Thursday, February 29, 2024

Under the Needle: February

 These monthly stitching updates are rolling around awfully fast, but they kind of help keep me accountable and it's good to know I'm making progress...some months more than others and in between helping DH, my Monday (and occasional Saturdays for special sales) gig at the Sale Barn and cooking for extras, I managed to move some projects forward this month.

I finished binding my second blue-green quilt and posted about it here

I cut out, pieced, and made the binding for a quilt for our son and daughter-in-law and handed it off to Jackie and Sandy

The Gray Gingham Quilt has been pieced and I'm hoping to settle on a backing soon. I haven't found anything that clicked yet.

I made 256 red and white HSTs from the squares I received from the red fabric swap I participated in last month

And I'm patting myself on the back for getting them all trimmed!

I also made all the blocks (90) for the quilt I'm making for our son-in-law

These 2 gingham tops were pieced and in line to take to Jackie, but I needed to make binding. This pink Grunge from my stash was the perfect fit for both. I needed 11 strips and had just enough so binding was made.

And I'm currently binding this baby quilt.

Another month is in the books and I'm happy with the progress. We now break from our regularly scheduled program for...taxes. 😢

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Seascape Quilt

Today I'm sharing the second blue-green quilt in a series of three. Last summer, I started pulling fabrics for a blue-green quilt for a Christmas gift and when I started to take stock of those fabrics, I realized they were busting out of their bins so I went looking for projects that would whittle them down enough to make the lids fit. I figured if I was already pulling all these fabrics, it would be more efficient if I cut for multiple quilts. I posted more about the origins of these quilts HERE

I just finished the first quilt last month and I posted about it HERE

This one is made of framed square blocks. I didn't use a pattern, just started with a 5" center square and framed them with 2 1/2" strips.


 I made 110 blocks and set them 10 x 11.

It looks washed out against the blue tin, but that's the only place I've got  to hang a quilt this size. At 85" x 94" it'll be a good picnic size. It'll also fit nicely on one of the beds in a guestroom, but I generally just keep a cream spread on the guest beds and lay a folded quilt across the foot of the bed. 

Jackie and Sandy quilted a pretty design called Bora Bora across it. 

I backed it with this fun wide fabric I found online

 and pulled this teal green from my stash for the binding.

I love the way these blues and greens play together

There is nothing blue or green in our home, but goodness, I had so much fun sewing with these! And I really like this simple design - I think it shows off the fabrics so nicely. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Green Chile, Bacon, Gouda Mac & Cheese

 Who doesn't love mac and cheese?! It's a comfort food and I fixed my share when we were raising chiddlers, but I really haven't made it in years. I don't know why, but I'm guessing it's because we've cut back on carbs and starches. But last year our girl shared this recipe with us and I'm telling's a game changer! 

Green Chile, Bacon, Gouda Mac & Cheese

2 1/4 C dry macaroni

1/2 C butter

1/2 C flour

3/4 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika

2 C milk

8 oz Smoked Gouda, grated

4 oz Sharp Cheddar, grated

4 strips cooked, chopped bacon

2 chopped roasted green chiles (or a 4 oz can or a couple of big spoonfuls from a jar of 505 green chile))

3 Tbsp butter

1 C panko breadcrumbs

*Pre-heat oven to 350°. Cook macaroni - drain. While pasta is cooking, combine flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, mustard, paprika in a small bowl. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour mixture and cook for a minute or so. Gradually whisk in milk - whisking constantly. Once all the milk is added, continue to whisk for 3-4 minutes. until the sauce thickens. Add cheese (reserve some to sprinkle on top) and turn off heat, stirring to combine. Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce. Stir in the chopped bacon and green chile. Pour it all into a greased casserole dish. Top with additional cheese. Melt 3 Tbsp of butter and mix in breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over pasta. Bake 20-30 minutes or until breadcrumbs begin to brown. Enjoy! 

Monday, February 19, 2024

Just a Hodge Podge of Odds and Ends

 I love writing my little posts here, and it's hard to believe I've been writing for over 16 years. I know so many folks have moved over to other social media platforms, but I'm glad I've continued here. I feel like this just fits for me. Alas, some times I struggle to get things written to post and this space is neglected. 

All is well here, we've just been filling our days and at the end of the day, I am simply too tired to compile a coherent post. Last weekend we made 4 trips to town in two days for the Safari Club Banquet. 

DH is on the board and we both help set up, take down, and work the banquet. All 500 tickets are always sold out. It's such a great group of folks, but DH and I are peopled-out by the time all is said and done.

Then we butchered a beef yesterday.   


It was 19° when we stepped out in the morning and we about froze. 

I'll share a little side story here that I remembered when I was freezing this morning.

I was on the meat judging team when I was in college and we had to drive 3 hours one way every Saturday morning to the locker plant to practice. Then we spent 3 or 4 hours in aforementioned locker plant judging carcasses and taking notes so that we could write up sets of reasons and present them to our coach. Needless to say, we were all frozen by the time we emerged and we all traipsed to the Wendy's across the way for bowls of hot chili in an attempt to thaw out, before piling back into the van for the return trip. I'm not a big chili fan and I'm pretty sure those Saturday excursions are to blame. 😉

We spent most of Sunday cutting and wrapping meat. It wore us out, but our freezer is full. By the time we were finished, we were sick of meat and we were too tired to cook any. Pictured below is just a small portion of the roasts waiting for me to wrap them in freezer paper.

Our weather is just odd this winter. Our high was 34° on Saturday and in a  few days it will be 80° February!

It's been a horribly dry winter with just a few days of hard frost

Not much sewing taking place these days, but I did manage to finish binding a quilt Saturday evening so I'll have one to share as soon as I can get photos taken.

Today's going to be another long day at the sale barn. Cattle prices are through the roof and I guess everyone is taking advantage of that because there are a lot of cattle selling each week. They're calling for 1900 head today. That's a lot for this time of the year. My job's not rocket science, but with the exception of lunch and a potty break or two, it's non-stop and we're looking at 9 or 10 hours tomorrow. If you've ever been to a sale barn, you know how fast-paced it is. I really like my job, but I'm glad it's just one day a week because at my age, I'm wiped out at the end of the day. But life is good and I have so much to be thankful for each day!

Friday, February 9, 2024

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

 The county is out blading our road this week and through the years it's become a tradition for them to receive a Ziploc bag of cookies. I share a lot of cookie recipes here because, well, I give a lot of cookies. And I realized I hadn't shared my plain old chocolate chip cookie recipe. I've made a lot of chocolate chip cookies through the years, but I've only had this particular recipe for about 5 years. My boss' step-mom brought these by the sale barn one Fall morning during the county fair and I knew, needed to add these to my cookie rotation. The original recipe calls for shortening, but I changed out half of the shortening for butter. I'm sure you could omit the shortening completely, but I think it gives these cookies their perfect texture. I also use dark chocolate chips and if you really want to put them over the top, you can sprinkle a little sea salt on top before baking. 

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

7 Tbsp shortening

7 Tbsp  butter, softened

1/2 C sugar

1 C brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 1/4 C flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

8 oz chocolate chips

*Cream together shortening, butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir in 2 eggs and beat well. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in dark chocolate chips. Bake for about 12 minutes at 350°.

This doesn't make a very big batch so doubling the recipe is recommended unless you only need 3 or 4 dozen cookies. Nothing beats a fresh, home-baked cookie, but I like to keep some stashed in the deep freeze for those cookie emergencies. 😉

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