Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wildfires in the West

Almost every time that I have driven through Utah, it has been on fire.

We were a few miles away. It was startling to see a mountain on fire!

This was taken on the last trip a couple of weeks ago. It was taken from the gas station where we got fuel. We had seen the smoke from many miles back, but it was coming from behind the ridge. When we pulled of at the station, we saw several people taking photos, so we looked back and this is what we saw!

The difference in the Utah fires that I have seen and the California fires that I see on the news, is that Utah doesn't seem to need to fight all their fires. The first time we drove through Utah, the fire was burning right up next to the Interstate! We saw a helicopter a few miles away dropping water, so we assumed there was a farmhouse that they were trying to save. Otherwise, it seems that they just let nature take care of things, as long as there are no people in danger.

Not dramatic enough to make the news perhaps, but pretty impressive in person!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

More Library Whimsy

A few posts ago, I shared these photos of library trucks from MY library in Overland Park, Kansas. Yesterday, I saw this post from Kansas City Daily Photo and it reminded me that other cities in the area also have a sense of whimsy. The photo is of one of the Kansas City, Missouri libraries - not sure if it is the main branch, but it is the Plaza location. The outside of the building appears to be giant books on a shelf!

I love it when libraries make me smile before I even get inside!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

If you give a girl a camera...

...she will need Photoshop!
This is a photo of my new camera, taking a photo of my new camera!

The Mister surprised me with it when I came home for lunch last Thursday. I was dashing around trying to get all the stuff I needed to leave directly for SLC the minute I got out of work. The Vegas niece and I planned to drive North to see the August babies.

He drew my attention to the kitchen table and there it was!

He had done all the researching and comparing prices, etc, and he went out and got it that morning so I would have it to take photos on my trip! I was very surprised and very pleased!

I prevailed upon Opal to model the onesies that I embroidered for her!
They seemed to put her to sleep! (I will take that to mean they are comfortable and relaxing!)
Also, they allow movement in all directions. Here, she is doing the waving Kansas wheat - ("Rock - Chalk - Jayhawk - Kay-You-oo")

We had a fabulous time and I took lots of photos. Not only on my camera, but the camera of whomever was baby holding at the time.

I do like my camera, though. I am looking forward to the weekend so that I can practice with it and read the book. Luckily, it is very similar to Dearest Sister's camera, (strictly a happy coincidence), so she was my 'cliff notes' tutorial on the trip.

I can't wait to see how well it photographs fabric, and quilts and close ups on embroidery! I think I might just dive straight into the Flikr pools!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our Jelly Bean!

This is Bean. Her driver's license will say Tegan and so will we, eventually. She has been Bean for awhile, though, so that is what we are used to calling her. But somehow, it has now become Jelly Bean!
She is a petite sweetie, for sure!

The cousins came along to meet her too and have been a delight!

A little fist bump between sisters!

All us out-of-towner girls are slumber partying together in one room and it is fun, fun, fun!

Home tomorrow - it sure will be boring after being intertained by a two and a half year old and a pair of newborns!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Flora and Fauna for Baby

Our new girl has arrived! Early, but hearty, she will go home with her mama, even though she was six weeks early! I have been trying to get all preparations done to leave from work to drive North to meet her!

I have one tiny shirt still to finish. I am going to try to do it during a conference call at work in the morning. I generally don't have to take notes or really pay close attention during these calls. Sometimes I file my nails, or sort through a festering pile of paperwork. Tomorrow, though, I am going to sneak this little shirt in my purse and try to finish the bird. Don't tell on me! I wouldn't do it, except in extreme situations!

I tried two new motifs for this group: the flower and the strawberries. The 'critters' are repeats.

The last time I did this little pooch, I didn't use color fast floss. I learned my lesson, so this guy should keep his fur intact!

The strawberries went very quickly! I think next time, I might try to add a little shading to the fruit to give a little more depth.

Not a great photo of the flower. It was another very fast and fun design.

When I look at the first shirts that I embroidered, I realize that I really have refined my technique. I think that I might try to do a little tutorial of things that I have found useful. These little shirts really are fun to do and are fun to give as gifts.

It will have to wait until things settle down a bit, though! I've got some girls to party with!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kitties and Chicks and Bugs, Oh My!

These are the rest of the set of onsies for OM.

I repeated the chick - (I think it may be my favorite!) - The kitty and the bug with the flower are new ones and they will join the red breasted blue bird as a gift for the newest girl in the family. These designs are all from Simplicity #7145 "Story Book Trims" from the 1948 catalog shared by Martha at 'Q' is for Quilter
The chick was one of the first designs that I tried. I have refined my technique for stitching on knits and I love the worm on this one!

The kitty was another easy one, since there are very few color changes.

The bug face was a little tricky. I am glad that it came out okay. It is just about impossible to pick stitches out of the knit fabric! Next time, I will use a little darker color for the body.

I was all set to go to Colorado to see OM this weekend, but her cousin has decided to take the stage and will be among us in the next hours. So, since my weekend hostess has dashed off to Salt Lake City, I believe I will go there, too and see the newest of the new girls to join the family!

Now I just have to get her onsies finished!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I used to buy t-shirts... souvenirs. Eventually I realized that t-shirts are not flattering to anyone (thank you, "What Not to Wear") and should only be worn to the gym (where I never go). I do allow myself to wear them when I am working in the garden, but I really don't have a garden, so mostly they sit on the shelf in the closet, waiting for the day that I might have a garden once again.

So, this is my latest souvenir!

Yarn, fat quarter fabric assortment and embroidery transfers.

I love exploring fabric and craft shops when we travel. Whenever I find an independent fabric and/or craft store, I always look for things outside the usual inventory that I find at Michael's and Jo-An.

This time, I found Beverly's Fabric & Crafts in Santa Maria, CA. Next door was Betty's Fabrics and next door to that was Betty's Yarn Shop! I got the fabric at Betty's (She had really lovely quilt fabrics as well as other specialty fabrics) and the yarn and embroidery transfers at Beverly's (which was more of a crafting store, but they did have some nice quilt fabrics, too.)

I always admire the fat quarter assortments that I see at quilt shops, but the price per yard, always keeps me from indulging. I am such a bargain hunter, it is hard for me to pay full price for things, and it seems like they are never really 'on sale'. But, as a souvenir, it was easier!

You can't really tell where I have been by looking at them, but they will remind me when I use them!

Where we have been, the past few days, is on a road trip -The Mister and The Mister's youngest Miss - C, and me. When she comes to visit, we always try to go see something that we haven't seen before. It gives us an excuse to get out of town for a few days and helps to make her visit more interesting (we hope...)

This week, we headed to the ocean!

We took a 'three hour tour' around the Channel Islands National Park. We were hoping to see some whales, but they are apparently unreliable this time of year. We did see lots of sea lions, sea otters, and lots of birds.

This is Anacapa Island, the smallest of the chain and the closest to the harbor. Some of the folks on our boat got off to spend the day. It looked pretty desolate to us....

'Naked Ladies' or 'Surprise Lilies'

We also went to Hearst Castle at San Simeon. We took a tour and saw lots of fabulous things. It was the second time there for the Mister and I. There are four different tours and we have taken the first and second. I hope we get the opportunity to go back and see more. I did take lots of photos, but they impress on everyone that they are NOT TO BE PUBLISHED!! Mine really don't show the full splendor of the place, anyway. These surprise lilies were blooming in a field at the old village of San Simeon. I love surprise lilies!
The Mister and me at the W.R. Hearst State Beach
It was nice to get out of the furnace and spend some time near the ocean!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Blue Bird of Happiness

More Onesie deliciousness!

I have been working on a couple other works-in-progress, but due to confidentiality, I cannot disclose them. (And by confidentiality, I mean they are gifts to people who occasionally stop by this blog and I don't want to ruin the surprise.)

This is a gift, also, but I am pretty sure that OM doesn't read my blog, yet....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Women's Clubs on the Prairie!

Saturday, I received an email from Nancy, a reader in MN, alerting me to an interesting article in the New Yorker magazine about Rose Wilder. Rose was the only child of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband Almanzo. The reason Nancy brought it to my attention, is that Laura founded a Justamere club in Mansfield, Missouri! It was described as a 'study club'. (The article also mentioned that Laura enjoyed her embroidery circle!)

Nancy wondered if there was an affiliation of Justamere clubs in different locations. The article really piqued my curiosity! I read the article and searched for more information.

When I visited my Dear Aunt earlier this year, I asked her about clubs that she had belonged to. She told me that she belonged to several different 'federated clubs' over the years, but I didn't really understand what that meant.

In my web search today, I found an article from 1912 that helped answer the question. The article indicated that 10,000 women belonged to The Kansas Federation of Women's Clubs that year. The purpose of the clubs was to "raise the standard of women's education and attainments, enlarge her opportunities and promote the intellectual growth of the members". The group began in 1883 as The Social Science Club of Kansas and Western Missouri, but in 1895, the states separated and The Kansas Social Science Federation was established. I think that Mansfield is more South Central Missouri (although many in Missouri consider everything West of St. Louis to be Western Missouri...)

I found some other interesting reading about Federated Women's clubs that were represented at the Chicago World's fair, and about their various philanthropic efforts.

Many libraries were founded and supported by the women's clubs in Kansas. The first club to do so, was in Kansas City, Kansas. The ladies of the club convinced the city to turn over the revenue from the dog taxes and the fees collected by the pound for stray animals, and they started a library fund. Many other clubs followed their example. The Federation also started the traveling library. (bookmobile)

I have always been proud of my Kansas heritage and the emphasis placed on education, there - especially in contrast to some neighboring states and the state I now reside in. What I read today, makes me proud of the many women who lived so long ago, whose efforts helped create the library system that I have enjoyed my whole life!

Another fun fact - Almanzo Wilder was from Malone, NY.

The Mister was born in Malone!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Making a muslin...

Often, when my mother was sewing something really special for someone else, she would make up the pattern in muslin to be sure of the fit, etc. Especially if she had altered the pattern for someone who was hard to fit. Not an uncommon practice, I know that others have mentioned doing the same thing.

Today, I 'made a muslin'.

I didn't intend to, it just turned out that way.

On Saturday morning, I was on the computer and got an email from Dearest Sister directing me to look at the blog post that she had just finished. The post announced that the quilt for baby Opal (who should be here any day) was fini!

After reading it, I remembered that I had not made a label, as I had planned, so I set about accomplishing just that very thing.

I made a transfer, ironed it on a piece of flour sack and began to stitch. I worked on it while watching TV on Saturday and a bit Sunday and took it with me as 'amusement' to the doctor's office to pass the time waiting. I was just finishing up all but the date line, and I began to envision it on the quilt and I realized...

that I used the wrong color!

I used the floss from the last quilt I worked on, not thinking that the last one I worked on has not been finished! It is to be for baby Bean. Opal's quilt was stitched in orange!

I briefly thought of picking out the stitches of Opal's name and using this label for the yet to be finished quilt for Bean, but I don't like to pick out stitches and I think that it might leave holes that the Bean's name (whatever it will be!) would not be able to obscure.

No, I think I shall just count it as a trial run of the real project.

Which will start now...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I should have been a librarian...

When I was in high school, I took one of those "interest profile" assessments administered by the counseling office. The results indicated that I would be a good librarian. I also had management aptitude, so "head librarian" would be a suitable goal.

I did not think that the result was accurate because, in my world, librarians were not cool, or hip and I aspired to coolness and hipdom!

I discarded the advice, as I did other pieces of valid wisdom offered to my by people who did not know as much as I thought I did.

I have often thought how much more satisfying my career might have been if I had investigated the idea, just a bit...

Because I love libraries!

Before the Mister came along and joined us, it was just Ms A and I. We lived in a house in Overland Park, Kansas across the street from a park on the Santa Fe Trail (apparently the swales from the covered wagons can still be seen, if one knows where to look!) The park was small (the perimeter walking path was just a half mile) and the far side of the park backed up to the library.

We considered the library to be our own.

We loved, loved, loved everything about the library!

During my visit in June, I spent some time with a realtor and at the end of an evening looking at houses, I asked her to drop me at the library. I knew everyone was out and about and I would rather wait at the library than sit on the stoop in front of Wisest Sister's house.

As I walked up to the door, I saw this truck in the side parking lot. I thought it was strange to have a seafood truck parked at the library! Upon closer look, I realized it was a library truck, painted with a sense of humor!

Two others were parked too close together to get the side view...
You know, I don't think I have ever read Kafka.
And I have only become aware of Benjamin Button through the movie industry.

And actually, I have never read Moby Dick, either.

I even love it that the library humor is over my head!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fun with Egg Cartons

In 1967, the Clapper Publishing company produced 40 or 50 " Pack-O-Fun " publications. This one made its way through the years to my house. I don't know where I got it, but I think it could be fun to try some of these ideas.
This book has a wide range of projects from toys to home decor. I think the toys might be fun - the home decor, wildly tacky.

This project is one of my favorites in the book! I think it probably pre-dates Barbie's pink plastic RV, but it has all the comforts you might want in a mobile home. (Like many travel trailers, the sofa evidently makes into a bed.) There are even instructions to make a "tractor" to pull the "trailer".

It reminds me of a dollhouse made from cardboard boxes and kitchen sponges that Ms A constructed many years ago. The fun was mostly in the making, not necessarily the playing with later...

The room divider uses part of a basket like berries used to come in, so a substitution would have to be made. Of course, most eggs do not come in pulp cartons, either.

Does anyone know if Michael's carries pulp egg cartons and berry boxes?