Monday, January 30, 2012

Desert Flight

My latest design is definitely made from remnants. I bought most of these fabrics over twelve years ago to use in another quilted piece which hangs over our back patio doors. The only new fabrics are the grey print and green/copper stripe. I call this wall hanging Desert Flight.

Our main living area has a mix of antique and new oak furniture, pottery and Indian rugs. It's comfortable and casual, just like us. I've decorated with mostly Southwest colors of terra cotta and sage green with black accents. I change out some of the black to cream or lighter greens during the summer.

While I was sewing, I whipped up a few coasters, or mug rugs, to match. I even did some mending, took in two pairs of my jeans, and sewed on a few loose buttons. Those are the things I usually procrastinate about...I don't know why, they only take a few minutes to get out of the way. Hey, do it now was another of my resolutions. Go me! 

"Make your home as comfortable and attractive as possible,
then get on with living." -- Albert Hadley

Monday, January 23, 2012

Adjust. Adapt. Stay Calm.

What a crazy week!  I had several things planned, but life decided to throw a few extra curves my way. Nothing serious or life-altering...just not exactly what I had in mind. A delayed appointment resulted in a long wait in a loud environment. A family member lost something important, which required immediate action to avoid problems. A couple of other unexpected annoying situations changed my schedule.

And you know what? Overall, the disruptions actually turned out all right. Staying calm helped me adjust my focus and adapt to the current situation. I didn't lose my temper or get too frustrated. I was able to help someone; offer support and encouragement to another. Maybe my horoscope and biorhythms were positive. Or perhaps good karma favored me. Could be my resolutions to practice patience and awareness are working subliminally. Whatever the reason, I was able to handle the challenges with a positive attitude.

Looking back, my week was mostly full of fun and productive activity. I found time to enjoy a nice lunch date with my sweetie, visit with my mama, run errands, do a bit of housecleaning for mama-in-law, and meet friends for lunch on Friday. I read a mystery novel and even logged several hours in the sewing room piecing the new wall hanging for my living room.  
Here's a sneak peek ->  

Useful Notion: Life happens. Schedules change. Problems arise. How we react to each situation is what makes all the difference.

Today, I remain calm, no matter what storms may come my way.”
– Anonymous

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sewing Every Day

On The Town
I've been creating dozens of designs on the computer this week, and hope to find enough time to finish every one of them. On the ever growing to do list are quilts, purses, journal covers, aprons, pot holders, and mug rugs. My Singer has been humming every day as I happily stitch some of my newest ideas. These two are my favorites from my flurry of creative activity.

On The Town is a black, bronze, gold, and cream purse that is channel quilted and accented with a cool retro lapel pin. Two inside pockets keep phone and keys handy, and a magnetic snap latch keeps everything inside. There's room to organize all the essentials in this 10" x 13" bag with shoulder strap.

Sassy Lil' Messenger
I prefer to travel light most of the time, and this strip pieced quilted bag is the perfect size at 8½” square. Slide a wallet, keys, phone, lip gloss and sunglasses into Sassy Lil' Messenger and head off to run errands in style. I used a few black and cream fabrics left over from other projects and lined it with a black and white polka dot cotton.

I'm so grateful that my mama taught me to sew!

Useful Notion: Reading magazines and browsing websites can stimulate your creative brain, so make time to play and let your mind see new possibilities.

Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

Taking Advantage of Warm Days

In January I normally plan lots of indoor activities like sewing, cleaning, organizing, and reading. It's a good time to implement some of those resolutions from last week. However, since Thursday we've had unusually warm and dry days with highs in the upper 50's and low 60's. Being an outdoor girl, I scrapped my previous plans and headed outside to take advantage of the nice weather.

I love the woods in winter. I made a few photos of moss on the creek shows up so brightly against the brown leaves and roots. There were a couple of trees down in the woods, so out came the chain saw. He cut and I stacked. We'll have enough firewood for our campfires this spring. This lumberjack work is great exercise! So is climbing the steep hill up to our back yard. 
While taking a break, I found a cool retro green enamel tea kettle in another creek. It was a bit rusty and full of silt but I rescued it to use as a flower pot. There's a small junk pile at the bottom of the hill, filled with jars, pots, rusted metal and other castoffs from years gone by. I've pulled out some unique old jars that are now vases for my wildflowers. I noticed a few more unbroken jars and a metal pan were uncovered by the recent rain, and I'll go digging for them next. This is the perfect time of year to scrounge around since the snakes and spiders aren't active.

Being outdoors gave me energy:  Friday's laundry was hung outside on the line, sidewalks and porches were swept, and leaves raked off my flowerbeds. Then Ruby, my Trailblazer, got a desperately needed bath. We capped off the day with steaks on the grill. All that was much more fun and invigorating than staying inside!

Useful Notion: While focus and schedules are excellent tools to accomplish your goals, sometimes you have to be flexible, recognize opportunity, and make last minute plans to truly enjoy a fulfilling life.

Remember to be one with the nature of change. Be flexible.” – Fred Tracy

Be infinitely flexible and constantly amazed.” – Jason Kravitz

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Website

Welcome to 2012...and to my new website design! I've been busy updating Useful Remnants and Katie Scarlett designs to start fresh for my second year of blogging. Like a new journal with clean blank pages, I can't wait to fill this space with projects, thoughts, adventures, creative ideas, and perhaps a few items for sale. Who knows where the year will take me?

My resolutions for 2012 are simple but manageable. Resolutions are often so strict and demanding that they are doomed to fail. Mine are not actual rules, but more what you'd call guidelines (like the pirate's code). I find it much easier to accomplish an encouraging statement than one that screams at me. For instance, Eat healthy & move more is more effective than LOSE x pounds AND EXERCISE x hours. Could be that I'm just stubborn and don't like being told what to do, even by myself. 
  • Enjoy every day
  • Eat healthy & move more
  • Focus on now but look ahead
  • Accept what can't or won't change
  • Practice awareness & patience
  • Read, reflect, rejuvenate, relax
  • Sew, design, create
  • Explore new places, meet new people
  • Live simply
  • Do it now

Reading these affirmations often should refocus my energy and resolve, so I have them posted on my bulletin board. Here's to a fabulous, productive and happy 2012!

Useful Notion: If you enjoy the blog and website, check my Useful Remnants Facebook page each Monday and link from there.  Add either of these bookmarks to your browser: or

Give yourself a dream that has meaning, and that compels you forward.  At this time of new beginnings, choose to live with more substance and meaning than ever before.” – Ralph Marston


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