Saturday, September 27, 2008

Do you see it?

I love to work with batik fabric and hand dyed fabrics. Batiks have such wonderful colors! They are my absolute favorites for making my little pineapple quilts. The colors can change all throughout and the play you get within the blocks is just amazing. I often make nine blocks with just two fat quarters. I'm always fascinated by how they turn out.

Do you remember when you were a little kid and you'd look at clouds in the sky, trying to find pictures in them? You may even still do it today. I do this with hand dyed fabric. I don't really try to see things in the fabric, but I almost always do. For instance in the picture of the fabric here, I see a black cat snuggled on a white blanket! Do you see it? (This is the piece of fabric that I'm going to try the couched writing on. I wanted to share it with you before I start to work on it.) I've always loved hand dyed fabrics, but now that I've started to notice "pictures" in them, they have become favorites to collect. You can bet that if I pick up a beautiful piece of hand dyed fabric and see something in it, it's going home with me! I've been tempted to just frame some of the fabric I see things in. I may someday or I may eventually cut them up and actually use them in quilts. Until then, I'll pet them and look at them and just plain enjoy them. If you aren't a quilter or into fiber, I'm sure you don't understand this, but if you are, you know exactly what I'm talking about and you are very lucky!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Words Make Me Happy!

You may not be able to tell from this blog that I like to talk. I mean the blog is only 11 days old today and it's already rolled over into an "older posts" page. That tickles me somewhat. I like to write and I like to visit with folks. I like to go to quilt shops, quilt shows and on quilt retreats. These things combine talking and visiting with quilting in some way or another. Two of my favorite things right there together at the same time!

When they truly combine -- with words on fabric or on quilts, I am overjoyed! It makes me unbelievably happy to see words on cloth. I don't know why, but it does. A few years ago I fell in love with a wall hanging for sale at the Houston Quilt Festival. I remember there were different yellows, whites, tans and beige in the background and black WORDS covered the quilt surface in a snippets of journal sort of way. I spent every free minute I had looking at that quilt because I couldn't afford to buy it and take it home with me. It opened up a need in my soul to add words to my quilted works. I have yet to do that. I kept thinking that I had to add them the way the quilt artist who made that particular quilt had done it. Then I started to see other quilt artist's quilts with words on them! Each one a joy to behold! I would study each technique they used and veto it for one reason or another. Not enough space in my house, the cat or dog could get into it, too costly, too hard to find the supplies out here in the country, you name it and something was wrong between each technique and myself. We just didn't click. I never gave up the hunt though. The idea has always simmered in the back of my mind. The need is still there.

Just last week I discovered the blog Spirit Cloth through the Artful Blogging Visually Inspiring Online Journals magazine (from Somerset Studio) on artistic blogs. Jude Hill is the author of the blog and the maker of the quilts shown on it. They are just beautiful! They speak to me in a way that no other quilts have done since that wall quilt at the Quilt Festival. I've read back through a lot of the blog entries so far, but not all the way -- yet. Some day I'll make it all the way to the first one. She adds words to her quilts and it's in a wonderful, artful, fairly simple way. I believe it's called couching. I'm going to try it soon. I think it may very well be another thing that will make me happy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I got new pictures today!

My son sent me new pictures of my grandkids today! I haven't seen them in person in over a year and it's just about to kill me. CL has bangs now and CV's hair is shorter, although you can't tell it from any of the pictures I got. There were pictures of the girl's first day at school (second and first grade!). JT had a picture in there with a buzz cut. His hair was so light that it looked like his little head had been shaved! There was a picture of my son with all three of his kiddos, but not one of my daughter-in-law M. She tries to stay behind the camera most of the time, I think. I'll have to be on the lookout for one of her to share. I know I have some, it's just a matter of finding one. I picked this picture to share because all three kids are in it and no one is blurry.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Simply Ecological

I finally started to read my newest issue of Real Simple magazine. It's one of my very favorite magazines. I must admit to being somewhat of a magazine slut though. I tend to buy a lot of them. Some of them, I've never read. Something comes over me when I see all those pretty covers sitting all lined up on the shelf just waiting for me to come along and leaf through them! The magazine aisle is almost always the first place I stop in the grocery store and a lot of the time, it's the first place in the book store too.

Anyway, the October 2008 issue has a great article -- "how to recycle anything". It's the second part and I don't remember ever reading the first part! I subscribe to this magazine, but that doesn't mean that I got to read it last month. Normally, I would run right to the old issue and read the first part of the article, but just last week, I took several issues of Real Simple up to my local post office. The Postmaster had never seen it before and I decided to share them with all the ladies there. Fortunately, Real Simple thought of people like me. They have the entire list on so I just went there and printed them out. I plan to laminate them or put them in page protectors and refer to them often.
One of the problems of living in a rural area is that we don't have all of the services that are available in the big cities. So, I plan to look on to see if there are any recycling centers near me. It sure would be nice. At this point, I only recycle paper and I have to drive it to Dallas, when I'm going in for something else, to do that!
I did stop buying bottled water more than a couple of years ago. I went to and bought a reusable aluminum bottle with a sports top. I love it! It's not like those horrible plastic things you buy in most stores. It doesn't smell strongly or change the taste of the water (or other beverage) at all. The first one I got was too big for the cup holders in my car, so I ordered another one. It says Simply Ecological. It makes me happy to see it! I wish I had the money to buy one for everyone I love.
The only other things I can think of off hand that I'm doing that are eco-friendly at the moment is that I've got those low energy light bulbs in some of my lamps and I recycle aluminum cans. One of my plans is to start recycling more. It's not on my 101 list because I want it to be something I naturally start and continue. Now, I guess one of the things I need to work on is buying less magazines.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I had about two hours of sleep last night. Insomnia doesn't get me too often, but when it does, it really is irritating. I'm sure if you've had it, you understand. When I was younger, I used to wish for fewer sleeping hours so I could get more done. It doesn't really work that way in my house though. I'm always concerned that I'll wake my hubby or that the dogs will go off (my way of saying that they're barking like crazy in the morning and are our alarm clocks) because they hear me moving around or see the light on, which would definitely wake my hubby. I can't go into another room and close the door. Well, I could if I wanted to spend the time in the bathroom, but there are no other doors on any of the other rooms in our house. The bedroom is like a loft. It takes up the entire upstairs and is about the size of half of the house, but there isn't a bedroom door. So, I normally turn the light on very quietly (Elly tends to go off when it comes on and she can hear it even though she is made to stay downstairs!) and then I read. I used to think I'd spend the time cleaning or sewing. Ha!

You may wonder why Elly has to stay downstairs. Well she and Barkley don't like Barney. Or maybe they like him too much. They chase the poor little guy relentlessly and in the process tear up the room. So, both dogs have been banished to the downstairs and Barney gets the upstairs. He only ventures down when he hears them go outside. We use a baby gate on the stairs to keep them apart and we humans climb over it. Lots of fun, but you make adjustments for the little furry loves of your life.

I had a lot of fun yesterday picking out business cards and beading. Today, I have the mountain of laundry I've been putting off. I hope to do some more beading while I work on it though.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not too old to learn

I'm getting better at this camera stuff. I'm learning how to download the pictures from my camera to the computer. Once I get them on the computer and in a file, it's easy for me to find them here and put them in the blog. So, you'll be seeing more and more pictures. Especially with the photo a day challenge! I almost forgot to take one today, but I grabbed the camera and ran outside and got a really nice shot of the sun starting to go down through our oak trees. It may be the first one I try to sell, so I'm not going to put it on the blog.

Something I did this week that I really enjoyed was go by the Church of Our Merciful Saviour in Kaufman, TX. I had been to Kaufman to get my flu shot and the tetanus shot. When I was driving home, I realized I had my camera and that I had never really stopped to look at this beautiful old church. I'd seen it many times and been drawn to it, but I'd never really had time to stop. It's a beautiful Episcopal Church that was built in 1909. Someday, I'm going to visit the church again when I can go inside. I'd also like to stop by again and photograph it when the sun is out.

I love old churches. Texas has a lot of them. I think that will be something I'll have to start taking lots of pictures of now that I'm working on my camera shyness. I've not only been shy to be in front of the camera, I've also been shy to be behind the camera. I'd always worry that someone was wondering what the heck I was doing, or what right did I have to be where I was. I'm working on that in this year of photos. I think it's about time I grew up and did some of the things I've always wanted to do and never thought I could or was afraid I wasn't good enough to do.

Friday, September 19, 2008

One of my favorites!

I have to share this picture with you. I was visiting my son and his family in April of 2007. I think the girls had just gotten up from a nap or it may have been the first thing in the morning, I can't remember and I can't really tell from the picture. Even my son making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches isn't a big tell because we tend to eat weird things at weird times in our family (I don't even think PB&J for breakfast would be weird!). But, I digress -- my son was trying his best to ignore me since I'd been sticking the camera in his face every few minutes trying in vain to get ONE GOOD PICTURE and since I told him I wasn't taking a picture, he was able to. CV has the messy hair and the big yawn. Little CL is looking right at me. It's so hard to get natural, everyday pictures. At least for me. The kids always get to acting goofy as soon as they see the camera come out and my son and M don't want their picture taken, so they're always trying to hide. JT is seldom to be found! That child never stops moving, it seems! So I love this picture! It is one of my very favorites that I've ever taken. Seeing it makes me happy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

signs of life

I was looking through the photos I took on my recent trip to CO -- I have to share this sign with you! We were running on fumes when we saw this. We loved it so much that after we filled up, we went back a few miles and took the picture. A police officer had a car stopped very near there. I'm assuming giving the driver a speeding ticket since the speed limit dropped near the sign. After he finished with his duties, he came over and talked to us. He said that there 'sure were a lot of people who stopped and took pictures of that old sign'. It's a shame the old garage was no longer in business. I would have loved to have gotten some gas there, a soft drink and maybe even a bag of peanuts to eat on the road. I would have gotten a kick out of meeting the person with the sense of humor who came up with the sign too!

I hope to find more humorous signs as time goes on to share with you. My friend Krissy puts some really good ones on her blog at times.

Today I got my annual flu shot and I got a tetanus shot because I'm hoping to volunteer for the SPCA of Texas in Dallas (#86 on my 101 in 1001 list). I sent in my application today. It's not exactly Meals on Wheels or Habitat for Humanity, but I think it will be a good fit for me. I hope I'm a good fit for them.

One other photo I want to share today is from my 30th high school reunion. We always gather in the groups that went to elementary school together at some point for a picture of each group. There weren't many of us from Nathaniel Hawthorn at this reunion, but I can't tell you how good it was to see the ones who were there! Starting on the left back row is Leigh Ann, myself, Kathy, Anthony and Tom. Front row Scott, Peggy and Linda.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

miniature pineapple quilts

I taught a class at Quilt Country in Lewisville, TX last week. I've taught several people how to make miniature pineapple blocks, but it was my first time to officially teach the class and my first time to teach at Quilt Country, so I was nervous! I shouldn't have been. Thankfully, I didn't stay nervous for long either. Everyone at the shop, from the owner Sandy Brawner on down, is extremely nice and helpful! Plus I had a good class of nine enthusiastic women who wanted to learn and have a good time. I'm really looking forward to the next class in October now and I'm hoping I can think of something else to teach there! What a great shop. If you quilt, you need to visit there. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I added some pictures

For my picture a day challenge today, I took pictures of my dogs and let me tell you, it was indeed a challenge to get a picture of Barkley! He wouldn't sit still for anything and I tried just about everything. I should warn you, in case you ever visit, he has no manners whatsoever! It's totally our fault, but just the same, you've been warned.

I had to wait until he ran himself ragged before he would sit still enough to get his head in the shot. That's why his tongue is hanging out so. Elly was quite cooperative. I think she likes to have her picture taken. At least until she gets to wondering about that thing I'm holding and then she's not too sure any longer.

Barney was hard to get the other day too. You'll notice the bed is a mess. I had just gotten home from a trip to CO to see my sister and her family. It really wouldn't have mattered though, I'm bad about not making the bed properly. If you look closely, you'll also notice that the curved log walls behind the bed need to be vacuumed again! I think vacuuming your walls should be a once a year job. Unfortunately, my house feels that I should do it more often. If you ever contemplate building a log home, call me. I can give you lots of advice!

The picture of me is also one I took as one of my picture a day pictures. A self portrait. This was the best of the bunch. I deleted the others. I hate to see myself in pictures, but I've decided that my son and Grandkids need to have some photographic record that I did live. There aren't that many of me from my son's growing years. I regret that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm new at this

I've wanted to start a blog for a long time. Why? I don't know. I can't imagine anyone being the least bit curious about what I have to say. Regardless, here I am and I'm very new at this, so please be patient with me. That being said, I hope you'll come along and join me now and again for whatever will be Happening on Chaos Ranch.

I started working on my list of "101 Things to do in 1001 Days" on 9/13. This is a list of preset tasks that I picked out to complete in 1001 days (or 144 weeks or 38 months!). The criteria for picking out the 101 tasks is that they must be specific with a result that is measurable or clearly defined and must also be realistic and stretching (i.e. represent some work on your part or in this case -- my part). I had to rework my list a few times because of that word "stretching". I ended up with a list that I'm happy with. Remember, what is stretching for me, may not be for you. My scheduled end date is June 11, 2011.

As I said, I actually started working on the list on 9/13/08. So far, I've made the gift for Catherine, started this blog (!), started writing in a gratitude journal again and am taking daily pictures. Pretty good start, even if it is the physically easy stuff.

Here is my complete list:

1. Clean up all the cans that Barkley (second dog) has scattered
2. Clean out the laundry room
3. Caulk spaces in the laundry room outer wall
4. Learn how to use a chain saw
5. Clean up over grown limbs near drive way
6. Fill in drive way holes started 9/17/08 - this is going to take a while!
7. Investigate the possibility of a way to lighten living room walls started on 10/17/08, found out I can use stain (it lets the logs breathe), but I haven't found a light one yet
8. Plant a tree to celebrate CV's birth
9. Plant a tree to celebrate CL's birth
10. Plant a tree to celebrate J.T.'s birth
11. Get and plant a fruit bearing mulberry tree (can't be one of the three celebration trees)
12. Whittle a cross from wood on Chaos Ranch - don't know how to whittle
13. Start a blog X completed on 9/15/0814. ***Do something creative each week - beading, sewing (hand or machine), etc. 6/144-haven't really kept this up, but I've started doing it again and I'm enjoying every minute15. Start a savings account for CV and deposit $50 for each birthday
16. Start a savings account for CL and deposit $50 for each birthday
17. Start a savings account for J.T. and deposit $50 for each birthday
18. Leave a $100 tip for someone at a "mom and pop" type restaurant
19. Get anemia under control
20. Donate blood after anemia is under control
21. Sell all those cans - I've started selling them, have a lot to go
22. Make a summer quilt with no batting
23. Continue to grow my hair until I can donate at least 10" to Locks of Love
24. Make 5 mini quilts to try to sell on eBay or etsy
25. Make 5 sets of prayer beads to try to sell on eBay or etsy 2 of 5
26. Exercise at least 30 min. at day, 3 times a week for at least 2 months straight
27. Build or buy gates to keep Barkley off of the roof while letting him on the deck
28. Pay off at least one credit card (hopefully more)
29. De-clutter office started 10/26, have to take things to the dump, to recycle and to donate before I can continue and finish - this got very side tracked when MG passed
30. Put shelf in bedroom closet
31. Clean out closet of clothes not worn in the last year
32. Lose at least 50 lbs. and keep it off!
33. By October, start cooking 4 times a week (I've started cooking 10/1)
34. Send son and M a web cam and anything else they need so that I can see and talk to my grand kids X complete as of 1/17/09!!!! boy do I love Skype!
35. Continue to help organize the Nathaniel Hawthorne reunion for October 2009
36. HAVE the Nathaniel Hawthorne reunion
37. Take a photo a day for a year Started 9/13/08 (38/365) missed 3 days due to hand injury; have really not done well on this since Marianne's death - missed several days
38. Open a savings account
39. Save something each month toward trip to Alaska -- goal $100 a month 1/38
40. Take a long (3 week?) driving trip with mom to see grand kids, Teresa and family and Santa Fe
41 Take a family vacation with son and family, somewhere between our two homes
42. Make a (blank) to give to Catherine
43. Make a (to be filled in later) and give to Beth
44. Make a (don't want to ruin the surprise) and give to Kathy
45. ***I'll have to change this. She passed away. I can't complete it now. Make a (it's already picked out) and give to Marianne
46. Put the slipcover on the couch with pins
47. Make a braided rug from fabric I no longer like to go in front of the sink
48. Make a quilt top using old phone books as foundation papers
49. Build a church birdhouse
50. Make (here we go again!) for Catherine X completed 9/13/08, she likes it!
51. Make (I'll let you all know when I'm finished with them) for Teresa X completed 10/20/08, mailed52. Make (Shhhh!) for B
53. Make (blank) for David X completed 10/18/08, mailed
54. Repaint the blue dresser
55. Make a scrapbook for CN
56. Make a scrapbook for J.T.
57. Make a scrapbook for CV
58. Copy Aunt Joan's old pictures
59. Get pictures of dad's from Aunt Brenda to copy
60. Donate $100 to Habitat for Humanity
61. Donate $100 to the local food bank
62. Donate $100 to Kiva
63. Pay for a soldier's meal (hopefully anonymously)
64. Write 6 letters to CV by 2010 in a journal to be given to her when she's at least 18. bought the journal 9/19/08
65. Write 6 letters to CL by 2010 in a journal to be given to her when she's at least 18. bought the journal 9/19/08 - 1 of 6 complete
66. Write 6 letters to J.T. by 2010 in a journal to be given to him when he's at least 18 bought the journal 9/19/08
67. Pay for the next 10 cars on the toll way X Completed 1/29/09
68. Pay a $20 in the Salvation Army Kettle at Christmas time X completed on 11/20/0869. Learn to watercolor paint
70. Make a glass pendant - don't know how to do this either
71. Donate $100 to the SPCA of Texas
72. Repair the birdbath
73. Make a bird feeding station
74. Make (guess who) a Halloween wall hanging
75. Try to sell photographs on eBay or etsy
76. ***Do something different for 50th birthday -- a weekend with my very favorite women friends or ???
77. Make 5 necklaces to try to sell on eBay or etsy
78. Go to DFW airport and welcome home soldiers from Iraq
79. ***Go to each of the exhibits in Quilt Mania 2 ( )
80. Work through the creative writing book
81. Work through The Artist's Way
82. Donate items in the house as I clean out
83. Have grandchildren spend two weeks with us
84. Buy good arch supports for my shoes
85. Buy a good ladder or some kind of helper to change out of reach light bulbs
86. Find a place that fits to volunteer more -- possibly Meals on Wheels or Habitat for Humanity X completed, started volunteering for the SPCA of TX in Jan. 09
87. Make a scrapbook of old photos
88. Learn to paint "old" looking signs
89. Try to write a short story or article to attempt to sell
90. Go see my Dear Sweet more often
91. Get a business tax ID number X completed, arrived 10/8
92 Print business cards X completed, they arrived 9/27/08
93. Start a gratitude journal and write in it at least 4 times a week 5/144 (I haven't done this as often as I had hoped since MG passed either)
94. Make a list of 101 things that make me happy started
95. Ride on a Harley
96. Make out my will and living will
97. Have a dental check up (way over due!)
98. Learn to knit a scarf
99. Donate a bicycle at Christmas
100. Learn how to use the riding lawn mower.
101. No book buying for the 1001 days unless I've read all the books in the house first! (44/1001 - this one is becoming really difficult already!) officially failed as of 11/20/08, although I'm so much better that I still feel somewhat successful!