Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hazy Daze (Monroe, WA)

I have seen a couple of people refer to this as the 'Wildfire Season' and I now understand why.  It's not just the burn-ban or the threat of a wildfire, it is the smoke-filled air mixed with very high temperatures during the day.  
Blaine, WA
Our second visit to Blaine started out with fabulous weather, but during our last week, we started experiencing hazy days with smoke from Canada's wildfires.  We moved south to Monroe, WA on Tuesday only to find the smoke thicker here.  I haven't seen the local news lately, so I am not aware of wildfires nearby.  I would not be surprised to learn there are a few burning in Washington and in Oregon.  I can only hope that our brave firefighters stay safe and are able to get the wildfires under control soon.

In the meantime, I feel like I have gone a couple of rounds in a boxing ring.  It is hard for us to filter out the smoke during the night.  Every morning I wake up feeling like I have been punched in the face with my sinuses bruised and my eyes all puffy.  I feel really bad for those with respiratory problems.

Before the smoke moved in, we spent one afternoon walking through the Blaine Marine Park.  We like to take the walking trail instead of the sidewalk so we can view sea birds on the shores along with a nice view of the Peace Arch Park and White Rock, BC.
There are wild blackberry bushes along the trail with water fountains...
and artwork.
The trail ends at a public pier overlooking views across the bay to Semiahmoo Resort and Pt. Roberts.  
This last picture is looking inland towards Blaine.  What a view!
On The Cutting Board
I can actually say something good came out of me feeling bad.  I have been very focused on finishing a few UFOs.  I finished four quilt tops.  They are pinned, and ready to be quilted!  Below is the new Black Cat quilt that I am making for a customer's request.  She bought the last one I made, but she asked if I could make a larger lap quilt.
I made the top bigger and did not realize that I had made it bigger than the backing fabric I had already chosen for it.  I really did not want to go shopping for more fabric, so I decided to extend the backing with leftover fabric from the quilt.  Now, the customer can display the front or the back of her quilt!
Backing for Black Cat quilt
Below is a photo of the Showered with Love quilt.  Lots of scraps used in this one....and yet the scraps seem to be growing.....taking over my storage bin...I think their master plan is to take over the motorhome......  Okay, back to reality.  This quilt is pinned and ready for quilting.  I will show the other two quilts next time.
Showered with Love
I was so happy to finish four quilts that I took a picture of the four together.  Then, I really started looking at this pile and it suddenly dawned on me that I had no idea where I was going to store my new quilts.  Darn!  I thought I was being smart trying to use up my stash.  Instead, I have created a new problem.  I spent the next couple of hours going through my storage areas.  I have some space open up since I used up the last of my batting,  That helped a little.  
Then I came across two pillow forms and remembered that I had planned to make two more pillows for our dining room benches.  I had forgotten about them since we had the bench seats reupholstered.  Talk about a senior moment!  The quilts were put aside and I went to work on the pillow covers.  I had already finished the two appliquéd centers.  I just needed to add a border and quilt.  I kept the quilting simple and was done within a couple of weeks.
And now...I can finish my four quilts!
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Warm Shoulders, Cold Feet (Birch Bay, WA)

We could not have asked for better weather while Shaun was visiting us.  We spent some time walking around Blaine one day.  Look at that beautiful sky!
We had read that Birch Bay had fireworks on the beach, but it wasn't clear where we were suppose to go to view the fireworks.
After talking to the Thousand Trails Rangers, we found out that the city of Birch Bay did not put on the display.  Instead of the city footing the bill, they invited the public to gather at the beach and shoot their own fireworks.  I like the description from one of the Rangers - "It's Insane!"  He also claimed over 40,000 visitors showed up to watch and participate.....and they don't wait until the 4th to start the show.  I'm surprised we were able to get any sleep with all the noise.  Even the cats got use to the loud snap, crackle, and pops throughout the nights.
We decided to walk from our site to the beach since it was only a mile away.  We thought it might be too crowded and chaotic, but it wasn't too bad.
The bay is sort of horseshoe shaped and we ended up somewhere in the middle so we could see fireworks going on both sides of us.  Plenty of beach area for everyone to spread out and enjoy the evening.
The next day was Shaun's birthday.  Instead of taking him out to lunch, we drove to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  It was turning into quite a hot day so this was a perfect way to beat the heat.  Sunshine to warm the shoulders and snow to keep the feet cool.
We saw two guys ski down a hill in shorts.  I wasn't fast enough to get photos of them...darn.  We did not see people sledding like we saw on our last visit.   I did see one lady taking full advantage of the day by sitting under an umbrella in a folding chair perched high and away from others.  Now, that is one way to relax while enjoying the surrounding beauty.
I wasn't expecting to see so much snow since the weather had been quite warm and the snow melt had the rivers flowing fast and furious.
We did a little climbing to see the views.  I'm quite happy to say that I managed to get up and down without falling once.  :)  Snow would not be good for my camera, I'm sure.
I was hoping for some blooming Heather photos at Heather Meadows Visitor Center, but no such luck.  The view was still spectacular.
We had brought sandwiches from the deli at the Market at Birch Bay.  Shaun found a snow-free, not to mention, dry picnic table to have our lunch.  So quiet... just the wind in the trees..
Who could ask for more?  Fresh mountain air, good company, fabulous views, and a delicious lunch.
On The Cutting Board
One of my friends suggested the next time I was in Lynden, I should visit two quilt shops that I did not know existed.  I had visited another one last year.  I'm quite surprised there are three quilt shops in this small town.

I couldn't pass up the chance to visit both shops.  The first shop is called Folktales.  The shop is in an older house that is so packed with fabric and anything else you can wish for that there is almost no place to move around.  On top of that, it was the first day of Row-by-Row.  Still, I had no problem navigating the narrow aisles filled with other quilters.  
The second shop is call Calico Country.  Located in a strip mall not far from Folktales and it is just as much fun to visit as the other two.  The staff is friendly and helpful.  I wanted to buy something from both shops.  I found some fat-quarters that will make great fillers. (above photo)

In between appliqueing quilt tops, I have been working on some new Happy Camper mug rugs.  The weather has been perfect for sitting outdoors with the cats and getting a little sewing done.
 I finished pinning two quilts today while spending time with the cats outdoors.  Hitch was a big help by jumping onto the table to give my head bumps.  My shop is almost empty so I really need to get into high gear and get all of these new projects done! 
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

From the Cascades to Puget Sound (Blaine, WA)

I'm back!  I can hear you now.  "Oh, were you gone?  Did not notice..."😄   Anyway, it has been a busy summer getting caught up with family and friends. 
Icicle River
 If we were not visiting, we were busy chasing cats around our sites.  The weather has been perfect for sitting outside for long periods of time.  So long that our cats were getting bored with exploring just our site and kept insisting on checking on our neighbors' sites.  Dusty was more adventurous as he decided he was a big boy now and can walk himself down to the end of the road to lay in the shade of some tall trees. 😾 We tried to explain to him that he had to be escorted.  Of course, he did not believe us, but he did allow us to follow him.  
.....Getting him to go home is a whole different story!🙀
Shaun and Dan checking out the Wenatchee River.
While we were still in Leavenworth, we spent a lot of time going back to places we have not seen in many...many years.
We were lucky to see a group of kayakers on our second visit to Icicle Road when we took our son Shaun for a tour of the area.  The river was still running swift and very cold from the snow melt in late June.
We moved to Blaine around the end of June.  This time when we moved to western WA, we drove over Stevens Pass (Hwy 2).  I can't remember the last time we drove over the mountains on Hwy 2.    The last two times we were in Washington, we took the North Cascades Hwy.  Just as magnificent as I remember it being.  I did not sew or read during that trip.
Beautiful gardens in the Peace Arch Park
Shaun joined us for the 4th of July and for his birthday after we moved to Birch Bay, WA.
View from US looking towards Canada
We took him to the Peace Arch Park on the US/Canada border.  We were able to walk into Canada and back within the park.  No passports needed.
View from Canada looking towards US
Below are border signs letting us know we will be crossing into Canada.  In the meantime, we watched a Canadian catering company stopped on the road to unload their goodies for an event in the park on the US side.  I love it!  What we could not figure out is how they keep people from walking across the border - going either way.  It looks like we can cross the street and just keep going north.  There must be cameras setup that we were not seeing.
Notice house in the background with flag
On The Cutting Board
So, between chasing cats, checking out local sights, and visiting with everyone, I have been getting in a little sewing.  I had a custom order for two Happy Campers that I needed to finish within two weeks.  
The customer was quite understanding that I needed extra time with everything going on this summer.  She wanted one with the Welcome sign.  Which is the second time this one has been requested.  Hmmm, maybe I should make a few more with Welcome signs.
The second one was with a flower box.  I forgot how much fun I have when I am planting my embroidered flowers in their window box.  I need to make more of them too!

I have another custom order for a Black Cat quilt.  The customer is not in a hurry for it, but I do plan to finish it before the end of August.  Here's a sneak peek of one playful cat messing up my quilt blocks.  Sounds familiar doesn't it?  I swear that no matter where the cats are sleeping, they can hear blocks being laid out and always show up to help me with the quilt design.
When my eyes cannot take anymore appliquéing black fabric, I work on this cute quilt from P.S. I Love You.
Sunbonnet Sue is standing at the top dropping hearts to Overall Sam at the bottom of the quilt.  I think I will call this quilt "Showered with Love".
I need to post again soon because I did not cover the 4th of July weekend, not to mention, all the photos I want to share with you. 😉  So, don't faint if I post within the week, okay?  Okay, well back to sewing!
Happy Quilting!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Staying in the Cascade Mountains (Leavenworth, WA)

We had a great time visiting with family.  Some of them we haven't seen since 1980.  Long, long time ago!  We wrapped up our visits with family in this area and plan to move to Mt. Vernon on Tuesday.  We will be staying in the Puget Sound area for at least a month.  Maybe more.
I have a lot of photos to share, but I think I will split them between two different posts.  So, here are some photos from Central Washington.  The photo above and below were taken at the Chelan Gorge.
Below are photos from Icicle Creek Road.  I know!  It doesn't look like a creek right now.  The snow melt has been extensive this year.  We keep getting flood alerts on our phones for a couple of the rivers even though the locations are not even close to the flooding rivers.
We have never seen the rivers so high and running so furious as they were for the last couple of weeks.
Trying to get how high the rivers are into the photos hasn't been easy since there is nothing for me to relate it to from the past.  I just know that we enjoyed seeing the rivers high for once instead of low and worrying about the upcoming fire season during the summer.
It had rained the night before our visit and there were puddles in the parking lot.  I think this is a Swallowtail butterfly.  
Anyway, the Swallowtails were taking advantage of getting water from the mud ...........

and I took advantage of an unusual photo op!  Below is another photo that I did in Photoshop.  I'm having a lot of fun playing with my new software.
This guy was stuck inside the Men's restroom for two days.  Dan felt sorry for the moth and brought him out on a paper towel.  He stayed long enough for me to get a photo of him with my phone.
Tulip Tree Silkmoth
If you happen to be near Leavenworth and love to visit quilt shops, I highly recommend Leavenworth Quilt Company.  She has a great selection of fabrics, threads, and all the notions you can dream of wanting.  While I had a great time visiting with a customer and the shop owner, Dan was next door in Prey's Fruit Barn trying samples.  He found a few things he liked as well.  There's also a nice sitting area under a big shady tree for those who do not want to shop at all.  
On The Cutting Board
Okay, here's all 12 Happy Campers!  Done and listed in my Etsy shop!
I already sold three of the new ones and one of my older ones with a horse.
I'm appliqueing a couple of quilt tops now along with more mug rugs that I hope to have finished soon.

Tomorrow's a travel day so this will be short.  I want to get a few more things done tonight and be ready to move before bedtime.
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Back In Washington (Spokane, WA)

💗Thank you for your kind words.

After leaving Colorado and Squirrel behind, we stopped in Wyoming at Terry Bison RV Ranch for a couple of days.  This time I was able to see the camels.  Last time they had been in a larger field and were not cooperating by grazing near the fence.  This guy looks like he is trying to push the fence down so he can get to that greener grass on the other side.
I just love the converted chicken house.  Doesn't Mr. Rooster look quite proud of his home?
This is the first time Dusty has climbed a tree.  I think he had so much energy stored up from our long days of travel that he super power to run and leap into a tree.  I told him good job and he should do that more often....never mind that he is only two feet off the ground....he was quite proud of himself.
Hardin, MT
Weather was very iffy from day to day.  We monitored weather apps on our phones and watched the local weather as well as national weather.  We must have waited out 4 different cold fronts during our travels from Texas and Washington State.  Except for some high winds one day where we saw a semi-truck jack-knifed and landed on its side, this was the worse part of our winter drive near Bozeman, MT.
We made it to Spokane in time for Dan to say good-bye to his ailing 90 year old father.  He spent the last couple of weeks helping his sister make arrangements and to clean out their parent's apartment.
During the long hours Dan was gone, I spent my time spring cleaning, sewing, and getting the cats out for walks.
Spring as usual for this area could not make up its mind to warm up or let winter stay a little longer, but the flowers were blooming despite the cold windy days.
I'm still learning about what all my new laptop has to offer along with the latest software I recently downloaded.  I just discovered this new editing process in my Photoshop.  This is all one photo.  I thought I would share my first try.
Here is the original:
Which one looks better?

On The Cutting Board
I am back to sewing and I managed to finish a few UFOs.  Okay, more than a few...I finished 12 Happy Campers.  I will try to list them soon and share some better photos.
I decided to tackle the quilt that refused to go together and won the battle.  Well, sort of...I sewed the blocks that did come out.  Because I ran out of three fabrics due to bad measuring instructions, I decided to finish the quilt with a large border. I plan to start appliqueing birds and a flower on the top border.
 This was a good opportunity to try my new 'Round The Corner' ruler.  I had tried making round corners once before using a bowl.  The quilt's corners came out very lopsided.  Needless to say, the border had to be redone.  I was a little nervous trying this ruler, but it worked quite well.  I had no problem centering the curve on the corners.
Tomorrow is a travel day.  We are moving to Crescent Bar, WA near Wenatchee.  I better get started on my applique project before I have to start packing things up for our move.
Happy Quilting!

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