A Set of Jester Stockings and Holiday Row Houses

At the Red Dirt Art Festival in November, a family strolling through the part really liked my Jester Stockings and ordered a set for their holiday decorating. Their young daughter Collette very strongly wanted one in “GREEN” aka chartreuse, and then each parent chose one of my other jewel tones. “Could I stitch their names on the collars?” they asked. Of course! That was may plan all along! Then the Dad asked me what font I would use…I laughed! “MY font”, I replied! Their eyes had gone right to the stockings hanging in the booth, they hadn’t seen what else I do and didn’t realize that all the stitching I do is hand guided by me! Anyway, while I was writing up the order, the Dad noticed my row houses and asked for some of those as well.

I got them done just in time for the studio tour, and he came over to pick them up and was quite please with them. I only had a few moments that morning to take a few pix…editting them now I wish I’d had time to pin all 3 stockings in a more balanced configuration under the mantle – the 4 hooks I use for ours are permanently installed and I just used 2 of those and a quick thumbtack for the 3rd.







I’m so happy with these…and I’m so happy that I’ve got customers that share that vision!

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One Moment | 2 Weekends of Auditions!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, especially for my 17 year old Liam! I’ve been sharing his journey as a trombonist here on the blog because it’s a great way for me to keep track and remember all these milestones. I’ve also heard from some longt time readers that they enjoy hearing about it too, so win win!

His first college audition of  was at the Blair School of Music, which is part of Vanderbilt University, Saturday morning, Dec 6. He’s visited the school twice, one time just about 6 weeks earlier, so it was a great way to start the audition circuit. It also was the only one of their 3 audition weekends that fits into the grand plan we’ve mapped out on the calendar. At the music schools/conservatories he’s auditioning for, they either have 3 different audition weekends OR 1 single audition day, and these need to be done in person. They all fit together in such a way though that he CAN audition every place he wants to (assuming that he makes it through the pre-screening rounds, we still haven’t heard about those from 2 of the schools, Northwestern and Juilliard).

The original plan was for Andrew to go with him, because I had the holiday open studio to do, with postcards printed months ago. However, a couple weeks prior Andrew was told he had to do a presentation about the school of music to the Board of Trustees the same day as Liam’s audition, so it meant cancelling his ticket. Andrew spent some time on the phone earlier in the week with the hotel we had booked that was within walking distance of Blair, filling out a form and sending pictures of his credit card, so we thought we had arranged everything. Famous last words….

Anyway, here he is as I drop him off at the airport Friday early afternoon:


His flights were bothdelayed a bit, so didn’t get into airport until after 11. The shuttle bus we’d paid for shut down right at 11, so he had to take a cab and the cab drops him off at the WRONG Mariott, so he takes a cab to the second Mariott. (I’m finding all of this out by text in the middle of the “Feast of Lights” performance, most of it during the candelight portion so I’m desperately trying to not have anybody see me texting!)

He gets to the right Mariott and the desk clerk won’t check him in because “in the state of Tennessee it’s illegal for anyone under 21 to check into a hotel room”. We find this out 3 minutes from the end of the performance so thank God we can easily sneak out. Andrew calls the hotel and tells the clerk that he had called earlier in the week, explained the situation and filled out 2 forms, one with photocopy of credit card, that were emailed to him back to the hotel so that this would be all taken care of. Liam had the hard copies of these emails.

Desk clerk wanted name of person who did this, we go to Andrew’s office and he boots up his computer so he can find the emails. There is no name on the emails so he can’t tell the clerk what the name of the person was, just that he had called the number, pressed 0, and the clerk on the phone had transferred him to someone else who had said no problem, just fill out the forms. This goes round and round, Andrew says get me your supervisor, who was home. Supervisor gets called and Andrew goes through the whole story all over again.

In the meantime, I tell poor Liam to go lie down on a couch, but thank goodness he doesn’t. He stays right there at the desk and a line of drunk people starts to form behind him!

The new info Andrew finds out is that it’s because there’s a bar attached to the hotel, which is the reason why they won’t check Liam in (?don’t ask me!?) So he finally tells the supervisor, “fine, book him into a hotel that doesn’t have a bar, put him in a cab and don’t charge us a dime”. The supervisor calls the clerk back and tells him something, we don’t know what, but the clerk just hands Liam a key card and starts dealing with the drunks behind him. Whether he was lazy and didn’t want to find the new hotel or whether he wanted to deal with the folks behind him, Liam finally gets to the room at midnight! Phew!

The scariert part was I started texting/calling him at 6AM (4AM our time) and I got no response for 20 minutes. GAH! I was just about to call the clerk (who may have been the same one…) and ask him to knock on Liam’s door when he finally responded!!!! PHEW!!! But I’m now wide awake and get to spend the wee hours of the morning waiting to hear how the audition went!

He ended up getting a breakfast sandwhich from the coffee shop in the hotel, properly navigating the 1.2 miles to Blair, and checking in right on time, 7:45 for an 8:45 audition. He mentions a bit of the night before craziness to the admissions guy checking him in, and 30 minutes later Jeremy Wilson, the trombone prof, is knocking on the practice room door to check in with him and make sure he’s ok.

And he was fine! He played really well, with one funky mental slip (he played a spectacularly wrong note early in the slow orchestral excerpt, the “Tuba Mirum” from the Mozart Requiem). He stopped and asked for a re-start and  then played it as it should be played. He was especially happy with his “Bolero” excerpt – I’m sure you all know the tune, what you may not know is that the trombone solo is really quite high for them and it’s a very challenging excerpt to play. He also thought to snap a picture of Blair after the audition and post it on Facebook, that made me, the social media maven, very happy!

"College Auditions Part One: Vanderbilt"

“College Auditions Part One: Vanderbilt”

I realize as I’m writing this that most folks don’t know how a college audition would go. You usually have 10 minutes. Yup, all that time practicing for all those years ultimately boils down to how well you can show them what you can do in 10 minutes. You come prepared to play a couple of different etudes, at least one major solo work, and several standard orchestral excerpts. Each school may have a particualar set  of requirements for each of those, and of course those requirements are never the same! Anyway, there are several people in the room, usually at least all the low brass faculty, sometimes more. You hand them the list of what you are prepared for you to play and they start asking you to play things. The major pieces are big, so they’ll choose certain sections they want to hear and either tell you exactly where to stop, or they’ll stop you while you’re playing. The orchestral excerpts are usually quite short, because they’re just the hardest little exposed bits you have to play in an orchestra. Anyway, in 10 minutes, they should have been able to hear enough of how you can play in many different styles, hopefully encompassing all that you are as a musician!


Anyway, after the audition and photo, Liam had to go take a music theory test, and then met with Jeremy Wilson to talk. He then got have an early lunch with a friend who is a Freshman there and then he was able to get his shuttle back to the airport. Although the hotel experience was hellish, it actually probably makes Liam even stronger in their eyes, for him to have played so well after so little sleep. However, we won’t be having him making any other audition trips alone!


Hail the conquering trombonist! 30 hours round trip, on only 4 hours sleep (he can’t sleep on planes…)

No rest for the wicked though! Liam then had to work up a piece he hadn’t played in awhile for his All Southern Honor Groups audition the following Saturday, and finish memorizing 2 pieces for his Spotlight Awards audition the following Sunday! Here he is with his wonderful accompanist Lara Urrutia right after that audition, sigh, the lighting was horrible in the halls of the LA Music Center:


Since we were in LA, we of course had to go get lunch at Pizzeria Mozza:


A fun end to a CRAZY couple of weekends!

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Show Report | Holiday Studio Tour


Now that I’ve got my final exams graded, I’ve got some blogging catch up to do! The 6th and 7th was the fourth time I took part in an Artist’s Studio Tour. The week before was quite busy, so I barely got the place set up in time to sneak a few pictures. Here’s the…

One Moment | A Cleansing Rain after a Long Week

rainy rose

It’s been a busy week! Here on the blog, there’s been lots of comment approving going on, there were 199 entries in my giveaway, and as random.org would have it: Number 197 was the lucky one!  Victoria, who loves the Gerber Daisy color palette, is the lucky winner! (Victoria, if you’re reading this, you entered…

Giveaway | Give the Gift of Color!


It’s Giveaway Day over at Sew Mama Sew! (Actually, it’s all week long, with all sorts of bloggers having a giveaway on the same week!) so I’m participating by giveing away one of my scarves to one lucky commenter. If you’re new here – welcome! If you’re a big fan of color and fabric, you may want to…

Holiday Studio Tour is This Weekend!


Hooray, Redlands Area Artists’ Holiday Studio Tour starts tomorrow!  This is a fun, 2-day event this Saturday and Sunday, December 6 & 7 from 11 am to 4 pm. Seven artists who live in the Redlands, CA area will open their studios to share their process with interested art lovers. We will also have work available for…

Studio Snapshot | A Set of Jester Stockings and Holiday Row Houses


In little pockets of time I’ve been stitching up a set of 3 Jester Stockings (personalizing them with names on the collar) and a matching set of holiday row houses! I can’t wait to see them all together!

Meetup | December Goals

xmas tree

You can add me to the list of people who are freaked out about how little time there is between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! OK, let’s see where I am on my goals: November Goals More sateen clutches for Fall Shows November 15 100% Work on Book February 20! 30% Red Dirt Art Festival November 15 100% Teach…

Shopping Handmade for the Holidays | 2014


Ah, the weekend after Thanksgiving! So many advertisements from the big box stores! I find it frustrating that so many businesses turn the season of giving into a season of selling. However, I do love to give (and receive!) gifts! As much as possible, I like to give things I’ve made myself (or made with the…

Festival of Pie 2014


What a fabulous Thanksgiving we had! I spent most of Wednesday baking pies! I had some help from Liam, who made the filling for the sugar cream and the apple: and Logan, who made the filling for Derby pie: By the end of the day, I had made 9 pies: The looked fabulous cooling in…

Let the Baking Begin!

pie begin

Woot! Prep for Thanksgiving has begun in earnest! We’ll have a good 15 or so people here for dinner tomorrow, with another 30 (!) coming for the Festival of Pie later in the day! So, today is all about pie baking! I started by gathering all my tried and true recipes together, I am extra…

My Dream Dyeing Sink


Greetings from Scottsdale! Hubby had to go to the NASM (National Association of Schools of Music) conference and I came along with him. We’re staying at a fun resort where you get bagpipe music at sunset: Sunset bagpipes from the balcony! (6 floors up and 100 feet back, a safe distance to be from a…

A Happy Friday!


I got to email the two winners from my birthday giveaway today! First, Debbie H. was number 35 on my list of newsletter subscribers: And then the 12th commentor on the post was Helen who said: I’m glad to hear that (at least some) folks like to hear about my son’s acheivements, because I certainly…

Random Thursday!

happy birthday to me

I had a couple of things to share with you! First, this awesome picture of Logan holding my birthday cake last week: It’s so hard to take pix of lit candles + dark, and this was just a quick snap with my phone as they were singing happy birthday to me, I had to share!…

Show Report | Red Dirt Art Festival Fall 2014


Another Red Dirt is “in the can”! For an outdoor show this late in the year, we had amazingly good weather! It was overcast most of the day, but I never needed a jacket, and I was just wearing a 3/4 length linen shirt and heavy linen pants. Hah, while the rest of the country…

A New Batch of Sateen Zip Clutches Complete!


Well, I managed to make 8 new zip clutches this week, stitching away in little pockets of time. I didn’t take and share any in-process photos like I usually do, because I really didn’t know if I’d get these done, so wanted to use every second I could for sewing. These were very popular at…

Giveaway | Birthday Celebration!

It’s my birthday! WooHoo! I’ve been having a great year, so many exciting things going on, that I thought a fun thing to do to celebrate would be to have a giveaway, and share some color with both a newsletter subscriber and a blog reader! What’s the prize? Well, the winners will choose either one of…

Proud Mom Moment | Liam’s in the Newspaper Again

Liam pe

Liam has been home from the NAfME All National Honors Orchestra for 10 days. He was contacted by Penny Schwartz, a reporter for the Riverside Press Enterprise when he got home, she and David Bauman, (a photographer) came by the house last Tuesday. This morning we found this awesome article with a really stunning picture…

A Fun End to an Eventful Week!

liam and pals

Last week was so busy! First, Liam had a great time playing trombone in the NAfME All National Honors Orchestra in Nashville. He got to meet up with some friends he made at the ASTA All National Orchestra last Winter. Although these other 2 guys were in the band this time, they still could meet up…

Meetup | November Goals


November! Such an awesome month! The weather cools down, it even rained today, we get an extra hour of sleep, my birthday is 10 days a way, and at the end of the month is the Festival of Pie! October Goals Sateen clutches for Fall Shows October 15 100% Mail out giveaway Prizes October 15 100%…