Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Planner Dependence

I guess I'm just old fashioned, but I just can't find a virtual replacement for my Moleskine. A quick Google search will reveal that I'm not the only one who can't seem to make the switch to digital. I've been working on my planner for 2013 and thought I'd share since I like getting peeks into OPP.  That's "Other People's Planners".

Old Planners 
I've been keeping some form of diary/journal/planner for years. I dug out the old ones that I could find this morning to see what kinds of things I used to record. Not much has changed about the things I record in my planner, but I did figure out why I'm so tired all the time. I was working 70 hour work weeks in 1997!

I did realize that most the years I kept a planner, I didn't keep a personal journal/diary. That stack of Moleskines contains years of daily journals. Some years, like in 2007, I wrote almost a full page every day of the year. Other years, like 2010, I hardly wrote anything in the entire journal. (Maybe it's because I bought a red Moleskine in 2010; I think I need to stick to classic black.)

August 2012
In the past couple of years, I've been having more fun with my planners. I figure if I'm going to be looking at something multiple times a day, it should be fun to look at. This year, I used a Moleskine XL Monthly Planner with a soft cover and I'm in love!

Not only does it contain my calendar, but I've used it to journal, take notes, record ideas, sketch, make lists (gift lists, shopping lists, to-do lists, books I want to read lists, wish lists, etc.), copy scriptures and quotes, remember passwords, write down recipes, and log my freelance work hours to name a few. 

journal doodles
It's also a good place to doodle.

planner supplies
For 2013, I'm going with a completely blank XL Moleskine with a soft cover. With the blank pages, I can customize it to be exactly what I want. I spent some time yesterday thinking about how I wanted to organize it and drawing in the monthly calendars. I've never used a system (like GTD or the Action method), but I made myself some "action stickers" and printed out a GTD work-flow to see if I like using them. I love that paper/washi tapes are getting so easy to find, because it's a fun way to add some color and pattern to your planner. I also bought some really neat paper tapes at Daiso in San Francisco like Post-It notes on a tape roll. (I wish I'd bought more!) My favorite pens for my Moleskines are Pigma Microns. 

I've got an iPhone and an iPad, but I still can't give up my paper planner, I've tried. I've got organization/productivity apps like Evernote, Notability, OneNote, Toodledo, UPad, Time Optimizer, the Moleskine app, Errands, and Mindjet in addition to the calendar and reminders on the iPad, and I don't like any of them.

So far, the only things I can't get my paper planner to do is make a noise to remind me to do something and back itself up. Other than that, the battery never dies, it boots up instantly, and requires no wi-fi connection. I think I remember things better when I've gone through the act of physically writing them down. 

So, who else can't seem to break their paper habit? 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Inspiration from Quilt Market!

For the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of making the short trip down to Houston to attend International Quilt Market. I rode with my friend, Michelle, who owns and operates a fabulous sewing lounge in Dallas called Urban Spools. This trip to market was focused on finding inspiration for new classes to teach at our studios. I got some great ideas, met a number of lovely people, brought home a large stack of new reading material and some lovely fabrics, and had a great time hanging out with Michelle.

Michelle at the Moda booth

Meeting the King of Color, Kaffe Fassett

One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting the king of color himself, Kaffe Fassett! Long before I started quilting, I was an avid knitter. Back in the 90's, I drooled over (and knitted) some of his gorgeous knitting patterns. If you aren't familiar with Kaffe's knitting patterns for Rowan, they are as fun and colorful as his quilts. He was actually knitting in his booth at market that day and showed me the scarf he was working on with some new ombre wool.

Kaffe and Brandon
Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett at Schoolhouse
I hadn't splurged on a copy of his new autobiography yet, and I'm glad I waited because now I have my very own autographed copy! His other new book, Kaffe Quilts Again, is a feast for the eyes. In it, he revisits his favorite patterns from the past and updates them with new fabrics giving them a completely new twist. Both of this new books are must-haves for the Kaffe fan.

Book images will take you to Amazon.com.

Amy Butler's new line Alchemy
Amy's beautiful booth
If meeting Kaffe wasn't enough, I was also thrilled to talk with Amy Butler herself. She's so sweet! And so tall. Very tall. At her schoolhouse lecture, she presented the new free online magazine she and her husband are launching this fall/winter called Blossom. The preview we saw was just beautiful and I can't wait for it to launch.

Hanging out with Amy Butler
Me and Amy.
We took our badges off so it would look like we were just  hanging out.  ;-)

Have you seen Anna Maria Horner's new book, Anna Maria's Needleworks Notebook?
Amazon.com link (left) and my copy (right)

This book makes me wish there were 36 hours in the day so I could find the time to make every project in it! The photographs and illustrations are lovely and it covers the basics for the four most common types of needlework: cross stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, and my favorite, crewel.

IMG_4434.jpg Anna Maria Horner
Embroidery from Anna Maria's book (l) and Anna Maria at Schoolhouse (r) 

Anna Maria and me
I don't know how she does it all. Busy mother, beautiful wife, talented and successful business woman who still finds the time to pose with dorky fans! Anna Maria was as kind and gracious in person as she is on her blog. She's the real thing!

New Echino at Seven Islands photo.JPG

One of my favorite booths at market is Seven Islands, who distributes Echino and Kokka in the U.S. in addition to many other amazing fabric lines. Their booth is so colorful and fun. That stack on the right above, that's the delicious stack of the new Echino that I brought home from Sample Spree! I think I want to use it to make a quilt. I'll have to think of a pattern that really focuses on the fabric and works well with the large scale prints. I've got half yards of 20 patterns, so I may have enough to make a quilt and some other fun stuff.

So how to you top off a weekend as exciting as this one?
You ride to and from Houston in Michelle's new Mini!

Cutest. License. Plate. Ever.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Too much fun to blog.

That's my excuse. I've been having too much fun to blog. Why spend time on the computer when you have a fun place like this to play all day...


This is my new sewing studio! I finally did it; I leased a space and opened a sewing studio where I teach sewing to kids and adults! The studio is very near my home in an office suite. The building I'm in is actually an old church building and all of the classrooms have been converted to office suites. I signed the lease in the middle of May and started teaching the first week of June.


The studio is set-up for four students at a time and I have two large cutting tables and two ironing areas. This summer I put together sewing camps for kids and created all the patterns and curriculum myself. I had seven camp sessions of four days each. There were a lot of kiddos in here this summer and I had a great time teaching them.


Now that school is back in session, I've got some adult classes going during the day and a kids class after school one day a week. Marketing is not my thing, so I'm still just operating via word-of-mouth or simply by people who search for sewing classes in the area online. It's been enough to keep me busy and pay the rent, so I'm thrilled! By moving the sewing classroom out of my home, I got my sewing room back to myself and I've been working on some changes in there as well. I've got more organizing to do, but I'll share some photos soon. 

So, I haven't been blogging, but I've been sewing. Constantly! I've even been doing some draping and pattern drafting to make garments for myself. All this in addition to my Master Gardener certification hours and I've had a busy summer. I'll try to blog again soon, but right now, I'm ready to go home.  I had three classes today and a meeting about making quilts for a school auction. This workin' girl is tired!

Monday, April 16, 2012

My front yard garden

When looking at photos on my phone last week, I realized that it's only been a year since I started on my front yard garden. Today was my only free day this week, and it rained yesterday, so the ground is too wet to plant anything. Instead, I decided to document what's growing in my front yard today.

Front Yard 4/2/10
This was my front yard during our massive remodel.  April 2, 2010
We moved in in November 2010, but couldn't decide what to do with the yard. The soil in my front yard is black Texas clay. It's dense and full of limestone. Mine has a pH of 8.2 and almost no nitrogen.

Front Yard 5/4/11
This is the photo that reminded me that it was only a year ago that I started on my garden. Here, I'd just had a Chinese Privet removed from the corner of the house. The birds, especially the Cedar Waxwings, loved the berries on the privet, but it was scraggly and is considered by the state of Texas to be invasive.  Adios, privet!  May 4, 2011

 Gardening 2011
This was just after I convinced my husband to let me build my Texas cottage garden.  All it took was "You'll never have to mow, " and he was on board. I started putting up a little black iron fence and laying down my pathways. Those large rocks lining the pathway are the limestone I dug up as I planted.  May 13, 2011

Front Yard 4/16/12
This is the front yard today. It's still a work in progress, of course. A garden that's finished is dead. My garden is a collection of plants I've purchased, plants I've started from seed, plants I've propagated, and pass-along plants I've received from others. I'm thinking another three to four years and the garden will begin to mature into the garden I've dreamed about. Until then, I'm going to enjoy the ride and learn from experience.

Sweet Peas 4/10/12
I cannot even begin to express how I love spending time in the garden with my hands and knees covered in soil. Regardless of how difficult the task, it never feels like work.

We have such a short spring here in Texas that I'm just relishing this brief time before the crazy heat is upon us. Last year's heat and drought was horrible all over the United States. Here in Fort Worth, we suffered though 70 days over 100°! This spring God has blessed us with rain, lots of rain. All this rain will hopefully help my new plantings develop strong roots before the summer heat arrives. I've filled my front yard with native and adapted plants, with a few exceptions, like those Sweet Peas above. The vast majority are perennials, some evergreen, some semi-evergreen, and some herbaceous. Last spring, I installed drip irrigation in these beds and I lost very few plants.

Snowberry Clearwing Sphinx Moth
Snowberry Clearwing  Moth on my Pavonia  last spring

This morning, I walked through the garden and listed everything I have growing in the front yard. Some of these things are very small, having just been planted, and some have happily returned from last year. I'm including the list below for my records.

Once summer arrives, I'm sure I'll be spending more time inside in the sewing room. My sewing room looks out into the shady side of my garden where I keep the birds well fed and watered and they return the favor by letting me enjoy their antics through the windows. I just love this time of year!

The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others,
is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.
- Gertrude Jekyll

In my front yard :: April 16, 2012
Achillea millefolium 'Apple Blossom'
Achillea 'Moonshine'
Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana 'Texas Gold' *
Artemisia 'Powis Castle'
Asparagus densiflorus
Aspidistra elatior
Aster oblongifolius
Buddleia davidii 'Nanho Blue'
Canna spp.
Chrysanthemum 'Five Alarm Red'
Cleome hasslerana
Coreopsis grandiflora 'Baby Sun' *
Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam'
Coriandrum sativum *
Crocus vernis
Cyrtomium falcatum
Delphinium consolida  *
Dianthus 'Clavelina Tickled Pink' *
Dianthus 'Fire Star' *
Dianthus gratianapolitanus 'Firewitch' *
Dryopteris erythrosora
Echinacea sp. *
Gaura sp.
Gelsemium sempervirens 
Hellebore orientalis spp.
Hemerocallis 'Stella de Oro' *
Hosta fortunei 'Aureo Marginata'
Hosta fortunei 'Francee'
Hosta 'Sagae'
Hymenoxys scaposa *
Iris spp.
Lantana camara 'Lucky'
Lathyrus odoratus x  *
Lavandual stoechas  *
Leucanthemum vulgare
Leucanthemum x superbum
Leucophyllum frutescens
Liatris spicata 'Gayfeather'
Lobularia maritima *
Malvaviscus arboreus (pink)
Malvaviscus arboreus (red)
Matricaria recutita  *
Melampodium leucanthum  *
Mentha piperta cv.  
Monarda citriodora 
Monarda didyma 
Monarda didyma 'Joseph Kline'
Muscari armeniacum
Nepeta x faassenii 'Walkers Low' *
Ocimum basilicum 
Oxalis crassipes 'Little One' *
Papaver nudicaule 'Champagne Bubbles' *
Pavonia lasiopetala
Petunia 'Shock Wave Purple' *
Phlox subulata
Physalis philadelphica
Pittosporum 'Wheelers Dwarf'
Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'
Rosa 'Amelia Renaissance' *
Rosa 'Cecile Brunner' *
Rosa 'Duchesse de Brabant' *
Rosa 'Marie Daly' *
Rosa 'Perle d'Or' *
Rosa 'Radrazz' *
Rosa 'Radwhite' *
Rosa 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' *
Rosemary officinallis 'Barbeque'
Rosemary officinallis 'Tuscan Blue'
Rudbeckia hirta *
Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue' *
Salvia gregii (coral) *
Salvia gregii (pink) *
Salvia gregii (red) *
Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' *
Salvia nemorosa 'Snow Hill' *
Saxifraga stolonifera *
Scutellaria suffrutescens (pink)
Sedum x 'Autumn Joy'
Tagetes spp.
Thymus x citriodorus ‘Golden Lemon’
Tulipa spp.
Verbena canadensis 'Homestead Purple' *
Zinnia spp.
(* blooming)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

Let's see if I can remember how to do this.

I've been busy. Really, really busy. There's no need for explanations or excuses. It's my own fault; I take on too much.

So,  I'm getting emails like crazy that the link to my easy-cut hexagon printout isn't working. I moved it to Google Docs last year, and the links seem to be working for me (even when I'm not logged on to Google), so I'm not sure what the problem is. If you have ever previously downloaded any of my PDF's from the downloads page above, please clear your browser cache, reload the page, and try again.

Here's the link to the ONE INCH EASY-CUT HEXAGONS. If you are looking for it and it still won't download, please let me know in the comments below. If you have emailed me requesting permission to use the easy-cut sheet in a class you are teaching, please go ahead and use it. If you haven't asked me if you can distribute and make copies, please don't unless you ask first.

While I'm here, I suppose a little update would be appropriate. This year, in addition to my freelance design job and teaching sewing classes (among other obligations),  I'm training to become a Texas Master Gardener and I am having an absolute blast!

Master Gardener
Gardening isn't a new hobby for me, but this is first time I've received any formal training. The Master Gardener program in my county is the largest and most active in Texas. I've been studying botany, landscaping, fruit and nut production, turf and trees, irrigation and rainwater harvesting, composting, vegetable gardening, entomology, diagnosis and management of plant diseases, plant propagation, flowers and shrubs, and so on and so on. I've added words like xylem, evapotranspiration, and peduncle to my working vocabulary and I now know the difference between a dicot and a monocot. 

Propagating Roses
The Master Gardener program takes a year to complete. If all goes as planned, I'll graduate in January and become a state-certified Master Gardener. As we move into spring, things are really getting busy! I'm assisting in public school gardens, community gardens, hospital gardens, historic landmark gardens, and women's shelters gardens. I'm working in our amazing Botanic Garden, learning to assist the public with home horticulture when they call the County Extension Office, and this weekend, I'll be working in a conservatory full of butterflies from around the world. I'll be the volunteer at station #1 making sure no one opens the emergency exit, reminding people not to touch the butterflies, and answering questions about the butterflies and plants in the conservatory.
Rag Quilts
If you made it through all that gardening talk, I've done a bit of sewing lately too. I think I've made four rag quilts in the last couple of months. Everyone is having babies!

Next week is spring break and I. Can't. Wait. I'm hoping to make some serious progress in the basement, which we are in the process of converting into a sewing/art/craft studio. There's some sewing I'd like to get done and I just started converting my daughter's unfinished Creative Memories baby book into a Project Life album. And of course, working outside! I've got veggies to set out in the garden and perennials to plant.  I'm going to need a week off after spring break.