Thursday, April 19, 2018

Traveling Through California (Desert Palms, CA)

Okay, it has been a month since my last post.  Time to get everyone caught up.  We are happy to be back on the road again.  After leaving Sutherlin, we spent 10 days in Valley of the Rogue State Park.  Weather was starting to cooperate with warmer days and less rain.
So nice to be able to sit outside and go for walks without spending 15 minutes layering up!  
Walking path inside state park
Dusty was in grass heaven!  Wandering around, meowing "so much grass, so little time!".
Dusty and Hitch (front)
Our neighbor did not know he was hosting a squirrel.  This little guy spent most of the day sitting on the tire.  A perfect spot to watch the cats, eat lunch with a view, and cool enough for naps.
After having perfect weather during our state park stay, a cold front had to show up just in time for our travel day with wind and rain.  Northern California was already giving flood warnings.  Fingers crossed, we hoped for the best and kept going.
Siskiyou Pass
As we moved further south the storm front had move on and the weather cleared.  I couldn't get my usual photo of Mt Shasta this time, so I opted for Lake Shasta instead.
Lake Shasta
Yes!  It finally looks like we have found Spring!  I actually blew the dust off of my t-shirts!  I rarely wore them last summer.

Once again, the weather had us worried about traveling with a forecast of high winds.  We decided to leave a day early and get to Lancaster, CA a day early.  The reason for being in a hurry to settle in Lancaster was because I was signed up for RV School.  Yep, I took a driving course with our motorcoach that is 40' long, 8.5' wide, 11.7' tall, over 34,000 pounds with a beam steering axle, max turn cut is 38 degrees plus with tow car attached (car and tow bar) we are near 60' long.

We had a great instructor from RVSchool.com.  He showed up at our site and immediately put me at ease as he explained how we would start the day and what I would accomplish by the time we were finished.  With Dan riding along as an observer and also as my spotter for parking/backing the coach, we learned quite a bit about our coach's ability.

2 days of 4 hours per day instruction for $495 (plus a tip)was more than worth it. I can now safely maneuver in tight spaces, on narrow roads, city traffic, ascents, and descents.  With our aging, and possibility of illness or medical issues, we felt it was imperative for me to be able to safely drive the coach. I'm tired, but feeling a lot more confident about driving down road!
To celebrate my completion, we found an excellent little restaurant called Don Gus Mexican & Seafood.  The veggie burrito was delicious, but it was the cherry filled Chimichanga that I really loved!
On our way home, we stopped for a few groceries at a store we had never visited or seen before.  We were pleasantly surprised at how cheerful and colorful the store's presentation was to shoppers.  If we had not been so tired after our long day, we probably would have spent more time looking around.
Vallarta Supermarket
We are now settled in Desert Palms, CA near Palm Springs.  This is our first time visiting the area, so we will be busy exploring the surrounding area.  BTW, I did the parking while Dan directed.  We did it once without pulling forward!👍👍
Tight site
The cats were impressed....😎
Max and Dusty
On The Cutting Board
I have been working on my quilt tops.  I finished appliquéing this quilt with clipart paw prints and a dog from P.S. I Love You Two! A Sequel by Nancy J. Smith & Linda S. Milligan.  
I did not like the quilt in the book, but I do love this little guy.  I think I will call him Cosmos.
 I'm almost done with the Zoo panel.
 I just need to finish the embroidery and I can move on to the next top.
 I sort of goofed on the elephant.  I did not realize the mistake I had made until I was ready to embroidery the face.  If you haven't noticed, the face is a little lopsided.
 Oh well.. I think he still looks cute.  Okay, so I'm sort of caught up, but I am going to wait to show you photos from the Palm Springs area.  Back to the cutting board!
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Equinox (Sutherlin, OR)

Spring is here!....or almost here.  Either way, I'm ready to start celebrating spring by getting back on the road and doing some traveling.  We leave on Monday!  We will start with Eugene first before heading south.  Oh, did I mention that we have changed our travel plans?  Yep, the weather is not cooperating.  Instead of heading due east to Bend, we will head south.
On The Cutting Board
I decided to celebrate the beginning of Spring by making new Happy Campers with little gardens.  Only three designs so far.  I'm hoping they will be a big hit so I can make more.  I miss gardening and this is as close as I will be getting to having my own garden for quite a long time.  Best part with this kind of gardening - no backache or bruised knees.😎  I made a total of 13 Happy Campers, but only four have the garden theme.  I'm adding one a day to stretch out my new items in my Etsy shop
Since we were spending quite a bit of time at home while Dan was healing, I managed to make several quilt tops.  Below are six more quilt tops ready for their appliqué add-ons. 
I made two Sweet Pea's Garden tops in different colored sashings and borders.   A sweet pea vine will go up the side and across the top.
Below:  the one on the right is just a panel with a border added.  I have had this fabric for a long time because I could not cut it up.  I decided to just leave it whole with a border and add a couple of appliquéd animals.  The one on the left is a scrappy star quilt with dog printed fabric, so I'm adding a puppy appliqué design from "P.S. I Love You Two, A Sequel".   I'm think I will call this quilt Cosmos, The Star Puppy.  I might add some paw prints across the quilt as well.
The last two are fabric leftovers from the ABCs and the Sweet Pea's quilts using the Crazy 8 pattern.  I have two more tops still being sewed together.  I hope to have them done before we leave next week.  Including the Peek-a-boo Bear quilt that I showed in a previous post, the total comes to nine quilt tops since November.  That's if I finish the last two before Monday.
Sewing in the bedroom has definitely made a difference on my sewing time.  I'm amazed I was able to get so many done in such a short time.  Less distractions?  Maybe I should go figure it out...
Happy Quilting!

Monday, February 26, 2018

First Snowfall (Sutherlin, OR)

Two weeks ago I thought Spring was on its way with the flowers popping up and my allergies suddenly going out of control.
Our days were sunny and the temperatures were starting to rise.
Max soaking up the sun.
Then Winter decided it wasn't quite ready to leave us with a mild winter.  
We are finally getting much needed rain and snow.  
 Well, the snow isn't lasting, but it is nice to see it change the landscape around us for a short time.
The cats have not been too happy with the change in weather, but I'm sure this cold front will not last long.  It would be nice to have more rain before summer gets here.
Hitch is tired from being up all night.
Dan's foot is healing and he is back to walking on his own two feet without support.  Below is Dan's  itinerary for this year's travel plans:

  We have rough plans for the coming year. We will stay in the Sutherlin OR until 26 March for medical and dental appointments, then buy eight new motorhome tires locally (no sales tax in Oregon), and add one more 180 watt solar panel in Springfield OR.
  Weather over the Cascade passes permitting, we will move over to Bend OR on the east side of the Cascade mountains for a month or two.
  After that we will drift south through Nevada on back roads, into AZ spending around one month in Benson AZ near Tucson.
  After that into New Mexico to Texas. Several months in various places in east TX and motorhome work in Nacogdoches TX where our motorhome was built.
  After that towards FL, staying at several military bases in FL, perhaps Disney or Thousand Trails parks, and eventually to Key West FL for fall and winter.
  While this is somewhat backwards by moving towards hot weather for the summer months, it also puts us into low season in campgrounds for less crowding and more space/availability.

On The Cutting Board
While Dan was on crutches and space being limited in our motorhome, I decided to try sewing in our bedroom instead of using my 6x3 foot folding table in the living room which left no space for Dan to move around.  He had a hard enough time moving around without me hogging all the space.
There is no place to sit, but I do have a desk with enough floor space for my foot pedal and for me to turn around to the bed.  The desk has enough room for the sewing machine and the small cutting board if I am doing paper foundations.  The bed makes for an excellent place to lay out my quilt blocks...
....as long as the cats are not spread out across while sleeping.  The desk with the sewing machine is the perfect height for me to stand and sew.  I'm actually enjoying my new setup and the standing is easier on my back and neck.  I can move quickly from sewing to ironing in the kitchen.  Plus, I can leave my sewing sitting out while I eat lunch or take cats outside without worrying that my stuff is in Dan's way.

So, what have I been working on?  I have finished four quilt tops.  They are waiting to be appliquéd. For now, I'll show you my most recent project and will wait to show the others after they are appliquéd.  I found a cute baby pattern called Zoey's Quilt in one of my old Quiltmaker magazines.  I like it so much that I decided to make two of them.
Quiltmaker's All-Time Favorites Winter 2005 Zoey's Quilt
I thought this pattern would be perfect for the leftover fabrics I used in Sweet Pea's Garden quilt since the pattern has an appliquéd sweet pea vine growing up the side.  The appliqué will be a big project between the long vine with the leaves and sweet peas, not to mention, I will be doing this appliqué design twice.
Below is a photo of the first top.  In the second quilt, I will replace the dark blue sashings with dark pink and the yellow borders with aqua blue (in photo above).
 I also liked the way the top and side borders are wider than the other two borders.  It looks lopsided now, but when the vine is added it will be very cute.  

 I have also been working on more mug rugs for my Etsy shop.  I have not listed them yet since I am still working on the photos.
It has been a quiet month, but very productive for me and a well deserved rest for Dan.  Time for some more sewing!  
Happy Quilting!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Progress Report (Sutherlin, OR)

Time for a progress report!
Peek-a-boo!  I see you!
Dan saw his doctor last week and received good news.  His foot is healing on its own and he will not need surgery.  His next appointment is in another six weeks.  In the meantime, Dan will start putting weight on his foot, walking without the boot and finally without the crutches.  Yeah!  😁👍
Hitch and Dan enjoying some sun
It feels like Spring has come early to Oregon. We spent a couple of afternoons outdoors enjoying the sun.  Even Max came outside to soak up some sun.  Hitch keeps himself entertained by getting tangled in our chairs.  This time he found that it was more fun to tangle his leash around Dan's crutches.  
Hitch
Max had his own entertainment with the turkeys.  For being such a nervous cat, he was quite brave by facing the big guys and following them around.  I had to keep calling him back and shooing away the turkeys.  They seemed just as curious about him.  Maybe they thought he would lead them to food?
Dusty managed to stay out of sight whenever I had my camera out.  I'll get him next time!
On The Cutting Board
Since we are here for another six weeks, I decided to get a few quilt tops done and save the quilting for summer.  The Peek-a-boo Bear at the top of the post has been my latest project.  I have made this quilt twice before.  The pattern is from Quiltmaker Magazine May/June 96 issue.  The appliqued bears are so cute!
When I saw the cloud fabric, I knew then that I had to make this quilt again using scraps for the sashing.  Little did I know what a headache this quilt would cause me!  I am not a big fan of quilt blocks on point.  I love the way they look.  I just don't like making them.  Because the blocks are on point, it is hard for me to visualize placing the pieces.

The first mistake I made was buying the cloud fabric that was directional.  I had to do a lot of fussy cutting.  I could not have the clouds going different directions, right?  The side triangles and corners were a bigger challenge.  I managed to mess up a few of them before I got the correct cut and all the clouds going the same direction.
Then I ran out of the white with stars for the sashing, but luck was with me.  I dug through my stash and I found some scraps of white fabric with hearts by the same designer.  I had just enough to finish the quilt.  Whew!
 Next, keeping track of the triangle squares position in the quilt turned into quite a challenge.  Since I don't have a design wall, I often use the floor or the bed depending on where the cats are sleeping.....of course.  I had figured out the direction of all the sashing, but managed to turn a few around a couple of times between moving from the floor to the sewing machine.  Yes, I had pinned them and no, I don't know how I managed to mix up them up.  Just a wee bit frustrating.😖
After several rip-its and a couple of days of time out, I finally got the quilt top assembled.  All I need to do is add a border before quilting!  Next time....if there is a next time, I am using a non-directional background!  The sashing.....well, I haven't figured that one out for next time.
I finished another block for the A to Zzzzz Snowman quilt.  This is another UFO I would like to finish before the end of the year.  I know I am probably trying to take on too many projects, but it keeps me happy and busy.
 Recently, I was reading one of my blogging friend's post about her quilt charity.  She is donating quilts to patients who pass away in the hospital.  Kat's only request for donations are for blocks that she sews together, quilts, and binds.  She also delivers the quilts to the hospital.  This month's request was for a 10.5 inch scrappy string blocks on a fabric foundation with no color restrictions.  I decided it was time to clean out my ever-growing scrap piles and made 12 blocks.  If you are interested in sending Kat some blocks, please click here to see what she is asking for in block donations for this month.
Would you believe those blocks barely put a dent in my scrap pile?  I have gone from two 2-gallon ziplock bags to six bags!  I save everything.  Strips leftover from quilt backings, small scraps from the mug rugs, and even the leftover bindings end up in the bags.   I really need to spend some time putting together more scrap quilts.  I better get back to the cutting board if I want to see that pile disappear!
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happy New Year! (Sutherlin, OR)

My plans were to post after Dan's next appointment on Thursday so I could give everyone an update.  After a month of sitting around and waiting, his appointment got moved to the end of January due to his doctor not being available this week.  Rather disappointing, we are ready to hear how his foot is healing.   At least, Dan was able to sit outside for awhile when we had a rare sunny day earlier this week.  The sun felt so good and warm.  Look at that gorgeous blue sky!
 It has been too foggy and overcast to get photos of birds, so I blew the dust off my Macro lens for some close-ups.
One thing I like about this weather is the moss and mushroom life that thrives here.  I love the textures and the different shades of green.
All I need is to find a fairy........ 
nope, no one here.  Ah well, I'll keep looking.
Speaking of fungi, the mold and mildew is under control!  We bought a de-humidifier and I have been using CLR Mold and Mildew killer on the window frames and in the closets.  The de-humidifier made the biggest difference.  I no longer need to wipe down the windows every morning and I'm not sneezing as much as I did before the de-humidifier.  Yes!!

On The Cutting Board
In the spirit of a new year, I decided to finally get out my largest UFO that has been with me since we started full-timing.  It is in the hoop and I'm ready to get it done....in one year.  I want to put the last stitch into it by 31 December 2018.  I think this will be my last big quilt.  It is 72 x 72 inches and it is all batik fabric - front and back.
 I have found out that cat hair sticks very well to batik fabric.  Dusty can rub up against one of the pillows covered in batik and he can leave a grey streak of his fur across it.  Lots of fun keeping the pillows clean.  Keeping this big of a quilt cat hair free is going to be fun while quilting it.  We all know the magnetic pull fabric has to cats.  They can all be asleep in the bedroom and hear fabric being moved.  Soon I'm surrounded with helpers wanting to test out the fabric.  They are such good helpers! 😸😸😸
Max testing out fabric
I have been going through my storage areas looking at all my different projects.  I forgot that I had this bead kit.  Actually, I have three of them.  I thought about getting rid of them then I started working on this one.  
I had also forgotten how much fun cross-stitch projects can be and how fast they are when they are small.  It was such a nice change from my quilting projects that I decided to keep the other two and hopefully have them finished in time for next Christmas.  😊🤞
Happy Quilting!

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