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