Friday, April 27, 2012

yes, that's the road

Maybe it's because I drove the freeway so many years, and in the process was in the company of an abundance of other vehicles, but these days I prefer the roads less traveled.  Does that make me a "fuddy duddy"?     Nah, I don't think so.  I prefer to think of myself as someone who knows what she wants, and does it.

 My brother Carl and I took several of the roads less traveled when we were on our summer adventure two years ago.  We went on the downtown block of a little Kansas town, as well as taking a side trip through the wheat fields.  And there were the spur of the moment stops at memorial markers and roadside vendors.  I enjoyed those highlights of the trip as much as the big tourist stops.

 When Nolene and I make our trips to Arkansas, we have a route coming home that allows us to miss quite a bit of the heavy Dallas traffic.  By taking off on this side road, there's far less traffic, but also a chance to maybe do some geocaching and take a look at some new scenery at a pace we can enjoy.  

When I was making my vacation quilt a couple of years ago, I played with the idea of a block that I named The Road Least Traveled.  It didn't make it into the quilt, but I enjoyed coming up with it.  This was my interpretation of taking off on the side road to get an up-close look at what interests you.

 Yes, the highways are good to quickly get you where you're going.  But oftentimes it's the side roads that make the trip complete.

Friday, April 20, 2012

just a little bucket

I have a lot of good memories from several years of living "out in the country", though that area is now grown up, and really was only 5 miles out of town.  Our little property was home when the kids were young.  Elizabeth was about 7 when we moved there, and Robert about 13. Those were good years, and the perfect place to raise a family.  Lots of trees, a barn, and room for a few horses and the kids to enjoy themselves.  Naturally, anything that takes me back to that time is a good thing.

When I moved, it was the right thing for me to do.  Reggie had died, the kids were grown and on their own, and I didn't want to mess with a pool and keeping up the property.  But at the same time, there was a bit of nostalgia because I realized that I was leaving a part of me behind.  It wasn't a rash decision, but I would miss the open space and my bit of rural living.

I didn't have this bucket when I lived there.  There's an area between Cleburne and Grandview that has what they call a 20 mile garage sale once a year, and not too long after I moved I went to it.  Towards the end of the 20 miles a feed store had some things set out, and my little bucket was one of the items.  And yes, if you know me at all, you're right in assuming that it spoke to me.  

I think I had intentions of using it as a planter by hanging it on my fence.  That didn't work out.  It sat in my garage awhile.  And lately it's had a new life as, for lack of better words, a weed bucket.  Its a handy size to carry with me as I pull a few weeds here and there.  I've had plenty of opportunities to part with it, but it's always called out to me to just hold on.  I may live in town, but this lets there be a little bit of country with me.

And there's something comforting about the clunk of the handle hitting the rim...know what I mean?   It's good to take comfort when and where we can.

What's your bucket of comfort?

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I've managed to read a few e-books.  I don't know if I've mentioned the Eternity Springs series by Emily March, but I've just got one left to read.  I think the series is available in both e-books and hard copy, so check them out.  I got mine through the local library.  I know I've mentioned this before, but I love that books are available for download even if its the middle of the night.  Of course, there's the possibility you'll be placed on a waiting list, but that happens with the regular checkout process so there's really no difference in that regard.

Another e-book I read recently was Does This Mean You'll See Me Naked? by Robert D. Webster.  Subtitled Field Notes From a Funeral Director.  I almost hesitate to say this, but what the's a fun little read.  Obviously with the subject matter there's some serious material in there, but it is interesting and with an appropriate touch of humor.  If you're not squeamish about the topic of death, you might want to take a look.  And even if you are, you could learn something useful.

Along the lines of e-books, keep an eye on my sister's blog.  She's close to getting her first e-book published, targeting the end of this month!  I'll leave the details to her to reveal, but we're excited.  :)

Ok, that's it for now.  Have a good week!

Friday, April 13, 2012

pictures in stitches

What's next on my favorites?  Redwork emboidery.  I say redwork, but really I like the idea of embroidery in a single color, whether its red, blue, purple, or whatever.  I think it lends more continuity to the piece.  Over the years I have embroidered several projects.  There's so much satisfaction and relaxation in sitting down for awhile with needle and thread and seeing the picture in stitches develop.

This was a little pillowcase I made for my secret sister one year.  She really likes dragons, as well as the colors  purple, black, and orange.

I've made a few of these snowman wall hangings.  I think the redwork is the right color choice, and that the use of multiple colors would have detracted from it.
The same can be said for Santa and his bag of toys.  I've made a few of these, and one is included in my Christmas quilt.

I've probably shared pictures of all of these at one time or another, but oh well.  :)
 One of these wasn't completed at the time, and I don't think I've done anything with the finished one yet, but I think she's pretty.
I've also embroidered pillow cases for my bed, and a baby quilt for Ashlynn when she was born, but those pictures couldn't be readily found.

In the last couple of years I've also been making and embroidering handkerchiefs.  I got a rolled hem foot for my sewing machine, and that's made quite a difference from hemming them by hand.  They're not perfection like you'd get in the store, but I like the personal touch it gives.  Some are embroidered in the center, others in the corner or on the bottom.  There have been butterflies, birds, and initials, as well as one with a nautical theme. I gave several to friends for little Christmas presents, and they've gone to my HGTV secret sisters, as well as the 12 Days of Christmas swap.  Some have gone to friends who have experienced a loss, whether health or a loved one.  Here's the poem I wrote that I tuck inside. 

I’m a little square of cotton,
a humble gift indeed.
I’m always at your service
in any time of need.
Perhaps you have a sniffle,
or need to shed a tear,
or even just to wipe your glasses.
That’s okay.  I’m here.
Every stitch that touched me
was placed with you in mind.
“May God’s blessings be upon you,
dear sweet friend of mine.”

That's it for now.  Happy Friday!

Friday, April 6, 2012 opportunities

One thing I've enjoyed about quilting has been the forgiving nature of the art.  If you make a mistake, no worry...consider that mistake one of my favorite things:  a design opportunity! 

There have been plenty of design opportunities along the way.  Cut something too small?  Oh, those smaller strips looks perfect!  Take too deep a seam on each block and you come up short on the row?  Well, wouldn't an extra little applique block help fill it out nicely. 

My favorite thing about design opportunities?  That it has spilled over into other parts of my life.  Just the other day I got a "creative" haircut...meaning she whacked a bit more off one side of my hair.  In the old days when I was younger and working (and more in the public eye), I have shed more than one or two tears over such creativity.  Drawing upon the design opportunity way of thinking, I've learned to wear my hair a slightly different way.  Kind of a "this too shall grow out" approach, and in the meantime just embrace it. 

How about you....are you on the lookout for design opportunities???