Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vacation Part II - Hiking @ Hawk Mountain

So after some time in Amish country and visiting with my bro, it was time to head out for some hiking. We stopped at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. It is a non-profit, large (2500+acres) mountaintop preserve for raptors and other birds of prey. I can remember visiting there as a kid with my family and wanted to show Paul the great views.

We stopped at the visitor center to pay our trail fees. We stopped at the South Lookout, where a large group of birders were enjoying the views. We then took the Lookout Trail and stopped at the various lookouts to check out the scenery and the birds. After checking the map and the trail head (first picture below), we decided to tackle the Escarpment Trail. It was an amazing, rocky trail that reminded us of our backpacking trip to Isle Royale, but at the top of a mountain instead.

River of Rocks overlook
The Escarpment Trail

View from the north lookout

Hawk at Kettle View lookout
We completed that trail, stopped at the various lookouts, tested out the panorama function on my phone camera, enjoyed the view at the North Lookout, and took the much more leisurely Lookout Trail back to the car. More pictures (including the panoramas) are posted at our gallery webpage.

After changing shoes it was time to jump in the car and head to Tuscarora State Park for some yurt camping - or "glamping" as my neighbors called it :P

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Vacation post #1

I actually got a vacation that didn't involve staying home and cleaning while my husband worked! We were able to finally get time off simultaneously and put it to good use! We have the craziest vacation request process at work and since I have hardly any seniority compared with my department co-workers, I'm usually stuck with the leftover weeks that no one else wants (so no summer vacations for me until some people retire!)

Anyway, I have always loved the fall and since the vacation week fell so close to our anniversary, we decided to hit the road and get some camping, hiking, and wining in. I grew up in the Pocono Mountains and we were married at the Harry Packer mansion in Jim Thorpe. So we headed back that way, since I don't get home very often. We were able to do some outdoorsy stuff, hit a wine trail, visit with family, and enjoy some downtime.

First, we headed to Amish country in the Lancaster area, where my brother lives. We decided to try out a bed and breakfast, since we've never done that before. We quickly learned that we aren't B&B people (not early risers, not big breakfast eaters, I'm not good at small talk, etc.) The couple that owns the house we stayed at was very nice and friendly, but it was just awkward - I felt like I was staying at a distant relative's house and couldn't really get comfortable. My hubs felt the same - lesson learned: don't book for more than one night if you aren't really sure about it. We had reserved for three days and it was 2 days too long.

So after visiting with the bro and checking out some great breweries - Lancaster Brewing Company makes a great Milk Stout and their Amish Four Grain is awesome! I also had a Shoo-Fly Porter that was to die for - wanted to bring some home, but only available in growlers and we still had almost a week left - it wouldn't survive the trip home. They had great food and the sampler beer tray was great to share and enjoy with the boys.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pillows are done!

I was finally able to finish Lizzie's pillows - one in cool colors and one is warm colors. They will be making there way to Pennsylvania soon (if I can bring myself to pack up the blue and green one!). I hope she loves them!

pillows for Lizzie

And guess who's birthday is today?!?!?! That's right! My crazy "little" puppy, Sutton turned the big 0-1 today! Happy Birthday, Booger!


Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm still alive!!

Just realized it's been way too long since I posted! I'm not quite sure where the time has gone....oh, let's see, started back to school, been working a bunch of OT, a week of flu and fever, a week without power, and enjoying the summer with friends and family...not much happened on the sewing front.

I did finish my Hullabaloo squares quilt for my friends Julie & Jason for their first baby. I didn't get to take pictures of it before I sent it off to Chicago, but hopefully they will get some pics of the quilt and its new owner soon for me!

I have a plus sign quilt top done for Quilts for Kids that I need to baste together and keep working on my other UFOs. I also am working on two string pillows for my cousin. She came out to visit in June with my mom and aunts and uncle and fell in love with my fabrics. She really liked the string pillows that I made for my living room and I offered to make her some. She picked out 2 distinct color palettes (she splits time between her mom's and her dad's houses), so she's getting one for each bedroom! Here's a little sneak peek that I sent to her. Once they are shipping off to PA, I'll post more pictures - you never know who's looking :)

And the lazy dogs are as lazy as ever! Sutton(he'll be a year old on the 19th!) has now out-grown his dad. They are not enjoying the super hot temperatures we've been having!
Waiting patiently for watermelon!
The old man

Friday, May 6, 2011

3 more down.....

Got the three latest blocks done from the p2 modern solids quiltalong....Tail Spin, Stacked, & 4 Wheeler....only 1 more to go...I'm glad I've been able to keep up with this QAL!

Next 3 blocks completed!

I received my GXQ Kona Your World 2 FQs in the mail a few days ago too!
GXQ Kona Your World 2 swap goodies

Stack 1: Tomato, Orange, Buttercup, Cactus, Chartreuse, Sour Apple
Stack 2:Cyan, Bahama Blue, Royal, Berry, Stone, Snow

And I've been catching up on old episodes of a favorite....Doctor Who...Thanks to Netflix, 5 seasons of the Doctor are available, along with some of the specials....So even though I'm Tivo-ing the latest episodes from BBC I now have  more chances to see my favorite doctor - David Tennant......I haven't broken down and got the DVD sets yet, but they'll be in my house soon, I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

p2 QAL Update

Did my week 4 blocks - really happy with the way they turned out! My points are getting closer together, so my piecing must be improving!! Yea, me!

 Here are week 4's blocks
 A little collage of all my blocks so far...
And my two lazy dogs.... :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

It is spring, right?

 Mother Nature has decided to play an April Fool's prank really late!!! Can this be real?!? Oh yeah....1-3" daffodils are hanging their heads in disgust....You think the snow will help the grass seed I put out last week?

But while it's snowing, I'm busy working....I have 2 baby shower quilts to make - here's the first one for my friends Julie....A great fat quarter set from Fabric Closet... with fabrics from Michael Miller, Patty Young, & Paula Prass. And I found a really cute free pattern on the Moda I'm cutting up the fabrics today and hope to get some sewing done too....have to go check out the p2 modern solids QAL some time today too!

Monday, April 11, 2011

p2 progress

After deciding on what block to use for the center, I was able to knock out all three blocks so far....trying to get decent pictures with this camera and the sun shining in the patio door was not working out....sorry for my shotty photography skills...

This one is my favorite so far....and lots left over to use on the quilt backing!! (Can you tell I really need a new ironing board cover? Yikes! Need to re iron those....)

Card trick for my middle block - even those I made so many of these for a swap, I still really like this block and think it will go well in the overall quilt design.

Center Aisle - my seams didn't really match up throughout, even though I thought I cut and sewed accurately...the right corner isn't as bad as it seems....I didn't realize it wasn't flat on the ironing board....
Now off to dinner, catching up on some DVR'ed shows, Dancing with the Stars, and hopefully cutting up some fabrics for friends' baby shower gifts....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Charity Quilt #1 finally done!

I was finally able to get the first of my charity quilts done - woo hoo! I just did some straight line quilting to accentuate the squares and turned the backing over to do some self binding (because I forgot to buy fabric for the binding and I wasn't about to stop my progress to go to the store yesterday!!!) The quilt actually lays flat - I was just trying to get the pictures done quickly so I could get that baby into the washer....I'll have more pictures later.

(Sutton overseeing the quilt)

I have the pieces to two others all ready to go - just need me to get in gear. But I have 2 baby shower quilts to make for friends, so those will come first....

And I'm starting the Patchwork Squared Modern Solids Quilt Along too! I went for the Glacier/Cactus kit - love that green!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Small projects and a camera issue and the best baked apples ever!

I was able to get a few smaller projects done this week....Unfortunately, the Nikon has decided to not take pictures this week, so I'm stuck with the crappy camera on my droid (worst camera ever!!) So bear with me for the blurry, smudgy pictures - it's the best I can do right now)

I put together a quick, easy sewing machine cover - used Habitat by Benartex. I just need to get to the store for some velcro for the side tabs and it will be finished. I wanted something simple to cover it instead of the hard white case it came with.

I also put together a quick nook cover to use instead of my hard leather case. I go back and forth with reading it in the case and out of the case, so this works well for the out of the case one of my favorite fabrics - Lantern Bloom by Laura Gunn...

And last by not least....Baked Apples from America's Test Kitchen....holy cow are these great!! I used grapefruit zest because that's all I had on hand....served up with some Turkey Hill Ginger Snap ice cream....perfection! I used our 12" cast iron skillet and it worked great. Just need to dice the apple a bit smaller next time.


  • 7large (about 6 ounces each) Granny Smith apples
  • 6tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/4cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3cup dried cranberries , coarsely chopped
  • 1/3cup coarsely chopped pecans , toasted
  • 3tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 orange
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  Pinch table salt
  • 1/3cup maple syrup
  • 1/3cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core, and cut 1 apple into 1/4-inch dice. Combine 5 tablespoons of butter, brown sugar, cranberries, pecans, oats, orange zest, cinnamon, diced apple, and salt in large bowl; set aside.
  • 2. Shave thin slice off bottom (blossom end) of remaining 6 apples to allow them to sit flat. Cut top 1/2 inch off stem end of apples and reserve. Peel apples and use melon baller or small measuring spoon to remove 1½-inch diameter core, being careful not to cut through bottom of apple.
  • 3. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in 12-inch nonstick ovensafe skillet over medium heat. Once foaming subsides, add apples, stem-side down, and cook until cut surface is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip apples, reduce heat to low, and spoon filling inside, mounding excess filling over cavities; top with reserved apple caps. Add maple syrup and 1/3 cup cider to skillet. Transfer skillet to oven, and bake until skewer inserted into apples meets little resistance, 35 to 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with maple syrup mixture in skillet.
  • 4. Transfer apples to serving platter. Stir up to 2 tablespoons remaining cider into sauce in skillet to adjust consistency. Pour sauce over apples and serve.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring has sprung!

We finally had a nice break in the weather and I was able to spend some time outside in the yard with the boys. Sutton found every stick possible and tried to get Cooper to play keep away - which he did - for about 2 minutes! Coop is the original lazy dog and really doesn't want to be bothered. All he wanted was to lay down in the sun, but Sutton wasn't going to let that happen at all....So Cooper played for those brief minutes and then moped and followed me around the yard.....

I'm enjoying my last few days of vacation before going back to work on Wednesday. I need to cut my Kona into FQs for the Kona Your World 2 swap and get those sent out and then start working on one of the many WIPs that I have started....

 Sutton - stopped just long enough from playing keep away with Cooper for me to get this pic!
 Daffodils peeking through the pine needles

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Batik swap done!

After much procrastination, being busy, and fighting cold germs, I finally finished my batik swap blocks!!! Yea, Me :)  I went with a simple, classic pattern - Card Trick. I'm happy with how these turned out overall...Made 24 of them plus siggy squares to go with them (only 16 fit on my "design wall"). I had an unfortunate coffee incident on one, but had a small piece of graduated batik fabric, so was able to make one in purples....

Pay no attention to that huge crease! Not sure how I missed it before! Sorry!

I'm back!!

I know it's been a long time since I posted, but life away from the sewing machine takes precedence most of the time....a quick run down of the past month:  (Blogger is being mean to me today, so the pictures won't go where they should and I don't feel like messing with HTML code right now!)

 One of my brother's teammates (left) from the Baltimore Fencing Club
Lightning fast wheelchair was amazing! I made sure I got to see their matches everyday we were there!
  •  nasty head cold that took me out for over a week
  • Sewing day with my ECMO girls....helped them make tote bags from sweaters a la Create and Delegate's tutorial while I chopped up my fabrics for the batiks swap...
  • Work  - we've been really busy lately -  good for my paycheck, bad for my sleep habits!
  • New bed - we really went for it and bought a Sleep Number bed! Got delivered a few days ago - so far no back or shoulder pain! Yippee!!!
  • Continual yard clean up as the snow melted...long lost piles popped up every day or so as the snow disappeared! Finally all cleaned up yesterday! No more snow in the yard! Woot!
  • 4 days at a fencing tournament at Cobo. My brother has been fencing for over 10 years and he came out to coach and cheer on his peeps. He also spent a few days after visiting with us and left yesterday.
  • A trip to The Henry Ford Museum with Fencing Bro....the entire automobile exhibit is getting an overhaul and was closed...but lots of other cool things to see.
  • Drain snake out....ick
  • Catching up on visiting with friends 
  • Reading more books
  • Playing with the boys...the "little one" is now as tall as his dad.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kona mail & Angry Cupcakes!

I got my package in the mail from AnneMarie for the GXQ's Kona Your World swap!!!
Top Row: Purple, Mulberry, Ocean, Cyan, Bahama Blue, Grass Green
Bottom Row: Pond, Snow, Banana, Melon, Pomegranite, Rich Red

Special Thanks to Anne Marie for putting the swap together....can't wait to play with these!

Mr. LazyDog's birthday is today, so I made my favorite geek some geeky cupcakes! I somewhat followed Kristan's post at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. (Granted, I'm the true Angry Birds nut, but we always try to outdo each other on the different levels!) I piped eyes on instead, since I didn't have time to buy sugar eyes and no store near me carries them.I piped icing on for the red birds' chests too - no airheads to be found at the grocery store...He thought they were great! And all the geeks at his office thought they were cool too!

And to celebrate his birthday, we are headed out tonight to see the Detroit Dizzy Dames at Cliff Bell's...cannot wait!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A busy week.....

Finally got the quilt top together for the Don't Call Me Betsy's Sliced Coin Quilt-Along. Here a picture of the quilt top on the guest bed...overall I'm happy with the way it came out - now to decide on a quilt back fabric and how to quilt it!!

Sliced coins quilt top done

Sliced coins quilt top done
Spent a solid afternoon organizing my fabric collection. I put all 1/2 yard cuts or larger onto foam board "bolts" a la The Little Green Bean (second shelf). Then got out all of my FQs and folded them the same way and into clear show boxes from the dollar store (bottom shelf next to pre-cuts). Threads, basting pins, and other notions are on the third shelf. Some of my books reside on the top shelf. (Please look past the lack of trim in the house - it's a work in progress that we are taking our time with.....lazy homeowners too!!)

Fabric organizing

As for scrap pieces, I found this drawer unit at Ikea for $9.99 then added the bins to it....I have these in my basement too for my stained glass supplies (for scrap glass pieces too!). On top are the next projects - batik fabrics for my batik swap, Quilts for Kids quilt supplies, two sweaters with corresponding fabrics to make more bags, and a small box with some of my patterns and colored pencils) up on the organizing is getting all of the patterns and magazine articles I want to keep into one place - probably a binder....
Scrap organizing
Made some Dill Pickle Soup - from the recipe found at Food Floozie. Super yum!!! I doubled the recipe but kept the sausage at one pound - perfect! Just don't add any salt until it's done - my batch didn't need any extra salt...

Dill Pickle soup

And enjoyed some of the sunshine while the boys romped in the yard and ate more snowballs...
Enjoying the snow