Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Table Runners

Have been having lots of fun with some smaller projects - table runners!

Two new techniques - XCentric Blocks from Anita Grossman Soloman's book "Rotary Cutting Revolution".
XCentric Table Runner










And Spinning Strata Star - I didn't have a pattern - the discussion forum I follow (QuiltingBoard.com) had lots of posts with beautiful samples - I just took my best guess at how it was put together.  I'm using these smaller projects to develop my machine quilting :)

Fall Spinning Strata Star

Earth Tones Spinning Strata Star

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Block for International Plowing Match Challenge

My mom picked up a kit for me at this year's International Plowing Match, for next year's Quilt Block Challenge.  Northcott sponsors the challenge and provides the fabrics - four 13" blocks are provided - you send back a completed 12 1/2" block, and you can use one additional fabric.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finally back at quilting!

Today started off with a spectacular sunrise, extraordinarily warm, with autumn leaves gently swirling - it was a beautiful moment to soak up strength for the day.  And boy did I need it - it was a huge fire-fighting day at work.


But I still had energy at the end of the day, playing with a new block design.  It's from the Nov/Dec '10 edition of "Quiltmaker" magazine, Anita Grossman Solomon's "Anita's Arrowhead" pattern.  It's very efficient - no wasted fabric, a very clever technique that I'm really liking!  The article gives instructions to make an 8" block, and I also made two 12" blocks and a 15" block.

Also on my design board, one of the "10 Minute Blocks" from this technique ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbTHlGGKMPM

Friday, September 24, 2010

Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan - almost home!

Today was high-speed slab all the way, zinging through four states.  Well, crawled through Chicago traffic but the rest was zinging!

Started the day with a few more barn quilts :) These are just so charming!  The occasional one has a sign showing you which block is displayed on the barn.

A few combines going, in both corn and beans.  One CB discussion between a fella in a combine and the driver of the truck he was dumping into ... corn harvest was not going well.  Should have asked him their bu/a!

Tomorrow - home!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Biker Fashion Display

Fashion display on the bikes today 
- started out at 10C: sweater, full coat + outer layer, warm gloves;  
- drops to 8C:  change to warmer sweater, add full frogg toggs and add warmer gloves; 
- pops up to 10-11C: drop frogg toggs, change to mid-warmth gloves; 
- sunshine breaks out and warms up to 24 C: lose the jacket outer liner, change to finger gloves; 
- drops back to 18C: put the jacket outer liner back on, back to mid-warm gloves, frogg togg bottoms.  


While we were in having lunch, my better half's bike ended up on its side :(  Rather looks like someone either tried to sit on it and pulled up the kickstand, or someone bumped into it (although they would have had to really really try) and tipped it over.  Luckily, he's familiar with the lift and it was back upright in good order.  Have to have a better inspection after it gets a good bath.


All in, blasting 875 km on I90 across Wyoming and South Dakota, landing in Mitchell SD, home of the "Corn Palace" (http://www.cornpalace.org/)  - awesome displays!

Apparently we missed the hail - small pellet-sized here at Mitchell, baseball sized farther south.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beartooth Pass

Still on our way home - today, Cody - hwy 296 - hwy 216 (Beartooth Pass) - Red Lodge - hwy 308 - Belfry - hwy 310 - Deaver - hwy 14A - Bighorn basin & summit - Sheridan. Wow - what a day - glorious weather, great roads!


We did lots of changes of layers today to deal with the temperature changes - from 4 C (without the windchill - this is what the bike thermometer read) at Beartooth Pass summit to 26 C at lower elevations, back down to 8 C at the top of Bighorn.


Fun sign seen at the "Top of the World" store: Wyoming PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals.  Also sighted here, snow plow ready to go, and a huuuuuuge snow blower, equipped with chains.
A bit of construction on the Beartooth Pass highway,
but it's a short section and we didn't have any delay.
We did like the sign!  The rest of the road was
freshly touched up and in awesome condition!  An amazing ride!


Hairpins along Beartooth Pass

Experimenting with snapping photos on the go - this is Bighorn Basin,
Don in front and the road just travelled in the mirror!
Sorry about all the bugs we've been collecting along the way on the windshield!

Bighorn Basin Summit - 9,430 ft
And we found a lovely little quilt shop just outside of
Red Lodge, Montana - Washoe Quilt Shoppe
Found a few things that had to follow me home :)
We had lunch in Red Lodge Montana, at a little cafe.  I like their method for discouraging bouncing cheques - they post a list of cheques they will no longer accept on their whiteboard.  Actually, it amazes me that so many use cheques as a merchant payments!

The proprietors are Marilyn Monroe and Elvis impersonators - not in costume today while cooking/serving but there were lots of photos of them on the walls.  And, the fella is getting ready to make a run for the Presidency.  He was chatting up all the customers about why he thought he needs to serve his country as President!

Wouldn't that be interesting - President Elvis!  Yup, that sure would be all shook up!

3rd Time's a Charm

Wohoo - we made it!  We tried in 2007 and 2009, and today, we successfully arrived at Yellowstone National Park.  Saw Old Faithful and everything!

Previous attempts were thwarted by foul weather and time limitations, but everything worked this time :)

Driving through Wyoming (mostly sideways, from the gusty winds) we were amazed by the stark beauty - miles and miles of wide open high desert.  Coming closer to the Grand Tetons, you get glimpses of the absolute grandeur and then, there they are!
Grand Tetons, Wyoming


Wings with the Tetons
















Old Faithful
We ended up in Cody WY for the night.  Upon recommendations from the hotel staff, we had dinner at "The Irma", Buffalo Bill Cody's hotel/bar/restaurant.  It has many of its structural features from the original building, including a fabulous cherry bar.  The host and staff were in cowboy/cowgirl gear, including hats, belt buckles, boots, handlebar mustaches and sidearms.  Great fun!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Steamboat then Wyoming

Yesterday we had another amazing day in Colorado - from Copper Mountain to Steamboat Springs, on up to Steamboat Lake then back to Copper. Nice sweepers, gorgeous fall colours, horses and more horses.  Over Rabbit Ears Pass and Muddy Pass.
Steamboat Lake
Lunch at Steamboat Lake Outfitters Restaurant at was tasty but s-l-o-w.  Slowed us down enough that we missed the group photo shoot - shoot!
Rockies Gold 2010 (there are three rows of GoldWings!)

The closing banquet was very nice too - and tons of door prizes were donated and handed out.  We now have a fun little LED flashlight to add to our travel bags :)

Sunday morning, we packed up and headed north - target for today was Riverton WY, to get us close to Yellowstone - our planned destination tomorrow.

Gassing up at Yampa, there are a group of sportbikes also arrive.  Chatting with these fellas, one is from Wasaga Beach and now lives half the year in Colorado and the other half in Ontario - he looked under 30, had worked for RIM and is now selling real estate.  Interesting how far you go sometimes to meet 'neighbours'?

We're still over 6,500 ft most of the day, but the front range has morphed into mesa and plateaus, with long, long, LONG stretches of asphalt accompanied by huge gusty crosswinds.  Think there were more wild deer along the way than cattle or horses!
Wyoming - 19 mi from Lamont, 30 mi from Muddy Gap Junction
Finally - laundry day!  This was our first order of business (before supper!) after we checked in to our hotel.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Canyons!


Today we rode canyons and more canyons!  We were out about 10 hours - can you say "TWISTIES"???

Can't really capture the beauty and glory of this area of the world - "inspiring" comes to mind!  As does humbling.  

In one spot, I think every house had either a pay loader, excavator or some type of earth mover.  And no driveways.

Many of the roads are newly surfaced, really nice for rolling the throttle :)

A few tidbits to share from today:

We don't need no stinkin' guardrails!
I call this one, "we don't need no stinkin' guardrails".  And just across the road, one of the pine trees was decorated with Christmas lights, and this pillar is erected ("May Peace Prevail On Earth"):
May Peace Prevail on Earth

How about this hairpin!??

Friday, September 17, 2010

Poudre Canyon

Today's route ...
The morning started out very brisk (4 C = 39 F) and warmed up to 26 C (27 F), dropping back down to 6 C (43 F) by the time we got back!  Glorious sunshine the entire day.

It was a day of very twisty twisties, followed by straight as an arrow high desert.  And a bunch of tunnels!

Laugh out loud moment - going through Rand in the high desert, the main attraction is the "Rand Yacht Club" ... there is no water anywhere near this spot - love the sense of humour!

Accompanying tunes - magnificent performances for magnificent views - Josh Groban, The Canadian Tenors, and a bit of Phil Collins & Bon Jovi.










Along the Poudre Canyon ...
  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Independence Pass, Freemont Pass, Tennessee Pass


Here is the route we travelled today - Colorado's Independence Pass, Freemont Pass, Tennessee Pass.

Temps started out about 12 C, did warm up at lower elevations.  Gorgeous sunshine all day.  Excellent roads! When we did Indie pass last year, we were at the summit at sundown, made the best part of the descent in the dark - gotta say it is so much prettier in daylight!

Some photos of the day ...

In this photo, we are checking out a display of mining information and equipment at Climax, Co - they've mined many different minerals, including Molybdenum.  Looking back through the bucket they've turned into a gateway to the display, the bikes were perfectly framed!

Below, we're at the lookout at Independence Pass.  Bottom photo is the coolest hairpin on Indie Pass, stitched together



Music for today?  Well, that's a long story.  I managed to leave my ipod in the bike last night so it didn't get charged ... so for a while was trying to get radio stations (this doesn't work well in the mountains).  Then my wiring got adjusted so I could listen to the songs loaded on my GPS.  Which was fine, except it was set to play Bob Seger's Silver Bullet album, over and over and over.  Finally got it switched so it would play all the songs.  Don't get me wrong, I love Seger ... just not as the only selection :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Twisties - Really - Twisties!

We found them :)  Twisties, up and down mountains, in mountain valleys.

Arrived at Copper Mountain resort for our "Rockies Gold 2010" gathering, this afternoon.  I just haven't been at very many resorts but this place is azaming!  Our 'room' has a full kitchen, dining area, gathering area, fireplace, separate bedroom.  There are tons of restaurants and shops on site, have to go explore those shortly ...

Started from La Junta this morning, through Pueblo then up #9 to Frisco.  Don't know why #9 doesn't have those 'scenic route' green dots - it definitely is a wonderful ride!

Laugh out loud moment - we're driving through Alma, the highest incorporated city in North America - coming through the main street, there's a store name "Al-Mart".  I thought maybe it was a WalMart in a small town version, but nope, it's "Al-Mart" - a nice little everything mom & pop store.

Travelling companions today - drove most of the way with another couple headed for this gathering, the GL1800 people me meet are just so nice and so very interesting!

Temps today started out very nice at 24 C, got back up to 31; but at elevation was back to the low 20's.  On our way back to the resort after giving the bikes a well-deserved bath, it was 10!

The resort is at 9,700 ft elevation - just before you exit the highway, there are signs that you're entering a 'chains required' portion of highway.

Speaking of bathing the bikes, another laugh-out-loud moment - while I was wiping down my bike with a shammy, a double-ended pick pops out onto the floor.  What the heck is that?  Well, turns out that Don was using it to pick out debris from the bolts so he could get a wrench in to remove them, he was using that pick.  He put it down and then couldn't find it - it travelled all this way in the little space between the passenger footboard and the bike body!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dorothy - we're not in Kansas any more!

Started the day in Topeka KS, finished in La Junta CO - 852 km (about 530 mi).  Started out nice and mild, quickly got hot hot hot - all the way up to 36 degrees for a long time, with a bump up to 37 (that's 100 F folks) while we were in Dodge.

Lots of fun stuff today:
- a lowered 1-ton dually - white, and of course licence plates are optional!
- lots and lots and LOTS of pivot irrigation - corn, soys, hay/alfalfa
- lots and lots and LOTS of corn harvested!!
- fields of Milo - a cousin of corn - I have to learn more about this stuff!  It's harvested for the tassle-type topper.   It's growing in the corners beside fields of pivot-irrigated crop, or on non-irrigated fields - seems to be pretty drought resistant!
- the only harvest operation we see is for the milo - do see a combine that was picking corn, but they're stopped
- stopped briefly at the Prairie Grass Preserve, in their barn, one of the barn cats is lounging beside the water dish, lapping at the edge - too hot to sit up and drink :)
- also saw a cotton picker at a JD dealer!
- downtown Dodge - photos of the long-horn bull, the store fronts laid out as they were in the wild west - with hitches for horses
- spectacular sunset when the sun finally got out of our direct line of sight - we're driving west and of course we're travelling in the evening
- elevation from 800's on the east side of Kansas, rising to 4,000 ft when we're coming into La Junta

Today's song picks
- while we're starting out in Kansas, Eva Cassidy's "Somewhere over the rainbow", and finishing the day with Bob Seger's "Accompany Me"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heading West - Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas

Hit all of these states today! About 475 miles (765 km) in the saddle today ... Terra Haute IN to Topeka KS.

A few highlights of the day:
- small collection of Corvettes, one was the official pace car of the Indianapolis 500 in 1995, all driven by fellas with grey hair - the same fellas driving them in the 70's - just like bikes :)  one of the license plates was "WHOOSH"
- suddenly, a field of goats!
- tons and tons of corn harvested, and some pivot irrigators in both soy and corn fields (in Kansas)
- a trailer with two JD 7700 combines loaded - broken down to the frames so they'd fit on, with their tires tucked here and there
- rows and rows of brand new billboards - with only a small portion having real ads (most are advertising 'your ad here') - not sure if these are just so new they haven't got them all sold, or the economy has pinched this too
- at least four curves in Missouri, and I think 2 hills
- a little more rock & roll in Kansas - some actual rocks, some actual curves
- temps started out nice and cool, brilliant sunshine - up to 31 (88 for my F friends); still 31 at suppertime
- a very patient husband - my 'comfort buffer' around my bike is much larger than his, or apparently, anyone else

Tomorrow - Colorado!

Top song today ... "I can see for miles and miles ..."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Heading West

This morning we headed for our gathering with the GL1800 forum "Rockies Gold 2010" gathering, just outside of Frisco CO.  We had so much fun playing in Colorado last year, we had to come back!

Sights along the way
- Border crossing fella thought it was awesome we would drive all the way out to Colorado - I wasn't fast enough with a snappy comeback or I woulda said something like "dude, it's all about the journey, not the destination".  But also, sometimes when they ask what weapons you're carrying, it's not in your best interest to show off your rapier wit.
- John Deere picking corn (loading into a grain buggy) - not seed corn, not sweet corn, not silage - grain corn!  Wonder how long it will take my man to hop over the fence and chat up the harversters, to find out how it's going - how dry is it coming off?  What's the yield like?  How early is it really??
- Soy fields with nibbles picked
- Lots more corn fields looking ready to pick than soys!
- Billboard boasting the home town of both James Dean AND Garfield
- Rain, temperature swing from 16 all the way back up to 25 (for my F friends that's like going from 62 to 77).  We had our layers on to keep warm and dry in the rain, and just roasted when it heated up.
- Just missed getting a room at the Best Western - a couple of buses just pulled in and all their people booked up the hotel
- Baked sweet potato side - yummmm
- GREAT Margueritas at dinner :)

Favourite song from today - Jason Mraz, "Lucky" - yes, I am soooo blessed - lucky to be in love with my best friend.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

East Coast

Recently home from a glorious tour of Canada's East Coast ... travelled over 6,500 km in 12 days.  Two gorgeous big red bikes, one daughter and a whole lot of beautiful, rugged coastline.

Cresting hills to behold charming little villages ... driving right along the coast ... lots of lighthouses ... lobster, B&B's, Gites, whale watching, inns, and a few twisties just for fun.  Bridges and bridges and more bridges!

Travelled all around the Gaspe Peninsula, hop over the Confederation Bridge to tour PEI.  Ferry back over to Nova Scotia.

On to Cape Breton Island, exploring the Fleur-de-lis trail, Cabot Trail, and the Ceilidh Trail   - signs with Celtic subtitles.  It is a huge slice of heaven :)

We stayed in Ingonish and Inverness - thoughts of Diana Gabaldon's stories flitting through my head as we passed from one historic name-sake to another.  And the most efficient ferry - goes every five minutes from one side of the river to the other.

Marine Drive (well, sorry to say this road was in terrible shape), stop over in Dartmouth.  Fog in the morning, on to New Brunswick to start heading back east.

Breakfast in Maine, lunch in New Hampshire, dinner in Vermont!  Through the White Mountains, Green Mountains then the Adirondacks.

A great finish crossing from Niagara Falls NY to Ontario, wandering lost through Hamilton as the GPS (without maps current enough for that last piece of new freeway) until we get back on the bypass, and a straight shot home.  Almost 800 photos to enjoy and memories of the extraordinary sights of our beautiful east coast.  Amazing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In love with batiks

It's official ... I'm in love with batiks!

I've been working on a king size quilt, just finished up last night.  The pattern is "Bits & Bars", Laurie Shifrin's, from her "Batik Gems" book.  There are about 20 different fabrics in this beauty.  I finished it with decorative embroidery stitches around each block and down every other seam inside the blocks.  

The batiks are an absolute dream to work with! I just have to be careful to wipe up the drool from admiring them :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Flutterby OBW for donation

I am loving the one-block wonder technique!  When our social committee at work decided to have our next staff event a fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, I offered to make a quilt to raffle.  I found a really nice butterfly print, and a luscious marble print for the frame.  I had planned to use another marble print for the back, but when I was in my favourite LQS, I found the perfect fabric - a nice green to pick up some of the accents of the butterfly fabric, with a white overlay of Brother Rabbit. 


Each hexagon was quilted with a decorative stitch, and there are intertwined hearts quilted in the borders.


The quilt has been on display, along with a wonderful quilt another co-worker created (it's gorgeous - 'Sneaky Snakes').  


Yup, I work with awesome, caring people!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Flower Power One Block Wonder


This little wall hanging was created for our guild show challenge. Our show was yesterday and today. There are about 135 members of the guild, and we had more than 320 items on display.

I've only been with the guild a little more than a year, and it was my first time entering items. Helped organize too - did the photo dvd's and publicity. What was I thinking ... all this in the middle of planting season and moving kids hither and yon as the university year just finished up. I am really ready for a day of rest!

The show really was awesome - so many wonderful quilts, wonderful workmanship, lots of variety in style and patterns and fabrics. My favourite demonstration was a 'bed turning' - a qualified quilt appraiser turned through a stack of about 25 quilts, talking about each one (period, construction, fabric, etc) it was really fun!

So, here's my One Block Wonder for the Flower Power challenge ...


Secret Garden BOM 2016

Secret Garden Flimsy I participated in quite a few of Pat Sloan's challenges and quilt-alongs in 2016! This one, " Secret Garde...