A Junkie’s Confession

I have a problem, and it’s time I come clean. I live for the thrill of the next high, the rush of adrenaline when I find the next drug. It’s a hard, hard life, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop myself from seeking out the next thrill.

I am a craft junkie.

I started out when I was just a child, with embroidery. My mom would let me buy those iron on Aunt Martha design envelopes and some embroidery floss and a little tea towel and off I’d go. It was a gateway craft, though – enough to get me hooked on making things, but not enough to satisfy my desire, no, my NEED, to be creative. I did some latch hook kits, then I did a little sewing of things like kids’ shorts, slacks for myself … I progressed in to making fabric covered photo albums when my kids were small. Then I found quilting, which led to more sewing. And soap and candle making. And now I have found my next big thing – vinyl.

I bought a Brother ScanNCut when they first came on the market a few years ago. I used it a few times, but honestly, it scared me so much I was almost afraid to touch it. It just seemed so complicated to use, and I was afraid I would do something to really screw it up. But one of my New Year’s (Non-) Resolutions for this year was to learn how to use this machine. And I can say with some pride that I’ve at least conquered my fear of this machine, and I’m using it to make t-shirts and other items. And I’m having a BLAST with it!

So that I could get the full effect of the vinyl, I also bought a heat press, and the combination is exciting and fun. Aaaaaaaaand … it’s led to a new business line for me (oh come on, you HAD to see THAT coming!). It started with this t-shirt I made for my daughter …

She saw a similar design at a show we were at earlier this month, and she really wanted it. The shirt she saw was a tank top, and the cost was more than $40! I didn’t have a tank top, but I did have a tee, and so we tried it out. Not only did she love the way it turned out, so did many of her friends.

 

These are shirts I’ve made for her friends, who wanted their home state instead of a heart inside the Texas. I’ve started calling it the “Transplanted Texan” shirt. LOL

I also bought a few transfers and tried those out as well …

But my plan is to do more of my own designs and fewer purchased designs.

You can look for these on the website in the near future; I’m just want to get some better photos first. 🙂

 

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A little of this, a little of that …

Well, another month went by and I didn’t post. But this time, I think I have a pretty good excuse … well, I guess you’d say it’s multiple excuses, but here goes. First off, Chris and I set off on a whirlwind adventure in the middle of April. We took a road trip vacation to New Mexico and Arizona. Then we went east to see my grandmother in Alabama. When I returned to work after a two week absence, I found that a deadline that was supposed to be the middle of May had been moved up to the end of April! So I spent the rest of the month (and the first week of this month) working on that. And finally, this weekend we had our grandson, as my daughter and her husband pack up their home in Killeen and move back to Houston. So see, I haven’t just been slacking off – I’ve been legitimately busy! Every time I’ve thought about sitting down and writing a blog post over the last month, I either haven’t been near a computer, or I spent hours in front of one for work. It just wasn’t in me to get a new blog post out. But I’m back, and I have a lot to share over the coming days!

First off, a quick run down of our vacation. We were gone for a week, but we could have easily spent a month out west checking things out. We had a blast, and we ate a lot of good food while we were making our rounds. Our first stop was in Amarillo, Texas. People who aren’t from Texas don’t seem to understand that it takes me a full day to drive out of this state going any direction but due East, or South (and right now, Mexico isn’t where I want to be). So it took us about 10.5 hours to get to Amarillo from home. Of course, we stopped a few times for bathroom breaks and meals, but the majority of that time was driving. While in Amarillo, I really wanted to see the Cadillac Ranch and Palo Duro Canyon. Can you believe we FORGOT Cadillac Ranch?! We didn’t even realize it until we’d made it across the state line into New Mexico! So we’ll have to go back and see that sometime soon. But Palo Duro Canyon! Oh, it is amazing! The second largest canyon in the United States, I can say it doesn’t really rival the Grand Canyon, but you can drive down in to it and it’s amazing.

Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the US, behind the Grand Canyon

Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the US, behind the Grand Canyon

We really want to go back and spend more time there, because we really only scratched the surface. It’s just beautiful; the pictures really don’t do it justice!

From there, we headed to New Mexico. We were following the old Route 66 as much as we could, and we went through several small towns. Unfortunately, we did this on a Sunday, so it looked like a lot of things were closed. We learned that it’s probably best to do that on a weekday. And that works well for us, the next time we want to go that direction, because when we got to Albuquerque, we found that the trolley tour doesn’t run on Monday! I believe that if it did run on Monday, we  would have had a much different vacation, but as it was, we stayed in Albuquerque on Sunday night and then checked out Old Town Monday morning.

The San Felipe de Neri Church is now several shops.

The San Felipe de Neri Church is now several shops.

We made a decision on the fly, since the trolley tour didn’t run on Monday, to head out to Arizona and go check out the Grand Canyon. Confession time: I didn’t think I would like the Grand Canyon that much. I thought I’d walk up, look at it and go, “Yep, that’s a really big hole.”

I should have known better.

On the way to the Grand Canyon, we made a stop at the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Oh. My. Gosh! I was under impressed with most of the Painted Desert, but there were parts that were awe inspiring.

The Painted Desert wasn't really what I expected, but it was still beautiful.

The Painted Desert wasn’t really what I expected, but it was still beautiful.

Then we learned about the Village on the Rio Puerco.

The Village on the Rio Puerco

The Village on the Rio Puerco

Base of walls for the rooms of the Native Americans who lived here.

Base of walls for the rooms of the Native Americans who lived here.

Hieroglyphics everywhere!

Hieroglyphics everywhere!

But then we got to the Blue Mesas …

Our first glimpse of the Blue Mesas

Our first glimpse of the Blue Mesas

Beautiful, aren't they?

Beautiful, aren’t they?

I could have stayed here for hours, but we didn't really have hours ...

I could have stayed here for hours, but we didn’t really have hours …

Then there was a lot of petrified wood. I mean a LOT …

Petrified wood

Petrified wood

More petrified wood

More petrified wood

One more ...

One more …

Next time, I’ll share some photos of the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad and Roswell, New Mexico!

McCulloch County Courthouse

Designed by Martin & Moodie of Comanche, Texas, the McCulloch County Courthouse was completed in 1900. It’s in the Romanesque style, and it’s really very beautiful. Just five miles from the designated center of Texas, Brady (the town where the courthouse stands) calls itself “The Heart of Texas.” It has a clock tower, but no actual clock, which is sort of weird. I don’t think one was ever installed.

Anyway, it’s a beautiful example of architecture …

McCulloch County Courthouse

Clearly something is missing here ...

Clearly something is missing here …

Coryell County, Texas

Wesley Clark Dodson was obviously well respected in the Texas county courthouse scene. He designed the Coryell County courthouse and it was completed in 1897, some 20 years after the McLellan County Courthouse was completed. Coryell County was done in the Victorian style, and while it isn’t nearly as big as McLellan, it’s still very pretty. Judge for yourself:

 

W.C. Dodson, Architect

Coryell County, Texas Courthouse

 

It’s a little difficult to see because of the trees, which has me thinking that I might need to make a winter season trip to get a better shot or two so that the architecture can really shine. It’s such a sacrifice to go back and see all these courthouses again, ya know. 😉

McLellan County Courthouse

One of the most surprising courthouse examples we saw on our trip was McLellan County. It is just beautiful, and we really weren’t expecting anything like it. We thought we’d find another small-ish courthouse, but clearly we were way off base. Completed in July 1877, this is another structure designed by Wesley Clark Dodson. It is the fourth courthouse that McLellan County had built, and it is by far one of the most impressive, beautiful courthouses in Texas.

Wesley Clark Dodson, Architect

McLennan County, Texas Courthouse

Tower View, McLennan County Courthouse

Tower View, McLennan County Courthouse

Vacation – Texas Style

This week, I’m on vacation. I’m not a big fan of vacations in the summer – they are usually hot, often muggy, and always too crowded. But this year, I made an exception. My daughter lives in the Killeen, Texas area, with her soldier husband, and she was expecting their first child – my very first grandchild! A week past due, the plan was for her to go into the hospital on Sunday and be induced, so we drove up on Saturday so we could spend a little time with them before the Big Event. Unfortunately, like all good plans, it didn’t work out quite the way we had expected it would. Even as Chris and I arrived in Killeen, a water main was shooting water 60 feet into the air, rendering everyone in that area with severe water restrictions, and no water at the hospital on Fort Hood. Sunday turned into Monday, and Monday was looking like Tuesday, so Monday, Chris and I took off to see some sights. The kids had to hang around the area just in case Kerstin got called in for the induction – she had an hour to get there after they called – so they didn’t accompany us. And honestly, it’s not really their “thing” to go off driving around Texas. But for Chris and I … well, we love it.

Over the course of Monday and Tuesday, we were able to visit 14 counties in the central Texas area, and I got photos of every one. I will admit, there are some I need to go back and re-do, because they just didn’t turn out quite as well as I had hoped. But overall, I got at least one decent shot of the exterior of each courthouse. This is the first one – Lampasas County, in the city of Lampasas (as we go through these over the next few weeks, you’ll find that the naming conventions for counties and county seats aren’t exactly original).

The courthouse in Lampasas County, Texas, was built in 1884.

The courthouse in Lampasas County, Texas, was built in 1884.

 

On Tuesday afternoon, Kerstin finally was admitted to the hospital to be induced. And on Wednesday morning, at 8:25 am, my beautiful little grandson came into this world. He is sooooooooo cute, and looks just like his mommy when she was a baby (and really, she hasn’t changed too much LOL).

My super cute grandson!

My super cute grandson!

 

I still have today and tomorrow off, so I’ll probably just hang around the house (we came home last night, as my daughter will be in the hospital for two days and BOY are those rooms SMALL!), and do some sewing. But we had a fabulous time in Killeen!