Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Dance!

I finished the little black and white and red quilt last night!

 The chickens have viewed and approved it.

Her name (the roommate) is Cass, and I so hope she likes it.

Because I really do. 

And would you look at the plum bushes!!!  Whoooooooo......I can hardly wait.  Yes, I am counting my plums before they're here, and my mouth is watering.

Bruno and Chloe have pronounced it a lovely day, and there is plenty of activity in the chicken yard as well.  Spring is here.
So much to do outside, but I need to go first and get this quilt in the mail.

Hope your day is just simply wonderful!

Hugs and kisses,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lots of Stuff

I saw this neat video on another blog this morning while I was cruising around trying to return to consciousness.  It perfectly illustrates the fun that is quilting.  Sorry, I have no idea where I saw it.  I went back to try to figure it out, but no go.

I thought I would share with you a simple recipe I made for lunch yesterday.  I now have more of this in the freezer, too, so another meal-in-waiting, always a good thing.

Santa Fe Soup

1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 - 14.5 ounce can chili-ready tomatoes
1 - 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 - 14.5 ounce tomato can filled with water
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen pinto beans

Brown ground beef. Add both cans of tomatoes and the can of water, corn and pinto beans. Simmer until nice and hot.

Into each individual serving bowl put:

                                                         tortilla chips
shredded lettuce
shredded cheddar cheese

Ladle soup on top of that, then add a dollop of sour cream.

And for dessert


3/4 cup cocoa
2/3 cup cooking oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup self-rising flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking pan, 13 X 9 X 2 inches.

Mix all ingredients together and spread in pan. Bake for 30 minutes,
or until brownies start to pull away from sides of pan. Do not overbake.

I frosted ours with buttercream frosting, which is just 1/2 cup butter, creamed; to which you add 3/4 cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3 cups sifted confectioners sugar, and then a couple of teaspoons milk until desired consistency.  Beat with mixer until nice and fluffy and spread on top.
(You can see that I spread that frosting on top while the brownies were still warm, but it's good that way!)  (Especially if you put some vanilla ice cream on top.)  (I know.)

Also yesterday I got this awesome book in the mail.  I was so fortunate to win this on Millie's blog.  Thank you so much Millie and Kim at Magnolia Bay Quilts.  This  is such a good book.  I totally read the whole thing yesterday.  And would you look at that quilting!  My only problem is deciding which quilt I want to make first.  Seriously.

And.......I finished this quilt top last night.  I love how the sun shining through it makes it look almost like stained glass.

Hope you're having a wonderful day!  'Cause you know I love you.

Hugs and kisses,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coffee with the Chickens

I had my coffee outside with the chickens this morning.  I didn't give  them any of my coffe, you understand.  They were just there.

So was Chloe.  She is not allowed outside except when one of us is right there.

She's a little too fond of "the wild".

Bruno keeps a close watch on everything.

He's such a good boy!  He's a good chicken-herder, too.  LOL  He really does a great job of putting them back into their pen. 

And yes, Susan, I'm afraid those are the ginger lilies, yet again.  At least they were not as overgrown as last year, but that's a lot of clean up waiting to be done.  If you click on the picture you should be able to enlarge it and if you look carefully - you'll see Chloe near the center and Bruno's nose far right.

I have an old metal dog crate in the chicken yard onto which I have piled some of the leaves and pine needles and litter from the chicken yard.  There is also a lot of it inside the crate.  The chickens like this since now they can be "King (or Queen as the case may be) of the Hill".    There are six of them on it right now looking toward my window.  And Ray is crowing.  Endlessly amusing.  AND.... they've started laying.  We've gathered a grand total of five eggs over the past few days!  Yippee!

And I got more done on the latest quilt top last night.  All of it except that bottom row is sewn together.  I really need a bigger design wall.  There's just no place to put one.  Oh, well.

It is overcast here right now with a wonderful breeze.  I LOVE this time of year.

I hope you are having a beautiful day where you are, too!

Hugs and kisses,


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Don't Know About You

But these guys crack me up.

I had sort of an idea last night, so I started cutting and playing around with the cut squares and strips of mottled black fabric.

Then tonight there was lots of assembly line sewing of strips to squares,

and pressing of all those pieces.

And now my idea is starting to come together.  This one will be for our younger daughter's roommate.  She wants a black and red quilt, so this is what I've come up with for her.

We are still having some wonderful weather, and it should have moved me outside to work, but so far it has not.  I'm still trying to give my foot plenty of time to heal completely.  I've been going and doing quite a bit and I'm feeling it.  I've got errands that have to be run tomorrow, too.

My thoughts and prayers today have been with those in New Zealand.  And a dear friend whose granddaughter is recovering from an automobile accident.  My Miss Ru and I were talking last night about how grateful we are for our life.  We are blessed, and we know it.  We thank God for His great goodness to us!

I pray for you, too, dear friends.  I hope all is well with you!

Hugs and kisses,

P.S.  My friend Angela mentioned on her blog on Monday that this is National Pancake Month.  Since I had not known that -  I had not celebrated, but I made up for it tonight.  Blueberry pancakes with turkey bacon for supper.  Yummmmmm!  You should make some.   Really.  You should.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spring Time Quilt Finished

I finished this little quilt that grew from the Spring-looking strips I put up on my design wall a few days back.

Here are the strips after I had added some to them, sewed them all together into a tube, cut them into 2 1/2" strips and them unpicked each row to line up as I wanted them.

I have been so inspired and encouraged by Wanda over at Exuberant Color.  I learned this technique by watching her at work.  Hers are a much more sophisticated mix of fabrics, but I think even these simpler fabrics look mighty pretty done up in the Trip Around the World pattern.
In the background you can see Ray (Horatio the Hornblower).  He is ruling the roost out there.  Our Miss Ru does love that boy.  She gets a real charge out of hearing him crow!  Funny.

I backed the quilt with a pink fabric with white lettering.

And I quilted it on the quilt frame with my new machine.  Absolutely no problems with it this time.  AND I even used the Connecting Threads Essential Cotton thread that I love so much with nary a broken thread!  Yippee!  I have no idea what I was doing wrong, but I think it's just that the Janome 1600P-DPX is just really picky!  The needle is round, so there is no flad edge to be sure you're lining it up correctly, and if it's not - you got trouble!

Obviously, I am still in training on the new machine, but I'm getting better.  You quilters who do such awesome and perfect work just amaze me.  Don't think I'll ever reach your level of perfection, but I sure am having fun playing around!

Oh, I almost forgot, Connecting Threads also has some nice quilt labels that you can download.

Speaking of playing around, I guess I'd better go put the chickens back into their pen before they finish destroying everything in our back yard!

Hope your day is wonderful, and that you are having a lot of fun!

Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Nice Day, Chickens and Rooster and a Finish

It is such a nice day again today.  I am loving this warmer weather.  I'm ready to start getting things planted in the garden, but it's a little too early for that.

And this handsome guy we have named Horatio the Hornblower, and he is a rooster.  And noisy, hence the name.  I would really like to keep him, but we'll have to see how much noise he makes long term.

I finished this sweet little baby this morning early.  That is Ariel's tail you see in the lower left, if you were wondering. :)

I like this one a lot.  My neighbor asked me to sew her sister's name into the quilt, and so I did.  She said that people at the care facility where her sister lives have a tendency to walk away with things they like.  This way she'll be sure to get it back.  It's not that they are bad people, or thieves really, just that their minds are a bit cloudy and childlike.  They like it so they reach out and take it.

I just quilted some wavy lines on this one.  I wanted it to stay fluffier, and it did.  The really good news is that I quilted it on the frame and this time I had absolutely NO problems with the machine.  Glory to God!  I am so thankful.  I was getting just the slightest little bit worried that I would never get it figured out.

I've put some Spring-looking fabric strips up on my little design wall.  They just look so where I want to be right now.

And one of the many reasons I'm keeping Mr. Muddling.  He brought these home to me today.  Happy.  Happy!  Thank you, my Love!

I hope there has been something extra special good in your day today!

Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Three Things

1.  Bean Soup over rice.  Recipe - sort of - here, except this time with slices of smoked sausage instead of a ham bone.
2.  French bread, made in the bread machine and left to rise while the soup finishes getting done.
3.  Apple Crumb Top Pie.  Oh, yeah.  This is really good.  You can see that Mr. Muddling and I killed off a quarter of it at lunchtime today.  It was SO worth it!

I like a lot of apples in the pie, so I use one full can and half of another. (You can always freeze that other half and then you're ahead of the game next time around.) 
And I have the most amazingly easy pie crust.  It does not have to be rolled out.  You just sort of pat it into the pie pan and up the sides.  Perfect every time.

The recipe for that is:


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cooking oil
2 tablespoons milk

Add liquid to flour mixture. Press into pie pan.
You may fill and bake or prick and bake to fill with unbaked filling.

I use my mixer to do this for me.  (Have I ever told you how very much I like this mixer?  I can't even begin to tell you how many of the hand held models I've burned up over the years making untold number of cookies each and Christmas!) 

I just put all the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl, and then as soon as they are mixed - slowly pour in the oil/milk mixture and let the mixer run until you have lots of lovely crumbs.

After that's all together (and you don't even have to wash the bowl in between) put in mixer bowl: 

1/2 cup (one stick) butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar. 

Again, I let my darling little mixer do the work for me.

When it's all mixed up, just dump it all on top of the pie filling in the pan, smooth it out a bit and bake at 400F until it starts bubbling through the crust.  I use a 9 inch pie plate that is just a little deeper than normal.

I got my misbehaving little square ripped out and sewn back in correctly last night.

And I made a start on sewing the sweet little hearts on to the quilt top.  So I guess it might be five things.  LOL

Hope you're having a simply wonderful day!

Hugs and kisses,