Friday, November 30, 2018

Back in Time - Michigan Trip

Evelyn (Sis), Marilyn, Brenda, Nancy
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland 
Frankenmuth, MI
I can't remember if I've posted this photo before, so forgive me if you've seen it. It was taken the summer that my sisters, niece, and I travelled to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Mackinac Island. We stopped in Frankenmuth, MI to visit the famous Christmas store - Bronner's. If you are searching for anything pertaining to Christmas, I am willing to bet they will have it.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Carved in Stone

carving detail
First Street parking area
Laramie, WY
October 2018
This beautiful sandstone carving display is fenced, but no information is posted next to it. I assume it is from an old building in historical downtown Laramie - probably from the late 1800s.

Look at all that detail: isn't it beautiful?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Holiday Cheer

ceramic Nativity set
November 2018
Gradually, I'm finding places for some Christmas decorations. The big tree will probably stay in the garage this year because I don't want to deal with the mess of sorting through the boxes for Christmas ornaments.

I set up a few ceramic pieces (small lighted tree and two Nativity sets) around the apartment. The Advent wreath is on the kitchen table ready for morning devotions. I've hung holiday cross-stitch pictures around the apartment, filled the Christmas countdown tree with treats, and hung the greeting card holder. The front door has a new festive wreath, and a snowman flag is flying.

Christmas carols have been playing all day, and the virtual fireplace was flickering and popping on the television screen. I'm ready to enjoy the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Binding Four Quilts

adding binding to Blackbird Village
November 2018
Blackbird Village is machine quilted (thank you, Karla Z. in Red Lodge, Montana), and the binding is sewn on and hand-tacked, too. The quilt is completely finished.

pressing the corner on a Quilt of Valor binding
November 2018
After the binding is sewn on one side with the sewing machine, I usually press it into place. Having the pressing crease makes it easier to keep the binding a consistent width when hand tacking or machine stitching. I also like how the corners are more crisp and defined from being pressed.

Besides binding Blackbird Village, binding and labels were added to three Quilts of Valor (QOV) before Thanksgiving. The quilts were originally intended to be sent to Montana, but because of some miscommunication, these QOV will be awarded in Laramie.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sewing Again

Ritzy Cracker blocks in progress
November 2018
It's been nearly a month since I've sewn any blocks. The blue scraps to make more Ritzy Cracker blocks for a Quilt of Valor were cut weeks ago, but my enthusiasm for sewing has been AWOL.

I finally sat down at the sewing machine Saturday because it was snowing - prime sewing weather. While these blue blocks are still not finished, they are closer than they were last week.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Back in Time - Hawaii

a street near Waikiki
Oahu, Hawaii
June 1976
Doesn't this photo remind you a a time when life was much less complicated and cars were "tanks" or basically "land boats"?

Taken on my first trip to Hawaii in 1976; I returned in 1985, and again in 2010.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

view from George Washington's pew
Christ Church, Alexandria, VA
April 1995
Did you know that George Washington was the first President to write a proclamation for Thanksgiving? President Lincoln took steps to make Thanksgiving a permanent federal holiday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Finishing Touches

adding a collar to the Baby Surprise Jacket
November 2018

Last week, I seamed the shoulders of the Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ) and picked up stitches to add a collar. The directions for adding a collar can be found in this earlier post.

finished Baby Surprise Jacket
buttons will be added later
I've knit over ten BSJs since I purchased the pattern several years ago. I prefer to add a collar to the sweater if I have enough yarn.
3 grams remaining
After the collar was added, I had 3 grams of yarn remaining - not quite a case of "yarn chicken" but pretty darn close. 

I'll search for some appropriate buttons in the button jar. Hopefully, I can get to that soon, so I can find a recipient for this little jacket. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Where Is It Located?

amaryllis growth
November 18, 2018
Earlier this month, I went into Ace Hardware to purchase an amaryllis. I asked one of the guys wearing an official vest where the amaryllis bulbs were located. He said, "Follow me," and he led me through the store and directly to the light bulb aisle. He scanned the shelves for the bulb. I laughed and said, "It's a plant."

He blushed and sheepishly led me to the appropriate aisle. I wonder if he shared the story with his coworkers?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Local Treasure

the altar and part of the pipes for the organ
St. Matthew's Cathedral
Laramie, WY
November 2018
Yesterday afternoon I attended a pipe organ concert at the St. Matthew's Episcopal Cathedral. The concerts are hosted by Friends of Music and performed monthly (October - May) in three Laramie locations.

This was my first visit to the Cathedral and I enjoyed viewing the beautiful stained glass and architecture. The building was constructed in the late 1800's, and the curator told me the main building hasn't changed much since then, but the spires and the stained glass were added in the early 1900s. The main tower has a working clock that chimes the hour and half hour.

During the hour long concert, the organ (installed in 1925) was played by four local musicians and was a treat to hear.
note the ornate decorations on the pipes 
the setting sun makes the local sandstone exterior glow
According to Wikipedia:  The cross at the top of the spire is 118 feet (36 m) feet above the ground and 7,276 feet (2,218 m) above sea level, which makes St. Matthew's the highest cathedral in the United States. There are 11 bells in the tower cast by Meneely & Co., of Watervliet, New York. The clock on the tower was made by the E. Howard Clock Co. of Boston.

I plan to return to the church another day when I have more time to look at the stained glass and the architecture.  This church is one of the historical gems of Laramie.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Back in Time - Sisters

Marilyn & Evelyn
approximately 1948 or 1949

I love my sisters' silhouettes on the car in this old photo. If the photo was taken in 1948, Marilyn would have been three years old, and Evelyn (Sis) would have been seven years old.

Don't you love the matching posing stances and their outfits - right down to the shoes and anklets.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Clever Idea

Goodwill Store
Laramie, WY
November 2018
 One of the employees at the local Goodwill transformed the wire dress forms into clever holiday decorations. The forms have been in the store since late summer, but suddenly they came to life.

I like the red "dress" better than the purple one. Which one appeals to you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fabric Donation

patriotic panel
November 2018
Remember the Quilts of Valor (QOV) that I made from the patriotic napkins, purchased at a silent auction?
     Clean Sweep
    American Spirit
    Super Moon
    Morning Star
    Shoo Fly

I was recently given some yardage with the same panel with six eagle squares. These squares will be used to make more Quilts of Valor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Rhinoceritis is a Real Threat

play program and knitting
November 2018
Last week, I attended a play at the University of Wyoming. Rhinoceros was first performed in 1959, yet its message is still as relevant today as it was 59 years ago. The actors did a wonderful job with the script and the staging, and the playwright's message was clearly presented.

It was not an entertaining play, and at times, it was very uncomfortable to watch; however, that was the playwright's intent. According to Wikipedia, The play is often read as a response and criticism to the sudden upsurge of Fascism and Nazism during the events preceding World War II, and explores the themes of conformity, culture, fascism, responsibility, logic, mass movements, mob mentality, philosophy and morality. 

The director's note in the program stated. ". . . it is not the unapologetically evil that must be feared, but rather the indifference that allows them to grow, the refusal of the average person to make a stand and say, 'this is not us.'"

The message of the play has lingered in my mind . . .

I refuse to become a Rhinoceros!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Fun with Cub Scouts

Mexican Train group teaches Tiger Cub Scouts how to play
November 2018
On Saturday, five players from the senior Mexican Train Domino group taught five Tiger Cub Scouts, their leaders/parents/siblings how to play the game. The boys lead those gathered in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Scouting Pledge, and before the games began, everyone took advantage of the treats the Scouts brought to share.
We played for two hours and had a lot of fun.

(Faces of the children have been obscured in the photos because of their age)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Caught in the Act

deer caught raiding pumpkins on display
Parker, CO
October 2018
Brenda snapped this photo of a deer munching on her neighbor's pumpkins. He looks surprised to have been caught in the act.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Urban Forest Mural

mural on the corner of Third and Custer Streets
Laramie, WY
October 2018

This large mural invites closer observation. Note the single tree on the far right of the second photo. I can only speculate about the artist's message behind this impressive mural.

Monday, November 5, 2018

A Balancing Act

Community Band performance
October 2018
Last week was a whirlwind of activity: every day I had some event or activity on my calendar.

Monday evening, I attended a performance of the Laramie Civic Chorus and the Community Band. It was very enjoyable. The young man in the percussion section who is shown far left in the photo was like a whirling dervish, dashing from one instrument to the next with his sheet music fluttering along with him.

Tuesday morning found me in a Women's Bible study group. I had several errands that kept me busy in the afternoon.

Wednesday afternoon, I knit with the Needlework group at the senior center. The group has grown from three to twelve in the short time I've been attending. I cast off the Baby Surprise Jacket, and asked some of the ladies to figure out how it would be folded into a sweater. It was fun to watch as they flipped it this way and that.

Mexican Train dominos
November 2018

The Mexican Train domino group meets on Thursday afternoon at the senior center. Interest in this group has grown as well. I'm hoping we will eventually have two full tables. I settled in Thursday evening, to watch a movie on Netflix, but a friend called to see if I wanted to go to a UW Boys Basketball game. She said she would be by to pick me up in fifteen minutes - just enough time to change out of my lounging togs and put on my shoes and a coat. The team didn't play well, but they won.

Friday afternoon, I met with the Book Club at the senior center to discuss The Store by James Patterson. The group is small, but they bring up some good points for discussion.

UW Girls Basketball
November 2018
Friday evening, I joined my friend for another basketball game, but this time with the UW Girls team. They played very well and also put one in the win column.

Saturday, I crashed and spent the day being a homebody: I made a pot of white chili with chicken, did some laundry, and read a book.

My life has settled into a new routine, and I'm gradually adjusting to all the opportunities available in the community. I enjoyed all the activity last week, but I also craved more downtime because the time I had to knit or to sew or to read was minimal. I hope to find a balance between socializing and working on my hobbies.

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