Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Hop Cat Dinner

Linda and I finally arrived in Lincoln at 7:00. Ugh. IT IS A LONG DRIVE, PEOPLE. Of course, at some point, Rhonda had flown right over our heads...and I texted her...STILL DRIVING....

Rhonda and her college roommate Sherry did some Lincoln sightseeing.  Apparently, their old college town has undergone some major changes.  There was a storm front coming through -- so Sherry whipped out her unique umbrellas.  
Did you see these umbrellas on Shark Tank?
So clever!!  They close in the complete opposite way -- so it's so much easier to get in a car when it's raining.
Sherry recommended the HopCat Restaurant for supper. IT WAS SUCH A UNIQUE place. The most impressive thing was the trendy, wait -- the best thing was the seasoned CRACK FRIES...
Every wall is hand-painted.
Our waitress explained the decor, and the vision of the owner...
The ceiling is backlit ALBUM COVERS...sooo interesting!!
Of course, I made Rhonda a sleep shirt.  This one says, "Of  Course I don't look busy.  I did it right the First Time."  Yep.  I crack myself up...
Sherry helped Rhonda open some other gifts.
LP just HAD TO SEW something for her!!  (I love, love, love the fabric bowl.  Perfect for those healthy frozen dinners I should be eating every night!)
Yep.  This road trip is OFF TO A GREAT START!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Last week, I had an exciting summer ROAD TRIP. The occasion was Rhonda Pierce's milestone birthday tour. She lives in Chicago, but was raised in Nebraska.
To kick off her Birthday Tour, she was hosting a little party at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Rhonda was FLYING to Nebraska -- but, hey, that state is Iowa's next door neighbor, it'll be easier for me to just drive...


The trouble is - I live on the EAST COAST of the State of Iowa.  And Nebraska is way out on the West Coast.  It's a good six hours across my fair state...and we all know how long car trips put me to I'll need a co-pilot...

I'll bet Linda Phillips would LOVE to see the Quilt Museum!!  We were on the road by 8:00 Monday morning...
To break up the trip, I'd Garmined in a few antique stores along the way.
Our first stop was two hours down the road, Newton, Iowa.  Which is right off I-80, and has one of those charming town squares. (where they still give parking tickets).
This was a beautiful Veteran's Memorial right in front of their Town Square Courthouse.
The Relics Antique Mall is right across the street from the Courthouse...and I didn't worry about getting a parking ticket, because the people who work in the square all know where the Chalk Lady is at all times...
It was three floors of TREASURE in every direction!
Under the glass top, they have inserted a JIGSAW PUZZLE...Genius, right? LP did a good job, talking me down... "no, don't have room for that big table..."
Our second Antique Mall...this one right in Des Moines....and kinda pricey...
But the fun part is finding STUFF YOU ALREADY OWN...and realizing you're RICH!!
This was the Best Quilt we found.  A summer bedspread...with the most beautiful hand-appliqued butterflies.
And the most perfect buttonhole stitching edge...all around the quilt. Only $40...CAN YOU BELIEVE I DIDN'T BUY IT??
It was fun to take some pictures, and I knew I'd love to show it to you. But I don't have to own yet another quilt...

Good job, Phillips!!

Monday, August 13, 2018

My Latest Frankensew

If you're lucky, you have "people". You know -- those relatives or friends you can call anytime or anywhere.  Sisters are the best, OF COURSE, You have their back, and they have your back.

So many times in my life, when stuff is happening -- during the BEST times and the WORST times, I simply say, "these are my people"....

My cousin Kim has long been on my short list of People.  The year we were pregnant with our sons (Elliott and Matthew), I made maternity tops for us.  Then we raised our kids a mile from each other, while our husbands worked the second shift.

Kim and I -- two years ago -- at the Make A Wish Foundation Dinner.
Kim's daughter Carrie is my weekly sunshine.  My cleaning lady.  Every Monday, she makes my life worth living...
She's been organizing my life since she was 14 years old...

Kim's son, Matthew -- has twins!  Madison and Riley were maybe 3 years old when I took this picture.
They're ten years old now...and last week, Madison went thrift shopping with me. (shockingly, it was a NEW experience for her!).

During our thrifting excursion, Madison told me she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. At that precise moment, I saw a rack of scrubs for sale...and I asked her if she'd like her own set of scrubs?

I thought it would be easy enough to Frankensew a set of adult scrubs to fit a little girl.


But, then, I remembered she had a TWIN BROTHER back home -- so, okay, TWO sets of scrubs can't be such a big deal....

I am not going to bore you with the sewing details...and I'm very, very glad this picture is not a close-up.  But -- hey -- these kids were thrilled!!
It was WAY MORE WORK than I thought it would be...but, because of my Frankensewed scrubs, Riley wants to be a doctor, too.  So my sewing has once again, probably saved lives...
Here's the thing. Kids LOVE PLAYING DRESS UP. And, in the grand scheme of things -- I think it's a great idea to have them imagining themselves to be DOCTORS AND opposed to cowboys and Indians, Superheros  -- or, even worse -- Princesses...

 P.S.  Thrifting tip:  Iowa City is a University town with a huge regional hospital.  Every thrift store was jammed with racks of scrubs...and at some thrift stores, they drop the price every 30 days.  These started off at $3.99...but, because they were on the 80% off rack....I paid 80 cents for each piece.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Mold-A-Rama Souvenirs!!

The Brookfield Zoo is an amazing place, with world-class exhibits, hundreds of acres of beautiful landscaped property and state-of-the art facilities. We enjoyed all of that.

But, the souvenir the kids wanted the most was a low-tech blast from the past. A hot plastic molded toy...from the Mold-A-Rama machine!! And the 2018 molds that Lilly and Warren took home are exactly the same as the 1987 hot plastic souvenirs that Ross and Elliott got when they were little boys.
There are 13 Mold-A-Rama machines still operating at the Brookfield Zoo.
The Mold-A-Rama machines look like juke boxes from the 60's. At one time, there were over 100,000 of these machines in existence -- in zoos and museums all over the world.
When you put in your money ($3)...they heat up, and you can see the gauges moving...then, the mold closes, and the hot plastic is pumped in....within a minute, your souvenir animal is cut form the form and drops through the slot.
You have to be careful to hold it from the bottom while it's still hot.
The blue dolphin is the most popular Mold-a-Rama at Brookfield.
Both kids wanted the gorilla.
Warren got a hippo, and Lilly got a Polar Bear.
There are only 126 Mold-a-Rama machines left in the country. Ross said this may be his new motorcycle trip next summer...with his goal to collect 126 Mold-A-Ramas...

I think that's a worth-while adventure!!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Brookfield Zoo

The Brookfield Zoo is a world-class experience. When my boys were growing up, we went there twice, and it was shocking for me to realize how much Ross remembered from those long-ago visits to this zoo. It is THAT impressive. And this was the perfect 2018 end-of-the-summer Grandma Camp Adventure!!
We started off with a trolly ride around the grounds, just so we could get the lay of the land...
We went to the first Dolphin Show of the day.  OF COURSE we had to sit in the Splash Zone!! (Warren was trying to look sad)
But he wasn't sad!  He is the happiest kid in America -- always eager to please, and he was DELIGHTED the whole day...(even though we ended up walking about 6 miles)...
The dolphin show was TERRIFIC..!!
And, at this zoo, YOU SEE ANIMALS at every turn.
Of course, the smaller species are behind glass -- or hiding under rocks...
There are lots of things for kids to climb on -- both indoors and out...
Many opportunities to see the UNDERWATER life of animals, species, bears, sharks, etc.
After five hours, we stopped for a slushy snack.  (Thanks, Uncle Ross)
The Polar Bears were of particular interest to Lilly.
And, WOW -- are they BIG..!!
Tropic World was, at one time, the largest indoor animal exhibit in the world.
Representing the continents: South America, Asia and Africa...
Warren was fascinated by the monkeys, jumping from tree to tree -- and you really feel like they could jump into your arms!
This is 23 year old Koola, holding her new baby, born June 1st. The baby girl was named Ali.
The last thing to do on our list was to ride the amazing animal Carousel.  As we waited for our turn, the kids were picking out which animal they wanted to ride...
 Of course, Uncle Ross stood behind Warren the whole way....(Grandma was on a bench).
Lilly wanted to ride the wolf...and she got lucky!!
I CANNOT IMAGINE A BETTER DAY.   The weather was was 83 degrees that day! Because the zoo is nestled in the woods -- all the mature trees provide comfortable shady areas.

We walked into the zoo at 10:00 -- and we were headed back through the tunnel to our car at 4:00.

Warren was asleep before Ross even drove out of the parking lot...