Month: February 2017

Lititz Fire & Ice Festival

20170218_152805 (2)

Krystle, Eleanor Leigh, and Jessica in the Ice Chair – brrrr

20170218_150054 (2)

Beautiful ice castle. This thing was huge – actual castle proportions ūüėČ

This is our first Winter in Lancaster County and as I research fun things for you all to do while you stay here, we’re taking advantage of some of them too.

So, on President’s Day Weekend, when our oldest daughter was visiting from Seattle and our youngest daughter (the new Momma) and our beautiful brand new granddaughter (Eleanor Leigh) were in town visiting, we loaded everyone up and headed into Lititz to wander around the Fire & Ice Festival. ¬†Lititz was a short drive, made a bit longer by all the traffic heading to the festival. ¬†We stayed off of the main freeways and enjoyed the driving along the farmroads.

Luckily for us, it was an amazingly warm Spring-like day.  Which had the crowds out in huge numbers Рbut caused the ice to melt much, much faster than it would have normally in February in Lancaster County.  You can see, except for the baby, we were all walking around in our shirtsleeves.

There was so much to do at the Park where the Fire & Ice Festival was held. ¬†You should check out the “official photos” of the event, because the Ice Sculptures were amazing, but like I said, starting to melt by the time we got there.

There was also a chili cook-off which we really wanted to attend, but not knowing where to purchase the buttons, we decided to grab lunch from the food trucks available at the park. We were amazed to find plenty of gluten free and dairy free options for the girls who have food issues. ¬†And Jay & I had some amazing smoked chili, smoked mac & cheese and nachos. ¬†Other than all the things smoked – there was no rhyme or reason to what we ate. ¬†Also, since Eleanor isn’t really old enough yet, we skipped the carnival this year. ¬†But will take her in a few years.

20170218_133717 (2)

Eleanor Leigh with the Ice (we’ve bought her sunnies since then).

After walking all around the park, looking at the all the Ice Sculpture and trying to figure out what they were before they started melting, we headed to main street.  There was a giant chair made of ice.  The girls (mind you, they are our kids, but obviously, they are adults!) wanted to sit in the chair.  They stood in line and waited their turn.  Krystle was wearing the baby, so she stayed warm.  Kystle said, even though there was a pad on the seat that it was COLD!  Jessica was the smart one and just stood behind the chair.

After leaving the park, we crossed the street and headed for Wilbur chocolates. ¬†My first experience with Wilbur was last November when guests brought us a box of milk chocolate buds. ¬† These little buds are darling to look at, but the chocolate is heavenly and they just melt in your mouth. ¬†We came home with both milk & dark chocolate buds, some salted caramels and chocolate covered raisins. ¬†I’m hoping they last a long time, but the buds will most likely end up in a candy dish in the common area.

We felt like the Ice Festival was a lot of fun. It was a short drive along beautiful farmlands and didn’t really get congested until we got very close to the park. ¬†It’s an annual event and we’re looking forward to going again next year!

 

Hearting It Up

So, this being our first Valentine’s Day at Carriage Corner, I wanted to do something special for the guests. ¬†Not just a ‘themed’ breakfast for Valentine’s Day, although I did do that. ¬†But I wanted to really add some heartfelt decorations¬†around the B&B.

I am lucky enough to really enjoy sewing and have a fancy embroidery machine.  So РI decided to look for some free standing lace hearts.  I found a great set of designs at Embroidery Library and they were exactly what I wanted and on sale to boot!  So, I bought them, downloaded them and then transferred them to the memory stick for my embroidery machine.

I posted the video to my personal instagram page. ¬†I love watching the embroidery machine work. ¬†The fun part about free standing lace, is just that – it’s free standing. ¬†To make this work, you need the right stabilizers. ¬†About half-way through this project, I ran out of the heavy water soluble that I had been hooping and started having troubles. ¬†So, I thought maybe a little blog post might help others out. ¬†Please excuse my tacky hoops and beat up cutting mat in the following photos.

When I’m doing free standing lace, and honestly many other things with the embroidery unit, it’s not always possible to hoop the thing you are embroidering on. ¬†Sometimes it makes more sense to just hoop the stabilizer and then use the fix function to baste the project to the stabilizer. ¬†However, when doing freestanding lace, there is nothing else to baste to the stabilzer so you need to make sure that what’s in the hoop has enough tension not to pull like it’s starting to in the video above. ¬†When that happens, you get lace that looks like this:

bad lace :(

bad lace ūüôĀ

You can see the foundation stitches outside the satin stitching that forms the outside of the heart. ¬†This heart may not stay together when I soak away the stabilizer. ¬†And honestly – having all the stitching show around the outside doesn’t look very pretty. ¬†You lose the effect.

3 hearts all in a row

3 hearts all in a row

So – how do you counter act that? ¬†There are a couple of options. ¬†Cut pieces of water soluble stabilizer that are big enough to hoop and double it up. ¬†Well – I didn’t want to do that because stabilizer is expensive and a lot of it would just be cut away and then thrown out. ¬†It’s really hard to use up those tiny pieces of stabilizer.

So, I started thinking. ¬†I remembered that one of the hoops I have came with a fleece-like insert that you could hoop with fine fabrics to help protect the fabrics from the hoop AND provide tension so the hoop gets tight enough to keep the fine fabrics stable. ¬†Hmmm, I don’t have any fleece, but I do have some batting lying around. ¬†Also – I think a¬†cotton or wool batting that a bit firmer would have been

lace hearts, stitched & trimmed, but not soaked yet

lace hearts, stitched & trimmed, but not soaked yet

better than what I used, but this worked.

So, I grabbed some batting and cut it bigger than my hoop.  I was using the mega hoop.  I sew and

using batting to create tension in the hoop

using batting to create tension in the hoop

embroider on an Husqvarna Viking Designer 1 SE. ¬†I then proceeded to cut the center out of the embroidery area. ¬†When hooping for the embroidery I would layer the batting first, then some clear water soluble stabilizer that would only fit the center. ¬†At this point, I didn’t have any stabilizer left that was wider than the hoop I was using. ¬†And I didn’t want to change hoops, because I could fit 3 hearts into 1 hooping, thereby saving time and materials.

Once I had the batting and stabilizer hooped up and taught, I would slip it onto the machine and put 3 layers of heavy, soak away stabilizer under that and use the fix function to baste everything together – keeping the stabilizers under all of the embroidery.

I stitched out 5 hearts of 5 different colors.  I knew I wanted to create a bunting type of decoration to

stack of hearts

stack of hearts

hang from the mantle and wasn’t sure how many hearts I would need for that. ¬†Originally, I was only going to make 20 hearts, 5 different hearts from 4 colors, but I posted to instagram again and took a poll. ¬†2 of the color options tied, so 5 colors it was. ¬†Which was good – because I have 5 guest rooms here and I was able to hang one heart on each door.

Once all the hearts had been stitched out, I trimmed the stabilizer close to the stitching. ¬†I then soaked them in a sink of cold water for about 2 hours. ¬† They don’t really need to soak that long, but I run a bed and breakfast and forgot about them. ¬†I will tell you that the longer they soak, they softer and more pliable they get. ¬†Soaking them dissolves the stabilizer, leaving you with nothing but freestanding lace made of thread.

Keep in mind, that while you can definitely tell the back from the front, you want to make sure you use matching thread in your bobbin.

Once they were all stitched out and soaked. ¬†I gave them a quick press with the iron. ¬†For the mantle, I asked Jay to string some fishing line across the mantle, but he didn’t have any. ¬†So he used twine and it gives a lovely rustic touch. ¬†Much better option. ¬†I hit up the Target dollar isle and bought clothespins to hang the hearts with. ¬† I cut pink and white ribbon in various lengths, hot glued one end at the hanging loop and ¬†then just folded the other end over the twine and clipped it in place.

Pretty little hearts - all in a row

Pretty little hearts – all in a row

But – that wasn’t all the hearts. ¬†There were a few left. ¬†I took a pretty crocheted type ribbon trim and cut in into lengths. ¬†I then hot glued the ribbon between the hearts – be very careful with this step – I burned my fingers more times than I want to mention! ¬†The little garland of hearts we hung at the top of the stairs. ¬†I’m so very happy with this project. ¬†It was very time consuming, but worth every minute!

Heart Garland

Heart Garland

 

Upcoming Events – Area Attractions

Hi everyone – I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority – but I’m really looking forward to snow. ¬†I love snow and honestly, part of the reason we moved to Central Pennsylvania was to experience 4 seasons. ¬†We arrived during a particularly lovely Fall and even had a chance to get out and do some driving through the mountains in early November to really see the colors. ¬†But now, now it’s Winter¬†and Winter means snow. ¬†My understanding is that Seattle is getting all of our snow and we are enjoying beautiful, bright, clear – but incredibly cold days. ¬†Thankfully, we’ve been up to our eyeballs in freshening up the rooms, so other than quick dog walks have been inside.

photo from Lititz Fire & Ice Festival website

photo from Lititz Fire & Ice Festival website

Anyway – if you are coming to Lancaster in February, I’ve updated the Area Attractions page with upcoming events. ¬†There are some really fun things happening around the area this month. ¬†Starting with the Fire & Ice Festival in Lititz the 17 – 20, I’ve checked the schedule and there are some fun things happening – I may drag Jay out to view the ice sculptures and maybe for the chili cookoff – that’s his style.

Lititz Springs Park is located just 16 miles from Carriage Corner and it’s an easy drive to enjoy the Fire & Ice Festival and all the fun events.

The next weekend, February 24  Р26, 2017, Downtown Lancaster is celebrating the roots of American Music with their Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival.  A full calendar can be found here:  Roots & Blues Schedule.

And once all that is done – well, then the Mud Sales start. ¬†I’ve been hearing so much about the Mud Sales and I’m really looking forward to attending, as well as donating loads of stuff we’ve decluttered to our local volunteer fire department. ¬†I will keep the Area Attractions page updated monthly and details can be found here.

Also – during the month of February, we are running a Winter Special – Sunday through Thursday, any room just $99 a night. ¬†This includes all of the regular amenities that are available. ¬†We have a coffee/snack station to get you through to dinner time which is stocked with fresh baked cookies and fruit, a large assortment of tea and a keurig if you need coffee or cocoa. ¬†The fireplace in the common area is always ready to be turned on so you can snuggle down into the loveseat with a good book, maybe one about the Amish or one of the mysteries that line the bookshelves of the common area. ¬†We also have a jigsaw puzzle partly done at all times during the cold months – there’s just something about find that¬†one piece, isn’t there? ¬†Or possibly you want to beat the pants off your travelling companion at Scrabble – well we have that too! ¬†The price is already adjust through the booking system so you don’t need to do anything special, and if you booked before the special when live – well, your price has been adjusted because that’s the right thing to do.

I hope you’ll give us a chance when you come to Lancaster County. ¬†We look forward to meeting you. ¬† ¬†Gaylen & Jay, your hosts