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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unabashadly Gooey Sweet Grandchildren Post

OHhhhhh yes.... it's a Grandchildren Post day.

Our grandkids are all raised in the heart of Packer Country, so they are all about football!   They all have Packer wardrobes of jersies, jammies and sweats.  Gotta start em young, right?

While shopping last weekend, both Jameson and Chelsea tried on some Cheesehead hats.  How adorable is this? And Allegra was donned out in her Clay Matthews jersey for game day!

We had little Allegra all weekend, and we wanted to take her camping too.  But it was raining all weekend and we had to stay at our house instead.  I had plenty of opportunity to take some photos.  Here are the best ones:

We got in lots of early morning snuggles in our bed, with fits and giggles! 

 She was my little helper at the table loom... we worked on a towel together.  
She LOVES the levers and put them up and down for me, 
and patiently waited for the shuttles to go through.  
Then she got to do the *beat beat beat* with the beater to make the towel. 

It was story time each night before bed, and we had to set a limit on three books, 
otherwise we would be reading the whole shelf of storybooks!!

We did some cookie baking while Granfaddah went to his horseshoe tournament.  
It was still raining out, so we didn't go along as originally planned.  
No fun for little girls to sit on a lawn chair under an umbrella.  So we MADE FUN!

White chocolate chip and macadamia nut (premade) dough.  
Then she carefully added some chocolate chips to the tops!

 WHY  do cookies take SO LONG to bake???????

 But well worth it when they were done! 

Allegra was also my model for some of my knit hats.  
I got about 10 different hats on her to model for me 
so I can list them on my Etsy site to sell for the upcoming winter weather. 

(what a HAM!) 

We hung out down in the loom room too.  
She was busy weaving on my big looms, with my help.  
And she tried out a new Birch Tree rug that I just took off a loom.

 Looks like she was having fun, huh?

All too soon, it was time to head on home. 

Thanks for the great weekend, Little Leggers Girl.... 
Granmuddah and Granfaddah Pfun love you! 


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MOTORHOME MODIFICATION- Removing the Couch and Adding 2 Recliners

Oh that Steveio.....

He has had it in his brain to do some more modifications to the motorhome.  He loves to think about stuff to do to it, thus making it more comfortable for when we retire and live in our motorhome full time.

The newest thing to noodle around in his brain was to get rid of the couch and add two recliner chairs.  I said no, we can't afford that right now as heating season is upon us.  Our house is pretty efficient to heat, but the propane bills are not part of our spring, summer and fall household budget.  Gotta think about filling that big ole propane tank soon.

Soooo he still had this in his brain, and we went to a few stores to "just look"   ....    you know how THAT works, right?

When we bought our rig in 2006, it had TWO couches....  It made wonderful seating for when the family came along.  Sadly, the couches are very uncomfortable, but they both jacknife open into two twin/full sized beds.   We liked having the extra bed space for the family if they got rained out of their tents when camping with us.  With grandkids coming along now, it's nice to have a bed for them inside.  Let their parents sleep in the tents.. heh heh.

But... the couches were very worn looking and saggy and faded ugly peachy pink and frosty blue tiger stripes.  I am NOT kidding!  See?

I guess the designers chose Tiger Stripes for a Safari Serengeti?  

At that time, I bought a big bolt of nice blue upholstery fabric in a corduroy with faint imprints of leaves....  and I re-covered those couches!  Hauled out my Grandma's old Singer sewing machine and went to work.  Whew, it was a job and Steveio helped me with it.  We didn't change the cushioning, just covered over the existing fabric.

It sure made a huge difference,
and although they were still uncomfortable, they were all we had.  

Steve got it in his brain a couple years ago to take out ONE couch.  So we did. We drove to GoodWill and had them haul it right out the door as a donation.  Then we drove across the street to Shopko where they had a Euro Chair and Ottoman on sale.   For $90 Steve was happy, but I still had an uncomfortable couch.  But hey, it was working, so I didn't complain. 

(note: see those crinkly fabric windshield curtains? More about that later)

Since then, we bought a nice heavy queen air mattress for when the kids slept over.  We just shove the Euro Chair up front between the pilot and copilot seats.... and that queen mattress sets nicely on the floor between the couch and the wall.  It was VERY comfortable and the kids opt to use that instead of the folded out couch/bed if they stay over.  And now with the couch gone, my passenger seat can rotate around to face the livingroom area to be used for more seating.  (the driver's chair will not turn with the other couch there)

Zoom ahead to this year.  

Now, as I said at the beginning of the blog, Steveio got it in his brain to take out the OTHER couch and the Euro Chair ---  and purchase two recliners instead.   This would leave us a lot more room for things like my table loom, or sock machine, or spinning wheel...  which could be left set up when in use and not stowed away each time.  (that was his reasoning and "bribe" to me) 

We stopped at one store that had some nice recliners, but the price was out of line.  Then we saw some fancy leather recliners, again wayyy too expensive for our budget.  $900 each!  ouch!    After a few more stops, we went out for lunch.  Then we stopped at ONE MORE STORE.... you know how that goes?   

Well, we found some very comfortable Simmons recliners,  on sale of a sale of a sale and top it off, a $40 rebate on each chair too.   Soooo at $129 each, we bit the bullet and he got his danged chairs.


The backs of the chairs slide up and off, like the Lazy-Boy chairs do, for ease of getting in the motorhome door. So they are shipped in two pieces, ready to load up into a vehicle.  But, our little Saturn car was about an inch too short at the door way of the back seat to get in some of the parts, even if we could fit one whole section in the trunk.  We would still be making 2 trips, 40 miles one way, that is 160 miles total to get those chairs!~

Lucky for us, our son Dan has a pickup truck!   And he lives near that store.  We made a quick call, drove over to his house, swapped vehicles and went back to the store for our chairs.  It was pouring rain, but Dan has a nice covered tarp device over his truck bed.  We loaded up the two chairs and headed up to Oconto. 

Once we got to our house, we had to remove the couch from the motorhome first.  It's fairly easy with extending it out flat, setting it up on end, removing the arms, and walking it out the doorway sideways like a mattress, with one of us on each end.  

By removing the last couch, we are not losing much storage space, because we only stored a couple sleeping bags and a folding chair under the couch.  There was a snakey air duct from the furnace that also ran under the couch too.   Easy peasy to detach it and we will just put a nice 20x10 household vent cover over that space left on the wall.

We never use that built-in RV propane furnace; it's a big energy waster, uses up a lot of the battery power to run the fan, and doesn't heat very well to the back of the rig either.  That is the unit that comes in most RV's.  We use an Olympian Wave 8 catalytic heater instead that doesn't wear down our batteries overnight, and heats our rig up nicely.

We will leave the ductwork in place if we do want to use the big furnace, but we shortened up the duct so it's behind the grid we are putting up.  That furnace does heat our basement compartments if in a freezing situation, we would have to kick it on from time to time to keep the tanks from freezing.  But we would rather be spending time in warmer climates than fight with freezing tanks, right?

Here is the living area now without any furniture in it!  Embarrassed to say I guess I gotta steamclean that carpet, eh? We take our shoes off all the time, but the dogs go in and out, tracking in dirt and leaves.  On the next nice day, I will haul out the steamcleaner and tackle that job.

The pic below is my playing with the panoramic feature on my Galaxy Tablet... heh heh...  ain't that how they do it in those fancy motorhome brochures to make them appear even more roomier and wider?

We carried in the chairs and set them up, 
right before the start of the big Packers vs Bears football game.  

They can be put both on the driver's side... or both on the passenger's side....  

I think I liked them both on the driver's side the best.

Or they can be put one on each side if we wish.  Kinda nice to have flexibility----
and they can be mounted down right through the floor once we decide where we want them.

 It was raining outside, so we decided to sit right down in our chairs and watch the game! 
Steve brought out a cute little table he had built a while back for in the house.  
It will now be an extra side table in our rig. 

Now we can turn the driver's chair around, like the passenger chair does, 
to add to the livingroom area seating.   
See the powered windshield shade setup instead of the wrinkly curtain of last year?

We enjoyed trying out the comfortable chairs, watching the Packers trounce on Da Bears, and watching the rain pour down outside.   When the game was done, the rain was done too!   

We loaded up the old couch into the back of the pickup truck and hauled that down to Dan's too.  He wants it for extra seating down in the basement bar/rec room of their house.

I wonder what Steveio is going to change next?????

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One Lttle RV Thing and some Loom Room stuff

I have one little photo that I wanted to post about an RV item we bought a while back. I had taken a picture of it a few weeks ago and forgot all about it in my camera!   It seems like a small thing, but we bought one of these collapsible buckets.  It stores flat in the little case, and saves on storage in the RV. Very lightweight but handy.  I think it was on sale for $4.99.

As you can see, it's the right size for Steve's telescoping window squeegee, but also for his washing brush, or even just a bucket to hand wash something with a rag.
We have used it to soak sweet corn in before grilling.
We have used it to haul water for filling my canning kettle.
We have used it to haul apples picked off a tree on an abandoned farmstead.
We have used it to scoop up dog food from a broken bag in the storage compartment.  LOL

So that was a little handy hint for an easy RV accessory that has multiple uses.

I was down in my Loom Room today. Now that it is getting cooler, I feel more like cocooning and staying curled up in my studio and working on my fiber art.  This is the scene that greets me each morning when I come down the stairs:

I get a nice view out the two sets of patio doors, overlooking the woods and out to the river.  
(Steve's boat is parked in front of one of my doors...ack! )
There is another large loom that will weave 5ft wide blankets out of sight to the far right.

Here are my two Union looms... they are old, probably about 1940-1950 vintage.  
One on the right has been converted into a 4 harness loom, the one on the left is a 2 harness, but very old. 

I was busy today cutting fabric into strips, winding shuttles, and finishing up the threading of one of the looms.  It's a comfortable large room in the lower level of our home, and the fully carpeted floor, plus the warmth of the sunshine coming in make it a cozy place. 

I am working on a cotton runner in two patterned fabrics on my smaller Union loom.   The black/tan fabric almost looks like an animal print when woven, and with the green/white sections, I think I will call these rugs "Leopard in the Jungle"?  

I figure I have enough fabric  to weave about 12 ft worth of rugs from these prints, so I could do one long runner, or three shorter 4 ft long rugs?  Hmmmmmm will see when I get there, hey?

On the larger Union loom, I have two big thick Birch Tree Rugs already done on there, soon to be cut off and hemmed when the diluted glue along the header dries.  The glue is just to hold the last few rows of woven threads in place until I fold them under twice and sew the hem securely shut.

This next shot is taken from underneath the loom.  These rugs are very thick and heavy.  They are loops of knit fabric, made from the big factory sock machine waste that normally ends up in the landfills.  Weavers buy it up by the pound, and chain it into long sections to weave into thick rugs.  I find these rugs remind me of the bark on my birch trees, thus I call them my Birch Tree Rugs!

I randomly add a single color for accent, on this rug it's caramel/tan.  
On the one underneath it's an olive green color for accent. 

Here is how I chain them up to make a thick chain to weave into the rugs.

On nice days, I sit outside and make up chains and more chains of these "loopers" ... a chore best to be done outside as they are linty and make a mess in the house!  Once chained, I shake them off over the deck railing, and the lint falls to the woods below, covering the ground like snow!

On my third rug loom, a Newcomb Studio Loom, I am just starting up another rug with the strips of denim and mattress ticking.  This rug is being woven as a twill, with some shaftswitching in a 4 end block weave structure sett at about 5epi with doubled warp threads.  (that info provided for the weavers reading my blog)
 Later, the long pieces of yarns will be tied into fringes along the edge of the rug. 

The rug I will weave will be something like this one I already did...  the striped fabric is the same as what is used for old fashioned mattress ticking.  I got a big bolt of from Jim and Norma, and I accented it with strips of denim that I had some yardage of.

My friend Hilary at http://crazyasaloom.blogspot.com/  always puts pics in her blog of her wonderful dog, Roy and the cats that reside in her studio.  So, in reply, here is a picture of our collie, Duchess (a.k.a. Dumb Ducky) being a Loom Doggie and hanging out by a basket of chained loopers ... all prepared for another rug.  Both of our dogs seem to enjoy hanging out in my loom room.  Sometimes I lean over and scratch their backs or ears with the end of a shuttle.  What a life! 

I have been simmering up a pot of chili this afternoon, so time now to end this blog, hit Publish and eat!!!  Steve has horseshoe league tonight, so getting a hot belly of chili will be nice in this cold fall weather.  It's 51 degrees out now, and going to be colder once we get to the outdoor horseshoe pits.  Brrrrrrrrrr


Sunday, September 18, 2011

CAMPING - Morgan Park in Marinette County with the grandson along

Ohhh ---  Stealing the grandson and heading out camping is just a wonderful way to spend the weekend, doncha think?    It's autumn in Wisconsin, the air is crisp, the bugs are gone, and we love to go camping!

On Friday morning I drove down to Green Bay and got our grandson, Jameson.  His mommy had him all packed and ready, and sure enough he was waiting out in front of their apartment, surrounded by his back packs, toys, and car seat!   (and his mommy too)   He was sooo eager to hop in the car and go go goooo!

After hugging and kissing his mommy goodbye, he helped me with the grocery shopping--- things like his little favorite boxes of cereal, some juice boxes, bananas, hot dogs, fruit snacks, cookie dough to bake and yes, can't forget his Bah-Nol-Da Bars!  (granola bars)   We loaded up the cart with all the delightful things we could find, and most of all, on top of the heap we put a KITE!   Yes, a kite... and he carried it out to the car, and all the way home for 35 miles he clung onto that kite.  Even when he dozed off, his little hands were clinging to the package.

Once we got to our house, he helped me put all the groceries into the motorhome and he INSISTED we get his car seat strapped into the front passenger seat of the motorhome.   Then he wanted to get IN the car seat and wait for his grandfather.  I tried to explain to him that it would be three more hours till Granfaddah got home from work.  But how does a three year old perceive the passing of time?

We went inside the house to wait and he ran right to my loom and started to weave.  He didn't care for the plain white portions of the towel I was working on.  He wanted to use the boat shuttle with the multicolored cotton thread on it.  He understands that we have to do two levers at a time,  1and3, then 2and4  -   that makes the plain weave portions of the towels.  But he wanted to keep putting in bright colored stripes instead the plain boring stuff.  Who could blame him?

We passed the time with a pleasant weaving session, and we were talking and playing till Granfaddah got home from work.   Then it was time to hook up the Tracker and GOOOOOOO!

We decided to head north to a little Marinette County Campground called Morgan Park on Timm's Lake.  We don't often go there, as it's such a popular park and usually full all summer.  Now that it's fall, the reservations are done with and we can have any site we choose.  We pulled in and took number 31, but almost every site is of good enough size for us.  There are about 5 or 6 other campers here but it's very quiet and not too much going on.  Just the way we like it!

The rate is $15 a night and includes electric.  The water spigots throughout the park are already drained and turned off for the season, but there is still water available down at the dump station.  We had filled our tank before leaving home, so we were good to go.

Jameson was eager to take a walk right away with the dogs.  So around we went, and he met two other little tots,  Gabriella who is 8 and Joey who is 5 but almost 6 he says.  (next April)

Soon it was getting dark and we started some supper. I saw a special treat on tv the other day.... Just take a roll of grand flaky biscuits and separate them and mush them out kinda flat... add pizza sauce, pepperoni slices, mozerella cheese and a bit of parmesan on top with italian spices.  Yummm  mini-pizzas!

(left to right... mushed biscuit, sauce then pepperoni slices then the cheeses and spices for topping)

Of course, Jameson gobbled them up quick as a wink! 

Saturday morning was crisp and cold, only 41 degrees.  But we were cozy warm and snuggly, and got in some morning cuddles with the little guy.   Soon he will be too big to cuddle with us, so we better get them while we can!   He and Granfaddah shared their little boxes of cereal, per their ritual, and got the day off to a great start.

Doggie walks and exploring the campground were on the order of activities, and then his new friend Joey came over to play for a while.  They took out the sand toys, and played in the gravel.  Oh well.  Dirty but fun!   Amazing how two little boys can play, side by side for an hour, with the toys, but barely say two words to each other.  Each lost in their own little world of play.

Granfaddah had some motorhome repairs to do.  First off, the side fender skirt was loose, so he use the rivet gun and put in a new piece of galvanized steel to re-attach it from the inside.    Then he wanted to make sure the clearance lights were sealed in good with silicone, as that is a point of entry for leaks.  Needs to be checked yearly, and it was as good a time as any to do some maintenance.

Later after lunch, we took the little guy down to the open field in the park.. to fly his kite!!!  My oh my was he ever excited!  

We got it put together and had three of four oops crashes on the ground, but finally it was flying----  Granfaddah held Jameson who held the kite handle, and they would run with the string, kite and all.   And did it ever fly up high!!    Until....

(yes, it was reminiscent of Charlie Brown's kite-eating tree)

Granfaddah tugged, Granfaddah twisted, Granfaddah pulled, Granfaddah yanked... but nooooo ---   sadly that tree would not give up the kite. Granfaddah contemplated CLIMBING up the tree to free it, but Granmuddah put the kabash on that idea.  No broken legs for a 99 cent kite!   Much to Jameson's dismay, we finally said the tree could KEEP the kite.   Off we went to the playground for a while.

(playing with the "Panoramic" setting on my tablet camera) 

Then we went to the lake to throw in some rocks and have a Skittles Picnic on the table.  That made him feel better about giving up his precious kite to that nasty kite-eating tree.

It was time for a nice long nap, after all that busy work.  So the very tired Granfaddah and Granmuddah took a nap right along with the little guy.  (we all needed it)

We needed to bake some cookies, and had along some pre-made cookie dough.  Jameson put them on the parchment paper and Granmuddah handled the oven part.  We were camping with electrical power, so we used the convection oven to make them.  We don't use it too often, but we did it and they turned out okay.  Usually it's either burnt on one side or raw on the other when using our convection oven.  Sigh.

We spent a nice evening enjoying a campfire and cooking up a traditional camping dinner of hot dogs, brats, sweet corn and a kettle of Whacky Mac (macaroni and cheese)  to round out the meal.  Followed up by Some-mores over the fire, what more can you ask for?

Almost bedtime, it was imperative to toss this grubby little boy into the bathtub.  Good thing we have a big tub and shower in our rig, because this dirty little guy played so hard he had dirt in every fingernail and both ears and in his hair and on his face, etc.   So tossing him in the tub with a pile of toys, he can keep himself amused for an hour before asking to come out.  He was almost falling asleep as I was drying him off and putting on his jammies.  He suddenly was on his second wind!!!  Total energy rechared!  It took over an hour before he was zonked out in his Blues Clues sleeping bag.... and time for Granfaddah and Granmuddah to enjoy a glass of wine and reflect upon the day.

Peaceful and quiet, the campground was into sleep mode as the fire died down and it was time to crawl into bed ourselves.  The air was cool again, down to about 40 degrees overnight.  Fall camping is so pleasant!

Sunday morning was sunny, but rain is on the way.  Thunderstorms are forecast for the afternoon, and we are thinking of packing up early to head home before noon as I write this.   Today is a Packer Game Day at noon, and we only get in three PBS stations on the tv here at this campground.   Plus, I am going to do some seamstress work to alter a dress that Heather needs to wear for standing up in a wedding, and I can get that done at home before they come to take back the little guy.

Sipping coffee at 8am with Steve, and the little goofball kid is ramming around after eating his do-do's (powdered doughnuts) and getting geared up with energy for another day of fun.
 Oh, and we were also contemplating the wisdom of this sign, not only for the county park guys who decided it needed to be printed up, but the sign makers must have wondered what is was supposed to tell people to do... and mostly the park worker guys who had to install it????

The little kids from across the way came over to play some horseshoes with Jameson and help brush the doggies for a while.  Kids always seem to like to have a turn to brush the long haired Collie and Shetland Sheepdog  (Lassie and Little Lassie).   Soon the awning was dry enough from the morning dew so we could roll it up, stow the chairs and mat and head on our way.

With little Jameson, of course, in his navigator's position to show Grandaddah the way home again.