...was yesterday. Yep. My birthday. Nine/Nine. And I'm another year older. Don't ask me what year that is - I'd have to count and I stopped counting several years ago. I'm a thirty-something, still. That's all I need to know. I just love days that celebrate me being here on this planet one more turn of the Earth. How could I not?
The hubs and I made a weekend stay-cation type thing my big celebration. Just him + me in a nearly 140 yr old lodge in Estes Park, Colorado. It's a lovely and easy drive into the mountains with big results for making us feel out-of-touch although we were laughably close to home. I thought I'd share just a little bit of our trip...
We headed out Friday afternoon after a couple of stops around town. Before we even left Fort Collins I knew it was gonna be a good weekend. We saw some yarn bombing at one of our stops! Yarn bombing = a good omen in my book!
We checked into the Elkhorn Lodge
and then turned right around to go explore. Not that we haven't explored Estes Park before, we have, but this time we were determined to find new things to explore and so we did. We walked through the lodge first of course. It's very old and it shows it's age in many ways, but it was comfortable and worked well as a place just out of the Scottish Festival crowded areas of downtown to retire to at night. Speaking of the Scottish festival I've never seen so many men in skirts in all my life! I tried to get my guy to take advantage of this one weekend a year time when he could don a skirt and totally fit in. Alas, he didn't go for it. I'm not too bashful to tell you he could rock a kilt like nobody's business. My guy has nice legs!
After some exploring and finding a new local yarn and needlepoint shop called The Stitchin Den
(for me)to fall in love with we grabbed some dinner and played one of the many games they had at the lodge. We went through three cases of CSI: Miami
as an investigative team. I like games where you can play as a team or competitively. My guy and I love to work as a team and so we had a good time uncovering the who-done-it. We tried to do things we don't normaly do while we were stay-cationing and playing a board game instead of just turning on a TV was on that list. It was a really good decision!
We stayed two nights at the Lodge and both mornings we headed into the forest to go off-roading on two of our favorite nearby trails. It was crisp and beautiful and the Aspens are just beginning their change from green to gold.
Saturday afternoon we found a few thrift stores we didn't know they had in Estes and another needlepoint store - two of my favoite things! Crafting and thrifting! We also decided to catch a movie at the oldest movie theater in the country that was built specifically to show moving pictures. The Park Theater
was built in 1913 and is still so very cool. We saw Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World,
it wasn't what I expected but it was a really good movie.
We also tried new restaurants while we were away for the weekend - one of which was a pizza place called Bob and Tony's
that will be on our favorite places list for Estes. We went into out time away intending to act like tourists and have a great time and I think that is just what we did. Had adventures, did some exploring, found new happy places, and just enjoyed our time together. Do you ever act like a tourist in your own backyard? I hope to excourage you to try it! It might take a little digging, but even in a small town that seems to not have much in the way of newness to offer there are still adventures to be found. I love that. It was a Happy Birthday indeed!
I live in a college town, & there are many aspects of this town that I love...
I love the access to city amenities, the plethora of great restaurants & the feel of being in a small(ish) town. I love the history my in-laws have here, the local businesses, the natural areas...basically, the whole feel of our town is just right to me. I love that it's a college town despite the fact that I never went to college. I certainly never went to our college - Colorado State University. Neither did my hubs, or any of our immediate family...
And yet, we're still all about Ram pride around here! We still feel like we're apart of the CSU family.
Ram pride means that the hubs & I are always up for supporting our school, mostly that we're always up for a sporting event. Pick your chin up off your toes! I'm for real! I love sports, even the ones I don't understand & have to ask D. What happened? Why're they doing that? What's going on? Who did what? The only catch is I love sporting events I can GO to. I want to sit in the stands. I want to cheer & yell & be in the atmosphere! I do not want to sit at home & watch them on TV. When that happens I take a nap. Which is why I don't get too involved with with caring about the NFL, the NBA, the NHL...or whatever sports organization letters you'd like to throw out...I'm a sports fan in the moment. I love it weather we go to professional games, semi-pro, college...heck we've even gone to games at D.'s old highschool...it's always entertaining! (I also believe God granted me this little 'gift' to bless my marriage. Just sayin.)
I will gladly bundle myself up in many layers of winter wear to head out to watch the CSU Ram football team lose. They haven't had a great season, but the game I went to on Saturday was a really good one, despite the loss. More importantly, it was FUN! Sitting on the 50 yard line, feeling energized by the band, cheering for all those guys who's names & positions I do not know. It didn't matter. It was my first CSU football game that I got to watch (I've worked consessions) & oh I hope there will be others! Usually we can be found at a Women's volleyball match, or a basketball game - so football was a treat for us this year! I didn't care that we had to brush snow off our seats, or that it was a balmy 24 degrees. I grabbed a hot chocolate & WOOT!-ed myself hoarse.
I love my town. Love the Rams. Love the Green & Gold. Seriously, there are so many worse color combos out there you guys! Wyoming colors are brown & goldish yellow...mm. no. and thank you. I'd rather don a goofy looking hat...
OK, I didn't actually buy that hat. I just saw it at Cracker Barrel & made my mom take a picture of me wearing it to send to my guy & give him a little chuckle at work. Had I known I was gonna be at a football game in 20 degree weather in that moment I probably would've bought it though. I had a beanie & ear muffs on, this would've done the job of both with way more wimsy!
So, now it's your turn...What so you love about your hometown??
Welcome to the old mining town of Victor, Colorado
The hubs & I had the good fortune to stop for a visit at the small town with lots of charm & charming people. We took in an amazing art show
, did some antique shopping, & popped into my favorite Victor store, The Victor Trading Company
Now, I could spend days
telling you about all that is handmade & wonderful in the Victor Trading Company store - from brooms, to cookie cutters, to candles, & tinware -really, I could just gush over the things to love! Things created with tradition in mind & tradition in the hand -with antique machines! Things that are as much art as they are incredibly useful.
, I'm going to tell you about one of my most favorite of favorite things being made in their shop, letterpress cards!
I got a little collection of postcards & a set of fantastic sheep notecards. Oh, how I love them! The Star Of The West Press card came tucked inside the box of notecards & really says all there is to say about how delightfully special these cards are. There were lots of designs to choose from, & (being a knitter) I just knew those sheep were coming home with me! The detail is amazing.
I even used one of my postcards as art. Cause that is exactly
what it is. Classic, elegant, awesome
art. Love it.
I know there are a lot of letterpress shops online. I know there are a million + one designs & images & ways to customise stationary. But, you won't find a more charming shop with more charming people than right here in Victor, Colorado. This husband & wife team are the entire operation over at The Victor Trading Company
. When you order something handmade - it is their well-skilled hands that have created something special & spectacular just for you. That is so cool!
And, I couldn't wait to get home from our trip to tell you all about it!
So, stop over at their store if you're ever in the area or
go on over to their online store
& have a look around. I'm sure you'll find something to love. If you can't find it on the site just email them for info, easy peasy. They have no idea I'm writing about how great they are & I'm not getting anything in return for telling you about it either. I just love to support local small business -with my wallet & my mouth...er, fingers. Ah, you know what I mean! :)
Happy Labor Day!
Yep, it's that time of year again...
County Fair time...
Ribbon fries & funnel cake time...
Bronc riding time...
Calf wrestling time...
Barrel racing time...
Bull riding time...
Yep, it's definitely that time of year...
At the machine:
After Monday's Warm Cool Quilt Along
post I got busy working on piecing the top of my quilt. I layed it out on my bed to fiddle with all my squares & try to work out the design. What I learned was that when you're working so close to the fabrics the contrast is much harder to see! I even tried to enlist the help of the hubs who said he couldn't see the contrast enough to help me. It all worked out though! Because once I did get it pieced & hung it up to admire it - there it was - all that glorious warm cool contrast! Maybe it's just meant to be a wall hanging? It looks so good viewed that way! :)
On the needles:
I'm also making delicious progress working with my Textiles A Mano
yarn! I love it so much! I also love that with each row my stitches across get shorter. After the 300+ cast on stitches for this sweet ruffle edged shawl
I thought it would take forever to see progress. I'm enjoying this knit so very much!
In the kitchen:
Some friends & I went out to Berry Patch Farms
yesterday to pick some strawberries! After a couple hours of hard-on-your-back-work I now have 5lbs of those delicious little berries to create with! Strawberry shortcake, muffins, jam, pancake syrup...oh the possibilities! Do you have a favorite strawberry recipe? I'd love to find a new one!
There's more so see & love over at Our Creative Spaces
I had the most wonderful Saturday!
I went up to the smallish mountain town of Estes Park to check out the Wool Market! I was a little weary at first - going alone, worrried fancy yarn would be WAY out of my price range, not sure what to expect...
Turns out, I had a GREAT time!
Have you ever been to a fiber festival? If you haven't, hunt one up right now! Even if you don't knit, or crochet, or spin, or weave, or felt, or care anything about the production of yarn & fibers. The animals alone will delight you!
Sheep, Goats, Alpacas, Llamas, Bunnys...seriously, ALL adorable! I just fell madly in love with the Angora Goats, & I even learned that their hair is used to produce mohair! How can you not love all those curls?!
OK ok...really all the animals were pretty wonderful! And, most of the animals are quite inquisitive & want some attention. They are willing to be cooed to, chatted with, & loved on. Here are a few more of my favorites:
And they aren't all just waiting around in pens to be squealed over. There are competitions, & demonstrations galore. I saw a sheep dog demo, & a sheep shearing demo (much faster & less traumatic than I imagined), & Llamas on an obstacle course!
What goes along with all these great animals? Oh, yes, you know it! Fiber & yarn in every color, texture & blend imaginable. Delicious & all wanting to be stroked & squeezed & oohed & ahhed over.
I limited myself to a $40 budget for this trip. Since I am not a very advanced knitter I didn't think this was the year for me to be going crazy buying yarn. Now, next year might be another story. I could dream up all sorts of things to be made out of all that eye candy! I took a TON of photos. But, I posted just a few of my favorites here, & a few additional ones over on Flickr
. There was so much to see & love & try to capture it was a little overwhelming! I LOVED it!
I hope if you get the opportunity to check out a Wool Market or Fiber Festival in your area you'll jump at the chance! I also hope you had a wonderful weekend as well. What fun things have you been up to?
My main squeeze, the hubs, has been going to tractor pulls of one kind or another since he was 2 weeks old. His father once pulled Mini-rods (you can look up 'tractor pulling mini rods' on YouTube
& get an eye & ear full if you so choose). He's had a passion for all things with an engine since he could crawl. While most Kindergarten kids were showing & telling their favorite toys or pets he was explaining how to change a tire. No joke, that teacher still remembers him as the kid who taught her to change a tire!
Now, the men in our family are all into Garden Tractor Pulling - a smaller version on the Mini-rods. They are part of an organization started by my Father-in-law called Colorado Garden Tractor Pullers Association
(CGTPA), & had a pull this weekend. I don't go to every pull, it's just not my thing, but I did go out to support my guy this time. Knitting & photography are what keep me entertained while he's in pulling nirvana. I thought I'd share with you what a big part of our family's summers look like...
It's a little hard to believe I've been away for a week!
What have y'all been up to??
I was out & about a lot this week.
Also, I decided to send my phone through the washing machine...
Don't panic - I think it can be revived. At least, it turns on & lets me access everything, but it hasn't gotten signal to say -call, text, or email yet...hoping that is just a small & overcomeable glitch. I don't want to have to replace another phone!
Oh, did I mention this is the 2nd time I've done this?
We should move on...
On Tuesday, I hit the road with some friends & headed down to Denver to do some exploring at the Nature & Science Museum. We had a pretty great day - sadly no pre-historic animals or dinosaurs came to life to shock & awe us. But, the T-Rex Cafe was a lovely surprise! It's the little restaurant inside the museum, & they had prices that were actually reasonable! The salad & sandwhich bars were a new vegetarian's dream come true & we ate a pretty fantastic lunch.
On Wednesday my mom & I decided to look for a new veg-friendly restaurant to try out. We used Happy Cow
to hunt up someplace we've never been before. The place we decided on, after reading lots of reviews for different places, was Zudaka
We LOVED it!
Due to the fact that the small strip mall where they are located is going to be torn down in a year & be replaced by a fancy new multi-use retail, office, & restaurant space Zudaka is a little hard to find. Just keep your eyes peeled & don't be afraid to have to turn back & look again - your effort will be well rewarded!
It is owned by a husband & wife from Venezuela & Columbia, & they make wonderful latin homecooking. The wife was just wonderful to explain the menu to us. She really took the time to tell us what things were the most traditional, what she grew up eating, & what she knew we weren't going to find anywhere else. We ended up ordering 5 different things from an appetizer, to entrees & desserts! Everything we had was fantastic!
My most favorite thing was the tamales!
So very sorry for the messy plate, but it didn't dawn on me to record our fantastic find till I was already in the middle of the best tamales ever! She said that they just dump everything over them & eat them as messy as possible - so, that is what we did!
Yum. Yum. Yum!
Now, it is no secret that Boulder is not my favorite Colorado town. I used to enjoy going down to Pearl Street - which is this big outdoor mall - to walk around & hunt the great shops. But, even that has been tainted. Now, when you walk Pearl Street you get stopped by people wanting you to petition or join their cause. It is no longer just a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
I was walking with a bag in one hand & a cup of coffee in the other & a guy came up and wanted to shake my hand to get me to stop so he could deliver his speech. Uh - no. Hello?! Do you not even notice -1- I'm in the middle of a conversation with my mom, & -2- my hands are FULL! It's like walking the gauntlet at the state fair with people heckling you to come play their games & win a cheap prize. Totally annoying.
All that being said, I would gladly drive the hour+ from Fort Collins over to Boulder just to go to Zudaka. It is these kinds of family owned places that make a community - a community! Great people, great food, great atmosphere. Love it!
I'm using Happy Cow to find more Veg-friendly places to eat when my mom & I go on our California trip in a couple weeks. I already know we are stopping in Salt Lake City, Reno & we'll be staying within driving distance to Fresno so I've searched for places in each city to try out. I just adore finding little treasures in new places!
Do you have a little treasure in your town or state? You should tell me about it! That way if I'm ever passing through I know just where to go to eat, or shop, or sight see!
Hope your week has treated you well, sweet readers. And, I hope that the weekend ahead is full of love & laughter!
The sunset last night was beautiful.
It made the accumulated snow glow.
I've been in 'using up' mode this week.
Using up supplies in the kitchen to stock the freezer with chili & make pumpkin cake.
Using up old binding scraps to make a woven mug rug.
Using up left over quilt squares to make a pillow cover.
Using up old thread to complete all my 'using up' projects.
It's purging - crafty style. :)
Speaking of crafty...there's lots more to explore over at Kootoyoo
One of my favorite things is finding something new in a place I had been taking for granted.
We took the kids out for a walk this week.
A normal kind of thing, in the same place we almost always take them to walk - the natural area by our house. The only difference was that this time I took my camera, & this time I decided to keep track of my activity.
There was beauty to be found - & captured with the camera - even in winter.
My little family & I having a time out just for us. Holding hands, stopping to watch the ducks & a hawk soar, chuckling at the funny antics of the dogs, Tromping in snow, squishing in mud, sliding on ice, cleaning our shoes in the dead grass...every step was a gift.
When we got home I mapped it just out of curiosity, only to discover we'd gone 2 miles!
Our little walk was a healthy little victory.