Monday, June 27, 2011

Oh My Aching Feet!!

I had the whole day to myself almost…and plans were made to go for a walk/jog about 8 miles from here in Prince William Forest Park. The morning was beautifully overcast….not rainy, just cool and fragrant, one of those perfect days….and off I went.

Waterbottle, jogging shoes, shorts…off we go!

When I pulled in to the park, the sign on the entrance shack at the gate said that they only charge for car entry between 9am and dusk! Well THIS is a bonus! It was 7:30 am so I guess I got to go in for free!

I wound my way around toward the visitors center, found the parking lot….there was only one other vehicle there, some guy had just taken off on a bike ride. A whole park to myself? Wonderful!

The visitors center, of course, wasn’t open yet. So I couldn’t pick up any pamphlets or maps that would help me find my way, but I did find this map in the yard:

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See the road that kind of loops around in the center? It didn’t look too bad! I saw where I was on the map ((Even though there were no dots that said “YOU ARE HERE”)) and off I went. I had been told yesterday during class that this would be the perfect place to go, and that the distance around the loop was somewhere between 6 and 7 miles.

At home I’ve hiked around Salem Lake many times, and it is 7.6 miles around….so….not a problem!

I walked a song, jogged a song, walked a song, jogged a song….and was only passed by one biker the whole time!

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Doesn’t this look pretty!? The air smelled so good and fresh!

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I stopped on a bridge to take a picture of the creek flowing by…..there was not a SOUND to be heard other than the birds…..

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On the off-road trails, it was even MORE secluded! I only took one side hike, just a short one…I was afraid I was going to get lost out in the middle of somewhere where I couldn’t be found ---best to stick to the regular road just in case!

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Don’t you love to see trails and wonder where they go?? I do I do! Look at that green…it was such a beautiful morning!

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This marshy area was SO beautiful! And I saw deer! Not that I really could get any in a picture…

I hiked and I hiked and I ran and I walked and I sang out loud to the nature because there was no one around to hear me….

And about mile 8.5 ---- MILE 8.5?!? ((Yes I was tracking my movements on my phone using the imapmyfitness app)) I started to get worried about where I was! Surely, the visitor’s center has to be coming up soon?

It’s a LOOP right?! Didn’t I stay on the loop? I thought so….when I took that side trail, I turned right around and came back after I hit the creek again…

After I hit mile 10 ((TEN!???)) I stopped to chat to a ranger guy and asked him how much farther it was to the visitor’s center ---- You see, I had passed signs with arrows, I pretty much knew I HAD to be headed the right way, but it sure would have been helpful if they would have said how far it WAS to the visitors center from the sign….

And I walked and I hiked, and I couldn’t make my legs jog anymore, and I felt like crawling -----


Total miles? 12.58. TWELVE and a HALF PLUS miles!!

I swear, that loop of road didn’t look that big on the map at the visitors center! AND..it would have been helpful if there were some clues on that map to tell me how far it was…..I just kept going thinking that I had to reach the beginning of the circle SOON!?

So needless to say, the rest of this day has been much about NOTHING. I showered. I grabbed some lunch ((So hungry I could eat a horse!)) and napped for two hours, and here I am.

I’ve got a lecture/trunkshow with the Cabin Branch Quilters tonight….I’ve got fun pics to edit down from yesterday’s workshop. And tomorrow? I’m headed back home….I don’t think I’ll be hiking anywhere for the next few days…. ;c)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Fine Day To Sew!

Yesterday was the Oklahoma Backroads workshop with the Virginia Star Quilters of Fredericksburg, Virginia!

I’d already had a terrific time the night before, and when morning came I was up and raring to go to get the day a-rollin’!

Now, if you remember yesterday’s post…there was something I wanted to tell you but it was going to wait for this one…but before I just out and blurt with it….let me do a bit of set up.

This last week has been crazy, right? I got home from Florida just last Saturday night after being gone 10 days. Sunday was not only Father’s Day, but the day that Jeff moved down to Columbia SC to start his new life on his own.

((BTW, He has worked two shifts and is happy as a clam --- tired!! Color me a HAPPY MOM!!))

I had the whole ordeal of having to buy a car because he had MY car with him in SC---His needs a new motor and is living in my garage for the time being…stress stress stress, right? Can you see and feel it?

Well one by one, all my stresses were taken care of, and it seemed to be working like clockwork….I got up to Fredericksburg, my new van, Shamu, ((LOL! Love this name for her!)) drove beautifully, I had a wonderful browsing afternoon to see a bunch of really neat antique quilts, met with the guild for dinner and…..

While we were chatting, two of the ladies confessed that they had “ALREADY” finished their tops for the class!

And then it hit me --- like a brick on the head --- an image so clearly in my mind, I promptly inhaled part of my broccoli which sent me into coughing fits ----

The demo quilt for the class was still there at HOME….sitting on the back of the couch!! CAN YOU IMAGINE MY HORROR!? OH NO!

But never fear! It’s a GOOD thing that these ladies had finished their quilt tops..because I could use THEIR tops as my demo for the class! Problem solved? TIMES TWO!

And now I’m really bad at names --- good with faces---and I remember signing books to Joanne and Linda, but to tell you which one was which this morning?! I should have taken NOTES! But they know who they are, and we had the greatest time, I would love to just get together with them and SEW SEW SEW! One lives the other side of Raleigh from me…so it MIGHT happen!

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This was the top that I was so kindly allowed to use as the demo for the class! It’s a fun pattern, one of the freebies on my website called Oklahoma Backroads. All bricks and squares…and you get a BUNDLE of bonus triangles to use in other projects from this quilt….Thanks girls! I couldn’t have done it without you!

Now, that picture at the top of this post? I just cracked up over this seat cushion! Those folding chairs are just not the most comfortable…so Maureen thought ahead and brought some extra padding! LOL!

And without further ado, I present to you a slide show of our wonderful quilty day!

So what does a quilter do when she has already finished putting on the borders of her class project?! Work on BOXY STARS of course!

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Little bit too much backlighting from the windows, but you get the idea! These gals are prolific! ((And sew very fun to hang around!))

After the workshop was over…Shamu and I headed up to Woodbridge for my visit here with the Cabin Branch Quilters. We’ve got a Bricks in the Barnyard workshop this morning……

I grabbed a quick dinner, and found the nearest WEGMAN’S grocery store just to wander and oogle and ogle. Have you ever been in one? If not…and you are anywhere near one….DO! It’s like Whole Foods or Trader Joes on STEROIDS TIMES 10! It’s indescribable.

I was going to take pictures, but couldn’t even begin to know where to start! It leaves me speechless! SO just go. DO it!

I came back to the room with some fruit and munchies and set about to get some sewing done!

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IF you have an IKEA near you?! Those big blue re-useable bags are TERRIFIC for bunches of strings on the go! I can dig and rummage around and paw through and not have everything spilling over on to the floor!

I sewed til midnight….crashed…and wished I hadn’t sewn so late when the alarm went off at 7. Time to get a move on! ((But it was sure fun!)) Hope to do some more sewing tonight….oh, I pity the maid who has to take care of my room! :cD

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hello, Fredericksburg!

OH, I love my new wheels! Yes, I do!! This baby can CRUISE!! Now..if I could only figure out all the ins and outs of how to work this or that….the cruise control is in a different place, and doesn’t run off buttons inside the steering wheel…it’s down below and behind, and it’s a stick thing like blinkers or headlights…and I can’t tell you how many times my fingers reached for their old “familiar” spot on the steering wheel to fix the cruise, only to end up turning up the stereo, or starting the voice recognition control instead!

It took til TONIGHT to realize that if I left the headlights on, and locked the car, that it would automatically turn them off after so many seconds if the car was locked. YES!

And I know. This car is as big as a whale…..she’s white with dark windows…and I think she’s earned the nick name SHAMU!!

I arrived in Fredericksburg about 1:30pm and it was too early to check into the hotel yet, so I wound my way through town to the historic district! Fredericksburg has quite the civil war history, and I’d love to spend some time at the battle field and the visitors center – and I might double back on my way home from Woodbridge on Tuesday to do just that.

Today? I was headed for quaint streets, old buildings!

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And I know it’s hard to SEE the buildings for the trees…that is one thing that Fredericksburg is not short on either…TREES! The trees sure made great shade on the sidewalks though, and I really enjoyed walking around…

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Aren’t these buildings fun? If you come, be sure to leave lots of time to browse…there are more antique shops than I can count on two hands!

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I’d love to take one of these carriage rides too….or maybe a trolly tour to get in on more of the history from someone “in the know.” I love those kinds of tours. But as for today…I didn’t have much time..maybe a couple hours….

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And I hadn’t had lunch yet, so I made a quick stop into the Old Town Grill! I sat at the counter, and ordered a rueben with a side of sweet potato fries! Mmmmmm! Delish! A girl needs some sustenance if she is going to go antique mall hopping, doesn’t she?

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Blues, greens and yellows! Isn’t this 4 patch yummy? I have really been noticing a lot of yellow quilts this spring/summer, and they sure catch my eye….This one could be a great leader/ender project!

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The picture of this little scrap basket was taken too close to a window…and the background looks washed out, but it was also yellow…it just made those scraps sparkle!

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This one had me COMPLETELY giddy! It’s a “hired man’s” cot quilt…long and narrow, and stuffed with thick batting for warmth, it’s tied…look at those fun 9 patches!! THey are TINY! This is the front side…but it doesn’t stop here….look at the back!

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It really IS a two sided quilt! I am so tempted to go back and get this one…it’s pushing the budget, but just look at it! Love the 9 patches with the pinwheels as corner stones!

I had a great time browsing…click to view the slide show! Some of the quilts have more than one pic….some were wonky, some were just wonderful….some, ordinary every day patchworks that warm my heart!

Tonight’s lecture was great…..and there is a funny story to share, but I’ll share it NEXT post. It’s 10:35pm, and I’m needing to finish this up and get to bed….workshop starts at 9am!

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Fredericksburg, I love your quaint tree lined streets, your friendly people, your history, and pride! Thank you for such a warm and memorable welcome!