Monday, May 29, 2017

Camping & Outdoor Cooking

We just got back from our first camping trip in a long time. Several weeks ago we upgraded our 4 person tent, (that really doesn't sleep four comfortably) to a Cabela's 8-man Getaway cabin tent. We have so much more space now! Room for all four of us and our dog.

We had some pretty rainy weather earlier in the weekend so waited until Sunday afternoon to head out to the camp ground. We drove around and around and around trying to find a good spot...  The park was pretty crowded since it was a holiday weekend. Somehow we ended up with the perfect spot; a large area with a lot of privacy, shade and plenty of room for our tent, campfire and picnic table... and as an added bonus this particular area wasn't muddy!

We had fun playing a little corn hole and hanging out around the campfire, but the most fun part was the cooking and the eating! I have been planning our meals since we bought the tent. We started out with a yummy chip dip: a block of cream cheese spread on the bottom of a foil pan, then a can of chili followed by a handful of cheese and a few green onions. We set this right on top of the grate over the fire for 8-10 minutes. Yummy!

Next up was dinner. We grilled a few brats and roasted some hotdogs. We paired that with grilled sweet potato packets. I sliced a few thin-skinned sweet potatoes and put them in the middle of a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Next I put a few pats of butter on top then sprinkled it with some dark brown sugar and cinnamon. Folded up the packet and placed it right on top of the campfire grill for 20-25 minutes... Delicious! We did the same thing with apples, sliced them up, placed them in the foil and topped them with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. These didn't cook quite as long, only about 15 minutes. 

We ended the night with s'mores and popcorn.

After a realllllyyyyy loooooonnnnnggggg night of listening to wild turkeys, coyotes and someone's generator and trying to keep my nose warm and still be able to breathe, we were ready for breakfast and especially coffee. Our campfire coffee was a total fail and much needed after a sleepless, cold night. I would love hear how you make your coffee while camping. We really need some advice on that. We did enjoy cinnamon rolls cooked on a stick and an egg, hash-brown and cheese casserole cooked on the fire. 

We had a fabulous time and are looking forward to getting out to camp/eat again! What are some of your favorite campfire recipes?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

This Is Me...

So, as I get back into this blogging thing I thought it would be a good time to tell you a little bit about me. Don't worry, I won't hit you with it all at once, we will ease into it.

My most important role is that of "Mom". I have the privilege of parenting two teen daughters. It isn't easy, but it is an amazing blessing to walk with these two girls through life. I share parenting duties with my husband of 23 years. We met my sophomore year of college and have been together ever since.

I couldn't mention our family without including our sweet Golden Retriever, Sammie. We just celebrated her 10th birthday! Doesn't everyone celebrate their dog's birthday?

During the day (and some nights and weekends) I have the pleasure of serving the community in which I live as a Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent. I deliver research based programming in the areas of financial management, health and food safety. It is always interesting.

In what little free time I have, besides quilting I enjoy cooking, gardening, reading, walking, and spending time with my family and friends. Stay tuned for the sewing edition of This Is Me...

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Balance... I eat a somewhat balanced diet, keep my checkbook balanced, and can even balance on my right foot for a pretty long time. But I am continually working on a work/life balance. A balance of work and play. A balance of loving my people, weather it is spending time with them or washing their underwear, or spending an evening on the deck hashing out life with a friend over margaritas. Pair that with the 40+ hour work week that demands most of my time and a lot of my energy and it is really hard to find the time to do the things that make my heart sing, like quilting. But when I do find the time, or make the time I should say, to spend with needle and thread I feel balanced, even if the dishes are piling up in the sink and we are eating cereal for dinner. Time spent in my sewing room is time well spent. It makes those long work weeks easier to handle, and somehow I have more patience to deal with those I love. 

Some days, weeks, months, balance is easier than others. Sometimes it is easy to fit in a few minutes here and an hour there in the sewing room all while attending my kids activities and keeping my house clean enough. Other times all I ever feel like I am doing is going to work and washing dirty laundry.

I am working on balance. Every day it is an effort of conscious living. What are my priorities? What is most important right now? What can I let go? What can I delegate? What am I really hung up on that I don't need to be? Where can I carve out some time just for me (and stick with it?)

And sometimes balance is putting things into perspective; the hours I spend each week on meal preparation really is loving my family. My job, although time consuming and sometimes exhausting makes a difference in the lives of others. Spending time in my sewing room helps me to better deal with everything else that comes my way. So, I am learning to make time for me, and my Bernina a priority.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Getting Things Done

Oh how I love starting a project! Deciding on a pattern, perusing fabric choices, putting stitches in those first few blocks, I love it all! And then... just like that, everything comes to a screeching halt... and then I start another new project. I am a rock-star at project starts, but when it comes to project finishes I really, really stink. This year, I decided I needed to do something about that. I started by making a list. This is page 1 of I will not tell you how many, plus I am pretty sure there are more UFO's to be found in my sewing studio that did not make the list yet. (And notice I have crossed two things off already... WooHoo!!!)

After making the list, I chose 6 projects that I really wanted to focus on. I am only letting myself work on those 6 projects, well, except for a couple of block-a-week projects I have going on. Why six? I don't know, but I do know I get bored easily working on one project at a time. Six projects gives me enough variety I can take a break from one thing and work on something else for a bit. While focusing on a few projects, all at various stages of completion I can get a lot more accomplished but still stay interested. So far I have two finishes from my list! Take a look...

This was an Easter table runner I started years ago... not colors I would pick now, but I finished it right before Easter and it looks cute on my coffee table. Pattern is from the Ginger Cookie Company.

This project isn't quite as old. I started this a couple of years ago as a part of a quilt-along put on by American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. I backed it with flannel and used wool batting. It will be cozy next winter, but until then I will probably be putting it away as it is getting hot here in Kansas!

I am itching to start something new but I want to get at least five UFO projects crossed off my list before I start something different! We will see how my self-control holds out. If you have any tips, ideas etc. for getting projects finished I would love to hear them.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Join a Challenge!

If you have never joined a quilt challenge you are missing out! Recently I have joined two quilt challenges that have really helped me to step out of my comfort zone and develop my skills. It started when I saw a block-a-week challenge started by A Needle Pulling Thread Quilt Shop on my Instagram feed. In that challenge we are making a Flock of Geese block every single week in 2017. This is a 6-inch block (not normally a size I would choose to work on) and has really challenged me to sew more accurately, I plan to write more on that later. I haven't been able to sew a block every week but some weeks I sew ahead, so as of now I am caught up on this challenge!

So, feeling successful with the above challenge I thought I may as well join one more! The Moda Blockheads challenge  is also a block-a-week challenge, each week there is a different 6 inch block to stitch. Boy, this one has challenged my skills and my patience... but, I am learning so much! Look at all of the pieces in this block!

I would have NEVER decided to stitch something this little with so many pieces on my own. I actually didn't think I could do it!

I highly encourage you to join some sort of a quilting challenge, whether it is through social media, your local quilt shop, or guild. Stepping out of your comfort zone; working on different projects or with different colors than your normal choices will help you to grow.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, August 8, 2016


I am almost finished with a project my teen-age daughter and I have been collaborating on. It started a few years ago when she saw a picture in the Pottery Barn catalog of a quilt that she loved. I told her, "We can make that!" She picked out all of the fabrics, her choices were a little different than in the catalog. We did a lot of measuring to make it the exact size she wanted for her bed. I am ashamed to say we have had the center part of it made for a very long time! There is something about sewing borders on quilts that I don't like but with a lot of nagging on her part (it was warranted) I got the borders on sometime over my Christmas break. Right before we went on vacation last week I was FINALLY able to finish the quilting. I do enjoy hand-sewing binding so have been working on that the past few days while watching the Olympics.

I like to add a little dimension to my quilts when I can. This turquoise strip adds a nice pop of color to the quilt. 

After I stitched the white border on to the quilt body I basted the folded, turquoise strip to the the edge of the white border fabric. I then stitched the black polk-a-dot border as usual to the white border.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Back Home... Refreshed and Motivated

We are back home from a week in the mountains. Look at this gorgeous view we were able to enjoy from our cabin! When I made the cabin reservation I had only a vague idea as to it's location. We had no idea we had a 35 minute drive up the mountain. A large part of the drive was up a very  narrow, bumpy, steep road. I am pretty sure if we knew about the road conditions ahead of time we would have never decided to stay there. But... look what we would have missed out on. It makes me wonder what other things I have missed out on in my life because I was afraid of the drive.

Let this be a reminder to live life to the fullest, to step through fear, and enjoy the journey.