Wednesday, November 18, 2015

progress, at a snail's pace

It's quite possibly my frame of mind,
and not actual fact,
but progress has been pitifully slow around these parts.

I finally managed to finish sewing the rows together and trim the OBW quilt
and made and attached the border.
(my first mitered border!)
Prior to attaching the 3" creamsicle border,
I'd also made a 5 inch border using a scalloped fabric from the same Joel Dewberry line,
but when I put it next to the quilt
let's just say
it didn't add anything.

So - I decided the quilt top was finished as is.
A little smaller than I'd have preferred,
but still quite usable at 59 x 73.

I came up with a plan for the back 
that utilized my already-made border,
but I wasn't loving the idea,
so I scrapped it
and put together a backing
that I am much happier with,
with just 3 large pieces of fabric.

Since my cutting mat was still on the table,
I went ahead and cut my binding strips.
And then,
since they were cut,
I went ahead and sewed 'em up.


I (finally!) finished my 110 QAYG blocks on Monday.
(which more accurately should be called QAYP - quilt as you piece - blocks)

then finished trimming them yesterday afternoon,
and spent a few hours last night
and another hour this morning
 adding a bit of hand quilting
to every strip 1 7/8" or wider.

I'd say I've got another 4 hours or so of hand quilting to go,
then I'll join the blocks
and it'll be almost finished :-)

hi, kitty kitty

linking up with Lee and the girls

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

tidbits on a Tuesday

Breaking news!
Brandon just got his ACT scores.
He does not have to take the test again :-)

Sweet relief!

I'm telling you, a huge weight fell off that boy's shoulders.

We are so proud of him
and his diligence!

Now, to jump through all of the application hoops....


You may have guessed,
that we started
on the house!

Leveling the ground isn't even technically step one,
but after so many years of working toward this,
we're calling it step one


The kids all passed their TKD testing
this past week.

How crazy is it that they are all high-ranks now??


Allison hasn't gotten her package yet.
I'm starting to get worried : /

The new owner of the patchwork mini mini quilt 
hasn't gotten her package yet either.
But that's because I haven't mailed it yet.



Grandbaby Hadley will be here in less than a month,
and I 
will be holding her
and breathing in that newborn smell in 30(ish) days!!


I'm beginning to feel a little panicky 
about getting everything done
before Christmas 
that I need to get done
before Christmas.

(not to mention all of the college stuff that needs to happen between now and then too.
Applications are due by the the 18th.
How dumb is that?!
You know nobody will be looking at them for almost a month!)

On that note, 
I best end this
and get busy!!

Friday, November 6, 2015

patchwork towels

My first completed Christmas gift ~ yay!!

I'd already purchased the towels 
when Amanda Jean posted her tutorial,
and was trying to work out in my mind how, exactly, to attach the patchwork strip.

As it turns out,
because my towels had definitive 'markings' where I placed my patchwork,
I didn't actually use her tute;
I decided to just press and glue baste, then topstitch.

I folded the ends in 1/4 inch, then wrapped them around the edges of the towel,
so there is just the tiniest splash  of color on the backside of the towel.

For extra security,
I ran a line of stitching in the ditch 
down the center of the patchwork strip.

While I am not the biggest fan of small pieces,
I do love using scraps 
because they are fun reminders of the projects they are originally from
(How many projects would you guess are represented in these towels?)

Linking up with Amanda, once again :-)


(the answer is 15)

Fifteen projects represented in one towel!
That's a whole lotta love :-)

Girls Easter dresses, circa, 2009!
and the only time I used an entire line (and only that line) in a quilt.
Tony and Kacy's quilt ~ gifted as soon as it was finished, and I have no pictures : /
Brandon's quilt, Surrounded
Any Which Way (which is still not finished...)
Simply Luscious, of course ;-)
my longstanding WIP, stars to hexagons EPP
Covered in Love and Prayers, the quilt for I made for Connie, when she began chemo
Owl always love you, for  Kacy

cheeseburger soup

Soups are tricky around here.

A fragrant pot of soup 
bubbling on the stove
says 'warmth' 
in more ways than one, in my opinion.

And soups are generally simple meals to make.
(And clean up)

But when you have 7 eaters in a family,
and the entire meal is in one bowl,
and you want to please all of those tongues and tummies,
it gets a bit tricky.

I saw a cheeseburger soup recently on pinterest,
reminiscent of the cheddar chowder we used to make.
Why it was called cheddar chowder
when it used velveeta,
is beyond me...

I thought, 'hey. I bet everyone would like a cheeseburger soup.'
last night, 
I set out to make some.

After a few bites,
Tyler asked if I knew what I did,
so I could recreate it,
and Brandon asked if I was going to put it on the blog.
Then Lily - who as a rule - is not a big fan of soup,
assured me that even though she didn't quite empty her bowl,
she really liked it.

I guess we have a winner on our hands :-)

I cook my ground beef in the same pot I'm cooking the soup/chili/spaghetti sauce in.
Saves on washing.
This doesn't surprise you, does it?!
Last night, though,
because I was sewing, and really should have started dinner a little sooner,
I sped up the process by using a separate frying pan.
(I washed it immediately after adding the meat to the pot, so it wasn't too painful)

While my meat was browning (about 2 lbs)
(seasoned like we always season it - with our all purpose season all)
I threw 2 small peeled potatoes,
3 peeled carrots,
and a pound of radishes in the food processor 
and chopped them up.
Then added them to a pot 
in which I'd dropped 1/2 stick of butter
(I am not sure why I didn't use a whole??)

Because it didn't fit in the food processor with the other veggies,
I chopped an onion by hand
then added it to the pot, too.

I am a speedy onion chopper, so it's okay.

When the veggies were about half done cooking,
I added about a quart of chicken broth.
The meat was pretty well browned at this point, so I added it too
(and quickly washed the pan)

I sprinkled in some more season all
and some extra black pepper 
and garlic and onion powders, for good measure.

I brought that to a boil, then let it simmer for probably 15-20 minutes,
then I reduced the heat and added
2 c of milk, 
to which I'd added about a tsp of glucomannan 
and a few TBS beef gelatin as thickeners - and shook well.
(I shook the milk and thickeners. Not the soup. That would have been messy!)
Then I added about a cup of heavy cream.

While it bubbled gently,
I added about a cup each of the following 3 cheeses, grated:
monterey jack
sharp cheddar

I left it to simmer for another half hour or so 
'til the rest of the kids got home from TKD
then we ate it.
Some enjoyed it as is,
and some of us added chopped green onions,
bacon bits, jalapenos, and/or siracha sauce.
But the good news is - everyone enjoyed it.
Which is a huge win
in my book :-)

To make this more THM friendly, you could replace the milk with almond milk.
When I've got fresh raw milk in my fridge,
I'm not about to do that!
2 c of milk, divided among 10-12 servings,
doesn't really end up being that many carbs anyways.

And of course, you would omit the potatoes.
I add them 
when you live in a large family,
you make compromises.
That's one of mine.
Again, though, 2 small potatoes, divided so many ways? 
That's fewer than 5 carbs...

(so really - even with the milk and potatoes ~ it's still perfectly on plan!)

You could also make this with ground venison.
Which is what I did
(but nobody knew it, until just now :-)
(I wasn't trying to trick people, 
so much as I was trying to give the deer meat a fair chance...)


Monday, November 2, 2015

tricks and treating

Way back when we all lived in Fayetteville
(early 90s)
we would spend Halloween together.

(Which really doesn't mean all that much, 
seeing as we spent a pretty good chunk of all of our time

They moved to Rogers.
Then we moved to the Fort.
But we'd still get together most years for Halloween fun.

Then they moved to Texas, and it put the kibosh on Halloween festivities.

Then they moved to Maryland,
and that put the kibosh on pretty much 

Now they are back in Texas,
and somehow,
4 1/2 hours away doesn't seem all that far,
so we went to Scott and Jackie's
for our first Halloween together in a really long time.

The menfolk had a blast planning pranks
(I loved peeking out the window and seeing them all smiling and laughing as they got things set up)
and the kids had loads of fun dressing up
and trick -or- treating
(this was the first time for the 4 youngest!)

Brandon was in both the menfolk category,
and the kid group.

That makes me happy!

(The ridiculous amount of candy
 I am allowing the children to consume,
does not...)

At one point, there was a 100% chance of rain predicted for Saturday,
but we were very grateful that it held off.

Even more, 
we are so grateful for friends
except for the tiny little matter of blood,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

almost LaHuerta's white cheese sauce / dip

The recipe card disappeared from the fridge,
so now the only place to find it is my brain,
and we all know how reliable that is,
here is our recipe for white cheese sauce.
Cheese dip.
Whatever you want to call it.

We don't add any heat to ours, because we have a plethora of sauces
 people can use to dial it up as much as they want.
Feel free to add jalapenos
or red pepper
or whatever you like to use to add some heat to a dish.

Almost LaHuerta's White Queso

(You'll want to whisk after each ingredient addition and 
once everything has been added)

1 stick of butter
in a medium saucepan
over medium / medium low heat,

6 oz evaporated milk* (can also use cream)

When the butter is melted,
add 1/2 c greek yogurt
(you can sub sour cream for this, but the texture is better with the greek yogurt)

After that's mostly incorporated,
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

Reduce heat to low / med low
and whisk every few minutes until cheese is fully melted
and sauce is smooth.

Leave over very low heat
and stir occasionally until ready to eat.

*while you can buy 6 oz cans, we buy the 12 oz
and eyeball 1/2 a can,
then pour the rest into a ziplock bag
and freeze it to use next time.

this week it's all costumes, all the time

We're bouncing around between projects,
slowly marking things off the list.

You already know what Lily is dressing up as this year;
want to make guesses what the others will be??

Linking up these poorly lit peeks at our getting ready
 with Lee