Sunday, September 22, 2013

Waiting for Inspiration...

While I'm waiting for inspiration to strike, I am loving all the signs of Fall.  In the clear absence of some brilliant words of wisdom and/or wit, I'll just post some photos of life around the Quill this week:

We went wine tasting with friends in the foothills...love the way the grape vineyards look in the Fall...


In the Amador wine region, you get the best of the vineyards and rural living...


My first siting of the turning of the leaves here in the valley...
in a parking lot at the Outlet stores!


I made my first pear tart of the season...baking makes me happy, 
even though the sugar thing is not my best choice...


Great Aunt Pinky's Vanilla Custard  Pear Pie...she wasn't my aunt, 
but wouldn't we all want one like her???


I am thinking that I should have cleaned out the fireplace on this rainy morning...spent hours messing with my iPhone and the new IOS7 and Instagram...
I eventually got dressed...


If you know anything about "Biorhythms", I will tell you that four of my life cycle rhythms are at the bottom of the charts this week....Not sure I even believe in their validity, but let's just say, I hope that inspiration strikes soon and I get back on track!!! Whatever that means!!  LOL! 

I haven't done a thing today!!!

Laurel. So glad Fall is finally here!!!



Sunday, September 15, 2013

I am she...or her...or that girl over there...

If you're my age, you remember Sybil. She was the fictionalized version of Shirley Ardell Mason who had what psychiatrists then called multiple personality disorder. These days, the trend is to make all "bad" things seem better and/or politically correct by renaming them, so today it's called "dissociative identity disorder". Not that I believe for one minute I am channeling Sybil, but those who know me well discovered long ago I am multi-faceted, to put it nicely.

I grew up in the country and my imagination was my salvation.  I could make a game out of the simplest of objects...I was Laura Ingalls as I pulled my red wagon full of dollies across the hayfields...I was Annie Oakley with my tree branch fashioned into a pistol...I was poor pitiful Cinderella as I hung my fourth load of laundry on the clothesline. There were no limits to my imaginings as a child and those same schizoid tendencies still shape who I am today. Okay, I am not Sybil or anything close to being "clinical".  But I do lean towards an eclectic mix of things that make my bell ring, that make me smile, that bring me joy. You could say that I am my own little world of diversity, to be politically correct.

For instance, I grew up with guns and hunter/men on the ranch...they were a means to an end - FOOD on the table.  I don't really like guns today..they creep me out.  However, I do a own a Daisy.  Dave gave it to me on our anniversary one year, as I was so frustrated with a squirrel that kept snatching my figs.  I am actually a good shot, but I can't bring myself to actually shoot the little fur ball!


How can a girl be so into reading all about fashion...


Design, make and wear this...


And then wear this???


Or this, for that matter?? I have to remake this tee so I can wear it to church...just the fact that I love this horrendously violent biker show AND Jesus at the same time, is an oxymoron....

My guilty pleasure....
I love reading about the rural life with my blogging friends Gail (At the Farm) and Nancy (A Rural Journal). I often long to wander in the dry grass and scrub oak back "home".

A good hike on the Sutter Buttes is exhilarating...


but a day at the art gallery would be just as nice...


I moved from the quiet serenity of the country to the urban jungles of Oakland at 19.  It was a very difficult transition...all that cement. And even though we now live in a peaceful suburban neighborhood, I love my bi-weekly excursions back to Berkeley to visit the FabricLady, aka Suzan at Stonemountain.

A Peet's cappuccino on Fourth Street just tastes better than any coffee shop in my neighborhood.


Last evening, we met some friends at a dive bar, and I had a couple of Corona's, some bacon cheesy fries and a couple of sliders.  It was a fun time with friends. Today, Dave and I are headed for the wine country for a release party at our favorite winery, and I will satisfy my urge to be Laura Ingalls in the country and Merry Edwards in the vineyard, while hobnobbing with all those wanna-be sophisticated winos...


I think I'll wear pearls...and my Duck Dynasty tee-shirt.

Laurel. Dave says "there's no one like you"...I love him for that!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Colette Sees Red...

Don't even think for a minute that just because I sew for SuZan, aka FabricLady at Stonemountain that I don't take time to whip up a few things for Colette. After all, Colette can be a jealous little mini-me, so I do have to keep her happy...and clothed!

I picked up this gorgeous red Linen at Stonemountain a couple of months ago, in anticipation of Fall.  I love to wear jeans, and a lightweight jacket can be a perfect pairing.  I finished this asymmetrical jacket this morning. Naturally, it's 90 degrees outside, so I won't be wearing it quite yet...but I can't wait!!







The pattern is the Rivera Shirt by The Sewing Workshop Collection.

Colette loves it.

Laurel. Go Red!


Sharing with Sew Much Ado today (yes, I know, it's Thursday!!)







Sunday, September 8, 2013

Eat your veggies!

I was privileged to be invited to a charter school in an Oak Park neighborhood to watch a few Chefs from the Sacramento region teach children about healthy eating habits as part of California Food Literacy's ongoing program.

food-literacy-monthCalifornia Food Literacy is a non-profit whose mission is "to inspire change today for a healthy, sustainable tomorrow through enduring community food education." The organization's founder Amber Stott has teamed up with local farmers, Chefs, community members and foodies to promote a "sustainable tomorrow through community education."

September is Food Literacy Month and 55 of the local restaurants in the Sacramento region have joined Amber with the Eat Smart campaign. If you dine at these eateries, they will add a voluntary dollar to every ticket. 100% of funds will reach more children with food literacy education. Here are participating restaurants.


I have to hand it to Amber and the Chefs who took part in this day. The cafeteria was a virtual buzz of little munchkins all eager (and noisy!) to learn about fruits and veggies...it brought back memories of my very brief foray into teaching 2nd graders, an experience that quickly taught me that perhaps teaching wee-ones was not my forte! Amber, on the other hand, was made for this. Hopefully, the Eat Smart campaign will allow California Food Literacy to hire more teachers like her! You go, girl!!

The best part was watching the Chefs interact with the kids!

Chef Paul of The Broderick

Laurel.  Thanks Peg, for a great day!!

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Nose Knows...

I have a prominent nose.  It is a finely tuned instrument that boasts a meticulous sense of smell. As a child I was ridiculed and made to feel that there was something wrong with smelling everything and even today, I am made sport of because of my proclivity to stick my nose in something first.

To me, what something smells like is as important as what it looks like. They say that we pick our mates based on a very guttural reaction to the way they smell, and recalling my first slow dance with Dave years ago, I think it's true. Our sense of smell increases our pleasure beyond what we see, even with the simplest things...a baby's skin, a fresh rose, a warm apple pie out of the oven.

I smell everything...nose first.

Fine wine...if I can't get past "the nose", it's not getting to the first taste...


Before the first bite...oh the warm smell of a cookie...

A gardenia fills my car with a sweet fragrance on a hot summer day...
My kitchen always has a bouquet of fresh basil on the counter...

The bell-weather of good smells...fresh laundry, made soft with Downey...

There's something about they way books smell...I never buy a cookbook before I've opened it up and taken in the smell of print ink...

My knitting friends laugh at me, but I can't help smelling wool yarn...must be the sheep I grew up with...


Needless to say, I am not happy when my nose fails me. That rare occurrence usually happens because I didn't use its talent....you know, when my first glimpse of an object is so captivating that I don't think to hold it up to my nose FIRST. A case in point: I was sitting with the hubby last night watching a marathon of Son's of Anarchy. I was tired of my leather recliner so I moved to the couch to lay down. It was rather humid last night after the rain, so I started to get a little warm.

"What's that smell? I know I took a bath this morning," I think to myself. I sniff. Sniff again.

"Is that a chicken coup I smell? (we have roosters in the neighborhood) "No, it's closer than that," I reason.

I sit up on the couch and looked around behind me. I stare down at the cool new pillows that I picked up at Home Goods, JUST BECAUSE they would compliment my Southwest decor. I grab it angrily like a Mom grabs a kid's arm when it's throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, and hold it up to my nose. Eewww!!! Chicken feathers! And probably the ones from the part that went over the fence last! Memories flood in...I had to pick chickens as a kid and there is nothing more stinky that wet chicken feathers.  Absolutely gross!
 It goes without saying that these puppies are going poolside where they belong! Id take them back, but I already cut off the "Do not Remove Under Penalty of Law" tags...AGAIN, before I smelled them...

Here's the thing - I know better than this.  Once before I purchased a new "Down" pillow only to learn days later that it spoke "cluck cluck" instead of "honk honk". And all because I didn't smell it.

The moral of the story is "Smell first, Ask Questions Later" or "Use it or lose it". A Stradivarius is only sweet if it's played.


Laurel. The Nose Knows.

Sharing my photos with..

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Back on track...



September...finally!!!! I've been waiting for Fall for months and it's almost here. I've managed to survive the horrific sewing machine meltdown throughout August and I have never been so glad to see a month end like this one. I am also pleased to report that I am back on track with my healthier eating habits after a month long cheating fest that all began with a waffle on my birthday.

Those of you who keep up with my adventures know that threw the towel in and finally bought a backup machine. From the very first hum of its little motor, I knew that I was going to be back on track sewing for Suzan, and of course, me and Colette!!! In case you're wondering, Colette's buddy, The Viking, won't be out of Mr. Bill's shop for another 3-4 weeks. Geez.

As I started thinking about my own Fall wardrobe, I thought a trip to Nordstrom and perhaps Macy's might help me get some ideas as to what's trending in Fall fashion.  All I saw was the same old thing - polyester blouses, blazers, tee shirts, etc...especially at Macy's. My dislike of that store is well documented - why did I even bother?

I also spent considerable time on the Internet looking at New York Fashion Week posts, as well as some posts from my fellow fashion bloggers. I am thinking it's going to be a jean, jackets and sweater kind of Fall.  I gravitate toward the casual looks...

Perfect Classic Fall Outfit

I'm starting to see a pattern here

Can I wear those shoes...love this look.Peachy Blazer & White Top & White Denim Jeans

I am thinking that tops and jackets that go with trendy jeans are going to be my staples this year. Maybe it's a retirement thing, after years of wearing suits and high heels. So I got some luscious red linen at Stonemountain to make a long unstructured jacket and I can't wait to finish it. Pretty sure it's going to look hot with some skinny jeans.


I am also knitting this cute little cardigan sweater called Vitamin D.  I am using a Madeline Tosh Pashmina wool yarn (so soft!!).  To compliment the sweater, I got a deep green linen to make a pair of slacks to wear with it, as well as a soft periwinkle knit to make a long slim skirt with a hemline slit.


My whole goal this Fall is to be a little more purposeful about my "look".  I am hoping my healthy eating will yield some weight loss results...I am growing my tresses out so I can pull them back...I would love to update my makeup, etc...Don't think I'll ever get to this, but don't you love the Fall take on the color?


Stunning - wish I looked like this.       Essie Bahama Mama = berry perfection

Besides revamping myself, guess what?  It's time to drag out the Fall decor for the Hacienda.  I figure I will have a least 2.5 months of the Autumn look before I drag out the RED for the holidays!!

I intend to enjoy the Fall!!


Laurel. Looking up.
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