More Motivation and Inspiration

Meet my Mom, Lois Nickel, at her home in Maryland. Mom is a quilter from way back, and got me interested in quilting and sewing when I was in grade school. Her work is amazing, and she has been and always will be my inspiration to persevere.

Mom has Alzheimer's Disease now. This picture was taken recently on a good day. I love her so very much and miss her terribly.

If you never have, pick up a needle and thread and learn to sew a few stitches. It can be peace for the soul. And if you don't mind, please take a minute and click on the AAQI badge to the right and visit the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. See what quilters from all over are doing to raise awareness of and encourage fundraising for Alzheimer's Disease. Please become involved. One day it won't be too late for someone else's mother, family member, or friend.

Thank you.

Be sensitive...be involved! And I'll be back...

Word of the Year!

My word of the year is "Persevere". That also includes "Motivation". As in when I'm lacking motivation, PERSEVERE. Or when I'm not lacking motivation but having problems with inspiration or technique or material or time, PERSEVERE.


So to that end, I've joined the gals at Three Creative Studios in their 2010 Creative Cue clues. These are great motivators, and I'm having fun as well as learning. And persevering!!

So stay tuned! Be motivated! Be persevering!! And I'll be back!!


How time flies!

My grandson, Preston, started off 2010 wonderfully by getting his mother, My Treasure, to bring him for a visit --well, a couple days before New Year's, but still carrying me into the fabulousness of a new set of gift-days to look forward to! Oh my, I had the best time holding him and watching him and enjoying him!! (sorry, but I get to sound like a proud grandma, since I am!!!)

I didn't make any resolutions, except I did pick my Word of the Year -- Persevere. Creative Every Day also has a post about this -- "Flowing Out Of...". I think it'll give an interesting perspective to my observations and activities this year!

Take a look at the above links, and post me a note here about your choice.
If you have children or grandchildren, be grateful for them! Post a note here directing us to your blog and pix!
Be conscious! Be kind! And I'll be back!!


Fun in Downtown Dallas!

Yesterday we went downtown...it was Spotlight Sunday in the Dallas Arts District, and Ricky and I both have interests in that area. Although he works construction during the day, he is a fabulous photographer and an excellent sketch artist. We went to the Nasher Sculpture Museum and Sculpture Garden. There was an exhibit on architectural models that he particularly wanted to see, and I have been wanting for ages to see the Sculpture Garden, especially the piece with folks walking up into the sky (above picture).

This pic of me was taken in the Garden near the end of our visit. Ricky knows how to engage you in conversation while sneaking your pic by holding the camera so you don't even know he's taking a shot of you!
Afterwards, we went to the Dallas Art Museum, where they have an interactive exhibit for all ages. In the Materials and Meanings area, the piece which most impressed us was a piece, done in 1993, entitled "Lick and Lather" by Janine Antoni. The work consisted of two self-portrait busts, one done in chocolate and the other in soap. She licked the chocolate one and washed the soap-face bust and illustrated the changes wrought by a simple action upon one's face. I found the principle to be applicable in several areas, and Ricky and I were both fascinated by the whole concept.
Stay enquiring! Stay tuned! And I'll be back...


More Updates...!

This is Ricky and I at Dallas Heritage Village, one of our VERY favorite places in Dallas. The Heritage Village has all kinds of original historic dwellings moved to this locale and preserved.

An original-pattern quilt (tell me if you know the pattern name!), a Native American teepee, a potter giving a demonstration with his wheel, and two of a rare breed of North American Mammoth Jack Stock donkeys, originally bred by George Washington in the late 1700's. We so enjoy ourselves each time we go, and I am always fascinated by the different quilts to see, the types of needlework tools in the store, and everything else.
Be inspired by your history! Be interested in other living beings! And I'll be back!!


A while ago my regular readers will remember how excited I was about my forthcoming grandson, and I published his "First Picture". Well, here he is today, absolutely adorable, with his mother, my Treasure, absolutely beautiful! I know you can't tell how proud I am (*grin*), and how very blessed!!
Be proud of the people in your life! Be blessed by the gift of love! And, I'll be back!!


New Addition

OK, here's the latest embellishment in my life -- meet Max, my new assistant!!
Max is six weeks old and arrived last night. He's a gift from Rick and is going to be my new right hand. He trips on grass and falls over his paws. So far, he knows where "outside" is (what a blessing for my floors!!) and he tugs on anything that's not fastened down. We need to work!
Stay tuned...periodically I'll feature More On Max.
Be blessed! Be Maxed!! And I'll be back... (*grin*)



Each day is a gift...unwrap it with joy and gratitude.
Be smiling! Be appreciative! And I'll be back!


And our home -- the street where we live, the front yard, and the house...

A Bit More About Me Now...

These pics are of my town, Dallas, courtesy of Rick. Clockwise from above left, they are: Reunion Tower Restaurant (it revolves!), the Dallas metro train (DART), and downtown near the Arts District.
Be exploring! Be inquisitive! And I'll be back!


Subtraction, Not Addition!

Embellishment can be making something look better by taking away rather than adding...
The pic of me holding camera in mirror is from last September, 60 pounds ago. Combined with almost 20 pounds gone prior to that equals almost 80 pounds lost in about eleven months.
How's that for embellishment?? (*grin*) Oh yeah, the hair's real -- as it's grown out, it's gone berserk.
Watch out, I'm BBAAAACCKKKK!!!
Be tranquil! Be observing! And I'll be back...!


In and Out, Back and Forth

Well, life's bodyslams continue! My backbone MUST be made out of steel...who knew??!!

As I less than merrily weave my way through this newest set of BOULDERS in my life's path, my posting will be somewhat erratic; however, I WILL still be here and WILL continue to share my world of fabrics, fibers and founds with you.

For those of you who have been following me regularly (Thank You!!!), you'll know that I have not been able to drive in over two years, which makes this current situation SO much more enjoyable (not!!).

I can report that my Treasure, my daughter, is doing beautifully, and my grandson kicked me hello a couple days ago -- he is SO ready to join us soon (February can't come soon enough!!).

So stay tuned...A N D...

Be curious! Allow yourself to Be Challenged!! And I'll be back!!


Affirmations for Artists -- Always a Good Thing!!

Alyson at artbizcoach.com offers this video today. In view of our current economy, which is part of the subtitle of the video, it's particularly on point for those of us in the arts world.

I always like Alyson's column; she features great tips and tricks on a regular basis. If for some reason you can't follow the video, click here. Enjoy!

Be artistic! Be affirming! And, I'll be back!!



Like many of us, I subscribe to or follow many blogs to keep up with goings-on around the blogworld. Plus, reading about and viewing pix of so many imaginative projects stokes me up for the day better than a cup of coffee . . . speaking of which (*grin*), please note in my sidebar a new button for Get The Bean.

Thanks to Maggie of Magpies Collectibles, I popped over to that blog, and WOW! Get The Bean has a goal of fundraising for fighting cancer, ALWAYS a worthy cause. Right now to celebrate the new opening, they are having a give-away on Fridays of a pound of coffee. Of COURSE I entered! It would be nice to win, but I've signed up as a follower of the blog, plus I imported their button (available on the sidebar near the bottom of the page).

Do take some time and go visit Get The Bean -- I guarantee you will NOT be disappointed!

Be sociable! Be energized! And I'll be back!!


My Library, Bit by Bit

I've always found it interesting when folks publish pix of the books they read, so I thought I'd start a bird's-eye view of my own library. This first book was published in 1989 by a wonderful gentleman named Art Salemme.

Art was involved with the Prince George's Historical Quilting Society in Maryland. Prince George's County is located east and slightly north of Washington, D.C. and is the home of the Redskins' stadium (yes, I used to be a Redskins fan before moving to Dallas, Cowboys Country!). My mother was the president of the group and I published the newsletter. Art was the only man in our group, but his incredible talent more than made up for the lack of other men!

Braided Cross Stitch is a well-written book. The first chapter is devoted to explanations and illustrations of the stitch, followed by several pages of color pictures and projects. Art closes with a chapter on how to design your own braided cross stitch piece, and a Question-and-Answer 'clinic'.

My mom gave this book to me. It is still available at Amazon and on E-bay. I highly recommend it as an addition to your own library!

Be studious! Be searching! And I'll be back!!


Three Generations of Creative Women!

Well, actually, at least four, but I can't find a pic of my grandmother right now!

My mother with her Mariner's Compass piece

Then me, my brothers (both of whom are engineers like my father) and Mom

And then my treasure, my daughter Katie Jane.

Katie is also the fifth generation of the women in our family to have Jane for a middle name -- Katherine Jane, Sarah Jane (me!), Lois Jane (Mom), Charlotte Jane (Grandmom) and Sarah Jane (great grandmother).

Be loving! Be learning! And I'll be back!!


And the First Picture Resides in the Place of Honor!

And, in my dining area on my buffet sits the Proud Grandma's First Picture of Preston in its Place of Honor!! OMG, one more time, I'm SO excited and thrilled and entranced and WWHHHHEEEEEEEEE!!! Be exploring! Be observant! And I'll be back!!

May I Present My Grandson's First Picture...!!!!

Oh my goodness, I'm SO proud...here is the First Picture of my new grandson, Preston Alan Birbeck!!!

Katie, my Treasure, sent me a letter which I received yesterday. Enclosed was her first sonogram! There's the white wavy I guess amniotic fluid on your left, and Preston is right in the middle, with his head on top (instead of upside down as they so often do...!!!) and part of his arm, and see his little spine so nicely delineated right down the middle??!! I'm excited and entranced and just beside myself!! Although, just for the record I still think I'm too damn young to be a grandma (of course, when IS it ever the "right age"?!!)...

So my Treasure is having a Little Treasure, ok, gotta say it one more time, I'm THRILLED!!!

Now I have to finish the multi-colored crocheted baby blanket I had started, then I have to do a baby quilt in blues, and a little hat and pair of booties. HMMMMM, there will be a LOT of pix in the next few weeks...I'm DETERMINED to get this stuff done before Preston joins us in this world. I only just last month finished the Beatrix Potter baby quilt that I had started for Katie 18 years ago...(*GRIN*)!!

Be excited! Be thrilled with your life -- there's ALWAYS something to bring you joy!! And, I WILL be back!


And Then Again...! (OR -- Oh Noooo, More UFOs!)

Figures. I go public with two little UFOs, something (out of the MANY!) that won't discourage me or defeat me, and guess what. I'm defeated. I can't find the cards for the Thank You, and I can't find the correct red thread for the rose. (*rolls her little eyes*). BUT, that's because I'm still getting my workroom together and unpacking boxes. When Sainted Child was living with me (you'll know her from previous posts as "The Teen With the Jeans" or "What Aspect of Sewing Fills You With Dread"!!), all my stuff got boxed and put in my bedroom. There WAS enough space to walk between the boxes and the closet...ok, CREEP through that space (*grin*). Those of you with the Returning Child Who Moves Out and Comes Back syndrome will appreciate the issue!

SO, rallying, I found YET another UFO. OK, I've found like LOTS and LOTS!!. But this one, although more time-consuming because less finished, still stands a good chance of being done during the time limit our group (stitchinfingers -- click or see badge on sidebar) has set ourselves. It's one of the "Beyond Crossstitch" series of Victoria Sampler, called 'Azaleas'. I've done two others by VS, I'll have to find them and post pix because I enjoyed doing them. They work up quickly, are quite pretty, and can be finished in a variety of ways. NAYY!

Be brave! Be fearless! And I'll be back!!


You Never What You'll Find...

Poking around through people's comments on the September TIF Challenge, it's such fun seeing others' blogs and their interpretations, so beautifully rendered, of each month's challenge. Along the way, I found this "Brain Scan" quiz, which was a lot of fun to take! Here's my read-out:

Sarah, you possess an interesting balance of hemispheric and sensory
characteristics, with a slight right-brain dominance and a slight preference for
visual processing.
Since neither of these is completely centered, you lack
the indecision and second-guessing associated with other patterns. You have a
distinct preference for creativity and intuition with seemingly sufficient
verbal skills to be able to translate in any meaningful way to yourself and
You tend to see things in "wholes" without surrendering the ability
to attend to details. You can give them sufficient notice to be able to utitlize
and incorporate them as part of an overall pattern.
In the same way, while you are active and process information simultaneously, you demonstrate a capacity for sequencing as well as reflection which allows for some "inner
All in all, you are likely to be quite content with yourself and
your style although at times it will not necessarily be appreciated by others.
You have sufficient confidence to not second-guess yourself, but rather to use
your critical faculties in a way that enhances, rather than limits, your
You can learn in either mode although far more efficiently
within the visual mode. It is likely that in listening to conversations or
lecture materials you simultaneously translate into pictures which enhance and
elaborate on the meaning.

It is most likely that you will gravitate towards those endeavors which are predominantly visual but include some logic or structuring. You may either work particularly hard at cultivating your auditory skills or risk "missing out" on being able to efficiently process what you
learn. Your own intuitive skills will at times interfere with your capacity to
listen to others, which is something else you may need to take into account.

For more fun seeing everyone's submissions, click here and