Impromptu Traveling…..

This past week, Michael and I had to make an unplanned trip to Texas to clean out his Mother’s house and get it ready to sell.

While it was sad to be going thru 60+ years of her life in that home, it was enjoyable to learn a few new things…..

… the fact that Michael was named a “Favorite” in his 4th grade class…..

He is so cute in his dark suit and super white socks!!! I also loved this photo of him…..

It was also fun to find his Mom (Esther’s) pages and pages of shorthand. Apparently when she was doing her Bible Studies, she would revert to the form of writing that she had used for MANY years when she was a secretary at a local bank…..

We found handmade horse saddlebags that Michael and his brother had made from green canvas……

Maybe this was the impetus for his current leatherwork…..

I came home with a few favorite items that I am looking forward to decorating with…..

I found a lap quilt that I made for Esther many years ago. Unfortunately I didn’t put a label on it (shame on me!!!) so I dont know when it was made…..

We spent a little over 20 hours working thru the 4 bedroom house and ended up with 66 boxes (mostly filled with the 700 books that we moved off of the shelves and the 100+ family photos sitting in frames around the house), 10 large garbage bags filled with bedding and clothes, and a dumpster FULL of unusable items.

We enjoyed our favorite Texas foods…..Tex-Mex, BBQ Brisket and good old Whataburger…..

We had one exciting event……

And yes, that is a small tornado!!! We watched it for about 5 minutes as it wandered around in the field and then dissipated. The winds were amazing!!

On the last day, I drove past the house that I grew up in and was excited to see that it looked great. Even more exciting was the kids swing hanging in the tree!!! I hope that they have as much fun in that front yard as I did!!!

It was good to get home again yesterday and get back to a bit of normal life…..and hopefully some creating soon!!!

What a difference 24 hours can make…..


Part of the ennui that I have been experiencing has been because of the uncertainty of our travel plans in the next few months.  We knew that we had a trip to Colombia starting in July  and that one is good to go.

The problem arose with the trip to India for the month of September and then the Himalaya Trek during the first two weeks of October.  Since Michael is working in India, he had to have a Business Visa and the process was started back in February, sending them copies of his passport and other pertinent information.

Then we realized that to enter Nepal for the trek, we had to have at least 6 months left on our passport.  We were fine when the trip was in May, but when it moved to October, it meant that we needed a new passport.  So as we applied for the new passport, we had the horrible realization that the Indian government that had to approve Michael’s Visa had our old passport information…. are you starting to see the problem!!!panic

Anyway, today our new passports arrived AND miraculously the visa authorization arrived from India with only his name, but not any passport information on it so it looks like we are good to go.  The next step is to apply to the Indian Embassy in Atlanta to actually receive the visa.  The only problem now is that we have to give them his passport which he will need while in Colombia.  That would only give 3 weeks before we leave for Colombia and then 3 weeks between that trip and India  and it could easily take longer than that.

SO, Michael called and found out that he can apply for a second passport that he can travel on while his other passport is being processed for the Visa…..WHO KNEW!!!

We have spent the last four hours filling out forms and getting packages ready to Fedex tomorrow and hopefully we will have all of the needed Visa’s well before time to travel!!!


That was about all we could handle in one day but tomorrow we will regroup and start making lists of everything that we have to do since the trips are back on!!!


Thus, Ennui is gone and mild panic has set in!!!!  I guess the moral of this tale is to be careful what you ask for!!!!

Catching up


Well, things have been happening around here, but I simply haven’t had time to post about them!!!

The main reason is that we are getting ready to head out on a three week adventure to Turkey.  Once again my husband will be working while I get to play….such a HARD life!!!!

One of the tasks for today was making sure that all of our electronics were charged up and ready to go so our bedroom floor looked like this…..


but at the end of the day we had charged up two telephones, two Kindle readers and a total of FIVE camera batteries.  Hopefully we are ready to pack tomorrow.

Packing day is always fun.  We each get out all of our clothes and lay them on the bed.  Then we go thru all of the stuff that has been stacking up on Michael’s futon and decide what gets packed and what goes into our carry on bags.  Then comes the trick of getting everything into the suitcases AND keeping them under 50 pounds each. 

This will be a harder task for this trip because we are traveling in an area that will be cool and rainy as well as one that will be hot and dry!!!  But, so far we have never had to carry an extra suitcase and I am hoping that this will be the same!!

On the sewing front, I have been working on a few things, mostly trying to get my studio cleaned up a bit.

I have been working on the scrap quilt that I started in the Pat Speth workshop and realized that I was going to have to lay it out completely before I could start piecing.  The problem was that I didn’t have a design wall that was big enough.

So, I packed up and headed for our local art center that has a wonderful fiber room and I camped out for the afternoon while I auditioned settings and then worked to sew them together.

My first layout kept all of the darker blocks along the outside edges…..


but it didn’t seem to sparkle the way this one did…… DSC02931

This was my set-up for the afternoon as I pieced along.DSC02933I plugged my new mini speaker in my I-phone and enjoyed piecing and singing all afternoon.

Here is the finished center section…..

DSC02980  My initial thought had been to add a fancy pieced border but will have to think on it a bit first.  I did lay it out on my bed and realized that it is probably one row too long so I may be un-sewing some before I continue.

My other fun project was making a tote bag to carry on our trip.  I always try to take a simple bag that I can put my computer in when we are walking somewhere and I don’t want to take the full backpack. 

I had one already…..

DSC02963 but, since I had owned (and used) it since 1977, I decided that it was time for another….notice the frayed handles!!

This was one of those projects that I thought “dont need a pattern….this is easy”!!!  Always the first mistake!!!!

My plan was to make the outside of the bag from one fabric and then line it with a second one.  Imagine my surprise when, after turning, I found that the bag had one fabric on one side and the lining fabric on the other!!!!DSC02960

….so much for my great planning!!!!   At least the fabrics went together well so I now have a double sided bag!!!!


Enough for now…..  the next posts should be coming from Kars, Turkey!!!

Newest travel purchase


When Michael and I travel, we often take DVD’s to watch on our computers when we are in countries where there is nothing to watch on TV….at least nothing in English!!!

The problem arises because the computer volume is not enough to allow us to be able to easily hear the dialog of the DVD’s.  We make quite a sight sitting close together and leaning toward the computer so that we can hear!!!

The answer came to me while reading Bonnie Hunter’s blog.  She wrote about having a small external speaker that travels with her.  I went to Amazon and started searching, having two main criteria….

….firstly, that it had rechargeable batteries that were charged by using a USB plug

…..secondly, it had to be SMALL and LIGHTWEIGHT!!!

Enter the “X Mini II Capsule Speaker

It is 2.4 inches  x  2.4 inches  x  1.7 inches and weighs  2.9 ounces!!!!


….and even better, it can be collapsed down to this…..DSC02926

It arrived today and adds a whole new level of sound to our computers and I-Phones so we are looking forward to using it on our next trip….only three weeks till Turkey!!!!

Augusta Weekend

This past weekend my husband and I spent a few days in Augusta, Georgia (about 1-1/2 hours from home).  The purpose of the trip was to visit the Augusta Cutting Horse Futurity (more about that later), but the first order of business was a bit of relaxing with a “Bahama Mana”…..


On Saturday we started the morning with a walk around the Canal area…..

 DSC01894DSC01899 Then on for a walk around the downtown area.  One stop was to visit one of Augusta’s favorite musicians….the ever talented and apparently very short…..James Brown…..

DSC01907  We laughed at the name of this pub…. “Tipsey McStumbles”!!


Then, on to the futurity.  Before the contests started, we walked around the vendors and I was amazed at all of the things that could be purchased….much like our quilt show vendor malls……

 DSC01911 DSC01912 DSC01913 DSC01914 How about a leather cell phone holster……


A sea of saddles…..DSC01917 DSC01918   DSC01921 DSC01922 And it came as no surprise that Cowgirls love their bling…..


But the highlight of the evening was the cutting horse competition.  It is such fun to see the way that the horse and rider work together.   Here is a video that I shot….

Another new purchase

While we were traveling, I realized the need for a smaller camera……not that I am going to give up my Digital SLR  but sometimes you want to be surreptitious and you just cant do it with a camera that size.   During our recent trip, I used my cell phone as my “sneaky” camera and also for videos, but the quality just wasn’t quite up to par.

So, once home I started researching various small cameras.  After talking to a lot of people and reading a lot of internet reviews I opted for the Sony Cybershot……


It is a 16 mega-pixel camera with a 10x zoom.  There were several features that I really liked about it, including a great panorama feature.

The next day we left for a few days at the beach with our friends Roy and Diane so it was the perfect time to put it thru it’s paces. 

Here are a few of the things that I learned…..


It works well for the “hold the camera out and take a photo of yourself” shots….DSC00016

The zoom really ZOOMS……DSC00049


The “Macro” feature lets you get up close and personal……DSC00174

Long distance scenery shots are great……

DSC00052By the way, this shot was taken at Cumberland Island….only 300 people on the entire island and many of them were out bird watching so that meant a VERY empty beach!!!!!

The panorama feature is amazing……DSC00078

And it will even let you do a little bit of playing with it……



It takes great stained glass shots and believe me, those are sometimes hard to get…..DSC00183 

It handled the low light really well……DSC00235

I also used it to film a video of some of the shore birds and loved the quality of the video but also the quality of the audio. 


But the best part of the camera…….DSC00215

This great photo on our last night!!!!

How do you do that….Part 5

OK….now I come to the part of traveling that I have the most trouble with……what to take to work on!!!

On our first long trip (2 months in England), I didn’t have any idea of how much time I would be spending in the house while Michael was at work.    Consequently, I took lots of fabric to work on a quilt and even took a small sewing machine with me.   I set everything up on the dining room table, plugged the machine into the convertor and turned it on.   Everything worked great until I pushed on the presser foot…..then there was a loud pop and a puff of smoke!!!!  Apparently the convertor hadn’t worked properly and I blew up the machine!!!! 


I ended up buying a VERY basic machine while in England (for less than $50), but I couldn’t use it for much except paper piecing.  BUT, what I learned was that I don’t tend to spend much time sitting in my apartment and sewing.  Instead I prefer to be outside, observing the newness of the place that I am visiting.


For the 7 weeks in Italy, I took fabric and doo-dads to work on an undersea collage.  I spent a couple of days working on it, but am not sure that it was worth carrying all of the stuff for it……


I also took a lot of drawing supplies, thinking that I would be sitting in various piazzas and sketching what I am seeing.   That particular idea didn’t work because there is simply no place in Rome for people to sit!!!  

On many of the shorter trips I have taken an unfinished Counted Cross Stitch project.  But face it…..I will NEVER finish it, so why waste the time and effort in carrying it with me!!!!

So, now I am trying to decide what to take to China.  This trip is a bit different because Kunming is not a huge tourist attraction and there wont be lots of museums or other things to see.   Having said that, my favorite thing to do when we were there last year was to sit at one of the parks and watch people.   Also, we will be visiting during the Rainy Season, so I may be forced indoors more.

My plan (at the moment) is to take the quilt that was made by my friend, Pat and add some beads and hand quilting…..

_3161984[4] Here is the post where I talked about this little quilt….

I am also planning to take some drawing/water color supplies and hopefully spend some time playing with those.   I have just watched a great video that I will tell you about in a few days……

My question to end this post……what are your ideas about what to take on long trips?????