Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Step Back in Time

I hope you'll indulge me a bit here. I wanted to keep a record of some childhood memories and of a place that I carry with me still today.

                                  

This little gem of a town is nestled deep in the Texas Hill Country... and in my heart. As a child,  I felt drawn to this place. My folks bought the original Wimberley house, on the Blanco River, on Flight Acres Road, in the 70's and we would pack up and head for the hills every Friday afternoon and then, much to my chagrin, we would point the car back towards the city lights on Sunday. My Mom was a real estate broker and sold land in the area and she spent weekends showing prospective clients the charms of owning a piece of heaven. In the summers, we would spend weeks at a time here.

                               

I never wanted to leave and I remember being quite put out with my folks on a weekly basis for not letting me live there. It made perfect sense for them to pack up their lives and let their only child live out her days along the river. Couldn't they see how this was the only place she could breathe? Couldn't they understand how her heart shattered every Sunday when they pulled out of the drive?

And believe it or not, I wasn't a very dramatic child. :) It's true, but gosh darn, I wanted to live in Wimberley. I just felt like I belonged there and a very serious injustice was taking place.                              

Mom and I made a trip back there a few weeks ago. I hadn't been back in almost 20 years. I was apprehensive about going back. I treasure the years I spent there and I didn't want anything to change, Of course it had, but the charm and the memories were still there.


I spent many a summer day slouched in an inner-tube lazily floating the waters of the Blanco River. We would load up in my truck

                                   

and someone would often drop us off at the bridge and we would float down about 5 miles to my folks' place and stop off for a Coke or a tall glass of sweet sun tea. In later years, we just tied styrofoam coolers to one of the inner-tubes and then we would float down another 5 or 6 miles to a friend of my folks' home and pop out of the water there and then catch a ride back.

I spent many a summer night  shuffling around the old town square to the sound of tunes like, "Silver Wings" and "Luckenbach Texas" and "Family Tradition" during the street dances with bands that always included a fiddle. Alas, they have since built a rock partition right across the square and street dances are a thing of the past. :(

                               

I swung many a tennis racket on the courts and many a leg over the backs of the horses at the stable when we gave trail rides. The tennis courts are abandoned and in a sad state of disrepair now and the road to the stables was roped off. I doubt it even exits these days. I worked at the petting zoo, watching the spider Monkey (Ollie) snack on Life Savors, and chastising the llama when he once again spat on the little boy and made him cry, and gave pony rides on Thunder and Popsicle to small children who's faces lit up, even as their chubby little hands gripped the saddle horn for dear life. I whiled the hours away when business was slow, visiting with friends like, Steve, the patrolman, who kept an eye on hooligans like us.

                              

Anyone who knows me will get a good laugh at that picture. A die hard Aggie wearing a UT shirt. I will say it was a gift when I was but a child, but I hope Aggies everywhere will forgive me and let me keep my diploma.

I hung out at the Marina where we rented paddle boats and mooned over the cute boy who worked behind the counter and played "Bread" and "Chicago" records on the turn table that was propped open with an extra canoe oar. Don't think anyone has had a boat in here in a while:

                              

I blushed when Randy Grace met my Daddy and mispronounced my last name horribly and asked if he could take me out. He had the cutest drawl and blue eyes. :)

I drove all over on a friend's dirt bike and had to fess up to my folks when we wrecked and  I limped into the Sales Office with a pretty good battle wound that leaked gravel for a good week and left me with crutches and  a pretty scarred knee for life. I was happy as a clam though because Scott Harris thought it was really cool. :)

I raked countless leaves and sorted through endless piles gathering pecans from the trees that were scattered across the yard, but the chore was always eased with a friend by my side.

                                

I spent evenings in Hippie Hollow listening to Danny and Ben tell their wild stories as Homer strummed  his guitar and serenaded everyone with his talented voice and musical concertos.

And many a day in river attire, working up an appetite with good friends who were always willing to ham it up for the camera:

                                 

I slung many a pizza at Wimberley Willie's Pizza joint and waited with baited breath for my first and only teenage crush to walk through the door.

We hung out at 7-A Ranch which was an old west tourist town

                                
                               Photo Courtesy of Google images advertisement for Wimberley

And lived in cut off's and splashed in Jacob's Well for days on end:

                                 

I lied to my folks when I told them I was spending the night at Wendy's house and she lied to hers and said she was spending the night at mine and we piled into a Suburban filled with friends and drove all the way to Austin to go dancing at The Broken Spoke. I was a really good kid and I'm pretty sure that was the only time I lied to my folks. I think I fessed up when I was probably 40.

I recall watching many a movie at the old drive in - The Corral - you drove up and then walked through a cedar fence gate and sat on old wooden bleachers to enjoy a movie under the stars. Popcorn was 25 cents and splinters were free.

                                     

You can still go to the show here! However, they still use the old movie reels and movies today are digital and shown on new projectors so The Corral is in danger of closing. There are various businesses in town that are donating percentages of their proceeds to saving The Corral and purchasing an up-to-date movie projector. Its good to know that some things are worth saving.

I remember piling into trucks and heading to New Braunfels to kick up our heels at the Crystal Chandelier a couple  times a month when "Ace in the Hole" aka George Strait - would play. Cover charge: 50 cents!

My folks sold the place in the late 90's, but our kids soaked in a little bit of the Blanco River magic when they were young:





River Rats in the making


And the couple living there now, seem to love it and have taken good care of it:

                               

Wimberley is as dry as I've ever seen it though. You'd be hard pressed to float down the river these days. It would be 'Bottoms Up' all the way!

                                

See? Can you blame me for having wanted  to live there? It's almost scary how fast those memories came rushing back. We enjoyed visiting with old friends and I learned that some things never change because I still was not ready  to leave.

Photo courtesy of Google images advertisement for Wimblerey

But, when I did leave, I took a whole lot of  treasured memories with me.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Losing Focus

It was bound to happen eventually. I've been so good about working on UFOs and not buying fabric... until now. I haven't bought fabric since September. And yes, I am telling you this so you won't judge me too harshly as you scroll through this post. :)

Since I finished my floral quilt, I decided I needed to make another one and the voice in my head said, "It'll look nice, but it'll REALLY be amazing if you have more variety!". Did I listen to the voice? Of course I did and before I knew it, my friend, Tony, drove up in his pretty brown truck and handed me a couple of boxes filled with these:

                                       

Tony is very cool and not just because he brings me brown paper packages. And just so you know - that stack of fabrics also includes the 25 prints that I used in my floral quilt and I just added some variety.

I want to make a simple patchwork flower garden quilt and this is my way of growing a wildflower garden in the desert.

I stopped at Joann's while I was in Texas to look for a particular fabric for a friend and I bought a bit of this for a kitchen valance. I pulled the dot from my stash for a ruffle.


And when I was in Amarillo, I picked up some basics to add to my stash:


And I found this in Amarillo too, but I still need a plan:


 I stopped at 2 quilt shops on my way home from Texas last week and added some odds and ends for various projects at my first stop which was One Quilt Place in Fredricksburg


They had every color of grunge and I was sorely tempted to get into lots of trouble, but I reined myself in and only picked up a few small pieces of other prints for a couple of scrap quilts:


I've been on the hunt for a backing for my Granny Square quilt - I'm working on the pieced borders - and I stumbled upon the perfect fabric at my 2nd stop.


And here's the really exciting part: it was only $3.49 a yard! So I might have come home with 11 yards, but the sashing is such a rich, dark, brown and I think this this'll set off the blocks nicely. It's hard to beat quilt store quality fabric at that price!


More bargain priced fabric at $3.99 came home with me for a Christmas quilt backing and borders and binding:


And I was doing so well! When I lose focus, I REALLY lose focus!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Floral Boho Quilt

I want to begin with a quick note to all of you non-reply bloggers. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and comment on my posts so very much, and I will comment back, but if you do not hear back from me, you are a non-reply blogger and I have no way of replying to you. I figure some of y'all may want it that way, but if you ask me a question, I also figure you may like an answer. :) So if you'll leave me an email address or send me one, I'll be able to do that.

And I completely forgot to draw for the book giveaway on Friday! Sorry bout that! Mr. Random Number Generator drew Shelly as the winning comment - congratulations Shelly - I'll get your package out to you today!

And yes, I am sewing again...a little! I am making a dent in the UFO pile. :) This is number 5 for the year. That sounds like a lot, but it's really not since they mostly just needed finishing and it's already the middle of August. Just one needed piecing and quilting and another needed borders  then there's been a whole lot of binding making and stitching going on. But a finish is a finish and I love crossing them off of my list and making room for new projects. :)


Last year I saw this pattern



in this magazine



and got a hankering to make a floral quilt. I'm not a floral kind of gal, but for some reason these pretty prints drew me in so maybe I am:


and this pattern shows them off so well.


This quilt works up fast too. I used 25 different fabrics and made 25 blocks and truth be told, I finished this quilt about 3 months ago, but its taken me this long to take pictures of it:



It has become a favorite napping quilt so I brought it with me to Mom's. I want to make a quilt for my aunt in Germany and I wanted to see if Mom thought these fabrics might work:


I backed it with this Moda Dot. I ordered it last year hoping the green was going to be the perfect shade and it was:


  And I finished it with a scrappy binding.


I love every one of these prints and really like how the shabby, vintage looking florals worked in this modern setting.


I'm hoping to make a simple patchwork quilt entirely of florals at some point. I just want a vintage-y, wild  looking hodge podge of florals. My favorite flowers are wild flowers and I love a whole mess of them in one place.

                             

I'm thinking this may be my way of getting that English Cottage garden I adore after all...minus any neighbors. :)


Gosh. That makes me sound terribly unsociable. I'm not, but I am however, a social hermit. Talking to our daughter one day, I used that phrase and she laughed, "So THAT'S what I am!". Its a case of the apple and the tree.

I have a box of florals and this may be my achilles heel and fabric fast downfall as I would love to add some more variety for more of a wildflower look.

Focus. Must stay focused on using what I have.

                                

However, this past weekend we spent 2 nights at the ranch rodeo and on the heels of my trip to Texas, this dirt road gal is bout done being social; so right now I am going to focus on taking one of those naps with this sweet quilt:

      

Friday, August 15, 2014

No Place Like Home

I've been away for 9 days and it sure felt good to pull on to my dirt road last night.You better believe I rolled down those windows and inhaled every bit of the crisp air I could.

 A week ago this past Wednesday, I snuck off with one of my coworkers and headed to Amarillo for the day . She was taking her sewing machine in for maintenance and asked me to tag along. I almost didn't go since I had planned to leave for Texas the next day, but go I did and we had a ball. She is such a joy to be around and we have a lot in common. Of course, that meant hitting the quilt shops. I was in search of a backing and came up empty handed, but I sure did enjoy pulling bolts from the shelves and auditioning them for projects she had planned. I did come home with just a smidge of yardage that I could not leave behind even though I haven't a clue as to what I'll do with it. I left the house just a hair after 5 that morning and it was 10 pm when I finally made it back home. A long day, but a really awesome one. It was a day of fellowship, fun, fabric, friendship, and food. That makes for a very good day indeed.

Then it was another predawn wake up call as I drove over 500 miles to spend some time with my Mom the next morning. I logged on lots of computer time, catching up the books for their business, but I wasn't so rushed this trip and we had time to take trips and go to the show and go out with friends. It was a good week and I didn't worry about DH quite so much since our girl was home with him.

 She made a hand while I was away and they even hauled horses up to the mountains, grabbed grandpa and rode through some pretty country on a scouting trip. When I got home last night, the house was clean, a pie was on the stove, leftovers were in the fridge, and the entire headquarters had been mowed and weed-eated and de-weeded with the tractor. She and DH worked on it for 3 days. I even had freshly washed sheets on our bed! What a treat!

On Sunday night we even had 3.2" of rain!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! And this morning, I threw in a load of laundry and headed out for a morning walkabout.


The morning sky never ceases to take my breath away out here. The colors change with every step and my heart just overflows with thanksgiving and praise for God and the gift of each new, glorious, sunrise.

 I sometimes listen to audio books when I walk, but this morning I was just filled with joy at being home and I simply wanted to drink in the clean air and the sights and sounds and smell of the ranch.


There truly is no place like home.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Giveaway

I am an avid reader. Actually, we all are. The first thing we did when we found out that we were expecting our first child was go to the book store and buy children's books. They looked so funny sitting on the new oak bookshelf in the nursery, but it wasn't long before that bookshelf overflowed and a larger one took its place. A trip to town was never made without visiting a library or bookstore...or both. :)

My MIL was helping us pack to move one time and I told her that she could pack books. She packed all the books in one room and moved into another and I heard her exclaim, "More books!". That phrase was repeated several times. We have bookshelves in just about every room in the house. I'm known as the Book Aunt in our family - I give books for every occasion.

I have a Kindle that I love, but there is just nothing compared to a real book. I love well written books. A good story line. Sentences that are beautifully crafted. Words that have been thoughtfully chosen.

Really talented writers are rare. I shared this book

                                      

written by one of those talented writers, who also happens to be a friend, here. Its a must read. Amy's writing will draw you in. She has an incredible talent for drawing beautiful pictures with her words. You can find her book here or you can order an autographed copy directly from her website here. She is the 2012 winner of the Willa Award which honors women authors who write about the West. I met Amy in 1998 at the Western Heritage Classic in Abilene and it was through her writing that I first became acquainted with her. She had written an article in Western Horseman that spoke to me and her writing still has that quality today. Many of you contacted me and said that you ordered a copy. I hope y'all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Today I have another recommendation and a giveaway. This is a collection of stories written by a veterinarian, Dr. Bo Brock. He lives and practices in Lamesa, Texas and its his clinic that DH and I took horses to a few months back.
                                                        


This book is also what I was editing when I mentioned my second job. Dr. Bo has been writing for years and he shares many of his stories via his FB page. I had never met him., but when we made the trip with the horses, we kind of hit it off.

Dr. Michelle was tending to our horses and the horse barn was busy. I heard a familiar tune being whistled...one of my favorites: "If I Only Had a Brain" from the wizard of Oz. :) I glanced across the barn and saw that the notes were coming from a scrub wearing man, what I assumed was a Dr., crouched down, surveying a horses leg. When he stood up and turned to scrub his hands at the sink, I approached him and commended him on his song of choice. He looked up, surprised, and grinned, saying that no one ever recognized it and we began to visit.

As we later turned to lead the horses out of the barn, he approached us and told us goodbye and how he enjoyed meeting and visiting with us. Out of the blue, I piped up, "And whenever you get around to writing that book - holler at me - I'd love to edit it." It just came out. I never expected anything to come of it and as we drove away, I kicked myself for saying it and wondered what had come over me.

We settled up in the office and were about to pull out when he walked and asked for our email address and when we arrived back home, I had a note from him asking whether I was serious about editing his book. I let him know that I was not a professional editor, but just an avid fan of his stories and that I appreciated his talent for crafting a good story , but that evening I had a copy of his manuscript on my laptop and the fun began. Dr. Bo is a hoot. He is a weaver of good tales and has a talent for drawing you into his stories. His book is a fun, engaging read that will evoke laughter, tears, make you blush a little, as well as make you shake your head in utter amazement at the human race and the way their brains work...or more aptly... not work.

I spent a couple of weeks glued to the computer, reading, laughing, crying, editing, and making notes - all the while texting back and forth with Dr. Bo. He had asked me for feedback and to keep this under my hat as his family and friends did not know that he was having his stories published. Thus, the secrecy on my end. It was not easy. I didn't even tell our girl who often mentioned the things that he wrote. His name came up frequently in our circle of friends and at the sale barn as many folks from these parts haul their horses to him, but I was true to my word.

Truth be told, I'm sure he had 'real' editors from the publisher's tend to things, but he said he wanted an editor that spoke his language. I was honored and completely thrilled.

Then suddenly, his stories were in book form and he shipped a couple of boxes to me. I went to town and peddled them at the Farm Store, the Vet Supply Store, and the Sale Barn, and today I'm giving one away to you...well, one of you. :) All the books he sent me are sold and he's sending me more. I think they make great Christmas gifts.

Just leave me a comment, make sure I have a way of contacting you if you happen to be a non-reply blogger, and let me know if you would like to be entered in the giveaway.

Dr. Bo is not only a respected vet, and talented writer, but he is quick witted and clever in real life and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity. Our girl worked for him as an extern this summer ( the timing was a complete fluke as she contacted him a few days before we drove to Lamesa) and I told her to be very careful or she may end up in one of his stories! :)

I'll keep this open until Friday, August 15th and I'll draw the winner on Saturday.

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