Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Word for 2014 - ROUTINE

It's that time of the year - a time of reflection, introspection, planning and dreaming.  A time to look back and look ahead.  After a crazy year of retiring, moving, new grand baby, and new job, I find myself craving a bit of ROUTINE.


One definition of routine is 'regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure.  It sounds very boring, especially with the 'unimaginative' thrown in there.  However, I prefer this definition - 'a customary or regular course of procedure.

It still sounds pretty boring and not a all exciting.  However, I have found over the years if I have a schedule or plan, I seem to get much more accomplished.  And it also seems to stimulate my creativity more rather than not having a schedule or routine. 

My life gets a bit hectic at times.  I am working part time, assisting in caring for Lady K, and going to school online still.  Now I have to figure in Texter's work schedule in addition to the writing/sewing/crafting I want to do.  For example, I have New Year's Day off work.  However, Texter and Lady K are returning from North Carolina and it is a 6 hour drive in each direction to pick them up at the airport.  There goes one whole day.

There are areas in my life I want to become 'routine' - menu planning and better eating habits, exercise, finances, writing, school, crafting time.  This will help put Lady K on a routine of meals and bedtime too.  And give Texter and I some self time and time to explore Montana more.

So ROUTINE is my new mantra.

Monday, December 30, 2013

WIP's and UFO's for 2014

Part of my plan for 2014 is to get the 'projects' which are sitting in my sewing room and basket in the living room off the shelf and being used.  So I went through an made a list of what I had out there to get done.  It is a formidable list.  But the good thing is that if I work on what I already have there is very little that I have to buy in the coming year.  I already have most of the fabric.  What I mainly will need is backing fabric and a couple of fillers.  Which means I can save that money for the Judy Niemeyer retreat I am going to in September.

Of course, Factotum of Arts has a wonderfully laid out plan for 2014.  But for right now I just have a list of 'stuff' on my shelf.

  • fingerless mitts - 2 sets 
  • white scarf for Savvy
  • blue and purple shawl
  • "Joy" quilt (BOM at LQS)
  • Fractured Grinch
  • Savvy's bag
  • One Block Wonder Quilt
  • Tula Pink City Sampler Quilt
  • Owl quilt
  • Alphabet blocks
  • Kayden's curtains
  • 2 'panel' quilts
  • animal blankets
  • Geisha Art Quilt
  • Mariner's Compass Quilt
  • Wandering Star Quilt
  • Cross Stitch Christmas stocking
  • BOM from 2013 to finish
  • Scrap Quilt
  • Disappearing 4 Patch quilt
  • Spicy Spiral table runner
  • Monkey Hat
  • Quilt in a Tin
  • Asian Quilt kit
  • Dotted Art Quilt
Some of the above are already started and just need a little more work to finish them up.  But this is my 2014 list and I can't wait to be able to cross things off on a monthly basis.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

No Cardinals In Montana

One thing I do miss about North Carolina here in Montana is the lack of cardinals.  Those chubby, red birds are missed against the white of the snow here.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013


How do I describe someone as complex as my oldest daughter?  Here are a few images of her over the years to help.  She is as delightful and as surprising as she was 23 years ago.

Friday, December 27, 2013


For creative people, we are viewed as sometimes being impulsive and 'going with the flow'.  However, in almost every book I have read on writing, which can also be translated to anything you want to accomplish, 'scheduling' is one of the number one things you do to get your butt in the seat and words on the page.  Or blocks of a quilt done.  Or schoolwork done.

To go along with my word of the year 'Routine', there will be my calendar.  Because I am more visual and tactile simulated, I will be mainly relying on a paper calendar - very low tech.  But I am going to use the calendar I am ordering from Kimberly Wilson at Tranquility du Jour.

Things I want to 'schedule' in my life for 2014 are the following:

work - both for Texter and me
school work (yep, still studying)
sewing time
blog postings
financial goals
'play' dates

Now this is not to say that I can't be 'impulsive' and hop onto something that comes up at the last minute, but my 'brain' feels better when I now the 'plan' for the day.   Hopefully, by having a schedule, we (Texter and I) can get Lady K on more of a schedule for sleep, waking, and eating. And I can feel like I am getting more accomplished with the time I have during the day I am not sleeping (a good night's sleep for me is something I want to 'schedule' also.)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Word for 2014


Stay tuned for more details about why such a 'boring' word means increased creativity for me.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to Family and Friends

....and may the coming year be wonderful and full of joy and healing for all.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Partridge in a Pear Tree - Sort of

I missed several days of mandalas due to being out of town and away from my computer (really need a laptop).  So from a picture of quail I took in Savvy's front yard in Arizona, I made this mandala.

Christmas Eve Resolutions

So here it is Christmas Eve and I will be going into work in a few hours.  The house is quiet as Texter and Lady K are in South Carolina and Gibbs is sleeping in.  Coffee is at hand and catching up a bit on the news (normally my mornings are spent with Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood).

I am also cleaning up all the sites I have bookmarked for some reason or another.  I'm deleting some and others I am putting into the appropriate folders (to be purged at a later date).  At the same time I am thinking about what I want to accomplish for the coming year.

This is the state of my craft/sewing room - or at least part of it.  It does not include the bins I have sorted by project.  Or the yarn.  Or the half-finished projects.  And based on what I want to accomplish in the coming year, I am joining making Rebecca Lynne and going on a fabric diet.


These are the 'rules' for the diet - 

- To use the Stash I already have!
- Finish UFOs without distraction by shifting to other new beautiful fabric.
- Stop the insanity of constantly buying the latest and greatest fabric.
- Save the $$ I spend on stashing.
- Destash the fabrics that I realize I am never going to use.
1) No fabric purchases for 6 months beginning January 1, 2014.   
2) At 6 months reevaluate status and decide whether to keep going for full year.  Evaluation July 1, 2014.
3) Create a UFO list and complete them!
4) Exceptions
  • Backing: purchasing a backing to finish a quilt top is permissible.  However, attempting to use fabric in your possession for a backing is preferable.
  • Books and Magazine purchases are allowed as they are not fabric.  Notions acceptable too.
  • Swap Mama Fabric: if hosting a swap you are permitted to by fabric to execute swap duties, but you may not join a swap simply for the sake of being able to buy fabric!
  • Quilts for Publication: if you are making a quilt for a publication and need certain fabric to execute it correctly then that is a major exception - who can blame you?

So in the coming days, not only will I reveal my 'word' for 2014, but also my plans for what I hope to accomplish in the coming year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Travel Done

I am propping myself up at the desk with a cup of coffee.  After I post this I will be heading back to bed for a nap before work this evening.  While driving 1200 miles in one day is not something I would do all the time, it was worth it to see Savvy and CJ.

Anyway........(warning-lots of pictures)

The travel plans this Christmas revolved around Lady K and Texter heading back to the Carolinas in order to see both sets of grandparents and family - most of which have not seen Lady K in anything other than pictures.

In order for them to catch a flight on MY airline, we had to head to Salt Lake City.  We were going to go out the day before, overnight in Salt Lake City, so they could catch a 6am flight out.  We planned really well as it started snowing/icing and their's was the last flight out for awhile.  As it was, they were delayed for a couple of hours leaving SLC.  But this is what I am missing for the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, after I dumped them out at the airport at 430am, got them through security, I headed out to Arizona and Savvy.  Although Salt Lake City was yucky with the snow, once I cleared the city, going was good.  On the way, I saw a road runner, tons of ravens and crows, and when I pulled up at Savvy's....Gambel Quail!

According to Savvy, there are a ton of quail which stroll the neighborhood.  I just love their little top feather bobbing around as they scurry.  I will have to admit though, watching them makes my mouth water - they are tasty.

Before I headed down to Arizona I had suggested to Savvy we 'take a hike'.  I had even looked up San Tan Mountain Regional Park which was suppose to have hiking trails.  So it was really funny when we went out on Friday to run a couple of errands and, because I didn't want to make a left hand turn out of a parking lot, we found the park.  It is only minutes away from her house!

I paid our $6 entry fee and the really, really nice lady there suggest a quick, two mile hike through the park.  It had rained the night before and was cloudy and cool and we didn't have anything else to do, so off we hiked.

There was also another reason for the hike.  I wanted to see 'cactus in the wild'.  I didn't want to see cacti that had been uprooted and placed in someone's yard, beside the road, or in a park.  Wild cactus for me and this hike didn't disappoint me in the least.

These get a lovely pinky-purple and appear to be 'soft' spines.  They lie!

Looks all sweet and delicate and ferny....it too lies!

While very lovely, I think I like being able to touch plants!

We were lucky enough to see a 'herd' of 'migrating wild cactus'.

But cactus does have personality.  You can see faces on some of them.

And then there was giant squid cactus.

But not everything was 'pointy'.  Because of the cool weather and rain, there was actually some very green moss on some of the rocks.

We did find this little fellow laying on a rock.  Savvy and I think he was just very cold and laying there trying to get warm and not succeeding very well.

As I said earlier, it was cool (50's) and a bit rainy while in Arizona.  I guess I brought the winter with me.  But as we hiked the 2.2 miles of trails, there were wonderful views of the clouds all around us.

I did get to add a couple more birds to my bird list.  There was a Gila Woodpecker flying around.  There were probably several, but it seemed like only one.  And a little Cactus Wren (about 3-4).

The Gila (above) and the Wren (below)....

I also saw a road runner (which I have seen many times before) and a ton of hawks, especially in Montana on my way to/from Arizona.

Because of the forecast for snow north of Salt Lake City, instead of leaving super early on Sunday, I left late Saturday afternoon.  I figured by the time I hit the snow, the sun would be coming up.  And I was correct.  The drive back was in and out of snow and most of the drive was really gray and foggy looking.

So hopefully, on New Year's Day, the weather will cooperate and allow Texter and Lady K to fly back to Salt Lake City where I will drive down and pick them up - about 6 hours in each direction.  However, one good thing about the drive is that I can fit in an audio book easily.

Now, it's resting up, a little work at the library, and some sewing and knitting.......

Sunday, December 15, 2013


It's that time of the year.  The year is ending and the new one getting ready to start.  There has been a lot of changes in my life over the past 12 months.  It's been a real roller coaster.  Texter and Kayden will be gone until the first of the year, so that will give me a chance to unwind and look back and plan ahead, a time I am really looking forward to.  Instead of being 'crazy' during the holidays, I will be chilling out.  And it's not only people who need a chance to contemplate their world.

I have my orchids on my dresser, so I keep part of my curtains pulled back so they can get light during the day.  My bedroom faces toward the east.  This is not the first time that I have found Mojo sitting on the bed, looking out.  You can see part of the mountains from the window.  I wonder what he is thinking about.  Does he smell/sense the deer that have walked by the window?  Is he dreaming about running free? (Which I am sure is a yes since he has gotten out of the back yard several times and headed down the road.)  But he looks so thoughtful and 'thinking' - which is a complete change for him since he is a big goof most of the time.

Now is the winter of our contemplation......

Day 15 - Crab Apple Tree in Winter

I love the look of the crab apple tree in winter.  The little round, red apples hanging in there and the squirrels and birds utilizing them as winter settles in.  The snow silhouettes the branches.  It's a lonely look, but yet a hopeful view. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 12 Holiday Mandala

I can't believe, even with finishing up my semester at school, working, watching a teething Lady K (among other things), I have still managed to create and post 12 mandalas.  This was a basket which had blue ornaments in it.  I loved the open weave and the blue glistening through.  It's little things like that which make the holidays special.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Gift of Time

Now I can whip out a list of 'things' that I want in a heartbeat - no hesitation on my part at all.  However, the most important gift you can give family and friends is a gift of time with yourself.  Right now, the best gift I will give at Christmas is to know that my youngest and grand daughter are on their way back to the Carolinas to visit with family and friends who haven't seen Lady K in the flesh yet.  And for me - to spend a couple of days with Savvy, who I haven't seen since early June.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 10 Mandala

I really love this mandala.  It was made from a photograph of my 'spicy spiral' table topper.  And as I am filling out comment forms on hundreds of giveaways at Sew Mama Sew, something with fabric seems appropriate. 

Monday, December 09, 2013

Day 9 Mandala

Enough said.  Send chocolate!

My First Giveaway Day

*****Giveaway Now Closed*****

lynaeve won and as been notified via email

I 'discovered' Giveaway Day this summer quite by accident.  And as a result, I 'discovered' many, many websites that I follow on a daily basis, savoring all the eye-candy and inspiration doled out.  Sew Mama Sew is a constant source of ideas and fun and now this giveaway.

So when I decided to join this giveaway, I trooped downstairs to the 'sewing room' where I attempt to corral my sewing/knitting/crafting supplies to see what I wanted to offer up to my fellow stitchers and crafters.  I poured through my stash of quilting fabrics and couldn't make myself give up any as I had 'plans' for most of it and what was left I didn't feel was worthy of participating in this giveaway.

Then my eyes lit on this little jewel.

It's a skein of "Sakkie" from Plymouth Yarns and is appropriately called "Fire".  It has the colors of a fire in the fireplace, from a warm orangy/red to a charcoal grey.  And with being 40% kid mohair, 40% super wash merino and 20% nylon and approximately 437 yards, it has a wonderful feel to it.

I bought this yarn in order to knit a shawl during the Tour de France this year.   My youngest daughter, Texter, picked out this colorway.  However, it never clicked with me.  I wound one skein into a ball and started on the shawl and didn't like the look of it and stopped.  I am sure that one of these days I will change my mind and knit up something with the ball I have ready to go, but this skein needs to find a home where it will be loved and appreciated.

So my question to you is - have you ever bought something for a project which seemed like a great idea at the time, only to turn out that you don't like it after all?

I will try to answer all comments, but I might be a little bit delayed as I am finishing up a semester in college, which ends on the 12th and I work part time and my full time 'job' is helping to care for my grand daughter.  Oh, and did I mention I have to sew 5 bags and have them ready by the 18th in order to be taken back to North Carolina by Texter?

In the meantime, I hope you stop and look around and enjoy my site and return often.

PS.  Since this is a light skein of yarn, I will be glad to ship internationally.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Day 8 Mandala

After several days of subzero weather, this quote means a whole lot more.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Holiday Spirit Nature Mandala

I really haven't gotten 'into' the holiday spirit until the last couple of days.  Because Texter and Lady K will be out of the state during the holidays, we haven't decorated.  I do have an amaryllises growing, but it will probably be after the first of the year before it blooms.  And unlike back in NC, I don't think I can plant it out in the garden and have it rebloom in the summer here.

But yesterday we wrapped the things I have collected for Savvy for the past few months to prepare for my trip down to Arizona for a couple of days.  There are lights everywhere now and one of our neighbors is really into the inflatible decorations, which is really cheery as you drive by.  Tonight is the library Christmas party and we are all going.  So I am slowly getting into the holiday groove.

Nature, however, celebrates with or without us.