Visiting Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (the Woodstock Festival site)

The original Woodstock Festival ads were for a different location and lineup than what became the actual festival.  We know that the festival site ended up being near Bethel and White Lake, NY.  Not all of the bands listed in the original ad had actually agreed to do the festival.  Some declined because of schedule conflicts and various other reasons.

Woodstock ad - first site

This was one of the bands who didn’t agree to do the festival.  Forty-one years later though, they did agree to do a concert at Bethel Woods, and that’s when I decided to check the place out for myself.

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On my arrival at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, there was no resemblance to the original setting we’re used to seeing in pictures and video.  The entrance did not have a 1960s vibe, and it wasn’t artsy.  It resembled a 1990s gated community.  

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There’s a museum inside.

On stepping into the museum, visitors were greeted with a video of Country Joe and the Fish singing, “And it’s 1, 2, 3, what are we fighting for?…”  Museum goers then spontaneously started singing along, “Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn….”

The ‘artifacts’ in the museum are relics of the fun, glamorous image of hippies.

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There is a nice, serious nod to Phil Ochs.

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Then, as I was zooming in for a close up of this festival magazine ad, a security guard charged at me yelling, “No pictures!  Photography is not allowed in here!”  Seriously?  Do they think a Doors album cover, or a photo of the Haight-Ashbury street sign, or a Woodstock magazine ad are rare and proprietary artifacts?   Sheesh.  Too many rules, man.

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Annoyed, I made my way to the museum store and soothed myself with the purchase of a thin, overpriced t-shirt.

Woodstock shirt RSR

Moving on from the museum to the outside.  They’ve constructed an outdoor amphitheater where concerts take place now.  It’s way on the other end of the property from the original stage.

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Before long, soundcheck was underway.

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Then a good crowd started arriving.  

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The concert began. 

Run-Sew-Read 2019

Then, just like 41 years earlier, the skies opened and it began pouring rain.  To my amazement, everyone on the lawn stayed seated and just put up umbrellas.  The rain was coming down in sheets and buckets, but the audience just sat there listening to the music, and the show went on as if nothing were wrong.  Pretty cool.

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Back to the ‘garden’.

The morning after the concert, before heading to the airport, I circled back to the festival site to quietly take in the setting on a lovely Sunday morning.

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This is looking at the original stage location from the Hurd Road side:

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This is looking up the road with access to the original stage being that gravely patch on the right.  I parked there, got out and climbed over the fence.  

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I stood at ‘center stage’.  This is a stitched together pano of the view from ‘center stage’: 

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It really is a garden on that spot.  (Someone should tell the group who now wants to excavate the stage location and ‘install’ a garden.)

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Then it was time to get on the road.  The 2-hour drive back to the Lehigh Valley (Allentown/Bethlehem) Airport was scenic.

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This was the town of Eldred, NY, where I stopped for ice cream at the general store.

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I crossed the beautiful Delaware River, and was back in Pennsylvania.  

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A little more driving and then a few hours on a plane and I was back in Kansas.

Yes! Another train trip to Texas.

Almost a year ago, I took the Amtrak Heartland Flyer to Fort Worth, to see a concert.  Now I’ve done it again, for another dose of culture, including the band ‘Yes’ and much more!  This should definitely become a habit.

This trip was to see the ‘Royal Affair’ tour, consisting of Asia, Steve Howe’s Yes, John Lodge of the Moody Blues, and Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy with guest vocalist Arthur Brown.

The show opened with something ‘Crazy’ I never expected to experience live:

One thing that did draw me to the show was Carl Palmer.  Fifty years ago, he was the amazing drummer for the amazing Emerson Lake & Palmer.  Today he is possibly even better.  He did sets with his own band, and as a member of Asia.

Carl Palmer drums RSR

Curiously, there was a little megaphone on stage.

Buggles megaphone RSR

Before long, I knew why:  One of the Asia members was in the Buggles.  So I’ve now sung along to ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’…with Carl Palmer on drums!

Other special moments were hearing the John Lodge 10,000 Light Years band perform ‘Legend of a Mind’ (Timothy Leary’s Dead); a song from John’s early years with the Moody Blues at their most psychedelic.

Then Steve Howe’s ‘Yes’ did a full set of Yes songs.  Steve’s guitar playing was another main highlight.  The entire concert was over four hours long.  Definitely a full evening.

The next morning, it was back to Fort Worth for an afternoon of museums via Bike Share.  It was Sunday morning, so I had extra time to kill before the museums opened.  I did some exploring around downtown, first with a bike ride around downtown, and then via the free Molly-the-Trolley loop.  All of my modes of transportation were available from the Fort Worth Intramodal Transportation Center (Fort Worth ITC).

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When the museums opened, I headed to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum via bike.  It was already a hot day, but with a slight breeze, thankfully.

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The museum district has these great murals on the buildings.

Ft Worth murals RSR

After that, it was time for an unplanned treat.  Just down the street from the Cowgirl museum, the Kimbell Art Museum has a special Monet exhibit!  It runs through September 15, 2019.  I saw dozens of original Monets!  It was fascinating, comparing the painted scenes at a distance, and then up close where the brush strokes and colors seemed almost random.

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The famous bridge.

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All of those lovely water lilies.

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From the museums it was a bike ride back to the Fort Worth ITC station, and time to board my Amtrak train for home.

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It was another gorgeous, scenic ride; on time, with a dinner of buffalo chicken and wine, and no bad weather.  I was home by midnight.

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Alterations–creating more room in the bodice of a Lilly Pulitzer dress

It occurred to me recently that as I create bright-colored summer dresses, I’m channeling Lilly Pulitzer in a way.

A couple of my dresses: 

So, I looked up Lilly designs, and sure enough, the cosmic connection is undeniable.  There are some differences; for instance, I almost always put a collar on my dresses, while ‘Lillys’ seem to all be sans-collar.  Lillys are also more shaped.  They have darts in front, back and bust.  I liberally omit darts.

Lilly Pulitzers:

Slim Aarons Pulitzer dresses 1964
More Lilly Pulitzer images here


A Lilly Pulitzer of my own!

Not long after I looked up images of Lillys, there was the real thing hanging on the rack in my fave vintage clothing store; on the half-price rack to boot!  I tried it on.  It was quite snug through the bodice.  When zipped up, it felt like a corset,… but fit otherwise.  There was no way it wasn’t coming home with me.  I’d figure out how to make it fit.

The dress

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The dress is from the Lilly Pulitzer ‘Jubilee’ collection; a limited edition to celebrate her 50th year of the line.  I believe it is from 2009.  (This isn’t vintage, but the store attendant told me they had made an exception for this label and design.  I’m glad they did!)

Cool Lilly details:

Lining.  The outer fabric is a middle-weight woven soft cotton.  The entire dress is lined with white cotton batiste/lawn fabric.  It feels quite comfortable, and drapes nicely.

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ID tag: When I opened up the lining under the arm, this tiny ‘Lilly’ tag was sewn into the seam allowance.  I’m guessing it is to help ID a counterfeit.

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Pockets! (I always intend to add pockets to my dresses, but it doesn’t get done if I’m in a rush to finish the garment.  Then I always intend to go back and add pockets later, but sigh, that doesn’t happen very often. Note to self:  Add pockets.  Every time.)

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Keyhole back.   It is a nice feature that adds interest but doesn’t require special undergarments.

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Unique Prints:  All Lilly Pulitzer prints have ‘Lilly’ embedded somewhere in the print.

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This Jubilee Collection print also has ’50th’ embedded in it.

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And now, the alteration:

To expand the bodice, I had to find some spare fabric in the dress.  The side-seam allowances were normal; not wide enough for expansion.  The hem was narrow.  No excess fabric there.  My solution was to remove two of the ‘flowers’ on each side of the lower edge.

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Two flower strips straightened out, pressed flat and then sewn together side-by-side, made a 9″ x 2″ strip.  This was plenty wide enough to expand each side of the bodice.  Here is one of the strips:

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The strips were used to make a V-shaped inset to the side seams under each arm.

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Mission accomplished!

The dress now fits comfortably.  Once I’d gotten past the tedious process of unpicking the stitching on the four flowers, the actual altering process was surprisingly quick and smooth.  No frustrations at all.

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Myrtle the sewing pup-prentice, was dying to help the entire time.  She finally found her role, hiding the ugly stack of paint supplies in my selfie.

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Homemade Ice Cream — made with the stand mixer

Ice cream is a year round food for me.  This Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment was on my wish list for ages.  But at around $100, I considered it too pricey for an ice cream making gadget.  And then finally came a Black Friday deal, and I bagged my own ice cream freezing/churning bowl for under $50.  (Although still a little on the pricey side for this frugal cook.)  Lately the price seems to be holding at the $50 level.

https://smile.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KICA0WH-Cream-Maker-Attachment/dp/B0002IES80

Ice Cream bowl

Ice cream bowl and attachments

The Kitchen Aid (or any frozen ice cream mixing bowl) is super convenient, because you don’t have to deal with the bags of ice and rock salt needed for a traditional ice cream machine.  The frozen mixing bowl works quicker, too.  But there’s a process to it.  So without further delay, here’s what works for me:

The Recipe — comes from this blogger:  https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/homemade-ice-cream-recipe/   Visit her page for excellent instructions and comments.

Everyone has their own target level for ice cream taste, texture and nutrition; and her ingredients are more rich than my preference.  So below is my version of the ingredients.  For my taste, this texture is still creamy enough to enjoy and not feel deprived of the decadence:

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups skim milk
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt

Quick Method (for eating soft ice cream asap):

  • Mixer bowl must be frozen in advance.  There are no shortcuts for this step.
  • Combine all of the ingredients and pour into frozen mixer bowl.
  • Churn in frozen mixer bowl for 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve.  It will have a light, soft-serve consistency, with a slight crystal-ly texture.  It will be a bit like eating frozen, sweetened whipped cream.
  • Then store the leftovers in the freezer, and in a few hours, you should have perfect hard scoop ice cream.

Longer Method (for smooth hard scoop consistency):

  • Freeze the mixer bowl in advance.
  • Combine the ingredients and cook on the stovetop, just long enough to dissolve the sugar.  Stir while cooking.
  • Chill the mixture in the fridge.
  • Pour the chilled mixture into the frozen mixing bowl and churn for 25-30 minutes.
  • Transfer to a tub with lid, and freeze for a few hours, or overnight.

When you start the churning process, it will look like this:

Then 10-15 minutes later, you’ll notice the mixture expanding and taking form:

After 25-30 minutes, the mixture will be at or close to the top of the bowl, and the motor will be working harder: 

That’s when I stop and scoop the soft-frozen mixture into a tub, and put the tub in the deep freeze for a few hours.  The batch fits perfectly in a 45 oz margarine tub:

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A few hours later, it’s like this:

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Serving:  My current favorite toppings are strawberries and homemade chocolate sauce.

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Or, you can take it to another level and make Fried Ice Cream.  (And then top it with strawberries and chocolate sauce.)

One final tip:  After the churning process, the mixing bowl will still be partly frozen.  Immediately wash it and put it back in the freezer so it will soon be ready to make the next batch.


Start the process now, and by the time this video stops playing, you’ll have your own delicious homemade perfect hard scoop ice cream.

 

Dog calming vest for fireworks season

The brand name is ‘Thundershirt‘.  It is a tried and true device for calming dogs who fear thunder and fireworks, by creating a swaddling effect.

[Picture from the Thundershirt website.]

ThunderShirt Polo Dog Anxiety Jacket

 

I may end up buying the authentic Thundershirt for Myrtle (or one of the smorgasbord of other brands now available on Amazon, such as this one called Mellow Shirt“).

But first I want to see if Myrtle needs it and if it will calm her during fireworks season.  We’ve had three nights of fireworks in the neighborhood so far.  The first night, she was visibly agitated, even in the house when I was with her, trying to comfort her.  She was startled and barked at every boom.

So, I’ve mocked up a DIY compression vest for her.   The first mock up is made of terry cloth, to be soft and cool.

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The next mock up will be all or part netting, and stretchier:

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While wearing the terrycloth vest, she immediately began sitting and laying down more, while not showing signs that the vest bothers her.

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However, the real test hasn’t occurred yet.  The fireworks have been quiet in our ‘hood since that first night.

I’ll be watching and tweaking the vests all week, hoping that by July 4th, we’ll have something that keeps her from being frightened.


The vest has not taken away her energy, and by that I mean her desire to play with the baby robins in the neighbor’s tree.


 

Fourth of July tips from our humane society:

Fourth of July pet tips from KHS

And from the totally awesome The Oatmeal:

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Check your main shut-off valve

Do you have a main water shut-off valve inside your house?  It’s a code requirement, so you probably do.  But if for some reason you don’t have one, I recommend getting one installed.  It makes it easy to shut off the water to repair or replace toilet valves, washer hoses, sink faucets and supply lines, etc.

Mine looks like this.  I access it from a trap door in a closet.  

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Do you turn off the main shut-off when you go on vacation?  I recommend it.  It’s peace of mind that you won’t come home to a flooded house if a washer hose bursts, pipes freeze or some other unplanned catastrophe occurs.

Can you easily access your main shut-off valve, or is it behind a locked door, accessible only by ladder, or otherwise barricaded by stuff?  If so, I recommend clearing a path and making it quickly accessible.  That way, if there is a water emergency, such as a burst pipe or hose, you can quickly stop the flow.

The next important question is:  Is your main shut-off valve this type?

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If so, I recommend replacing it, and here’s why.  It will break.

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Recently, I turned the water off at the shut-off, so I could replace a toilet valve.  With the toilet valve easily replaced, I re-opened the shut-off valve.  Unexpectedly, the shut-off valve handle came off in my hand, and water started pouring into the space under my house. 

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Miraculously, I got the handle back on and the valve closed.  Murphy’s Law dictated that this would happen on a Sunday afternoon.  No plumbers were available.  I went all night without running water, worrying that the shut-off would fail.  Thankfully it didn’t.  The plumber got here first thing in the morning and replaced the valve.  He replaced it with a quarter-turn ball valve.

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This is the type of shut-off I had always wanted, but didn’t realize I should have gone ahead and gotten the replacement.  The total cost was $150.  The plumber rolled his eyes at the round handle type and said “they all fail”.

With the quarter-turn ball valve, my peace of mind is restored.  If I want to replace a faucet, or go on vacation, a simple turn of the shut-off valve is all it takes to turn the water off to the entire house.


Not all water can be so easily turned off.  I’m speaking of all of the rain we are getting here in the Arkansas River region.  Our banks, reservoirs and ditches are full, and we are sending the excess on to Oklahoma and Arkansas.  Sorry ’bout that, neighbors to the south.

Bridges are still doing okay in my area, but some streets and paths, not so much.  Parts of our river bike/walk path has been submerged.  When the water recedes, in some spots the path has washed away with it.

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‘Some’ are enjoying it.  Others like me are spending a lot of extra effort on cleanup.  Sigh.

Download a free Mary Quant-inspired dress pattern and tutorial; courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum

The fantastic Victoria and Albert Museum in London is hosting a Mary Quant exhibit this year. With it they’re putting on workshops and special events.  If like me, you can’t get to London this year, there’s this!  The museum has commissioned a dress pattern to be designed in the style of Mary Quant.  It’s now available here, with written and video instructions and tutorial:

https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/sew-your-own-mary-quant-style-minidress

From the V&A pattern webpage:

This easy-to-use sewing pattern has been designed exclusively for us by Alice & Co Patterns. The design includes two neckline options, two pocket options, three collar finishes, and two sleeve finishes – all inspired by Mary Quant’s iconic designs. It’s a classic A-line mini which sits just above the knee – you can shorten it if you want to show a bit more thigh, or lengthen to turn it into a more 70s style maxi-dress.


Of course I’m going to make one!

The pattern designer was Alice and Co Patterns.  They have a nice collection of other patterns and inspiring projects, too.  https://aliceandcopatterns.com

 

I had measles as a teenager.

There’s a lot of conversation about measles these days, in the US anyway.  Here’s my story….

I got miserably sick with fever, and then a rash started showing up.  Mom took me to the doctor.  The bewildering diagnosis was measles.  It was bewildering because–

  • No one gets measles (or so I thought); and
  • As a child, I had been vaccinated against measles.  My immunization records confirmed it.

The assumption was made that the vaccine failed, or the pediatrician’s staff had noted the immunization in my records but forgot to actually administer the vaccine.

It was the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life, and scary.  

  • There were the typical symptoms of being sick–Achy and miserable all over, nose, throat and relentless cough; no energy for anything but bed rest.
  • Itchy, burning rash–The rash covered my entire body, and itched and burned like mad, day and night.
  • High Feverpersistent, deadly high temperatures.
  • Ice baths–The high fever had to be controlled with intermittent freezing cold ice baths.
  • Night sweats–I learned to love them, because it meant the fever was breaking, or something like that.  Confession:  I still love night sweats to this day, because I remember the relief it brought.
  • The misery lasted about a month, with 2+ weeks being absolute round-the-clock hell.

The rash made me really ugly.

  • The rash was thick, soft and red, and covered my entire body; face, arms, legs, and torso.  Visualize the worse case of acne, chicken pox and poison ivy ever seen, and then fill in any open spaces with more rash.
  • My dad teased me about how bad I looked and asked if I was going on a date. (Yeah, thanks, Dad. :p )
  • The rash didn’t disappear when the other symptoms finally did.  It was basically a massive number of sores that took their own time to heal.
  • Even after the sores healed, the rash left dark, blotchy shadows on my face and body, under the skin.  It took weeks and weeks for the shadows to fade away gradually.

I could have infected lots of other people because I didn’t know I had a highly-contagious, potentially deadly virus. 

The 16-year-old me did all of these things on a regular basis:

  • Worked at a fast food restaurant
  • Went to school every day
  • Went shopping (tried on clothing, shoes and jewelry, and tested makeup)
  • Went swimming with friends
  • Hung out at friends’ homes
  • Ate at restaurants
  • Dated boys (and kissed them)
  • Cared for my toddler brother at home (feeding, dressing, child’s play, etc.)
  • My mom was pregnant at the time with our baby brother, or she got pregnant soon after that.

Who knows where I came in contact with the measles virus, but the list above indicates it could have been anywhere.  Kids and teenagers are constantly in contact with the world.

From the Mayo Clinic on how measles is spread:

  • Measles is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus that replicates in the nose and throat of an infected child or adult.
  • When someone with measles coughs, sneezes or talks, infected droplets spray into the air, where other people can inhale them.
  • The infected droplets may also land on a surface, where they remain active and contagious for several hours.
  • You can contract the virus by putting your fingers in your mouth or nose or rubbing your eyes after touching the infected surface.
  • About 90 percent of susceptible people who are exposed to someone with the virus will be infected.

When I finally healed, it was complete.  I was lucky.  Some common complications from measles are dangerous and/or permanent.

From the Mayo website on common complications from measles:

  • Ear problems.  One of the most common complications of measles is a bacterial ear infection.  Permanent hearing impairment can result.  
  • Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup. Measles may lead to inflammation of your voice box (larynx) or inflammation of the inner walls that line the main air passageways of your lungs (bronchial tubes).
  • Pneumonia. Pneumonia is a common complication of measles. People with compromised immune systems can develop an especially dangerous variety of pneumonia that is sometimes fatal.
  • Encephalitis. About 1 in 1,000 people with measles develops a complication called encephalitis. Encephalitis may occur right after measles, or it might not occur until months later.
  • Pregnancy problems. If you’re pregnant, you need to take special care to avoid measles because the disease can cause preterm labor, low birth weight and maternal death

Did I mention having measles was the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life?  It was.  Scary, too.  I don’t want to ever feel like that again.  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  

Can I get measles again?  I asked my doc that this week, and the answer was “maybe”.  My choices are to get a test to see if I have the antibodies, or skip the test and go ahead and get the vaccine.  I’ve decided to get the test first, mainly to satisfy my curiosity.  Stay tuned….

More information on measles:

 

 

Next post shall be a return to more fun topics.

A tote for cornhole game bean bags

So, you’ve made a cool set of bean bags for your Cornhole game.  Now, how to transport them.  Grocery sack?  Old box?  Better, here’s a diy bean bag tote that will make you look like a pro.

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Finished tote dimensions are approximately 12″ x 6″ x 6″

Start with these pieces of sturdy fabric:

  • Bag 19″ x 11″ (cut 2)
  • Handles 15″ x 4″ (cut 2)
  • Center divider 7″ x 12″ (cut 1)

General Construction Steps:

  • Fold each handle strip the long way, right sides together, and sew lengthwise with a 1/4″ seam, to make a tube.  Turn right side out and press flat.
  • Fold center divider in half right sides together, to make a 7″ (h) x 6″ (w ) piece.  Sew two of the open sides with a 1/4″ seam.  Turn right side out, press and sew the open end shut.
  • Sew one of the side seams on the bag.  Reinforce with an extra row of stitching.  (I used French seams.) Hem the top edge.
  • Then finish and attach the handles; centered on each side.
  • Center the divider on one side of the bag and stitch it in place along one edge of the divider.

Your piece will now look something like this.  This view is the ‘inside’ of the bag laid out flat:

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A closer view of the measurements:

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  • Sew the other side seam and the bottom seam of the bag.  Reinforce both seams with an extra line of stitching or your preferred reinforcing method.

Your bag will now look something like this, turned inside out

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  • Measure and mark for mitering the bag corners.  The miter seam should be 5 1/2″ long (2 1/4″ from the center line.)

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The stitching line marked:

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  • The miter is stitched and then reinforced with a second row of stitching.

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  • Turn the bag right side out, and tack the mitered corner in place.

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  • Then repeat the steps for mitering the other corner.
  • And now finally, pin the other side of the center divider in place down the center of the other side of the bag.

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Stitch the divider in place.  (It will be awkward, sewing from inside the bag, but thankfully it’s just the one short seam.)  IMG_20190601_203851646a

The bag is finished!  IMG_20190601_204455660a

Options for personalizing your bean bag tote are endless.  Here’s a colorful bag made from a placemat and some scraps.

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Here’s one I made out of the bag the corn came in.  Who could resist using a ‘whole corn’ bag to make a ‘corn hole’ bag.  I know, *groan*!

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