Sunday, May 28, 2017

Goofin' Off With Project Updates and Disney Cruise Trip Report Day 1

So summer has finally reached us here in the Pacific Northwest.  This Memorial Day weekend has seen us with some really beautiful weather.  A typical Pacific Northwest Memorial Day usually comes with rain...lots or rain and drizzle and more rain.  So we are venturing out to some of the beaches to celebrate this weekend.

It's been a while since I've updated.  We were so lucky to go on a Disney repositioning cruise this past week.  I had intended to take a lot of pictures, but somehow I was enjoying family so much that I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I had planned.  So you just may be stuck with a more general summary over the next few posts of our fun time with family.

Quilt Update

I want to first do a quick update on my current quilt...the Captain America quilt.  I have completed the units II-A.  

Units II-A of Captain America Quilt

I finally cut into the Captain America fabric.  In a previous post, I had mentioned that as long as I was careful with my cutting, I should have just enough of the Captain America fabric for the quilt...despite what the pattern indicated.  Well, as Murphey's Law would have it, I didn't quite measure right, so I didn't quite have enough fabric for the quilt.  

I quickly jumped on the JoAnn's website, only to find out they didn't have any more of this fabric online, but they did have some at a store about 100 miles away.  I didn't want to particularly drive 100 miles for fabric, especially not knowing if they really had it in stock.  I went to eBay and had no luck. Then I visited Etsy and finally found a seller with the fabric.  It should be here late next week. Whew!  Crisis averted!  

Cross Stitch Update

I finished my first little section of the Mickey and Pirate Friends cross stitch.  Not a whole lot to show but a lot of brown and oranges.  

Mickey and Pirate Friends - Update 05/28/2017
All is going well on this one (knocking on wood).  

Disney Cruise Trip Report Day 1 - Pre-Cruise Day

Again, I apologize for not having a lot of pictures.  Hmmm...maybe I can talk my adorable nephew into letting me use some of his pictures.  He was having a blast taking pictures.  Anywhoo...back to the pre-cruise day.  

Mr. Goofin' Off worked from home that day.  We had an afternoon flight, so we headed out to the airport about lunchtime.  Getting to the parking lot and shuttling it over to the airport was a breeze. We enjoyed having our TSA Pre-Check again.  It saves so much time and hassle going through security.  I am not sure why we didn't do it before.  

We were both hungry, so once we made it through we grabbed some Qdoba's at the airport.  The food area was packed.  They had a live guitarist playing.  Oh, how I wish I had taken more pictures.  We couldn't find a table, so a nice couple from Houston invited us to sit at their table. They had just gotten off a cruise from Alaska that morning.  They were seasoned cruisers and had enjoyed their cruise very much.  Of course, talking about cruising only made us that more excited for our cruise. 

We boarded our uneventful flight, took a taxi to the hotel, and dropped our luggage off before exploring San Diego.  It was a beautiful day in San Diego, albeit unseasonably cool that day.  We were only two blocks from the water, so we walked along the bay.  Mr. Goofin' Off wanted to see the USS Midway, so we stopped there for a few pictures.  

USS Midway - San Diego

After walking for a while along the water, we decided to get some dinner.  We ate outside at an outside patio at Claim Jumpers.  It was chilly, but the view of the water was nice.  As I recall, we shared a plate of appetizers and then shared a dessert.  Afterwards, we rolled ourselves back to the hotel.  

We had only been back a few minutes when we ran into Mr. Goofin' Off's parents, brother, nephew, and a cousin he hadn't seen in decades. We spent a few moments together chatting before settling in for the night.  The next day was going to be a big day as we would be boarding the ship.  

Thanks for following along.  Do you have anything special planned with your family this summer? Feel free to comment below and let me know what you're up to.  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Goofin' Off on a Travel Day...05/13/2017 Project Updates

As hubby and I are preparing for an upcoming cruise vacation with his family, I began looking at our photos from our last trip.  I noticed that we have sort of a routine or ritual of sorts that we go through on travel days before we head off to somewhere fun...hopefully, involving something Disney.  Before I get into that, I want to give a few updates on projects over the past few days.

Quilt Update(s)

First up is the (very small) progress I've made on the quilt blocks for the Captain America quilt. There has not been a whole lot of progress due to the fact that I've been spending a lot of time winding bobbins for my new cross stitch project.  But here is what I did accomplish.  I was able to add a white strip to the bottom of the pieces that I had worked on last week.

Small Addition to the Quilt Block Units

Cross Stitching Update(s)

In addition to winding a bajillion bobbins of embroidery floss this week, I did manage to get some stitching done on the new project.  As you can see from the picture, it has mostly been browns, dark browns, medium browns, and a few dark red threads mixed in for variety.  This is so different from my the colors of my greens, lavenders and light blues of Tink.  But I can't always stitching those colors...can I?  

Update 05/13/2017 on Mickey and Friends Pirates

I have received a couple of requests to know what the final project will look like.  I have posted below a snapshot of approximately what the top quarter of the finished stitched piece is going to look like. Here is your sneak peek.

Sneak Peek of Top Quarter of Finished Piece

Travel Day Routine for the Goofin' Off Family

I don't know about you, but the Goofin' Off family has settled into a sort of routine on the day we head out to travel.  Because we live in the Seattle area, and we are usually flying long distances (like the other side of the US), we usually take an early-morning flight.  Whenever possible, we like to get nonstop flights.  This usually means that the flight leaves way too early in the morning.  I usually get up at some indecent time of the morning...around 3 a.m.  I take the time to get ready, finish packing, and double check that I packed everything.  

I am not one to do a lot of selfies, but on travel mornings I always manage to get a selfie before we head out the door.  As you can see, it's not uncommon for Mr. Goofin' Off's eyes to be half closed. He grabs and opens a can of Diet Coke before we get in the car.  

Travel Morning Selfie for May 2017 Trip

As you can see from the clock in our car from the last trip, we got in the car at 5:06 a.m.  That was only about six minutes late from when we had wanted to get on the road...not too bad for us.

The Console of the Car Says It Is 5:06 a.m. and 43 Degrees Outside

We head to the airport and park our car in a lot right off the airport property.  It takes about 15 minutes to get from the parking lot to the airport.  That's when the real fun know, getting in line to tag your bags, getting in line to check your bags, and getting in line at airport security.

Luckily, we recently got our act together and got approved for TSA Pre-Check.  Yep, that was a lifesaver this past trip. We made it through security in record time without having to take our liquids out or take our shoes off.  That left us time to pick up something to eat at the airport other than a quick stop for a Danish or croissant.  This past trip we got breakfast at Pallino Pastaria.  My breakfast came with eggs, bacon, and a fruit cup.  This was significant enough that I didn't really get hungry until the very end of the 5-1/2 hour flight.

Breakfast at Pallino Pastaria at SeaTac Airport

Once we get to the gate, it's time to settle in and wait for the flight to board.  We try to board last instead of waiting in the long lines and crowds when they start boarding.  Because that gives us a little extra time, we usually get out magazines or books...or in the case of Mr. Goofin' Off looking to see if there are any good Pokemon to catch at the airport on Pokemon GO.

Mr. Goofin' Off Playing Pokemon Go
OK, all of this talk about travel day is getting me really, really excited for upcoming vacation.  It isn't too far in the future.  I can't wait to share a few photos with you when we get back.  

Do you have any travel day routines or rituals that your family shares?  I'd love to hear about them. Just leave a comment below.  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Goofin' Off With a Guardians Blizzard and Project Updates 5/7/2017

It's been a busy and productive week around here. We're so excited to see "Guardians of the Galaxy - Volume 2". We've decided to put off seeing the movie for this weekend so that we can enjoy some time walking and taking in the sun (even if it is still unseasonably cool). We did manage to get out and do a taste test of the Guardians of the Galaxy Blizzard at Dairy Queen. I've got a quick review at the end of my post so I can catch you up on my projects first.

I've made the first cuts of the Captain America quilt and started to piece together the first part of the blocks.

The first cuts of fabric for the quilt blocks.

First set of seams sewn...

...and then the second seams.
After posting that first set of photos, one thing is clear to me.  I desperately need to invest in a new cutting mat.  And since I know how large these finished blocks are going to be, I am thinking it needs to be a much larger mat.  I'll be checking those out on my next trip to JoAnn's.

I have not yet cut into the Captain America fabric.  I am almost to that point.  The pattern says I need 1-3/4 yards of fabric.  I only have 1-1/4 yards.  I've done the calculations in my head and on paper, and if I cut carefully, I should be fine.  Fingers crossed for a clear head and counting three times before cutting.

Before starting my next large cross stitch, I decided to finish up a WIP that I've had for a few years. The only thing left to do was the back stitching.  It only took a few hours.  I am sure you would be disappointed if it wasn't Disney (or would you?) of course it is.

Snow White Cross Stitch - Finished May 2017

I have several other pieces stitched from the book where I got this pattern, so I will be donating the finished squares to Love Quilts.  They always have a good use for these types of squares.

Now for the new project.  Once I printed out the pattern, I went ahead and put together all of the supplies I had in my stash for this project.  Here is what I had.

Supplies on Hand for New Pirates Cross Stitch

This piece uses approximately 200 colors of embroidery floss.  I had a little over half of the floss in my stash.  Trips to JoAnn's, Michael's, and Hobby Lobby have yielded most everything else.  I'll be getting started on this piece this week.  I am so excited to see it come to life.  We should be seeing the corner of Goofy's head and pirate hat within the first page.

I mentioned earlier how excited we are to see "Guardians of the Galaxy - Volume 2".  Since we won't be seeing it this weekend, we decided to get a "taste" of it...literally.  After seeing commercials all week for the Guardians Blizzard that Dairy Queen has, we decided to stop in to Dairy Queen and try one.  Here is a picture of the Blizzards we got.

Guardians of the Galaxy Blizzard - Dairy Queen

I had the small Blizzard.  It came in a cup with an adorable Groot on it.  Hubby had the medium Blizzard that came with Drax and Gramora on the cup.  The tables all had a Guardians of the Galaxy trivia game on them.  I must admit, as much as we loved the movie, we did horribly at the trivia. About half of the trivia came from the comic books and not the movie, so we learned a lot of fun facts.

I would give the Blizzards a four out of five Goofin' Off stars ranking.  The flavors of the mini brookies and the caramels really came through.  If you like a caramel flavoring, you'll enjoy this little baby.  If we were to go back, I would definitely order this one again.  But I wouldn't go out of my way to stop just to get one.

Have you seen the movie yet?  If so, let me know below what you thought (just please don't give any spoilers).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Goofin' Off With Topiaries and a Farewell to Tink (For Now)

Spring has arrived in full swing with an occasional sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest.  We’re predicted to (possibly) get into the 70’s temperature-wise here for a few days.  It’s got my mind on spring and flowers and…all the beautiful flowers and topiaries we saw at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival a few months ago.  The festival will be wrapping up pretty quick here, but the beauty is still fresh in my mind. 

I wasn’t quite ready to let go of those memories yet, as I am waiting for more sunny skies and less gray skies to appear here.  So the other day I put together a little video slide show of all the beautiful topiaries we saw there.  So if you like gardening, flowers, topiaries, or Disney (and who doesn’t love Disney), go ahead and sit back and enjoy a few moments of spring with me.  If you like, enjoy it with your favorite beverage and maybe a little bit of chocolate…or lots of chocolate.  Maybe I'll have to go grab a Ghirardelli chocolate off my desk.  

Not only is the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival wrapping up, but I have also wrapped up my Tinkerbell projects.  I’ll miss the pretty greens, blues, and lavenders of both of these projects.  The next set of projects I’ve decided to work on, while still very Disney, will be in more blacks, browns, grays, and whites.  

Here is the finish of my Tinkerbell cross stitch.  The pattern shows the title as “Tinkerbell Flying Happily.”  I know working on her sure brought a lot of smiles to my face.  I hope once it’s framed and gifted, it can bring some smiles to someone else. 

Tinkerbell Cross Stitch Finish - April 2017

I know I posted a finish of the quilted Tink quilt on my last post, but I have finished the binding now, and here is how it came out.  I won’t be missing this one as much because I plan to keep it for myself.   

Tinkerbell Quilt Finish - April 2017

So what’s up next?  Well, for cross stitch projects, I’ve got another Disney project I started a long time ago that I just need to do the back stitching for.  I imagine that will be done very quickly.  After that, I’ve chosen another extremely large project.  When I had it narrowed down to two, I let hubby make the final choice.  He chose a project which I’ll simply call Mickey and His Pirate Pals for now.  No sneak peeks on this one.  I want you to watch it come alive as I stitch it. 

In the queue for quilting projects, as you already know, is a quilt using Marvel fabrics of Captain America (and possibly Ant Man).  I’ve previewed the Captain America fabric in a previous post, but now I’ll let you peek at the rest of the fabrics.  This will be a queen-sized quilt for our bedroom.  Then it’s time to get back to pumping out some charity quilts.  So many projects…never enough time.  

Sneak Peek - Captain America Quilt Fabric Palette

Monday, April 24, 2017

Goofin' Off With Ziplocs...and Project Updates 4/24/2017

You know that commercial that asks “What’s in your wallet?”  I’m not sure why, but this morning as I was grabbing yet another Ziploc bag out of the kitchen, I thought, “What’s in your Ziploc?”  I was thinking about how many Ziplocs we use and the variety of ways that we use them.  Please don’t start to sweat thinking I am trying to sell you Ziplocs, nor am I participating in any sort of MLM scheme involving Ziplocs.  It’s just one of those odd thoughts that creeps into your mind on an early Monday morning.  Before we get too deeply into Ziplocs, I’ll give you some updates on my projects. 

The first update is for my Tinkerbell quilt.  This past weekend I bit the bullet and finally decided to try my hand at machine quilting using my Brother sewing machine.  I had fun with it and tried stitch-in-the-ditch, echo quilting, and even using a decorative stitches for quilting.  For the record:  I HAD FUN!  Seriously, the finished product is kind of a mish-mash of designs, but I had so much fun in the process.  I learned some things my machine did well, and other things that it (or I) didn’t do so well.  I’ve posted a picture below of my favorite corner of the quilt with the quilting.  

Because this project wound up being more of “learning experience” for me, I’ve decided to keep this little lap quilt for myself when it’s done rather than donate to charity.  My family will tell you I like to stay warm.  I almost always have a quilt or blanket on my lap when I’m working or cross stitching.  As an added bonus, having Tink in my room will brighten things up quite a bit.  

Next update is my Tinkerbell cross stitch.  I can’t believe I only have one more tiny section to go before this is done.  My hubby asked me the other night what I would be doing for my blog once all my Tink projects were done.  Um, you’ll have to keep an eye on my blog go find out, sweetie (wink, wink). 

Now back to my Ziploc obsession discussion.  I went to pull a Ziploc this morning so I could put my thread and bobbin together for the quilting I had done this weekend.  I kept thinking of all the Ziplocs of varying sizes I have in my sewing room/office.  I use them for so many things.  I took a peek in the refrigerator, and can you believe there was only one Ziploc in there…which was helping to keep some Colby Jack cheese from drying out.  

Here are some of the ways I am using Ziplocs in my sewing room/office: 

My techie (and I use the term techie loosely) Ziploc full of thumb drives and all the cords I use to recharge the few electronics I have…my laptop, my camera, my .mp3 player...and my never charged so don't try to call me cell phone.  

My supply of birthday cards and my list of family birthdays month-by-month.

Keeping threads together for a particular cross stitching project. 

Kits I have made up for charity quilts.  I have about a dozen patterns that call for three different fabrics and uses one yard of each fabric.  These are the perfect size for charity quilts, so when I find fabric that I think goes together well, I stash them together for the future in these Ziploc bags.  

I probably have more Ziplocs than I choose to admit in my room.  On the sort of eco-friendly side, I do re-use them when I'm finished with a project.  

So I ask you today:  What's in your Ziploc?  

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.