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Archive for November, 2008

I like to sew things…

welcome to my sewing loft!

welcome to my sewing loft!

One of my favorite places in our house is the loft, which I’ve turned into my sewing room. I’m an amateur seamstress, for sure. I’m experimenting with different fabrics and working on following patterns in the hopes that eventually I will be able to whip something out that is in my head and maybe not on paper. Although I haven’t created as many things as I hoped I would have by now, I am improving little by little. I think I just need a little more time to really become a decent sewer. Here are some samples of things I’ve done in the past year.

Pillowcase ShirtKnit dress

So, this next one is interesting. My latest work. About half way through the project, I tried to iron the definitely-not-cotton fabric and proceeded to burn several small holes into the front of the shirt, right where I didn’t think I had any chance of covering it up. I was out of the fabric, so I couldn’t cut another piece. That’s when I decided to just cut some birds out and hand stitch those on, and I have to tell ya, I love it ten times more because of those birds! So, yay for turning disaster into creativity!

Bird Shirtdressbird shirtdress *close-up*Bird Shirtdress 2Bird Shirtdress 3

A few more samples…

Butterfly Pillowcase MinidressUnfinished ProjectsPatchwork Dress

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My Cousin Polly…

…asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, which is wonderful. But what is REALLY wonderful is the adorable way she did it! She made these amazing little paper flowers in adorable little pots in a beautiful hand-made box. It was a delightful package to open and I’m delighted to be in her wedding in September.

bridesmaid2

bridesmaid3

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Leo designed my first CD cover

Leo designed my first CD cover

Ruby Pines is my stage name. It all started out as a silly thing that I didn’t even know would really come to be, but it did.

I began working at the Ozark Folk Center as the front desk receptionist at the Administration Building. After about a week of working there, the music director had several performers cancel for the Cowboy Gathering Weekend, which is somewhat of a big deal. Grady Spann, the General Manager of the park, says, “Well, Rachel can yodel” (Evidently, I had sung a line of “High on a Hill was the Lonely Goatherd” from the Sound of Music when the movie was mentioned). Next thing I know, Carl (the music director) and I are putting together an act for the shows that weekend. I learned some Patsy Montana songs, one of which has become my signature: “Cowboy Sweetheart”. It seemed to be a big hit, so they kept asking me to sing more. I would sing out on the Craft Grounds with the musicians nearly every day on my lunch break, and I sang a couple times each month on the evening show.

Ruby Pines Performance #2 Ruby Pines 3rd Performance

It’s new to me, being in the spotlight. I don’t dislike it, but it definitely isn’t a completely comfortable and natural place for me to be. I’ve always loved singing, but I never really thought anyone else would have that much interest in listening to me sing. But for some reason, people seem to enjoy it, and that makes me happy. I do have a lot of fun out there with those musicians. They are a very fun, talented group of guys, those “Old Saps”.

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A group of five or six deer gathered in our yard when I wake up in the morning is not an uncommon occurrence. We see deer all the time. One night I heard a very loud pack of coyotes storming through our front yard. It was a horrible sound. We see snakes quite often. Which I do not like one bit. I can handle just about anything else, spiders (which A&C can testify that we have lots of in our basement), wasps, coyotes…but snakes terrify me. We’ve seen a couple in the creek that we think may be cottonmouths, which are quite poisonous. We’ve also seen copperheads. On our rock road (which is about 1.5 miles long), we have seen an armadillo and a road runner (it looked just like the cartoon!).

Similar to the one we saw

Similar to the one we saw

Also, we discovered a tiny black kitten was living inside our mailbox. Leo stuck his hand in to get the mail and this creepy little thing comes screeching out of the mailbox! This little cat lived in the mailboxes for a long time. One day we were driving out and we see the cat walking along the road with a peanut butter jar completely stuck on his head! He had licked the end of the jar clean, like a windshield. It was quite amusing. Leo had to twist and pull to get it off. It definitely would have died in that state if it weren’t for Leo. From that day on, Leo was that little guy’s hero.

Poor little guy...

Poor little guy...

One of my favorite wildlife moments was when an Eastern Screech Owl perched himself on a branch three feet in front of where I was sitting. Screech Owls are basically miniature owls. They grow to be eight or nine inches tall. It just sat there staring at me and Olive. And we stared right back. I wanted to get a picture, but of course it soared away right as I was focusing.

Heres a photo I found of one that looks a lot like the one I saw

Here's a photo I found of one that looks a lot like the one I saw

So there are some samplings of country life for you city folk. We hear that there are bears out here…that should complete my wildlife adventures!

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Well, big city isn’t entirely accurate…and I now live within 30 minutes of a Wal-mart, so I suppose back woods isn’t exactly the case either. A little over six months ago, my husband, Leo, and I lived in the middle of Kansas City. I rode my bike to work at a bed & breakfast, I had friends all around me, including the wonderful Tenjack family that lived above us and rented to us our cute Hyde park home. Although we loved many aspects of our lives, we never felt at home in Kansas City. An opportunity arose for us to explore a more rural setting, so we moved to Mountain View, Arkansas, from where I am writing to you now.

Mountain View is a small town of about 3,000 people. We don’t actually live in Mountain View, we live in a log cabin on 53 acres of beautiful land about 11 miles east of Mountain View.

Our first month living her was pretty much a vacation. I spent my days reading on the hammock, unpacking a few things, spending an hour or so in my new garden, or working on sewing projects. It was an amazingly relaxing time. Leo was fixing up his shop or mowing the fields. We loved the isolation and the amazing night starry skies and all the wildlife we would see on a daily basis.

After a while, Leo started having a lot of work to do for Way Basics and for politicians. I decided I should probably get serious about finding a job. There is no real industry in Mountain View, and the average income is $19,000/year or something crazy-low like that. Retail and Tourism are really the only things to do here and neither of those pay well. I ended up with a job that pays horribly, but I love. (Luckily, we don’t have a lot of expenses right now) I’m working at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. I work as the front desk receptionist and group sales assistant. Neither of those jobs are terribly exciting, but the atmosphere is wonderful and I am surrounded by musicians and artists and really ridiculously nice people! After a week there, someone learned that I could sing and next thing I know, I’m yodeling on stage for hundreds of people. I soon acquire the stage name of “Ruby Pines” and become a regular act at their evening concerts.

So that is my six-month timeline. Now that you all are up-to-date, perhaps I can write about more interesting things. Mmm…probably not. I’ll just keep you posted on my adventures here in Arkansas.

img_70152

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