3 posts categorized "Great Places"


A Book Break

So . . . . while our fingers & machines are stitching unendingly, I thought I'd try to distract you with some entertainment.  No, No, not that!  Not even a movie - enough of those!  Nothing on a screen.  How about a BOOK!?  I've got one that will make you drift away day-dreaming.  

This is the kind of book you'll want to read right next to the fireplace in your recliner, so throw your legs over an arm - get comfy now - and be sure your cream soda & popcorn are right there, and you'll probably need a down-filled pillow for something later (a shoulder or an elbow) . . . . (OK, go get your phone, but only because it's so terrible to have to move when everything's this perfect).  Now then, got everything?   Oh, yes, THE BOOK!

It's Susan Branch's year-long+ awaited "A Fine Romance" !!!!!!  It's finally here, and I ordered a copy.  You can see it below:


What a delight to see, read . . . did I say read?!   It is written in her own special hand - yes, as usual, the whole thing - and is FULL of photos of England and her totally delightful watercolors!   If you've read her blog (or follow it, as I do) you'll understand what I mean by saying you feel like you're right there and haven't missed a thing by being in your recliner!  Written like a journal, it takes you on a journey through the English countryside in search of insight into the lives of our most loved authors & artists, stopping at pubs, antique shops, gardens, homes and much more along the way.  It's a look at a part of England that happened centuries earlier, yet you see those very places in her pictures & watercolors.  She captures the feeling of a time long past, much of which is amazingly still in the present to enjoy.  But then that IS England!


A couple pages with pictures, her handwriting & touches of watercolor.  She provides a wonderful, interactive Appendix on her website, you won't want to miss it.  You can read it as you go (there are painted stars in the text where the Appendix contains further information, pictures, videos, etc.), or read through first in order not to interrupt the prose, then be sure to look at the Appendix later.


See her beautiful watercolor?  You can get her book on her website right here.  You can read her blog to find the closest place to you for her book signings & so many other things.  On her blog yesterday, she & Joe - the book is about their meeting & romance (charming) and their common desire to travel to England by ship - arrived at a small town for a book signing.  They parked at the town hall where she was scheduled to speak, but they noticed there was hardly anyone in sight; the streets were empty!  Now they began to wonder if anyone had come.  When they stepped inside, they realized Everyone had come - and emptied the streets!

The book is full of quotes and endearing comments, just like her blog . . . . just like her!  You won't want to miss it.  I am treating myself to a series of 'reads' where I find a quiet moment and plop into my chair for another installment.  Not too fast, I want to have something to look forward to for the next plop.  I'm already sorry it will be over, but thoroughly enjoying the now!  Part of that for me is having lived in England for a couple years.  We lived in a little village called Patrington in the north of England in Yorkshire.  I had the blessed opportunity to see village after village, take picture after picture (not as digital as today), and meet person after person.  I have not gotten over it.  If I had lots of $, I'd buy a cottage (or larger) around Thirsk or in the Dales and spend the summer there and the winter here in Texas!  That would be a dream come true!

So much for day-dreaming - see I told you it would happen!  So I'll leave you with this last picture - of Susan's book and one of the antique clocks we purchased in England.  It's now 124 years old!  


Don't they look perfect together?

Yours Always!



Cold But Cozy

It is Cold, Cold, CoId!  See what I mean?

Winter Robin
He's all fluffed up, like me - only I'm inside, not out!

Woke up early this morning and couldn't stop my 'thinker' from going, so just got up.  Turned on my kettle and fixed some tea (coffee just didn't seem right) . . . . .

Mug of tea w/peppermint stick
There's Taylor's tea in there!

. . . . . and I worked on one of my samples for the January Free Pattern.  It's SO CUTE!  I think you'll like it!  And it's siimple enough that you can make a pickup load!  Simple is the cornerstone of our once a month Free Patterns this year, so don't miss any; at the end of the year they'll be up a little longer (I'll warn you), then gone, so download them as we go!  

Cold as it is, I don't want winter to go yet!  I'm not quite ready to let go of my flannel quilt in the recliner, or a cup of Taylor's tea on a cold morning (like now!), or the smell of potato soup or stew on the stove in the afternoon when it's pouring rain (I'd rather have snow, but it's Houston and there's only one chance of that in 25 years!). I am seldom bothered by day after day with clouds or terrible weather.  To me it's just an excuse to do something I love; embroidering, sketching, graphing a new design, reading, watching a movie on my iPad (with my Beats headphones - OH! Just wonderful!).  And I feel all "tucked in" at home.

When we lived in northern England, I was about the only one who didn't have too much trouble with the short winter days.  The sun was "up" about 9:00 a.m. and set a little after 3:00 p.m.  The sun really never got too far above the horizon, so the light wasn't bright, either.  Together with their normal tendency to rainy & cloudy days all year, it could be a challenge!  I needlepointed during long evenings in front of our coal fire and finished three of Kaffe Fassett's beautiful pillows while there!  By the time we were transferred home, though, even I was ready to see some Texas sunshine!  REALLY, REALLY miss England, though!  Part of me is still there.

England house w/wisteria
Is this BEAUTIFUL or what?!?


And how about this?  Every place I set my eyes, there was WONDERFUL!

English village - buff stone
Wouldn't you like to go?


Did you know that Susan Branch is soon to finish a new book about England, full of information & photos, handwritten, and littered with her delightful watercolors and illustration?  You can keep up with her progress right here and enjoy her blog as well;  it's only because I love you that I tell you this . . . SIGH . . . don't forget to come back . . . . . (:>

We're soon to have up the delinquent January Free Pattern, and we're already way ahead on the one for March - they won't be far apart!  And soon!  Plus I'm plannng 3 new quilts, some clever little placemats, an addition to our Tabletop Quilts, a baby quilt, and more!

Be back!  Always Yours!



A Real Get-Away!

This post is just about a favorite place of mine!  Our emergency turned out OK in October.  We were really tired after market in Houston, and since we already had reservations for a few days away, we decided to keep them instead of cancelling.

So-o-o-o, even though it’s been awhile, I thought you might be interested in some photos of our destination in West Texas. It’s a great place to go to clear your mind and reset!  Here’s the Gage Hotel where we stayed in Marathon – originally a ranch house. No TV and only this trip (out of 25 yrs. worth) did I notice the addition of phones. It’s quiet, quiet, quiet as far as getting away from …………!


This is the Courtyard looking through the gate. Some years ago this area of rooms was added and we always prefer to stay here rather than in the main hotel. It’s beautiful and a great place to sit and read, appliqué, etc.!  Design?!


Everything reflects the culture of the region, including the rooms inside. It really makes you feel like you are away from the everyday! The landscape is dry and desolate, just like the movies of the Old West. Pancho Villa used to raid all through this area. Big Bend National Park is just 1 hr. south with it’s sweeping views, dry, rocky mountains, colorful history, and the Rio Grande, of course! It has an awesome beauty, and despite it’s forbidding climate, it’s FULL of plant and animal life.


These are two other courtyard areas…..

and the outdoor area of their restaurant. Great food from their chef and if you want to just sit and sit at lunch, you can soak up the peace & quiet! (I don’t think you can take a nap in those chairs, though!)


OK! Now for some photos of the amazing landscape. With all my talk of peace & quiet, don’t get the idea there’s nothing to do!  The Park offers hiking trails galore, jeep & walking tours, birding, horseback tours, river rafting, etc. There is the River, the desert floor and the mountains, so there’s plenty to see even just by car. It’s an overwhelming place and I always seem to be able to put things in perspective when I’m here!

The dry air makes the evenings cool no matter how hot the day has been and that by itself is a big plus to those of us who live with the humidity in Houston!

The first photo below is on the desert floor across the creosote bushes to the mountains.

The flowers are Bluebonnets, but they’re a special variety called Big Bend Bluebonnets.  They are larger than the regular one that Texas is famous for, with a flower spike growing up to more than a foot high.

Then there is Santa Elena Canyon. This is just one of the canyons on the Rio Grande, but I believe it’s the most beautiful. The river is lazy in the summertime; wild in the spring!

This last photo is looking south into Mexico.  This area is home to mountain lion, black bear and peregrine falcon, among others.

Just wanted to show you a little of something special to me. It’s been great to look at all this again!  And since it’s getting late, it makes me think about that card the maid left on my pillow each night; it said “Sweet Dreams”. . . . . . . . .


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Glad you've stopped by to see what's happening at Daisy & Dell! Make yourself at home! As often as we can, we'll show and tell you about the studio, fabric lines, blocks of the month, kits, free projects, plans for future designs, projects in progress, booth photos, everyday happenings… just anything we think will strike your fancy! We love hearing from you, so feel free to comment, ask a question, send us your photos, or tell me, Pat Bruce, what's going on with YOU! .

— Pat