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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Congrats, Joyce and Nancy!

I'm so proud of my friends Joyce, left, and Nancy.

They were instrumental in pulling together today's grand opening of the Harbor WildWatch environmental center and Gig Harbor Visitor Information Center in the historic Skansie House in downtown Gig Harbor.

Joyce, as president of the HWW board, has long dreamed of permanent headquarters in the harbor for the environmental education group. And Nancy oversees the volunteers for the new visitor center and turned their new space into an inviting stop for visitors and locals alike.

Nancy's husband refurbished the patio table and chairs that greet visitors, and Nancy planted the cheerful flower container out front.

HWW rooms include a cozy library (above) where you can lounge and read about our local marine wildlife. I can see doing that on a rainy winter day. Another room, which I forgot to photograph, has marine life exhibits. The next dream for HWW is to turn the spacious kitchen into an area where the public can examine marine life under microscopes and maybe have other learning adventures.

The city Visitor Center has these comfy chairs in the front room, along with local literature and those gorgeous hydrangeas from Nancy's garden.

The centers will be open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through the end of September. From Oct. 1-April 30 hours will be Thursday-Saturday, 10-4. Stop in and say hello! 

During the open house, HWW had a tent set up outside with touch tanks filled with specimens from the harbor. Here you can see three sea stars and a sea cucumber. Check out the HWW website at for info on other public programs. All summer they set up touch tanks at local beaches.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Decisions, decisions on circle quilt

If you're a long-time follower, you'll recognize these circle blocks from YEARS ago. Since then they lived in a Ziploc bag on a shelf because I couldn't decide how to join them.

I had quilted each embroidered quarter circle to a larger square of fluffy black batting. That's as far as the plan went, then I hit a roadblock and couldn't decide what to do next. Too many options to think about when you don't do things the traditional way.

Today I told myself I would forge ahead with no second thoughts. So I pulled out a piece of lime green duck cloth and spray-basted the blocks onto it in this arrangement. I'm going to leave the edges of the green cloth raw and raveled.

So far so good, but the next question is how to attach them permanently. Some possibilities: tack each corner with a little zig-zag and leave the tails dangling; stitch around each square through all layers -- but with invisible or colored thread, and zig-zag or straight stitch?; tack each corner with a colorful button. I'm leaning toward tacking the edges with a tight zig-zag and then putting a big bold button in the center of each circle.

I WILL decide tomorrow!

Have a colorful day

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chocolate and Oranges

I finished "Chocolate and Oranges," my STITCH challenge quilt. It was really hard to photograph because it's sheer and shiny. The plastic labels, foil Hershey Kisses wrappers and glittery tulle confused the camera. Let's just say it looks better in person than in this photo where it's pinned to a gray felt design board!

It looks a lot better suspended in midair with the light shining through. I'm thinking of hanging it somewhere in the kitchen.

Have a colorful weekend

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sewing in fits and starts

I've been having trouble focusing on art quilting since the move and the two-week vacation on the road, but today I finally focused in on starting a "quilt" for our upcoming STITCH show. I'm calling it "Chocolate and Oranges" and it's made from ...

... orange bags and Hershey Kisses wrappers. I've been collecting them for years.

I ironed the plastic labels between parchment paper to flatten them and it worked pretty well. The base fabric is silk organza and I might put tulle on top, but not sure yet.

Before the trip, I started this prism quilt from the pattern that was on the bag of a package of coordinated strips. It was fun (mindless) sewing the long strips and then cutting the triangles, but I don't like the precision sewing required from this point on. This project may go into the UFO pile.

Then there are all the photos I took on the drive across Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin! It was overload of color, pattern and texture that has my mind swimming with quilt ideas.


The greens and bright blue skies that we passed for thousands of miles had me thinking of painting silk organza and building up layers of luminescent color.

The hot spring pools at Yellowstone provided great natural colors and patterns for inspiration.

And fields of flowers never fail to inspire me to think about abstract swathes of color in cloth. All of this is making my sewing come in fits and starts while my mind jumps from idea to idea!

 Have a colorful day

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wedding on the farm

My son got married! The latest quilt that I couldn't show you was Keith and Rachel's wedding quilt, with an Apache wedding blessing in the center, Hole In the Barn Door blocks in the corners (it was a farm wedding) and a yellow circle on top to represent the full moon of their wedding day.

The blessing was more eloquent than anything I could have written, but it expressed my sentiments exactly. I found the printed panel (by Block Party Studios) at a quilt store in Texas and painted over it in bright yellow because I wanted it to be joyful and happy. Here's the blessing:

Days of Togetherness

Now you will feel no rain, for each will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is one life before you.
May beauty surround you in the journey ahead
and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion.
May your days together be good and long upon the earth.
-- Apache wedding blessing

The ceremony was performed by Rachel's father outside under a big oak tree in a gentle rain. My brother performed the music, beautifully.

Then it was party time in the multistory barn!

Setting up the day before.

Vibrant wildflowers decorated each table.

Now I have two beautiful daughters!
p.s. The printed panel is by Block Party Studios in Iowa.
Here's the link to the panel:

  Have a colorful day

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Surrounded by bison

I'm still on the road, but lately we've been sharing it with bison! In our road trip from Washington through Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and back through South Dakota and Wyoming, we've had some big bison sightings from the car and on foot.

The first one, top, was a lone bull that wandered up near our car in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. It looked old, tired and hot ... and huge.

Next, we were in a line of cars at Custer State Park, South Dakota, that was surrounded by a herd of bison that seemed to think our cars were part of the herd. 

And today, no sooner had we pulled into the visitor's center at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming than we saw this big bison grazing near the restroom sign. A ranger was in the parking lot making sure no one got too close.

As we were leaving Yellowstone, we spotted this grizzly bear in the field beside the road. I was really glad to be in the car and not on foot for that one. We'll be back tomorrow to hike in Yellowstone, but the only wildlife I hope to see up close are birds.

Have a colorful day

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Glacier National Park

We're on the road to my son's wedding in Wisconsin and stopped on the way for two days of hiking in Glacier National Park in northern Montana. All I can say is MAJESTIC! Here are some shots.

This tipi on the grounds of Glacier Park Lodge reminds me of the shape of the mountains.

The lodge's garden runs right down to the Amtrak station. We saw a lot of people waiting at the station with back packs, traveling the country by rail.

After wonderful evenings reading is the lodge's breezeway chairs we hit the road again. Beautiful Montana.

Have a colorful day