Friday, September 28, 2012

Socially Unacceptable Behavior

So I'm going to tell you guys this because you love me and tolerate my wildly unacceptable behavior and opinions.

There's a lady I know on Facebook who spends a lot of time posting hateful things about the Republican candidate and profound love of the current president and telling all the conservatives how screwed up the GOP is and how we shouldn't vote for him, blah blah.  I wouldn't care so much if she was just a staunch democrat and felt compelled to voice her opinion as is her right as an American...except that she's not an American.  She's Canadian.  Never once, that I can remember, has she ever said anything about the politics in HER OWN country!

Then, she just posted a "comic" that features a young girl asking her mother, 'What did you do in the War on Women?'  Ever-so-tempted was I to respond, "Why, dear, I did the right thing by NOT returning to my shitty $8 per hour job and dump you in day care like all the other mommies do because that's what society has told us we should do."  Personally, I think that telling women that they should choose their careers over family qualifies as heavy ammunition in the war on women.  Over the past few years, we have been told that being feminine and maternal is somehow wrong and that we should do our best to stifle that urge to nurture.  That staying home is selling out--and they pander to us by saying that it's a "noble choice" or that we're "the hardest working".  They have no idea...but I don't choose it for the accolades.  I choose it because it's the right thing to do.  I know that sometimes it's necessary for moms to go back to work to make ends meet, so I don't hold it against anyone who NEEDS to work, and I applaud any mom who arranges her work hours so that they are only absent from home when the kids are.

Girl Scouts, likewise, is leading another battle in the War on Women by removing many of the "traditional" feminine arts and replacing them with being a saleswoman, a marketing expert, a financial wizard--all based around selling cookies.  They've removed all the fiber arts from the curriculum from Daisies through Cadettes (1st thru 7th grades).  No knitting, sewing, weaving, needlework...nothing.  Most girls drop out by Middle School, only a few very dedicated girls continue beyond 5th grade.

OK, end of rant.

I made 10 looms yesterday in anticipation of the cardweaving class Bekah and I will be teaching next weekend.  They are all lightweight, portable looms on which to make card woven pieces that can hold an infinite amount of woven material...if you know how to wrap up the strings properly so they don't tangle up.  I suppose if you had a comb you could make all the strings lie down and behave even better...something I'd have to incorporate in the Loom 3.0 version.

This is how it looks with the weaving on it.  The strings zig-zag through the wooden blocks to create tension and the wing nuts hold them down.  Everything I used were from the scrap bins in the garage--most of it was leftover from the yurt project.  WIN!

After posting a photo of it on FB, I got a note from my future Queen who said that she wants to know if I sell them--she wants to have one for herself.  Since the pieces were so cheap, I said that I'm going to make one for her, but of course, I'll have to do an extra-nice job on's for "Royalty" after all.  Maybe I'll even sand down all the edges and oil it up.  :)

This weekend is going to be fairly laid back--no serious plans other than watching the Sounders game tomorrow.  Maybe I can get a few more 9-patches made.  I've gotten about 50 made so far...I lost count when I made a few more the other day.  81 with sashing will make a King size quilt.  And this is just the 3 1/2" squares.  I have five gallons of 5" squares, too.  I see a few more scrap quilts in my future...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Making Merry!

If a seam a day keeps the blues away, then I'm positively giddy!

Better photo of Laura's quilt--this was made by Lauri as a gift to her live-in MIL.  The nice thing about the flannel design wall is that even something as heavy as this quilt can be put up with just a couple of pins and smoothed out to lay nice and flat for photographing.  I'll be delivering this back up to Lauri in a couple weeks when I go up to the next guild meeting.  Laura has been living with them off and on for the last couple of years.  She's a great lady and is an amazing help to the family as both "kids" work; she's there to help with laundry, cooking, cleaning and watching her grandson when he comes home from school.  It's hard to believe that just a couple generations ago, extended families living together was not the anomaly as it is now.

Here's a better photo of Kathy's sampler quilt.  She's the mother of my best friend from high school, who lived next door.  Kathy has been quilting for decades longer than I, having done quite a bit of professional quilting herself back in the day, but has started hiring out her quilting to longarmers.  I believe that this was a sample from a class that she taught a couple years ago.  I hope she's not going to mind that I used a different backing fabric--I couldn't find the one she gave me (initially), so I substituted a lovely tan floral with some green overtones that go well with the darker green on this top.

I was on such a roll, I put another quilt top on the frame and started quilting this one as well.  This is one of two quilts that will be given as baby gifts.  The pattern is called "Arrowhead" and can be made using two squares of fabric cut in particular ways and re-assembled.  Unfortunately, this technique creates bias edges on the blocks, which I wasn't keen on, so I redrafted it to use squares and strips and it leaves straight-of-grain on the edges.  It quilted up very quickly and I know that I will be able to do the other baby quilt just as quickly, although the deadline for the second one is a few months off.

You may be able to see a peek at the next quilt to go on the frame--yes, it's upside down--which is a top made by my MIL, presumably for Nate, my nephew.  It's got penguins on it!  The backing fabric is loaded up...just waiting for batting and to pin on the top.  After that one, I have two more in line, besides the second baby quilt, and I will be all caught up with hired least for the moment.  These things always arrive in waves, don't they?

Yesterday I made another 20 blocks for the 9-patch project.  I'm getting down to the bottom of this pile of squares and the variety of lights is declining sharply, so I spent a bit of time today cutting up some light colored fabrics from the scrap bin. I know I have another baggie of them...probably within a few feet of where I'm sitting, but I need to unearth them.  Gimmie 10 minutes and I'll probably find them, making all the cutting and sorting today completely unnecessary.  (Searches for several minutes.)  No results.  Found some 5" squares but not 3 1/2".  Ah well.

Tomorrow is going to be a hectic day--have to buy some supplies for the Girl Scout meeting, will be racing around picking up and dropping off, orthodontist appointments, and, if I have the enthusiasm, an SCA meeting in the evening.  I really should encourage the Baronial folks to sign up for the Ithra that's happening in a couple weeks.  We're nearing the break-even numbers...if we triple the numbers who have signed up.  Sigh.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I've been getting a lot done in the quilting world here...lots of tops getting finished (OK, two in a day, but that's a lot for me!)...

One for Kitty/Kathy (I don't know what I'm supposed to call her).  She gave this one to me quite a while back and now I finally got it done.  I covered it with the usual Dr. Seuss feathers/swirls, which goes well with the paisleys in the red fabrics and feathery swirls in the light green.  I am supposed to get together with Jean and her parents sometime this week since they're visiting the coast, so I can hand it over when I see her.  I have a couple more little things she gave me--Christmasy panels--but I can't remember what I was supposed to do with them...which backing goes with which top...?  They got scrambled up and now I just don't know what I'm doing.  The backing to this I pulled from my stash because I couldn't find the piece that was supposed to go with it...I think I found it later amongst the stash, but I'm not quite sure.

And one for Laura, Lauri's mother-in-law who loves green and lavender.  I came up with a hearts and loops alternating design that worked really well.  I hope she likes it!

Clearly my camera phone doesn't take good pictures in low light...for some reason the flash didn't go off.  I also need a better place to display quilts...I have an idea...I'll have to work on something...more details as I think them up!  I'm actually thinking of some of the hanging systems from the quilt show Linda and I went to in Covington.  They used pants hangers!  Seriously!  Lots and lots of pants hangers.  And fishing line.

Emma's cake was pretty cool.  I had to go to two different bakeries to get the cake made.  They did a fine job, spelled things correctly, although they got a little squished at the end.  Still legible and spelled correctly, so I'll give them a solid B+ on the execution.  It was chocolate with vanilla custard filling (yum!).  The second bakery had the edible art photocopier (which the first one lacked), so I had to go there to get it done, and cost an extra $6.  Unfortunately, when you put the art thing on, first you have to trim it to size, and you probably need to put it on when the frosting is still really wet so it melts into the cake a bit.  I put it on when it was still somewhat chilled and after putting it in the fridge overnight, the art stuff peeled off a bit and didn't cut well.  It also seemed really thick; almost like a fondant.  In the end, it wasn't all that edible and made cutting the cake difficult.

I found these candles for Emma--she loves everything black and white and patterned.  These candles cost more than twice as much as the cheap Betty Crocker candles, and they only came in packs of 12, so I had to supplement a few candles to make the correct number for the traditional confectionery bonfire.  This year, totaling 15 mini flaming torches!
After the teenagers had snarfed down pizza, chicken wings and cake, and they had scurried upstairs for the requisite hours of giggling, I got to work making 9-patches.  OK, after I had gotten Ben medicated and sent to bed--so really it was between 10 pm and midnight when my eyes were getting all sticky and I couldn't see straight anymore.  Just so you know, it's not the 9-patches that are crooked; they're just hanging crooked on the flannel.  OK, so they also need some ironing.  So what's my plan with these delightful scraps?  If I make 81 blocks, I should be able to make a king size quilt top with sashing and borders.  I may be able to do with the squares I have cut right now, and I know I have another baggie of 3 1/2" squares sitting around here somewhere.

I found a pattern that uses 5" charm squares to make square in a square blocks, although I may try to alter it for 6" squares since I have quite a lot of them.  It's from Me and My Sister Designs and is called "Bertha".  Every 36 squares makes a quilt about 24 x 27.  324 of them should make a bed quilt about 72 x 81--twin size.  But that's a few more projects down the road.  I'll just keep making 9-patches.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Planning the UFOs

Here's a straight-on shot of the Girl Scout quilt.  It's hard to tell what it looks like when it's laying on the floor, and the colors were not well represented in that dark room.  I still have to take the one column off and turn it into a row and save one block for the back. I still want it to be twin bed size, which runs about 65" x 88", but no larger than 72" x 90".  I think the quilt top now measures about 65" square...before adding any borders.  Hence my thought about moving the column to the bottom making a 4 x 6 grid.

I went to ol' Wally World and picked up these three pretty blue bins to keep the Top 3 UFOs in.  When I'm not working on them, I can put them in these three bins and keep them on hand for working on as time allows.  All the extra fabric fits in them...or mostly fits.  The top bin has all the fabrics for the borders, back and binding...and probably more fabric than I really need.  Pillowcases?  A skirt, maybe?  A Girl Scout vest? A duffle bag?  All of the above?  I'll have to find out how much fabric I have left over after finishing this project.  I don't want to buy more of the fabric unless I have to.

I'm actually considering replacing one of the UFOs--the Japanese One-Block-Wonder that I had chosen for Emma's quilt.  I'm not very inspired to work on it, and I don't think she'll like it much...the colors are a little odd--lots of oranges.  I think she'd prefer the Kimono and Lanterns quilt for which I have only one block made.  I picked up the pattern for the kimonos but need to copy the pattern a bunch of times to make the blocks.  The pattern looks a little bit like this one by Betty Blais (or maybe exactly like this...I don't know for sure).  Unfortunately, I don't have many Japanese fabrics.  Maybe I need to make a bunch of the patterns and hand them out as a friendship block.  I think that's the winner.  It'll get a lot more variety and cut down on the amount of work I'd have to do.

The one drawback, of course, is that it'll take three or four months to get all the blocks back--patterns handed out in September will be returned in October, November and January...we take August (the picnic month) and December off for officers' duties, but I can do a simultaneous friendship block of lanterns so I can get a larger quilt done without having to do so many blocks.  I'm thinking I could off-set the blocks around the edges and make it look like they're strung up as a border.  Maybe I could get it done by February or March?  It seems like a long way off, but I have two other UFOs to finish already.

After talking with Linda and brainstorming, I have an idea of what I want to do with Ben's MONSTER! quilt.  I have 13 monsters so far, and I'm not sure I want to make more monsters.  The applique blocks are a lot of work, and I'd have to find the book again, copy and blow up the drawings and make the blocks.  The other option is to alternate the monsters with MONSTER HOUSES!  She suggested that I make wonky houses like these.  If I get really creative, I can have doors and windows that open, have a Monster school, a Monster factory, a Monster'll be fun!  Creativity reigns!  If I make 12 monster buildings, I can use 12 monsters to make a 4 x 6 grid (similar to Cammie's) and use one monster for the back.  

SO...I guess I have my work cut out for me!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Patchwork Pirate Retreat Weekend

Lauri and Linda joined me in a mini-retreat this weekend.  We have had as many as eight join me for at a retreat at my house, but this time we had but two.  However, we had plenty of space to spread out and didn't have to fight over cutting tables and ironing boards.  

Jeanie and her friend, Bridget, joined us for dinner at Olive Garden (truly a most authentic Italian restaurant...snerk!).  She is a delightful young lady who belly dances with Jeanie, and has quite the skill with making fabric flowers for hair decorations.  Jean was wearing one oversize flower in her hair--beautiful!  Sadly I didn't get any photos of either Bridget or Jeanie's hair flower.  

During the weekend, I worked on several projects:

Finished working on Sharon's Patchwork Pirate quilt.  It took a bit of work since the last row was not put on straight, so I had to trim down one side and let out a couple of seams to lengthen the other.  I just hope that it lays flat when it's done...I wasn't totally confident that it was done well, especially with all the adjustments.  The punch of color around the outside is the perfect balance to the quilt, although it's a bit off-center from the previous rounds.  I guess that it is telling for the types of quilters we are--a rather colorful and lopsided crew.  In case you're wondering, the flags read:  "Kona Black Bess" which is Sharon's Pirate Name.  Mine is Capt. Cutter the Mad.

Next, I was cutting Halloween fabrics for a charm square swap for my local guild.  Every month, the guild has a themed swap in which you make packs of 3 different fabrics cut to 6" to exchange with each person signed up to participate.  In this case, there are 18 people signed up to swap, so I cut 18 copies of each of three fabrics.  I will collate these and pin them together with my name on them so they know who they came from.  Since I signed up twice, I need to choose three more fabrics.  I will get duplicates of everything, but if I'm making 4-patches, that will be perfect--two of these and two of those...  Or I can sub-cut them into four 3" squares and make smaller 4-patches or 9-patches if I use a different center square.  There are lots of design possibilities, although I have to be honest--I have yet to do much with the dozen or more swapped sets that I've done already (there are birds, patriotics, dots, Christmas, farm animals, summer fun, and several more).  I did start piecing a charity quilt with some bright ones that were donated to the guild, and I added a few from my collection to make a couple more blocks.  Other than that, I haven't done much.  The Frugal Fairy reigns:  this swap didn't require me to purchase anything--I pulled these right from my stash of Halloween fabrics.  Maybe I will sub-cut them to 3" squares and put a black square in the center...or something blood red...ooooo...the creative juices are flowing now!

I also worked on piecing together the blocks for Cammie's quilt.  It still needs a border or two around the outside before it's complete.  Right now it measures more than 5 feet square--I wonder if I should take one row off the side and make it narrower and longer--a 4 by 6 grid, rather than a 5 by 5.  Sure, I'd have one block left over, but it would be put on the back as part of the label or just for decoration.  Then I could add a simple border--something in Girl Scout green, perhaps, and piece the rest of the fabrics I have for the back and a pillowcase.  Then I can put it on the longarm and get it quilted up for Miss Cam...maybe by her birthday!

Community Service blocks - 9 patches from donated 2 1/2" squares, which will be sewn into quilt tops and donated to one of a variety of charitable organizations locally.  There are a number of organizations that they have given to over the years, including the Red Cross, a women's shelter, Churches, police and fire departments, foster care, and many more.  The committee usually selects one charity to donate to each year, but I don't know which one was selected this year.  I was able to complete 32 blocks for this endeavor.

Friendship blocks - I made at least 8 different blocks for friends--I still have two more to make, but I can work on those tomorrow, I think.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of them--I handed them over to Linda to account for them and they will be turned back to their owners next month at the meeting.

Kelly and I watched a TV miniseries called the Crimson Petal and the White.  Intriguing story, but it ended like a Crichton novel--abruptly and with more questions than answers.  What happened to the wife?  Where did the nanny take the little girl?  WTF?  I hate those movies.  Gimmie a good ending or a gruesome one...just don't leave me guessing!  Now I have to stay up late and try to think up my own ending.  Gah!  Maybe I'll just go watch Pride & Prejudice again.  Gotta get me some Firth!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pirates' Invasion & Patches for Service

I laid out this quilt at the show last month and thought I'd take a picture of it before tucking it away again.  This was made by my great-aunt Addie, presumably the only quilter in our family that I am aware of.  And this is the only quilt known of hers in existence.  It was damaged pretty badly over the years and was lovingly repaired by my Mom, although I may do a bit more to it at some point.  Aunt Donna's name had been in it but it appears the threads have come out, along with the names of a couple more that are starting to pull out.  I have to fine some matching thread for the blocks and I'll try to follow the stitching lines as they still exist, but this piece is so fragile now, I hate to do too much.

I finished putting the sashing and cornerstones on the blocks for Cammie's quilt and had her lay them out how she wants them.  We made sure that the fabrics didn't match up from square to square, shuffling them a bit for more random variety.  Now that we're satisfied, I'll add the last strip pieces around the edges and sew the blocks together.

Here's the final layout.  I'll work on this tomorrow while the Pirates invade.  I anticipate I'll be able to get the top done fairly quickly, and may be able to get the borders on this weekend.  I have Laura's quilt top on the frame still, and should try to work on it a bit in the morning.  I was supposed to get it done for Lauri by this weekend and kept getting distracted.  

At the guild meeting on Monday, I picked up eight packets of 9-patches to sew up for the community service committee. We ended up getting far more squares donated than we used up at the quilt show, so the committee arranged these packets to have members take home and sew together.   I was thinking that there were two 9-patches in each ziplock, but there were four.  So instead of 16 blocks, I committed to make 32.  Ah, well.  They sew up quickly and it's all for a good cause.  

I got half of them done tonight and can finish the rest of them tomorrow and give them to Michele for the project.  I also have a bunch of friendship blocks to get done to hand over to Linda this weekend.  I have a solid list of things to work on!

Then I have to figure out what Friendship Blocks to hand out for the guild...I am eligible to hand out three times now.  I didn't realize it was so many.  Guess I need to get to work!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Because I had a question on it, I thought I would show you the whole quilt that I was working on the other day.  This wasn't a Dresden Plate quilt, but a Wedding Ring!  Because I showed such a tiny piece of it, I can see how that mistake could be made.  This is the one I made for our 12th anniversary...makes sense, right?  12 rings for the 12 years...

Also, I've made some more progress on the Girl Scout quilt.  I've gotten most of the sashing and cornerstones on it.  I have to add the outside sashing bits after we complete the layout, which I wanted to have Cammie take part in, since it's her quilt.

Conference with Ben's teacher today and a long weekend, which will involve a doctor appointment for Ben with an autism specialist and Emma's got a "Moodle"'s like a home school day where all the assignments are online and are submitted back to the teachers online.  This is a rehearsal for any snow days so that students will have fewer days to make up at the end of the year, should school closures be necessary. Kind of a cool concept.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

UFOs of All Shapes & Sizes

One sock down, one to go!  

Heide gave me this sock yarn when I visited last month and after frogging it back to the toenails, I cast on a new sock.  Last night I finished the first one and cast on the second.  This has been a great purse project although I have found that I'm doing less sitting & knitting in the car and more dashing back and forth between school campuses.  I'm thinking I may have to juggle the schedule around to accommodate other after school activities.  The Anime club meets Wednesday after school which conflicts with karate.

UFO challenge:  Three quilts.

One of my online quilt friends decided to challenge us to find three UFOs and focus on only those to finish.  With those three, write down all the steps that need to be accomplished and when you have time to quilt, pick one and work on one step.  This, if nothing else, makes it easier to see the bite sizes instead of the entire elephant.

Given that I have three kids and haven't made any of them a quilt in a while, I chose these three:

For Emma, a One-Block Wonder made from a Japanese print.  These 60 degree pieces are made from cutting the fabric yardage at where the fabric repeats, stacking six layers of this repeat and then cutting into triangles.  Sewing into two sets of three, you then lay them out into a pleasing arrangement and sew the half-hexes into rows.  The fabric itself was pretty, but after cutting it into triangles, I'm not sure she'll be into it.  I'll finish the top and then decide.  It may end up being Ebay fodder or donated to the guild.  We'll see how it goes.

For Cammie, a Girl Scout strip-pieced technique where long cuts of fabric are sewn together then cut into triangles, and twisted into squares.  I have a few more one-yard cuts to be used for borders, binding, backing...whatever it tells me.  This last couple of days, I've added the cream colored bits for sashing to calm down all the colors and movement.  It makes the rest of the yellow pop!

Cammie chose the yellow for the corner stones, which still have to be cut and added to the sashing strips.  Of course, as I was cutting the necessary 60 strips, I realized I was only 90% there...6 strips short of a quilt top.  I dug around in the stash and found another fabric that was very close--just slightly more yellow, but hard to pick out in the spread of strips.  ("One of these things is not like the other....")

For Ben, a Monster quilt!  I handed out patterns more than a year ago for a friendship block and although I handed out 20, I only got 13 back.  I want to make a few more to make it 20 blocks, so I'll have to go back to the 101 Monsters You Can Draw book that I found in a discount bin at a grocery store a few years back.  From that, I had made a bunch of patterns and handed them out.  Unfortunately, I didn't get back the unused patterns, so I'll have to make them up again, and find a couple of fabrics to coordinate with it for sashing, borders and binding.  I had picked up some monster fabric during shop hop, I think...I'll have to figure out where I tucked it and see if it actually works as a border, or maybe as a backing.

Other projects:

UFO for my 12th anniversary.  I started this just before our dozen-year mark to hang on the wall of our bedroom.  We have since moved and celebrated 6 more anniversaries and I still haven't gotten it put up on the wall.  I put it on the long arm and quilted it up, so now it's ready for binding.

The Pirate Round Robin.  I ended up with three quilt tops at my house--I have no idea why I got so many of them dumped on me at once, but I finally was able to finish up two of them and have hung up the third on my "design wall" to interview fabrics.  I'm thinking about adding the blue strip and map fabric on the right.  I know what I'd like to do after that, but I'm not sure I want to technically do two borders or save that for the next quilter to do.  I think it needs some really bright checkerboard strips, like the center block.  Either that or I can ditch the map fabric and do the checkerboard instead.  I have enough bright squares cut up in my stash now that I can pull a lot of pre-cut pieces without a lot of fuss.  Math will be difficult to figure out exactly how many I'd need.

I also finished working on Sherry's beach scenes quilt, which I believe she wanted to attach together herself.  This feels like it needs something more on the right to balance it out, or perhaps some kind of activity on the water, but I have run out of time and momentum on the project.

Finally, I have several quilts waiting for quilting on the long arm.  This is for Laura, Lauri's mother in law.  Her favorite colors are green and lavender, so this is perfect for her.  I was hoping to have it done for her by tomorrow, but I need a little direction as to what thread to use and what pattern I should quilt on it.

Girl Scouts starts on Tuesday, so we'll see how that goes.  Our troop has merged with another one to increase the numbers (we have about six each), and to spread the work load out.  I'm pretty sure this will be the last year I'll run it since I've already spread myself too thin.  Which reminds me, I need to write to a couple of other people I had formerly volunteered with to let them know that I am going to politely decline helping this year.  I know I have a lot of volunteer hours to complete for two schools now.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School!

I picked up the kids after a half-day of school yesterday and took them out to lunch.  They posed sweetly while I took a couple of pictures.  Cammie got a very funny man for her teacher this year.  Emma's favorite teacher last year married his brother...must be a great family!  Ben's 3rd grade teacher is the same one that Cammie had two years ago, and he decided already that he likes her.  Hopefully the feeling is mutual and that we are beginning the year off right.

Last weekend, to celebrate Labor Day, Cammie and I went medieval camping together again.  Kelly thought that he might have to work, Emma didn't want to go, and Ben has such complicated medical needs that taking him camping for a long weekend is almost unthinkable.  In a lucky twist of fate, Grandma Pauline called and asked if Ben wanted to come stay with her for a few days along with his cousin, Miss A.  It was quickly agreed that this would be a great idea, and I gave Cammie the option to come with me or stay with Grandma.  She quickly volunteered to come with me, just like when we went to July Coronation, this time camping near Avelyn & Michael and their kids, as well as another couple, Liz and David and their two little ones.  They had called ahead and made a land reservation.  Due to the small children in our group, we requested a quiet area to camp.  Really, we just wanted to be camped in a place NOT next to a loud, obnoxious, vulgar partying crew.  There are a couple of them...singing rude lyrics that young children will repeat in the daylight, usually at the most inconvenient in church or school.

We arrived on site and found our land reservation was in section D, just past the equestrian fields, on the far side of camp.  Down the hill.  As far away from the center of town as you could possibly get.  Had we known that this was going to be such a hardship, I would have packed up all the gear they had already unstowed and driven up the hill and found an empty space.  Next time we'll have to remember to ask for a "quieter space within easy walking distance of the erics"...that is, the center of "town".  Avelyn's feet are in really rough shape, so climbing up and down that hill a few times a day nearly did her in.  My calf was cramping, and my feet were really sore...even now my right foot feels like I have a pinched nerve.  I might have to go see my foot doctor pretty soon.

We set up our small 12' diameter yurt...I realized that the pitch of the roof is too steep, so I need to adjust the tension cable to make it looser--longer.  I also need to make the roof cover a little bigger; the fabric should hang about 6" below the ropes around the edges.  Right now if the wind blows just right, it unhooks and gives passers-by a peek-a-boo of activities within.  The other changes I need to make is making a bigger smoke hole cover and a door.  I'm thinking about making a wood frame and stretching the canvas across it.  Maybe I can paint it in a traditional Mongolian or Turkish manner to look like a door.

I picked up some fuzzy, flat hangers at Target for hanging my costumes up in the yurt.  Not only does it have a bar across the bottom for hanging socks and towels, but the fuzziness grips the dresses so they don't slide off.  The great part of the lattice walls is an unlimited amount of hanging space inside.  Then I hung 12 yards of polar fleece around the inside to keep it a bit warmer.

I spent a bit of the weekend assisting with the Equestrian championship as grounds crew for competitors--keeping score of the events and resetting the equipment--talking with friends, and climbing up and down the hills.  I missed the Exchequer meeting that I should have attended, the Costumer's guild meeting I wanted to attend, and most of merchant's row.  Cammie spent a bunch of the weekend playing with the other kids and climbing up and down the hills to walk a merchant's dog.  She made a deal with this merchant that if she walked the dog three times a day, she would earn a hat from her booth...and this is what she received!  A real fox-fur trimmed hat in a Mongolian style.  She's so pleased with herself and the hat that she wore it on the first day of school!  I'm betting she's going to wear it most of the winter, too.

On Sunday, I went up to the top of the world to get my car to begin packing up, and took this series of photos of the campsites.  What you can't quite see is that at the far end of the field, there's a steep drop off that goes down to where we were camped.  The Olympic Mountains in the background were a lovely, romantic touch.  The first picture has almost no "mundane" objects, other than a few slightly modern-looking tents.

The center part of town where the armored combat tournament were held.  The final rounds were just about to start while I was up here.  I was disappointed to miss it, but very happy to hear the results were for four-time Prince Ulf and his wife, Caiomhe ("Kee-vah").  Ulf was known, for a while, as "Ulf Princess-maker"; each of his four reigns he elevated a different lady to Princess, the last of which was his wife.  When he reigned with Princess Bernadette, they decided to give me a rather amazing award--one I treasure above all others--the Red Flame of Tir Righ.  It reads, in part, that I was chosen because I "inspire and further the image of Medievalism within our Principality."  Bernadette announced to everyone in court that it was not only for dressing the part at all times, but for all that I do with the University of Ithra.  It's only given out twice a year, and I was the 4th one to ever get one, so it was quite an honor.  

The other end of the field...a few cars in this one as people were packing up, but still lots of medieval pavilions.  I got to see a few people I hadn't seen in years, including Patricia & Hagar who moved to Alaska about 10 years ago.  

I was sitting in the shade just before the tournament finals when I overheard some silliness behind me.  Duchess Dagmaer was interviewing some of the Who's Who of An Tir and asking some really interesting questions.  "If you had the choice, in the Middle Ages, would you rather contract syphilis or dysentery, and why?"  It was being video taped and will air at 12th Night in'll be interesting to see what they do with this.  
We went to court and spent a long time listening to great speeches, watching people kneel before their Majesties and receive awards, listen to the stories of valiant acts and heroics, witnessed elevations of Knights and Laurels, and enjoyed sitting with my back to the sun.  In the meantime, I snuggled with young Mr. E who behaved himself very well for such a long time while his mom, Avelyn, took pictures (and for a little while, a nap!) and dad, Michael, stood behind the Royals as Herald.

At the end of Sunday, I decided that I couldn't possibly sleep in that painfully firm cot one more night, so I opted to pack up a few things and go spend the night at my in-laws' house where Kelly had taken the other two kids.  I could catch a shower and get a snuggle with my sweetie.  I called ahead to make sure they knew I was coming, but didn't get the entire camp packed up, so I knew I'd be back in the morning for breakfast and to pack up the rest of the gear.  Unfortunately, I got there at 10:30 and the whole family had already gone to bed.  I took a long, hot shower, washed the stink and most of the dirt off, got into clean jammies and slept really well.  I got up in the morning before everyone else and got ready to head back.  Ben crawled out of bed shortly after I did, so I gave him a snuggle, Kelly rolled over and said about five words, and Cammie climbed out of bed, put on her hat, and we headed out.  I didn't see anyone else in the house...sleepyheads.

We arrived back at the site to finish breaking down the yurt, pack up the car, have breakfast, and say our goodbyes.  I helped Avelyn & Michael pack down their yurt & kitchen, since we shared some of the space and they brought the majority of the kitchen materials, and Cammie entertained the kids a bit.  We drove home, waiting three ferries to get home, just as we did to get there.

Now we're back to the ol' grind and trying to figure out the best schedule for karate, school, doctors, and all the other stuff we need to do.  It's a juggling act just to get the basics done some days.  But I'm getting a little bit of knitting done while I wait.  This is yarn that Heide gave me when I was visiting her from a project that hopped over to the frog pond and I'm busy transforming it back into socks.  I love this self-patterning stuff.  The grey colors are actually quite a soothing, almost bluish, color.  

Grandma apparently took Ben to a garage sale where he found this book on a table and became enamored with its contents of our National monuments and parks.  The really amazingly funny thing is--we already have a copy of this book.  Kelly bought it when he was about Ben's age!  He pored over it and dreamed about going to all the great monuments of our nation.  Great minds think alike.  Looks like we might be making a few road trips in coming years.  Wish we had an RV or a trailer to take across country.  We'd just need a place to park it when we're not using it.