Monday, August 31, 2015

For The Birds (Key West, FL)

I can't believe we have been here almost a month.  All ready?  How time flies when I am enjoying the views!

We have also been dealing with quite a few thunder storms recently.  They tend to sneak up on us when we are least expecting them.  
I never get tired of the sunsets
As the sun is going down on another gorgeous sunny day, the clouds are gathering for another surprise visit.  We almost lost our large awning one night.  I had already fallen asleep when a big gust of wind rocked our motorhome.  By the time I had jumped out of bed, Dan was already outside wrestling with the awning that was acting like a sail and trying very hard to blow it over the motorhome's roof.
lots of puddles to navigate around during our walks
We finally managed to roll up and lock the awning in place, but not before the canvas hinge that holds the awning to the roof had ripped.  Dan is planning to replace the canvas hinge by himself.  We were lucky compared to several other campers.  Many of the awnings and the upright arms were ripped off the rigs during that short storm.

This past week, we were glued to the news watching T.S. Erika while wondering if the base commander would make a mandatory evacuation of the campground.  News came on Saturday morning that we would not have to move.  We just had to tie down or store all loose items.  Erika broke up over Cuba and moved further north.  We received a couple of hours of heavy rain and wind.  Not too bad compared to that one stormy night.  One good thing came out of this storm - this is the cleanest the campground has looked since we got here.  No cluttered sites!

We found out that during the summer, there are some tourist attractions that give free or discounted entrances to active duty and military retirees plus dependents.  We took advantage of the free offers and have been visiting quite a few attractions.

Below is some photos of the Audubon House.  Actually this house belonged to the Greiger family not to John Audubon. 
Audubon House
 Captain John Greiger was a maritime pilot and a wrecker. Salvage wreckers were a common practice among the locals making Key West a very prosperous town until the government intervened and put an end to the salvaging.
Touring through Greiger's home gave a view of what life was like in the late 1800s.  The house is filled with beautiful antiques and period furniture.  I, of course, was more interested in the quilts.  I wish I had taken a photo of the quilts' design description and original owners.  I should know better!  My memory is not that good!
I often wonder how the ladies and gentlemen could stand to wear the layers of clothes during the hot days of summer.  This dress looks like it is made of a loose woven linen, so at least, a little cooler to wear.  The little parasol doesn't look like it would protect a lady from the hot sun very well, does it?
I had mentioned that John Audubon did not live here.  He did visit for six weeks in 1832 with the Greiger family in their old homestead on the same property.  He wrote about his visit with the Greigers and Key West while studying the local wild life.  The house he visited was destroyed during a hurricane in 1846.  Throughout the 'new' house, we were able to view many of Audubon's prints.  The meticulous detail of each bird is amazing.  I have seen some of Audubon's work in books, but they don't come even close to the amount of detail put into each of the large prints.
I love the layout of the house.  The stairs and a very wide hall/entrance way were open to double door rooms.  At the front and back of the centered hallways are large doors to catch the breezes keeping the house cool.  The outside doors opened to deep set verandas giving the house more shady areas to enjoy.
The rocking chairs on the veranda were very inviting.  Come sit.  Rock away the day while watching the people pass by on the street or enjoy the quiet beauty of the garden.

On The Cutting Board
A customer asked if I was going to make more Acorn mug rugs soon because she was interested in ordering four of them.  I told her I would make six and she can pick out the four she wanted before I listed them.  I mailed out her order today, so I will list the last two on Etsy soon.
I will also be listing eight new Happy Campers!  I'm so happy to get so many done at one time.  I'm in the middle of finishing up five mini wall hangings.  I'll post some photos in my next blog.  I are wondering - gee, when will that be???  Yea, I'll try to post a little quicker next time.  I certainly have enough photos of the area to fill a few posts.
One more photo of a great sunset.  This time with thunder clouds in the distance.  They did not come this way.  Most of our storms seem to come from the north or east.  For now, anyway.  
Well, I better get back to the mini wall hangings....
Happy Quilting!

Friday, August 14, 2015

On Key West Time (Key West, FL)

I am definitely in mañana mode lately or Key West time.  Taking it easy.  Enjoying the views.  Here are some photos of a few things we have seen in the last week.
Sigsbee NAS has placed a few of these over-sized adirondack chairs around the base.  Getting into the chair was easy...getting out was a whole other experience.  Surprisingly, it was quite comfortable to sit in.   And....Yes, I do feel like 'Edith Ann'.  For the young ones that have no idea what I am talking about - Edith Ann was a character played by Lily Tomlin on "Laugh-In" - a comedy show from the late 60s to early 70s.
While spending some time with Dusty at our site before our morning walk, I watched this rainbow develop as the sun came up.  We get a decent view of the water and sunsets even though we are one row back and have to peek between rigs.  The sites are staggered just so that most sites have a sliver of a view of the water.
This Iguana was starting his day early.  Just look at that healthy green glow!  We rarely see them out on our morning walks.
We see quite a few Little Blue Herons and Ibis, but
the Pelicans and the bigger birds such as Herons or Egrets have not migrated south.  Something to look forward to along with a warmer winter.
The flowers are gorgeous right now.  This flowering tree can be found all over Key West.  Just Bloomin' beautiful!
We have been downtown a few times and I already have toooooo many photos, so I promise not to bombard you in one post.  I will try to spread them out.
Doesn't this look inviting?  Shall I sit or swim?  The water feels warmer than the air at times.  Floating around is very relaxing and the best part - my skin doesn't feel salty or dried out afterward.  
Chickens are a big part of Key West's charm.  They are everywhere...on the streets, at the Post Office, in front yards, and under your feet at restaurants.  We even have a few chickens and roosters on base.
Mama Hen and her chicks were following us down the sidewalk in the Truman Annex.  I got the feeling that the chickens can tell that we are a soft touch.  They must have that same sixth sense as do the feral cats - I know you want to feed us.
Business is booming despite the heat and humidity.  Key West has been very busy.  We were expecting a quieter time with less crowds and traffic.  We were surprised to see it was just the opposite with the long lines, packed restaurants, and traffic jams.  Even the base's campground has stayed filled almost to the point that they would have to start rotating people from full hook-ups to dry camping.
SouthernMost Point and Conch-blowing Greeter 
Ahhh, another gorgeous sunset.  I'm sure there will be more to come...
In the meantime, I need to find some energy and get some sewing done.  My little shop is looking rather empty.
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Change of Plans (Key West, FL)

Last week, we decided to finish our move south to Key West.  We had planned to spend another 2 to 5 weeks in Central Florida while trying to wait out hurricane season.  Change of plans!  We will take our chances and hope for a calm season.
We spent one night in Midway State Park near Big Cypress and Everglades National Park.  We visited Big Cypress NP visitor's center.  I was more interested in the display of the Seminole's patchwork than in walking around outdoors.  I tried not to smear the glass while looking for the tiny stitches in the patchwork.  Beautiful handwork!
A Pin Doll for the Doll
The body of the dolls are made from palmetto fibers.  Here's a link that shows how the Seminoles make different things from palmetto leaves including dolls.  Scroll to the bottom to find Making Dolls.  My grandparents gave me one of these dolls when I was little.  It sat on my knick-knack shelf for many years.  I have no idea what happened to it.  I know I wish I still had it.
This dress was made in the 1920 - 1930s.  Both boys and girls wore this outfit.  The fabric looks very light and cool.  Very comfortable for the hot humid summer days in Florida.  Isn't the handwork amazing?
I did spend sometime outdoors with Dan watching the alligators swimming around.  This is the first time I have actually seen one swim.  They certainly give off a lazy carefree attitude with only their tail moving and legs hanging limp.  Gliding across the water barely making a ripple in the water...sneaking up on an unsuspected meal.  Most of the alligators ignored the people except for this one swam straight up to us and stopped.  I got the feeling that he was sizing us up for lunch.  I'm glad there was a fence between us.
Red Shouldered Hawk
This hawk was our only neighbor in the state park.  He is sitting on top of a pole holding Purple Martin's houses.  I think he is in for a long wait since the owners are vacationing up north right now.
I got very excited when we started on the last stretch of our journey down U.S. 1 South!
Oh yea!  It is beginning to look a lot like the Florida Keys.
Key West!
After several hours of heavy traffic, slow speeds, and a couple of stops - including getting the car's tire patched from a nail.  It is a good thing Dan found the nail the night before while we were in the state park.  The tire was leaking air and it would have been deflated by the time we started across the Overseas Highway.  Finding pullovers big enough for our 38 ft rig plus a car are few along the way.  We would have had some major damage if the tire had gone flat while we were towing it.  We made it safely to Sigsbee NAS without any more incidents if we don't count some of the crazy drivers.  ;)

On The Cutting Board
I finished two more quilts.  Binding done.  I need to pre-wash them before listing them.  The photos are a little hazy due to heat and humidity fogging up my lens.
Balloons and Trains
The Black Cat in Pink quilt is my favorite this time.  The pattern was quick, easy, and fun to make.
I had a little bit of the binding fabric leftover to make into a big bow for the Black Cat.  Now, he is styling!
Well, I need to go through my ever growing pile of UFOs to see what to work on next.  I should finish some more mug rugs or wall hangings or...gosh...there are so many and so little time.  eh!  Maybe, I'll think about it tomorrow and take tonight off...go out and watch the sunset....
Happy Quilting!

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