Monday, May 27, 2013

Berry Deliciousness! And Our Unexpectedly Wild Weekend.

What a weekend!  Saturday morning John and I got up early and headed out to a berry farm to pick some beautiful fresh berries for jam and ice cream making.  We were there at 8am in the cool of the day and the berries were abundant.  Walking up and down the rows and rows of berries looking for just the most plump ones, we picked about 9 lbs of berries.  4+ of the Olallieberry, shown above and 4+ of the Young Berry shown below.  We were having a great time, remembering our raspberry patch in our garden in Mendocino and the great blackberries we use to pick at the river.  Suddenly John commented that he had a huge "floater" in his eye.  In 2011 he was misdiagnosed at the VA and consequently lost the site in his left eye, so we are hyper alert.  It seemed to pass as quickly as it came, so we thought we would wait for a bit.

We came home and set the berries aside as we were having company that afternoon.  I whipped up a quick batch of Olallieberry ice cream and tucked it into the freezer.

  A return missionary and his new bride came for a visit, we had such a nice time with them, pizza and applekrisp with homemade caramel sauce...yum!  Eric and Shelby Schenk from Logan, Utah.

We love Eric like he was one of our own sons and his wife is just a delight.  They make a wonderful couple.

Early to bed, we were tired from the day and planning many activities for our long weekend together.  At 5am John woke me to tell me he was losing the site in his right eye, we had to go to the emergency room right now.  Dead asleep, trying to grasp the gravity of what he is telling me.  I have to drive, get up and get dressed, grab your keys, lets go!  And we are out the door, flying down the road to Mather AFB.  We are there by 6:30 and by 9am they have a specialist from U.C. Davis looking at him.  Yes, there is a retinal tear.  Yes you will have to have emergency surgery.  So we are whisked off to U.D. Davis to meet up with Dr. Hunter and get this repaired.  3 hours later, surgery is finished, there were 4 tears in the retina.  We now have to make our way home very slowly, we cannot start up the hill for another 5 hours and then must spent 30 minutes at each 1000 feet of altitude, making sure there is no pain in the eye.  We are both exhausted, John must sit up as he sleeps to keep the gas bubble in his eye where the doctor wants it to help things heal properly.  So, we stop at my office, I put him in a dental chair and let him get a few hours rest.  Then we continued on up the hill.  Back up at 5am to go back down to U.C. Davis to meet Dr. Hunter for a post op check this morning.  Things are looking good, bandages off and John's vision is still 20/20.  Keeping fingers crossed and saying our prayers.  We will not know until next week if they were able to mend the tears.  Back in the car, back to the house, stopping at 1000 ft for 30 minutes to let things adjust.  Finally home and we both fell asleep for most of the day.  

I made some lovely homemade chicken soup for lunch, with big egg noodles and carrot ribbons.  You have to have chicken soup when you don't feel good.

Got the kitchen cleaned up and looked at all the berries, I have to do something with them and I don't want to just chuck them in the freezer.  Jam time!  So the Young Berries...which are Boysenberries were looking like they needed to go first.  I love a bubbling cauldron of berries, nothing smells like it.

Recipe:  8 cups berries crushed
1 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp butter
1 pkg pectin
7 cups sugar

mix the berries, lemon, butter and pectin in a large pot, bring to a rolling boil stirring constantly, add sugar all at once, bring back to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute at sea level, 2 minutes at 1000-3000 ft., skim foam, ladle into jars, wiping the rims with a damp clean cloth and seal, invert on a towel for 10 minutes, turn back over right sides up and let set until completely cooled.  Lids should be sealed, if not, store in fridge and use first.

And the fruits of my labor...5 pints of jam!  And a 1/2 pint in the fridge for breakfast!

Okay, on to the next batch of berries!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Flickring Over To Ipernity! And Loving It!

Many of you by now, are aware of the horrible decision that Flickr made to change it's format.  I have done some exploring and have found as a new place to continue sharing in a format that is condusive to group interaction.  I actually think that it offers much more than Flickr. 

Honey Bee, she sees it all from her perspective!

Many of you have tons of photos on Flickr already, I have over 1,300.  Well, do not distress.  Ipernity has a quick and easy way to migrate your photos over to your new Ipernity site with little effort. This morning I have transferred almost 900 photos in under a half hour, while quilting...LOL.   All I had to do was push the button and it has transferred my photos, my comments, my tags, everything!  And, it has preserved my Flickr site, nothing has changed if Flickr ever gets it's act together I could still play there, but I kind of doubt they will.

Eye Candy Break
My new Flickr site is  and when you come for a visit, you will notice at the masthead of the page, I have my blog address!  Awesome!  You can put any comment you want on your masthead.  Just like Flickr, Ipernity is FREE.  You can do all you want without joining.  I have paid the $29 annual fee to support the site and have expanded options, but you do not have to do that.  Again, very easy to use, great instruction and very responsive tech support folks!

Come for a visit, hope you'll join and lets have some interactive fun, sharing our art!

Class Cancelled Today May 24th

Our normal Perfect Paper Piecing Class has been cancelled today, too many of the gals are out of town for the holiday weekend.  We will resume our class on the third Friday of June.  June 21, 2013.  If you are in a sewing mood...get caught up on your blocks so we can move along next month.  I have some exciting and challenging blocks for you at our next meeting!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Flickr Disaster!

Sometimes folks just don't know when to leave well enough alone!  Not sure if you all have visited Flickr lately, but they have made dramatic sweeping changes that have pretty much destroyed Flickr for me as a viable option for sharing my art in group formats as I wish to, to be able to have the feedback that is valuable to me and to be able to see things at a glance rather than have to pour over the site, waiting for things to load, to accomplish what I did before.  

I'm not going to spend a great deal of time on my blog running them down.  I'm sure it's a financial choice that they are making.  Never the less, it doesn't work for me.  So I am going to, over the next several weeks, move my photos to .  I will still be using the name Applekrisp and will post a link for our group share as soon as I create it.  I'm hoping over the holiday weekend to be able to get some of that done. 

Here is the link for my new site at Ipernity...

Mind you I have not put up photos yet, so give me a little time on this and we will have it up and going!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Charming Saturday - Update June 1

Sometimes you just want to sew, you don't want to think, you just want to sew, no measuring, no dividing, no multiplying, you just want to hear that hum of your machine and drift into that zen place.  I have felt that way this week.  It's the 7th anniversary of my mother's passing this week, and the 16th anniversary of my grandmother's passing.  So, I am in a reflective mood and don't really want to spend too much time thinking through the process, I just want that lovely feeling of accomplishment and that meditative quality that quilting gives me, elevating me to a higher place.

Update:  Quilt top is finished, waiting for borders, backing, batting and binding...

This project is providing that calm.  I like to get up in the mornings before work and turn on our tv, tune into the internet and watch quilting videos.  This little quilt pattern was demo'd by Missouri Star Quilt Company and I am including the video here for you to enjoy.  You will see in a heartbeat, how very simple this pattern is.  

I am using 4 charm packs and making a queen size quilt, border fabric will come later as they have not yet released the yardage for these charms.  It should be available by the end of this month.
Didn't have a jelly roll, but I did have 4 yards of a lovely Moda fabric Indigo Crossing by Polly Minick & Lauri Simpson, which I cut into 2 1/2 inch strips.

You start a strip in your machine and just place the charms, butting them right up to each other and sew...

Don't stop between strips, just add another strip under your presser foot and keep going until you have stitched every charm.  Takes about 5 strips/42 charms for this first go around.

Then carefully cut them apart and take them to your ironing board.

give a quick press to set your thread and then I finger press open before pressing with the iron to get a fully open seam.

Should look like this and when you are all done, you will have a nice stack like below.

Start another 2 1/2 inch strip in your machine and just start sewing again, just like you did before.  You'll have a nice pile like below when you are done.

Again, trim them apart carefully and press them open as before and you should have a block like below.

Now the fun begins, you have a great stack to play with.  In the video, she shows you how to place your squares to get the effect of the "falling" charms.  It's a quick and fabulous way to showcase a fabric that you love.

Below is 1/4 of the quilt completed.  It will be fun to decide what the border, backing and binding fabrics will be when the time comes

Enjoy your charming Saturday!  I'm off to my machine now.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

There are some places in this world that words and pictures cannot sufficiently describe.  Yosemite would be one of those places.  Last weekend my son came and scooped me up for a spur of the moment camping trip.  I told him I no longer had a sleeping bag and so he went right out and purchased one.  No excuses.  Arriving for dinner Friday evening, we were all excited.  John would have a weekend by himself and Andrew and I would be exploring Yosemite, much as we did when he was a little boy.  

Lists were made and things were gathered in preparation for this wild jaunt.  We had no camp space reserved, it's a four hour drive from here and we just might have to turn around and come home.  But that never stopped us when he was little, so we are off!  I was thinking maybe a couple hours of shut eye, get up at 12 and out the door by 1am...Andrew had other ideas.  As soon as we could get all the gear loaded, we were off and on the road by 9 that evening.

We had a great road trip, both of us excited, reminiscing about the many trips we had taken to Yosemite in years past.  Arriving at the park around 1am, we cruised all the campgrounds to find that (no surprise) they were all full.  Heading over to Curry Village, we parked the Jeep, made a potty stop and then made our beds in the back of the Jeep for the few hours before dawn.  Sleep never felt so good.  

It's time to get up, 5am and we have to be in line if we have any chance of getting a camping spot.  First in line at Camp 4,  just below El Capitan.  Everything is quiet and we have several hours to wait, the ranger comes at 8:30.  By 6am we are joined by a few more folks and by the time the ranger arrived there were about 30 people or more in line.  

Put up our tent, had some breakfast, and we are off!  First a quick drive around the Valley to snap some photos and decide where we want to jump off in our trek.  WHERE did all these people come from, and they are still arriving all day.  You must always be on guard because the vista are so incredible that people forget they are driving and end up careening off the road at times or parking in very unusual (and I am sure, not legal) places.  

My son Andrew, Yosemite Falls in the background.

Andrew again with Half Dome in the distance.

We decided the trek to Yosemite Falls, a one mile loop, it would be a nice hike.  Followed by a hike into Yosemite Village for an ice cream then back to camp for a nap, followed by a trip to the look out point to take photos of the valley at sunset, then down to the floor of the valley to take photos of Half Dome with Alpen Glow.

We  are back at the tent now and I have already determined that my knees at 60, are not going to let me crawl into that tent one more  Andrew fixed a great fire and we are eating moon food tonight, lasagne...very tasty.   The ranger comes around to tell us that there is a bear working the campground and we get a pat on the back for having our campsite so neat.  Off to bed, another night for me in the back of the Jeep, Andrew is in the tent.  

5am, I'm up, glad that I didn't sleep in the tent last night...I can see the bathrooms and I'm off on my morning hike!  I'm sure if I had to figure out how to crawl out of that 3 man tent in the dark, I would have had an accident by now.  It's quiet again in camp, only people up are those that are preparing to hike out to the back country.  Even the birds and the squirrels are still asleep.  I can hear Andrew snoring in the tent and again, I'm happy for the Jeep.  

Crawling back into the front seat now, throwing the sleeping bag over the top of me and propping my pillow against the window, I drift off into a deep sleep.  A few hours later, a knock at the window and Andrew is up and he is ready to head up to Glacier Point.

Feeling every bone in my body and muscles that I do not use, sitting at a desk, I am reflecting back on another trip to Yosemite.  When I was in my 30's like Andrew, I took my mother to Yosemite.  She was in her 50's, close to my age.  I remember how excited she was, we did pretty much the same thing, slept the first night in the car at Curry Village, waited in line to get a high country pass and then took off.  We were hiking to Little Yosemite Valley on the Mist Trail, past Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls.  I had outfitted each of us with a nice back pack.  I was carrying about 40 lbs in mine. Well, we didn't get very far into our trek before mom could no longer carry her pack, it was just too much for her.  We were at the bridge, crossing the river before you get to Vernal Falls.  So I blithely strapped her pack onto mine and insisted we keep moving.  Oh My GOSH, what did she pack???? Rocks?  Here is a photo of us on the bridge.

Oh Yeah, she's happy now, she doesn't have to carry anything...LOL.  Well, we continued on up the Mist Trail and after many stops along the way, we finally arrived at our desired camp site.  Put up the tent, took a nap, fixed dinner and I finally got to see what she had packed.  Canned goods, 5 lbs of real potatoes, several whole onions...oh the list went on!  I was dumb struck.  I explained to her that you really need to bring dehydrated foods because of the weight.  Well, we ate good!  

We had a wonderful time, I brought some paper and charcoal pencils and we sat by the river and sketched, went for a short hike further into the valley and when we were ready to leave I told her that we would be leaving the canned goods, etc in the bear box for the next hikers to enjoy.  She was not having that.  So I told her she would have to carry her own pack down if she wanted those items.  She said fine.  Off we went...pretty quick, those potatoes were being tossed into the woods for the critters.  Well, mom was pretty exhausted by the time we were home.   

I have a whole NEW respect for her and what she accomplished that weekend up in Little Yosemite Valley.  A 2000 ft vertical climb in her late 50's.  I'm not sure I could do it today.  I totally understand her need for frequent bathroom breaks.   After the small amount of hiking we did around the floor of the valley, I was exhausted, done.  Below is the view from Glacier point that shows the two falls that mom and I hiked beyond.  Quite an accomplishment mom!

For generations our family has camped in is still as magnificent today as it has always been.  

Mom and Dad circa 1950

Gram circa 1940

Andrew circa 1980, Crane Flat, we couldn't find the poles!

We never did ride the horses but this one liked Andrew

By the second night, we had found the tent poles and all was well.

 Andrew and me, enjoying the fire at  Upper Pines Camp Ground

Mirror Lake Circa 1950, photo taken by my father

Yosemite Valley, circa 1950, photo taken by my father.

Andrew, circa 1977, taken by his grandma Roby, calling home to mommy from the payphone at Silverado Country Club in Napa, CA.  I absolutely adore my son, so grateful for him, grateful to be his mom, proud of his accomplishments and proud of the man he has become.  So my Mother's Day continues with a surprise!...we are off to Cattlemen's, my son is taking us to dinner!  

Happy Mother's Day!!!