And So We Begin

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Late in 2013 a friend directed me to this post on a favorite blog.  We talked about wanting to make 2014 the year of living deliberately.  I was inspired to be more discerning in where I focused my energy and choosing to plan over my usual flighty approach to things.  Shortly after the new year my world tilted on its axis and while there were some good memories made in 2014, I carried with me some things that weighed heavily on my spirit during the year.  My eyes were opened wide with wonder for the new experiences I embraced, which was a much-needed counterbalance to my heart’s ache over the empty spaces.

It was only in the last weeks of December that I was able to pause and be still and sit with it all.  What I learned in those solitary moments bathed in white twinkle lights was that it is truly time to slow down, to take care of myself, and to be deliberate in my actions.  So much of my life is internal.  I get caught in my thoughts and my dreams and my plans, but to really and truly live deliberately I have to put actions behind those intangible thoughts.  I have learned that I am resilient.  That even when it seems as if everything that was a constant in my world is stripped away, and even when it feels like God has hit me over the head with a 2×4 to get my attention, I’m still standing.

So now the challenge is what to do with what I now know?  What do I want to create in 2015 for my life?

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I want to focus on good stuff.  I know that sounds overly simplistic, but that’s what I want to do.  I want to be happy.  I want to be my authentic self and all that that brings with it.  I want to be excited about life and not just going through the paces.  I want to open myself up to all that life has to offer – even though that means being vulnerable.  I don’t want to look back on 2015 and say “I wish I could have…”  And the critical thing for me lies in the act of doing, not just thinking about and planning, but the actual doing.

So here is what I’m doing –

★ I want to nurture my relationships.  The past few years have been so full of protecting myself from hurt and anger and all those messy emotions that are just part of life.  I shut down and insulated myself against anything that might find the smallest chink in my armor and unravel me.  I want to allow myself to love and be loved, to reach out and connect and be open to giving and receiving. I’ve already started working on a clean slate and letting the past go and have reached out to a couple of people in the hopes of starting a fresh conversation between us.

★ I want to read more this year, and read more involved books and a little less of the potato chip variety.  I set the same goal of reading 25 books that I had last year on Goodreads.  I’ve started reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.  After seeing the mini series, it was a perfect choice to pull off the shelf.

★ I want to spend more time on my spirituality.  One of the things I thought about last year was reading the Bible. This weekend I downloaded the She Reads Truth app and started the Bible in a Year plan.  It’s feeding my soul.

★ I want to be more active.  I’ve spent so much time thinking about and goal-setting about losing weight and getting healthy, etc. but it’s time to focus on the doing.  The 2,015 miles in 2015 challenge on Instagram immediately struck a chord with me.  What better way to encourage myself to get moving?  One step at a time!

★ I want to learn new things.  In the past I have allowed myself to become paralyzed by not doing new things for fear of failing.  But if I never try, I never practice, I never take that first step – I will never grow.  I’m learning to knit and I’m practicing because it’s not perfect and I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing, but I’m learning.  And I’m learning because it makes me happy.

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I think 2015 is going to be challenging, but I hope also it will be rewarding.  I like to think that January is an empty bowl, full of promise and possibility of what’s to come.

And so it begins…

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November in Photos

Nov 2014 in Photos

★ November 1st I was still in Houston for the Houston Quilt Show.  I bought some fabric, and saw some amazing quilts in the show.

★ I made some zipper bags out of some linen panels I bought at the needlework show in Paris.  I was deathly afraid of putting in a zipper, but it wasn’t that hard.  The bag with the armadillo panel was a gift for a friend’s birthday and the bat bag is for me.

★ Continuing my Kresley Cole reading.  The covers for these are ridiculous, but I enjoyed the books.

★ Sweater weather is here!

★ Thut keeps me company when I’m working late nights.

★ Attended a beautiful wedding that was entirely book themed.  Each of the tables at the reception was identified with famous literary couples, we were at the Marius & Cosette (from Les Miserables) table.  And I loved the centerpieces – books and lanterns.  So perfect!

★ The apple obsession continues – for Thanksgiving Eric made our traditional breakfast of apple pancakes but we used Honeycrisp apples for the first time and then we also made apple crisp for dessert with Granny Smith, Fuji, and Gala apples.  Both were super yummy!

★ On Thanksgiving Day I stitched on my ornament for my guild’s ornament exchange.  I loved the snowy scene.

★ I bought this book and am so looking forward to reading it.  Perfect for the season.  I also bought fabric and thread in the color “snowflake” for a Christmas piece I want to start.

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October in Photos

Oct 2014 in Photos

★ Picked up The Fiery Cross again to read.  I just can’t seem to get through this book.  I was inspired to pick it back up after watching the first episode of the Outlander series.

★ So, yeah, the Fiery Cross got put down again and I picked up a new book/series – Kresley Cole comes highly recommended and a friend loaned me two of these books to read forever ago.

★ My new custom polish from Literary Lacquer called The Blind King (Black Dagger Brotherhood) – it has a crazy amount of holo in it! So pretty in the sunshine!

★ After 8 years we finally framed our map of Rome that we used on our honeymoon.  I’ve been wanting to frame it since then but it was lost for a long time, found, and now finally framed.  I love how it shows a lot of use and our circled locations.

★ October means State Fair time!  We always stop to hear the Killdares play and they never disappoint!

★ New phone (gold!) and I finally found the perfect phone case – Rifle Paper Co.’s Paris map.  Had to try two different places because the first shop had sold out.

★ The end of the month I headed out of town for the Houston Quilt Show (which is huge compared to the Dallas Quilt Show) with a friend.  We had a fabulous time, and I was completely inspired by everything I saw.  Lots of great vendors and the quilt show itself was amazing.  Since we were there on Halloween, I indulged in the signature drink at the hotel bar – Dracula’s Kiss.  Mmmmm!

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September in Photos

Sept 2014 in Photos

★ The month started a bit rough.  I always seem to gravitate to Beyoncé’s music when I’m feeling sad and hurt.

★ Still loving my Rifle Paper Co. Secret Garden calendar

★ Found the perfect dupe of NARS Stormbird, Sinful Colors Smokin’ Hot

★ I found my creativity!  Spent an afternoon with a friend cutting fabric for my Lady Mary quilt out of the Downton Abbey fabrics.  Worked on three quilt tops and immersing myself in color.  Pulled out the perfect Fall piece to stitch on too.

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August in Photos

August 2014 in Photos

★ Spent the first part of the month in Mesa, AZ for a stitching workshop with four girlfriends.  Visited a fun quilt shop while we were there and of course had margaritas!

★ Wore my CrowsToes Huginn & Munin polish – in. love.

★ Dress shopping to find something to wear to a wedding.  Came home with these two lovelies. Wore one to the wedding and one to my birthday dinner.

★ The wedding was held in an art gallery, which was so fun.  After the wedding, a dinner was held at a fantastic Turkish restaurant.  I always enjoy the belly dancers as well.

★ Participating in the YogaGirl challenge – I did yoga!

★ Pulled out my Angel cards in order to focus my thoughts.  Interesting that I pulled Creativity when my life felt anything but creative right now.  It was good to meditate on what creativity means to me.

★ Coincidentally I share a birthday with Tori Amos.  Love her so much, her music gets inside me and wraps itself around my emotions

★ Birthday dinner at Ziziki’s Greek restaurant wearing the beautiful ring Eric gave me and beautiful birthday roses

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July in Photos

July 2014 in Photos

★ Outdoor jazz concert working on the mini quilt for the swap

★ Finished swap mini quilt – so in love with that octopus!

★ Finished my re-read of Interview with the Vampire – my copy is autographed too!

★ Another re-read – this book has been on my mind a lot lately for some reason, so I decided to re-read it.  I absolutely loved this series by Zelazny

★ My ongoing travel project – hexies – perfect summer project Hex on the Beach quilt

★ Catching up on Downton – watched the end of Season 3 and the first two episodes of Season 4.  This show is breaking my heart!

★ New nail polish (365 Days of Polish Running Through Meadows) and new maxi dress

★ Wearing my new infinity scarf – my birthday gift from Sylvia – love it!

★ Started a new book while waiting to board my flight to AZ.  Enjoying the first book in this new series by Christina Lauren.

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June in Photos

June 2014 in Photos

★ My dad collected stamps, so I saved the cancelled stamps from envelopes for years.  I’d gather a bunch and then bring them to him.  It was always fun to see his reaction when I brought one he hadn’t seen before or needed.  I stumbled across these cleaning out my desk and was overcome with missing him.  I don’t even know what to do with these stamps now, it feels wrong to just throw them away.  His birthday was this month too, so he was on my mind a lot.

★ I spent a good portion of the month working on a mini quilt for a swap I was participating in.  I loved working with these nautical blues.

★ I stitched a pincushion for a sweet friend’s birthday.  To celebrate her birthday we went on a little roadtrip and spent some time exploring this fun shop – I loved the lavender and the vintage bottles of buttons.

★ I finished my Kiss Kiss quilt made of Tula Pink’s Parisville line.  I’ve been enamored with this line since I first stumbled across it – the Marie Antoinette cameos are my favorite!  I was excited to bring it for show & tell at quilt guild.

★ Loving Lana’s new song

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May in Photos

May 2014 in Photos

★ All about the glitter polish this month – Orly Macabre Masquerade and Finger Paints Enchanted Winter

★ Back to reading Interview with the Vampire

★ Delicious caprese burger Eric made

★ Bounty from our garden – little tomatoes and lots of herbs

★ #tacotuesday

★ So so so in love with this CrowsToes polish in Huginn & Munin from the 9 Realms collection

★ Lots of rain = migraine = Mountain Dew

★ New fabric haul

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April in Photos

April 2014 in Photos

April was a good month!

★ Spring mani using OPI’s Do You Lilac It?

★ We celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary with Thai food

★ I treated myself to this gorgeous statement necklace from JCrew.  I call this my Marie Antoinette necklace.  I wore it to a goodbye party for a friend who is moving

★ Received butterLondon Trustafarian as a RAK – in love with this color!

★ Celebrated a bonus from work by purchasing an iPad Mini for myself

★ Laughed myself silly reading this gem by Alice Clayton – looking forward to the next in the series

★ Eric slipped this little heart into my lunch box – love that man!

★ Finally bought a statement bubble necklace – got a fantastic deal on this one from T&J Designs, and I LOVE yellow!

★ Sleepy Thutmose “supervising” while I baked a cake

★ Celebrated my promotion at work with Mexican food and margaritas!

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Playlist: Stormy Weather

Some things I’m loving this week…
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Spring is such a transformational time of year and it’s a juxtaposition in extremes – on the one hand full of color and flowers and new life but on the other hand it also brings with it a darker side.  Living in Texas, Spring brings with it storms of a fierceness that is both beautiful and frightening.  This week’s playlist was inspired by just that.

I’ve been obsessing over this polish for what seems like forever.  NARS Stormbird is a gorgeous grey with a blue undertone that was part of their Fall 2012 collection.  Scrangie described it in the bottle as “a thunderstorm brewing inside it”.  I actually own a “dupe” of this color, but I’m still hearing the siren song of Stormbird calling me.

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Eric and I recently spent three days watching back to back episodes of the first three seasons of Game of Thrones on On Demand.  I had to talk him into watching it, but after the first few episodes, he was hooked.  Of course, almost every episode we watched included a trailer for Season 4 that was starting that weekend, and the song HBO used was a brilliant choice.  I fell in love with the haunting tune, Chelsea Wolfe’s Feral Love.

 

We both were so glad we managed to get through all three seasons and enjoyed every bit of it.  I’m inspired to conquer reading book 2 now.  And in a strange coincidence, I received an email from one of the ladies in my guild pointing out Michele Carragher’s website.  She is a costume embroiderer who has worked on the costumes for Game of Thrones.  And I love this photo of her.
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I am absolutely amazed at the detail and talent in her amazing pieces.  I’m absolutely enthralled with her work.  I am going to make myself a goal to learn stumpwork and goldwork so I can add them to my needlework repertoire.

In an effort to finish up some of the decorating we’ve been doing at the house, I’ve been spending a bit of time on Houzz, which is a great site for ideas and inspiration, as well as sourcing pieces for home decor.  I was looking through dramatic rooms, specifically those with dark walls and came across this living room.

Of course I love the black walls, but what really struck me was the artwork.  The framed pieces flanking the fireplace are mesmerizing.  Skimming the comments told me that the artist is Todd Murphy.  I believe both of these pieces, the straw goose and the straw dress, were both available through Restoration Hardware at one point.  I loved that the images were floating on a black background, and when hung on a black accent wall the effect is striking.  So, then I went on my own “goose chase” so to speak and found a number of Murphy’s other pieces that I fell in love with.

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What a statement piece for a room!  I especially love this one…

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I’m wishing I could add one of these to my own decor.

What’s on your playlist this week?

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