Friday, May 31, 2013


As I got on the internet at work today to visit a court's website, I noticed Yahoo had a story about Prancercise.  Have you heard of it?  Coincidentally, a local fitness trainer offered employees of my office a monthly CrossFit program just yesterday.  Today I saw this and I noticed Prancercise is hyped as an alternative to CrossFit and Zumba.  Hummmm.  Something to consider!  Besides, it's free and can be done anywhere--at your home, office, church, or park.  Try Prancercising your way through the grocery store while talking on your Bluetooth for a multi-tasking fitness marathon!

Haven't you ever wanted to let your inner horse run free?  Maybe you never COULD get enough of My Little Pony?  There's even a book--self published by Joanna Rohrback, the woman in the video, and available through Amazon:

Be careful though, because while you're prancing around, this guy just might try to ride you!


Gangnam style!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

We Now Return to Your Regularly Scheduled Program

So, where was I?  Oh, yes:  Day 2 of the Humboldt Kinetic Sculpture Grand Championship; the day on which the sculptures launch into the Humboldt Bay and paddle along with the tide until they get to the Samoa Bridge on the other side of Eureka.

The morning was rainy--not a heavy rain but a steady light, misty rain.  The sculptures lined up in the parking lot near the docks and the spectators lined up as well, jockeying for a good view and sneaking out onto the rocks when the kinetic kops weren't looking.  The route the sculptures were to follow led down the boat ramp and into the water; from our view point, we couldn't see the ramp itself, but we could see the vehicles as they hit the water.

We heard the pirate ship had been eliminated, but it ended up launching after all, so either our information was false or an earlier decision was overturned.  Here in the first photo, the pirate kayaks await.

I don't think I told you about the Rutabaga Queens, did I?  Each year, the week before the race, there's a Rutabaga Queen Ball and a new queen is elected.  We wondered where the Rutabaga Queen was in all of this; later we found out that the queens--this year's queen Lady Luck and some of the past years' queens including 2012's Queen Sohotshe Burns, were on a Madaket tour boat (aka The Booze Cruise) in the harbor watching all of the sculptures go into the water. 

Were you wondering where Waldo was?  He was here:

I think these are the guys who won the award for biggest splash:

We heard that last year, Duane Flatmo's dragon had the biggest failure going into the water, so we wanted to make sure we hung around long enough to see it.  Apparently they'd worked out the kinks, though, because this year's launch went perfectly.

Not so for this guy.  He took a bit of a nose dive!

His sculpture is called Counter Culture and here's a photo of him and his vehicle before he launched.  I heard the water was awfully cold, and he ended up having to get right down into it to readjust those drums so the weight was distributed better.  Eventually he was able to pedal off.

There was another guy, who I don't seem to have a photo of, who was riding a sculpture that looked much like a motorcycle or ATV but with four large inflated wheels and paddles on the front wheel on one side and on the back wheel on the other side.  Once launched, he just kept going in circles until he and his team were able to make some type of adjustments to the paddles.

Oh, and about those Rutabaga Queens I started to tell you about.  In all the excitement of watching the launch something happened that caused Queen Sohotshe Burns to lose her crown in the harbor.

Here current Queen Lady Luck is offering to share her crown with Queen Sohotshe.  The tragedy ended well, though.  Just yesterday, the Humboldt State University Scientific Dive Program undertook a rescue mission and the three divers were able to retrieve the missing crown.

A reward of $700 had been offered, but the team asked that it be donated to "Miranda's Rescue."

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Look What the Cat Dragged In!

I know, it's hard to see, but there between the dresser and the wall is a mouse.  Now some of you may remember a couple years ago, Stitch brought a tiny, baby mouse into the house that I thought was one of those furry toy mice; by the time I realized it was a real, live mouse, it had vanished.  For a couple months afterward, we had the occasional encounter but never managed to catch it until I got lucky one day--if you can call it that.  It was actually a horrible experience, but no more mouse in the house.

Lately Stitch has been hunting again.  For several days in a row, he brought a lizard into the house, and Hubby caught it and escorted it back out again--Hubby thinks it was the same lizard each time but I'm skeptical.  Tonight, though, I came back into the kitchen after being gone for just a minute or two and found both cats looking under the dresser--not a good sign, believe me.  Hubby and I were hoping for a moth, but no . . . .  Hubby got out his flashlight and I saw the brown body of a mouse lodged half way up the back of the dresser.

After some thought, I decided to rig up a box with a long PVC pipe leading out the back door, thinking I may be able to poke something behind the dresser to drop the mouse into the box and out the PVC pipe.  A good idea, but in practice what happen was that the mouse jumped away from the box and fled toward the living room, followed by two cats, me, and Hubby.  We scrambled around, we looked under things, we moved a couch, and we waived a soccer field flag on a bendable pole around--the flag was what I used as a mouse poker thing; it eventually was employed to help herd the little guy into a corner where he jumped into a shoe box that I quickly covered with a lid.  Yes, I took him outside and set him free, and while he made a dash for the neighbors' yard, the cats were still busy looking under the couch.

And here the brave hunter poses with the Recess Schnibbles pattern in the background, resting up for the next mouse safari.  But you're probably wondering:  Who's the winner of the pattern?  It's Winona!  It seems doubly appropriate that Winona's blog is called Cat Lover and Quilt Maker, because in addition to the Schnibbles pattern, she has also won a black and white tuxedo mouser complete with mouse accessory pack.  Well, maybe not; I do like him most of the time.  I'll give it some thought.

On Memorial Day, Winona ". . . piddled on the computer. Hubby is napping and all our furbabies are asleep. Later I hope to get some sewing in or maybe work on some hexies. Can't be outside today. We have been having storms. Had lots a rain, some wind and a little hail. A good day to chill inside. I love this pattern. Have a good Memorial Day."

Many of you mentioned you had rain and storms.  Here in California, rain on Memorial Day is very unusual, but this year much of the northern part of the state had rain too--we drove through the rain almost all the way home from Eureka.  Speaking of which . . . I still want to tell you about the launch of the kinetic sculptures into Humboldt Bay on the second day of the race--tomorrow, I think.

Winona, email me your mailing address and I'll get the pattern in the mail to you.  Thank you all for entering the drawing.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Start of The BIG Race!

They say you should never post on social media when you're leaving town, so on Thursday, I prepared several posts and scheduled them for each day I'd be gone.  Friday morning Hubby and I packed up the Element and headed northwest to Humboldt County to meet up with The Wild Child and enjoy our first ever experience of the Kinetic Sculpture Grand Championship race.

The race started on Saturday at around noon at the Arcata Plaza--Arcata is where Humboldt State University is, a little north of Eureka.  When the kids were young, we'd camp and vacation in the area, and we visited the Kinetic Sculpture Museum and the art studio of Hobart Brown, one of the two artists who first dreamed up the whole thing.  But, due to one thing or another, we'd never been able to attend the race itself, a three-day event spanning Memorial Day weekend.  Now that the Wild Child is attending Humboldt State, we figured it was finally the perfect opportunity.  The only thing that could have made it better is if Soccer Son and his Lovely Wife had been able to attend too, but they had other plans and other commitments.  Maybe next year!

So, the first day, all of the "sculptures" checked in, lined up, and after whistle blew, they completed three circuits around the plaza.  They then headed off on the rest of the three-day route that covered dirt, sand, water, mud, and asphalt.  The first day included traveling across the sand dunes, down Dead Man's Drop (a sand "cliff"), and ended in Eureka.  In order to be in the race, not only must the vehicles be artistic and inventive, but they need to be able to travel over many terrains.  Want to see some of them?  These are photos from the first day in Arcata Plaza.

Banana Split, of course!

Velo Crab

HMS Lady Luck

War and Death

Duane Flatmo's Dragon--this one breathes fire!  I have other photos I'll have to show you.  The artist who built the dragon, Duane Flatmo, has designed most of the race posters over the years up until the past few.  He's also responsible for many murals/public art pieces in the Eureka area.  Fantastic stuff!

Gone Fishin'

Here's a two-fer:  June's New Shoe and Athlete's Foot

Hell on Wheels

Inspector 420--they get a lot of mileage out of the "dead ant" song (think the Pink Panther theme)

Pac Man--the cherries are super clever!



Toon Taxi (with Inspection 420 in the background)

Spruce Deuce

Visualize Whirled Peas

The three of us had a great time checking out these vehicles and collecting the buttons and flags some of them were passing out.  You can see additional entrants, their vehicles, video of the sand crossing, and updates HERE.  We weren't at the finish line for Day 1, but I understand Visualize Whirled Peas came in first.  Tomorrow I'll share photos of some of the "sculptures" launching off the dock in Eureka and into Humboldt Bay.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Here it is--the official start to summer!  Break out the white shoes, ladies, because it's finally proper to wear them again.  Okay, seriously, how many people do you think still follow that "rule"?  I'm not sure I really understand fashion anymore anyway.  My friends who closely monitor the trends tell me that being too "matchy-matchy" by doing things like wearing shoes and carrying a bag that match or even wearing shoes that match one's clothing are no nos.  But you can't clash, of course.  You'd think that being able to chose several different elements that go together but aren't the same would be second nature to quilters, wouldn't you?  Well, maybe it is.  But I find it's much simpler to dress in black slacks and shoes and a top of some color--any color really, because everything goes with black--and head out the door to the office.  Not having to make many decisions on weekday mornings allows me to sleep a little bit later.

But I digress.

What I really wanted to do on this holiday is have a little giveaway.  I have another Schnibbles pattern that looks quite patriotic and summery in the fabrics shown on the cover, so I thought it would be a good one to share with some lucky winner.  It's called Recess.

If you'd like an opportunity to win, tell me what you've been doing on this Memorial Day weekend, and I'll put you into the drawing.  I'll draw a winner Tuesday night and announce the winner on my Wednesday blog post.  Good luck!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Show and Tell

Let me show you my four newest scrappy blocks--these are for the Pie in the Sky quilt pattern by Kim Diehl.

I think my patriotic mood is showing through on these blocks.  By the way, you probably can't see it very well, but the red fabric in the lower right block is the same as I used in the little star tabletopper I just finished, and those dark blobs are actually little blackbirds wearing Uncle Sam top hats.  It's an old Debbie Mum fabric I've been hording just about as long as I've been quilting!

Now, get your grill hot for the barbecue because it's time for all of us to come visit you to see what scrappy project you've been working on!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday Sign Ups!

Memorial Day weekend has arrived!  Do you have big plans or will you be spending a relaxing weekend at home, catching up on things around the house and tidying up your scrap baskets?  If you can't join us this Sunday because you're having too much fun doing something else, we'll overlook for once, but please join in next week.  And for those of you diligently working on your scrap basket spring cleaning, here's the Linky list.  If you have something to show us, add your blog to the list once you're ready to post and we'll come by for a visit.  And maybe a little barbecue if you've got some to share!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bunny Hill is in the House!

The recent quilt market introduced the newest Bunny Hill block of the month applique quilt pattern, A Woodland Christmas.  Have you seen it?

The Fat Quarter Shop and Shabby Fabrics have already announced sign ups for the block of the month pattern and kit program that begins in November.  I thought about signing up, but I decided the colors aren't really "me"--they feel a little similar to Merry Merry Snowmen (which I haven't finished!) and I didn't want a second quilt that had a similar color "feel."

Instead, I clicked over to Bunny Hill to pay a little virtual visit to Anne, and look what arrived today!

I can't start on it until November though.  Why?  Because one of my friends signed up for the block of the month program and I promised I'd do it with her.  That's okay, though--it gives me time to decide what colors and fabrics I want to use.  It looks like my work on applique projects will continue well into 2014!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Little Applique Prep

Last night I mentioned I had a couple of projects that were close to completion; this is one of those projects.

Remember when my friends and I--there were four of us--did the Bunny Hill Autumn House quilt as a block of the month project last year?  Between us, we already owned or were able to acquire nearly all of the "original" fabrics.  The four of us met once a month to pool our stash and cut the kits.  We had a lot of fun doing that and I think we've all finished--or nearly finished--our quilts.  Well, I'd finished the main part of the quilt but I set it aside for something else that seemed either urgent or more interesting at a time when all that remained to be completed was the border applique.

And it's not like there was a lot of border applique either.  Just a couple of birds and leaves along the top border.

Well, I finally prepped the applique for that border.  Now it's ready for me to work on whenever I'm away from my sewing machine and am in the mood for a little hand work.  Before long, I'll be able to add the borders to Autumn House.

I always find the time after Easter and before fall is the best and most productive time for me to finish the things I've started throughout the year.  How about you?  Is there a "quilt season"?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Almost Done . . .

I've almost finished the patriotic star quilt, but not quite--I still have to stitch down the binding.

I thought I'd "save" the binding, though, for the next time Hubby and I take a little road trip--we have one coming up before long and binding a smallish quilt in the car is very do-able.

When I first added the red and yellow sashing, I thought it might be overpowering, but I quickly decided I like the secondary patterns that are formed with the contrasting colors.

So now what?  What's next?  Perhaps I should piece this month's Schnibbles quilt, but I think I might try to get some applique done instead--I have several projects in progress that really don't need all that much to be completed.  And applique is another good road trip project.  I guess it will all depend on what I'm in the mood to do when I get home from work tomorrow night!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May I Make a Suggestion?

I lit another chicken on fire tonight and it was delicious!  I think the first one was better though, but I used more rosemary with that one.  Hubby prepared this one and he tried putting some of the rosemary sprigs/branches on top of the chicken, which kind of led to more ashes on the bird than the first time.  Not quite so nice, but the ashes wiped off easily enough.

Anyway, I think the cooking fun got me thinking about another dish I made the other day worth sharing--well, maybe I wouldn't want to LITERALLY share the food with you because I want it all for myself (and maybe a little for Hubby) but I don't mind sharing photos and a recipe link.  What is it?  French toast.  But really GOOD French toast.  Trust me.

Upside Down Apple French Toast with Pecans and Cranberries to be exact--Tyler Florence's recipe.  Yum!  Really, the only thing we didn't already have on hand was the Challah bread, and I'd purchased that at Trader Joe's the other day, thinking I'd seen a french toast recipe on some cooking show I might want to make over the weekend.

Memorial Day is coming up soon.  You might need to have some upscale french toast to help celebrate the long weekend.

Two things about the recipe though:  (1) unless you're a professional chef, it's probably going to take more than the 5 minutes prep time the recipe says so plan accordingly, and (2) unless you have an assistant chef or you're an incredibly talented octopus, I don't think it's really possible to stir the caramel sauce constantly while peeling and coring apples.  So do the apples first; the sugar and butter turns to caramel sauce pretty quickly and then you're ready to put it all together so it's good to have the apples ready.

Happy eating!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pins, Pins Everywhere!

It may just be my imagination, but it seems like my scrap basket is becoming a bit more tame.  What do you think?

As I've finished a few projects here and there, I've added more scraps to it too, so I think I'm doing pretty well.  Of course, there's still a pull out drawer of scraps that I haven't touched--these are just the ones I pulled out of the drawer to start with because I thought the "mood" of the fabrics and colors played well together.

Besides making my weekly alotment of scrap blocks, I did a little pin basting on Sunday.  When I began, my pin box was jam packed with pins.

Some years ago, I found wooden boxes on clearance at Barnes and Noble's so I bought two of them--I've used one as a pin box ever since.  One of the quilts I pinned was the Country Cottages quilt. 

I was thinking, as a goal, about trying to quilt one of the house blocks each evening.  Maybe I'll do that, or maybe not--I'll have to think about it.  In the meantime, the other quilt I pinned and HAVE started quilting is the one I'm making with the blue and white star blocks.  I'll show you more when I finish.

Oh, and Mr. Stitch wanted to say "hi."

Or maybe he wanted to say "turn that camera off and feed me NOW."  Hard to say.  Either way, I've carried out his wishes.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Such Big Plans!

As this weekend approached, I kept thinking about the projects I wanted to work on and I had SUCH big plans to get things done!  So far, though, I played around with the little patriotic star tabletopper I started last weekend.  I sure don't feel like I've gotten very far on my plans--at least not as far as I thought I would.  Of course, in my mind I thought I'd probably finish a couple quilt tops.  How unrealistic is that?!  Sheesh!  Oh, well, at least I'm pleased with what I've done so far.  I'll probably have the project I've been working on ready to show you tomorrow or the next day.  In the meantime, here are my scrappy blocks for this week:

That pink and red block is a little crazy, isn't it?  And I guess I must have been feeling a little green when I made the others.

With the addition of these four blocks, I'm officially half way to having the blocks I need.  Just as a reminder, I'm working on the Kim Diehl pattern, Pie in the Sky, from her book Simple Graces.  Don't forget to link up on yesterday's post if you have a scrappy project to show us.  Happy scrapping!