A total eclipse of the sun.

Talk about something you don’t see everyday, well every 20 some years or so, a total solar eclipse.  Although at 97% we weren’t in the path of totality we definitely had the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular site.   Here are a few photos form that day and if you are interested when the next total american eclipse is due check out this neat graphic.

GooglePickerAPI_20170821_140052
GooglePickerAPI_20170821_140328
GooglePickerAPI_20170821_155628

Top left, terrible photo through the glasses
Top right, getting accidentally photo bombed by mom – I call it angry thumbs up.
Bottom, the marina and that ‘log’ is an alligator

 

Low Budget Find, enamel cast iron skillet

I’m always on the look out for more bang for my buck, who isn’t.  My current obsession is this cast iron skillet from the Target Threshold line.  Yes I know I could probably get a bigger one for the same price but I love the crisp white enamel, it’s easy to clean and won’t scratch my stove, and at 10″ is the perfect size for the two of us.  I’ve done steaks,  stuffed mushrooms,  cheat chicken Parmesan and a myriad of other dishes that have gone from stove top to oven.   What is your current low budget obsession?

Gishwhes 2017

Well, it has been nearly a week since we finished our ‘hunt’ for 2017.  So you might have taken a look at the title and wondered what is Gishwhes , or might know all to well and feel that little twitch only brought on by sleep deprivation and hot glue fumes.  Either way welcome.

So the Greatest International Scavnger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, or GISHWHES is a charity driven scavenger hunt that will have participants saying some of the strangest things.
“Hey can you take a picture of yourself doing yoga with a random animal, but not a goat that’s been done”
Yep actually said that to my friends sister, never got a response either but I also didn’t get any visits from men in white coats, so win?  Anyway –
It was a great personal experience to be part of my team Gishy Rascals! Hunt week bonus; not only was there lots of personal excitement we saved acres of rain forest, changed lives and just had a great time worldwide.  I would say sign me up for next year but, sadly this was the last year.  So here are a few of my pictures from my first and last Gish.

Being goofy for our group collage.

Fireworks made out of veggies and spaghetti, yea it took forever to glue individual pieces of spaghetti onto my cityscape.

Bringing class to the old west with a tea and saucer holster.  

I have yet to cut into the Marx Mellon. 

Planting a tree in my neighbors yard.  

Want to see other teams submissions, may be event the chance to see a school bus get shredded?  Check the Gishwhes  page!

If you are ever in Pittsburgh….

It’s that time on my blog again where I get all gushy mushy about visiting the Phipps.  The current installation titled Super Natural is by artist Jason Gamrath. It consists of huge glass and metal orchids, pitcher plants and venus fly traps intermingled through the greenhouse rooms for a  brilliant display of color and texture.  Disclaimer – lots of photos ahead.

The breathtaking instillation wasted no time getting starting with these 12 foot sculptures.

Flanked by potted white orchids this piece truly was super natural in the main greenhouse.

Giant pitcher plants line the greenhouse leading to the orchid room.

In addition to the feature exhibit the Phipps itself looked spectacular, the ever changing scene lends this feeling of experiencing it for the first time every time.
They even cultivate all their own orchids, cherry picking the very best for the orchid room.

I loved the delicate details on this one.

Pitcher plants tucked in the ferns.  It’s always a toss up when I ask myself which room is my favorite; orchid or fern.   One is bustling with color, the other like some lush oasis.

The butterfly room was all a flutter none of them sitting still for a photo. Yes cheesy, I know – but at least I’m owning it.

My favorite of all the giant orchid sculptures was this orange one nestled in the corner of the butterfly room.  Like a little, or great big, surprise when I walked around the corner.  I hope they get to keep it!

More orchids that speak to the name of the exhibit – Super Natural.

I wish I had a better picture of this one where the deep purple and white flecks were noticeable.

Giant waterlily. Interesting – One of the first exhibits in this very greenhouse, dating back to 1895, featured giant amazonian lily pads.  There is even a picture of a girl in Victorian dress standing on one!

About ten years ago there was another glass sculpture instillation by artist Chihuly, the Phipps managed to acquire some of the pieces.  One of my favorites – the “swirly purples”, as I like to call them, are tucked into a defunct old fountain in the fruit and spice room.

The Dessert Gold Star hangs just inside the entrance to the dessert room.     I always wonder how they clean it, I mean seriously.

 If ever you are in Pittsburgh go visit the Phipps.  As you can see the well maintained Victorian greenhouse and grounds are nothing short of amazing.

Want to learn more about the fascinating history behind this Victorian greenhouse? Even see the picture of the girl standing on the lily pad.   Check here.

Even better, want to take a virtual tour?  Check this page out!

Let me know what you think, I would love to hear if any of you have visited the Phipps yourself!

Jeep Invasion!

When I say Butler is a small town in western PA, I do mean a small town.   One main drag, a couple of stop lights and small mostly family owned businesses dot the downtown.  Just a mile outside of this metropolis it’s a landscape of farmland and old homesteads.

Butler holds one great secret – it’s the birthplace of the Jeep.   Every June all the little Jeeps come to pay their respects at the Bantam Jeep festival.  There is a multitude of activities for Jeep owners to participate in to flex their Jeep muscles.  I had the opportunity to attend the Jeep Invasion, and it really is like an invasion this small town; absolutely astonishing how many of one badge can find their way together.  We all know I’m a ford truck girl, but yea – this was cool.

Jeeps lining Main Street and still pouring in.
This is what i think of when I think Jeep.
Still pouring in.
Even the side streets were being used this year.

Boaty McBoat Project

Husband: I want a boat!
Me: Take a class make sure you like it.
Husband: Okay…….. (two moths later) I love sailing, I want a sailboat!
Me: *sigh* okay
Husband: this one is in our budget
Me: ugh
Husband: All it needs is paint
Me: okay
Husband: (7 months later and a lot more than just paint) tada
Me:  SMILE

 

Beach Bug Out Bag

It’s that time of year again, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer and around here and the official start of tourist season.  If I want to get to the beach and miss the crowd I have to be prompt as soon as the weather looks ideal!  I accomplish this by putting together my beach bug out bag ahead of time, so then after a quick change into my suit,  I’m out the door.  (Sometimes it’s the boat bug out bag, but that is a whole different post!)

My beach bug out bag starts with a huge sturdy handled bag that sand doesn’t stick to.  I found this great one at Target, it holds enough to send a small army to the beach.  Stuff it with two big fluffy towels, a water bottle, snack and zip-lock bag with sunscreen and hair ties.  Then the best part – picking out a lighthearted silly little summer read.  I would recommend anything by Janet Evanovich, guaranteed easy to pick up and be delighted by even if it’s been a few days (or weeks) between reads. Have a little extra room, try a notebook and pen – never know when the muse may strike.

What would you keep in your beach bug out bag?

Still truckn’

Came back to read more about my truck?  Aren’t you sweet.

The driver door, tail gate and hood are from different black trucks.  I say he is all original…. originally from other trucks. I named him Patches. When he rolled off the assembly line he was two tone green, then painted a minty green and some of the cab is white from that repaint, some is still pine green, oh and the black drivers door.  Yea like I said – Patches.

So why am I writing about him now seeing as we welcomed him to the family back in August?  He is having a very long sleepover at the mechanics, the brake overhaul was just to much for us on our own, and I miss him.

It’s much more than just a truck, it’s a family project and a conversation starter everywhere Patches goes.

Follow him on Instagram.

Still reading?  Good for you.  So here is the bonus content.
– The ODO reads 25K so it could be 125 or 225
– The air filter canister is original and it’s Ford blue.
– The VIN can be used to determine the month year and where it was built.  June ’72 Virginia, thanks for asking.
– The grill appears to be original to the truck even though it’s the ’71 design.
– When we look under the hood we play a game ‘what did this wire go to’ mostly the answer is the AC.
– Originally there were two gas tanks to switch between, he is missing the one under the bed so it’s just the 10 gallon behind the seat.
– my favorite thing is the instrument cluster
– The rust holes in the bed keep water from collecting and the bed rusting through, yes that is ironic.
– When you go through a puddle really fast the passenger has to put their foot over the hole in the floor or they get really wet.
– I half jokingly say he would make a great spokes person for a no more body shaming campaign.

Keep on truck’n

I have too many projects and hobbies… say me never!  Well may be I say it once in a… no never mind.

Last August one of my lust affair became a love affair.  I adore old vehicles especially the big gutsy V8s that the 70s were known for.  Old pick up, pile on even more love.

I was looking, almost in a fantasy state, through local adds and decided to change ti to a reality.   We looked at a ’73 F100 three hours away, total bust.  I’m okay with rust, in fact expected it, but I want to see it so I know what I am getting into.  The rust was all poorly painted over, even the loose stuff in the bed, so sad.  It was a V8, but not the original and poorly mounted.

I kept sending my husband pictures of this ratty miss matched pickup.  He said if I called and set it up we would go look at it.  Done.  A quick trip out of town, a crank of the engine later and even he was in love.  A handshake and a tow dolly latter,  he was sleeping in our driveway.


So to get to the boring fine points, the frame is in good shape, the rocker panels aren’t rusted out and it has power steering.  The exciting stuff, oh I could go on forever.  A 1972 F100, V8 360, that I am guessing gets 8 miles to the gallon.  We put in a rebuilt carburetor, and he lives no more sleeping!

His name is Patches, he’s my truck.  Come back I’ll have more stories.