Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

The Business Side of Chickens

Friday, August 31, 2012

No, I'm not posting a bunch of pictures of fluffy, feathered behinds.  Okay, maybe just one.

What I want to talk about is whether or not it's worth it to keep chickens.  And I have a cool tool to share with you that will help you figure that out for yourself. 

So it goes without saying that the number one advantage to having your own flock is that you get fresh eggs from happy chickens that are much tastier than store-bought, and much better for you (and the chickens) also.  The poor birds aren't stuffed into tiny little cages for their entire lives like the commercial farm chickens.  Poor things.  And you know what they've eaten, so you know whether or not you're getting quality eggs.  ("Garbage in, garbage out"!  My fellow computer science nerds will recognize that one.)

But, like becoming any pet owner, someone considering taking the leap into chicken-keeping should spend some time thinking about the expenses related to becoming a flock owner:  you have to provide housing, food, water, protection, sometimes vet bills, and treats. And, if you're raising them from chicks (or hatching eggs), you'll need a special heat light, a place to keep them that's protected, chick food, etc. 

I don't think I've ever admitted it here, but my 8' x 10' chicken coop cost over $800 to build.

With temps forecast to hit 98 today, this snowy pic looks refreshing!
J. and I custom built this and went way overboard but there was a reason for it:  we were new to owning chickens and, if it didn't pan out, we could easily turn it into a garden shed. You definitely don't have to go nuts like we did: some people repurpose their children's playhouses, or you can build a more modest coop or chicken tractor.  J. and I are 40-something techies with tools and no kids, so we always over-do everything.  Plus we needed a hobby to keep us off the streets (just kidding).

I just ran across this really cool online tool that can help you think about the costs of keeping chickens and, for you business majors and MBA types, whether or not you're getting a positive return on investment (ROI).  Go check out the Poultry Calculator!

 Change the costs to dollars, choose bantams or large chickens, and then plug in your numbers for each category.  Then hit "calculate" and out pops the information on your ROI. 
According to the calculator, we're making a profit of just over $40 per year.  That's due to the fact that I sell our excess eggs to family and friends for $2.00 a dozen.  Fresh, organic eggs are going for $4.00 a dozen at the local farmer's market and I could charge more, but becoming the egg moguls of Kansas City wasn't our reason for getting chickens.  Our chickens are pets and it's kind of the "gravy on top" that we're able to share these great eggs with close friends.  I always say they're "pets with benefits" but then I get some strange looks from people. 
Well, I need to get going because J. and I are tearing off the top part of a 2-story deck and rebuilding it today.  We're inching ever closer to getting his old house ready to go on the market.

I'm sharing this as part of this week's Home and Garden Thursday, Farm Fresh Friday, LHITS DIY Linky, Barn Hop, and Eat.Make.Grow hops.


Looking Back at Monday

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm still sore and tired from this weekend's painting...isn't that awful?  If only I were half my age again and not soon to be 42 in a couple of weeks.  Ah well.  We only get smarter and better looking with age, right?
I was out and about in what's left of the garden yesterday and snapped a few pictures for you.  The first is my crazy tomato plants that I thought were dead but, now that we got rain over the weekend and the temps have died down, they now have a crazy amount of new growth and blossoms on them.  There's no way fruit will set and ripen on these so late in the season but I just can't bring myself to pull them up.

What I was after in the garden was one of my sugarbaby watermelons, so you can imagine the fit I went into when I found it like this!

I suspect one of our enterprising squirrels or rabbits got to it Sunday evening\night and, by the time I arrived, the ants had already moved in and were feasting on its sweet yumminess.  Ugh..I'm still ticked off about that.

As always, the garden never ceases to surprise, and the newest item of interest is one lonely little cucumber.  It doesn't look all that great either, as the cuke beetles are winning the war and the vines will probably die.  To tell you the truth, I'm not really holding up my end of the battle very well.

The highlight of the day was an evening of relaxation for once.  J. had bought us tix to see John Hiatt (again!) at the Uptown Theater here in KC.  The Uptown was built in 1928 and fully restored in the early 90's.  It's on the National Historic Register and is ranked 82nd on the top 100 concert theaters.  So I probably don't have to tell you that the acoustics in there are incredible.  The seats not so much, though - I think my butt was asleep halfway through the show.
That pic above was taken from our seats in 6th row center (woohoo!).  Those are the box seats towering above us and I wanted to share the color scheme and detail that this old theater sports.  It must have taken a gang of painters a year to paint all that.  Come to think of it, I wonder if those painters are looking for any work?  Maybe on a crappy old house here in the hood?  :-)
The opening act was a young lady by the name of Samantha Fish.  If I had to describe her in one word, it would by D-Y-N-O-M-I-T-E!  I heard someone describe her as the bastard child of Stevie Ray Vaughn and B.B. King and that surmisal is dead on.  That young lady (she's only 24) can play the heck out of a guitar.  (By the way, that's pronounced gee-tar for you city slickers.)  She's playing Kuckleheads on Friday night if you're anywhere near KC.  You'll find J. and I there for sure.

John Hiatt belts out his hit "Cry Love" on the Uptown stage. He never fails to blow the doors off.
The best song of the night was "Down Around My Place".  Click here if you want to see and hear John play it.
"Down Around My Place" by John HiattThe radio is busted, down around my place
Every tool is rusted, down around my place
Creeks and rivers dried up, down around my place
My woman's tears are cried up, down around my place

Tonight, we're hitting another concert:  Lyle Lovett is playing Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College and I can't wait!  The first time I heard him sing in person, I cried because his voice is so clear.  He is truly blessed with an incredible gift.
Have a rockin' great day,

This post is part of this week's Tuesday Garden Party.

"Quilt As You Go" Quilt

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yesterday was absolutely brutal! J. and I painted the ceilings in 7 rooms and the walls in 5 of them. By the time we finished with the 5th room, our shoulders were screaming, my hands were hurting and I was waving the white flag. We'll have to do the cutting in and second coats later this week. I REALLY wanted to have it painted so that we can get the carpet installers in for the new carpet. Dang, I can't wait to get that house sold.

Who knew that painting 10 foot ceilings was such hard work!? Or maybe we're just getting old. Or both. ;-)

After taking some ibuprofen and umcramping my hands, I wanted to get started on machine quilting for the first time. I'm testing it out on this quilt that we're making in class since I'm sure it will be a learning experience for me and less than perfect. We're three weeks into the class with the last class this Thursday, so I need to catch you up on where I am so far.

The class teaches the "quilt as you go" method - basically, you cut the backing, batting and top pieces and then sew them together all at the same time. Here's how:

How-To: Quilt-As-You-Go Quilt

Cutting the Fabric
  1. Cut a piece of backing fabric 37" x 37".  I recommend a non-directional fabric for this, since each block is turned 90 degrees from the last. 
  2. Cut a piece of batting 35" x 35". I used fusible to make this easier.
  3. Cut 5 pieces of fabric for your top pieces. These will be 8" x 37". I used 5 distinctly different fabrics and then left them the width of fabric. You can always trim them to length later.
  4. Repeat these steps 3 more times so that you have 4 sets.
One of my four blocks

Assembling the Four Blocks
  1. Place the batting on the backing fabric, ensuring that it is 1" in from the edge of the backing fabric. If necessary, trim to fit.
  2. Lay out the strips of your 5 top fabrics and determine the order that you like them in.  All 4 blocks should follow the same order.  Since we're turning the blocks 90 degrees each time, the first fabric will form a cross in the center.  I recommend laying out the entire quilt so that you can see what it will look like before it's sewn together and it's too late to make a design change.
  3. Place the first fabric strip right side up on the batting and line up the outside edge with the edge of the backing fabric.  Pin on the outside edge to keep it in place.  Since I used fusible batting, I also ironed it.  That sucker wasn't going to move!
  4. Place the second fabric upside down on top of the first fabric, lining up the inside edges.
  5. Sew the two together along this edge, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
  6. Flip the second fabric over the seam and iron.  Again, this is where fusible batting comes in handy.
  7. Repeat for all 5 fabrics.
  8. Pin the last fabric down at the edge.

Repeat these steps until all four blocks are assembled.

Quilt Now, Not Later

Obviously, we don't have a finished quilt yet.  These blocks are already quilted but, if you want to, this is the ideal time to do some fun stitching before you assemble the blocks together.  And this is where the quilt-as-you-go-method really has an advantage:  since there's no top stitching in putting it together, your quilting stitching can be the star of the show.

My yellow fabric has dragonflies on it, so I thought it would be fun to do a huge dragonfly design on the top.  JoAnn's just happened to have a continuous line stencil with 3" dragonflies but it would have been way too busy and WAYYYYYY too much sewing.  So I traced the stencil onto a piece of paper, scanned it in, and then used Microsoft Publisher to enlarge it to 28" x 36".  Why those dimensions?  Because I'm going to do a different quilting pattern in the shape of a vine with leaves on my first fabric.  And just a note here....Publisher is awesome for doing all of this.

Position the template, pin it in place and start sewing on the lines. 
When you finish in Publisher, it prints the larger pattern on 8.5" x 11" pages and you have to assemble them.  I just taped them together.  This is just large enough to to be hard to work with.  :-)  I then took Reynolds freezer paper, placed it on the printed paper, and re-drew the stencil onto the freezer paper.  Finally, I positioned the freezer paper onto the top of the quilt block and started sewing. 

TIP:  Have fun with this!  Try using variegated or different color threads for your top stitching.  In my case, I'm using my regular pink thread in the bobbin so that it matches the original quilting on the back.  But, on the top, I'm using white and pink variegated thread on the dragonflies.  And I'm seriously considering using lime green on the vine\leaf pattern.

You just sew along on the stencil line at this point.  Use a short stitch and it will perforate the paper so that the freezer paper just tears off when you're done.  This was a tip from my instructor and, while I didn't think it would come off easily....it does!

Just tear the paper off when you're done!
I'll be quilting for awhile but next time, we'll look at how to assemble the blocks together and bind the edge.

Til later!

I've shared this post as part of this week's Barn Hop.  I hope you'll go check out what other folks are up to over there!

Not Sure What To Say About This

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Henrietta Lays An Egg

Friday, August 24, 2012

If you've been reading Cranky Puppy for awhile, you may have read about our littlest Austrolorp hen, Henrietta, and her terrible bullying incident in late March.  Since then, she's been sequestered in her own little chicken condo that is right next to the main run, but separated by a chain link fence.  She can still see all the other hens, but they can't get to her. 

I continue to have high hopes that we will someday be able to reintegrate her into the flock.  They all free range together in the yard and Etta, which J. has affectionately nicknamed her, tries to be part of the flock but is skittish if one of the more aggressive hens comes towards her.  In fact, it sends her skittering under our feet or chairs.  But they seem to be warming up to her. 

I read somewhere that chickens will accept an outsider if they wake up and they're just there.  A little over a month ago,  I put on my ninja outfit, snuck in the coop and placed Etta onto the roost after the girls had gone to bed.   All seemed well the following morning when I checked on them.  But then I returned home after work to find Etta cowering in one of the nesting boxes.  She had obviously been pecked again and that was the only place she could find to take refuge from the bully.  I felt terrible.

So Etta continues to live out her happy little life in her own deluxe apartment.  She sweetly clucks away and "talks" to us when we feed her and let her out with the other girls.  She loves to follow J. around the yard as if he is the pied piper of chickens or something.  Her feathers have grown back in now, albeit with an interesting change:  where she was pecked on her neck, the tips of the black feathers are now white.  It's like those women who have dark hair but develop one wide swoop of white or grey acrosss their brow.  When I talk to Etta (doesn't everyone talk to their chickens?), I tell her that it makes her look distinguished.

I suppose I should get to the point of this post.  Etta hasn't laid an egg since the incident, so both J. and I were pleasantly surprised when I looked over at her pen on Sunday and said "Is that what I think that is?"  Upon closer inspection, I yelled "It's an egg!"  Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera anywhere nearby.

My little girl is laying again!  I am beaming like a proud parent at my kid's first dance recital.  Just the idea that she is healed and happy enough to have given us this present makes me smile.

I hope you find many reasons to smile today!

A Cool Surprise

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In real life, I'm an "IT guy (girl)" but sometimes technology can be a real pain.  After much deliberation, I ended up replacing my dead desktop PC with an HP Ultrabook laptop.  It's blazingly fast, which is great, but it doesn't have a CD\DVD drive and that's making it a pain to get all my software reinstalled.  There are benefits, however:  I can go sit out on the patio and blog to my heart's content if I want.  And I gained a ton of desk space and I'm loving that!

Today brought a present surprise that I suppose is tech-related also.   I had submitted a question a couple of months ago to the Timber Press Garden Problem Solver folks back when my tomatoes were having all those problems.  You can see my question and answer and submit your own questions here

The Timber Press folks gave me some great advice and apparently my question entered me into a weekly drawing.  And I won!  The prize was a copy of their book titled "What's Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?" by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth.  It was waiting for me when I got home from work today.

Flipping through it, I can see that it has a ton of full-color photographs which can be really helpful if you're trying to identify an issue or bug. It focuses on 100% organic gardening practices, which is a must.  The reviews that I've read for the book state that it's a very informative, beautiful and practical.   I am so happy to have received this book after all the problems that I've had with the garden this year, and I can't wait to sit down and read through it from cover to cover.

Well,that was the highlight of my day today.  If Microsoft Office ever finishes its 6 hour installation (lol), my plan is to go check out some of your blogs and then turn in for the night.

What have you been up to so far this week?  Any pleasant surprises come your way?

Pinless Peepers

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cruella is one unhappy chicken right now.  As the unrepentant instigator of the feather plucking that is plaguing the flock, she was the first to be fitted with the pinless peeper last night.
She's a handsome Barred Rock, isn't she? And oh-not-so-happy with us right now.
I bought a pack of 5 of these from Ebay for just a couple of bucks, so it's worth a try to see if we can break the girls from their bad habit.  These are made of hard plastic and, if you look at the pic to the right, you can see that they have small prongs that fit into the birds nostrils to keep the peepers in place.  The larger areas block the bird from seeing forward - they are essentially blinders for chickens, much like the blinders that they put on race horses to keep them from seeing to the side. The idea is that they won't be able to see the other hens' feathers and pluck them out.

They're a little difficult to put on, and I suspect softening them in a little hot water would have made it easier.  It's definitely a two-person job, with one person holding the chicken still while the other puts the peeper on.  Having done this, I can now say that I never noticed that chickens have such big nostrils.

After we got it on and set Cruella down, she immediately tried to get it off by shaking her head and kicking it off with her feet.  Those prongs hold it firmly in place, however, and she wasn't successful.

She was successful in making me feel like I was being mean to her, though.  I was very concerned that this was hurting her and I wanted to make sure that she could still see to eat and drink, so J. and I spent quite a bit of time with them while they free ranged.  She is able to see - she just has to turn her head a little more than usual.  Other than that, her new pince-nez doesn't appear to be causing her any pain and she went about her chicken business as usual.  She was able to fly up on the roost without any issues when it was bedtime. 

And, yes, I couldn't resist having a little bit of fun with this with the addition of some stick-on googly eyes.  I think the eyelashes add a certain something also, don't you?

Before you call me a meanie, I'll tell you that we removed the eyes right after I took this picture so Cruella's dignity is still intact.  The pinless peeper will stay, however, for several months and then we'll see if she has given up her penchant for featherpicking.

I've shared this post with this week's Barn Hop, Rural Thursdays, and Farmgirl Friday hops.

Unforeseen Circumstances

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hey, everyone!  Sorry I've been absent the past couple of days.  I woke up Friday morning to discover that my beloved HP Media Center PC went tango uniform.  (That's what J. said anyway.  For us regular non-military folks, that means it bit the dust.)  No amount of coaxing, whispering sweet nothings, or direct threats from myself and 3 other IT folks could bring it back to the living.  I suspect it's either a bad power supply or the motherboard. 

The PC's 4 or 5 years old so replacing the motherboard really isn't worth it.  You can't even get the one that is a close approximation to what is in there.  J. is whispering in my ear that my birthday is coming up in 3 weeks or so, so maybe it's time to just replace it.  Yeah.....computer shopping!  :-)

I hope to be back up and running this evening and I'm looking forward to making the rounds to everyone's blogs and seeing what you've been up to.

Have a great Sunday!

Treat Time: Gruyere Cheese Puffs

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Don't those look yummy?  I'm a cheese lover, so when I saw Gruyere cheese on sale last week, a lightbulb went on.  Let's make gougères!  What the heck is a gougère, you say?  That's just a fancy name for cheese puffs - slightly crunchy on the outside but all steaming cheesy airiness on the inside.

You can make these with just about any cheese, but Gruyere has a certain.....je ne sais quoi.  I think that means "great taste" in French.  Or "stupid American". I'm not sure which.  (Just kidding.)  If you've never had it, Gruyere cheese has a really nice flavor, slightly sweet, a little salty, without being overbearingly sharp.  It's really great to bake with and melts nicely.  The downside?   It's really pricey if you don't find it on sale. 

NOTE:  If you don't have Gruyeye on hand, you can substitute other cheeses in this recipe.  I wouldn't use cheddar or any other oily cheese, however.  It needs to be a variety that melts nicely.

So let's get started on thoose cheezy poofs:

Gruyere Cheese Puffs
Total Time: 35 minutes (10 minutes prep, 25 minutes baking)

  • 1 cup water (can sub 1/2 cup milk to make these a little denser)
  • 1 stick salted butter, cut into 8 tablespoons
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 8 oz Gruyere

Oops!  I'm missing my 4 eggs from this picture.  :-(

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Adjust the rack into the lower third of the oven.
  2. Either shred the Gruyere or cube it into 1/4" cubes and set aside.
  3. In a pan, combine the water, salt, and butter and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Immediately add all of the flour at once, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  5. Remove the dough from the pan and place it into a bowl to cool slightly (about 3 to 5 minutes). 
The dough resting in a bowl right before adding the cheese.
  1. Add the eggs one at a time.  Using a wooden spoon, stir briskly as you add each egg.  
  2. Add the Gruyere cheese and mix into the dough.
  3. Use a tablespoon to place the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet .  I usually make mine about the size of 2 tablespoons.  (Some folks dump the dough into a pastry bag and make pretty mounds of dough.  Who has time for that?  Not me.  I want some cheese puffs!)
  4. Optional: Sprinkle the top with a little shredded Parmesan for an added kick.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  6. Enjoy!  These are best when right out of the oven.
You can freeze these for up to a month.  Just remove them from the freezer and then defrost in a 350° oven for 8 minutes.   I've got quilting class tonight but will hopefully be able to focus on some the garden and the "honey do" list for the weekend after that.  My pinless peepers have arrived for the chickens, so the bad girls are not going to be happy to see me.  And J. and I have to get back to work on the house so that we can get it on the market.  The plan is to spend all weekend painting inside.  Joy!  

Hope y'all enjoy these cheezy poofs and have a great day,  

I'm sharing this delicious recipe with the following hops:  Share Your Cup, Thursdays Are Your Days, Delightfully Inspiring Thursday, Eat.Make.Grow.

Little Barn on the Prairie

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm on my way back to the land of the living and feelin' like I need a little Barn Charm today to speed me along.  J. took this picture on one of our drives around Kearney, Missouri a couple of weekends ago.  I love that he captured a sunray and, like the barn that is its subject, the picture's imperfectness makes it perfect.  Great job, J.!

Looks so peaceful, doesn't it? 

If you're an old barn lover like me, you'll love the Barn Charm hop where you can get more than your fill of old charmers like this one. 

Scenes from the Farmer's Market

Monday, August 13, 2012

I want to apologize for having not replied to all of your comments here or visited all of your blogs recently.  I've just spent a couple of days with a fever that went as high as 102.8 and, while it has finally broken, I am now just absolutely exhausted.

I hope to be back in the saddle after some much needed rest today and, in the meantime, I thought I would leave you with some pictures that I took while J. and I were at the City Market (farmer's market) on Saturday morning.

This is what you see when you arrive.  There are three large covered pavilions in the back where are all the farmer are.  Out front are street vendors sellling all kinds of wares like art, jewelry, etc.  We stopped to tip a fiddler that was playing for everyone before we went inside.

There are lots of Amish folks at the market and they sell the best baked breads known to man.  I couldn't resist snapping this picture of a wagon completely full of sweet corn.  I didn't realize until now that I had captured one of the Amish women looking at me rather suspiciously. See her on the left?

Within the open air pavilions, there are vendors on both sides selling fresh farm-to-market goods.  J. and I were on the hunt for Cherokee Purple tomatoes since ours did so poorly this year.  We found only two people selling them.  But we did find someone with the biggest carrots I've ever seen in my life.

On the back side of the pavilions, there are permanent market stands.  Much of this produce is not grown locally and not guaranteed to be organic, so we didn't stop there.  I love the colorful umbrellas against the Kansas City skyline, though.  And I think I should get double points for capturing a mullet in action (the guy in the white hat.)

I sell my eggs for $2.00 a dozen.  I think I need to up my prices!

Well, I hope you enjoyed our tour of the City Market.  If you're in the Kansas City area, you should check it out.  You can find out more on their Facebook page or website.   Buy local!

Well, I'll Be!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blight and fungus on the tomatoes. 
Cucumber beetles and squash bugs.
Bunnies taking up residence and eating every leaf off the pepper and jalapeno plants.
Unbearably non-stop 100+ degree days that caused us to retreat to the cool shelter of the house.

And then a miracle. 
Just when I had written off the garden for the year as a semi-disaster, the heat broke and I ventured out to find something amazing.

Today's harvest!
The Roma plants were laden down with ripe fruit.  There's pasta sauce in my future this weekend, I think.  And my first ripe Sugary Baby watermelon and J.'s first cabbage.

Not only had the garden survived, but it was regenerating.

Those green beans that I had left to dry so I could harvest for seed were actually re-growing and had new blooms on them.

The cucumbers didn't succumb to the cuke beetles and were climbing like mad up the trellis.  Bees were busily flitting between the vines' flowers, their legs laden with pollen.  Will we have cukes this year after all?

Then my gaze turns to the tomatoes that I thought were dead or would be shortly.  All have a ton of new growth on them in the past few days.

Sharing their cages are the watermelon vines.  I found this little guy hanging on for dear life.  I'll have to take some old panty hose out there and build a sling for it.  I hate that the tomato cage is in the way in this picture and I have some others that are better, but I love this one the best because I actually captured an ant busy at his work.  Can you see him?

Click to biggify!

From the old comes the new.  And so it is in my garden.

If you like this post, you might also want to check out this week's Green Day, Farm Fresh Friday, Farmgirl Friday, Ole Saturday HomesteadingTrading Post and Eat. Make. Grow hops. 

A Pink Nightmare

Thursday, August 09, 2012

If you've seen the movie "A Christmas Story" (who hasn't?!), then you know exactly the scene that the title invokes.  Poor little Ralphie is standing there in a full-body pink bunny suit complete with ears and a tail.  His aunt has made it for him for Christmas so his mother doesn't want him to take if off because it's so cute.  She only relents when his father says he looks like a deranged easter bunny and a pink nightmare.

On Christmas Eve, TBS plays that movie for 24 hours.  I've watched it so much over the years that I can literally recite every single line.  You might get the idea that I like it *just a little bit*.

But the reason I'm channeling A Christmas Story last night is because of quilting.  I started my new quilting class last night and, after having picked out some perfectly suitable fabrics in beautiful blues, I walked into JoAnns and saw this fabric with huge pink flowers in a sea of pastel greens and yellows.  And that's when something in my brain said "Hey, that would be really cool!"

Those of you who know me well know that I am NOT a pink girl.  I'm much too conservative.  In fact, I don't own one thing that is pink or any bright color. The majority of my closet is black, followed by navy, followed by white.  Pastels?  Oh, heck no.

So did I hit my head on the way into the store?

Have I been brainwashed by watching too many design shows on HGTV?

Is it something more sinister than that?!

Not only did I buy that fabric, but I proceeded to buy all the coordinating fabric that I would need for the class.  The one on the left is the backing fabric.

This class covers a method called quilt as you go, which is kind of interesting.  You actually cut the batting and the backing and sew everything together at once.  The thread only shows on the back of the quilt and not the top, so you have to pick thread that matches your backing fabric.  (And, yes, I picked PINK!)
I'll describe it later once I get started.  But it's relatively simple - four blocks of 5 strips of fabric cut 8 inches wide by the width of the fabric. 

Since it's such an easy quilt to sew, I'm hoping to use it to practice my freearm quilting. With not having any stitching already on the front of the quilt, it will be fun to use some variegated thread to do some decorative stitching on top.

And, if I screw up...oh, well, it's pink!  :-)

Late Night Barn Charm

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Today was our 20th day of 100+ degree temps and, according to the weather guess on Fox4, we're now officially in the 4th hottest year on record.  Today was back up at 105.  Yippee!  Looks like relief is coming tomorrow in the form of thunderstorms, though.

I'm a little under the weather and feeling really tired, so this is short post.  Instead, I'll leave you with this barn that J. and I discovered outside Kearney, MO on Sunday as we tooled along some back country roads.

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