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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fall color in the Northwest

The weekend was gorgeous out here, so Dave and I went in search of fall color and a hike. We found that AND piles of pumpkins at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.

There was a scavenger hunt going on, so pumpkins and other gourds were tucked throughout the 150 acres of gardens and woods.

Then there was the brilliant fall foliage! While not as colorful as back East where I grew up, the reds and golds were still beautiful, especially against the blue sky. (Although orange is also breathtaking against a stormy grey sky.)

The midafternoon shadows were already long, portending darker days to come.

The reserve used to be the home of Virginia and Prentice Bloedel. Visitors can wander throughout the first floor of the house, where my husband got sucked in by the book collection. It includes hundreds of volumes on plants and natural history. 

Back in Gig Harbor, I got a shot of fall leaves undulating on the water.

Happy Halloween!

Have a colorful day

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Little houses

It's been ages -- decades, I think -- since I've made a pieced quilt following a pattern. I'm doing it now. I need a mindless project to take to a retreat in a few weeks, so I bought this simple house pattern and cut it out in all of my favorite colors.

Once I'm at the retreat, I won't have to concentrate on cutting and can just have fun churning out the colorful blocks ... 68 of them.

I'm using brights for the houses and black and whites for the background, except for the slightly tan Grunge circle print in the upper right. 

I found the newspaper print fabric at the Sisters, OR, quilt show two years ago, and the other black and whites have been sitting in my stash even longer. I collected the black and whites thinking that I would overpaint them, but that never happened.

The blocks go together quickly -- only five short seams.

I need to stop before I finish them all at home before the retreat!

Have a colorful day

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Snapshots: Bend, peppers, power outage

A stormy view from Pilot's Butte in Bend, OR.
I've been missing on the blog the past week because first we were in Bend, Oregon, then I just felt lazy because of all the rain.

We went to Bend hoping to hike on the "sunny" side of the Cascades, but our vacation week turned out to be rainy, snowy, windy and cold. We got one hike in, along the Deschutes River Trail, then we sheltered in quilt shops, book stores, the High Desert Museum and restaurants.

These two photos are along the Deschutes River Trail, which runs past rapids, lava fields, meadows and woods.

We went to five quilt shops, including QuiltWorks, which has an exhibit gallery upstairs and a really nice collection of fabric on the main level. We also hit the famous Stitchin' Post in Sisters, but I didn't get photos. 

The next three photos are from the High Desert Museum outside of Bend. The high desert is probably my favorite terrain. I loved the museum.

Next, restaurants. Some people take pictures of their wine glasses, but I like this picture of my ice water in front of a candle. I especially liked the Blacksmith and Zydeco in Bend for dinner and Rancho Viejo in Sisters for lunch.

The last two days it snowed! It didn't accumulate where we were, but we saw cars coming down the mountain covered with snow. It was nice to look at from inside, but we just didn't feel like facing the cold and wind to hike.

Back home, Dave harvested the last of his hot peppers, which included ghost, cayenne, habanero, and Thai. The deer ate all of the Vietnamese ones. He chops up fresh peppers and mixes them with fish sauce for a searingly hot condiment that he puts on everything. He's also going to dry some for later use. I don't go near the things, except for taking pictures.

Last night the power went out in a massive rain and wind storm. We lit the gas fireplace and battery-operated candles and it was quite cozy. And that brings you up to date on my life! Hope you've all had a good week.

Have a colorful day

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Tonje Belinda Phillips' applique quilts

One of Tonje Belinda Phillips' colorful, wacky quilts.

One of my favorite quilt artists spoke at our
Gig Harbor Quilters guild meeting this month:

Tonje Belinda Phillips

I fell in love with the Oregon quilter's whimsical appliqué quilts a few years ago at the big annual quilt show in Sisters, OR. I was so excited that she was coming to our guild that I planned our vacation return date around it. She did not disappoint!

She showed some fantastic flower quilts ...

... and fun houses

... and beautiful baskets.

She is friends with Sue Spargo, who she said influenced her wonderful embroidery embellishments. The quilts were SO inspirational.

I bought her book, "Hand-Appliqued Quilts," and couldn't wait to get home and pour through it. I've never done needle-turn appliqué, but her book clearly explains it. I plan to add that to my tool box of quilting skills soon.

Have a colorful day

Friday, October 6, 2017

Orange and sunshine

An old quilt of mine, "Fragments."
Everything looks better in the sunshine, especially the color orange! This morning we had sun that illuminated spots of orange around the house, so I took pictures. I'll look back on them this winter to remind myself of how it was on this fine fall day.

Buddha and crow

Gourd from our garden
Grocery store flowers
So what if they're fake?

Have a colorful day

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Getting high in Vancouver

I was feeling pure trepidation in this photo as I prepared to step onto a 50-foot-high, narrow, swaying bridge strung among the trees in the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. It's called the Greenheart Canopy Walkway, and it takes you on a long, shaky loop, stopping at eight platforms, through the giant cedars and hemlocks of the northern forest. 

I was so glad when I stepped down, but it did make me feel closer to the trees.

From tall trees we go to tall buildings in Vancouver, where Dave and I spent a few days earlier this week. I blogged more about the buildings and population density back in May: feet-and-forks-take-on-vancouver.html

Our rental condo was on the 35th floor of one of the many, many, many glass high-rises. We had a great view every night of the moon rising over the city.

During the day we could see Mount Baker, which is a driving distance of 143 miles from the city! I couldn't find the distance as the crow flies.

Even the quilt store had high-rises. This quilt, called "Urban Living," is a block of the month kit at The Cloth Shop on Granville Island. I'm tempted to sign up for it -- love the funky buildings and bright colors -- except that it's paper piecing and I don't like doing that technique very much.

There were more high things at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, from massive totems ...

... to a giant Buddha statue.

And on our walk along the seawall, we came across this massive granite inukshuk, an Inuit symbol traditionally used as a landmark and navigational aid, but also representing northern hospitality and friendship. This one was made by Alvin Kanak for EXPO '86.

Go back to the picture from the quilt shop and see if you can find an inukshuk.

Our walk also took us through Stanley Park, a 1,000-acre wilderness park, where the trees are massive. Dave looks tiny next to this trunk. 

Stanley Park also has the Vancouver Aquarium, where this rockfish was looking up.

All-in-all, it's a great city.
I'm still coming down
from the high!

Have a colorful day