Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31, 2011

The last day of the year. WOW! I can't say it has been my favorite year, especially the last half of 2011, so I'm ready to move forward with great hopes for 2012. I shouldn't complain about 2011, because Mr. B, Dr. Mc, Nick, Evan and I end the year with everyone healthy and working. Indeed, I should be rejoicing!

For the new year, I've armed myself with two All-Clad pans
and a Le Crueset dutch oven. Happy, happy. Joy, joy!
Mr. B and I have a night out planned at two neighborhood parties. Reflecting back, I don't remember my parents going out too much, but they would go out on New Year's Eve. When I was young they would be home well before midnight with hats and horns for my older brother and me. I also remember Dec. 31, 1979, and the days thereafter. On New Year's Eve, Dr. Mc's dad and I (eight months pregnant) went out with friends to party after party after party. I was exhausted the following day, and on Jan. 2, 1980, I made an unscheduled visit to my OBGYN. I was worried because I couldn't feel my baby moving. He examined me, said the baby was fine, and I was on schedule to deliver the baby around my due date: January 24. I went into labor that night and Kendall was born at 8:42 a.m. on Jan. 3, 1980. Later that year,  Dr. Mc's dad and I were going out on New Year's Eve and leaving her with her paternal grandfather, Ikie. She was ready for bed before we left to meet our friends. When we got back to the house just before midnight – with hats and horns for everyone – almost one-year-old Baby Kendall was still awake in her grandfather's lap. They had the television on and were waiting for the "ball" to drop in Time Square. Her little pink robe and slippers were complemented by the New Year's crown we brought her.

Today I'm creating time to talk to the "contact people" in the family. I've called my cousin Susan to wish her Happy New Year and find out how my cousin Leigh is doing. If you've been reading my blogs, you may remember that Leigh has lung cancer. Then I called my aunt Martha to wish her Happy New Year and find out how my uncle Clyde is doing. He has alzheimer's disease and was recently in the hospital with pneumonia. To you, my blog readers: Warmest wishes for a splendid New Year and much happiness in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

December 30, 2011

So proud of Women of Wine Charities' donation
of $20K to Houston Area Women's Center!
I just read that a business associate, Richard Laurence Baron, died suddenly and unexpectedly last night. This news has left me – a word person – at a loss of how to describe my feelings! Byron's mother, who died in June, and our friend Joe Dupuis, who died earlier this month, were both in their 80s and their health had been declining. Their deaths were sad, but not unexpected. Our friend Bob Sanford who died about a week ago, had fought pancreatic cancer for two years. His death was sad, but again not unexpected. But RLB's death was a total shock. I guess he, like Bob, was in his late 60s. Maybe the deaths of two men who were within a decade of my age really hit home, and not in a good way.

Like me, RLB was a copywriter, but we had very different styles of writing. His style was much more formal than mine, which seems appropriate since he studied English literature and I studied creative writing. Many many years ago I showed RLB my "portfolio" (i.e., samples of my writing) and was totally intimidated by him. He was very tall and had a deep, booming voice, and what I can best describe as a "presence." You knew when he was in the room. By the end of our first meeting I discovered his wit, and soon thereafter, his colorful, larger-than-life personality was revealed. Rest in peace, Richard Laurence Baron!

Today I'm creating a yummy dinner for Mr. B. We ate leftover chili last night, which is strange because Mr. B usually doesn't like leftovers. I need to save the recipe for that chili!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 29, 2011

I've been inspired by my new dutch oven, as well
as Cooking Light and Food Network magazines.
I did it! On my way to the grocery store yesterday, I drove past Sur La Table where the windows were covered with signs advertising "Our Biggest Sale of the Year" and "Up to 50% Off." So I visited the winter sale and bought myself a beautiful white Le Creuset round 5.5 quart dutch oven at 20% off. I used it last night to make a delicious pot of chili.

When I was young, my mother would take me shopping every year before school started to buy pairs of brown and black school shoes that I would wear to during the fall and winter months. Then, just in time for Easter, I would get a pair of white dress shoes and a pair of white Keds that I would wear until just before school started again in the fall. Even as a child I had a "thing" for shoes so I would sleep with my new shoes before I wore them. I felt this same excitement yesterday with my new dutch oven, although I didn't sleep with it (too heavy) or the box it came it (too bulky).

Today I'm creating another tasty dinner for Mr. B. I've already made my grocery list and will be heading to the store in just a minute. But when I pass by Sur La Table, will the winter sale be calling me into the store to buy an oven-proof skillet?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 28, 2011

Look at these puppies and their cute pink bellies. So sweet!
I'm feeling so lazy today. There are lots of things I could be doing, but the "girls" (Roz and Rose) and I are just hanging out. Maybe if I write about being energetic I'll be inspired. Let's try it. So what would I do if I had some energy?

I could take down the Christmas tree and put everything away. Good idea, but it's not happening today. Next, the kitchen could use a good scrubbing. A possibility. Or, if I decided to get dressed and go out, I could go to the grocery store and get something to make for dinner. Hum. Writing about it is helping. And the winner is ...

Today I'm creating a homemade dinner for Mr. B. Hopefully while I'm in the kitchen cooking I'll also be inspired to clean the outside of cabinets and the inside of drawers, but I'm making no promises.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27, 2011

Kirby – Dr. Mc and Nick's beagle – inspecting the signature
on a John Henry Child's photograph on Christmas morning.
My mission, which I've accepted but done nothing about so far today, is to finish cleaning the living room, dining room and kitchen of all the Christmas mess. Tell me that I don't have the only house that still has wrapping paper on the living room floor and Christmas dishes that need to be put away.

Although there are still signs of Christmas throughout the house, I've already made my New Year's resolution for 2012, which is to spend a month in each room of the house going through drawers, cabinets, bookcases and closets, and purge! This includes the craft area and office above the garage. I'll leave the downstairs garage to Mr. B. Big project for 2012: Simplify and organize!

Today I'm creating a clean living room, dining room and kitchen. Sorry my Tuesday client cancelled our  meeting today. I would much rather have written a newsletter than clean house.

Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26, 2011

Alex Zamora sampling the egg nog on
Christmas Eve 2011.
Extremely bad planning on my part! I sent the leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner home with Evan on Saturday night. We had Christmas dinner with family and friends at Richard and Sherry's house and I didn't bring home any leftovers. So tonight Mr. B and I are having sandwiches for dinner. Note to self: Be more proactive and plan ahead!

It was such a quiet day in the Pettit household. We slept in and then I had not one, but two naps today. It's 5:40 p.m. and I'm still in my pajamas. I thought about getting dressed to go shopping on "mega Monday," but it was a short-lived, fleeting thought. So instead I let my fingers do the shopping on my laptop. I'm seriously considering buying myself a Le Creuset dutch oven, but it seems extravagant. I wouldn't blink an eye at spending that much on a pair of shoes, which I would probably wear less than I would use the dutch oven. I also want to replace the 20-year-old Faberware pots and pans I use, but buying a set of All Clad also seems like an extravagance. Decisions, decisions. I think more research is necessary.

Today I'm creating relaxation time after a wonderful Christmas eve and day. I got everything I wanted and needed for Christmas, which was to spend a good time laughing and enjoying family and friends. I'm blessed!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011
Merry Christmas to all! All is quiet in the Pettit household right now, but that wasn't the case last night. Evan was the first to arrive, then Dr. Mc and Nick (with Kirby, their beagle), and finally Alex (Nick's younger brother). Dr. Mc and Nick left to attend another party for about one hour. The rest of us watched National Lampoon Christmas Vacation (a must) and the cocktails began flowing while the pot roast continued simmering. A knock at the door revealed Joe Morrison, a friend who lives in California and was in town visiting family. Then Dr. Mc and Nick came back, Joe left, and the rest of us sat down to a delicious dinner. And the cocktails continued. After dinner we opened presents, and the cocktails continued. Raff (Evan's boyfriend) came to get her. He had a cocktail or two with us and snapped the family photo.

This morning's alarm came much too quickly. As I stumbled into the kitchen, I found three empty champagne bottles, an empty bourbon bottle, two empty containers of eggnog, an empty bottle of premade margaritas, and some beer bottles. Whoa! My head felt like I emptied all of the bottles myself. Fortunately Dr. Mc had stayed awake and made this morning's breakfast casseroles. Friends Keith and Kelly joined us for the annual Christmas breakfast. Once everyone left, Mr. B, the doggies and I settled in for a long nap.

Today I'm creating squash casserole for our Christmas dinner with family and friends. I made an egg nog cheesecake last night so it could refrigerate overnight. And I think I'll stick to diet coke tonight.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 24, 2011

Just hours before our Christmas Eve dinner the
tree is decorated and presents are underneath.
The Pettit Christmas tree is finally decorated and the presents are wrapped. In a 100+ year-old home there isn't much extra space, so we always have a tall, skinny tree. Someday I want people to say, "The Pettits have a tall, skinny tree, just like tall, skinny Julie." I'm tall, but haven't been thought of as skinny in many moons. Alas, maybe next year.

This is a time of reflection for me, and I've spent the day thinking that not only did Mr. B and I lose his mother this year, but we lost two friends, as well. Attending our friend Bob's memorial service yesterday left me feeling blue, so my mood matches the rainy, gloomy day in Houston. But the message I was left with yesterday was what a happy person Bob was, and he would want us all to be joyous. Although I may not be feeling peppy right now, I like the expression: Be joyous! So as soon as my pecan pie is out of the oven, I'm going to take a shower and change clothes so I can be joyous before the "kids" get here for dinner and presents.

Today I'm creating a pot roast with veggies for dinner, a pecan pie and a lemon ice box pie. I have so much to be joyous about today and everyday, including the lives of family and friends who live on in my heart.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 23, 2011

One of many beautiful Christmas vignettes at
The Houstonian. Unfortunately, the valet guys wouldn't
put it in the Explorer for me. 
Good afternoon! I had a wonderful brunch this morning at the Houstonian with friends Katy, Kay and Marilyn. I think it's the fourth year that we've met for Christmas brunch. Perhaps we should meet just after Thanksgiving for brunch. The Houstonian is always so beautifully decorated for the holidays (see photo). Maybe I'd get inspired earlier in December to decorate the house if I saw all the gorgeous trimmings!

Last night we celebrated Christmas and friend Chris' birthday. There were eight of us, which is a cozy number for conversation and laughter. After Chris opened her birthday presents (her actual birthday is December 26), we exchanged Christmas gifts. And laughed some more. What a nice party!

Today I'm creating an apron and four pillows. But first, I'm waiting for Mr. B to come home. He said he was going to leave work around 2 p.m. today. We're attending a celebration of our friend Bob's life at 4 p.m. It's still hard to believe he's gone. I must remember to put tissues in my purse. I'm sure I'll need them.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 22, 2011

Bob Sanford
It's a very sad day for Mr. B and me, and everyone else who knew our dear friend Bob Sanford. His sister notified us that, early this morning, Bob died peacefully. We knew it was eminent, but that doesn't make it any less emotional.

Tears are running down my checks as I think of sweet Bob. He had such a positive attitude, wonderful sense of humor, and welcoming smile. He even charmed the nurses and staff at Methodist who cared for him as he battled the cancer that eventually claimed his body. I know St. Peter swung open the holy gates of heaven, the trumpets rang out, and angels sang loudly as Bob entered heaven. Rest in peace, sweet man! You were so loved and will be remembered fondly.

Today I'm creating time to remember the twinkle in my friend's eyes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 21, 3022

I used scraps of felt and vintage buttons to
make cute embellishments for the tweed bags.
Mr. B just came home from work and reminded me that I hadn't written my blog today. I actually started writing this morning, but got sidetracked. I was so peppy today because I made up for my lack of sleep on Monday night. I went to bed sometime after 8 p.m. and didn't wake up until after 6 a.m. this morning. Of course I didn't get up until after 9 a.m., but I was awake.

I got to spend time today with long-time friend Julie. She and her husband are leaving for Santa Fe to spend Christmas there, and she came by to get the house key. They went to the casita once before and had a great time. I love sharing the casita with friends. It's such a relaxing place, whether you want to look at art, hike, ski, eat great food, go to the history museums, view the architecture, or just hang out. There's plenty of snow on the ground right now and I think it's supposed to snow on Christmas eve and Christmas day. Safe travels to Julie and Mike!

Today I'm creating jewelry. You haven't heard that from me in awhile, but I'm actually looking forward to making several pairs of earrings and bracelets. I'm also making embellishments for two tweed bags, and sewing a custom apron. It's a great day to be creative!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20, 2011

I made two special-order aprons on Monday,
including this snazzy black & white one.
I really HATE it when I can't sleep! I've been trying to stack some ZZZ for the past five hours, but am still awake. And now I have a whopping headache, probably caused by the weather. There was a heavy storm that passed over the house about 30 minutes ago. I think it is supposed to be a little cooler today. In the meantime, I've taken medication to see if I can get rid of my headache before sunrise.

I had a surprise phone call from daughter #2 on Monday. Evan doesn't call very often. She's at the age (23) that she really doesn't call or visit very often. She's normally much too busy for me! But she came by the house on Dec. 11 during my home shopping market AND she call yesterday. Two conversations in less than two weeks could be a record for her. Love you, Sweetness!

Today I'm creating marketing materials for my Tuesday client, unless the email comes before 10 a.m. that the sales meeting has been cancelled. Only five days until Christmas, so I'm sure today will also include holiday errands.

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011

For those who are passionate
about color, here's the selection
of colors that are "hot" for 2012.
I once watched a program about how design "experts" select colors. As someone who is color challenged I find the entire selection process interesting because I don't see the small differences in hues. I've also worked with graphic designers who would argue for a teeny change in color that I couldn't see, but I could see that these people had a passion for color. Now passion is something I understand! In my professional life, I'm passionate about words, syntax and grammar! Words are important, and syntax and grammar make them more compelling and powerful!

I just read on a friend's FB that he and his partner who life in Santa Fe, NM are coming to Houston for Christmas. I always follow the weather in Santa Fe since Mr. B and I have a home there. I can't believe that anyone would leave a white Christmas for a humid, luke warm holiday. But this is another type of passion because Max and Gary (Jack) are leaving the storybook Christmas and coming to Houston for family and friends. Safe journey gentlemen!

Today I'm creating some holiday outfits. I made the mistake of going to the store last week dressed like a bum and everyone else was festive looking. So this week when I leave the house I want to look like I'm celebrating the holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18, 2011

I wrapped my Santa and Mrs. Claus aprons in a beautiful package and took them to a party last night for a gift "trade around." There was no doubt in my mind that once revealed, people would be fighting over the aprons. But this scenario was not to be. The man who unwrapped the aprons immediately started making fun of them. His wife put her Mrs. Claus apron on the hosts' dog as a cape. The man kept commenting that unfortunately, he would be going home with the aprons. And when the trade around was over, he turned to his wife and asked how soon could they regift the aprons. When Mr. B and I got home from the party, I was ready to throw my sewing machine and every piece of fabric I own in the trash. Instead, I drank a glass of Baileys Irish Cream and went to sleep.

This morning when I looked at my Facebook account, there were people commenting on a photo of the aprons I posted yesterday. People were asking how much I charge for them and could I make them before Christmas. So I guess the sewing machine will live to sew another day.

Today I'm creating aprons. I have one Christmas and two non-holiday aprons to make. And maybe I'll have orders for Santa and Mrs. Claus aprons. Oh happy day!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 17, 2011

Aprons for Santa and Mrs. Claus.
I'm posting late today because I wanted to finish making both aprons and picture them in my blog. I'm so pleased with the way the aprons turned out! When I was working today, I accidently cut Santa's apron and had to start over on it. I hate it when I get in a hurry and do something stupid like that.

Speaking of stupid, I need to stop sitting at the sewing machine (or anywhere else) for several hours without taking a break. I came downstairs after four hours of sewing to show Mr. B the finished aprons and was walking like a 90-year-old. I've taken some Tylenol to see if I can get the kink out of my back. We're going to two parties tonight and my plan is to wear heels, but I may have to go to Option B (flats).

Today I'm creating a Christmas list to give to Mr. B. He has been asking me what I want for Christmas. It's hard to believe that it's only a week until Christmas and two weeks until 2012.

Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011

I'm sitting on the floor working on my computer when I
look around and see Rose and Roz sitting on the couch
together. This never happens!
Who knew that a shade could cost more than an entire lamp? I found the two shades I needed, but they were expensive! As Mr. B and I are deciding last night whether or not to keep the shades, I was reminded about my aunt Martha. I think she and my uncle Clyde had five children in 10 years, so many things in their home where kept under plastic. I was staying with the oldest four children one time when I decided to be helpful and take the plastic off her lamp shades. I had no idea that anyone would want the clear wrap left on the shades, but learned quickly from her that with a house full of kids, she wanted the plastic on the lamp shades to keep them dust free. Fortunately she gave up on that idea!

After getting the lamp shades yesterday, I spent about an hour in the fabric store. In addition to the aprons I'm making for a gift exchange tomorrow night, I'm also making a bibbed apron for a friend and a half apron for another friend. I was ready to start sewing when I realized that I didn't have red thread. So I got in the Explorer to go get thread, but instead I went to the bookstore and than to the grocery store. Can you say Attention Deficit Disorder?

Today I'm creating aprons. No errands to distract me, except to get thread.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 15, 2011

Oh Mr. B, there's a string of lights that needs
to be replaced before we add ornaments.
My hunt for two new lamp shades goes on. I went to several stores yesterday with no luck. Today I'm armed with the name of another store: The Shade Tree. It's located outside the loop on Fountain View, but I'll make the drive because the website for the store claims it has more than 1,000 lamp shades. Although I'm planning to accept the stores outrageous claim and not count them, I doubt that they really have 1,000 lamp shades in the store. Advertising!

Did anyone else watch the Barbara Walters show last night? Donald Trump looked ridiculous! He had orange skin and pink lips. Does the man not have a mirror? Stupid question. Of course he doesn't have a mirror or he wouldn't be walking around with that hair. Worse than his appearance is the man's ego.  I'll be happy when his 15 minutes of fame is over. And I hope it's the same time as the Kardashians' fame ends. I'd be a happy camper if all of them faded into reality show history and never returned.

Today I'm creating an apron. I really do need to make two for Saturday night. And then there's still a mostly naked Christmas tree in the house that needs some creative help!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December 14, 2011

I'm going to admit it first thing and get it out of the way: I didn't create anything yesterday. There you have it. This revelation doesn't make me a bad person, just a lazy one.

I heard some distressing news yesterday. My friend Linda's mother fell down the stairs and really injured herself. She broke eight ribs, punctured a lung, and broke her collar bone. I can't imagine the pain she must be experiencing. She was originally taken to a hospital in Sugar Land, near her home, but has since been moved to the Medical Center. My thoughts and prayers are with Linda and her family. It's never a good time to have a loved one in the hospital, but this is particularly a terrible time of year to be standing watch in a hospital waiting room.

Today I'm creating a postcard and two bios. I also need to find time for the almost naked tree in the Pettit's house. It's still just sitting in the archway between the living and dining room with only the lights strung on it. Sad situation.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13, 2011

Rose in her Christmas collar. Roz wears a matching one.
My kitchen floor is so sticky from making all the jalapeno jelly yesterday. I guess I'll be creating a clean floor, although I'm not sure that's possible on the old wood in this house. I'd also like to clean out the cabinets. The upper cabinets are very neat because they have glass fronts, but the bottom drawers could use some help. Hum. Sounds like a job that's bigger than today.

Of course, I could decorate the tree. It's sitting in its normal space with lights on it and a piece of fabric encircling its base, but that's as far as we've gotten. I love all the old ornaments we have. We have some really old ones from our parents, some from our travels, and some that Dr. Mc and Evan made in school.

Today I'm creating time for a pedicure. I think it's past time!

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12, 2011

Canning red and green Christmas jalapeno jelly today.
I'm back after two days of not posting to my blog. Just too busy over the weekend. Office party for Byron on Thursday night and then dinner date. Office party for me on Friday. Saturday craft show and home by 2:30 p.m. in time to bake cornbread and cookies for a party at Dr. Mc and Nick's on Saturday night. Up early on Sunday morning to clean house and set up for home holiday market. I'm tired just reading about everything I did last weekend!

When Dr. Mc was younger, she and two boys who lived down the street – Adam and Cory – played together almost every afternoon and all day on the weekends. At the party on Saturday, who should walk in the door but – Adam and Cory. In 1990, they were all at our house playing when we got the call from Adam's mother that his father, Richard, had died of cancer. There were three other adults in the house when the call came, and we decided to let Adam continue laughing and playing until his mother came from hospice to get him. No one told him that his father had died because we wanted to let Adam have just another hour or two of happiness. When his mother came in the door, Adam knew immediatly what had happened without anyone telling him, and the smile left his young face. A brave little man gave me a big huge and kiss as he left the house that afternoon. We moved three years later, but Dr. Mc, Adam and Cory have kept in touch. When I saw Adam on Saturday, after not seeing him in more than 15 years, it was as if his father had walked through the door. Adam looks so much like his father. Richard certainly left a legacy he can be proud of!

Today I'm creating four batches of red and green Christmas jalapeno jelly, for a total of 24 jars. I'm now on my third batch, and also washing clothes. Thanks so much to whichever dog decided to get sick on the bed this morning!

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011

This is an adorable holiday wine bag made
from plaid fabric with a contrasting black
 top and eye-lash trim for the tie.
I have a to-do list a million miles long. I don't mind running errands if I only have to go to one or two places. But when I need one or two items from six or seven places, that drives me nuts! The good news is that I can take care of the errands today instead of fighting the crowds on the weekend.

Mr. B and I had a nice date last night after his office party. We had dinner at El Real and I had several sightings of Chef Bryan Caswell. Of course I still have a crush on him, so I was too tongue tied to say anything to him, although he was just a few feet away from me several times. Mr. B said, "How's it going," to Chef Caswell while I just sat drooling. When we finished eating, Mr. B asked the waiter if Chef Caswell could come out of the kitchen to say hello, but the chef was gone. Drat!

Today I'm creating a velvet tote bag with velvet trim, or at least I hope so. I spent so much time yesterday making dogdanas and wine bags that I didn't make any totes. I hope that I have time after errands and before tonight's party to make a bag.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 8, 2011

Thanksgiving day we found the most wonderful salvage
yard outside of Santa Fe. Wish I had bought that sign!
I should already be sewing, but I haven't made it to "craft central" yet. Soon, though! Just as soon as I get out of my pajama bottoms and the sweatshirt I had on yesterday. Oh, wait ... I'm going to my private craft area so it doesn't matter what I'm wearing.

I laughed and laughed last night while watching Modern Family. Absolutely the funniest show on television right now. Great ensemble cast. The episode was sort of a Griswald-family Christmas (from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation). In a hysterical way, everything that could go wrong did go wrong, but in the end all was good. I can really relate to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation because for years I always drove myself crazy trying to have the perfect holiday with the perfect family. Of course, it never was the storybook holiday I dreamt of, until I calmed down my expectations. In Christmas, as in life, I must realize that I can't do everything!

Today I'm creating holiday dogdanas (bandanas for dogs) and velvet totes with funky trims. I admit that I wasn't as creative as I needed to be yesterday. That's life!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011

Shifting gears today and moving from aprons
to tote bags. This apron is as colorful and fun
on the reverse side as it is on the front.

There’s always a special bond between an older brother and a younger sister. When you’re young, you’re best friends who play together and think you’ll always be together. Then as you get older and meet other kids, the friendship strains. Athough he never loses his protectiveness, he wishes you wouldn’t show up to play baseball or football in the street with him and his buds, unless the team is a player short. Thinking you’ll always be together is thrown out the window as you fight for backseat space on family vacations. In the teen years, you can’t stand the fact that he always teases you. You’re jealous because he’s a better student. It’s just not fair that he has his driver’s license and you don’t. And you’re sure that your parents like him more than you. Then he goes away to college and once again you're friends. He comes home for weekend visits and wants to hang out with you and your girlfriends. He doesn't seem nearly as annoying as when he lived at home full time. Then he falls in love and can’t wait for you to meet his girlfriend. He gets married and has children, and you love them as if they were your own. As you age you don’t have much in common, but you love him because he's your “big” brother. Then suddenly, prematurely, he gets sick, and the older brother you thought would be your friend forever is gone.

There’s always a special bond between an older brother and a younger sister, even when he is just a memory. I’m remembering my “big” brother, Truett Bryan Akin, III, who was born on Sept. 25, 1950, and died on Dec. 7, 2004.

Today I’m creating two bios and then it’s up to the craft area for more sewing. Sunday and my home market will be here before I know it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6, 2011

It was cold last night so Mr. B and I ate chili. Unfortunately, it wasn't the best chili I've had, or even close.
I hope all my area friends are planning to attend my
holiday market this Sunday!
On his way home from work, Mr. stopped as James Coney Island and got two large chilis. My first indication that something wasn't right should have been when I saw the small containers that were supposed to be large. Peeling off the lid should have been my next clue that all wasn't right: All I could see was juice. I poured the contents of the container over the Fritos in my bowl, at which time I did see a few morsels of beef. Mr. B had requested cheese on the side, and there were two containers of shredded cheese, each containing about a tablespoon. For all of my complaining though, the chili was tasty if not very filling.

Today I'm creating a newsletter for my Tuesday client before running an errand for Mr. B. In just a few minutes I'm going to go upstairs above the garage to my craft area to sew. I got four more aprons made yesterday. I hope all my Houston friends are planning to come to my home market on Sunday from 2-5 p.m. If there aren't any Christmas decorations, remember that I've been sewing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5, 2011

Festive holiday apron. It's reversible. 
Good job yesterday! I made four Christmas aprons and put fabrics together for a few more. How great is that? Of course, I'm already two hours behind today. I need some solid red and green fabric, and was going to be at the fabric store when it opened this morning. But alas, it's cold in the house. Roz and I are cuddling on the bed. I'm contemplating my day and she is watching eye-lid movies. Do you ever wonder what dogs dream about? Or do they even dream?

Here's a totally random thought: I see chefs on various cooking shows flipping food in skillets instead of stirring the ingredients. I want to do that, but can't figure out how to practice without making a mess. Ideas?

Today I'm creating more aprons, this time without bibs. I like the bibs because they keep my top clean, but some friends ... and you know who you are ... only like half aprons because they get too hot. OK. Time to get moving or I won't get anything done today.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December 4, 2011

Mr. B, his bro Keith, and Santa celebrating a tiki Christmas.
This morning Mr. B turned on one of my favorite Christmas movies: The Bishop's Wife. Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. If you ever get the chance to watch it, or rewatch it, treat yourself. It's a feel-good movie for me, who is always looking for guidance and "heaven on earth."

We had a fun afternoon and evening yesterday. My home tour duties were minimum. There were too many people staffing the house, so I got to sit on the back porch with Mr. B and Keith, and offer people cookies as they came out the back door. People come from all over the city and beyond to attend the holiday home tour in the Heights. Then we had dinner with Sandy, Dave, Mitzi and Mike. I was home and asleep by 10 p.m.

Today I'm creating aprons. In fact, I'll be sewing all week to get ready for the home market I'll be hosting in a week. I want to make aprons and bags, and Mr. B told me I need to make long pillows. He noticed them on many beds during the home tour. Wish my guidance as I select fabrics and trims, and swiftness as I sew.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 3, 2011

Fun dinner last night with John and Lisa!
As predicted, Mr. B and I had a fun evening last night with John and Lisa. I'm sure Nino's would have preferred that we didn't occupy their table for more than three hours, but we really enjoyed ourselves.

To prepare myself for all the upcoming holiday events, I pulled out everything red or in the red family that I own. Lots to choose from. It's warmish today in Houston (high of 74), but the cold weather is on its way. I listened to the weather this morning and think it's going to be down in the 40s by Tuesday.  Now we're talking!

Today I'm creating time to volunteer for the Houston Heights Association's Holiday Home Tour. Then tonight we'll have a fun dinner out with friends. By the time the day is over, my cheeks will be tired from smiling!

Friday, December 2, 2011

December 2, 2011

Roz looks like she would use a hot oil treatment.
My head is pounding! I'm not sure if it's the wine I drank last night or the weather system that's hovering over Houston. I'm tempted to blame the wine, except that doesn't account for my back pain. Whatever the reason for my headache and back pain, I'm going to take some acetaminophen and lay down as soon as I finish this blog.

Tonight Mr. B and I are having dinner with friends and newlyweds John and Lisa. Although I used to enjoy large parties, I now much more prefer small dinner parties or dinners out with another couple in a quiet restaurant so we can talk. It should be a good evening with good friends.

Today I'm creating time for an afternoon nap. I'm sure Roz and Rose will enjoy the time with me on the bed. In fact, Roz looks very sleepy!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1, 2011

The pimento cheese from Revival Market
is as good as chocolate!
I was a very naughty girl yesterday! I was hungry and made the mistake of going to Revival Market on Heights Blvd. at White Oak/6th Street. Two things caught my fancy. First, roasted carrots. Go figure. And then a tub of pimento cheese. I brought both home, put the roasted carrots in the fridge, and made myself a pimento cheese sandwich. The carrots are still in the fridge, but the ENTIRE eight-ounce tub of pimento cheese is gone. An hour after my sandwich I had some pimento cheese on crackers. An hour later I had more pimento cheese on crackers. And for a bedtime snack I ate the remaining pimento cheese with a spoon. Every bite was as good as the first, but what a naughty thing to do!

It's so difficult to keep short hair without getting it too short. I just need a trim before the holidays and am letting the professionals take care of it instead of getting the scissors out myself. I hate the expense of getting a hair cut and have decided that a professional stylist who charges $100+ doesn't need a tip. Here's my tip: If you want a tip then don't call yourself a professional! Other professionals, such a doctors and lawyers and marketing consultants, don't get tips. Why should professional stylists?

Today I'm creating ... I'm not sure. Maybe I'll leave the creating up to the "professionals." And I'm not washing my hair before I go to the professional stylist.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30, 2011

I had several people ask me yesterday if we brought the cool weather back with us from Santa Fe, but I can't take credit for the wonderful weather in Houston. It was so chilly last night that Mr. B and I had soup for dinner to warm us. Not cold weather, but nice and chilly.

I realized yesterday that my two prescriptions didn't make it back to Houston. Mr. B was off on his white horse – figuratively speaking – to see what he could get me from the pharmacy. I called Richard Anderson in Santa Fe who went by the casita and found my prescriptions sitting on the kitchen counter. My fears that I had thrown my prescriptions out with the thrash while I was cleaning were – wait for it – thrashed. Prescriptions should be arriving in the mail from Santa Fe in the next few days.

Today I'm creating a monthly newsletter. I got so much accomplished yesterday! I not only got the Tuesday newsletter written, but I also ticked so many items off of my to-do list without replacing them with new things to do. I'm determined not to take on too much this month and freak out! What's that I hear? I think it's the sound of disbelief.

Don't know why, but I'm unable to post a photo today. Maybe later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29, 2011

Rose is such a good travel dog, spending
most of the travel time sleeping in the back seat.
Mr. B woke me up before dawn yesterday for our trip back to Houston. To my surprise, he drove the entire 13 hours back. This made me reflect on my dad who would get in his company car and drive across the state and then be back home in time for dinner. Impossible you say? Not so for a man with a lead foot. Today a person hops on a airplane for a day trip somewhere in the state, but Daddy would put the pedal to the metal with a thermos of hot coffee beside him. He would whistle along to the country music tune on the radio, eight track, tape or disc player. Before there were cell phones, which he never owned, Daddy had a radio mounted to the dash or floorboard for communication. "Come back." Later, after my older brother and I had left home, Mother would often travel with Daddy on his trips. Like her in years past, I slept in the front seat during most of yesterday's trip. "Over."

To our surprise, the temperature in Houston was chilly when we got home last night. We weren't expecting this when we left the house on December 18 and turned the heater off. It was so cold in the house!

Today I'm creating a newsletter for my Tuesday client. Then like my mother, I need to make lists – and possibly a list of lists – of errands I need to accomplish in the next few days.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27, 2011

Leaving the casita with a few holiday
decorations for friends who will be here
during December.
Last night we went to see J. Edgar, the biopic directed by Clint Eastwood. Mr. B really liked it, but I wish Leonardo Dicaprio hadn't portrayed Hoover. Mr. B thought he did a great job, but a few times I saw Dicaprio instead of Hoover. The movie covered the time from when Hoover first joined the Bureau of Investigation until his death, including his structuring of the Federal agency and his relationships with his mother and Tolson. The movie left me wanting to know more, so I came home and looked up Hoover. An interesting, yet tormented man.

We decided to take it easy today. It was another beautiful day in Santa Fe, and we were tempted to go to the downtown Plaza and walk/shop, but instead stayed in and relaxed. We watched a couple of movies and, of course, napped. Tonight we will clean the casita and pack before heading back to Houston early tomorrow morning. I've put out a few Santas and Christmas decorations because friends will be staying in the casita during December. Of course in Santa Fe, my  decorations are turquoise and lime green. Very appropriate!

Today I'm creating a clean casita with a few holiday decorations. The 10 days we were here went by so quickly!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 26, 2011

We had about an hour of snow yesterday
morning. What a perfect day!
Happy day after Black Friday. Did everyone survive? We started our day on Canyon Road in a few art  galleries. Then we went to Landfall Press to see its operations. This is a print shop that collaborates with artists. We were able to see beautiful prints and lithographs from contemporary artists all over the world. With a full checkbook and much more wall space, I could have spent some serious money there, but we didn't. Keith and Kelly bought two prints that we can enjoy at their home. After leftovers at the casita for lunch, we went back to Canyon Road for some strolling and looking. Mr. B and I went downtown for a bit of retail therapy before dinner at Ristra with Keith and Kelly. It was such a fun day, I'm ready to do it again today.

I thought about my mom yesterday, which was the 10th anniversary of her death. I promised myself last summer that I was going to leave the sadness I've felt about the deaths of my mother, older brother and father in the past and move forward with positive memories instead of so much grief. I was able to do that yesterday. I thought of how Mother loved to cook and bake, and be with family at Thanksgiving. She would literally spend weeks making lists and lists of lists of things to do and prepare. This was the way she could show love for us all. She couldn't say "I love you," but she would do things to show her love. I don't think she would have liked Santa Fe or New Mexico as I do, but I know she would be happy that Mr. B and I enjoy it here so much.

Today I'm creating time to go to the movie with Mr. B. Maybe even a double feature.

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25, 2011

Photo from my iPhone of the river at the
bottom of the Rio Grande gorge.
I can't believe I'm about to write about football on my blog, but the game last night between the University of Texas and Texas A&M was so exciting! Serious 118-year rivalry came down to the last 3 seconds when the UT punter – a senior playing his last collegiate game – kicks the ball between the goalposts and wins the game. WOW! Jubilation and bragging rights for the Horns, and heartbreak for the Aggies.

I was brought up as an Aggie. My father, uncle and several other family members proudly graduated from Texas A&M before I was born. In my family, you were an Aggie or else! Later my brother and twin nieces also graduated from Texas A&M. But Mr. B, Dr. Mc and Nick graduated from the University of Texas, so I've converted even though there will always be a special place in my heart for the Aggies.

Today I'm creating time for retail therapy. With all the food I've eaten in the past few days, my body is fueled for shopping local on Black Friday. Mr. B and his friend Keith are off having breakfast, then they're picking up the ladies for shopping. Lord, give me strength!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24, 2011

Mr. B and I had such a fun day with Keith and Kelly. We started the morning with orange slices, cinnamon toast and vegetable strata that was very delicious. (In the photo the strata looks burnt on the top, but it wasn't.) After breakfast, and a stop at Starbucks, we headed toward Taos. Along the way we spotted an antique/restoration/collectible/museum shop/yard. If you've ever seen a show on television about "pickers" this is a place where they would stop. The owner had an incredible collection of gasoline and oil company memorabilia. I REALLY wanted this lighted glass "crown" that came off an old gasoline pump. It was in what the owner called his museum and he won't sell it, regardless of the price. I wanted the piece for the casita because it had a huge head of an Indian chief. It would have looked so cool in the casita! Kelly got some metal pieces for their rock garden in Houston and Keith found several metal treasures that he will weld into something wonderful!

The light on the breakfast strata makes it look burnt, but it
wasn't. Layer of wheat bread, followed with a mixture of
onions, red bell peppers and sweet potatoes, topped with
mixture of eggs and milk, and then goat cheese and parmesan.
Repeat layers and bake for 50 minutes (1.25 hours in high desert). 
In Taos, many of the shops in the old plaza area were open, so we strolled through them. Then we went to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, which is about seven miles outside of Taos. I don't know how deep the gorge is from the bridge, but it makes some stomachs turn queasy to look down to the water. About two miles down the road from the bridge is an area called Earthship. These homes are made from old tires, stucco, mud, glass bottles and other sustainable materials. Very interesting, unusual designs. The average utility bill for these out-of-this-world looking homes is $100 a year. Incredible! We continued our drive down to Pilar, NM, which is at the bottom of the gorge where you can reach out and touch the Rio Grande river. Photo op! And finally we made it home to the casita.

Today I'm creating cosmos to have with dinner, which will be Mitzie's famous pasta with pine nuts, roasted red peppers, wilted spinach, garlic and pesto. I'm using cheese tortellini as the pasta. I'm also making a salad with mixed greens, cranberries and almond slivers. Then chocolate chip cookies. I'm not sure any clothes will fit by the time I get back to Houston! But we've had a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23, 2011

Yesterday I decided to do some gardening instead of pulling the sewing things back out. Mr. B is dusting the casita, getting rid of all the little threads I've left behind, but it seems to be taking a long time! I can dust the entire place in 20 minutes. He is still in the same room after 30 minutes. Oh wait, he's not dusting he's watching television. Not a surprise!

I got up this morning and immediately started cooking. The soup for tonight's dinner is ready! As usual, it took longer to cook it in the high desert. I'm having a cup of soup right now, just to make sure it's tasty enough to serve to my guests tonight. I'm going to let it sit for awhile and then adjust the seasoning. Hershey chocolate chips are staring me in the face right now. Mr. B loves chocolate chip cookies so I'm going to make him some. Then I'm going to make Martha Stewart's three cheese mac and cheese for tonight (Keith and Kelly are vegetarians) and a breakfast strata for the morning. It's really fun to cook in this "cocina" because it is open to the main room. I can cook, listen to television, see the kiva, gaze out the big window, and be with friends.

Today I'm creating meals and specialty cocktails for tonight and Thanksgiving. I know that tomorrow's beverage will include cranberry juice, but I think I need to refine my champagne cocktail for tonight. It's almost noon in Santa Fe, which means it must by 5 p.m. and the cocktail hour somewhere in the world. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22, 2011

Pecan pie straight from the oven. It taste as good as it looks!
Mr. B and I had our private Thanksgiving dinner last night. My sewing room was transformed back to the dining room, complete with lit candles on the table. Before we started eating, we toasted to our many blessings: each other, the girls and Nick, our extended families and friends, and the lives of our parents and my older brother. We know our blessings come from one source, and we never want to take Him or what He has given us for granted.

After enjoying the Grill Master's perfect turkey and my simple sides, we took a breath before dessert. At least yesterday I had the magic touch for baking in the high desert! My delicious pecan pie was something else to be thankful for last night.

Today I'm creating more bags and aprons. I'm 90% happy with the bag I made yesterday. Just one simple tweak on the flap and the ruby red velvet bag will be good to go. Or if I decide I don't want to recreate the sewing room for just one day (Keith and Kelly arrive tomorrow), I'll do some winter gardening.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

Two half aprons I made yesterday.
We had dinner last night with "The Richards." It's always so fun catching up with them, although sometimes I feel like it's "gang-up-on-Julie" when we're all together. That is to say, Mr. B and The Richards tease me. Richard A has a very dry sense of humor like my father had and Little Ricky is a giggler. I'm smiling now as I think about being with them.

I spent several hours at the sewing machine yesterday afternoon, and will do the same this afternoon. I found the pattern I used for the purses I made in Santa Fe last summer. I'm going to modify the pattern for the velvet bags. I have 12 fabrics and trims matched. As I said yesterday, this is probably more than I can accomplish before returning back to Houston. Mr. B is taking it easy and enjoying silly movies. In between movies he rakes the leaves from the yard and/or pulls weeds until the next silly movies comes on.

Today I'm creating Thanksgiving dinner. Our friends Kelly and Keith are coming to Santa Fe on Wednesday to spend a few days with us. Since they are vegetarians, Mr. B and I are eating turkey today. Little Rickey and I had a long discussion last night about the difficulties of baking in the high desert. He is advised me to give up on ever having a meringue pie like I make at sea level, so today's baking adventure will be pecan pie.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20, 2011

The kiva fireplace at Pettita Casita is
back in business.
The colorful hues of my summer garden have given way to dried leaves and stems. Every once in awhile there will be a spot of color: a leaf here and there still green; a cluster of maroon blooms. But mostly the landscape in my adopted city is brown, until I look up to the snow capped mountains. This morning the sun is bright, the sky is full of fluffy white clouds, and the air is crisp with the smokey aroma of wood-burning fireplaces. This is the scene that as a young girl in South Texas, I only read about in books and magazines.

I got up early this morning and had breakfast with a friend from high school. Gary and his partner just returned to Santa Fe from a two month tour of the United Kingdom and Western Europe. I listened quietly to the descriptions of their travels and adventures, especially when Gary talked about visiting peaceful villages, lingering lunches in the Italian countryside, and shopping in crowded marketplaces. Oh, the life!

Today I'm creating aprons. I know, I brought velvet fabrics with me to make totes and clutches, but I need to start on something simple to get reacquainted with the Santa Fe sewing machine. But once started, I'll be like a ball rolling downhill and gaining momentum.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19, 2011

Three new small pieces of artwork from the
Bayou City Art Festival that
I brought to the casita
It has been a quiet morning in the high desert. I've stayed propped up in bed looking through cookbooks and making grocery lists. There are always the staple dry goods in the casita, but I somehow buy too much to cook when we come here. I'm planning to make some soups while I'm here. I can freeze the leftovers until we come back at the end of January.

This morning I also sorted through all the fabric and trims I brought with me. I'm not sure what I was thinking because there's no way I can create something out of all that I brought. People have told me to keep a sketch book where I draw out my creations and then attach a small fabric swatch to the corresponding page. This seems perfect in theory, except I'm possibly the worst artist in the world. As my friend and former co-worker Marta used to say, "Julie is words, not pictures!"

Today I'm creating lots of lists. Besides the grocery store, I need to make a trip to the fabric store for lining and metal clasps. I remembered to bring the pumpkins and ornamental squash from the Houston house to the casita so I could create a centerpiece for the dining table, but I forgot any lining fabric. Go figure!

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18, 2011

Basket full of vintage velvet fabrics and
trims that I threw together this morning
before leaving Houston.
I woke up this morning in Houston and will go to sleep tonight in Santa Fe. We arrived at Pettita Casita about a hour ago. While Mr. unpacked the car, I removed my bra (too much information?) and readied the margaritas. We could tell our friends "The Richards" had been here in advance of us because the casita is a toasty 68 degrees, although it's in the 30s outside. No fire in the kiva tonight because the battery for the electric starter is dead. Something to look forward to tomorrow.

With Mr. B, Roz and Rose in the casita with me – along with the basket full of vintage velvets and trims I brought from the craft control center in Houston – life is good!

Today I'm creating ideas for how to use the trims and velvets to make lovely new bags. By this time tomorrow night, the dining room will be transformed into my sewing annex and I should have a couple of new bags made. Let me say it again: Life is good!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 17, 2011

Apron for Mitzie's birthday made for very
cute new, retro-designed fabric. I'm only
11 days late in delivering it.
Good morning, all. My temperament is better this morning, or at least I'm trying to make it so.

Since I got so upset last night when I found out someone was (figuratively) stabbing me in the back, my decision that I could never make it on Survivor is finalized. There are the obvious reasons, such as: I could only last two minutes in the tropical sun on the beach before I would have to be taken away in a helicopter with sever sunburn and bug bites; I'm not going to eat bugs; I don't look good in a bathing suit; I hate sand; I don't believe in camping; I don't like to be around people who smell bad; and I'd really dislike having to wear the same thing for 39 days. But a character distinction that would get me kicked off during the first tribal council is that I can't lie and scheme like the contestants do. This is the same reason that I have worked as a freelance writer and marketing consultant since 1993: I just can't play the corporate politics of scheming and not speaking my mind.

Today I'm creating the finished apron for Mitzie's birthday (see photo). I need to clip hanging threads before giving it to her during lunch. Then I need to write a bio, interview a man for a newspaper article, and pick up the house and wash clothes before leaving town in the morning. I'm so looking forward to spending time in the high desert that the thought of a 13 hour drive tomorrow doesn't bother me in the least!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16, 2011

Front (l) and back (r) of pillows for Mitzie's
outdoor patio. They just need to be stuffed.
It's an evening blog for me, and I don't feel like doing it now. I've been totally disappointed by someone who I thought was a friend. I HATE people who are sweet to your face and then stab you in the back. This behavior is so unbelievable to me because I would never go behind someone's back!

Today I'm creating two pillows for Mitzie. Hopefully I'll feel less pissed tomorrow. Yes, I said it ... I'm pissed!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15, 2011

Under the category of random, thanks Robert
Zahn for the conversation today about your
favorite underwear. 
Call me nutty (as I'm sure you have before), but I'm going to participate in a holiday market on Saturday, Dec. 10, and think I may have a home show on Sunday, Dec. 11. Why not? Let's make a push to sell as much as possible! I have some new ideas to make totes, hobo bags and clutches out of velvet that I already have. I can take a couple of fabric pieces with me to Santa Fe (we're leaving on Friday for 10 days). I've told Katy that I'll make jalapeno jelly for her and I've promised Kendall to make new window treatments for her living room, so I have plenty of projects to work on while I'm in Santa Fe.

What else is going on today? The sun is out, it rains for a few minutes, the sun is out, now it looks like it may rain again. OK. Fine. But where is the cooler weather? Of course I have on a pair of shoes that I don't want to get wet, so I'll have to run to the car while it's not raining.

Today I'm creating a newsletter for my Tuesday client. I got a call this morning about some possible new business. That's always positive. It's even more positive if I get the work. Then tonight I have a meeting to elect the next Houston Heights Citizen of the Year. Mr. B and I had the honor of being recognized as Citizens of the Year in 2002 (I think). Now we are members of a secret society that meets once a year for dinner, drinking and discussion about who should be honored next. Fine, as long as it doesn't interfere with me watching Dancing with the Stars, the Results Show. A girl must have her priorities!

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

Denise Ehrlich is the head of Rodeo Uncorked!
Winery Relations and Publicity Committee
that I serve on. It was a long weekend for her!
Why do you think I'm moving so slowly this morning? Could it be the bubbly I drank last night? Or the acetaminophen I took because my hip was hurting? Or the melatonin I took because I couldn't go to sleep? Or is it because it's just a little cool in the house and the bed sheets are soft and warm? Hmmmm. It must be the latter because Roz is snuggled up on the bed pillows and Rose is at the foot of the bed snoring, and I know they didn't participate in the "chemicals" I drank and took last night.

Yesterday afternoon I volunteered with Rodeo Uncorked!, the Houston Live Stock & Rodeo wine committee. I only volunteered about five hours during the photographing of the labels of the winning wines, but some people almost lived at Reliant during the weekend while all of the wines were tasted and judged. Honestly, I've never seen so many bottles of wine. Rooms and rooms of tables filled with wine bottles. I never sat down for four hours, which is definitely the reason my right hip was aching last night. One of the five main people in the room with me was a wine rep, so I learned some things about wine along the way. Fun time!

Today I'm creating time for lunch with my friend Kelly, whose birthday was yesterday. This afternoon I have a board meeting with Women of Wine. I'd like to make a couple of aprons today, but that may have to wait until tomorrow afternoon. I'd also like to make some hobo bags out of velvet fabrics. We'll see how the day goes.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13, 2011

Happy birthday, Kelly. Love you!
What if I woke up and had nothing to say? Well, we won't know the answer to that question today because I have plenty to say. For example, why is there a debate between the Republican presidential candidates every week? Do these men really have anything new to say that voters haven't already heard? It's almost a year before the election. I feel like they are on an extended version of the reality show Survivor. Let's see who can outlive, outwit and outplay in a white shirt, blue suit, and perfect hair? I bet Mark Burnett (creator of Survivor) had thought of this idea first.

Next, why do people give their babies strange names. Reality star (never heard of her) Shayne Lamas and hubby Nik Richie had a baby girl on Friday. Her name is Press Dahl Lamas-Richie. What? 'Nuf said.

Today I'm creating time to volunteer for Rodeo Uncorked! There was an international wine competition all day yesterday. I wasn't invited to attend the tasting, but am volunteering while the bottles of the winners are photographed. Then I'm celebrating friend Kelly Simmons' birthday. Happy birthday, Honey!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12, 2011

My handsome date to the Art League Gala last night.
I had a date last night with my very handsome husband. Mr. B is in that select group of men who like dressing up and going out. We get invited to a Halloween party every year. He wants the hosts to change the dress code to "black-tie option." He would much rather put on a tux than a costume. I'm always trying to get him to try something different, something like a black shirt and tie, but that's not traditional and he won't hear of it.

This was another craft fair day. In preparation I made four new aprons yesterday. I sold my favorite one before I got a photo of it. Today's craft fair was better than the one earlier this month. I sold more, but still not much traffic. Is it too early for people to be thinking about holiday presents? Today's festival was also outside and it was so windy. I felt sorry for this one woman who had lots of framed pieces that kept blowing over and breaking the glass. About an hour before the festival closed, she finally surrendered to the wind and packed everything away.

Today I'm creating dinner for Mr. B and then watching episodes of Boss, the new show with Kelsey Grammer. Everyone says that it's a great new series, so I'm propping my feet up, having some wine, and watching the episodes that have already aired.

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011

Hug a veteran!
Happy 11.11.11 and Happy Veteran's Day. Do you say Happy Veteran's Day? One of my uncles, Thomas George Jenkins, was in the Navy during WWII, "the really big one." He had a huge tattoo of an anchor on his forearm and made his daughter's and me promise that we would never get one. Another uncle, R. Clyde Hargrove, D.D.S., was in the military, but not during wartime. And my older brother, T. Bryan Akin, III, defended Omaha, Nebraska at the end of the Vietnam War. I feel lucky that no relative of mine has lost his/her life during a war. I have four great nephews and hope none of them ever have to sacrifice their lives for this country.

Mr. B and I left last night's event with no art in hand, although we did leave with amounts on some bids sheets. Last night was the preview event and Saturday is the public event, so the plan is to go back. Tonight's black-tie event is an art gala where our friends Victoria and Marshal Lightman will be recognized for their contributions to local arts. My heels have gotten higher as the week has gone on, and will top out tonight around 3.5". I'm not sure why I buy heels that high, except they look so beautiful and feel great the one minute I have them on in the store.

Today I'm creating a couple of aprons to have in the outdoor fall festival tomorrow. If you're out and about between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., come by St. Andrew's Episcopal Church (corner of Heights Blvd. and 19th Street) and say hello.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10, 2011

Made a new friend last night during
The Nutcracker Market: Houston radio
host Sam Malone.
I had a super fun time last night at the Nutcracker Market! It was obvious, though, that the economy was playing a part in the event. There didn't seem to be as many vendors or shoppers – or bars. But everything was festive and I got in the mood for the holidays. I found the wrapping paper I wanted and a few other items. And I only spent about $75. I was a happy shopper!

Of course, I didn't get home until after 11 p.m. Mr. B and "the girls" were asleep. I could have stolen everything out of the house and they would have slept through it all. When I went to bed, Mr. B wanted to chat. Really? He's planning what he needs to wear tonight and Friday night. Then we got into this discussion about what "black tie" means for women. I recently read that when an invitation says "black tie" women should wear a ball gown. Mr. B was adamant that what I read was incorrect. Well, whether it's right or wrong, I won't be wearing a long gown on Friday night when he is wearing a tux.

Today I'm creating a day of at-home beauty. A facial scrub and manicure are a must, as is some fluffy hair for the Avenue CDC Art on the Avenue event tonight. Mr. B and I certainly don't need to buy any artwork, but we've purchased VIP tickets and donated Pettita Casita as a live auction item. I chaired the event twice and still enjoy supporting this community development corporation that provides affordable housing and other services to low-income families.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 9, 2011

My cute little lacy flats are ready for some
walking tonight at the Nutcracker Market.  
I've finished all my obligations and errands for today so I can now rest before tonight's shopping spree at the Nutcracker Market. I could actually be finished with 90% of my holiday shopping, but I still love to go to the market. There are two places I can think of that have wrapping paper that I don't normally see in all the stores. Last year after Christmas I got rid of all the leftover wrapping paper. Some of it has been around for a couple of years and I was over it! So I'm looking forward to finding some new paper tonight.

Speaking of the holidays, I was driving down Kirby Drive today and there was a house that was completely decorated for Christmas. I appreciate that retail establishments decorate and start playing Christmas music early to get people in the holiday shopping spirit, but a private home? No no!

Today I'm creating minutes for my Art Colony Association meeting, and then I'm having the car cleaned. I'm currently watching the Barefoot Contessa on the food channel. (If she lived in Houston, I'd probably stock Ina Garten as I did Chef Bryan Caswell. :-)) Anyway, Ina just filled a basket with wonderful homemade goodies. Hummm, food for thought! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8, 2011

Bob Beszborn, Realtor with Boulevard Realty,
won the soup contest last Saturday and received
his prize - the golden ladle - today. Fun!
It's only 10 days until Mr. B and I leave for our annual Thanksgiving trip to Santa Fe. I checked the weather there yesterday. The high was 45 degrees and the low last night was in the 20s. It's so delicious going there and celebrating Thanksgiving in the cold!

I actually have an assignment from Rodeo Uncorked! This is the wine committee for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and I'm on the publicity team. You must have points from volunteer hours to earn a gold badge that will get you into different events. No points, no badge! I earned two points last night for attending the newcomer meeting and I'll earn points today for calling media and reminding them about the judging on Saturday. If someone I contact actually attends the meeting, I think I get bonus points. I was immediately excited about the idea of earning the most points and receiving a belt buckle. Then I told myself to step away from my competitive ego. Not to mention the stress of trying to earn 150+ points, do I really need a great big shiny silver buckle adorning my waist? I think not!

Today I'm creating a newsletter for my Tuesday client. I think I just volunteered to organize a Dads & Darlings event for Dec. 10. The idea is that dads bring their kids for a photo with Santa, and to make an ornament and purchase something for mom. The good news is that I'll have a chance to sell my items during the holiday market portion. And it will be indoors.