Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Few Projects

As October exits here I find myself in awe at the speed this year has gone.  They do seem to be going faster and faster.  We would normally be turning the clocks back this weekend and I must say that I am quite happy that we are not.  It always feels like we are plunged immediately into winter. 

Our weather at this time of the year is often quite warm with the blowing of the Santa Ana winds.  Of course this also means fire season for us.  With the little rain that we received a few weeks back I have noticed a carpet of green grasses sprouting on the hillsides.  Hopefully, that will help keep the fire hazard down. 

I recall one Halloween when we had a terrible fire - from the hills to the ocean.  We were living in our previous home which happened to be the first house coming out of the hills.  There was nothing but hills in front of us.  The winds were blowing something dreadful.  I looked out the front window and saw a tiny "puff" of smoke at the top of the third ridge of mountains.  My husband was away camping with the boys and due back momentarily.  Our home had a wood shake roof - very bad in a high fire risk area.  I climbed up on the roof with a water hose and started to water it down.  Neighbors laughed because the fire seemed so far away.  In actuality it was perhaps 35 miles away.  That little "puff" grew into a raging fire swept at an incredible speed and we were given the mandatory evacuation order within two hours.  The television networks were filming in our front yard. 

My husband had arrived home by that time and he took over manning the hose while the children and I packed the car.  I had told them to just pack things we could not replace while I grabbed the photos and a few other special things.  We left for my in laws who lived about ten minutes away from us.  It was most interesting to see what was in the car that the children found irreplaceable - the American flag, the Bible, a snake, tortoise and the bowl of Halloween candy!!!!!!  We still chuckle about that.  Our home was spared, but many others lost theirs.  The fire burned through Malibu and finally stopped at the ocean. 

Halloween happened on November 1st that year amidst the ashes and putrid smell.  Of course that was when we had lots of trick or treaters.  These days we may see a dozen or so at the door.

In my attempt to catch up on some sewing that was on the back burner for the past month, I have made some good headway.  I finished the Christmas stocking and will need a couple more next Christmas with two new grandbabies due in 2012.

I worked on my Civil War blocks.  I think she saved the most challenging ones for when I was away.  I am still playing with the Confederate Rose.  I have made it twice already and it still is not the correct size.  I enlarged it as she said, but is not coming out right.  I think I will just sketch it out and use my own templates.

My September Birdie Stitches block is done and the October one will be finished shortly.

Don't ask me what this mask is suppose to be as I have no clue.  My grandson asked for it and I obliged.  I had never heard of the guy before so I can't remember the name.'s done!!!!

Lastly, I made another mug rug for a friend's birthday.

That was my week.  How about yours?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Random thoughts and movements - that's all that is happening around here.  I feel like it is a constant game of catch up after a delightful month away from real life.  I am not complaining about it, but it is amazing how long it takes to get back to being "in the groove" of life.  Of course it would help if I didn't have to spend hours on the phone with customer support figuring out printer problems and figuring out why I have had nothing other than a blue screen on the television since we got home.  All is settled now and we are now able to watch more than DVDs!!!  Great news! 

Speaking of everyone out there enjoying Down*ton Abbey?  We are loving it.  Surprisingly, we only heard about it when we visited Ireland.  We have since caught up on Season One.  It is similar to Up*stairs, Downstairs, but a bit more modern.

I am hopelessly behind in my Civil War blocks.  I think I need to make five to catch up.  I am finishing my September Birdie Stitches block and it is almost time for November's to come out.  Sigh!!  But......I have been doing some sewing since returning.  Halloween is approaching and I have finished a couple of costume for the little ones.  This family consists of a flower and a watering can.  The parents will someday have to take the wrath for coming up with this idea.

A couple of mug rugs also made their way into my sewing machine.  I loved the witches undies fabric.

My quiet time stitching has been a cross stitch Christmas stocking.  I started it on our trip and have the backstitching left to do.  I love to see the features come alive with the backstitching. 

 While our British guests were here we did spend a lot of time in the studio.  The guys were golfing so the gals kept busy piecing and quilting.  We managed to complete four quilts (except for hand sewing the binding down), but somehow I only managed to photograph three of them.  We put them all in a Space*Saver bag, sucked all the air out and she managed to carry them on board with her. 

We took four little ones to the pumpkin patch this week.  It is an amazing place on a farm near us.  The children had as much fun as we did.

A pumpkin house!!!

We then picked up lunch and went to the park to eat, play and feed the ducks.  I hope they slept well for their parents afterwards.

This week while watering my pots I noticed two seed pods on my plumeria.  I have raised these for years and have never had even one seed pod.  Needless to say I was thrilled to see it.  This is a plant that was my father's so it is even more special to see it.

They look like little helicopter blades.

I wanted to share a couple of fun pictures from San Diego.  We were on the 25th floor and each morning the fog would roll in.  We loved looking down on it.

The morning we left - looking the opposite direction with the moon shining on the bay.
The last random photo is one I snapped after church last Sunday.  The children were fascinated by this dead snake that was in the parking lot. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back to the Routine and Loving IT!

Wow!  It certainly seems like I have been away from blogging F-O-R-E-V-E-R!  I must admit that I have really missed checking in on everyone and seeing and reading what has been going on as we enter the fall season.

We left here on September 11th, flying via Minneapolis to London and then on to Dublin, Ireland.  It was a long 27 hours of travel, but the trip itself was worth every minute.  We spent several days in Dublin touring the sights that the city offered.  The weather was perfect and great for long walks.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Dublin view from the top of the Guinness brewery.

I love how they formed a shamrock by the way the brew was poured.

Kilmainham prison.

Artwork done by this cell's prisoner.

The "tart with a cart" in front of Trinity College.

The millenium sphere - the joke of Dublin.

The second day we met up with our driver who would be our companion for the trip.  He has lived his whole life in Limerick, Ireland and was a wonderful traveling companion.  He knew the backroads and how to avoid the tourist traps - our favorite way to travel.  We took a lot of pictures so I will share just a few of them snd not bore you to bits.

Cashel Castle

Cashel Abbey

Many Celtic designs to be seen.

Hayfield Manor

....and gardens.

Garden at Muckross House in Killarney.

Beehive huts.

Dingle Bay

Cliffs of Moher

A pot of gold and a leprechaun????

Irish greeter to the Kylemore Abbey.

The vertical rows seen are still remnants of potato rows planted before the potato famine.

Very "interesting" piece of art - side view mirrors that form a design visible from the air.

Returning to Dublin, we flew back to London where we commuted to Southhampton for our return trip home aboard the QM2.  The transatlantic crossing is always a delight and a great way to get back into the time changes as you gain one hour a day verses eight all at once. 

No more Irish green to see.

Loved the lobby's flower arrangements.

We arrived home on a Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon our dear British friends arrived for a visit.  It was go, go, go for all of us.  Being that they were on a similar time schedule, we were all up at 4 a.m. and ready for bed by 7 p.m. !!!!!!

We all headed to San Diego for a business convention over the weekend.  Having bid them "goodbye" yesterday morning we headed home.'s time to catch up on cleaning, laundry, sewing and blogging for the past month.