On The Road Again

“Just can’t wait to get on the road again….”  I can hear Willie Nelson singing this song.

We’ve started our “big trip”, the last vacation before school starts.

We will be traveling in a loop through the Northwest and Canada, driving through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alberta, British Columbia and Washington.  Three people, one cat, three thousand miles, three and a half weeks.

We started our trip last Friday and made our first stop in LaGrande, Oregon. Thankfully the weather was much cooler than expected, low 80’s instead of high 90’s (like it was in early July when we passed through headed towards Wallowa Lake).  While we were traveling the I84 east out to Mt. Hood, I noticed a small blue car that passed us with a decal on the back window from my gym.  I tried to catch up to them to see who it was, but they just zipped on down the road.  Hi Peeps!!

Saturday we drove to Twin Falls, Idaho where we watched people “base jumping” off of the Perrine Bridge (486 feet tall) over the Snake River.

Perrine Bridge

Base Jumper

You don’t actually see them until they have jumped and their chute opens.  This is not encouraged nor outlawed so people from all over the world come here to jump.  We then headed out to Shoshone Falls.  Absolutely beautiful.  This photo does not really give you the sense of how immense this is.  I think it is nick named the Niagara Falls of the west.

Shoshone Falls

Late this afternoon we arrived at West Yellowstone.  This is a picture from our campsite looking north east at the Gallatin National Forest.

Gallatin National Forest

Tomorrow we will go exploring.

And, for my art friends, here a pic of my traveling “studio”.  I brought journaling and watercolor supplies and some hand embroidery to work on in the evenings.

studio

Here are the items inside the canvas bag you see above.

journal supplies
Pilot Asa Gao (a beautiful Hyacinth color) ink for my Lamy fountain pen, pen cleaning kit, brand new medium size Orange Leuchtturm lined journal, Tomboy permanent adhesive, date stamp, UHU glue stick, Ranger archival ink in Vermillon and Jet Black, Pitt Artist Brush pens in assorted colors, rubber stamp alphabets in upper and lower case, assortment of Micron, Sakura and Pitt pens and Cutter Bee scissors.

Watercolor supplies

Angora watercolors (these are opaque like gouche), a sponge in a plastic container, a set of KOI watercolors (these are transparent), small watercolor journal, an assortment of brushes and rags, Ranger mini mister and a blue rainbow striped case to hold it all.

All of this should be enough to keep my evening muse going.

Thanks for stopping by.

Posted in 2015, Vacation | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Vacation at Wallowa Lake, Books, Art and a Long Board!

We spent ten wonderful days camping at Wallowa Lake, Oregon.  This is a magical place that we have camped at for the past 17 years.  This year we arrived earlier than previous years and the weather was cooler, we had rain and thunderstorms for the first five days, not all day,  just the afternoons.  The sound of thunder is impressive and makes you take notice at this elevation when you’re surrounded by 10,000 foot mountains.

Wallowa Lake

Wallowa Lake looking south. photo by Holly Glenn.

Here is where we digitally disconnect and enjoy the simpler things, we rode our bikes, rode the Wallowa Lake Tramway to the top of Mount Howard then hiked the trails.

Mount Howard trails

Mount Howard trails. photo by Holly Glenn.

We rented a pontoon boat at Wallowa Lake Marina,

Pontoon Boat

photo by Holly Glenn

And played a round of mini golf (where I made a hole in one!),  and something new, we pedaled 12 miles on the railroad lines with Rail Riders.  I rode on the last unit with the guide (that’s my back pack on the right).  This unit is very heavy at 375 pounds, because it has a motor on the back in case anyone on the ride can’t make it back, they can be pushed back.  We never had to use the motor.  I can tell you that pedaling a unit this heavy is a workout, my legs were on fire by the time we got back to the station.  (My personal trainer would have been proud!)  The other units are 150 pounds which the kids rode and they made it all the way.  We had a great time and look forward to going again next year.

Rail Rider

Rail Rider units. photo by Holly Glenn

We ate S’mores by the campfire, ice cream from the local soft serve and the BEST fish and chips at Glacier Grill.

We saw baby Ospreys in their nest.

Ospreys

photo by Holly Glenn

And baby Eagles testing their wings.

Baby Eagles

photo by Holly Glenn

While mom called and watched from a nearby tree.

Mom Eagle

photo by Holly Glenn

I brought a few art supplies for journaling and one afternoon created this color chart.

Pitt brush pen color chart

Most days I just captured the day in words and photographs, what we did, how I was feeling and doodled with the pens.

I read two books while we were there.  The first one was Badluck Way, A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West by Bryce Andrews.  A haunting memoir about a city man transformed into a rifle carrying, wolf pack tracking, cattle ranch hand living and working on a remote Montana ranch.  A view into his daily life, the progression of the seasons, the hard work that has to be done, no matter what, is truly amazing.

The second book, What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas.  Another memoir.  This is the first time I have read this author.  She is a master of the written word.  I have never felt so engaged with an author as I was with her.  Her life stories touched me deeply.  One of the many gold nuggets I wrote in my journal to ponder are these two sentences that she wrote in reference to her thirty year friendship with a man in her life.

“He remembers what I forgot and I remember what he forgets.  It’s too late for either of us to make another old friend.”

Chew on that for a bit.

And, I have a new joy toy.

38" long board by Jaseboards.

38″ long board by Jaseboards.

Woohoo!!!  I’m a teenager again, riding the strand in Hermosa Beach.

Rock on with your bad self.

Posted in 2015, Vacation | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Flowers and Quilts

We have been in a heat wave here, upper 90’s for almost two weeks now and still going.  Thank goodness we have a drip system for the cutting garden.

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And then there is this guy and his two friends.

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Watching their antics is like watching the Three Stooges.

When it’s too hot to go outside, I’ve been in the studio sewing more blocks for my scrap quilt.  I expanded the felt wall by adding a piece of batting next to the gridded felt wall.  The wall is now 72″ tall by 108″ wide.  Now I feel like I can move slabs around to view the color placement and size up the blocks.

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I love sewing randomly like this.   Just happy colors and patterns.  Makes me smile every time I look at them.

Enjoy your day and Keep It Simple.

Posted in 2015, garden, QAL, scrap fabric, scrap quilt | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is mom’s 82nd Birthday.  I went out to the garden very early this morning and picked this mixed bouquet to surprise her.

DSCN0280Tonight we will go out for dinner to her favorite restaurant, PF Changs, eat wonderful Asian food and of course devour a slice (or two) of their Great Wall of Chocolate cake.

Moms New Hairdo

Happy Birthday Mom!  Love you!

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Scrap Quilt Along, Week Four

This past week I did not put a lot of time in at the sewing machine.  I attended a four day painting session at the lovely studio of Flora Bowley.  You can read my post about it here.

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Here is the progress so far.  The slabs are getting bigger and more colorful.  And, I’m running out of room on the felt wall to hang them (the felt wall is 62″ x 72″).  I’ve used up all of the initial sets of strips that were in the pink basket and will pull more fabric strips and scraps from the bin drawers to begin the next round of sets/pairs/blocks/slabs.

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Today it is going to be too hot (expected to be 97) to work in the garden so I’ll just stay inside and enjoy the hum of the sewing machine.

Have a wonderful, piece-ful day.

Keep It Simple!

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A Journey In Four Days

I began a journey four days ago.  It was planned last year and I had been preparing for it ever since.  This journey was going take me to unfamiliar, uncomfortable and unimaginable places where fear and failure roam, waiting to pounce when you are the most vulnerable.

I left home at 7:30am although my arrival wasn’t expected until 10:00am.  I had never been here before and I didn’t want to be late because of rush hour traffic or worse yet, getting lost.  I arrived early and waited in the car, finishing up my coffee and talking with myself about how good it is to do something new, to get out of my comfort zone.  I waited and walked, capturing pictures of the newness, preserving this moment.

Stained Glass Shop

As the time drew nearer, I saw a few other people arrive, others just like me, carrying their dreams in back packs and their hearts on their sleeve, overflowing with anticipation and excitement. All of us, on the same journey to learn, grow and transform.

We gathered at the door, each of us looking for the paper with the secret code to enter the building, the code that could and would change us from that moment forward.

Day 1 front door

As I entered the building, I stood for a moment allowing my eyes to adjust to the dimmer light flowing in.

Day 1 inside

We all turned to see another door, this one, yes, this one is where the magic begins.

Day 1 The Door

As we opened the door and walked through black velvet curtains, our breath is momentarily taken away.  We’re greeted with an explosion of color and lights, Bohemian decor and music and the smell of freshly brewed coffee.  A gathering has been planned with the utmost care.

We’ve arrived at Flora Bowley’s studio.

Each of us selected a spot and we begin to unpack our things and then tape our name card above the blank canvas’ already hung on the wall.  Home.

Day 1 station

then we are asked to gather to talk about what is planned for the next four days.

Living room

We spoke of paint, process and pilgrimage.  We watched Flora as she began to magically transform her blank canvas and then we were turned loose to experiment and play.

This is the first canvas with four layers of paint, etching and mark making.

Canvas 1-1

This is the second canvas using the same methods.

Canvas 2-1

Calming the colors down and looking for areas of inspiration.  First canvas.

Canvas 1-2

And doing the same for the second canvas.

Canvas 2-2

The canvas’ I brought home with me are at an awkward stage.  There is no up or down orientation to them.  The rules of composition are absent and color theory does not exist here.  I don’t see the images that are hiding in and among these many layers but I know they are there, waiting to emerge with me, when I am ready.

Canvas 1-3

Canvas 2-3

This journey wasn’t about the canvas’ that I painted, the layer upon layer of color and marks.  It was the emotions that flowed like a river through my eyes and hands as I moved from the fire of the warm palette to the calm of the cool palette.  It was not a coincidence that this journey at this exact time released me from the “old” to the “new” and changed my perception of what it means to be bold, creative and intuitive as an artist and a human.

Thank you Flora for your guidance, wisdom, warmth and above all your sweet soul.

Flora and me

Posted in 2015, journey | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Scrap Quilt Along: Bigger blocks & things I’ve learned

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I pieced together some bigger blocks/slabs last night and made some notes to myself on a few things to keep in mind.  I hope you find these helpful in your scrap quilt journey.

  1. If you are cutting into yardage, cut to a standard width.  1.5″, 2.5″ or 3.5″ strips and squares piece well together.  I cut some random size widths and although it is interesting to the overall scrappiness of the quilt, they take more time to sew and trim.
  2. Thread!  I was trying to use up what I had on hand and became so frustrated with it breaking that I went to our local quilt shop and bought a spool of light grey Auriful.  Oh my gosh what a difference.  This is 100% cotton thread, very strong and minimal lint in the machine.  Side note:  Grey is a great color to use when piecing as it is invisible on most fabrics.
  3. Use a small stitch length on your machine for more accurate seams.  On my machine I have the length set to a 3 which produces 12 stitches to the inch.
  4. Always press the seams after you sew.  Press to the darker side of the piece if possible.
  5. Take time to trim/square up the pairs, blocks and slabs before you sew on the next piece.  This has made all the difference in my piecing.  I have a very old sewing machine that does not have a quarter inch seam guide on the throat plate and my sewing foot is not accurate either so I use a piece of artists tape on the throat plate to guide the fabric through for a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  6. Add more dark colors.  Looking at my blocks overall, I am missing the pop of a dark color (black, navy, charcoal).  I think that 25% of the quilt should be dark fabrics, 25% should be light (aka low volume) and the balance in the mid tone range.
  7. I love remnants but these can be difficult to wash prior to sewing.  I put mine into a nylon mesh zippered bag and then put that in the washing machine on delicate cycle.  The pieces will still fray but not as much.  These pieces I don’t put into the dryer but use my iron on a hot setting to help dry them.  I will lay them out or hang them to dry completely if the iron doesn’t do it.

What are some other tips/tricks that you have discovered?

Keep it simple!

Posted in 2015, QAL, scrap fabric, scrap quilt | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments