It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Places I seen at the quilt show

Well, I made it to the Quilt Festival and am immersed in everything quilting.  Shout yippee and sigh at the same time!  I'm always delighted with all the surprises I encounter and I haven't been let down.

Here's one of them:

Last year, and again this year, the show featured photographs of well known places with quilts electronically imposed (Photoshop) on them.  They are fun to look at!  I had a thrill last night as I walked through the photographs that I thought I would share here. 

The first photograph I recognized was of the Texas State Capitol.
There were other places.  But when I turned a corner and saw this next one I did a double take!
I didn't have to read the caption to know this was Longwood!  I would know this house anywhere - it is Longwood in Natchez, MS!  Imagine, Natchez Mississippi being featured at the International Quilt Festival.  But there's more...
This is what is left of the old toll booth at the river bridge in Natchez
I had to read the caption to make sure, but this is the river bridge at Natchez
The steamboat "Natchez"
Magnolia Hall, Natchez MS
These aren't the best pictures because I was dodging the glare of the spotlights, but the effect of the quilts is there.  My main delight was seeing a place that I love featured in this exhibit.  Wish I was headed east tomorrow instead of west to go home!

Here are two more from Louisiana to finish up:
Oak Alley
The Louisiana State Capitol

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Strangers, yet kindred spirits

This is one of the first quilts I made when I took up serious quilting 12 years ago.  I had made this same table topper for a silent auction, but wanted to keep it very badly.  I managed to find enough of the same fabric to make a duplicate.  I was humbled when the first one sold for $45!

I'm excited, Houston here I come!  Even after all these years of attending I never lose the thrill of entering the show on preview night!  I'm wondering how many quilts they will have on display to marvel over and how many vendors they will have this year to tempt me or fill me with ideas.  I am thankful that I live close enough that I can go every year and that I'm able to get off from work, too. 

Today I was mentally going over my plans and found myself debating about what to do for my evening meal on Thursday.  I normally stay downtown and have found that trying to eat somewhere can be tricky without a reservation.  This year I'm back in the 'burbs so I have more options.  But I'm seriously thinking about seeing if I can get into the Festival's Thursday night event, the Quiltapalooza.  I've never been before and it sounds like fun, especially since it is Halloween night and they are encouraging costumes and are having activities around the Halloween theme.  The bad part is that they offer a box meal, but the good news is they have a cash bar and music.  Plus they are offering some nice door prizes supplied by the Festival's sponsor companies. 

I had the amazing thought that if I do go I won't know a single person there, probably.  But I will be instant friends with everyone, too.  I don't know what it is about quilters, but there is something that just makes us instant friends.  It is always fun to walk into the large food court at the Festival, find a vacant seat, ask politely if I may join the table, sit down and immediately be in the conversation.  Nine times out of ten this happens.  Where are you from?  Is this your first time here?  What classes are you taking?  Where did you find that fabric you're passing around?  Where did you get that barbecue, that looks good?  These are the opening questions.  When you leave you wish everyone well and that you enjoyed the time together, then you get back to business.

This also happened on both of the quilt trips I've taken.  Fifty strangers on meeting night are all good friends by noon the next day.  A few meals and some time on the motor coach and you are well acquainted.  Same thing with classes.  There is just a warm spirit between us. 

I suspect that it is because in most cases your enjoyment for working with needle and thread was passed to you by your mother and grandmother.  They had been taught by a previous generation and were passing on the craft.   Maybe that is what draws us together, that tie with the past and knowing that generations of women (and men!) have made the same patterns using cotton fabrics and batting.  I'm not sure what it is that draws us together, really.  It is more than just a common love of a craft; it is a deeper commonality into our spirits.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The season begins, 2013

The season that I love is now beginning.  While it has already officially been fall and the weather has changed (somewhat) tonight really marked the beginning of the holiday season for me; the annual Harvest Festival was held on the church parking lot.  On Wednesday I leave for the Quilt Festival, on Saturday is the big craft show at church, and then it is time to get in gear for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  Ahhhh!  I look forward to this time so much; I really do love it!

Fresh carved pumpkin, ready to go to the Festival

Monday, October 21, 2013


I am a true daughter of the South; I love fried food.  I know that it is not good for me, but whenever I do happen to come into the possession of a nice, green tomato you  know what I have to do.
Fry it up!
What a delicacy!  This tomato was picked and fried on the same day, fresh as it could be.  The only mistake I made was that I forgot to use the cast iron skillet, but they turned out perfect anyway!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Simple things here. 
Two hamburger patties on the grill with the aroma of the burning charcoal circling around the yard.  A cool fall night and marshmallows to toast (or burn depending on the preference) after we eat.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reflection on recent simple things

I had last Friday and Monday off from work.  It was wonderful.  Two days off from work plus two days of weekend equals four days of opportunities for accomplishment and relaxation.  Looking back I know that the days were filled with simple things that truly brought peace and contentment to me.

Time for goblins to arrive
First, I took time to stop for a breakfast taco and cup of coffee on Friday morning.  It has been a long time since I just did a spur of the moment thing like that; I've been too entrenched in the routine of life to step out of the boundaries.  I sat outside on the restaurant's patio, under a table umbrella because it was drizzling.  The traffic was a little noisy, but I'm as much a city girl as a country girl so I didn't mind.  It was nice to just sit and think about....nothing.
Mums about to burst forth in fall color
I had time to spend with family in different ways.  Eating cinnamon toast with my daughter early Saturday morning before we headed to the Children's Garden. Working together in the garden was peaceful (the little gardener was on a Scout camp out so we gardened without him).  Cooking on Sunday afternoon.  A family meal shared together on Sunday night; the twins greeting me at the door with smiles on their faces.  Monday spent with Jaydon, just running errands and relaxing.

Parsley growing in a pot by the front door
Sunday was filled with rain, a slow rain.  In 24 hours we had just about an inch of rain, but it was a good, soaking rain.  Just what we needed.  So peaceful to watch. I felt replenished.

I made time (note that I didn't take time, I made time) to do some creative things.  I embroidered some towels, my first attempt at doing towels, that turned out just fine.  I sat on the deck and picked up an abandoned knitting project. I worked on those last two Christmas stockings I need to finish.  It felt good to know I was accomplishing something I wanted to do. 

Sweet basil
I spent some time working in the yard, re-building the retaining wall and seeing results.  Pulling out weeds, hoping the grass will cover in the spring. Mentally laying out landscape plans and making lists of things to do in the yard. A total distraction for me, mentally relaxing.

And, I took a nap with these little pals snuggled around me and on top of me (there was also a cat in our midst, no problem the more the cozier). 

Thank you, God, for all great and simple joys.  These moments are a gift from you, to be enjoyed and to be treasured. These blessings sustain me in the ups and downs of life.  Thank you for your love that surrounds me at all times.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


In late August Jaydon and I started in the Children's Garden program at the Botanical Garden.  It is a Saturday morning commitment that runs until early December.  He has a little garden plot and, under the direction of Master Gardeners, is learning about gardening.  The first few weeks were brutally hot;  two weeks ago we had a major set back. All in all, it has been a worthwhile experience.  I'll be posting more on the details of the garden in future posts.

Broccoli and Mari-mums (there's cauliflower hiding between them)
I love gardening; it is in my genes.  My grandmother had a large garden and lots of flowers in her yard.  No matter where we lived we always spent several weeks in Mississippi with family every summer.  During the years we lived in Louisiana I stayed with my grandparents, by myself.  Working in the garden was always part of a visit. I spent many pleasant summer mornings cutting flowers and arranging them.  I also spent many sweaty hours helping her in the vegetable garden.  I never minded the work; even as a child, I loved it.  I didn't mind pulling weeds or using the little short hoe to re-distribute the dirt around the plants.  I learned  to pick the vegetables and loved to see the old baskets full of beans, peas, corn, cucumbers, squash, and other vegetables. When she had to water I liked to watch the water run down the rows and fill up the furrows.  I spent many summer afternoons in a cool shady spot shelling peas or snapping beans, depending on what I had picked that morning.  My grandmother and I would chat quietly during those afternoons while our hands were busy.  I felt very loved and there was harmony in my small world when I was with her.
My grandmother would cook whatever we needed for the day and blanch and freeze the remainder.  They had a large deep-freeze that she filled up each season for future consumption.  Several years after her death the freezer was still running and still full of the last vegetables she had harvested; no one had thought about it until the house was being emptied!
Jaydon's plot is in the middle - his mom is at the end cutting Mari-mums
The only thing I did not like about the garden was having to eat the vegetables.  I loved the little cherry tomatoes and would eat them right off the vine when I could get away with it; there is nothing like a warm, just picked cherry tomato!  I also liked the banana peppers, but everything else was just unbearable to me.  What I would give now for some of those vegetables that I scorned!
The garden was a part of my life; I really didn't think it was anything exceptional.  It was just the way it was.  But that garden created memories for me and it gave me basic gardening skills.  I learned to identify the different plants and a little about good practices in the garden.  I learned to love the smell of the dirt (that beautiful red dirt!) and the smell of tomato plants when I touched them.  I learned to love the earth and all living, growing things.  A garden grows not only food or flowers, it gives lessons in loving life.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Adjust that attitude

It is all about attitude; I tell myself that real often.  I had to remind myself about it this afternoon.  I had the day off, that was good.  After a brief doctor appointment, a breakfast taco and coffee late morning, and some errand running I was home.  My plan was to spend the rest of the day working in the yard, and I did.  Except that I hit a real mental road block after I started.

I have been putting off re-building the retaining wall that runs along one side of the fence.  When my neighbor and I had the fence replaced in the spring the fence had to be moved back toward their property several inches due to buried cable.  So the bricks had been scattered everywhere upon completion. Due to hot weather and illness (and general procrastination) I had not re-built the wall.  But today was the day to get going on the project.  While the temperature was mild, the humidity was high so it was almost like working outside in August.  And, the project was a mess.  It was almost too overwhelming to start and after I did I was almost overwhelmed.  The griping and whining started.  This was just too much, it was going to take forever, I wanted to be doing other things, etc etc etc.

Then I remembered my frequent reminder that it is all about attitude.  So here's what I came up with as I worked.

1)  Would you rather be out here, outside on a nice day, working on this project or sitting in the office working at the job to nowhere? 
2)  Would you rather be working on a project that will give you a sense of accomplishment or sitting in the office working at the job where there is no sense of accomplishment?
3)  Begin with the end in mind.  As you see progress, the end will be more visible and you'll be motivated.
4)  When this is done, it is done.  Hopefully, you won't have to do it again.  And, then you can move on to other things you want to do in the yard.
5) For pete's sake, be thankful you are healthy and strong enough to get out here and do this work.  Stop whining and be thankful!

It worked, as usual. Attitude adjusted, I got far more done than I had planned on the wall.  Plus, after I cleared those negative thoughts out of my mind I was able to focus on pleasant thoughts while I worked.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Doorway Into the Past - correct address

I'm not sure how it happened, but the address for Doorway Into the Past got a little messed up.  If you want to read the blog, here is the CORRECT URL!

My first clue was when I tried to click on the door at the upper right and it wouldn't open.  It wasn't until someone told me they couldn't access the blog that I got suspicious.  I suspect that the fault is mine; I probably let my fingers do the walking late at night where they shouldn't have been!  Please update your readers, and thank you for reading!

Low water crossing

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Morning Dew

I never cease to be amazed that seeing something can trigger a memory in my mind; the exact same memory every time.  Morning dew on the grass is one of those triggers.  Last weekend we had some rain and the grass was fairly wet.  When I left for work on Monday morning at first I thought it was just left over moisture on the grass, but then I realized it was dew.  There is a distinct difference between rain and dew!

Here's what it reminds me of:  During the years I was in first, second, and third grade we were stationed in Louisiana.  This was convenient for visits to family in Mississippi and was actually our second time to be stationed there.  In those days children didn't go to the cafetorium before school.  We went out on the playground unless it was pouring rain or very cold.  When school started it was still hot; the classrooms were not air-conditioned so it was hot.  But in a few weeks the mornings would be cool and my mother would put me in a little light weight sweater that would come off during the day.  It would also herald the arrival of morning dew on the playground.  I would come into class with little droplets of dew all over my socks.  After the first year of school I knew that the morning dew was announcing that fall would soon be there and the warm afternoons would be over.  Pecans would be falling and the leaves, too.  It would be time for apple cider at Brownie meetings and the ultimate reward of fall:  Trick-or-Treating!

So now every time I see morning dew I am reminded of that playground and my socks covered in the wet dew.  We don't have a lot of morning dew here, so it always a nice surprise followed by the warm memory.

Driving to work that same morning I had another trigger.  There is a low spot along the highway where fog will sometimes form.  That morning the fog triggered the memory from about the same time as the dew on the playground.  As I passed by I couldn't help but remember how the fog would hang, in much the same manner as that morning, in the pecan and walnut groves on the way to school.  Memories stay with us forever, don't they?