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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saturday at home

Oh my, finally a Saturday at home with NO plans.  No rushing around with commitments or planned activities.  We woke up figuring that we can do some things around here the need getting done.

As we sipped coffee on the front porch, we decided to hit a few rummage sales.  I need a hunk of "mustard" colored fabric for a customer's order of a rag rug.  Also we are looking for a cabinet for the downstairs bathroom to hold toilet paper and supplies, not too big, not too small.  Perhaps even a shelf?  Plus I am keeping an eye out for cheap Halloween decorations because we will be decorating up our campsite at the park for the big festival.  I did stop at a rummage sale on Friday and got a whole bagful of orange and black lights, some little ghost and bones lights and some other fun decorations.  So I am ahead of the game on there.  Look back at my blog post from last year and you will see why I need all the stuff----

Well, we hit the rummage sales and some thrift shops and scurried home with our treasures....

I found these four signed watercolor prints from an artist in California named B. Papais.   I looked up her stuff and prints like this sell from $40-60 each plus professional framing and matting in the $100 range!  And I got them for $10 each!  Such a bargain and I scooped them up.   The frames were lighter wood, almost a pecan color, so I gave each one a layer of colored polyurethane to match the woodwork in our house.  I think I am going to put them in a descending line to look at as we come down the foyer staircase each day.

Added this photo this afternoon to the blog post... here is a pic of the four prints spaced out on the wall from upstairs going down to the front foyer.  I got Steveio to help me put them up after the PACKER GAME WIN!  whee heeeeee    We hung the first one and the last one, and measured the space in between with a tape measure.  Divided that into three sections so we knew where to put up the middle two nails.  Worked out perfectly!   Steveio should have been an interior decorator????

Speaking of staining, last week I stained up some sections of red oak trim to put in the lower bathroom.  It's a tiny room that once was a closet, so the trim around the room was originally boards with old fashioned hooks in them.  Steve moved those wooden sections down to the back hallway for coats and we painted the upper portions of the bathroom walls.  I like the funky 60's yellow wallpaper  on the lower portions of the walls in there, so we are keeping that.  Steve got out the level and air nailer with the compressor and got to work on the trim.

A funny thing was discovered when I was painting the bathroom a few weeks ago.  We had removed the suspended ceiling panels to give them a fresh coat of paint, and on the walls above the grid for the panels I saw some TIC TAC TOE games drawn on the walls with pencil!  And a math problem too.

I took these pics and sent them to a daughter who grew up in this house. She has noooo idea of why the pencil graffiti was there. So probably whomever was hanging the panels had to wait for someone to bring a tool or whatever.  Standing there on a ladder with not much to do, and a pencil in his or her hand, they played TIC TAC TOE with someone!!!  LOL

Another thing I really liked in the bathroom was this glass shade and wall light fixture.  I repainted the fixture with a speckle spray paint and the shade is just wonderful with little dots of clear sections like glass beads and some milky glass.  I am sure it's old.   And here is the cabinet we found for $7.50 at a rummage sale!  It's perfect for what I wanted!!!  Steve had to drill some mounting holes in the back wooden panel before hanging it on the wall.

 Now---- our lower bathroom is DONE! 

 (When we bought the house, this funky little yellow kitty cat 
holds the toilet cleaning brush will remain in the bathroom) 

I had bought a bag full of beets from the Farmer's Market on Friday, and they needed to be cleaned up, simmered and slurped off the skins to make up a batch of pickled beets!   My laundry room sink is a perfect place to do the messy canning jobs, instead of the nice copper one in the main kitchen.  While Steve took a nap, I worked on the beets....  before I knew it, PING PING PING the sound of sealing lids was echoing through the house.  8 quarts and 5 pints later, I was done with that task. 

I got some weaving done too... the weather was lovely and I had all the windows open for fresh air.  But we did have frost warnings so the heat had been on overnight.  I am working on some denim rugs for a customer on the Newcomb loom that I bought last winter and stowed away. This is my first time using it, but it's just like two others I sold last spring when we were moving. It was like an old familiar friend to weave on a Newcomb Studio Loom again!

The loom works great, but I am missing the front cloth takeup lever!  I called the gal I bought the loom from and she is looking for it.  In the meantime, I had it all warped up and threaded and ready to go, but no way to exert tension on the front beam to latch it tight for the weaving process.  Being a Hardware Store Kinda Gal, I ran down to Farm and Home store here in Chilton and bought a "strap wrench".  Solved my problem!  Now I can crank the front beam tight enough to weave.  It will work until Carol finds the missing one, or Steve makes me a new one.

(I need to removed the numbered masking tape sections yet) 

Speaking of my Loom Room and staining, I used the colored polyurethane (called Polyshades by MinWax) to give a coat to these oak french doors we bought off Craigslist.  The guy said that they came out of a church, and he was going to fit them to his house but they would need to be cut down. He never got around to it.  Instead he sold them to us for a very reasonable price.  They are quite heavy and each pane of glass is individual, not just a grid over a single piece of glass.  We needed to put in a spacer to bring them down just close to the carpeting and they fit great!
BEFORE                                                           AFTER

We nailed up some more of my oak trim over the top area where the spacer is showing.  I have two old looking drawer pulls to attach as knobs once we decide which way we want them opening, from the left or the right.

Two sides in the restaining process didn't come out too good, so we are going to take them back off this week to restain them and hang them back on the track again.  It's a track like a bedroom closet to slide by each other.  The purpose of this set of doors is not only to keep the grandtots out of my loom room when I am not looking (think: needles, pins, scissors and cutting wheels)   but also to keep the room closed when not in use for heating and cooling purposes.  If the doors are closed, the thermostat right around the corner will only activate for the dining and livingroom temps where we are sitting at night.  I won't heat the Loom Room unless I am in there working.

One more staining project we took care of this week was the tiny section of plate rail to the left of this mirror.   Originally there had been a taller hutch built in here on the wall, but we moved that to my Loom Room and set in the buffet to my dining room set and hung this mirror.  The walls have a plate rail running all the way around the dining room, but this small section needed to have a new "end" created for it where it had butted up to the hutch, and another "end" for the other side.  Steve traced the pattern and cut out some new "ends" with the scroll saw.  I stained them up and they were dry enough to tack into place while he had the air nail gun and air hose snaking into the house.

Of course once he made the ends, when we went to install them, the whole mirror had to be moved over 2 inches to balance the wall space!  arggghhh It's very heavy and mounted with big screws right into the studs.  Luckily we were able to still get into the stud on one side and put a wall fastener on the other side.

Instead of plates, I filled the rails all around the room with family photos. 
Mom and Dad P are on the left side in the oval frame. 

It's a pouring wet rainy Sunday morning here.  Good to stay in, wear soft sweats and warm socks as the temps might not even get to 60.  It's a Packer Game day, so we will watch the game on tv from the warmth of our livingroom.   I might get some weaving done, or maybe list a bunch of my unsold inventory from the craft sale into my Etsy store.

My mom has converted over from her WebTV console to a laptop, so I am going to call her and walk through some of the process to reset a port for her modem.  For some reason it goofed up and I have to figure out long distance to Florida on how to get it back! arggghhhhhh

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Crafty Apple Festival in Chilton, WI

Months ago, our weaving friends Jim and Norma Burkett of Pa and Ma's Rugs had booked a craft show in Chilton called The Crafty Apple.  They take a double space at most craft shows they do, so they invited me to join in with my things to sell and share their space.  How nice was that?

They came up Friday afternoon to spend the weekend at our home.  Pulling in with their full trailer of goodies was pretty easy up our long drive and into the yard and parking next to the motorhome.  We gabbed all afternoon, and then we went out for fish fries at Ethel's Pub here in Chilton.

The weather report didn't look good at all.  It was going to be hot, humid, muggy and scattered thunderstorms in the forecast.   Oh boy...  not my best weather for breathing, and definitely a detriment to the throngs of shoppers due to descend on the small town of Chilton for the event.

Over 120 vendors, food tents and children activities were scheduled to appear.  We had to get up early to do the setup of the booth in our two reserved spots.  Vendor vehicles were permitted in the roadway to unload from 6:30 a.m. setup time until the festival opened at 8 a.m.   We unloaded and set up the canopy in a matter of minutes, but there were a few rain drops threatening from time to time during the unpacking of rugs and setting up tables.  At least we were dry.  Soon the booth was ready for SALES!

I set up a rack of socks, hot pads, scarves and then a table of hats and towels.   
I hung up my personalized sign made by artist friend Juanita Hofstrom  
(her sign-making services are available) 

The shoppers started pouring in and we were busy for the morning with getting sales and talking to customers.  Steve and Jim went over for a quick breakfast run to McDonalds for all of us.  So in between customers, we gulped down greasy breakfasts and sipped from a thermos of coffee. 

A number of people stopped by to see me at the booth.  A blog reader, Donna Boehm and her husband stopped by to visit.  We had not yet met face to face, but they were camping out at High Cliff for the weekend in the site right across from the host site!   Too bad it wasn't the weekend before and we would have met at the park.  It was so nice to meet them in person and gab for a bit. They bought some rugs and went home as Happy Campers.  
Some of the daughters who grew up in our house stopped by too.  They were in Chilton for the festival and had wanted to stop in the house and see the changes we had made, but couldn't stay till after the festival ended. Next time gals, and you can come and wander around your childhood home. 

I handed out a lot of my business cards and let people know I am a "local" in the area available for custom orders of my socks and rugs.  We chatted and visited with various shoppers and just enjoyed the morning at the festival.

I had along my sockknitting machine, and many people stopped to check it out and marveled at how it knit socks.  It helps my sales to see them being made----

Jim and Norma were busy selling their handwoven rugs.  I weave rugs too, of course, but didn't bring any of mine so they could have all the rug customers.  It's amazing how many people mention that "my grandmother used to weave rugs" ....   I am sure there were not THAT many weavers of rugs here in Wisconsin.  In actuality, a lot of people just remember their grandmothers saving rags and making rag balls which were brought to a weaver to make the rugs.  But memories are fickle things.  

Part way through the day, the skies opened up and dumped a pile of rain on our festival!!!!   Oh my, the umbrellas came out as shoppers dashed back to their cars.  There went away all of our customers!

We quickly unfurled the sides and back portion of our booth during the downpour deluge.   I slid the sock machine in closer, as well as the rack of my socks.  The rain poured down, and some shoppers took refuge in our booth.  I told them if they wanted to come out of the rain, they had to buy something!  LOL ... Just kidding.  But really, we did make some sales during the downpour.  

Norma scooted her chair in closer as Jim dropped the side portion of the canopy behind us. 

The rains kept pouring down, 
and Jim was looking for more customers. 
They all went home. 

We were very lucky the winds were not an issue for us.  Jim has the booth corners weighted down with heavy buckets and winched straps.  Some vendors were not as prepared a few of their canopies went flipping over and sending their wares scattering across the way.

The waters were flooding along the gutters of the street we were on.  It was flowing with a steady current past our booth.  All of the table cloth bottoms got wet, and before I knew it, my chair and feet were in the moving water!   My fanny pack of money and cell phone had been hanging off the handle of my chair and just the bottom edge got wet.  OH MY!   I saw them just in time to pick them up and prevent a disaster of ruining my brand new smart phone!

By mid-afternoon, the rains stopped.  Things at the booth were pretty quiet as far as customers.  We dried off some things, rolled up our canopy sides and back panel and started to really feel the HEAT and STEAM of the humid sun-filled afternoon.  EWWWWWWWWW

We were fortunate to have the ONLY booth space along the road with TREES for shade!   As things got hot, we moved our chairs back behind the booth into the shady areas.  By now, I was moving slow and taking it easy.

A newspaper reporter stopped by from the local newspaper and interviewed me and took my photo cranking my sock machine.  We will see if I hit the big time now in the Chilton Times Journal???

Sales were slower now, and although some customers stopped by in the afternoon, I think most of the serious shoppers had gone home to hide from the rain storms.  By 4 p.m. we started to tear down the canopy, put away the remaining inventory, and pack up our stuff.   

Jim's show trailer is very well organized and he has a place for everything.  Steve helped with the heavy stuff of the tear down and helped to stow the gear as Jim recently underwent surgery.  We took it slow as the heat and humidity were stifling.  Here is a shot of Jim's trailer from another festival we went with them....  Quite the organized process, eh?

Once we were done loading up, we melted our bodies into our hot car parked nearby. Whewwwww  it was hot.  But we came back to the house in the coolness of the AC that had been on all day.  Ahhhhh  what a treat!   I had marinated some steaks all day in the fridge, and Steve threw them on the grill.  We whipped up a supper for four tired out folks ... and sat around just gabbing till Steveio did an evening Dilly Bar run to Dairy Queen.   What is a Dilly Bar????   Here is a pic:

 What a cool way to end a hot day?

Sunday morning, Jim and Norma treated us out to a breakfast at The Seven Angels restaurant in Chilton, and they headed back to Beloit, WI .  We loaded up the motorhome and headed out to the Volunteer Jamboree at Point Beach (see my last blog post before this one to read about that)

Oh, we were able to reserve the SAME spots for next year by registering and paying up front for the booths again.  Soooo next year, come see us at the Crafty Apple Festival in Chilton for 2014~!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wisconsin State Park Volunteer Jamboree 2013

The State of Wisconsin hosted a Thank You party called a Volunteer Jamboree for all the camp hosts and other volunteers to attend last weekend.  We were treated to three days free camping at Point Beach State Forest, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

We went Sunday after the Crafty Apple Fest in Chilton was done (will do a blog post about that later)  and loaded up our rig to drive the quick 40 miles or so to the park.  Our campsite was already open and waiting for us....

Point Beach State Forest is along the dunes of Lake Michigan, but the campground is nestled in the heavily wooded cedars along the route to the lodge at the north end of the park.  We were within walking distance of the Lodge where most of the activities were held.

The first event on the schedule was to get to the Lodge in time for the Packer Game kickoff at 3:15.  We found good spots up near the TV with some of the other hosts from High Cliff, Rosie and Luke.
(although the Packers lost, it was a good game!) 

We had some interesting speakers throughout the weekend.  They talked about the parks and their plans and how to cope with shrinking budgets and took suggestions on how to make things better....   It was good for the actual camp hosts to give feedback, as we are the ones "in the trenches" so to speak.

We heard talks on the shipwrecks and light house, about ice cream sundaes being invented in Two Rivers, and other local information.   The three day jamboree was sprinkled with various prizes to be won.  We didn't happen to win one, but we did get two bright yellow Volunteer Jamboree t-shirts!

Various tours were offered at different things in the Manitowoc/Two Rivers area.  We got a special viewing at the Point Beach Light House....  What is interesting is that this lighthouse was first built as a Chicago River Lightstation at the Chicago Harbor, and was later transported by barge up to Point Beach.  It was in 1894 when it was installed as their warning beacon for the jutting out portion of land called Rawley Point, which was notorious for shipwrecks.   http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=252

 Before the lighthouse was built, 26 ships foundered or stranded on the point. They included 20 schooners, a barge, two steamers, and three brigs. The most tragic sinking in the point's unpleasant history occurred in 1887, when the steamship Vernon went down in heavy seas. One of the largest, steamers on the lakes at the time, the Vernon took 36 crew members and passengers to their deaths. The sinking remains a mystery. 
Also famous was the "Christmas Tree Ship" called the Rouse Simmons that sank in 1912.

We crossed the sand dunes to get out to the lakeshore and beach area of Lake Michigan.  The day was kinda grey and cloudy, but it was warm and humid and muggy.  If not for the breeze, I think it would have been a real scorcher!

A little silliness on the beach with fellow camphosts Judy and Rosie.  Just after Steve snapped this pic, a big wave came up behind us and reached mid-thigh to get us wet!!!!

One of the scheduled tours we chose to do was over to London Dairy Alpaca Farm in Two Rivers.  I will do a blog post about that later because I have wayyyyyy too many pics to add here!   Plus it will be of interest to my fellow fiber blog readers and I can send them a link to come and read about our fiber tour.

Once we were done with our tours, Steveio took a nap and I did some knitting out in my lawn chair to pass the time.  This is when something AMAZING happened!

As I sat there knitting, I felt something hit my leg, a tiny "tap"... and I looked down to see my diamond from my engagement ring setting on my pants leg!!!!    It had fallen right out of the setting on my finger!

Now, I could have lost it at the lodge, or in the sand on the beach, or at the light house, or heaven forbid in the alpaca DOO-DOO at the farm we had toured an hour before!  But nooooooooo ----- lucky lucky lucky me had it fall out right where I saw it and felt it!   (it is now at the jeweler's getting reset back onto the ring with new stronger prongs!) 

Now  back to our regularly scheduled program:

The campsites were roomy and well spaced apart, but our site was close to the nearby county road and we could hear and see the traffic through the trees.  These sites were selected by the group organizing the Jamboree so beggars can't be choosers!  Next time I think we will select a site closer to the water where we used to camp a lot when my kids were little.

The Monday night event was a special treat... a FISH BOIL!     This is a "local thing" and MUST be experienced if you ever visit the western shores of Lake Michigan.

Here is what Wikipedia says about a Fish Boil:
A fish boil is a Great Lakes culinary tradition in areas of Wisconsin (USA) and along the coastal Upper Great Lakes, with large Scandinavian populations. Fish boils enjoy a particularly strong presence in Door County, Port Wing and Port Washington, Wisconsin. The meal most often consists of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior whitefish (though lake trout or locally caught salmon can be used), with other ingredients.
The fish is typically caught by local fishermen, cut into small chunks and cooked in boiling water with red potatoes. Some boilers add onions as well. Salt is the only seasoning used, and used only to raise the specific gravity of the water.
The cooking of the fish is an elaborate presentation. Restaurants typically ask that patrons arrive a half hour early to witness the boiling. The fish and potatoes are prepared in a cast-iron kettle. When the water comes to a boil, the potatoes, kept in a wire basket, are lowered in.
The fish are then placed in another wire basket and lowered in. After 9-10 minutes, when the fish are cooked, the oils rise to the top of the pot. The boiler then tosses a small amount of kerosene on the flames and the increase in flames causes a boilover. The fish oils spill over the side of the pot and the fish is done. The fish chunks remain whole and firm. Chefs usually drip melted butter over the fish before serving. The dish is known locally as "poor man's lobster."
The fish boil was started at the Viking Grill in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin by then grill owners Annette and Lawrence Wickman when they decided to duplicate the trout boils held by local churches and civic groups but instead use the local whitefish.

We ate our plates of fish so fast, I didn't have time to take a pic!   Our fish boil included small red potatoes, carrots, onions and sweet corn.  They ladled melted butter over the whole thing and it was just a wonderful taste and flavor of lobster.

The park staff finished off our meal with a dessert cake thanking the volunteers of the Wisconsin State Park System.

We were given a certificate of appreciation, 
and then treated with an evening of musical entertainment. 

Storms were blowing in, so we rushed back to the motorhome to roll up the awning and put away our lawn chairs.  Since we were mostly "stowed" away, we decided to drive home the 40 miles and not stay overnight at the park as planned.  It was dark and we usually don't like driving at night in the motorhome, but since there weren't any big events scheduled the next day other than a breakfast, we went home.  As we drove west away from the lakeshore, the winds increased and the temps rose steadily.  By the time we got home, it had increased from mid-70's up to 84, hot muggy and stormy....    We drove into the yard and unhooked the Tracker while the heat was almost unsufferable.  After two days of camping along the cooler lakeshore, it was amazing how much hotter it was inland.

We unloaded the main things from the motorhome and had the usual fight with Duke in the driveway about coming into the house.  We turned off the yard light and waited for the little chicken to come to the door and ask to come in!  LOL

Our house was closed up tight all weekend and was nicely cool inside when we got home.  We did turn on the AC the next day to combat the heat and humidity that we were plagued with afterwards.  Now on Thursday, we have woken up to cooler temps, lower humidity, and might not even reach 70 today!  I just checked the weather station, and we are only 64 here in Chilton, and it's after 10 a.m..

Now that it's cooler, I have all the windows open and fresh air blowing in.  Time to get some weaving done, as the temps are perfect for working in my loom room.

Speaking of windows and my Loom Room....  many years ago the previous owners of our house replaced the large window in my Loom Room with a newer one.  We are not sure if the old window broke or if they wanted just a modern crankout style for ventilation?   The leaded glass portion was not salvaged and never to be found in the garage attic.  Sigh.  But Steveio found one JUST like the other two windows in our dining and livingroom!   He was browsing Craigslist and came across one.  We called and it measured EXACTLY 44 inches wide which is what we needed!   For only $50 we snapped it up.  The seller had gotten over 15 calls after we called.  But he saved it for us mainly because he said we were going to use it on our own home and not buying it to resell to make a profit.  He saw some on Ebay in the $200-300 range.  He now wished he had priced it a lot higher, but sold to us as agreed for $50.  Thanks, Dave!
I will post more later about the install.  
Steve plans to put the panel up in a frame along the inside of the existing window
 to recreate it's look to match the other larger windows in our home!