Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sewing Pattern Inflation

My daughters recently decided they would like to make themselves new summer skirts. They don't have a lot of experience sewing so it was important that we find an easy pattern. My mother alerted me to the fact that McCall and Butterick patterns were currently $1.99 at Joann's fabric store, so we set out to gather our materials for the skirt-making project.

Easy pattern for $1.99. Check. Cute fabric at 50% off. Check. Elastic, ribbon, and thread. Check. That's all we needed to get started, because I already have a scissors, pins, tape measure, sewing machine, and an iron. But just this little bit came to over $28 even with the discounts! No wonder people don't sew much any more!
Then I happened to notice the retail price of the pattern! $15.95!!! Does anyone really pay that much for patterns? Surely everyone waits until they're on sale. I can't imagine paying that!
After we finished at Joann's we stopped at a thrift store. They had a bin of sewing patterns for a quarter a piece! Now that's more like it!

I haven't sewed much in years so I don't have many patterns, but I decided to glance through to see what they had. I had just been looking through the pattern book at Joann's for an easy tiered skirt pattern for the girls to try next and hadn't found what I wanted, so I was happy to find this one! I'm almost certain my sisters and I had this very pattern when I was in high school. The date on the package was 1981, so yep, that's the right time period! Remember when prairie skirts were so popular in the early '80s?
But notice the price! $2.50! I wonder what the sale price was in the 1980s. Because I'm sure we never paid full price for a pattern!

Then I found these beauties in the same bin. One of them was dated 1957. The other didn't have a date, but they were both originally 50 cents. And check out the apron pattern that's included in the Butterick pattern! I might just have to make that!
I called Mother to tell her about my fun finds, and rant about the outlandish price of patterns these days. She said when she and her sister were in 7th grade (mid-1950s) they got to take home-ec. They were so excited because they were going to learn to make an apron, but it was very upsetting because they were required to buy a pattern! Why, their mother could make them an apron pattern... but no, they had to buy one so they could learn to read a pattern as part of the class. And the worst part about it was, the apron pattern cost 35 cents!!!
Visit Coloradolady for more Vintage Thingie Thursday posts.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Geocaching at Lake Pend Oreille

Geocaching has been one of our favorite summer weekend activities for several years. It's fun to get out in the wilderness, it's great exercise, and we often find that the caches are placed in just the perfect spot to enjoy a great view!

That was case with the "Honey, I Think Saw the Paddler!" cache that we found a few days ago. Apparently, Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced pond-uh-ray) has it's very own "Loch Ness" legend. (Click on the link, if you're interested in reading about it.)
First, we had to park in a pull-out area beside the dirt road and hike down the road a ways before climbing up the hill into the woods to find the correct coordinates...

After following the very faint deer trail, and thrashing around in some underbrush, our GPS said we were getting close.

I see the cache!! Do you?
See the pile of bark? If you look very close you can just make out the edge of the Tupperware container tucked up under it.
And here's the view of Lake Pend Oreille that made the climb worth it!Climbing back down I stopped to take a picture of this funny tree. Notice where the bark is worn off? Lyle said that deer rubbing against it have caused that. I don't know why. And I don't know how he knows that!We slipped and slid back down the hill to the road...And enjoyed more beautiful views of the lake as we hiked back to the truck...
It was a fun day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mystery Flower

Does anybody know what kind of flower this is?

It was blooming along the snowy road the day we got stuck in the snow. I thought it was absolutely beautiful... but I have no idea what it is.

I was hopeful that maybe it was an edelweiss (you know, like from the Sound of Music?)... but I looked it up on Wikipedia, and no, it looks totally different... and I learned that the edelweiss is a European mountain flower, so it probably doesn't even grow on this continent!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A tumble-down log cabin...

On our drive in the mountains the other day, we passed this intriguing old building in a clearing by the side of the road. I just had to stop and take some pictures! Wanna explore it with me?
I thought you did! C'mon! Let's go a little closer!
I wonder if the tree growing in the middle of it helps support the front of it? Otherwise, it may have collapsed even further!
I wonder if this was originally a window or a door?
There are 3 windows along the back. They are so low to the ground we had to stoop to look through them. I think they were probably originally higher but have settled as the house slowly collapses.
Let's peek inside from a back window...
Isn't it interesting how tightly the corners still fit together?
Backing up a little to get the full view of the house from the back...
And here's the other side. See how the roof slanted toward the front?
I wonder who lived here? And when it was built?
This is silver mining country, so maybe it was related to that? Although, the building does seem to be larger and more elaborate (with all those windows) than I imagine miners took time to construct. Maybe it was a store?
Looking inside the house from the front...And admiring the moss growing on the logs...

Later in the day we came back past the old tumble-down cabin. The sun no longer shone in the clearing, but it was lovely lighting up the mountains in the background.

In a way, it seems a shame that the old house is going to ruins, with no historical marker or other information as to who worked so hard to build a home in this remote place. But then again, sometimes the "archaeologist" in me likes to speculate on ruins left to the elements to deteriorate!

It just offers so much "scope for the imagination", don't you think?

Visit Coloradolady for more Vintage Thingie Thursday posts. She even posted about "Forgotten Mountain Treasures" today!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's a Dog Day...

Four years ago today on a farm in Missouri a litter of puppies was born to a beagle named Annie. Now, Annie was the "wife" of a border collie mix named Chief... and the whole happy family belonged to my aunt and uncle!I don't recall how many puppies were in the litter (if I ever knew), but two months later my aunt and uncle were looking for a home for the last little female puppy. You see, she was a timid little thing and the people in their community were looking more for hunting dogs. It was time for our family reunion and my aunt threatened to take the puppy to the reunion to see if someone wouldn't just fall in love with it.
As it happened, our dear ol' doggy of 15 years had passed away the previous Labor Day, so we were on the lookout for a new dog. But not just any dog. We wanted a medium-size, well-behaved family pet who could live in the house and travel with us. When we heard about the little beagle-border-collie puppy we thought that might just be the very one we were looking for! Before the reunion was over we had decided to "adopt" her sight-unseen. (My aunt didn't really take her to the reunion!)

Lyle and my cousin drove over to their home and got her on the last day of the reunion. She was the perfect little traveling companion on the way home. We named her Cookie because her face is black with a white stripe, like an Oreo cookie... and because it's a play on our last name.
We almost lost her as soon as we got home with her, because she contracted Parvo and had to be hospitalized for a week! I blogged about that ordeal back in 2005.

Turns out, she has been the absolute perfect dog for our family. She adores all of us (and she worships Lyle!)... and she loves to go wherever we go! She has silky-soft fur and she is the smartest dog I've ever been around. My aunt says she gets that from her daddy, Chief!
So today we celebrate Cookie's birthday.

No, girls! We aren't going birthday shopping. Nor are we having cake. She's a dog, after all!! A blog post is enough of a celebration!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gifts from my children...

Don't you just love the sweet gifts that the children come up with on their own?

My daughters made this beautiful cake for me for Mother's Day... all by themselves. I didn't see it till they presented it to me completely finished! I was impressed!
Later in the week a knock came on my office door. I called out for whoever it was to "Come in!" but no one did. So I opened the door to find this cheery nosegay hanging on the doorknob!
Attached was this "mysterious" note...
I wasn't sure if they meant they were late for Mother's Day or May Day, but anyway, I appreciated the thoughtfulness behind the gift.

I really do like dandelions. I just wished the blossoms lasted longer and that they didn't have such "weedy" tendencies of growing in inappropriate places, and insisting on being taller than the grass!

The children were tickled to find out that their bouquet was called a nosegay! They thought that was a hilarious name for it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stuck in the snow in May...

It's 84 degrees at my house today... our warmest day of the season so far. It was not, however, this warm in the mountains yesterday where we went for a Sunday afternoon drive!

We knew there was still a little snow, so it was fun to take pictures of the melting snow along the road...
...and the merry little mountain streams carrying the snow melt down to the river...
As the road switched-back through the mountains we could even see the snow back on the road behind us, which was now across the valley!
We hit a couple of spots further up the mountain where the snow was still across the road. No problem! Our truck has 4-wheel drive... so we just plowed right through it...

...until we came to a patch where we didn't plow right through it! Instead we got stuck!

I opened my door and the snow was up to the running board...
The only thing we had to dig with was a small metal bowl the kids had brought along for the dog to drink out of. It was not very funny at the time... It took Lyle an hour of digging in wet snow, crawling around in the mud, jacking the truck up with a hand-cranked jack to put pieces of wood under the wheels, and a whole lot of frustration and grumbling, to get us "unstuck"!
After Lyle backed the truck out of the snow, he and the kids walked back up to where we were stuck to retrieve the jack and bowl...
Then Lyle, in his ultimate wisdom, decided that since there were tracks now, we could make it through if we'd just give it another go! I was skeptical... but, hey, I wasn't the one who was cold, and wet, and muddy. If he wanted to risk it again, I was willing to let him!

Can you believe he did it? And he was right! We did make it through.

However, just around the next bend we ran into more, even deeper snow. Fortunately, he was wise enough to decide that no, we definitely wouldn't make it through that section. And that explained why there hadn't been any traffic on the road for the whole hour or so we had been sitting there!

So we turned around and went home the way we had come (back through the snow patch we had just dug out of, for the third time!), rather than completing the loop through the mountains that was our intended route.

It took close to 2 hours to get home, and Lyle fidgeted in his wet jeans all the way home. But his attitude was, "Hey, we always say life is an adventure, don't we?"

And it wouldn't have made nearly as good a story if we had been able to get out right away!

Friday, May 15, 2009

There's a birthday on A Romantic Porch!

Last week when I told about picking Mayflowers with Rachel, Tatting Chic commented: "What a sweet story! I didn't know that Rachel from A Romantic Porch was your Auntie!!! How sweet! :)"

Yes... she's my "auntie"... and today is her birthday! Last year for her birthday I posted a picture taken the same day this one was:
The other one is a better pose, but the resolution is sharper on this one.

I wonder what we were looking at?

Don't you love Rachel's curls?

Oh! And lest the antique buggy make you think we are older than we really are. No. It was antique then! The picture was taken in 1966.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Times of Refreshing

Earlier this month I planted some annuals (plus a new rosebush) in the backyard one morning. Soon after I got them planted it started raining... but then later that evening the sun came out, and I was able to capture the beauty of the fresh raindrops glistening on the flowers...
The leaves of the plants seemed to perk up, and the colors seemed more vibrant after the rain...It was as if the plants had become so weary of living in a confining pot in the greenhouse and were so relieved to be able to put their roots down and take a long cool draught of refreshing, life-giving water.

This rose was blooming when I bought the bush... but it was drooping so badly that I was sure it was "done". I figured I would just snip it off and wait for the next bud to bloom. I was so amazed at how the rain brought it back to life, and I enjoyed it for several more days after that.
Isn't life that way sometimes? We get so weary of the confinement of our every day routines and the burdens we carry, and then God provides us with a special "rain shower"... a time of refreshing... just when we need it most!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Camp-out

Our first "real" camping trip of the season was for Mother's Day weekend. My younger daughter asked me if that was my Mother's Day present. I said, "Well, I guess so!" I hadn't really thought about it... but it was interesting: later in the weekend I was reading about "love languages" and realized that my love language is "quality time." So, yes... this definitely fit the bill! Spending quality time with my family was a perfect Mother's Day gift!

It was partly cloudy and cool when we left Friday evening...
We set up camp and built a fire to cook hot dogs on for supper...After supper it started raining. Some of "us" bravely enjoyed the campfire anyway...
...others of "us" (waving my hand!) enjoyed the view out the window with a good book, inside the warmth of the cozy trailer!
Saturday was sunny with just a few puffy clouds...
It was a great day for bike riding... in the campground...
...and on forest roads...
I always look forward to beating Lyle at a game of Scrabble after dark when we're camping...
...only this time he beat me! Hmph!

He said he felt real bad about it.

But I didn't believe him.