Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Told you it was cold!

Opened up the door and found this on the patio!

Sweater weather

Bob and I have enjoyed 3 full days with my parents as we explored new places together. Yesterday we drove up to Truckee (about 20 miles I think) and visited the Donner Memorial Park and museum. Do you remember your history? The Donner Party? Not a social event nor a political party! So after that refresher on the westward expansion era, we went to Squeeze In for lunch, and enjoyed their down-home atmosphere and food. Groceries were purchased before heading back to our cozy spot in Squaw Valley at the Olympic Village Inn. Made use of the pool and hot tub, swimming under the moon and stars in the cool air, then warming up around the fire pit. They have a great recreation area here with several big gas grills, seating areas inside and out, fountains and waterfalls, we even played pinball and PacMan! Haven't done that in a long time! Today brings more fun and more people as the wedding starts to arrive! Pretty chilly this morning, not sure of the exact temp but the TV says it is about 30 for a low! Good sweater weather!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Whoa Nellie!

Even though we spent yesterday viewing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, I don't think it's one bit odd that I should start out by sharing our carrot cake with you! Because it was super delicious! It even surpassed the gooey chocolate cake we checked out, all at the Whoa Nellie Deli. I had read about this surprising little place and vowed that we would try to stop there on our trip to Yosemite. It is in a Mobil gas station at the intersection of 395 and the Tioga Pass road into the east side of Yosemite at Lee Vining, CA. There's no sign outside so you really have to know what to look for in order to find it. It is an unexpected gourmet delight, we had coffee and cake which was pretty pricey but OK for the 4 of us to share. Plus the pieces were huge. We sat outside in the picnic table area, had a view of Mono Lake which is a very large lake with some strange characteristics. The water in the lake is 4 times saltier than ocean water, it has no outlet so all the inflow becomes very alkaline and full of minerals creating these strange tufa towers. It was nearly drained to supply the city of LA with water, but in 1995 that was stopped to allow the lake to regenerate, so now the level is slowly rising.
We didn't have a lot of time to spend inside Yosemite, but did enjoy stopping at a couple places to get out and walk a little and take the typical tourist photos. This one shows me with my parents, Bob and Sally, kind of windblown with the backside of Half Dome in the distance.
This is Tenaya Lake:
It was a beautiful sunny day, warm in the valleys but cool at the higher elevations. When I was a kid my parents took us on a camping vacation every August and it was usually to someplace in the Rocky Mountains. I have many many memories of our drives through the great national parks and feel very fortunate that my mom and dad made those trips happen for us, even though it meant squeezing the time off into the farming schedule and often missing the first few days of school. They set me up to value the natural beauty around us and family time. Yesterday I got to pay it back a little bit by taking them on a tour of an area that they really had not visited very much before. For a change, they got to ride along and enjoy the scenery, not worry about roads and maps and lunch stops and kids fighting in the back seat!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Now what?

I just finished picking 1000+ cherry tomatoes, and I'm not done yet! I'm not exaggerating on this, I counted and weighed so I could honestly tell you how many I have bagged up so far. The sad part is that we are leaving in the morning for our week away and these won't be fresh for that long, so I guess I will put some in the freezer and see what they are like for chili or something. And maybe I will pay for my ride to the airport with tomatoes!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Hunt

I have been on the hunt for just the right thing to wear to Brita's wedding. I purchased a great jacket about a month ago, thought I could pair it up with a skirt I already had, but that turned out not so good together. So I've been casually looking for the right skirt and had another backup option outfit in the wings, but Brita and I both really liked the first jacket idea best. So Wednesday I threw down the gauntlet and challenged myself to step up to the plate and nail a new skirt! Notice all those sportsmanly references? I knew this was going to require that I draw upon my inner shopper to make the trip to MOA (Mall of America), not my favorite place to go but the motherlode for women's clothing selection. I didn't know if I was up to it. Then I saw this picture of nephew Spencer with his massive effort to rid the free world of all ducks, and I knew I was up to the challenge! (Spencer is the handsome one on the right, and yes, he is a student at ISU)
And the hunt was on! I spent hours and hours on Wednesday wandering the halls of MOA, near collapse a couple times but rejuvenated by one of the many coffee facilities that were handy there. Who knew that a good brown skirt could be so hard to find? But in the end I bagged a good one, and today tied up all the loose ends with a matching pair of shoes that won't kill my feet!
I was going to make do with my black shoes, until Brita advised me that non-matching shoes are just not right in her world. I have no idea where she gets that from. And trying to be a good MOB, I again donned my hunting camo and orange vest, polished up my plastic and went out early today to catch the first good pair I could find. I guess it's true that the early bird gets the shoes! And I guess I have Spencer to thank for the motivation to stalk the malls, and it's a good thing I don't have to clean my skirt and shoes like he did the ducks!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thank you Leisl!

An angel came to my house yesterday, her name is Leisl! She came to do the finishing work on the what has become known in our house as the Great Tablerunner Adventure. So now there are 15 completed runners ready for their trip to Plumpjack in Squaw Valley. Accompanying them will be the mother of all tablerunners, which is near the finishing line. These 15 will grace the round tables at the reception, they measure 14" x 82" (or thereabouts). The mama runner measures 7 yards (yes, that's 21 feet) by 21" and will cover the center of the very large head table. The brown color doesn't show up very truly in these pictures, but it is much like a Hershey bar! They are all wholecloth, in other words, one continuous strip of fabric with a wandering quilting design sewn edge-to-edge. I quilted the brown fabric to a layer of thermore, a thin poly batting and a layer of muslin. Then Leisl sewed them all to a piece of the plain brown fabric, right sides together, stitched all around the perimeter except for a turning hole. Then she turned them right side out, pressed the seamed edge straight and flat, and closed up the hole. Then topstitched all around the outside edge. She used my Juki machine and I swear I have never known it could go so fast! She saved me a lot of time but more importantly saved me some worry about getting these all done! Here's a little closeup of the stitching:
And one more item of importance, Bob's golf game has earned him an award:
I am so glad that Bob enjoys getting out with his golf league every week (or more often) to have some fun with his buddies.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

road trip survival

Driving thousands of miles does take a certain amount of fortitude and if you are lucky you have a real compatible mate in your vehicle. That was certainly true for me, we spent 4 days in constant close proximity with nary a squabble. A couple other things that helped make the adventure even more fun:
knitting! Even though I have never been able to read while riding in the car, I seem to be able to keep my needles moving without nausea, as long as the road is not curvy. And since we were mostly on very long, straight stretches of roadway, I got plenty of daylight hours to knit. I produced this little stocking cap, which is minus the tassles on the end of the cords and hasn't been washed and blocked yet. Made from a washable wool sock yarn, I think it is called Online Supersocke 100. The pattern was a free one I picked up at Joann's. I've been trying to find a link to the pattern for you, but no luck so far. It's a pretty standard stocking cap, with a seed stitch border.
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte--grande soy no whip cream to be exact, once a day makes a good dose
recorded books--T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton and The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille
Ritz crackers--very good for munching, although I do need to get the vacuum out to the car now to clear up the crumbs!
Tom-Tom--helps find hotels , restaurants and Starbucks near exits
And that's how we found pleasure on I-80!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Just couldn't resist writing at least a little something on this special date! Think of all the babies born today, they will always have an easy time writing and remembering their date of birth!
Today we visited the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, NE. It was somehow rewarding to arrive at this very nice center that deals entirely with quilts, textiles, and their history. I guess it sort of legitimizes what is a focus of my own life, not just some casual hobby about making "blankets"! I spent about 90 minutes there and that was the short version. I would love to go back there with some quilting friends. Might be a road trip in the works! It took us 8.5 hours to drive from there to home with one stop to eat and one stop for gas. Thank goodness Bob really is content to drive long distances, today I was very tired after a poor night's sleep so had a hard time behind the wheel. Very good to be back in our own comfortable surroundings tonight. I love to go places but home is always good!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

lots of miles

Tonight finds me in York, NE, at the end of another good day. Had a short stop at Material Girl Fabrics in Grand Island this evening, just before closing. It is a place to return to when I have more time. More unusual fabrics than almost any other store I have visited. Joanne was working and was very reasonable about accommodating my late arrival, if we hadn't lost an hour today it would have worked out much better! Dinner tonight at Chances R in York as recommended by Joanne was very tasty.
The odometer turned over to 200,000 miles in my trusty little Saturn as we flew along the interstate in western NE near Ogallala this morning. It was cause for a little (very little) celebration. We purchased this car in 2000, so that gives you an idea of all the driving I do! This drive has been so much more enjoyable than the last time we did it which was December 2007 through ice and snow and blizzard conditions. There was a lot of pretty scenery that I didn't see on that trip because the visibility was so poor and we were just trying to stay on the road! Tomorrow night we should be home in our own bed again, which will be very welcome!

Monday, September 7, 2009

on a break

I've been away for a few days without adequate time nor consistent internet to be able to post much here. But tonight I am going to sneak in a little note and a couple pictures to show what has been happening. Spent the weekend in San Francisco for nephew Scott's wedding to Katie, it was a wonderful event for all of us. Most of our immediate family was there, although we badly missed Nora, but she was busy saving lives so we had to struggle along without her. Plus since several of us are/have been nurses we all understand the joys and crap of the schedule! Anyway, here are the cousins at the wedding reception:
Also missing from the picture is Serra, who was a bridesmaid but sick in bed most of the time, we all felt badly for her. Her precious little Aurora was the flower girl, being held in the picture by daddy Nathan. Katie was seated in this photo because she had an ice pack on her wounded big toe, a nasty cut from a freak accidental encounter with a chair, but it didn't slow her down for long at all. Did get blood all over her beautiful shoes which was the worst tragedy of the night!
The floral centerpieces were a wonderful collection of deep red flowers and berries. I loved all the shades and tones, would make a wonderful quilt!
Bob and I are making a road trip to get back home, tonight we are in Rawlins, WY, and had dinner at a very good restaurant called the Aspen House, if you ever find yourself near here you must go there. Tomorrow takes us into Nebraska and I have a couple quilt shop stops planned!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

And so it begins...

I have gotten a start on my giant tablerunner project and I certainly hope this is going to be the right thing for wedding reception tables--I have to keep reminding myself that people are not actually coming there to admire the tablerunners, they might just have their eyes on the beautiful bride instead! And the tablerunners are meant to be a backdrop for beautiful centerpieces, and it will probably be sort of dark, anyway, so dark brown thread on brown fabric is not going to be much of a standout! But I do think that if anyone is inclined to look beyond their dinner plate, I want them to have something pretty to look at! The fabric is very nice, the machine is running well, I have to tell myself to slow down because when I go too fast on those loops the thread gets stressed and frays, causing me to stop and start more than I want to when I am looking at yards and yards to go. It's really kind of fun, as I scroll out these loopy-loo's and curly-cue's.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Decisions, decisions

This is hard for me! I have two things that I really want to work on today. First, a new bag that could be my carry-on for my trip to CA Friday if it works out well.
I quilted the fabric on my longarm and cut out the pieces last night, using the pattern "My Paris Traveler's Bag" from Fig Tree & Co. with just a little adjustment to make it 2" smaller to accomodate the great zipper I have.
OR my really big project--
turning 2 bolts of fabric into 18+ tablerunners for Brita's wedding reception happening in one month! Just received the 35 yards of fabric yesterday, it is a linen/cotton blend, Essex from Robert Kaufman Fabrics and looks like giant chocolate bars! It will be all-over quilted on my longarm and then sewn up for 18 round tables and one giant long table for the wedding party. And has to be done by Sept. 27 when we leave for Lake Tahoe prior to the wedding. And I have 6 days away to go to San Francisco, too, so that is cutting into quilting time! But because I am like a little kid when it comes to a new project, I know I am going to spend at least some time today working on the bag and the rest on tablerunners. If the pattern is clear and everything goes together like it was a perfect world, I will do it all! I did all my housework and cooking over the weekend so that won't interfere! Better get a move on!