From Workshop to Ornament

From Workshop to Ornament

Last weekend, October 18-19, my EGA group had a workshop on Finishing.  We had a wonderful teacher by the name of Carolyn Standing Webb.

I have always wanted to learn how to do finishing so I could do for others.  Yes, I would expect to get paid, but that is how using your passion as a career works.  They need something I am able to do and they have the money I need to pay my bills.  I know it sounds awful, but this is how capitalism works.  Fortunately, I am one of those people who has a soft heart and never charges what everyone else does for anything.

Anyway, because of this workshop I was able to do something really nice for a coworker.  We make embroidery pieces when we demo the embroidery machines.  My coworker did a piece with candles that reminded me of Christmas.  It was so pretty and I couldn’t throw it away so I decided to practice what I learned at the workshop.

I think it turned out really nice.  I hope she likes it.

2014-ornamentCollage

My first finishing project.

Ren

Another Texas State Park Crossed Off

Another Texas State Park Crossed Off

Quite a few weekends ago Scott and I took the Saturday Morning and visited the Cedar Hill State Park just south of Dallas.  The park is located on the east side of the Joe Pool Lake.

2014-CHSP-sign

Our sign tradition.

We did the sign photos and then headed to the main office to sign in and pick up a patch.  Unfortunately, the patches were not available at that time.  I am planning to phone them soon and make arrangements to have one sent to me.  They were so gracious and nice about the whole thing, but it happens.  Soon…  soon.

Robert and I drove around the camping areas to look at how it was set up and see the facilities.  It was an extremely clean camp ground and the bathhouse was fantastic; you know, clean and well stocked.  I like that the community that uses the facilities respect the grounds to help maintain it.

2014-CHSP-Northstar

Northstar School 5K festival participants.

While driving along the park road, we were seeing people running in a race of sorts.  They were all covered with different colors of something and really looked odd.  When we arrived at the day use area of the park we found the reason for this; the Northstar School was holding a 5K run to help raise money for math, science and fine arts department.

We walked over to find out more about the fun and meet some of the people attending.  As you can see in the photos, these people were really having a great time cheering each other on.  I loved the orange shirts and the alligator hats.  Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

2014-CHSP-song

A hilltop place for a song circle?

We did a bit more looking around and found an area where we could have a music night gathering.  It was amazing.  The view was just wonderful there and of the surrounding area.  The gazebo had a picnic table and just a few feet from it was a circular area for a fire.  At the time we went there were no benches, but they were being worked on.  I am sure they will be an enhancement of the area.  We really need to get something set up for this soon while it is still nice.

PicMonkey Collage

One of the things I really liked about this park was the fact that they had the solar panels up along the main office area.  As you can see, these are not your average mini panels; these panels are fantastic!  Texas State Parks have many sites that are solar friendly.  Cedar Hill is among them and they produce quite a bit of power.  You can click here to go to there Sunny Portal page.

8160253_orig

TSP are now hosting solar panels.

One of the extremely amazing things about this state park is not the campsites, the solar garden, the music mountain.  Instead it is a historical area called Penn Farm Agricultural History Center.  This was the homestead of the John Wesley Penn Family for over a century.  The center is used as a reminder of those who settled in Texas.  You will find many houses, barns, and traditional farm equipment.  This is a self guided tour and you should give yourself at least an hour to hike it; you will want more time if you are as curious as we are.  You also will want good shoes and not flip-flops or sandals due to the terrain and creatures.

6362462_orig

More information on the TSP solar movement.

Even though we only had until one o’clock that day to visit the park, we found it to be a great break from the Dallas-Fort Worth rat race.  It was close by and relaxing.  You should really give yourself a treat and visit.  I know we will be going back to camp someday.

Ren & Scott

Following in Someone Else’s Footsteps

Following in Someone Else’s Footsteps

I recently read a book called Dear Bob and Sue: A Couple’s Journey Through the National Park written by Matt and Karen Smith.  It is a wonderful book about a couple’s travel to all the parks in the United States with the word “National” in it.  They traveled to the 59 parks and wrote letters/emails to their friends who inspired them to visit these amazing places.  I fell in love with this idea so I decided for my husband and I that we were going to visit all the state parks in Texas.51oKdlAPd6L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Recently the husband and I had a full weekend off from work; this is extremely rare lately for me.  You know this meant a road trip for us.  By road trip I am meaning a Texas State Park visit to help us mark off another one from the official list.  It was a pretty spontaneous thing, but it turned out extremely well.  We decided we were going to visit Eisenhower State Park just south of the Oklahoma-Texas border.  Taking a few hours, we gathered the tent, bed, bedding and food for the trip.  I made the reservations for our overnight stay online and then off to bed.  The next morning we packed up the Tank and headed out.  We stopped by Ray Roberts Lake State Park to get photos and mark it off our Texas State Park list.  However, we decided it didn’t count because we didn’t pass through the gate, didn’t enjoy the scenery,  and didn’t purchase a state park patch.  I guess we have to go back.  That is really a bummer, huh?  Not.

755520_orig

Our first sign selfie!

When we arrived at Eisenhower State Park we found the rangers inside the office to be wonderful.  They were happy, laughing and downright adorable!  We were able to purchase a state park patch and one for Eisenhower.  These patches will be proof that we have been to each park.

This brings me to our rules for it being a “mark off” from the SP list.

  • Entry Fee/check in must be done for each of us.
  • A photo of each of us, together or separate, must be taken in front of the SP sign.
  • A patch for that SP must be purchased .
  • We have to have spent time exploring the SP.

That’s how we determine if the park can be crossed off the list.

Once we were signed in and all the “office” chores were finished, we drove in and found our new home for the night.  We stayed in spot #29.  It was a very pretty spot and just across the road was a huge open spot so we could star gaze that night.  The tent was set up and we changed into our swimming suits and headed out to explore.

6472409_orig

Our home for the night!

What a beautiful place this is.  It is filled with trees and sits on top of a stone mixture of sandstone and limestone bluffs.  The hiking trails are well defined and clearly marked going through this amazing landscape.  If you want an adventure, this is a good place to have one.

9586546_orig

Such a lovely area.

The swimming area is between the day use area and the primitive camping spots.  Because the park is set up in the bluffs you will find yourself going down a rather long, awkward set of stairs.  These stairs are not for the faint of heart and you should allow yourself plenty of time to take care going down them.  Once you get to the beach, you will find a wonderful, sandy beach.  You will want to have some type of foot protection due to the stickers all over the surrounding area.

One of the best parts about the swimming area are the “caves”.  They aren’t actually caves they are more places where the water has carved out spaces in the bluff.  However, you will want to take a little time and investigate them.  It was a lot of fun reading the scratching left in the rock.

Once we finished swimming and took plenty of care climbing back up to our vehicle, we drove out to the Lake Texoma Dam to do a quick crossing over to the Oklahoma side of the lake.  I was honestly very surprised how close we were to Oklahoma!  The dam is pretty impressive really and the spillway is even more so.  I was surprised at the size of it all.

8241723_orig

Information about the Lake and both sides of the border.

6835273_orig

The run-off area. I was stunned there wasn’t any graffiti.

We then went back to camp and started getting dinner together.  We had a campfire to cook our meal, I stitched some and we had plenty of time to chat.  Afterwards we sat in a clearing and watched the stars come out.  Scott had his guitar out and just played with it, no songs really, just sound.  It was wonderful.

The next morning we packed up and headed back to the busy world of  home.  It was so worth the time and the drive.  I can’t wait to go back again.

Ren & Scott