This past week I had the honor of being a tester for Bella of Created by Bella. She has designed a windmill quilt block and is hoping to sell the pattern in her Etsy shop. My job was to follow the instructions and note anything that seemed confusing, etc. and to photograph the completed block.
I am excited for Bella, because she has a sweet design, and it will make some very nice blocks for a baby quilt or table runner! She did a great job on her instructions, and did a fine job on her illustrations. With a few final tweaks, she was soon ready to publish.
I found this experience to be so interesting! I was motivated to sew the perfect quilt block (does that ever happen?) and because of the notes at the beginning I was especially careful to measure each and every seam. There were a lot of them, because this is an intermediate level block, but I only had a question on one step, and she quickly solved that. I was tickled with my finished block, and while I work through my queue, will be considering what I want to do with this unique block…..a pillow, a table runner, an entire quilt? It will be fun to ponder!
The Big Horn Mountains contain wonderful high meadows, forests and snow at the tops of the highest peaks. During our camping trip we enjoyed the cooler temperatures and the wonderful vistas. I especially loved the variety of the mountain flora. Click any photo for a larger picture.
We did some hiking, and enjoyed some gorgeous views, especially during the hike into the Cloud Peak Wilderness.
There were some incredible trout fishing areas here, though neither of us fish. We just enjoyed the gorgeous scenery!
We were also treated to some interesting wildlife. The chipmunks and squirrels enjoyed teasing Max, driving him to distraction at times. I was able to capture one cheeky squirrel who had no fear.
But the best was seeing Mama Moose and her baby one afternoon. They were just across the road from our campsite, browsing along the river.
It was a welcome respite from the hot days in Rapid City, where temperatures have been in the mid to upper 90’s (35-37 Celsius) for a week, and are expected to continue indefinitely, with no rain.
We camped at two different places, one very near a bubbling creek, which Max the dog LOVED. He kept hopping in and laying in it, then chasing squirrels, hopping in again, etc. We finally had to put him on his chain so that he would dry off before bed time! The second was at a Forest Service campsite, which had the standard picnic table, trash, bathrooms and potable water. We have a Berkey water filter, so we have the option of camping anywhere there is a water source. (We use it at home too, to remove many of the chemicals from the city water.)
We have a great time cooking while we camp; here’s what we ate:
Friday supper: Red beans and rice with Andouille sausage, which was made ahead at home, and warmed up over the Coleman propane stove, which we use to prepare the morning coffee while the fire is readied for cooking breakfast.
Saturday: Sausage patties and pancakes made over the campfire for breakfast and roast beef with mixed vegetables made over the coals for supper.
Sunday: Bacon, eggs and biscuits for breakfast, and green chili beef burritos with refried beans for supper (from the leftover roast beef, and peach pie for dessert. (I should have taken a picture!)
Monday: Sausage patties with fried potatoes and onions for breakfast, and pepperoni pizza for supper.
We have a cast iron griddle, skillet and Dutch oven, which really expands what you can do with a campfire! If anyone is really interested, I will do a post on how I prep for these types of camping meals. They are a fun challenge, and really yummy!
We had a great time cooling off, and just enjoying creation, but it was good to get back today and get everything cleaned up. I am going to enjoy a very long shower here in a bit!
As promised, here are some photos of the completed dress and coat from Vogue 1537. I’m not thrilled with the pictures, but then I never like my pictures so whatever! I have a little tweaking to do with the dress; I’m going to take out the gray zip and out a white one in, and when I do that I think I will give the hip area another 1/4 inch on each side. I didn’t notice it before, but I think it needs it when I look at the photos.
The dress is 100% handkerchief linen, underlined with silk organza, and lined with a basic polyester. The back has a deep V with inserts, which requires a side zipper. I never did take a photo of the back. 🙄
The coat is a silk/linen windowpane plaid, with the linen used as contrast, and lined with the same basic polyester. The coat has covered buttons and bound buttonholes. I have the original buttons on right now, I may change them out, but I really like those big ones!
This past week I finally had the urge to go back to my Splendid Sampler quilts. I pulled out Splendid C, and was amazed to complete a quilting plan for it in about 30 minutes! I was excited, and motivated enough to put it on my project listing for this week.
I was so pleased, because when I last looked at it I had no idea of what to do with it. Not one square called to me, so I put it away, knowing that eventually I would have an idea, but there was no point in forcing something that just wasn’t there.
Quilting is a big challenge for me; I am much more comfortable with a plan (provided is even better), and I struggle with this part of the creative process until said plan is outlined. Once it is, barring mechanical difficulties, I can usually get a lap quilt done is just a few sessions…but until then, not a pretty sight!
This also fits in nicely with my desire to clean up my sewing room a bit, so I have more planning space. Right now, my cutting table doubles as my desk, so it would be nice to clear out that pile of batting, border and binding fabric so I have a small desk space. My goal is to finish Splendid C by July 4th so I can send it off to its new owner, and give myself some more work space.😄
Or maybe how far west can you go, would be a better title! Day 2 started with the long drive across the Nevada desert. How long? Long enough to knit an entire dishcloth and almost finish the leg on a 15 inch boot sock!
More specifically, it is 400 miles and change across Nevada, and the terrain doesn’t change much. It is a high desert plateau, covered with sage brush and not much wildlife. There must be elk, because we had three elk crossings on the interstate…the road goes through a giant, but very short culvert, with an elk passage over the top! No surprise that, because elk can be a little larger than a horse, not a good thing to meet at high speed! Nevada is made much bearable by the fact that the posted speed limit is 80mph, though the traffic flow was averaging 90 to 100 mph.
I kept looking for the mountains as I knew them from growing up in Colorado, but they didn’t look anything like that. Finally, just outside of Sparks/Reno they came into view, still with plenty of snow. Suddenly we were in the mountains, with coniferous trees all around, and going down the pass. We had now crossed into California, and the the ride down the west side of the Sierras was a little hair raising. There was some road work in progress, and suddenly the entire westward lane came to a complete stop. I’m not real keen about stop and go traffic on a 6% grade.
Had the traffic been a little less busy, we would have stopped at the rest area for some good pictures and a snowball fight. Those of you in the Eastern U.S. will laugh, but we South Dakotans think the traffic out here is insane!
Once we exited the Sierras, we were suddenly in a wide valley, filled with all sorts of crops. The photo I successfully caught was grapes. Since this is not the valley famous for its wine, I am guessing these were grapes for juice, jam, etc. but I don’t know for certain. We started into another set of hills which really shocked me, because they are totally brown! DH explained that California lost its native grasses long ago, and now only have annuals. Their season is already over, so they have already gone dormant. It also explained how wildfires get out of hand so quickly in this country! The hillsides were filled with windmills.
While it wasn’t the same day, we’ll continue down to the ocean. I’ve seen the Pacific once in the late fall on a very cold and gray day, so seeing the ocean in June was a treat. I was surprised by the wind, it is constant and pretty strong. The sand was incredibly soft and warm which made up for the cool ocean breeze. It was a glorious day and the hour we spent there was wonderful! I found a few shells and a broken sand dollar as a memento. Watching the tide come in was fascinating!
Again, these aren’t great photos, but they give you a flavor of our trip west. I get one more group up with some photos of the beautiful campus and things that amazed me.
This post is coming to you through the magic of scheduled posts, I am actually in CA right now, and NOT baking pizza! However, the recipe for pizza dough from Brenna is the same one I use, and I had planned pizza for Tuesday night, so why not!
Now, for you busy moms out there, here are some FYI’s you may find very helpful!
You can half this recipe and use the dough cycle on a bread machine. That dough can be frozen for later use. That’s what I’m using today!
If you prefer thin crust pizza, 1/4 of Brenna’s recipe will cover a 9×13 cookie sheet with a little rolling pin action. (Or half of what comes out of the bread machine)
Want a super crispy, thin crust? Use tip 2, then pre bake the crust for 7 minutes at 425. Add your toppings and finish baking for 8 minutes, again at 425.
When everyone is home I make two thin crust pizzas, but when there’s just the two of us, I bake one and put the dough in a ziplock bag and freeze it for later. To use, I take it out at noon the day of and leave it on the counter. IF you work all day, you could probably put it in the fridge early in the morning, and then pull it out as soon as you get home. I also make sauce and freeze what I don’t use, for the next time or two.
Here we are, ready to thaw..
Our pizza is very simple, pepperoni and cheese, with other ingredients from the garden when it starts producing…a little green pepper, maybe onion, fresh basil sometimes sundries tomatoes from the garden.
A pre-baked crust. I had some air bubbles this time so used a fork to puncture them. Had I used the fork before I put it in the oven, I could have prevented them.
We like cheese!
Come and get it!
Check out the other participants…we all make modifications according to what works in our family, so everyone’s will be a little different.