Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On the Road - to Fargo

A view of the cutting table laid out among beautiful quilt fabric.I am on the road today for work, visiting the Fargo store. It's a first time visit for me to this store. Lots of nice things to see. The store displays are set up with a nice arrangement to show off various producs. It I wasn't working there today, I probably would have spent some time looking around. How fortunate for me I had the opportunity to do both, today.

The Pfaff Creative Vision sewing and embroidery machine is a dream machine.The top-of-the-line Pfaff Creative Vision is located on this sewing cabinet. The Creative Vision is such a wonderful machine. I am really pleased to be an owner of this machine. I haven't taken much time to sew this summer, but certainly look forward to getting back to work on my Crumb Quilt. The Fargo store has theirs set up right in the center of their store.

Needle Punching - Felting machineI love the samples at this display of the needle punch felting machine. They are really bright and colorful - really catch the eye. Here's another area I could be working on so as not to get too rusty. These little machines are pretty easy to operate. Gues that's another thing I should get back to working on when I get back home tomorrow.

I love the look of this little table runner.The yo-yo's around the perimeter of this table topper certainly enhance its look. I have the yo-yo maker at home already, but have yet to use it. I think this will be something that appeals to me for a future project this fall. I noticed whoever made this example formed the yo-yos to be somewhat fluffy rather than flat. I have always made them to be fairly flat. I enjoy the look and feel of these peices. There are lots of things to see in this shop.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Out for a Sunday Ride

An over-the-shoulder view of the road.I took my first ride on the bike with my dear husband (dh) today. He's been asking me to go riding with him for quite some time (most of the summer). It was such a beautiful afternoon and getting toward the end of summer; I figured I better do it before we lose the last of these great summer days. We headed out by the park and along river road.

Not in sharp focus, but enjoying the ride.I truly enjoyed my time outdoors on this ride. The day couldn't have been better. I takes a bit of getting used to straddling the back seat, and there is a padded leather seat, but it sure didn't seem all the plushly padded. I have to say it was still a bit hard to sit in one position and be bounced along on some of our bumpy streets. Even though a car ride would be more comfortable seating, the bike ride was a lot of fun. Along the way I couldn't help thinking that between the 'padded' bike seat and my 'padded' back side I should have been plenty comfortable. Hummm, do you suppose my back side isn't padded enough? Naaahh! I KNOW that's not the case!

Fields of corn near ready for harvest.The main thing I noticed different riding outside on a bike as opposed to inside a vehicle (along with the sun shining and the nice warm breeze) was the ability to inhale all the great outdoor scents of summer. We passed open fields of newly mown hay and alfalfa, fresh cut grass, the scent of overgrown trees and forrest smell of wooded areas, someone's bar-b-que and the smells of various restaurants with their tempting supper-time preparations. Even the sound of birds and crickets in the overgrown grass along the side of the road seemed cheerful when we stopped at a stop sign. Riding a bike certainly allows more of a heightened sensory experience.

Cows gathered together near side of the road.Typical country scenery came into our view including these cows by the side of the road - all hundled together. One of the many views of North Dakota.
Why do they huddle like that? It made me think of that line in the Sci-Fi film 'I, Robot' where the professor contemplates why the discarded robots huddle together in the dark of their storage crates rather than remaining randomly dispersed. Perhaps it's a sense of community among those cows, in their social group.

Another glimpse of the 'Shadow Riders'.It was such a nice, warm day today. Perfect for an afternoon of riding. The sun was great; shining bright in the sky, casting great shadows like these ones! I love to look at shadows at different times of the day. The angles change, and even the colors seem to change, dependent on the time of day.

Shadows always seem intriquing as a fleeting two dimensional representation of the 3-D world.It seems like I've always been intrigued by the forms of shadows. Their ever changing displays are created by objects from everyday life, but appear as a world all their own. I find it interesting how cast shadows are portrayed in various works of art. They are there at various times, but not at others, different shapes, colors, degrees of intensity and hues. Sometimes painted as blues, purples and violets, sometimes more grays or browns, etc. They are represented so many different ways.

Keeping it at 55mph on the open road.Today was my firt experience riding a motorcycle on the open road at this speed. The most I've seen before is short rides at a slower pace. I was okay with it, though I thought I might freak out. It was actually a great deal of fun and a very relaxing afternoon. Here you can see that he's keeping it at a consistent 55mph.

Another over-the-shoulder view of the road before us.We ended up riding around for several hours. We followed the river for quite some time, then wound our way through some of the new residential housing that's going up on the north side of town. Talk about really big homes! They looked beautiful set out on a somewhat rural setting, with large lots and new landscaping of trees and gardens. I think it would be enjoyable to move further out to a more country setting. I've been thinking about that alot lately.

The road from my vantage point.Here we're heading back into Bismarck on the north side. We stopped for a sub sandwich before getting back out on the road to tool around a bit longer. We ended up on the south side of town, and also a bit on the east side. I liked it better out along the country roads better than going through town. It was such a quiet, peaceful setting in the country.

When we got home dh and I both wanted to get up and stretch our legs for awhile. Sitting in one position can start to make you get all cramped up. We took the dogs out for a nice long walk after we got home. Boy were they rarin' to go! DH had Ginger, our larger hunting dog and I held onto the two chihuahuas. They were so excited to be out for a walk, pulling against the leads like two little miniature sled dogs. Picture that little dinky dog that pulled the sled for the Grinch in the classic Dr. Seuss movie, 'The Grinch Stole Christmas'. That was me, with two little dinky dogs. Of course Sugar tires out midway through our walks. By the time we were heading home I still had Sparky pulling ahead of me and Sugar dragging her heels behind me. DH and Ginger were way out front in the lead.
Our relaxing Sunday afternoon was one of the best of the summer. It ranks way up there with taking the boat out onto the lake. I'm looking forward to when we can do it again.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Old Family Photos

I have been going through some of our old family photos looking for pictures from the days the kids were little. One of my sons has been asking me to send copies from those years. It's funny how you remember an image in your mind so much differently than what it really was in life. Photos are a good way to record things since we are often so forgetful. I'm posting a few of the photos here, just because . . .

The boys at a rest stop in Germany.Traveling the Autobahn in Germany - we stopped at a rest stop to get out of the car for awhile. It gave the boys a chance to stretch their legs and run off some energy. They are standing on top of a huge boulder that was part of the landscaping here.

Cousins - together for a visit.My sister and her husband were stationed in Germany at the same time we were stationed there. We were at opposite ends of the country, and decided to meet for a mini vacation. Here they are, cousins posing for a group shot. We were visiting tourist spots. I think this was in the courtyard of one of Germany's castles.

Playing 'Superman' with home-made outfits.The boys loved Superman and used to tie small blankets and bath towels around them as capes when they played. I decided to sew some Superman outfits for them, but only had limited fabric available at the time. Thus their costumes ended up being white and blue. They didn't seem to care as they played Superman for hours on end running around with their arms out in front like they were flying.

A scenic view in the Badlands of the Dakotas.One of our vacation trips we headed south which took us through the Badlands. We stopped at a place with a scenic roadside view to take pictures. This is certainly beautiful country, on a nice warm summer day. The boys and I posed for the camera with this wide open vista. It's too bad it wasn't a wide shot lens, this landscape went on for miles.

Neighborhod friends with attitude.The boys loved to play with the kids who lived down the street. They were always either all at our house or all at their house. I got out the camera and asked them to pose for photo. They'd been playing for awhile and were really cutting up and joking around. I couldn't get them to hold still for a calmer, more serious picture for very long. This day it was all about 'attitude' trying to out-do one another in their poses and zaniness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Turkey Vultures Circling

Turkey VulturesWe were driving past the state capital the other day and I noticed a huge number of birds circling around the area. There is some new construction taking place with the city creating new walking paths around the capital grounds. There was a story about the new walking paths on the news last night.

Turkey VulturesPerhaps the reason all these birds are currently circling around the area has something to do with the workmen and construction equipment disturbing the area they have been nesting? I don't know, just a guess. Anyway, driving by the other day, thinking there may be a dead animal in the area, got me thinking about these birds.

Turkey VulturesSo I googled Turkey Vulture and found some interesting stuff I never heard about before. Info there says these birds weigh about six pounds and have a wing span of up to six feet across. From what I can see, these have got to be that big, they're huge!

Turkey VulturesI didn't get an actual count on them because of them moving around so much. It looks as if there are about 15-20 birds in this grouping. Perhaps they're migrating through the area? I can't remember having seen so many together at one time in this area before.

Turkey Vulture close upIn my Google search I went to the Turkey Vulture Society website. I never would have thought there was a Vulture Society. They had lots of interesting info about these birds. For instance, they hardly have to flap their wings when they fly. Rather they launch themselves and glide. According to their website, these birds can glide for up to six hours without having to flap their wings. They gain height by catching thermal air drafts then circle till they find another thermal.

During my search on-line I ran across an article in the Bismarck Tribune dated last week about the Turkey Vultures in town. It said there were 130 nesting on the north side of Bismarck.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Oshkosh Airshow 2008

Mr. B and Ben travel to Oshkosh in style.I'm a bit late getting these photos posted; but better late than never, right? The airshow took place last week. My son, Ben, won a trip for two to the Oshkosh Airshow. He invited his dad to accompany him on the trip. It was a good bonding experience and an opportunity to get away to do something a little bit different, out of the ordinary. Mr. B drove out to visit the boys and he and Ben flew out to Oshkosh the next day.

A patchwork look at the world below.Their view from the plane showed the fields looking like a patchwork quilt. It's such a pretty view to look out and see. Whenever I fly this is one of the reasons I like a window seat. The views are great.

Ben finds a seat with a view.A view of the interior of the plane in which they flew to Oshkosh. Ben looks comfortable here, camera at the ready, a cold drink in hand. Let the weekend begin!

A view from the pilot's seat - plane dashboard.Mr. B had to get a shot of the dashboard of the plane that took them out to Wisconsin. Dashboard? Is that the correct term for a plane's control panel? It looks complicated to me. Or it could be a very elaborate computer simulator. . . Nope, this one's for real.

Dashboard of the rental car.Here's a view of the dashboard in the rental car they had for the weekend.

Welcome to the Oshkosh Air Show.A big welcome to the Oshkosh Air Show. Step under the arch and enjoy the activities.

Planes at the show.I can display the photos, but don't know all the details about the planes. So some input in the comments is welcome here.

Plane #1

Another plane of interest.Here's another plane.

Plane #2

This is cool.How cool is this - take your motorcycle along on your next flight!

Overhead air show.A look up at a plane flying overhead during the airshow.

Plane #3

Synchronized flying.Another overhead view of the synchronized flying in formation.

a simulated bombing attack.This was not a real bomb. No one was injured during filming of the airshow. Okay, just a light-hearted comment. This was a simulated bomb attack during the show for effects. It's a pretty good illusion. You'll notice no one's running for their lives.

There were lots of other digital photos stored in the camera when Mr. B got back. This small sampling gives a good feel for the show. Mr. B said he had a good time and was glad to have had the opportunity to share this time with Ben.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What's on my Computer

A peek at what's been on my computer recently - 4D Suite program is showing in this picture.I spent most of the day working on my website. It's amazing how slow I still am at working through some of the info to get things to work right. I'm pretty pleased with my results so far. I've just about got the main templates for the pages done, then it's just a matter of inputting copy for each page. I feel good about what has been accomplished at this point.

My image with this blog posting shows a picture of my Pfaff 4D Suite embroidery digitizing software on the screen. I haven't been playing with that program near enough this summer, but once the website's up and running I plan on adding some embroidery designs to see how the response is. I know this blog isn't being looked at my very many people yet. That should change over time as I get going more with all my plans.

Meanwhile, I have certainly been enjoying the summer. It's hard to believe we're already into August. My, time sure goes fast!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Working on Website

A snapshot of me, Doreen.
Lately I have been working on creating my new website. I'll post a link once I get it uploaded, but it might be awhile. I have in mind several more pages of info and photos that still need to be worked out. But you'll definitely get first notice, and a link, here at my blog. I want to make sure I have all the testing done and the bugs out before uploading. I have yet to find a hosting site to work with, so need to scout out a few of those as well.

My elf doll now has a name - Elsie.I finally named my favorite cloth elf doll. She goes by the name, Elsie. This also happens to be the name of one of my aunts. I like the name, and I like it for this doll. She is the mascot for my website and is the "voice" to show my web visitors around.

I've been getting in a lot of walking with the dogs lately. Mr. B says he can really see the difference in our little chihuahua, Sugar. She seems to have slimmed down quite a bit. This is a good thing. The vet said she needed to drop a pound. Our other little guy, Sparky, is still the skinny one. But now Sugar can make it up and down the steps a bit easier than before. Mr. B is happy about Ginger looking a little thinner as well. I overheard a 'conversation' he had with her the other day about how she looks like she's getting ready for hunting this fall. In previous years it took her a few trips out into the field to be in shape and energetic for walking all those tree rows while pheasant hunting. This year I think she'll be the one waiting for the humans to catch up as they get used to all the walking.

A few days ago I took Ginger to the Tom O'Leary golf course here in Bismarck for an extended period of walking. Earlier that day all three of the dogs came with me for a shorter walk around the neighborhood, but it was just Ginger and I for this longer, extended walk. We both got pretty tired out. It was a long walk. I have to say my feet and ankles were pretty sore the next day, and Ginger seemed to move a bit slower, too. I am not sure of the distance walking the sidewalks and paved perimeter of the course, but there are lots of ups and down with the rolling hills of the terrain. I ran out of breath for parts of the walk and had to slow down. We probably won't make that one of our usually outings, but it's a fun challenge from time-to-time.

We've been heading outdoors most everyday after the heat of the day starts to cool down. All I have to do is mention the word 'walk' and the dogs get excited. They're like having kids around, listening to everything we say. If I mention the work 'walk' they know what we're talking about. Ginger has even been known to go over to the hook where I hang the leashes and jiggle them around at the mention of the word 'walk'. We've taken to spelling it out at times like we had to spell C-A-N-D-Y for the kids when they were little. Sometimes they seem so much like kids, those dogs make me laugh!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Increasing My Daily Fiber

Here are some scraps being sewn into a crumb quilt.I've been getting a little extra fiber lately - in the form of fabric with a little sewing therapy. I'm using some of the scraps uncovered in my organizing efforts to make a crumb quilt. I saw the idea of a crumb quilt at this site and also here and here. I came across these sites quite by accident one day when following various links from one blog to another.

A closer view of the process.Crumb quilts are scrap quilts made from the small cotton scrap left overs from other projects. These scraps are all sewn together, as orderly or as haphazardly as they go together. There is a lot of freedom to just sew without having to follow any specific pattern. Once the scraps are sewn together to form a large enough piece it is then squared up, or trimmed, to whatever size square desired to fit your quilt.

Keep sewing your scraps together till the piece is large enough to cut to the size of your block.I have also been cutting up some of my larger fabric scraps into 2 1/2" strips. I am planning on using them to go around these 6 1/2" crumb quilt blocks. These will be the 'centers' of a variation of a log cabin-ish block. In my head it looks good. I'll find out how it really looks in real life once I get started sewing those strips to these crumb blocks.

I've started a collection of 6 1/2 inch crumb blocks for use in a quilt.Meanwhile, I've still got a bit more to sew to use up the scrappy crumb blocks I've got going here. I'll keep you posted on my progress. This is a relaxing kind of quilt to make because it's a kind of mindless sewing I can do while watching TV without having to stick to a pattern. You just cannot mess this one up.