Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September 1, 2011

I had a wonderful idea yesterday about turning buttons into brooches that I could use to embellish my bags. I went to the craft store and purchased the brooch backings I needed, as well as a glue gun. I was troubled about having to buy a glue gun for two reasons. First, I have probably a half dozen glue guns in Houston. Second, how have I spent four summers in the casita without a glue gun?

The brooch – made of a large green button with worry dolls
affixed to the top – compliments the colors in the
body of the bag,  as well as the design of the fabric.
It was fun and educational creating the button brooches. I learned that it’s better to work with flat buttons. I had some that rounded up on the edges, so after I glued or sewed the brooch backing to the button, it stood out too far from the purse. Also, if there was a loop on the back of the button, I had to cut it off to get the back as flat as possible. Sometimes I glued or sewed a smaller button on top of a larger one. Sometimes I glued little worry dolls or a stone on top of a large button. Then I pinned the button brooches on about half of the bags and saved the rest to embellish with rhinestone brooches that I have in Houston. I couldn’t get a great picture with my iPhone, so you’ll have to trust me that the brooches are cute as a button (pun intended).

Today I’m creating bags out of wool fabrics. All of the purses I’ve made so far have been out of linen and cotton, but it’s time to switch fabrics and change up the design somewhat. 

August 31, 2011

Sending love to all!
Caution: Soul searching and self-discovery thoughts to follow.

People ask me what I do in Santa Fe while I'm here during the summer. My normal response is that I sew, read, bead jewelry, sample new recipes, garden, watch television, and work with clients – basically the same things I do when I'm in Houston, but I do them in shorts and without make-up. What I don't think everyone needs to know or would appreciate hearing is that when I'm in Santa Fe I also try to discover new perceptions on life. It's so peaceful here and I have fewer distractions, so I have more time and energy to cultivate a healthy and balanced soul that isn't limited or controlled by external powers such as money, food, negativity, fear, jealousy, objects, etc. In my journey for illumination this summer, a special moment came when I was riding in the car with my sage and wise friend Debbie. I don't know what prompted me to pose the question, "What is the purpose and meaning of life?" but she quickly responded, "To love and be loved." Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, did I have the "answer" all the time, but not realize it?

Today I'm creating love in everything I do, and encouraging everyone to do the same. Lead with your heart in whatever you do and happiness will follow. What a beautiful, simple, truthful thought!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August 30, 2011

At the Farmer's Market this morning.
Time to eat more fruits and veggies, and
concentrate on portion control.
I've decided to take a different approach that will hopefully improve my mood. Instead of complaining that I only have two weeks left in Santa Fe, I'm telling myself that I'm beginning a two week vacation. The glass is half full for me instead of half empty.

I had a short conference call this morning and am now reading some magazines. Hey, I'm on vacation and taking it easy. I don't normally buy Town & Country magazine, but bought one yesterday because there are several articles about the Hemingways. Mariel Hemingway and one of her daughters are on the cover. I realize that magazines retouch photos, but her strong, angular features are still gorgeous. It seems she has worked through her demons and chosen to not be part of the Hemingway legacy. Her grandfather (Ernest), two great-grandfathers, great-uncle, great-aunt, and sister (Margaux) all committed suicide. The glass was always half empty for them instead of half full.

Today I'm creating embellishments for the purses I've made. I've gotten some buttons and little jewelry pieces to decorate the flaps. Tomorrow I'll probably set up the sewing machine again and start making some totes. My goal is still to make something out of every piece of fabric I brought with me. Goals are good.

Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29, 2011

Thinking of you today, Mr. B.
Hope your back feels better soon!
The last Monday in August. WOW!

I took Sandy to get on the shuttle to ABQ this morning so she can fly back to Houston. She was hesitant about going back to the heat in Houston, but I could tell she was ready to see her husband, Dave. I'm also ready to see Mr. B, who will be arriving in Santa Fe this coming Sunday. Currently he is suffering through a back ache, which I hope is better before he arrives at the casita because I'm working on a honey-do list for him.

Today I'm creating a list of things to do that will help rid me of my funky mood. I'm not sure if I'm sad because Sandy has left or because I have to clean house or because I miss my family in Houston or because I only have two weeks of vacation left or because I don't have any diet cokes in the fridge. Whatever the reason, I need to perk up.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 28, 2011

My pork tenderloin dinner last night at
Coyote Cafe. I've always said, "Presentation
is everything," although there were so many
delicious flavors in my plate of food!
It's a late night blog for me because I've been out and about today, Sandy's last day in the Land of Enchantment.

Before getting to today, I have to mention dinner last night at Coyote Cafe. So incredible! We began with cocktails. Sandy's beverage of choice was a Senorita (margarita). I had a Pink Lady (cosmopolitan). The best part of each specialty cocktail was the topping. The Senorita had a whipped topping of lime, salt and foam. My Pink Lady was topped with cranberry juice and foam, which was as light as air. Then we had wonderful salads, followed by spicy shrimp for Sandy and pork tenderloin for me (see photo). If you're in Santa Fe and want an over-the-top delicious and expensive dinner, Coyote Cafe is the current "in"spot.

Even though I swore last night when we got back to the casita that I was never going to eat again, this morning I made my specialty brunch, which includes eggs scrambled with turkey sausage, onions and red peppers, topped with avocado. Also on the plate were orange segments and half of a toasted, buttered cinnamon, raisin bagels. After brunch we toured the Tesueque Flea Market, which is located outside of Santa Fe on an Indian reservation. Then, after some afternoon stops (I think Sandy was able to decide on a beautiful piece of art for her Houston home), we went to the movie before beginning the cocktail hour at Pettita Casita. We sat under the portal drinking wine and listened to rain softly bouncing off the metal roof. Dinner consisted of heirloom tomatoes drizzled with high quality balsamic vinegar, EVOO, sea salt and parmesan, complemented by wonderful breads I got yesterday at the Farmer's Market. The girls (Roz and Rose) will miss having Sandy tomorrow when she leaves the casita. She has been a delightful guest. Mr. B arrives late this coming Sunday, so we won't be alone too long.

Today I'm creating ideas for embellishing my bags. Although many of the vendors have closed their stalls at Tesueque Flea Market because this is the end of the high season in Santa Fe, I was able to find some embellishments for my bags. After I clean house tomorrow, I'll pull out the sewing materials and equipment, and start working on the finishing touches for the bags I've created. Only two weeks left in my adopted home state.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 27, 2011

Sandy squeezing some tomatoes
at the Farmer's Market.
Sandy and I have arrived at the casita to rest our tootsies before going out to dinner tonight. Around 10 a.m. this morning we went to the Farmer's Market. The heirloom tomatoes tasted fabulous so we got some for dinner tomorrow night. I also bought some fresh garlic pesto bread. Looked and smelled incredible. After a walk about the Railyard District we went to the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, one of my favorite places in town. We had a delightful lunch in the museum cafe after looking at the artwork and watching the film. The ice tea served at the cafe had pineapple in it for flavoring (very thirst quenching) and the crab cakes were just the right size. Good flavor, but mine are still better! Finally we went back to Canyon Road. For people not used to the altitude (such as Sandy, who had knee surgery at the first of 2011), walking all of Canyon Road on one day can be too much. So we did the lower portion yesterday and the upper portion today. I think she is trying to decide between four pieces of art to buy.

Listening to the weather channel about Hurricane Irene, I'm thinking that the people on the east coast are babies — at least when it comes to storms. Hurricane Irene is a Category 1 storm, yet residents are being told to evacuate. In Texas, we are told to shelter in place unless a Category 3 storm is threatening. I just heard someone on the weather channel tell people it's time to "hunker down" is they haven't already evacuated New York City.

Today I'm creating more fun with Sandy. We're having a great time, and I'm not even spending money.

Friday, August 26, 2011

August 26, 2011

Quick blog today. It's my turn in the shower before we head out.

I picked up Sandy from the ABQ airport and made the hour drive back to Santa Fe. I made us a yummy lunch from a Cooking Light recipe before we headed out for some retail therapy. Back at the house, cocktail hour began around 4:30 p.m., beginning with Skinnygirl margaritas and finishing with white wine. Yes, we did save time to eat the leftovers from lunch, which were even better after a few hours in the fridge. But we couldn't get the DVD to play, even after a call to Mr. B for a tutorial.

Today I'm creating another day of fun. As soon as we're dressed, it's off to the nearest convenience store to get a Friday paper, which lists what's happening this weekend in and around Santa Fe. On my walk with Rose this morning, I found a grab apple tree and picked one of the little green apples you see pictured today. Do not adjust your screen, it's really is that tiny!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 25, 2011

The guest room at Pettita Casita.
Can it be that I finished everything on my to-do list from yesterday? Well, almost. I need to clean the bathroom after I take my shower. The dining room looks plain naked without my fabrics and sewing paraphernalia all over the place. Stashing everything made me realize how much I still have to sew. I'm determine to make something out of every piece of fabric I brought with me before I head back to Houston.

I had lunch yesterday with my friend Richard the Realtor. He introduced me to a woman from Virginia. Richard helped Caroline and her husband buy a condo in Santa Fe last December. She has been here about the same amount of time as I have this summer. I fussed at Richard for not introducing us sooner because she seemed like someone I would hang out with, especially when she said the women in the condo were having cocktails last night. I gave her my email address and hope to hear from her. She is heading home to Virginia tomorrow. Her husband let her know there was no damage to their home during the earthquake, but now she's heading home to possibly face Hurricane Irene. Yikes! I remember returning to Houston a few years ago just in time to spend 13 days without electricity after Hurricane Ike.

Today I'm creating a day of fun with Sandy. I'm driving to ABQ to get her and bring her back for a long weekend of relaxing, shopping, eating, bonding ... and cocktails.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 24, 2011

HAPPY BDAY, Evanita!
This will be a short blog because today is full! I'd have more time if the pups and I hadn't slept in. Now I feel rushed.

First, my cousin Leigh had her surgery yesterday and there were no surprises. The doctors feel they were able to remove the tumor. Leigh is sitting up in a chair, talking and laughing this morning, and will be moved out of ICU when a room is available. All terrific news. She is supposed to start treatment for her lung cancer in 10-14 days. Although she is not "out of the woods" yet, what a positive difference 48 hours has made in this drama! Thanks to cousins Susan (one of Leigh's younger sisters) and Connie (a second cousin) for keeping me in the long-distance loop with status reports.

Now, for the really happy news, today is youngest daughter Evan's 23rd birthday. Happy birthday, Sweetness! No matter how many birthdays come and go, you'll always be my Evanita (little Evan).

Today I'm creating a game plan for Sandy's four-day visit to Santa Fe. She arrives tomorrow morning. So first, grocery shopping. Cleaning house. Reservations at the spa! A little weed pulling in the garden. But first lunch with Richard Anderson, the wonderful realtor – and now friend – who helped me buy the casita.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 23, 2011

Mexican worry dolls embellish the flap
of a purse I made yesterday.
My father was an only child, so I don’t have any first cousins on the Akin side of my family. On my mother’s side of the family there were 11 first cousins, if I count Lori who was born pre-mature in the late 1950s, and lived less than a month. My older brother Bryan, who died in 2004, was the oldest cousin. I am the second oldest and my cousin Leigh, who is about a year younger than me, is third oldest. I was thinking about Leigh yesterday because it was her birthday.

We were giggly, hand-holding, secret-sharing friends when we were young. But that all changed when we got to high school. By then, my aunt had developed a terrible habit of pitting us against one another and forcing Leigh to do whatever I did, whether or not Leigh was interested. For example, I joined the drill team, so my aunt made Leigh join her high school drill team. I was interested in journalism, so Leigh had to get involved in journalism. I became an officer in my drill team, so Leigh had to try out to be an officer in her drill team. When she didn’t make officer and I did, Leigh resented me even more. Leigh even wore my hand-me-down clothes, including my formal that she wore to her prom. My aunt made Leigh go to the same college where I went. But at least during the year Leigh went to college, we had the opportunity to come to terms about how her mother pushed her to do whatever I did, even though we were such different people and had very different interests. Leigh couldn’t help but resent me, even though she knew it wasn’t my fault she was forced to follow after me. As adults we only see each other during family functions. In fact, the last time I saw Leigh was at my father’s funeral in 2007, when we hugged each other, held hands, and cried.

I found out yesterday, along with Leigh's two sisters, that she has cancer in both of her lungs and, for unknown reasons, has refused treatment for more than a year. On her birthday yesterday, she learned that she also has brain cancer. She’ll undergo surgery this morning to remove a tumor about the size of a lime from her brain. I hope her surgery is successful and that after she recovers, she’ll accept treatment for her lung cancer. I want another chance to hug each other, hold hands, and giggle as we did as girls.

Today I’m creating hope and prayers for Leigh. I know I wrote yesterday that I was going to put away my sewing machine and not sew anymore, but I think sewing will be a good diversion today. I have more purses I can make. Just one more day of sewing before I clean house for Sandy's arrival on Thursday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

Today is the last day I'll be sewing
for awhile. A friend is coming for a visit at
the end of this week so I'll be returning my
make-shift sewing room to a dining room.
I'm reading Writing as a Sacred Path by Jill Jepson. The book is about writing with passion and purpose, and it struck a cord with me. The author defines all writers as storytellers. At first I was put off by this job description, until I read more. She says: "Storytellers are the custodians of human history, the recorders of human experience, the voice of the human soul ... but storytelling does more than record and transmit human experience – it also gives form to that experience. Stories sculpt meaning, they shape how we think; they provide the framework for understanding. Stories determine what we cherish, despise or ignore. They define what it is to be human." Reading this book makes me think about what I do every day as a writer.

As a business writer, I'm often given projects that require me to write about the inexpressible and/or indescribable, and make it small and concrete enough for people to understand and consider. Although I compiled what I do into one sentence, believe me when I write that it's not as easy as it sounds, but it can be defined as storytelling. In the brochures and newsletters I write, I'm telling a story that's complete with characters (you, your family, your friends and co-workers), settings (your home, place in society, stage of life), and plots (where are you now, where do you want to go, how are you going to get there).

What I've discovered during the past six months of writing my blog is that I'm also storytelling, and that the richest source of my personal stories is ordinary, daily life. I'm not searching for fully fleshed-out ideas complete with characters, settings and plots. Instead, I'm recording day-to-day events. I find the part of the event that makes it compelling to me and create a story from it.

The exciting elements about storytelling are that whether I'm writing a brochure or blog, I'm connecting with other people and it reminds me that we're not separate, isolated individuals, but part of the same world.

Today I'm creating purses. You know, even when creating a bag, tote or bracelet it could be defined as storytelling. Is that statement too much of a leap or can you make that jump?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 21, 2011

The flowers, branches and leaves on the
the vintage upholstery fabric are raised.
I really like the texture! 
It drizzled rain and thundered most of the night, which meant that Roz was a spastic wanting on the bed, off the bed, on the bed, off the bed. I finally gave up on prolonged sleep about dawn and got in the shower. Of course, her little self has been hiding under the bed most of the day, probably catching up on her beauty rest so she can keep me awake again tonight.

I went to the Tesuque Flea Market this morning with two lady friends. The rain had cooled down the temperature so much that we all had on long-sleeve shirts. At noon, when we got back in the car to find some good Mexican food for lunch, it was only 72 degrees. We all wanted New Mexican food, not Tex-Mex, so I suggested a tiny restaurant in the Sambusca Center for lunch. Mighty tasty! There were very few people in Sambusca and even some stores were closed because of the Indian Market on the Plaza. As I wrote yesterday, I'm passing on the Indian Market.

Today I'm creating more flat bags. Are you getting tired of seeing them? In addition to two flat bags I also made a large tote yesterday (see photo) from mudcloth and a piece of old upholstery fabric. Love the mixture. I keep discovering fabric for the flat bags, but their production is coming to an end tomorrow. At least for awhile. But before sewing, napping!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August 20, 2011

If you like chocolate and are looking for a snack,
try Fiber One Chocolate Fudge Brownies. Only
90 calories and high in fiber. Yummy!
This is Indian Market weekend in Santa Fe, probably my least favorite event on the Plaza. Thousands of people come to Santa Fe for Indian Market, but I haven't found the charm. The advertising (and we KNOW it's true) states that 1,100 Native Americans participate in the event. Most vendors have a six-foot folding table where they display handmade objects. The problem is that each Native American tribe – such as Navajo, Apache, Zuni – make the same products, so you see a lot of the same thing. Don't get me wrong, most of the items are beautiful, but imagine seeing the same color and design of pottery over and over again. If there are 300 vendors who are from Navajo pueblos, they all use the same color and design for their pottery. Some may be better quality than others, but I'm not an expert to know the difference. The first year I spent August in Santa Fe, I went to Indian Market and was on visual overload!

I had a visit yesterday from a woman whose grandparents lived in the casita when she was a young girl. She toured the casita and told me what was different from when her grandparents lived here. For example, the original kitchen was where the master bedroom is now. Where the kitchen is now was her grandparents' bedroom. And there wasn't a bathroom in the house. This was in the 1960s. The indoor bathroom wasn't added until much later. The private road the casita is located on has three other homes past this one. It was all owned by the same family and the children/grandchildren ran back and forth between the houses and played in the huge outdoor space. It was explained to me that it's a cultural tradition of Hispanic people to have their family live nearby. The woman's great uncle, who lived at the end of the road, had a picture on the wall in his house of himself with Billy the Kid. It was exciting to hear details about the casita's past, but more interesting to learn about the Hispanic culture.

Today I'm creating leisure time, not to go to the Indian Market, but to watch the Project Runway  marathon. Project Runway is one of my favorite shows and I didn't know it had already started it's new season. I need to watch the shows I've missed and then get the show dates and times on my calendar. As Tim Gunn says, "Make it work!"

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 19, 2011

I thought this was just a clump of monkey
grass until a beautiful daylily bloomed.
Good morning! I'm happy to report that I caught up on my sleep last night and am fully refreshed this morning. I went to bed a little after 10 p.m. and didn't wake up until about 9 a.m. I must have slept really well because my hair is a complete disaster. I have a flip on the opposite side of my part that reminds me of a 1950s singer. Or a cartoon character.

And speaking of characters, I've posted numerous photos of Rose on my blog. As you can tell from the pics, she is an adorable full-figured pooch. Yet this morning she was racing down the private road the casita is located on like a greyhound. She saw a cat sitting in the middle of the road and took off after it. But alas, the cat was closer to the coyote fence and slipped between two of the posts. Her Roundness could only fit her cantaloupe-sized head through the posts, but she kept barking and waging her little nubbly tail. Quite the scene. To give Roz equal writing space, yesterday she insisted on going to the top of the road to do her business (as Mr. B calls it). Grass grows faster than Roz can walk on her short little legs. I don't think I've ever seen her run, except in the Houston house when she does figure eights around the ottoman and couch in the living room. Back to the story: When she finished her morning biz yesterday, she took a few steps and laid down, refusing to walk back to the casita regardless of how I tugged on her leash. I finally had to pick up Her Laziness and carry her down to the casita. I'm surrounded by out-of-control dogs.

Today I'm creating more purses. Yesterday I was inspired by a beautiful daylily in the garden (see photo). After admiring the garden I came in the casita, found four floral pieces of fabric, and cut out purses. Then I got ready and met two friends for an early dinner. By the time I got home I was too tired to start sewing, so today I'll make the purses. Half the work of making them is done because the fabric is already cut out. Since my sewing machine isn't considered heavy machinery, I'm going to drink some wine tonight while sewing and thinking about my family and friends in Texas who are suffering through the heat and drought. Drinking wine won't relieve their pain, but I'll feel good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 18, 2011

New flat bags with shoulder straps. It took time and
patience to figure out the flap, but I got it done.
Since the time is 12:30 a.m., it's technically Thursday, Aug. 18, so I can write my blog now instead of waiting. I hoped I would be asleep by now since I've only had four hours of shut eye in the past 48 hours, but alas my baby blues are wide open and my brain hasn't signaled it's tiring.

After my conference call at 4:30 p.m. yesterday, I spent the greater part of the evening trying to figure out how to make a flat bag I sketched out. There's nothing I dislike more than messing up while sewing and having to rip out the stitches. Unfortunately, I had several of those experiences as I was sewing the bags I made last night (see photo). Perhaps if I wasn't sleep deprived I wouldn't be making so many mistakes. The lining of the bags is the same as the flap. There's a magnetic snap under the flap that keeps the bag closed. I can put a brooch or button or a fabric flower or nothing on the flap. On the black and gray bag on the lower right is a vintage fabric label I found. I wish I could find more of the labels because I think they are decorative and cute. Something different.

Today I'm creating drafts of two newsletters. I also need to write a press release and eblast for Women of Wine Charities. I'm saving time for more sewing to keep whittling down on the piles of fabric I brought with me. I probably have eight more flat bags to make before I switch to tote bags. Fun, fun, fun!

August 17, 2011

Flat bags I made yesterday. Love all the fabrics.
I had a very productive afternoon and evening yesterday, except for the fact that I didn't go to sleep until 6:30 a.m. It all began with going to the grocery store hungry. Even though I had a list I wound up spending $100 because I kept putting things in the basket that weren't on the list. After dinner I got the sewing bug and made four flat bags (see photo). Again, these need to be embellished, but that might not happen until I get back to Houston, to my collection of brooches, trims and buttons. Finally, I had rented three movies at Albertson's, so I watched them until 4:30 a.m.

I've never rented movies from Redbox, but found it to be completely painless and very inexpensive. If I'm going to watch a so-so movie, I feel much better about only paying $1 to rent it rather than $15+ to go to a movie theater. The Company Man starred Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, and some other good actors. The plot was too close to home and made me uncomfortable! In the movie, long-term dedicated employees were fired from a company in order to make "the numbers" for the shareholders, while at the same time those in charge got huge salaries, stock options, and bonus packages. We've all seen this happen too often in today's business world. Next I watched the Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon. Interesting plot and good acting, but bad ending with unanswered questions. Last was The Conspirator, a Robert Redford movie that made me question the guilt and trial of Mary Surratt, who was convicted and hung as an accomplice in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I plan to spend time on the Internet today researching the story.

Today I'm creating more purses. Around 5 a.m. I went to bed, but got up about 30 minutes later because I couldn't sleep, much to the annoyance of Roz and Rose. In the early morning I matched fabrics for today's sewing session. I also sketched out a new front for the flat bags that I'm going to make today. Unfortunately, I'll be back at the fabric store buying interfacing and cording for the handles. But first, a shower to help revive me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16, 2011

Flat bags with shoulder straps made from cute vintage fabrics. 
Just finished my Tuesday morning conference call. I consider holding the phone up to my ear for one hour and 20 minutes as toning exercises for my arms.

More rain yesterday in Santa Fe. It's the monsoon season so there's usually a light rain for 45 minutes to an hour sometime in the afternoon. During the rain yesterday the temperature dropped to 67 degrees. After the rain the temperature rose to 80 degrees. I feel bad about writing this because I heard today that Houston has had 15 days of record high temperatures and there is a Stage 3 Water Rationing in the city. For those of you in Houston who haven't heard, the rationing means you can only water between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. If your address ends in an even number, you water on Sundays and Thursdays only. If your address ends in an odd number, you water on Saturdays and Wednesdays only. Since the City of Houston needs revenue, it can fine homeowners who violate the water rationing program up to $2,000 for each violation. What's more, the city has said that the only trees that should be watered are those two-years old or less. There you have it ladies and gentlemen.

Today I'm creating more flat purses. I made three yesterday (see photo). I need to add embellishments to the front plackets, but haven't decided on what to use. Embellishments may wait until I get back to Houston where I have a supply of old brooches and buttons.

Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011

I rarely forget any of my family's birthdays. For example, today is my grandfather's birthday. Truett Bryan Akin, Sr. was born in 1907, and died in 1980, at age 72. He was a hard-working man who, when he wasn't working, enjoyed being with his family, playing dominos and fishing. He was up at 5 a.m. every morning and in bed at 10:30 p.m. My grandparent's were at Calvary Baptist Church on Sunday mornings, as well as Sunday and Wednesday nights. I admired my grandfather very much because he lived a simple, disciplined life and because he was kind to everyone.

Every morning, except Sunday, he spent a couple of hours tending his vegetable garden before having breakfast. After breakfast he read aloud from the Bible. I don't know how many years of school he had growing up on a farm. He didn't read well, yet he must have read the Bible cover-to-cover many times during his life. In fact, sometimes I wonder if he learned to read by reading the Bible.

Monday through Saturday he was in downtown Bryan, TX by 8:00 a.m. at the men's clothing store he owned with his older brother. At 1 p.m. he was home for lunch (my grandparent's ate their big meal at lunch). He would lay down for a 15-20 minute nap after lunch, then fill his pipe, put on his hat, and head back to the store. Every once in awhile I'll smell his pipe tobacco (Prince Albert). The smell makes me smile because it reminds me of him. I like to think it's him puffing on his pipe somewhere near as he watches over me.

Prototype of new purse I made yesterday.
Today I'm creating more purses. Pictured today is a prototype I made yesterday. Cute Santa Fe fabric and colors! If you look back a few days on my blog you'll see a photo of a new shade I made for the backdoor in the casita. I had some fabric leftover so I used it for the experimental purse. Today I'm going to make more of this style.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 14, 2011

With two rain storms last week flowers
everywhere are blooming.
It's a lazy, lazy day in the casita. I got up early and was planning to spend the day sewing, but instead I've spent the day reading and napping, with a few housekeeping chores thrown in, and some dog walking. Not extremely productive!

I've been waiting all day to turn on the oven and heat up a goat cheese pizza I bought yesterday. It looks so good, but I know Mr. B would not enjoy it. It's not traditional enough for him. But I could eat goat cheese on almost anything. I mean, what's not to like?

Today I'm creating purses. I had to go to the fabric store yesterday (in the rain) to get some supplies. It pains me to buy these items (lining, buttons, interfacing, heavy snaps) because I know I have these supplies in Houston. With very limited storage space in Santa Fe, I better use everything I bought before I return to Houston.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

August 13, 2011

Bag made from mudcloth.
Great day! I went to the farmer's market this morning, then to the second Ethnographic show (much better than the one yesterday), and then to The Flea, the "other" flea market outside of Santa Fe. The woman I like to buy African mudcloth from was at The Flea and I bought two pieces from her. She has the best priced mudcloth and I only see her when I'm in Santa Fe during the summer. I'm posting a market tote I made yesterday out of mudcloth. It's really long and will hold lots of goodies!

Just as I was leaving The Flea, a terrible rainstorm started. I could see that it was raining hard in Santa Fe and there was lightening. All I could think about was getting home as fast as possible because I knew Roz would be frightened. Sure enough, when I walked in the backdoor I started calling her. She didn't come out from her hiding spot, but when I walked into the main room, I heard her in the pantry. She had worked herself into the pantry and was hiding behind under the shelves.

Today I'm creating more bags. I was inspired by some designs I saw at the Ethnographic show. Pretty bags, but priced too high. I'll make and sell them for half the price.

Friday, August 12, 2011

August 12, 2011

Painting by Native American artist Fritz Scholder seen at
the Ethnographic Art Show this morning. Mr. B and I
have a work-on-paper by Scholder in Pettita Casita.
This morning I went to the Ethnographic Art Show. This is my fourth year to go and I'm not sure I've ever bought anything, but I enjoy the "dry shopping." For anyone unfamiliar with "ethnographic art," it's created by indigenous people around the world, including Native Americans, African tribes and Oceanic islanders. Most of the art and artifacts seen in the show are antiques, such as masks, paintings, jewelry and carved sculptures, but some are new. This year's market seemed to have more Native American art, which I like much more than the African tribal and Asian art and artifacts. There were a few  dealers who had textiles, but they were really high priced. FTR (translation from texting dictionary: for the record), I spent $11 (for admission and a bottled water.

There's another ethnographic market on Saturday and Sunday. At some point, someone got mad at the organizers of today's show, so s/he started a new show. There are a lot of the same dealers in both shows, but the market that is on the weekend is held in the Railyard District, right next to the Farmer's Market, and the prices seem more reasonable. FTR, I don't remember spending any money at the second market, either, except for admission and water.

Today I'm creating some tote bags using some mudcloth from Africa. At the ethnographic shows, the mudcloth would cost $200+, but I get mine at one of the two flea markets in town for around $50. I feel much better cutting up the $50 mudcloth than I would cutting up a $200+ piece. So frugal of me!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 11, 2011

I'll be able to recognize my Explorer in parking lots
after I add these decals to the back window.
Last night I gave Rose a bath because her four paws and underbelly were no longer white. Since there aren't fleas in Santa Fe, I bathed her in Johnson's no-more-tears baby shampoo ... with natural lavender. She was really good and just stood in the bath tub while I bathed and rinsed her. I couldn't believe the amount of sand and dirt that was in the tub after her bath, so after Rose's scrubbing the tub got a scrubbing. Then she laid on a towel next to me for an hour while I brushed her hair and she made cute little cuddly noises. So sweet! If there is a heaven-on-earth for dogs, she found it last night. Where was Roz during all this? Her Skitiness was hiding under the bed in fear she would be next in the tub.

I don't think I've had a decal on a car since college when I put a decal on my mother's car, but I'm going to wash the Explorer and afix the two decals I'm posting today. Hum. Should I use the Johnson's baby shampoo that I used on Rose to wash the car?

Today I'm creating dinner for a friend who is in town for the Ethnographic Market this weekend. MTF (translation from my texting dictionary: more to follow) about the two Ethnographic shows and sales tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10, 2011

Two retablos I bought at an estate sale today. The one on the
left is dated 1946 and the one on the right is dated 1915.
Can't wait for my son-in-law Nick to translate them for me.
I went to an estate sale today, which advertised that people had to pay $1 for the pre-sale event, or wait to attend on Friday and Saturday for free. New concept for me, but certainly got my interest. Great marketing gimmick because it creates a sense of urgency in people (like me) who think that if we don't go to the pre-sale and pay $1, we'll miss all the really good stuff. Apparently many people think everything will be picked over unless they attend the pre-sale because the crowd was enormous! The photos posted on the Internet before the estate sale featured beautiful Native American pottery, baskets, jewelry, clothing, blankets, folk art, beadwork, rugs, etc. Lots of art was also featured, along with Spanish Colonial and pine furniture. Most of the items had hefty price tags and, come to find out, even though you've paid $1 to attend the pre-sale, there's no dickering around on the pricing. I was hoping to find some blankets that I could cut and make into tote bags, but alas, there were none I could afford. I did find two retablos that I thought were way under priced, so I bought them, along with some old Mason jars made from blue glass. The Mason jars will be great for storing dry goods in the casita's pantry.

The house is also for sale so I picked up a flier. The house is probably 20 minutes away from the Plaza in Santa Fe and has great mountain views. The asking price is $998,000 after a recent price reduction. The property includes 9.3 acres. The main house has 4,094 sq. ft, the guest house has 1,450 sq. ft. (bigger than Pettita Casita), and then there is a 40' x 72' five-stall barn, a separate kennel and a chicken coop (which are apparently very vogue right now). Although the price tag for the property is out of my price range, I can't help but think what a great deal this is compared to what we paid for the in-town Pettita Casita. But as with the Houston house, Mr. B and I prefer the close-in location. But as I walked through the barn I was thinking about the terrific parties I could throw in there!

Today I'm creating, or rather finishing, the magazine articles I've been working on. I finished working on them at about 2:30 a.m. I still need to write one article, but am waiting on a phone call or email regarding timing for the interview. Then, I'll have to review and edit six or so articles that are being written by other people. Can't wait until this magazine goes to print!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August 9, 2011

My legs and back are tired and achy from all the yard work yesterday, but it’s a good thing. The gardens look refreshed and colorful. At noon today it was 83 degrees so I sat under the apricot tree, ate my salad and admired the gardens. Little bumble bees and hummingbirds were also enjoying the gardens.

The dining room has transformed into the
sewing center. So many projects, so little time!
After lunch I watched All My Children. I’ve watched this “daytime drama” since I was in college, back when it still called a “soap opera.” AMC is one of the two daytime dramas that have been cancelled by ABC. It will go off the air in September, so in the last month to six weeks of the show, the writers are bringing closure to everyone who died, but the bodies where never found. Even those who we saw dead and buried are still alive. It's a miracle! No, it's the evil Dr. David Hayward who has a secret medical clinic where he has been performing experimental, yet apparently life reviving, treatments on everyone who died in a plane crash, ran off a cliff on a motorcycle, or just vanished into thin air. Mr. B is so wrong. He always teases me by saying that the dastardly Dr. David Hayward isn’t evil, just misunderstood. Come to find out, Dr. Hayward the badest of the bad.

Today I’m creating new magazine articles before I start sewing. I have to write the articles and then go to Starbucks tomorrow to send them via email. I don’t know yet what is wrong with the Internet at the house, but hope it gets fixed soon. Fortunately the Starbucks is close to Albertson’s because I need to get some Cascade and shampoo, which aren’t available at Whole Foods. But I’ll also make my daily trip to Whole Foods to get some veggies. What does it mean when your body craves veggies?

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8, 2011

New shade I made for the back door.
The colors and pattern are very Santa Fe.
It has been a busy day! I got up and picked up the house. There was fabric everywhere and in such a small house, the clutter can get out of hand quickly. I'm trying some new patterns and the frustration can also get out of hand quickly! I didn't cut some fabric properly last night, so I have a big mess. I think the best thing to do at this point is start over.

Little Ricky came to the house about 11:30 a.m. to help me in the garden. We lost numerous plants last winter when Santa Fe had a really heavy, late freeze, plus there was a portion of our drip hose that froze. He fixed the problem with the drip system and then helped me plant all the new flowers. It was so great to have him here so he could add new drip nozzles for the new flowers. About 1:30 p.m. we took a break and had lunch under the huge apricot tree. It was apparent to me that I was getting sunburned, so I spent most of the time after lunch in the shade. Sure enough, when he left I had a shower and could see the redness on the back of my neck and shoulders.

Today I'm creating a flier for a client. I had to come to Starbucks so I could get on the Internet. Not sure what is wrong with the Internet at the house, but I haven't been able to get on since last night. Total bummer!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

August 7, 2011

Beautiful sunny day in Santa Fe.
One of my goals this year in Santa Fe is to meet more people, but so far, nada. When I'm here during the summer, I'd like to know people who I could pick up the phone and call. I thought that if I volunteered I'd have the opportunity to meet people. I tried to volunteer for the Chamber Music performances, but no one ever contacted me. Tried to volunteer at the Hispanic Market, but they had enough help. I tried to volunteer at the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, but the new director has everything in flux. If I wanted a full-time job, there are plenty of those in Santa Fe. I'm not giving up on meeting people. I still have another month in the high desert.

It's a quiet day at the casita. There's a festival on the Plaza – 39th Annual Girls Inc. Arts & Crafts Show – but I think I'll pass. Instead, I'm going to the fabric store. I met a shop owner who is interested in my bags. She asked if she could see some bags, so I guess I need to make some. I have plenty in Houston, but nothing here to show her. It's warm outside today, with no breeze, so it's a good day to spend inside creating my own arts and crafts instead of looking at what other people have made.

Today I'm creating some tote bags, after I go to the fabric store and buy some interfacing and lining fabrics. I also need to make my daily stop at Whole Foods to get something for dinner. I guess I have met one new person in town: the 19-year old check-out guy at Whole Foods. Somehow I don't think he'll appreciate me picking up the phone and calling him!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

August 6, 2011

Found this sign during my travels around SFe.
I need to find out what enterprises the
New Mexico Pettit family is involved with.
I walked around so much yesterday that when I got home last night my legs were very tired! I decided I wasn't really hungry, so I had some crackers and cheese, and a couple of glasses of bubbly (nectar of the gods). There was a soft rain falling on the tin roof of Pettita Casita, and the noise helped lure me to sleep at an early hour.

As I  was falling asleep last night I had the feeling I was a little girl at my grandparents' house in Bryan, TX. At some point in the history of the home, which was built by my great grandfather and grandfather, the porch on the back of the house was enclosed. That room was where my grandparents slept, so we called it the sleeping porch. The room was furnished with only their twin beds, which my nephew now has, and an oak dresser with a mirror on top, which I have. In the summer, the louvered windows were cranked open and a big fan circulated the air. When it was raining, I always wanted to be out on the sleeping porch on a roll-away bed that was topped with a feather mattress and pillow. I loved the smell of the rain, the softness of the feather mattress and pillows, the sound of drops plunking on the glass of the louvered windows, and the hum of the oscillating fan. These comfortable childhood smells and sounds were present as I went to sleep last night, and provided me with a good night's sleep!

Today I'm creating a clean casita. Yes, even on vacation I have to clean house. This morning I went to the Tesuque Flea Market outside of Santa Fe and found some wonderful mud cloth and other fabric from Africa, so I'll also be sketching ideas tonight while finishing the other half bottle of bubbly.

Friday, August 5, 2011

August 5, 2011

Her fatness likes to perch on the window
sill and look out. I'm not sure how she balances
herself since she is wider than the sill.
Another fun morning. I went to a huge estate sale at the Woman's Club. I was hoping to find fabrics and textiles, but I only found one piece for $3. Then I drove downtown and went in some shops that I like on the side streets off the Plaza. Next I had lunch at The Shed. I don't know why I believed the waiter when he told me the chicken enchiladas weren't hot. The green sauce was extremely spicy! I finished lunch an hour ago and my mouth is still burning.

I'm posting a photo of Rose in the window in the main room. The ledge is stone, which must be cool on her big, hairy belly. She jumps up on the couch and then jumps onto the window sill. I've seen cats do this, but never dogs. Rose will get in the window when I leave and wait for me to come back. This morning I found her in the window looking out while I was taking my shower.

Today I'm creating a magazine article, but first I need a siesta with Rose and Roz. I hear the afternoon rain

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 4, 2011

Santa Fe has wonderful "yard art." These fish
are outside the convention center where
SOFA West is being held. Very fun!
I should be spending today with my father, celebrating his 82nd birthday. I wish he were here! I know he would have loved the slow pace of Santa Fe and the beautiful gardens, not to mention the hot, spicy food! I remember him sweating while eating Mexican and Cajun food, and relishing every bite! He died in 2007, and every day, something in my life remembers me of him. Miss you, Daddy!

I had a great time earlier today at SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art) West. The favorite art I saw might have been by outsider artist Karl Mullen. His work is walnut oil, raw powder pigment, and pastel on paper. Outsider art is a term for work done by non-academically trained artists. These artists are viewed as outside the "normal" community and many may have been confined in prisons or insane asylums. Always interesting artwork, whether you like the subject or not.

Today I'm creating a mailer (done) and am getting on a conference call in about five minutes about a magazine article. Good day!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3, 2011

Yard work at Pettita Casita prevents getting
a mani, but a pedi seems in order for today!
I'm just not feeling the love today and I know exactly the cause of my problem. Last night, when I took the girls out for their walk before bedtime, a woman drove up to the house next door to me, got out of her car, and started "female dogging" me out, if you receive my meaning. The woman doesn't live on the drive where my house is located. She doesn't own property on the drive. She was visiting an sick elderly woman. Yet she "female dogged" me out for letting my two little girls make their deposits in a vacant, overgrown lot. She was calling me names (female dog) and threatening to knock my head off if I didn't go back to wherever I came from. The entire altercation was very distressing! Consequently, I didn't sleep last night. I was awake and analyzing what I did to make the woman so angry. Since I have a "people-pleasing" personality, whatever went wrong last night must have been my fault, or so it is in my mind. Today I'm tired and cranky, and still somewhat concerned that the crazy woman will do something ... well, crazy. Who knows what that might be.

I cancelled my play date with gardner extraordinaire Little Ricky. He was supposed to come over today, have lunch, and help me with some yard work, but when he called this morning I rescheduled for Monday. There's a problem with the drip system that waters the front flower beds (see photo of front beds). I just don't feel like messing with that today. I also have about $200 worth of new plants to put in the side flower beds, but I can do that myself.

Today I'm creating a pity party. But to help myself get out of this funk, I'm going sew something. Being creative in a positive way will help me immensely. My machine should be ready this afternoon and I'm going to get it and sew my little fingers off. Luckily, the sewing machine repair shop is close to a nail salon. Having my nails done will also help my mood. There's a reason a manicure/pedicure is referred to as the "cures."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011

What a morning. I haven't stopped working since I got up. Unfortunately, once again the Skype telephone conference didn't work. This time I got the visual, but the sound was so bad all I could hear snippets every now and then. Who knows more about Skype than I do? Who can tell me how to fix the sound problems?

Look how chubby and cute Rose is! 
Think I need to join her in a siesta.

I'm posting a photo of my muse, Rose. I'm working in a chair at the end of the breakfast bar and Rose is laying behind my chair with her monkey toy. See the chew stick right above her on the rug? It's under a table where she usually hides her toy monkey and a new toy I bought her for being a good girl. The monkey and her new toy make noises. I think she gets tired of hearing them so she hides them under the table. When I tell her to bring me her toy she'll only bring the smiley purple dog that doesn't squeak.

Today I'm creating a weekly newsletter, a flier and a bio. I'm also working on the fundraiser I'm coordinating for Women of Wine Charities. There was a time around lunch when the emails were coming in faster than I could respond to them, so I stepped away from the computer and took the girls for a walk. I don't think the bar stool I sit in while working is ergonomically correct for long hours of working on the computer. A walk loosens up the achy back.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011

I heard yesterday that my God daughter (Ashley, a.k.a. Madame) got engaged on Friday night. Then I heard this morning that one of Dr. Mc's good friends (Katie) also got engaged. These two weddings should be very beautiful because both young women are over-the-top with details. We're also excited that Dr. Mc's longtime friend Melinda is getting married in November. I've watched these young women grow up. It's exciting to see them entering the married phase of their lives!

Last night's dinner was roasted tomatoes
topped with homemade pesto and
parmesan. Loved every bite!
I had fun yesterday afternoon. First I walked around the Contemporary Spanish Market. You would have thought I was at an outdoor festival in Houston. Parking was $10 and a bottle of water was $2. Yikes! Mr. B laughed last night when I told him I ate street food. The carnitas I paid $6 for was delicious! The art at the festival was interesting, but nothing I couldn't live without. Then I came home and made some pesto. Not an easy task in the little food processor in the casita. Of course, I thought the recipe needed twice the garlic. I used part of the pesto on some tomatoes I roasted last night and froze two half-pint containers.

Today I'm creating a magazine article for a client. Other things on my agenda include taking my sewing machine to the repair shop and finding a reasonably priced dry cleaners. I won't use the cleaners I tried last year because I was charged $8.99 per linen blouse. Robbery!