Friday, November 19, 2010

A Hodgepodge Post

Here is a little something I worked on recently. The design is from an old Tom Pudding pattern I found free online in 2004. Good thing I printed it out then (and didn't lose the printout!) because it doesn't seem to be available any more, but they have other free patterns here. I may have to do something with that snowflake design. (Edited Feb. 13, 2011: The pattern is available on their new blog now! Hooray! Go here.)
This is stitched on 14 ct. aida with DMC 600, two strands for the outline, one strand for the design. The finished design area is about 2 inches by 2 inches.

I had a handmade ornament inspiration the other day which required red gingham fabric. No problem, I thought, as I headed to my stash. Would you believe I had NO red gingham in my 20-year-in-the-making fabric stash? NONE. I was shocked. Time for a fabric store run.

I am doing little things for Christmas this year, mostly cross stitch stuff, but I may try to knit these tree sachets from a couple years ago. Unfortunately, my left hand has begun to ache like crazy lately when I try to stitch, knit, or crochet. I wear a therapeutic glove while I work, but it doesn't seem to help much. My mom's hands were crippled by arthritis when she was in her 60s, so I am a little fearful. I am not ready to give up stitching. What will I do if I can't stitch???? I spend the time I am not stitching massaging my hand and fretting.

Yesterday I had my volunteer shift in the elementary school library. Two boys came rushing in, breathless, waving a piece of paper at me. "We need to find the definition for this word!" they panted. I said "Sure, go ahead." I expected them to rush to a computer and go online, but to my surprise they headed straight for the Big Dictionary. I was actually very touched to see them wrestling it off the bookshelf, and gratified to see that they knew how to use it. The word they were looking for was "runcible." They found "runcible spoon", and scribbled down the definition (which sounded an awful lot like the description for a spork!). Last evening on a whim I googled runcible spoon, and this is what I found. Hmmm. Now I want to go back to that dictionary in the school library and see if it mentioned that it's really a made-up thing! I feel a little sad that the dictionary may not have the full story.

And from the department of totally random: news of Prince William's engagement reminded me of the day he was born. I was a teenager at the time, so I spent a lot of time in my bedroom listening to the radio. That day the dj mentioned that Diana was in labor, which I thought was newsworthy, so I opened up my bedroom door and shouted out to the household at large "Hey! Princess Di's in labor!" My dad misunderstood this as "princess dies in labor". Much hilarity ensued.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Great American Road Trip, Part XIV: The Road Home

The last few days of our trip were mostly long-haul drives. When we embarked on our journey, our plan had been to take time on the road home, to drive through Kansas and go to Independence to see the Little House on the Prairie site there, and then to drive to Mansfield, Missouri, to see Rocky Ridge Farm (where Laura lived most of her adult life, and where her home is now a museum. I've been there before, and wanted to see it again). However, at this point in the trip, we had been on the road for a long time, and my husband felt a need to get back to work. My son's birthday was coming up, and we wanted to be home for that, and school was also looming on the horizon. So, we drove I-70 straight through to Missouri without any site seeing. Not even the world's largest ball of twine!

My mother-in-law grew up in a small town in Missouri. My husband spent a lot of summers there when he was a child, and some of his relatives still live there, so we did some visiting for a day. Our children have been there before for family reunions and weddings, but it had been a long time and they didn't really remember much about it (other than the oppressive and horrible humidity, which is very memorable!). My husband grew up not far from where we live now, but most of his best and favorite childhood memories are from the times he spent in Missouri, so it is important for the children to see those places. I know my mother-in-law (who passed away three years ago) would have been so happy that we included a stop in her home town on our big vacation!

And then, of course, there is always something interesting to see on the Mississippi River.

We happened to be there in 1993 when the river was at its highest. Even though we were there and saw it with our own eyes, it is still hard to believe it was actually all the way up to that mark on the flood gate!

The last leg of our journey home took us through rural Illinois, where we passed a campground called "Rest In Peace Campground". Seriously? Whose idea was that? Does anyone camp there? I wouldn't!

And finally home again.

where the scenery behind the bison mascot really isn't all that spectacular or interesting, but it is home, and we were glad to be back.

Four thousand nine hundred fifty miles. Sixteen days. Nine states (four of which were new to me). Six state capital cities. Two state capitol buildings. Six national parks. Two Laura Ingalls Wilder sites. Twelve picnic lunches at rest areas, historic sites, town parks, or in national parks. One horrible storm. Countless memories to last a lifetime.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Party Porcupine Pillow

My daughter was invited to a friend's birthday party, and she really wanted to make an embroidered rendering of this friend's signature doodle, the Party Porcupine. It took a few days to secure a doodle, then a few more days for me to transfer it to fabric for her, then another few days for my daughter to find time to do the crayon tinting and embroidering (I did the french knots in the party hat for her), then thirty minutes of her rejecting most of the fabric in my stash, until we finally unearthed the gum-drop fabric which was declared perfect, then a late-night, last-minute session with me at the sewing machine, but we managed to complete the pillow on time!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Great American Road Trip, Part XIII: Denver,Colorado

The day after our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, we spent the day in Denver. Denver is known as The Mile High City, so I was picturing it IN the mountains. It's not in the mountains. It's near the mountains. This really blew my mind. Who knew? It looked a lot like Minneapolis to me. (My husband didn't get that same Minneapolis impression.)

The week before we were in Denver, when we realized what exact day we'd be in Denver, we tried to get tickets to tour the U.S. Mint, but, sadly, all tours that day were already completely booked. You can do this complicated thing at the Mint to get on stand-by, but by the time we got there, we were too late even for that. This was extremely disappointing to our children. We asked the security guard how far in advance tickets get claimed, and he said in the summer, about one month. There's just no way we can be that organized, not when we are making up our itinerary as we go along!!

We didn't have anything specific in mind we wanted so see in Denver, so we just strolled around town. The sun felt piercing to me, not really hotter than usual, just stronger.

We visited the library, and admired this beautiful wall of books outside.

We wandered over to the capitol area.

They had their own little mini Mall (ala Washington, DC) in the capitol area. I can't remember what this building was opposite the capitol, but see, they even have a tiny little Washington Monument.

Does the D.C. in Washington, D.C., not stand for District of Columbia, but Denver, Colorado, instead??? One wonders.

We found out later that things carved in stone aren't necessarily true. The REAL spot on the capitol steps that is exactly one mile above sea level is up another step or two. Oh, well, close enough.

We went inside the capitol building.

We got to go inside the dome. The views were lovely.

After leaving the capitol we walked around a bit more and found ourselves near the convention center, where this giant blue bear peeks in the windows.

Kinda cute, kinda weird!

We wanted to find someplace local for lunch, but sadly, the pedestrian mall where we looked was all chain restaurants. I'm sure there are fabulous and unique restaurants in Denver. We just couldn't find them, so we settled for a chain we'd never eaten in before. We strolled along the pedestrian mall for awhile, but I didn't take any pictures. I remember they had painted pianos scattered along the way for anyone to sit down and play, which seemed whimsical and festive.

We left Denver mid-afternoon. It was time to say good-bye to the mountains as we began our eastward journey in earnest on I-70. Sniff, sniff. Good-bye, Rockies! I can't believe how beautiful and dramatic you are!

Shortly before our trip, I heard of the I-70 Diner in Flagler, CO, and was excited when I realized we'd be passing by it. Good timing had us arriving in Flagler right at dinner time, so we knew just where to go to feed ourselves.

Cute, cute, cute, and the food was delicious!!! I would go there all the time if I lived there!
I think my children agree!

We crossed into Kansas as the sun set. Kansas was yet another new state for me. Poor Nebraska. I've never been there, and on this trip I just circled right around it!