Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Best Laid Plans (Spokane, WA)

..........often go awry.  Yep, that's the way the last couple of weeks have been for me.  First, it was the sudden attention our cats wanted during our travels along with bad weather.  So, not a whole lot of sewing going on during that time.
With two weeks in Spokane, I planned to catch up on my sewing projects, take photos, and get some items listed.  I did not plan on turning into a......a shuffling, snuffling, wheezing, sneezing Zombie moaning for more Tissues!  Those lovely trees outside our motorhome were dumping super-strength mutated pollen.  Usually, I can take a Claritin and be fine the next day.  Not this time.  I spent over a week fighting allergies so I did not get a whole lot done the first week.

On The Cutting Board
I'm happy to say that I am back among the living and getting a few things done.  I have twelve Happy Camper tops embroidered and ready to sew together.
I have two new ones with a black bear profile that I'm in very excited about listing.
Here are three smaller Happy Campers in different colors.
And of course, four of the all-time favorite color combo of red with aqua or teal Happy Campers.  I have more to work on and hopefully, they will all be finished before June which is not too far off.
Oh, and here's a photo of a T@B trailer.  It was parked next to us for one of the nights while we were in Montana.  Isn't it adorable?  You can see where my inspiration comes from for my Happy Campers.
T@B Trailer
As soon as I started to feel better, I started working on some projects for myself.  I have been wanting to finish my SW pillows since last winter.  Ta-Da!  All four are now done!  If you like the Native Flair pattern, you can order the epattern from QuiltWoman.  I'm tempted to make a lap quilt to match the pillows.  After, I finish a few other UFOs.
Speaking of UFOs, my armchair sewing caddy has been on the To Do list for a long time.  I finally had to make a new one because the other one was falling apart.  The fabric had faded from exposure to the sun, over stuffing it to the point that the seams were popping, and the straps were frayed from moving the caddy from one chair to the another chair.

This time, I made the new one a little wider with deeper pockets.  Now Dusty will not be able to chew on my pens and pencils sitting in the top pocket.  To make the pockets stronger, I used one long tube of folded fabric and sewed down sections instead of separate squares of fabric.  I'm quite happy with the way this one came out considering I only spent a couple of days working on it.  I just wish I had used a heavier interfacing for the back.  I'll have to remember that for the next time.
Tomorrow is a travel day.   We plan to stay a few weeks in mid-Washington at Crescent Bar before we start our move towards the west coast.  
In the meantime, I think I am going to enjoy something I have not been able to do since we left the NW area.  I'm going to have a cup of hot Wild Huckleberry Tea while I read through Mary Janes Farm before I do a little more sewing this evening.
Happy Quilting!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Traveling Cross Country(Spokane, WA)

We made it to our destination - Spokane, WA.  I did not realize how much I missed seeing snow covered mountains until we crossed over into New Mexico's northeast corner near Raton.  Seeing the mountains on the horizon made me feel like I have come home.
Rest area - Trinidad, CO
We are not the only ones happy to be settled in one spot for a couple of weeks.  Four days into our cross-country travel, the cats started caterwauling their protest.  Max started the protest.  Soon Hitch would jump onto the back of my chair to howl in my ear while Dusty walked around my feet mewing his protest.
Time for a nap - Squirrel
Only Squirrel seemed content to sit and sleep in my lap.   He was in and out of my lap throughout the whole trip.  None of our cats use to ride near the front while we were traveling.  Usually our sofa is filled with loose items, but now I set it up for the cats.  Don't they look happy?  Well, for the moment anyway.  ;)
Nap time
With all the protesting, we stayed an extra night at Lathrop State Park with hope that this would settle the cats down.  They went out for walks, soaked up the sun, and ate grass.  According to Max, it was not long enough.  So, the protests continued on down the road.
Beautiful view from our site in Lathrop SP
We stayed one night at Terry Bison Ranch in Wyoming.  We ate dinner in their restaurant.  We were worried about finding something to eat when we read that they would substitute any flavored hamburger sandwich with a veggie burger.  I wish more restaurants offered this kind of substitute.  It would give us more of a variety than just the vegan plate.

After a delicious dinner, we walked around the ranch.  This ranch is setup to entertain the whole family with train rides, horseback riding, small carnival rides, and a variety of animals.  Here's a few photos of the ranch's animals that I manage to get during our short walk before sunset.
I say it looks like we have some visitors.  Let me get a closer look...
HELLO!
Do you like my new hair style?
Hey Neighbor!
The colt was my favorite.  He was full of energy when we were watching him.  He was moving so fast that I could not get a clear photo of him.  I think he wore out his Mom with his bucking and kicking in circles around her.  Maybe he made her dizzy.  I know I would have been if my kids did that around me.
New colt giving Mama a kiss
After we left the ranch, the weather started turning colder with precipitation.  Rain turned to slush.  Slush turned to snow and visibility became dangerously low for the highway.  We decided to stop at a pull-off for lunch.  According to AccuWeather, the cold front would blow through within a couple of hours.  We had our fingers crossed since we really did not want to spend the night in the middle of nowhere.  The snow did stop and we were able to get back on the road...for a short time....
We go outside now?
We did not get far when we reached the Sheriff's department and State Troopers blocking both lanes while clearing a rolled over truck from the highway.  By the time we drove by, we could not tell if more than one car had been in the accident.  We can only hope the travelers made it through the accident with minimum injuries.  

We were south of Kaycee when the snow started again with a vengeance this time. We had planned to spend to night in Sheridan visiting with friends, but between the snow, side winds, and the accident, it was time to call it a day.  The snow did not stick, but we found out later that the highway south of Buffalo was closed due to bad weather.  We made the right choice to stop early
Biiiig snowflakes!  Kaycee, WY
I wish I could say our trip was uneventful with a relaxing time despite the weather issues.  The motorhome had quite a few problems.  Two major ones were the exhaust brakes were not working and a hose burst to our air bags.  Dan was able to fix the exhaust brake problem.  The air bag leak was more major and we were very lucky it stopped working while we were parked at a truck stop.  Dan called it our lucky breakdown because if it had happened on the mountain pass in the construction zone, we would have been blocking the pass for hours.  When the air bags are deflated, the motorhome does not move.  I'm not sure if we would have stopped suddenly or if the motorhome would have coasted to a stop.  Not something I would want to experience that is for sure.  Both were a very scary thought  of what could have happened while we were on the mountain passes.  Dan was able to get a mobile RV/Truck service to repair and replace the burst hose within a couple of hours. 

I'm happy to say we made the rest of the trip without any major mechanical problems or cat protesters.

On The Cutting Board
New design - Dreamcatcher
Due to Squirrel's sudden change of heart to spend more time in my lap, I wasn't able to do as much sewing.  I tried to make up the time in the evenings, but that wasn't easy to do either with cats wanting out, trying to prep things for evening, dinner, and just too tired to even look at a project.
Road Runner
Anyway, I did finish the custom order for our Pensacola friends.  I'm very happy with the Road Runner.  He came out very well.  I had to be careful with making the morning glories.  I love making them so much that they would have been climbing all over the trailer.  Just like they do in real life!
Southwest Vintage Trailer
Making this design was a lot of fun.  You can bet I'll be making more!  In the meantime, I need to get back to all the others that were suppose to be done by the time we reached Spokane.  I hope to have some photos of progress to post soon.
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On The Move (Wills Point, TX)

We are doing a lot of miles for the next couple of weeks.  Destination:  Spokane, WA.
Since leaving Key West, we have spent almost three weeks in Central Florida getting some shopping done before moving onto the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park on the Suwanee River.  We visited this park last year, but we did not stay in the park.  The campground is one of the best for clean sites, extra large, and private.  We linked up with one of our friends and her family from our short-lived Amazon days. 

There are 97 tubular bells in this tower.  It chimes every 15 minutes and serenades visitors with music by Stephen Foster.  The sound of the chimes were very soothing and added to the overall peaceful feeling.
Our next stop was in Pensacola, FL to visit with two more traveling friends and our cats favorites (ours too).  We try to meet up with this couple whenever we are nearby.  We are not sure who enjoys the visit more - us, them, or the cats (who at this moment are spoiled beyond repair!).
Ready for 2 days of travel - Pensacola, FL
We spent one night in a Walmart parking lot in Ruston, LA.  Wow, this place was busy.  I felt like we were sitting on the side of the highway because cars were flying through the parking lot. Needless to say, we were both feeling a little sleep deprived when we woke at 5 am.  The good news is that we got a very early start on the road and made it to Wills Point, TX in time for lunch.  Traffic wasn't too bad, but we ran into heavy rains and wind.  We are east of Dallas and very lucky that we were on the edge of the damaging storm that hit the city yesterday with baseball sized hail.  The hail here was about the size of a nickel.  It certainly sounded threatening when it was hitting the roof of the motorhome.

Next stop:  Lawton, OK

On The Cutting Board
Recently, I have started a lot of new projects because my shop is almost empty....again. 
My Happy Campers have grown their own set of wings!  They are flying out of the shop as fast as I make them!  I never dreamed they would become so popular.
My cutting board is full of new Happy Campers.  The most popular has been for more aqua/red vintage trailers.  I have several of them in my WIP pile.
I have received several different requests and inquires about different mug rugs.  These requests and inquires give me new ideas for more mug rugs.  

A long time ago, my sister had asked if I could make a mug rug with a black bear.  I did not forget her request.  It is hard to come up with a design of a black bear that doesn't look like a black blob.  I'm still looking for the perfect way to represent a black bear with fabric.  In the meantime, I came across this bear profile in a tattoo website that allows people to use their designs for free, but you have to change the design.  I did this design in three different ways.  Here is a peek at the first one.
Another customer asked about mug rugs with an apple or a cat design.  The apple was easy to come up, but I'm still looking at cat designs in books and online.  I'm sure I can come up with something.
All has been put aside to work on a new Happy Camper custom order for a Southwest theme with a road runner for our Pensacola friends.  I'm so excited about this new challenge that I have already sketched out four designs!  I can't wait to get started on this one.  I have a feeling that no matter which one they pick, I will be making more of the others as well. 
As if I don't have enough projects to keep me busy, I have added more new projects to my pile below.  My time will be filled for quite awhile getting all these mug rugs ready for the shop.  What's really bad it that this is just one of my piles of new mug rugs.  I also need to get to work on some new quilts and finish my wall hangings.
I am hoping to be available for another craft show in the future.  It was rather nice to be able to talk to customers while they browsed, but it isn't going to work if I do not get moving on my projects!
 But Wait!  There's more!.....I am also trying to finish my Southwest pillow covers.
My plans were to finish four pillow covers during the winter in Key West which I am happy to say did not happen because I was too busy fulfilling customers' orders and for the two craft sales.
I did get one done.  Yep.  One down and three to go!
I should have plenty of time to finish many of my new projects on the road since we will be trying to cover a lot of miles in the next month or two.  Less distractions when I have to sit during our travel time.  I certainly cannot go for a walk during that time.  Lots of sewing time instead!
Happy Quilting!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Time To Go (Key West, FL)

Well, it's that time again.
But, I don't want to leave!
Time to get back on the road and to move north.  Or to be a little more specific move towards the northwest to visit family and to see the Pacific coast again.  
We are packing up and leaving tomorrow for central Florida.  I'm going to miss Key West.  This winter wasn't as nice as the last time we were here.  We had more cold fronts come through bringing with it heavy winds, rain, and cooler weather. 
BUT, it was definitely a lot better than the weather up north.  The bad weather just made us appreciate the gorgeous sunny days all the more.
Plus the views were always fabulous.  I spent way too much time staring out at the sea and taking long walks.  I loved being able to spend this winter seating outside, breathing in salty fresh air, and watching the pelicans or the jet skis fly by.  I really have no room to complain.  I had a great time here.

On The Cutting Board
In between walks, watching cats, birds, sea....um...yea..anyway, I did start working on some UFOs.  I finished one wall hanging for Halloween.
This time I decided not to add a hanger and left the wall hanging a little more on the simple side instead by not quilting the whole background.  I wanted to add a few pets for the Witch.
I quilted a scared cat by her feet...
and a hanging bat from 'Witch'.  Just to fill it in a little.  Of course, I spent a lot of time second guessing myself.  Should I add more or leave it as is.  I do like the way it came out with just the two pets.  I might add more in the next one.  Yes, there is a second Witch sitting in my pile of UFOs.  I hope to get to it soon.
I also finished a tea towel with a design by Nancy Halovorsen.
I hope to get the Witch and Santa listed soon into Etsy since I just sold almost all of my Happy Campers this week.  I need to start a whole new batch of mug rugs soon.  Summer tends to be a busy time for the vintage campers.
In the meantime, I need to finish this Welcome wall hanging.  The checkered fabric is not as easy to sew through.  A little on the stiff side.  I found it harder to get the needle through this fabric than through fusible webbing.  My fingers are a little sore from fighting with the fabric and needle.
The hat's ribbon is loose right now.  I will attach it after I have finished the quilting.  I had a lot of fun embroidering the flowers around her feet...
and on her bonnet.  I added the birds as an after thought.  The area above her head looked a little bare.  I think the birds were the right choice.   I plan to quilt clouds into the background and I'll finish it with a blue binding.
The last project is this lap quilt.  I was stumped for quite awhile as to what I was going to do with this fabric.  I did not have a lot of it so I added in several soft color batik fat-quarters.  Now, I have enough to make two lap quilts.   I went a little crazy adding ginko leaves to the top.  I find applique work very relaxing. 
I guess I better get back to securing our stuff and packing up things I don't need out while we travel.
Happy Quilting!

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