Sunday, November 23, 2014

Under the Clumps of Mistletoe (Bridgeport, TX)

We are happy to be in Texas with some warmer weather.  There were a couple of cold nights and freeze warnings, but nothing like we had in Oklahoma.  The cats are enjoying their new surroundings.  Plenty of space to roam and explore.  
Hitch and I like the tree across the street from our site.  Somehow, we end up standing under it every time.  Both of us staring up at its big limbs until Hitch decides to climb it.  Well, he tries to climb it.  He gets to the middle of the trunk, stop, reevaluates, and drops to the ground.  I do believe this tree has become a challenge for him and he is hoping to make it to one of the limbs before we leave.  Yea, I don't that will be happening since his leash is not that long.

The campground is located next to a lake.  We can see that the drought has hit hard here since the lake must be a good 30 feet below the dock and boat ramp.  We did have rain the night before and all day yesterday.  It just needs to do that a little at a time for the next six months to replenish the water.  Too bad there is no way to redirect the NE snow towards Texas.
I did not realize how much I missed the old gnarly Mesquite and cactus landscape until we got to Texas.  Going for walks around the campground, I would find myself looking for mistletoe clumps in the trees.  The tree looks a little funny with it completely bare except for the strange clumps of green hanging from its limbs.  
Did you know that mistletoe is considered a parasite to softwood trees?  The seed burrows into the wood and gets it nourishment from the tree.
I did not know that until I read that little trivial fact from a cozy murder mystery by Susan Wittig Albert called Mistletoe Man.  China Bayles is a lawyer turned Herbalist with the kind of store I would love to visit.  In this book, China is collecting mistletoe for holiday decorations. I haven't read one of Susan's books in a long time.
I learned quite a bit about plants and herbs when I was reading her books.  We even visited a herb garden cafe that was suggested in one of her books.  I loved walking around the gardens and sitting under the arbor while we had a snack.  I wish I could remember the name of the place, but it was too long ago.  I was inspired to plant lavender along our front sidewalk so people would have a fragrant walk to our door.  I should see what China is up to these days.

On The Cutting Board
I'm thinking of opening my shop in December.  I'm not sure I should open early since I left a message in my shop saying it would be opening in January.  Should I open early or keep it closed?  I have 30 items so my shop would not look so sparse or I could have more if I wait....arrrgh!
With that thought bouncing around in my head, I started making some of my old mug rugs from Nancy Halvorsen. I'm using brighter and more bolder colors for a change of pace.  I'm also starting some new Happy Campers and a few more Owls as well.
I also started cutting and prepping for some new quilts.  I went through the last of my stash that I had packed away at our daughter's house.
I was very happy to find this Japanese Crane fabric.  I had turned our motorhome upside-down one day looking for this fabric.  I finally thought I had given this fabric away.  Yes!  I still have it!
I can even remember what I wanted to do with the crane fabric, so I did not wait too long to start cutting up some matching batiks and getting the cut fabric into a quilt kit.
Of course, this is not the only fabric I discovered and brought back with me.  What?  Uh...the fabric is calling to me...the rotary is ready....so back to the cutting board I gooooo...
Happy Quilting!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter Came In (Lawton, OK)

Like a Banshee!  Howling and screeching with heavy winds pounding the side of our motorhome for the first three days of our stay in Lawton.  Then, it calmed down for a couple of days, got its second wind and came back with a vengeance....
...this time bringing with it snow, sleet, and more heavy winds.  We woke up on our second to last day to our car and the motorhome covered with a sheet of ice on one side.  
The cats claimed they were brave enough for the weather.  Yep, they lasted less than a minute and I thought I was spoiled!
We were suppose to leave today (Monday), but decided to delay our travel south until tomorrow.  We will give the cold front another day to move out of the area and for the roads to dry.  The sun is out and it looks inviting except for the temperature....yea, I'm with the cats....I think I'll stay indoors.
come pet me
We spent this last week having a wonderful visit with our daughter and our two granddaughters along with their two cats.  I could only get a photo of Flower.  She loves attention until I pulled out the camera.  She must have said something to Indy because he did not come out of hiding until after I put up the camera.
what are you doing?
Now that's a family portrait!  Don't they look like they are a lot of fun?  You bet they are.  We had a great time catching up with all three of them.  We took Bry and Vi out shopping while their mom was at work.  We found out that Vi needs everything that catches her eye whether it is a bracelet, an adult size Mario themed PJ's or Chick-Fil-A nuggets.  
In the meantime, Bry proved to be quite a young lady and very grown up by making sure Vi focused on getting what she really needed - shoes while she shopped for jeans.
Bry is in high school and also attending Upward Bound at the university.  We are very impressed with how well adjusted and mature both our granddaughters have become in the last three years.

On The Cutting Board
Or maybe that should say On the Operation Table
This is Pirate Bunny (PB).  He has been Vi's constant companion to the doctors' office, clinics, and hospitals since she was diagnosed with Hashimoto.  He was looking a little frazzled from all the caring hugs he has given Vi over the years.
Vi decided it was time for PB to get some extra loving care.  When we arrived, PB had his own hospital bed with visitor's rules so he would get the ultimate rest.  Vi showed me all PB's wounds and I asked her if he was going to have surgery.  She nodded and said she hoped he would very soon.
I asked who was doing the surgery.  She looked right at me and said "I hope you will do it."
So, PB came home with us for the night and I'm happy to say the surgery was a success.  He was feeling so good that he even got a tattoo!
Pirate Bunny went home feeling stronger and energized for the next visit to the doctor's office with Vi.
I gave Vi her quilt this week.  As you can see, she is enjoying her new quilt.  I found out that purple and pink are her favorite colors.  Which is good since I started this quilt almost 4 years ago.  I'm happy to say that this quilt will probably look like Pirate Bunny someday.
It was hard to say good-bye this time.  I hope we will be able to see them again soon.  Tomorrow, we will be heading for Texas and hopefully for some warmer weather.
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Comments Rejected? (Tinker AFB, OK)

Do you leave comments in blogs?  Have you been receiving one of the Mail Delivery Failed like the one below?  I have been receiving quite a few from comments I leave in different blogs.  Another recent problem is the notices I use to receive from my blog for comments waiting moderation.  They were no longer showing up in my Inbox.  Now, I have to check the blog's comment section, so I decided to see if there was a way to change the settings.  I did a Google for "failure DMARC Yahoo" since I have a Yahoo mail account and I found this site explaining why our comments are no longer notifying the bloggers:   Could Yahoo! and AOL’s DMARC Policies Destroy Your Deliverability?   Apparently, Yahoo and AOL changed the settings for all their members to protect them.  The bad news is that we cannot changed the settings.  It looks like we are stuck with this new protective system whether we want it or not.  So, never fear, I am not rejecting your comments.  Sooner or later, I will publish and answer your comment!

We move to Lawton, OK tomorrow morning.  I look forward to visiting with our granddaughters and daughter.  It has been three years since our last visit.  The girls have changed so much since the last time we saw them.
The cats will probably be a little happier with our new location.  We have been to Ft. Sill a few times, so we know what waits for us.  

Talk about a noisy location  The cats beg to go outside and only last about 30 minutes before a barking dog or some other loud noise has them running for the door.  Poor guys.  They are not happy campers right now.  I'll be happy to leave too because this campground is very small and the spaces are tight.  Parking becomes a major event while the poor driver tries several times to maneuver a big rig around cars and other rigs setup close to the road.  Parking our car is a pain too.  As you can see, our neighbor's assigned parking spot is at our door step and our car is parked at the next neighbor's door.  It feels a little backwards.  We are practically on top of each other.  Thank goodness the neighbors are quiet and most respect each others' small spaces.  Needless to say, I don't think we will be back this way any time soon.

On The Cutting Board
I feel like my productivity is way up, but when I look at the photos below....well, it just doesn't look I have much to show for a 10-day stay here.  I'm almost done with this wall hanging.  I just need to finish the border and decide on how to hang it.
 I appliqued jumping rabbits to all four corners of this quilt top.  I hope to sandwich the top in the next two weeks.
I finished quilting all the mug rugs below.  I need to add buttons to the doors and my heart patch to the back.  This will give me ten new mug rugs to list.
Speaking of listing.  I haven't opened my shop yet.  I'm not sure if I will open early or wait until January.  I thought I would build up my inventory first.  It would be nice to open with at least two full pages of items.  

Okay!  I guess I better get back to the cutting board and see if I can get a few more stitches in before bedtime.
Happy Quilting!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Back to Normal! (Tinker AFB, OK)

We moved to Tinker AFB near Oklahoma City, OK.  All of the following photos are from our last day at USACE Washington Cove on Copan Lake near Bartlesville, OK.  We would have stayed longer but the park closed on October 31.  
We took advantage of the perfect fall weather by spending a lot of time outdoors.  We walked around the park and sat outside with all four cats.  It was so sunny with light jacket temperatures that even the leaves seemed to be reluctant to acknowledge that fall was here.  
Very few of the trees were changing their colors.  I bet the area around the lake is gorgeous when the fall colors finally arrive.  The wild life was very busy around us.  Squirrels gathering acorns with a large variety of water birds stopping by the lake on their way south.  We even saw one Great Blue Heron fishing along the beach.  He did not like us stopping to watch him and would take off squawking the whole time.  Sigh!  SO nice!
Warm enough for fungi
Too bad we had to leave.  It was so peaceful.  Most of the sites were empty making it even more enjoyable for the cats to get out and do some exploring.

I decided to use my Fish-eye lens to get close-ups of the cats.  Plus, this lens captures more of the background while getting photos of the cats.  So, some of the photos are a little bent or distorted.

Dusty was loving the wide open spaces by running full speed towards one of us...
Dusty
 and making sure we saw him run by asking "did you see me run?"  He is definitely an outdoor cat.  We are positive he would have stayed behind at our last two sites if he had been given the choice.
That's right!
 Max was surprising us by exploring areas away from the door.  He usually doesn't go far from the motorhome's step.
He never strayed very far from one of us.  Every once in awhile he would follow Squirrel, but for the most part...
He was looking for attention from one of us in between eating grass or rolling in the dirt.
Squirrel on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with us.  There was too much to explore especially in the bushes in such a short time.  One of us had to follow him constantly to keep him from wandering off.  He doesn't like it when we tell him to go back.
And he really doesn't like the camera as you can see from these last two photos.  First I get the evil eye...
I'm ferocious!
now I'm getting the panting growling threat.  Squirrel doesn't know we are onto his "all bark and no bite" threats.  grrrr!


On The Cutting Board
I'm slowly getting a few mug rugs done.  All of the embroidery has been done on all five in the below photos and they are ready to be layered.
I want to finish the owls first before I pull out the sewing machine.  I want to make a day of sewing and ironing now that we have full hook-ups again.  We are here for the next 10 days so I should be able to find time to finish a few of them.
Now that we are back to a populated area, it is time to do some shopping!  We both need to stock up on a few of our favorite brands that we ran out of while staying in South Dakota and Kansas.  A shopping we will go!
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Season of Storms (Bartlesville, OK)

I'm happy to say that Dan and I decided to leave Amazon.  The pay was good, but the last two weeks have been some of the most intense and stressful times for us.  We were transferred from stocking/stowing bins to the packing area.  We were enjoying our job in the stowing area.  I thought packing would be fun too, but the job is too repetitive, not to mention, very noisy, and was causing both of us some problems.  We gave our new job a chance and decided it just wasn't for us.  We asked managers and HR if we could move back or to another area with no result.  Well, it is time to move on.
USACE Copan Lake 
We plan to spend a couple of weeks in Tinker AFB near Oklahoma City, OK and then on to see our granddaughters.

Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley

After reading several of Susanna's previous books, I was excited to receive this one and started reading it immediately.  I was a little disappointed in her latest book and it took me a couple of months to finish because it just did not capture my attention.  The questionable paranormal or time travel activities that were so prominent in many of her books was lacking in this one.  A couple of times as the main character was walking through the gardens or getting lost in the mansion, I expected her to stumble into some kind of time slip or witness a scene from the past....but no.  So disappointing!

So the story is about Celia Sands who is named after a famous actress who disappeared in the 1920s from a beautiful Italian estate owned by her married lover and a famous playwright.  He has written a special 3-person play just for the first Celia, but it never makes it to the stage due to the first Celia's disappearance.  Alex the great grandson of the playwright decides to open the play on the very same estate and offers Celia's part to the new modern Celia Sands.

There is a lot of details about how the actors prepare for theater starting with the first reading right up to dress rehearsals.  Not my cup of tea, really.  And except for one Tarot card reading with foreboding warnings, one séance, creaking boards, and maybe hearing the dead Celia murmuring late at night, this was just a couple of mysteries from the past and present with flashbacks to the lovers in the 1920s that no one saw or experienced.   This was basically a murder mystery.

I preferred Shadowy Horses or Winter Sea over this one, but I see Susanna already has a new book coming out in April and it sounds like it will be more to my liking with more Jacobite history in A Desperate Fortune.  I have already pre-order for my Kindle.

In the meantime, I started reading Marianna  and I am already halfway through it!  My imagination was captured in the first chapter with the strange coincidences that happened to the main character over a twenty year time leading her to buy a house that she claimed as a child was her house.  Ohhh, and it gets so much better the more I read!  And that's all I'm going to say because I want to get back to my book...

On The Cutting Board
Before I go...
I did get a little ironing and sewing done since my last post.  I just love the way these two owls are coming out!
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Defender's Day (Coffeyville, KS)

Once a year, Coffeyville reenacts the Dalton Gang's last bank robbery during their Dalton Defenders Day.  The Dalton Gang had been terrorizing the Oklahoma area by robbing trains for over a year and a half when they decided to try robbing two of Coffeyville's banks in broad daylight.  Thanks to quick thinking towns people and a brave bank clerk, the Dalton Gang's terrorizing days ended.  As some of the gang emerged from one bank, they were greeted by the town's people and a hail of bullets.  Three escaped down an alley from the second bank only to be shot down by a barber and a livery stable owner.  
All were killed except for one.  Emmett survived multiple bullet wounds and was released after 14 years in prison to become a Hollywood screen writer.

We did not make it downtown for the reenactments, but we did visit one of the two banks they tried to rob.  Quite a beauty, isn't it?  We took a quick tour of the inside.  The town has done a great job of keeping the bank's original look.
Well, I guess I jinxed our good weather.  A cold front came through and seems to like it here.  We have had heavy rains, very loud thunderstorms, and flash flood watches/warnings.  After spending hours listening to heavy rains drum on the warehouse's roof during our work night, people were beginning to worry about getting home.  There are a few low lying areas between Amazon and our campgrounds.  
We all managed to get home this time, but now I'm worried about the upcoming heavy rains when we are at work.  I always thought it was great to have our house on wheels because if there is a flood....well, we can just move our home, right?  I never thought we would be on the wrong side of the flood with our cats on the other.

Forget Me Knot by Mary Marks
I was quite excited to find a new quilt mystery writer!  The main character is Martha - an overweight middle-aged Jewish divorcee and an expert quilter.  Whew!  Quite a description for one character.  Martha has two good quilting friends that she calls her besties.  I can't see me calling my friends that, but okay a little digressive.

I wasn't too happy that within the first chapter the writer felt a need to add a snide political remark against Republicans plus she insinuated that most of those types were prone to stealing other quilter's tools.  Really??!  I saw no need for such a comment.  I understand that quilters can be competitive and there will always be politics inside quilt guilds and shows, but this was beyond the common quilting ground.   I decided to finish this book since I had it with hopes that was the end of the political comments.

Well, it wasn't the end, but the political comments were not as bad.  I soon learned that one of Martha's besties was not only a Republican, but she and her husband carried licensed hand guns.  Later, Martha is also taught how to handle and shoot a handgun even though she does protest that as a Democrat, she should not have a gun.  Again - Really?

So, did I actually like the book?  Yes, after I got over the remarks and realized that Mary Marks was just giving us a different kind of quilting character.  I found I was enjoying the murder mystery quite a bit.  I learned a few things about Jewish traditions from Martha and her family.  Martha turned out to have a big soft heart for animals.  I think I am more in love with the animals than I am the quilters.  The big twist at the end was not just who did it, but how the victim put messages in her quilts.  Very interesting.

There's a little romance and it was very funny at times.  Yes, I do believe that I will be reading more books by Mary Marks.

On The Cutting Board
My hands are aching so much today from our work week that I need to take a break from hand quilting.  Yet....typing doesn't bother them...go figure.   I'm not sure what I did to them.  Lifted too many little boxes that were too heavy for one hand or maybe I gripped the scanner too tight.  Whatever it was, I plan to be extra careful next week, because I can't grip the needle to pull it through the fabrics and batting.  Yep, a little frustrating.
So, I will stick to doing some light embroidery and resting my hands.  I ironed a couple of more happy campers together.  Hopefully, I will be able to embroider the edges later this week.
Last week, I pulled out the sewing machine to finish the border for my Macaw's welcome wall hanging.  I'm glad I did the basting last week!
Happy Quilting!

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