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Posts from the ‘Travel & Places I’ve been’ Category

Austin Bound


Spring in Texas lasts a long time with bluebonnets and paintbrush and firewheels on the roadsides and pastures. I didn’t see many bluebonnets but the firewheels were out as well as the paintbrush–none here at this little picnic spot on route to Austin.

I usually prefer the smaller roads–less traffic and more lovely scenery to view. I had never stopped at this particular spot before but it was quite lovely. Only one other vehicle was there–who left within a few minutes of my arrival. Fish swam around in the pool, hoping for a meal but I disappointed them–yogurt and a banana aren’t really great fish food.

A few more photos are here:

Holus Bolusing on Bolivar


Holus Bolus celebrates ten years together—-we first met at Los Fuentes restaurant in LaGrange Texas after a fiber filled weeked at the Creativity Center–the dream of Karey Bresenham. Seated at the end of a very long table we began chatting and Sherry read the fiber book I had made for her about her mother’s pretty yellow dress. One thing led to another and we began round robin fiber books–and then we decided to meet more often than just at Quilt Festival and so the adventures began. In May we will go on a quilting cruise.

We have seen each other through health issues, hurricanes, and hilarity bonding together with Cissy’s deviled eggs, Suzanne’s gourmet meals, Jeanelle’s creative use of group projects, Sherry’s patient teaching, and my penchant for solitude. We have shopped at Goodwill for blonde wigs and sparkly jackets, the Treasure House for just looking for funky stuff, and have traveled to Camp Allen, Tomball’s Cabin Too, and Stonewall where I assigned myself the task of filling the hummingbird feeders—they were hungry little critters!

Sometimes we get together as five, and sometimes as three or four or even two–but it is always a joyful thing.

This past week I joined Cissy, Sherry and Jeanelle at the beach cabin (now there is an oxymoron for you–it was anything but a cabin) of her daughter for a day on the beach. We took handwork projects–I worked on my stitch every day silk sampler and finished up all the precut hexies I had. Cissy made two wonderful salads and then it was time for the beach and the sunset.

I took a lot of photos but chose just a few to represent our time. We toasted to friendship and the wonderful world with blueberry champagne.

If everyone had a group of friends like this—and spent their time so wonderfully–what a wonderful world this would be.

As usual more photos are here on smugmug:

Improvise and Make do


Here I am in front of my second assignment in Improvisation with Ricky Tims ( in lovely LaVeta Colorado. ( )

Note the pile of tiny slivered scraps behind my machine keeping that coffee cup warm. And all that thread which I will not use during this week. And underneath my table is the canvas and backings I brought to finish up small pieces—that I thought I would be working on this week.

I brought my two laundry baskets full of solids and prints that I dyed for Nancy Crow workshops in the past( —I am still using those fabrics but have added some prints–and as you can—vibrant ones. The question is always=-==will I have enough of this one to use in this project or should I choose something else. I picked out some fabrics that I knew I had at least a half yard or more to begin.

Tomorrow I start the next piece.

And I’ll see something like this on my way to the workshop.



On the way to beat the heat


On the way to Colorado quilt retreat, I stopped several times as I had allotted three full days for travel. My first stop was in Fort Worth at Texas Wesleyan University to visit with my oldest son and see his office space, labs, and his hopefully new house in Burleson. Then on to Clayton Texas where I had a meal at the Rabbit Ear Saloon and noted all the dinosaur imagery–and contemplated a trip to the dinosaur tracks.

But I decided to drive on—and found Capulen Mountain National Monument. This is an extinct volcano and I managed to walk around the rim and captured the above photo among many others.

Arriving in Colorado I had several hours free and decided that perhaps a visit to the Sand Dunes might be in order. That meant driving about 2 hours and a mountain pass of 9200 feet—no problem for my truck even when on biodiesel. Photos of that are on my next photo card—tomorrow–

It has been an interesting trip so far–I was surprised at the amount of rain that has fallen–and long lines of rail cars in New Mexico—snow fences in Colorado–and tire chain stations on both sides of the mountain—and of course all the notices regarding snakes at all the rest stops.

Here are the remaining photos:


Condensing to the essence


I’ve often wondered what it is about the simple figures in cave paintings and the stick figures of children that is so appealing–at least to me. The above image is from Diablo Canyon just outside of Del Rio. These paintings are slowly fading away but they retain the energy and vitality of their origin.

The canyon itself is magnificent with sweeping views of a tributary to the Rio Grande, lots of rocks, and dry weather adapted foliage sparsely arranged on the hillsides. Our tour guides detailed suppositions about the life led by the people who created these images–always male but can you not imagine the determined little girl who snuck out at night and painted a figure or two.

More photos of the paintings, the canyon, Amistad Resevoir and downtown Del Rio are on my smug mug site here:

I was asked to return to Del Rio in a few weeks but I had to turn them down–September sounds a better month and I can return to the canyon to see it again.

The question remains–how do you condense a feeling, an experience, an event to the very essence of it–and should it be a piece of visual art or maybe it should be a song.

Beyond Crazy from the Heat


James Houston Evans has made a career of photographing Big Bend for the past thirty years or more. He had a commercial studio in Austin but moved to Marathon, and took a job as a cook at the Gage Hotel–knowing little or nothing about cooking. He spent his days off hiking in Big Bend.

He also worked for Keith Carter, a local photographer who teaches at Lamar University–and was one of my mentors during my master’s degree in Visual Art at same institution.

McFadden Ward House Museum hosted the event and their first ever art show. I don’t really have permission to post his photos here–the above photo is one of mine taken minutes before we were deluged in a rain storm. Here is his website;

We have been to Big Bend several times–the first time thinking we would be done with it in three days and ready to move on—but it fascinates us and we have been back many times. Although James Evans thinks living there lets him have a special knowledge of the place and the light over the mountains—but the familiar can soon become commonplace and new eyes may take a fresh new look at it all.


Here are more of my photos from Big Bend—taken at a time when I didn’t really sort through them and delete a lot–maybe that will be a project in my older age.




Poppies at the Franch


A workshop at the Franch in LaGrange Texas is always a treat. This weekend was with Melinda Bula!about-melinda/c240r   with our project of Poppies. Most people bought her kit–which included all the fabrics needed to complete the piece except for the background, batting, and backing, binding and so forth. I had intended to bring my large box of reds and three smaller ones of green but at the last minute decided to cull my choices to fit into just one little box and work from that.

box20of20red-m Yes this used to have apples in it.

boxes20of20geen-m and those are Tide boxes with a small basket of yellows on top of the greens.

two20backgound20choices20here-m this box is bigger than a shoe box but not much. I could not fit in the fusible webbing or the vinyl.

I also opted to stay in the Dorm—freezing cold the first night, wrapped up in two extra blankets from two people’s cars–and then really needed earplugs—the snoring was quite daunting—might think about camping out in the bed of my truck next time. The only drawback to that is that there is no coffee in my truck unless I buy one of those semi truck driver’s coffeepots—might seriously consider.

I got about four pieces cut on my project–and will work on it more here at home with my large box of red and three smaller ones of green.–see above photos-

Solitude and few distractions are needed for me to feel creative–if someone else is nearby I feel I should be attentive to their possible needs. It feels rude to not work on the assigned project but gathering up enthusiasm to work  elbow to elbow–even when it is your dearest friends–just does not work for me.


I did get a lot of nice photos—and you may enjoy them here:

don’t miss the bling we bought for the birthday celebration.


A date with the Weeds

Pulling weeds is not a fun task but challenging when faced with this fellow.red20wing20blackbird20in20ragweed20forest-m

Vintage Quilt topsMeet Modern Quilt Guild

Recently I joined the Houston Modern Quilt Group and discovered an entirely new world of color combinations, fabric lines, and enthusiastic members.

And I happened to spend a delightful hour poking around an antique store in Uvalde Texas. That part of Texas is not known for cold winters and the need for lots of quilts to keep warm as some other parts of Texas do. I expected to find two or three—but over a dozen?

Most of them were still just tops or flimsies–waiting for their ultimate purpose. And then there were the patterns in the fabric–bright orange mixed with pink, gray with orange or teal, loud floral patterns mixed with plaids. I recognized all of the patterns except this one–unknown20block201-m

There wasn’t much space to lay them out and mostly I draped them over a small chest of drawers near by.


A few other treats–an old wringer washer machine, hooked rugs like my grandmother made from old sweaters, and a sewing bird caddy.

More photos are here:


Road side pleasures

I admit to liking odd things–closeups of mechanical devices and such.

img_1149-mIn mid December I spent a day learning how to better use my Gammill—here are a few photos around the hotel—a large construction site next door–and then on the road home—right outside a bakery where I found poppyseed kolaches–both open and closed.

off20road20view20on20road20home20from20mckinney-mMy mother would make the closed kind–from her mother-in-laws recipe. It required soaking the poppyseeds over night in milk. Unfortunately I do not have that recipe. My grandmother did not work from written recipes–but all from inside her head. She was a tremendous cook–making angel food cake in a woodburning stove.