Friday, December 28, 2007

How to make Christmas dinner less stressful for the cook? Easy, get your son-in-law to cook the turkey in his new Big Green Egg. Then, you get your son to do a magnificent job of carving it.

My son David on the left, and son-in-law Mike on the right.

The finished product. 20 lbs of turkey + 16 people = very few leftovers!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas lights

Last night was a full moon, and I had grand plans of taking a picture of the house all lit up with the moon in the sky. Well, the moon is there, behind the trees on the left. I spent quite a bit of time playing with the various setting on the camera, and swatting mosquitoes! The The tree won't look like this for long! I figured I'd better take a picture of it while I can.

Christmas Cactus

My Christmas Cactus are in full bloom, just in time for Christmas. Some of these plants came from Steve's Uncle Bill, who died about 12 years ago. He was a master gardener, and we were fortunate to inherit a few of his plants.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

camara play

I have been spending some time playing with my new camara. Yesterday I went outside as the sun was starting to set, and took these pictures.
This is facing east, at sunset. Sometimes the lake just glows from the reflection of the setting sun.
This one is facing north, towards our neighbors.
Monday, I reported for jury duty in our county court, for what could have been a 1 week trial term. It turned out that one of my neighbors was there too, so we had a nice visit while we waited, and waited....Finally one of the judges came out, and swore everyone in, and said he would listen to hardship requests to be released from serving. Several people got up to speak with him, then he disappeared. Eventually the clerk came in and said that one of the cases had just been settled, and now we would only need two juries, instead of three, and that the judge would be back in with the attornys to start the selection process. About 1/2 hour later, the clerk came back again, and said "Well, tis the season!" Everything had been settled, and we were all free to go, and no one could be called for at least a year. You should have seen us all headed for the door! I felt like I had been given a gift of time!
Eye candy: Knockout Rose from my garden.

Employee Christmas party

Over the weekend, Steve and I hosted our annual Christmas party for our employees. It was a LOT of work, but a lot of fun too. We had a Mexican Fiesta theme, and I ordered tamales and a Tres Leches cake. Other than that, I made all the food, with some last minute help from my two teenage nieces.
This is Steve and I, just before the party started.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I have been getting together with at least a couple of these women for 25 years! Kathy (on left, holding star) and I met while I was expecting David,and I met Pat(on right, in white shirt) a couple of years after that. We used to get all the kids together, they played and we stitched. We met Cil (in center) and her daughter Susan (in blue) a few years later. At one point we started getting together near Christmas time, and exchanging ornaments that we have made. We ate too much, of course. I made Chocolate covered cheesecake squares,which were soooo good. The leftovers definately can NOT stay in this house!

Here are the ornaments everyone brought. I made the cardinal, which Susan received,and I received the red & green snowflake, made by Pat.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Jennifer's wedding

Steve and I recently attended the wedding of one of Jacki's childhood friends.

Earlier that day, I got my Christmas present early, a new Nikon digital slr camera! So I had to try it out. Here are some pictures.

Jacki and Jennifer. Steve used to call her "Jen with the big smile" and you can see why!
I have no idea who this little boy is, but he was having a wonderful time dancing!
A group of us got together at the local Barnies, for some stitching and chatting. Starting at lower left and going clockwise: Pat, Deb, Dee, Sue, Kathy, Vicky, and Lynn.We live scattered over 2 counties, but try to get together about once a month. We all have stitching in common, except for Sue, who "comes for the company" We love her anyway.

This is what I worked on. Lizzie Kate's Baskets. I am almost done with the Fall Basket, lower left. The Winter Basket is next,and has very pretty poinsettias in it. The "plan" is to frame this as one piece, with a mat cut to frame each basket, sort of like a window frame.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What a beautiful morning! Our back yard and dock face directly east, so we get some lovely sunrises.

Sewing Projects

Here are some pictures of a couple of things I have been working on.

These placemats and table runner are gifts for a friend. I don't want to say any more just in case!

Here is a close up of the table runner. The pattern is Moroccan Tiles, by Far-Flung quilts Far-Flung Quilts - Personal Wholesale Quilting Distributor & Instructor It isn't nearly as hard to make as it looks!

This is the same pattern, different fabrics. I love how this one turned out!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

David recently accepted a position as Associate Pastor/music director at a small church near Louisville, KY. He has been working towards something like this for some time, and we are quite proud of him. He will begin the ordination process soon, and after that is complete he will be a full fledged pastor, able to officiate at funerals, weddings, and anything else a pastor would do.

His love of music showed up early. This is a picture of him in 1985, after recieving a toy guitar for Christmas. He spent many hours singing, composing songs, and performing for us. Little did we know what the future would hold for him!

This picture was taken this past spring, after his seminary graduation with an MA in Worship Arts.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Wow, long time no posting! This week I took a substitute job that will last for the next 6 weeks or so. It's at a nearby middle school, in their library. I love books, reading and anything like that, so this is great for me.
The school is way overcrowded, and not in the most affulent area, and many of the kids are reading far below grade level. I have been pleasantly surprised by the behavior of most of the students. Middle school students have such a bad reputation in that department, and a few of them deserve it, but most of them are fine.
This week we will be testing the incoming 6th graders to determine their reading level, so we can help them check out the appropriate books. Last week I learned to give the tests. They are on the computer, but still have to be monitered. Once that's all done, the students can actually begin checking out books!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quilting projects

These are some quilts I made while I was a member of a group at church that made quilts for Hospice and other charity groups. The quilt group has since folded, but I have continued making quilts. These are all lap size, about 50" x 50".

This quilt was made from some fabric my friend Kathy gave me. She used the flamingo fabric for dresses for her girls when they were young. It is backed with pink fleece, which makes it very soft and warm.

This is a simple 4-patch using pink and purple fabrics. The backing is flannel, and has the pink breast cancer ribbon on it.

This is a "string quilt" which uses lots of small bits and strings of fabric that aren't much use in anything else. It was fun to see the huge box of scraps that I have actually getting smaller!

Check out my Slide Show!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Steve and I went to our nephew's wedding over the weekend. It was a very pretty wedding , and we had a lot of fun.
Steve with his mom and sister (mother of the groom)

Me with my mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. We all showed up in the same color without any pre-planning on anyone's part. I guess great minds think alike!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sewing projects

I took a bunch of pictures of recently completed projects last night. These were worked on over a period of several weeks, and were not all completed at the same time. I have been sewing since I was a young child (thanks, Mom, for teaching me!), but got away from it for a while. I bought a new Viking sewing machine last year, and enjoy sewing so much more now!

This is a skirt/top that I made to wear to my nephew's wedding this weekend. The top is a wrap style, but close fitting enough that it doesn't gap open ( a common problem with wrap style clothing). The skirt is just a plain straight skirt. I'll wear silver jewerly and shoes with it. I originally bought this fabric to make a dress to wear to my daughter Jacki's wedding two years ago, and ended up buying a dress for it. I did make all 5 bridesmaid's dresses, and a lot of other things for their wedding, and ran out of time to do my own. I love the dress I bought for her wedding, and it went well with her colors so all was fine. It was a good feeling to make use of fabric I already had for this dress.

.I made this skirt last spring, and had been looking for some coordinating fabric to make a blouse to wear with it. I really didn't want tan, because I thought that would wash me out. I finally found this deep garnet red silky fabric. The skirt fabric is a linen/poly blend and the flowers are embroidered, not printed on. I love the scalloped hem!This top was a trial run to see if I liked it, before I made one out of expensive fabric. I do like it, but it is more bare than I usually wear, so I don't know........The fabric is a very thin cotton, with some embroidery and sequins on it. It came from Wal-mart, and was very cheap, so I don't know how it will hold up, but it will serve its purpose as a trial garment.This is a table runner that I made after falling in love with the floral fabric at my local quilt shop. I used some of my fancy maching stitches to do the quilting.Clermont Sewing - Classes

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What have I been doing? Among other things, I painted our master bedroom. I have been talking about doing this for a few years, and after our experience painting Steve's new office last week, I was inspired to go ahead and take on the project. The red wall took two coats of dark red paint, and is faux painted an even darker burgandy. Jacki came down and helped with the faux painting. I am very pleased with how it turned out, and wonder why I waited so long!
Paint used:
Ralph Lauren Devonshire (tan)
Ralph Lauren Venetian Red (base for red wall)
Ralph Lauren Picture Gallery Red (faux Paint on red wall)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Homeward bound!
Day 15 June 30

After a sleepless night, caused by rowdy drunk neighbors in the campground, we got the motorhome turned in at the appointed time. Since we had several hours until our flight left, we walked several blocks to get lunch, and to a quilt shop that was on Old Seward Hwy. We had a nice visit with the owner, and then walked back to the rental place, to catch their shuttle to the airport. Our flight left Anchorage at 5pm, and we got into Orlando at 7am July 1. It was uneventful except for one lost piece of luggage, containing ALL our dirty clothes. That's ok, I can do laundry another day. There were many people in the lost luggage line. Apparently Alaska Air doesn't have such a good reputation with luggage. Our connection time in Seattle was very short, and I think that's what caused the problem. It did show up the next day, thank goodness.

We just scratched the surface of what Alaska has to offer, and I'm sure we will go back. It was a wonderful trip, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Mantanuksa Glacier

Day 14 June 29 Our last full day in Alaska! This is one of the few glaciers you can walk on without a lot of equipment and experience. We drove most of the way to it (after paying our fee), and then had to travel through the mud to actually get on the ice. We saw a group that had special shoes for ice climbing, and I wish we had had some of those. The ice was slippery, as all ice is. Parts of the ice was actually clear enough that you could look through it, and see the water flowing underneath.

Later in the day, we drove back to Anchorage and visited the Alaska Native Heritage center. This museum covers all 5 native tribes in Alaska, and was very interesting. We didn't get to spend as much time there as we would have liked. They had a demonstration of the Eskimo olyimpics, replicas of different types of native homes, native art, tools and many other interesting items. Almost everyone on staff had at least some native heritage and it was noted on their nametags.

We found a city owned campground for our last night, and spent the evening packing and getting ready to go home the next day.

Denali Highway/Glenallen

Day 13 June 28

This morning we finished traveling the Denali Hwy. That took way longer than we expected! We ended up near the Wragnell National Park. Most of this park is wilderness, and there aren't many roads. If we had been in a car or truck, rather than a motorhome, we might have gone on one of the roads within the park, but we didn't feel comfortable trying it in a rented motorhome. Oh well, next trip! We did go in the brand new visitor center. We also saw the Alaska pipeline, which goes from Prudoe Bay, south to Valdez.

Later we found out the salmon were running in a nearby stream, so we stopped and Steve caught a nice sockeye for dinner. We ended up getting 2 meals out of it. That fish was so good! Nothing at all like what you buy in the store.
Day 12 June 27
The sun was shining! Although there were still some clouds, you can see that there was blue sky too. We had planned to leave Denali NP today, but we decided to phone one of the flight companies to see if we could get on a flight to see Mt McKinley. We called Denali Air,and they had 2 seats available at noon, so we signed up. The plane was an 8 passenger, and Steve got to sit in the co-pilot's seat, so he had a great view. Best of all, the mountain was out! We flew over the glacier that the climbers camp on, and could see their camps, and a few of the climbers. It was an awesome experience, and worth every penny!

After our flight, we took off across the Denali Hwy, which is a 134 mile, mostly unpaved road. We saw a moose right away, which turned out to be the only moose we saw on the whole trip. The scenery is beautiful, and the road is not heavily traveled, which made it nice for sightseeing. Just us and the mosquitoes..........they were thick!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Denali Park/Wonder Lake

Day 11 June 26

Today we had planned to take the bus 85 miles into Denali NP to Wonder Lake. You can only drive about 15 miles into the park, and to go any further, you must take a bus. They leave at various times of the day, and you can get on and off whenever you like. You have to take any food, water, warm clothing, etc with you as there is no place to buy anything once you get on the bus.

We woke up at 5am to catch our 6am bus, and it was raining and cold. We dressed warmly, and made it to our bus stop. It cleared gradually during the day. We decided to stay on the bus until we got to Wonder lake, then do any hiking on the way back. We saw Dall Sheep, carbiou, and someone said they saw a bear from the bus. I never did see the bear. When we got to Wonder lake, the driver warned us about the mosquitoes, saying "This is where we breed them". He was right! Up to this point, we had very few problems with mosquitoes. These bugs were huge, and ferocious! There is a campground (with real bathrooms!) at Wonder lake, set up for backpackers, but I don't know how anyone enjoyed camping there with all those mosquitoes.

On the way back, we stopped and hiked in the tundra for a while. Denali is unusual in that there are very few marked trails. You simply walk wherever you want. We are used to hiking in the Smoky Mountains, where they are very strict about staying on the trails, so this was hard for us to get used to. The tundra wildflowers were blooming. Tundra plants are very tiny. Most are 6-12 inches tall, and some are many years old. The growing season is so short, and winters so harsh, that that's all most plants can manage. Once I got used to the idea of not having to stay on a trail, it was actually kind of fun.
As we were walking around, I kept watching 3 brownish "things" in the distance. There were far enough away, that I thought they might be carbiou at first. Then we realized they were a mama grizzly bear, and 2 rather large cubs! We were still pretty far away,(no way could I get a picture) so I wasn't worried about our safety. We watched them for quite a while, then walked down to the road and caught the next bus back toward the campground.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Denali National Park

Day 10 June 25
We arrived at Denali National Park mid-morning. We toured the visitor center, checked into our campground, and made sure our tickets for the bus trip tomorrow were correct. We were really, really hoping to get a good view of Mt McKinely, but we were told that only 30% of visitors do. Today, we are definately not in that 30%.

On the way to the park, we stopped to get gas and groceries. There isn't a "real" grocery store until you go to Anchorage or Fairbanks, but there are small markets. Fresh food is VERY hard to come by. I ended up paying $.75 for ONE apple! There were no fresh vegetables at all. Fortunately I had purchased enough frozen items in Anchorage that we were ok, but I guess the people that live there really have to plan ahead. We are so spoiled here in that respect, both with the availability of fresh items, and with many stores.

Later in the day, we visited the sled dog kennels in the park. These are working dogs in the winter, and are used for patrols within the park. They are much more reliable than snowmobiles! I was really hoping to see some puppies, but there weren't any at the moment. These dogs love to run and pull the sled. I really don't think they consider it work at all.