Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy 10 Years!

Ten years ago today was a very big day!  We closed on this house.  David hates to move, and said we were going to stay there for at least 15 years.  I laughed at the time, but I'm beginning to think that he may have been right!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sew Much Fun!

Returning to the real world after a vacation is never fun, but it's been made easier by returning to pretty nice fall weather and beautiful trees.  
We had a great weekend full of family and friends, and in between activities, I found time to make a little pillow.  I've wanted to try this, and the recent discovery that sewing isn't so awfully hard after all gave me more motivation.  I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out!
The pattern is from Chestnut Junction.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happily Ever After, Every Now and Then

Saturday morning at the beach was so nice that we decided on a repeat performance for Sunday.  We chose a different spot and settled in.
 I thought these morning glories growing out of sand and coral were pretty.
 I think we'll be taking our hammocks on every vacation from now on.
 Still pretty cloudy, but no rain, so no complaints from us!
 For lunch we decided to try out a place we'd heard about but never been, so we hopped on our trusty bicycle and tricycle and cruised over to Sandy's.  Sandy's operates out of the corner of a laundry mat, and seems to be a local favorite.  I had the Cuban mix, and David had the Sandy's sandwich, which is the Cuban Mix, plus some extra goodies like bacon.  It was delicious!
 We didn't tour any of the places we'd already been like the Hemingway House or lighthouse, but I did want to take a tour of something different.  After lunch we pedaled over to the Audubon House.
 We've seen them setting up for weddings here, and I always wondered what was behind those walls.  The house is beautifully restored, and the grounds were gorgeous!
 Couldn't go to Key West and not stop by Captain Tony's!
 No sunset to speak of, but we enjoyed watching the street performers again at Mallory Square.
We returned to Caroline's for dinner and enjoyed visiting with our favorite server from our 2012 trip. We hated to see our trip end - the only way I managed to leave was a promise of a return trip in 2017 if not before.  See you soon, Key West!

**Yes, the title is from another Buffett song...what did you expect? ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

My Old Red Bike Gets Me Around

The weather was more cooperative on our first full day in Key West.  As is often the case, we were up and about before most places were open - including the bike shop where we wanted to rent our transportation for the weekend.  
 One of these days, David and I will travel the entire length of US 1 from Key West to Fort Kent, ME...or maybe from Maine to Key West.
 Once the bike shop opened, we rented one bicycle and one tricycle.  I loved riding this thing!  We hopped on them and headed to the beach.
 Last time we were here, we'd talked about how nice it would be to have our hammocks at the beach.  Little did we know that it would be so soon!  Our hammocks pack to a pretty small size, and we were so glad to have them.  I'm not sure there's anything better than swaying in the breeze at the beach.
 The clouds hung around, but the rain stayed away, so we were able to enjoy the sunset celebration .  This dog did an amazing job of walking on two tight ropes...while wearing shorts.  Only in Key West!
 David had asked our cab driver from the airport about good Cuban food and he recommended a restaurant we hadn't tried before called El Siboney.  It is well off the beaten path in a residential area, but we had a good time pedaling our way to dinner.  
It was delicious, plentiful, and one of the most reasonably priced meals we've had in Key West.  This is David's Siboney Steak with yellow rices, black beans, and fried plantains.  Just looking at this picture makes me hungry again!

**No, my bike wasn't actually red.  Nor was it a bike, but that's a line from a Jimmy Buffett song that I'm pretty sure is written about Key West.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Back to the Island, Honey, Back to the Sea

For my birthday, David got me a great surprise - a trip to Key West!  I couldn't believe it!  Lots of people knew, but everyone managed to keep his secret.  I first opened a new carry-on bag (that I thought was a soft-sided tool bag), then a certificate he'd made for a belated birthday dinner at my favorite Key West restaurant.  I was still really confused, even after he gave me the itinerary for our trip.
 We left our house in the wee hours of the morning and arrived in Key West in time for lunch at Caroline's.
 I'm hoping this is just an optical illusion, but the GIANT plate on the right is my lunch, while the much smaller plate on the left is David's.  I ate every bite of that deliciousness!
 It was cloudy with occasional rain on our first day, and we found out that rain means no sunset celebration.
We were happy and content just to be there and explore this place we love.  We saw something we've never seen before...a mother hen with her chicks following along.  There were 9 of them, and we heard a shopkeeper say that she'd previously had 10.  They were so cute!

The rain didn't dampen our spirits as we returned to eat at some favorite places and walk Duval to do some people watching.

**Thank you, Jimmy Buffet, as always, for the loan of the title

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More Projects

A few days after beginning my adventure in sewing, I thought it would be fun to see if I could make a Raggedy Ann doll.  So I bought a pattern (this one) and started with some fabric I already had - a gold and ivory gingham.  I wouldn't say it was easy, but it wasn't as impossible as I thought.  The directions called for her face to be embroidered, but I couldn't figure out how to do that after she was stitched together, so I painted it instead.  
I was pretty proud of this first little Annie (the one on the left) with her sweet expression and red hair, and was excited to show her off to Mom and Grandmother.  I decided that she might like to live at Mom's house, so I tucked her behind a basket to play a game of hide and seek. ;)
I couldn't wait even 24 hours before starting on the next projects, so Saturday I made this jack-o-lantern.  He's cut from a pattern I drew and made from osnaburg.  I painted and sanded him, then brushed him with Coleen's mixture for aging her "babies" - that recipe is here.

And because I liked the first Raggedy so much, I wanted to try another.  This one is made from osnaburg as well, and aged with Coleen's mixture (recipe above).  Her face, tights, and shoes are also painted, and she's holding a grubby security blanket made from an old floursack towel that's been aged as well. 
 I've had a lot of fun with these projects, but wasn't getting much else done.  Really, the house could have been falling down around me and I wouldn't notice!  So I'm taking a break for a week, then can't wait to get back to work on some more projects swimming around in my head.  We've even got a place in mind to set up the sewing machine on a more permanent basis.  I'm actually looking forward to cold winter days!

Friday, October 9, 2015

More Crafty

I went a little haywire at Joann yesterday, so there'd better be some finished projects on the horizon. I'm not good at sewing by any stretch, but what I lack in talent, I'm trying to make up for in enthusiasm.  And supplies!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sew What?

Sewing and I have a long and complicated history, starting in 7th grade Home Ec.  Long story short, the teacher would not even grade the shirt I made which resulted in me spending the weekend at my Grandmother's making a pair of shorts to turn in instead.  I tried again in high school Home Ec, with slightly better results, but not by much.  I believe high school was probably the last time I used a sewing machine.  
 So, 20-some years later, I have borrowed my Grandmother's sewing machine.  I'm hoping that somehow her machine is blessed with her sewing skills!  I sat down at it last night for the first time.  My first attempts are in the picture above.  The machine was already threaded, but came undone after those first two lines.
 I huffed, I puffed, I read the book.  Got it threaded, only to have the bobbin thread disappear into the nether regions of the machine.  I read, I huffed, I puffed, I texted Mom, I nearly gave up.  But, somewhere in the depths of my brain, I remembered a few things from those Home Ec days.
 I got it threaded again and went to town, trying out different stitches and attempting to make straight lines.
 I decided that I needed a little project, so I made this little pillow.  I didn't have stuffing, so like my pioneer ancestors before me, I stuffed it with strips of old Hanes t-shirt. doubt my version of history? ;)
I'm already looking forward to seeing what I can make this afternoon!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's Pinterest's Fault

The Ozark Craft Fair is my favorite of all the fall festivals, and for the last few years, I've taken a vacation day so Mom and I can go on the first day of the fair.  We didn't buy much this year, but it's still fun to look around.  Some of the crafts are really impressive, while others, well, not so very much.

Even though we didn't buy much, I still had the crafty bug, so on Sunday I got busy.  I made a set of fall nesting boxes for Mom, painted a pumpkin on canvas for a friend's birthday, made 30 gingerbread men ornaments for a Christmas tree idea that's brewing in my brain, and made 15 salt dough candy canes for another project.

I realize it's a little early for Christmas, but I blame Pinterest!  Actually, Pinterest gets credit - or blame - for every one of the projects that I did Sunday, as well as the Crockpot Jambalaya that I made for dinner.

Monday, October 5, 2015

September Catch-Up

September and October are usually busy months at our house.  Usually busy with fun stuff, but not always.  This September started with a trip to Illinois to attend the funeral of David's nieces husband.  It was a very sad and unexpected loss.  While we hated the reason for the visit, as is often the case at funerals, it was nice to see some family we don't normally see.  David's two great-nephews were the highlight of the trip for sure.

The Tuesday after Labor Day is the annual dog swim at a local park.  This year it rained and was delayed by lightning.  Once they were able to open, the rain continued, but the pups didn't mind.  Riley swam and swam and then swam some more.  We finally took him home when we were worn out. ;)
 The next weekend, we camped at Table Rock Lake for Bass Pro's Outdoor Days with the Off Road Camping Club.  We only see them once a year generally, but they're such a fun and welcoming group.  David got to try out a fat tire bike - he couldn't wipe the grin off his face!
 Riley camped all weekend with us and was a great camping dog.  He also guards our area after dark - maybe a little too well - with growling and barking at anyone who dare walk by.  We didn't have as many friends come by as when the event was held closer to home, but my faithful Mom and Dad still came, bringing cookies, cake, and other birthday goodies!
 As much fun as camping was, it was still pretty nice to come home and put on some soft new socks and relax.  David's birthday fell on the night we were getting ready to camp, so we had take-out Chinese.  My birthday fell on the day we came home from camping, so we had pizza.  Not our usually birthday celebrations, but fun nonetheless!  I got to open my birthday gift from David while we camped - it was a REALLY great surprise!  I'll tell you more about that in a few weeks. :)
 The rest of September was filled with crafty projects, pedicures, good food, and good friends.  It's a rough life I lead, isn't it?
Some great things are coming up in October, and I'll try to do a better job of updating!