Saturday, March 28, 2009

We have SNOW!

For all of you who have been suffering all winter with terrible snow and cold weather, you will be happy to know we got hit the other day.

Honestly, I don't mind. I am a hardy Canadian girl, after all! And though the weather has been lovely here most of this winter, it has been a strange experience having no snow or cold.

My neighbors have told me that most of the trees around here will put out a second set of leaves if the first ones (which have been out for a while) get damaged by cold and snow. THIS is normal around here- snow after you think spring is safely underway.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that my flowers and bushes make it through this okay, that it just serves as a darn good dousing that we desperately needed.

Heidi was happy about it too- she left for California this morning in shorts, even though it was mighty cold this morning. Now, Heidi says, California will feel like a double getaway- excitement AND warm weather!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rough trail

Last weekend for our bike ride, we decided to go to Waterton Canyon. It is a 12 mile ride- 6 miles up to the dam all at a slight incline, and then 6 miles back, whoopeee! The slight decline makes it fun!

But NO. As always, though Rich says he wants me to pick where we go, it gets amended at the last minute. We went to the parking lot alright, but instead of taking the usual road through the canyon, Rich decided that he wanted us to try the trail on the other side instead.

I have one thing to say about that: mountain bikes. We have these hybrid bikes which are a cross between road bikes and mountain bikes, very light to carry when you need to and pretty sturdy. But the tires are not nearly big enough for that trail we went on, and some suspension would have been EXTREMELY nice.

We did it, but it was a workout alright! The trail was so skinny that sometimes our pedals were hitting rocks on the side of the dip (which was the actual trail) and it was so bumpy, full of rocks and tree roots and the like. Gave me a bit of a headache by the end.

BUT I will say that it was a beautiful, scenic trail and I wouldn't mind one bit doing more of those, once we have the right equipment.

We really wanted to try snowshoeing this year, but we have had no snow to speak of. We really have been able to ride our bikes most of this winter, and we do enjoy it a lot. Maybe next year for the snowshoeing...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Clean-Up

We are TIRED.

Now that spring is here, it is time to get things growing again. We are supposed to get rain tomorrow and so we really needed to get the raking done and the garden area cleaned out.

All of the dried leaves and pine needles will hopefully feed my compost bin along with the kitchen scraps for the whole summer.

I had to shovel all of the mulch material off the area that I want to use for our vegetable garden this summer. And I had to dig up a big bunch of irises that were growing in the middle of that space. I know it isn't the best time to transplant irises, but I am doing it anyway.

We have a few bushes that are flowering- I must look up what they are. And I have things moving right along in our front-facing front yard.

Here is a photo of one set of the tulips that came up- but the weird thing is the stalks haven't gotten very tall. See how the flower is nested right in the leaves? I love the colour of them and am happy they are blooming, but I am guessing that our lack of winter has messed things up a bit. It will be interesting to see what else happens. I guess as long as nothing dies on me, I will take what I can get.

Here also is a photo of one of our "friends" that are around our yard and garden. I don't exactly like snakes so when I garden I wear tall boots! lol

I will post photos as the garden progresses.

Rich made CAKE!

For St. Patrick's Day, Rich likes the (American) traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage. As I have only cooked it once before and he is an old hand at it, I convinced him to help me make it last weekend- and then we would have the leftovers on Tuesday, the actual St. Patrick's Day.

So that is what we did. The corned beef went into the crock pot and at the end, the onions, cabbage, and carrots with it. Accompanying it was Champ, which is mashed potatoes with scallions, cream, and butter- yummy!

The piece de resistance was the dessert: Chocolate Stout Cake. Holy cow, what a cake! Here is Rich frosting the cake (the frosting is bittersweet chocolate with cream!), and here is the three-layer masterpiece!

Rich is not fond of cooking, but makes a pretty great job of it when he does it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

News on the ATC front:

Mona and I and Mona's daughter Shawna went back to Monument today, to the Wild Heather quilt shop for the ATC trading group.

This was the last time that this group will meet there- Wild Heather is relocating the store to Denver at the end of this month.
While that is exciting for Mona and me, most of the other ladies live in Colorado Springs which is south of Monument, and many of them might not want to drive all the way to Denver.

BUT Mona, Shawna, and I have agreed to drum up "customers" for a new ATC trading group to meet at the new Denver location and kind of run it- though there really isn't a lot for us to do, just send out emails and such, and be there I guess. Liz Kettle, designer extraordinaire and current group leader for the group, has kindly offered to send us all her email info and once things settle down for her, perhaps join us when she can.

Instead of meeting on the second Saturday of each month, we agreed to the fourth Saturday instead. That way anyone from the current group can join us, and we can also join them once in a while if we choose.

This may sound really silly, but I really feel like I belong here now. I am managing to make my life here outside of the house, and that is important to me. You women get it- we need creative outlets, and we need the company of like-minded women.

Here is a photo showing a sampling of the cards I brought to trade today, only missing the "Sassy" one (the set in pale pink with the vintage photos and lace), and photos of the cards I received. It is SUCH a fun hobby!

And not only that, I am inspired and filled with ideas for things I want to make. Just have to get my "homework" for that masochistic paper-piecing class I signed up If I didn't have to go back, I am pretty sure I wouldn't finish it. I will post a photo of it when it is complete.

Look what I did!

FINALLY our doors are stained, polyurethaned, and re-hung! It took a whole week for me to finish them, but it was worth it. I think they look so nice!

Here are before and after photos so you can see the difference. The before photo is facing our front door, and the living room is to the left. The after photo is taken from the front door which showed the new doors better. I didn't take a photo of the doors hung by the contractor guy- they were hung unfinished and the finished effect is so much better.

I have never stained or finished anything before and there is a bit of a learning curve, but I am happy with how they turned out. I had to paint the new doorframe too. I can paint but am not overly fond of it... lol However, Rich was happy to let me give it all a go and he seems happy with it too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I was on someone's blog and came across this amazing video. It is a speech by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the bestselling book, "Eat, Pray, Love".

It is a 20 minute speech about the creative process and though she is speaking more specifically about writing, I think what she says applies to all of us who try to nurture the artist within us- whether we express ourselves in words, music, or other mediums such as fabric.

She suggests that artists tend to be too hard on themselves and suffer too much for their craft. She believes that we need to change that perception, not only in ourselves as the ones who are creative in some way, but in those that have come to expect that all artists are a little "touched".

She wants us to consider that those moments of greatness that some creative people experience- like a bestselling novel or award-winning quilt- comes not only from ourselves but from something greater than ourselves. I am not religious, but I do believe that there are powers out there bigger than we are, and it is a pretty great thought that they may step in to help us if they choose.

I will watch this again too- and think long and hard about what she says. Maybe the next time I am inspired to make something and it doesn't come out exactly as I pictured it in my mind's eye, I will be able to be a little easier on myself. After all, when we set out to make our homes, our lives, our world a little better with what we do, shouldn't the thought and the process count for at least as much as the end product?

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Neighborhood Jaunt

As the weather has been so cooperative lately, we went for another bike ride on Sunday. Rich was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. I still don't find it quite warm enough for shorts, but I was plenty warm without a jacket. Hard to believe the "winter" we are getting this year. Don't worry, all of you who are suffering through snow- Colorado DOES get snow, and from what I have seen here in the past, this is NOT a typical winter.

Anyway, we started out wanting to find the bike path that took us under Wadsworth, a major street west of here. Long story short- we didn't find it till the end of the ELEVEN AND A HALF MILE (thats 18.5 km) ride. Rich has a GPS thing for his bike and it showed that we did a total ascent of over 600 feet. That is a LOT of hills, let me tell you!

Of course, this whole city is hills- if you want flatter rides, you stick to the bike trails- but even those have their moments!

Here is a photo I took about 3/4 of the way through the ride- I don't know if you can see how high up we are, but it was a little scary going down that hill! Oh Rich. He does have a talent for choosing the most punishing routes when we are least in shape for them... lol

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