Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thankful Thursday - December 30th

It is nearly time for the calendars to be turned to a new year!  Wow... What a year it has been.  I have much to be thankful for.  I already did a review of 2021... as well as a look forward to 2022.  

Christmas was a quiet day until 2 p.m. when our girls and the grand-children arrived.  Chaos ensued immediately!  The oldest boy promptly headed downstairs to lay down and close his eyes because of a headache, the two bigger girls had to be stalled distracted about opening gifts because of said headache and the baby was content to play with a coaster or anything else she could manage to grab.  

As Dave says ALL. The. Time... As much as we love to see the kids piling out of the car after they pull into the driveway, we love to see the cars backing out again. 😂

I had taken most of last week "off" and enjoyed not having tasks on the to-do list... other than enjoy the day doing whatever I wanted.  I made some outfits for the paper-doll quilts and some Potato Head felt shapes for the kids to play with on my design wall.

I loved the chance to spend one afternoon in the kitchen tryin out some recipes in my new appliances.  You remember???  The air-fryer and the quick pot?  I have come to the conclusion that they don't really save me time.  Salmon still has to cook in the fryer as long as in the oven... but the reheat feature for pizza is amazing!  And we like the french fries... It is staying and the deep fryer is gone.

The quick pot is the bees knees for making brown rice.  But, again, it is not any faster than cooking rice in the rice cooker or on the stove top.  It is, however, much better rice.  No more al dente rice!  The rice cooker has been kicked to the curb. 

I had purchased a whole chicken and wanted to try out the rotisserie feature of the air-fryer.  I'll not do that again.  LOL!  The chicken was good, but it made a mess that was not really worth it.  Though the rub recipe that I used on the chicken was really tasty, as was the sauce that I served with it.  I will use it again... but on a chicken in the crockpot.

I loved having the opportunity to be in the studio early in the morning.  I was making more of the foundation paper pieced double flying geese blocks to be fillers so that I can bring together an assortment of orphan blocks together.

I need to have a few more pinwheels or smaller flying geese or checkerboard units to finish filling in the blanks, but I love how this is coming together.

One last thing I am thankful for is YOU!  Yep, YOU.. the one reading this right now.  I thank you for your support and belief in me as a quilter, as an author, as a pattern designer... and a friend.

You have helped to enrich my life and my year to be all that it can be... BLESSED!

For the last several years I have had a focus word.  The word that continues to come to me for 2022 is SUCCESS.  More specifically, from 1 Samuel 18:14... In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.  

I have had an internal argument that it seems prideful... or boastful... I, myself, cannot measure the greatness of success.  Against what do I measure it?  Previous years?  Others?  

In the end, I have accepted the word given to me and know that my success in whatever I endeavor will be ONLY because the Lord will be with me.

Happy New Year!  May 2022 be a year to remember for all of the good things in life!


Linking with:


Monday, December 27, 2021

2022 Planning Party

 It is always good to have a plan... a plan helps to keep one on track (well, usually!)  Sometimes we make plans and God laughs...

Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl has an annual party encouraging quilters to look ahead and set goals.  As she said...  "I always start by reviewing my goals for the previous year."  I've done that in my Year End Review... You can read the whole story by following the highlighted link.  In short, I had five goals and I successfully followed through with three of them...

 Host a second sew along - Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail

Make a whole cloth quilt

Do some Quilt-as-you-go quilting

 Grow our Camping Journal Quilt

As I look to 2022...  I see a blank slate.  To be honest, there are many options and when I step back and look at them, I get a bit overwhelmed.

I keep considering hosting another sew along... yet I think I want to expand with the two that I completed this year.  I am partnering with a quilt shop in Raton, NM to offer a block of the month event with the Pieces From the Past patterns.  The owner also expressed interest in the Santa Fe Trail BOM when the Pieces from the Past is complete.

But I have so many unknowns... For those that have traveled to offer programs of this sort to quilting clubs and guilds, or for those that have booked/scheduled such programs...  

Where do I start?  

What things do I want to avoid?  How are fees/cost calculated?  And SO many more!  

All advice, suggestions and tips are welcome!  Ready...  Go!

Keep Piecing!


On a personal note... for the last several years I have had a focus word.  The word that continues to come to me is SUCCESS.  More specifically, from 1 Samuel 18:14... In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.  I have had an internal argument that it seems prideful... or boastful... I, myself, cannot measure the greatness of success.  Against what do I measure it?  Previous years?  Others?  

In the end, I have accepted the word given to me and know that my success in whatever I endeavor will be ONLY because the Lord will be with me.

Linking with:

2022 Planning Party at Quilting Jetgirl
To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Year-end Review & Best Of 2021

Hey there!  As we sit on the verge of another year fading away and the dawn of new year beginning, I thought I would take a look back at the highlights of the year.

I have been reading a book that contains letters of correspondence from Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In the book, I read a statement made to Laura by her sister Carrie...

"You are always so busy doing, you never stop to see what you have done."

I thought it was quite profound and I hope that you will enjoy taking  a look back at some of the finishes and accomplishments of 2021...

The Pieces From the Past series was an on-line success with more 6,000 visitors/readers from regions all over the world, including North America, South America, the Middle East and Far East, the European Union, Russia, Norway, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, India and Australia and New Zealand.  More that 2,500 block patterns were acquired by nearly 400 participants.  My many thanks to everyone that participated and supported the series.  

It was such a success that a book that contains all of the letters, history, family stories, pictures and recipes has been compiled.  In cooperation with Patchwork Phoenix in Raton, NM, I will share the classic quilting blocks for a monthly Sew Along. Two quilt patterns can be picked up each month at Patchwork Phoenix.    

  New sew along in April - Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail  

This series was featured excerpts of Marion Sloan Russell's memoir, "Land of Enchantment".  Marion Russell is a distant relative... sort of.  She was the Mother-in-law of my Maternal Grandfather's Sister.... 

Marion made her first journey on the Santa Fe Trail in 1852 as a child just seven years old, with her Mother and brother.  It was the first of five trips on the trail and it grabbed hold of her soul and remained a deeply rooted part of her life and memories.

Whole-cloth quilt  My first whole-cloth quilt was made in 2013. It just didn't happen!  And honestly, I didn't have much time for quilts that didn't have a priority.   

Try some Quilt As You Go quilting  Again... it just didn't happen!  I had thought they would be good "traveling projects" but I didn't really need anything more because of the small EPP blocks for our Camping Journal Quilt...

  Continue with our Camping Journal Quilt.

Work on this project did continue.  I added 34 blocks to the top.  These represented the 6 trips and 17 nights of camping. 

Sadly, this was down from 2020.  Dave and I both had our businesses grow and found ourselves with a habit of too much work.  Not that either of us are workaholics working 18-hour days, but when there is work to be done, we do extra on weekends and give up the opportunities to get away and relax.  This hit us hard in September... it was messy and ugly... and uncomfortable.  We were both guilty of it and we had to get out of the RUT!

We had a trip planned and then cancelled due to bug, but we also knew that a family wedding was happening in October... It was a trip filled with driving, but the time with family was precious and the detour on our way home was invaluable!  Nine states in nine days... the acquisition of a John Deere tractor on the way, snow while we were in South Dakota, five tourist sites and three audio books... it felt good to get home, but we took advantage of the extended and warm Indian summer and went to a remote canyon in the midst of a National Grassland.

Top Five Posts...  The five most visited posts were connected with the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along (see pictures and link above), so beyond that series there were two several year old posts, Pieces of My Heart (announcing the release of my first block in a Quiltmaker's publication) and the sleeping couples quilt... (So do these really count???  Not really, I reasoned, since they are not from the current year).  

The remaining four spots were claimed by... 

#2 - Scrappy Placemats - a great scrap buster that recently distracted me one morning while Dave was out deer hunting.

#3 - A Thankful Thursday Post that included an announcement about my Pieces From the Past publication.

#4 - Pieces From the Past - There were several different posts from the series, so I lump them together... 

#5 was a post about a binding dilemma I faced in finishing the Santa Fe Trail quilt .  I shared my solution to being short of enough fabric to make a binding for the Santa Fe Trail quilt.  I thought it was clever... you may too!

Five Favorite Finishes...

Choosing a favorite quilt is a little like choosing a favorite child.  I've heard that many quilters feel their most recent finish is their favorite.  I have to say that kinda agree. LOL!

As I consider the quilts that I made this year, these are the ones that stand out... (in order of completion)

Hanna's giraffe - Pinky the Giraffe was completed in January.  It was ready and waiting (until April 28th) for Hanna's arrival.

Paper Doll Quilts was such a fun quilt to make!  The appliqued dolls can be dressed and re-dressed with different outfits and has a pocket to act as a closet for the dolls, holding the clothing items and shoes. :) 

Mini Chapel - This mini quilt is just 5"x7" and was a fun and quick distraction one morning.

Memory quilt ~ Remembering Mom - this quilt was made using some favorite dresses of a cousin's mother-in-law.  The customer chose the block design (not something I would have typically considered for a memory quilt), and I chose the fabrics from the clothing I was sent.  The secondary pattern of 9-patch blocks in the soft pinks allowed the center of the blocks to shine.     

Love Grows Here  was a wedding gift for our niece and her new husband.  We were thrilled to be able to deliver it in person and to be a part of their special day in October.

I have enjoyed getting my colour of the year report... 

My #yearofcolour for 2021 including Hoki, Buccaneer, Yellow Metal, Barley Corn, Pelorous, Golden Grass, Steel Blue, Persian Red, Purple Heart, Congress Blue, Pancho, Peach, Jacarta, Vanilla, Sorrell Brown, Bright Turquoise, Eucalyptus, Viola, Coral Reef, Sushi. Get yours at @yearofcolour

Peace was my focus word for the year... short of a time when "piece" took over and I felt that I was falling to pieces and lost "peace", I believe that I was able to stay calm and be present and positive despite some of the curve balls that were sent our way.  The source of peace was found when I stayed grounded in Scripture.  

Now that my review of 2021 is complete I turn my eyes toward 2022 and all that it will hold.  Great adventures lie before us and I am filled with excitement.  

Excitement for continued growth in our businesses and personally as a quilter and teacher.  

Excitement for our travels and camping adventures.

Excitement for time with our family and loved ones.

Excitement for LIFE! Living life is not just about reaching a destination or a goal. It is about the journey and the adventures we encounter along the way.  The lives that we influence, the paths that cross and the lessons learned... ALL of it makes life and who we are.  Live the best you can... 

"Be honest and truthful; make the most of what you have; be happy with simple pleasures, be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
(this is another quote by LIW)

Is there anything you would add to this list?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Stay calm and live the best you can,


Linking with:

Year end review at Meadow Mist Designs
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Fun Christmas To-Do's

It is the week of Christmas... 

Our stockings have been hung, even Hanna's properly facing stocking.  The presents have been wrapped, the tree decorated and Dave and I are ready to enjoy a few relaxing days as Saturday approaches.

I'll be prepping as much of the Christmas meal as I can ahead of time, Lasagna, so that I only need to pop it in the oven to bake.  One daughter is bringing pasta sauce to make spaghetti, the other is bringing salad and garlic bread.  It doesn't really sound like a gluten-free and dairy-free meal, but trust me... we have found products that are suitable for our restrictions AND still tasty!

❧  If I have an hour or so, I will likely end up in the studio making some small decorations to add to the gifts...  I found the tutorial last year.  

I used some vintage buttons as the tree-topper. 💓

❧  I'll be writing up a year-end summary and linking up with a year end review as well as a look forward to some 2022 goals.

I'll leave you with a cute poem that I shared last year...

A Quilter's Night Before Christmas
(author unknown)

'Twas the night before Christmas,
And the quilts were not made.
The threads were all tangled, the cookies delayed.
The stocking weren't hung, the pantry was bare.
The poor weary Quilter, was tearing her hair.
Stacks of fat quarters, tipped over in streams.
Visions of Log Cabins, had turned into dreams.

When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a bus full of quilters with all of their gear.
They went straight to work with just a few mutters,
Sorting and stitching and brandishing cutters.
The patterns emerged from all of the clutter,
Like magic the fabrics arranged in a flutter.
Log Cabins, Lone Stars, Flying Geese & Bear Tracks
Each quilt was a beauty-even the backs.

Her house how it twinkled, her quilts how they glowed.
The cookies were baking, the stockings were sewed.
Their work was all done, so they folded their frames,
And packed up their needles, without giving their names.
They boarded the bus, and checked the next address.
More quilts to be made, another quilter in distress.

She heard one voice echo, as they drove out of sight,
Happy quilting to all and to all a good night!

Merry Christmas,


Linking with:

To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting

Monday, December 20, 2021

Disney Babies Grown Up Finish

I finished the custom memory quilt made with lovey blankets... **Happy dance, happy dance**  Here are a couple shots.  It was a beautiful sunny day so I pulled out the remnants of sidewalk chalks that I have hanging around and had some fun.

Each blanket came with a velcro closure to help hold the blanket around the baby and some of them had "characters" over them them.  My customer asked that they be included on the quilt, if possible, in some manner.  
Well, Of course I included them!

It required some hand sewing when the quilting was done... but I didn't mind at all!

I used a fun juvenile like print with butterflies, frogs and bees on it that had a bit of a texture as the backing...  It goes along with the tactile features of the front of the quilt. 

An all-over lattice quilting allows for the fabrics of the quilt to be the featured star of the show with the little characters sprinkled in for some fun!

As I stitched this quilt I recalled our own trip to Disneyland in 1998 and the trip to Disneyworld that our daughters were lucky enough to enjoy with their Girl Scout troop a few years later.  

Near the end of the day of our trip, when the light parade was to begin, we asked the girls if they wanted to see the parade or go ride more rides since there would be no lines.  They opted for the rides which was great fun!  We were the only ones on Magic Mountain and went multiple times in a row.  

Have you been to one of the Disney parks?  
Which is your favorite?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you.

Piece Out,


Linking with:  

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail - Label Block - Trails End

In the words of Marion Sloan Russell...

Santa Fe, NM 1867
soon after their wedding

In the fall of 1871 Richard sold the trading post and we made preparations to leave Tecolote.  Our half-formed plan was to locate in the San Luis Valley in
ColoradoRichard had sent herds of cattle there to fatten, and he knew that it was rich and fertile.  We hoped to file on 160 acres under the Homestead Act.  We knew that both the grass and water were plentiful in the San Luis Valley and Richard knew of a little creek where our cattle would stay fat and sleek through the long winters.

We decided to take on the first trip one freight wagon and team, and two saddle horses.  After we located, Mr. Russell would send for the rest of things.  The George Storz family were planning to follow us wherever we might settle.  So we left Tecolote in September; left to seek those green fields that always lie at the far away end of the rainbow.

Richard had insisted that I take the two children and go by stage to Uncle Dick Wooten's tollgate on the Raton Pass.  He thought it would not tire me so much as riding in the heavily loaded freight wagon.  I was to wait a few days before starting.  The morning he finished packing and stood by the wagon saying Good-Bye, Katie Elmira, our little sun-bonnet baby, came and insisted that she was going with him.  I can see her yet, standing there in the bright, morning sunshine tying her sun-bonnet under her dimpled chin.  When I shook my head at her she looked at me with round, reproachful eyes.  "Daddy cannot go alone.  I won't let him," she stated.  They drove away together, her little sunbonnet bobbing up and down at his elbow.  'Tis the little things of life I remember so well.

As I turned back into my dismantled home a great nostalgic longing took hold of me.  It was as if, for a moment, I was permitted a glimpse into the future, and knew how my heart would stay ever in the arid hills of New Mexico.  Often I have heard old-timers laughing about the heat and the dust of the desert.  I have heard them say jokingly that Hell would seem cool after living in Santa Fe.  I had heard them say that the burning sands of the desert had sucked old-timers so dry that they could not pray.  I had laughed with them; but now I was leaving my desert for the green hills far away.  I was leaving the land I had come to as a child sitting on the high spring seat of a covered wagon; sitting there by my mother.  I was soon to learn that all the fair, green reaches of the whole wide earth could never be so dear to me as the tortured beauty of my desert.

It was with sorrow in my heart that I climbed one morning aboard the Overland Stage.  My baby's head lay heavy on my arm.  My heart was heavy within me.  I left the land of the tinted hills, where lakes of purple haze filled the shallow, arid basins.  Here among these red hills, I had watched the hump-backed bison give place to the Texas long-horn.  Here I had come to see the pinto pony take the place of the burro and the wild mustang.  I left the land I loved with its ranches, convents, churches, priests, bandits and gamblers.  I left the land of enchantment.

I shall never forget that stage ride across the wastes.  Once we came to a place where the carcasses of so many dead mules lay by the roadside that I was led to ask about them.  The driver explained that the previous spring a strange epidemic attacked the mules and burros all over the West.  The place we had just passed was where a mule-driven freight train had been left stranded; every mule in the wagon train had died there.

As we drew near Uncle Dick Wootten's toll gate I began to think of Richard and Katie, my sun-bonnet baby.  My heart reproached me for disloyalty, reproached me for looking backward so sadly.  When I climbed down from the stage, I stood looking for the freight wagon.  Surely it camped near the toll gate.  Then I heard Katie Elmira's piping voice.  She had been sent up the trail to meet me.  She held out her wee arms for the baby.  Richard was camped beyond the bend in the trail.  All day she had kept watch for me.

At Trinidad, in Colorado, we drove our freight wagon under some tall cottonwoods and made camp for the night.  A red bridge spanned the shining river we had forded so long ago.  Next morning we ran into an old friend on the street - a man we had known in Santa Fe.  He was Judge William Bransford, close associate of Kit Carson and Lucien Maxwell.  He was Justice of the Peace in little Trinidad.  He had been a wagon master in the old days, hauling supplies from Kansas City to the stores of Ben and St. Vrain both at Taos and Santa Fe.

Judge Bransford followed us to our camp that September evening and we talked long of the old days.  It was nice to meet an old friend so unexpectedly, just as we were planning to leave old friends behind us.  He tried that evening to get Richard to go no farther, but to stay and start a store in Trinidad.  But by this time Richard was determined to become a cattle rancher; the dream of this life was to be a dream no longer.

We broke camp early next morning and were two miles out on the north road when the sun came up.  We halted then at a little house by the roadside to inquire the road to the San Luis Valley.  The friendly little woman who answered my husband's inquiry by directing us onward, tried to discourage us at the same time.  She told us she and her husband had just moved away from the San Luis Valley.  They had not enjoyed living there, she said.  She did not think we would find it at all pleasant.  She talked of cold winters, isolation and bad roads.

I have often wondered since what our lives would have been had we not stopped that morning to inquire about the road that lay ahead.  The destiny that rules our lives seems to love to manifest itself in trivial things.  Had we gone on into the San Luis Valley, would we have been happy?  Had we not stopped at that house by the wayside would Richard have been spared to me?  Would he have lived out his life in a normal manner and not have fallen before an assassins' bullet?  But destiny came to us in the guise of a friendly little woman in a clean faded gingham who leaned against the wheel of our wagon.  "Go to the St. John's Valley," said the woman.  "It surely is a second Eden.  It lies thirty-eight miles up the River Purgatoire.  There you will find feed and water for your cattle.  There you will be happy."  So it was that Destiny sent us searching for happiness along the River Purgatoire.

But Jordan is a hard road to travel, and evening found us only half way to Eden.  Evening found us discouraged.  The too-narrow valley we had followed all the way from Trinidad, was rimmed on either side by rocky, barren hills.  The Purgatoire wound back and forth across the narrow valley and our heavy wagon lurched and tumbled.

Mid-afternoon on the second day of our travel, we saw the great Stone Wall rising from the blue mists at its feet.  Behind it, with all its towers and turrets, rose the white-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  The Sangre de Cristo, meaning Blood of Christ mountains, we thought were well named, for their snowy tops were stained blood-red by the setting sun.

Gradually, as we climbed, the valley widened until we came out onto a natural meadow interspersed with tall pines.  The mighty wall before us grew higher and higher.  This strange freak of nature, the great stone wall, runs through the entire states of Colorado and Wyoming, and is one of the wonders of the Rocky Mountain region.  Its precipitous walls are as smooth as if made by the hand of man.  When we came to the base of the wonder, the road turned and ran parallel with it.  Suddenly we came to a gap in the towering wall and drove through a natural gateway.  God, it seemed, had decided to let us into the Garden.

The Great Stone Wall 
Photo from the Aultman Collection
We camped than night in the loveliest spot I had ever seen.  A small natural meadow between the great wall and the tall Sangre de  Cristos.  We unrolled our camp bed on the fragrant pine needles and slept that night under the stars.  How well do I remember how the moon and the river sang together.  It was witchery to lie under the star-spangled sky and to hear the little mountain river go singing by on its way to the ocean.  I heard our hobbled horses grazing.  I heard my sun-bonnet baby murmur in her sleep in the wagon.  The cold, wet dew fell on my face and on the heavy mass of my hair.  I tried as I lay there to let this new, strange beauty of the earth sink into my soul.  I did not know then that the moon I saw rise above the dark stone wall, would rise always behind that same wall.  I would know no more moonlight on the desert.

The morning was startlingly cold and the children and I huddled over the breakfast fire Richard built for us.  After the cooking was over we laid log after log on the fire.  When the day grew warmer we went house hunting, or at least looked for a place to build our cabin.  We found a level place by a clear, cold spring.  Water meant so much to us.  "Here is the place," said Richard, "here is where we will build our new home."

Richard renamed the valley that morning, "Stonewall Valley."  Stonewall Valley it has been called ever since.  The soil was rich and fertile, the grass thick and abundant.  There were deer and fish to be had for the taking.  Wild plum and choke cherries grew along the little river.  There was a high range of mountains to protect us from the cold winds of winter.

I like to remember Richard as he was that morning, the light of new dreams in his eyes.  I like to remember how he walked barehead under the pines.  A new domain he planned for us that morning, a domain to be built by his own hands.  Some times I have wondered why, when one asks so little of life, that little is so often denied - just a little moon, a little silver spoon, a little copper kettle.  We had mountain trout for breakfast and while we ate them two deer came down from the timbered slope and watched us.

The next morning we returned to Trinidad for supplies.  It was downhill all the way and the horses stepped out blithely. 

In 1888, we received a notice from the Maxwell Land Grant Company to abandon the domain we had so laboriously wrested from the wilderness.  Twenty-four hours the company gave us to get off our land and out of the valley.  Twenty-four hours were given us to appear at a hearing in Denver, over 200 miles away.  There were no automobiles then, and we were 35 miles from the railroad.

Many accounts of the Maxwell land steal have been written; it is not my task to write another...

In writing a biography the relative value of days and years must be taken into consideration.  There are days that count in time and space as years; and years that count but a single day.  From the day they brought Richard home to me, shot by a Maxwell deputy, until that morning five days later when we laid him to rest, there was pressed a full lifetime of suffering.

Richard was shot while carrying a flag of truce and attempting to negotiate with the deputies who barricaded themselves in the Coe Hotel.  The five days that he lay suffering lie open on my heart today.  To write of them is not to tear open an old wound for the wound has never healed. ... It seemed at first that the bullet that ended Richard's life had surely ended my own; but there were little stockings that needed mending.  Little lunch pails to fill.  I carried on.

When I was 89 (in 1934) I made a pilgrimage into the land of yesteryear.  I traveled the Santa Fe Trail once more, hoping that I might find there one golden moment spilled from the hand of time.  They let me go to the ruins of Camp Nickols.  A little dent in the grass marked the place of my nice dugout.  A field of corn waved over the trail.  With my feet I sought and found the wheel-ruts in the grass where the old wagon trains had gone creaking past on the long-long trail - the old, old trail to Santa Fe.  Purple thistle flourished where once had waved the buffalo grass.

At Fort Union I found  crumbling walls and tottering chimneys.  Here and there a tottering adobe wall where once a mighty howitzer had stood.  Great rooms stood roofless, their whitewashed walls open to the sky.  Wild gourd vines grew inside the officers' quarters.  Rabbits scurried before my questing feet.  The little guard house alone stood intact, mute witness of the punishment inflicted there.  The Starts and Stripes was gone.  Among a heap of rubble I found the ruins of the little chapel where I had stood - a demure, little bride in a velvet cape - and heard a preacher say "That which God hath joined together let no man put asunder."  I found the ruins of my little home where Colonel Carson once had stood beneath a hanging lamp.  I heard or seemed to hear again his kindly voice, "Little Maid Marion, you cannot go.  I promised your mother to take good care of you."  The wind moaned among the crumbling ruins and brought with it the sound of marching feet.  I saw with eyes that love to look backward, a wagon train coming along the old trail.  I saw a child in a blue pinafore.  It was little Maid Marion on the seat of an old covered wagon.  

Santa Fe had grown larger.  Roses mingled with red peppers on old adobe walls.  The old wooden gateway through which had flowed the commerce of a nation was gone.  Central Plaza was so neat and clean I did not recognize it.  A woman in red slacks sat under a great umbrella.  Once I had seen Captain Aubry sit in that very spot reading a big newspaper.  Old memories drifted about me like dead leaves in an autumn wind.  I went to the chapel and knelt at the self-same altar where my little head had bowed in prayer more than 80 years before.  Did Father Lamy's tender hand touch my head in blessing?  Did Mother Magdalena's soft, black robes rustle by me in the stillness?

So small were the ruins of Tecolote - my "Little Owl" - that it seemed the red hills were trying to bury the little watering place on the Santa Fe Trail.  The stone house was in ruins.  Fallen rafters lay aslant windows where once red geraniums had bloomed.  An old wooden bed, decrepit and broken lay among the fallen rafters.  It was a bedstead that had been made on a turning lathe, a bed that had once boasted a valance white as snow.

Nothing was left of Fort Marcy.  Even the adobe walls had fallen.  it was strange to stand there that evening where I had played more than 80 years before.  Was it imagination, or did I hear voices?  The half-remembered voices of children.  Were they playing "steal-the-dead-man's-bones" or was it the sound of wind sighing down over the mesa?

Strange to look back when you are old and feeble over the trail you know as a child!

My heart has returned to the land the old trail ran through, so long ago.  Old paths that wind through the malpais beckon to me.  I want to feel the desert sun shine hot on my hands, my face and my breasts.  The inner chamber of my heart is open wide, its pearls of memory just inside.  My thoughts move slowly now like motes behind a faded window blind.  I stand listening for the sound of wheels that never come; stand waiting for the clasp of arms long crumbled into dust.  The old trail, the long trail over which once flowed the commerce of a nation, lives there like a lovely, oft repeated dream.

And so, our journey with Marion on the Santa Fe Trail comes to an end.  Marion Sloan Russell, who died on Christmas Day, 1936, from injuries suffered in an automobile accident, lies buried next to her gallant soldier.  She herself had helped select the site in 1876 for this diminutive burying ground in what she described as the wildest and most beautiful place around.  

One final block is offered... The label block offers a place to record your name and any other info you may want to include.  Follow the link to payhip to get your pattern.

When you have your quilt top assembled come back and link up for the Santa Fe Trail Quilt Parade!  There will be a random drawing for a Cotton Cuts Mini Pop, Mini Modern Maker or Petite Pop.  (Sadly, the winner must have a US address)  Your parade entry can be made through December 31.  

I have heard from many of you that you enjoyed the journey just as much as I have.  For this I am very pleased!

Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite block was...

I'd love to hear from you!

Life is a journey... I hope that you are enjoying it!

Merry Quiltmas!


Linking with:

Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Brag About Your Beauties at From Bolt to Beauty
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
BOMS Away at Katie Mae Quilts
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate