Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Belated Winner

And the winner of Simply Strings is...
#4, Dorothy, who had this to say:
Congratulations! Can't wait to see it! Love your designs.

Super sorry for the delay on this but I got caught up in the hub-bub of the Thanksgiving holiday and the beginning of the Christmas festivities!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Shop Small

It's almost time for Small Business Saturday.
Use coupon code SBS2014 for a 25% discount on your entire order.
Thanks for supporting small business!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Autumn's Last Stand

It is just about time to say good bye to autumn.
Unless you live in the great north.
I gather that you said good bye autumn, hello winter a few weeks ago!

But here on the central coast of California, we are wrapping it up. Soon.
With any luck, we will be able to say hello to a rainy winter and spring.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Varmit Campaign

What is a varmit?
According to Wikipedia: Vermin (colloquially varmint or varmit) are pests or nuisance animals, especially those that threaten human society by spreading diseases or destroying crops and livestock.

Destroying crops and livestock. Yep, that's what happens around here. There is always something just waiting in the wings to chow down on my hens, the chicks, the eggs, my garden or my tiny little orchard.
It is truly a wonder that we get any food at all off this little piece of land.

Here is a list of recent offenders:

I am not super excited to have a mountain lion creeping around the neighborhood, but he does make his presence known every couple of years. This year, I am hoping that he avoids the sheep/goats/chickens and really makes a feast of some of these pesky varmits. Then it will be a Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas in November

My neighbors already have their Christmas lights up.

 Thanksgiving isn't until next week, and as a rule I just don't care for our country's obsession with early-bird Christmas decorating. BUT, these lights looks so pretty on a dark night. AND since my daughter saw a mountain lion roaming around the neighborhood 2 weeks ago, I feel like any and all extra illumination is a good thing.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Simply Strings

We are back home from Quilt Market, in Houston, and ready to settle in for the holiday season.

But before we do, there is something VERY important I need to tell you about.

My first book!
It is called Simply Strings: A Modern Approach to a Traditional Quilt Block.

I started this book almost three years ago without knowing it.
I was over run with scraps and decided that I was going to bust them. ALL of them. So I started string piecing blocks and then quilts and before I knew it I had 14 quilt tops, a scrap basket that was still overflowing, and an idea for a book. And the rest, as they say, is history. Well, except for all of the work of writing an entire book!

My favorite project in the book is...well all of them.
But here are a few that were very popular at Market:

Hope for Tomorrow

Color Me Happy (low volume option)


And of course, an announcement like this would not be complete without a GIVEAWAY!
Leave a comment letting me know what you think and I will draw a winner next week.
(I hope it's you.)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

One Question

The adults give expected answers.
The children...PRECIOUS!

Saturday, November 1, 2014


This little video reminds me of days gone by...of coughs and colds and ear infections.
And trying to get toddlers to take medicine.
Except for the screaming and crying and spitting it out part.
Apparently pandas aren't into that part.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


We just took a little vacation up to the great state of Wyoming. And as we made our way up through Utah and then Jackson and even Yellowstone...I decided that I didn't really like Wyoming. It was so...desert-y, and sage-y, and dusty, and dry. I am not really a desert person, and I was so surprised to find out that Wyoming is pretty much a desert state. Who knew?? (Well, probably everyone but me!)

But then we came to Cody, and something in me changed. Cody felt different. After we had been there for a few days I realized that I had completely fallen in love with that little town. With the community and the landscape and the mom-and-pop-ness of it. With the wildness and the western-ness and culture of it.

It made me feel small and safe and free all at the same time.

The sky was so very big, and even the clouds looked to be as big as a whole cities. There was a great vastness to the open made me feel very small. Like a mere speck on this grand creation we call Earth.

The mountains were big and rolling and many, and they surrounded the town on all sides like a fortress. The legend of William F Cody was alive and well, and it seemed to pour out of everywhere. And it made me feel safe... to be inside a fortress guarded by the world-renowned marksman known as Buffalo Bill.

The sunshine was brilliant. The fresh air seemed to be without limit and the wildness lay just beyond view. And I felt as free as I have ever felt.

It all made me feel closer to God, and I am not sure why.

But on our last day there, we visited the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. A movie about Bill Cody was played somewhere along the way and I was surprised to hear him say the same thing...closer to God.
He said it like this...

The moment [my] show closes, I hike out to the mountains. I like to get close to nature. That’s the only real way to live, after all. The [city dweller] doesn’t know what a true man is like. He hasn’t any chance to know. He never takes a full, deep breath; he never gets his lungs full of air. He can’t do it in [his] low altitude. When I get back in the mountains, in those grand temples that God built, I feel like another being, and I say, as I draw in a full breath of life, “I’m certainly a man!”
I believe that a man gets closer to God out there in the big, free West. It gives him a chance to expand, to know himself, to think.
* Charles Darnton, “’Buffalo Bill’ Cody at Close Range,” unidentified newspaper, April 27, 1907

...and I couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sunshine and Shadow

Wrapping up the day.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Inspired by Martha

You know how sometimes you get a magazine in the mail and it's a dud? Nothing inside the cover that speaks to you? Always a bummer.

Or how about those times when you get a magazine in the mail and it has a few lovely little things that you can't wait to try? Always a plus!

But how about those rare times you get a magazine in the mail and it appears to have been hand written JUST FOR YOU? That just happened to me. It was this one...

And I will probably NEVER let it go.
What's so great about this "To Rana, Love Martha" issue?

Well how about this great collection of magnifying glasses:

All things apples:

I am pretty sure this laundry basket would make doing the laundry less of a chore:

Pretty no-carve pumpkins:

FABULOUS popcorn on the cob:

I am hoping this salad will turn my guy into a broccoli lover (instead of the hateful hater that he is):

And speaking of good food, how about roasted carrots with chimichurri:

Or escarole and bean soup:

Chicken Chile Stew:

For the nature lover in me, there is this "virtually fool-proof" watercolor inspiration:

A branch for the coat closet...brilliant!

How about a fabulous gray kitchen (and I don't even like gray!)

Kitschy light bulbs:

Organized drawers:

Pumpkins to greet your guests (and yourself):

And last but not least, this great firewood containment system:

Now, in an effort to be a doer and not just an admirer...

I have assembled some watercolor supplies (I even have a few leaf tracings inside):

I picked up my first magnifying glass:

I have apples just waiting to be cooked up:

I have friends in mind to invite over for chicken chile stew (Theresa and Laura, this means you!).

I have also broached the subject of a gray kitchen and a branch for the closet with my guy. It seems that at this point in time these things are completely "impossible"....and I may have heard him utter the words "stupid Martha Stewart"...which I take to mean I should hide this treasured issue before it mysteriously disappears...maybe I should start a Pinterest board too, just in case...

All of these images, of course, are from the October 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Aging is Bad

Last year, I was having a couple of health issues that caused me to go in and see my favorite doctor. A few weeks later I was in the hospital having surgery.
It was a giant bummer.

Earlier this summer I started having a little trouble with a couple of my teeth.
I went in to see my favorite dentist. And over the course of the next few weeks I had to have some extensive work done that included complications that landed me in both the oral surgeon's office and the periodontist's office.
It was a giant bummer.

And if all of that is not bad enough, I feel like my vision is slipping.
Go see the eye doctor??
No way. So far these visits have not really gone well.
I have been putting it off and putting it off....
Then today I am driving in the car with my guy and I realize that he can see better than I can.
Well, that did it. I walked right in to Costco (home of the world's best optometrists) and asked if they could fit me in. Yes, they could, and a few nervous and dreadful hours later I was being seen by a nice doctor who told me that my diagnosis was "the bad bad B word".
Oh gosh.
And then he just sat there quietly, looking at me and waiting for me to pronounce the "B word".
I was starting to feel a big-fat-freak-out coming on, but I was able to hold it together long enough to utter the word..."Blind?".

"No! Bifocals. That is the problem with patients like you. You have 20/20 vision your whole life, and then when things start to get a little soft around the edges you think you can't see anymore...." blah blah blah. He had lots more to say on the matter, but none of it was bad. No blindness. No surgery. No specialists. Just bifocals. I can live with that.
Giant bummer avoided!

So, the next time you see me I will be sportin' a nice new pair of glasses (over my perfectly not blind eyes!).

Monday, September 22, 2014

You know its...

You know its...September when you are hauling in veggies by the ton and planting seeds for more.

You know its... almost time for quilt market when your studio starts to look like this.

You know its... going to be a long day when you are 2 hours into a 17 hour road trip and find yourself looking for the jack.

You're in Wyoming when the buffalo roam this close to the highway.

You is busy and full when all the above happens in less than a week.