Countdown to Christmas

20151215_063042The best part of the holiday season is getting together with family and friends to celebrate and reconnect. Often we have those once a year gatherings that happen in this wonderful winter season. I say that with a straight face from sunny Palm Springs. I have seen snow this year, which is more than I can say for most years. The snow should stay right in the mountains where you can visit it when you like. 20151215_171256I took the photo above from my window seat heading out of Palm Springs at sunrise.

Being relatively new at this job puts me at the low end of the seniority rankings and the high end of the travel season, which means that I will be working over Christmas, as I expect I will for years to come. That’s ok. I took advantage of a couple days off before the holiday rush to have coffee with my dad, in Florida. I really did. California to Florida for coffee. It was a surprise for him, and delighted us both. You’ll note he’s wearing a shirt I made for him.

2015-12-16 11.36.04On the way home I stopped in Nashville to visit with a long lost sister. Well, not technically a sister but a sister of the heart. In this day of technology it seems impossible to lose track of people, but we do. While we’ve talked on the phone, exchanged letters, packages and emails, I haven’t actually seen this dear one for about twenty five years. What a treat. We had coffee in her hometown of Franklin, Tennessee. If you haven’t been, put this on your list of places to visit. What a quaint little town with plenty of history.

Oh, the box of fabric? Hmmm. Well, there’s good news, and bad news. Did I mention that I discovered another quilt shop here in the Palm Springs area. (One fun side benefit to moving is scouting out new places.) Super cute and some irresistible fabrics. So I added a few pieces that were so delightfully airplaned up. 20151214_094116 I know, I know. I said I would just use what I had. Never quite works out that way.

On a brighter note, I did complete two quilts and am trying my hand at Etsy.  All of these airplane quilts will need a home, and it might come in handy for supporting my fabric habit.

20151214_095453-1 It’s hard to say for certain, but it could just be possible that there is more fabric in the box than there was when I began. If it weren’t so embarrassing, I’d take a picture of the box and show you. 20151214_094839-1Trust me when I say it’s overflowing. I do have another top that is about at the half way mark, and plenty of fabric to back the other finished top. Stay tuned for future projects.

Here’s hoping that your holiday travels are as fun and successful as mine have been. Perhaps you’ll be on one of my flights.

One Year Later…

I can’t believe it’s been a year.  In that time I’ve started a new job flying for a regional airline, moved twice, lived in three states, driven half-way across the country twice. I’ve flown into about half the states, including Hawaii as well as Canada and Mexico for work or fun.

I have settled a bit in Palm Springs, found my computer and more importantly found my password, a couple of sewing machines and one box of fabric. So, while the closet itself is gone, the goal to use up all that fabulous stash in the closet, has not changed.

My first goal is to use what is in the box. Mostly cotton flannel and a couple random pieces of quilting cotton. As we all know, it is impossible to finish a project without bu2015-12-10 12.52.54ying more fabric. I don’t know why it is the rule, but it is. There are a couple fabric stores here, and by that I mean about two. That does not slow me down, plenty of damage can be done in two fabric shops. And, there are a couple places where we layover that have some cute shops near the hotels. I submit evidence A. Strictly purchased with the intent of finishing said items in the box. Don’t let the quantity fool you, no ma’am, this is not frivolous purchasing after such a long drought.

2015-12-10 12.55.57The airplane fabric at center was a piece I picked up in Colorado and sadly, nothing in the box coordinated. Likewise for the navy background flannel. You know when I discover any fabric with an airplane motif that it must become mine…. so, some coordinating dots and solids, a couple more bits with planes and I can begin to finish.

Nothing is finished yet, but I have three quilt tops, two are pinned and ready for quilting and a forth is planned out and ready to stitch.

There is no real appreciable difference in the volume of fabric in the box, but I can really see an improvement in my attitude.  It feels like I’ve come home.

Closet: Worse Than Ever

O.K. It’s official. I am never going to get to the bottom of this closet. I am trying. Honest. Lately I’ve taken on a few challenges and the closet has again become a great place to stack, stuff and bury crafty things.aug2

Aside from crafting, and working, I decided to take the ATP written test.  The FAA has changed regulations that will make getting an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate more expensive in the future. So, I jumped on the let’s-take-this-test-before-the-end-of-the-month band wagon. This involved a fair amount of studying and stress. Just to make it a bit more challenging, I  previously scheduled a trip to Texas which cut into the time available to complete the test. All in all, it resulted in a couple sleepless nights, a tiny bit of crankiness, and a passing test result. Phew.

The revisions to my novel that the editor requested were finally completed. Editing is so much harder to do than writing. Sitting down to write is even harder. It was a relief to send it back to the editor.

Getting the test and edits out of the way made travelling that much more fun. San Antonio was the site of the Romance Writers of America national conference. Motivating, inspirational and just down right awesome. It was like Nora Roberts was speaking directly to me when she said, “Quit fucking around and sit down and write.”  There was an opportunity to meet with editors and agents to pitch our books.  Pitching your book is terrifying and exciting. Again, I have received what I consider good news, “let’s see” – not a rejection.

2014-08-03 14.43.35 One thing that makes it ‘The Great State of Texas’ is that my daughter lives there. What can be better than to play tourist with my baby girl. We had such a lovely time while we managed to visit most of the items on the top ten things to see and do in San Antonio. There was also some serious work done on Tex-Mex food, margarita’s and cupcakes. Of course we took a selfie with the Alamo!

Lest you think I have completely neglected the sewing room; I did finish a quilt for one of the pilots I fly with. Making quilt was especially meaningful for me, as he just finished his Instructor Rating. This is what a happy successful applicant looks like with his happy instructor. (Upgrading from two stripes to three.)2014-08-03 15.27.49 And the baby quilt featuring airplanes, naturally.20140802_085540

 

Spending Too Much Time in the Loo

I was so successfully diverted by my laundry room makeover that I decided the red bathroom had to be done too. This is small hallway bathroom was done in a lovely and overpowering dark brick satin finish paint. The result was a dark and forbidding room, especially as there are no windows in this room.

The wall mounted medicine chest was the first thing to go. It extended into the already limited space and did little to offer more storage. Besides the style is rather dated. This meant I needed to learn a little drywall technique… which thanks to the handy guys at work and a few pointers from the nice folks at Home Depot and some internet research… turned out to be not too difficult. Mind I was working on a 18 x 24 inch space. I would feel differently about tackling and entire room.

A gallon of primer, and three coats of paint later… the red had finally receded. I know now why red is the color associated with the devil. Followed by a soft buttery color (Cozy Cottage), and some new cabinet hardware.

Pinterest gave me the brilliant idea to glue a frame to the plain mirror. Simple, inexpensive and a massive upgrade to the look. I recommend you find someone who has the tools to cut these boards for you, my boss took pity on me and did a fantastic job.

A visit to a vintage sale, a junk shop and my kitchen cupboards for decorative storage along with some spray paint finished things up. The entire project including towels and shower curtain was less than $200. 

I did also manage to finish the rewrite of my manuscript and submit it to an editor. Fixing mistakes is much harder than writing in the first place. Like painting over red, it seems like you have to keep going back time after time. Fingers crossed.

Now, back to the sewing room. I have a little quilt I’m working on.

 

Distraction Project (a.k.a. Creative Avoidance)

Whenever I feel pressure to complete a task I, basically, freak out. Generally, this is best noted by the creative ways in which I can distract myself from achieving said goal, and occasionally by a full blown 2-year-old-style hissy fit. So… I mentioned that I sent my book to a publisher and an editor…. The editor liked it! And, she wants a re-write. This is incredible news. It is not a rejection. Amazing. So, instead of writing, I’ve been painting. I know. Pathetic. I have to say, painting this room was on the to-do list, just way down the list.

It all started with a trip to a couple of my favorite stores, Hobby Lobby and Home Depot. It should be against the law to visit both stores in one day. Plus, I keep seeing all these great ideas from Found This Painted That. The Laundry Room Makeover is complete.

I picked up this tray at the thrift store for a dollar or two that needed some help… So I painted the bottom with chalk board paint. It’s so cute now! I need some chalk so I can write inspirational messages to myself.

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Before…

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Painted the walls, the trim, the door and hung my cute new hooks on the walls and voila! I also learned an important paining tip. The trim may look white, but it’s actually not just plain white. Many of you are shaking your heads at me, the rest will try it yourself and realize. I ended up with Swiss Coffee and it looks beautiful with the Cozy Cottage walls.1398869445660

 

Ok, I’m going to work on the book. Right now.

Phew!

First, let me say how stunned I am when I look at just how long it’s been since I’ve been here. Things have been great, busy, exciting, and just a little terrifying. In a good way.

In the last couple months I have finished several clean-out-the-closet projects. There was a little sewing emergency. Back at Christmas I made a couple shirts for some terrific boys. The problem was that I made them so they were just the right size. Weeks later they had outgrown them and tragedy was at hand. I quickly whipped up1392745081187 some that would last a longer (read: a bit baggy.) You’ll notice that I used the Disney Airplanes fabric already. The boys were happy, disaster averted. Bonus: one extra shirt so one could be laundered while they were wearing the other. Yep. They were that popular. Best compliment ever.

I had a great time in Vegas with my daughter. The upgraded shirt was a winner. Plus I got my daughter to autograph my copy of her self published title. Pretty awesome stuff. You can get a copy of London’s book here20140111_214251

 

There was a baby shower for one of the flight instructors I work with…1395846892942which necessitated a trip the the fabric  store….1395535864137

I had these… but really needed these…

1395535882428 And there was a birthday too. 1397347400717

 

I tried my hand at making quick pickles…. very tasty.20140301_083319

 

I did go to work from time to time…139575437119020140107_072028crack of dawn at the airport.

And… saving the best or most exciting, (the thing that was wonderfully terrifying) I went to the Desert Dreams Writers Conference and pitched my book to an agent and an editor. They liked the pitch and both wanted to see it! I’m awaiting their response. Fingers crossed.

Small Things

Can you believe how fast January went by? This time of year is busy for me at work, as the weather is so perfect. I realize that sounds just a little snarky, We have had a few days in the 80’s, now we’re back to a seasonal chill of mid 60’s. You really can’t beat Phoenix for winter.

Of course, I have managed a few very small projects. It started with Las Vegas. I met up with some dear friends and my daughter to celebrate a birthday. Naturally I was packing every item of clothing I own that is covered in things that sparkle. It just wasn’t enough. So I pulled a not-so-favorite shirt from the closet and got to work. The best thing about a shirt like this is that you’re not too emotionally invested. If the project goes South you won’t lose any sleep over it.

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I stitched on the paillettes  and glued on the sequins. Done in about an hour. I received impromptu complements from strangers (gotta love that!)  Now it’s one of my favorites.

This started it. While my daughter and I were shopping it seemed grey with sparkle was everywhere. Who knew? I’m never on trend. A wacky coincidence. When I got home I got to work on project number two. This sweatshirt was less than $6.00, Do you still have your ‘Bedazzler’? Get it out.Image

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Then there was the end of year sale, and coupons and other such temptations. I did start with what I had, but it was lacking… Isn’t that what we all say as we justify our fabric store purchases? It started with the birthday in Vegas (not mine). My friend celebrated 60, momentous. She had just come back from a trip to Ireland and so I thought a St. Patrick’s Day quilt would be so lovely. Here’s what I’ve got so far. The plan is for a ‘Double Irish Chain’. Image

Oh, and I couldn’t resist a little of this…Image

And, last but not least, I have completed the edits on my manuscript and submitted it to a writing contest. I cannot tell you the stage fright this has created. Crazy. We’ll see what happens. I’ve signed up for a couple writing conferences where agents and publishers and writers all assemble in one place. I never realized how scary putting one’s work out for public consumption could be. Keep your fingers crossed.