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Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Last week I had the pleasure of gallivanting around Wisconsin with Blondy since she had the week off. Turns out she had never been to a winery, so I intended to set her straight.

We took an entire day for a wine tour loop. We started out at 8am with the first sip scheduled for 10am when Weggy Winery was opening their doors for the day near Richland Center. We discovered the pronunciation is not what you may think. What was it? Cannot remember, but thanks for asking.

We traveled on to Mt. Horeb and soaked in a little of the downtown culture over lunch. This timed us perfectly to arrive at Fisher King Winery as they were opening their doors at 1 (turns out I'm good at planning things). We really enjoyed the wine bar atmosphere here and the friendly lady pouring our tastings. We enjoyed a glass and purchased several bottles for the road...uh...home.

Our GPS gave us a little trouble out on the country roads, but we were able to stay relatively on course and arrived at Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac in time for the last tour of the day. I'd highly recommend it. They really cover all the bases. Our only disappointment was not having access to the cave, but understand it may be open this summer after a renovation. I'm already booking my return trip!

Blondy and I stocked up on more wine and captured a lovely photographic memory of our wonderful wine tour day. You can see the main building in the background.

On Saturday we toured a pluthera of Wisconsin wines all from our backyard. And by backyard I mean the Oktoberfest grounds for Between the Bluffs Beer, Wine, and Cheese Fest. Some people also sampled beer, but I didn't find any of the gluten free variety. I reminisced about sampling the stouts, though. The memories are almost as good as the real thing. Almost.

The sampling glasses this year were lovely-miniature beer glasses. They will be a nice addition to the collection. The only thing missing was cheese. I only had one cheese sample. Come to think of it, cheese was missing from our Wisconsin Adventure Wine Day too. Perhaps Illinois rubbed off on this Wisconsin gal? Naw.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Average Everyday Wednesday

It was a very long day of travel as I drove through 60 mile per hour winds on I-39 and quarter size hail... or so they said on the weather alerts. It was definitely windy and haily and very, very dark. And it rained most of the way. At about hour four and a half, a deep, deep crabbiness set in. I kept catching myself scowling. But then again, who wouldn't after four and a half hours of crapshitty weather with two more craptastic hours to go?

I was relieved when I was able to sink into my hotel comfy chair with a cocktail. A little rehearsal tonight and grocery shopping and I'm ready to call it a night. I have a big day tomorrow! I have appointments and to do's for my return to Springfield and topped off with a staged reading of excerpts from the Widows of Whitechapel as part of the events planned for Crime Victims' Rights week. Every now and then I get to do something I'm proud of.

And so here I sit in my hotel room...practicing, reflecting on purpose, watching the new VH1 Off Pitch episode of fellow Wisconsinites online, and wanting to rearrange the hotel room furniture. Just your average everyday Wednesday evening around these parts.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Conclusion Of A Repurposed Blanket

Oh-kay... Change of plans.

I hit up the fabric store today to find they didn't have another package of the Blue Haze colored blanket binding. So instead I picked up two packages of the brighter blue, two packages of matching piping, two cushions, and two packages of these fancy buttons.

Once home, I disassembled the binding I already had pinned and attached the new binding. Just an hour of fancy stitching and I was ready to snuggle up under my new super warm wool throw. It took a great deal of effort to cast aside the blanky for more sewing.

It occurred to me last night that I could use the remaining square of blanket wool to create two chair cushions for my bistro set. I have been looking for cushions that suit me and fit the chairs for about three years. All of a sudden I have the perfect fabric and as it turns out... exactly the right amount left for this one last project.

I wanted to add the piping to tie the pieces together and give a slightly different look than the pillow shams. (You didn't really think I'd give up piping after just learning this trick, did you?) These were a little less stressful now that I'm practically a professional piper. And I'm so happy with the results!

I trimmed a couple one inch foam pads slightly to fit and stitched them in. But the real gems are the buttons I covered with matching blanket binding. I'm in love with all these new tricks I'm learning!

It's almost a shame all these delights are getting boxed up and heading into storage. Luckily there is an open box from whence two 20 inch pillow forms emerged. They'll stay warm in the basement in their new wool shams while they wait, but I hope their new porch home arrives sooner than later!

And now that the blanket is gone, I feel I need to find another!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Busy Crafty Bee

Today in between rolls of the word dice with my mom, I managed to tackle a crafty project.

I purchased this green wool blanket from Goodwill last week for $6.99. It has a floral pattern on one side in a light bluey tealy color. I thought it would be a perfect porch blanky, but it was full size and I probably only need a throw size.

So this morning I looked up throw blanket sizes on my favorite bedding catalogue site and chopped 50 inches off the end of my blanket. I ripped the stitching out on the edging and began to edge with the new contrasting colored blanket binding. I ran out. When I purchased it yesterday I had no idea what size throw I would make and it appears I'll need another package to finish that project. Set aside.

I took the other 40 inches of the blanket and cut two 20 inch shams from it. I had this idea to use the old blanket edging to line the back opening (pictured on the right) and I LOVE it! It's a nod to where the sham originated. This is already proving to be $6.99 well spent and I'm not done yet!

With the success of the large sham design, I tackled a smaller one for my smallest niece. I cut the pieces and pinned them together before I remembered the piping. Oh for crying out loud! I separated the pieces and spent the next hour working on that piping. I may never do piping again. It was a lot of work! Although I'm super happy with the little super cute pillow now that it's completed.

The best news is I still have fabric left for one more pillow when I have a little more steam left in the creative engine. That piping did me in for today! Tomorrow I'll pick up more blanket binding and I'll have plenty left to work on. I plan to get every penny's worth from that blanket!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pillow Talk

I'm working on letting off a little creative steam. Which hopefully will help kick up the heat here in Wisconsin. It's snowing again. 

Last week I picked up a pillow sham to match my niece's new quilt. I used the fabric to recover her desk chair and tucked away the scraps for the possibility of a new pillow as well.

Right off the bat this morning (hey... it was before noon...just) I hauled my sewing machine up from storage in the basement and took a look at the leftover scraps of sham. I had three full squares and three slivers left.

I had hoped there would be more left, in a bigger block, and I could just sew a backing on. This would not work with what was left. I began to deconstruct. I took the pieces apart and even removed all the quilted stitching as some of it had began to unravel. I removed the edging, the lining, and the backing. Let me just say that deconstructing is not the most enjoyable part of a project.

But then I resewed the quilting and the quilted pieces together. I measured what I had and compensated with extra backing material to create a standard pillow size. I needed to quilt that pink top and bottom piece and attach to the original sham squares.

Then I cut the original lining to fit inside and cut the backing to the new size, keeping intact the original closure. Easy peasy, right? It's all coming together now!

Now into my fourth hour on this project, I tackled what would be the most frustrating... the edging. I still don't even want to talk about it. I feel like someone more experienced in sewing probably knows how to do this more easily, but I'm a sewing novice. Needless to say, I reattached the edging and ended up with the lovely boudoir sham you see pictured. Just don't look too closely!

I'm hoping for something a little simpler for the other niece. Tomorrow's a new day full of pillow possibilities!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Penguin On Vacation

This Wisconsin weather is ridiculous! Why did I come back here again? It's snowing. For seriousness. I'm looking forward to a tiny vacation in the south of Springfield. It will feel like a tropical getaway! It better.

I've gotten news that I'll get reimbursements for travel and lodging for my trip to Springfield to perform, which takes a load off considering I'm unemployed. Now I just need the script and to practice the cockney again. I'm sure it's like riding a bike!

On the homefront, I've got a couple jobs in the pipeline and may get the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons to decide which may suit me better. Everything is still up in the air, which is fine by me as there is no way I'm missing this Springfield getaway. Now it's adiós to the snow and ice!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Unsettled Settling

Everything has been up in the air and it seems I haven't been keeping up with it all! In March I made the decision to move back to Wisconsin and spent a week packing up the house.

I packed a truck load (actually my personal master packnician-my dad-packed the truck. I was just manual labor) and headed to Wisconsin in time to audition for the final show of the community theatre season.

I spent that first week painting my new digs and finding places for the things I had brought by displacing my parents' things. I repayed them by organizing their closets although I'm not sure if they enjoyed that as much as I did. I still have plenty of work to do in the deep dark depths of their closets, but all my stuff is squeezed in.

I spent a little time babysitting for the nieces and visiting with my sister and did not get cast in the big show. Probably for the best. I have plenty of things to do around here! And I'm still planning to return to Springfield for a staged reading of the show I was in last fall. It's coming up fast and I'm really looking forward to it!

So I traveled back to Springfield at the end of the month for the final move. I was so lucky to have the help of my folks and a few friends who volunteered their Saturday morning to help me clear out the house. I visited with a few more friends at a local establishment and said my goodbyes (shockingly there were even a few hugs). 

My Mother pictured in front of my dad's packing handiwork.
And here I am back in the land of snow and cold...even though it's supposed to be Spring. I'm taking it easy while looking for a local job, but I've got creative energy that needs to be directed towards something productive. So this is where I've come to...settling in and feeling unsettled at the same time.


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