and 3 Tbsp cocoa together in a bowl. It may take a little while to incorporate the cocoa. Slowly pour the glaze evenly over the warm cake. Allow cake to cool completely. I just stuck it in the fridge.

Make the Whipped Cream Topping:
Stick a bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes. You want the bowl to be cold to facilitate the whipping properties of your heavy cream. LOL. Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa together in a small bowl. Beat the cold heavy cream in the cold bowl for 1 minute. Add 1/2 of the sugar/cocoa mixture. Beat until it is completely mixed in, then add the remaining sugar/cocoa mixture. Continue to beat until soft-stiff peaks form. Spread on cooled cake. I used a microplane to grate a few chocolate chips across the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve...if you sneak a bite before that, I promise not to tell.


Friday, May 22, 2020

Bloom Where You Are Planted Quilt

A few years ago (8 is a few years, isn't it?)  I wrote a post entitled just that

Bloom Where You Are Planted

It's one of my favorite sayings and it sums up much of my outlook on life. I get discouraged and worried about things just like ya'll, but I really do look for the blessings in each day. Yes, some days that's easier than others, but I know that God orchestrates the moments of our lives and that helps me navigate through the rough ones.

Here in the desert, it's a challenge to garden. I know it can be done if you have money to do so, but my gardening budget is pretty tight. Or maybe it's just me that's tight. I don't like to spend money. 😄
All of those plants at the nursery are always tempting but my absolute favorite blooming thing is wildflowers. A field of chaotic blooms just makes my heart sing. Back in the day, when we were still in college, DH would drive out to Arizona and Nevada and cowboy during the summer to earn money for living expenses for the next semester. Those were long summers. No cell phones back then and definitely no phones where he worked so we wrote good old fashioned letters (yes, I kept them) and we had one phone call when he went to town over the 4th of July.When he came back to school in the Fall, he brought me a bouquet of wildflowers wrapped in a damp paper towel. Thus began my love of wildflowers. And occassionally, through the years, I still receive them. And what mama doesn't delight in the wilted offerings from the chubby little hands of her exhuberant children when they come bounding in breathless from their latest adventure. The prettiest flowers ever!

So, wildflowers bring me joy and at times we have such pretty ones dancing across the pastures:

I love finding them tucked in unexpected places:

I was supposed to be spraying Cockleburs on this day, but I was sidetracked by the blooming Thistles and entranced by the winged community tending to business:

I decided a long time ago that I wanted to make a wildflower quilt and it took me a long time to gather fabrics, I'd just pick up a piece here and there and I'd cut a few squares from each one. I just wanted a simple patchwork quilt. This quilt has been a long time coming. I started it in 2016 and as I stitched the squares together, I didn't pay any attention to fabric placement. I just added prints that made me smile:

The blue may look like it doesn't belong, but I had to include Bluebonnets

By the time I felt like it was finished, it was 100 x 100:

And I just let the flowers bloom where they were planted:

At one point I found this gingham backing and I thought it was perfect:

It took me a while to find a binding, but I found this green print at One Quilt Place in Fredricksburg and it plays well with all the others so it made the cut:


Jackie quilted this pretty floral across it using a light sage thread that is perfect:

I took some of these  shots when I drove through the Texas Hill Country in February before it was bound.

It took me a month to bind it and then I wrestled with getting a full shot of it. The barn is the only spot tall enough.

This might be my favorite quilt yet!

There's a Bird of Paradise out in the chicken yard that I did not plant that blooms magnificently every year:

I never water it, yet it flourishes in the dry, arid desert...where it was planted

It's a good reminder for me to remember to bloom where I am planted and to always remember that God is the master gardener.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

In the Round Pen

Last Fall we bought this sweet little stud colt.

His name is Shooter's Little Joe. DH has 6 personal horses right now, plus 4 ranch horses. He's hoping to buy a colt each year in order to keep a good string of horses under him.

There's a lot of work that goes into making a good ranch horse. And let me just say that I am no horseman. I took a colt starting class in college and that is the extent of my colt education. I felt so sorry for that colt being paired with a city girl like me who didn't know a thing. That colt taught me a whole lot more than I ever taught him. The rest is just 33 years of observation and conversation with a man who does this well.

We had this little colt cut a few months ago and DH started working with him a few weeks ago. We bought him at the Clovis Horse Sale and he was already halter broke.

We used to keep mares and a stud horse here and raised horses, but we no longer do so.

Kind of miss those little babies!

I love watching DH work with horses:

Our new colt is gentle and easy to work:

DH starts with a lot of ground work:


These photos were taken on various days so they are not in order. DH does a lot of ground work before the colt is ever saddled. Lots of flag work in order to get him used to unusual and varied movement and sound:

 After a firm foundation, he's introduced to the saddle. More ground work and one little tiny fit:

 He spends time on another horse, getting the colt used to someone and something being above him

DH never takes his eye off of Shooter, reading his reactions and giving and taking cues

Getting him used to being saddled daily:

I think this was his first ride

No pictures as I am in the middle of the round pen, running the flag to help move Shooter. He gives Shooter time to explore before and after:

Once DH decides he's ready, Shooter is introduced to lots of miles of pasture and his round pen training will be concluded:


After each session, he gets a welcome shower


A nicker of delight:

DH thinks he's going to make a good little horse. He's sweet and gentle,and takes instruction easily, although DH says he's like a pet coon and wants to explore everything. LOL. A good way to close out a morning's work:

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