Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's fall

Fall has arrived in Kansas and I am so very happy for so many reasons.

The temperatures are cooler. (Finally!)

Fall favorites like pumpkin inspired foods (bread, lattes, everything!), hot cocoa, and layers are returning.

Our state fair is held in September.  I love the state fair - in small doses.

It's football season!

And, in Kansas, we have wild sunflowers everywhere.

I traveled for work and had a week out of state.  I was so excited when our plane landed and I saw that the sunflowers were still in bloom.  It was a treat to see these giant sprays of flowers along the roads, sometimes filling entire expanses of land and other times, just a lone plant anchored between the cracks of the pavement.

This Kansas girl loves her sunflowers.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ahead of schedule

On Labor Day weekend, we had a list a mile long and the benefit of having family members available to help at different times throughout the weekend.  I also had to work mid-day on Saturday which meant we had to keep to a really tight schedule to make sure I wasn't late for my work commitment.  Our Saturday morning list included finishing some cleaning and repair work on a rental home that we own in a neighboring town.  We were really proud of ourselves when we headed back to our house ahead of schedule.  Then, things got interesting.
We were headed down a county highway and all of a sudden there were cows in the road.  What?  Cows.  Standing in the middle of the road.

We realized that the farmer traveling towards us had the gate to his stock trailer fly open and most of his trailer full of cows spilled out onto the highway.  All the girls looked uninjured, but a little dazed.  We pulled over and so did a young guy in the pick up behind us.

My dad was with us and he drove our truck up a few yards and jumped out to stop traffic.  My husband, the other good Samaritan and I tried to keep the cows together and on the road instead of in the bean fields on either side of the road.  The farmer was quick enough to close the trailer to catch a few of the cows before they exited.  Still, we had eight or so cows in the middle of a highway with cars backing up in either direction.

The farmer decided that running them back a couple of miles to the pasture from which they originated would be the best bet.  My husband accepted this challenge - he drove them all the way back to the pasture on foot.  He checked is run for the day off his list.

The whole situation was made better by a series of fortunate events.  When it first happened, there wasn't any traffic except the truck and trailer, us, and the other good Samaritan.  We had just enough people to help keep the cows together, stop traffic, head them off at the appropriate corners (we had to make two corners and the turn into the pasture), and everyone was willing to help.

My dad and I picked up the farmer's wife because she had jumped out to help and the truck and trailer sped off to help us find the pasture.  She could not have been more thankful for the help.  We had a lady delivering mail that stopped and help turn the cows into the pasture.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when all of the cows were back in the holding pen.

As we all climbed back into our truck, my husband laughed and told me that we were still two minutes ahead of schedule.

The funniest moment was when I was running down the highway.  My dad had pulled ahead and my husband was way ahead behind the cows.  One of our friends and his daughter pulled up along side me and asked, "What are you doing?!!!"  I tried to explain that a farmer lost some cows on the highway and my husband was running them back to the pasture.  Of course, that is what everyone does on the Saturday of a long weekend.

(The picture above is not of the cows that enjoyed the 5K run with my husband.  These girls were in a pasture near our house two springs ago.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sometimes the joy is in the process...

Sometimes the joy is in the process or the making of something and sometimes it is in the finishing.

At the Dirt, Denim and Diamonds conference, I learned a new stamping or scrapbooking technique and I was inspired to use it to make use of some of my paper scraps.  It was so simple, yet brilliant!  The flag or banner graphic element has been showing up in a lot of publications lately and I always thought to use it in crafting would be a test of patience to try to make perfect scissor cuts or to somehow fold and un-crease paper...?  I know...I feel really silly now that I know the much easier way.

Almost immediately after the conference, I pulled out several piles of my paper scraps.  I have this thing about keeping all of my paper scraps because it would be wasteful to throw away even a small square of beautifully printed paper when it could be used on some project.  I have baskets and baskets of scrap paper.
Now that I had some inspiration from Pinterest, a new technique, and of course, loads and loads of paper, I wanted to make some cards.

Card making might be a little ambitious given the time I have available during the late part of August and the fall in general.  But, who am I to ever be realistic about what I can do in a given time.
So, I set out all of the supplies.
I experimented with the new technique.  Do you see how easy this is?  A square punch makes the cut - no folding, no lining up the scissor cuts.  There is some element of getting things "square," but it is not that complicated.
Now, I had a cute way to use some of my paper scraps. Oh, the ideas!
I had my three paper ribbons or banners ready to go.  And, this is where the project sat for roughly two weeks.  I decided that over the Labor Day weekend, I would finish it (and maybe make some more cards).  I did (finish the one card).  In full disclosure, it took all three days to do maybe a combined five minutes of hands-on work.  I would do a little bit and then be distracted by another priority and then a little bit more and finally, the ONE card was finished.

The mess is still on my studio table and all sorts of items are piling up around it.  But, I am so excited to have finished one card that I might just try to start another.  As silly as it sounds, even two minutes of creative work, even knowing I needed to run out the door in just another second, doing something creative helped reenergize me.