Sunday, June 28, 2015

Splash Party

We held Eve's second birthday party at Fasola Park in Deptford, NJ.  Fasola Park just put in a splash park and does not charge admission. They also have picnic tables and a playground. Every town should have one of these.

After yesterday's rain it was nice to be outside in the sunshine.

A good time was had by all.

OASIS Farm in Red Bank, NJ

Even though the weather was a bit iffy, I had a wonderful day on Saturday with my good friend, April. She had invited me to the Breakfast Cafe at Oasis Farm in Red Bank, NJ. April is an adjunct staff member at OASIS and teaches students how to weave.
I arrived at the Farm and was struck by the beauty of the setting, a lovely old farmhouse. Oasis provides an educational experience and vocational training for adults with autism.
On the porch I was greeted by a student who led us to our table in the dining room. Our meal was prepared by students, under the guidance of staff members, and was delicious. The students did a great job serving our table and making me feel welcome, and most of the food served was produced right here at the farm.

After our yummy meal April took me on a tour of the place. I got to make friends with some of the animals.

Afterwards I saw the weaving studio. April has some great looms to work with including a Leclerc Fanny counterbalance loom, a Dorset, and a 32" Ashford Rigid Heddle loom, to name just a few. The students learn to weave tote bags, yoga eye pillows, Inkle bands for goat and dog collars, and other items that can be purchased at the Farm store. The students also spin their own yarn on a Louet spinning wheel.

Please note:  OASIS Farm may only be visited by appointment, with no drop-ins allowed.  The Breakfast Cafe is by reservation only and takes place on Saturday mornings. 

After seeing everything at the Farm we took a drive over to A Stitch in Time in Farmingdale, NJ, a nice little yarn shop filled with customers knitting and shopping. We also stopped in to a consignment store and the Collingwood Flea Market. I enjoyed the day with my friend :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lessons Learned

One thing that happened in the aftermath of the big storm was that all three of my daughters were out of gas when disaster struck. Local gas stations were either not open due to the power outage or else there were scary long lines, reminiscent to me of the gas lines in the '70's (that dates me, eh?) We had a full tank of gas in our car and were able to lend it to my daughter when she went out for supplies this morning. But what if we had had to evacuate for some reason? And roads were crammed with bumper to bumper traffic?  It is important to keep a vehicle gassed up and not let the tank go below half full. This is especially true with the motorhome, to be able to bug out in case a hurricane approaches or some other natural disaster occurs.

I'll just step down off my soapbox now.

Today Bob and I went for annual eye exams, then returned to continue working on the pond. Kristen used the shop vac to clean the mud from the bottom, then rinsed and vacuumed a couple more times until it was clean. We installed a new pond filter and filled the pond and we're excited to see it come together. It looked so nice! Unfortunately, there must be a leak somewhere in the lining because the level dropped after a couple of hours. Sigh.  If we can find it, we can patch it. Otherwise it's going to need a new liner and more work.  I would love to see that project completed before we leave!

Bernie came over today and is making Kristen and me frames for each of us. Kristen has a print that needs framing and I have a cross stitched picture that Kristen made me years ago. It needs a new frame so it can be hung in the motorhome.

Bob stayed busy all day doing odd jobs around Kristen's house. We are both pretty tired right now. At least the power stayed on! Life is good.

Happy birthday to my youngest granddaughter, Eve today. She is two years old.


We have been without power for over 24 hours as I write this on Wednesday evening. To back up, on Tuesday evening Bob and I were getting ready to drive into Deptford for "Indoctrination" at the Elks lodge, when our phones all started sending us alerts. First they were fore severe thunderstorms, then for flooding, and within a few minutes the alerts were for tornado warnings. We take tornado warnings very seriously because a motorhome is not built to withstand the force of a tornado.  Bob and I jogged on over to daughter Kristen's house in time to help her close windows and reassure the boys that everything was going to be fine.

We all watched the skies darken and the winds begin to blow like a son of a gun. A large tree limb fell with a crash onto the lawn chairs where we had been sitting a few minutes before. Lightening snaked across the sky and rain poured down. Within minutes the winds eased up. 

Looking at the time Bob and I figured we had enough time to get to the meeting if we hustled, and since the storm looked like it had moved on we headed off to Deptford. 

We had to dodge downed tree limbs as we drove, but got to the beginning of the street where the Lodge is located when we were stopped by a police car barricading the road. Twice more we hit police barricades before we made it to the Lodge. Surprisingly we were on time but had to wait for others who also had difficulty navigating the local roads. We later heard that a tornado had indeed touched down in the area, destroying a home. Cars were also flipped over. Scary!  We were indoctrinated, I paid my dues, and am ready to be initiated at the meeting next week.

On the way out of the meeting at about 8:30 we saw that the rain had stopped and the sky was an eerie bright yellow. Very odd.

Kristen told me the power went out right after we left for the meeting, and cell phone connection was lost as well.  Fortunately, because of our "house battery" and generator, we have been able to keep our fridge running and we were able to run our fan last night for a comfortable night sleep. Ours were the only lights in the neighborhood last night.

This morning we all worked to cut up the downed limb, and moved all the branches out to the side of the road. 

Then Bob and I emptied the little pond in the backyard that had been filling with rotting leaves for a long time. It was a backbreaking job and took hours, but we got buckets of slimy, decaying leaves, all the rocks (and there were a LOT of rocks!) and all but the last couple of inches of watery mud out. When we have power again we'll use the shop vac to get the rest.

Granddaughters Quinn and Eve came over to play, and daughter Catherine brought Jillian. Only Emily, who lives north of here, had power at home. We ended up taking a ride to my daughter in law's house a half hour south of us to make sure she was ok, as phones were still not working. She was fine, and came back with us to spend some time with Emily and her air conditioned house. 

We went to bed with windows open and fingers crossed that the power would come on soon. 

Update: In the middle of the night, it did.  Yay!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekend and Braiding

Our weekend was really busy. On Saturday morning we took the motorhome to Mt. Holly's water treatment plant, where for the grand sum of $5 we were able to dump our waste tanks. A good thing, because flushing the toilet was starting to smell.  It had been 15 days since our last dump and unless we bag our used toilet paper and don't flush it, I think 15 days is pretty much our limit. TMI? Dealing with the black water tank is a fact of life in this lifestyle. It doesn't bother me at all, though, because that's Bob's job!Ha!

We arrived back in Cherry Hill in time to join the kids and two grandkids in a trip to Kohl's Off Aisle store. I found a $40 chef's knife with sheath for $10, so I was happy. Afterwards we stopped in for a meal at El Mariachi San Lucas in Cherry Hill. The guacamole was really good and I loved the tacos carnitas I ordered.  I recommend them.

Yesterday was a quiet day. My father passed away almost 12 years ago from Alzheimer's disease and Bob's dad is gone as well. I spent the day organizing and getting rid of things, which I know pleases Bob, and felt good to me as well.

In the evening I set up my marudai to make a ladder braid. The design is from "Beads and Braids" by Jacquie Carey (page 13) and it involves making two braids that are joined after a specific number of repetitions of the pattern. I repeated steps 1-4 four times, then did steps 5 & 6 to join. It was easier than I thought it would be. I used the knobs on the overhead cabinets to measure the threads--it is easier than setting up a warping board and I can measure up to 9 yards as long as the amounts are small.

Finished! With yellow seed beads woven through the ladder braid.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Day in Philly

Yesterday was a quiet day, with nothing really for me to blog about. So I skipped blogging for that day. But today, ah, today--we had ourselves an adventure!

It all started when I googled "museums in Philadelphia." Up popped a list from Wikipedia that had over one hundred museums. That's a lot of places to visit! I have lived in this area since 1990 and I thought I had been to most of the museums. Au contraire! There is still much left to see. So because of that, Bob and I went to N. 3rd Street to visit the Center for Art in Wood, a delightful little gem located in Old City Philadelphia.  As always, it gives me a little thrill to cross the Ben Franklin Bridge and see that skyline.

The Center for Art in Wood's mission is " be the preeminent arts and education organizations advancing the growth, awareness, appreciation and promotion of artists and the creation and design of art in wood and wood in combination with other materials."  It displays a permanent collection as well as traveling exhibitions which inspire and often amuse. Here are some of my favorites:
Crosstalk by Alexi Nutini
Bay Laurel Burl, by Bruce Mitchell
Spud, the Potato Peeler's Stool, by C. R. "Skip" Johnson
  Time Standing Still, by Po Shun Leong and Bob Stocksdale
Source Bench, by Douglas Finkel 
After the museum we walked around Old City, stopping for a bite at OCP Grill, strolling over to Independence Hall (we had no advance tickets so we're unable to go inside,) and visiting Carpenter's Hall, which was the meeting place for the First Continental Congress.  We also went into Philosophical Hall, home of the American Philosophical Society, which for a time served the same functions as today's Smithsonian Institution and was a repository for historic and scientific papers used by scholars.

Finally, as we were walking past Betsy Ross's house we caught a glimpse of our nation's first President, old George himself. He looked pretty good for a man born 283 years ago.

We will be back to Philadelphia for more sightseeing. After all, we have a lot of museums yet to see! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Grounds for Sculpture

Did we have fun today! Bob and I took a drive out to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. This place is worth a drive. We arrived at a little after 10:00 am and our (free) tour started at 10:30. While we waited we visited some of the indoor sculptures. I loved the interpretation of Van Gogh's room in Arles, which was an actual room you could walk around in. All the furniture and items in the room looked cattywompus.
 I posed next to Mona Lisa--I think we look good together.
Our guide Elaine had lots of interesting stories about the sculptures, which are spread out across 42 acres. The landscaping was amazing. Some of the sculptures were super-sized.

 Others were life-sized groupings of statues you could walk around, like Eduardo Manet's Argenteuil.
Below is an interpretation of Renoir's Le dejeuner des canotiers, with full sized statues. The details were impressive.

We had made lunch reservations at "Rats," GFS's wonderful restaurant. As we approached the restaurant we saw the outside seating area.
The view from "Rats" is the Bridge in Monet's Garden. Just lovely.
 We had a scrumptious lunch at "Rats" and I highly recommend it.

After we got home I finished adding the details to my granddaughter's horse purse that I crocheted for her. She'll get it on her birthday in a week and a half. Hope she likes it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Alex and His Class Play

This morning Bob and I took a ride to daughter Catherine's house so we could visit grandson Alex's school to see his class play. Alex played the character of "Jack" of beanstock fame, and did a fine job.
After we returned home I pulled out my crochet hook and spent a few hours working on my project. It should be finished tomorrow and I'll photograph it.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow--Bob and I are visiting Grounds for Sculpture. The weather looks like it may be more comfortable, too. Let's hope so!  IT has been so hot and muggy lately.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hot Day

Today marked the first day of the grandchildren's last week of school. I went over to my daughter's house early to see the boys off and marveled, as I always do, at the lunches she prepares for them.
This one is typical. I never had lunches like this as a child!

When it was time to walk the boys to the bus stop Indie got his first walk. He did quite well on leash. His foster mom sure did a fine job with these puppies.
I am working on a crochet project for my youngest grandchild, Eve, whose birthday is coming up. I hope to have some photos tomorrow, but now it is all parts that I am making.

Bob and I took a drive over to a new store that just opened last week, called Kohls Off-Aisle. It apparently is the first store of its kind, an outlet store for Kohls. Prices are 60-80% off retail. We picked up a few bargains including some sneakers and shorts for Bob and some cropped pants for me. We will keep an eye on this place while we are here.

Another scorcher of a day! We are grateful for our AC.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Indie's First Day

Little Indiana Jones has only been part of my daughter's family for 24 hours but he is already firmly entranced into the clan. He only has had one housebreaking accident (at night in his crate) and is getting used to the cats, Auggie, and children.
He's pretty special, this guy! It's too bad he is so dark that it is hard to get a good shot of him.

Today was so hot and muggy. I took a trip to the Cherry Hill Wegmans with the heat and crowded parking lot and store just wearing me down. Now I remember why I dislike summers in NJ. The humidity just makes it no fun. As I write this it is raining so hopefully the weather will cool down a bit. I am so glad we have 50 amps so we can run all our air conditioners.

I am enjoying my little one cup Mellita coffee maker. It makes a very good cup of coffee and takes up very little room in my kitchen. Bob mixes regular coffee and decaf equally for his pot; I only drink one cup but it must be decaffeinated so this is perfect. And it was only $5 at Walmart. I had considered getting a Keurig but this was a less expensive and smaller solution.  And the coffee is cheaper than k-cups, too. It takes a #2 coffee filter and uses 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 8 oz of water.

I do pop the cup into the microwave for 20 seconds after I add milk, because I like my coffee hot.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Boys and Puppies

We are in a state of excitement here, because daughter Kristen and son in law Jason have gone to Massachusetts to pick up their new puppy from its foster home. We are watching Ben and Adam, while Rob is sleeping over his Aunt Catherine's house tonight.  We had some time, so I helped Ben make his diarama and write his term paper on polar bears. He did all the painting and gluing all by himself. Look at that proud face!

I gave him some of my Coopworth batt to glue on for clouds; I think it adds a nice touch.

Tomorrow we get to meet our new grand puppy. I can't wait. Here is what he looked like a couple of weeks ago at about 6 weeks of age.
More to come!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

An Evening With the Girls

Last night we went over to daughter Emily's house to have dinner with her, her husband Anthony, and their two beautiful daughters.

Auggie got to meet Ella, and enjoyed hanging out with his new cousin.
It was a really nice evening, and the two dogs got along well.

This morning, Ella went into surgery for one of her knees. Unfortunately, however, the situation quickly became grim as she reacted badly to the anaesthesia and stopped breathing on the table. The surgery was halted immediately and the surgeon had difficulty bringing Ella back to consciousness. There is as concern that she might have brain damage from the anoxia. But as of 5:00 she was home and resting comfortably. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that this sweet dog will have a full recovery and will be able to heal. I want to thank all of you who gave so generously to her surgical fund.

I realize that there has not been a lot of traveling or RV info lately. We are still parked in my daughter's driveway, and it has been nice staying in the rig. There are quite a few reasons why it's better to stay in an RV rather than in someone's house when visiting.
1. We get to sleep in our own bed.
2. No one needs to give up their bed to us.
3. We have privacy, and so do our hosts.
4. I still get to spend lots of time with the grandkids, but we are not tied at the hip to my daughter.
5. We watch what we want on TV, and go to bed when we want. Likewise, we get up when we want to.
6. We know where the coffee is kept, along with everything else we need.

We have been giving out our cards to a lot of people lately. If you are a new blog reader you may want to look back on some of my earlier posts to see travel pictures. We will be back on the road in early July when we take the grandkids camping.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Jetsons and American Culture

I had another doctor's appointment today (I love my gynecologist!)  It's so nice when your doctor remembers you out of the multitudes of patients she has.

A topic of conversation came up yesterday when I was having lunch with my friend, Ellen.  We mentioned The Jetsons, and it got me thinking. How much of the life we have now got its inspiration in 1962, when 24 episodes of The Jetsons were produced. The show only lasted for one season (until it was reprised in the mid-80s) but those 24 episodes played over and over on TV in the childhood of every Baby Boomer.  Video Phones! Robots To Clean Your House! Flying Cars! We loved it all, and dreamed of the day when it would all come true. Even the clothing worn has been emulated as "standard future wear" whenever people dress up in costume. The term "The Jetsons" is code for "the future" and everyone understands what that means.

In 1962 color TV shows were rare because few homes had color TV, and it wasn't until 1972 before 50% of American homes had a color TV.  The Jetsons was ABC's first show produced in color and was aired opposite "Disney's Wonderful World of Color," a very popular show that had very high ratings. It's rather funny to even think of The a Jetsons being a prime time TV show, when you look at today's prime time lineup.  After just one season The Jetsons was cancelled and sent into re-run land where it became a wildly successful show, if you define "wildly successful" not in monetary terms but as something that became a part of the psyche of every young American.
Another thought that occurred to me was that the Baby Boomers think of The Jetsons as a show for our generation, but it was the brainchild of our parents' generation. Not too bad for the folks we thought as "uncool!"  And this morning I asked my 12 year old grandson about The Jetsons and, while he think he's only seen one episode, he still knew about it and could describe it. So more than 50 years later the show is still impacting American culture. Amazing.

Ok, we have FaceTime and Roombas, where is my flying car?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day Out

Today I drove into Mt. Holly, NJ to meet up with my friend Ellen for lunch. We ate at The Robin's Nest, a small restaurant that is known locally for great food, set in the trendy Mill Race Village.
We enjoyed a nice meal with our conversation. Ellen is the president of the Mid Atlantic Fiber Association (MAFA) so I was able to get caught up on all the local weaving "buzz." It was so good to see her again. She always inspires me. Afterwards we looked for some shops to visit; unfortunately, however, many of the shops in Mill Race Village are only open Wednesday through Sunday so we were out of luck. But that was OK, because we walked up the street to Woolbearers and fondled some yarn as we continued to talk. It was nice to see Myra Rubens, the shop owner. I used to teach rigid heddle weaving at Woolbearers, so it was like visiting home.

As we were walking back towards our cars we came to Vincent's Homemade Ice Cream and decided to indulge. If you are ever in Mt. Holly, NJ you must stop in and taste their Dusty Road Sundae with malt. Yum!!

Perfect end to a lovely afternoon.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Creative Day

Today was a day chock full of creativity. Daughter Catherine came over with little Jillian, and I taught Catherine how to crochet. She did really well, and I am excited for her. Next step will be to get her on Ravelry, but that will come :)
After Catherine went home I pulled out my sewing machine and finished a couple of projects. I sewed the flat braid I made last week on my marudai into a dog leash. I think it looks nice with the flag inkle band I made for Auggie a few months ago.
I then decided to make a Japanese Knot Bag. Kitkatknit on Ravelry posted this link to the pattern and instructions and I found it to be a quick and easy bag to make. I used some of my handwoven fabric that had been sewn into a vest last year. The vest was not particularly flattering and I came close to donating it to Goodwill. When I saw the Knot Bag pattern I decided to repurpose the vest fabric. I'm glad I did--it's a cute bag.

I even had the lining fabric on hand in my stash. Serendipitous, eh? I can see this as a great knitting or spinning bag.

Daughter Kristen and family were notified today that they have been approved as adoptive parents of an adorable French Bulldog mix puppy. Hopefully they will take a drive up to Massachusetts this weekend to pick him up. Excitement is running high here!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Saturday with Friends

I started out this morning planning a loop braid, to have something to work on during the Small Looms Group meeting of the South Jersey Guild of Spinners and Handweavers.  The group meets in Moorestown on first Saturdays from September through June. I was an active member of that group before Bob and I went on the road, and I was happy to have our visit with family coincide with their last meeting before their summer hiatus.

It felt so good to be back with my friends today! I have really missed the friendship and inspiration of this group of women. During the meeting I spent some time loop braiding this braid below, showing front and back sides. (Click to embiggen.)

This is a variation of Ingrid Crickmore's seven loop braid, with directions found here. You may recall, dear blog reader, that I used a loop braid as a closure for my handwoven bag as I wrote about here. I find these little braids faster to make than kumihimo braids, especially when you only need a short piece.

April and I had fun spinning on our new little 3D printed spindles from Turtle Made. They spin as well as my Jenkins Turks, which is saying a lot! I especially love this micro size.

After the meeting, a contingency from the Guild headed over to the Mt Laurel Home for Funerals to pay respects to the family of our friend, Camille Buchanan. Camille passed on May 16 of cancer and she will be dearly missed. I was constantly inspired by her abilities and her love of learning. For example, when our Guild arranged to have internationally renowned weaver Laverne Waddington teach a backstrap weaving workshop, Camille wove her own backstrap before the class even started using Laverne's tutorials from the Internet.

Camille leaves a hole in our Guild that will not easily be filled.
After stopping at the funeral home, my friend April and I stopped for a glass of iced tea and a visit to catch up. I have missed April and it was fun to spend some time visiting.

A satisfying day all around.

Update on Ella.  So far, generous people have donated $550 to Ella's fund to help pay for her knee surgery. We are grateful for all who have donated.