Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Alaska Trip - Days 2 & 3

Day 2 was uneventful.  The Princess tour began this evening, so we spent the day transferring from the B&B to the Princess Lodge on the Chena River. It's a shallow river, and only 100 miles long.  It's murky and fast -moving.  It's fed by a glacier and shrinks back down to about 6 feet deep in the winter when the ice freezes again.  This river will be frozen by Halloween.  That's just put of my realm of knowing how to think about winter! We spend a good portion of the day just resting, finally having some time to do "nothing" after the very long travel days we all had.

Today - day 3 - was filled with activity.  We had a group breakfast where we met our tour guide and our group that we will remain with for the duration of the land our.  There are just 34 in our group.  We spent the morning on the Chena, touring on a paddle boat. 

We learned much about native Alaskan history and culture.  We paused at the home of Susan Butcher's daughter while she told us about mush dogs (Susan was a multiple winner of the Ididerod), and demos their summer training.  They pull her on a tractor! It was fascinating. They lead immediately for the water when they are finished with their run.  The dogs seem to be experiencing pure joy with the mushing!

We disembarked at a reproduction native village where we learned about reindeer herd keeping, pelts, native coat making, the meaning behind all those tassels (to show others what a good hunter she married) and beads (what village she came from). Knowing that the animals are taken for subsistence life, not as trophies, makes it much easier to be accepting of the fur.

After the river tour ended, we had a surpringly delicious lunch of traditional miners stew. My, it was tasty! Then on to the gold panning, via a reproduction miners train. Everyone had at least a few gold flakes in their little pile of dirt they panned. It was fun (I was terrible at panning, by the way!) after the panning, we had a mini-lecture about the Aleyska Pipeline.

We returned to the hotel around 4:00 so I had enough time for a nap before the 4 course wine tasting dinner.  Again everything was superb. All the veggies were grown here, the halibut freshly caught not too terribly far away. Really good food, really good wine.

Tonight the outlook for borealis sighting is promising! Interesting fact: you can leave a wake-up call with the hotel to wake you if the aurora is visible. We left the call. Keep your fingers crossed!

Here are some more flower pics. They are so amazing that I can't stop taking pictures!

Tomorrow Denali! 

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Great Alaska Trip - The Beginning

For starters, I splurged and flew first class to Fairbanks.  That was a treat! 13 hours travel time, so the extra space was appreciated.

We are spending two nights in a Bed and Breakfast.  That's a loosely defined term here in these parts, but it's perfectly fine for two nights.  At least there is indoor plumbing! The weather is surprisingly warm, but a great relief from the heat of Florida this time of year.

The first evening, I didn't nothing but chat with my traveling companions Kathy, Pete, and Chris (I didn't arrive at the B&B till after 9:00.) Alaska is 4 hours earlier than my part of Florida, so I was pretty beat.

Today, we walked Fairbanks.  There is not much here, which is a bit surprising, but the flowers are just amazing, as are the many vegetable gardens we saw.  Everything is huge.  
We visited the Museum of the North at Alaska University. There are some marvelous exhibits, including many about the women that are a big part of Alaskan history and development. The size of the whale bones was a surprise to me.  
You know in your head that they are huge creatures, but still - you feel quite small standing next to the bone that is in their head.

There were also many dinosaur bones, and of course bears and moose.  Again I was surprised at the hugeness of the moose - they're enormous! I hope we see some "on the hoof" as we continue our adventure.

As we wondered back into Fairbanks, we stopped at the Cultural Museum, which was also interesting, but not as much as the one at the university.  The Cultural Museum had fabulous gardens, though, and an adorable outhouse.  

Speaking of adorable, one of the first things I saw today was this great door on an antique shop,
and one of the last things was this tiny house that is so charming I'm sure a faerie would want to move in and call it home.

We enjoyed a good dinner at the restaurant in the Marrriott hotel.  I had fish and chips (halibut - of course), and I enjoyed a really good IPA from Seattle along with my meal.  It just seems wrong to have anything but beer with fish and chips.  

After a lovely day enjoying the weather and the outdoors, we came back to our little B&B. We fought with the mosquitoes along the way, but emerged mostly unscathed - except for Pete.  They are really attracted to poor Pete! Tomorrow we pack up and move to the Princess Lodge to join up with our tour.  I'm looking forward to that experience.  

Random pics from the day.

The Bears I encountered today.

Cabbage growing at the cultural center.

Incredible woven grass baskets at the Museum of the North.

A jade Boulder.  Amazing!

This archway is from real antlers and heads. It's spectacular, really.  

Mastodon and mammoth bones. So gigantic!

Stay tuned! And thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Tula Blocks and Playing in the Scrap Bin

Bin? Seriously? Multiple bins.

This cabinet is 34" wide, 18" deep. I wish I could tell you this is all my scraps. No. It isn't. So today I played with some Halloween scraps. Voila! Mug rugs were hatched.

I made nine altogether, but this is pretty representative of how they look. So darn cute!

I did my requisite two Tula blocks today. Here are the ones I didn't show before, and today's blocks. (By the way, the theme of the first section is "Crosses".  I'm doing the blocks in order.)



I think this "2 a day" is going to be successful.  Let me know if you're playing along.

It was an enjoyable day, just playing with fabric. We should all do that more often.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mojo Re-engaged. Maybe. Probably.

Life.  It happens.

I've remained productive, though.  The latest:

Scottsdale Pattern

Wristlets (to be added to Etsy soon)

Swell, from Camille Roskelley's Retro Book

The top and bottom quilts are with the long-armers, waiting their turn.  I've been on quite a wristlet kick lately, too. Maybe because they finish quickly. (Sometimes you just want to finish something, you know?)

I've started working weekends at my local quilt shop, and will begin teaching there again in the spring.  One of my "classes" (not really a class - more of an incentive program) will include making the Tula Pink sampler blocks.  Yes, all 100 of them.  My block budget is 8 blocks a week, so I do 2 a day Tuesday - Friday.  (Working the weekend, and my sewing group meets on Monday).  It's working so far. The blocks are all very simple, but so many of us are used to cutting lots of pieces for lots of block at one time.  For the Tula blocks, you cut one at a time.  Not many pieces, but still not what I've  been doing for the past many years.  Here are a the first few:




I'm also keeping a photo of the fabrics I used in each block.  They measure 6" (finished), so those are some tiiiiiiiny pieces.  I'm working from the scrap bins, and shouldn't have to resort to the stash.  I should take a pic of my scrap stash. Or maybe not - I might be too embarrassed! Stay tuned!

So, although I've been silent, I've stayed busy. Thanks again for hanging in there with me. And thanks for stopping by.

2015 counts
Tops: 11 
Finishes: 26 (16 quilts, 10 other) (this isn't updated for the latest wristlets)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Some things that got finished

The Double Irish Chain is finally finished.  I bought this fabric bundle at PIQF in Santa Clara last fall. Of course I had to add to it so it would be bigger. I'm thrilled with the way this turned out.  Love the quilting! Although it's not really noticeable in the photos' there are 16 fabrics in the binding. Scrappy quilt, scrappy binding. Love this one!

Finally finished the gecko piece. I'm not sure it'll ever be "finished", really, though, because I'll be adding embellishments.  Lots and lots of embellishments.

My scrap play is also finished. I first tried alternating the red "cross" blocks with the scrappy blocks, but it was too much red.  I randomly replaced cross-blocks with more scrappy blocks until I was happy with the look.  The stars are from my Parts Department.  (See either of Freddy Moran/Gwen Marston's books for ideas for Parts Departments.)

So three more finishes for 2015, and a bunch more getting close.  Thanks for stopping by!

2015 counts
Tops: 9 
Finishes: 26 (16 quilts, 10 other)