Saturday, July 4, 2015

All Legs and Neck (Clermont, FL)

I hope everyone is having a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend!  They certainly are having a great time here with outdoor activities, bounce houses with a pool, and barbecues.  The campground is booming with activities and families.  Tonight, they plan to gather along the lake to watch Disney's fireworks display.

We moved back to Clermont, FL near Orlando on Wednesday.  We passed the rest of our time in Wauchula with walks and celebrating our 40th anniversary with my brother Jay and his wife Beverly.  We had a wonderful surprise visit with them.
Today, I thought I would just share some pictures with a different view of Sandhill Cranes. Since moving back to Clermont, the Cranes have visited our site at least once a day.
I took this opportunity to get photos of them using my 500mm lens from ground level.
I love the way they look - like they are made of nothing but legs, knobby knees, and a long neck.
They did not mind me taking their pictures.  They actually started moving closer at one point....until one male started giving his intruder alert.
  I thought he was upset with discovering me sitting on the ground, but when I put down my camera I realized he was alerting on one of our cats.  Squirrel was less than 15 feet away and trying to sneak up on the birds when I grabbed his leash.  Silly cat!  The Cranes walked away unconcerned by being attacked by a puny cat.  I think I was more worried.
I had enough photos so I brought out Hitch for some outdoor time.  He soon discovered that the Cranes had not moved on like I had thought.  He was a little smarter about not wanting to get too close.  Of course, my tight hold on his leash might have kept him from making that decision too.
I have been finishing up quite a few quilts and I hope to have photos to share soon.  I'm happy to be back in a populated area.  I need to get a little shopping done before we move farther south.  I just used up the last of my batting and I have quite a few more scrappy quilt tops planned for this winter.  There is no Joann Fabrics in Key West so I need to do a little pre-planning and stock up on batting and backings.
Well, I want to get back to my quilting so until next time....
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Passing Time on Peace River (Wauchula, FL)

I thought I should post something soon before someone thinks we have lost our way through the humid haze of Florida.  We are not lost.  We are just trying to survive the heat wave that has been breaking Florida's record this past month.  It is certainly hot here!  It is a little more than what I had wished for.... I know, I careful of what you wish for!  Then again, I wasn't asking for a hot summer just a warm sunny dry winter.  After three wet winters, I felt we were due a warmer winter and I am still looking forward to this winter in Key West.
In the meantime, we are dealing with the heat wave by getting out early before the temperatures rise.  When it gets into the 90s with a heat index of 100+ with humidity, it is very hard to stay enthused about taking a walk around the park.  We do get a break from the heat in the late afternoons or early evenings with some terrific thunderstorms that shake our rig and a quick dump of ice cold rain.
Still, I have no complaints.  I prefer this over our freezing winds and rains where I had to wear layers just to take the garbage out to the dumpster.  We have made it a habit of spending about a half hour to an hour sitting outdoors with the cats in the shade before surrendering to our air conditioned motorhome to cool off.  Even the cats are getting use to the idea of going out several times a day for short periods of time.  So, now it feels like there is always someone begging to go outdoors....all day long.
suspended bridge
The photos here are from Paynes Creek Historic State Park.  We walked a few of the nature trails and visited a few of the historic sites.  There wasn't a whole lot left to the old trading post or fort.  I liked crossing the suspended bridge and seeing some different textured plants like the mushrooms below.

On The Cutting Board
I finished my first Hawaiian block with echo quilting.  I started out marking the background with a water soluble pen.  With this humidity, it was disappearing before I got around to the third turtle.  The air erasable disappeared even faster.
I decided to quilt the block without guide lines and I am quite happy with how well the echo quilting came out.  I thought for sure I would be all over the place.  Now, I need to decide what to do with my first Hawaiian applique....I think I'm going to keep it and make it into a pillow cover.  Granted it does not match our interior southwest decor theme, but we do have teal and that's a good match.  We need some new pillow covers.  My old ones are looking a frazzled and faded.  Hmmm, I'm thinking there are some new pillow projects in my near future.
I also started working on my quilt tops.  I plan to give a few to charity and a couple of them will be listed on Etsy.  I'm hoping to get all the quilt tops done before we get to Key West.
Well, I better get started on making binding for these three quilts.
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Window Shopping Disney Style (Clermont, FL)

We entertained ourselves by visiting different shopping malls in the area and Downtown Disney.  
Talk about lots of photo ops for colorful pictures in Downtown Disney.  I took more photos than I did shopping, but shopping was fun too.
Downtown Disney is as grand as going to Disney World.  They even have a couple of different rides.
I like the Amphicars.  That looks like a fun ride and it goes my speed...extra slow.
They also have a balloon ride.  The basket is a ring so you can look straight down through the center. I bet the best scenes are the surrounding areas.  Talk about a panoramic view!
Did you play with Legos when you were little or with your kids?  I loved them while growing up....yes, they have been around for a couple of age jokes please.  Anyway,  I would also buy them every year for our kids.  They had a huge bin filled with them.  I can't imagine how many Legos went into this big guy.
Isn't he adorable?
Brickley, the Lego Sea Serpent
Okay, so I was curious enough to do a Google search and found out that there are 170,000 bricks and he stretches 30 feet from head to tail.  This site has photos of some amazing Lego designs with interesting facts about each one.  Make sure you check out #2 Warren Elsmore - gorgeous European style building. And #8 A Futuristic Japan made by school children using 1.8 million Lego blocks!

I love my TV shows in the evenings.  I really enjoy the ones with a little imagination like the ones J.J. Abrams produces - LOST, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, and many more.  So when I saw these two scuptures peeking out from the bushes near the Crossroads at House of Blues, I thought of "BAD ROBOT"!  He could be a cousin...
I love this fountain so I had to add it in.  I don't know a thing about the winged statue, but overall, she is quite interesting.

On The Cutting Board
I finished two Santa Mug Rugs and I will list them in Etsy after we move tomorrow.  I already sold all three of my Uncle Sam Mug Rugs.  Maybe I should have made a few more?  I suppose I could make a couple of more...
but I have been busy with some new Happy Campers with horses.
I try to make each one unique so I decided to do this one in shades of purple.
I was going to add different flowers to this one.  I changed my mind while we were walking around one of the malls in Orlando.  One of the kiosks offered hair extensions and a young woman was trying on different styles.  Eureka!  I can do that with my horse!  I braided the first extension and tacked it down.  I think on the second one, I will leave it as a fringe - shorter than what is showing.  Hopefully, this is not too bulky because I want add a flower or star button behind the ear.
Tomorrow is a short travel day to Peace River Thousand Trails.  This will be a new location for us to explore in between sewing and cat outings...of course!
Happy Quilting!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Gator Country? (Clermont, FL)

When I think of central Florida, I think of Disney World and talking mice.  Not this time.  No, instead I find myself thinking and watching out for alligators and snakes.  
We are staying in a campground in Clermont, FL.  About 20 minutes away from Disney World. So far, I have not seen a single alligator in the campground's lake.  Although, we did hear a story about a woman finding one near her rig's doorstep one day.  Imagine stepping on that by mistake in the dark!
The only bad thing I have seen has been one big black snake high-tailing it for cover away from Dusty while I was shooing all the cats away from the bushes.  I gave them all a lecture to stay out of the woods and away from snakes.  Did they listen to me?...of course not, but I'm happy to say I have not seen another snake since then....well, not near our site anyway.
We see the Sandhill Cranes almost twice a day during our walks.  These two are smaller than I remember from our last visit.  They are about 3 feet tall.  They are not shy of humans and often walk right by us if we stand still.
It is starting to get very hot as we move into Hurricane Season.  I am starting to see the old pattern of a hot sunny mornings, dark threatening clouds by noon and sometimes a dump of big, not to mention, very cold rain drops.  By evening, the clouds have cleared for a cool evening.
We re-arranged our schedules to walk early in the morning and again late in the evening for cooler walks.  This is when I look for alligators, but they are staying well hidden.  Probably a good thing that they stay away from people, right?
On The Cutting Board
I usually like to spend my evenings sewing.  Now I am trying to get my sewing done in the afternoons.  I thought this would work out quite well for me.  For once I can sew without Max in my lap complaining about fabric and thread tickling him.  Ha!  He caught on real fast and started showing up in my chair by the third day.  There's no fooling him.
Begging puppy
 I finished all of the mug rugs.  Now, I just need to photograph, edit, and list them all.  That's a chore that I do not cherish, but I will be happy to have done.
Hello Friend!
 And Hooray!...I am finally listing the pictured mug rugs on Etsy.  But wait!  There's more!  Santas and Snowmen will soon be available!  :)
Wind-blown hair
Amazing!  I actually finished three Uncle Sams in time for the 4th of July this time.
and....3 Uncle Sams!
I'm making progress on my Hawaiian turtle block.  Batik is great for applique because it is so forgiving.  When I put a crease in and I can iron it right back out when I make a mistake.   So I was quite surprised that I find it is very hard to hand quilt through two layers of batik fabric plus muslin and batting.  I hope to finish it before we leave this area which is about 6+ weeks from now.
Time for some sewing....shhh, Max is in the back....if I am real quiet I might get in an hour before he realizes that he is missing out.....
Happy Quilting!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Furry Theme (Mayport NS, FL)

I am going to miss my walks on the beach here.  Our stay here at Mayport Naval Station FamCamp has been great.  Even the threat of rain in the afternoons has not bothered me.  Usually, the thunderstorms do not make it to this area because of the air pressure from the ocean so we often hear the thunder and can see the clouds hanging over Jacksonville.  You can bet I keep an eye on the clouds while walking on the beach.
I love watching these birds.  A friend calls them Groucho Marx and they do look like him!  All they need to do is wag their eyebrows while wiggling their
 But watching what they do....well, that reminds me of the Three Stooges....
look Moe!  I got a fish!
yea?  well, give me some!  NO! Yuk! Yuk!
hey!  I want some....whoop! whoop! whoop!
Now, here's a view I don't see very often except on this beach.  It is strange to look up from watching where I am walking to seeing a ship pass by people on the beach on its way to Jacksonville's port.  We did not see a single Navy ship pass by this time.  Maybe next time.
We have been helping out the feral cats with food and water.  Most are skittish, but a few have been friendly.
This little gal is scared of us and the other cats.  Often running away if another cat goes near him.  I have been making extra sure she has been getting her fair share of food.  She is so tiny compared to all the others and it looks like she has been getting beat up quite a bit.  She tends to look a little frazzled for a cat...
Mugsy? or Fuzzy?
Murder, She Barked by Krista Davis

Corny sounding, I know!  And it sounded even worse when I read the description of the story's location of the pet lodge being on Wagtail Mountain.  BUT, I love the whole theme.  What pet lover wouldn't?  It was funny and an easy read that had me laughing and missing our first dog so much.  Krista has a great gift for describing a dog's antics and attitudes.  The whole town has gone fur crazy by catering to pets and their owners.  They even have a 'Yappy Hour'.  Where all can socialize, walk paths, stop for a meal, or shop.

The town looks quaint and calm to the visitor, but under the calm surface there have been some strange robberies, car theft, and a murder.  In the center of all this fur-flying mystery is Holly Miller, who has recently been adopted by a very smart Jack Russell Terrier and a very cute kitten named Twinkletoes (no, the animals do not talk).  She has recently lost her job and is returning to Wagtail Mountain after receiving an emergency call that her grandmother (Oma) was not doing very well.  Fearing the worse, she drops everything, borrows her boyfriend's car and drives all night through a thunderstorm to be by her Oma's side.

Holly plans to help out, temporarily of course, until Oma recovers.  Oma owns and manages the Sugar Maple Inn - a popular pet spa and hotel for both the pets and their owners.  I would love to go there!  The rooms sound like furbaby heaven and talk about being pampered!  What pet would want to leave after being fed gourmet meals, receiving welcome baskets filled with enticing toys and treats, sleeping in the best beds, and enjoying great pet walks.  Even the cats have it made with cat walks inside their rooms and bird aviaries setup outside their balconies with pet doors.  Now, that's a cat's Meow!

This book had me from the first chapter and right up to the end.  I'm happy to say that Krista has already published a second book that I plan to start reading soon.
 The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer - I love this title!  I can't wait to see what the next one will be called.

On The Cutting Board
I finished all of the mug rugs!  Yep, including all 14 snowmen!
 I'm getting them ready in two-by-two packages for a customer's request.
The rest will be listed on Etsy.
One last sunrise before we go.....
Travel day tomorrow (Friday).  We are moving to central Florida near Orlando.
Happy Quilting!

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