More from the Iowa State Capital…

The library inside the Capital smelled like old books, which is a nice smell! It’s a tall space with two amazing spiral staircases. 

The books were pretty on the shelves. I would have taken many more photos but we didn’t get to stay long. 

Also seen on the tour were mosaics which made me want to play with tiny tiles…

And spiral stairs to climb up and down to the dome. I got a little dizzy and my thighs are still sore. 

We got to look outside from one window when we were high in the dome. I guess squirrels don’t come through the gap in the screen…

I was surprised to find the signs of the zodiac painted on the ceiling on the ground floor. 

There were quotations in many places. Every politician should take this one to heart…

And then we went outside where I had noticed a gold building. It was, not surprisingly, built to reflect the Capital!

I think this last photo may be my favorite one of all. 

The Iowa State Capital Building…

I was told that this was a must-see Des Moines site so yesterday morning Catherine and I went to see it for ourselves.

If you are in Des Moines, you are likely to see the capital’s golden dome gleaming from far away. We took the tour so I can tell you that that is real gold leaf, thinner than a hair, and that it has to be re-applied every 20-25 years.

The architectural details, both in and out, are really amazing and, now that I think about it, the whole place was really clean!

If you look down you’ll notice that the tile designs in the floors are varied and quilt-like…

But when you look up, your jaw will drop.

If you take the (free) tour, you get to go up to the the balcony high in the dome, just below the banks of lights that illuminate the space. I was standing there when I took the following photo, looking up…

…and then looking down to the floor far below, where the ‘x’ is. That’s a person walking away, to the right of the ‘x’.

Even the smallest details were not forgotten…

door hinge

door hinge





window pull

window pull


sconce arm

sconce arm

There’s more to share tomorrow but for now let me say that this really is a nice place to visit. Way to go, Iowa!

Watch me on The Quilt Show!

I was a guest on The Quilt Show, hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, a while back and I’m happy to announce that my episode will be aired beginning August 17th—that’s tomorrow!

Many of you already know that The Quilt Show is an online show that you can watch any time. All of the older episodes are just a click away—and there are some very fine shows in the archive. Ricky and Alex both are excellent interviewers, who bring out the best in their guests. You have to subscribe, but TQS is worth joining because each episode is packed with interesting information.

You can watch my episode for FREE from August 17-23, 2015 (Monday-Sunday). Click here or on the Watch Me box below. I do hope you enjoy it!

Click on the video below to watch the trailer for my show.


The Iowa State Fair…

Catherine and I landed in Des Moines at 2:00 and by 3:30 we had gotten our car, checked into the hotel/casino, and driven to the fair! Despite signs to the contrary, we did find parking in a far lot. 

We got a ride in a go cart driven by a Shriners volunteer to the fair gate. On the way, he gave us a tour of the ‘village’ of mobile homes and campers that are outside the gate. Amazing!

People stay here for the length of the fair and spots are passed down from generation to generation. And they can get elaborate. Many have decks!

We saw all kinds of things and I should have taken more photos. This rabbit was sculpted with a chain saw. Nice!

There were big crowds. Donald Trump was here somewhere and we thankfully missed him, as well as any other politician who might have been here. 

We saw antique tractors. This one was especially nice. 

There was a massive sand sculpture that was nearly finished. We saw the butter cow too, but I didn’t take a photo. Image a cow, but yellow. That’s what it looked like. 

There was more food than I’ve ever seen at a fair. I did find a gluten free offering, yay! And I came back with a Carmel Apple. Life is good. 

On the way out to the car, we spotted this fine couple. You know that they must have had a good time at the fair, too. 

This is the best state fair I’ve ever been too. It was so nice to get to go, if only for a little while. 

Piece O’ NYC: Our City Cats

This post is dedicated to the animals I love the most: cats!

When Jeff and I first moved in together, back when we were wee ones in Baltimore, I immediately told him we were getting a cat. Wisely, he didn’t fight me on this. I’m a bit of a cat lady. Most of my friends — ok, ALL of my friends — know that if they spot something cat related to show it to me or get it for me. I’m just one of those crazies.

So, throughout our marriage, Jeff and I have had cats. Sugar, our first cat, sadly passed while she was still a kitten. She was very sweet and loved us both.

Then came Carlton. His full name is Carlton Butterworth Livingston Goldsmith, I. (At the pound his name was “Cookie”…short for Cookie Monster we think…). He was hovering on 17 pounds when we got him, but is now a nice and husky 13 pounds. He’s a gentleman and a scholar, and as his time with us progressed, it became clear that he and Jeff would become the closest of buddies. So that made me feel ‘cat-less.’
Carlton with his buddy, Jeffrey. Probably talking about girls and football...

Carlton with his buddy, Jeffrey. Probably talking about girls and football…

FullSizeRender copy 2Since I’ve never felt right without cat love, I had to get my own. Back to the pound we went, and home we came with Millie, (Millicent Butterworth Goldsmith — if you think these names are funny, wait until you hear what we have in store for our kids one day ;p). Millie is the perfect cat. She’s super sweet and loving, you can leave tons of food out for her and she doesn’t over consume (Carl is a glutton), and she plays with all of her cat toys equally (Carl only likes his princess pillows or squeaky mice). She also plays fetch and does this!

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She’s pretty protective of this quilt… I wouldn’t try to use it while she’s ‘guarding’ it.

FullSizeRenderLiving in tight quarters with two cats does have several challenges, though. There are hair ball nuggets everywhere and no matter what you do, there’s never enough floor space for all of Millie’s toys or for Carl to lay out on. We have random corners where Carl has to have his cat bed — he’s big enough that instead of cat beds, we get him small dog beds. Plus, our litterbox is an eye sore. Jeff and I can totally see why many people here have dogs. (Jeff has never had a dog or puppy, but one day I totally plan on getting him one. One day when we have that house we’ve always dreamed of…).

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NYC is interesting for cats. Millie loves our high rise view and I know Carlton’s happy just as long as you feed him on time. Some people in this city walk their cats in strollers, and we’ve seen cats on leashes in the park. I really think Carlton could be down with this, but Millie is too much like a dog. She’d want to explore.
When Jeff and I talk about our marriage, we immediately think of the cats we’ve had during that time in our lives. For example, it was Sugar who comforted me as I scrolled through bridal magazines looking for DIY wedding ideas, but it was Carlton who moved with us to a new apartment in Baltimore as a married couple. Aren’t pets just the greatest?!

What it looks like may not be what it is…

I posted this photo on instagram/facebook/twitter a few days ago. This little (1/2″) beast stung me as I was working on my computer. It had gotten into the house, landed on Lorna’s hand, she flung it off and it found me. Ouch. And then OUCH. The pain got worse, not better.

So, this bug stung me. I hit it with my shoe as it was struggling at my studio window and then I took this photo. Steve walked by and I asked him what it was. He said: ‘Bee, probably some local sort of bee.’ I called it a bee on instagram/facebook/twitter.

2015-08-09 11.38.08

Every comment said that no, that is a wasp. Or a hornet. Definitely not a bee. So I looked at photos online and told my darling husband that I doubted his assessment.

What you may not know is that Steve is a field biologist and has been for a very long time. He works with beetles, but he’s good when it comes to other creatures. He said he would take it to his office and ‘key it out’. (If you want to know what that means, let me know. I’ll ask Steve for more details. I suspect microscopes and books were involved because that is what he does.) Here’s what he found:

The solitary bee subfamily Oxaeinae includes many species that are primarily found in the new-world tropics, but with a few species in the southwestern US, including Texas. This subfamily was fairly recently included in the larger solitary bee family Andrenidae – it was formerly considered its own family, the Oxaeidae. Female Oxaeinines collect pollen and nectar, and use it to provision in brood cells in deep burrows. The solitary bees are important pollinators, especially in the southwest.

Folks, it doesn’t matter that it looks like a wasp, it’s a bee.

This brings me to the larger point of this post: The older I get, the more I realize that things are not always what they seem. Common sense is only worthwhile if it’s correct. There are so very many things that, once objective data are collected, it turns out that what looks right, just isn’t.

I view all of this as a good thing. I am reminded (yet again) that it pays to be open-minded, to listen to those who know more than I do, and to learn something new rather than to just assume that I am always right. I should add that I am wrong so often that this is not a foreign concept for me :-).

I should also add that I enjoyed the comments that were posted. It made me go back and look at the photo, and look at bee/wasp pictures online, which then made me doubt Steve. This was good for me! I tend to be too trusting which isn’t good. I wish I could always be correct, don’t you? But then I’d be insufferable, which is bad. I guess I’ll embrace being only sometimes right :-).