Monday, October 31, 2011

Anna's Spring Flowers

Anna's Spring Flowers
October block

September's block challenged me with parallelograms, and this month the challenge was set-in triangles and squares for the tulip.

All of the Winter and Spring blocks are finished for this Block of the Month project. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Foreign Friday

Unzen Hot Spring
Unzen, Japan
April 1980

Unzen Hot Spring is located at the foot of Mount Unzen, an active volcano. The Japanese as well as tourists flock to this area for the healing waters (both cloudy and clear).

This area reminded me of several areas in Wyoming that have hot springs (Thermopolis, Yellowstone, Saratoga, and an area around Fort Washakie.)

The Mount Unzen violently erupted in 1991 and 43 people (scientists and journalists) died. Prior to eruption, the area was evacuated, preventing further loss of life. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pink and Scrappy

Julie, a knitting friend, gave me several small balls of pink, baby (fingering) yarn a couple of months ago. The pinks are a shade different and are not as obvious as this photo shows.

I estimate the jacket, knit on size 6 needles, will fit a 3 - 6 month old. This pink and scrappy Baby Surprise Jacket will be donated to a local pregnancy center.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Did You Know?

A postage increase is on the horizon.

In case you weren't aware of the increase (I just found out yesterday), you might want to stock up on Forever Stamps and send your holiday cards before mid-January.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good-bye Summer

Seeing the feather in the pile of leaves on Saturday reminded me of the opening of the movie, Forrest Gump when a feather flutters hither and yon and lightly lands at Forrest's feet. Forrest bends, picks up the feather, and gently places the feather inside his favorite childhood book, Curious George

I'm sure the feather I found nestled among the leaves is from the doves who, all summer, perched in the trees' foliage, their presence revealed only by a soft cooing.

Gone are the warm days of Summer. Gone are the leaves that provided shelter. Gone are the cooing doves. . . Winter's silence settles around me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Lick and a Promise

 I always panic when the weatherman says a rain/snow storm is coming and the leaves are still on the lawn. One year, 8 inches of snow fell, and getting the yard cleaned for the winter was a long and messy process. I did not want to relive that experience.

The yard guy came by a week ago to pick up the leaves, but the trees had not dropped their leaves completely, which is out of the ordinary. Normally, they are some of the first ones in town to change and drop. Normally, all the leaves come down within one or two days, but not this year.

Yard Guy said he would be back when the leaves are all down, which would usually be fine, but a storm is coming. So, I spent some time on Saturday, raking and bagging leaves.

The leaves in these twelve bags are from one tree, and it still has a ton yet to drop, which is why I wasn't too concerned about picking up every errant leaf. I did a "lick and a promise" pick-up, not a "clean sweep." I picked up another twelve bags of leaves in the front yard. One tree in the front is void of leaves; however, the other one has quite a few hanging on to summer for dear life.

Twenty-four bags stuffed with leaves line the driveway, and the yard waste dumpster is also full. Note my neighbor's yard with nary a stray leaf. I wonder how long it will be so neat once her tree starts shedding.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Foreign Friday

Plastic Food Restaurant Menu
Misawa, Japan
Autumn 1979

Practically every restaurant in Japan had a display of plastic foods which represented their entire menu. Surprisingly, the displays accurately depicted the food. 

You can see how the fake food is made on this site. If you are interested, make sure you click on the "next" button at the bottom of that page for more information.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mr. Greenjeans

Just hearing the name "Mr. Greenjeans" reminds me of Captain Kangaroo and its iconic music.

This blanket will be knit in different shades of green and should be boy-friendly.

Mr. Greenjeans is a Western Region Oddball Baby Blanket knit with size 9 needles on 121 stitches.

I used Caron Simply Soft (Dark Sage) and an adaptation of the Purled Ladder stitch for my section.

Were you a regular viewer of Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans?

Update: January 20, 2012

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Discovering Old Friends

After I purchased this album in 1973,
I played it so much I memorized all the songs.
I am having a lot of fun converting my LPs to mp3 files. (See this post for more information.) Some of the records have not been played in decades, and listening to them brings back a lot of wonderful memories. I've learned how to expedite the process, especially marking and labeling the tracks.

These albums were converted over the weekend:

Air Supply – Lost in Love
America – Hearts
Eddy Arnold – I Want to Go With You
Eddy Arnold – Song of the Young World
Bread – Baby I’m a Want You
Bread – Guitar Man
Bread – Lost without Your Love
John Denver – Aerie
John Denver - Autograph
John Denver – Some Days Are Diamonds
Glen Campbell – Galveston
Glen Campbell – A Satisfied Mind
Petula Clark – 20 Fantastic Hits
Crystal Gayle - Favorites
Gordon Lightfoot – Dream Street Rose
Bette Midler – Bette Midler
ShaNaNa – The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll (2 LPs)
B.J. Thomas – Greatest Hits (Volume II)

As you can tell, my taste in music is quite eclectic, which will become more evident as I post names of the converted albums. 

These LPs will be donated to the Friends of the Library for their monthly sale. I have over 100 more LPs to convert. 

Are any of your favorites in this list?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bountiful Baskets

Bountiful Baskets is a tremendous organization, and if you haven't participated, you are really missing out of a bargain on fruit and vegetables. The basket in the photo shows all the produce I received at this week's delivery. (My area has a delivery every two weeks on Saturday). I purchased a basket (50% fruit and 50% vegetables) for $15.00, plus $1.50 for handling. On my initial Saturday, I paid a one-time charge of $3.00 so the coordinator could purchase sorting baskets.

The type and quantity of items varies each time. This week's fruit basket contained: bananas, gala apples, plums, pears, grapes, avocados.

This week's vegetable basket included: leaf lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, garlic.

The truck arrives at my location at 6 AM, and volunteers (it is requested that those who order baskets are to volunteer from time to time) unload the truck.

The boxes and items are checked-in by the coordinator.

Once she is certain that all the items are present, the volunteers distribute the number of items in the waiting laundry baskets (one for fruit and one for veggies).

A master list tells the volunteers how many of each item go in each basket. (Every basket must contain the same items in the same quantity. Sometimes, there are extra items, and they are also placed in the baskets, so each basket will have one extra item, but possibly not the same as another basket.

Volunteers work quickly: the truck must be unloaded, and the baskets filled in under an hour. It is nice when a lot of people come to help because it is not so hectic.

Speciality items (breads, tortilla shells, organic food baskets, fruit packs, etc.) are also available from time to time and ordered at the same time as the baskets. No money is paid on distribution day. The table in the foreground holds speciality items. Individuals who ordered these items must present a receipt to receive the items.

The doors are opened at 7 AM for people to pick up the food they ordered. They must present a receipt and sign-in.

The white laundry baskets remain at the location (they are sanitized after they are emptied) and are only used for sorting. Each person must bring their own bags or boxes to take their items home. It is easy to spot first time participants because they come with one or two plastic grocery bags and end up making several trips to their car.

If a participant does not pick up the food between 7 - 7:30 AM, the contents is donated to the local fire department - no refunds are given for baskets not collected.

Need more information? Bountiful Baskets has a great Frequently Asked Questions page.

Check this page to see if your area has a group. You will be glad that you did.

If you do participate, make sure to volunteer. Your time is well spent and helps prevent coordinator burn-out.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Foreign Friday

Typical Neighborhood Grocery Store
Misawa, Japan
Autumn 1979

These stores were very dark inside and crammed with everything imaginable. It was fun to roam through them to find unique food items. 

Notice the vending machines to the far right. Vending machines were very common throughout Japan. Specific machines sold beer, nectars, magazines, cigarettes, and soda.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spinning Again

A couple of weeks ago, I looked at my LP collection and wondered if I should keep my vinyl. I have a nice player, but I rarely use it. Then while thumbing through a catalog, I saw a USB turntable and did some research online. I discovered it was possible to turn my LP collection into MP3 files, so I purchased a Crosley USB turntable on Amazon.

The reviews on the turntable were mixed, but I think most of those who complained wanted a portable record player with stereo sound. This player is portable, but it was not intended to be a quality stereo. It has speakers, so it can function as simply a stand-alone record player, but I don't think it was designed to be used as an everyday player. It plays 33, 45, and 78 rpm.

When hooked to a computer via the USB cord, the player makes it possible to record songs, clean up the sound a bit, and download the songs to the computer as a WAV or MP3 file.

I am on a mission to preserve my LPs to digital MP3 files so I can burn CDs to play in my car and load some of the music on my iPod. I may get rid of my LPs after I have recorded and converted them to digital files.

The player arrived yesterday, and last night I sorted through my LPs to see which ones I wanted to record and download. Many memories came flooding back when I saw some of the albums from the late 60s and early 70s.

There is a bit of a learning curve to record and download the songs, but anyone comfortable with a computer will be able to figure out the process without too much difficulty. The instruction manual is helpful, but not complete. I found labeling the music tracks to be the most difficult part. I hope I can master that soon, as the way I am doing it is tedious.

The player comes with the USB cord, an AC adapter, a software CD to allow downloading and editing, and an instruction manual.

I downloaded one and a half albums in two hours. The process is slow because, unless only select songs are recorded, the LP must be played entirely.

Once I feel more comfortable with the process, it should be easier and faster. So far, I am very pleased with my purchase. I probably won't record and download all of my vinyl LPs, but I certainly will enjoy listening to those that I do convert.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Citrus Burst

Citrus Burst was started by Bailey in ID as a boy-friendly blanket. Sections of this Western Region Oddball blanket will represent citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit).

I used a diamond seed brocade stitch for my section.

Update: December 15, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Orange Blossom Set

Since it was a cool weekend, I completed the hat and socks for the Orange Blossom set for Marilyn's grandmother boxes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

American Valor - Completed

American Valor
Quilt of Valor
66 X 81 inches

American Valor's flimsy was finished on Saturday. It still needs a good pressing and loose threads plucked, but it is done.

The stars were pieced, but the red, white, blue stripes sewn adjacent to them is a striped print. The center of the quilt is a printed panel.

As I posted earlier, I purchased a kit for this quilt. The fabric is a Marcus Fabrics line. The yardage can be purchased online, but finding it requires a search since most is not available on a single site. Search for "American Valor" + "Marcus Fabrics"

The pattern for American Valor is free from Marcus Fabrics.

American Valor featured on Alycia's blog and ready for distribution.

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