Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Goofin' Off Around the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival and Weekly Updates

How does one, who has a brown thumb, manage to create lovely Disney-inspired topiaries?  One doesn't.  One simply heads to Florida during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.  We have been able to attend this festival to celebrate my birthday for the past five years or so. Thankfully, our timeshare makes it all possible and affordable for us.  And, of course, how could I not snap a picture of this little pixie for my blog when all my projects right now are inspired by her?  

Before I get too ahead of myself with all the flowers and stuff, I'll go ahead and post a few updates on my projects.  The projects have been slow going as of late since my dad was in the hospital for two weeks and is just starting his second week at a rehab center.  The long visits to the hospital have tapered off, and we are just visiting every other day or so for now.  I'm starting to feel like things are getting back to "normal" [knocking on wood].  

Here are a couple of pictures of the Tinkerbell quilt.  The top is completed.  The pictures show what it looks like with both the first border and then the second border added.  It's nice to be done with this one.  

And just in case you didn't think this post was heavy enough with Tink, here is where I am at with the cross stitch piece.  Only two more sections to go before it's finished, too.  I am so excited.  

Now for a quick review and highlight photos for the 2017 Flower & Garden Festival.  What we loved:  
  • Free "Garden Rocks Concert Series".  While we were there, Jon Secada, Dennis DeYoung of STYX, and The Pointer Sisters all gave live concerts.  These concerts are included in the cost of your admission.  The only concert I could convince my hubby to attend was with Dennis DeYoung.  Yes, we were welcomed to the grand illusion.  This was one of hubby's favorite bands in his teen years.  
Dennis DeYoung:  The Music of Styx
  • The "Butterflies on the Go" walk through area.  Lots of beautiful butterflies flying around.  

  • The "Outdoor Kitchens" kiosks with lots of great food.  There were 15 kiosks this year, and I think we tried something at each one of them.  Hmm...maybe I'll have to a blog entry with all my foodie pictures.  

Key Lime Tart with Toasted Meringue
  • Beautiful Disney-inspired topiaries.  There were three new topiaries this year.  Here are some of my favorites this year...actually, they're all my favorites.  

Bambi, Thumper, and Flower
Andrea, Lance, and Figment
The Fab Five:  
Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy
Donald and Pluto
Goofy and His Bestie
Peter Pan Keeping an Eye On Things From Above
I've got so many more pictures to show.  But I'm thinking I'll save them for another time and post. Thanks for hanging in for as long as you have.  Until the next update...

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Goofin’ Off Around the Let’s Bee Quilt’n Blog Hop

Today’s post is a special one.  I have been working along with some fellow quilters in a group called 2017 New Quilt Bloggers as I try to learn the ropes of being a new blogger.  I’ve been making new friends and learning lots of great things about blogging.  Today’s assignment is participating in a blog hop with my new friends.  For those of my friends who enjoy quilting, it’s a great opportunity to meet some other quilting bloggers.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy reading a few friendly quilting blogs linked below:  

As a quick introduction to any new readers, I’ll try to give you a little introduction to me and how I came to choose my blog name.  The “Goofin’ Off” part comes from my family always looking forward to spending time and having fun together.  Our family motto is:  The family that plays together, stays together.  It's not uncommon for us to take extended family vacations to Disney.  The picture on the left is from a cruise I took with my niece five or six years ago.  It was Pirates in the Caribbean night when this picture was taken.

Our family has such a special affinity towards Disney and often the times we spend to together is spent playing Disney games, going to see Disney movies (including the Marvel and Star Wars universe), and running off to play in the theme parks whenever time and money allow us.  We love Goofy.  We especially like to goof off with Goofy.  My hubby and Goofy even have a special handshake.  If you don't believe me, check it out below!  

Back in middle school, I had the opportunity to take a class where I learned all sorts of fun things such as knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross stitching, and sewing.  I loved the class but definitely had picked out a few favorites by the end of the semester.  I found I really enjoyed counted cross stitch.  It provided a stress relieving outlet throughout my high school years and after.  Here is a picture of one of a series of a Bee alphabet.  I have completed the alphabet and hope to make each of these squares as the center of a quilt block and sew a queen-sized quilt for my bed.

Somewhere in my late 20s, I decided I wanted to try my hand at making a quilt.  This is where the “Around the Block” part of my blog name comes in.  I bought myself a magazine that included some quilt-making basics and just went at it.  I didn’t have a sewing machine at the time, so my first dozen quilts were 100 percent hand sewn and hand quilted.  I eventually bought an inexpensive sewing machine and the rest is history.  I believe the quilt on the left is the second quilt I completed.  It was from a Thimbleberries Quilt Club kit.

Around my mid-30s, I worked on my first charity quilts for Project Linus.  I enjoyed making these quilts and was always on the lookout for simple quilt patterns that went together quickly.  The quilt on the right is one of my favorite patterns.  It uses strip piecing and requires exactly one yard of each fabric.  When I'm shopping for fabric, I try to just look for three coordinating fabrics and purchase one yard each.  I hope that somehow each charity quilt can bring a little comfort to someone no matter what their circumstances.

As a huge Disney fan, I find myself drawn to Disney prints.  I also find myself drawn to fabrics that reminded me of the Disney parks and resorts.  I might find myself looking at a camping print that reminded me of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.  Or I might find a print of baked goods that reminded me of the smells of the Disney bakery.  I was drawn to the fabrics in the quilt on the right because it reminded me of the carousel at Disneyland.  Have I mentioned yet that we are a Disney-obsessed family?    

So tell me in the comments below, what inspires you in picking designs for whatever your project is…cross stitching, quilting, painting, or whatever floats your boat?  

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Where is Spring? - Update Pictures - Trip to Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I am so excited to have some progress pictures on my projects today.  This week has been very
productive for me, so I’ll probably have some more pictures by the end of the week for another blog post.  Hubby and I are headed to JoAnn’s tonight to pick up some batting and just a smidgen more fabric that I’ll need for the Captain America quilt.  JoAnn’s Daffodil Days has both of these at 40% off this week, so I am a pretty happy camper.

I am happy to report that the center for the Tinkerbell quilt is complete.  It seems a little busy, but I can tell you that after laying out the borders, it really seems to tone things down a bit.  You can see a picture of the quilt center below.

It’s weird that it’s almost April 1st here but most of the trees around here are still pretty bare because of the weather we’ve had.  This quilt really helps to brighten up the house during the day after day of gray and rain.  I am really looking forward to this coming spring and summer when the trees fill out and the flowers bloom. 

I also have an update on the Tinkerbell cross stitch.  She also brightens my day when I get to work on her.  I can’t believe how close I am getting to the end with each and every update.  It won’t be long now.

Like I mentioned above, it has been an extremely productive week.  One of the things I was able to get done last weekend was put together a video for my niece of our time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I think I mentioned before that she joined us for part of our time in Orlando a few weeks ago.  I apologize for my amateur video skills.  That is something I hope on working on this year.  You can see the video below:

My top five favorite experiences at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are:
  • Butterbeer – I prefer it in its carbonated, cold form.  It tastes something like a cream soda with a touch of butterscotch.  They also offer it in an ice cream form, a warm beverage during the winter, and in an iced form. 
  • Tour through Hogwart’s Castle – Technically, the castle is the queue area for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.  The ride itself makes me extremely nauseous, so it’s nice that they offer you the opportunity to walk through and take pictures and “chicken out” before you actually get on the ride.  The inside of the castle is very detailed and feels like you’re walking right through the movie. 
  • Hogwart’s Express – Yes, you can ride the Hogwart’s Express either from London to Hogsmeade or Hogsmeade to London.  The experience of leaving from London affords you the opportunity to walk through (or run through if you’re a muggle) Platform 9-3/4.  I won’t give any spoilers, but it’s pretty amazing what they have done to recreate the experience. 
  • Gringott’s Bank – Like Hogwart’s Castle, the walkthrough of Gringott’s mirrors the details and experience of Gringott’s Bank from the final Harry Potter movie.  Remember that scene where they’re in the cart speeding down to the vault?  Yep, that is what they try to recreate in the ride. 
  • The Knight Bus – This is a personal experience with the driver of the Knight Bus as well as the shrunken head.  The shrunken head talks to and interacts with you.  

We had such a fun time on this trip.  I am grateful that even though our nieces and
nephews are all pretty much grown now, they don’t mind hanging out with their aunt
and uncle.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It's National Goof Off Day...

This morning an article come across my Facebook feed stating that it was National Goof Off Day.  Now, how can a blog that’s name starts with “Goofin’ Off…” not do a blog post on National Goof Off Day?  I followed the article to the daysoftheyear.com website.  It gave the following explanation for Goof Off Day: 

“A chance to step back from the rigors and pressures of everyday life, Goof Off Day encourages you to take some time to be silly, waste an hour or two, and to do something a bit different!” 

Hubby and I work hard, so we like to use our goof off time to release some pressure so that we don’t get stressed out.  I’m not sure what we’ll be doing tonight to celebrate, but you can rest assured that we WILL be celebrating. 

In honor of National Goof Off Day, below is a picture of hubby and Goofy doing the “secret” Goofy handshake on our trip a couple of weeks ago. 

There is a little story to accompany this picture.  We were standing in line to get our picture taken with both Goofy and Pluto.  When Goofy saw hubby’s shirt with his picture on it, he gently shoved Pluto to the side and made it clear that this picture was to be taken only with the two Goofs.  This is when the two did their secret Goofy handshake.  I stepped aside to comfort Pluto whose feelings had been hurt.  Thank goodness Pluto forgives easily, because he was hopping around and posed for a picture with us after all the goofiness was over. 

I don’t have progress pictures to show on my projects just yet (although they will be coming soon).  The center of the Tinkerbell quilt is almost finished.  I am so excited.  I played with the original layout to find the one that I liked better for my quilt. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been working on a few quilt designs for my next quilt in EQ7.  The quilt will be for a queen-sized bed.  Below you can find the focus fabric that features Captain America that will be the fabric used in the center of each block.  The center of the blocks will NOT be a solid white like in the design pictures. 

I’d love some input as to which design you like the best.  I have my own preference, but I’d love to hear what you think.  Feel free to leave a comment below with your favorite design. 

Quilt Design #1: 

Quilt Design #2: 

Quilt Design #3: 

I am pretty sure I won’t be using so much black in the outer borders, so I am mostly trying to decide on the design of the blocks in the center of the quilt for now.  I have tried to simplify the sewing of the blocks by making it strip-sewing friendly. When I am finished with the quilt, I will be posting the pattern for free on my blog.  

This will be one quilt we keep at home.  Captain America is hubby’s favorite Marvel superhero…along with Ant Man...so I jumped at buying the fabric when I saw it at JoAnn’s.  Once I’ve decided on the quilt design, I should be able to go ahead and finish picking up any fabric I may be missing to complete it.  I am hoping I’ve got what I need in my stash, but I won’t know until the design is complete.