"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I've found a place to set my birdcam up to get bunny movies!  And check out the roadrunner racing by.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yo-Yo Origami Purse Completed

It has been nearly three weeks since I've posted - the longest break by far that I've ever taken.  I am working with two groups on quilting projects and part of the commitment is to not reveal what we make until a certain time.  Unfortunately, when I agreed to the groups, I didn't think about how that would affect my blogging.  Normally, I share as I go along but this has put a kink into it.  The projects have kept me pretty busy with no time for outside projects to post about.  I need to figure out how to work around that, for sure because I have missed the time I spend doing this and chatting with people who stop by.

But today, I can post photos of a handbag with yo-yos I finished that was the first project for a group called, "The Twelve of Us."  It was fun, easy, and the only problem I had with it was that I kept thinking it was too small.  I mentioned this project in an earlier post.

I used a free online pattern for an origami bag which called for a drawstring.  You could make it any size and the handbag that I made was from two fat quarters (actually, about 20 X 20).  If I were to do it, again, I would increase the size of the fabric used to about 24 x 24.   Because of the style and shape, it is thick enough to not need any batting or permanent stabilizer.  Here are some construction photos (but if you want to make it, refer to the directions because I didn't include every step):

You put together two equal sized squares, right sides facing:
Stitch all the way around leaving a two inch wide gap to reverse it:
After reversing it, I went back around with a decorative stitch to to close:
Next, you fold into a triangle and then fold down the top about two thirds of the way down:
This is the tricky part - you need to mark it from the edges to the bottom like I did in the following  picture.  It is tricky because if you are off, it messes up the purse.  I had to redo this one because I didn't have it exactly even:
See?  When I did it, it veered to the left and created a flap at the corner.  I had to take out the stitching to get it square.  Save yourself the trouble and do it right the first time!
This next step is a little hard to understand so read the directions.  The gist of it is that you run a stitch on your marked line, then fold it back.
Then fold the other side back. 
At some point, you fold the whole thing inside out and stitch it so that it sets flat.  Look at the directions
to know how to do that.  You're supposed to then fold over the flap and stitch it down about a half inch for the drawstring.  I stitched it down but put on handles, instead.
Here it is, again:
I originally made two small ones to experiment:
They are just so darn cute.
I used some fused fleece that I had on hand to stabilize the handles.  I thought about adding some sort of clasp to keep it shut but since this was a gift, I didn't want to experiment on it until I'd done a few.  I don't think that would be hard to do, though.  Here is the finished deal:
I like the inside:
I was supposed to include yo-yos so I used them to hide the stitches where I added the handles:
I admit it, fabric glue was also involved...

Outside shot so you can see the stitches:
I have a Janome that has some sweet stitches but I never, never use them so was happy to have an excuse.

If you fold up the front, you can see the other fabric:
I kept one of the original small purses, sans handle, to sit by my sewing machine for scraps. 

I had been wanting to make a purse and this one was super easy and fast.  I plan to make more.

The next project for this group is a cover for a sketch book for my friend, Amanda.  I've never made one so that will be a challenge.  It will be revealed in a few weeks so in the meantime, I will try to do better about blogging.   

BTW - the girls are swell!
Pearl continues to hunt toads but they haven't killed any, lately.  Here is the one she was hunting for:
Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Toad Killers

The girls have taken to killing toads and it is a little distressing.  None of our dogs have ever done this but all of a sudden, they've developed a blood lust.  Husband says toads secrete a hallucinogenic and that the girls are getting high when they mouth them.   I've had to start shutting the window blinds all the way to the bottom because several mornings in a row they peeked out at about 4:00 a.m. and spotted toads on the patio.  No sleep after that, the bloody heathens.   Actually, we don't know which one is a serial killer and they have never actually broken the skin.  I think it is happening because they paw them too roughly to get them to hop. 

We had a wee bit of drama the other morning.
I was up early and took three toads away from them and put them over the fence.  This one kept coming right back even though the girls were right there at the fence trying to grab it. 
I'd put it about ten feet past the fence and it would come right back, repeatedly. 
You can't tell it in the following photo but Evelyn wasn't three inches on this side of the fence, waiting. 
I find the following photo to be particularly creepy - enlarge it to see Evelyn's claws reaching for the stupid creature. 
For the past few days, I have taken a bucket out with me when I go outside for my morning coffee. If they catch a toad, it goes in the bucket. Croakey (who croaks) hates it when I put him in there. It is a bit disconcerting to be sitting and reading a book and have a toad leaping up nearly a foot, peering over the edge of the bucket that is sitting right next to my head, before clattering back down, croaking the whole time.  

I've been making good progress on my latest wall hanging and will post photos, soon.  Here is a picture of some of my new thread.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Friday, June 4, 2010

Soft Eyes

We love our house and a day doesn't go by that one of us doesn't tell the other that simple fact.  The house is not fancy but it is solid, well laid out and just right for us.  There were very few unexpected things we "had" to do but in the past two years we've had the roof repaired (minor); the plumber out several times (minor); the fences repaired (minor); bought two new refrigerators, a dishwasher and a built in microwave oven; repaired the barn roof; put up new siding on the barn (not minor but well worth it!); added guttering; replaced the kitchen counters; and retiled some of the floors.  My in-laws also removed the dated wall paper and we had a painter come in to repaint the interior.  But we expected all that stuff when we bought the place. 

Last week, however, the fifteen year old wall oven went out and the appliance man couldn't get the parts because they quit making them, years ago.  We didn't really expect that.   And you just try finding a thirty inch white built in gas oven, sister.  Other than the $3,000.00 and up fancy schamncy ones, all we could find was a Jenn-Air and everywhere we checked, they didn't have it, anymore, because it has been discontinued.   We debated having the kitchen rewired to electricity (there are tons of electric ovens that size) and we also discussed getting the expensive, $3,000.00 one since we have no intention of moving unless it is in a hearse.  Husband made a last ditch effort to locate a Jenn-Air and miraculously snagged one on Ebay that just happened to be in Tulsa, still in the box, the exact same dimensions as the last oven, being sold by a reputable dealer for $550.00 (regularly $1,200.00).  Okay, then. 

They could have shipped it but I was in the mood for a road trip.   This morning, I drove up along the Turner Turnpike, listening to the radio and enjoying the need for sunglasses.  The Tulsa skyline is very different from the one in Oklahoma City.  OKC has more buildings and they are a mishmash.  Tulsa's look like they came in a set.  

I picked up the oven, ate a cookies from a plateful they'd set out, and drove back through Sapulpa to stop by the Water Street Gallery, a little art gallery where a friend of mine exhibits her art.  I was dumbfounded at both the quality of the art and the low cost.  I am still struggling with reverse east coast sticker shock. 

Then I hit the road to try to make it back in time to take Husband out for a late lunch.

And while I drove, my mind wandered the way it tends to do and I thought about my life and my future and my kids and my friends and all  that.  And I thought about the first (and last) time I ever had a broken heart.  I have decided I will never, never, never, ever, EVER go through that, again. 

As a young woman, I struggled in my first marriage to someone with whom I was not really suited but who I adored and who was a good father to our three children.  A combination of being too young, too proud, too hot headed, too willful, too busy, too stressed, etc. caused the relationship to be frequently loud, painful and frustrating.  But even at the time, I knew I'd never come close to having a broken heart.  I would look into the eyes of women and you can see it - some of them have soft eyes, some sad, some dancing, some happy... and some hard.  I never wanted to be one of those women with hard eyes.  You know the ones I mean.  They look so brittle.  They tend to be angry at their life, disappointed in men, unhappy with their path. 

I married very young and as I grew up, I was like a pieced quilt top made up of me, my children, my family, my hopes, my fears and dreams, my husband, my life experiences, etc.  All of them contributed to who I was.  When my first marriage broke up, I spent some time emotionally mending the rent cloth of my life but even in my darkest hour, my heart was intact.  It never took a sucker punch and when I looked in the mirror, my eyes were weary but not hard.  Darkened, but hopeful. 

The second time I fell in love was different.  He was smart, funny, first a co-worker, then a friend, then a chum, and eventually a confident.  I understood how his mind worked and thought I knew his heart.  He made me laugh.   I trusted him, completely.  I certainly knew he was off limits but I was in a vulnerable place in my life, living alone for the first time with a heart still as tender as when I was a young girl. 

Imagine, if you will, a vat of crimson dye.  Imagine, further, bright, white cotton being plunged into the vat to absorb the red, becoming blood, imagine the smells that arise, the chemical changes that take place, and the dramatic changes not just to the surface, but to the very weave of the fabric at the molecular level. 

That was my soul, permeated with love, emotion, devotion, trust, hope, faith. 

You can see where this is going. 

Of course, there was a trainwreck.   To my heart, it seemed like overnight I went from being in a loving relationship to being an emotional widow.  He'd made few promises but broke them all.  For my part, nothing had been more real in my life.  In contrast, he said he had made a mistake - what we had was only a fantasy.  My emotions reeled.  I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep.  I fled to the Pacific coast to be alone and stood at the top of a waterfall thinking that not hurting would be a very good thing.  Then I slipped - not on purpose - and slid nearly to the edge.  Looking down, I could see where I would fall a good thirty feet onto rocks if I didn't crawl back up the hill.  So I set about doing that.

It took about ten minutes to crawl back up to where I could hold on to the barrier set up to keep fools away from the edge.  I took it slow for fear I would slide and not be able to stop, the next time.  Once I got to the barrier, I rested.  It was summer and I was sweating.   A family arrived and looked at me curiously so I scrambled over, muttering that I had lost my camera (which was true).   I worried that I would become the topic of "Stupid old lady tricks" at their dinner table, that night, and hoped that at least I could serve as a good lesson in what not to do. 

I stayed at the waterfall after the family left and considered my next move while the adrenaline ebbed away.  I didn't want drama.  I didn't want to hurt anyone.  I counted myself ten times a fool for falling in love with him, and him twenty times a fool for being an idiot.  I forced myself to repeat, aloud, that he wasn't coming back.  I forced myself to actually believe it, although that took years to really sink in.  I wrote him letter after letter after letter and burned them all.  I actually burned them because I felt like the fire would make me feel better, notwithstanding the melodrama.  And it did.  And then I wrote more letters.  And I burned them, too.  And when I went back home, I took everything of his, every keepsake, every token I had hoarded that was connected to him in anyway and threw them away.  I even erased his number out of my address files.  I even washed my car.  All I kept was a little rock that I picked up on a beach, once, when I was thinking of him.  But I put the rock away.  And that was still more than I should have kept. 

I had the sense to realize that my brain was affected - the very hardwiring.  We'd been good friends for years and I was used to consulting him on anything from gardening to child raising to work to fishing.  I lost not only my love, but someone who I considered to be a dear, dear friend.  My family and friends didn't know how to help - they hated him when they saw me grieve.  And they all wanted me to say he was horrible and I hated him but I wouldn't.  I didn't.  I just hurt.  I think they wanted me to say I hated him so that I wouldn't be tempted to go back if he asked. 

They didn't have to worry.  Never, never, never, never, would I have put myself through that, again.  Never.  The very thought took me back to that moment at the waterfall, just before I slipped.  Utter misery.   Overwhelmed with pain and anguish.   I don't think I could survive such a thing, again.

Sometimes, after all these years, I awake suddenly in the night and realize I have seen him in my dreams.  There is nothing I can do about it.  My cloth is now crimson.  But when I look into the mirror, my eyes are sadder, but no harder.  When my family and friends wanted me to hate him and blame him, I resisted.  I was battling for my soul,  I believe I won.  I'm sure I did.

If a new baby is a common little miracle, a broken heart is a common little tragedy.  So here's to all my sisters who have been there and never want to go back.
Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Blog

After much thought, I decided to go ahead and start a sister blog to this one that focuses more on art quilting with an emphasis on Oklahoma artists.  Which may not leave as much for this one to discuss but I am still planning to keep it going, at this point.  The new blog is still in the construction stages but I named it Quilting Along the Ley Lines.   You can find a link in my profile as well as on this page.

I spent some time, yesterday evening, wandering around the pasture snapping pictures of flowers and critters. 

I'd hoped to get a shot of our resident hawk but no such luck.  I got some pictures of Daddy roadrunner but they were from a distance and not worth posting.  The next time Husband mows the pasture, I plan to grab my camera because the critters and bugs go wild and the birds swoop in for the kill. 

That should be appetizing.

He was being dive bombed by Purple Martins a few days ago while mowing - or  initially thought he was - but then realized they were scarfing up the panicked grasshoppers.   We have a roan colored bunny who lives out there that must be the stupidest creature that gravity ever got involved with.  Husband was afraid it would get under the mower but it had enough sense to avoid it.  Here is a picture - just love his coat:
I lay on my belly snapping closeups of dandelions and bugs (Husband was astonished) when Pearl came running over, delighted that I was below eye level.  I managed to get this shot before she rolled me up like a rug and I had to retreat to beyond the fence into the pasture, proper:

Even with just this portion you can tell she is one happy girl.

My art books and paints have been arriving and I am well along in deciding on what I want to create the art stuff I've committed to in The Baker's Dozen

Now, on to the "how" to create it, which is the tricky part.  Some of the themes are:  home, butterflies, tempest, cottage and totem.   The first theme is "Freedom"  and I have made a lot of progress sketching it out. 

If you want to see more photos, check out the new blog.  I want to post Mr. Toad, though, to make sure you see it.  Check out those eyes! 

Here is something a little more cuddly:
Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl