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

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Colorful Tubac with Linda and Jim

I had some surprise visitors this week who were on a road trip from Washington state and wandered over to Tucson! They were my Sew Day friend Linda and her husband, Jim.

We spent a lazy day wandering around the artsy town of Tubac, which is near the Mexican border and has a lot of Mexican pottery and decor as well as many galleries and places to eat. The buildings are painted wonderful colors, like lavender, turquoise and orange.

There were a lot of shops carrying the Talavera pottery that I love, and Linda and I each bought some. Can never have too much of that color in my house! There were also colorful javelina statues around town, like this one called Desert Dreams.

I would love to have one of these Mexican metal and tile mirrors, but they're pricey. Same with the tin  tree.

The plants there seem to be ahead of Tucson in their blooming, maybe because it's south of us. One street had a long row of snapdragons in bright blue pots.

On the way back we swung by Mission San Xavier del Bac. The Spanish Colonial-style structure was built between 1783 and 1797, making it the oldest European structure in Arizona. It had closed for the day, so we couldn't see the ornate interior. But the gift shop was still open and we bought matching mugs that made us happy with dancing Kokopellis.

Jim got a desert mug and they had their morning coffee in them before taking off today to continue their meandering journey. It was a wonderful surprise having them spend time here!

(And good news about my shoulder. It's getting better. My physical therapist is taking it easy with me and thinks it's just an overused muscle that will resolve with time.)

Have a colorful day

Friday, March 24, 2023

Wildflowers and shoulder setback

It's been a challenging week because of a big setback with my shoulder recovery combined with gloomy weather, but things started to turn around today. The black clouds finally lifted and I got out for a brisk hike with the Shady Ladies! Here's the view from my house this morning.

The desert wildflowers continue to spread their golden and blue blooms. We hiked the 50-Year-Trail in Catalina State Park and saw a lot of other hikers and horseback riders, making it sort of festive.

I spotted this little bud on a saguaro cactus. I'm not sure if it's the beginning of a new arm or something else. It's too early for saguaro flowers, plus they're usually up around the top of the cactus. The ocotillos (below) are getting their little green leaves so they no longer look like grey sticks.

My shoulder situation is that at PT on Monday, my therapist added some new exercises that really hurt, and by Tuesday morning I couldn't raise my injured arm at all. It was excruciatingly painful for the next three days to even try to lift a fork, and I was afraid I had done permanent damage. 

When I went back to PT yesterday, she said I didn't tear anything and that it was just a really sore muscle. So she said to back off on my daily home exercises except for stretching. That seems to have helped somewhat and today it's not quite as sore, but still not as good as it had been. I had finally, almost three months after surgery, been able to lift that arm enough to help shampoo my hair, but that's out of the question now. It helps that the sunshine is back. I was feeling pretty down earlier in the week with the clouds and drizzle and pain and my daughter and her fiancé having left and being alone again.

Tomorrow I'm going across town to the quilt shops for some color therapy. I'll report back if I find anything interesting.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Welcome, Spring!!!


Spring arrives tomorrow, which means the Tucson snow birds will soon leave for their northern homes and our temperatures will ramp up. But for now, we have spring flowers and balmy weather.

I finished my "Spring In the Desert" quilt, above, with sweeping quilting lines, easy and quick. It's in the guest bathroom. "Green Desert," below, is in my bathroom.

Yesterday I had nothing on my agenda, but it was a sunny, warm day and I wanted to get out. After a morning hike, I went to the big outdoor shopping mall called La Encantada and looked at all the spring clothes in bright colors. I tried these tops on but didn't buy any. 

I DID buy this flowery kimono topper to wear to my daughter's wedding with white pants. Or maybe I'll wear a dress instead, depending on the weather. Either way, I know this kimono will take me through the rest of my life because I love the loose, drapey fit and beautiful, saturated colors.

On my hike in Catalina State Park, the golden poppies were proliferating and now blue lupine are joining them. I have never seen the park so crowded! The parking lots were full and cars were parking along the road. There were so many out-of-state and Canadian license plates. On my way out, I counted 38 vehicles waiting to pay at the ranger station! Normally there are only a few, if any.

Have a colorful day

Friday, March 17, 2023

More color with Julia and Jade

Julia and Jade left today, and I'm already missing them badly. 

Even though their last two days here were cloudy and drizzly, we packed in activities. That's them with very colorful lunches at the Eclectic Cafe yesterday. That was after we toured the Botanical Gardens and before we pulled into the parking lot at Sabino Canyon to hike and the rain clouds dumped on us.

So instead of hiking, we headed home and on the way stopped at Ted DeGrazia's Gallery in the Sun to look at his handmade artistic compound of adobe buildings.

Above is his chapel. Below, Julia and Jade check out the kitchen in his adobe home.

DeGrazia, who died in 1982, was an American impressionist painter, sculptor, composer, actor, director, designer, architect, jeweler and lithographer. He's known for his colorful images of Native American children of the Southwest.

Everything has his artistic touch.

Here we are earlier yesterday in all our colors in front of a purple wall at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Update: The botanical gardens just placed fourth in the USA Today Readers" Choice Awards for Best Botanical Garden in the country! 

When it rained, we went inside the tropical butterfly pavilion where this golden butterfly landed on a poinsettia.

The desert garden included this bright green aloe from Botswana (above) and bunny eared prickly pear cacti.

Back home, Jade cooked a delicious vegetable tofu curry over Basmati rice for our last meal together. Come back soon!!!

Have a colorful day

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Julia and Jade visit!!!

My daughter and her fiance finally made it to Tucson, three years after I moved here! It's been a year and a half since I've seen them and it was so good to give them big hugs. On their first morning they got some sun on their legs, which they haven't been able to do in Spokane since last year.

Then we headed over to Catalina State Park for some wading and hiking. It was packed with Spring Break families and Snow Birders, and Julia and Jade couldn't believe how friendly everyone was. We decided that everyone is happy when it's sunny and you're out in nature.

My daughter is an animal whisperer, so she got this little lizard to crawl right onto her hand and settle in. The little guy didn't want to leave, so we had to gently nudge him off when it was time for us to go.

She picked up her love of photography from me and she takes some amazing pictures.

Lunch followed at Charro Vida, which is a healthy Mexican restaurant with lots of vegan and vegetarian options. We had some of the best guacamole and chips that I've ever had. We also tried yucca fries and nopales (strips of prickly pear cactus). Delicious!

Tohono  Chul ("desert corner") Park is across the street, so we strolled through its beauty until it closed at 5. Wildflowers and trees were blooming, matching some of the colorful walls.

Cape aloe, above, and red spike ice plant, below.

Today it's cloudy and sprinkling,
so we'll find things to do inside.

Have a colorful day

Friday, March 10, 2023

Cactus Queen quilt

I'm almost done with my Laura Heine "Cactus Queen" quilt! I finished collaging fabrics today, and this weekend I'll quilt it. It's my first Laura Heine pattern and I'm already addicted.

The photo below is before I added some butterflies, another owl, a squirrel and more flowers. 

Here's the pattern. Notice how she quilted hers in a close grid so that she could catch every little piece of fabric in the stitching. I'm not sure how I want to quilt mine. I'd like something more organic than a grid, but I also want something that will be easy on my shoulder, which is still recovering. Free-motion would be too hard, I think.

In case you're not familiar with her technique, she backs her fabrics with Steam-A-Seam 2 before cutting out the appliqué shapes. Those are some of my fabrics, above. Then she arranges the shapes on a sheet of see-through light-weight fabric called Pattern Ease (which I ordered from her website) before fusing them down. 

You can see my piece in progress, with just the background and the base of the cactus. Then you go wild collaging flowers and other prints. I added some rickrack and other trims along the edges of the cactus pleats.


Here's a real one from my walk. It's called a barrel cactus, and it gets yellow fruit that look like little pineapples around its crown. No, it doesn't get pink and blue flowers like the quilted version!

Here are some more photos from the hike today. The weather was gorgeous -- sunny and about 70.

The normally dry washes were filled with running water from snow melt up higher in the Catalinas. I just waded through with my gym shoes on, but a lot of little kids were playing in the water while their parents watched from the shore. A beach in the desert!

The poppies are also popping! These are from my neighborhood walk yesterday. Spring is here in Tucson!!!

I've linked to 8-not-sew-good-habits-on-off-wall-friday.html in case you want to read about what other creative sewers have been up to this week.

Have a colorful day