Friday, September 30, 2016

Full of Surprises (Sutherlin, OR)

Here's a big surprise - we sold our motorhome within two weeks from the time Dan posted it for sale on the internet and forums.  Our fingers are crossed that our good fortune will hold up to the day we trade RVs for our newer used one in Texas this coming November.  That is when the other couple will sell their motorhome to us.
We are still in Sutherlin, OR enjoying the unusually warm fall weather with crispy cold nights.  Dan has several VA appointments in Roseburg and I have dental problems to take care of before we can move south for the winter.  While we wait, we have been debating once again on which Escapees' park we like better and this time we have surprised ourselves by admitting that Sutherlin has more to offer than Benson.  The only thing we have not liked is our phone and WiFi signals are not very strong in the park.  The park now has free WiFi for the whole park, but it is hard to get a decent signal to upload one day's worth of emails.  Hopefully by the time we decide to settle into a park, this will not be a problem.
Between appointments, I have been cleaning out my closet, pantry, cabinets, and below compartments.  I'm, actually I'm shocked at how much stuff I have been carrying around that I have not used or have barely used in the last seven years.  You would think that with our small living space, I would not be hulling around a bunch of unused items.  Hmmm, I guess it is a hard habit to break.

Before we left Silver Creek, WA, we took Shaun out to lunch at the Rivers Coffeehouse in Morton.  Not only do they offer great food and beverages, they also have a small loaning library in the back area.  I took this photo of their book column before we left the shop.  Love it!
Rivers Coffeehouse, Morton, WA
I have been noticing more used bookstores and small loaning libraries in the smaller towns during our time in the northwest along with more yarn and quilt shops.  Even some of the small grocery stores have a book stand filled with used paperbacks conveniently located near the cashiers.  I wonder if it has to do with winters here because I certainly have a hard time finding any kind of bookstore in most southern state's smaller towns.  You know - warmer winters vs. chilly winters that just beg you to stay indoors near a fire curled up under your favorite blanket and a great adventure waiting for you to read....
Coffee books rain:
Or Tea!....And Chocolate!
Pinterest Link
Even Sutherlin can boast of a wonderful used bookstore called the Books Gallery.  I love visiting this bookstore.  There are little nooks and crannies to get lost in.  Chairs offer a quiet place to read.  There is always a puzzle sitting on one of the tables for anyone to work on while they enjoy their coffee or tea with delicious baked goodies.  The shelves are overflowing with so many books that there are often piles of them sitting on the floor.   Heaven!  I brought in quite a few books for trade-in and I have done my share of helping to free up some space as well!
Wenn man der Familie erklären muss, dass man jetzt in einer Höhle lebt...
Cool Book Nook!
Can you tell that I have been reading a lot lately.  So many books on my mind lately and speaking of books or ebooks, I have found a new cozy murder mystery series that I can really pun intended...okay, maybe just a little since it is about a gardener.  Pru Parke is a Texas ex-pat following her dream of becoming a hired gardener in England.  To start out, she has given herself only one year to find a position as head gardener with a large estate.  If she cannot get hired, she will return to Texas.  Pru soon comes to realize that she is running out of time to find the perfect job position and to solve her first murder mystery which is keeping her from gardening. 
The Garden Plot by Mary Wingate
The Garden Plot (Potting Shed Mystery series Book 1) by [Wingate, Marty]
So far, Mary Wingate has written five books about Pru and I have loved every single one of them.  I have always dreamed of living in England with a small English garden in front of my thatched roof Cotswold cottage so I am feeling a strong connection and fondness for Pru's dreams.  The stories are an easy read, fast-paced, not to mention, funny at times along with little garden facts and history.  And I have to mention DCI Christopher Pearse.  For some reason, he reminds me of Downton Abbey's Mr. Bates.  I think a lot of it has to do with his quiet demeanor during tense moments or during Pru's little whirlwind moments.
The Red Book of Primrose House: A Potting Shed Mystery (Potting Shed Mystery series 2) by [Wingate, Marty]  Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A Potting Shed Mystery (Potting Shed Mystery series Book 3) by [Wingate, Marty]
One more thing, the books are only published as ebooks and audio.  I'm sorry to say that there are no printed copies at this time.
The Skeleton Garden: A Potting Shed Mystery by [Wingate, Marty]  The Bluebonnet Betrayal: A Potting Shed Mystery by [Wingate, Marty]
On The Cutting Board
Besides cleaning and reading, I have been getting some sewing done.  Another way to clear out more closet space by getting some of my UFOs finished.
I finished appliqueing two of my three UFO lap tops.  One with cats....of course...
...and the second one with a tiny village of mushrooms.  I think the English gardens influenced my little village by adding in some flowers.
I hope to get all three lap tops ready for machine quilting before the end of next week.

While we are staying here at the Timber Valley SKP park, I took advantage of their large community center and basted the last of my largest UFOs.  Would you believe that it has been sitting in a container for the last seven years?  I'm so happy to have it basted and ready for the hoop.  I just need to finish the True Lover's Knot quilt and I will be ready to quilt this one.
I call this one my Albuquerque Sunrise.  I designed this quilt in my Electric Quilt software while we were both still working and living in Albuquerque.  Inspiration came from seeing the sun peek over the Manzano Mountains during the short days of winter giving me something to look forward to on my drive to work.  The brilliant colors were so amazing that I just felt a need to capture them in a quilt.  Maybe I should change the name to Manzano Sunrise.

I might surprise myself and have it quilted within a year.  Right....LOL!  Well, whenever I get it done, it will be going on our bed.  It has been too long since I have made a quilt for us and it is about time for a new one to go with our new home.
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Change In Plans (Sutherlin, OR)

A lot happened since my last post.  Often when I post our travel plans I would also mention they could change.  They certainly are changing this time.  At the moment, we are settled in Sutherlin, OR at the Timber Valley Escapees SKP Park.  We got a great spot on this hill with views of more pine covered hills surrounding the park.  Nice!
Okay, now for the changes.  First of all, we have listed our 94 Bluebird BMC for sale.  It hasn't been listed for long, but it has generated a lot of interest already.  So, you are probably wondering if we are giving up on our traveling lifestyle.  Not even close!

Dan found online a very well kept ForeTravel motorhome with 2 slideouts for sale.  This motorhome will give us more elbow room, catnap space, and storage.  Dan has been spending a lot of time talking to the owners and we are in agreement to meet them in the late fall to make the transaction.  Hopefully by that time we will have sold our own motorhome.
Which means our travel plans have changed for this winter as well.  We had planned to stay here in the NW area traveling between Oregon and Washington.  Now, we will start heading south to Texas by way of California, Arizona, and New Mexico.  Yea!  I get to spend a week in Albuquerque!  I hope to see some of my old friends.  I guess I better warn them.  ;)  Just a few changes and a little stressful with trying to time things just right.
Before all this happened, I had been planning to tell you about our last stop in Silver Creek, WA and our visit to Mt. St. Helens.  Below, is a view from Paradise Thousand Trails gate.  Imagine going to work with that view every day.  
Below is a photo of the same valley off to the right of the above photo.  We are close to Mt. Rainier and to Mt. St. Helens.  You can barely see Mt. St. Helens peeking through the clouds.  I found myself wondering if someone stood in this spot on May 18, 1980.  Wondering just enough to make my hair stand up on the back of my neck.  
A very scary day when she erupted.  I was actually visiting my parents with our 3-year old daughter in Wenatchee, WA.   The ash followed the Columbia River through Washington State and Oregon.  I remember that Yakima got hit so hard with ash that daylight was blackened out and became night within minutes.  We were in Central Washington which was farther up the river, but the valley still ended up with a layer of ash covering it.  We watched from my old bedroom window on the second floor as the ash cloud followed the Columbia River into the valley.
We spent the rest of the month of May watching the news as it covered Mt. St. Helens destructive path, amazing rescues, and interviews with survivors.
Visiting Mt. St. Helens National Park brought back so many memories.  I will never forget watching Harry R. Truman saying to the reporter that he will not leave his home on Spirit Lake.  

There are a couple of photos inside Hoffstadt Bluffs of Harry Truman sitting with 4 of his 16 cats in his kitchen.  If you happen to visit Hoffstadt Bluffs, have lunch at the Fire Mountain Grill.  My veggie wrap and Dan's veggie burger were delicious and we had a great view to enjoy while eating.  They also have helicopter tours around the mountain, a gift shop, and a large collection of newspaper clippings setup outside the shop for visitors to read.  The clippings are full of stories about the 1980 eruption, and the aftermath 
On the farside of Hoffstadt Bluffs' parking lot, sits the original KOMO TV4 news car driven by Dave Crockett.
I remember watching Dave's news clip as he recorded the eruption and talked to the world as if this would be his last words.  He was one of the lucky witnesses to be rescued later.
At the last stop, there are more stories of rescues and eyewitness accounts of that day inside the Johnston Ridge Observatory.  This is the closest we could get without hiking down one of the paths.  I was quite happy to view the mountain from this point.
What looks like puffs of smoke is dirt and ash blowing around.  Although, she did erupt again in 2008, there were no worries on the day of our visit.  According to U.S. Geological Survey, she remains active, but there are no signs of impending eruption...for now.
A good thing to know since I can't even imagine the power behind the blast that took out these trees.
Just look at their stumps.  They are shredded!  It's amazing so many people actually lived through the blast.

Back at Paradise TT campgrounds, Shaun came for a long 3-day weekend visit.  We spent most of the time around the campground since Labor Day weekend was very busy.  The campground was packed.  I'm sure the national parks were even busier.  Plus, the weather was not cooperating for viewing mountains.  Lots of overcast days, but warm enough to sit outside with cats.

Although, Dusty may not look thrilled at the moment, he was quite happy with us sticking around to let him spend the time outdoors.
Come on Shaun.  Let's cross the road.
I know there are plenty of critters to hunt for in those bushes.
Okay, I will hunt here then.
On The Cutting Board
Recently, I became quite irritated with my press-n-cut board.  I liked the idea of using a smaller area without taking up all the counter space with separate cutting board and folding ironing board.  I have gone through three of these in the past six years.  I'm suppose to be able to iron on one side and cut on the other. Maybe the heat settings were too high, but if I am ironing cotton, I need to use the cotton setting.

As soon as I use it for ironing, the cutting board warps which makes it very hard to use for cutting.....and I'm back to using a separate cutting board.  If that is not bad enough, the more it warps, the harder it is to use for ironing fabric flat.  Even the smaller projects became a chore to iron on the warped surface.

Time to do some research and I found the perfect ironing mat that rolls up for storage.  I read that some people had a problem with the edges melting.  So far, I have not had that problem.

I love the fact that I can roll it up and put it behind my chair.  It is out of sight, but within my reach when needed for the next project.  Great for traveling too.  It came folded so you can fold it to fit in a suitcase.
It is bigger than my old cut-n-press board, but I am a lot happier with the results.  I can now iron large cuts of fabrics and it makes a good working surface for applique projects.  It has a non-slip surface on the back.  It still moves around, but not as bad as my old one.
There are other mats online and I would not be surprised to hear that other quilters have been using an ironing mat all along.  The reviews for this one sounded good and was easy to find at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I have had this one for a couple of months and I am quite happy with it.

I haven't had a lot of time to work on projects recently so no new photos.  Between visits and cleaning our motorhome for potential buyers to view....well, you know that I will find time to get back to sewing soon.....because I must have my sewing time......
Happy Quilting!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sorry To Be Leaving Blaine (Silver Creek, WA)

Since my last post, we have moved several times.  I hope to have another post soon of our other stops.  We settled in Silver Creek, WA on Saturday and have not had time to visit the surrounding area...yet.

In the meantime, I wanted to share more photos of the area around Blaine, WA.  We visited Lynden, WA several times.  It is a small town with Dutch influence showing up in the downtown area.
The buildings were quite interesting and this bakery....the best little pies ever!  I had a small blackberry pie that was overflowing with sweet berries.  Usually, the single helping pies have so much crust, I feel like I am playing hide-and-seek with the fruit.  No hunting for the fruit in this little pie!  I had to go back for another one before we left.
Below is a photo of a restaurant and hotel.  Just gorgeous!  And the hanging baskets of flowers were all along the street.  They were hugh!  They were so big that I (the vertically challenged) had to be careful not to walk into one and end up with a face full of flowers.
Love the welcome sign.  I should have got a better photo of that one.
I wish I had taken a photo of the Tangled Threads Quilt Shop.  Of course, the more interesting things to show were inside.  The displays were wonderful.  I ended up buying fabric I did not need, but I could not live without.  Hmm, I might have to make another "The Witch is in" wall hanging.
I found out that I missed another quilt shop called "Folktales".  You know what that means, right?  I'll have to go back!

Blackberries are in season and seem to be everywhere.  In the campgrounds, in the downtown areas, and even in a Blaine's city park which is where we were picking the ones below.  I was having a little bit of cereal with my blackberries every morning.  Yum!
We drove to Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  So many breath-taking views!  Wouldn't some rocking chairs be perfect for this porch?  I could sit here for hours rocking and watching the clouds float by.  
I can see why they called this area Heather Meadows.  The Heathers were blooming all over the valley in pinks and whites.
If I understood the information ranger, we were not seeing Mt. Baker from Heather Meadows, we were seeing Mt. Shuksan.  I'm not sure this is the right peak in the photo.
We were expecting it to be a little cooler since we were at a higher elevation.  It turned out to be a very warm day.  People were sledding in shorts and t-shirts.  Wandering around the snow with flip-flops.  Definitely a warm day.
One more place we visited before leaving Blaine was Fairhaven's downtown historical district in Bellingham.  Wednesday is Farmer's Market day in Fairhaven's Village Green, so the downtown area was very busy.  It was worth it to find a parking spot and to be able to walk around viewing the old, not to mention, very interesting architect.
We had lunch at the Colophon Cafe which is in the building on the left side in the photo below.  We sat close to this door and were able to watch people come and go.  More good food!  I had a vegetarian Greek salad and Dan had the Mexi Black Bean burger.  Such good flavors.  I have to confess that I have put on quite a few pounds with all the good food we keep finding in this area.
Fantastic murals!  They really blend in with their surroundings.  The first time I walked by the mural above, I only caught the guy standing at the window from the corner of my eye making me think he was really standing there until I turned my head.
It's too bad we were full from our lunch.  Next time, maybe we can stop here for a drink and people watch.
I would not mind living in this building with its outdoor roof garden.  I bet they have a great view of sunsets and the Bellingham Bay nearby.
Speaking of water, we took a short trail through blackberry bushes to the Taylor Dock.  A very unusual dock as it has seats and what looks like parking spots for bikes/strollers as you walk down towards the water.  But wait!  The dock doesn't end there.... curves around and ends in another area near a park.  We did not walk the full length.  We were getting very hungry by then and decided to turn back.  I probably should have done the walk to burn a few more calories before eating!  Next time I will know better. 
Okay, I better stop.  This is turning into quite a long post.
On The Cutting Board
Just a quick look before you go of what I have been working on the last few weeks.

I finally finished binding my Asian Sand Crane quilt.  I need to come up with a better title for it.  I got the photos prepped for Etsy, but I have not listed the quilt just yet.
I started hand quilting the True Lover's Knot. 
I'm keeping the quilting simple with in-the-ditch and echoing stitching.
As fast as this stitching is going, I might have this quilt done before the other one gets listed.
Happy Quilting!

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