She’s my season and my reasons,

She’s my Summer,

She’s my Winter,

She’s my Spring.

I haven’t watched American Idol for a full in season in I don’t know how long. Likely since about season 2 or 3. Because of the type of quilting I do it can take me a bit to get “in the groove” and when I am in it I don’t want to leave. As a result, I rarely have time to quilt during the week after I have worked a full day +/- ran/cooked dinner/walked the dog/ate dinner/watched two episodes of Parks and Rec., etc. I go to bed relatively early, except on the weekends.

But last week I started watching the American Idol auditions. The talent that appears on the show seems to get better each year. Playing the guitar/piano/accordion is the rule, rather than the exception. But this week. MAN, this week. I saw a young adult that blew.my.mind. I can’t get his voice out of my head.

If I were a gambler, I would bet on him to win. In the mean time, I’ll be tuning in each week to listen.

Ladies and gentleman–your NEXT American Idol.

And for a full version of what he sang on the audition:



frosty_windowThree years ago I started this blog. Three years. And in that time I have produced a measly number of posts.

At the time I was struggling. Struggling with who I was, or how I defined myself (a recovering quilt magazine editor). Struggling with quilting. I was paralyzed creatively from that experience. Maybe not paralyzed, but I had certainly lost my mojo during that “phase” of my life and I was trying slowly, desperately to get it back.

I was also struggling with how to define myself on a newly created blog. What “voice” I would use, etc. Truth be told, I don’t think I have done a very good job. This is entirely my own fault. Ironic really, but let me explain.

Why “Stitch Outside the Ditch?” Long story short, I attribute this concept to me being a middle child. Middle children fly below the radar. We do things differently. Walk a little bit on the wild side, but not enough to get in major trouble. In elementary school I was a talker (not much has changed). When I was in fifth grade (Mrs. Berry’s class, J.R. Brooker Elementary) I used to get my name written on the board (strike 1). Then a “check” mark (strike 2). Double check (strike 3). What does that even mean, really? “I’m not going to warn you again.” Actually, two checks meant a hand slap with rulers taped together. I suspect this is probably illegal now. And then I would stop; most of the time. One time, I got three checks—it was horrible. A LETTER HOME TO MY PARENTS, WHICH THEY HAD TO SIGN. I was worried sick. Fear of disappointing and whatnot.

Where was I?

As a middle child I:

  1. fly under the radar
  2. like to be a bit risky
  3. hate to disappoint and here’s the kicker
  4. am fiercely independent.

Swim against the stream. Most of the time.

In quilting, when you stitch-in-the-ditch, you are quilting in that “valley” created next to a seam that is pressed “away” from you. This is a very traditional, and I am going to say conservative, way to quilt. It is the way to quilt when you don’t want the quilting to be obvious, or command attention. It is a way of quilting that does not require thinking outside of the box. Ironically, it is also very hard to do well.

In my quilting I am a rule breaker (or maybe a rule bender—a ¼” seam is paramount). I am a liberated quiltmaker and am not modest about it. In my personal life I buck tradition. People who know me, know this about me. But here is the thing. I don’t feel like I have been completely honest with you, or me for that matter, on this blog. This makes the blog, which was non-existent three years ago suffer (as if that is even possible).

In the past I have only largely written about quilting—but there is so much more to me than quilting. So much more I want to share with you. So many things I don’t currently share because I don’t know how they fit into this format, this genre of blog/brand. Things I don’t share because I may offend (see #3 above) someone with my opinion (they are strong, and sometimes controversial, or may be hurtful to some—I am thinking mainly about some of the brouhaha that often surfaces in the quilting world). Things I don’t write because I may offend someone with my word choice. Truth be told I am a cusser and I edit my words to “politely” fit this space. No more.

Also, there are things I don’t write about because NO ONE CARES. But here’s the thing—I care. And I have thoughts about things, which sounds stupid to even type, but this is true. I need to write about them to get the words that are constantly on repeat out of my head so that new words/thoughts/designs/ideas can enter. I want to use this space to share some of my other creative pursuits. Running pursuits. Tidying pursuits. Photography pursuits. Plus, some of the content would likely be good. Just sayin’.

In an effort for me to be more honest and transparent I have decided to cuss when I need to cuss; to write when I feel the need to write; to share what I need to share. I learned over a year ago in a seminar on personal branding that I need to either repel or attract readers with my blog and that is what I am going to do. #slowlearner (I feel better already).

It seems there is constantly chatter on the internets about the “death” of blogs, or blogs as a dying medium because they were killed by Instagram, which killed Flickr or some murder pyramid scheme like that. I think blogs are what you make of them, writing or reading, and I read some really good blogs. The best blogs, in my opinion, are ones that have really good writing, but not necessarily about quilting because those things obstruct my own creative processes. One of my goals this year is to make my blog better, for you dear friend, but more importantly for me.

So, I am wondering–do you have a minute? There are some things I have been wanting to share…

Quilting the New Classics–Modern Bear Paw

Have you heard?


Quilting the New Classics by Michele Muska is #1 quilt book at Amazon. BOOM!

Michele and I have known each other for years, back from the days in my former life as an editor. I was really excited and intrigued when she pitched to me her idea of a book based upon favorite classic quilt motifs and pairing modern and traditional quilters together to interpret those motifs. More than a pattern book, it would incorporate a historical reference for each quilt type. Would I be interesting in participating? Absolutely. Would I work with Darlene Zimmerman on the Bear Paw block? Are you kidding me (duh—#fangirl).

DSC_0054 Continue reading



Wrapping it up.

It’s the end of Summer. The summer with Powell, paddle boarding and slick rock slip-n-slides. The finale of How I Met Your Mother and Jess and Nick finally figuring it out in season two. The summer of the late winter with Angels Landing and crepes so good we had to figure out how to make them at home. And of the spring when I ran away with Lauren and we hit all the Rosses. Where we ate THE Steak and the cheap marinara, and I drank my first cappuccino, which was more dessert than coffee and therefore perfect. The summer of the spring where I could have sauna-ed my life away with cedar and eucalyptus. The spring of Laguna Beach and all the fabric shops with Martha, (and Jane and Carol, and Musa). And of the new job and figuring it out (still figuring it all out). The summer of the real Spring where Megan and Tim tied the knot on that drizzly day in Charleston where the clouds dissipated just.in.time. The spring of wedding and winning mix tapes. The summer of the return trip to Vegas with the umami burger we walked the long way to get and the selfie with my love in front of the fountains. The summer of strengthening friendships and figuring out ways to figure the new things out. The summer we finally kissed the last of the pink goodbye, and maybe I am a bit sorry to see it go, but maybe it just wasn’t the right shade. THE SUMMER OF RUNNING and heat and getting up early to beat it. The summer of discipline. The summer I learned to drink all the water. The unfortunate passing out and in the end, running my own race and winning the medal. All totally worth it.

It was the summer of Making.

Remember, remember.

And a playlist to go along with it all…

  1. Clarity (feat. Foxes) 4:32          Zedd
  2. Harlem Shake 3:17          Baauer
  3. Best Day of My Life 3:14          American Authors
  4. These Are Days 3:43          10,000 Maniacs
  5. Knees Of My Bees 3:41          Alanis Morissette
  6. What Would I Do Without You 2:52          Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
  7. Take Care 5:48          Beach House
  8. After an Afternoon 3:13          Jason Mraz
  9. Click, Click, Click, Click 3:08          Bishop Allen
  10. Viva Las Vegas 2:27          Elvis Presley & The Jordanaires
  11. Weekend Runaways 3:31          Stacey Earle
  12. Perfect Day 4:48          Holley Maher
  13. Swept Away (Sentimental Version) 4:15                     The Avett Brothers
  14. Details In the Fabric (feat. James Morrison) 5:46 Jason Mraz
  15. You Rock My World (Radio Edit) 4:26          Michael Jackson
  16. Shake It Off 3:39          Taylor Swift
  17. Heaven 4:22          The Walkmen
  18. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) 4:05 E.M.
  19. Clarity (feat. Foxes) [Tiesto Remix] 5:54          Zedd

Change your socks

It was a rule I had learned my first year working in the Forest Service—when exhausted and feeling sorry for yourself, at least change your socks.

–Norman Maclean, “Logging and Pimping and ‘Your Pal, Jim’”

I started a new job in March and to say it has been a challenge is a gross understatement. I have to keep reminding myself this 1) was something not needed, rather it was pursued–all in the name of growth, and 2) to keep at it.

I worked on Easter Sunday. Partly my own fault, but partly because the work load is heavy, I am still slow, still pursuing perfection (always with the perfection), and paralyzed by my own self in terms of how I will be judged. I came home feeling a bit whipped (although I met my deadline), as I do most days.

But yesterday–yesterday–I changed my socks. Perhaps best known for his story A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean wrote other, less memorable stories. Less memorable, I suspect, because they didn’t star Brad Pitt and a host of other talented actors. But the meaning and the lessons in those other stories are full of life lessons as well.

Yesterday I went to work and switched some furniture around (this small act changed my whole perspective), which lead to dealing with some papers (rule #1 of feng shui–eliminate clutter), and drinking more water, and leaving work on time. Which meant, I got home early enough to EXERCISE (p90xcardio thankyouverymuch). Eating a good dinner and getting to bed early enough to read.

And I started it over again today.

Moral of the story. Change your socks.


20 years ago today…records were broken. This is the band responsible for the song that I consider my personal “productivity anthem.” The song I blared loudly in the empty halls of the geology department at the University of Idaho as I finished the day’s thesis writing. You wanna get pumped, and feel confident, you gotta keep ‘em separated.

Rolling Stone–The Offspring: Smash the Little Punk

(Truth be told my anthem is Pretty Fly). Included for your listening pleasure.

I feel simultaneously young and old.

I’m going with young.