Thursday, November 10, 2011

Busy season...So why not do more?

November-December is such a busy time.  All the holiday hustle and bustle, at work and at home, should tell me not to take on more projects.  But no....I'm knee deep in projects right now. These are my curved rail batik blocks.  Pretty, aren't they.  I actually won these from Block Lotto in September.  I'm still waiting on the last of my "winnings" but then I'll be able to play with setting these.  They are what is up on my design wall right now.  I imagine it will be awhile before I actually sew them.  It's actually kind of relaxing to experiment with rearranging these gorgeous blocks. 

This one, you may remember from a while ago.  It is also made from Block Lotto winnings.  I am finally in the process of quilting it.  I'm hand quilting it, just because if feels like it should be hand quilted.  I have some embellishments planned too. It's now on my quilt frame in the living room, so it's easy to do watching television, whenever I have time for that.

I also am still working on my log cabin quilt from Lyn Brown.  It's fabulous, but I can only work on log cabin blocks for a little bit and then I have to go do something different.

The something different is a mystery quilt from my friend, Cindy.  I'm only at the cutting stage, but it's fun to not know where it's going.

Throw in Thanksgiving plans and Christmas plans, and playing with the kids...and I love love love this season...but it can be rather exhausting.  So why shouldn't I take on another quilt along?  Thanks, Jennifer, at That Girl That Quilt, for coming up with a chevron design I just adore.  I'll make copies of all the steps, but I imagine I won't actually start this one until after Christmas.  In fact, I don't expect any of these projects to be finished by Christmas... I just plan to enjoy the process..and the diversity of them for now.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's a sad sad day.....Goodbye Texas University....

I know college football is a business.
I know college football is all about money and politics.
I understand that money and politics led Texas to its television deal.
I understand that it was difficult for Texas A&M to recruit given what Texas had to offer kids.
I understand that is one of the main reasons A&M wanted to switch to the SEC


That being said, I think college football is also about tradition and rivalries.  With all the conference swapping, a lot a traditional rivalries are falling by the wayside.  That's sad...but none quite as sad as Texas announcing that they do not have room in their schedule for the Texas-Texas A&M game.


Texas and Texas A&M have been playing the traditional rivalry game on or near Thanksgiving day forever.  I know my family has personally followed that rivalry for close to 100 years, sometimes quite heatedly with people supported both schools.  I'm sure I have relatives rolling over in their graves with this announcement. Why would that game not have already been penciled in on everyone's schedule on or near Thanksgiving day well into the future?

The timing of Texas sudden "full schedule" looks like sour grapes and political games to me.  I guess the A&M fight song is just becoming more and more literal.  After all, it starts out "Goodbye to Texas University...."

It's too bad college football has come to this point.  What next? Army-Navy game?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Can you believe Christmas is only 73 days away?

I saw that number and panic set in...but need to panic.  I've been buying things, taking advantage of sales and what ever since last Christmas.  The problem is now, I don't know what I've bought or made, and who for.  I need to go dig the stuff out, sort it, and take stock.  There are several gifts I want to make.  I still have time, right?

Deep cleansing breaths.  That's what's called for right now.  The next 73 days are going to be crazy, with a major remodel at work thrown in to all the regular Holiday hustle and bustle.  I love holidays, but I think the big trick now, is to make them fun, but not to overdo at the same time.

My geese are dressed for Halloween.  So I'm off to a good start.

May the Spirit be with you!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Reflection On Time

I read an interesting article by Anne Lamott the other day, that I haven't been able to stop thinking about. (If you don't know who Anne Lamott is, she's a writer and she teaches classes in creative writing as well.)  It was all about time and how it is so hard to find the time to do things we want to do.  How crazy is that?  If we really want to do something, we should be able to find the time.  Right?

Well, I have to admit, I have a huge "to do" list that only seems to grow longer and longer.  I was on vacation last week, with a goal of accomplishing all those little things that have been on my list for way too long.  I'll admit, I caught a cold in the middle of my week and it set me back.  I don't know about you, but I really don't want to do much of anything when I don't feel good.  I did, however, manage to get some of the things crossed off my list. Most of them didn't really take much time either. But then it dawned on me, that I had found it necessary to use my vacation to get these things done....and some of them were "wants" not "have tos".  That's just plain crazy.

What has happened to us that we are so caught up in the day to day that we have trouble stopping to smell the roses?  My daughter found a sign she wants for her kitchen.  It says something like: 'Pardon the mess, memories are being made'.  I want to go shout that message from all the rooftops.

The article that started all this thinking asked some key questions to help us find time such as:  Do we really need to watch 30 minutes of news ever day? As a former news producer I first found this to be an horrendous idea.  But then I thought, is it really necessary to be caught up on all the robberies and fires?  Would we be okay if instead of watching the news, we worked on a creative project, or played with our kids?  How about what time we get up in the morning?  If we get up 10 minutes earlier, will we really notice the difference other than have10 minutes to for instance pack our lunch, instead of hitting the snack machine during our lunch break.  I know many people find facebook and twitter fun, but do we really need to post and check status updates several times throughout the day?

The Flylady website starts people organizing their messy houses by using bits of 15 minutes at a time.  It works.  So why can't we use the same 15 minutes to be creative, do projects, or just have fun?

August is just about over.  Perhaps the Dog Days of Summer add to our lack of productivity at times, or is "it's too hot" just another excuse.  As for me, I'm ready to manage my time better.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

31 days of change

It is said that to give a habit a month, and you can keep it forever.  I don't know if I believe that, as I've started many things and stuck with them for a month only to have them fizzle after awhile longer.  But I think it's a worthwhile endeavor, none the less.

 Last year a group of bloggers got together to do 31 days of blogging.  Here are some of the topics/bloggers that committed to writing for the month of October:

:: 31 Days to Stress-Free Entertaining from Sandy at The Reluctant Entertainer
 :: 31 Days to a Better Photo from Darcy at Life With My 3 Boybarians
 :: 31 Days to More with Less from Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
 :: 31 Days of Autumn Bliss from Melissa at The Inspired Room
 :: 31 Days of Living Simply from Emily at Remodeling This Life
 :: 31 Days of Grace from Emily at Chatting at the Sky
 :: 31 Days to an Inspired Table from Kendra at My First Kitchen 

Some of the topics were of interest to me and I followed along with Jen, Melissa and Emily.  The others I admit I never read.  Well, the group is doing it again this October, with the overall theme being 31 days of change.  There is an interesting caveat they've offered this time, and that is to allow other bloggers to link to this party.

I'm seriously considering doing this.  I think a commitment of a blog a day for a month would be good for me. I've thought about topics, and in doing so, I've thought about what I personally would like to work on.  Afterall, I don't have very many readers (mostly just friends and family) and I blog primarily for my own creative/emotional outlet, whatever that means.  Anyway, the topic I'm considering is something that I know very well,  but it is also always elusive...and that is creativity and ways to expand our creative souls. What do you think?  Should I do it?  I suppose you'll find out if my courage, time and patience matches by ideas and desires come October 1 when you will or won't see my first post of 31 days. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

While Mom's Away.....

While Mom's away...the kids will play...and play...and play.

Paige is at a conference for TOT for three days, so I get to play with the girls.  We have:
Drawn with chalk all over the patio
Played dress up (Mallory especially likes the women's shoes)
The big girls and I drove to Silver Dollar City for breakfast with Tom and Jerry.  That was an exceptionally big deal for Mackenzie as she is obsessed with the cartoons.  The girls got lots of personal attention from the big mouse and cat and did a lot of dancing.  Who knew Tom and Jerry were dancers?
While at Silver Dollar City, we weren't going to do any rides or anything, but we couldn't resist stopping to see the animals, drawing on the slate at the school, or playing with the giant building blocks.  On the way out, the cloggers were starting their performance.  You can't pass cloggers!  Morgan got to go up on stage and dance with the cloggers too.
Today we have our cousin camp with the boys.  We're painting fairy houses and going on a scavenger hunt and jumping on a trampoline....and who knows what else.

I'll have to go back to work to rest up from my vacation.  I don't remember playing as being so exhausting....but it's been loads of fun and the kids have been great.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lazy hazy summer...not!!!

Summer is by far my favorite season of the year.  It always has been.  I'm sure not having school was a big factor in creating this feeling when I was a kid.  I love the hot weather, wearing shorts and flip flops.  The problem is there is soooo much to do in the summer.  And that doesn't include my every-lengthening to-do list for things around the house.

But then I saw Morgan and Mackenzie after their t-ball game.  To see them chatting, sitting on the grass, enjoying their juice drinks made me realize what summer is all about.  It also made me see that we busy adults need to take the time to enjoy little bits of relaxation when we can.  As they say "every little bit helps".

I think I'll go sit outside with my coffee and just watch the dogs play and listen to the waterfall for a few minutes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quilting tidbits

First of all, I have to tell you, that I am incredibly lucky.  I actually won the Block Lotto again this month.  Two months in a row!  That is amazing. In April, 50 quilters made 372 Modern Clover blocks–enough for eight winners and one of those winners was me!  Aren't these little flower blocks cute?  The block was designed by one of my cyber-quilting friends, Kate.  She plays Block Lotto but she also is the brains behind my Stay-at-home-Robin.  I will be setting these on point, and I think I'll space them with small borders.  Very exciting.

This is the block for May.  They're calling it pineapple blossom.  It's scrappy but if you look closely, every block has two grey squares and two yellow or gold squares.  Those are the unifying colors that every quilter will be using.  They make for a subtle and warm constant that I think will be great.  I'll be donating my blocks this month as I have both the disappearing 4 patch and now the modern clover quilts to finish.

Oh boy!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I won!!!!

While reading through e-mails, I shout out "Oh boy, I won!!!"  My husband comes around the corner quickly to see what the excitement is about.  I won the Block Lotto! for March.  He was not nearly as thrilled as I was.  OK, it's not money, but it's almost as good.

We made disappearing four patch blocks in red and white and I love this block.  It will make a gorgeous quilt.  I also feel so honored to be getting blocks from so many other sewers.  I could not duplicate this scrappy quilt on my own. There's no way I could accumulate that many different fabrics.  I'll be getting  43 blocks, plus the 6 I made myself.  Isn't that exciting?

This is the second time I've won, so I really didn't expect it.  I'm so happy.  Thank you all you Block Lotto quilters.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Life Thoughts

We so underestimate the value of life at times.  I have been reminded of how precious our time is this week.

One of my grandkids just celebrated his third birthday.  It was a great time and seeing all 5 grandkids playing is pure joy.  The oldest is going to be 5 soon.  My own kids don't remember my parents at all.  My mother was gone before either of them were born, and my father died when my oldest was only 3.  I am so thankful that I have made it past those anniversaries of death.  I intend to see lots more birthdays, and I want to try to appreciate every little moment I spend with any of them.

One of my friends' mother ended up in the hospital last week.  She's having some problems and will require extra help from her family.  She is fortunate to have her family near to help her, and they are blessed to have her still in their lives.

Then the sister of one of my friends lost her boyfriend suddenly in an accident.  They were looking forward to a lifetime of memories that now will never happen.  My heart goes out to her and their families.  Anytime someone dies young, it seems that we are all cheated out of what could be.

Then, in between these events that I consider major in people's lives, I have stumbled upon various bits of drama over nothing.  Why do we spend so much time and energy on unimportant trivia?

Look around at your family and friends.  They deserve your best attention.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Warning...Political Rant....

I am so disappointed at the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Fred Phelps, I could just cry.

 For those of you not familiar with Mr. Phelps' clan and the Westboro Baptist Church, let me offer a brief explanation.  Phelps' group belies that gays are a sin against humanity.  They think the Americans being killed in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq are dying because of God's wrath against gays in America.  So, they have chosen to speak out about this issue.  Where do they take their protest?  They picket funerals of servicemen who died in combat in these wars.  The idea is preposterous.

First of all, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have nothing to do with gays.  These soldiers whose graves are being picketed are not known to be gay.

The Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 that the Phelps clan has the constitutional right to freedom of speech and can picket.  OK...I get free speech.  But there is also the inherent right, no responsibility, to respect another person.  The poor families of these servicemen are grieving.  They have lost their love ones, often very young people to a horrible death.  Why degrade these young people and their ultimate service to their country?

Pick some other place to protest.  One's rights to protest should not infringe on another person's rights to a dignified funeral.  Why can't we show a little respect, courtesy, and empathy to people in their time of sorrow?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's all you...

Whatever happened to personal responsibility?  It seems the going thing is to blame somebody or something for just about everything.  Are we truly just becoming cogs in a wheel that is turned by another hand? I hope not.

When my kids were little, I had a no tolerance policy (or so I thought) about lying.  Lying really makes me angry.  I told them that if they did something wrong, they would get in trouble for it.  But if I found out they lied about it, they would get in much more trouble.  So they might as well fess up from the start, as "moms always find out...and moms do...sooner or later".

I have to admit I am too often guilty of lying by omission.  I don't like to hurt people's feelings so I have always tried to live by the rule "if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all."  I've come to believe that's not always a best practice even though it has good intentions.  It's a difficult habit to break, however.

Many people seem to want to believe the worst in others.  That's why gossip (and political commentators) are so powerful. The quickness to blame is seldom balanced with the same speed to credit.

How have people developed this fear of admitting they might not know something?  I suppose they think it makes them look stupid, but the real question is why they don't know it.  Have they not been exposed to it?  Have they not had enough practice with it?  Did their own laziness attribute to the lack of knowledge?  Did they not ask?   Do they think we all learn by osmosis?  No, too often they are hoping to slide their ignorance under the radar of observation.  I've got news for them.  It doesn't work as "moms always find out...and moms do...sooner or later".

The worst to me is when one is caught in error, they seek to blame everyone but themselves. Do they really think that?  Do they really not understand the concept of personal responsibility, or are they lacking the integrity to admit when they don't know something or do something wrong.  Maybe they are just higher on human scale than I am, as I seem to do things wrong all the time.

Do yourself and our society a favor.  Teach your children that lying won't get them anywhere.  Teach them the joy of learning new things, but that sometimes it is hard to learn those new things, and that's okay.  Teach them that it's okay to not know something, that that is an opportunity to learn.  Teach them there are no stupid questions. Teach them that it is not necessary to put someone else down, in order to build themselves up. Teach them personal responsibilty.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


My Connecting Threads Quilt Design uses assorted tones of purple batiks.  I get to be entered into a contest by sharing this.  I do love contests and winning.  Actually, it's fun to experiment with fabrics in the patterns on the kit builder on their site.  The totals for the fabric calculate along the way.  It's a fun idea. I can't wait for them to add more quilt patterns to the mix.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Having been in the news business for more than 15 years, I feel I have the right to comment (and criticize) on the news business.  And today, I just have the need to rant a bit.

When will the networks learn?  Yesterday, the worst storm in practically forever, hit the central United States.  It spread from Texas to Maine covering the area with ice, snow, and gale force winds.  It is estimated that 100 million people were affected by this storm.  Thousands of schools were closed across the area, including Chicago schools for the first time in 17 years. Major highways including portions of I-70 and I-44 in Missouri and Lake Shore Drive in Chicago were closed.  Four states declared national emergencies.  I could go on..... Yet what did two of the major news outfits lead with?  Egypt.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I know that the uprising in Egypt is a huge international story.  I'm not saying don't do a good job of explaining what is happening there, and how it affects the rest of the world, and why I should care.  But what I am saying is most people, stuck at home, or stranded somewhere, want to know about the storm.  The storm is affecting them, personally, now.  Lead with the storm. And please, don't wait to cover the storm until it gets to New York (where the network is), since most of us don't live in New York.

And as a side note about the Egypt coverage....what is this infatuation about sending your anchors to the story?  Katie Couric has no business covering that story.  She's an anchor.  Leave her and Brian Williams in the studio.

I usually don't like ABC news coverage best. (That could be because my news life was working for a CBS, and then an NBC station), but on this one they got it right.  They led with the storm.  Yes.  And then they sent an anchor, but a veteran international news correspondent-turned anchor, Christiane Amanpour to cover the situation in Egypt.

Now, back in the day, I remember a discussion about what is news supposed to report:  What people should know, or what people want to know. ( The question came up on a nothing happening local news day when I led with Michael Jackson's hair catching on fire while he was performing in Kansas City when many of our local people had made the trip for the concert.) What people should know, or what people want to know....That sounds like a kind of arrogant question but I suppose the right answer is both.  But if you don't give them what they want, they aren't going to stick around for what you think they should know.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter crafting

I like to think of myself as an artist...not a crafter.  No offense to crafters, as my work cannot compare to master craftsmen.  I just feel I travel to a different beat sometimes.  That's one of the reasons this is "renaissance" living.  I perfect nothing, but sample everything.  I also tend not to exactly follow the rules..

My current favorite "craft" is quilting.  There is no way I could make one of those beautiful traditional quilts in a full size.  I just don't have the patience.  I can't see cutting and sewing the exact same thing over and over again.  And matching up points perfectly....the people who can do that are saints.  I have found a few websites and blogs, however, that inspire my creativity and crafting.  I love Block Lotto.     A different block is presented each month.  You can try it and put it in the "lotto".  If you "win" you get blocks sent to you, enough for a quilt. otherwise, your block is mailed to someone else.  I'm currently working on putting together the blocks I won a couple of months ago.  But with each month's block, I'm learning better quilting techniques in new ways without a big commitment.  I also love the Stay At Home Robin.  Each month there are new instructions to add to our quilt.  It's just a small quilt, so again, no big investment.  But the instructions are very open ended so it is truly a design challenge. I'm actually working on two SAHR quilts.  While the instructions were the same, the quilts are vastly different.  Very fun.
Another craft that is popular with me is crochet.  I especially tend to pick it up in the winter.  There's something about curling up on a couch with a quilt on you lap, hot coffee on the table, a dog snuggled into your side, and soft yarn being crocheted in your hands.  If I had a working fireplace it would be a perfect winter picture.

To encourage and inspire my favorite crafts, I traipse around the internet checking in on blogs and websites.  The thing about blogs is that one tends to lead you to another. And I love when I discover someone new to admire.  Her name is Ashley Martineau and her business is Neauveau Fiber Arts. She spins and dyes her own yarn and does freeform crochet and some crazy knitting. She has given me the desire to recycle yarn.  I truly want to go unravel a sweater or two.  Just seeing her work makes me smile.
So how about you?  Does the winter cold keep you inside?  Perfect for crafting then, I'd say.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New you...not

For years, January has brought out the slogan "New Year, New You" at work, but not this year.  This year the signs bear the sentiment "A Fresh Start".  Hmmm.....What's that supposed to mean?  That sounds more like a do-over as the kids would say.

 But aren't the new year's resolutions designed to make a new, better me?  I like new things, not refurbished things.  Although refurbished things are usually cheaper.  And they usually work just as well.  Some even come with good warranties.  Is this a marketing ploy due to the recent economic depression?  Oh, yea, there wasn't really a depression, it just felt like it

. I admit I get confused sometimes.  The media and politicians often don't seem to live in the same world I live in.  That must be my problem as everyone knows television reflects reality today.  Yes, all those reality programs must be the way the rest of the world lives.  I'm just here in the Ozark hills living like....oh ....the people in Winter's Bone.  Is that my reality?  Well, no....not really...not even close.

 As confused as I am with how I'm "supposed" to be, no wonder I need a "fresh start".  I need so much work, it would be almost impossible to create a "new" better me.  So you all will have to settle for the "slightly used" version.  And if that's the case, then I can save myself the trauma of having to come up with any new year's resolutions that I won't keep.  I'll just be me for 2011....the same old me....take it or leave it....Now that's a Fresh Start.

P.S.  Like my picture for 2011?  I want to thank Robert, for that.  It's his family with real sparklers on new year's photoshop tricks.  Awesome, don't you think?