Sadly, many, many locations I scouted and used for photography are gone now. Bridges widened, houses demolished, crop land increased by a few feet, and then, poof, history disappears! Thank goodness for photos that remain. This location, on the edge of Shannon, is where I took some beautiful shots of Paige in 2011. It’s difficult to see in the bottom photo but there was a lush canopy of trees that met in the middle with grass below. A week ago I took the top, left photo with my phone and, then, Tuesday, the last trees were waiting to get hauled away. As a photographer, I’m especially sensitive to changes in my environment.
Saturday was the first day that was nice enough to be on Apple Canyon Lake in a boat – and SO many property owners took advantage of that small window of opportunity. Paige giggled and teased and tossed grapes across the length of the boat into her Dad’s mouth. Most of them found their target. Here are a few shots from the day.
It has been so long since I posted an update, I had to relearn my blogging software a bit. I have been trying to decide how to best utilize my long-term blog since my photography business has slowed a bit and our travel life has increased. My plan is to update more about that and our family adventures, for now.
This past week I was very interested in the Galena Triathlon that has been running for the past 20 years. Last Saturday the athletes began with their swim at Nixon Beach. We were really interested since our daughter, Dawn, has been training for an upcoming triathlon in Davenport next month.
Last Monday, Molly, Jason and four of his friends came to Freeport hoping to get in the lake, ride the trails and hang out together before they started their summer jobs. Jim and I are so proud of our oldest grandson who just completed his freshman year at Fordham University. He brought friends that he has know since early grade school and despite awful weather, they managed to have fun. Tuesday was the best weather day so we headed to the lake, built a fire and they rode around the entire lake on our souped-up golf cart. Then, we headed down to the lake for a little fishing only to discover the marina closed and we were without bait. A few minutes later I secured wax worms from a veteran fisherman and we were in business. The sunshine felt so good that afternoon. Wednesday was terribly cold and rainy so Molly drove the group to Monroe – one of his friends has done very little travelling and Wisconsin was added to his newly extended list of states. We said goodbye to the group this morning around 8 am.
On Tuesday, my Highland friend, Jeanne and her husband, left for an extended trip to Canada and Oregon. I love to follow their trips on her retirement blog.
Today, we also got ready for a very brief visit from Dawn’s family who is flying to Germany tonight. They packed their suitcases into the Highlander so Jim could drive them to O’Hare and after a quick lunch, we said goodbye. Time for a little relaxation, knitting and dog walking. And, some camping this weekend at Apple Canyon Lake. Who says retirement is boring??
Working with a two-year-old always requires patience. And, if you persist long enough you are rewarded with beautiful smiles, scampering little feet, tiny toes, curious blue eyes and unexpected emotion and fun. Grace’s Daddy just returned from Afghanistan yesterday and had not seen her for ten months. Grace was so excited to see him she didn’t get much sleep last night. I had lots of ideas for the session but, as usual, the toddler’s spontaneity shines through!
Last time I was in Iowa City Erin and I had such a great time hunting for real and fake pumpkins for their upcoming party. We had to check out JoAnns, of course, and Erin was like a kid in a candy store – oooing and ahing over all kinds of decor and fabric. She chose this Cloud9, organic fabric, that was designed exclusively for Joann’s stores. It’s such a nice weight and we both loved the color combination. The most important thing to Erin?? Dogs in the print. I have coordinating fabric for the leggings that I’ll work on next. I also have yarn for a dog that she wants me to knit – oh, and yarn for a scarf from The Knitting Shoppe in Iowa City.
Since I retired last October, I’ve completed many, many knitting projects. I love how easy it is to pick up a knitting project, that the projects are so portable, AND that the supplies create very little mess. I can knit and create while watching TV with my husband or sitting on the deck while I listen to an audio book.
However, I used to sew a lot and recently went through my “stash” to see what new projects I could work on. Happily Paige has an interest in sewing and we had fun creating a blanket for her newest baby cousin this summer. She has renamed the “baby bedroom” into the “sewing room”.
This is a sewing project I just completed today from fabric I bought years ago for a quilt. I just don’t have the patience to quilt big projects any longer. I had been searching the fabric blog world and came up with this little project over at Pumpkin Patterns – my first attempt was fun! I think it’s sort of an odd shape but it was a test, or prototype, project. I do like the squared bottoms and next time it will be quicker. Next time I’ll use this tutorial at Noodle-Head instead. Can’t wait to make a couple more of useful these little bags.
3-2-1 Rib Smoking was Jim’s project this past Saturday. I’m just learning about the fine points of BBQ but now know that the ribs are cooked unwrapped for three hours, wrapped in foil for two and then unwrapped for the final hour. This gives the meat time to soak in smoke during the first three hours, when most smoke is absorbed. During the wrapped period the ribs are steamed, making them more tender and loosening the meat from the bone. During the last hour the ribs are exposed to the dry, smoky heat again to form a surface crust. This crust is actually called BARK and it’s so yummy! The night prior to smoking, Jim rubbed the ribs with mustard and spices before wrapping them in foil. Being out on the deck with Jim for part of the long cooking time gave me the opportunity to knit in that beautiful weather and to observe this Hummingbird Moth in our back yard.
Jim used a ceramic cooker Dawn found for us at a neighbor’s garage sale in Iowa City. These cookers weight 400 pounds, so, Lars needed to take out some screws so we could lift it into the Highlander.
After reading The Pioneer Woman’s remodeling posts on her beautiful new blog, I feel quite unworthy to post these photos. That said, we are thrilled with our renovated bathroom. I’ll start with a couple of the wiring photos. I always needed an additional light over my dark shower and had also seen such lovely sconces over at Houzz.com. Actually, I got most of my inspiration there. I originally wanted them at the ends of the vanity but the barely visible pocket door caused a problem. I searched for something affordable and loved some at Restoration Hardware but these from Lamps Plus are taller and the shades are glass instead of linen which seems quite important in the bathroom. The first step in the project was to paint the walls Gray Wisp by Benjamin Moore. After I finally hunted down the paint chip in Rockford, I purchased the paint from Sherwin-Williams in Freeport. Next, Heidi Stukenberg of Lily Field Furniture painted the oak vanity with chalk paint called Graphite by Annie Sloan. Love this so much I want my master vanity painted, toO!
Today was just my day. I went to Twice as Nice Home with a mission and, this time, I scored – big time! I was actually looking for dessert plates to match my old, old punch cups from the Unicorn Restaurant. Find #1: 20 dessert plates for $15. They have one rectangle for dessert, one to fit the punch cup and one is an ash tray! How shockingly retro. Find #2: This sweet antique doll that was asking to go home with me and sit on the bed with Grandma’s quilt. She reminds me of the China Girl from Oz a little bit – can you think of a good name for her? Find #3: these hand-painted plates that were made in China. 20 dessert plates and seven dinner plates came home with me for $9.99. Leaves are so beautiful, aren’t they? Find #4: paper towel holder now holding the garden string that I’m fond of using to tie up my climbing roses. Find #5: a garden angel that matches my purple bird bath and candle holder. Find #6: this tray magazine holder. I’ve been sorting through everything in my house and was having such a tough time giving up some old Southern Living, Country Living, Midwest Living, Martha Stewart, etc. and now I don’t have to!
Last week Emma and her family came to see me from Rockford. Emma was 13 days new and just as sweet as she could be. She slept and posed so pretty.