Song Lyrics+Ugly Fabric=Quilt!

What do you do when challenged with deadlines AND “horrible” fabric? Make one quilt that fits two challenges if you are me!

My local quilt guild, the Hospitality chapter of the Richmond Quilters Guild, put out the challenge “Music to my Ears.” I almost immediately had decided one of the songs from the band Squeeze would be my selection, because their lyrics always seem to be painting a visual image. 20160227-IMG_8638.jpg

And then, at our holiday party we had a round robin ugly fabric exchange where I ended up with eight 1/8th yards of fabric some would say only it’s mother could love.

As if by design the entire quilt unfolded in front of my eyes!  “Two fat ladies window shop something for the mantelpiece.”-(Pulling Mussels from the Shell.)

That incredible fruit lady fabric finally had a raison d’etre! Sketching and assembling the quilt was done very quickly. It all fell together like it was meant to be. The addition of the lyrics on the boardwalk was a last minute thought, when I realized the ‘planks’ of the boardwalk felt too clean. I probably should have checked how well the lyrics would fit.

The eight ugly fabrics are in the art hanging on the gallery wall–either as the frame or the art. (two of the pieces of art were additions from my very own well-loved stash.) The remaining piece I couldn’t work in ended up being the frame for the gallery sign. I dug in to my stash of alphabet stencils for the gallery sign and used Prismacolor, Copic and Micron pens to color and shade there and elsewhere on the quilt.

This is hanging at #MAQF Mid-Atlantic Quilt Fest through today and will then go to a local show at a church in Richmond for a bit.

*Mea Culpa. I have not posted a single photo from February!  I will make one big month-end post with an explanation and then strive to do better in March.

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And that’s January!

January was interesting. As usual with me, more photos were OFF prompt than on.

As you prepare for February, begin to get into good habits.

  • EDIT your January photos. Toss the bad ones.
  • Post-process the good ones. Upload to someplace safe. Not just your C Drive, but some cloud based storage. Try Smugmug, for example. I use the big powerful professional strength version, but you will get the same storage, privacy and ability to protect your photos with the basic packages.
  • Print something you LOVE! Delete from your phone all the excess.
  • Save a copy of the prompt calendar you use in your photo files on your phone for easy access. And, start again!

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Stay warm! #Snowpocalypse2016 #snowmageddon

More Notes From the Refrigerator Door

Since it seems like EVERYONE is about to be walloped, I thought I would pull out this essay I wrote eons ago.

2010 dec 13-8 copy

The first thing that you realize as consciousness overtakes your dream state is an odd quality to the light that hits your closed eyelids. It isn’t that squinty red feeling you get when toasting yourself on a beach, but a soothing whiteness. Your alarm clock hasn’t gone off yet, so you feel obligated to just lie there, trying to interpret the feeling. You realize that there is no sound in your world. You don’t hear the cars and doors and dogs and birds and all the other white noises that tend to occupy space and time.

The sounds you never notice until they leave a void. You feel particularly comfortable, not as if you would dread getting up, but you don’t have the same desire to stay abed…

View original post 917 more words

Two weeks in…

It is fully 2016. People have stopped saying, “Happy New Years” when they greet you; only the closest of those who you don’t see often are still asking how your holidays were.

Instead, we are looking at the last two weeks and wondering, HOW did I think I could make a resolution to do (or not do) THAT EVERY day for a YEAR???

So, how are those resolutions going?   Two weeks in, I freely admit to having made no resolutions–(you can check my previous posts to see if there is anything ironclad!) But, those things that I decided I would attempt—


Pushing myself.

Drink more water! I received this Tervis water bottle for Christmas. In the morning, I fill it up, and put two hair bands on it. As I refill during the day, I take off a band. The goal being more water, and it is working. Especially at work. I haven’t been perfect at it, but much more water, and less sweet tea.




Fresh start

An apple a day! I recall reading once how establishing new behaviors takes time and repetition. And that something like going on a diet, giving up all “XYZ”(which I never do) is harder than committing to do something like “eating an apple every day at 3pm.” The apple being the healthy alternative to that bag of chips you would have on your work break. Now, I don’t GET a work break at 3 every day. But I have been fitting in an apple almost every day somewhere. And, surprisingly, since the first of the year, I’ve had only two bowls of ice cream, because I will think about my apple-less day so far, and realize I don’t want to eat both and apple AND ice cream.  (I am NOT giving up ice cream, just for the record. Not even for Lent. Just want to clear that up.)

I have continued the #CY365 challenge in my own way; using prompts sometimes but just shooting other times.  Here are the rest of the photos I have taken for my first 16 days.

12 Photos.

I shoot a lot. I do a photo a day challenge; I have always tried to have my camera with me at all times. This has been made easier with the iPhone–I ALWAYS have a camera now! I started to look at the photos I took over the course of 2015….These are almost all chosen from my photo a day.

These are the 12 photos I liked best last year..of the almost 9k photos on Lightroom from 2015… I have chosen one a month as my favorite….(Yikes. There are a LOT of photos that need to be deleted!) ETA:  WHICH is YOUR favorite, and WHY?? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!!


Virginia weather dictates that before the first really crazy winter happens, the daffodils need to start popping through the ground….


Laylabug, trying out pigtail braids. I prefer contemplative photos very often, rather than the straight on, look at me cheesy smile.


Corondo Island with my Uncle Thomas, on his retirement.



TH (20 of 897)

Of the almost 600 photos taken on this wedding day, THIS is my hands down favorite.


Safety First!




As a rule, all my photos are available for purchase. If it is something more private, I may not have a link attached; please contact me for purchase information.

—Do you LIKE this? Share it, please!   My photos are available for purchase.  Follow me onFacebook. On Twitter, I am @rteest42 . @rteest42 for Instagram. My  Etsy shop!


This is why we can’t have nice things.

Just a random thought from a sinus-y, head-achy brain, that’s waiting for the caffeine to kick in.

I think Congress and the GOP in general are a pile of petulant children, not at all adults who care a whit about you and I, their constituents, and even less about governing. They care about posturing, however. They are afraid to utter a vocalization that will not tow the line of their silent partners–those with the moneybags; the ones who bought them their seats of power in exchange for their free will.

They want to make sure that whatever they say will play well and be bombastic  and loud and rally the people in the 10-20 second clips that will make the news.

Governing- not so much. Smokescreens- those they like.

President Obama has just done SOMETHING, ANYTHING, finally, about the issue that our country is being shot full of holes by people who feel their right to lug around and use a gun over-rides my right to LIFE, let alone liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What’s funny is they have been screeching “We don’t need new laws, we need to uphold the ones we have–” after EVERY mass shooting, and so, that is what President Obama has finally done. The majority of sane people agree this is a Smart Thing, (especially if they don’t have to say it on camera, with their name attached, in case they happen to be Republicans and will be ‘found out’.)

As expected, they’ve all* now come out screeching about how wrong the president is and how illegal it is for him to enforce the laws that already exist! (*If there are any GOP elected officials or candidates who haven’t, please share with me.)

Healthcare was dealt a similar fate. Back in the days before the ACA, there was this thing called RomneyCare, for the residents of Massachusetts. And President Obama wanted to avail the entire country of such a Wonderful Thing. So, he bent and he twisted and he sliced and he diced and he arrived at the admittedly not perfect ACA, which could be a lot better if the amount of energy put into fighting and destroying it were put into making it better. (But, hey, that’s just me.) Once out of the hands of the Republicans, it now has President Obama’s name attached to it, and has suddenly become the worst idea EVER.

And now, the Faux News is carrying on that President Obama is faking his tears about shot dead six-year-olds, and the GOP candidates say he is simply distracting us from the incipient horrors of Daesh by trying to keep American citizens from killing each other, and he should be more concerned with defeating Daesh. Considering the number of people murdered last year by Daesh in this country versus the number of people murdered by (formerly) law-abiding good guys with guns who went bad, I think the president is on the right track.

By the numbers.  (If you READ the article before belly-aching, you will see the author indicates the numbers are slightly off from reality, but the reality is that the CDC isn’t ALLOWED to collect all the information they need, and therefore the data comes from a variety of sources and is being approximated.)

So, to counteract this wily bit of distraction by the president, the GOP  has decided to attempt to defund the ACA and Planned Parenthood. AGAIN. (Head-scratching inserted here.)


Happy 2016!  Time to rip open that new calendar! Break out the gym membership card, give up all that chocolate, stop staying up so late reading; you know– it’s resolution time! Ha! Not here. I talk the talk, alright, and what do we gain from it? (I will resolve to doing ONE of these things.)

I know, I know. “Shush. Too. Perky. Not. Enough. Coffee.”

img_0677No resolutions from this woman. But a WORD for the year, that I can do.  This word came, as it does, in the same organic fashion I have grown to expect. It pops up and says “Hi, I’m your word: You get to deal with it now!” It won’t leave, and it  is noisier than the other words. So, I always go with it. Introducing—


It is certainly the right word for the year. Big changes afoot. Timmy JUST retired on Monday after 37 years! (He’s far too young to have worked that long, I know🙂 ) Yet, as he is  lacking a sufficient stash to be a gentleman of leisure–and he didn’t marry money– AND he keeps bringing home the wrong lottery ticket–he is going to be starting a new career on Monday.

This is huge as far as CHANGE goes; now I have more vacation days than he does!  But that’s probably OK; we can’t afford to have 6 weeks off if the paychecks are so much smaller. The REALLY big thing about this is that he will come home, EVERY NIGHT. He will not work 16 hour days, he will not have to go to work at midnight and get drafted to stay until 4pm the next day. He will SLEEP at night. And get up in the mornings! Talk about CHANGE!

“But,” you say. “That’s all well and good, and congratulations and all. But it’s YOUR blog, your word!”  True, that.

It IS time for change.  25 years in retail/management is long enough for anyone! So, what DO I want to do when I grow up? I am a creative problem solver…Now I have a problem to solve, too. But, some smaller changes can also be worked on, as well.

  • Can I become a finisher of quilts?
  • Can I change the desire to buy things; be happy with what I have?
  • Can I finally edit ALL the photos?
  • Can I do the dishes before I go to bed?
  • Can I change our eating habits?
  • Can I cook at home more?

It will be a big adjustment to our little corner of the world, this less money/ more time situation, but so much better, as long as we both approach this year as a time of change, of different, smaller expectations. I recall the truth of the saying, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

12435979_10208893178030679_1667159247_nThese are previous years words–click on any to read that years essay.


Have a GREAT year! (Do YOU have a word? How does it work for you?)

—Do you LIKE this? Share it, please!   My photos are available for purchase.  Follow me onFacebook. On Twitter, I am @rteest42 . @rteest42 for Instagram. My  Etsy shop!Photos, jewelry.