Saturday, September 27, 2008

Creative Space


Where do you meet your muse?

Do you have a studio or a designated area for your creative endeavors or do you work where ever?

Sweet P over at Coffee Time Quilt Studio is inspiring me with a recent post. Hop over and take a look at her pretty quilt studio. It will make you want to tidy and make fresh at your place.

The chair pictured above is my writing chair. A view out the window of flowers and birds is essential to my writing. I do a LOT of staring out that window and thinking. The joy of writing is that sitting and staring are valuable creative activities.

My quilting area is not fit for photos yet. I'll work on it and show you some time soon. As for my gardening...well, look out the window.

I'd love to see where you work and why it is special to you. Can you take me on a tour?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn Clean Sweep Challenge ~ Welcome Home Spaces


There's something about fall that makes me want to clean, tidy, and decorate. I love the colors of the season for one thing. All those warm terra cottas, soft khakis, and rich greens are my colors. Add a dash of purple and I'm a happy gal. During this season, I'm also getting ready to hibernate for the winter. Nothing is more pleasant than a comfy, cozy cave for the winter.

With nine weeks until Thanksgiving, I've devised a declutter, clean sweep, make ready plan for me to follow. The key to this is dividing the house into sections and working on one section a week. Hopefully, I'll have a delightfully pretty house for the holidays. Won't that be fun?

Join me if you want. I'd love the company and encouragement. If you have tips or advice, I'm all ears. The hardest part for me will be eluding the call of the garden. The weather is so fine right now.

This week, I'm focusing on the Welcome Home spaces. The areas where we enter or leave our house. The front porch and entry way. The back door and porch. The garage entrance where we go in and out 50% of the time. The goal is to declutter, clean, and freshen. Then, when we enter our own homes, we'll feel that sense of peace and joy that comes from being home.

I'll post some before and after photos later this week.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Happy Fall, y'all!

Fall is a favorite around here. The thermometer climbs down from its summer high perch, the sun pours mellow, golden light every afternoon, and all the plants burst into joyful bloom. Early autumn in Texas is a time of growth and renewal.

As the seasons change, I feel the urge to declutter, make tidy, rearrange and decorate my home, garden, and life. I'm taking scissors to my schedule. Sweeping old priorities into the trash. Rearranging my commitments. Continually searching for the activities which give the greatest pleasure, meaning, and purpose to my life, creative or otherwise.'s growth and renewal going in your creative life? What goals are up for review? What projects are taking their place centerstage? What new or old thing is charging your battery like never before?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rain on the Roof


Ike brushed by us last Saturday stirring the trees with his rainy breath. While he threw his temper tantrum outside, I cozied up in my yellow quilting area and played.

I started this lap quilt last spring specifically to refresh my skills. Previously, I had pieced the top, then sandwiched it with batting and a backing which required a lot of brain power. Basting came next.

Finally, it came time for the actual quilting. At first, the plan had been to machine quilt. Never done that before and couldn't quite figure out how to adjust my machine to make it work. Because I was cocooning in my yellow room with rain on the roof, I didn't want to take time to call my quiltin' sis-in-law for direction. Instead, up came the small quilt frame I have and out came the thimble and needle for hand quilting.

What a great decision.

A marathon of great chick flicks accompanied me on TV...can you go wrong with 'Sleepless in Seattle', 'Working Girl', or 'What a Woman Wants'?

I have at least a third of the quilt done. My stitches are not as small as they could be, but I worked on uniformity. This quilt is just for me. Practice, yes, but also to snuggle under on the couch during the gray days of winter. The fabric photographs blue, but it is really a deep, rich purple.

The afternoon proved the benefits of hand work as therapy. I felt sooooooo great.

Now, someone explain to me about the cat-fabric connection. All I have to do is lay out whatever I'm working on and little Rascal is there. This photo was taken approximately 30 seconds after the fabric went on the frame.
My memory is full of a long line of sewing enthusiasts cats. Desi, the cat of my teen years loved paper patterns.

Rain, cats, and quilting. It was a good day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Creativity as Therapy

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A few days ago, I found an article which discussed a link between what our hands do and a happy place in our brain. In other words, doing something skillful and useful with our hands sends an 'atta girl' to a part of our brain which, in turn, turns on seratonin, our favorite feel good hormone.

One of the points of the article was that in our modern, push button, touch screen, digital, microwave world, we don't DO enough to trigger this pleasure response. This, they hypothosize, is one of the reasons depression is on the rise in our world. Modern man doesn't take up tools to plow a field or chop wood to heat his home. Modern woman tosses laundry in the machine instead of getting physical feedback from scrubbing each shirt. (I'm happy enough about that, too, by the way.) One of the ways the authors suggested we cope was through crafting and art.

In other words, the act of hands-on creating makes you feel great. Creating something to delight your soul only reinforces the pleasure. The physical act of creating--handling fabric, cropping photos, molding clay, or picking up a paint brush is enough to begin to trigger this pleasure response.

The next time you decide to scrapbook, quilt, garden, needlepoint, cook, make soap, photograph, paint a wall or a canvas, sketch in your journal, or play with words on paper, you are investing in your own well being. Think of the dollars you are saving by not going to a therapist! Go ahead, invest in shiny, new tools, buy more fabric for your stash, stock up on any and all creative supplies. Remember, its for your own good, not to mention the well being of your family. (And more fun than doing laundry on a rock.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thirty One-derful Years!

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Thirty One-derful years together and counting........

Monday, September 8, 2008


In the last few weeks, I've experienced discouragement from several fronts. It isn't pretty and I don't like it. I've felt like a failure in more than one arena of my life. Blech!
I can handle (more or less) dealing with one portion of dismay at a time, but I hate it when it seems like I've been ganged up on! Some referee needs to throw a flag and call a foul.
The only thing to do in these times is pick up and keep moving. After falling flat on your face in the dirt, what else is there to do but get up? Brush the dirt off my knees, spit the mud from my mouth, and bind up the bleeding wounds.
It is important for me to re-assess my priorities. Figure out what I did wrong and where I was wronged. Decide what I've learned. Because I have learned. A lot. Some of it makes me cynical, but there you have it.
The best part is knowing I've grown a backbone. Really, I'm a very non-confrontational gal. I tend to run hard to avoid a direct confrontation and I've always been a people pleaser. In this case, on one front, I was run over by someone else's agenda. It was ugly and rather public. Downright insulting. And it happened within a church structure. Double blech! But, this time, I stood up for what was right and did what needed to be done. Some folks now have my foot print on their backside. I can tell you that apologies were offered and accepted. Progress.
Now we move on.
I'm older, wiser, tougher, and much more determined to pursue my path. My highlighted failures in the past few weeks have broken me. It's up to me to decide if I have the grit and courage to rebuild and continue to pursue my dreams to completion.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Design notes

The Pilot Guy and I went to the Kaleidoscope of Homes yesterday. This is a builder's showcase, but not just any showcase. These are multi-million dollar homes filled with bells and whistles you didn't even know you wanted. Five of them, fully landscaped and beautifully decorated.

I noticed a couple of home design/decor trends. Dark is in. Dark woodwork, dark wooden doors, dark paneling. I'm not too impressed because I love light and bright. In one home, a bathroom in a secondary bedroom was so dark that even three light fixtures didn't dispell the gloom. I'd look mighty good in that mirror every morning because the light was so soft and dim.

Carpet is out. Great brickwork, distressed hardwoods, and rustic tiles were on the floors. A few bedrooms had carpet, but most had hardwoods and area rugs in muted colors.

The greens in the paint jobs and accessories leaned more to the mint side rather than the sage of the past few years. Quite a bit of blue paired with brown.

You aren't in fashion unless you have a mirrored exercise room. Or a built in fancy coffee machine. Or a wine closet/room/cellar. Or a huge media room. Or a flat screen in the bathroom.

Which puts us way out of fashion.

I loved the outdoor spaces, especially one charming front courtyard with a small fountain and streambed running through it. Many of the European details spoke to my love of all things French or Italian. And some of the furniture was incredible. There was this one ladies writing desk, all curves and tidy drawers. Small, but very beautiful. And could be mine for only $1500. Sigh. But, hey, this is better than last year when I fell in love with a simple green display cabinet that was only $10,000. Funny, I've survived all year without that piece of furniture.

I don't want a home that big. My favorite of the five was small at 9300 square feet. (And could be ours for a mere 2,775,000 dollars. Gulp.) I can't imagine the costs of running such a home. It was fun to see that just because it is big, fancy, and expensive, I don't necessarily want it. One of the largest and most expensive on the tour had a ghastly (to me) kitchen. It was laid out so that the only way to function in there would be to have caters come in often. Really. I don't know how anyone, even a hired chef, could manage.

Touring there did make me want to clean out more of our corners and showcase the prettiness we already have in our abode. Filling a home with memories, beautiful treasures from travels, and comfort are enough of a goal for me. I picked up a few new decorating and landscaping ideas to play with in the coming months.

I love filling my creative soul with new colors, shapes, textures, and ideas. I hope you find a way to do the same this weekend.