Wednesday, January 29, 2014

sunny arizona

 I am going to play a little catch-up today, sharing some pictures from the trip we took earlier in January.  We traveled with our "kids" to Arizona for a week's stay at Sedona Summit resort (in Sedona!).  Quite a few years ago, probably 20, we purchased a timeshare unit at a resort in Cozumel, Mexico.  The kids were at an age when travel was becoming more fun and educational, so we thought it would help us accomplish our wish to take them to more places.  At the time, we weren't quite sure if what we were getting was going to prove to be a wise decision, or one we would regret.  We didn't know anyone else who had made such a purchase, so we were kind of flying by the seat of our pants.  (Where does that expression come from?)

Dan, Brita and Ben enjoyed a hike with me!

Well, it has turned out to be one of our better choices for our family, and I am happy to say we are still reaping the benefits.  We were able to get 2 large 2-bedroom units in the same building for all of us to stay in.  Because little Ian sometimes has trouble sleeping in new places, I wanted him and his parents to get the most out of the trip and they occupied one of the units.  Dan and ourselves shared the other unit.  The kitchens were fully equipped, and due to the fact that Ian came down with Influenza B, we prepared most of our own meals instead of eating out as much.  The resort was located not far from an easy hiking trail, and when Ian finally started feeling better it was a nice outing for him.  We had a great view of the red rock mountains in the distance, and several mornings watched pretty hot air balloons floating there.

Making use of the panorama feature on my camera!  Taken from the airport above Sedona, with some of the nearby mountains in the background.
 We also enjoyed 2 days in Phoenix, visiting with Bob's brother and his wife, Art and Sharon.  They moved there 9 years ago, and I have to say that even though I know it gets pretty darn hot in the summer, I can understand why they, and many others, choose to live there for retirement.

We got to visit the Botanical Gardens and see the Chihuly glass exhibit--

 I am so glad we did!  I have seen pictures of the works of art made by Chihuly, but never saw them up close and personal.  I always found them fascinating, and after viewing the film about him and his work, they are even more so.  Those big squiggly things, like the red and yellow above, are assembled by a team under the direction of Chihuly.  All of those curlycues are individual tubes stuck onto pegs protruding from the center post.  I wonder how they do in a storm??

The picture below reminds me so much of things we did "back in the day", taking the kids to National Parks, monuments, and historic locations.  This was at Tuzigoot National Monument.

From there we drove to Jerome, a quirky little town perched on the side of a mountain.  It's worth the drive if you are ever near there, and a good place for a meal is the Haunted Hamburger.  This was an old mining town, and most of the buildings look like they were built somewhat haphazardly many years ago, and could slide down the hill at any time!  I guess if they are still standing, they can be considered stable.  Just driving the winding, steep road to Jerome and back is an experience in itself, and not good for the faint of heart!

That's all of the travelogue for now!  More quilts soon to come!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


After some struggles, I finally got it all together. Took about twice as long as it should have. After sewing all the triangle pairs together, they are sewn into rows alternating with the solid white. Except they were different sizes. This is where you would see my sad face. I had cut all of the white so couldn't change those pieces. So I had to "unsew" all of those triangles and trim each down carefully so corners and strips would match up when sewn back together. Takes patience!  And now I'm figuring how to correct the problem when I do the demo! Would love to know how the pattern designer avoided this!
So now it's time to move on to something else!

Economy blocks

My little pile of economy blocks is growing!  As is the pile of trimmings. 
I posted about this previously, but don't know how to link to it when using my iPhone to compose. Trust me, it's there!  With due credit to Red Pepper Quilts and her tutorial. These maybe should be called potato chip blocks because I bet you can't make just one!
Sitting on the shore of Big Swan Lake brought the opportunity for this great picture.  Sunrise is easy to catch since the days are still plenty short!  But steadily lengthening. Hope on the horizon!


Done with the wool for awhile, moving on to strips and squares. A pattern from Strip Smart Quilts II, to be used as an example of uses for a special ruler at an upcoming Bear Patch class. These colors feel like spring, flowers, warm sunshine and soft breezes. A sharp contrast to the current conditions! This shows what the quilt will look like--

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Working on...

Buttermilk Basin designs for my monthly wool project. Some appliqué paired with a traditionally pieced block. I am staying at my friend, Nancy's, house for a few days. Great view of the lake and no plans to go outside today which is good because it is maybe about -20 degrees!  Better go, soup is ready!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

a new obsession?

I follow some assorted blogs about quilting and crafting and knitting.  One of them is Red Pepper Quilts.  Last week this blogger posted pictures of her "Economy Block" quilt and I caught the bug to try it.  I'm not sure where that name comes from, as I am used to calling this the square-in-a-square block.  A block by any other name is just as sweet.  Here are my first 3 samples--
These are 5" blocks made with fabric gleaned from my stock of 5" squares of all kinds and colors.  No, I haven't sorted them by color!  They are all mixed up in several boxes, but at least they are stacked neatly!
There is a nice tutorial for the step-by-step directions on the Red Pepper site.  These instructions are easy to follow and call for pieces that are a little bit over-sized so they can be trimmed to a uniform size for the finished block.  She also has a paper-piecing diagram that can be downloaded, which would be an easy way to go if you want to take the guesswork out of the equation.  Less room for error.
This is going to take a bunch of blocks to make a quilt big enough to cover a bed.  A 100" x 100" size would take 400 blocks.  Not sure where I am going with this, but putting these together satisfied my desire to put some colors together and sit at my machine without worrying about the end result!  Maybe you would like to join in the block quilt-along?  I am going to use some stolen minutes to sort out combos of 3 fabrics that would work in a block and make a stack.  Then more stolen minutes to cut them to the correct size.  Then some minutes at the machine when I need some sewing therapy!  Sounds easy, right?