Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snow Forts Aren't Just for Kids Anymore!

 Here's the view from our kitchen window tonight.

This afternoon, we built a snow fort!
 Our friend, Corlia, who is visiting from sub-tropical South Africa, has been waiting for the perfect day to play in the snow.
DH, who is a big kid at heart,  got out his shovel and gave her a hand.

After a lot of digging, this is what they created.

Friday, February 20, 2015

7 Things That Make Your Home Look Dated?

I was browsing through the Huffington Post online when this article caught my eye: 7 Things That Make Your Home Look Dated. The article is written by Erin Gates who recently wrote a book on decorating called The Elements of Style. The article promises to help us avoid those "What Was I Thinking?" moments in the future.  I have LOTS of those, don't you?

Here's the list and my take on how my own home measures up.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Joining a Quilt Guild: First Project Is Done!

Last fall, my neighbor invited me to attend a meeting of the Cobblestone Quilters, a local quilt guild. I've only made two quilts in my life but I do love to sew, so I attended as her guest. I was surprised at the size of the group (50-60 women that evening) and the variety of fiber projects presented. The women I met that there were outgoing and amazingly creative. Needless to say, I was excited to join.

On the day of the next meeting, my first as an "official" member, my neighbor called to remind me that I should bring five fat quarters to the meeting so that I could be part of the "Brown Bag Challenge".  I ran to JoAnn's for fat quarters in my favorite color - orange - but had no idea what I was getting myself into!

photo courtesy of A Day In the Country

The rules were simple. Each person's fat quarters and name were placed in a plain brown bag and the bags were exchanged. You would have until the Spring "Tea" to make something for the person whose "brown bag" you ended up with, using four of the fat-quarters they provided and a "5th quarter" of your own choosing. The participants' names were to be kept secret until the evening of the "reveal".

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Repurposing ReStore Finds

I love the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  I try to stop in at least once a week to see what's new. Well, not exactly "new" . . . I'm usually on the hunt for old things that can be repurposed.  Like this clamp I bought for 50 cents.

It will be perfect for holding down sections of paper and cardboard while the glue dries during book-binding projects.

This little screwdriver was 50 cents too. I bought it to add to my little craft room toolbox. 

 I sometimes need to tighten a screw in a space with no room for the screwdriver handle and end up trying to complete the task with a coin or credit card. This will be a big help.

My favorite find was this antique hammer for $2.00. The head is hand-forged and I love the color on it. I seem to be drawn to antique tools; they tell a story.  I haven't decided how I'll display or repurpose this yet but I definitely don't want to use it to pound nails!  Too predictable.
Any ideas?


Friday, February 13, 2015

Dear Snow: Please Go Away

On January 19,  I wrote a post about how to make the Valentine wreath on our front door here at Applegate Lane. Now I'm longing for the "good old days" when the front door was still visible from the street . . .

Here's how my wreath looks in February.  Invisible.

All we can see of the house across the street is the America flag.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How To Make Your Grandchildren Smile

I found this unique Valentine idea at the Crafty Journal blog and had to pass it along! Crafty Journal is my go-to blog when I want to make a quick and easy treat for a grandchild.

DH and I always put $2.00 in the cards we send to our young grandchildren on holidays. This year, they'll get a surprise when they find that "Nanny" has folded their dollar bills into Valentine hearts.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Imitation Game

I was blog-surfing yesterday and enjoyed a review of the movie American Sniper at At Rivercrest Cottage.  Because I don't usually like "war movies", I saw American Sniper reluctantly . . . to keep DH company and to have an excuse to indulge in a bucket of that bad-for-you movie popcorn. I was surprised; the movie was very well-done.

While at American Sniper, we saw the trailer for The Imitation Game and I knew right away that I wanted to see it. So this time, DH went to keep me company and we shared the buttery popcorn.

This movie was so good that I cried.

The movie is based on the true story of Alan Turing and his colleagues who broke the German Enigma code, helping the Allies to win WW II. The movie was overpowering as it explored the "beautiful mind" of Turing as he struggled with his genius, homosexuality, and an asperger-like inability to understand social cues.

The movie reminded me of how far we have come in empowering women, accepting homosexuality, and embracing technology. By creating a machine to decode Enigma, Turing actually developed the first computer.

Right after the war, my Dad worked on a classified project for the NSA. It involved taking what was learned from Enigma and its later version, Ultra, and developing the first computer, initially for intelligence use. Later, Dad went on to work on Univac, Remington Rand's first computer for commercial use. I remember Dad taking me to see the computer when I was a child; it was huge, filling up a very large room.

Dad  1941

Dad never talked about his work during the war until more than 50 years later. I thought that was just coincidence . . . it wasn't.  My sister, Nancy, and I interviewed Dad on Veteran's Day 2003 and he explained how he was chosen for the project he worked on (he was good at crossword puzzles!) and how he continued his work with the NSA until 1952. 
Dad was 80 then. He slid a scrap of paper from Nancy's notebook and, with a hand trembling from the effects of Parkinson's disease, drew something that looked like this:

 He was drawing the design of the Enigma machine, from memory.

"You will lie to your friends, your family, everyone you meet, about what it is you really do."  - The Imitation Game

"Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one imagines."  - The Imitation Game

There are some good movies in the theatres right now, including American Sniper and  Unbroken.
Surprisingly, I thought the Imitation Game was the best of the three.

I hope you'll get a chance to see it.

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