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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A little red and green

The party's over, the kids have left, Dave is back at work, and I'm digging out of the wrapping paper, backlogged e-mails and dirty dishes.

Before I get back to the cleanup, here's a little bit of green and red from our Christmas. The green grass and bubbly is from an outrageously fun eight-hour food and drinkathon at the home of good friends Duane and Paula.

The red is my kitchen table with little white lights that will stay up ALL winter -- something necessary in the dark Northwest.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all!

Bunners and I wish you all
a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

And the answer is ... Seattle!

The Feet and Forks at Starbucks in Seattle's Pioneer Square,
with a Cow Chips cookie bag from next door.

Three alert readers correctly identified the mystery city as Seattle! The first one to get it was Michigoose (of Michigan), so congratulations to her!

The Fabulous Feet and Forks, with me in my 20-year-old
Southwestern coat that I bought at a mall in Manhattan, KS.

We took the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle and walked the short distance to historic Pioneer Square. Fortified with warm Cow Chips cookies and Starbucks coffee, we continued our walk through Pioneer Square, playing with the sweater-wrapped trees and window shopping at art galleries.

The Northwest is a hot bed of art glass. Most galleries carry it, and at the Glasshouse Studio you can watch glass artists at work.

The guy in back is working with molten glass.

Due to Seattle's location on the Puget Sound, you also see a lot of references to marine life. This is another view of the mural in the last post, but here you can see the scale next to the woman passing by.

Looking DOWN at the Space Needle from Columbia Center.

Everyone knows about the view from the Space Needle, but if you want to look DOWN at the Space Needle go to the 73rd-floor Sky View Deck of Columbia Center. It's twice the height of the Space Needle, 1,049 feet above sea level, with a 270-degree view of the city, mountains, highways and the Puget Sound. It only cost us $3 each (senior rate) and there were only a few other people there, so it was quiet, peaceful and dramatic.
Noontime gray skies and Mt. Rainier from our 73rd-floor perch.

From there, we hoofed it down 4th Avenue to the Public Library, known for its unusual architecture. I'd never been there before and I was horrified once we got inside by the hideous sickly glowing yellow escalators and elevators, the gray, and the cold industrialness of it all.
Weirdly colored escalator at the Seattle Public Library.
For a few minutes I thought the escalator's glowing yellow was fun. Then the novelty wore off and I decided it was wrong on so many levels. You'll see that same yellow in some of the other photos here, and I like it everywhere except in the library.

About the best thing I can say for the library is that it makes an architectural statement and provides some good photo ops. But I think a library should be warm and welcoming and make you want to spend the whole day there learning, reading and dreaming.

This library just made me want to GET OUT.

View from inside the prison -- I mean library.
From there, we found refuge in The Teddy Bear Suite, below, at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. It's the polar (pun intended) opposite of the library.

We went there to see the hotel's decorated trees but discovered they'd been auctioned off. Instead, we got to see this suite decorated entirely with teddy bears, green feathers, red glitter and lime ornaments.

Then it was up the hill and over to the gingerbread train station display at the Sheraton. Pretty impressive.

The exhibit depicted train stations from around the world, including the one above from New Zealand and the one below from the North Pole. (If you've seen the holiday TV show about Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys, you'll recognize the characters below.)

So there you have it! Another glimpse into an exciting day with the Feet and Forks. (Yes, we did live up to our name and use our forks for a late lunch at a brew house. But I forgot to take photos before the plates were cleared away.)

Have a colorful day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Color in the Mystery City

Can you name the famous American city where I took these photos last week?

My mission was to find COLOR in the city. The only hint I'll give is that this city is known for its greyness much of the year.

Anybody want to take a guess? I'll announce the answer this week.

Have a colorful day!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Comfort Quilts come together

It's been really grey again here,
so I feel the need for

The quilt above does the trick. It was one of the new quilts for breast cancer patients that was finished in November when the "Comfy Quilters" met at Harbor Quilts in Gig Harbor.

I worked on borders for the one above. The center was donated, already pieced in a fractured block pattern. We added a few borders to make it big enough for a patient to snuggle under during chemo treatments or at home.

This simple but striking one, above, comes together on the design wall.

Further down on the design wall were these half-square triangle layouts, which weren't from our group but I took a photo anyway because they were so cheerful. More of the comfort quilts are bagged up on the table, ready to take to the hospital.

Meanwhile, this zinger was pieced from long strips joined on the diagonal. Lots of movement.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sea stars, giant nudis and harbor lights!

An ochre sea star from Gig Harbor eating a mussel.

I know that sea stars eat shellfish by prying open the shells with their suction tube feet, inserting their stomachs into the hapless creatures and digesting their innards, but I never saw it in person until earlier this month.

Now you've seen it, too! That's an ochre star eating a mussel, above. Below is the same star all hunched up in the middle with the mussel held underneath.

The same star, hunched over its meal.

I was volunteering at the Harbor WildWatch touch tanks Dec. 3 while the crowds waited for Santa's arrival and the community tree lighting. One of our naturalists found the sea star and put it in our pool at the end of the dock, where I got to explain to everyone what was going on.

Another sea star in the touch tank.

But that wasn't the only activity on the pier that day. Check out the sea gull, bunnies, dogs and diver, all waiting for Santa and the lighting of the tree.

Miss Lizzy

Our Harbor WildWatch diver, Mike Behrens, gears up to jump into the chilly water and bring up interesting critters for the touch tanks.

I leaned over the water and took some photos of the marine creatures attached to the pier, with the blue sky and me reflected in the water.

This huge sea slug is the Dedronotus rufus.
The Puget Sound area has some HUGE sea creatures. One of our local marine biology experts, Dave Behrens, said this red-tipped nudibranch is the biggest Dedronotus rufus he's ever seen, and he's written books on nudibranchs! Look how big it is compared to the girl viewing it in the touch tank:

Nudibranchs are incredibly varied and beautiful. Look at the opalescent colored one below, the Dirona albolineata, sometimes called the "frosted nudibanch." Dave said they don't even get half this big in California.

The beautiful Dirona albolineata sea slug.
Nudibranchs are popularly called "sea slugs," although not all sea slugs are nudibranchs.

Kids love the Harbor WildWatch touch tanks.

Even the boats got into the Christmas spirit, decked out in colored lights while waiting for the big tree to be turned on. And here's that tree:

Have a colorful day!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My camera dies, like a salmon

Me and my trusty camera, the day before it died.
My friend, my constant companion, my blogging buddy, my camera, has died.

Its final assignment, fittingly, was documenting the spawning salmon making their last valiant thrashings in Donkey Creek before they expired.

Here are some of the salmon, writhing and resting, then dying. That's what my camera did.

After faithfully capturing the salmon, my camera and I went to a little cafe near the creek and had lunch. Then we stepped out onto the deck to get a photo of the sun-splashed white sailboats in the harbor before heading home, and my camera had a seizure and died!

The lens shuddered and clicked and tried to go out, then clicked frantically and tried to go in, and ... it was awful! It's quite dead. I'm not getting a new one until the mourning process is over. It was like an extension of myself.

My final shot at Donkey Creek Park was this memorial bench with beautiful carvings of the salmon.

Rest in peace