Sunday, May 12, 2024


I love Texas! I can see myself living there.  I love the landscape, so vast and so different throughout the state. I love the people, so welcoming, fun and engaging. I love the quilters, such good people there, many I am proud to call "friend". 

In planning the TEXAS TOUR 2024, it became apparent there would be logistics in getting me from Beaumont to Victoria. And there would be 5 days of "free time" between jobs. My contact in Beaumont, Susan, had the perfect solution: a side trip to Austin. I really love Austin, having visited twice before briefly, so that was perfect. 

My traveling companions and now, friends:

Penni and Susan

Penni and Susan picked me up on a beautiful Saturday morning and we headed to our first stop, Katy, west of Houston, just under a two hour drive. By happy accident there was a street festival going on and that was a fun way to spend some time: 

We were looking for Kantha clothing. The one boutique we found that had a few garments was great, but none of the jackets were perfect for any of us. But this jacket made from a kimono silk WAS  perfect for me, except it was way too small. I really wanted it but it was just not ever going to fit so I kept looking. And I DID buy the red silk long kimono vest seen on the hanger:

I also liked this lovely metal sign but it didn't come home with me either, it's about 2 x 3 feet:

Next we headed for La Grange, an hour or so drive west. Home of the Texas Quilt Museum and The Quilted Skein fabric and fiber shop. There were great exhibits as always in the Museum, my fourth visit there:

It was time to head to Austin, an hour drive to the Airbnb. It is owned by a friend of Susan and Penni, Deb, so she joined in the fun now. We unloaded and headed out to Matt's El Rancho restaurant, nearby:

Authentic Tex-Mex 

A stop at the supermarket got us set for the visit. The Airbnb was perfect, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a full kitchen and laundry. Once my clothes were washed I was ready for this vacation:

The AirBNB

Breakfast each day 

Each day I did a minimum hour and a half power walk in the neighborhood. I knew I had missed Bluebonnet season by a few weeks--it is my dream and goal to return while they are in full bloom. On my last morning walk I spotted this--at a house I had walked past at least a dozen times--my first time seeing Bluebonnets "in the wild"--I was thrilled!:

Just a couple hanging on

The seed pods getting ready for next year

I spent Sunday with longtime friends and had a lovely meal at Steiner Ranch Steakhouse, with a view of the sunset over Lake Travis. Awesome!

Monday was the most perfect weather day--sunny, low humidity, 75 degrees--Chamber of Commerce weather. We ventured downtown, about a 30 minute drive, and toured the Capitol and the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. I loved everything about this day:

The Capitol Rotunda features a Lone Star at the top of the dome--it is 8 FEET across from point to point. It is so tall the Statue of Liberty would fit under it with room to spare. Penni, Susan, Deb and I did what everyone else did--take a timed shot as we stood under the dome. Another super FUN thing to do is to stand directly under the star and say something. It reverberates back to you, sounding like the entire room can hear you--so amazing!

That late afternoon we walked from the AirBNB to Kerbey Lane Cafe, very nearby. I heartily recommend it. I had grilled salmon with tamarind glazed Brussel sprouts and basil mashed potatoes, so good! I would go back there any time. It was so good I didn't take a photo. So, here is their photo from the website: 

The next day we headed to Wimberly, less than an hour's drive. It is a nice little town with many small shops, tea/coffee houses, fun to browse and enjoy this last full day with my new friends. Some of the sights:

A kitchen store had LOTS of great stuff, from foods to gadgets. I love flavored oils and vinegars, I use them to make a wonderful salad dressing. Find my recipe on this blog about my favorite foods: My Favorite Recipes. I was delighted to find these to bring home--the dressing is yummy:

A visit to a quilt shop is always welcome, even if I am on self-imposed fabric restriction. I did find two "must have" pieces for a future "Stella Quilt":

We were hungry now and the entire day had been planned around going to SALT LICK BBQ in Driftwood for lunch, my most favorite Texas BBQ place, since I was there years ago. It didn't disappoint; it was so good I bought more for dinner to share with friends I was meeting that night:

Penni, Susan, me and Deb

There was one funny, unexpected thing that happened on this trip. The day after I left home a package came in the mail for me from Woman's World Magazine. It was 3 copies of MY issue--the one that tells how I lost 110 pounds. I had mentioned on Instagram and Facebook I had done a professional photo shoot but not why. I had to wait for the magazine to come out. Here it was, the April 29, 2024 issue. My husband sent me photos and I got excited. 

We started going to supermarkets and drugstores trying to find it, not sure when the weekly issue actually gets released. I wrote a quick blog post to alert friends as they would no longer be on sale after I got home:

I came back from my walk one morning and Penni surprised me with this--I love that woman! She found them at Walgreen's on her morning Starbucks run:

A copy for each of us. AND I was featured on the cover--that was not the case on the issues mailed to my home

I sure had fun telling the guilds about this and I signed many copies once folks were able to find them at local stores.  If you want to read the article, find it in full here on their website: Battle of the Diets Winner.  It is an excellent article with a lot of good information on nutrition. And links to sites I use and find helpful.

They chose the outfit and shot I particularly liked. My son, professional photographer Joshua Black Wilkins was hired by the magazine to do the photo shoot. Chelsea Thompson did my hair and makeup--I loved it and her. Here are a few additional images from that day:

All in all, my Texas Tour 2024 was wonderful! This mini vacation was so good for my soul! It filled my cup for a while until I can return. Let's go to Texas!

And let's quilt,



  1. Congratulations, Cover Girl!!! Sounds like a wonderful time in TX.

  2. What a wonderful description of our trip. It was blessing to meet you and I am blessed even more to call you my friend!

  3. Love the travel, the photos, the descriptions of things to see. Thank you so much for writing about your world!

  4. Barbara, I had the BEST time with you in Beaumont. It was a pleasure having you at the guild, taking your class, and talking extensively about my super star icon quilter, Sue Garman. You're such a delight and I look forward to your next Texas trip. And, you were in the best company with the mini vacation ladies. No doubt lots of laughter and the most interesting stories. Love them!!!