Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quiet day

It's margarita time.
I had tons of fun last night with Tracye. I drove her downtown and up Canyon Road. Then we had wine and crudités before dinner, all the while talking and laughing. It was a great visit in Santa Fe with someone who lives less that a half mile from me in Houston. Rose even gave Tracye a kiss when we dropped her back at her hotel.

Since I cleaned house and washed clothes on Monday and Tuesday, today has been a (mostly) quiet day at the casita. Of course, the day is never totally quiet when Rose is within ear range. Her snoring can be heard all over the house.

Today I'm creating check lists. Before I get on the plane tomorrow morning, I have to make sure that two ads are resized and sent to the publications. I also need to send the shopping list for White Linen Night. Check. Check. And done. Tonight I pack and eat yummy leftovers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In the garden, a rusted wagon I "rescued" last summer.
A friend from Houston is in town attending a ceramics workshop and is coming to dinner at the casita tonight. I was hoping that we would eat outside under the apricot tree, but that's not going to happen. It's supposed to rain again, which means that al fresco dining is out of the question.

Question of the day: Is there life outside of work? Can there be a balance between work and life experiences? (I guess that's actually two questions.)

Today I'm creating dinner for Tracye and a fun evening.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Plans for a long weekend in Houston

I'm excited to return to Houston on Thursday of this week for about five days. Although I talk to Mr. B every night (and sometimes during the day) I'm anxious for a hug and some cuddle time. Also in the plans are lunch with ladies I used to work with, White Linen Night in the Heights, brunch with the lovely McCarley sisters and my three nieces, and lunch with friend Kelly who has moved into a new house and is getting married in October. Oh yeah, and I'm having some face time with clients. I'll be ready to get back to the calm high desert after all that.

I cut my finger with a rotary cutter last night. I thought it would never stop bleeding! Then this afternoon when I was doing a some gardening, it started bleeding again. This isn't good timing because my plan was to clean house tonight while watching the finale of The Bachelorette.

Today I'm creating a trip to the grocery store and the plant nursery. Now it's time for dinner and I don't know what I have to eat on meatless Monday. I should have thought about that while I was at the store.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Another colorful tin bracelet. I like the circle with the hen.
I feel sorry for the vendors in the Spanish Market. It started raining about noon and I'm pretty sure that was hail I heard on the metal roof of the casita and portal. It's now close to 2:30 p.m. and the skies are still gray plus I hear thunder in the background. Rose and I don't mind the rain because we don't have any outdoor activities planned for today.

I guess since I'm in the house all day I might wash clothes. It seems like a good thing to do on a rainy afternoon.

Today I'm creating a baby blanket. Since the temperature has dropped because of the rain, I might curl up the blanket after I finish it.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A beautiful Saturday

I pushed away from the sewing machine for a few days
and made some tin jewelry instead.
This morning I took Debbie to a shop the my cousin Susan and I found when she was here with me. Debbie loves rali cloth, and almost everything in the shop is made from it. I also love the fabric. I have a couple of silk scarves and two cotton kantha quilts made from it. While the fabric is new, the hand-stitching technique that's used by the women of India is centuries old.

We also went to a gallery, of sorts. The poor old man and the gallery were a crazy mess. In fact, the gallery is such a mess that the man pulls binds out for people to go through. He doesn't even sit in the gallery. I was interested in the "ledger art" that he had. Some of the ledger paper that's painted on dates back to the Civil War. I was a good girl and didn't buy anything, but I'm still thinking about several of the pieces.

Today I'm creating a trip to the Spanish Market. Debbie and I were there at 8 a.m. when it opened and had finished looking at everything before 9 a.m. I've enjoyed the Spanish Market in past years, but this year there was nothing I wanted to see.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good morning, Rose

Rose standing sentinel.
Rose's favorite time of every day is in the morning when I open the backdoor so she can sit on the portal and watch the birds, butterflies, bees and everything else that visits the garden. Since the casita is down a private road I can leave the backdoor open, which is something I wouldn't do in Houston. There aren't any mosquitos here to invade the house. I did see a fly the other day, but those are also uncommon. So the morning ritual here is for me to spend mornings on the computer with the television on in the background and Rose to guard the house from the portal.

I hadn't seen The Grand Budapest Hotel so I rented it and watched it yesterday. It's listed as a comedy, but I thought it was more of a farce. I enjoyed how the background for director Wes Anderson's story was so symmetrical juxtaposed against the off-kilter story. What was really fun was seeing all the cameo appearances. It was a fun movie that I'm glad I saw at home instead of paying to see it in the theater.

Today I'm creating more tin jewelry and I think I'll piece together a quilt top that I have on the dining room table. The casita windows are open and it's a very sunny, cool morning.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An unusual rainy midday

Good news! No borers in the apricot tree.
Rose was sunning herself on the portal this morning when a clap of thunder brought her back into the casita. Granted it's the monsoon season in the high desert, but that usually means mid-afternoon showers for 30 minutes to an hour, not midday thunderstorms.

I made a tasty pot of soup yesterday with vegetables I bought at the Farmer's Market. The only problem is that it is a HUGE pot of soup. Can I freeze most of it, or should I divvy up the soup and deliver some to friends?

Today I'm making tin earrings. I've been sewing and hadn't done anything with the tins I brought. Last night I took out my little snack tray that I use when making jewelry. I filled the tabletop with tins and started cutting. I'm still looking for a tin canister I brought with earrings in it, but maybe I left it in Houston.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Full to-do list

Colorful and soft burp cloth made of fleece.
It's unusual that I have a bad hair day in the low humidity of the high desert, but today was one of those days. Even after using a curling iron (and burning my little finger), my hair was still a mess. Long(ish) hair to the rescue. Some teasing on the top and then I pulled my hair back. According to People magazine's August 2014 StyleWatch issue, the "modern pompadour" and updos with retro-inspired volume on top are so hot.

It is Tuesday so, of course, I had a conference call. There was lots of good information about areas of Houston that are ripe for renewal. I can't wait to see what happens to H-town in the next three-to-five years. Come on Houston, let's do this!

Today I'm creating burp pads for the McZam baby. I also have a to-do list to tackle so it's time to stop sitting and get moving.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Waiting on the Postal Worker

Another quilt top coming together. 
In Houston and Santa Fe the Postal Workers (I hope that's politically correct) come very late in the day. In Houston I always know when he is walking up to the mailbox because Rose starts barking. In fact, she gets in a chair in front of the window closest to the mailbox and watches for Ray, our delivery guy. But in Santa Fe, Rose can't warn me because I have to walk up the drive to check the mailbox.

I'm waiting on the Postal Worker today because s/he should be delivering the last piece of solid blue vintage chenille I need to finish piecing a quilt together (see the pic-of-the-day). This will probably be the last quilt I make for Baby Boy McZam, but I have other things to make while I'm here.

Today I'm creating a print out of several items I need. I went a computer store because the printer in the casita isn't hooked up. I thought paying for the copies would be less stressful than trying to set up the printer myself. This also meant that I would be across the street from one of my favorite places to have lunch. It's meatless Monday so I ate half of my brie, tomato and roasted pepper sandwich and brought the reset home for dinner. Yum!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

It must be Saturday

More garden flowers.
As we often do on Saturday, Debbie came by and we went to the Farmer's Market. I got some fresh vegetables that I may use to make a soup, and of course I had to get some bread with roasted garlic. Yum! I also got some lettuce that I'm going to use tonight to make wraps.

Next we went out to The Flea, which is a market to the north of Santa Fe. I was hoping that a couple who was there last summer with indigo fabrics might be back, but I didn't see them. There was a man selling raw silk from India, so I bought a large piece of it. I'm thinking it would be a great knee-length vest.

Today I'm creating a trip to a shop I've heard about, but had never shopped. The woman makes linen clothing that is wonderful! Some she leaves in neutral colors and the others she hand dyes. Great little shop that I'm sure I'll visit again.

Friday, July 18, 2014

It's the weekend

Thistle, the national plant of Scotland, growing by the front gate.
Let's see. What did I do today that's creative or even interesting? This could be a very short email.

I woke up to let Rose out around 8:15 a.m., but went back to bed after I fed her. She also had her morning nap after she ate her breakfast. Then we went to get a paper from my favorite little-old man on a downtown corner. I reviewed the paper, but unfortunately there wasn't a single garage or estate sale that I wanted to visit, so I didn't go back out today except to check the mail.

Today I'm creating an e-mail blast, finalizing an event contract, following up on the design of my magazine advertisement, and cutting out the last three blocks needed for a quilt top I'm piecing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lunch with Richard A.

Full-size ( approximately 30" x 36")
I got to have lunch and catch up today with Richard A. It's always fun to catch up with him and find out what's going on in Santa Fe. The conversation always gets around to new art in the city, new places to eat, and crazy clients.

At the restaurant, I picked up the Santa Fe Reporter Best of Santa Fe issue. This is a small weekly magazine that reports on local news and culture. I don't normally read it, but always like the "best of" issues of anything.

Today I'm creating a finished blanket. I'm calling this a blanket instead of a quilt because there were only five pieces on the front and a solid back. There is batting between the front and back, but the quilting is only in the seams of the pieces. Dr. Mc … you knew I had to make something with foxes on it.

Close up of the little foxes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A morning in the garden

Serviceberry has tasty fruit. It was brought
from the northeast to the high desert by
Native Americans. 
I had a arborist come to the casita today to check on the apricot tree. The tree, which is a huge part of the garden, is infested with borers and needs injections to get rid of them. These insects infest fruit trees such as apricots and often result in severe damage, even plant death. The first arborist referred me to another company that uses chemicals to treat the problem of borers. I certainly hope the tree isn't so damaged that it needs to be cut down.

While the arborist was in the garden he talked to me about a large shrub, which is commonly known as a serviceberry. He told me that the fruit is excellent to eat raw, tasting somewhat like a blueberry mixed with an almond-like flavor. Come to find out, George Washington planted specimens of serviceberries on his Mount Vernon estate in Virginia. The arborist was eating the berries from the tree, so I picked some, washed them, put them in a bowl with yogurt, and sprinkled some flaxseed on top. Yummy and healthy breakfast!

Today I'm creating cutouts for another quilt. I've been looking at quilts on Pinterest and Etsy for new ideas. I have some fabric with me that will be really cute on a quilt with horizontal stripes. Keep your fingers crossed that my limited math skills will do their job today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another trip to the fabric store

More flowers in the Santa Fe garden.
It had been two days since I was in the fabric store, so of course it was time for another visit today. If I were in Houston I would probably have what I need, but instead I have to go buy more.

After I finished at the fabric store I decided to go downtown. I parked and walked around for about 45 minutes. I was going to come back to the casita, but then decided to visit a few of my other favorite stores that I haven't been to this summer. All was going well and I hadn't spent a dime, until I entered the last store I was planning to visit. That store, which carries many of my favorite clothing designers, was having a sale. So much for not spending anything!

Today I'm creating follow-up emails and setting up appointments for when I'm in Houston at the end of this month. I'll be there to coordinate White Linen Night, but I've made plans to have lunch with girlfriends and brunch with the lovely McCarley sisters and my nieces.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Monday, y'all!

After I make a few block quilts I may move
on to something more difficult.  Or not.
As expected, Sunday was followed by Monday. And I bet tomorrow will be Tuesday. Funny how that works week after week.

I'm trying to get in touch with an arborist who has been recommended to me. Again this year, there was a late freeze and snow storm that destroyed all the apricot buds on our huge tree here. I noticed when I was walking around it that there are some dead limbs that need to be removed, and there is some type of resin-like bubbles on many of the branches. Our tree has been invaded by some type of critter. Hopefully the arborist will call me sooner rather than later and fix the tree problems.

Today I'm creating my second quilt top. I cut out the blocks last weekend and pieced it together from vintage lime green, pale blue and snow white chenille. The finished size of this quilt will be 30" x 36", so I should be able to put it on the dining room table to fit the batting and backing. My project for tomorrow.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A quiet day at the casita

Lavender growing in the desert garden.
I'm not sure that my little furry friend Rose has adapted to the time change. She wakes me up to take her outside in the morning much earlier than she goes out in Houston. Apparently she doesn't realize that we are on vacation, which calls for sleeping late and especially on the weekends.

I decided last night before I went to bed that I wasn't going to leave the casita today. It was a wise decision since it has been overcast and hasn't reached 80 degrees today. Rose likes it when I stay home with her all day.

Today I'm creating quilt squares. I don't have a surface large enough in the casita to spread out the quilt top and back it, so I'm going to take it to Houston and finish it there. In the meantime, I have another quilt that I want to make. It's going to be smaller so I can finish it here.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Early rising for the International Folk Art Market

Always a fun event!
I was up and dressed by 6:45 a.m. so I could go by Debbie's house and then drive to the folk art market. This is an annual outing for us (and thousands of others) that I really look forward to each year. Driving out to the market this morning I told myself that I wasn't going to spend as much as I normally do. Sure enough, I didn't spend the same as my record-high last year … I spent more.

More than 80 countries participate in the annual market, which is the largest in the world. Many artists come from developing third-world countries where the average income is less than $3 a day. It makes me happy when I give items I purchased at the market to friends and family because I know I'm supporting artists whose work is the voice of their culture's history and an expression of their community identity.

Today I'm creating a long walk to and from the market, as well as walking around for several hours. All this walking is good since I'm planning to cook myself a steak tonight and drink some bubbly. Hey, it's Saturday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Quiet Friday

Site of the estate sale I attended today. 
I waited almost an hour this morning for a conference call to begin. I really hate it when that happens.

As I sometimes do in Houston, I attended an estate sale in Santa Fe today. The house was up in the mountains and the view was spectacular! I really like how the house blends into the landscape. I can only imagine how impressive the night view must be looking down on the city lights of Santa Fe.

Today I'm creating final (I hope) revisions to an article for the Houston Chronicle before heading off to the estate sale. I drove up above the city, walked down a semi-steep hill to the house inside a gated community, looked at over-priced art, and then walked back up the hill to my car, huffing and puffing in the thin air. I didn't buy anything, which is a good thing because tomorrow is the opening of the International Folk Art Festival.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The front is pieced together

Front of the quilt.
Probably 10 years ago I bought a great chenille bedspread at a garage sale. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but the bedspread was in terrific condition. I bought it, knowing that some day I would use it for something. I found the perfect use for it.

The center section of the quilt I've been piecing together is part of the vintage chenille bedspread. I made simple block squares from two different blue fabrics and finished the front today. I'll be moving on to the batting and quilting this weekend, which I consider more difficult than piecing the front together. The back will be a solid medium blue., different than the two blues used on the front.

Today I'm creating an e-blast, doing some Facebook postings for clients, working on an invitation, and making calls to coordinate the private party I'm working on for White Linen Night on Saturday, August 2, in the Heights. Of course, my day would not be complete without a trip to the fabric store this afternoon. I was four blocks short of the gingham fabric on the front of the quilt. Ugh! But it's done and I'm feeling good.
Close up of the blue blocks.

Centerpiece of the quilt (vintage chenille).
It's hard to see in the photo, but there is a
lighter and darker blue.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day two of the serger crisis

Ali McGraw at last night's event.
My serger that was supposed to arrive yesterday is still not here. The online tracking information says that it's out for delivery, but it's after 1 p.m. in the high desert and there's no sight of the delivery man. My sister-in-law Missy posted yesterday that she hoped there would be a different delivery driver today since Rose did her best to protect me and the casita yesterday, and scared the man away.

Speaking of the high desert, yesterday's all-day rain had me thinking I was in Houston. Seriously, it was cloudy and raining most of the day, including last night when there was so much thunder and lightning that Rose left her cool sleeping spot on the bathroom floor to crawl up in my lap. All the rain was followed by a beautiful day today with blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and below-normal temps.

Today I'm creating headlines. Thinking of catchy headlines that make people want to read more isn't as easy as it sounds. My philosophy on headlines is less is more, so every word has to be meaningful. I did have a chuckle today when I called the Santa Fe police department to report an abandoned car. No one answered the phone. An appropriate headline for this circumstance and most interactions with Santa Fe officials might be "Out to Lunch" (pun intended).

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

'That's all I have today'

Perennials blooming in the garden.
In anticipation of my serger and three how-to books arriving today, I cut out quilt squares last night only to discover that I didn't have enough fabric. It was a bummer that I didn't have enough fabric, but also fun because it meant spending time online looking for more. Cool!

This morning around 10 a.m. Rose started barking so I knew the Fedex man had arrived. I ran out the back door to find him throwing a box onto the portal (porch) and yelling "stay, stay" at Rose. I could tell from the size that the box only contained books so I ask him about a bigger box. I thought he would go back to his truck to look for another box, but he was much more concerned about barking Rose. "No other box," he hollered while sliding the door closed on his truck. (If he only knew Rose is fairly blind and probably couldn't see him.) Now I have three books to read today before the serger arrives tomorrow … hopefully.

Today I'm creating a mental apology to all my former math teachers, from elementary school through college. As I've said before, I was never a math wiz and often questioned why I needed to learn this or that. I knew for certain I would never use those skills after I got out of school. Last night I needed all my forgotten skills and more when I tried to figure out how many quilt squares I needed.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A damn-near perfect morning!

Colorful holly hocks in the garden are close to six-feet tall.
I slept so well last night with the bedroom windows open and the ceiling fan running. When I let Rose out for her morning "business" it was in the 60s with low, low humidity. The only thing that would make this morning more perfect is if Mr. B, my daughters and their significant others were here with Rose and me. On second thought, 6.5 people in the casita with only one bathroom might not be so perfect!

This morning I have reviewed a sponsorship proposal for a client and made a recommendation to move forward with it. I finished a newspaper article for a client and sent it off for approval. I've completed Facebook postings for clients (yes, that's work I get paid to do). And I've done some pro bono work. All these tasks are complete and now the afternoon belongs to Rose and me.

Today I'm creating my high desert craft areas. The dining room will become my sewing space and the breakfast bar transforms to my jewelry area. I also foresee a trip to the grocery store sometime this afternoon as well as dusting and vacuuming (not necessarily in the order listed).

Sunday, July 6, 2014

We're here!

Bad wax (?) statue of Billy the Kid.
Rose and I made it to Santa Fe this afternoon after making a short detour and stop in Ft. Sumner, which I've always wanted to do. Billy the Kid is buried there along with a museum and gift shop. I can check that off my list of things to do, and don't recommend it to anyone else.

Once we got to the casita, I unloaded the car while Rose found her toys that had been left in a basket. The casita is open. The fans are circulating. And the flowers are magnificent. We took a stroll through the front garden and side yard snapping photos to share the next couple of days. There are new "volunteers" as Little Ricky likes to say, which means that they weren't planted, but just popped up. Several are giant thistles. They are covered in little bees, one of which decided it didn't want to be photographed so it flew on my arm and stung me. The minute I felt the sting I swatted the little fella with my iPhone. It feel to the ground, but left its stinger in my arm. I pulled the stinger out, but there's a big red swollen knot on my arm.

Today I'm creating the last leg of my journey to the casita. I already feel less stressed and can't wait to have a bubble bath (no tubs in Houston) and fall asleep tonight with the windows open.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Definitely leaving tomorrow … probably

I decided to clean the house and spend July 4th with Mr. B before leaving for Santa Fe. My part of cleaning is completed, Mr. B is readying the grill, and the flag is proudly waving outside. Well, almost! I don't think there is any breeze outside, so the flag is proudly hanging outside.
Proud to be an American!

As usual, the car will be full when I leave! I brought the family rocker back from Santa Fe so Dr. Mc and #1 son-in-law Nick can use it. This time I'll be taking another chair back with me to replace the rocker. And I'm taking the R.C. Gorman to Santa Fe and an old map of the city. Not sure where they will fit in the casita, but that's where they should be located. I also have a great photo of an old Texas garage by our friend and international photographer Arthur Meyerson. It may also go to the casita.

Today I'm creating edits to four marketing fliers. Mr. B has delivered them for me. Work is complete until Monday.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Still in H-town

When I finally leave for Santa Fe, I might need to make a
detour to the quilt shop next to the museum in LaGrange.
I've been wanting to buy a serger for about a year and finally did it. It's a type of sewing machine that, in addition to other things, finishes edges. It's shipping to Santa Fe, where I hope to be sooner rather than later.

My packing list for Santa Fe is complete and I've started gathering everything, but it seems to be a lot to be taking. It's not clothes that I'm packing since I keep most of my summer clothes at the casita. It's shoes and jewelry along with fabrics, tins and jewelry-making stuff. The problem is, I rarely wear the jewelry I take and usually only wear a couple pairs of shoes. I'm just always afraid that I'll want a bracelet, necklace or pair of shoes and they won't be at the casita.

Today I'm creating an invitation and party planning list. I was going to leave for the high desert today, but instead I slept late, worked some, goofed off, and just blew off everything I had planned. What a pleasant day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sales promotions

A baby kitty is living on our front porch. I've been trying to
find a home for her because Mr. B is allergic to cat dander.
In the meantime, Rose and the kitty have formed a special
bond. Rose licks the kitty from head to toe and the kitty
now thinks that Rose is her mama. Sweet!
The Rule of Seven is an old marketing adage that this old(er) marketing professional feels is gospel. The "rule" is that a prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before s/he takes action and buys from you. I'm always surprised when clients think they only have to do one or two promotions before they get results. This might be the case if they're targeting the right buyers (a niche market) and have created powerful marketing materials that use language the target audience relates to (i.e. speak to their major problems and how to solve them). But generally, with all the messages people are bombarded with, it's difficult to get past the "noise" and be heard in less than seven times. This makes so much sense and I don't understand why businesses think their message is so special that the "rule" doesn't apply to them. Trust me. It applies to everyone!
Can you tell from the first paragraph that it was a challenging day? But it's OK. This evening I made a lovely pasta dinner for Mr. B and me that I'm finishing with bubbly. Yes. In my world bubbly makes everything more tolerable.
Today I'm creating event plans to share with a new client, which is always fun for me! I realized today that one of the benefits of age is the number of relationships I've made throughout my life, especially during the years I've been involved in marketing. The youngsters may have more speed than I have, but my rolodex is bigger. So while they may spend several days trying to put something together, I can make a couple of phone calls and it happens. Yes!