Sunday, July 21, 2024

New To Me ... Yard Sales

It has cooled off a tad in Utah, down to the low 70's at night.  I can deal with that.  Jonathan is a happy camper too since his little house is now cooler.  He can take the heat better than I, so he sleeps in the rig.

Bright and early we were off into the world of estate and yard sales.  I've never hit up any yard sales in my town.  If you want tons of baby clothes or old car parts, that is the place to go.  Here?  My oh my ... you could furnish an entire house with amazing stuff picked up at yard sales.  This was our first stop. 

It was a 55 plus retirement community.  I think I could live here.  Nice and quiet ... no noisy neighbors, but I'm sure the streets are only 8 feet wide.  This one advertised fabric, so we hit the ground running down to the basement where we found a closet with quite a bit of what we were looking for.  Their prices were a little bit in outer space, but there was enough for Cindy and I to share.  I found this pattern book, which we found out contains MANY patterns.

More fabric to go with the book.  I got out without too much damage at $12.00.  I think they completely missed the book even though the fabric was sitting on it.  Cindy paid a little more, but she had several bags.  This is pretty FUN!

Then Cindy found THIS!  The artwork she has in their house has most all come from yard sales.  They are some of the most fabulous EXPENSIVE things you have ever seen ... and she paid practically nothing.  It's amazing what you can find in a big city.

We ran into a parade for their Pioneer Days, which completely blocked our next location, so we hit up a few more, with no results.  No one ever said it's always a win.  On the other hand, when we got home, it was a BIG win!  Almost!!

Cindy went out to her garden and picked TWO tomatoes for a BLT lunch - the first of the season.  When she reached for the second one, wasn't she surprised that the only thing left was the skin.  The entire inside was gone.  Some critter had a tasty lunch.  No problem, she thin sliced the other first tomato and made delicious sandwiches.  Oh the taste of a FRESH tomato!!

Mr. Cooper and I wandered the garden after lunch, taking in all the beauties that were flowering.

We were all pretty tired after this week of shopping, quilting and yard sales, so I spent the afternoon with Mr. Cooper.   Ok, truth is I fell asleep.  

Dinner was my treat.  You guessed it ... Panda Express!  We had a little trouble ... no habla espanol, but we made it back with plenty to eat.  

And so it is sadly time for me to hit the road.  My previous plan to head south to the slot canyons went right out the window when I found out how hot it was there.  I'll be heading back the same way I came to await cooler weather.  

It has been no problem when plugged in ... the air works okay ... but I'm leery of leaving Cooper and Jonathan in the rig while I'm gone sightseeing.  Once I get a temperature gauge for inside, I'll feel better.  In the meantime, I will actually be back in time for Bingo, but MUMS the word.  DON'T TELL!!!

This has been the perfect trip to work out the kinks in this new rig.  I've still got lots to learn, but I'm getting there.  I actually ran the AC AND the microwave today.  AT THE SAME TIME!  That's a big plus!

I can't thank Cindy and Ray enough for their hospitality and quilting expertise.  I'm so happy to have met such wonderful people on this RV road.  I'll see them again in Yuma in December.

And so we are OFF ..............

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Shop Hopping

Here I am again, being treated to banana pancakes with macadamia nuts, butter, whipped cream and syrup.  Add in two sausages for good measure.  We are dining on the patio.  Woohoo!

Mr. Cooper slept through it all.  We hung out on the couch for a bit, gearing up for the trip of the day.  We were going on our own Quilt Shop Hop trip.  I have two shops within 60 miles of my house.  Here in Salt Lake City, I think there are probably a dozen or more.

And we are OFF!!  It was supposed to rain, but held off.  It might have been better had it been wet because the 103 degrees made it pretty hard to stay cool.  Except ... well it's fabric!!!  QUILT fabric, so it didn't deter us one little bit.

Immediately, in a gorgeous rock building, I found this ... a Cowboy Squares quilt.  These squares can all be quilted with a different pattern.  Perfect to practice my new skills on.

Next stop ... a cute little honey bee panel that I can whip up.  Don't ask what these cost.  I just closed my eyes.

Off to the next three stores .......

A cute little pumpkin man panel for Halloween.  Yes it does seem a little early, but it takes some time to make quilts, so patterns come out early in the year.

It was a bit of a walk at the next place since we didn't know exactly where it was.  I got completely distracted by these beauties.  You will be surprised to learn I did not buy ANYTHING there.  Oh wait ... a pattern.  I bought a pattern.  I wonder where it is?  Squirrel!!

NEXT ... oh yes, there were MANY!!  In this store I found the pattern I've been looking for for over a year.  There it was ... FREE if you bought $50.00 worth of fabric.  Okay then ... here's another cute Halloween witchy quilt ... and the pattern I was after cost me nothing.  Probably would have been cheaper to just buy the pattern.

At the last two shops, I didn't purchase anything.  It was hot, I was tired and out of money.  I love this wedding ring quilt and actually HAVE a pattern at home.  Maybe ... after I finish the other ones ... I'll find some material like this.  The good thing is all this close proximity to beautiful quilts, gives me the motivation to get back to it.

At last we were home, after almost seven hours I think.  We did make one sharp left turn and came home in between stores to be sure the AC was working for Mr. Cooper. I'm going to order a Marcell unit that will sit inside, accessible by my phone, which will give me the temperature.  It's a necessity in my book.

So what's up now?  YARD SALES in Salt Lake City!!!  This should be fun!!!  Oh and gee ... they have FABRIC!!

Friday, July 19, 2024


 Good Morning UTAH!!  Still hot here, though a nice 73 this morning.  It's perfect for Mr. Cooper and I to take a quick walk in the back yard before heading down to the quilting room.  It's fun to hear the squawk squawk of the geese flying overhead.  They fly just above the rooftops.

And so it was time to finish the last few borders of the quilt.  I've learned a lot from Ray.  He's been doing this a long time and knows all the tricks.  This is the very last three inches after five full days of quilting.  The hardest part was picking out the patterns.

We took a quick break so Ray could go in the back yard and pick some apricots for his neighbor.  Cindy's tree is completely covered with them.  Those that get too ripe in the heat, just fall to the ground.  There are so many that morning and night they pick them up and deposit the gooey things in the trash can.  Yes I helped ... if you've ever had to pull a calf on the ranch, you aren't squeamish about gooey things!!

That's when I noticed this beauty.  No idea what it is, but it's gorgeous!

Back inside there was more work moving squares around on the computer screen, making everything fit perfectly.  I have always done edge to edge quilting, meaning it starts at one side and does a pattern all the way across.  

THIS is doing every square and border with a different pattern, something I have not tried.  I will have to make a couple of quick little quilts to try out my new skills.

Another break for lunch had me on the floor again while Mr. Cooper attacks the ball.  He puts it down, pulls the blanket over it and tries to dig it out again.  Silly boy ....... it's his favorite game now that he's getting a little grey around the edges.

AND TA DA!!!!!  IT IS FINISHED AT LAST!!  I can't believe it took so long ... at least eight hours every day for 5 days.  You can't see the stitching in pictures very well ... which is the idea.  You don't want to take away from the quilt itself.

Ray said he would sew the binding on, but I left it home.  I figured I didn't need something else I could lose like I've lost my keys here three times.  I have a big table, so will be able to finish it up.  I imagine it will take me a WEEK to finish the binding with hand sewing.

Whew ... what a relief to be done!!  Dinner was a celebration.  As you can tell, I was starving and scarfed it down before any pictures could be taken.  Salmon, home grown green beans and zucchini ... and wait for it .........

Fresh baked croissants!!  I think I've gained five pounds!!

And so ended a wonderful day!!  Now to rest up.  But wait .... I think we are doing our own version of quilt store shop hop today!!  The box I brought the quilt in?  It's  E  M  P  T  Y  !!

Thursday, July 18, 2024


It was another wonderful night in a beautiful air conditioned home.  Cooper and I get the lower bedroom in order to beat the heat.  Remember it was BINGO last night?  Yup ... my phone rang at 10:30.  The infernal machine was playing games with the substitute cashier.  I'm usually gone by 9:30, so I was surprised at the late call.    I gave some quick advice and she was done.  I laid there staring at the ceiling!!

At daylight, after two cups of coffee, I was ready to hit the road.  Ever hear of NPS?  It is a discount warehouse in Salt Lake City.  The prices here will shock you!  Let it be known however, that you want to check the pull dates.  As you know, many times that doesn't matter much, but unless you are going to eat it immediately, you may want to freeze it.

And so when we finished doing a little bit of work on the quilt, off we went.  NOT to NPS.  Oh yeah ... we went to the quilt store!!  Sorry I didn't get good pictures.  I was too busy being sold the store by the nicest of ladies.  Come to find out, this family owns a cattle ranch.  We talked for a bit about the downfall of family cattle ranching, before finding what I was after.

These are red snappers.  They hold the fabric in place while quilting.  I use pins, but by the time we got close to the end of my quilt, Ray had me convinced.  I bought them ... but you will be surprised ... I did NOT buy any fabric.  Not by choice necessarily, but for lack of space in the rig to carry much.  I'm sure I can get creative at some point when it comes to stashing fabric.

Now ... off to the store!!  Here are a few examples.  This is Aspen Mills cinnamon chip bread for $1.99. It snuck into my basket.

Apples for .99 / lb.  I think the last I bought in California were $3.99 a pound.  These were perfectly fresh.

Swiss cheese block?  I think this came out to $1.25 a pound, while the going rate at the store is $12.00 per pound.  

Ray and Cindy have a slicer, which made quick business of this huge block, all of which went in the freezer.  Some even went in MY freezer!!  I picked up four premium pork loin chops for $2.00, for the whole package.  The pull date?  Next week.  Into the freezer they went.

The prison food?  They still had boxes of the lemon chicken soup for "institutional" use, but it was enough to feed 50 people, so I passed.  Instead, truffle butter for maybe 50 cents was donated to me by Cindy.  She got a box of it, again for the freezer.  Some things you can buy separately, some you must purchase the entire box, so clean out your freezer for space.  I also got TWO tubs of my normal butter that I would pay $10.00 for at Walmart.  It was $3.50 for both, pull date 9/24.  

These two pizzas, normally $7.99 each, cost only $2.50 for both.  I haven't had that much fun grocery shopping in years.  If you have any store like this in your area, you will save a bundle.

Once home, there was a frenzy of work going on.  They took the shredded zucchini from yesterday and placed it in the freeze dryer.  Fascinating stuff this freeze drying.  I think this takes about 24 hours, maybe a few more if it is not dry enough.

Oh ... one last thing ... Cindy got 8 dozens eggs for .... no kidding ..... 50 cents a dozen.  More frenzied cooking ... she whipped up eggs, sausage, potatoes and cheese, which will be frozen in the freezer, then freeze dried for burrito making at a later date.  If you freeze the product first, it takes much less time to freeze dry.  This is not the yucky stuff you find in the store, this homemade freeze dried product comes out like you just cooked it once you add water.

Back to the quilt, while they worked upstairs, I played the stitch in the ditch game once again.  But looky here ... we are at the bottom black border!!!  If lucky, we just might finish it today.

We are all exhausted.  Too much standing up all day quilting, then prepping food for the freeze dryer for almost 5 hours.  Dinner was some of the best hamburgers I've ever had, purchased at THAT store for a song and smothered in truffle butter and Swiss cheese.  Sorry no pictures ... I scarfed that thing down like it was from Habit Burger.  Like I said, I'm eating like a Queen!!!!

We will be back on the quilt today, maybe to finish it up.  Then I think there will be some rest and relaxation going on!  High today 92, so it's cooling a bit.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Soaking Up Tips And Tricks

 I passed on the Five Star breakfast this morning, deciding instead to see if I could figure out my induction cooktop.  I can only say, it's weird.  You can cook by temperature or by number, 1-10.  I whipped out my new frying pan and toasted up some English muffins.  

The pan began to vibrate.  Is it supposed to do this??  It got hot instantly, but then faded out a bit.  At long last, I figured the muffins were good enough.  In the end, they were Cooper approved.  Not that he gets much, but I do share an egg with him for breakfast.  

This gadget is okay if I have to fry something ... like reheating pizza ... but honestly, I think I'll stick to freezer/microwave meals.  That new trick of freezing food in freezer bags, then just sticking one in a pan of water to heat on the stove, is a good one.  NO DISHES to wash.  That's right up my alley!

Cooper and I took a long walk through the garden to check out the produce.  These are beautiful apples ...

An entire arbor full of grapes .....

Tomatoes ... tomatoes ... everywhere ... full of blossoms .....

And for Patty Chance ... potted plants.  I bet there are 50 potted plants in this beautiful back yard.

Also for Patty .... OUCH!!!!  I just smacked my head on the cabinet.  Headache city.  Eek ... don't stand up by the windows.  Anyway ... also for Patty are these onions.  We used to have contests to see who could grow the biggest onions.  At the end of the season, we hung them in panty hose in the garage ... by the dozen.  Best onions EVER.  Boy do I miss having a garden!!

And then we were back to quilting.  This is not for the faint of heart.  At this point I think we are halfway done and it's been three days.  I learned a lesson ... when you pick out patterns for the blocks, draw it all down and name the blocks.  Every time we moved the quilt up, I could not remember which blocks we put on which squares.  Luckily, Ray figured it out.

I'm doing stitch in the ditch around the piano keys.  Tedious because it's all done by hand and I'm not that great at it.  Don't look too close.

Ray pulls out the patterns and sets them up on the computer.  I pretend I'm quilting them by doing the start and finish.  

When we ran into trouble, like with this weird square, we called in the expert Cindy to make decisions.  She has that creative mind that can see what it will look like.

Almost 2/3 done ... so still a ways to go.  I took a couple of breaks to take Mr. Cooper out to the yard again.  He does like to play in the grass!  Miss Penny here ... she got in trouble BIG TIME.  She found something ... maybe a vole or a mouse ... that has a hole in the ground.  She went after it, digging a hole bigger than her!!  Uh oh ... Mom caught her tearing up the flowers that were in the way.  This is her I'm completely innocent look!!

That was it for the day ... quilt quilt quilt!  Ray showed me more tips on how to rip out seams if need be, which we hope I will never have to use.

For now however, we are off to the quilt store.  I love the side straps on his machine, so I'm going to pick some up, along with a few rolls of thread.  THEN ... wait for it ......... we are going to THE STORE.  I have half a freezer available for fabulous prison food finds.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

NO Prison Food Today

 I thought I was in Hawaii.  It was a beautiful WARM sunny day when I stepped outside.  I could smell the scent of breakfast.  Talk about being treated like a Queen ... just look at this food.  We dined outside on the patio, no less.  

Banana pancakes ... the fluffiest I've ever had covered with macadamia nuts, whipped cream and syrup.  Add in a couple pieces of sausage and it was like being served on the island at a first class restaurant.  There was NO prison food today!!

In no time, we were back at it.  Let's face it ... I'm an edge to edge girl.  Set up the entire quilt at one time and hit the GO button.  All you have to do is stop to move the quilt up.  This .... THIS is a long process where you spend an hour trying to find the perfect pattern for EACH square.

Once you find a pattern and pull it up, it may look terrible ... or it may not fit.  Around and around we went with Ray working his magic with the computer until I said "let's make them all the same except for the middle".  Ray still had to outline every square, pull up the image and make it fit exactly.  This is NOT your grandmothers quilt!

A little over three hours later, we took a break.  No lunch today .... I was still full from breakfast.  So Mr. Cooper and I spent an hour on the floor, playing the ball game.  

In no time we were back at it.  I would say "what about this", and Ray would make it appear on the quilt.  In the meantime, I got a chance to quickly look through a couple of the 53 boxes of patterns Cindy has.  Okay, I didn't count the boxes, but there are a LOT!!!  I picked this one out for my next quilt adventure.

Another four hours went by, during which I actually took over the machine and made piano keys (which was outlining).  We broke for dinner after completing about 1/3 of the quilt over two full days.  

Did I mention Cindy has a HUGE garden?  It's amazing, all the vegetables she grows, along with pears, apples, apricots and walnuts.  This came into play when dinner rolled around.

One of the things Ray and Cindy do is freeze dry food.  It's amazing some of the things they come up with, like cream cheese with cherries.  It's crazy ... just add cold water and voila!!  You have a tasty spread for your bagel.  Much of what comes from the garden, is freeze dried and stored in mason jars.

Dinner ... I was still full from breakfast ... was tasty vegetables right out of the garden, ham slices and you're not going to believe this ... croissants ... from THAT store.  I doubt these were prison croissants, because they actually came frozen (and raw) from a bakery that made too many.  You thaw, rise and bake.  OMG the best thing on the planet!! 

How good was it?  Missy Penny here never left this position until we got up from the table.  

We will be back at it today.  I'll try to get some pictures of the quilt blocks.  In the meantime, I'm cleaning out my freezer in preparation for going to THAT store.  Maybe I'll find something fabulous that the prisoners didn't get this time.  

Oh ... and yes, I'm just SO SAD that I'm going to miss Bingo tonight ..... NOT!!!  Especially since it's the night they find out there will be NO MORE RED TICKETS!!  Can you just imagine the melee??