Friday, October 24, 2014

Traveling Circus

One day, I saw a poster in a restaurant -- and realized a little one-ring circus was coming to Clinton, Iowa on THAT THURSDAY. It was the Kelly Miller Circus from Hugo, Oklahoma.

YIKES....I don't have much time to put this thing together.  It's a school night, everybody is so busy...The performance was at 4:30...It would take a super-effort to make it happen...

Also, many people have been very unhappy with the gigantic BIG circuses that do the big venues...the one at the Fairgrounds last year was so bad, my sister left during the intermission.  Carrie's kids hated the circus last year...

But, I have some very fond memories of a small one-ring circus that came to Princeton, Iowa over 30 years ago.  Ross was a little kid and he still remembers and talks about that circus.  It was the first time he ever saw an elephant...we had such a wonderful time...Val and I have laughed about it for years...

I thought it was worth a shot...so, I called Nicole to see if Memphis was available...then, I picked her up at her school....Emily picked up Lilly...we met at the park for a picnic supper..
I made faux-Arby roast beef and cheese sandwiches
Warren came to the picnic....he would be going home with me.
Emily took the girls to the circus...
The big top only seats 1000 people..so everything is up close and personal...
During the intermission...they had their faces painted...
I MEAN -- HAVE YOU EVER SEEN CUTER GIRLS???
There were elephant rides, pony rides...face painting...
Camel rides....
They had such a WONDERFUL TIME!! I am SO DELIGHTED that the earth and the moon and the stars in the sky lined up so these two little girls could go to the circus...

Emily had a great time taking our girls to this sweet little circus...they are the perfect age...it was the perfect size...Emily noticed how many jobs the performers had.  One woman was the star in the aerial act, then she was riding a horse during that performance, and later on, she was in the ring with the lions...

Because Lilly was still talking about it a week later...I tried to find a poster around town so we could frame it for her room.  But all the stores had thrown them away.  So, I emailed the Kelly Miller Circus, and asked if I could buy a poster.  They responded the next day -- delighted my granddaughter enjoyed their circus -- and they'd be happy to send me a poster.

Three days later, I received a tube with THREE DIFFERENT posters!!  One had a picture of the elephants, another one had pictures of their lions, and the third poster had a picture of their aerial act. 

If YOU WOULD LIKE THIS WONDERFUL CIRCUS TO COME TO YOUR TOWN -- please email them.  They have a great reputation, and they cleaned up every last paper cup or napkin before they left town.  Some towns or groups use them as a fundraiser...and maybe you should, too!!

KELLY MILLER CIRCUS... 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sandy's Luncheon

SUMMER 2014 is OVER. Really?? How is that possible??  My friend Sandy is getting ready to go DOWN TO FLORIDA.  Like all the other Iowa snowbirds (pussys)...

Hey -- I miss her already...

I had the Merry Widows to my house for a look-at-my-new-porch-sofa luncheon.  And we had so much fun -- Sandy invited us all to her house for an end-of-the-summer party.
Is this the BEST Bloody Mary you ever saw??
Sandy made a delicious egg casserole...
Tomatoes and fresh melon from her garden....
Sandy's other friend Sue, along with Evelyn...
Sandy and Carol....
This casserole was DELICIOUS -- and Sandy swears it was mostly leftovers out of her frig...
But it was the fancy DESSERT that I'll long remember...
THIS is how I felt about Sandy's fancy layered cake.  Turns out, it's mostly a cake mix, some Cool Whip, and lots of fresh raspberries.  OH MY GOODNESS...it was just as good as it looks!!
We had such a great time!!  WE ate, we talked, we laughed...look at the sun in our eyes...
It was such a beautiful late summer day. That really is what I love most about Iowa. Because now, with the change of the seasons, we need to bring in the porch furniture cushions, get out our long sleeved shirts, put an extra blanket on our beds. No -- wait -- that's only me.

Sandy (pussy)  is packing her car for the long ride to FLORIDA...!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fiber Arts Show and Tell

It has been such a pleasure for me to get to know the women of the Fiber Arts group that meets at the Davenport Library. These women come every month, and they are eager to get up and share what they are working on.  The response from the audience is always enthusiastic and supportive...their energy is wonderful.

Some skillful quilters belong to this group, that's for sure.  But some of their members are more about the recycling, or fashion sewing, or doing handwork.  And they are at all different levels of accomplishment.  But the one thing they have in common is that every single member of this group is, at her core, an artist.  They are not competitive, or judgmental...the energy in the room is all about being CREATIVE...
The  whole point of their meetings is a big show and tell...almost everybody participates...They don't waste time with bios or resumes...they are just eager to SHOW YOU WHAT THEY MADE....
Their play-date was working with buttons and felt...so they passed around a big tray of various things they made at the workshop that morning....
One woman shared a gift she received from her sister for her 40th anniversary. The white and yellow satin was actually cut from her wedding dress and bridesmaid's dress...
The picture in the middle, of course, was her wedding photograph.
Sometimes, they have stuff set up on a back table that you can buy. And there is always a "free" table with things people are giving away. Magazines, books, sewing notions...IT'S SUCH AN EASY, BREEZY group of women. No annual dues, or attendance, or reports.

Next month, they are doing a gourd challenge.  That should be fun, eh??

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rita is not a Photographer

For the next few weeks, I'm going to blog about day-tripping. The thing is -- I have been developing my day-tripping skills every Saturday FOR MANY YEARS.  I consider myself an expert. This summer has been chock-full of wonderful girlfriend daytrips -- and I've been so busy LIVING them -- I didn't have time to blog about them...

But -- before I start -- I want to apologize for my crappy pictures. A good blogger tells her story with pictures. I know that. We are living in a visual, digital age. Having instant access to photos is A DREAM COME TRUE...I always have my camera with me.

Sadly, photography is not a skill I'm good at. And I'm fine with that. But I want you to know -- I DO TRY. This post is an example of me -- really trying hard, but failing.

EllynAnne Geisel was presenting a program in Waterloo, Iowa.  I was on a mission to interview her for Inspired To Sew magazine...I even borrowed a FINE, FANCY CAMERA from my son Ross.  I wanted to get some excellent behind-the-scenes photos of EllynAnne...

AND I DID!!  Having a really good camera did make a huge difference in the quality of my photographs.  You will see some of those pictures when EllynAnne's issue comes out.

It was an AWESOME DAY TRIP with my TMBC friend Linda.

However -- this happened...


The lighting inside a museum is poor...but I thought this picture of the APRON CHRONICLES exhibit catalog turned out great....with the Hey Rita tote...
I had a beautiful Schmetz totebag for EllynAnne.  I wanted a picture of her, standing in front of her Apron Chronicles picture -- that will be perfect for the magazine article...
I still can't believe I didn't see it through the lens of the camera. I put EllynAnne RIGHT IN FRONT of the woman sitting at the table. And the Schmetz totebag is positioned so perfectly -- only the woman's legs show.

It looks like she tried to stuff that woman into her totebag....

See what I mean??  Honestly -- I have the BEST PHOTO INTENTIONS.   But -- for me, it's like balancing my checkbook.  Hard as I try -- I just can't get the hang of it.  So, I will continue to stumble along, telling my own stories using my own crappy pictures,

and you really need to quit emailing me -- and simply lower your expectations....


Monday, October 20, 2014

1920 Proctor and Gamble Laundry Book

I have LONG been a collector of all-things-laundry. I love pictures of women (or children) hanging up clothes...
I paid $28 for this small picture at an auction. I'm glad I photographed it, because right now it is lost somewhere in my basement....
This little soft cover book is one of my most prized possessions. But, it is a very difficult thing to photograph...you can't read the title....
The title says, "Approved Methods for Home Laundering". It was published in 1920 by Proctor and Gamble.
The illustrations in this little book are amazing...
They are so small, it is hard to get a good picture...but I kept trying...
I was gob-smacked (Marion's term -- is that a Canadian expression?) by the detailed description of how much work it was to do the family laundry in 1920...
HOLY COW...doing laundry was an unbelievable amount of crushing, back-breaking hard work. One whole chapter in the book was about Planning the Week's Work, with an outline for your Daily schedule...YIKES...I am trying to imagine the world my women ancestors lived in...they had to make their own soap...soak the clothes for several hours (or overnight)....then build a fire...rub each garment on a wash-board...then wash in small loads (the book recommends sorting into five different groups).

this is one of the many pictures from my Pinterest board...
Squeeze out the water. Then BOIL the various loads of laundry (a clean stick is recommended for this step). Rinse in two or three different waters. Then Blue the laundry. Starch the laundry. Hang the laundry out (putting pieces of a kind together, and have the threads of the cloth straight). Take down, piece by piece, and fold. Dampen. Roll Up. (never dampen more than you can iron in one day). Then iron.

OH MY GOD....I love my life. And I am very grateful that I was born AFTER the invention of the automatic washing machine...
Make that VERY, VERY, EXTREMELY GRATEFUL...
Next week the Monday post will be some tips about how to dry your laundry.  Don't worry, I understand that most of you don't have access to a clothesline....hey -- I have a clothes dryer, too!! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cedar Rapids, Coe College and Grant Wood

If you have never been to Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. It is a jewel of a small city -- with SO MUCH to see and do. Anne set up a PERFECT Grant Wood day for us. And one of the off-the-beaten-path places she discovered was Coe College.
Located right in the heart of their sweet little campus -- Grant Wood's house!!
This sculpture was right outside the library
Inside -- we found one room after another -- it was like an art gallery...
The paintings weren't all done by Grant Wood
There were so many reading rooms...and so many original works of art...I swear, in my next life, I would like to LIVE in a library...
In the largest room, there was a collection of early lithographs...
Created for the Iowa State Fair, of course!!
Like small colleges everywhere -- the grounds are well maintained and STUNNING...
Although, it was a little disconcerting that there were NO STUDENTS in this particular library
I mean -- really -- it was almost eerie...
We sat in their comfy leather chairs, wishing we'd packed a lunch.
There was a small exhibit about Grant Wood -- and I love the shadow of me and Anne in the background.  Who said I can't take a good picture??

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cedar Rapids and Our French Lunch

The very best part about having Anne planning our Grant Wood/Cedar Rapids adventure is that SHE LIVES THERE. Sue and I climbed in her van, Anne knew EXACTLY where to go and the best way to get there...she was a wonderful tour guide...
Anne and Sue, just outside the Coe College library.
Anne gave us several choices for lunch. We chose the little French joint.
Croissant du Jour. It is located in an unassuming strip mall...and there aren't very many tables...
But the food was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING...
White tablecloths and napkins...it was all quite lovely.  BUT THE DESSERTS WERE OUT OF THIS WORLD...We decided to share. French cheesecake, Chocolate Eclair, and a Napoleon...
There was a bakery case full of delicacies I've never heard of...but I knew my new life's mission was to TRY THEM ALL...
At the end of the day, Anne took us for a quick spin through the brand new Cedar Rapids Home Goods store. It was the perfect end to the perfect day!!
************
PROJECT RUNWAY:  Here's what happens when you go out on a limb....some squirrel will chew it off.  So, after Part One of the Project Runway finale it ain't looking good for my Superstar Kini. I still think he might pull something out of the hat...but I wish he hadn't committed to doing the whole collection out of DENIM. What a bad choice!!

Hey -- I am LOVING Amanda and I think her jewelry will take her to the winner's circle.  After last night's show, I realized that SHE has the collection I most want to see...