Monday, December 21, 2015

'Tis The Season (Key West, FL)

....for rotation!  Since my last post, we have moved twice.  Once into dry camping with a great view on the water front and a week later back into full hook-ups.   We are allowed two weeks with full hook-ups and then back to dry camping until our next turn.  I don't mind the rotation into dry camping.  It gives us a change of view and the grass covered sites are large.  The cats love the larger sites with trees/bushes to explore and soft grass to lie in.  Or as one lady put it "we are out in the country".
Could see kite surfers zipping by our rig
While in our dry camping site, we were able to watch kite surfers zip by our motorhome.  I managed to get a few shots before they disappeared around the bend.
The campground is becoming very busy with 5 to 12 newcomers showing up daily.  Every day during our walks, we stop to view the waiting list that seems to be growing steadily.  There are over 300+ dry camping sites to the 84 full hook-ups.  Right now, there are 95 people on the waiting list for full hook-ups.  We talked to one woman about her experience here last year.  There were so many campers here that they had to wait six weeks in dry camping.  Well, if that is the price to pay to enjoy this great weather and location, I am all for it.
windy enough to be airborne
We move again on Saturday.  We are hoping for our next site to be away from the water since the winds have been picking up causing a salt spray to cover both of our vehicles.   Our next stay in dry camping will probably be for over a two weeks.  Fingers are crossed that the weather will stay cool so we can sleep at night.
who are you looking at, lady?
We have been watching the Osprey and his mate rebuild their nest on the tower.  At first, I was not sure what one Osprey was doing when it started to land on a dead branch that did not look like it could hold its weight.  It looked like the bird finally realized its mistake and took off again causing the branch to whiplash.  
A couple of days later the Osprey did it again.  This time, the Osprey grabbed the branch in flight making a sharp upward movement snapping the branch off.  A new branch for the nest was on its way!  We could hear the happy mate calling all the way back to the nest, "Honey! Wait until you see what I brought home!"

It should not be too much longer before the eggs hatch if they have not yet.  Soon, we will be hearing the little ones crying for food.

We visited the Casa Marina Resort again.  This time to see the SandArt.  Here a few photos of them. It was a small competition, but the art work was great.
I just can't imagine spending so much time on such a beautiful project only to have it disappear after a couple of days.  I know I often don't see my work again, but it is comforting to think someone out there is enjoying them.
On The Cutting Board
Okay, this is the main reason why I have not been posting on my blog.  I have been very busy since Shaun left in November.  I have never been so busy with requests!  What a wonderful feeling to be so busy making items for others and loving every minute of it.  Of course, I don't mind it slowing down again since I had to put aside my books.  I did manage to listen to a couple of books with my iPod while sewing at the same time.  Oh!  I found a great deal through Audible.  If you are a member, for just 1 credit, you can have 50+ hours of "The Mists of Avalon".  I have not read the book or watched the movie so this will be quite an adventure for me.  I did not realize just how much I would end up missing my reading time.  I can't wait to get back to my ever growing list of books......Okay!  I'm really off my subject.

And back to my soon as I finished the three Santa garlands, I had another large order for six Happy Campers.  Looking at the photo below, it doesn't look like that big of an order, but it is time consuming to hand embroider and quilt.  Plus, I like to be in a good frame of mind so the stitches look good and not hurried (extra big stitches).
Before I had finished the six Happy Campers, Dan showed me an announcement for an Arts and Crafts/Yard Sale to be held on 19 December.  I took the plunge and signed up for my very first showing.  I had one small problem.  My inventory was very low!  I had sold so many items that my shop was looking like the day after Black Friday.  That was a great feeling to see so many sold in one year, but at the same time, I wasn't going to have much to show for Arts and Crafts.  
I managed to make six more Happy Campers, two Uncle Sam mug rugs, and a few new items that I have not tried selling before in my shop.  I was so busy sewing early in the morning until late at night that I forgot to take photos!  I took a couple with my phone just so I could remember what I had made.  

The morning did not start out well due to winds with gusts up to 22 mph and scattered showers.  Even the chairs were sliding across the sidewalk!  My neighbor at the next table was a big sweet heart by offering to park her jeep behind me to block the wind after I tried to block the wind with our Honda Fit.  Yea, that did not work very well.
Thanks to Kim's jeep, my items no long flew across the parking lot.  I finally had a table filled with colorful mug rugs.  I just wish I would have come up with a better way to display my quilts but the only way to keep them from flying away was to clip them to the chairs.  I had to tie string across the table and used more clips to keep the mug rugs on the table.  Not the best display, but I wasn't losing them either.

Check out the cute 'Believe' Santa and Singing Cats' mini wall hangings. They are so adorable and fun to make! 
Well, this show was fun and I did make quite a few sales despite the overcast windy day and the lack of customers.  I'm just not sure it is something that I want to do very often.  I became quite stressed during the last week trying to build up my inventory.  In the end, I had to decide on which ones were more important for me to focus on finishing and put the others aside to be added to the shop.  I was smart enough to close the shop for a few weeks so I could concentrate on this show and keep what was left of my inventory for the show.  I plan to open up the shop after Christmas.  For now, I need to work on finishing some more items to restock my shop.  So, it is back to the cutting board!
Merry Christmas Everyone!

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!

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