Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Friday, July 30, 2010

Maybe I'll be in a Texas quilt book!

 "Forest Fire Spirits" (57 X 51 inches), by Sherrie Spangler, 1997
Hand-painted fabric, feathers, gold thread

This quilt, "Forest Fire Spirits," has been packed away for years. I made it in way back in 1997 when I lived in El Paso, Texas. It was summer in the desert with temps over 100 degrees, forest fires raging elsewhere in the Southwest, and I had heat on my mind, hence the title.

Then last week I got an e-mail totally out of the blue asking if I would send it to the International Quilt Assn. offices to be considered for publication in a book called "Lone Stars III: Texas Quilts Today."
I guess they knew about it because it had been juried into the IQA Festival in Houston -- long ago.

The book will cover Texas quilts made in the last 25 years, and its 2011 release will coincide with the 175th birthday of Texas as a Republic, the IQA Festival's Texas theme show, and the opening of the new Texas Quilt Museum. My fingers are crossed!

Details, above and below, of "Forest Fire Spirits."

I started with yards of white cotton, which I painted with Setacolor fabric paints. After tearing it into strips and arranging it on the quilt batting, I stitched undulating lines with gold thread, catching in feathers and scrunched-up tulle here and there.

 This next picture has nothing to do with the quilt except for the 
pretty purple color.

 Flowers in our back yard.

And the next two pictures have nothing to do with anything else in this post. I just like them.

Grass swirls in the little estuary below our house.

Sea gull at low tide, surrounded by tube worm casings sticking up from the sand and seaweed. I also took this behind our house.

Have a

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

California quilt show or bust!

Colorful banners and palm trees
lead into the Long Beach Convention Center.

Welcome to the International Quilt Festival
at Long Beach, CA

Thousands of quilters from around the world attended last week.

Some of the stores across the street from the festival.

While the mother of all quilt shows (in my opinion) is the International Quilt Festival in Houston, which is held every fall, IQA added a smaller summer festival at Long Beach a few years ago. I made the trek last weekend, joining thousands upon thousands of quilters heading into the Convention Center to feast our eyes upon 23 separate exhibits plus the latest fabric, thread and gadgets at hundreds of vendor booths.The exhibits ranged from collections of beautiful antique quilts to the latest in contemporary art quilts. There also were dozens of classes, lectures and other special events.

I loved the pink and purple carpets.

My "Starfish Rising" quilt was in the West Coast Wonders exhibit.

I bought French dish towels from this vendor and he gamely agreed to pose for a photo. He's wearing an apron that his wife made from one of the towels. (Their business is called French Connections.)

These views from the airplane on my way home
may inspire a quilt someday.

Mt. Rainier out the window means I'm almost home.

You can visit the quilt festival online by going to and clicking on the ruby slippers.
Have a colorful day!

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Music in the harbor

They come by land and by sea for the Beatniks!

An attentive concert-goer in Gig Harbor.

Every type of water craft imaginable showed up
for last night's free Beatniks concert, in addition
to the crowd on land.

Last night was the night everyone was anticipating in Gig Harbor: The free Beatniks (they sound just like the Beatles) concert downtown in the park. It's such a popular local band that the road through downtown is closed all evening to allow for people to walk down to the park with their chairs and picnic coolers and dogs and kids. There are free concerts every Tuesday evening in the harbor, but I think this is the only one that closes the road.

We got to listen from our friends' sail boat,
surrounded by paddle boarders, kayakers, rafts, yachts ...

... and dogs!

The weather couldn't have been better, and as we sailed back to the marina we watched the billowy clouds turn from white to lavender to orange. (Thank you, Sheila and Michael.)

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Road Trip!! Ferries, food and flowers

This wonderful bakery/granola factory appeared at the end of our road trip, but I'm enticing you with it now.
I'll tell you all about it at the end of the post.

So off we go, on a mother-daughter college visit road trip to Bellingham, way up at the northwest corner of Washington. Instead of plunging into the madness that is I-5 from Tacoma through Seattle, we opted for the back roads, bakery stops, ferries and islands. On the way to Port Townsend we were behind this highway truck briefly. Then it was onto the ferry that carried us over to Whidbey Island. That's Mt. Baker on the horizon. It was a beautiful day -- sunny, 70 degrees. We passed tribal canoes that were headed to Pt. Townsend for a gathering, but they were too far off to get photos.

We meandered up Whidbey Island, soaking in the relaxed atmosphere and sunshine. At the north end is a bridge over Deception Pass, where we got out and joined others looking down from the middle of the bridge into the swirling currents. Dave kayaked through that several times.

We pulled into Bellingham, had dinner at Pepper Sisters, then wandered around the lively -- even though it was midweek -- downtown and stumbled upon this band playing at a street festival.

Free music, free parking, dancing, sunshine, laid back atmosphere, friendly people, and daylight until nearly 10 p.m.
We fell in love with Bellingham.

When we passed this sign for Nama, a raw vegan restaurant, Julia decided that this was definitely her type of town. We didn't have time to eat there. Next time.

Instead, we started the next morning at
Rocket Donuts!
Julia had done her vegetarian restaurant research ahead of time and placed an order for her vegan donuts the night before. Hers are on the right: vegan coconut and chocolate frosted cake. Mine are on the left: a Bavarian cream and a chocolate cream cheese muffin. Mine are not vegan, and I am not slim like my daughter. They sure were good, washed down with an iced mocha. The website,, has a picture and description of every donut, and I salivated over every word.

Then it was down to the business of visiting Western Washington University. As we parked, a deer wandered through the lot. A good sign. The next two photos were taken from the patio of the student union, which is perched high on a hill overlooking Bellingham Bay. Gorgeous flowers and views. The campus also has a renowned outdoor sculpture collection and arboretum.

The admission adviser's office had a cheerful traditional quilt on the wall that was made by the adviser's mom. Normally I would've asked to take a photo for the blog, but I was afraid that might be out of line.

Next up was the historic district of Fairhaven, just south of the university. Here is the town square, where we spent quite awhile on a shady bench (those are grapevines on the pergola) after dinner at the little cafe in a great independent bookstore,  
Village Books (,
which is the brick building across the square.
Vegan coconut peanut soup and a green salad for Julia.
 Greek pannini and salad for me. Yum.

The next morning we hit the road for home, this time heading down I-5 to Edmonds (north of Seattle) and taking a different ferry over to Kingston. Lines are long to get onto the ferries on Fridays in the summer, but I was prepared with my
traveling crazy quilt embroidery kit.

After an hour and a half wait, we drove onto the ferry "Spokane." The weather had turned chilly and overcast, so not many people were up on the so-called sun deck.

And now to the best part, that bake case at the top of the blog.
As we drove off the ferry in Kingston, we spotted this cute little building with a sign out front that said Granola Factory. We both yelled,
and swerved into the parking lot. (On the left as you drive off the Kingston Ferry,
25931 Washington Blvd., Kingston, WA)

 Well, it turned out to be a community bakery co-op that included
Mirracole Morsels Granola Factory 
Sweet Life Cakery

I convinced Nicole Matheson, who owns the Granola Factory, to pose for a photo outside with the flower boxes that her mother planted. That's also Nicole behind the bake case, along with Methia Gordon, owner and pastry chef of Sweet Life Cakery. Methia made the BEST sour cherry pie I've ever tasted from cherries grown on
All One Family Farm 

A sweet end to a sweet trip.
Have a colorful day!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dispatches from a Ferry Junky

 Here is your intrepid reporter, nose to the wind
on a ferry bound for Seattle.
Dave and I were on our way to meet a friend there for dinner.
Sure beats rush hour on I-5!
Me again, reporting in from the Bremerton/Seattle ferry
last October, iced mocha in hand.

 My newspaper column this week
is about falling in love
with the ferries 
since moving to the Northwest.

(You can read it by clicking here 
and then doing a search for Sherrie Spangler.
It will appear in the July 14 issue of the Peninsula Gateway.)

Unless the weather is horrible, you'll always find me on the deck if I'm riding the ferry. I'm like a dog that MUST stick its head out of the car window. Take a look at the views below and you'll understand why I could never sit in a car below deck, although a lot of people do drive onto the ferry, recline in the their seat and fall asleep. They're probably the same people who, as soon as they settle on an airplane, pull down their window shade and close their eyes. I, on the other hand, press my face against the window and look down at mountains, clouds, and the amazing geography from a bird's eye view. Here is a whale's eye view:

Seattle's Space Needle rises out of the city.

Mt. Rainier towers behind man-made activity approaching Seattle.

Another view of Seattle, from the Walla Walla ferry.

Mt. Rainier floats above a sailboat on the Puget Sound.
This is SO much better than the highway!

A little lighthouse south of Seattle.

Dave checking on the car before joining me above deck.

How could anyone stay inside with fresh air and views like this?

Ferries are for lovers.
Keith and Rachel on their first ferry ride in the Puget Sound.

Here's the other kid -- or at least her feet. She's a ferry veteran.

And we can't forget Mom and Dad.
We told them to visit in the summer,
but they delayed until fall and the gray skies.
I allowed them to sit inside for part of this Bremerton/Seattle trip.

Moving on to the San Juan Islands
and my very first ferry trip:

It was foggy. It was cold. It was gray on our way
from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, WA.

We took photos from inside of other ferries passing in the gloom.

The fog had lifted by the time we arrived in Friday Harbor 
on San Juan Island.

In Friday Harbor, we spent a day kayaking with our friends Duane and Paula. It was a special treat to watch Duane shimmy his way into the kayak skirt. Since that trip, he can't say enough about how much he hates kayaking.

Here's our kayak group coming in for a lunch break in the San Juan Islands. We took the ferry to and from the island that day, so the whole day was spent on the water.

You can even camp on the ferry!

Last summer, Dave took a 3-day ferry trip from Bellingham, WA, up the Inside Passage of Alaska. He joined others camping on the top deck, sleeping in a lounge chair. In Sitka, he met up with the rest of his group for an 8-day kayak trip.

Here he is, left, on the deck of the ferry. The friend with him, Darrell, was on his way to resume a multiyear project of hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and whatever else it takes to get from the Mexican-U.S. border in California to the Arctic Ocean under his own muscle power. The ferry was just his way of getting to where he left off the previous summer. Right now he is powering through the Yukon and hopes to be at the edge of the Arctic Circle by mid-August.

You can follow along on his website at, or his blog, www.

The second picture shows the deck where they camped.

And the parting shot is something you'd probably rather not see on the ferry. Check out the guy sunbathing near the campers, bottom right.

Have a colorful day!