Thursday, January 30, 2014

GRT2014 Day 15 - Quilting in the Desert, Sedona AZ

I finished my class with Gail Garber on Wednesday; I'll start Louisa Smith on Thursday. It's such great fun being around so much creativity! And the ladies are (mostly) wonderful. I always make new friends at these events.

After class on Wednesday, 5 of us took off for the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Wow, what a show! They speak for themselves, so no more words are needed from me.

No time to load more right now - the internet here is ridiculously slow!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

GRT2014 Day 13 - Scottsdale, AZ

Day 1 of Flying Colors class with Gail Garber.

We are all heads-down, practicing design elements: flying geese, offcenter geese, spirals, pointy dudes, just to name a few.  Gail teaches design using a ruler, compass, and flexible curve. It's so much fun! This is a refresher course for me: I took Gail at Empty Spools a couple of years ago. I had forgotten some of the things (lack of usage will do that to you), so this 3-day class is perfect! I'm excited about the project I designed at Empty Spools, and I think I can start sewing on Tuesday.

This area of Scottsdale has so many places to go within walking distance! You wouldn't think of an area like this being walk-friendly, but there are TONS of restaurants, a Trader Joe's (so we can cook in our casita), more clothing stores than I think I've ever seen in one place, and of course the critical piece: Starbucks.

There are a number of breakfast/lunch only places around, but Dolores and I have been eating way too much so we've slowed down and are doing more eating "at home". We went to dinner just two nights, and found the portions at each of the restaurants enough for at least 3 people, maybe 4. We had leftovers in our room, so last night we had guests for dinner (Gail Garber and Louisa Smith), served leftovers, and had plenty for 4 people. Hmm. No wonder we Americans struggle with weight.

No more pictures to share today. It

Sunday, January 26, 2014

GRT2014 Day 12 - Scottsdale, AZ

Yesterday I told you that my friend Dolores had joined me here in Scottsdale.  Today we decided to get in the car and see where our whims took us.

I now have an entire new wardrobe. My Visa has melted.

That is all.

GRT2014 Day 11 - Sedona, AZ to Scottsdale, AZ

I bid farewell to Sedona today and headed back down the state to Scottsdale for Quilting in the Desert. I took a different route out of Sedona (179) than I took in (89), and the views were even more spectacular! I stopped at one of the scenic overlooks on the way out of down to grab this shot. All the peaks have names, but I'm not familiar enough with them (yet) to recall what these are. They are all spectacular, though!

Heading down the mountains is always interesting. You can see so much!!  There are a couple of scary parts, but no one else was falling off the road, so I figured I wouldn't either. As sad as I was to leave Sedona, once I reached 3000 ft (Sedona is 4500 ft), I was happy to see these again:

Hello, cuties!

Once I got into Scottsdale, I could have been in Anytown, USA. Driving along the road to get to the hotel, I passed the usuals - Maggianos, Pottery Barn, and any other chain you see in any other city. It makes me realize just how different places like Sedona are: not a lot of national chains. That was refreshing.  Of course the houses are different here, and the hotel is definitely different.

Lots of little casitas, rather than floors and floors of "anywhere, USA" hotel rooms.

Remember when Phoenix used to be where people went if they had bad allergies? It was desert: no pollen, no grass, no trees.  Look at it now! The climate of Phoenix has been completely altered by humans and is now one of the most allergy-prone places in the states. Oh, we humans like our "comfort-y" things, don't we? So much that we plant grass in a desert.

And how surprised was I surprised to see this on the walk back from dinner?

Citrus! In the middle of a parking lot in what used to be desert. Ah well. Progress refuses to be stopped.

My friend Dolores has joined me here in Scottsdale for the week. We had a terrific dinner at an Asian Fusion restaurant. The food was outstanding, but OMG did they ever have enormous servings! One bowl of Pho would have fed 4 people with no problem. Same with the Panang. So we brought it back to the casita (which includes a full kitchen), and now we have lunch for the next couple of days.

Tomorrow is a free day, so we will just goof off for the day, then classes start Monday. I wonder where we'll end up tomorrow? Check in and see!

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 24, 2014

GRT2014 Day 10 - Sedona

This is my last day in Sedona. At least for now. I walked around a lot, looked at all the interesting funky shops, took in the local color.  There is a guy everyone calls Doc. He wears cowboy gear, including boots, spurs (you hear him coming for blocks), and a long black coat. You expect him to say "I'm the law here, ma'am".  Instead, every morning he walks into every shop/store and tells whoever is working to have a nice day. Every evening, he makes his rounds again, wishing everyone a pleasant evening. I didn't think to take a pic, but I'll get him next time (and there WILL be a next time).

My ultimate thought on Sedona? There's something magical about this place. Do your best to visit at least once in your life.

Elsewhere..... Remember these little quick zip bags we made?

I had made them in lots of sizes ...

... and threw some in the suitcase in case I needed them along the way. Well let me say that these are about the best organizers I've ever used! By day 3 I had used all those I'd brought with me, so I made a quick dash into Hancock's (while visiting Vicky in Haltom City), and now I've made 4 more super-sized ones:

Boy are they great! Quilting projects. Dirty socks, etc., (I didn't want to say undies). Things that roll around the suitcase.  They've become my new favorite thing for traveling.  

I also used separating zippers on these because that's the only kind there was in the big (24" and 28") sizes. Wow, did that ever make it easier to sew these babies! 

Suddenly I see all kinds of uses for these quickie bags!

I head back down the hills tomorrow to Scottsdale for a week of quilting class. Oh yay! Stay tuned to see what happens in class, because I never know!

Thanks for stopping by!

Day 9 - Sedona. It's beautiful beyond description.

Today I'm still goofing off in Sedona. There was much shopping to be done, of course, and plenty of good food to try. I even got daring:

Buffalo (meat, not style) chili


I took one of the Pink Jeep tours today - the one to the vortex areas. I think I will need to go back to one of those areas: there wasn't an opportunity to be silent and see what happened. So far, I'm planning to be back in Sedona after my class next week. Maybe I'll have the opportunity then.

The tour offered amazing views!

We did some 4-wheeling to get to some of the places, and a short hike over this rocky terrain. You can sure tell that you're not at sea-level anymore! There was no struggle, but we were all huffing and puffing in the thinner air. The views were well worth it, though.

It was the coldest day of my visit, and the wind was really blowing. For me, that made for a comfortable ride: I'd much rather be cold and bundled up (blankets are provided in the jeeps) than hot.

There's so much to see here! I wonder what Friday will bring?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

GRT2014 Day 8 - Sedona, AZ

Today was a lazy day of rest. I went out for breakfast - my favorite meal of the day - to The Coffee Pot.  They serve 101 different kind of omelets. I had guacamole & sour cream. It was meh. Awakenings, in Monterey, CA, does a much better job with that type of omelet. I met an interesting couple from New Jersey, though. They were sitting behind me, discussing the latest Florida shooting (in the theater. over texting. really?) and commented that they sure wouldn't want to live in Florida. I turned and told them it wasn't easy! We had a nice chat after that.

That was the extent of my day. I enjoyed the views, took a nap, sewed, decided I didn't like what I was making, started something else. Just a fun, lazy day. I suspect tomorrow will be quite different.

The weather here is unbelievable! So "warm" for this time of year. Probably high 60s. Just beautiful! I had the sliding doors open till the sun set.

Speaking of the sunset ......  I took a pic every 5 minutes as the sun went down.

And the buildings below welcome dusk (one with flash, one without)

Hey, I can't have excitement EVERY day! I'd be exhausted!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

GRT2014 Day 7 Maricopa, AZ to Sedona, AZ

Not much mileage again today. About 150, putting total mileage at about 2400. 

After 7 travel days, I am going to play in Sedona for the next few days.  I met Derrick in the Pink Jeep Cafe (Pink Jeep is a tour company here in Sedona); he gave me a good list of places to go, then took me outside & pointed out all the peaks, their names, and which ones to visit.  Then I walked a little more and met Autumn at another tour company; she gave me lots more good ideas, so I think my days won't be boring! And did I mention there's a great quilt shop here? Yea.  First stop. Even before the hotel. Fun stuff! Quilters are never alone when they walk into a quilt shop. I met a bunch of ladies there.

The drive from Maricopa was amazing! Scary at times, riding on the edges of big BIG mountains, but amazing. And there were THOUSANDS more saguaros along the way. Some had arms on arms on arms (4th generation arms?). Consider that the cacti don't grow their first arms until they are at least 50 years old: how old must these be to have so many layers of arms? I'm so glad they're protected. They are really magnificent.

But I digress. The drive was, as I said, scary at times, but the views far outweighed any fear. This area is known as the Colorado Plateau, and the cacti are in the Sonoran desert (I'm trying to learn as I visit. If I write it, I'll remember it.) It was so interesting to see all the cacti, then suddenly there were no more. I was out of their range. But then I started climbing up mountains to more thrilling views.  There are not many rest areas in Arizona, so no opportunity to take pictures. I'm sure the magic google machine will show you many views, but there's nothing like seeing it with your own eyes. Great stuff out here in this country!

I did see a sign I'd not seen before. It read "expect 30 minutes delays between 8pm and 6am while blasting." Really! Next thing I saw we're mounds and mounds and mounds of blown up rock. They are working on I-17 south (I'll get to experience that lovely construction on Saturday), and apparently dynamite plays a role. Or whatever is used for blasting these days.  Also I drove through 2 national forests, but .... No trees. Well alrighty, then. I think it was just that the road went through the desert part of the forest. I did a little research on the Coconino and the Prescott, and they do indeed have trees.

I finally made it to the hotel room, and this is part of my view.

The room has glass doors on the mountain side, so the panorama is fabulous. Also the weather is unseasonably warm, so I don't have to bundle up when going out during the day. High 60s, with cold nights. Perfect!

I did a cursory tour around this end of town, collected a bunch of info on sites to see,then came back to play with fabric for awhile.  These little cuties got completed this evening. 

I still have a bunch more of these to do, but I'm getting there!  They have their own big 'ol bin in the car, and they'll be given away when I'm in California. I'll have an empty bin! OMG! I'm betting that won't last long. :)

And that was my day! Thanks for stopping by. 

GRT2014 Day 6 - Wilcox, AZ to Maricopa, AZ

(with a side trip to Saguaro National Park)

No idea how many miles today. Not a whole lot. Maybe 200.

I'm in Maricopa to see my youngest brother. I've had a lovely visit with him and his lady friend. She's a terrific cook, and keeps a lovely home! Tomorrow I head to Sedona for a few days of rest, and to see what kind of spooky things I can discover, what with all the vortexes and stuff. I may do a few desert tours while I'm there.

I stopped at Saguaro National Park today. I finally bought my senior citizen's pass. Did you know that you pay one fee of $10 then you get into all the parks for free after that? Just a one time pay. You also get into all kinds of other attractions free. Nice to get some perks like this after living for a lot of years, huh?

The Saguaros are the cacti most of us tend to think of when we think of the desert. They show up in all the cartoons, etc. In fact, the Saguaros are quite finicky and only grow in a small region of the country. But man are they impressive!

Here's just a bit of what I saw today.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

GRT2014 Day 5 - Odessa, TX to Wilcox, AZ

515 miles today; 1998 total

I wanted to make sure I got plenty of space between me and the Lone Star state! I put another whole state between us. Seriously, it was quite the challenge to get out of Texas! 

I was so excited to finally be almost in New Mexico after 3 nights in Texas. I was 9 miles from the border, cruising along I-10, when - AACK!!!! - the road was closed!!! Traffic at a dead stop. Oh I could have cried! I was so close - so close - to finally getting through Texas! Eventually we wound our way through the detours and finally got across the border to NM. A couple of miles later .... NO NO NO it can't be! Stopped again!  Border crossing checkpoint.  I was sure I would get caught in a Texas vortex and it would pull me all the way back there. 

Once we got going again, I kept driving until I was an acceptable distance past that way-too-big state. "Far enough" turned out to be Arizona.  I had a reservation in Las Cruces, NM, but got there so early that I cancelled that one & kept on driving. As a result, I'll get to sleep in tomorrow since I'm only about 3 hours from my brother's place. Oh! And now I'm in Mountain time zone. Of course I never know what time it is in Arizona because they don't change time, so sometimes they're on California time and sometimes they're on New Mexico time. (Do YOU know when you're on savings or standard time? I don't!)

At least I took some pics today, so I'll leave you with those.

Here's a little of what I see on the road:

When I checked into my hotel tonight, I grabbed these shots quick before the scenery got too dark. I was in the parking lot, so sorry about all the poles. The sunset was beautiful!

Thanks for stopping by.