Monday, April 28, 2014

Rainy Days and Mondays

We are once again safely ensconced in our Wisconsin home at Goose Island County Park.  This can only mean one thing:  rain.

It was cold and damp when visiting my two blogger friends, but this is just downright nasty.

I'm not used to being the tallest in a group!

The cats enjoy playing in their tent city….even in the rain.  They will hunker up on their perches under the tarp when it’s raining just to keep an eye on those birds.

The birds in Goose Island are quite brazen and will begin to flock the minute the food is presented.  George and Gracie are not used to this type of bold behavior and to be honest, I think they were a little frightened of them.

Of course this is the first time they've seen the red winged blackbirds, who seem to know no fear. 

Much of the time spent so far has been getting situated.  We parked differently this year, which allows for a better internet signal, but creates quite a third step when exiting the motorhome.  We borrowed some blocks from Larry to make this a bit more manageable.

Left Brain took both our computers to visit Larry while Eileen and I went to see the movie 'Heaven is Real'.  It's working much better now that it's been cleaned up.  I had planned to take this to my computer guru, Eric of La Crosse Computers, but apparently Left Brain was not aware of this. 

We went to bed last night with the sound of rain thundering down on the RV, which was OK....this doesn't even frighten George much anymore. But then the winds begin to shake the RV and howl.  As disconcerting as that was, it was bearable.  

It was the screeching sound of metal being twisted as the gales tried to separate the awning from the RV that were nasty.  The awning was being tossed to and fro in the wind and slammed against the roof and sides of the RV.

Left Brain went out to see what he could do and all I could picture was him being struck by the wild flailing of the awning and hit in the head.  I really didn't want to change his name from Left Brain to Brain Dead, but he managed to not be harmed.

It's still raining today, so all I could do was look out at the carnage on the ground.  Rugs torn up, cat tent tipped over, things strewn around the yard and worst of all the twisted metal of the awnings.  Lots to clean up and repair when we are able.

Amazingly the one thing that remained intact was my bird feeding station constructed of tent poles, twigs and pieces of rope....go figure.
It even managed to open a locked bay door that had a bit of a gap to it.

So, since there wasn't much we could do about it anyway; I bravely carried on and went for my massage to see if Kathy can mend my wonked up arm and then we all went out to lunch together.  Yes is all we do....think about eating.

Long Live the Queen of the Wind

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Crafting on the road

Since we are not able to store anything not useable, I have taken to creating special pillowcases to celebrate the areas we have visited.  This way I have a memory of the place and get to do some sewing along the way.

This is a lot of fun for many reasons.  The local quilt shops always seem to have some special themed fabric just for their area and it's a great excuse to pop into one of them. I need an excuse.

I found this funky alligator fabric while in Alabama and just had to make a pillowcase to remember our trip to Florida and the deep south.

I also discovered some more cool fabric, but I can't show a photo of this yet as it's a gift for someone when I get back.  

I've also started to attempt more knitting.  There is a very easy pattern for dishrags where you don't have to think much, and I like to work on these while he's driving.  This way I can have my hands busy and still enjoy the passing scenery.  I will teach this to my granddaughters this summer when we are back in Minnesota if they would like to learn.

I stumbled across a crochet basics class at Joanne's while in Nashville and learned how to do some basic stitches.  I did a little of this in a prior life, but it's been several decades and I can't remember.

This is the piece I did in class using single crochet, double crochet, half double crochet and treble crochet.  It has no practical use other than for learning the stitches.

Then I played around with some chunky fuzzy yarn and tried to remember how to do Granny Squares.

It was fun, but I still prefer the knitting - it just seems easier to figure out where you're at.  Here is a dishrag I did and then did the same project with bigger needles and the thicker yarn. A bit of a size difference, huh?  Not sure what I'll do with it, but it could make a nice cat's always about the cats.

Long Live the Crafty Queen

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Meeting new friends

 wasn't quite sure what to expect when meeting my two blogger friends, there’s always that four year old inside that’s scared they might not like me.  But, there was nothing to worry about with these two.  It felt right the minute they arrived to take me out to lunch.

George watches as Gracie gets to know the visiting cat that came to our campsite

After a quick tour of See-More, which never takes real long, we jumped into Andrea’s car and started with a little tour of the state park I’m currently living in.  Both Andrea and Annie are avid birders and it was amazing to hear them calling out the names of the ducks and birds we spotted.

Andrea is much more diligent with her camera than I am, much more like Miss Edna.  I had my camera with for the whole time we were together and never shot so much as one photo.
We were having too much fun laughing, talking and getting to know each other.  There are two groups of females that are capable of being extremely silly and loud – teenagers and seniors.  Actually, I think as seniors we can easily outdo the silliness factor of teenagers…we've had so many more years of practice.

You’d think that when Andrea had the lady at the coffee shop take our photos I might have thought to have her do the same with my camera, but noooooo.  It just sat there the whole time.  Sigh….the mind is the first to go.

Annie is a published author and writes poetry, something I've never been real good at understanding.  They had a copy of her book there, so I purchased it and had her sign it for me.  This is nothing I take lightly, there are very few books that make it into See-More due to the storage factor.  But I am determined to try and understand this art of writing and appreciate it more fully.

By the time I was delivered safely back to our RV my stomach muscles and jaws ached from laughing so hard.  There is a beauty in women and their ability to tear down the barriers and just ….be.  Being on the road with Left Brain is fun in so many ways, but I savor the time spent with female companions and all the issues we share...especially when they are as funny as these two....and I mean that in a good way.
This was like having a therapy session, as well as a show and tell of where I live and how I organize things.  I received genuine encouragement to write a book of how we live on the road, something I've toyed with from time to time and feel a pull to do.

You never know how the next person that enters your life will bless you.  I believe with each encounter of this kind I learn more about myself in the process.   Life keeps evolving faster and faster as I age and it is a glorious thing…both to be enjoyed and shared.  

Today I understand they are returning with the dogs to take a walk.  I promise, photos will be taken this time!

Long Live the Queen of Good Friends

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Into Illinois we go

We left Elkhart IN and headed north towards our next destination.  I was very excited by this part of the trip and I will be meeting two blogging friends face to face for the first time.

When we reached Fox Lake we stopped for lunch and had the most beautiful waterfront view while dining.  Yes indeed, the McDonald’s was located right next to a pier and was the most scenic view of any Mickey D’s we've visited.  We didn’t want to take time for a sit down lunch as rain was threatening and we hoped to get all settled in before it broke loose.

In a very short while we reached the turn off for Chain O Lakes State Park and were almost home.  Having an Irish name ourselves, this park just felt right with the O’Lakes in the name.  However, there was a van parked sideways blocking the entry to our new home.   We’d spotted the smoke earlier and joked that our State Park must be on fire.  Well, no joke….it was.

But the good news was that this was a controlled burn and it was great fun chatting with the ranger while watching the workers walking along and setting the fires. 

I asked her if any of the houses nearby get nervous and she said that they sometimes get some calls, but they contact each of them in advance and provide the start and stop time of the burn, so it shouldn't be any big surprise.

I chuckled when she told me of the cranky old guy that called to complain about all the ashes…he had just washed his car!  

My reply was to tell him there was an explosion at the crematorium and you have no idea who was falling on his car but were real sorry about the mess.  She gasped and looked at me with new eyes and I explained that I do have a bit of a mean streak in me.  To which she replied “I like you”.  I do seem to bring out the bad in everyone.

My hope was to connect with my blogger friends that afternoon yet, but I forget how tired we are after traveling and setting up so I called to beg off until lunchtime the next day.

It’s funny, this meeting people you only know on-line.  My nephew has done this in the past and it always concerned me for his safety. “You don’t know anything about these people!” I’d warn him.  And now here I am, doing the same thing.  But I feel very safe meeting these women…we are all of a certain vintage and that makes us safe…I think.    Wish me luck!

Long Live (hopefully) the Queen

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quilting on the run

I love keeping my hands busy, especially if it gives me a chance to create.  And since we don't have a lot of wall space for decorative frou-frou...most the things I make have to have a purpose.

One of my favorites is this little bag/box.  They are so handy and I have them hanging throughout the RV storing those oddball items that don't seem to have any place to call their own.

When I saw this knitting fabric, I just knew I had to create one of these bags for the projects I'm currently working on.  I can just hang it on a hook in the bedroom when I'm not in the mood to knit or crochet.

Maybe Chicken Lady can work on things while I sleep.

Much of my quilting uses scraps as I like that look and don't seem to be able to throw away fabric.

There's nothing like the addition of fabric to add a touch of home to an RV.

Long Live the Queen of Quilting

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Visiting the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart IN

If you're looking for an RV, there's no place like going to the mecca of RVs, right here in Elkhart IN.  There are several RV plants that you can tour, more RV dealers and parts distributors than you can imagine and the crown jewel, the RV Hall of Fame.

Maybe it's because this is our lifestyle, but I think anyone would be interested in seeing this museum...even if they've never been in an RV at all.  Some of the RVs were roped off, but many of them allowed you to go in and get up close and personal.

 This is a massive facility that shows everything you could want to see about RV's.  There is a scale model with an audio  narrated description of the assembly process, as well as videos that describe how it's done as well.  After taking this all in we decided we could skip taking an actual tour of a plant.

My favorite part was seeing the old RV's and seeing how improvements were made in time, but that the concepts used then are the same ones used now.

The tour follows a highway motif path and takes you through the progression of oldest to newer RVs.

The story begins with this RV on display.
There's far too many to share all of them, but these were some of my favorites.

This early version of the slide out system was pretty cool.  The storage drawers pull out to create the space for the bed.  It even had a curtain system that attached to the back to use as a dressing room or a shower.  Cold shower you say?  Nay nay...the water was heated by the engine during the drive.  How comfy!

This was one of my most favorites.  I liked the wood paneling and styling of the vehicle.  And who could resist those little lace curtains and metal fence...all the comforts of home.  And wouldn't Left Brain feel grand driving in that $35 accessory driving chair.

This long, long trailer made me think of the 1954 classic staring Lucy & Desi in "The long, long trailer".  I checked to see if perhaps it was the same, but alas that one was not nearly this long.

This just looked so homey and cute and I'll bet in it's day this was the cat's meow.  The warm light wood really brightens it up.  The door to the bedroom was there as an emergency exit as they did not yet have the windows that served as escape exits.

The rest of the photos are just random shots.  Let me translate that for you, it means I failed to take adequate notes to remember what they were....but they are still sweet images of an older time and place.

This is so darn cute - if we started out in this my blog would be called "llife in a toaster""

1964 Coachman Cadet Travel Trailer

I think we need to change our valve covers to dice - tres chic!

I took a little break here to talk to Poker Alice...she cheats, by the way.

This one reminded me of a James Bond movie

Love the kitchen that pulls down and the awning makes the dining area so inviting

Just enough space for two people (who really get along well) to sleep.  Then there's the tiny kitchen in the back.  Kind of like a mobile B&B.

The upper bunk in this Shasta is like a cot - just fabric over two poles.  This would be where George and Gracie would sleep if we owned this model.  The couch below opens into a bed.

This is reminiscent of our first "canned ham" based on the teardrop shape.

All the comforts of home - sink, ice box...bed

One of the early tent campeers

I can remember my grandmother making my toast in one of these.

I had to laugh that this Bounder had the identical layout that we now enjoy in See-More

We learned so much during our time spent at the RV Hall of Fame and much of that was due to chatting with Al Hesselbart, the librarian of the museum.  

Long Live the Queen of RVs

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Protecting all that beautiful wood finish

It took us many years after the kids left the house to realize it wasn't them making all the mess...we are slobs.  This was a cold hard fact to take in, but it's true.

So, now that we have these beautiful ultra-leather recliners with wood trays, what do we do?  I took apart the quilt covers I had made for the couch and old chair and redesigned them to fit the new furniture.  I hate to cover it up, but let's be realistic's going to get damaged, so covering it up now seemed the sane thing to do.  I even had enough fabric left over to make little tray covers to match.

Now that the chairs were safe from harm, I need to focus on that glorious cherry wood table and desk.  My first line of defense were the three shallow storage drawers to hold coffee, tea, chai, hot chocolate and apple cider for our Keurig.  This protects the wood when we plunk our computers down.

The two remaining areas of the desk are about 18" square and I've just started some scrappy log cabin quilts for that location. This could be a spot for some seasonal change outs, or at least reversible quilts.

For the main part of the table, I've created some mug rugs for the coffee cups.  I had some practice squares I'd done earlier and I used heat resistant fabric (for ironing boards) for the filler.  I found that this mail organizer from Walmart worked very nicely for holding them.

I've used the same mail organizer for my "charging station" but need to add some fabric covers over the wire to prevent scratching.  That isn't done yet, but I did take the time to re-purpose another quilt sample I had in stock to create a holder for the new phone.

When I work on my sewing projects I put down this over-sized cutting mat, another treasure I've held for two years but couldn't use because it was too big.  Sometimes you just have to go with those gut feelings about what to toss and what to keep.

Bit by bit it's coming together to create a very comfortable little mobile nest.

Long Live the Queen

Friday, April 18, 2014

Enjoying the new desk

This dinette, desk, table thing is amazing.  I'm just never sure what to call it.

On Left Brain's side is a drawer for all his junk and cabinets underneath to store my baking pans.

In the center is storage for cookbooks, the small heater and fans, my iron and other sundry items not often used.

On my side are two drawers and a file cabinet.  I like the top drawer for the often used items such as stapler, pens, etc.  The second drawer houses the cribbage board, paper and finally a safe spot for my camera.

Since we don't have a lot of files that need hanging, I've used part of this to store the crock pot.  The files in front are all the travel places we want to visit.  As I come across articles on things to see and do, I store them here since travel is our top priority.

The top portion of the desk allows each of us space to put the things we are currently working on.  The three storage drawers in the center hold the Keurig coffe, chai, hot chocolate, apple cider and tea.  These were chosen due to their little grippy feet that keep them in place.  The top portion also has a nonskid surface which is nice for holding the computers when not in use.

There are many options with the table.  We like it best like this, with the leaf inserted and pulled all the way out.

This is what it looks like with the leaf removed and pulled all the way out.

And finally, this is without the leaf (which is stored inside the table) and pushed all the way into the desk area. This makes for a lot of extra floor space.

One of my favorite things now is that when we are planning our next move, I can pull my chair over to his side and look at the maps or computer screen together.

By moving the kitchen cart to its new location, Left Brain no longer has to wiggle his way past it.

Long Live the Queen of Tables