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. 

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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).

Fort Worth ITC RSR

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.

Bridge bike RSR

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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.

Monet water lillies RSR

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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.

Train approaching RSRTrain boarding RSR

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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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

 

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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Making Cornhole Game Bean Bags

Yay, the season of outdoor get-togethers and yard games is upon us!  (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and more.)  For my family, it started with Mother’s Day, when all of us sibs converged on Mom’s house for the weekend.  One of my jobs was to bring bean bags for the Cornhole game.  My brother made nice wood Cornhole boards, and I made a new set of bean bags.

Cornhole is a totally awesome game for tailgaters, festival goers, and family get-togethers.  It is a bean bag toss where you try to toss the bag through the hole in a board 20+ feet away.

The boards can be purchased or custom made.  Boards can have really lovely designs.  Here is a monogrammed set available on Amazon.

Cornhole boards on Amazon

The popularity of the game is evident from the range of products available on Amazon.

The bags can be purchased or easily homemade.

Bean bag specs:

  • A set of Cornhole bags is eight (8) bags–4 in one color, and 4 in a different, contrasting color.
  • The bean bags are square, made of cotton duck, or similar heavy duty fabric, and filled with feed corn or a synthetic material that resembles corn in weight and consistency.
  • Each finished bag should be 6 inches x 6 inches, and weigh 16 ounces when filled.

The internet has numerous tutorials on making Cornhole bean bags.   Do a search on Google and YouTube, and you’ll find some excellent instructions.

So, this post is less a tutorial, and more a compilation of tips I’ve picked up from making the bags.

Constructing the bags:

Start with 7″-7.5″ fabric squares.  You’ll need 16 squares for 8 bean bags.  Err on the side of cutting the squares larger, not smaller:

Squares pattern 2

Stack two squares, right-sides together and sew all sides with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving a minimum 3-inch opening on one side, for adding the corn.

[Stitching lines and opening:]

Squares pattern with stitching lines 3

Reinforce the seams!  Reinforce by adding a second row of stitching in the seam allowance.  Then zig-zag or overlock the edges for even more reinforcement.

Squares pattern with stitching lines reinforced 3

[Alternatively, reinforce by sewing the edges with French Seams.  Tutorial here. ]

Then turn the bags right side out and get ready to fill them.

Filling the bags…

  • Whole corn for the filler can be purchased at a farm store or feed store.  The price is usually less than $10 for a 40-50 lb bag of corn.  I buy it at this regional store. https://www.atwoods.com/atwoods-whole-corn-40-lbs.html
  • Freeze the corn for 24-48 hours, to kill any little bugs and things that might be waiting to come out.
  • Before weighing, sift the corn through a colander to eliminate as much of the corn dust and other ‘stuff’ as you can.  Then measure out 15 – 15.5 ounces of corn for each bag.  The other .5 oz or so will come from the weight of the fabric.
  • With a funnel, load the measured corn into the bag.

A funnel made from a plastic gallon container works well because it has a big enough opening for the corn to pass through.  A standard kitchen funnel doesn’t have a big enough opening.

Funnel

To close off the bag, push the corn down in the bag as far as it will go, and then secure it there with pins or a long needle.  For this, I prefer to use a long ‘doll needle’.  The 5″ needle is easy to insert, and the one long needle holds everything in place.  (Actually, a doll needle comes in handy for so many things, that I recommend keeping one in the sewing kit.)

Doll Needle

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The picture below shows how the doll needle holds the corn back from the stitching area, to give you room to maneuver the open end of the bag under the presser foot.

Sewing the bag shut

That little bit of extra room in the top of the bag is important not just for room to sew, but also for the finished bag.  Bags stuffed too tight with corn can potentially burst on impact.

Remember to reinforce the closure with a second row of stitching, and maybe even a third row.

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Get creative with the bags!  Try patterns and fabric paints.

Finished bags 2 a RSR

Then, you are ready to play!

The bags (and extra corn) should be stored in a rodent-proof container.

Additional tips on bags and peace brought to you by John Lennon of Bag.

Bagism a

 

 

DIY Mini Rolling Pin (and making dog treats easy)

It was a drag, rolling out dough to fit my baking sheets.  The sheets are ‘jelly roll’ style, which means they are rimmed with a raised edge.  A regular rolling pin is too big to fit within the pan.  My option was to treat it like pastry dough; i.e., roll the dough out on the counter and measure it to fit the sheet, then carefully lift the dough and place it in the sheet; or press the dough into the sheet with my fingers and then roll it with whatever cylindrical gadget I could find to fit the pan.

Some of the gadgets I’ve tried; none of which worked out very well:

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Myrtle-the-pup loves homemade dog treats, and I enjoy making them.  So this issue of rolling out the dough was becoming an all-too-frequent annoyance.

The solution:  I bought a 1.25-inch diameter wood dowel from the craft aisle of the store.  It was $1.50.  They are sold in 3-foot lengths.  At home, with a little saw, I measured and cut a piece to the width of my baking sheet.  Then washed the new little ‘rolling pin’ and coated it with mineral oil.

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Now, a batch of dough goes from this…

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to this…

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to this with ease!

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For Myrtle’s treats, I score the dough before baking, to be broken into little squares later.  A pizza cutter works great for this.

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Don’t make the scoring tedious.  The pieces don’t have to be uniform in size or shape.

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(Yes, I have a dog bone-shaped cookie cutter.  But using it is a slow, tedious process.  I do use it for special gifts for Myrtle’s dog friends and cousins, but that’s all.)

After baking, the treats come out of the oven looking like this.

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After cooling, it only takes a minute or two to break them all up.

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I store the treats in an old Parmesan shaker, for easy dispensing.

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The dog treat recipe I used for this batch is the Apple-Carrot Treats from this page:

https://www.mybakingaddiction.com/homemade-dog-treats/  (The recipe is adapted from this one:  http://fortheloveofpooch.blogspot.com/ ).

The taste-tester approves.

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The risk of fostering for the humane society…

…is that you might not want to give the pup back.  I knew it would happen to me eventually.  Turns out it was foster pup #8.  I’m now her permanent human.  She and I have kept the name the humane society gave her–Myrtle.  I never would have come up with that name on my own, but it’s adorable and fits her perfectly.

Myrtle holidays 2018 RSR

When I first picked her up from the humane society, she was 4-5 months old, and had demodex, a non-contagious mangy skin condition.  She was missing much of her fur.  She was uncomfortable, but had a sweet disposition anyway.

Myrtle first night a RSR

It got worse before it got better.    Myrtle boot b RSR

But the humane society clinic vets are awesome and gave us the right Rx, and in another week we started seeing gradual improvement, so that by week 3 she was really getting her fur back.

This set of pictures was supposed to be for her adoption profile page.  But she was already starting to win me over.

She loves rawhide chews, furry squeaky toys, cardboard, and plastic milk containers.  These days when I take the milk containers to the recycler, they are partly broken down already.  🙂

She made this mess when she was about 6 months old.  She is now almost 8 months, and 44 lbs, and still this serious and industrious about her play.  When she is playing, it sounds like there is a basketball scrimmage going on in the room.  There is a daily carpet of chewed cardboard and plastic stuff for me to sweep up.

Myrtle Christmas prep a RSR

She’s a growl-talker.  She talks to me all. the. time.  I’m still trying to learn what she is telling me most of the time.

She’s a quick learner, but *cough* hard of hearing when she’s in the yard and I call her back to the house and she doesn’t want to come in. 😉

Myrtle Yard a RSR

She has an insatiable love for playing tug-of-war.  A tennis ball in a sock is the best for that.  Here she is with her ball & sock, telling me it’s time to play. Run-Sew-Read 2019She loves taking walks on the leash, which is less a walk than her dragging of me down the street.  Once we have the leash walking routine worked out, I think she’ll be my first dog ever to be a good running buddy.

Breed?  She has to be part Labrador, because she has webbed paws, and she’s a water dog.  I’ve already had to pull her from icy lake water.  I was a terrified foster mom, and she was a cold scared puppy.  That may have helped to form the bond.  I think she is also part pit and/or boxer.

She likes riding with me in the car, so when I reach for her Kurgo seatbelt harness, she goes wild.  But once in the car she calms down and is great at riding shotgun.Myrtle shotgun a w RSR

She has her own ‘girl cave’…Myrtle girl cave a w RSRMyrtle in girl cave a w RSR

Because she does great at home alone, I rarely close her in the girl cave.  But, I do regularly drop treats and toys in there for her to find, so she thinks of it as her ‘happy place’.

So anyway, you’ll see more of Myrtle now and then.

Hopefully, this doesn’t mean the end of my fostering, but it will limit the doggos I can foster.  No more tiny ones, or contagious conditions.

Myrtle 1-25-2019 RSR

Valentine greeting, 1920s style

*Happy Valentine’s Day!*

This is a Valentine card of my grandma’s from when she was a little girl in the 1920s.

Front:

Grandmas paper doll valentine 1920s-Mary RSR

Opened up to show the front and back:

Grandmas paper doll valentine 1920s-Mary open RSR

Inside is a paper doll, and an envelope that holds her paper doll clothes:

Grandmas paper doll valentine 1920s-Mary2 RSR

Not only does the envelope have the clothes that came with the card, but either the giver or my grandma made more clothes for her.  I love the hand drawn ‘Life Guard’ suit!

Grandmas paper doll valentine 1920s-Mary3 RSR

The clothes that came with the card have little notes printed on the back.

Grandmas paper doll valentine 1920s-Mary4 RSR corr

Want to print your own fun retro valentine card?  Amtrak has some adorable downloadable ones!

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Amtrak-Valentines-Day-Angels

Click on the pictures or this link to see the rest!  http://blog.amtrak.com/2019/02/amtrak-valentines-day-cards/

Whatever your plans for February 14th, have a lovely time!

How do you pick the one best song for Valentine’s Day?  I couldn’t do it.  Ruling out songs I’ve previously included in posts, here are several contenders.  It’s basically an entire playlist!

(For Dimming of the Day, also check out David Gilmour’s live version.  It’s really my favorite.)

 

 

 

Belle Cantrell and Sissy LeBlanc

It was the book cover.  I kept seeing it in the bookstore, and finally had to buy The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlancand start reading.  I was pleased that from the start, her story was as captivating as the cover.

Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc cover

Then I read The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell.  Just as captivating.

Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell cover

Then I passed the books on to my mom, who also enjoyed them.  Then she passed them on.  This was about 12 years ago, and I’ve just requested them from our library so I can read them again.

Sissy LeBlanc would have been about 5 years older than my mom.  The author’s summary sets the stage:

“It’s a steamy June afternoon in Louisiana, circa 1956, and Sissy LeBlanc is sitting on her front porch….  She’s been living in stifling old Gentry since the day she was born and trapped in a sham of a marriage to PeeWee LeBlanc since she was only seventeen. In short, she’s fed up, restless, and ready for an adventure. Sissy just never imagined temptation would come into her life that breathless summer day as she sat smoking on her porch swing. For although she may have been fixated on the taut muscles of the lineman shimmying down the telephone pole across the street, she hadn’t allowed herself to imagine that he’d be none other than her high school sweetheart, Parker Davidson, who left town fourteen years before without so much as a wave good-bye. But suddenly, here he is, leaning in for a kiss that will stir up more excitement than Sissy could ever have imagined…”  (From Goodreads)

In June 1956, when Sissy’s story opened, Elvis Presley’s first studio album would have been released just three months earlier.


Then there was Sissy’s grandmother, Belle Cantrell, who would have been about the age of my mom’s grandmother (my great-grandma).

“Welcome to the world of beautiful, irrepressible Belle Cantrell, years before she becomes grandmother to Sissy LeBlanc….. It is 1920, prohibition is in full swing, women are clamoring for the vote — and in the little town of Gentry, Louisiana, narrow-minded intolerance is on the rise. Sent to jail for swimming in an indecent bathing costume with a group of suffragists, Belle Cantrell knows her behavior broke the rules. But sometimes — most of the time — she has to twist the rules a little, because they all say the same thing: “Don’t.”

A sexy, sassy story of murder, adultery, romance, bigotry, and regular church attendance, with laugh-out-loud humor and a cast of zany, endearing characters you won’t forget, The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell is a big comic love story . . . and much more.”  (From Goodreads.)

What I most specifically remember about both books was that the social issues of the day weren’t glossed over.  They were a real, and sometimes sobering part of the story.  I’ve forgotten most of both stories, which is why I want the experience of reading them again.


The author, Loraine Despres, has only published these two fiction novels.  I wish she would write some more fiction novels in the vein of Sissy and Belle.  But hey, she’s famous and quite accomplished, even if you haven’t heard of her.  According to her bio, she penned the ‘Who Shot J.R.?‘ episode of DALLAS!  I think Sissy and Belle would make good TV movie characters as well.