Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bloomin' Desert (Apache Junction, AZ)

The desert is starting to bloom, but I can see many buds just waiting to open.  I'm sorry we won't be here to see them flower.  We hiked the Wind Cave trail.  It took a couple of hours to get to the top.  
We had people passing us going up and then coming back down the trail.  How they could move so fast and not stop to enjoy the views....well, it is beyond me.
I'm a pretty slow walker since I like to look around, and of course, I keep stopping to take photos.  
Despite the fast walkers and runners, I had a great time looking for new flowers as we climbed up the side of the mountain.  I saw lots of lizards and no snakes....which is fine with me....
Only one cactus was blooming but there were plenty of wildflowers blooming.
This is the view from the Wind Cave.  Once we were there, it was hard to believe how far we had hiked from the parking lot.  Usually, we don't get a view of you were there and now you are here view.  Look how far away it is!  While we stood there, two hummingbirds were flying over our heads.  We were a little surprised to see them up there since we had not seen nor heard many birds along the way up the trail.
That evening, Dan discovered the full moon was in a perfect position with a tall saguaro behind our motorhome.  I took one look at the moon and went for my camera.  I rarely see a moon halo and I found it difficult to photograph.  Only a couple of the photos show the moon and the halo.  Here's one of my better photos.
We leave for Cottonwood, AZ on Monday.  I hope everyone had a great Easter Weekend with family and friends.  I know we had a great week of visiting with Dan's sister and her husband.
Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Mountain of Superstition and Witches (Apache Junction, AZ)

We moved to Usery Mountain Regional Park.  Less than 15 miles from our last location, but what a difference!  We and the cats are enjoying the wide open spaces and all the critters.  I woke up to coyotes yapping right behind our motorhome.  Max was looking very alert out the window.  I looked but no such luck of seeing the two daybreakers.
Superstition Mountain
Some of the cactus are starting to bloom, but I can see that there are many with buds just starting.  I have taken a lot of photos and I'll post more in April.  Due to downloads to my new computer, we are almost at our broadband limit for this month.  We have almost another week and of course, I don't want to go over our limit.  I posted our site on our travel blog Too2ManyCats.
We move to Cottonwood, AZ on Monday.  

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)

This is the offical description of this book:
The All Souls Trilogy follows the story of Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch, as she solves the mystery of Ashmole 782, falls in love with a mysterious vampire named Matthew Clairmont, and learns how powerful it can be to accept who you are.

Sounds intriguing!  I haven't read too many witch or vampire books.  As a matter of fact, I haven't read any since Anne Rice's Lestat and the Mayfair Witches were published.  So, this is my first witch/vampire story in quite a long time and I enjoyed Deborah's concept of a world filled with four creatures: humans, witches, vampires and demons.

Actually, I listened to this book on my iPod.  The story starts out slow and I was a little worried that this 24-hour long story was going to feel more like a 48-hour drag.  Soon, I found myself not wanting to turn off my iPod because I wanted to know what would happen next to the main characters Diana and Matthew.

Born a witch, but refusing to practice, Diana has a Ph.D. in history and researches alchemical texts.  While doing research, her power pulls up a missing spellbound manuscript that holds secrets about demons, vampires, and witches only to put it back before reading it.  Soon, Diana is being hounded by three of the creatures.  Demons and vampires want to read the contents while the witches want to keep it hidden.

Enter Matthew Clairmont, many centuries old vampire and a genetic scientist.  An unusual wine-connoisseur vampire that rarely feeds on warm bloods and walks around in the daylight.  Romance soon follows, but wait...a vampire and a witch in love?  It's bad enough that Diana has produced a lost text, but now she is involved with a vampire which is frowned upon by both sides.

As Diana's powers improve and her love for Matthew grows, the story becomes more interesting.  I like the concept of this new world of creatures that includes a little history, science, alchemy, and magic.

My favorite part was the house owned by Diana's aunt.  It had a mind of its own with closing doors, producing items that had been gone for years, throwing temper tantrums, or building rooms for unexpected guests.  Not to mention, it is filled with ancestral ghosts that only the witches can see.

There are sex scenes and no swearing.

Oh, and if you do decide to read this book, buy Shadow of Night.  The first one really leaves you hanging at the end.  As a matter of fact, I was a little put out with the ending and I was happy to see the second book has already been published.  But, I have been left hanging at the end of the second book too.  The third in the series has not been written yet and has no publishing date as of today.  You can bet I'll be on the lookout for it!

Happy Trails!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fluttering Through the Desert (Apache Junction, AZ)

We are settled into a RV park in Apache Junction, AZ for a few days.  Dan's sister and her husband have been spending the winter in the area.  They took us to the Orange Patch to browse their store.  I am such a big orange eater that this was quite a treat to visit this place.  Oranges everywhere!  Big ones...little was orange heaven.
After shopping, I was able to take some photos of the orange grove in between smelling the blossoms.  Of course, nothing beats a fresh picked orange ripened on the tree...oh yea!
The next day, Dan's sister took us to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Scottsdale, AZ.  We had a great time.  We saw some different looking desert plants from around the world as well as from the Sonora Desert.  Below are a few photos from our walk.

The Spring Butterfly Exhibit had a lovely selection and I took a lot of photos so I will be posting them later on our new Flickr site. 
White Peacock
Zebra Longwing and Julia (background)
 Only a few of the cactus were showing signs of blooming.  According to the calendar, we should start seeing more flowers by the end of March.

Between sightseeing, shopping, and visiting, I have not spent a lot of time quilting...but today will be a little slower, so maybe I'll do a little between walking cats or eating an orange or two....

There are a few more photos in our travel blog - Too2ManyCats
Happy Trails!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Babies, Bears, And So Much More (Benson, AZ)

Travel Day!  We are on our way to the Phoenix/Mesa area.  It will be a new area for us to explore.  Maybe, I'll have some nice photos for my next post.  In the meantime, I posted some photos of my recent quilts.

On The Cutting Board
Cuddly Critters is done!  I'm so happy with the way this one came out.  Such a cute pattern.  I might have to make another one....someday.  This quilt is going to a very special friend.  She and I worked together for many years.  I miss our talks and how the two of us could brainstorm to get projects done.  She and her DH are expecting their first  baby.  I'm so excited for them and I wish them all the best!
Cuddly Critters

and Bear
I appliqued these Sunbonnet Babies a long time ago.  It is time to get this one done.  I don't know why I decided to do the blocks on-point since I'm not very good with this layout, so I kept putting them away.  On-point quilts have always been a challenge for me.  I don't know why, but the other day I suddenly decided that I could do this.  I pulled out a special ruler just for on-point blocks and read the instructions.  
 Surprised that it sounded easier than I had previously thought - I decided to give this ruler a try.  I'm happy with the results, but I need to dig through my stash to add a border.  The quilt is only 35 inches wide.  I like to make all my donated quilts at least 40 inches wide.  More to cuddle, right?
Happy Quilting!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Southern Tale (Benson, AZ

For the last couple of days, I have been visiting with my friend from Albuquerque.  She is on her own adventure to see some of our beautiful country in her small RV.  I'm very excited for her!  I spent a lot of time just enjoying our visit with chit-chat and walks, so I haven't been taking pictures.  It has warmed up quite a bit so we spent most of our time outdoors soaking up the sunshine.  The cats have been loving this visit since they got to spend extra time outdoors during our visits!

Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig
Quilt or Innocence: A Southern Quilting Mystery
I found a new series with quilters and a cozy murder mystery.  So new that the second book just came out in February 2013.  Set in a small town in the south, Beatrice is the main character - a retired folk art museum curator from Atlanta, GA, she decides to follow her daughter and moves to a small town for some peace and quiet with her corgi after she retires.  While the quilting guild is determined to convert Beatrice into a quilter, she is just as determined to solve the death of one of the quilters.

It is a fun quick read filled with a strange mix of quirky people in a not so quiet let alone peaceful town.  Such as one elderly driver almost hits Beatrice as she is walking down the street.  The elderly woman shakes her fist at her and calls Beatrice a "road hog!".  Apparently she is well known for her driving skills and yet, she is still driving.  Now that's an endearing quirky town....I won't even start in on Beatrice's new neighbor!!  It is also a very clean read with no swearing or sex.  They did do a lot of quilt talking in between solving the murder mystery.  This is my kind of book.  I can't wait to read Elizabeth's next book.

On The Cutting Board
Before we leave Benson, I plan to give the Park's quilt group three quilts for their children's charity.  We will be heading on down the road next Tuesday.  I'm already starting some new tops.
Well, actually some of the blocks have been sitting around waiting to be finished.  It is time to blow the dust off of them and get them done!
Happy Quilting!

Monday, March 11, 2013

White Dove of the Desert (Benson, AZ)

We spent one fine day driving south of Tucson on Hwy. 19.
I have been wanting to see the "White Dove of the Desert" - the Mission San Xavier del Bac.
A National Historic Landmark founded in 1692 by Father Eusebio Kino.  The Catholic church we visit today was finished in 1797.  I can see this place has been lovingly maintained.

I found this door handle on the outside was made into a snake very interesting.  The handle inside this door was even more interesting with a snake and a mouse.  I tried to get a photo, but it was too dark.
The church still holds mass and ministers to the local parishioners.  I love the scalloped backings on the pews/benches.  They show wear from years of people's hands sliding across them.
I love the shape and murals of this ceiling.
The building is the oldest intact European structure in Arizona.
Inside we can view the original statuary and mural paintings.  Absolutely gorgeous work  There's so much detail it would take me several days just to view all the artwork.

Outside the church, there were a few vendors selling food.  It has been a long time since we have had a good Indian Taco.
This is just as good as it looks with fresh veggies, green chili and beans....yum!  The bread was crispy but not filled with oil.
There were several friendly dogs wandering around the area.  This one was taking a moment to rest before he started begging again.
Dan had quite a few friends while eating his taco.  You should have seen the birds that were lined up on the seat near him.  "Come on, Mister!  Throw us some bread!"
We also had several of these little gopher? ground dog? watching us.  This one stood in the same spot the whole time we were eating.  I don't think he was begging....just keeping his eye on us.

On The Cutting Board
With more bad weather, I got started on three quilt bindings.  Oh, the bottom purple one is for my granddaughter's quilt!  I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  I have one and a half borders left to quilt.  Doing freestyle design - should I put a flower here or a leaf? - has been a lot more fun that the straight line quilting.
I also quilted the two small quilts on my machine.  I just need to add the binding and they will be done! 

Well, I hear the projects calling my name.....
Happy Quilting!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hay is For Horses (Benson, AZ)

Actually, it is more like HEYfever for me.  I spent the last couple of gorgeous days with watery eyes and way too many sneezes.  I lost count on how many tissue boxes I have gone through in such a short time!  I'm happy to say I'm feeling better and ready to get back to my projects...or go see some sights...or walk some cats....oh, what the heck!  HEY!  I feel like doing all of them!

We visited Tombstone, AZ last week after the snow storm.  I did not take a lot of photos because I was too busy trying to stay warm.  Walking seemed to be the best thing to do with the winds blowing freezing air right through my jacket.  So, here are my best shots...
Boothill - Billy Clanton's grave
Of course, I took more of the animals than I did of the town or the people dressed in their old west clothes.  Maybe next time...  I have to admit the donkeys and the horses made for some cute photos and I'm happy I took them.
Chomping at the bit
This fellow really likes his co-worker.  He kept rubbing his head on his partner.
Horses were more entertaining than the stagecoach
I thought they made a cute couple...
You are my best friend!

The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
Well, I had plenty of time to read a couple of books while I was "disconnected", but I don't want to talk about all of them at once.  I love sharing the books I find interesting and I enjoy hearing what others enjoyed reading.  I have had this one book for quite a while, but somehow there always seemed to be a better book to read before this one.

I finally decided to read Debbie's book because another reader mentioned that she enjoyed The Blossom Shop series and it was similar to the last book I read - The Amish Half-Stitched Club.  This one is not as spiritually inspired which I prefer.  Instead of quilters, I get to read about knitters.  I don't knit, but I do love hearing about people getting together for a common interest.  Plus, I love the location - Seattle, WA.  It is one of my favorite cities to visit.

This story is centered around four different women.  There's the new shop owner Lydia.  A twice cancer survivor, Lydia decides to open A Good Yarn shop to celebrate life.  To bring in customers, Lydia offers a beginners class to knit a baby blanket.  An ood trio signup for her first class.  Jacqueline doesn't like her daughter-in-law and soon to be mother to her first grandchild.  To smooth out frayed emotions between Jacqueline, her husband, and son, she decides to try to bridge the gap by learning how to knit her grandchild a baby blanket.  Carol joins because she feels this is a sign that the third and last In Vitro Fertilisation will finally take hold and she will soon be a mother too.  Finally, there is Alix.  She has been on the streets since she was sixteen.  She joins the class to take care of her Community hours.

All four ladies learn how to mend their problems while learning how to knit during their Friday knitting classes.  I really enjoyed this one and I do plan to look for some more Blossom Shop books!
Happy Quilting...or Knitting!  LOL!

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