Matt Haig writes really tender and haunting stories…

BOOKISH FRIENDS: This is the author — Matt Haig — that wrote the great article I shared about hope on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, and his book did not disappoint! FANTASTIC STORY and really well written. It’s about a man who ages more slowly than most humans and he learns some beautiful lessons along the way. Poignant and entertaining, tender and haunting (not in a scary way but in a reflective way!). Ben listened to a bit with me and he liked it too.

I’ll be reading ALL of this author’s books in the near future…

#amreading #ad #books #read #amazon #matthaig

What I Designed Today: OK Mozart International Music Festival T-Shirts

I submitted about 9 different designs and these are my favorite versions.  The local printer prefers one color, so I was challenged to do an eye catching design while only using one or two colors to keep costs low.  Mission accomplished!  Which design would you prefer?  Do you think Mozart actually said these quotes?  Logo front pocket, this design printed large on the back side of the t-shirt design.

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In the end, in a somewhat heated debate, my client chose to print two different designs — each of which was liked by different personnel who adamantly did not like the other design!  Which makes me think of the phrase, “If everybody likes what you’re doing, you’re doing something wrong!” Not a bad motto to live by! I’m curious, though, which of the two below would you choose?

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What I Designed Today: Logo Designs for Push-It Pallet

I was asked to create a logo for a company that uses padded pallets as jewelry display cases. The requirements were: blue and green colors and an arrow or “hook”. I chose to include a box to indicate more of what the company was about! I like the chosen logo because of its retro look. Here is the page of logos initially sent for review:

Here is the finished selection:

Moving In Pictures

I’m just going to show a bunch of pictures. I think they speak for themselves. Frankly, I should still be too tired to type!

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My office (above) may NEVER recover! I think I can get both large printers in there but the inlaid wood table was broken by the movers. :/

Here’s the kitchen island a little more presentable but we’re so not there yet! It’s going to take time, maybe a lifetime, but that’s just fine with me.

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One last pic of the boys vegging out in the new family room. Who needs a formal living room anyway? This family room is “the” room and we are all loving it. We heart Bartlesville!!!

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Headed Home!

We’re headed to Oklahoma – and we’re calling it HOME. That’s a major milestone. We never did call Texas “home” though we loved the people there. It just never felt like home. I can’t wait to see my hubby again and the next 4 days until we close on our new home are going to seemingly be the longest of my life, I am sure. I hope to have some great home pics to share with you relatively soon (we have lots of furniture buying to do to replace what we sold in Houston). In the meantime, check out these great house pictures I’ve found at www.houzz.com. Lovely site for browsing the night away — much more fun than television, anyway.

Houston International Quilt Market Giveaway!!!

So last year I got to meet Amy Bradley at Houston’s Quilt Market 2009 and then I had a giveaway of one of her books. Let’s do it again! This year, I had something a little different in mind: giving away a bag of wool roving in the most delicious colors! I will post the giveaway soon. Quilt market was fun but, since I don’t quilt, I think two years is plenty of industry tradeshow experience for quilting.

A Wonderful Day in Houston

Wait.  Did I actually write that title???  The boys and I took off on a spur of the moment mini trip to downtown to the Zoo on this rainy day.  Bonus:  NOBODY WAS THERE except for us!  We were the only people in the reptile house and then the close encounters building and then the aquarium.  We did get wet for the outdoor dinosaur exhibit (and a little miffed it cost extra – only $2 each, though).  We did get wet from the rain but it was so much better than the usual heat.  None of us are made of sugar and a nice time was had by all!  I will post pictures soon.

We also went down the street to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  We rode the geovator.  We went through the section that teaches all about oil drilling and we wished there was a new section explaining the latest oil spill catastrophe to us!

All in all – a great day!

I’m in love with PBS and BBC

Sure signs of aging: loving onions, mustard AND sauerkraut. Another sure sign of aging: really, really enjoying PBS and BBC. When did this sneak up on me?? I feel like normal television doesn’t include a plot anymore. I am addicted. MI-5 is a new one for me and it is fantastic, although I see I have 8 or 9 seasons to catch up on! I already love Masterpiece Classic – that Rupert Penry-Jones is amazing. No need to elaborate, right? Well, he reminds me of that guy in Robinson Crusoe that was cancelled (great show – I am still mourning television’s loss with that cancellation). I look forward to seeing The 39 Steps this Sunday night. Maybe getting old isn’t so bad!

Quilt Market Houston – A Newbie’s Perspective

Houston’s International Quilt Market didn’t indicate any sort of economic recession to me. These people have a passion and they take it seriously. There are some wonderful men at Quilt Market (if you’ve never met the big wigs over at Clover tools, run their direction as fast as you can – they are funny, generous true gentlemen!). But overall, the estrogen was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Husbands lined the walls, held the bags, and stood aside while female shop owners and designers worked the floor. Fabulous!


In Amy Bradley’s booth.

They even have little green ribbons for those of us who were venturing there for the first time. Other newbies stopped me to ask where I got my ribbon. You see, at Market, it’s all about what you’re getting: contacts, friends, food, fun, but most importantly…inspiration. And I’m not even a quilter!


Izzy & Ivy Designs won best new booth or something like that (an official award; not a made up one like mine!).

I came upon Quilt Market almost by accident: hubby transferred to Houston and my good friend Benay, of Beany Boy Quilts, wanted me to help her design and layout a quilt book. We’ve been in Houston about 14 weeks and – true to her word – Benay came down to visit me and we headed out for downtown. The rows upon rows of interesting fabrics and quilts were mind boggling. I don’t quilt, you see, but any girl with graphic sensibilities can appreciate a good quilt design. You could immediately tell which pattern and fabric designers stood out from the crowd because their booths were crowded. There were so many fun exhibitors who actively passed out fliers, smiled and said hello, inviting you into their booths. In contrast, there were quite a few exhibitors who just sat in their booth looking unfriendly and not even saying a word. I noticed a trend: those with traditional patchwork and passé designs were the ones looking uninviting. The best exhibitors had not only fresh, fun quilt designs but they also included other projects: animals, backpacks, books, you name it! Their creativity wasn’t limited to quilt design. And it showed. They were genuinely creative people.


L to R: Benay Derr, Amy Bradley, Lizabeth Rolfson


Amy’s quilt design for baby – great idea!

The sweetest and kindest exhibitor has to go to Amy Bradley and her daughter and mother. What a fun crew! They are the kind of people you just know you love instantly. And her work…well, she was a graphic designer first (I’m not biased or anything) and it shows.


Mary Cowan, right, of Mary’s Cottage Quilts

Another trend I noticed was that the freshest designs of the lot were not from good old Moda or Windham Fabrics but from independent start ups – most coming out of Utah. Riley Blake was a huge hit – what a great setup out of Alpine, Utah – and Mary Cowan of Mary’s Cottage Quilts in Sandy, Utah. Another Utah favorite was Abbey Lane Quilts: Marcea Owen and Janice Liljenquist were so friendly and patient with us as we had to touch every. single. thing. My favorite fresh designs outside of Utah were from The Noble Wife. Designer, Jacquelynne Steves and her stalwart husband showed that all of the hotbed of fabric designs is not exclusive to Utah as they hail from Woodstown, New Jersey.

My all-time favorite booth of the show, however, has to go to Melanie Hurlston of Melly & Me. This group from Australia and their lovely accents were not the only thing that attracted me to their booth. I was hooked from the Friday night Sampler Spree and sought them out Saturday to get another hit from their hip wares. The books – all designed and produced by themselves (including the photography!) – were a breath of fresh air. They exuded confidence in their own designs and it just plain didn’t look like everybody else’s version of the latest trends. They were fantastically independent and I cannot toot their horn enough. I will be seeking them out for personal inspiration, graphically speaking, and I don’t even quilt! They totally were the Homecoming Queen of Quilt Market in my book!

Speaking of graphic inspiration, the award for best overall graphic sensibilities in quilting design would have to go to Patrick Lose of Patrick Lose Studios. I had the chance to chat with him and it’s no wonder – he used to teach Graphic Design at a design college in Des Moines, Iowa. Now that’s so close to home, it gave me goose bumps (I’m still a little midwestern home-sick!).


Lizzie B’s groovy peace quilted rug.

Other standouts: Lizzie B Cre8tive – she would have to be runner up for Quilt Market Homecoming Queen – great rugs and all around design. Very eye catching! I also liked Cloud 9 Fabrics, organic and super soft fabrics.

The Miss Congeniality award goes to Laura and Lynnette of Beach Garden Quilts in Seattle. They were wonderfully friendly – like instant best friends – and helped us feel at ease. They have some innovative quilted looking floor mat designs – be sure to check them out.


A quilt in the display section…name anyone?

The only thing left is to recuperate. But I don’t have time. I’ve been so inspired, I have all sorts of graphic design inspiration to work out.

p.s. You can look at all of my Houston Quilt Market pictures at my flickr account.

Motherhood & Mommy Burnout

Feeling physically equipped to have children (but not necessarily to raise them)…but certainly not spiritually equipped today. Ugh. I actually screamed at Bennie before 8 am this morning: “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?” Ummmm….can you say worn out? No, I do not need sleep – I went to bed at 7:30 p.m. and got up at 4:45 a.m. and it felt great! So why am I not any cheerier, you ask? Well, I am suffering burnout. Mommy burnout. {seconds later} Okay. I’m all perked up. I just sprinted after the trash collector – about 2 houses down – with a huge Rubbermaid trash can (full). I guess this day isn’t going to get much better! Oh well, 1 pt for me: at least I caught him. Guess I just need a good morning run…better head out the door with dog and child in tow.

Oops…Marked You As Spam!

I clicked the wrong button and accidentally deleted some of my favorite comments by marking them as spam. Please don’t take it personally. Can I blame it on bonking my head on the chandelier today?

Back to School Shopping

So it’s time for back-to-school shopping and I am not ready. Not even close to ready. I probably will hope that when we unpack on Friday that relatively new clothes, socks, and underwear will magically appear in my boys’ rooms and they’ll be ready. And shoes? Haven’t even thought about them (well, okay, so I thought about it but only long enough to write it down here!). All I can think about is making sure we have enough cash for closing on our new home on Friday which means not another dime will be spent until after then. Since the mortgage guy quit last week and every good faith estimate has gone up and up in final cash at closing cost per subsequent revision, I think we’d better sit tight until we know the final numbers! Our file has been in limbo-land and we are hoping and praying (and triple checking) to make sure that we don’t fall through the cracks. Friday is 2 days away, people!!! I think I’ll be too tired this weekend but maybe next weekend we can replenish the skivvy drawer if need be for school.

p.s. The jeans above are L.L.Bean’s Katahdin jeans on sale for $12.99. Not bad for the quality! Although, I hear Old Navy has some for $10 this week. Happy online shopping for those of you with the funds!!

Cicadas Everywhere!

Don brought this in ON THE KITCHEN TABLE and it was alive and had just been born. Gross, huh!!! But kinda cool, too. I love this pic – makes me think of the cliche “turning over a new leaf” somehow. These things are neat at a distance but the other day as I was coming home from a run, one hit me right smack in the shin and freaked me out a little. I’m easily bug-freaked. Imagine that.

Porch Ideas & Inspiration

I can’t wait until December…it might be cool enough (not to mention mosquitos) to actually go outside. I dream of sitting on a porch watching my kids play OUTSIDE. The only thing to do here is swim, swim, swim, and it’s not bad but my kids are getting a little bored. I can’t wait to set up a little patio in our new home. There is a concrete area in the driveway separated by a wrought iron gate for the kids to play and a small concrete porch in the back yard off the kitchen. There’s not much room for furniture but some of these ideas have me thinking about what might be possible! Tip: Our realtor told us that if you paint the ceiling of your outdoor porch gray, you won’t get mudwasps building nests up there…only gray. Old wives’ tale or truth (anybody know)? All the pictures are from Better Homes & Gardens.

Check out these outdoor living areas. In my fantasy life, I would have a beautiful outdoor porch with a fireplace. I just love the idea of an actual fireplace (or brick oven!). It seems so much more substantial than a little copper pit, although those can be fun, too. I have a girlfriend who got so desperate for roasted marshmallows that she would roast them in the kitchen over her gas stove! I have another girlfriend who likes S’mores so much she purchased a S’more Maker. Yes, a propane fueled appliance just for S’mores.

The only thing that is missing from these porches is a swing. I have the family porch swing that I used to swing on when I was little. It needs some work but it means so much to me and throws me right back to childhood where my cousin Danny and I would play superheroes on it. He was always Batman or Superman and I was Wonder Woman. Good times.

The last picture I wanted to share a thought on is the idea of a sleeping porch. I have read about sleeping porches before in books and had always thought of them as trashy. I simply lacked imagination. Since visiting our friend’s Highlighter Cabin a couple of summers ago, we love the idea of a sleeping porch. They had a room where we slept where all the windows opened shutter-like and it was basically a screen enclosed porch. It was heaven. Our whole family slept there and it was so peaceful and relaxing. I would love to repeat that night with my family over and over again.

On The Line: Eco-Friendly Clothes Drying

So our first tiny home in Ralston had a clothesline and I miss it very much. I loved our house in Gretna but the neighborhood covenants forbade such an unsightly thing in the yard (and, to be fair, the yards were open for all to see – how’s that for airing dirty laundry?). Our new home’s neighborhood MAY have these types of rules but the backyard is so secluded that nobody could see…and I am excited to dry some of our clothes outside again…when it’s not so humid and they might actually dry! A few of the models at Line Dry It can be used indoors. There is nothing so good as freshly dried, crunchy cotton sheets on your bed! The smell is divine. If you have never tried it, give it a shot – it makes your clothes last longer and saves on energy. I also especially love to dry kitchen towels and tablecloths this way.