Thursday, December 31, 2015

365 Block of the Day Challenge

There are a whole lot of crazy quilters in the world.  And I'm one of them.  Earlier in December I and many others signed up for a 365 Block of the Day Challenge.

The challenge can be found at:

This morning we received the code to get the first block instructions along with another code for a bonus block.  So many quilters attempted to access the blocks at one time that we crashed the servers.  Fortunately the designer had pity on us and sent the instructions in an email.

I'm not used to working with such small pieces of fabric.  This is going to be a learning experience.

Today's blocks:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Decorating for Christmas

It's really weird this year.  Decorating the house without any Christmas music playing.  My ear infection makes any music playing very painful.  Really hoping that by the 24th I'll be able to listen to Christmas music and movies!

But the decorating must happen.  So out come the bins and bins of decorations.  First out contained Christmas stockings.  And on the top were Tina and Ba'els.  It wasn't easy, but these went into the garbage.  I really don't know any other cats named Tina or Ba'el so it's not like we could pass the stockings along to other cat owners.

Next out was the "finally" finished "Welcome to the North Pole".  This was the block of the month quilt that DH gave me as a gift.  It took me out of my quilting comfort zone, which I really enjoyed.  It's a lovely quilt, but where to hang it?  DH had a brilliant idea.  Use bull dog (fold back) clips and hang it on the railing in the front entrance.

But those bull dog clips are not exactly attractive.  It's not what we have done in the past, but why not pin Christmas stockings on either side of each of the bull dog clips?  It worked.  That left one stocking to attach to the railing and that's done!

Next was to do something with the treadle.  It was closed up, covered with a Christmas quilted runner, and a fibre optic village placed on top.  Now what to do with all those silk poinsettia flowers?  We used to use them to fill in where the cats would bend the tree branches trying to climb or play with the ornaments.  Don't need the flowers for that any longer.  I think they look great covering the treadle bottom!

Next out of the bin comes a Christmas pillowcase that was sent to me in an online quilt group exchange.  I've never used it as a pillow, and one day someone will indicate it's exactly what they would like.  Until then it's doing duty as a runner for the end table by the couch with another fibre optic village.

The tree is up now.  I haven't finished decorating it, but it's up.  Did I mention in last year's posts how much I my pre lit tree?  I would wish for a larger more fuller one.  But at a time when we should be thinking about downsizing, this one will do just fine.  I'll post a photo of the tree once the decorating is finished.

Now that I'm starting to feel better and can walk again, I felt up to doing something creative.  So I made a pressed penny Christmas Ornament and a pressed penny bracelet.  These pennies were collected during my recent trip to Walt Disney World.  I'm sure I'll run out of pennies before I run out of ideas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Walt Disney World...Day Fourteen...Last Day

November 21 – On our way home

We had a porter pick up our bags around 10 am and store them with Bell Services. After a bit more walking around and lunch at the food court we claimed our luggage and got on the Magical Express.

With plenty of time to find the West Jet check in we didn't stress. Although it was really nice to see the last of our luggage until we arrive back home.

Some shopping and a leasurly early supper at the airport food court. Then through TSA. It was much more relaxed than security back home. I found that to be very strange.

In no time at all we boarded the plane and had a great flight back. Robert was there to bring us back home. Which we were very grateful for.

Walt Disney World Day 13

November 20 – last day

I walked around the Bayou again taking more photos. I really do like this area a lot.

Mom and I went on to Coronado Springs. It's a very pretty resort, but spread out a lot. But I'm sure one would get used to the layout quite easily. The food court was great. The Pepper Market serves food with hot ceramic plates and real cutlery. The gift shop had a lot of different items as well.

While Mom and I were visiting Coronado Springs, Suzanne checked Saratoga Springs Resort to see if it was decorated for Christmas.  It wasn't.  We have to be thankful that Riverside was decorated.

We then took the bus and boat back to Riverside. We sat by the quiet pool and realized we had not done any swimming. Too lake now. No one wants to take wet swim suits back home.

We changed the time for our departure via the Magical Express. Much better to unload our bags then do some shopping and have lunch at the airport. The last time we caught a flight at 9 pm we waited at the resort for hours. It wasn't pleasant when we have to be out of our rooms by 11 am.

Walt Disney Day 12

November 19 – A visit with a Quilter!

Riverside is decorated for Christmas! Perfect timing as Jane, who I met online with the Bailey Quilt Group, came to visit for a few hours. Jane lives in Ottawa and Vancouver Island but winters in Florida about an hours distance from Orlando. It was lovely meeting her and all three of us enjoyed the brief time we had.

Jane left around noon and after lunch Suzanne and I walked around the resort. After a bit we went our own ways and I walked around Riverside Bayou. That's where I want to stay if I ever go back to Riverside.

All of us headed over to Pop Century to see if it was decorated and for some gluten free meat loaf. All three of us seemed to be craving it. Well the resort wasn't decorated yet and they were not offering the meat loaf. So we headed over to Art Of Animation. It wasn't decorated either, but they had the meat loaf!

We took the bus to Disney Springs and then another bus to Riverside. Because we had not bused it there at night we didn't recognize the main bus stop. But we did manage to get of at the North End Bus stop and I was able to find our way to our building through the woods. Good thing I had scouted it out during the day.

Walt Disney World Day 11

November 18 – Disney Springs and EPCOT

We took the boat to Disney Springs and walked around....and maybe did some shopping.

Riverside has ore consistent coffee than Pop Century did. It was always hot as well. But there is less gluten free choices. French Quarter at least has a baked potato.

Housekeeping forgot to leave any of us shampoos. So I stopped one cast member and picked up one for Mom and I to share. I also left a note for the house keeper to see in the morning.

Tonight we are going to EPCOT. We went over the the North End bus stop which was really close to our building to catch the bus to Hollywood Studios. That way we could take the boat to the International Gateway (after cruising past the resorts along the way). The park is finally decorated for Christmas. We walked around a bit until it was time to find a place to stand for Illuminations. We staked out a spot near the International Gateway. This way we didn't have to go through EPCOT to the buses. There is almost no light and I'm always surprised that people don't get injured. The walk way to International Gateway is well lit in comparison.

We waited 45 minutes for the show and it was worth the wait. One family behind Mom kept hitting her ankles with their stroller. They wanted her to turn around, make eye contact and then she would let the them stand in her spot because they had children. Mom nudged the stroller wheel away, turned around and gave the “look”. That's when they realized that we were not going to give them the spot we held for 45 minutes. We needed the railing to hold on to! 45 minutes is a long time for gals our ages to stand.

After the show we took the boat to the Yacht and Beach Club resorts. Hollywood Studios was already closed and the last bus had departed. But that isn't a problem when staying at Riverside. All the resorts have buses to Disney Springs. They want us to go shopping after all. So from the resort's bus stop we took a bus to Disney Springs, then a boat back to Riverside. It was a lovely and relaxing way to travel.

Walt Disney World Day Ten

November 17 Deb Leaves and We transfer to new resort

Deb checked her Magical Express departure times and her Boarding Pass. The Bus was going to get her to the airport only 2 hours before boarding time. All of us went into a panic. We were thinking international travel. Since Deb was going back home via Houston, her flight was domestic and two hours was plenty of time. Added bonus (so we found out on the “fly”) was that since she was travelling by an American airline (United) she could have her boarding pass printed at the Pop Century bag check. And she could have her bags checked right there at Pop Century. It was a good thing since her bag was over weight and that would have been a $100 extra charge. A cast member helped her pull items out to go into her carry on and she was able to avoid the cost. 

It was a scramble though to get everything fixed up before she had to get on her bus. But between the two of us she made it. Mom and Suzanne had been hoping to be able to say good bye but everything happened so fast, that didn't happen.

Then it was time for the rest of us to get ready to leave Pop Century. Suzanne requested a porter for our luggage. We loaded his cart up with our bags and had them tagged for Riverside leaving us free to head over to the resort. We took the bus to Disney Springs and then the boat to Port Orleans Riverside. We checked in and naturally our rooms were not ready. We were very early. But we were told what building we were going to be in so we went exploring and found Acadian House. We were not given our room numbers but at least we knew the location of the building. It was very easy to find.

Next was lunch in our new food court. We had to stake claim to “our” table. That way if we got separated in the line ups we would be able to find each other easily. Guess what....the staff at Pop Century did our refillable mugs correctly. They were still good for Riverside. We had our receipts just in case. Fortunately we didn't need them. It's always lovely to deal with competent people!

We checked in at the front desk around 1 pm in the hopes that we could get access to our rooms. Yes!! They were ready and we were given our numbers and our magic bands were activated to open the doors.

Main floor rooms. But they are connecting and in the buildings we wanted. Turns out that being on the main floor was just fine with all of us. We didn't think we would like it. I know at Pop Century we wouldn't. But at Riverside it's a whole different world.

The rooms are lovely. No one wanted to leave them. But we head out to Port Orleans French Quarter. This was a mistake in several ways. First it's always better to see French Quarter (or any resort) for the first time in daylight. It's just difficult to find your way around a strange place at night. Especially with limited night vision. Mom and I had been there on a previous trip and thought it lovely. But at night it was a bit overwhelming getting around.

The other issue was that during the day the boat that goes from Riverside to Disney Springs stops at French Quarter. We didn't realize that it doesn't do that at night. We had to take the boat to Disney Springs, get off and then take a different one to French Quarter. It would have been a repeat going back to Riverside, so we walked. It's not far away, but we were all tired so it seemed longer than it was. It was a lovely evening though and we saw at least one horse drawn carriage. It felt strange having to share the side walk with a horse.

Walt Disney World Day Nine

November 16 – Universal

We took a cab to Universal. The break even point between using a shuttle service and cab is 4 people. The cost for us was $38 one way plus tip. Of course that depends on traffic conditions.

We did our best to get a video of Deb on the roller coaster on Island of Adventure. I'm sure we missed her. But we tried. I've been trying to remember the name of this ride. I should have wrote it down.

Then on to Duelling Dragons where again we tried to film Deb while we waited for her.

On to Hogsmead and Hogwarts where Mom and Suzanne waited for Deb and myself to go on Forbidden Journey. Mom loaned me her little flash light and it helped a lot. Because of all my eye surgery I have almost no night vision.

We saw the tail end of the Frog choir and the Tri Wizards Champion show. Then The Hogwarts Express train to London for Diagon Alley.

We ate at the Leaky Cauldron for the first time. Neat set up. After you order and pay you take your drinks and are shown to a table. No wondering around trying to find a free spot! And when your food is ready it's delivered by a team member. Cool.

We walked around looking at the shops and then waited while Deb did the Gringotts ride.

Again we saw only the tail end of the Celeste show (sorry, can't find the map and show times to get the correct names) and the Three Brothers puppet show.

Suzanne waited while we did the Shrek Show and then we were back to Pop Century. No visit to the pool for drinks. Deb is leaving in the morning and the rest of us transfer to our new resort.

Walt Disney World Day 8

November 15 – Resort day for Suzanne, Mom and I. Deb did some rides on her own.

The evening before we went to guest services at Pop Century and got Deb some fast passes for the thrill rides at Magic Kingdom. There are no single rider lines in this park, unlike the others so fast passes can be very useful.

Mom had only three more days of park tickets and we still had a six days left at Disney. Plus it was time for a rest. Deb on the other hand had one day left to use up and with Monday being a Universal Day she ended up going to the parks on her own Sunday.

Deb got to Magic Kingdom early so she didn't need the passes after all. She rode the coasters. After that she went over to Animal Kingdom to ride Expedition Everest and the safari. Unfortunately it was later in the day and very few animals were seen. They tend to sleep during the heat of the day.

Back at Pop Century, the rest of us got our laundry done. Then we went over to Disney Springs to make reservations for dinner. Another first for Deb...Rain Forest Cafe. We managed to get reservations for 7pm. After that we took the boat to Port Orleans Riverside to check out the resort we would be transferring to on the 17th.

By the time we got back to the room Deb was there and we headed to Disney Springs for supper at Rain Forest Cafe. This is not a quiet restaurant. The animated animals are loud as is the jungle thunder storm. I dragged Deb to the restrooms so she could see how they are decorated. Who would have thought that a restroom could be an “experience”? We didn't poke around Disney Springs as much as I wished. The walkways are way too dark for those with limited night vision. I was really hopping we would be able to walk all over Disney Springs during the day and check out some of the new shops and restaurants. But that didn't happen. Maybe next time. Of course we did find our way over to Ghiradelli's for the free sample of chocolate. We have our priorities. Several of us picked up chocolate to eat back at the room. Not naming any names.....but I didn't see any sugar free ones on sale....just saying.....

Walt Disney World Day Seven

November 14 – Magic Kingdom

Suzanne stated at Pop Century for a bit. She went wandering over to The All Star Sport resort after a while. I've always wanted to see the All Star resorts. Maybe next time.

Suzanne wanted Mom and myself to be able to take Deb to all her thrill rides with fewer concerns as to where to sit and find shade while we waited. She was hoping it would be easier for two to find a cool spot then trying to find shade and seats for three. It was a nice wish, but shade and seating were difficult to find. Oh well.

The first ride Deb, Mom and I did was the Jingle Cruise. Normally the Jungle Cruise, but at Christmas they change the name, decorations and the corny jokes the Skippers tell.

Next was Splash Mountain. We put Deb in the first row. She got much wetter than Mom and I did. She enjoyed the cooling down....I'm sure she did.....I'm almost positive....

Next Deb went on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Fortunately it was early and the line up wasn't unbearably long. Especially since there was no shade to be found in that area for Mom and myself.

Next was Space Mountain for Deb. I knew that Mom and I needed shade at this point so we went on the Carousel of Progress and the People Mover. By the time we did these two attractions we had less than a 15 minute wait for Deb come off Space Mountain.

After that was lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus. Deb and I went on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Fortunately I had fast passes for this one and we found a shady spot for Mom to wait for us.

After Pirates of the Caribbean we watched the afternoon parade and then Suzanne joined us at the Hall Of Presidents around 4pm. Unfortunately Mom and I were done with the heat, so Suzanne didn't get to spend much time at Magic Kingdom. We went back to Pop Century for supper and a rest.

Deb and I went back to take in the evening parade, castle show and fire works. Mom and Suzanne stayed back at the room.

If we had gotten to the park early we might have been able to use the fast passes that we had for Haunted Mansion. As it was by the time we were in that area the queue was over 70 minutes long. We didn't make it on the Astro Orbiter, Stitches Great Escape or Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin. Next time....

Walt Disney World - Day 7

November 13 – Disney Hollywood Studios

Right after breakfast Deb tried again with Telus. This time she got her answers and knew how to avoid roaming charges. And we only had to wait about 20 minutes before she got to talk to a real person! That's thanks to my son who texted me a US phone number for her to call.

First things first...Deb got on the Rock'n Roller Coaster. The rest of us picked up the limited edition pins and shirts for the Osborne lights. They were well hidden and had to be asked for. Just like the gentleman at Pop indicated. Then we headed back to wait for Deb to finish going through the queue for her ride.

We saw the Muppets 3D and Great Movie Ride, Suzanne waited while we went on Star Tours which Deb had not been on previously.

Beauty and the Best was next

We ended the night with the Osborne Lights and Fantasmic. Deb had never seen either of these before. Unfortunately this is the last year for the Osborne Lights.

Bonus...they had the Christmas holiday mugs! These are souvenir mugs that cost $5. They come with a soda so you have something to drink and something to bring home.

Back to Pop Century for another Hoola Hoop by the pool.

Unfortunately we missed seeing any of the Street actors shows. Nor did we see the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. I have yet to see Lights, Motors, Action. Hope they don't close that one down during the renovations that are planned! The line up for Toy Story Midway Mania was a bit much. I'm happy we saw Walt Disney: One Man's Dream when we did. We did have fast passes for Voyage of the Little Mermaid but we didn't get to the park in time to take in the show.

Walt Disney World Day 6

November 12 – EPCOT

The line up for the bus to EPCOT was huge. We would have been standing in the sun for 40 minutes or more. So we hopped on the bus to Hollywood Studios, walked over to the EPCOT resort boat and Deb was able to experience one of the resort boats for the first time. There was no line up for the bag check at the International Gateway to World Showcase. So we got in immediately. So even with the 20 minute boat ride we still got in ahead of those waiting in the long line up at Pop Century.

After seeing O'Canada we left Suzanne while we went on Soarn. They had strict rules about fast pass times there. After Soarn we had time to go on Mission Space Green (Mom waited for us by the shop). Then we headed back to Canada to meet up with Suzanne. Lunch was at Morocco counter service. We then watched the Flag show at Italy and went through Germany since these pavilions had the most interest for Deb.

We took the monorail Magic Kingdom then the boat to the Polynesian to eat at Captain Cooks. Then we took the monorail back to Magic Kingdom transit centre. Then the boat to the buses. Then a bus to Pop Century. A round about way, but at least Deb got to go on the monorail and some boats.

Back at pop Deb discovered that she was going to get hit with roaming charges. So we used my NextPlus to call Telus to get it straightened out. She was kept on hold for ages. After an hour and 15 minutes we decided to try again in the morning.

Instead of going to Captain Cooks, we should have stayed at EPCOT and taken in Space Ship Earth so Deb could have been in one of the souvenir videos that can be sent home. We did have a fast pass for first thing in the morning for this ride, but we didn't get ready to leave Pop Century in time.

We also missed The Sum of All Thrills, Living with the Land, Journey into Imagination with Figment, The Three Caballeros, The American Adventure, Reflections of China and Impressions de France.

Next time, I swear!

Walt Disney World Day Five

November 11 – Animal Kingdom

Since Deb has never been on the Kilimanjaro Safari, that's where we headed first. Again, no time for Discovery Island or the Oasis.

We enjoyed a great safari. It was a first for all of us – a giraffe decided it needed a nose scratch and chose our vehicle to rub it's nose on. At one point we thought he was going to stick his head right in the vehicle.

After that was another first for Deb...the Festival of the Lion King. And yes, we were in the warthog section. Oh well. We can't win every time.

After lunch in Harambe Market we headed on to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.

Suzanne left to go back to Pop for a while. With a stop over at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for a quick visit first. We didn't get to this resort on this trip. It's one of the places I really wanted Deb to see.

Deb managed to get on Expedition Everest and then Mom waited while the two of us went on Dinosaur.

Supper was at Pop after which we headed over to Disney Springs. We ended the evening with drinks by the pool. And were introduced to the “Hoola Hoop” house special.

It was a full day, but unfortunately we missed a lot. Besides the Oasis and the Discovery Island Trails, we missed Habitat Habit, Flights of Wonder, Kali River Rapids and It's Tough to be a Bug.

Walt Disney World Day 4

November 10 – Magic Kingdom

First stop is “its a small world”.

Since there was time before our Peter Pan's Flight fast pass we took in Mickey's PhilharMagic. This wasn't a good selection as the 3D video caused some upsets which made the Peter Pan ride more difficult for one member of our party. After that Mom and I rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It was cute but Mom thought it was too short compared to a similar ride in Disneyland.

After that we enjoyed the Liberty Square Riverboat, Country Bear Jamboree, and The Hall of Presidents.

We did want to get photos taken at a photo stop outside the Liberty Square Christmas store. They have a lovely sleigh there for people to sit in for photos. Unfortunately there were some inconsiderate women who decided it was a perfect spot to stare at their phones and do some texting. We checked back an hour later and they were still sitting there, not lifting their heads to make eye contact with people waiting to have their photos taken.

It was time to leave the park and head back to Pop Century to meet Deb who was arriving. As we were leaving two cast members stopped us and after a brief conversation offered us free tickets to that evenings Christmas party. We felt bad about taking them since we could only stay an hour or two. But we were able to purchase several items that are only available during the parties. That's a couple of Christmas presents taken care of!

Deb arrived at Pop Century and we were there to meet up with her. After a brief walk around the resort and across the bridge to Art of Animation so she could stretch, we headed back to the rooms for the night.