Saturday, July 27, 2013

Flying Decades!

Today was a milestone for me.  I have officially completed six decades on this planet!  It doesn't seem possible.  I remember as a little girl, thinking forward to the year 2000 and how that was SO far away and wondering if I'd live to be "that old"!  I was sure I wouldn't, but here I am and thinking it's impossible that I've reached that old age.  Frankly, I'd be doing fine with this age if it wasn't for the extra poundage, I call it being "fluffy", hehe, and all those ridiculous aches and pains that seemingly came out of nowhere when I reached the half-century mark a decade ago.  

Lord willing, I'll reach beyond another decade or two and get a lot more quilts quilted and done.  When I get home from vacation and get 're-settled' I'll get caught up on my blogging.  As it is, Nick and I managed to wipe out my aunt's allotted internet time so I'm at my mom's for a few hours and using her internet.  I didn't know there were caps on internet time, but now we know.  You need to understand that Nick brought his monster-computer with us and has spent far too much time on it while my aunt and I were out doing some other things.  He could have stayed home in the dry land for that! but he was, and still is, quite sure he wanted to be here in the wet land, which by the way, has been perfectly dry the entire 24 days we've been here - boo, hiss, we wanted at least some clouds with a few sprinkles here and there, didn't happen!

On Monday, I'll be headed home to see if I can even get into my 'new' quilt room, it may take time, but there's always the dining room to work in.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Leaders and Enders

Bonnie Hunter, Quiltville is having a link-up for those who've participated in the Spools Challenge.  I won't say I started that challenge at the beginning, as I didn't really follow her blog much until more recently, but I am now, and have been making spool blocks prior to vacation.  My photo is a couple months old, maybe even older, but is representative of most of what I've been able to make using this method, though I do have quite a few more done. 

Visit Quiltville, linked above, to see what others have accomplished.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Vacation Moments

Quilt camp has come and gone.  Had a nice time sewing and sewing and eating...three squares a day! The camp fed us quite well.  And it's already the 13th day of our vacation, the time is flying by.

This is what my car did enroute to Suttle Lake Methodist Quilt Camp (no, I'm not Methodist, but that's where the quilt camp was because most others in the group are Methodists):

photos taken pulled over at side of road :)

My Highlander reached 100,000 miles.  It's a 2006.  I really like this vehicle.
Mt. Washington.  Viewed on the way to the camp.

Aunt Irene in front of White Rabbit on Sisters Quilt Show Day, we were very blessed to have found a great parking space right in town (shhhh, don't tell anyone we weren't "locals only" following traffic directions)
I took a lot of pictures at the Sisters Quilt Show on Saturday (7/13) but will wait to post any until I return home in a couple weeks.

This is the early morning sea of people at the quilt show, I haven't names - it's in a public setting.  The main street through town is blocked off from automobile traffic.  There were more people by the time we left in the early afternoon.

A view of Suttle Lake, we drove here and it's probably 1/2 - 1 mile from the group camp building we stayed in.

Nick at Boiler Bay

Today, Nick and I and my parents took a drive to the coast.  We stopped at Boiler Bay briefly.  It was chilly, a little windy though not as bad as it could have been, the ocean had motion with spray coming off some of the waves along the shoreline (not seen in the above pic).  We drove on down and over the bridge in Newport before turning around and heading back.  We stopped in Lincoln City and had a late lunch with a to go order from J's Fish & Chips, coated cod, slaw, curly fries and beverage, and drove to a parking overlook at D-Lake (aka Devil's Lake) where we ate our lunch.  It was nice to visit the coast again.  Nick wanted to stop at PigNPancake, but my dad doesn't do any sit down restaurant action so we'll plan another trip for next week perhaps when my parents won't be with us.  When we were kids, we'd stop at the Pronto Pup stand.  Back then of course, it truly was just a 'stand' no bigger than an outhouse, and didn't look much different from one quite frankly, but the rare occasion we'd stop, we enjoyed them.  For those who don't know, Pronto Pups are like corn dogs on a stick. Panake-like batter dipped wiener that's deep-fried.

The next few days will be visiting family & friends, and transitioning from my parents to my aunts where I'll have internet but it's not as speedy as here, and here isn't as good as home, but all are better than what was at quilt camp, where all I had was 3 yellow bars and lonngg upload times.  Of course, who wants to be on the internet when you have hours and days to sew?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Family Treadle

Here on vacation at my parents, and this was handed down to my step-dad many years ago from his grand-mother, and it might even have been handed down to her from her mother or grandmother(s).

It is an Arlington treadle machine.  I will try to get a picture of it 'set up', but that will have to wait until my mom is able to do so.  I don't know how well it operates, but the cabinet is certainly beautiful and in great condition.

I would love to own this machine and the quilt shown below, but alas, as the step-child, neither will likely fall to me, even if I offered to buy them and that the 'heirs' neither sew, nor would necessarily have an appreciation of these items.  Such is life.  

Blogger turned the photo again.

Beautiful cabinet
 I believe the drunkard's path quilt was made by his grandmother.  I'm not sure if it was pieced by hand, probably not, but it is hand-quilted.  The binding was sewn on the back and rolled to the front where it is hand stitched.  The edges of the binding show some wear and and the batting shows in places.  There are also some very small holes here and there on the quilt, and the batting looks to be a thin cotton, but through washings and wear, has bunched into lumps in places.  The curved orange appears to either be hand-pieced, or added in an applique manner.  It's lovely.
Antique drunkard's path

Hand added for scale

On bed

Close up of bunched batting and small hole

Friday, July 5, 2013

Having Arrived

It's been two sleeps since I arrived at my destination.  On Wednesday morning, we pulled out of the garage at 4:20 a.m. to head to the wet land that's pretty dry at this time of year.  After hanging out behind the wheel for 14.5 hours and after a few stops for gas, food and rest area relief, we arrived at 6:55 p.m.  So that night was the first sleep.

Yesterday, the 4th, we didn't do much other than just hang out at my parents house and rest, and chat, and eat.  I understand there were some fireworks out at a high school in a nearby small town, but didn't plan to go over there.  My lower back was acting up a bit from having driven for so long, which also makes walking more difficult, and I didn't know how far we'd have to walk from wherever we might have had to park. 

After one gas stop, we'd driven for quite awhile, made a stop for lunch, later a stop for an ice cream, later again for a potty stop and then at some point I happened to look at my dash board and realized that my gas warning light had come on...oops, silly me, I hadn't been paying attention to my fuel levels, quite unusual for me.  Fortunately, it wasn't far to the next gas station, though I could easily have traveled another 50 miles, but I was more concerned that I'd not noticed in the first place!

I haven't made any specific plans for today.  It's hard to plan when I'm at my parents; I'd like to get them out but they have their quirks, so we just hang out at the house more often than not.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hittin' the Road

I'd planned to be in bed by 9:00, it's 9:34, I'll be hittin' the pillow by 10:00.  Just catching a breath and trying to think of anything I might be forgetting before waking at 3:30 and leaving by 4:00 - at least that's the plan.  If I drive straight through, which I often do, it'll be a 12 - 14 hour drive.  Wet land (ok, not so wet right now) here we come :) 

It's vacation time, so I don't know how often I'll be on, posting, or commenting, but will try.

Macaroni and Cheese

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, ok, late last night's post which most of you who might be popping in won't see until today, Tuesday so it'll seem like both posts are back to back.  Rabbit trails.  As I was saying, I mentioned yesterday that Nick was going to be taken to Tino's to spend the night but it was a late trip over to his house, so I still needed to fix dinner for him, and for Marty and me too of course.

When I asked Nick what I should make, he said macaroni and cheese and I  kinda turned my nose up thinking, yeah, we'll just nuke some from those little packets that come in the blue box.  Nope! That's not what he wanted.  He said he'd like home made.  Now that came as a total surprise because the last time I made it was many, many years ago and he said he didn't like it, he wanted the stuff out of the blue box.  He did try it, and blue box was still his preference.  That was then, and this is now.

I make my macaroni and cheese the same way my mom always did, quick and budget-wise, but to me it's the best.

Start with a big pot of water and bring to a boil:

I'm so glad I cleaned the stove earlier....

When it's boiling, add in about a pound and a half of elbow macaroni.  Any brand, this is just what I had in the pantry.  I had big macaroni too, but I've never tried it that way, so stuck with what I know works:

Grate about a pound or more, or more, of extra sharp cheddar cheese - lots of yumminess:

I doubt my mom ever used this, but sometimes it comes in handy, and decided to go ahead and spray the pan with it, because sometimes that cheese likes to stick!  I just bought this a couple weeks ago after not using anything like it for many, many years:

This is the pan.  A 9 x 13 glass dish, and you'll see why it helps to have clear glass here shortly:

After the elbows are cooked, drain them nicely and while still hot, start layering them with the cheese.  I started with elbows, made 3 layers total ending with cheese on top.  Something I did do differently here that my mom never did, and I've never done before either, was to take some good old Kraft American cheese slices and lay 6 of them across the first layer, and then 5 across the second layer, no reason for the specific numbers other than 6 fit nicely and 5 more was all I had out without digging more out of the refrigerator.  Then I put the grated cheddar over the top of the slices.  It was an experiment:  (ignore those onions, I hadn't put them away after bringing them in from the garage where it isn't hot in the winter but is now- they won't last long when the garage is over 105)

And wait, what's that white stuff? It's milk! Just pour it cold, straight from the carton over the top of all that glorious cheesiness until it's about 2/3 or 3/4 to the top (see why clear glass is helpful?), then if you're like me, sprinkle it liberally with pepper.  Notice that one end has far less pepper, Nick isn't gung-ho on too much pepper, yet ;)  I also forgot to tell you, season with salt when you boil your pasta, or when you're layering if you prefer, or heck, wait until it's on the table, but really, it's better if you salt it a little ahead of time, just don't go overboard.

Bake for 45 - 60 minutes in a 375 degree oven (what IS that alt+xxx code to make the degree symbol?) Keep watch during that last 15 minutes or so, so that you don't overcook the top.  Uh, I guess you can tell we dug into it before I got the photo, but this way, it shows that nice crispy, crunchiness of the top layer of cheese, and the yumminess of the cheesy elbows. And I noticed no difference in taste or texture from including the Kraft cheese slices.

You might note that this is not one of those ooey-gooey, creamy, pasty type of macaroni and cheeses.  I don't like the ones where the sauce is a minimum of cheese and thickened with flour, ugh!  It's really somewhat dry by comparison, but this is what I grew up on and this is what I think is ultimately, the best way to make mac & cheese.  I like others, but this is the best!

Oh, and Nick enjoyed it too, but even before he tasted it, he was saying how it looks like it would be good with those crispy fried onions in it (I use them in my tuna noodle casserole), and then, that it would probably be good with chicken in it too.  Funny guy.  Don't adulterate my mac & cheese, though I have to admit, I was thinking of thinly slicing one of those onions and adding some to the dish but didn't think he'd go for it.  Next time!

Monday, July 1, 2013

1, no 2, wait 3, oh my 4!

Today while I attempted to get laundry and things done so I can pack my suitcases, I kept getting distracted.  Fairly early, I looked out my kitchen window, and had to take a picture.  There was this,

that's 1, and then there was this,

that's 2,  and I had walked outside before even seeing the laser eyes and wanted to take a picture of this,

this is not 3, but a rather very wee strawberry growing in what is supposed to be the back lawn.  The pretty little berry is only about the size of my tiny little pinky finger nail...I have small it's probably not much more than 1/4 - 3/8" in size.  So after this berry shot I came in the house to do aforesaid chores and managed to take a couple of brief videos of other distractions,

Kitties and a bird at the feeder

I think that's 3, the white one, barely visible.  And there was this, but it's not 4,

At the nest are the babies, the second batch this year, almost ready to fly...

And then through all this, Nick decides that he needs to pack his computer, his big computer so that he can go to Tino's and they can spend the night together and have their annual July 2 day to do whatever they want - this is their tradition, and what they're doing, as he is now over there and they had themselves set up before I left to return home....I was chatting with Tino's mom who was showing me their new master bathroom, nice! anyway, what they did was set their monitors up back to back and sitting across from their respective monitors, with their headphones on, playing their war-games, Call of Duty I think it is.  They play together via link ups almost daily, but they had to be under the same roof, at the same table.  These boys are funny!  It was 8:30 p.m. before I could take him to Tino's as Tino had a 4-H meeting and they couldn't take Nick along.

While we were waiting to go to Tino's, I needed to fix dinner too, so Nick said he wanted mac & cheese, home made, huh? Since when home made? He never liked the home made type.  I'll keep that for a separate post as I remembered to take pictures since the camera was downstairs taking pictures of cats and birds all day anyway, lol.

It was then 9:30 before I got back home and was able to sit down to spend a few minutes chatting with Marty who had worked late not getting home until around 8:00.  At one point I looked over out the slider thinking I saw something on the patio and sure enough, after turning on the lights, a couple of the kitties were down nibbling on a handful of kibble I'd thrown out earlier.  So I got a pie tin and put some more kibble in it and set it out just a few feet from the door leaving the slider open a few inches but the screen closed. (Raven & Flame are strictly indoor kitties so didn't want them to escape.)  I looked back over and wait, what? there's four, yes, that's FOUR kittens, and none were the mama - oh MY!  Four feral babies of a feral mama.  And here I thought this was the mama the neighbor across the street had told me he had trapped and spayed!  He was either mistaken or I completely heard him wrongly.

This last video is the least clear of all, and I do apologize for the video quality - It was dark, and I have only my little point & shoot digital.  Here's the 4 feeding, though only the white one is mostly visible.  Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't be feeding them so close to where the baby bird is likely going to 'fall' from the nest in the next day or two...

The kitties are cute, but do I really want that many ferals hanging around...again.  We've been this route before back before Nick was born, and they were so sickly after awhile that I did capture three, which is all that remained after several litters.  One became our Monster cat, tamed and much loved, who spent his days indoors and his nights out and last came home on 5/31/2011 at the age of 12.  We figure a coyote finally got him.  The other two, his mama and 1/2 sister, were very sickly and as much as it wasn't what I like to do, I took them to the local animal control, where they of course were both put down.  Mama was exceptionally feral and scrappy even in her sickly state.  The other one could barely walk and we'd had her in for a time, but could never tame her so when she let me pick her up outside even, I knew she was in bad shape.

As you can see, there were a lot of distractions today, and these are but a few of the videos I took, along with just watching the kitties play on the back wall through the binoculars.  With this being the first time ever seeing them, I was surprised at how they stayed there, on the wall, all day and then are still hanging around in the back yard even this late at night.  The white one was out by the big ash tree still just a few minutes ago.  I'm guessing the babes are between 2 and 3 months old, probably closer to 3.

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