Monday, November 23, 2015

Have You Seen? (Key West, FL)

I am beginning to think my time management skills flew out an open window while we were driving down the highway.  If you happen to see it, please let me know because I have had a hard time recently getting my 'act' together and getting things done.  I start out the morning with a plan.  Before I know it, evening is here and I'm trying to figure out where the day went.  Well, if I ever find those skills lurking around somewhere, I do plan to put them back to work.  

In the meantime, I am enjoying our stay on Sigsbee's campground.  Check out the site we had for 18 days.  Nice, eh?  We sat outside every chance we got with our cats.  The picnic tables across the road are for the dry campers.  For the first week, we had this view and then of course, our view slowly got blocked as more people started to show up and take the dry camping sites.  We rotated yesterday back to a second row with a view of the sea between rigs...oh well.  It is still one of the best views...ever!
Our son Shaun was visiting at the time.  He got to experience our rotation into a dry camping site and then into this nice one.  Between moves, we had a great visit with him and spent a lot of time showing him the sites we like to haunt in downtown Key West.
Shaun at the Beginning and End of  Mile 0
There were quite a few festivities going on while Shaun was visiting.  We watched the parade of "Zombie Bike Ride" on Duval Street one evening.
I read somewhere that they had over 7000 participants riding this year.
Lots of creative imagination went into some of the costumes along with bike decorations.
This is one of my favorites.  Yea, I had too many favorites to post them all.
Since I was standing right on the curb with no one near me to obscure my shots, I was attracting just a few of the Zombies.  This one got pretty close before he swerved away.  It helps to give off that 'air head' look so they won't attack me for what little brains I do have.
We also took Shaun to the Pet Masquerade at the Casa Marina Resort.  We were able to mingle around with the owners and their pets before they were called to the stage to stand before the viewing judges.
That was a lot of fun seeing different pets dressed up.  They seem to be enjoying all the special attention.
 Even this cat seemed to be taking it all in, but she wasn't so sure that she wanted all the attention.
Even the hedgehog had an outfit, but he kept slipping out of it.  I'm sure he wore it in time to go on stage.
 Our favorite surprise was seeing a sloth up close and in costume.  I kept thinking of the movie "The Croods".  There was a sloth in it called 'Belt' because he hung around his owner's waist.  This one must be 'Sling' because he never moved his arm the whole time, but he sure could twist his head around to watch the people.
Shaun's one request was to tour Ernest Hemingway's house.  Of course, he was more interested in seeing the six-toed cats than the house.  We did spend a little bit of time wandering around inside the house before heading outside to look for cats.
We were happy to find quite a few kittens and they didn't seem to mind all the visitors following them around.  This one is walking through the Cat's Memorial area.  A lot of the cats are named after movie stars, writers, and singers.  I looked for John Wayne, but I did not see his name.  So, either the cat is still alive or no one has thought to name a cat after him yet.
This little guy was having fun with Dan and a stick.  He showed us his big paws several times.  It is a good thing that I have too many cats now.  I would love to have a cat like this one.  I just love his or her face!  Adorable!
We stopped one day at Kermit's Key Lime Shoppe.  We tried several delicious samples of cookies, candies, and gosh, I don't remember now.  I was so sugared-out by the end of the day that I am surprised I remembered my own name.  But, it was all good. 
 We settled on a Key Lime Pie on-a-stick.  Dan and I picked out the frozen pie slice with a chocolate cover while Shaun had strawberry white chocolate.  The shoppe has a nice covered outdoor area with a waterfall and pond filled with big Koi for customers to sit down while eating.
The big guys kept following me back and forth while I tried to take their picture.  I'm sure I heard one of them say "come on! feed us!".

On The Cutting Board
I had two large orders come in within a week of each other.  Both customers want the orders done in time for Christmas.  The first one is for 3 Santa Garlands designed by Nancy Halvorsen.  I almost went into a panic.  I haven't made this garland before and there was a lot of detail to work on with each one.
Each garland had 6 Santas holding 5 wreaths.  I needed to make 18 Santas with 18 separate mustaches and 15 padded wreaths.
Once I got started and saw how well each Santa was starting to form, I started to enjoy the making of each one.  I tried to make each Santa a little different.  Different trims, beards, and different colored mittens.
The mustaches turned into more of a challenge.  I had to sew the mustache completely closed.  Slice a hole in one side......without! cutting the other side.  Then I had to turn them inside out through the tiny slit.  The fabric did not want to cooperate.  I would get one side almost inside out and it would flip back!  Arrrgh!  Well, I managed to finally flip all 18 and you can bet I had a pretty good system down for turning them inside out by the time I was done. they are!  All 3 garlands done and ready to ship.

I do love the mustaches now that they are done.
close-up of third garland
For the small bows, I used a DIY system through Pinterest.  This is a link to the website:  DIY Satin Ribbon Bow
DIY Satin Ribbon Bow with a Fork | LIKE Us on Facebook ==>
Great photos and easy to follow.  Don't my bows look great on the wreaths?
Well, I have another large order to fill before Christmas so I better get back to work!
Happy Quilting and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fall is Coming (Key West, FL)

I can definitely feel the change in the air.  And, of course, the cold front from the north bringing cooler winds adds to the feeling as well.  Campsites seem to be changing daily with many people moving to dry camp on Trombo while new rigs are showing up to replace the empty sites.   We have had three different neighbors in one week.  We are also seeing a different variety of birds recently.  We were happy to see a few pelicans hanging around the base marina this past week.  Hopefully, more will show up soon.  They were a lot of fun to watch the last time we were here.  
There is also the feeling of anticipation for the upcoming fall festivals in the downtown area.  We look forward to the pet and owner masquerade and for our son's visit.  We plan to show him all the sights we have enjoyed in the past.

Here are a few more photos from what we have done in the last couple of weeks:
We visited the Key West Wildlife Center.  We were greeted at the front entrance by these two unlikely companions.
Welcome committee
 Parking is hard to find free in the downtown area so we have been parking near the Eco Discovery Center.  Also, a great place to visit and learn about our oceans and how they are rebuilding living reefs.

South Florida encourages people to fish for this guy.  Apparently, this alien Lion fish has become invasive and a danger to the living reefs.  It's too bad that owners felt a need to toss their beautiful pets into the local waters instead of finding them a new home.
When we leave our car, we get to walk through the Truman Annex neighborhood.  I love looking at the homes and their front yards as we pass by.  It is such a peaceful area that it is hard to believe they are only a few minutes walk from the downtown area.
Truman Annex
This is a photo from the porch of the Customs House. The museum was quite interesting with a mixture of art and history. Hemingway's "The Old Man and The Sea" display took most of our time. We read the story accompanied with 59 pen and ink drawings by Guy Harvey that started on the first floor wound its way up the stairs to the third floor.
Since I have so many photos of different buildings I decided to put a couple of collages together. There are so many styles of architecture that I would have a hard time deciding which design I like better. I'm glad I don't have to choose just one.

I love the colors!
The Curry Mansion also caught my eye.  I love the laced woodwork details and I would really love a tour of both houses - The Southernmost House and the Curry Mansion.
Curry Mansion

On The Cutting Board
My needle has been smokin' from all the sewing I have been doing lately.  I finished quite a few mug rugs for the holiday season.

I actually got them listed early enough for customers to order and enjoy for the season.  A shock! I know!
I plan to list Santa and reindeer sometime this week
I can't believe I have finished four applique blocks in such a short time.
Not only were they fun to make, they were quite relaxing to applique.  Sometimes the pattern, the thread, or the fabric fight with me making it hard to enjoy.  That's when it turns into a UFO.  That'll teach 'em!
But, not these four blocks.  I looked forward to working on them.  The hardest part was getting the tiny circle to be ROUND, but the hand or even the eight-point star was not a problem.  Batik is the best fabric for applique work.
Now, I need to decide on borders.  I plan to make four different sized pillow covers, so each block will have a different border or at least that is my plan for now.  This will be quite a challenge for me to make the right size pillow cover.  Time to do some research!
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mini wall hangings and lighthouse

We spend almost every morning taking a walk around the base and the campgrounds.  I don't know if I have mentioned this, but Sigsbee has three different campground areas.  I think we are in the oldest section right now.  Once the sites with hook-ups are filled, we will start rotating from full hook-ups to dry camping in a different area.

In the meantime, we are happy enough with our site.  We do get tired of walking the same area so every once in awhile we take our walking shoes and head for the downtown area.  Here are some photos from visiting the Key West Lighthouse.  It is right across the street from Ernest Hemingway's home.

I found it interesting that the light keeper's widow took over his duties along with pay in 1823 when he passed away from yellow fever.  Mrs. Mabrity proved to be diligent in keeping the lighthouse running.
The first lighthouse was built along the shore, but was destroyed during a hurricane in 1846 taking 14 lives along with some of the light keeper's children.  Later, this new lighthouse was built inland, taller, and 14 ft above sea level.
Looking out the lighthouse's door
Despite her loss, Mrs. Mabrity stayed on as light keeper for 38 years until she was fired for making comments against the North during the Civil War.  Above, you can see a little of the keeper's home from the lighthouse's door.  We were able to tour the lovely home, but my photos did not turn out.
Here are some bird's eye views from the top.
I bet Mrs. Mabrity would be surprised by the all the surrounding buildings.
All that walking has worked up a good appetite so we decided to try Amigo Tortilla Bar and Restaurant on a side street near Duvall.  We sat at a bar that faced out onto the street.  People watching became our entertainment while eating huge veggie burritos.  I was so stuffed, I did not think I could walk back to the car.
Looking at Sloppy Joe's on Duval St. from Amigo
To the left, we can see the traffic on Duvall and Sloppy Joe's.  While across the street we were able to watch people come and go from Capt. Tony's Saloon.  Sloppy Joe's use to be located in Capt. Tony's building until the rent was raised from $3 to $4.  The story goes that Sloppy Joe's owner was not happy about it so he decided to move into the empty building located on Duval St.  With help from the patrons, they picked up their drinks and with their chairs walked to the new location....sat down and continued their drinking.  You just gotta love the Key West no-waves attitude. 
Capt. Tony's Saloon
This guy is trying to toss a quarter into the fish's mouth.  If you get one into the mouth, good luck will follow you as long as you are on the island.  We saw one person get one into the mouth.  Not an easy thing to do.  They were more likely to hit someone passing by than to get a quarter into the fish's mouth.

On The Cutting Board
I have been a little sidetracked with requests from returning customers.  One asked me if I could make the Fall Cones by Nancy Halvorsen.  
This was a new challenge for me and I decided to give it a try.  The customer liked the one I made so well that she asked for two more!
 She also asked if I could make a Ghost garland.  This one was quite a challenge especially trying to get the fingers to look good.  It came out a little top heavy so it takes a little work to make sure the ghosts stay upright.  I explained this to the customer and she was fine with the results.
This garland gave me an idea of making my own Happy Camper garland...hmmm.  I'll have to think about that one.

In the meantime, the holidays are just around the corner so I decided to finish a few projects that I started last year.
I can't remember what distracted me from finishing these mini wall hangings.
It certainly did not take very long to finish them.
 They are only 5 x 5 inches and very light weight.
I decided not to use loops since they are so small.  I don't recall where I saw this method to use folded corners from small squares to make a holding area for the hanger.  It was so simple and quick to assemble.
I sewed a looped ribbon to a short piece of wire.  Slipped the wire snugly into the corners.  Ta-da!  Very easy to make.
This last mini wall hanging took a little more time with the coloring and melting the crayons into fabric.
I finished this one the same way using a small dowel.  The dowel will help with keeping the hanging from curling.
Okay, I have more holiday mug rugs - eleven to be exact - to work on before the season starts.  Sooo, I better get back to the cutting board and get them done!
Happy Quilting!

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