Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Here Comes the Bride . . .

The purpose of our train excursion to Albuquerque was to attend our daughter's wedding.  
Photo courtesy of Carmella Chavez Lieberman Photograph
The ceremony was held at the Hotel Andaluz - a gorgeous, historic building in downtown Albuquerque.  

Due to a cancellation by the minister, Dave got to perform the actual ceremony - after a last minute scramble to verify the legalities.  What a blessing to hear him give a message on the scriptural instructions for marriage and then pronounce them as husband and wife!  Our grandsons were the wedding attendants.  Adorable!

During a brief receiving line in the lobby, the hotel staff reset the room with comfy couches and arm-chairs to host the reception.  Amy opted for a single small cake and cupcakes in various flavors.  

A side table was decorated in rustic fashion with mason jars holding family wedding pictures printed in black and white to look "vintage", and lit with battery-operated votives.  The jar on the far left on the bottom shelf is Dave and I circa 1982.  (Is that considered "vintage" now?  *groan*)  An antique suitcase and more hydrangeas decorated a table near the door to hold cards from guests.  (Can't believe I didn't get a picture!)  The bride also provided squares of heavy linen and Sharpies so guests could write a word of advice or congratulations, and the squares were hung from a clothesline with old-fashioned pegs.  That is, until the hotel Scrooge showed up and objected to the use of pushpins to hold up the line - but it was a cute idea any way.  I'm not sure what her plans are for saving the squares - a quilt wall-hanging would be adorable, or perhaps a scrapbook?

Although small (less than 30 people in attendance), it was exactly as Amy had hoped - intimate, casual and beautiful.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What's My Line: The Answers

Here are the answers to Friday's movie quote quiz.  How did you do?

You think beautiful girls are going to stay in style forever?  I should say not!  Any minute now they're going to be out!  Finished!  Then it'll be my turn!  - Funny Girl

I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this. – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

God came to me last night and told me your purpose for being here. I am going to help you write a new book.  - Misery

 Now, gentlemen, in this country, our courts are the great levelers. In our courts, all men are created equal. – To Kill a Mockingbird

 I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man. – True Grit

You can't wear black. It looks like you're going to a funeral. – Walk the Line

But I'll tell you something, kiddo. You couldn't find Big Time if you had a road map.  – The Color of Money

 Forget it! I'm stayin' right where I am. It's gonna take you and the police department and the fire department and the National Guard to get me outta here!  - Norma Rae

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and - SNAP - the job's a game!  - Mary Poppins

I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow. -  Gone With the Wind

You threaten my son, you threaten me. – The Blind Side

Stupid is as stupid does. – Forrest Gump

A golf course is nothing but a poolroom moved outdoors. -  Going My Way

What is it about you that makes a man with a hundred forty-seven I.Q. feel like a dribbling idiot?  - The Goodbye Girl

I don't train girls.  – Million Dollar Baby

Ten minutes to Wapner. – Rain Man

See The Smoke and Hear The Whistle Blow . . .

Our first adventure "riding the rails" is over.  We started in Topeka (a ninety-minute drive from our house).  

The train was scheduled to depart at 12:10 a.m. but was delayed when a drawbridge somewhere between Chicago and Topeka went up and refused to come back down.  Even though we were notified by text about the delay, freezing drizzle was falling in Topeka and there were reports of accidents on overpasses, so we decided waiting in the station would be better than missing the train.  We arrived at 11:30 and the train arrived at 1:30. Fortunately, there were comfy couches and fellow passengers to chat with.

Amanda and Isaiah get comfy while waiting.
The interior of an Amtrak train is similar to that of an airplane, but much roomier.  The seats are wider, further apart and include leg rests.  There were electrical outlets at each seat so it was easy to pass the time with laptops, cell phones, etc. - no wifi, however.


The Lounge car has large windows for watching the scenery.  One of the few downsides to train travel is that the tracks don't normally run through the best part of towns - so you see a lot of the run-down, seedy side of the places you pass.

Mackenzie, Mitch and Dave chat and watch the scenery.
Since most of the scenery in western Kansas, eastern Colorado and northeast New Mexico is familiar to us, we took advantage of the booths for playing a variety of games . . .

. . . and occasionally looked up to admire the desert mesas and the red rock of Raton Pass.

The Lounge car offers a "Cafe" that sells drinks, snacks and microwavable meals.  There is also a Dining Car, which we tried for one meal, but it's a little pricey for mediocre food, so we stuck with the cafe and the food we brought on-board.

The best way to pass the time was to make new friends.  There was a group of families (Amish or Mennonite?) traveling from Maryland to California, that struck up a conversation with Dave and grilled him about agricultural practices in Kansas.  Here he explains how he monitors the grain markets from his cell phone.

Amanda got a lesson on moccasin bead-work from a Native American woman who's granddaughter performs with a tribal dance group.  This is our next mother/daughter/daughter-in-law craft project!

The only downside to our train ride was the crew.  The majority of the employees were rude and arrogant - wielding their "power" just because they could.  I was snipped at by the dining car waitress because I touched my plate as she was sitting it down; we were forced to stand in below freezing temps while a steward argued with a woman in line about her destination - though it was clearly printed on her ticket; and ordered around more like inmates in a prison than paying guests.  The crew on the return trip was better, but still churlish.  I'm sure they deal with a lot of rude passengers, also, but that's no excuse for assuming that attitude before it's deserved.  

In spite of the crew, we will definitely take more trips by train.  At half the cost of air fare and ten-times the comfort of a car, it's a great way to see the country.

Although our time on the train was nearly as long as our time in Albuquerque, the wedding was the real focus of this trip.  Come back tomorrow for wedding pictures.

*Can you name the tune referenced in the title of this post?

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Puzzling Post: What's My Line?

While we're on our railroad adventure, I leave you this puzzle to fill the time.  Below are quotes from films that have won the Best Picture Oscar between 1934 and 2013.  The films were all included in my Oscars Puzzle from a few weeks ago.  The answer to that puzzle can be found here - so select your answers to this quiz from that list. 

Googling, asking your spouse and copying someone else's answers is totally encouraged.
1.  You think beautiful girls are going to stay in style forever?  I should say not!  Any minute now they're going to go out!  Finished!  Then it'll be my turn!

2.  I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this.

3.  God came to me last night and told me your purpose for being here.  I am going to help you write a new book.

4.  Now gentlemen, in this country our courts are the great levelers.  In our courts, all men are created equal.

5.  I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.

6.  You can't wear black.  It looks like you're going to a funeral

7.  But I'll tell you something, kiddo.  You couldn't find Big Time if you had a road map.

8.  Forget it!  I'm stayin' right where I am.  It's gonna take you and the police department and the fire department and the National Guard to get me outta here!

9.  In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.  You find the fun and - SNAP - the job's a game.

10.  I can't think about that right now.  If I do, I'll go crazy.  I'll think about that tomorrow.

11.  You threaten my son, you threaten me.

12.  Stupid is as stupid does.

13.  A golf course is nothing but a poolroom moved outdoors.

14.  What is it about you that makes a man with a hundred forty-seven I.Q. feel like a dribbling idiot?

15.  I don't train girls.

16.  Ten minutes to Wapner.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Oh, Listen to The Jingle, the Rumble and the Roar . . .

We're off on an adventure - a trip to Albuquerque aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief.  

Dave and I, Daughter #2 and her boyfriend will board in Topeka at midnight tonight.  We'll pick up Son and Fiance in Garden City, KS at 6:30 a.m. and head through the Sandia Mountains to attend Daughter #1's wedding.  The trip takes about eighteen hours (each way) and we'll be in Albuquerque for less than forty-eight hours, but it's much more economical than flying, and more comfortable than driving.  Plus it's a check on the bucket list.  Dave is the only member of the family who has traveled by train, and he was a child at the time.

I have a full day of laundry, errands and packing to get us ready.  See you when we return.

In the mean time, can you name the tune referred to in the title of this post?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's a Dog's Life . . .

Calves are one of my favorite signs of Spring - especially since we don't have to do any of the work of getting them here.  They usually show up in a stock trailer while I'm at work.  This evening we walked out to meet a couple new arrivals.

#9 wanted to play.

 Mama wasn't sure Gabby was an appropriate playmate.

When #9 got too close . . .

. . . Mama stepped in . . .

and checked out the interloper.

Gabby must have passed the test.  She let #9 make friends.
(Of course they had to pick the only spot on the fence with a stuck tumbleweed.)

And what has Molly doing during all this?

She kept Dave busy playing "Hide and Fetch" inside a stack of drainage tiles.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Wearin' of the Green . . .

There wasn't a lot of green in evidence and no one knew all the words to O Danny Boy, but it was a bonny evening at our local pub.  I prepared the corned beef and cabbage, the owners supplied potatoes and dessert - and beer, of course.  

Warren and Dave try out the corned beef.
We ended the evening with a cut-throat game of pitch (which Warren and I won) - and a lot of laughs.  

Dear Lord,
Give me a few friends
who will love me for what I am,
and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope...
And though I come not within sight
of the castle of my dreams,
teach me to be thankful for life,
and for time's olden memories
that are good and sweet.
And may the evening's twilight
find me gentle still.
                                  - Irish Blessing

Saturday, March 16, 2013

It Sure Is Exquisite . . .

. . . but what the heck is it?  That's what my mother used to say when faced with an object  of questionable purpose.  Do you know what this item is?

That's right!  It's a Baggie Dryer.  I saw this idea on another blog recently and thought it was genius.  I use a lot of plastic bags for packing my lunch and for pre-packaging my own 100-calorie snacks.  I hate the waste of throwing them away after one use, but reusing them can be a hassle.   Bags that house messy items still go to the trash, but bags that held dry items such as crackers or a sandwich are easy to rinse and reuse, but not to dry.  I've tried drying them over glasses or silverware in the dish drainer, but not very successfully.  

This cute little creation is simply
  • a container of your choosing - in my case an extra-tall jelly canning jar 
  • weighted filler - I used pretty blue glass pebbles 
  • sticks - mine are skewers for grilling, pointy end down. (chop sticks would also work well)

You can create your own to fit your kitchen decor or color preference - the possibilities are endless.

I've racked my brain and searched all the "regulars" on my blog list - but I can't find the post where I read about this.  My apologies and thanks to whoever you are.  Great idea!

Friday, March 15, 2013

What Are You . . .

I am borrowing today's blog topic from my sister, Teri @ Henningsen Happenings, who borrowed it from Trish, who borrowed it from Suey and Lisa.  I blog to express my originality. 

The question is, what am I . . .

Listening to:  My current audio book in the car is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd  - on Teri's recommendation.  Only on disc two so the jury's still out.  Musically, I have a new love - The Zac Brown Band:  Toes, Island Song, Where the Boat Leaves From (are we sensing a theme?) and my new favorite song:

Eating:  Way too much.  I've been on the Nutrisystem, low-fat, low-calorie bandwagon for over a year now, but I fell off this week.  I've been to the Chinese buffet for lunch 3 times and I ate Oreos out of the vending machine at work today.  But the biggest lesson I've learned in the last year - it's ok to splurge on occasion.  Back to the regimen tomorrow.

Watching:  Right this moment - the Kansas State vs. Texas basketball game.  Round 1 of the Big XII is in the books - KSU 66, Texas 49.  Go Cats!

Reading:  After the Rain by Karen White (paper book) and From Notting Hill With Love . . . Actually by Ali McNamara (Nook)

Making:  A "Disappearing 9-Patch" throw-size quilt for snuggling by the fire when camping.

Planning:  Our first camping outing in our "vacation home".  We have a grocery shopping list and a Wal-Mart shopping list.  We're shooting for Easter weekend to test it out.

Doing:  Work, sew, read, repeat.

Feeling:  Blessed - had several opportunities to help someone in need by donating things we can do without.  Nervous - lots going on in the next two weeks. 

Wanting:  Warm weather, time outside, peace and quiet, time with friends/family - all coming up soon.

Thinking:  I spend too much time on-line.  Working to cut that down.

Looking forward to:  Daughter Amy is getting married next weekend (March 23) in Albuquerque.  Dave and I, son/fiance, daughter-the-younger/boyfriend are all taking the train.  Can't wait!

Now that you know what's inside my head, what are you . . . ?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

UFO's: The Books

A couple days ago I posted about my crafting UFO's (UnFinished Objects).  It was an embarrassingly long list of things I've planned, started and never finished.  Occurred to me that I have a similar, if not larger, issue with UFB's (UnFinished Books).  Not technically unfinished, most are un-begun.  Yes, I know we all have our TBR (to be read) piles and lists of books we want from the library and wish lists for future purchases and gifts.  But, like all the in-progress crafts, having unread books stacked around the house and continually acquiring more is poor stewardship.  

I got rid of boxes and boxes of books when we moved two years ago, so was down to a minimum of unread books - just the few that I really wanted to read.  As I purchased new books, I sat them on the dresser.  Soon they overtook that space and climbed the shelves along one side of the mirror.  Then up the other side.  I finally had to move them to the top of the dresser.

The paperbacks remain on a side shelf:
And then there's the original shelf that moved with us: 

That's more than fifty "real" books acquired in the last two years, plus about 20 more on the Nook - and not read!  The books purchased and actually read is a whole other thing

Once again - you all are my witnesses - no more stockpiling books.  Yes, there are exceptions - there are certain authors that I really must read as soon as they're published.  I'm not going cold turkey here.  But I will find as many as possible at the library and I am hereby avoiding bookstores and book sites until I've read a large portion of these.

This is the part where, as you did at the end of the craft post on Tuesday, you all nod your heads and pretend to believe that will happen.  Thank you.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Things That Go "Flop" in the Night

"We're not laughing at you, we're laughing with you."  Famous words usually spoken when I'm not laughing!  But there are times that I just have to laugh at myself and move on.  Such as when I attempt a new craft and it's a disaster.

It's so fun to tell you about my great crafting plans and post pictures of my successes, but what about the times that my big ideas come crashing down with a giant FLOP!?  Confession is good for the soul - or so says someone who's probably a lot smarter than me - so here is my Crafting Flop Confession:

It started with a cute idea from Pinterest to take an old book, remove the pages, insert grommets and binder rings, and create an album for storing greeting cards, post cards and other keepsakes.  The train started to leave the tracks when I searched through my box of books from an estate sale that have been designated as craft supplies.  None of them were large enough to hold some of the cards I have saved.  What I needed was a modern hardback - the kind that are about 10" tall.  So I found one on my bookshelf that I had read and didn't particularly like and sacrificed it to the crafting gods.  Now I had an appropriately sized cover but it was neon yellow and red - not the vintage look I was wanting.  So I got yet ANOTHER brilliant idea from Pinterest - I would "alter" the cover with fabric, paper and Mod Podge. The craft train was seriously tilting!   
It completely derailed on Brilliant Pinterest Idea #3:  Make my own Mod Podge.  I didn't measure what you would call "precisely" - it seemed like one of those things you could just eyeball.  Evidently not.  And maybe I should have researched Mod Podging on cardboard . . .

What I ended up with was a buckled, bubbled, bumpy cover that refused to close correctly.  Some of the embellishments were falling off, some were firmly attached, just not where I wanted them.  There are no words for it but "epic fail"!

Unfortunately, this was not a lone flop.  I have them frequently, but just usually keep them to myself.  But this time I am confessing.  Not sure if it helped my soul, but my outside is laughing!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Close Encounters of the Crafting Kind . . .

Hosted by Heather @Books and Quilts
It's time for another installment of Needlework Tuesday . . . and once again I have very little to show for progress in the past week.  I started another small quilt - for reasons I'll explain in a bit - but when I started to write this post about the beginning of yet another project, it reminded me how rarely I post about the finishing of a project.  Which, in turn, reminded me of a conversation with Dave the other night in which I said "If I never bought another craft supply and only finished the projects I have in the house, I could be busy till I'm 90."  That may be a slight exaggeration, but my sewing/crafting room is being overrun by UFO's!  Not little green men - although who knows, they could be stashed in their somewhere - but UnFinished Objects.

In an effort to embarrass myself into action, here are most of my UFO's: 
Starting in the top left, we have the aqua/green/black/coral strips.  These are part of a wall-hanging/doll-size quilt started within the last year.  The strips are all sewn and waiting to be combined with sashing - which is also already cut - then backing and binding.

Just beneath those strips is my biggest embarrassment - a set of Four Seasons Farmhouse pictures I began cross-stitching in . . . 1987.  Yes, nineteen-EIGHTY-seven.  Three seasons are complete and the fourth one is about half way.  

In the upper right corner there are two small quilts pieced and partially quilted.  The purple bargello, which I adore, has basically been at that point since 2005.  I got it out a while back, wrote a post about my plan to finish it, quilted one row and haven't touched it since. 

Laying on the quilts are two sets of cross-stitch quilt blocks - one is hydrangeas in blues/greens, the other is tulips in shades of pink.  Both sets purchased from Herrschners within the last year.  I have completed less than one-half of one hydrangea block.  Tulips are unopened.

Also on the quilt is a kit for a paper-pieced block featuring a dog that looks like a dog we got when we were first married.  I bought this kit at a quilt show in Denver seven or eight years ago with the intention of framing it along with a picture of our dog, as a gift for Dave.  It's unopened.

Moving on around the circle, there is fabric for two quilt-as-you-go table runners.  One is cut and strips sewn, ready to be assembled with the batting and backing.  The second one isn't started.

Now look to the left of the table runners, right in the center of the picture.  The Bible cover was made from an Avon kit I bought in the early 90's - stitched but never assembled.  The wreath is a project for my mother that has been in the works since the mid-90's after an autumn-wreath picture I spent nine months stitching was destroyed in the mail - thank you USPS. (I'll tell you that whole story some time.)  I'm sure Mom is enjoying the 3/4 finished picture that I've been storing for 15+ years.

Along side the wreath picture are more cross-stitch patterns that I purchased with great enthusiasm and intentions.  There's a set of three porch pictures featuring quilts and scripture verses, a set of two pictures of iris (irises?), and a Thomas Kinkade picture from my lighthouse phase.

Below that, in the bottom left corner, are four cross-stitch projects which are complete,  but haven't been framed or made into pillows or whatever it was I intended to do with them.  What kind of idiot does that much work, then lets them lay around for years (decades)?  

Bottom center of the picture are some red, white and blue quilt blocks, all hand sewn from patterns I found in a trunk belonging to my grandmother.  I had grand visions of a queen-size quilt - - - hand stitched.  Did I mention I'm an idiot?  I have recently revised my plans - thank you Pinterest - and plan to frame the blocks individually and arrange them on my bedroom wall.  

And lastly, in the bottom right corner we have the two projects I've actually stitched on this week.  One is the snowman cross-stitch I blogged about a few weeks ago and the other is yet another quilt I started.  But wait, I have a logical reason for this one - sorta.

My sister, Teri, mentioned that she would like to learn to quilt, so we agreed that on an upcoming weekend visit to her house, I would bring my machine and the supplies for us to each make a doll quilt for her granddaughters.  I decided on a Disappearing 9-Patch as our block because it's reasonably easy to assemble for two beginners and it looks much more complicated than it is.  Since I've never actually made that block, I thought it reasonable to practice before attempting to teach. So I bought some pre-packaged, retro-patterned fat-quarters in aqua, coral and brown - the colors I want to use for curtains and throw pillows in the camper - and started a quilt for snuggling by the campfire.  

And we won't even discuss the three Christmas stockings in various stages, or the pattern to convert a sweatshirt into an appliqued cardigan, or the Smash-Book, or the paper crafts or the fact that I committed to learning how to crochet and tat lace in 2013.  This is just ridiculous!  So you are all witness to my commitment to finishing some UFO's.  I can't guarantee I won't buy ANY new supplies.  Things come up  - like the doll blankets or items for gifts - but no new projects for myself until I've finished at least a few of these!  Now let's all smile and nod and pretend we believe that.

Are there UFO's lurking in your closet?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

It Wasn't Blue Rock, Montana . . .

. . . but we saw the Redheaded Stranger.  

Willie Nelson made a one-night stop in Topeka so, even though it was a Thursday and Topeka is 90 miles from here, I sat at the computer counting down the seconds till tickets went on sale, then grabbed eight seats as close to the stage as possible.  Actually, as close to the stage as affordable - the first few rows were going for a price that made my eye twitch.  We were still in row 20, so not bad.  Dave and I, and three other couples left early, to have time for bangers and mashed, shepherd's pie, or fish and chips at The Celtic Fox - and a surprise visit from Dallas, our nephew who was on leave from the Marine's - before heading to the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

This was Dave's 6th and my 4th Willie Nelson concert.  Even though April 30 will mark Mr. Nelson's 80th birthday, but he still puts on a pretty good show - a bit shorter than 30 years ago, but who can blame him.  We were slightly disappointed that he chose to sing some little-known songs, some Hank Williams numbers and other eclectic choices, rather than choosing more from his own long list of hits, but we did get to hear Goodhearted Woman, On the Road Again, Me and Paul, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain (ask Dave about that song at my first Willie concert), Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I DieYou Were Always On My Mind and a lesser-known personal favorite, Still is Still Moving To Me.  As long as we get to hear the opening strum of Whiskey River and watch the Texas flag unfurl behind him - we're happy fans. 
Some of us were happier fans than others.
(Unlike Toby Keith, I believe he'd smoke weed with Willie again.)

If you've never been fortunate enough to see Willie Nelson in concert, this an example from Youtube of the famous strums and stripes.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

And the Winner Is . . .

Here are the answers to Thursday's Oscar puzzle:

Row 1:  Katharine Hepburn – Morning Glory – 1934
            Bing Crosby – Going My Way – BA – 1945
            Denzel Washington – Training Day - 2002
            Richard Dreyfuss – The Goodbye Girl – 1978
            Hillary Swank – Million Dollar Baby – 2005
            Sally Field – Norma Rae – 1980
            Julie Andrews – Mary Poppins- 1965
            Vivian Leigh – Gone With the Wind – 1940
Row 2:  Spencer Tracy – Captains Courageous – 1938
             Clark Cable – It Happened One Night – 1935
            Grace Kelly – The Country Girl – 1955
            Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side – 2010         
            Tom Hanks – Philadelpha – 1994
            Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump - 1995

            Dustin Hoffman – Rainman – 1989

            Audrey Hepburn  - Roman Holiday – 1954
            Gregory Peck – To Kill a Mockingbird – 1963

Row 3:  Elizabeth Taylor – Butterfield 8 – 1961
            John Wayne – True Grit – 1970
            Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line - 2006
            Cher – Moonstruck - 1988
            Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook - 2013
            Julia Roberts – Erin Brokovich – 2001
            Paul Newman – The Color of Money – 1987
            Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady – 2012
            Barbra Streisand – Funny Girl – 1969
            Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest – 1976
            Kathy Bates – Misery – 1991

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Needlework(less) Tuesday . . .

It's Tuesday, but my sewing/crafting has been pretty limited this week.  I made a couple headbands for a little girl I've never met who's father shaved her head.  I don't know all the details and it doesn't really matter.  I just know that she's wearing lots of hats and headbands for a while and a mutual friend asked me to make her a few.

I also made some "infinity scarves" for our daughter.  If you're not familiar with this trend, an infinity scarf is basically a length of fabric with the cut ends sewn together to form a circle.  And they are selling for $20 or more!  Some bargain-priced knit and a few minutes of my time turned out customized scarves for less than half the price.  Most were waist-length and can be worn looped once or twice.  This pink "extreme" scarf is made from a yard of 60'-wide knit, cut in half lengthwise to make two 36x30 pieces, then sewn together into a 72x30 strip and then into a huge circle.  Amanda is wearing it wrapped three times.  You can get creative with these and add twists to the fabric before sewing, braid two or three fabrics together - whatever your imagination and Pinterest can come up with.

Other than those two small projects, my needlework has been limited to day-dreaming and doodling.  I've been looking for ideas for a scrappy quilt to use up my pile of "leftovers".   I finally found the perfect inspiration in this gorgeous quilt from Sarah Fielke at The Last Piece:

This quilt was designed to resemble the bass line on an equalizer, but my first thought was "books", of course.  My version will have 1" strips of medium-tone browns between the rows and around the outside to resemble a bookcase.  Now all I have to do is collect 350+ scrappy "books" to get started.

But not today.  Today, I'm at home with a severely knotted muscle in my back and gloomy weather outside, which makes it the perfect day to sit with a heating pad and back massager while I work on my current cross-stitch project.  Hope you're having a happy Needlework Tuesday!

Needlework Tuesday is brought to you by Heather at Books and Quilt.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Camping We Will Go . . .

Wanderlust A strong longing for or impulse toward wandering;  an innate desire to rove or travel about.

When I was younger, I had no desire to travel.  When there was extra money to be spent, I wanted "things" - something tangible that I could see or use every day.  Spending money on travel seemed like a waste because you had nothing to show for it.  Now that I'm not so young, I realize that the experience is the "thing" to be gained.  I no longer care so much about collecting more stuff, and I've developed a wanderlust.  

Towards that end, we've invested in a vacation home.  No, it's not a beach house or a mountain cabin - it's a 25-year-old pop-up camper. This is a vacation home for small-scale wanderlust between major trips. 

Last summer we discovered Indian Cave State Park, fabulous spot for hiking and picnicking.  Dave also spent quite a bit of time at Kirkman's Cove Recreation Area - water skiing and golfing.  Camping in either of these locations seemed to be an economical and convenient way to satisfy that need to wander - even if it's in 20-mile increments.

Over the years, we've had friends who took camping vacations - elaborate trips that took a week to plan, prepare food, pack and load the camper, then another week to clean up when they got back - in campers with all the amenities of home.  We were never interested because it seemed like too much work to be a vacation.  Our vision of camping is a primitive one or two night get-away that can happen spur-of-the-moment.  We want to cook on a campfire, sit outside and watch the stars - unplug for a night.  We discussed tent camping, but were concerned about having the dogs inside a tent and wildlife roaming outside the tent.  Mostly, concerned that Big Dog would go right through the side of the tent to play with new friends.  What we really wanted is an enclosed bed on wheels.  We found that and just a bit more.

Our new vacation home will sit in the back of the pick-up.  The top pops up to make the interior standing height.  

There's a full-size bed above the cab, a table and seating area that converts to a second bed (for the canine kids)
and a little, tiny kitchen. 

All it needs is some sprucing up - updated curtains and cushions, maybe a couple throw pillows.  With some standard supplies stored in the cabinets, we will be ready on the spur of the moment to grab a pack of hot dogs, load up the pups and enjoy a peaceful break.  

Before you get to thinking I've become a total pioneer, you should know - this is included in those "standard supplies":