Sunday, April 27, 2008

Beaches to Babies

This is a Happy Anniversary blog! Two years ago tomorrow, a Florida beach was the scene of a beautiful wedding. Today, the newlyweds are on the beach again! Hope they're having a wonderful vacation in Hawaii! Even though grandbaby #1 is along for the ride, he's much easier to travel with now ! Congratulations J & J :)

Sometimes You Have to Stay Home

Some weekends, we just need to stay home. Even though the Harley sat in the garage calling out to us, we devoted the last couple of days to a little (well, maybe not so little!) home improvement project.

Our deck was in need of serious help. Even though it's not that old, it was apparent that the upkeep (that should have been kept!) was going to become more intense every year. "Deck?" you say. "Aren't they supposed to be working on the kitchen? What's up with that?" Yes, the kitchen is still in the works. The cabinets are stacking up in a corner of the basement. But we knew that if we were going to work on the deck, we need to take adavantage of some of the cool, pleasant spring weather we've been having.

Here's a couple of before photos. The wooden balusters have been removed and stacked on the wavy, blotchy deck flooring.

Here's the master carpenter at work. We are using a composite decking material from Weatherbest. It could have been screwed down to the original floor joists, but D chose to use his biscuit jointer to make slots for these special fastening clips. They draw the floor boards together and to the joists without the look of dozens of screw holes across the floor. As each old deck board was removed, my job was to remove the nails and stack under the deck. Hopefully, we can find someone to give them a new home.

After two days of un-accustomed physical labor, we had the floor replaced. On the second day, he actually trusted me with the screw gun and allowed me to do more than remove nails and be "gofer". We've still got lots of work to do but we did accomplish a lot today! The new posts are in place but I've got to find more of the cute little lights before we can finish up the railing. You can barely make out the light on the second post from the left. I forgot to take a final photo of the day until right before I sat down to blog! It's pretty dark out there right now. We'll also enclose underneath the deck and replace the stairs. D might be a little stiff and sore tomorrow after using some muscles he'd forgotten about. But he's not forgotten his construction heritage or skills. He probably wouldn't admit it, but I think he actually enjoyed this stage of the project. There's still a lot to do though, and hopefully it won't take us all summer. After all, there's still the kitchen!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Night Fish Fry

Such a beautiful Friday evening! Off we went to find a Friday Night Fish Fry! Back when we lived in Wisconsin, all we had to do was drive to the nearest corner bar/restaurant for some tasty "healthy" fried fish. Here a bike ride across the river and down the highway to the far corner of Louisville will take you to Mike Linnig's. Their outside dining area is the big draw here. But the seafood is good too! We ordered a combination dinner to share and brought home enough for a lunch or two tomorrow. I forgot to take a photo of the mound of food, again ! My apologies to those of you who enjoy those food photos - I don't know why I couldn't remember to take that picture! I guess we were too hungry and dug right in. The Kentucky Derby is next weekend. Even though we've never been to the Derby or the Oaks, living this close to all the festivities, there's always something "Derby-ish" of interest. Everyone knows that if you go to the Derby, you need a hat! My favorite craft store, Dee's, has devoted a large portion of their floor space to customized Derby hats. The displays are beautiful and some of these are quite creative. This is just a small section of what they had on hand when I stopped by there earlier this week. Aren't they pretty?
Beamer thanks you for all the well wishes for his vet visit yesterday! He actually traveled a little better than usual. After a couple of shots and one large needle with his micro chip, he was very happy to come home! But at 19 1/2 lbs, he's been put on a diet. Our vet says that wet food is actually less fattening for cats than the dry kibble. That should make Beamer happy because he seems to enjoy that more anyway. Here he is checking out my new kitchen rug, but maybe he's really just sending a message!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nothing quilty - yet.

Nothing very quilty has been going on here this week. I did go to the B.O.M. meeting at Among Friends on Monday. I was afraid I would miss it this month and have to pay my $5 to get my block, but thanks to a cancelled (postponed) doctor appointment I was able to take advantage of the drive to Louisville and make the Monday meeting. At the monthly meetings, Wendy always highlights the new fabrics and products in the shop. And they always have the newest, prettiest, cutest stuff!

This is the new Prairie Paisley line by Moda. I've been admiring this online ever since I first saw it. They have a quilt kit for sale that is similar to the one that Cheryl at PolkDotsandRickRack is working on. I was tempted to buy the kit, but have enough projects right now. I did bring home a few fat quarters to drool over and add to the "stash" :) I spent several minutes admiring the HQ16 that they have on display there. I wish my quilting skills were good enough to warrant the investment. Maybe someday in the distant future! Practice, practice, practice! I'm jealous of everyone that was talking about going to Paducah this weekend. D had said he would take me, but our plans are to work on the house instead this weekend (I'm sure a motorcycle ride will evolve sometime). I'm sure going to the AQS Quilt Show would only cause un-necessary purchases and tempt me with projects I don't have time to complete! Beamer has a visit to the vet this afternoon. He hates, hates, hates to ride in the car. I'll have to find his cat carrier and turn the radio up really loud to tune out his yowls. Hopefully, we'll both arrive safe and sound! Last night, he decided to take a horizontal bath on my bed. Blissfully unaware of the trauma that awaits later today! Wish us luck!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Ride to the Eighth Wonder of the World?

In the spirit of the original inspirations of this little blog, we were back on the road again today to explore the back roads of Southern Indiana. Of course, we were on the Harley and M & R joined us on their BMW. We started out with sunny skies but they didn't stay with us for long. At least we avoided any rain showers and though chilly, didn't compare to some of the temps we've been riding in lately.

First stop, Schneiders Nursery. This is a huge garden center and nursery with more trees than one can imagine. Their grounds were beautiful. No purchases for us today - it would have been kind of hard to tie that big arbovitae on the trunk of M's bike. I've become fascinated with dogwood trees right now. Wondering if the soil in our back yard would be kind to one, so more research will have to follow. Of course, this will have to be placed on the long-range landscaping plan. First on the list is the replacement of the deck with composite materials. There's nothing more dangerous than garden centers with gorgeous landscaping - well maybe a quilt shop full of yummy yardage!!

Next stop, West Baden Springs. With the opening of Indiana's newest casino at French Lick, a nearby historic hotel has been totally re-furbished into a five star resort. The West Baden Springs Hotel is a gorgeous place in the middle of nowhere! Originally built in 1901 in the style of grand European spas, it was first a world class hotel, then after the stock market crash in 1929, a seminary. It was called the eighth wonder of the world with the world's largest free-span dome (until modern day sports stadiums). D & I were here about seven years ago when it sat empty except for a few guided tours by the Historic Landmark Foundation. We were fascinated by the fact that such a gorgeous building existed for so long, and no one had taken on the task of remodeling.
Heading down the tree lined brick driveway. (Kind of rough on a motorcycle, though!)
A view from one of the rooms with an interior facing balcony. M & D discussing the remarkable feats of the original 1901 engineers. Note the millions of tiny tiles that make up these gorgeous floors.
We asked for and were graciously given a tour of one of the guest rooms. Not your typical motel room ! At least not the ones that we stay at!
Custom made antique reproductions and huge bathrooms. Who would need to visit the spa, golf course, tennis courts, shops (including a H-D gift shop!), restaurants or pool? (We did have a pleasant lunch at one of the restaurants here, complete with live jazz!)
Some of the pretty blooming trees on the grounds surrounding the hotel.

Well, this is it for today's trip! Maybe this is not the highlight of the week. We can officially say we felt the great Midwest Earthquake of April 18, 2008! D forgot to change the alarm clock so we were awake when the house began to groan and squeak as if the wind had come up, but with no wind sound! He thought there might have been an explosion somewhere and living near a rock quarry, we hear (and feel) those occasionally. I told him I thought it might have been an earthquake! I was right! But thankfully, no damages here. Not even a crooked picture or a jostled pantry item! How many of you felt it?

Have a good week! See you later.......;-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Problem Solved !

I've figured it out! Thanks to a little internet searching, I found this website for Flynn Quilt Frame Company with instructions on cutting the backing for a quilt (if you go there, just page down to find them) using diagonal piecing. There is also a formula for figuring the correct amount of backing fabric.
This is probably something a lot of quilters are already familiar with (probably from quilting 101 !) but now I know too! I knew there had to be a way, since I was sure I bought the correct yardage as listed in the pattern. So my project for tomorrow morning will be to make my quilt sandwich and move on from there!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Three Things - or more!

Three things I learned this week:

1. Always, always buy 1/2 yard more of the backing fabric than the pattern calls for. I was all ready to finish up this project this weekend and when I got the backing laid out, I'm about 1/2 yard short. This is the second time this has happened lately. I know I'm going to have to piece the back anyway, but no matter how I did my math, it's not possible. Unless one of you quilty wonder women out there has a secret that I don't know about, I'll be making a trip to the quilt shop this week. What a shame ;-) I think this turned out pretty cute so far though. I used a jelly roll of Deb Strain's Daydreams fabric by Moda. The next big challenge will be to figure out how to quilt it. I think I'll try on my machine this time. Any suggestions are welcome too! 2. Never try to "tweak" Grandma Mary's Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Like a lot of you all, I like to watch the Food Network and try new recipes. I haven't done that much lately because, frankly, I'm kind of out the cooking mood. But yesterday, Bobby Flay's Throw Down featured macaroni and cheese. I didn't follow any of the recipes they featured but instead thought I'd just work with the tried and true and see if I could incorporate some new ideas. Bad idea. Grandma Mary's mac and cheese is so simple, it doesn't need tweaking. It does take a little practice to get it just right though and after 33 years I'm getting close! For you non-family members. The basic recipe is this. Boil some macaroni. Drain. Put in baking pan to fit. Stir in cheese (colby works the best, but cheddar or colby-jack will do) as much as you like. Dot with plenty of butter (the real stuff !) Then pour milk (preferably whole milk - but I never have that any more) over the whole thing just until you see the milk coming up through the macaroni. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and salt and pepper. Bake until bubbly and a little crispy on top. Nothing complicated about that. It probably wouldn't win any food network prizes, but its what my family likes. Especially DH. Then I went and made the mistake of messing with his macaroni! Luckily I was able to salvage the leftovers by adding a few more of the key ingredients (that would be butter, milk and cheese!) to accompany our pork chops tonight.

3. Never, ever tell your hair stylist to cut your hair "just a little shorter"! The girl who cuts my hair is a real sweetie and after going to her for about seven years, she pretty much understands my wavy locks. But this past week she got a little carried away. Oh well, at least my hair grows fast but in the meantime I've had some of those "moments" in front of the mirror. Sorry, no pics of the hair cut.

Saturday was Thunder Over Louisville. It is one of the biggest air shows and fireworks displays in the country. We have gone a couple of times but aren't fans of large crowds. They usually have several hundred thousand people on the shores of the Ohio River to enjoy this kick off event for the Derby. This year the weather kept a lot of folks away, but as we drove across the bridge on the Harley for a little shopping trip you can see by this photo people were already setting up their viewing spots early in the morning.
We enjoyed the air show and fireworks in HD in the comfort of our family room. But someday we'll have to go back.. If you are ever in the area, it's quite an experience.
Other than the short trip on Saturday, we stayed home this weekend. Don't be too shocked Uncle L!! He actually worked on the kitchen cabinets. I can't wait to load up these super drawer slides! The lower cabinets will all have pull out shelves so this old body doesn't have to get down on her hands and knees to reach to the back for an elusive pan or lid!
Okay all you food photo fans - here's the snack of the week! Rice Krispie Treats! I had a box of cereal and a bag of smushed marshmallows in the back of the pantry. They won't last long. This is a diet food, right?
Have a Happy Week! Tax Day is Tuesday - D is finishing ours up while I'm here blogging. Procrastination runs in the family!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

She'll Always Be Our Baby!

It may have been a few years ago (I won't mention how few!), but there will only always be a special bond with the first born child. She was also the first grandchild and great-grandchild on both sides in our family and has led the way since!
An extra special birthday wish to our first born ! Enjoy your day E ! We love you ! (I know you kids are all thrilled that I have figured out how to use the scanner ! I promise not to post any of those really embarrassing old photos, just the cute ones !)

A few random photos to accompany the rest of this post. I spent yesterday at the hospital with B for some outpatient surgery. She's doing just fine but not able to control big puppy Leo quite yet. So Leo and I went for a walk this morning. I'm not sure who wore who out, but I think he was glad to get back to his own yard.

It is funny how animals can sense when their owners aren't feeling well. Mouse is normally a loving cat, but has become even more so with B taking it easy.

And this photo is for J. She's been waiting for some new food pics so here it is ! Though I didn't think to snap this with my iphone until a few licks in, I thought you might like to see this yummy chocolate cherry chip cone from Graeters. We stopped there last Friday evening with some friends after we went to see the movie 21 (which we enjoyed and would recommend). Our evening out was extended when our friends discovered they had locked themselves out of their house. I won't go into details about how the guys first tried to break in with an old credit card (didn't work) then tried to break the storm door glass (safety glass!) then finally called a locksmith who let them in with a simple trick (which I won't reveal here!) Made for an entertaining, though expensive, end of our night out!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

We Survived a Weekend with Two Wheels and Minimal Luggage

The forecast of the first nice Spring weekend was enough to get us on the bike and "on the road again"! I'm not sure how accurate the local weathermen claim to be but they failed on the first half of this trip. Hoping that it would warm up a little, we started out late Saturday morning with a plan to see the country side via some back roads between home and southern Kentucky.

Our route took us through Corydon and across the Ohio River into Kentucky. Corydon is a cute little town (the original state capital of Indiana) but we only made a couple of stops there, for what else but food and a quilt shop! Culvers - one thing we miss about Wisconsin, they were everywhere! The closest one to us now is in Corydon and maybe that is a good thing because the frozen custard and butterburgers are not good for the waistlines!

One more quick stop at Hollyhock Quilt Shop where I picked up some fabric for a maternity sundress for DDIL. Hope she likes it (and hope I can get it done before their upcoming vacation)! But no sewing this weekend ! We wound our way through central Kentucky, across some pretty country (attention weathermen: it would have been prettier with the sun shining !). Parts were exactly what you would imagine Kentucky should look like with horse farms, pretty white fences and big houses. I am surprised that some of these photos actually turned out. I would slip off my heavy gloves and try to snap a picture with my numb fingers. Thank goodness I had the strap around my wrist, or my little Kodak might resemble roadkill! By the time we arrived in Bowling Green, it had only warmed up a few degrees. The GPS on the Harley will easily find the local HD dealerships (smart marketing !) so we stopped there to warm up with a cup of coffee. Evidently we had just missed a big Teddy Bear Ride with about eight hundred bikes participating. Bowling Green Harley-Davidson seems like a nice operation with a nice selection of clothing and lots of motorcycles on the showroom floor. As with other locations, I got the required photo for the scrapbook!

The lady at the front desk of our motel recommended Mariah's for dinner. Located in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Bowling Green (with additions) it was pretty good. (If I was doing restaurant reviews though, I'd probably only give it 3 stars out of 5.) Sorry J, no food photos this time! Today we definitely took the scenic route home. Promises of blue skies and warm temperatures finally came true! It was a beautiful day for a ride in the country. We took a break by stopping at the Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site and stretching our legs. If you are ever in the Hodgenville, KY area this is an interesting place. Abe Lincoln was born here at the Sinking Spring Farm.
You can walk right down to the "sinking spring". It was running a good stream today, especially with all the rain that they've had over the past few months. This year is the bicentennial of President Lincoln's birth but unfortunately the ceremony the community had planned this winter was postponed (or canceled?) due to a snow and ice storm.For most of the day, we had the roads pretty much to ourselves. We saw a lot of folks working out in their yards, mowing etc. One time we did have to slow a bit as we waited to pass this farmer but right when I took the picture, this big bus came around the corner. Luckily, narrow roads don't really bother D on the Harley! Can you see the old brick farmhouse on the left side of the road? We passed some nice old homes that probably had been built back in Civil War days.

I could have had a really nice photo of the Anderson County Courthouse in Lawrenceburg. One of the hazards of photography on the move, I don't get a second chance to take the picture when un-wanted automobiles approach from the other direction! Interesting architecture though. The trees are really beginning to blossom finally. I was hoping to get a picture of some of the fields of wild daffodils but wasn't quick or close enough for that.

All total, we rode over 475 miles this weekend! We proved to ourselves that we could spend a weekend with only two wheels and minimal luggage. D is ready for a longer trip and I think it might be okay if we could be assured of weather like today. I might need the lambswool cushion and a larger luggage pack for anything over two or three days. But we are both tired tonight! We might need to work up to longer trips by adding a day at a time!

I don't know if Beamer missed us or not. He's been left on his own several times this past month so maybe he's getting used to it though he was happy to go outside, spend some time on his patio chair and watch the birds.

Thanks for joining me on this travelogue! Have a nice week.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

And the Color Is.......?

The baby train has left the station! And it is BLUE!!!

J and J found out today that they are expecting a baby boy! I was wrong,(yes I do admit it!) I was sure they would have a girl. But unless technology has made a mistake and saw something that isn't really there, we will have a grandson in a few months! Most importantly, everyone is healthy. Be sure to check the baby ticker on the sidebar for an update.

I thought the expecting parents (and maybe the rest of you) might get a smile from these photos I found buried in a box in the basement this evening.

Here's one proud Dad with his only son. Don't you just love all that hair (on baby J too!) Both pretty cute aren't they?

Here's baby JMD with Grandpa JMD. Will there be another JMD? This Grandpa was blessed with only daughters and four granddaughters so was very happy to have a grandson. Though he wasn't able to pass the last name along, at least the initials stayed the same!

That's my news for the day!