Try a Free Mini Class at Craftsy

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Things have been a little hectic at work and lately, I find I am not inspired to craft and sew. When I am feeling uninspired, what helps me is viewing new fabric lines and watching some Craftsy classes. The cool thing about these classes is they are yours forever. They never expire and now you can download the classes to your device for viewing when internet is not accessible.

Are you looking to take your crafting to the next level, or perhaps branch out and learn a new skill, but aren’t sure where to get started? Check out the Craftsy Free Classes, mini classes that allow you to sample everything from food classes (Who couldn’t use Complete Knife Skills with Brendan McDermott?), to quilting (How fun would A New Look at Longarm Quilting with Mandy Leins – FREE! be?), to photography (Seriously, Learn How To Take Professional Family Portraits with Craftsy for FREE! could only help us all.) and more!

Just register for your Craftsy account and get started!

Posted in crafts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Here is what’s been going on . . . as told by my iPhone

IMG_1035

There was swimming and napping and chillin’ in the sun!

IMG_0642  IMG_0608

IMG_0610  IMG_0617

IMG_0661  IMG_0660

and cooking and eating and chillin’

IMG_0637  IMG_0619

IMG_0495  IMG_1051

IMG_1124  IMG_0501

IMG_0913

IMG_0796

some serious Nerf gun wars,

IMG_0973

a little sewing,

IMG_0704  IMG_1077

IMG_0900  IMG_0902

IMG_1084  IMG_1092

IMG_1139  IMG_0339

a wedding

IMG_1143

and a new beginning.

IMG_0883

Posted in Family, Quilts, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

From Bats to the Blues

IMG_0392

Hello and welcome to almost Spring.

As a sun-lovin’ creature, summer is my favorite time of the year. In East Texas, we have had some 80 degree days and some in the 30’s. Weird weather going on but summer will be here soon.

IMG_0416

I have a made a couple of business trips lately where I had an opportunity to enjoy some of the local flavor of the area. Since my blog is really more like a personal journal, I want to journal those memories.

I visited Austin for a workshop with Tom Kulmann and David Anderson. They are with Articulate but probably best known for their outstanding blog, The Rapid eLearning Blog.

Well, if you live close to Austin or have ever visited you know that 750,000 Mexican free-tail bats arrive in Austin around March and you can watch them take flight through October. People gather at Congress Avenue Bridge around sundown to witness the flight.

Austin_bats

bats_in_flight

While it may look like smoke in the distance, those are actually the bats in flight.

IMG_0438

This past week, I visited St. Louis for USDLA. The last night there, a group of us went to a baseball game. The Busch stadium is great. I don’t think there is a bad seat in the place. I enjoyed the game but had trouble clapping for the Cardinals. I still don’t forgive them for the 2011 World Series.

Kim_Massie

Following the game, we walked a couple of blocks to a blues club, The Beale on Broadway.  There we met the Diva of St. Louis, Kim Massie. She was such an entertainer. She could sing like Aretha and really talked and interacted with the crowd. As a Motown fan, I definitely enjoyed my time there.

Hope everyone has a great week. Don’t take your time or your family for granted. We are not guaranteed another day.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

- Philippians 4:6

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hanging out with John Quinones

John Quinones, Cindy Smith

I just returned from the TxDLA conference and our opening keynote was John Quinones http://abcnews.go.com/WhatWouldYouDo/. John arrived the evening before he was to speak and came by the opening reception in the vendor hall. We asked if he would come by a social I was having for the Board. To our surprise, he did! And what a nice guy. He said a lot of people say, “we were poor and we didn’t know it” but he said, “we were poor and we knew it!”

John was a great guy who seems to genuinely care about people. The conference was great as always and the setting was beautiful at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. My room was upgraded by the hotel to a room with an adjoining parlor. . . sweet!

TxDLA

IMG_0353

IMG_0354

IMG_0355

I returned home just in time to enjoy Easter with the family. A tradition started many years ago by my mother-in-law Jo Nell Smith, is ham dressing at Easter. She taught me how to make and I have been continuing the tradition now for 24 years.

Easter, Jim and Cindy smith

Easter dinner

I wish I had set up the tripod and got a picture of everyone (or at least have taken a better picture) but I think the food was enjoyed by all.

What did you have for Easter dinner?

Posted in Family, holidays, TxDLA | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New Day

One day you wake up and your babies are toddlers. Then you turn around and they are in college, they are working, and they are having families of their own. You feel like your heart is going to burst because then they give you grandchildren! While raising your family, you do many things without thinking; you are planting a garden, canning, cleaning house, sewing, having a baby, washing clothes, helping with homework and starting school but something else has also changed. You are getting older.

You assume this will happen, heck, we hope this will happen but I know I didn’t think about what the reality would be. My new goal of running is making me open my eyes to what has been going on for the last forty years. It sounds cliche but where has the time gone? And if I am asking rhetorical questions, where did these flabby arms come from?

One day, you are in okay shape and then “BAM” it happened. You assume you would never change but it doesn’t work like that. You have to make a conscience effort to do the things that previously were just a part of your life. With no garden to tend, now I have to do squats. I can’t chase my children and pick them up and throw them in the air. Number one, I couldn’t catch them and two – they are too big. Now I need to lift weights and exercise.

As a new mom, I always wished children came with an instruction manual. Yes, there were books out that let you know what to expect when they are 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc., but nothing to tell you what to tell them what to do so they will believe in themselves, be the awesome individual you knew they were and have great memories of growing up. Nothing, to tell you how to handle those tough decisions that parents have to make. My decisions were often made by prayer and gut feelings. I’m sure my choices were not always the right one but now they get to make those same decisions for their family. Hopefully, they now understand better what me and their dad went through.

When my life made a turn (that I didn’t realized was even in motion), I sure could have used a book to wake me up. Hey, when you turn 30, better start laying off the fried foods. Okay, now you are 40, better start lifting weights. 50 – start those pre-menopausal vitamins and make a workout schedule and stick to it! That would have prepared me better for what I face now…that I have missed some precious years and now have to practice “catch up” time. But I am determined. It’s like competing in a race and always getting beat but in this race, the person beating you is you. I have bought books on running, have the best shoes for running and the appropriate spandex attire but what it boils down to is this is something I will have to work at. It is not going to come easy for me because there were many years that I was way too sedentary and frankly indifferent to maintenance. So why not give up? Because what would that book say at age 60, age 65, age 70? Do I want to still have this 25 year old image in my mind and not be able to run across the yard? Do I want to be too old to go and do everything I want to do? Yeah, I don’t think so. It sucks that now I will have to work at something that was so natural before but that is what it is. Time is speeding by me and I want to continue enjoying them. For me to enjoy the next 20, 30, 40 years, I have to stop taking things for granted.

Okay, I know I have been rambling. I think I am determined and scared. Scared that I may talk myself out of quitting again. I stink at running. I’m not stopping now but I know that it would be way too easy to stop for just a little while. What the 25 year old in me wants is to consider this a new day and start new habits that will stay with me for the next 25 years.

Here are workout songs on my playlist, don’t judge remember I have a 25 year old struggling to get out :)

  • Thrift Shop
  • Don’t Stop the Party
  • Shoop
  • Air Force Ones
  • Break Your Heart
  • Right Round
Posted in Exercising | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Weekend Update

Wesly_gerbil

Meet Mr. Little

This is just a short post to introduce you to the newest member of the Smith household (thankfully not this Smith household!)

Wesley_fifth_birthday
Wesley_Smith

 

Wes is five. WOW. No more babies in the family.

I think all of the kids had a great time with the bounce house, pinata, merry-go-round, pizza and cupcakes.

Jake_Nat

Addi_making_biscuits

 

 

 

 

 

Addi made biscuits Sunday morning.

Yep…making memories.

Hope your week is great!

Posted in Baking, Birthday, Family | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Quilt Con 2013!

Just a few of the quilts…

We have a lot of opportunities available to us. Some say our students act like they are entitled but don’t we all? Don’t we expect 24/7 movies, shows and news? Don’t we expect resources, tutorials and inspiration from the internet? I read or see awesome chances to expand my horizon. Normally, my reaction is thinking, “yeah, I should do that.” It reminds me of when I was younger and would offer an excuse for not doing something and the response to me would be yeah, well…”woulda, coulda, shoulda.”

When Quilt Con was announced, I mumbled I should go and a friend, Jana, said, “Yes you should!” Not really thinking about it seriously, I thought why not so I quickly registered before I could change my mind.

cindyandnat_moda

I’m glad I went.

Here is me and Natalie at the Moda BakeShop booth. Don’t you love the signs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Robert Kaufman’s booth, we decorated conference bags! Not exactly a work of art but lots of fun visiting with others attending the show. Quilters are the friendliest folks I have ever met.

Robert_Kaufman

Overall, the show was smaller than I had imagined but this is the first year. The quilting was pretty (don’t ask me about the f*** quilts) but not the first thing you tend to look at. It was the quilting, amazing skills and one name was repeated numerous times in the attributes…Quilted by Angela Walters (http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com/). I have signed up for one of her classes with Craftsy and am super excited to start. Oh, the Craftsy booth gave us all a free class!

I love being at home and working in the yard or sewing or piddling. I love my job (or did until last week) but it’s the easy way. It’s comfortable. It’s familiar and it doesn’t always require makeup. As the old saying goes, Life is Short so do I always want the easy way?

Sometimes it takes just a little effort to do something that will impact you or bring you inspiration or make the life for you and others around you richer.

Maybe I need to start reevaluating my excuses and adopt the would-could-should motto!

Posted in Quilts | Tagged , | Leave a comment