Monday, August 18, 2014

Only Two Weeks Left (Hot Springs, SD)

We are down to our last two weeks here.  We will leave after Labor Day weekend.  Usually I am counting the days until we leave.  I blame my travel bug for that antsy feeling to get on the road again, but it did not show up this time.  Our stay here has been pleasant and our co-workers have been great.
On The Cutting Board
This will probably be my last order for this year.  I will not be listing my new projects or renewing the old ones until next year.  I have decided to close the shop while we are working at Amazon.com.  I will open the shop back up in January.  Between 40 to 60 hour weeks, it will be very hard to find time to mail orders.  I do plan to keep sewing during the winter, so please stop by to see what I am working on this winter.
I finished this custom order today for a friend.  I might make a couple of more Happy Campers in this shape and a few in the shape of Class A motorhome (like ours) for next year's listings.
I was a little worried about the deep inward curve puckering from the stiff fabric when I sewed the layers together.  It came out so much better than I had hoped for.  Nice and flat.
I plan to spend the next two weeks putting together projects for this winter.  I need to cut out more mug rugs and mark them for embroidering.  I have a few wall hangings, but I would love to add to the pile.  Oh yes, I should also put together a couple of quilt kits for those energetic evenings when I feel like sewing.
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sweet Dreams (Hot Springs, SD)

Well, I can't believe it!  I have sold 100 item through Etsy.  Wow!  To think when I first opened my shop, I really did not think I would sell more than a couple of items before I would get discouraged and close my shop. 
 My customers have been wonderful with their reviews, but I have also been seeing quite a few comments that my photos are not doing my hand work justice.  Sooo, I'm working on getting at least one close-up of each item.
You can now do a thread count on the fabric and see every single stitch.  I'm not sure if this will be a good thing, but I'll post one macro for each item listed.
The Sweet Dreams quilt is finally finished!  A year or so in the making and I am very sad to see it done.  I found the small embroidery projects fast and fun on those evenings when I did not have the energy to think out a complicated project.  I might have to make another one.  Although, I do have the Snowman collection to embroider.  Maybe I should work on that one first.
I took a photo of all the embroidered blocks.   I have added a new page at the top of my blog with all the photos from the quilt.  When I list it, I will offer the link so people can look at all the cute critters.  I probably should do at least one close-up so an interested buyer can count my stitches.
I started working on a custom order for a friend.  Her sister loves her motorhome and travels part-time with her family.  Her motorhome is very long so I had shorten the length so it would fit on paper and I made it taller.  I will use the dark pink floral for the backing.  
The light green will be the motorhome.  I haven't decided if the dark teal or the light pink will be used for the doors.  Or maybe, I should look for a different light pink to match better.  What do you think?
Well, back to the drawing board!
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How High Is The Water, Momma? (Hot Springs, SD)

I barely got setup to sew a border onto this bunny quilt when the park's flood siren went off.  We thought that was a little strange since the sky had cleared up after a heavy rain/hail storm and the grounds was starting to dry out.  Campers were busy building fires and getting meals ready.  It was turning into a nice evening.
Dan called the ranger and soon the ranger was calling back to say that they would be evacuating low lying campsites!  Wow, really??  Apparently the rain had caused a flash flood from a connecting canyon and it was on its way to our area.  While Dan spread the news to start packing, I went out back to look at the stream behind our motorhome.
campers packing in a hurry
Well, the small stream was now a fast moving little river.  I never see the water from our site, but I could see it quite clearly at that moment!  The head ranger had all the campers and day use people out within a couple hours.  Some of the road was already covered in 6 inches of water and still rising.
fire pit is still smoking from the campers
We did not have to worry about moving since our site sits up high enough, but we did pack up our outside items just in case of more heavy rains.
20 ft below and behind our site
Gosh, this is the first time the campground has been so quiet!  We wandered around picking up some trash that was left behind and watched the water level.  Then I got that song by Johnny Cash stuck on repeat in my head - "How high is the water, Momma? Well, it's 5 feet high and risin'!"  Well, we did not have to worry about the water rising too much.  The photo below shows the highest point.  Not too bad for us or for the park.
road to wildlife area
They opened up the road gates this morning.  The day use area is back in business, but the campground only has one camper so it will be another quiet evening for us.  You know what?....I think I'll get that border done tonight.
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Driving Down Memory Lane - Sturgis 1998 (Hot Springs, SD)

We drove to Rapid City last Friday.  We were seeing quite a few early arrivals with their loaded down motorcycles on the road heading for Sturgis.  The annual Sturgis Motorcyle Rally started on Monday, August 4.  Seeing all the travelers brought back memories of our trip to Sturgis in 1998 so I thought I would share a few photos and memories.
 A quick rest from icy roads and photo op in the Colorado Rockies
Far right:  Dan and I
We planned our trip with two other couples and riders from Albuquerque. One couple rode double while the other two rode their own Harleys.  I had spent almost a year learning to ride my own motorcycle - a Yamaha Virago 350, so we could have more space for packing tents, sleeping gear, and clothes.  My bike wasn't as powerful as the smallest Harley, but I had no problem keeping up with them.  I also found this more entertaining to drive my own motorcycle than to ride on the back with Dan.  Although, it was hard to look around and view the country side as we drove from Albuquerque, NM to Sturgis, SD (around 800 miles one way).

The weather did not want to cooperate.  We ran into hail, heavy rains, ice covered mountain roads, and one mud filled road along with high winds, but we made it all in one piece with no incidents.  Funny, we are having about the same weather this time too.  We had over an inch and a half of rain last night from a thunderstorm that shook our motorhome and had our cats sitting wide-eyed.   
Devil's Tower, WY before the downpour blocked our view
Dan had reserved a campground between Sturgis and Rapid City near the highway.  The campground claimed it was a couple of miles from the highway exit.  We thought it meant 'away from' the highway too.  No, that was parallel which means we could see and hear the highway all night long.  That turned out to be no problem after a day of activities with eating and drinking too much, I don't think a single one of us had a problem going to sleep at night.
staying dry was a challenge for the first part of the week
With overcast skies and threat of more rain, the guys setup the camp by circling our three tents with a makeshift awning to keep the center dry.  This worked well once the sun came out giving us some shade and relief from the humid heat.
Welcome to Sturgis
Once we started touring around the Black Hills and the Rally, I decided to park my bike and ride with Dan.  I did not want to miss a thing!  I think I gave myself whiplash from rubbernecking to view people and bikes.  So much to see and so little time.  Crowds everywhere.  Sounds of music, smells of food....

....at times it was almost overwhelming so we would head out to the Black Hills for a quiet ride and serene views of wildlife except the buffalo were running down the road the day we drove through.  We don't know if it was all the noise from the bikes causing them to run or if someone told them it was dinner time.  Either way, it got a little iffy with us being so exposed to the huge critters.  We had heard that it wasn't unusual to have a buffalo flip a motorcycle with its driver.
Buffalo Jam
All in all, we had a great time and have some wonderful memories.  Would I do it again?  Traveling exposed to the elements on a motorcycle was fun when I was younger, but  I have become a creature of comfort.  I like traveling with our own bathroom and kitchen with a solid roof that doesn't leak when it rains.  I love sleeping in a bed that doesn't deflate during the night leaving us to wake-up on the cold hard ground with stiff backs.  I will stick with our home on wheels.

I'm almost done with all of the new Happy Campers and the Sweet Dreams quilt.  I'll try to post some photos when I get ready to list them on Etsy.
Happy Quilting and Safe Travels to All!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rough Week (Hot Springs, SD)

I wish I could be more like Hitch and just sleep this week away.  Dan and I had a rough week between the two of us.  First, Dan had an infection from a broken tooth that started last week.  After clearing up the infection with antibiotics, he had oral surgery in Rapid City.  He is doing a lot better now.

In the meantime, I am having a bad reaction to Deer Fly bites.  It's weird that I have bites on both arms and on my ankles with just the usual swelling and itch.  If they bite my left arm, I have a problem.  I had one bite me near my left elbow and my elbow swelled to the size of a tennis ball.  
Finally, that one went down.  Now, I'm fighting another one on my left wrist.  Now, my arm is swollen from my elbow all the way to my knuckles on the back of my hand.  I'm taking Benadryl and using Cortisone cream, hopefully the swelling will go down soon.  I need to start wearing repellent.  I just hate spraying chemicals on me, but it is either that or suffer more bad bites.  

On The Cutting Board
With all the swelling, I'm having a hard time working on my projects.
Progress has been slow, but I have managed to quilt and add binding to the Sweet Dreams quilt.
I got all the Happy Campers layered and ready for quilting.  I just need to wait for the swelling to go down in my hand.  I'm having a hard time holding things right now.
So, I guess I will spend my time reading books and bugging cats.
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Where Did Summer Go? (Hot Springs, SD)

I can't believe July is almost over and summer is starting its second half.  Where did it go?
Water fall in downtown Hot Springs
I know I don't have a whole lot to show for my time.  I know I have been spending a great deal of time reading or listening to books lately.  I do spend more time sitting outside watching the cats.  Other than helping Dan clean up the lake area and the campground....well, I'm just not too sure.
Side view of the water falls,
Hot Springs in the background
We have done a little sightseeing plus we are driving to Rapid City once a week for groceries.  It is hard to find good hummus and almond milk here.  Not to mention, it is nice to getaway from here for the day.
VA building
Dan drove to the VA hill so I could see their unusual buildings.  The VA has facilities on top of two hills in town.  One hill has a VA retirement home and the other has a hospital, some housing, a National Park Cemetery,  and other medical buildings.  We drove around the medical facilities hill.
We are not sure what this building is used for, but I find the architecture very interesting especially the dome.
On The Cutting Board
Here are four more Happy Campers ready for layering and quilting.  I have been taking my time with my latest projects  to give them a little more detail.
I embroidered lace to the curves to match the curtains on the pink polka dot top.
I made the heart into a windsock with beads and attached it to Happy's 'P'.
And...I added bullion stitches and beaded fringe to the awning below.
I should start sewing some of these up soon.  I have about eight of them ready to sew and layer.  I guess it is time to pull out the ol' sewing machine and get busy!
Happy Quilting!

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