Saturday, March 30, 2024

Under the Needle: March

I'm showing my age when I fuss about time passing so quickly. I read a line in the book I'm currently reading that said, "She woke up feeling 6 days older than dirt" and it made me laugh, but here we are again at the end of another month. Here's a recap of  projects I worked on this month. Let's begin with new projects because although I have no business beginning new projects, they always manage to find their way in. I've been trying to sort through and reorganize my fabric this year. I have a healthy stash (code word for A LOT) and I love shopping from it when I'm contemplating my next project. 

 I will often begin with an inspiration fabric and then pull lots of coordinates from that stash. It's one of my favorite parts of the process. That's what I did this month with a favorite print that sparked a new project. I made 65 16-patch blocks and 7 star blocks this month and stitched them into a top:

I did that again when I pulled more fabric for this project which I still haven't decided on. For now, it's just a pile of fabric that wants to be a quilt

I also cut and pieced the top for a "Corn" quilt for our granddaughter and dropped it off to be quilted. It was on my list of quilts to make this year so it gets a pass

I pieced the top (I made the blocks in February) and the binding for this quilt that I am making for our son-in-law. I still need to piece the backing.


I picked up 2 quilts from Jackie and Sandy the other day. I stitched the binding to the front of both of them so they will be my binding projects for April:

This month I finished binding this Lily and Will baby quilt that I posted about here

And I have a second bonus finish this month with this Buckaroo Quilt that I shared here other day

 I'm trying to stay focused on my 2024 list and this month I felt like progress was made. Much of April and May will find me busy elsewhere so I figured I'd still be moving projects forward if I had tops ready to hand off to Sandy for quilting.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Buckaroo Quilt

 I started planning this quilt back in May 2018. I started with this group of fabrics that I had bought online a few years earlier

 I pivoted to make this quilt {Buckaroo Cross} with them in 2020 and finished it first.

and I then pulled other fabrics in from my stash to scrap this 2nd quilt up a bit. I used the 4 1/2" Accuquilt triangle die in order to make the best use of my fabrics

The secret to triangle quilts is starch...and lots of it, but they really are simple to piece

Once I had it pieced, it sat around and hung out in the closet for almost 6 years for no particular reason other than I was busy making other quilts, but I finally picked up some Minky and handed it off to Jackie and Sandy last November. Sandy quilted a pattern called Happy Times across it 

and I pulled a brown from my stash for the binding

At 51" x 61" it's not very big

 but I wanted to have something on hand to give in case of an illness. It's come up before and a smaller quilt seems to be better suited for traveling and for doctor appointments or treatments or resting in a recliner. I hope it's never needed for that though and for the time being it can just hang around here

Initially, I was leaning towards a turquoise Minky, but I wanted to keep it more neutral in case I needed a more masculine quilt. 

It took a while, but I'm tickled to have this one finished and I love how it turned out. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

Fishing for a Design

 I've been trying hard to stay focused on my 2024 quilt list, but new projects can be quite bossy. The other day I was sorting through projects on hangers...they all needed something...either a backing or a border or a binding or they were waiting to be quilted. These two fabrics were hanging together

They are from 2 different companies and I've had them for at least 10 years, probably longer. I had partially pieced a row quilt and machine embroidered some fish blocks, thinking I would use the fish fabric for a backing, but the embroidered blocks were a mess. If I recall, I had just started embroidering and I hadn't used the correct stabilizer and they were terribly wrinkled so I tossed them and the pieced rows.

Thankfully, I didn't toss these two fabrics because I still think there is a quilt in there somewhere so I regrouped and dove into my stash

I have ideas, but no plan as of yet, so I'm just going to throw a line in and see what bites. Hopefully it won't be another 10 years. 😂

Friday, March 22, 2024

C is for Cookie

 I bake a lot of cookies. They're so portable and it's easy for DH to grab a few when he walks in to fill his coffee tumbler before heading back out to fix fence, or check waters, or feed cows, or gather a pasture. When the chiddlers were still home, they would often wander in from their dirt road capers, barn expeditions, and pasture explorations in need of portable edibles in order to continue their adventures because one simply cannot capture cattle rustlers, navigate a pirate ship across the desert, or conquer the world on an empty stomach. Cookies played an important part in fueling their childhood between meals.

I shared in an earlier post that it also seems a lot of people end up at the end of our dirt road.  County road maintainers, UPS and Fed-ex drivers, brand inspectors, cow buyers, neighboring ranchers, vets, feed and hay delivery drivers, propane and fuel delivery men, the crew when we work and people who are lost or who DH rescues when they have tire trouble on the side of the road and a baggy of cookies is my way wishing them a nice day. It didn't start out that way, but it has taken on a life of it's own. It's gone from DH telling me, "You don't have to do that", to "Hey, I noticed the county parked their equipment at the end of the road..." ie: I bet they'd appreciate cookies. 😉

Through the years, I've shared a lot of them here and I thought it may be helpful to write a post with links to all the cookie recipes we love that I've posted through the years. I'll update this post as I share more because yes, there are more. 😊

 1.Cowboy Cookies  (these are kind of my signature cookie and the first one I shared way back in 2007)

2. Gingersnaps

3. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

4. Special K Cookies

5. Lemon Cowboy Cookies

9. Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

10. M & M Cookies

11. Loaded Butterscotch Toffee Pecan Cookies

12. Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

13. Texas Ranger Cookies

14. Gingerbread Cowboys

15. Oatmeal Scotchies

16. Snickerdoodles

17. Dirt Road Granola Bars

P.S. We like a cookie with a tender crunch. Is that a contradiction in terms? We like a little crunch when we bite into it, but then it's got a tender texture after the crunch. So your baking time will depend on how soft or crunchy you like your cookie. I just keep an eye on them. Ovens vary so much so you'll just have to experiment to get the right consistency. I've baked so many cookies over the years that I don't pay much attention to the minutes in the oven and I just take them out when they look right. DH usually tells me they're not done enough and I still try to convince him that they will be just right once they cool off, but a warm cookie is pretty hard to resist.

I've often had requests for printing capabilities and I'm sorry - I don't know how to add that. This is just a simple little blog written by a non-tech ranch wife. I do like that option though as I use it when I discover new recipes online. On the sunny side - there are no ads and I'm not trying to sell you anything. I'm simply trying to spread the cookie love. 😉

Friday, March 15, 2024

New Project

 Did I need a new project? Of course not! But last week as I spent some time in my sewing room, sorting and putting away piles, I ran across yardage of this fabric. It's called Indian Summer.

I bought it back in 2015 at our local quilt shop. I made a quilt with it that I shared here: Indian Summer . I still love this print today as much as I did when I first saw it. I still had over 3 yards of it and when I picked it up last week,  I thought, "I want to sew with this right now." and yes, I should have been tending to other things, but I was in the mood for some mindless sewing and I thought about a St. Louis 16-patch. I started pulling coordinating fabrics and cutting immediately and sewed whenever I could sneak in a few stitches

It's probably going to look checkerboard -y since I'm using that floral in every block, but I want this quilt to be about that fabric.  I've made 12 blocks.

Then, for some reason I thought about scattering a few stars across it using this design

But this makes a 10 1/2" block and I needed an 8 1/2" one so I did a little math and made a block

The block turned out just a hair too small and the background was too stark for the look I was after so I rummaged around some more and uncovered a handful of leftover squares that were deleted from a previous project

OK...smaller star, like the first one, but I like this background

I still wish I had a whole bolt of that print. I'll even admit to having looked online for more. 😂I'm not sure how many blocks I'll make, but they are coming together and I think I like where this is going

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Bed & Breakfast at the End of the Dirt Road

 No, I am not opening up a B&B, but some days it sure does feel like it. LOL. On Sunday DH's brother and his wife drove through and stayed the night. With the time change, we're still a little discombobulated. Doesn't seem like an hour should make that much of a difference, but  we're finding that change is more difficult as we get older. 

Since we eat our big meal at noon, we don't eat at night, but everyone else does so I needed to come up with something. We had another long day at the Sale Barn scheduled for Monday and DH had a full day on the books so we both needed to be out the door. I needed something filling and fast so I made a batch of Taco Soup and grated a big container of cheddar cheese on Sunday, which was perfect because then DH's brother-in-law drove through and stayed on Monday night. 

I was still at work and the Taco Soup is easy for the boys to spoon up and  heat. I made a Summer Berry Pie on Monday morning before I left for the sale barn  that worked well for dessert both days too.

And I made breakfast pizza on Monday morning knowing that we could pull the leftovers out and warm them up for Tuesday's breakfast. We like yogurt and fruit too so I always try to keep it on hand.

The hardest part was changing bedding because I was at work when DH's brother left and I was still at work when his brother-in-law came in. Thankfully, we have two rooms with beds, but one is my sewing room so I picked up, washed bedding, and put things away on Saturday. Sunday's sleepers could have one room and Monday's sleeper could have the other. DH's sister is a quilter so I figured her husband wouldn't mind sleeping with a sewing machine and fabric. 😉

I texted our girl on Saturday: Is this Jesus' way of telling me I need to open a B&B?

Her immediate response was: It's Jesus' way of telling you to move to Oklahoma so everyone will leave you alone...everyone except us anyway.


So Tuesday I washed bedding and towels and told DH the Inn was closed. And then the phone rang..."Hey, we're driving through..."😂

Monday, March 11, 2024

Lilly and Will Row Quilt

This Lilly and Will from Bunny Hill fabrics was one of the first lines I bought when I started making quilts which was in 2007 so these fabrics are well-aged. I don't even remember what I bought, but apparently is was a lot because I have made a lot of quilts with it. I really like the combination of pink and brown. The collection also included a blue and brown colorway that I used to make 2 baby boy quilts, but I still had pink leftovers and this little row quilt is the latest in my Lilly and Will series. I've always liked row quilts and just tried to work with what I had left

I pieced this probably 7 or 8 years ago, but only recently handed it off to Jackie and apparently I didn't take any in-progress photos. 

This soft, muted pink Minky is a great match for this shade of pink


and I chose the coordinating dot for the binding

The name of the quilting design escapes me, but Jacque and Sandy always  do a beautiful job. This little quilt finishes at 50" x 56"

The trees are just beginning to leaf out with the promise of Spring 

It makes me laugh that I felt the need to buy so much when I first started quilting and I think I've made 5 or 6 quilts using this fabric, but I still love it and hopefully the quilts are loved as well

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