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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Moochdocking Memorial Weekend and Motorhome Modifications

Our Memorial holiday weekend started out with a fun overnight babysitting for a couple of the grandtots!   At Christmas we had given each of our kids and their spouses a "DATE"  It was gift cards for a dinner out, a movie and also an overnight babysitting to enjoy their "date"   Dan and Heather saved theirs till now in May to use on their anniversary.  Awwwwwww   We kept little 8 week old Mason and 2 year old Allegra overnight on Friday.

We told the young parents that they could sleep in and come by noon on Saturday.  But no, they are too used to getting up early and were at our door by 9am to take their kids back!   Before they left, I got the two grandtots to pose by my birch trees.

All of the grandkids have been posing for pics in front of these trees for three years now.   And if everything goes as planned this week, we may not even be owning these particular birch trees in the near future.  But I am not going to say anything to jinx it, you blog readers will just have to wait and see!~

Seeing as the kids left early, we hopped in our rig and headed west on Hwy 22.  Stopped in Cecil by a little parking area on the shores of Shawano Lake to make a little lunch.  What a great view out the windows!!!

(panorama camera setting)

Being  that it was a busy holiday weekend, we knew that the chance of getting an open campsite was just about nil, so we headed over to Wausau, WI to "mooch-dock" in our fellow Safari-owning friends Mel and Paula! 

"Mooch-docking" is when you hang out in someone's driveway for free, as opposed to "boon-docking" out in the woods for free without hookups, or "Wally-docking" when you park overnight for free at a Wal-Mart! 

It was a pleasant day and we avoided a few of the scattered showers during the daytime....   Their rig is crosseways in front of ours is the same year, just a different color and slightly different model.  Sahara vs Serengeti.  But basically the same rigs...  both made by Safari. 

Because Mel and Paula live within the city limits, they are not allowed to have a burning campfire.  Sigh.   What fun is "camping" if you can't have a campfire?  So Mel had made up this Campfire In a Can!   You can buy commercially made ones, but Mel made this one up from a metal wash tub, a fireplace gas log setup and a hose to a propane tank!  It sure put out heat too!!!

Saturday night we were up kinda late, yacking and going between their rig and ours, comparing ideas and modifications.  The rains started, and soon the HAIL!!!! ACK!   It was pinging down on the roofs of our rigs... and piling up as the 1-1.5 inch hail was sliding off the end of our tilted awning.  The pinging was getting louder and louder and we were shaking, just thinking of our solar panels getting smashed to smithereens!    The rain let up around midnight, so they wandered in their house and we made it back into our rig to get some sleep.  

The next morning they examined the roofs.  Our rig made it through safely, probably due to being parked underneath a pretty big tree.  Paula and Mel's rig didn't fare as well.  They had a few holes banged through their fiberglass air conditioner covers!   Mel said he can repair them though, so all is not so bad.  At least the expensive bathroom skylites and solar panels all made it through safe and sound! 
Paula and I kept ourselves busy with cooking food, checking out her quilting room (she has a huge long-arm quilting machine!)   and we even hit a few thrift shops.  I found some yarn. Yah, right, like I really need some yarn!    Their wonderful daughterinlaw, Sarah, made us a cheesecake and raspberry glaze for a special treat.  Yummmmm 

The guys never left the yard!  They were busy---- under, inside, over and on top of each other's rigs.  They fiddled and futzed and researched and repaired.   Two guys, a pile of tools, and two similar motorhomes to play with.  Talk about FUN!~ 

They did discover a problem.... first with Mel's rig and then even worse with ours!   I will let Mel tell it in his own words from his post on the Safari Group SafariCoaches

This past weekend Stevio and I where diagnosing my PacBrake because, to me, it felt as though it was no longer working as it had been. (Turning it on would cause the Allison display to drop to 2nd and the coach would downshift as it slowed..... but did not have the "drag" I was accustomed to).
We figured out how to activate the PacBrake air solenoid, (after turning ON the key and allowing the air pressure to build up), with a momentary jumper wire from the always hot chassis battery post of the isolator to the positive wire of the solenoid, (which we had removed from the PackBrake relay).

The air cylinder would only push out about 1/4 as far as it should with each momentary application of 12v, (which only slightly closed the butterfly).

Steve discovered that the strange looking 90 degree elbow, (mounted on the top of the PacBrake air cylinder), to which the air line from the solenoid is attached, had an air leak.

When Steve sealed the opening in the end of that elbow with his thumb and I jumped the 12v, the PacBrake cylinder extended all the way and closed the butterfly, as it should.

He removed that "elbow" and we discovered that it is actually a "Humphrey 1/4 Quick Exhaust Valve #SQE2".
When we disassembled that "valve" we found that the internal rubber diaphragm had a hole in it.

Steve took the diaphragm from the working valve on his '96 Serengeti  PacBrake cylinder and put it in mine and it is working perfectly.

Link to valve:

Link to kit:

BTW, the reason Steveio is willing to go without his Humphrey Valve temporarily is that we found that his PacBrake butterfly is rusted/frozen in the open position............ (I guess it's true: "No good deed goes UNPUNISHED")! :-)
I have ordered a new valve, ($15.95), plus a rebuild kit,($7.95) plus shipping ($3.83), so when Steve frees his up he can use it.

'96 Sahara, 3126 Cat

Paula helped me solve a dilemma that I had-----   Long ago, my friend Lisa gave me her old cast aluminum roaster.  It's perfect for a small roast, a chicken, casserole or mashed taters (that is what she used it for).  It's one of those "prized possessions".  Also when my daughter bought her house, the previous owner had a larger one, and it was being tossed in the trash as the sellers were cleaning out the house.  I was allowed to keep it when we were just looking at the house for Erin and Mark to buy it.   So I have these two antique roasters.  The big one won't even fit in the convection oven of our rig, and the small one will barely fit.  They are very heavy, and I am guessing quite old. 

I know this sounds silly, but I have been just agonizing over the decision of what to do.  If I get rid of them, I doubt if I could ever find them again if we do settle down into a larger home and kitchen.  They are not very common.  Do I toss the big one?  Do I keep it?  None of my kids wanted it. Even if it doesn't fit in the oven, it's great to put out over the fire and will fit a turkey in it.  There is just not enough room in the motorhome's kitchen cabinet that I have for the regular kettles.  I needed to cull one and didn't want to.  I have most of my allotted storage compartment space underneath already earmarked for other things, so putting it there would just let it sit and rattle around never get used? 

Sooo along comes Paula with a solution!  

Our Safari rigs come with a pretty useless lazy susan cabinet in the corner of the kitchen.  I hate mine.  Paula hated hers too.  The cans and jars and bottles of food spill over the edges and get caught way in the back!   Then you have to get down on your hands and knees to reach wayyy back behind with a pair of cooking tongs to get them out again. Argghhh.   

Paula had the best idea, she took her lazy susan out!    The boxed-in area underneath the lazy susan is covering our water heater.  It's a nice carpeted cabinet with a strong surface to hold items without slipping around.  There is a narrow side open area that works great for baking cookie sheets and muffin pans.  So tonight, my Steveio got down on his knees to remove my lazy susan! 

(before)                                                       (during) 

(and after!)
Now it's like a big appliance garage!   I fit in the roasters, the toaster, my little food chopper, hand held Braun blender, some bread pans, my apple corer  and there is still some room for the waffle iron!   It sure don't take much to make me happy, Steveio says.  Remove one little rotating circle and his wife is grinning like a fool!  LOL 

While he had out his trusty drill with a phillips bit in it, he removed these wooden brackets that were around the top opening of our stairs.  My newest sandals have been catching on them and I have tripped twice in the last week going into our rig.   (I know, I know, just pick up my feet, eh?)   

They were originally designed to hold up a flip down door that would cover the stair-well while in transit.  We long ago removed the flip down door to create more space for the heater located on the wall next to the stairwell.  If the door is gone, why keep the brackets in place?   He removed them and the tiny screw holes left behind are not too noticeable.  

I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day
 and lest we never forget the brave men and women 
who have fought to protect our freedom. 

So that is about it from the Pfundtner's home, 
stay tuned for the newest updates in our transition to full time RVing! 


Monday, May 21, 2012

Jason Collingwood Workshop in Shopiere, WI - Sunday (last day)

This is the fourth (and final) post about my weaving weekend at Vavning Studio in Shopiere, WI

Sunday morning was a bit cooler than Saturday.  Again, I got my "Kitchen Wench" duties under control.... but oops!  I missed plugging in the coffee urn at the other end of cord! ACK!   I had the one end plugged into the pot, but for some reason it was unplugged from the wall.  An hour later when folks were wandering in, the coffee was not done!   It took about 15 minutes for it to finish, and I felt bad about slacking on my duties.  LOL   I prepped up some more deviled eggs, and put out some fresh fruit, bagels and hot water for the tea drinkers.

While I do this in the early mornings, I crank Juanita's CD player with Celtic Woman music, which floods throughout the studio in the early morning hours before anyone else comes.  I play their music at home all of the time too.  Makes me feel "creative".  One weaver, Ellen, gets there early each day, but she likes the music too, so I keep it going.

I wanted to take a moment to mention our darling hostess Juanita Hofstrom.  She is a talented lady, art major and retired art teacher, who is living her dream with this studio she has created.

 Each year as I have attended these workshops, she manages to hand create some lovely gifts for each participant.   Over the years I have received pottery, shadow boxes, necklaces and shuttles.  All are treasured, as are the fond memories associated with them.   This year was just as special... with gifts of her small tubular handwoven Buddy Bags.  They can be used to carry your keys, cell phone, money etc.   Great if you are out and about jogging, hiking, touristing or attending a conference such as this and don't want to haul along a purse or wallet.  Hang it around your neck, tuck it inside your shirt, and your valuables are safe.   Plus, I found a ball of pretty special sock yarn tucked into my basket by my loom. Hmmmm wonder where that came from?   Also, here is the photo I talked about yesterday that Norm took of Steve and I by the tree he planted for Juanita's studio.  Wow.. did that tree ever grow!

Okay, back to the weaving workshop!

Folks wandered on in, ready to start another day of learning.  Jason keeps two of these large write on wipe off boards going with tons of information, diagrams, lifting sequences, color patterns and lots of other weaving jargon.  If you don't snap a photo of each board, like this one below, before the next lecture portion, it's erased and replaced with MORE stuff to put into your head.  (by now our heads are sooo full of information)   We have great handout notes to refer too, but sometimes snapping a pic helps.   Juanita, our "Fiber Goddess" hostess, as her favorite shirt depicts,  was making the rounds, checking that everyone had what they needed.

We were all weaving away the morning, and most of the group went back upstairs to learn about rug finishing techniques on the edges....   I was out in my hallway area working on my rug samples in between dashing in and out to prepare a meal for 11:30 a.m. before folks would be hitting the road.  Other years I have done things like lasagna or soups... but glad this year we decided I should do a nice meal of steamed fresh veggies, stirfry chicken and 2 steamers of rice.  It was lighter fare and easier to handle on a hot hot hot 90+ degree day.

Soon our classes were over and folks were loading up their looms and supplies.  Steveio was helping folks carry things out to their cars in the parking lot.  Seated at the picnic table by our rig was Mark Huttner, the guy who I mentioned in yesterday's blog.  He was patiently helping a customer work through some of her knitting foibles she was having with one of his patterns.  Talk about "Customer Service" on a Sunday no less!

Once the students' looms were out of the way, 
it was time to set up some banquet tables down the center of the room . 

I had all of the food ready at once.... whew- that is a feat!   I always feel a flash of success when a cook can get all of the food done at one time-----   It was served buffet style so everyone could  take or add just what they wanted to their own tastes.

Juanita picked up a special Turtle cheesecake from Annie's Restaurant down the road.  It's special because the turtle name takes on another meaning, being in Turtle Township by Turtle Creek.  Awwww   Then a fellow weaver, Joan, brought in a "to-die-for" chocolate cake!  It was a flourless cake with fresh raspberries garnish.  Oh MY!   We all had to sample a piece of each.

I feel the meal is a good time to connect once again and chat about things other than weaving. We had a chance to unwind a bit, and catch our breath after weaving and packing and sorting and loading.
Then we all had to hit the road and head on home again.  Sigh. 

Steve and I hung around to help clean up, do the dishes and load up my things into the rig.  When we were done, Juanita and Norm were ready to lock the doors of the studio and head on home too.  

We said our goodbyes, with tears in our eyes.  One more year of a Jason Collingwood Workshop under our belts.  whew.... 9 years of having him come to the studio and present these classes.  He rotates between Shaftswitching, Twills, 3 end Block Weave, 4 end Block Weave and Plain Weave classes.   

You can do one better that coming to a class like this, by actually going to England and taking a class right in his own studio!   He holds residential classes by weaving one-on-one with him, staying a week in a furnshed apartment by the studio.   You leave with a finished rug at the end of the week... not just a sample, a WHOLE RUG!    
More information here:  http://www.rugweaver.co.uk/

(to my children-- take note-- if you ever want to get me a really cool present, 
sending me to England for a week would be totally acceptable) 

The dogs were all excited and ready to roll as we left the parking lot.  I was pooped out and dozed off for a while as Steve drove home. It is about 200 miles back to home, so our ride was long.   But the dogs don't care, they just wanna GO!    

They are quite disappointed when we pull up in front of the house.  They thought we were going somewhere else.  ANY where else!   They HATE coming home, and usually it's Duke who pulls a hissy fit temper tantrum about leaving the rig and having to go into the house.  Lately Duchess (a.k.a. Ducky) has been pulling the same temper tantrum!   It's hard to pry them outta the rig and make them go across the yard into the house.  They break away and dash back into the open motorhome door.  

I know how they feel.  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Jason Collingwood Workshop in Shopiere, WI - Saturday Workday

This is the third post in a series of blogs about my weaving weekend in Shopiere, WI at Vavning Studio. This is about Saturday's class. 

Saturday morning I hit the ground running!  After a gulp of coffee and a quick blog post about Friday, I went into the studio and started my day.  I got the coffee and tea pots going, set out the bagels and cream cheeses, and did up a dozen deviled eggs for those folks who might have skipped a breakfast.  This way the brain gets fed before the workout starts at 9am!

By 9am on the dot, Jason has us gather upstairs for the learning/lecture part of the class.  We were working on constant lift with the 3 end blockweave structure.  Those non-weavers out there won't understand, but it's basically changing the pattern in a rug by just changing the order of how you throw which color shuttle across as you weave.  The looms are tied up in a special way that you can control the patterns that appear just by the order of shuttle colors.

We then went down to work out all our newly gained knowledge on our looms!   Busy busy busy as bees, the weavers were throwing shuttles, flipping harnesses and checking their notes.  Patient teacher Jason Collingwood  http://www.rugweaver.co.uk/   went from loom to loom, student to student, working out the patterns and sequences with each weaver.

About noon, we took a break for lunch.  I wandered out by Steveio to make up sandwiches in the rig.  Whew it was getting HOT!!!!    It was over 90 degrees and our fridge side of the rig was facing the sun.   We noticed the temp in the fridge was climbing and needed more cooling air across the coils in the back compartment.  Steve rigged up a table fan to blow back there that cooled things back off soon enough.  He is now looking to adapt two 4" DC muffin fans to help move the air back there.  Another project for him, so he is happy! LOL

After lunch was over, it was time for the obligatory group photo!  LOL  We lined up so Juanita's hubby Norm, a professional photographer, could snap our shot.  (ps this is NOT the shot that Norm did, this is one taken by Steve from one side) 

And everyone else handed their little point and shoot cameras to Steve so he could snap some too for memories.  Norm later printed up his shot for everyone to enjoy too.... they took a nice shot of Steve and I by a tree that Steve had transplanted for them a number of years ago, and Norm printed that out too. When I get home I will scan it in on the scanner and post it in another blog.

Our hostess, Juanita Hofstrom and her photographer hubby, Norm.

We wove on our looms from about 1:30 till after 4.. some of us till 5.  Whew!  But the lessons were sinking in and we were making sense of it all.  Here are some pics of people's work in progress and how it's all coming together-----

And here is mine.  I am going to make 5 or 6 individual 12"x12" samples instead of one long one like the other years in the past.  Then I can use them as mats for hot things or as end table mats to put our coffee mugs on by our bed! (blue and sliver will match our motorhome) 

Kari was working on something different than a rug sampler.  
She was working on some fastastic color combinations 
in a complicated log cabin weave structure for a blanket!!!  Wowzer!  

Her husband, Mark is also an accomplished knitter with a blog and more information about his fiber business with knitting patterns and kits at  http://www.sugarriverfiber.com  and blog at http://vdcalpacas.blogspot.com

Now, our hostess, Juanita is working on a "full sized sample"  (really- a full rug!)  at her specially designed shaft switching loom.  At one point, Jason was able to hop on and demonstrate some of the techniques used on a full sized loom that are hard to show on the little table looms.

Meanwhile, Norm took care of untangling some weft that was going to be used.... 
what a great Weaver's Helper he is!

By 5pm I think our brains were all like sponges that had gone over and beyond the saturation point.  It was time for a break.  Whew!   My friend John wanted a sock machine lesson, but then decided he had just about enough for the day too.  I think we were both relieved to call it off.  The temps outside were terrible.   When I got out to the motorhome, we fired up the generator and ran the two rooftop AC units to cool down.  It was an easy supper of tacos and then we just laid around decompressing.    I didn't even pick up my knitting needles or touch my spinning wheel.  Now THAT is unusual.

About 9 p.m. it started to cool off a bit, so we hopped in the Tracker with the dogs and took a ride into Beloit---  in search of a Dairy Queen!  After a bit of ice cream by the river, we headed on home and to bed.

As I slept, 
I had visions of warp and weft, 
shuttles and sleying hooks,
patterns and placement,
and over and over in my dreams 
I was chanting out the lift sequences:


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Jason Collingwood Workshop in Shopiere, WI - ShowNTell Friday night

Blog posting number two from Vavning Studio, in Shopiere, WI.

On Friday night, some of the weavers came back after dinner for a little ShowNTell session.   They had various items they had made and wished to share with the others in the group.  Many of us are not just rug weavers, but skilled in creating other areas of Fiber Arts.

I thought some of these pics would be interesting to my fiber fun blog readers.

Ellen helping Juanita show some of her woven rugs

Another one of Juanita's colorful creations in shaftswitching

Ellen modeled some of Juanita's woven garments

John showed two of his newest wool rugs in twills

John had some totes and mats too, done in creative patterns

John's wonderful woven blankets, with Juanita looking on in admiration

 Judith had some wonderful free form inlay 
weaving on a scarf

Jan had some lovely rugs to share, each one nicer than the next

 Look at this great saddle blanket she made! 

I really like this rug done in 3 end block weaves

Ellen was showing some samplers 
and a fun scarf she wove with novelty eyelash and metallic yarns

And her scarf in tencil has such gorgeous hand dyed colors...

Last, but not least, are Jim and Norma Burkett of http://www.paandmasrugs.com/   Norma demonstrated how to get every last inch of fabric out of a pair of jeans.  Denim rugs are their specialty, and they are known all over for their wonderful rugs.   Norma was done zipzipziping up the jeans with a little electric cutter in no time.  The remains of what is leftover is a perfect product to market to Biker Chicks as a pair of G String Blue Jeans!   LOL

So that is what did on Friday night .... now it's Saturday night and I am pooped.  Saturday's pics are still in the camera yet.

Whew.. what a busy busy day!   It's been hot hot hot in the 90's and very humid. We just aren't use to this at all!   Steve and the dogs are hanging out in the motorhome, and started the generator for a while to cool off with the air conditioners.

It was soooo hot that the afternoon sun on the side of the motorhome caused the fridge to warm up.  We had to prop open the back of the fridge's compartment door and stick a fan inside to cool it.  Steve is going to get some small 12 volt fans to mount in there permanently.  For now it's okay and our food is safe again. 

I am crawling off to bed now, and tomorrow is only a half day of weaving, and as everyone finishes up, I am cooking them a meal to send them on their way home.

(hope it cools off!)