Cherry Tree quilt progress

Cherry Tree quilt progress

Thursday, July 14, 2016

More S'mores anyone.....? thing about being on vacation is that you are usually on the go - there are too many sights you want to check out - and Alaska has more than its share of wonders...

As filled as the days are, it is often the quieter evenings that leave moments forever settled in the such night was this past weekend. Our Dave and Jena had driven down to join us in Homer.

We headed down to the beach after dinner and gathered driftwood to build a fire. The sound of the waves accompanied our laughter as we watched the antics of our Kelsie, Seana and Kodi. Soon the warmth of the cheery campfire meant it was ready for - you guessed it - S'mores. It has been many a year since I last tasted these little wonders...who hasn't tried to perfect a golden coating on the marshmallow without setting it ablaze? Sticky fingers, spots of melted chocolate on the cheek and graham cracker crumbs -

The simple things are most often the very best in life - being with family is #1.

Wishing each of you happy moments with those you love...

Pat - from Homer, Alaska


Saturday, July 9, 2016

On a clear day... can see across Kachemak Bay from our campground in Homer, Alaska. We are here for 2 glorious weeks and our Dave and Jena have just arrived to spend the weekend with us. We left behind daily rounds of rain while staying in Wasilla at a campground that left a lot to be desired. No trees, a rutted, pothold filled gravel drive did not add to the junked cars and rv's that surrounded the perimeter. It was the only thing available though - we were glad to leave there.

We have traded that for green grass and lush vegetation with a stunning view.

It is a short stroll down to the beach - this area is known for the wide swing in tides. With the tide out, shells, rocks and driftwood are exposed making for endless hours of exploring. Off in the distance a whale surfaces and a column of water shoots skyward. Sea otters float on their backs is a magical place allowing cares and worries to retreat.

Homer offers other delights too - boardwalks invite us to visit tiny shops that offer locally crafted jewelry and carvings.

I could not resist this tiny bear necklace - made from the tooth of an ancient woolly mammoth. The jewelry maker uses food color to infuse each little piece, never knowing what the results will be as each section absorbs colors differently.

The last 2 days have been filled with what what makes up a vacation...long leisurely walks shared with our kids and the pooches; eating treats that we normally don't - freshly made gelato, cookies and different breads from the nearby bakery, salmon quesadillas...and more days ahead doing the same - we will count calories later!

Wishing each of you days to treasure...



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Thoughts from the Alaska Highway...(long post)

Hello to everyone from Kluane Lake in the is after 10:00 p.m. as I write this...the sun is still over the mountains and it will never grow dark during the night. We are set up on the shores of one of my very favorite camping areas. Except for the sound of the gentle wind coming in off the lake, it is so quiet. (Well - I say Mr. Outback & I both definitely heard grizzly bear sounds as we walked our 2 shelties - we immediatelt turned around and headed back to the more populated area) Everyone here has travelled far to reach this point...some returning from their Alaska adventure, others, like us, heading that way. Our conversations with each other always begin with "are you going or are you coming from?" The Alaska Highway in either direction requires a driver's focused attention so most all our camping neighbors are settled in for the night like us. Tomorrow we head to the border and Tok, Alaska. The next part of the drive is traditionally the slowest and most difficult as you encounter many frost heaves and sections of nothing but gravel. Towing a 34 foot 5th wheel calls for extra caution.

We have had a tough start to this long anticipated journey - by the time we reached North Dakota on the 17th, it was obvious little Molly - our senior sheltie, was not doing well - in the weeks leading up to our departure, her appetite had started to decrease, though she still was active and responsive. A clear-to-go Wellness exam from our home vet made things seem in order. An overworked & busy vet in North Dakota recommended a couple of things, none of which worked. Early in the morning of June 19, as we prepared to leave Havre, Montana and head to the Canadian border, Molly had grown worse & we found a kind and compassionate vet who examined her, looked us straight in the eye and said it was best to let her go due to rapidly declining. With many tears and gentle touches we stayed with our Molly as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Our two remaining fur kids know something is very different but are travelling well, though needing extra attention which we give.

Post update - June 28 - we have arrived in Wasilla Alaska and have been reunited with our Dave & Jena - finally have a steady wifi (??) and trying to catch up on all the news. We will stay here for 10 days & then everyone heads down to Homer for halibut (yum!!!). Right now laundry, grocery shopping and rv cleaning are on the list...

Many photos have been added the last 12 days - the best has been taken by Mr. Outback (from the safety of our truck!) as this beautiful grizzly posed for us 75 feet away - he looks so huggable until you see the claws on those big paws...

Back later - wishing each of you good days and good times.
Pat in Wasilla, Alaska


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Let the journey begin...

...working off of multiple lists, we have planned, shopped and packed...the RV is ready - food supplies, clothes for warm weather to the chills of the mountains, passports, current papers for our 3 fur kids, Kindles, DVDs, camera gear and a few handwork only quilting projects for a rainy day at campgrounds.

For we off to The Last Frontier, The 49th State, Land of the Midnight Sun, Seward's Folly - Alaska. Years ago we dreamed that when we retired, we would take 1 memorable trip to that place, not knowing we would return again and now heading out on #6. But when your one and only son moves there and then takes his bride there...well, who could stay away??!!

This may well be our last visit there though, because our Dave and Jena will be following us back. A new direction in their lives and wanting to be nearer to family will make the decision to put the mountains behind them a little easier as they return to their midwest roots.

A friend of mine, who lived in Alaska for many years, once said that everytime you leave Alaska, you leave a part of your heart behind. Dave and Jena will leave a large part of theirs I am sure. But there will always be reasons for them to return for a visit.

For Mr. Outback & I, we hope to add new memories to previous trips...we have seen and experienced so much...salmon and halibut fishing, boat tours, orcas, whales, sea lions and sea birds; from The Arctic Circle, down to Valdez, Seward and the Homer Spit; a fabulous flight among the peaks of Denali, glaciers, bears and moose...and if truth be told, we have even thought what it would be like to move there were we 30 years younger and our lives were not so attached to Taylorsoutback by the pond...

And so we are off...the open road is calling...

I will try to post when wifi permits and hope to keep up with all of your doings.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Going to build Panama Pyramids...

...while on the many of you have caught the Pyramid fever? There are hundreds, if not thousands of little triangles popping up all over quilting blogland! I first saw these little gems over at Taryn's blog - Repro Quilt Lover. She has some really good tips to get you some nice background info about how this got started.

Linda Collins of Quilts In The Barn fame has inspired so many quilters to join in to make our own unique version of the antique quilt.

You will need to get your hands on Quiltmania #94 which has the pattern. Also run, do not walk, to order a set of the plastic templates and choose your fabrics!

Here is what my plan is - I just happened to have #94 on my shelf AND the fabrics in my stash except for the yardage needed to do the larger alternate triangles. Off to the LQS I went! I ordered my templates from The Quilt Merchant in Illinois. You can find them at Paper Pieces and Homestead Hearth too if you live in the US. Be sure to request being added to the fast growing Facebook group too!

Oh my gosh - another project...I must be nuts - but who could resist this?? And here I am packing for a long trip...more about that soon...



Friday, May 27, 2016

Soooo...Beyond the Cherry Tree....

Begun in 2010....a first effort at appliqueing a really large quilt - 100 x 100.

Gay Bomers at Sentimental Stitches introduced us to the original antique she owned and oh, so generously, shared the patterns she reproduced each month, revealing lovely surprises and discoveries along the way. A special blog was started ... we supported and cheered each other on...some finished long ago, hand quilted or off to a long arm quilter, some are still in progress..(thank you Sharon of Grass Roots Quilting for being the administrator)

This quilt has been worked on at home, retreats and on our travels - Illinois, the UP, from Minnesota to the RV...from Alberta, British Columbia & the Yukon, as we made numerous adventurous trips to Alaska. It has been stitched with thoughts of delight, frustrations, even anger and tears. It helped me to deal with the worries of 2 aging parents and the sad days following the passing of my Dad. It knows more about me than I would ever dare reveal aloud. Bundled on my lap in front of a fire, its weight from the wool batt helped to keep the cold Wisconsin winter nights away. At times it was neglected and abandoned in a quilting basket..

...with not a stitch taken for weeks. And then I could hear it softly calling to be worked on again. In January it shouted out - "its time to finish me - too much time has gone by and too much effort has gone in to me to sit here incomplete."

So here it is - after using up countless yards of quilting thread and many sets of finger guards...I dedicate this quilt to...

My Grandparents

Grandaddy grew cherry trees in West Virginia and made cherry wine. My Grammy made the best cherry pie ever and passed along her love of quilting to me.

I learned, ripped, struggled, made mistakes, but kept going...and I love this quilt in all its imperfections.... It is soooo....finished!


How timely - The Unity Tree our Dave and Jena planted on their wedding is blooming this week. Weeping Cherry Tree


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A sense of contentment...

...a quick post inbetween wash loads...we just returned from the first skeet shoot of the season - as always, unpacking the RV and catching up on laundry.

Every May, we look forward to meeting up with friends in Illinois. Mr. Outback gets to shoot at little clay targets for 4 days and I get to relax - most of our main meals are simple and prepared ahead of time & 2 nights out to dinner make it even easier!

One of my favorite days is getting together with a long time friend who was my partner when we opened a quilt shop years ago. She grew up in Illinois and has been sewing and quilting forever. Of course, this means she knows every quilt shop! Our day started early and we did 4 shops in a row. I'm tellin' you - the body sure tuckers out quicker than it used to, but we had a great time!

I did not take many photos but have to share one from the Treadle II Fabric Shop in Bloomington. Having been there on a couple of other trips, it still knocks me over when going in..

This is only one aisle - there is more! But you get the idea - a quilter's heaven if you have the stamina and don't mind hunting for fabric in tight quarters! They only do cash or checks, no cash register that I saw; a generic sales slip and the owner keeps the carbon. She has been in business for 40 years and if you show her a swatch you seek, she can point to where it is or tell you they don't have it. Amazing place - absolutely amazing!

I had nothing in particular in mind and there was a sale going on for fat 1/4's - I got a little of this - a little of that - thinking applique for leaves, stems and birds...

A few purchases at the other shops and the realization that I am actually quite content with all my present and future planned projects that are in my sewing room. A nice feeling!

Wishing each of you a sense of contentment in all that you do...