I Went to Ohio!

Last fall I entered one of my rugs “He Holds All Creation Together” in a national contest called Celebrations. Rug hooking is not like quilting. There aren’t too many shows or contests. So when I was accepted into the exhibit in the Originals category, I was VERY excited. They publish a book with pictures and descriptions of all the quilts, and I have looked forward to and bought the Celebrations book each year. They also display the Celebrations rugs at a big rug event in Ohio held at Sauder Village. I’ve always wanted to go to Sauder, and so that’s how I happened to go to Ohio last week. Here I am next to my rug.

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Sauder Village is a fairly large village with some authentic buildings and some reproductions. They have all kinds of demonstrations going on–spinning, weaving, even broom making! The first day I of course visited the farm, and watched a demonstration on milking a goat and making butter. I loved it! When I get tired of chickens, I will turn that into a goat house 🙂

This little building and garden was just charming.

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They had a museum too, which I wandered through. Isn’t this a kick? Imagine getting your mail this way. Amazon might have trouble getting your packages to you in two days.

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And a wooden bike!! Can you believe it?

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Now I only took a picture of this toilet because I would love to have a toilet like this 🙂

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Then there was a famous glass man who actually works there. I went the first day, and stared at all his beautiful glass creations and knew that I was not going to spend that much money on glass. But I was so glad I went back the second day. I watched him work on this glass for a long time. He also had a helper there that was very good at explaining what was going on.

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One day I wandered the back paths of Sauder Village. There was a fur trader there. Did you know that Beaver hides were the main commodity for trading? I also visited the grist mill, where the nice man gave his whole talk just for me. So of course, I bought two pounds of corn meal… Its in the freezer. But I do like corn bread, so I might try making that soon.

I came upon this beautiful conservatory. But by that time I was too hot to even go inside. I just enjoyed the beauty from outside.

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Then one day I thought I’d be more adventurous and headed out to visit a nature preserve. It was rainy, so I just drove through. Everything is so green in Ohio!

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The things I noticed most about this area of Ohio were how extremely straight the roads were, corn fields everywhere, and also small cemeteries just sitting on the side of the road in between the corn fields. I realized I hadn’t taken any pictures of the corn fields, so when I saw this view with the pretty flowers in the foreground, I snapped it.

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On my last day, I didn’t need to get to the airport until 3:30. I googled “things to do in Toledo.” And I saw that they had a zoo! I decided to be adventurous and visit the zoo. But I have to admit, that was a bit of a bust. I was dressed all in black (very comfortable in airports and airplanes.) But not so great for walking MILES in hot humid weather. And yes, it was so hot and humid, most of the animals were hiding…

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They did have a bird aviary that you could walk through, and I really enjoyed that. I like birds. Someday maybe I’ll have some specialty finches again.

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After walking all that time in the heat, I was SO HOT. I googled “frozen yogurt” and found that the only one listed was between the zoo and the airport! Perfection. This was my lunch at 2:30. No apologies for the treats on top. They actually had a yogurt that they called California Tart. How about that? Who knew it was a California thing. Its usually the only frozen yogurt that I get.

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Of course, I haven’t even mentioned the rug show. I spent a great deal of time there, looking at all the rugs. Someone said there was somewhere between 300 and 800 rugs displayed. Oh, and there were vendors too 🙂 If you want to read more about the rug show you can visit my other blog. I haven’t written about it yet. It’ll probably be up by Friday.

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A Visit to Cambria

I love going to Cambria Pines Lodge for my rug hooking retreat! They have beautiful gardens surrounding the lodge. I didn’t take too many pictures, but here are a few. This beautiful arrangement was actually a garbage can topper!

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My mom loves succulents so I took a couple pictures for her:

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I really liked the way these were arranged into the stone wall.

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And the bird houses! I took these pictures because I’m hoping I can find someone who will build a couple of bird houses like this for me 🙂

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When I taught my quilting class in San Luis Obispo, I met a really nice young woman there. This is the second time she has come up to Cambria to visit with me. This is her almost finished quilt from the class.

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I absolutely love this saying. I know you will too!

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We went out for lunch, and I had a piece of Key Lime Pie that was almost as good as Love Pies when I was visiting Shelley in Texas 🙂

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My rug hooking friend Mary Lynn, on the last day getting her last look at the ocean before she returned to Illinois.

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When I returned home, there were an overwhelming number of eggs that had been gathered in the week I was gone!

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There is a wonderful nursery across from the Lodge, and I usually pick out a few succulents for my mom. But this time, I liked them so well (and she literally has HUNDREDS of them) I kept them for myself. I just potted them up today. Fingers crossed that I can keep them alive.

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Next up: a garden and chicken report 🙂

I Went to Lake Tahoe!

I decided to go to an Art Quilt retreat at Lake Tahoe. It was the first week of November, so for weeks ahead of time, I was nervous about the drive up–would it snow??? Sure enough, snow was predicted for the day I drove up 😦 I went and got chains for my car, and then nervously checked the CA road reports every day. And then the weather changed. No snow, and it was a beautiful drive up there!

I love Lake Tahoe. I’ve told you before how we spent many summer vacations in Tahoe when I was a kid. Now it seems I go more often in the fall, although I usually go earlier than this. The lake changed every day. The first day it was clear and smooth.

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The next day there were clouds obscuring the mountains, and the lake was a little choppier. To me, that makes it look almost like the ocean. I like it better when I can see the far shore.

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The next day it was even choppier (and colder!)

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I noticed on the drive up the huge boulders that line the river that runs along the highway. These big rocks are everywhere. I really like them.

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And then, before you know it, it was time to come home. And even though I observed that the pine trees in Tahoe were prettier than our pine trees at home, I was so very happy to be coming home. I love where I live. This is one of the things I love. Just the simplicity of the live oaks turning bright yellow and shining through the pines and the scrub oaks.

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Back in the garden, some of the Japanese maples were turning colors:

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And here’s something that JUST. SHOULD. NOT. BE. Two of my foxgloves were blooming! Does this mean they won’t bloom in the spring???

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Here’s where we planted two Aspens at the back of the yard. I will be so excited when they get a little bigger. They are so beautiful in the fall–there are thousands of them growing further up the hill on the way to Lake Tahoe.

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Did I show you this already? We rescued some logs from a recently chopped down pine (phone company had to remove some dead pines.) And MLG made this little area to display my bonsai trees!

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Some nice color from this maple bonsai.

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And that’s the report for now. I hope all of you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!!

Here and There

First of all, thank you so much for all of the encouraging comments on my last post. Each success story builds my confidence and erodes some of my trepidation for my knee surgery. I do have a plan now. I am going to keep my schedule open in March and April, hoping that there will be a cancellation so that I can get in then. Otherwise, I will wait till the end of July so that I can get my chicks raised to a safe age.

After visiting one “rehab” center, which was nothing more than a nursing home (depressing) I formulated a plan to come straight home and recuperate. I would have to pay a co-pay for the nursing home, and I thought to myself, I bet my “babysitter” (takes care of the little girls when I travel) would be very willing to be on call for me for a couple of weeks. Yes, she’s very willing to do that for me. In addition, I talked to my BF, who is going to come down from Oregon to take care of me the first week. I know me, and I know I will recover much better at home than in a hospital setting. I am very exercise-motivated.

Speaking of exercise motivated… I never shared my “Christmas presents to me.” I needed new walking shoes. I looked and looked and tried on quite a few shoes. But none felt as good as the shoes I already had–Saucony Kinvara and Asics Gel Nimbus. Both are very expensive. And of course, a close second to comfort was the COLOR of the shoes. I started searching eBay. With some good tips from my brother, and knowing from Shelley that running stores sometimes take returns on barely used shoes, I got some great bargains. First, I got these Asics Gel Nimbus at less than half the price of new:

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I liked them so much that I decided I could afford to get a second pair, this time the Saucony Kinvara. I have an excuse for needing two pairs of running shoes. One of them is mostly for walking on my dirt road. And the second is just for going to the gym–no need to track my dirt into the gym 🙂 That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

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Here are pics from a couple of recent trips:

I went to Anaheim for our now-annual rug hooking retreat. My best rug hooking friend now lives in Austin, so we both flew in. Of course, this year we landed smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest rain storms in Southern California history! We drove around all day Sunday in pouring rain. We were both pleasantly surprised at how slowly the So. Ca. drivers were driving on the freeways!

Monday we took our annual trip to Crystal Cove.

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There was just enough of a break in the storm to give it a try. It was windy and cold, and there was some rain. But we enjoyed our shared breakfast of beignets and chilaquiles. And then I sat on Bette Midler’s porch and watched (Crystal Cove is where they shot part of the movie Beaches.)

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While Mary Lynn explored the beach.

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And here’s the real reason we went to Anaheim–rug hooking!

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I had a hair-brained idea that if I went to a chicken show, maybe I could find some chicken breeders that I could buy my chicks from earlier than the May 22 date that the hatchery had given me. No such luck–its just like dog shows. I think it would cost me a fortune to buy chicks that way. But here are some fun pictures of some of the breeds of chickens I plan to get:

Polish:

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Blue Cochin:

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Buff Orpington:

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And some funky little roosters (that I am NOT getting)

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And now I am home for a bit. Do you all know about the RAIN we’ve been getting out here? Its pretty crazy. After four straight days of rain, I took the dogs for a walk, and wondered, where’s that sound of running water coming from? Well, it was just a rivulet of rain running straight down the middle of our dirt/gravel road. A neighbor stopped to tell me we had gotten 10 inches of rain in four days. I live in the mountains, so am nowhere near the evacuations that are happening. But there are a lot of mudslides along the roads. We’re having a nice sunny break right now, but this weekend another big storm is expected! Hope you all are staying safe and dry!

Re-Entry…Random Thoughts from a Trip

Re-entry…its hard sometimes. A day of travel just wipes you out. A little trip to Colorado seemed so easy–just a 2 1/2 hour flight, no lay-overs! But then you add on the drive to   the airport, the never-ending shuttles to get you here and there in the airport, long waits in line, and the three hour drive to your destination, and its a whole long day of travel. Nevertheless, I am home. And so happy to be here, even if I am too tired to look happy 🙂

Glad to be back to my routines, and somewhat anxious to return to those routines. But still too tired to jump right in. Had my own blueberry scone and coffee this morning, and then was hankering for a little more. I just so happened to be reading Biz’s blog, and found her recipe for banana-chocolate chip muffins, and thought I’d give them a try, with a few of my own variations, of course!

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While I waited for them to cool, I decided to drag in the suitcases and unpack. 10 minutes–done! Not as many clothes as I usually pack for a trip, and quilt stuff was limited to what I could fit in between clothes in two suitcases–thank you to Southwest for allowing two suitcases to be checked without any charge!

Bess supervises the unpacking

Bess supervises the unpacking

Zoey keeping track of me from her usual perch.

Zoey keeping track of me from her usual perch.

Sophie and Chloe in their place under the desk, happy I am home.

Sophie and Chloe in their place under the desk, happy I am home.

I will start my laundry soon, and get out there and start watering the garden, and then I will be ready to go to the gym, grocery store, and pick Noah up on the way home. Aaaaah, its good to be home.

The girl's babysitter did an excellent job of keeping the garden going while I was gone!

The girl’s babysitter did an excellent job of keeping the garden going while I was gone!

 

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Re-Entry

I had a great time on my trip to Cambria. But I think there was a little too much sitting and driving. I came back so stiff and sore, it scared me a little. I returned to a garden jungle, thanks to our rain and nice warm days. A few days spent working in the garden, along with a trip to the gym and some good wholesome food, and I am almost back to normal.

See? It really is a jungle. I did quite a bit of weeding and a little whacking as well.

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Back to Cambria. One day, after class was done, my friend Mary Lynn and I took a short trip to the ocean to see the elephant seals. We took our friends from Ohio, Oklahoma, and Michigan! Phyllis, from Michigan, has an indomitable spirit. She drives herself across the country to Cambria every year! She told us we had walked 2000 steps on the boardwalk at the beach.

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There is a wonderful nursery across the street from the lodge where we have our camp. I saw this outstanding flowering plant there, but it was $103.00, so I decided to pass on it!

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Back at home, in the garden jungle, the day lilies had started to bloom!

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The first hydrangea was in full swing.

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The gallardias were nice and cheerful.

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And the Rose of Sharon was putting out a lot of blooms. This is such a rangy plant, though. I am not sure what to do with it!

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This little geranium gives me a lot of pleasure. I love seeing it there in the back of the garden being so cheerful and putting on a show.

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Finally! Success with the Astilbes. This one is apparently in the right spot.

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Ha! When I was scrolling through my most recent pictures in iPhoto, it scrolled back to the first picture on this computer. Wasn’t he a funny, cute little guy?

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And here is what four concentrated days of work at rug camp resulted in. If you want to read more about the process, check the other blog.

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All in all, I am very happy to be home for a while. I am planning on returning to some of my art quilting, and also concentrating on my health, with lots of good fruits and veggies, lots of exercise, and plenty of trips to the gym. Oh, and probably a LOT of work in the garden 🙂

Tidepools

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In the past month, tide pools have become a common theme in my current artwork. How did this happen, I wondered? One piece started out as an “improv” color work rug, and then turned into a stylized tide pool. The other was a small quilt originally inspired by someone’s outer space art! As I worked on it, I realized that it was more tide pool than outer space. Both were projects that I took with me on my recent trip to Anaheim.

 

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This is the second year we have gone to Anaheim, and the second time we have visited Crystal Cove before the rug hooking retreat started.

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Thanks to encouragement from my rug hooking friend, Mary Lynn, I even rolled up my jeans and got my feet wet, walking cautiously over the rocks.

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Crystal Cove seems like a place where you step back in time. It is clean and not over crowded. And if you walk down the beach away from the restaurant and the cabins, you come to the tide pools.

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The water is so clear, you can see the little hermit crabs scurrying along the bottom of the pool.

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When my brother, sister, and I were kids, our dad would occasionally take us to the tide pools. Of course, they were different tide pools, since we lived in Northern California, and Crystal Cove is in Southern California. The tide pools were magical–little microcosms of the sea, full of all kinds of interesting sea life–sea anemones, the occasional starfish or sea urchin, and of course, my favorite, the hermit crabs. I loved our trips to the tide pools.

The more I work on my projects, the more I am reminded of, and enjoy, one of the best memories of my childhood. Taking us to the tide pools didn’t cost my dad anything except his time. Which, looking back, was a very costly and precious gift. My dad was a junior high principal, and on Sunday he usually taught Sunday School and/or preached. To give up his one day off was a very big thing. But it didn’t cost money.

It saddens me when I see parents spending money they don’t have because they think it is the only way to show their kids they care. Its just not true. We were not deprived as kids. We had the occasional trip to Disneyland and other more expensive vacation destinations. But 50 plus years later, our trips to the magical tide pools are still giving me wonder-filled memories, and enhancing my artistic endeavors.

Looking forward to our day at Crystal Cove next year, when new memories will bring back old memories.

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P.S. Thank you to Mary Lynn, for sharing her wonderful photography with me.