Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wrangell, Alaska Photo Essay

Flowers in front of the fabulous Wrangell Museum
These photos are from our June trip to Alaska.  What an amazing place!  It's so very different from the Arizona desert.  First of all, there's WATER!!  Second, there's RAIN!!  Oh, wait, that is water.  Third, there are pine-type trees.  Next, it's cold (to us) in June. 

This page shows Wrangell, Alaska.  Wrangell is a small town that is missed by most cruise ships.  Too bad for them. 
View from the picnic table in front of the Wrangell Museum

A boat in the repair facility in Wrangell
Wrangell is small enough that we could often see who was driving where and what boats were heading out and coming in.  After walking past the fishing tender Frigidland (above) in the repair facility a few times, we later saw it motoring away. 
Tribal House of the Bear on Shakes Island
Shakes Island is a small island in the Wrangell Harbor.  You walk to the island across a pedestrian bridge. 
One of the totems on Shakes Island

View from Petroglyph Beach
About two miles from the center of Wrangell, is Petroglyph Beach.  The ancient peoples carved or pecked images into rocks on the beach.  You can wander around and try to spot as many as you can. 

View of Wrangell from observation post on Mt. Dewey Trail
 The Mt. Dewey trail will definitely get your heart pumping!  It's mostly on wood planks and takes you into thick rainforest.  It goes up and up.  Then it pops out with an observation post that overlooks town. 

Cruise ship arriving!
 When we saw the cruise ship pulling up to the City Dock, we picked up our pace a bit on the trail.  We were planning to lunch at the Stikine Inn & Restaurant with the gray roof.  We moved a bit faster to beat the crowds.  We needn't have worried. 

The people at the Stikine Restaurant were very friendly and accomodated my husband's special diet needs as best they could. 

The Charles T in a Wrangell repair facility
We walked past this repair dock several times in our days in town.  The Charles T caught my eye.  It's a fishing boat that was built in 1919.  Crab fishing season opened while we were there.  That meant a lot of activity in town and in the harbors. 

We spent almost four days in Wrangell.  Town is pretty compact so we walked almost all the time.  When we went to and from the airport and the ferry terminal, we got a ride from Bruce, owner and operator of the Sourdough Lodge where we stayed. 

While we walked about town, we started recognizing some of the locals and they waved and greeted us as we passed. 

Crows are all around town.  There was at least one that hung out in the downtown area that cawed and then beeped like a Toyota (or was it a Nissan?) when you use your key to unlock it.  Made me look a few times.  When I figured it out, we laughed and then enjoyed the mimicry each time we heard it.  It was funny to hear that sound when it came from high in the trees. 

Go to Wrangell to enjoy the relatively unhurried pace of life here.  It's not a ritzy place, but it's real.  It has its own kind of charm.  Watching the tides is amazing! 

What is your next adventure?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blogger's Block of the Month

My block for the month of October

One of my favorite things to do is read blogs.  One of my favorites is Amy's Creative Side.  She's all about quilting and sewing and keeping it fun.  And sharing. 

Then I read her blog post about the Blogger's Block of the Month (here it is). 

It looked like fun and I need to use up some of my REDs in my fabric cabinet (can't fit any more reds in there!).  I love looking at Amy's quilts and thought that I'd love to make at least one block designed by her. 

I hopped on over to another favorite blog (Canton Village Quilt Works) and learned about the Blogger's Block of the Month here.    It is FREE.  The list of designers includes some familiar names and some that are new to me.

It's intended for all levels of quilters and is all pieced.

I picked out several reds to use along with some mostly white background fabrics.  I have no idea what to expect.  But that's OK.  There is no rule that says you have to know exactly how your quilt is going to look when it's finished.  Serendipity can be a whole lot of fun.  Just pick out some fabrics and colors that you like. 

If you're interested, join in!  Please click on the button on the left of my blog with the Mariner's Compass Block.  I can't wait to see what you come up with.  I'll be watching.

I'm already a bit behind because I haven't started the block for November even though it's been out for several days.  Best get with it.  

We'll have fun together!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bellingham Washington Photo Essay

OK.  So these photos are from June of this year.  Things have been a bit of a flat out dead run around here.  I'm kinda starting to get a bit of a routine going, so I feel like I have a bit of time to share these long overdue photos with you.  Not that I'm caught up or anything, but . . .

I got to go to Bellingham, Washington this year to attend soapmaking classes (Soap Intensive Weekend) offered by Bramble Berry.  Before I went to class, I walked along the water.  I'm a desert kid, you know, so large bodies of water fascinate me. 

Here are a few of the photographs from that walk:

The Alaska ferry Columbia

The brick and mortar store related to Bramble Berry in downtown Bellingham
The soapy classes were great!  Bellingham is charming and very walkable (if you don't mind a bit of up and downhill). 

This town deserves more exploration . . .

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Firecracker Quilt Being Quilted

I was getting my Firecracker quilt ready to quilt on my sewing machine.  This was before the arrival of the longarm quilting machine (more on that later!).  I used a version of Sharon Schamber's method of hand basting.  See her video here.  

Then I got busy quilting it on my sewing machine.  First, I studied the photo here on quilt designer Julie Herman's blog of the fabulous quilting done on the quilt by quilter Angela Walters.  I knew I couldn't do the amazingly beautiful job that Angela did on Julie's quilt, but it inspired me.  First, I outlined the triangle shapes of the pinwheels. 

Then I did swirls in the background spaces.

Here is my version of the quilt all done!!

It's now hanging in the local quilt shop, Hearts and Hands, where it's on the class schedule. 

What project have you finished lately?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Firecracker Quilt in Progress

I'm always looking for quilt ideas that catch the eye.  We get plenty of inspiration while surfing the Internet.  So many creative people out there who are sharing what they do.  

One day while I was reading Lazy Girl's newsletter or blog, she mentioned this funky ruler and gushed over the quilts that Julie at Jaybird Quilts created with it.  

Several of those quilts caught my eye, but I needed to narrow down the choices.  

I decided I liked the "movement" of the Firecracker quilt, so I asked Nina at my local quilt shop, Hearts and Hands, to order it for me.  We talked about using some of the new patriotic fabrics in the quilt.

Brilliant idea!

When the pattern arrived, I shopped a bit and picked up some of the new red and blue fabrics from Hearts and Hands.  I also got a nice cream on white fabric for the background.  I have plenty of red and blue fabrics in my stash, so they got thrown into this mix.   

The photo at the top of the page shows the interesting shapes you need to cut to get this quilt started.  As Julie says in the pattern, be sure to read the instructions all the way through.  This is a quilt where you cut all the pieces, sew about half of the pieces together, cut what you've made into other funky shapes, start laying it out, then sew some of your original pieces to what you constructed to make the fireworks.  

The directions are really very good.  The diagrams are lifesavers and excellent.  

Here is what you get when you sew the funky white shapes to the kinda triangle shapes.  I like the look already. 

Then you cut these up using the Lazy Angle Ruler that I mentioned above (the link's up there, too).  Lay them out on your design wall (or big table, in my case) with the left facing triangles you have ready to go.  
You're making pinwheel shapes!  
Then sew triangles to pieces to make blocks.

Here's what you get at this point!


More later as things progress . . .  What are you working on?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Had No Idea It Would Be So Soft

The other day the post office left a notice to pick up a box.  I saw it was from Danni from the blog "On the way to critter farm . . ."  I was excited, but, alas, life has been in the way so I wasn't able to get it right away.

This morning, my husband was going that direction, so he was nice enough to stop at the post office and pick up the box.  As he handed it to me, he said, "Be careful.  It's heavy."  It was NOT heavy!  I opened the box and here's what I found! 

Fiber from Kai the Llama!!

Chocolate from Danni!!

One of the blogs listed on the side of my blog is Danni's excellent and entertaining blog about her life in Oregon with her animals.  A few weeks ago, her llama Kai got a haircut.  Kai had quite a coat of fiber (hair, fur, whatever).  Danni generously offered to share some with blog readers here. 

Here's what a bag of Kai Llama's fiber looks like.  

Kinda like furry chocolate.  I didn't know what to expect when I took it out of the bag.  It's SOFT.  And dense.  And soft.  If there's some coarser fiber in there, I haven't felt it yet.   It's really very soft. 

Oh.  That's what I'm planning to do with this fiber.   Felt it.  On soap.  I make cold process soap from scratch.  I have some soaps that are sitting around waiting for a new home.  I think those soaps will make excellent experiments with Kai Llama's fiber.  I've studied up on how to do it.  It doesn't look difficult.  It looks like it takes patience.  I'll take a dose of it before I get started and then I'll report back.  I owe that to Kai, you know. 

I have another project that will take a couple of weeks of my time and then I'll be felting away on soap with Kai's fiber.  I'll take photos and notes and let you know how it goes.

To Kai Llama and Danni:  THANK YOU!!  THANK YOU!!  THANK YOU!!

I can already report on the chocolate Kit Kat bars from Danni:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sewing Weekend at a Friend's Home

Fire engine panel quilt made by my friend Kim
Desert Bear made by my mother
Crazy Eights quilt made by Kim and me (and Mom, too!) (pattern by Bits N Pieces)
Kim is tying these two fleece throws together (sorry about the upside down dogs)
My husband is starting to machine quilt (you might have to click on this one)

Purse I made--from Grids & Grommets pattern by Indygo Junction

It was a great weekend of quilting, sewing, eating, and visiting.  We got plenty done and solved many of the problems of the world--if others would just do what we suggest.  

Mom is making progress on her bear quilt project.  My husband is just learning how to machine quilt and I think he's doing great!  He already has several offers from friends and family to quilt their projects.  He says he's not ready yet.  I think he is.

I'm already planning for our next sewing get-together day.  Hmmm . . . which projects should I take along?

What crafty or other get togethers are you doing with friends and family ?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mom Finished Her Quilt!

Mom was very excited when she stitched the last bit of binding on this beautiful, colorful quilt on Monday.  She instructed me to call the newspapers.  And then take pictures.  It was afternoon, so the lighting isn't the best, but I usually do what my mother tells me to do . . .
Off and on, it's taken her about two years to complete this quilt.

 It's very special to her and to me because many of the fabrics used in the quilt came from scraps leftover from her mother's (my Grandma Lucinda's) handmade dresses.   Can you tell that Grandma Lucinda liked floral prints?

The modern fabrics are the backing fabric, the diamond print in the corners of the borders, the striped sashing, inner border, binding, and backing.  "Dusty rose" was Grandma Lucinda's favorite color.  Mom included shades of this pinkish color to remember Grandma's favorite. 

The fine quilting, emphasizing the lines on this quilt, was done by Shirley Pratt of Cowgirl Up Quilts in Benson, Arizona. 

The pattern was designed by Pamela Goecke Dinndorf and appeared in Quilter's Home magazine here

Mom loves this quilt, especially now that it is DONE!  I think it will be out to be enjoyed regularly.  It is a great reminder of Grandma Lucinda and all those pretty fabrics. 

Mom--good job!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sewing Days with Good People

My friend Kim made the above cowgirl rag quilt for a friend of hers.  I think the friend loves it!  She showed a photo of herself wrapped up in the quilt with all three of her dogs, a cup of tea, pinky out, at 1:00 AM watching the royal wedding.  THAT'S the photo that I need for this blog, but she refuses to give it up.

By now, you know that I LOVE to make things.  I love to quilt and sew and make soap and . . . my friend Sue says that my crafts expand to fit the space.  I think I should admit to BEYOND the available space.

My mother and my friends and I get together every so often to sew together.  Usually, we work on our own projects.  Sometimes, however, we work on projects together.  Usually without fighting.

Food is involved, too.  You have to keep your strength up to keep on sewing and quilting, you know.

Kim used the leftovers from the rag quilt above to make a smaller quilt.  Here is her Maddie helping with the layout of the quilt. 

My mother received these fabric circles from a friend.  Mom's plan was to make round placemats.  Well, she got one mostly done.  Pronounced it a centerpiece and moved on to other projects!

Here is Mom's stack and whack quilt in progress.  It was going pretty well until she couldn't find Row 10.  Turns out she didn't make a Row 10, but after all that hunting and aggravation, she was kinda ready for a break. 

Here is a baby quilt in progress.  Kim and I worked together on this one.  Mom worked on it too, but she didn't like the colors, so she made sure to have enough of her own projects ready to avoid having to work on it again.  

Here's a pretty flower from Kim's back yard.  

Here is Kim's Maisy on the bed with the batting that was spread out to "relax" out the wrinkles before it got put into a quilt.  The plastic bins are there to keep Maisy off the bed and batting . . .
Why is everyone looking at me?
 Maddie has no quilt available to arrange or test, so she's sleeping very well on her bed, but there's something wrong with this incline.