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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Parting shots

Hiking with Dave at Brins Mesa, Sedona.

This is our last night in beautiful Sedona, AZ, so I'm giving you a few parting shots before we pack up the computer and hit the road for home. It's been an amazing month of spectacular scenery, long hikes, good food, and sharing it all with visiting friends and family.

Buddha Beach at Red Rock Crossing.

Red rock reflected in front window.

Thanks to the gracious owner of the beautiful home we rented, which was the perfect base for our visit and so much more affordable than a hotel. Take a look (above) at the red rock reflected in the living room window. The sunset views from the wraparound deck (below) can't be beat.

Sunset last night from back deck.
 Good night, Sedona!

More sunset colors last night.

Have a colorful day

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beading in the desert

My "yoga quilt" was on the back burner for the last week while we entertained company (miles of hiking and lots of good food and fun), but now I'm stitching again. Today I started adding these lavender drop beads that I found at The Bead Garden of Sedona. I went in looking for drop beads, and they just happened to be 50 percent off! It's a really nice bead shop.

The color of the beads reminded me of these flowers (above) and of the large flowering rosemary plant (below) that we saw today at the Sedona Heritage Museum.

These rocks that someone artistically wedged into the crook of a tree at Red Rock Crossing could be nature's beads.

Here's a shot of the yoga quilt when I was working on the embroidery. Below are some photos from my wanderings in Arizona -- the colors reflect those in the quilt. I started the quilt in Washington, dreaming of sunny desert colors, and I'm thrilled to finally be surrounded by those colors in person.

This cactus is at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, but everything else is from Sedona.

Have a colorful day

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring in Sedona

View from Doe Mesa, first day of spring.
Our hike for today -- the first day of Spring -- took us up a zig-zag trail to the top of Doe Mesa, giving us panoramic views of Sedona.

Sunset from Airport Mesa the last night of Winter.
Last night, we went to another mesa -- Airport Mesa -- in the center of town, where we joined the throngs that gather nightly to watch the sun set. This was the last sunset of Winter.

I thought I should use green in my stitching on this first day of Spring, so this morning I continued with the green embroidery on my yoga mat quilt. It reminds me of last night's fiery orb.

Then I used this spring green batik to stitch together the backing for the jelly roll quilt.

By early afternoon, we decided we needed to get started on the hike. I put away the sewing and put on sunscreen and hiking boots and off we went. After the long climb up the side of the mesa, we spotted the rock cairn (above) that indicated where we would find narrow rock steps up the final stretch.

Dave brought a kite, but the winds were so brisk and uncooperative that he couldn't get it up in the air. It kept wanting to dive down with downdrafts. 

Luckily, I've never been afraid of heights, otherwise I never could have looked down over this jagged outcropping. I did get a little dizzy as I was walking near the edge focusing on the ground in front of me but catching a peripheral view of the land far below moving past me at a different rate.

I looked DOWN at this helicopter, probably flying tourists through the canyons. I can't believe we climbed up that high in a relatively short amount of time. 

Here's a little arrangement of desert green for Spring.

And here is my reward after climbing back down -- chocolate crème brulee torched tableside at Ken's Creekside Restaurant.

Have a colorful day

Monday, March 18, 2013

At home in the desert

Take a look at these photos from my Sedona trip and compare them with my "Rain Dance" quilt at the top of my blog and you'll see why I feel at home in the desert! That's me in the purple shirt in the bottom photo with my friend Paula as we hiked the Bell Rock-Courthouse Butte trail.

Have a colorful day

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Yoga quilt and prickly pear cacti

I started the embroidery on my latest yoga mat quilt, using a beautiful hand-dyed green perle cotton thread from (aka Laura Wasilowski). I've been sitting on the deck down here in the glorious Arizona sunshine, working on it in between hikes.

The more I embroider, the more it reminds me of the prickly pear cacti that are so prevalent here.

We didn't know if this one was dying or was stressed or was just a different variety ... but the color is nice.

Have a colorful day

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Finding color with Tie Dye Judy

Since I started my blog I've become "blogger friends" with people all over the world, and this week I got to meet one in person for a day of shop-hopping, lunch and show-and-tell. "Tie Dye Judy" came down from Flagstaff to meet me in Sedona. Her post about our visit is here:

We started at the Cocopah bead shop in the very picturesque Tlaquepaque shopping center. We both gravitated toward the same sun pendants (above) and each ended up buying one. Then we went to Cocopah's sister shop across the street, which also sells vintage quilts and other fiber art. There, I bought two more pendants -- the rabbit because of you-know-who and the red rock jasper one because it reminds me of the desert scenery.

Here's Judy with a quilt she made using some of her tie-dyed fabric. Below is one of the coiled bowls that she learned how to make from one of my blog posts. It was really fun to see what she's been doing with the technique. This one blends in perfectly with the Sedona rocks.

Weaving outside a store.

Last stop (after a delicious lunch of chilaquiles) was Quilter's Store Sedona, where I bought the jelly roll strips for the quilt I showed you in my last post. The shop is full of bright, sunny colors, friendly clerks, and vivid Southwest-inspired quilts like these:

Thanks for a fun day, Judy!

Have a colorful day

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rolling out the color

I'm rolling along with the jelly roll quilt
while the world outside is stormy.

To recap: I came to Arizona to escape the rain of the Northwest, and now it's been snowing/raining for the past two days.

So I decided to buy the brightest jelly roll pack of batiks that I could find and make a Jelly Roll 1600 quilt. First you sew all 40 strips together, end to end. (I jazzed mine up by inserting smaller lengths of a bright yellow in about eight spots.) Then you cut 18 inches off of one end.

Now you have a 1600-inch (less the 18 inches) strip. You cut that in half and sew the two lengths together, then cut that in half and sew those two together like I'm doing above.

Still stormy outside, but now the quilt is taking shape.

When you get to this point (below), with 16 strips sewn together, you only have to cut it one more time.

Then you can play around with the arrangement of those two halves, deciding which way to sew them together. Here are a few options:

I'm saving the final seam for tomorrow, just so I have something to look forward to. And it's supposed to be SUNNY!

Have a colorful day