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I am inspired by everyday scenes and this morning was no different. Early this morning, I stepped out to walk Cocoa. I was inspired by the play of color between the yellow table-cloth on our back porch and the bright red of our “red rocket” crape myrtle tree.



Interesting color combination. . . wonder how that would look in a quilt?

Later that morning, taking Cocoa out again, I paused to look at the bushes outside my office window.   Just in this small area, I spotted so many different types of green. . . The deep green of the Holly, the clear dark green of the grass, the bright green of the small bushes and the light sage green of the ornamental grasses.


Amazing what you can see, when you stop and really look. . .


I’m off the road from traveling and teaching for a few weeks, spending some time design quilts and playing around with new ideas.  As with all creation, it takes time.  In order for an idea to move from concept into a quilt,  I may try dozens and dozens of ideas, colors and layouts before it looks “just right.”  I’ve been playing around with a new illusion idea, still too early to show any part of it, but I do like the way it is going.   I will share it when I can.

So what else have I been doing?  Enjoying the summer, loving all the fresh fruits and vegetables at our local farmer’s market and spending some time with friends.

We do love our Harley and last weekend, enjoyed a trip with friends. Riding a motorcycle is a definite change of pace and a different lifestyle. We can only pack a few things, expect to get wet if it rains, sweaty if it is hot and grimy, no matter what.  While it does not sound like fun, we love it and am always looking forward to the next trip.

Last weekend, we traveled with friends  to Alabama. Leaving home with rain clouds looming, we expected to get wet and soon, it was raining. We found shelter under an overhang and waited out the showers.

Soon we were on our way, but quickly ran into more rain, this time, a downpour. Again, we stopped under some protection and waiting out the storm.

A stop for dinner, putting on the rain gear and then several hours ride in the rain. Not our favorite way to ride, but it is part of the experience.

The next day was better. Hot, but not raining when we took off. A quick stop at Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro, Alabama.

A unique stop, since it is the only place in the country that sells unclaimed baggage. Their one-of-a-kind store offers a unique shopping experience and the opportunity to discover lost treasures from around the world.

Since we were on motorcycles, we did not have much room to buy much, but I did find a new shirt with the price tag still on it, the cost? Only $6. I’m sure the guys did not mind that the shopping stop, it only lasted an hour.

Next stop, De Soto Falls.

A beautiful place,and a beautiful waterfall, with an 100 foot drop. I wondered about the name, and discovered the falls got their name from the legend of a piece of armor found near the falls. It may have belonged to Hernando De Soto or one of his troops.

We enjoyed a view of the falls, and the coolness (relative to the heat in the sun!) of a shady spot above the falls.

On to Birmingham, a stop for the guys, Barber Vintage Museum. An amazing place!

The collection now has over 1200 vintage and modern motorcycles as well as a substantial collection of Lotus and other racecars. The collection is the largest of its kind in the world. There are approximately 600 of the 1200 motorcycles on display at any given time. These bikes range from 1902 to current-year production. The common street bike is represented, as well as rare one-off Gran Prix race machinery.

I was amazed at the display!  Hmm, maybe some 3-D inspiration for a quilt here. . .

The guys loved it!

 A bit more riding and then dinner at  Dreamland BBQ.

Wonderful BBQ!!!


 Can you tell we are having a great time?!

Our last day was hot, extremely hot.  Showers had left the humidity high. . . you can see our bikes parked here. Interesting reflection in the puddle!

Several hundred miles of riding in 100+ heat was ahead of us, so a good breakfast/lunch was important.

Another Broken Egg Cafe was recommended, it had great food, a perfect menu.

As we went into eat, I spotted a Japanese Maple Tree. I loved the color combination and had to take a photo to remember it. Hmm, again, maybe some inspiration for a quilt???

Riding home took most of the afternoon and into the evening. The 100+ heat caused us to stop every hour or so for cold water and a break. Still, we  loved the ride and can’t wait for the next one!


Now you can’t have a complete summer without the right drinks.  I love tea of any kind and especially love iced tea.  One of the favorite teas in the South is Fruit Tea, sometimes called Tea Punch.  It is sweet, fruity and perfect on a hot summer day!


  • Tea bags for 2 gallons tea
  • 1 1/2 quarts boiling water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 48 ounce can pineapple juice
  • 12 ounce can frozen orange juice
  • 12 ounce can frozen lemonade

What’s Next:

Place tea bags in bowl or pitcher. Pour boiling water over tea bags. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Let tea bags steep in sugar water several hours or overnight. discard tea bags. Pour tea into a large bowl. Add juices , stirring well. Pour equal amounts into two one-gallon jugs. Add water to each to fill jug. Refrigerate. Shake well before serving.

Now, glass in hand, I’m headed to my front porch for a bit of reading and enjoying lazy, Saturday afternoon. . .

Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at

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