Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You CAN Blog While Camping!!!

As I sat here at the campground picnic table, the hubster suggested I look to see if there was any internet available.  Crazy man--we are in the middle of nowhere!  My phone keeps searching for service.  I looked, though,  and there it was--a connection.  Yeah, I probably shouldn't use that motel's internet, but come on!  It's just too inviting.

Greetings from Lake George!  This area in the Adirondack Park was hit harder than our area down south near Albany.  All the State campgrounds were evacuated on Saturday which turned out to be a good thing.  Most of the State campgrounds have too much damage to open yet with trees and lines down. None of the area had electricity until late in the afternoon.  Only a few places with generators were open for business.

Our campsite was closed when we arrived, but we held out til the electric came back on at 5:30.  We spent the day watching crews clean up the damage by the lake and driving around the area.  One of the major roads had collapsed on one side from flooding water washing out the ground under it.  I hope no one was on that in the dark.

The village workers were amazing.  You would hardly know that anything had happened by Tuesday.

I even found this lovely little Monarch butterfly in the village.   Look close--it's in the middle.

 Off for the biking portion of this venture.  Hope your day is gonna be as nice as mine.  Blogging at a campsite!  Perfection!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Something Fun For You!

I'm  off for five days at Lake George in New York--biking, hiking, and watching the clean-up crews clear up the branches from the storm.  I hope I'll get some internet service somewhere up there.  Being away from my computer for several days does not seem like fun.  Am I addicted??

I'm gifting you with one of my favorite sites for a quick laugh while I'm gone:


They show really short clips of animals being......let's say amusing (or mean or gross).  These are really, really short clips that play over and over so that you can see what you missed til you click for the next one.  The pithy little captions are as much fun as the clips.  Be sure to read them.  If you get to the Silverback ape clip, let me know if you think the guy is still working in wildlife photography.

Have a great week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Embroidered Towels - The Green Phase

After finished eight dish towels with shades of gold, I needed a change.  I've moved to my green phase.

I can't decide whether I like the light/bright green colors shown up close here:

or the light and dark greens together:

None of these colors, by the way, are the ones used by the designer.  As soon as I buy more fabric, I shall have to try making a set with the "right" colors.   Ya never know--one of these days I may learn to follow the directions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting started on the Gift Making - Embroidered Towels

I've been doing lots of things lately--just not blog-worthy--such as making 15 pillow cases from old sheets cuz one of my kids likes to change his pillow cases every night or so.  Of course, he's also the one who uses two pillows.  Here's a portion of that chore.
Nice, easy, straight sewing. But still a bit time consuming.

I did start something blog-worthy! I'm making embroidered dish towels from Huck toweling as Christmas gifts.

These are some of the designs I got from Embroidery Library during the summer when I was making the baker's apron for Melissa.  I love this design company!  They have so many designs, great prices, lots of sales, and downloading orders is so easy even I can't screw it up.  Every design comes up beautifully.  (No, they are not paying me.)  In searching for a design for the apron, I found the "Savory Swirls" set that I thought would be great on dish towels. These are four of the eight designs in the set. 

I love this fabric.  It is so easy to work with and takes machine embroidery exceptionally well.  I got it from Joann's with a 50% off coupon.  You don't find those too often anymore!   It's usually $5.99 a yard.

I pre-washed and dried on hot with very little shrinkage or wrinkling.  The fabric is 15 inches wide with finished edged so you only need to hem the ends.  I cut 27 inches for each towel, turned the edges under 1-/2 inch twice and did a straight stitch that you can see here.
Frankly, these looked great without the embroidery, too.  While Joann's doesn't have any other material like this, I did find a number of different toweling options/colors online at    I'm going to order a bit of each to see how they wash--will let you know.

That is four towels down and about 20 more to go, a couple of aprons, countless napkins--It's going to be a kitcheny Christmas.

Equally as nice as getting some sewing done is being able to listen to some books while I'm working.  I finished Michael Chabon's Summerland.  LOVED IT!   Just as Neil Gaiman's American Gods uses many mythological gods throughout the story, Summerland uses many characters from folklore.  That and the great writing in each is where the similarities end.  Summerland is NOT a dark tale at all.  I have a whole new respect for baseball.  You'll understand if you read it.

I also listened to Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, an amazing story about a guy's World War II experiences.  She also wrote Seabiscuit.  I didn't think I'd be interested in that one, but after, listening to Unbroken, I'm going to give it a try.

Anyone else getting a head start on making Christmas gifts???  Let me know what you're doing.  I'm always open to stealing sharing ideas.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hotel Trials and Tribulations with EconoLodge and Holiday Inn

I've managed to get through all my more-than-I-care-to-mention years with no real problems with hotels.  I've been in a few that were shabbier than I might have liked, but I never left one until I saw the EconoLodge on Boundary Street in Beaufort, South Carolina.  Ironically, the photos we had seen online were streaming on a small screen in the lobby.  They actually show you the glaring contrast between the online photos and reality. 

I hadn't even reached the room when I was having serious doubts about the cleanliness of the place.  As it turned out the room was dirty, had a serious musty odor, outrageously loud air conditioner, and a slit of daylight that reached at least an inch  under the door.  Vermin could have stood up proudly and walked right in.  With the conditions I had seen outside the room, vermin were a strong possibility.

I will tolerate a lot, but it was either sleep in the car or find another hotel.  We couldn't get a refund, but decided we'd deal with it at a corporate level later.    Corporate response:  We'll let you know within 72 hours.  Seventy-two hours later:  We've turned it over to the place that turned you down for a refund. 

Was that enough abuse?  No.  On the way home we stopped at the Holiday Inn Express on Boydton Plank Road in Petersburg, Virginia.  It was a nice place.  We were happy with it.  However, we arrived home to find a bill for a pillow we've been accused to STEALING from the Holiday Inn!  I don't know if a pillow was missing when we arrived.  Being a bit OCD about symmetry, though, I think I would have noticed an uneven number.  I've never thought to count hotel pillows on arrival.  The only thing I'm sure of is that we don't even take the free toiletries from hotels let alone pillows.

The charge for the pillow is $25.  We stayed at a total of four hotels on this trip.  Not once do I recall thinking, "Wow, these pillows are great!"  In fact, I do recall thinking that hotel pillows kinda suck and I missed my own.  My pillows didn't cost me $25.  Holiday Inn corporate response:  the manager--who has never gotten back to us as mentioned in our email to corporate office--will get back to us. 

Sorry to be whiny, but I had to vent.  Yeah, I know, we need to start staying at better hotels.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Places to See - Middleton, Former Rice Plantation Outside Charleston, South Carolina

This reflecting pool at Middleton Place is even more impressive when you consider that it dates back to the mid 1700s.

Middleton was once a rice plantation.  Although the main house was destroyed in the Civil War, there are a number of restored buildings housing many artifacts relating to plantation life.

We actually just wanted to stop here for lunch on our way back to New York, but you can't get to the restaurant without paying for the self-guided grounds tour at the very least.  While that added $50 to our lunch, we really did enjoy walking around for a couple of hours after eating.  (Online the price is listed as $22 each.  It must have gone up to $25, though).

Thought I'd share a few photos of things that interested me.  Being a suburbanite, I loved seeing the animals.  This peacock was sooo loud!  He let out a few piercing squawks outside the restaurant.  Turns out that someone drops him a cracker on occasion making his trip worthwhile.

It took several tries to fit all of him in the frame! I am jealous of his vivid  jewel-tone colors.

These animals have grown accustomed to being photographed.  I swear some of them were posing for me.

This guy LOVED having his picture taken!

This crew completely ignored us.

Others, however, were not into modeling. These two stood in the middle of the grossest-looking bright green, scum-covered  pond seemingly oblivious to the world.

Love those horns!

I think he was losing patience with the paparazzi.
Pigs really do roll in mud!  The only time she moved was to go roll in the mud again.

This really made me laugh.  When I was a kid and heard someone say, "You're going to hell in a hand basket," this is pretty much what I pictured.

With the river, rice fields, lake, pools, and ponds, there were all kinds of long-legged birds.  I have no idea what these are.  I usually bring my bird books with me, but forgot them.  I still haven't taken the time to identify them.  If you know what they are, feel free to share the information.
While I was slowly sneaking up on the one above, constantly clicking to get a good shot, the one below was standing there posing with the added bonus of  his reflection in the water.

These two were having problems sharing space at the mill.  The brown one blended in so well I didn't see him til the white one chased him off a ways.

Mother Nature really came through here with the matching eye and leg color .  A nice touch with the browns.
I can't end without some shots of the Spanish moss in the trees.

While the web page says there are interpreters in costumes, only a couple were dressed that way.  Most had on regular clothing.  With the temperatures well into the nineties, I don't blame them.  One actually had on a long-sleeved shirt and pants that had UV protection which certainly seems sensible for the area.  Maybe more of them dress in costume at other times of the year.

While we enjoyed the visit, it is a bit on the expensive side. The house tour--not a very large place--and the carriage ride are additional charges.  The house tour would have cost another $12 each.  I didn't even ask the price for the carriage ride.  Our lunch was already getting way too expensive.  As a comparison, Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts is $20, has a great deal more to see, and everything is included. There  may well be ways to get discounts on fees at Middleton which would make the cost more reasonable if one looks around, though.