Category Archives: Just for Fun

Northeast Kingdom, Ben & Jerry’s and Church Street

In hopes of seeing a Vermont sunrise, I set my alarm early… only to be greeted by grey skies and mist.  But, since we had a big day ahead of us heading North and West, getting an early start wasn’t so bad.

We headed up the Connecticut River Byway toward St. Johnsbury.  I took a lot more pictures along the way.  And YAY, today I was able to capture not only Witch Windows, but cool misty mountain photos.

The byway led us through more farmland than we had seen the previous day.  Along the way we found fields of Pumpkins, Brussel Sprouts, and my favorite, farm animals like the adorable (Scottish) Highland Cattle.


I’d never seen long haired cows before and made Jim turn the car around because I was udderly clueless what I had seen – were they huge sheep with horns?  Of course, Jim made fun of me just like the day before when I declared, “Boy they have big black birds here.” And he promptly corrected me that they had RAVENS.  Whatever, they were big, black and birds. 🙂

The City of Bradford was between all this farmland. As we came into town, I spotted a cool mill, but Jim quickly pulled into the parking lot because he spotted the waterfall that once fed the mill.

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We kept on for St. Johnsbury, and I pulled out our handy Tourism Guide which led us to the Museum of Natural History and the Athenaeum.  The museum guide was friendly and we opted to visit at our own pace.  Filled with taxidermy from around the globe, and unique items across many cultures, it is definitely worth the visit.  They also have a planetarium, but we opted not to stay for that show.

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Museum of Natural History, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

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The only Moose we saw in Vermont.

We wandered into the Athenaeum, which is loosely translated into “a place to encourage learning”.  In St. Johnsbury, it hosts the Public Library as well as an incredible Gallery featuring many paintings, sculptures and original books from the 1700-1800s!  The docent there, Ewa, was passionate and steeped in knowledge about not just the Athenaeum, but fine art, architecture and history.  She was clearly excited to have visitors and give a tour. On our own we would have spent far less time, and had almost no appreciation for what the Athenaeum offered. Not to mention, having someone else tell the stories beats reading articles and museum signs any day!

After our tour, we headed toward our next major destination: Ben & Jerry’s.  Not too far away I spotted a sign for Cabot Creamery and made Jim follow the sign because I remembered reading that they had a factory tour.

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We sampled many delicious cheeses, and learned about the industry, co-op and cheese-making process.  Did you know cheddar is lactose-free?

The tour wasn’t long, and we were back on the road heading to Montpelier, the state capitol. Being Saturday, the Vermont State House was closed, so we snapped a quick selfie and set our sights on ice cream.

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Ben & Jerry’s isn’t too far away from Montpelier, and we pulled up to what could be mecca for many an ice cream lover, or hippie, or both!  The factory overlooks the town, so there is a winding ramp or stairs to take to get there. We went in and purchased tickets for the tour.  Although ice cream wasn’t being made on Saturday, our guide was quite comedic and did a good job explaining, or perhaps making stuff up, about the process.  We had samples at the end of the tour and mozied to the Flavor Graveyard before departing Waterbury.

Ironically, I grew up in Wisconsin, the Dairy State, and until our trip to Vermont, I had never experienced the cheese-making or ice-cream making processes.

It was late afternoon, and knowing we had a limited amount of time the next day to tour, we opted to travel onto Burlington for the evening.  We chose the fastest route in hopes of beating sunset, and found our way to the hometown of the University of Vermont. As with many college towns, Burlington is bustling with life, even after 5:30pm!  We stopped in a maker space, Generator, and took a tour and made our way to Church Street Marketplace on total accident.  My goal was to find the Burlington City Arts Gallery, and turns out it’s right in the middle of this awesome area that’s like the towns you see in the old Christmas Movies when folks are window shopping.  After visiting the Gallery, we strolled the three blocks, popped in a few shops and then decided to find a place to eat.  We ended up at The Scuffer, and were able to sit at the bar and eat, good food, nice bartenders.

Up Next: Last Day in Vermont – Manchester

 

 

 

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Woodstock, Brattleboro & Bennington

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Our first morning out was a bit damp and cool, but it didn’t stop us from making our trek.  We set out for Woodstock, and the nearby Sugarbush Farm.  Along the way we spotted our first Covered Bridge.  Vermont is home to over 100 covered bridges.  While covered bridges weren’t necessarily on our checklist, they are cool, and we stopped for several more during the trip.

After following the old winding roads that follow the river and lead to the farm, we arrived at the Sugarbush Farm.  The goats greeted us, one was eagerly trying to get us to spend money to give him food, but they had a huge bale of hay, so we didn’t feel bad.  We found our way into the cheese wrapping area and store where we sampled several delicious cheeses.  But more importantly, sampled REAL VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP!  Our hostess explained how the different grades occur, and told us about the sugarhouse, which was open to see how maple syrup is made.

img_6158After touring the sugarhouse, we made our way back to the byway and headed toward Brattleboro.  Driving the byways is both beautiful and educational.  There are many pockets of small populated areas, some are actual towns.  One of our checklist items was Witch Windows (aka Coffin Windows).  We saw only a couple during our drive the first day, and inevitably Jim would say, “There’s one.” and the car behind us would be too close for him to slow down or stop so I could take a picture.

We found our way to downtown Brattleboro and the Vermont Artisans Designs.  The gallery displays beautiful arts and crafts made by Vermont Artisans.  We spent quite a bit more time on the 2nd floor than I would have anticipated walking in.  There were many unique items and a wonderful gallerist, Greg Worden, who told us about some of the work as well as American Craft Week.  We wandered up the street to a local restaurant and had soup, New England Clam Chowder, and chili for lunch before heading out to find local Blacksmiths.

Our next destination was Grafton.  There is a blacksmith shop there, and the website advertised that the smith would be in on Friday.  We found a closed shop and stopped in the local gallery.  The gallerist there pointed us to Chester.  So we drove to Chester, most of the way GPS-free, because we entered a “No (cell) Service” zone in this part of the state. We found a small artisan outlet, though not exclusively Vermont artisans, but no Blacksmith.  Jim had looked up another smith before we left the hotel and we pulled up his information and headed to Saxtons River to see if Ian Eddy was in.  He was, and gracious to let us drop in, gave us a tour, Jim and Ian talked shop and tools while I admired his very fine work.

 

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Ian said we needed to visit the Vermont Country Store img_6167which wasn’t too far up the road.  And that’s where I found Anti Monkey-Butt Powder!  Seriously, I had never heard of or seen it before – I know many of you have because you commented on my Facebook post.  I must admit, I’m not sure why it’s the VERMONT Country Store, I’d guess only about 10-20% of the store is stocked with local merchandise.  They do have a covered “kissing” bridge between the two parking lots.

Our final destination for the day was Bennington.  I did the driving on this leg, so no photos of any of the pockets of houses and towns we went through.  The drive was beautiful as it wound up, down and around the mountains.  One of the things I noticed is that the houses in Vermont are very colorful!  Sure, many white, cream and tan houses, but the houses in periwinkle, yellow, purple, pink, blue and rich greens easily outnumber them. The newer houses were generally double-wides, most with multiple additions.  Many are very close to the road, similar to old Europe. I’m sure this is mostly to minimize snow removal.

We drove past ski resorts and down into Bennington.  It’s not hard to find Bennington because the Bennington Battle Monument stands out.  It was dinner time when we arrived, and found that most of downtown Bennington was, well, closed on a Friday night at 5:30.  What made this more interesting to us is there was a lot of car traffic, and Standing Rock pipeline protestors on the main corner – but we’re not sure why since there really wasn’t anything to “do” as far as we could tell.  We shared a Cottage Pie (YUM!) and Chocolate Mouse Pie (also yum!)  at the Madison Brewing Company Pub before driving over to the monument.  I wish I had my SLR and a tripod, the monument was beautifully framed by the stars that night.

Then back on the road to White River Junction for a good night’s sleep.  Despite MOOSE signs on the interstate, we encountered none.  I guess that’s good, they’re pretty big.  By the way, the featured image at the top of this post is a flower pot in Brattleboro, I had never thought of planting cruciferous veggies as decoration, but why not?

Up Next: Northeast Kingdom, Ben & Jerry’s and Church Street

Mirrors

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul”
~ George Bernard Shaw

Tang in the Mirror

Tang in the Mirror

The quote seems so appropriate for the picture (taken at the HDZ Aquarium.  Love those little Tangs!)

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I posted on the blog.  I had updated the website (so it doesn’t seem so out of date), but neglected to get back out here to share what’s up!

I’m studying to improve my skills with Alcohol Inks; the lessons have been with both June Rollins and Karen Walker, and I must admit, it’s become a wee bit of an addiction.  If you’re following me on Facebook, you’ve seen some of the work as a result of these classes.  They’re small, so I’m turning the creations into hand-built greeting cards.  My next piece will be bigger, I just haven’t decided on a topic.

It’s almost 4th of July!  That means fresh corn, fireworks and family reunions.  I hope you all have a fantastic fourth.

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Painting!

You’re amazed and surprised right?  Dori, painting?

It’s not what you think.  I self-distracted again, but it was necessary, it’s been needed since January.

Peeking into the studio

Peeking into the studio

I’ve been contemplating colors.  Julie from Feng Shui Omaha suggested a very light terracotta to warm up the studio.  I entertained that color for awhile, then, one day when I was in Lowe’s looking for paint for the gallery I stumbled across this gorgeous Sunflower Yellow.

Yes, you can come in!

Yes, you can come in!

I did add some orange to the space, some new cool Cubicles from Target, and now I’m on the hunt for a rug…

It feels a lot more like MY place now, not some cold office.

Better get back to the waterfall…  until next time,

🙂 Dori

 

All about the Install

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When I started on this project, I had immediately asked other fiber artists if they wanted to help.  I was very lucky to have Missy and Diane jump in.  Diane provided a lot of moral support and whipped up fish and sharks lickity-split.  Missy and I spent hours working on placement, sewing and Missy did most of the painting to highlight the fish and make them appear more realistic and dimensional.

A broken serger and 110 hours later we were at installation day!  The high temp for the day – 18!  We did some last minute preparations, grabbed Sophie, our intern, and headed for a warm lunch.

After lunch we met Becky from OCI and Kim from Village Pointe.  We unloaded and started in on covering the arms of the sculpture.  It wasn’t 18 yet.

I bravely stood on the top of the step ladder to reach as high as possible and pull the seaweed covers and Jellyfish down.  Then inside to warm up.

After several trips like that we made it to the 4th arm, and had to rethink our “engineering”.  Between Missy and I, we came up with a plan.  This time Missy stepped up to the top and with some effort, we did it!

The next phase was to secure the underwater duvet to the base.  This worked pretty well, and needed just a few minor adjustments.  Then we finished it off by anchoring the octopus to the seaweed and adding some knitted water nets to the top!

We drove by last night, the lights shining up from the base make this a very fun and interesting site in the middle of Village Pointe.

One COOL Dood

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Annual eye exam time!

Nothing says fun like going to the eye doctor, having your eyes dilated, and wearing “grandma” sunglasses.  JD sported them like a real dood!

In case you’re wondering, Funky Dori hasn’t been creating a lot these days.  The Smiling Turtle is really coming along, we’re planning to OPEN August 15th and the first show is Turtles! as Totems, scheduled for September 7th 6-9pm.

I did manage to get in a little creativity yesterday; another artists asked me about mixed media, and we did some transfers and sun-printing.  The results were gorgeous – this is one of Lisa’s pieces:

Have a great week!

Omaha Artists Inc Show at The Designers

What a phenomenal show – over 101 pieces of art entered, and the location is the perfect place to display each and every one of them.

The Designers Furniture Gallery is located at 12123 Emmet St, Omaha, open 9-6 Mon through Fri and 10-2 on Saturdays.  The show will be running through June 2nd.

I entered three pieces into the show – Elephant Festival, Africa and Erosion.  Elephant Festival received 3rd place!  I was quite surprised to receive such an honor.  The judge spoke about all of the pieces that received a placement, which I was glad for, I wasn’t sure why Elephant Festival would be chosen.  She liked use of block printing, fabric selection and detailed stitching and beadwork.

Seeing the incredible art, I can’t imagine just how difficult it must be to be a judge.

So if you have an hour to spare, stop in The Designers, maybe over lunch or after work, it’s like walking through a museum, without the admission fee 🙂

Finding the Mojo!

I belong to several internet trading groups for fiber artists.  I hadn’t signed up for many swaps in awhile, so decided to jump back into the game.  Today I worked on a color swap, Turquoise and Orange, an open swap (create whatever you want), and a Coral Reef-Fish postcard swap.  Below are the results of finding my mojo!

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Something New Something Purple

I’m taking an online class with the very talented, Lisa Call.  Although this class is primarily technique, Lisa shares quite a bit of art and design information.  The Queen of Purple is a direct result of this class – playing with both technique and design.

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“Queen of Purple”
6″ x 6″
Cotton, Glass

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Merry Christmas 2012