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Farewell, Beautiful Summer

Tuesday my two sons will go back to school for another year.  We had such a lovely summer it’s hard to say goodbye, but the friends, memories, and good times will be with us always.

Farewell to:

  • sunny days swimming and socializing at the pool
  • sleeping late after staying up until the wee hours finishing a great summer novel
  • cookouts with friends, sharing out favorite dishes and good times
  • cruising and fishing on the boat and meeting up with friends on the lake
  • reuniting with family and friends we haven’t seen since last summer
  • enjoying fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, zucchini straight from the farmer’s gardens

Hello to:

  • new schools, teachers, and classmates
  • early morning alarms
  • after-school activities
  • multiplication tables, essays, and homework

My guys will be gone all day, and I will miss them so.  I enjoy my children every day, delighting in their smiles, growth spurts of 6″ in one year, enormous appetities, fabulous imaginations, and hugs.  Welcome new school year!

Quilt Camp at Willow Ridge Press Studios

Quilt Camp at Willow Ridge Press Studios

This week I hosted six children in my quilt studio to make Quillows.  They were practically giddy they were so excited! We planted the seeds of lifelong sewers and quilters, and they were beaming with pride and tightly hugging their Quillows when they left.

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On Monday we started by making a mini-Quillow.  This turned out to be quite important to understand the whole process.  The real Quillows were so large it was easy for the campers to get lost in the fabric and what step we were doing, and they really liked doing the smaller sample first.

L. topstitching her Quillow.

Overheard at Quilt Camp this week:

  • “Duh!” – a lot
  • “I don’t want to sew through my dog’s eye/nose/mouth!”
  • “The machine came unthreaded . . again!”

Mini-Quillow

Here’s our Quilt Camp by the numbers:

  • 5 girls
  • 1 boy
  • 3 homeschoolers
  • 3 private schooled
  • 1 horse fabric
  • 1 chick fabric
  • 1 dog fabric
  • 1 floral fabric
  • 1 plaid fabric
  • 1 motorcycles & baseball fabric
  • 6 pincushions
  • 250+ pins
  • 24 yards of fabric
  • 12 yards of batting
  • Priceless memories and confidence.  These campers completed a long quilting project and have the skills to tackle any sewing project they want in the future!

A big Happy Birthday wish to Camper E. who turns 12 next week and had her rock-climbing birthday party today!  A rock-climber and a quilter – you go girl!

Art Week: Sculpture Day

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It’s art week here at Quilts & Creativity, in honor of my upcoming talk at the Ann Litrel gallery in Woodstock. I dropped off the quilts today and got a behind-the-scenes tour from Ann, and her gallery is gorgeous. Her paintings are luscious and color-rich.

I’ll be talking about my color inspiration, how I approach color in my art, and how color in quilts is truly unique from other art forms.  Join us for a fun night out on Friday, July 3 at 7p.m.  Woodstock will be hosting its monthly Friday Night Live, where shops, restaurants and merchants stay open late until 9p.m.  It’s a great family night out for everyone.

I also attended the Big Canoe Fine Art Show and was delighted with the vibrant colors, shapes, and textures contained in the exhibit.  I’ll be sharing photos with you each day, revolving around a theme.  Today is sculpture, Wed. will be glass, Thursday will be wood, and Friday will be quilts, Gee’s Bend quilts to be exact.  Don’t miss a single day!

Here are some of the sculptures by local artist Eric Strauss of Ellijay, GA:

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Artful gate.

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Gate detail.  The roses look like you could pluck them right off the gate.

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Reminiscent of Leonardo’s horse.

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Whimsical birds in a fountain.  The gurgling water sounded meditative.

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This sculpture greeted us as we drove toward the Art Show home.

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Oversized apple and pear, with blown-glass and metal sculptures in background.

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This bowl radiated color and light.

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Mother and child.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing glass pieces from the show.  Enjoy – and stop by for a visit if you live in north Georgia.  It’s gorgeous in the mountains right now!

Room with a View

Front Porch

This is my favorite spot this summer.  Peaceful, lush, and serene.  Hot, of course, but not terribly oppressive when I’m in my hammock swing.

The planters are an anniversary gift David and I gave each other years ago.  It was love at first sight at my favorite nursery in Alpharetta.  The carved bear is a gift from a family friend.  He’s an artist and a fellow artist made it for us.

The rocking chairs see a lot of use during the summer.  Nothing like sitting on the porch and eating a popsicle to cool off.  The tiny chair in the background is an Amish handcrafted chair my brother brought back from one of his travels.

I even cut my younger son’s hair on this porch.  He sits patiently on a stool while I use the clippers on his coarse hair.  But he’s taking a break from haircuts this summer.  He’s rebelling from school rules that require his hair over his collar.  June is a perfect time to cast off rules, relax, and unwind.

Hammock Swing

What I Do for Love

Happy Father's Day

My boys and I spent a hot, humid, Georgia morning in our yard trimming, pruning, and cutting back shrubs and other landscaping that had become overgrown in the searing heat the last few weeks.  All this for Father’s Day.  David has been working tirelessly, and I didn’t want him to come home and be reminded of all the yard work needing to be done.

Shrubs

Pruning bushes is an art, one I don’t think I’ve mastered.  When we were done the poor shrubs looked like my son’s hair when he was four and tried to cut it himself with safety scissors.  I was avoiding the suburban lollipop look, but didn’t quite want the post-tornado wreckage image either.  I guess we achieved something in-between.

Monster Bush

My arms are covered in scratches and scars from all the pruning.  The large shrub on the left, had thorns that were more like spikes, and one buried deep in my finger.  It really didn’t like me.  Japanese beetles hung out on my hat.  Spiders came and went.  Nothing stopped me.  I was fearless.

We cleaned both of his grills too.  Nothing but the best for our guy.  And the lastest Clive Cussler novel.  I taught Sunday School for my eight-year-old son’s class and we made laminated cards Dad could hang on his rearview mirror to remind him of how much his children love him, along with a Bible verse:  1 Corinthians 13:4, with Dad substituted for “love.”  So, “Dad is patient, Dad is kind . . . . Dad hopes and never fails.”  Every Dad needs to know how much his children look up to him, a little reminder never hurts.

Nesting

I feel like Dorothy after she dreams of faraway places and travels to Oz, only to find out there really is “no place like home.”  I adored every moment of my book tour, all the women (and men) I got to know personally, their stories and quilts, and spring Quilt Market was a fantastic experience.

And now . . . home.  I’ve been hiking among the mountain laurel and ferns.  Sketching every day.  My goal is to sketch each day in June.  To walk in my community and find the everyday gems I’m usually too busy to stop and appreciate.

I’m cooking – a lot.  Nothing like food on the road to make me crave my own healthy cooking.  Today my younger son and I made mini-pizzas for lunch, including our own pizza dough from scratch.  “It’s as fun to make as it is to eat!”  Yep, he really did say that.

And quilting.  Even some hand work at night.  Nothing I can share now, but I promise you’ll see it soon.

The pool every day.  I’m getting golden brown even though I use an SPF 50 sunscreen.  Today we were forced to take a break because it was raining – a downpour really.  So, we sat on the screened porch and napped instead.

This weekend I’ll be at Lake Oconee in Eatonton at the Stitching Barn teaching my Color Mastery workshop.  Join me and shop owner Becky Pittman for a fun-filled Saturday.  Call 706.485.0028 to sign up or just say hi to Becky.  Her shop is brand new this is grand opening week, so stop by, fondle fabric, and enjoy a bit of retail therapy.  I will.

Spring Break Holiday

Enjoying the Florida Keys

We’ve just returned from a lovely spring break holiday, full of sun, white sand, and wonderful natural resources.  Our family is big on enjoying the great outdoors, and we walked, biked, kayaked, snorkeled, and took boat rides into the Everglades and Biscayne National Park (which is mostly underwater in the Florida Keys).

Our original plan was to visit a natural part of the Florida panhandle, but the weather was cold and rainy (we missed tornadoes and snow at home!).  At the last minute we changed our plans to travel farther south to the Everglades.

Junior Ranger Oath

My younger son became a Junior Ranger at three national parks in Florida:  Everglades, Big Cypress, and Biscayne.  Here he’s taking the oath at Everglades National Park.  The hat belongs to a real ranger at the park.

Everglades Boat Ride

We took a boat ride into the Everglades’ mangroves.  In the summer our tour guide says he wears a screen suit to protect himself from all the bugs.  Spring break was definitely the time to visit!

Gator in Everglades

Water Moccasin

Alligators everywhere, and the occasional water moccasin.  It’s the dry season in the Everglades, so alligators gather close to the water sources.  They were thickly nestled together on the banks of the river.

Hoath Family

Visited my dad and stepmother, a lovely visit with family.  The boys hit golf balls with my dad and their grandmother pulled out her mah jong set to show them how complicated that game is.  Trust me:  you don’t want to go up against my stepmother in any game.  She wins.  A lot.  Her famous line is “I’ll just play until I run out of chips.”  She soundly trounced us all in the family poker tournament three years ago on our beach vacation.  We played Go Fish this time.  Lower stakes.

Easter Eggs 2009

Finally, the all-important Easter egg dyeing tradition.  You’re never too old for this, are you?  We had to wait until we returned home to dye the eggs, but the boys didn’t mind.

Now I’m putting the final touches on the book tour starting next week.  Look over in the sidebar to see if I’m visiting a location in Georgia near you.  Can’t wait to talk color and quilting in your hometown!

New Season, New Look

Easter Egg Cake

What is it about spring that makes me want to throw open the windows and swap out the winter pillows and fabrics for brighter, more light colors?  Same goes for the blog.  I’ve photographed a new header image and am trying a new WordPress theme that’s easier on the eyes.  Larger fonts, wider sidebars.  I do so much reading online now (our daily newspaper no longer delivers to our county) that I appreciate any site that gives my eyes a break.

Let’s catch up, shall we?

Girls Lunch.  Had lunch last week in Dahlonega with Jean (JeanAnnQuilts at Twitter) and her friend Julie.  We shopped at Magical Threads, savored the Tomato Bisque at Crossroads Cafe, and chatted about quilting, market, writing, and teaching.

Georgia Book Tour.  The shop owners are so excited and promoting it to their customers.  Savannah’s shop, Colonial Quilts, told three television stations and their daily newspaper!  I’m gathering the last minute details, the family is preparing to be without mom for a while.

Kay’s Book-A-Round.  Still blogging across the U.S.  Great posts and a variety of perspectives.

Easter.  Time to rejoice, reflect, and be so grateful for all the things that are important that don’t show up in the daily newspaper.

Book Swap.  Just discovered Paperbackswap.com and Bookmooch.com through my friend Malissa.  I sent three books out yesterday and I’m getting The Thirteenth Tale, hopefully in time for our Spring Break.

Facebook.  Yes, I’ve cautiously joined Facebook.  My sister uses it a lot and I decided to finally plunge in after some friends decided it was the best way to post updates of their son’s journey across the Appalachian Trail.  I’ve actually avoided Facebook for a long time, but my goal is not to get entirely sucked in.

Twitter.  I love this tool.  If you’re not using it, you really should be.  I can keep up with other quilters, UGA coach Mark Richt, NPR’s weekend anchor Scott Simon, and other really interesting people.  I’m Colormaster.  Follow me!

Birthdays.  Happy Birthday to my good friend Pat.  We share a love of family, friendship, quilting, and gardening.  Pat just got a longarm quilting machine and has returned from classes ready to take on big quilts!

Committees.  PTO.  Church.  PAC.  School.  Guild.  Yikes!  Too many meetings, too little time.  May be time to cut back.

Soon it’ll be carpool time for school, and life as author/publisher today will be done, and I’ll be mom and wife for the rest.  It’s a lovely mix, isn’t it?

Instant Comraderie of Quilters

Quilting buddies

I had a lovely visit from a quilter from New York recently.  Janet Root, SAQA member, quilt teacher, and avid quilter, stopped by to chat about quilting on a rainy day.  We sat in the keeping room, fire blazing, and talked about teaching, our students, and where the best sales are (end-of-bolt sale at Little Quilts and Magical Threads?).

Isn’t it incredible how quilters enjoy a common interest that bonds us, no matter where we’re from?  We even have a common language:  fat quarters, batting, squaring up.  It was quite a spectacle for Emily, my neighbor who Janet was visiting.  Did I tell you how Emily and I know each other?.

You see, Emily and I were in the same book club in our neighborhood.  At my first meeting, we were all introducing ourselves, talked about our families and jobs, and Emily offered that she used to teach at Sequoyah High School.  And then it hit me.  This wasn’t just any Emily, this was Mrs. B, the toughest English teacher at my alma mater.  She taught AP English, and I had interviewed with her and been accepted into the class, but my family moved that summer, so I finished my senior year at a different school.

How small the world really is.  I don’t live anywhere near that high school, didn’t finish there, have moved to a tiny mountain town, and Emily and I are now friends and she introduced me to a wonderful quilter.  Aren’t women great?

Top Ten Ways I Budget for Quilting in Tough Times

Even with the tough economy, I’m still spending money on two things:  quilting and books.  I can give up eating out, pedicures, car detailing, my housekeeper, and Starbucks without feeling deprived.  But you take away my quilting and reading, and you’re messin’ with my priorities. My inner Madea might just come out.

I’ve long had a monthly budget for quilting and books that has remained constant over the last 15 years.  Yes, I actually have an amount set aside for how much I can spend on my quilting supplies and my books.  Here’s how I ensure I can continue to do that, even when times are tough:

  1. Evaluate spending:  is it an investment or a short-term purchase? Anything I buy to make a quilt I consider an investment, as the quilts I make will be around for decades.  My fabric gets used in multiple quilts, my sewing machine has served me well over a decade, batting will serve for a quilt, handbag, and maybe a table runner.  Same goes for books.  I buy books that I can use for years to come, and pass by the trendy stuff.  I don’t mind giving up a meal at a restaurant, as it’s a one-time purchase that’s over in 30 minutes.  Same goes for movies and other entertainment-type spending.
  2. Identify Your Currency. My currency is a fat quarter, and I measure every purchase I consider against that.  Here’s what I do:  a fat quarter costs around $2.50 in my area.  So for every item I consider buying, I ask myself:  how many fat quarters could I buy with that?  Which do I want more?  I’ve done this for years and it helps remind me of what my priorities are and to keep my spending in line with them.  I also taught my boys the value of money this way before they could really understand the concept.  What they did understand, from a very young age, was a Happy Meal from McDonald’s.  So if they wanted a toy, I would explain to them “That costs as much as 10 Happy Meals.  Do you think it’s worth that?”  They immediately got it and were able to make a judgement of worth based on that currency.  Often it was “No way!”
  3. Use a Rewards Credit Card for Everyday Purchases.  I signed up for a rewards credit card and use it for everyday expenses:  gas, groceries, clothing, haircuts, etc.  I pay it off every month, and use the reward points to buy clothes for my older son (who lasts in one size about 6 months), Christmas and birthday gifts, books, and other items.  Every purchase I made with my reward points freed up more money I can spend on fabric and books!
  4. Learn How to Make Great Meals at Home.  Go beyond Tuna Casserole and Hamburger Helper.  I rely on outstanding cookbooks and magazines that help to feed my family terrific meals that taste great, are healthy, and don’t break the bank.  Here are my trusted resources and my family’s favorites from them (links for each at the bottom of the blog post):
    • Rachel Ray’s 365,:  No Repeats (30 Minute Chicken Under a Brick, Buffalo Turkey Burgers, Chicken Noodle Bowl)
    • King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking (Irish Soda Bread, Bran Muffins, Whole Wheat Bread, Chewy Oatmeal Cookies)
    • Holly Clegg’s Trim & Terrific Diabetic Cooking (Spinach-Artichoke Dip, Chicken, Spinach, & Black Bean Enchiladas, Biscotti)
    • Desperation Dinners (White Chicken Chili, Turkey Chili, Lazy Lasagna, Fruit Salad)
    • Cook’s Illustrated Magazine (Roast Chicken over a Beer Can, Beef Tenderloin, Light Caesar Salad Dressing)
  5. Shop Local. I save on gas, get better customer service from bankers, grocery store clerks, hair stylists, pharmacists, and quilt shop owners who know my name.  They get my business.  Everybody wins.
  6. Enlist Family Help. We’ve cut back on allowances for our boys, which motivated them to tackle large jobs around the house they might have scoffed at earlier.  They wash cars, vacuum, organize the laundry room, put together my press kits, and earn money doing it.  Instead of outsourcing those jobs, I can pay my kids.  Again, everybody wins.
  7. Never Compromise My Integrity to Save Money.  I’m proud of the work I’ve done in Color Mastery, and I’ve made a financial investment in my business and my book to make it an outstanding resource.  I have many friends who are quilt book authors and pattern designers who depend on the income their work provides.  I never copy patterns or pages from books to give to friends.  If you like an author/designer’s work, support them and you’ll see more from them in years to come.  However, if they aren’t able to make their work profitable, we all lose.  They won’t be publishing future work, you won’t have their designs and advice, and our industry suffers.  Thank you for supporting the quilting industry by not copying patterns and books!
  8. Borrow.  My friends and I do this often with quilting books we just want to browse.  If I really like it, I’ll purchase my own copy.  When I lived in metro Atlanta, we had a great library system and I was there literally every week checking out books.  Unfortunately, the rural county we live in now has a meager library that doesn’t offer much in the way of resources.  So I borrow a lot from friends.  I also sign up for LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program (only for the serious book lover).  My husband often gets requests for tools friends need only for a day or two.  Again, only do this with friends you trust.
  9. Get Creative in Reducing Your Spending. Every family budget is different, and the ways I reduce spending may not work for you.  Write down what you spend for one month and review your purchases.  Where can you cut expenses without feeling deprived?  What areas are of utmost importance to you?  How can you redistribute your spending to still afford those?  Consider making a budget.  I know, they aren’t sexy or fun, but they work.
  10. Find a Financial Resource You Trust.  Not a financial planner, but a book, course, or expert whose ideas make sense to you.  When I stayed home to raise my children, we lost half our income, and I was determined to live well and save.  Our decisions didn’t reflect those of our friends and family (we lived in the same house for 12 years while everyone we knew moved up at least once, usually twice), but we had to follow our own path.  Here are some resources I’ve found helpful (links to each below):
    • Crown Ministries Christian Financial Management Course
    • Dave Ramsey
    • Tightwad Gazette
    • Miserly Moms
    • Your Money or Your Life
    • Clark Howard (he actually has a vacation home in our neighborhood)

I don’t consider myself an expert; rather, I’m a woman who worked her way through college, lived well on one income while raising my family, and have found the habits I cultivated during those times have served me well.  My hope is you can continue to quilt, read, and do whatever is essential to your well-being during these challenging economic times.

Chatting About Color at the Book Launch Party

I’ve got an entire gallery of photos from the book launch party over at the Color Mastery book blog.  Here are the personal ones:

My younger son announcing the winners of door prizes.  He was all smiles, sneaking sweet treats, picking out fat quarters, and giving me hugs throughout the evening.

My older son would quietly rub my shoulders as I was signing and talking; he was also the photographer for the evening.

My husband David talking to one of my best quilting friends, Pat.  They were both so proud and thrilled for me.

My friend and cheerleader Kay and her granddaughter.  Thank you, Kay, for the wonderful book title!  Kay attended a quilting retreat last year at my home, during which I floated several titles for the book.  Later that week Kay sweetly suggested several other titles, which were terrific, and Color Mastery was the winner!

And finally . . . me.  I’m all smiles after all the two years of loving working that went into Color Mastery.  It was a night to celebrate it all.  Thank you to everyone who came out to support me, Jeanne, and quilting.  Jeanne was thrilled with the shop’s sales that evening.  I was giddy over the book’s sales, and quilters had a blast eating, drinking, and getting tips about color.

I’d be delighted to visit your local quilt shop and do a book signing, lecture, or class.  Tell them about the book, and show them the blog.  I’ve got a page at the book blog just for quilt shops.  I look forward to seeing you at your local shop or quilt guild!

Valentine’s Festivities

I was party mom for my son’s class, and it’s my favorite party of the year.  The one celebration where the students give gifts to each other, make handmade Valentine cards, and lovingly decorate boxes to hold all their goodies.  Chocolate, handmade cards, and a soft & fluffy craft – what could be better?

About the Author

It’s here! Color Mastery’s publication date is here! The books are in the stores, on shelves, available online, and the publicity is hitting the media.  I’ve written so long about quilts, creativity, and color, that I haven’t shared that much about me.  So I thought I’d take a few moments to let readers get to know me:

  • I’ve been quilting for over 15 years, sewing for 30 (yikes!)
  • I’m the first person in my family to attend college
  • I find humor in everything – life is too short to take so seriously
  • I live near the base of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia
  • I love to cook almost as much as I love to quilt
  • I love to exercise and find it’s when most of my creative ideas surface
  • I had seven published books by the time I was 30
  • I homeschooled my children for three years
  • I was Director of Courseware Development for the nation’s largest training company
  • My favorite quilt:  All of them, including the ones I’ve yet to make
  • My favorite book:  Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  • My favorite song:  Man on the Moon by REM
  • My favorite movie:  Terms of Endearment or The Bourne Identity
  • My favorite TV show:  Burn Notice
  • My favorite way to spend a Saturday:  quilting, hiking, or hanging out with my family!

An Author in the White House

I watched the inauguration yesterday with my teenaged (!) son who was home sick.  He delighted in pointing out all the places he visited on his leadership trip to Washington D.C. this fall, and he was visibly excited about watching the swearing-in ceremony.

As I tucked my younger son into bed last night and we cuddled on his pillow, he confided to me:

“I think Obama will be a good president.”

They have so many hopes for this one, very human, fallible man.  He has my prayers for wisdom and good counsel, and the dreams of so many are on his shoulders.

What I’m excited about is an author is at our country’s helm.  Someone with an appreciation of, and great faculty with, the written word.  His well-noted model for his presidency is Abraham Lincoln, also a president with a great command of our language, as so many of his speeches and letters stand that all-important test of time.  How many presidents have their words remembered throughout history?  For most, we can’t remember their names.

And let’s end this post with a good joke:  Someone is now selling diapers that read:

“Ready for a change.”

People never cease to amaze me.

Gingerbread Smash Video

As promised, here is the video of our great gingerbread smash.  We have a blast pulverizing our creation that we so lovingly built one month before.  A fun family tradition here.

I’ve created my own channel under ColorfulQuilter at YouTube.  It will have videos I upload during the upcoming Color Mastery Blog Tour, Feb. 2-10.  Watch for more!

The Family That Blogs Together

It’s official.  My husband David is a blogger.  It was only a matter of a time before he would launch a blog for his homebuilding business.  With a little help from his beloved wife.  He’s offering a series of posts on building “green,” as well as what changes you can make to your current home to become more energy efficient.  Our last electric bill was only $130 for a three-level home.  The right changes truly make a difference you can see, long term, in your wallet.

Welcome to the blogosphere my love!

Alex Anderson Hopscotch Pattern: 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

My mouth is watering from all the delicious goodies ya’ll shared with us in your comments.  Beef Wellington, creamed onions, cornbread dressing, sands cookies, peanut brittle, raisin scones, homemade chocolate pudding, Brazilian Rabanada, and gingerbread people!  My goodness we are gourmet cooks, and I know I enjoy eating every bite my friends and family lovingly prepare at the holidays.

Today’s giveaway is Alex Anderson’s Hopscotch in Neutrals pattern.  Alex does a lovely job in coordinating a variety of neutral fabrics in this pattern, but don’t limit yourself to that.  You could use any color family here:  if your favorite color is blue, this would be gorgeous in all blues.

And the winner of the Signature threads?  DARIJAVAN come on down.  The random number generator selected your lucky comment!  Send me your email address at maria [at]colormastery.com and the threads will be on Santa’s sleigh and under your tree!

Today, let’s share our favorite Christmas memories.  Mine?  I love the memory of huge family Christmas gatherings when I was very young.  We lived in the same town as both my mother’s and father’s families, and we would all travel to each other’s homes on Christmas eve celebrating and sharing gifts of love and food, of course.  As a child, what I remember most was the largeness of it all:  the huge number of people, lavish decorations, and lots of cousins.

Welcome to the World Baby Lauren, Love Aunt Maria

A new life entered our world yesterday at 8:54 a.m.  Lauren Hoath, my brother Michael’s and wife Rachel’s little baby girl, was born in Atlanta.  We are thrilled that their son Aiden has a wonderful new baby sister, and my boys have another girl cousin!  On my husband’s side of the family, out of 10 cousins, there is only one girl!!

Here’s proud papa Michael getting his first kiss from Lauren.  Babies are such a wonderful way to start out life, don’t you think?

Lauren, we’ll be seeing you, brother, Mom and Dad soon.  Can’t wait to meet you in person!

Some Good Financial News

As I climbed onto the elliptical machine this morning, my neighbor Sue was on the adjacent machine watching a financial news network.  I couldn’t help but quip, “So what’s the good financial news?”  We both had a good laugh, which is about all you can do when all you hear around you is “meltdown.”

I actually do have some good financial news to share with you.  My hope is that it will make a difference in your life as it has in mine and my family’s.  My husband is a builder, and right now he’s one of a shrinking minority in the Atlanta area:  last year there were 2400, now there are 1200.  Yikes.  What made the difference?  We follow a different financial philosophy than most families, businesses, and Americans.  We took a financial management course years ago at our church, using the Crown Financial Ministries curriculum.  It made a difference.  We changed how we thought about money, how we prioritized, and how we taught our children about money.

Check out their site.  It has some great tools, a radio show, and is chock full of articles to help during these rocky times.  Crown helped us.  If you’re looking for sound financial advice at a time when wisdom seems in short supply, try Crown.  They have my highest recommendation.

Quilt for Baby

No, not my baby.  My friend Lynne’s baby who is arriving in America soon, and the shower is tomorrow.  So I’ve been busy designing, cutting, auditioning, piecing, and quilting.  It feels so good to be piecing again.  I haven’t done any since I finished all the quilts for Color Mastery.  I’ve been doing just a little bit each day, as I’m also preparing for fall Quilt Market in Houston.  I’ll show the quilt after the shower – I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise, now would I?

A Pretty Good Money Joke

This completely clean joke came from the Prairie Home Companion email I receive every week previewing their upcoming radio show on NPR.  I loved this one and thought I’d share it with you:

A PRETTY GOOD JOKE

The best money managers in the bible were:

  • Noah, who was floating his stock when everyone else was in liquidation, and
  • Pharaoh’s daughter, who went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet

Sent in by Mary H., of San Jose, California.

It’s good to find humor in even the most difficult of situations.  Hope you got a chuckle out of this:  I sure did!

Women, Appearance, & My Mom

Welcome to the new me . . . or the new hairstyle.  I had put off getting my hair cut over the summer, making the excuse I was too busy, couldn’t get to it, I’ll just let it grow long, blah, blah, blah.  I actually had an appointment and missed it in the whirwind of getting back from a summer vacation.

This is me about a week ago.  Why didn’t anyone tell me I was so overdue?  Four inches off and a lot more free time.  I feel so much better.

Lana over at NorthWest Salon does my hair, and a great job of it when I actually go in and let her perform her magic.  It took me a loooooong time to find someone locally who could cut my thick, coarse, hair, and Lana is a dream.

My older son took both of these photos, and like most women, I don’t enjoy having photographs taken of myself.  But I wish I had more photographs of my own mother now that she’s gone, so I get over my preoccupation with my own appearance and remember that this is history:  these are the photos my sons will be looking at and remembering me by.  It’s been four years today that my mom passed, and I miss our conversations.  My mother was quite independent and opinionated, and we had lots of lively debates.  Miss you mom.

Noticing the Beauty in the Everyday

It’s apple-picking time in north Georgia. Aren’t these apples gorgeous on a sunny day?  Imagine these colors worked into a quilt.  There’s so much light on the red that they look orange, like peaches.

I took these photos with my camera phone, and they turned out much better than I imagined.  In reality, these apples were burning with a scarlet color where the sun hit them.

Some of those apples are just too darned high.  But he can dream, can’t he?