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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Palos Verdes and San Diego

View of Mt. Rainier shortly after leaving Seattle.
I'm just back from a weeklong trip to Southern California to visit family and soak in the sunshine. We had two days of rain storms, but otherwise it was sunny and warm -- just what I needed after too many grey, chilly days here.

First up was making dinner for my parents, who are going strong at 87 and almost 87. Here they are in their kitchen with Dave and a big bowl of pasta with pesto and shrimp that we made for dinner.

My parents live on the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula in southern Los Angeles County, and when we visit we always go for hikes along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The next morning we went to one of our favorite spots, the trail at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. 

I hiked and took photos while Dave hung out outside the Interpretive Center with the ever-present group of whale watchers.

After two days in Palos Verdes, we headed down to San Diego to visit my brother and revisit some San Diego sites. 

We were greeted with two days of rain, but luckily we found an amazing cafe just up the street from our hotel -- The Living Room Cafe at 1010 Prospect St. in La Jolla. It had fantastic breakfasts and even more fantastic pastries in a very relaxed, comfy atmosphere with a view of the ocean.

Bakery case at The Living Room Cafe.
We spent a day at Balboa Park, wandering through museums and finding funky art like this Hawaiian snow man.

At the Balboa Park Natural History Museum, I had Dave pose in front of this photo from an exhibit about the Baja Coast of Mexico. Doesn't it look like he's right there on that wild coast?

When the rain finally cleared, we enjoyed crystal clear blue skies and balmy temperatures the rest of the trip and I got some good photos of the water. 

I took these two photos at the La Jolla Cove, where there were some pretty wild waves.

Next up was a visit to the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When our kids were little, the aquarium was in a different location and much smaller, so it was interesting to see how it has changed since our last visit many years ago.

Then we continued up the coast toward my brother's house in Solana Beach, where hordes of very fit-looking bicyclists were everywhere! They made me feel so out of shape, sitting in our car with a bag of pastries from the cafe.

My brother had just come out of shoulder surgery a few days earlier, but he rallied and took us to a Solana Beach breakfast place called the Hide Away Cafe. It was very tiny, very cute, and had excellent banana French toast. And I bought a huuuuge cherry Danish to take back to my mom. 

Dave and my brother, Kevin, enjoying breakfast.

While visiting my brother, we always go for a hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, because that's where we were married 35 years ago. Unfortunately, the trails were closed because of the previous two days of rain, so we were limited to walking on the paved road.

Torrey Pines is one of the wildest stretches of land on the Southern California coast -- 1,500 acres preserved as they were before San Diego was developed, including maritime chaparral, the rare Torrey pine, and unspoiled beaches. It's one of my favorite places for hiking.

At Torrey Pines state park.
Then it was back up to Palos Verdes, where on our last evening I was finally able to photograph the sunset -- and what a sunset it was!

We parked at the Point Vicente park again, but this time instead of whale watchers there were sunset watchers. For almost half an hour the sky put on an amazing show and I took about 80 photos. The Point Vicente Lighthouse looked beautiful against the soft colors to the southwest, and straight west the colors were incredibly rich.

It was a perfect way to end our trip.

 Have a colorful day

Saturday, December 1, 2018

More holiday stitching

Now that I'm caught up with all the holiday have-to-do's, I'm able to focus on stitching just for fun.

I spent a few hours making a baker's dozen of quilted coasters for extra gifts and for our house.

I just sandwich scraps of batting between squares or rectangles of fabric and quilt in long lines, chain-stitch style. Then I square them up and zigzag around the edges. They finish at about four inches square, but they do shrink with the quilting, so cut them a little larger than the finished size.

And my little wool and cotton table mat found a place in the guest bathroom, topped with a tiny tree from my mother.

Have a colorful day

Friday, November 30, 2018

Christmas decorating is done!

I finally finished the decorating, and I only used a fraction of my holiday stuff. I didn't put out a single ornament this year, nor did I use the bag of red berry branches or the sleigh or the glittery bows and tablecloths. It's a relief not to have so much STUFF out!

You might also notice that there is no big tree. For the past 13 years or so, since the kids left home, I've switched to scattering little trees throughout the house, with little white lights but no ornaments. It makes me feel like I'm in a winter forest.

Here's the entry way, with a quilt that I made more than 20 years ago and just had quilted recently. It's the Jewel Box pattern.

Moving into the living room, we hung white icicle lights (my favorite decoration) in the bay window. I think of them as stars dancing inside.

This year's mantel is simple, with just a lighted garland, a bunny stocking holder ...

... and some brass deer from my daughter's vintage shop.

I still use the stocking that my aunt knit for me when I was little, and now it's joined by the stocking that my mother knit for my daughter. The moths got into both of them and I need to make some repairs.

The dining room is my Christmas card work shop.

I cut back this year to 76 cards instead of the usual 90, but I'm sure I'll think of some more people to send them to before the season is over. I love doing holiday cards!

In the kitchen, our little snowman family watches over us from atop a bookcase and my wooly reindeer hangs beside the kitchen door.


I put my wool winter village by the sewing room. I made it early on in my wool applique days, before I started adding beads. It looks sort of bare without the glitter. Maybe I'll rectify that some cold winter night!

Have a colorful day

Thursday, November 29, 2018

November color block

November was many shades of gold and brown, with swaths of glowing orange trees and more blue skies than I expected. I sewed everything down with yellow-orange thread.

Here are the photos that inspired the block:

And here is the year so far,
with only December left to go!

Have a colorful day

Monday, November 26, 2018


My plan was to get the house decorated for Christmas today before doing anything else, but I'm burning out. Every time we move to a new house -- like this year -- I have to rethink where to put all the decorations. It stresses me out, so every year I put up less and less.

And today when I unpacked my battery-operated candles, I discovered that they had melted and reformed while in storage into weird shapes. This one looks more like a bone than a candle.

So I took a break to print the photos for my November color block ...

... and to pull together the fabric for it.

Then I hung Christmas towels in the bathrooms and took another break to stitch a little on my latest wool project.

Now I'm stymied because the extension cords, which I need for the lights, are packed away at my husband's shop; the melted candles need batteries; and I remembered that last year as I packed to move to the new house I gave away all of my fake pine branches, which I need for my arrangements. So now I have to either clip some real ones (but it's pouring rain) or buy more.

I think I'll just pour another glass of iced tea and do some more stitching.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Catching up

Here's a little roundup of the past week, starting with scenes from the beautiful Gig Harbor waterfront, then our neighborhood nature and finally inside our home for Thanksgiving.

Last weekend, Dave and I walked the harbor on a sunny, crisp fall day. Mt. Rainier was out and the big fishing boats were lined up. We were there for the Chum Festival, which celebrates the salmon coming home to spawn. Blue and white dominated.

I also try to walk daily in the neighborhood, and here the colors are mainly green and gold.

Moving inside, here are a couple of pictures from Thanksgiving. The group shot is tilted and blurry, but Dave managed to get us all in with help from the selfie stick. That's me at the far end and that's a wool applique table runner that I made from a Sue Spargo pattern.

We served buffet style, with hot dishes lined up on the kitchen counter. Everything was delicious (burp), and now I need to go on longer walks to work it off.

Next up: Christmas lights!

Have a colorful day