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A Houston intersection. Photos by Dana Jones

Have you been to Houston? I love coming to Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival except for one thing: I really don't like the maze of highways and frontage roads that are layered level upon level. My GPS can't handle it, and I don't seem to remember the nuances of driving in Houston from year to year. When there are multiple roads atop one another and woven around each other, my GPS gets confused. Me too. My GPS shows I'm on an expressway when I'm on a frontage road and vice versa. Today it told me to make a slight right onto 610 south. One problem. 610 south was closed. It went silent. Like me, it was trying to get its bearings.

In the end, all was well. I found my way back to my RV park where Emma (my camper) was waiting. En route, I found a Fiesta grocery store just a mile from the park. Why Fiesta? I like to start my day with half a bottle of Mexican Coke. This morning, I polished off the last of the bottles I brought from home. When a 16-mile round trip to a Costco store proved futile in terms of finding this delicacy, I headed back to the campground. Then the Fiesta store appeared. A mirage perhaps? No, it was real, and it was well stocked with Mexican Coke. My mornings here in Houston will have that touch of caffeine I crave. Haven't tried it? If you're in my age range and remember the Coke of your youth, you must try Mexican Coke. The taste is nostalgic. The secret: Cane sugar.

Rain on the highway. Photo by Dana Jones

By the time I retreated into Emma for the night, I was exhausted. It was an unexpectedly long day getting from San Antonio to Houston. The usual half-day, 200-mile trip turned into an eight-hour trek because driving rain, low visibility and road construction created the not-so-perfect storm. We crawled at 30-40 mph much of the way.

Meanwhile Back Home, Snow Was the Precipitation of the Hour

While en route to Houston, I missed the first real snowstorm of the season at my home in Gilpin County, Colorado. I didn't get final accumulation totals but Facebook posts made it clear that the white stuff snarled traffic on all four of the canyons that lead down the mountain from my home all day Wednesday into Thursday morning.

This is not unusual for late October yet many of us in the county act shocked each year when the first storm hits. A week or two from now, we'll be back in the groove.

Snow on my deck in Gilpin County, Colorado.

Photo by Steve Sky, artist and dog/house sitter


I had snow tires put on my car before leaving home, knowing I may need them when I head home from Houston in about 10 days. In past years driving home from quilt festival, I've encountered snow on Raton Pass in northern New Mexico, overnight at Trinidad State Park in southern Colorado, and on the various canyon roads I take up from Golden, Colorado, to my home. My car dealer is usually sure I'm getting them on too early. When it snows within a few days, I feel vindicated. It is surprising how often this happens.

Sign Up Now to Make This Quick & Easy Holiday Table Runner

"Prancing Around" by Dana Jones

If you're in need of a last minute holiday gift, a hostess gift or a decoration for your home, I'm offering three classes in early December that fit the bill. These are quick and easy projects you can whip up before you know it. You can customize them to the holidays you celebrate with your fabric choices.

These four-hour classes are just $40 each or all three for $100, a savings of $20. You'll find information on the classes on my website. Just go to my home page and scroll down to find descriptions of each class and links to register. I can't think of a better way to kick off this holiday season than to be with you in any and all of these classes. I hope you'll sign up.

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Balance designs by Martha Ritter for "Finding Your Design Sense" class.

In September, I launched a new class called "Finding Your Design Sense." The most amazing 10 students signed up for the four three-hour sessions held once a month through December. In class, we cover basic design principles then everyone engages home-play assignments to apply what we've discussed. As a teacher, it is joy to be teaching this class, and I so appreciate the women who were willing to sign up for a brand new class.

I will be scheduling this class again in early 2023. If you think you'd be interested in signing up or would like more information about the class, please be in touch: Enjoy the striking designs above that were created by Martha Ritter.

Remember the Alamo and a River Cruise

The Alamo, photo by Dana Jones

Today was a perfect day to tour San Antonio, Texas. My tour guide: A friend I went to school with from kindergarten through high school. The weather was perfect, the city lovely, and sharing memories was fun. I definitely will return to this city.

River Walk boat ride, San Antonia, from web

I was fascinated to learn one of the buildings along the River Walk — the Hilton Palacio Del Rio — was built in a most unusual way. The rooms were built on a site seven miles away, complete with furniture, carpeting, lamps, TVs and even a Gideon Bible in the night stands. As rooms were completed, a crane was used to stack them on top of each other. It's a great story.

On to Houston Tomorrow

Come morning, I'll hitch up Emma and we'll head to Houston, first for Quilt Market and then for International Quilt Festival. I'm looking forward to seeing so many friends and colleagues there. I'm a bit nervous about teaching but mostly excited for such a great opportunity.

Thanks to all of you who are checking in on my journey and especially for the kind emails so many have sent. You're the best!

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Where am I tonight? The first person to guess right — respond here or email me at — wins a fat quarter. I'm looking for city and state. Clue: I'm not in Houston. I'm two hours away visiting a friend I've known since kindergarten. Yes, that's a really long time ago.

Emma and I were thrilled with the welcome at our campsite. Most sites have metal artwork of some sort. The selection at my site is a cue I need to get my cowgirl on. As I walked around the campground, I loved a family of tin skunks and gave points to a gaudy display at one camper that included blow-up palm trees and giant blow-up pumpkins. I walked over there after dark to see it all lighted up. Sorry, the photo didn't come out.

Help Me Name This Cutie

Check out the incredible stitching on this delightful and colorful bird. It's the handiwork of my friend Jackie Anderson of Colorado Springs. Jackie does exquisite appliqué, embroidery, beading and more. She created this fun pincushion from a Sue Spargo pattern. Instead of making a wall hanging with a number of blocks, she turned each block into a piece for a friend. That's the joy of Jackie. She spreads love and laughs as she makes friends everywhere she goes. I'm so glad I'm among those she has gathered to her heart. Please send love and hugs and kisses to Jackie as she's recently had knee surgery. She's healing well but it never hurts to add healing thoughts for those we love. This lovely creation will live in Emma. She needs a name. Your ideas?

My Palette for a Houston Class

Fabric I'll use to make Linda Hahn's "Castleton Corner" at International Quilt Festival

A few years ago — pre-COVID — my New York quilting bud Janet Messanelli Bozzone and I decided we'd start an annual tradition of attending International Quilt Festival together. It soon appeared we faced a challenge: We are drawn to very different kinds of quilting. While we didn't need to be joined at the hip for the week, we did want to take some classes together. So we each agreed to take a class selected by the other person. The class Janet chose — "Collage the Garden" with Sarah Ann Smith — proved to be one of my favorites. I now follow Sarah's work and recommend you do the same. Janet really connected with Paula Nadelstern in the kaleidoscope class I selected. Ditto for me.

We thought we'd try again this year. Since I'm teaching three days and lecturing two others, we varied the plan a bit. Monday we'll take Linda Hahn's "Castleton Corner" class. Janet is enrolled in two of my three classes, and I'm hoping has been named Teacher's Pet. Above is the fabric I'll use for Linda's class.

Staff of the Sewing Studio in Lubbock, Texas. From the shop's website.

I brought most of the fabric for Linda's class from home but I still needed just the right blue. I lucked into the perfect fabric when I stopped at the Sewing Studio in Lubbock, Texas, today. What a wonderful shop! The owner is the center of the second row. She purchased the shop right before COVID hit but never fear, she had a plan. The shop has extensive plate class windows so she lined up bolts of fabric in the windows. Each bolt got a number. Folks were invited to come and window shop since the shop couldn't be open to the public. Folks found fabrics they wanted then called or emailed in their orders, which were packaged and distributed without contact during a few hours each day. What a creative idea! If you're in Lubbock, this is a must stop. A visit will make you smile.

Did You Miss Yesterday's Blog?

I'm blogging as I travel to and from Houston for Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival and from there as long as my energy holds up. I won't send emails everyday but I do encourage you to check out the blog portion of my website as you are able from now through November 8. Yesterday I shared information on the special holiday-themed classes I'll be offering in early December via Zoom. These come just in time for last-minute stitching. If you haven't checked them out, I hope you will. I'd love to see you in class.

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