Boy, thanks for all of your fun comments about our UK trip. I promise, this will be the last of it, and then we’ll try and get back to some regular posts around here. (Although, the weather is changing around here, and when that happens, I go more into planning mode than actual doing mode, so not much exciting is happening around here.)
As I mentioned before, we had one day that didn’t exactly go as planned. One thing I really wanted to do on a visit to Scotland, was hike Ben Nevis — after all, 100,00 people a year can’t be wrong, can they? It’s the highest mountain in the UK and I thought it would be fun to make the hike and check out the gorgeous views. The hike was planned for our last day in Scotland and it’s estimated to take 8 – 9 hours, so I knew we needed to get an early start. At the end of the hike, we had to drive 3 hours to be able to spend the night near the airport to fly out the next day. The afternoon before our hike, we went to the visitors center so that we would know where we needed to be the next morning. I asked the people at the desk what the forecast was for the next day. She said not as rainy but the winds were predicted to be pretty high. I thought Great! and made some stupid comment about “What’s a little wind — as long as it’s not rainy.” They were probably laughing hysterically as we left and thinking poor, dumb American tourists.
Anyway, we hit the trail, bright and early the next morning. Awww, look at SweetiePie — doesn’t she look happy? We’d been hiking for about 45 minutes and the drizzly rain had stopped. We took that as a good sign. It was a little breezy though (it’s hard to tell, but the wisps of SweetiePie’s hair give it away.)
At this point, we’re getting a little higher. I commented to SweetiePie, “Look how quickly and easily we can gain some altitude.” Ha.
Onward and upward. Those rocks are fun on the way up. Not so much on the way down.
Shortly after that little break in the drizzle, it started to pour. And the wind came with it. Oh that sweet little wind that I thought would be no problem. Fighting the wind made the climb seem twice as hard. After about 2 1/2 hours, we passed a couple coming back down. I asked them if they’d been to the top already and they said no, they decided to turn around. Hmmm, that’s kind of sad, I’m thinking. Then about 30 minutes later (and a LOT more wind and rain) the family of five that had been behind us split up. The mother and the youngest little boy turned around, the father and the two older boys (only about 8 and 10) continued on. I knew that they had been on this hike before, the fact that they turned around should probably have been a clue. We hiked on. The thing about Scottish weather is, that it changes every 15 minutes. Shortly after the family split up, the sun came out. And then, I saw sheep on the mountain. Sheepies! NOW we’re talking. We’re soaking wet, the wind is howling, and the temperature is dropping, but there are sheepies. It MUST be worth continuing, right??? (You can see the trail where we’d already been in the picture below.)
So, higher, we go. Notice, the sheep are gone. And so is the sun. At this point, I’m managing to stay a little ahead of SweetiePie. And while we’re on this little sun-just-went-in break, lets take a minute to talk about our attire. We had layers of shirts and jackets and then we each had a big poncho thingy to keep us dry. And jeans. Funny thing, the sign at the visitor center recommended no jeans. I just chuckled and said, but we’re tourists and jeans is all we have. We were SO unprepared. Those “tarps” were worthless in the wind. Therefore we both ended up mostly wet. Soaking wet jeans are No. Fun. But hey — the view is getting pretty good up here — when the clouds part. See SweetiePie back there with her plastic poncho? And uncovered head?
That didn’t last very much longer, as the temps were dropping. Luckily, we had both bought souvenir hats and mittens the day before, so we busted them out. At this point, we passed a couple who had been to the top and asked them how much longer. They said about 45 minutes and it was really cold at the top. They sort of eyed our attire and hopefully said, “Be Careful!”. We talked about turning around, but thought, it really couldn’t get any worse, could it? The wind and rain were awful, but couldn’t we stand 45 more minutes of this? WE are continuing on! That little comment about things getting worse, probably shouldn’t have been uttered by either of us. As they say, all hell broke loose and it started sleeting, and WIND-ING and visibility dropped. (Please notice the fine hikers below. They were properly dressed, had a walking stick, and were clearly not clueless like us.)
Moving right along, we kept climbing. About 30 minutes later we passed another couple and asked “how much farther”. “About 30 minutes, depending on your pace”. I also asked them if there was a shelter on top — I envisioned a little place where we could hide from the wind, have a little snack and catch our breath. No shelter — just a wall from some ruins and a lot of sleet and ice. We hiked on a little longer, but by now, my pace resembled that of a snail. My legs were so wet and cold they were barely working. SweetiePie asked me again if I wanted to turn around. “I” didn’t want to be the one to say “yes”, so she finally put me out of my misery and said it. Only 30 minutes from the top and we threw in the white flag. But, before we turned around, we had to take a few pictures. See? We were higher than the other mountains.
We’d just barely started back down and that blasted sun came back out! Arrrgggghhhh. This is a forced smile, I’ll have you know. And notice the billowing poncho — the wind had let up at this point, but it was still blowing.
At least it cleared up enough to take a few pictures. We thought it might stay this way, but we were Oh. So. Wrong. Winds and sleet, just as bad as before, all the way down.
And Ha! Look at SweetiePie. She can’t get out of here fast enough LOL.
Sadly, she’d hurt her knee on the way up, so it wasn’t easy getting back down. It took another 3 1/2 hours to make it back to the car. Notice that plastic poncho is gone — we finally gave up fighting them in the wind. Wool mittens and hats aren’t very exciting when they’re wet. And they’re smelly. Ewww.
Finally, almost at the end. You can’t really tell it, but it’s still raining.
When we got back to the car, we went back to the visitor center to change out of our wet clothes. I asked the people at the desk if they’d been laughing at me the day before. She said the winds had been 70 mph in the valley, so they estimated that they were 80 – 90 mph up on the mountain. No Kidding! F1 tornadoes are 90 mph. We both got knocked over by the wind at least twice up there. We were probably lucky we didn’t get blown of the mountain. If there hadn’t been so many other stupid people up there, we seriously would have feared for our safety.
And really, I’m probably just lucky SweetiePie didn’t push me over a cliff for getting her into that mess. She definitely deserves some sort of reward for putting up with my little folly. After it was all over, I started analyzing what we’d done wrong. “But, SweetiePie, if we’d just ….” implying that we should try again sometime. She made some disparaging remarks as to my sanity. But, you know what? It’s just like childbirth. You forget how awful it was. By the time I get back over there, I’ll probably be too old to attempt it again, but for SweetiePie? You never know! (Although, at the height of our misery, we both agreed that TheFirstChild would not be likely to make that hike, so she’s going to have to find some other adventurous soul!)
Whew! Sorry to ramble on. It was a grand adventure — someday when she’s a grandma, she can tell her grandchildren about that crazy thing she did with their great-grandma. Thanks for sticking with all my travel posts. How ’bout a giveaway? A little British bunny pincushion, perhaps?
You know the drill — leave a comment and we’ll do the RandomManoftheHouse generator in a week — Sunday, September 30 (wow, the end of the month already!)
Those of you who have been hanging around here in ThimbleannaLand for any amount of time know how much we Looooove our Bunny Pincushions. Love, Love, Love them! From time to time I make a batch and have a giveaway or sell a bunch in the Thimbleanna.com store.
And almost every time that happens, someone asks me for a pattern for the bunny pincushions. Sadly, I always have to say that the pattern is a 1989 pattern by Lori Karper and it’s copyrighted, so I can’t give it out. Then, I’ll usually do an internet search, just to see if any information on Ms. Karper has popped up since the last time I did an empty internet search. All I ever find is maybe an ebay link or two to one or another older pattern by Ms. Karper.
So. Imagine my GREAT excitement and surprise one day last spring, when I got an e-mail from THE Ms. Karper herself. Only there’s been a name change which is why I couldn’t find her. Lori Karper is now Lori Valley and it’s been my great delight to be able to get to know the mother of all my bunnies! Lori has had an unbelievable 20+ years since the original bunny pattern was published — full of ups and downs and she’s come out on this end as one of THE sweetest people you’ll ever meet. AND, BIG BIG exciting news — she’s re-issuing the bunny pincushion pattern AND she’s added a Kitty, a Bear, and a Puppy. WOOHOO!!!
It’s so funny, because, over the years, I’d always thought how fun it would be to make other little pincushion animals. I had a chance over the weekend to make up a Kitty.
And a Bear. The original bunny pattern had the stitching on the paws, but I always made my paws plain. For the kitty and the bear, I did the extra stitching and I love how it turned out. (Both the Kitty and the Bear are made from City Weekend by Oliver + S.)
One of my favorite things about the bunny pincushions over the years has been the fact that the ears can be used to hold needles. The Kitty and Bear ears are big enough to do that too. (And you thought your teen had ear-piercing problems.)
Look how sweet — the kitty (and the puppy, who I didn’t have time to make) both have little tails. Those might make good needle holders too.
Another thing I love about Lori’s patterns is that you can make them your own. My faces are a little different than Lori’s. And I thought this time I’d have some fun experimenting with a contrast fabric on the inside of the ears. I really like how they turned out.
And one last very special thing. Lori calls her patterns “You Are Loved” Patterns and she’s included a “You Are Loved” tape that can be sewn into the side seam of each pincushion. The whole time I was making the kitty and bear, I kept telling myself “Don’t forget the You Are Loved Tape”. So, of course, you know, I forgot it. I pinned it on the side of the bear though, so you can see how cute it’s supposed to look, sticking out of the side of the pincushion.
I’ll stop talking now. I’m sorry this sounds like a big sales pitch — I really don’t want it to be. You know how much I Love my pincushions, and I know many of you have been wanting these patterns. Lori is working on her own website (which I’ll link to when she’s done) but until then, you can buy them in the Thimbleanna.com store. You can also get extra “You Are Loved” tapes in case you want to make more than one pincushion with a message in it’s side.
‘Cause Christmas is coming soon and I think these make great gifts for all of your crafty friends! ;-)
Well, it’s the Day After. Did you all get your fill of chocolate and Easter eggs? Our day was very quiet. No one would even color eggs with me! Party poopers. ;-P MeMum made a delicious, traditional Easter dinner — ham and scalloped potatoes. It was wonderful!
Not much else has been going on around here. In my ongoing effort to squash a few UFOs, I’ve dragged out the red yoyos again.
I think I’ve made about half of the yoyos for a double sized quilt. They really go fairly quickly and they’re great for on-the-go — when you’re waiting at the Dr. office, in traffic, etc. Hopefully, it will move right along.
Hmmm. So, I guess you’re here for the bunny drawing? Guess I shouldn’t drag it out any longer. I yelled in to TheManoftheHouse — “Pick a Number!” He yelled back — “Ummm…103!”
Congratulations Shiela C — that’s YOU!!! Send me an e-mail with your vital stats and I’ll pop Make Life Bunny into the mail!
Thank You to all the rest of you for entering my little bunny drawing! I’m sorry I couldn’t give you all a bunny, but don’t give up — it’s spring, the bunnies have been multiplying, and a new batch is just around the corner!
- It’s Official! Spring has sprung in ThimbleannaLand.
Our DuckCouple is back. Yipee! I love it when our little DuckCouple returns. They’ll be here for another week or so and then they’ll move on. I wish they’d have their babies here. Apparently, we’re good enough for a stopover, but not the nursery. I hope they’ll be safe while they’re here, too. We got a neighborhood notice that someone a few streets over lost a small dog to coyotes. The fact that we have coyotes around here is always startling to me — I’m mostly from out west and I thought coyotes were a western thing. I mean think about it — you always read about coyotes and cowboys, not coyotes and cornfields.
- Last month, I participated in a spring/fall swap hosted by the ever so lovely Trashalou. It was a really fun swap for me, as my partner was new to me — the very sweet Catherine of Calidore.
I made a little bag for Catherine to keep her hand sewing things in — scissors, thread, needle, thimble, etc. I have a little stitchery bag and I carry it everywhere. I drew up the pattern for this one — if I were to do it again, I would use Janet’s fantastic tutorial – I LOVE her little bag. She published her pattern just after I finished this bag. Catherine got better pictures of the goodies than I did and she wrote me such a wonderful thank you. Thank YOU Catherine! The package to me is on it’s way — I’m not sure if it will be from Catherine or someone else (the partners were a surprise), but I’m excited to find out! Thanks for hosting Trashy!
- Flat Stanley has paid us a visit! Beth’s young son’s class is doing a Flat Stanley project and I offered to host him here in ThimbleannaLand. While he was here I took him to see Johnny Appleseed‘s grave. It was a beautiful day and I think he rather enjoyed it (I certainly did)! If you’d like Flat Stanley to come and visit you, I’m sure Beth could hook you up. ;-)
- Finally (!), Make Life Bunny is so excited about the giveaway, he’s all packed and ready to go. And look! In addition to that 1/2 yard of fabric, he squeezed a card of those cute Make Life Simple buttons into his suitcase! Don’t forget, if you’re interested in a chance to win him you have to make sure the giveaway appears on your local evening news just have to comment on the giveaway post.
I hope you’re all having a great week!
I had a little baking adventure this weekend. For a long time I’ve wanted to buy a kitchen scale – mostly because I see so many recipes on non-US blogs that give ingredients by weight, rather than volume. I discussed a scale purchase with TheManoftheHouse and he poo-poo’d the idea. His reasoning was that my culinary skills have survived just fine so far and therefore I didn’t really need one. So, I did what any self-respecting wife who really wants something would do — I went and got one anyway and “snuck” it into the kitchen.
TheManoftheHouse walked into the kitchen, just after I had installed the batteries. (Busted!) “So, how does it work” he said. “See for yourself” I replied and I placed the stick of butter that says 4 ounces on the scale. That was that. He was sold. (He’s easy.)
Now to try it out. A few weeks ago, my blog buddy Anne in Scotland (you know how I love me my Scottish bloggers!) shared some cookie recipes and I really wanted to try them. I decided Anne’s recipe would be perfect for the inagural run of the new scale. First up was 3 ounces of sugar. I took a wild guess and scooped up 1/2 cup of sugar and poured it on the scale.
A little bit too much, so I removed some until it hit 3. I’ve read some volume-to-weight converts say that they think measuring by weight is more accurate and easier than by volume. I’ll definitely concede that it’s more accurate, but it doesn’t seem easier to me. Scooping up a cup just seems easier than putting an ingredient on the scale and then adding or removing to hit the right weight. It’s not a big deal though, just different.
Next up, was the flour. The recipe called for 5 ounces, so I guessed with a cup of flour. This time it wasn’t quite enough.
I was beginning to feel like goldilocks here! Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything else to weigh — I’m betting I would have found the just right size on the third attempt!
Anyway, I made Anne’s Melting Moments. TheManoftheHouse gave them his stamp of approval, and he’s pretty picky about his cookies. I wasn’t too sure about the cherries, so I saved one without a cherry and pressed an M&M into it when it came out of the oven. It wasn’t necessary — I loved them just the way Anne’s recipe suggested.
I also made Anne’s Mars Bars Cakes. Anne suggested that what they call a Mars Bar is what we call a Milky Way, so that’s what I used. I molded them into little nests and added some jellybean eggs. They’re yummy — they taste like chocolate rice krispy cookies.
Thanks for sharing your recipes Anne! And, if you’re a US cook and you’ve been on the fence about a kitchen scale, jump in. I heard on a radio cooking show several months ago that within the next five years all cookbooks in the US will be published with weights in them, so you might as well be ready!
Ok, now that you’ve suffered through my cooking adventure, we’ll get to why you’re really here. You’ve all been so fantastic to comment and give me lots of project love, so I thought we should have a little giveaway. How ’bout a bunny giveaway — it’s been awhile since we’ve had one.
Make Life by Sweetwater is my new fabric crush, so I’ve made a Make Life bunny. He’s excited to find a new home — and he’ll be bringing along a 1/2 yard security blanket piece of my favorite Make Life print.
To be entered for the drawing, there are six things you have to do. Just kidding — I’m not going to make you touch your toes, stand on your head, or sell your soul. Just leave a comment. Easy peasy.
I’ll have TheRandomManoftheHouseGenerator guess a number next Monday — so you have until 12:00 p.m. EST next Sunday, April 4th to enter. Good Luck!
Thanks for stopping by!