Saturday, May 31, 2014

Guemes Island

For our fourth anniversary, Tim and I rented a yurt at the Guemes Island Resort.

Wednesday afternoon, we drove up to Anacortes to the ferry dock at the north end of town. This is a different ferry than the big Washington state ferry that goes out to the San Juan Islands. Instead, it is a small ferry operated by Skagit County. The ferry holds around 20 cars and runs every half an hour. It's just a short hop from Anacortes to Guemes, so close that you can see the other ferry dock across the channel.

We got there just in time to get on the 4:00 ferry; we were the second to last vehicle to drive on.

Fifteen minutes later, we drove onto the island and headed north to the resort.

Here is a picture of our yurt.

It included a very nice deck.

The other yurts were named Dot, Hat, Jack, and one other that I can't remember.

After unloading the car, we walked down to the beach. I found it rather disorienting to be looking east and seeing water. Living in Seattle, I'm accustomed to seeing water to the horizon only when I look west. 

Scattered among the rocks on the beach were a lot of shells. Many were in pieces, a few were mostly whole, and some were in perfect condition.

We also walked along a short trail near the yurt, and saw this rather large mushroom. I estimate it was 5 to 6 inches tall.

Thursday morning, the first thing we did — even before breakfast — was to go climb Guemes Mountain. This is the beginning of the trail . . .

. . . and here is the view from the top.

Along the way, we had to be careful to avoid many slugs. However, we also encountered an actual snail on the path, which I do not often see in the Northwest.

Along the way, there was lots of new growth on the evergreens.

I remember the first time I noticed new growth like this — the brighter green and how soft the new needles are, not stiff and prickly like I expected.

Later on, in the afternoon, we drove back down to the ferry landing to check out the island's general store.

We had come pretty well provisioned with food and beverages, so did not really need to get anything. Besides a cup of coffee for Tim, however, we did get a couple of fancy chocolate bars and I bought two CDs issued by a label in Anacortes. Beyond the capsule descriptions by the CDs, no one could really tell me more about them, except that the musicians had probably played there and were relatively popular. So, based on just that limited information, I took a chance.

One is "Doc Pyling and the Creosotes" and the other is "One Heart Left" by Sfuzzi East/West.

After leaving the store, we decided to take a different route back to the yurt. We had a map of the island. It's not very large with only a few main roads. Along the way, we saw nearly as many deer (four) as cars, and possible more dogs than cars.

The island seems to not have a leash law. Fortunately, the dogs we saw trotting around were well mannered.

Another thing the island lacks is a stoplight. Many stop signs, but no stoplight. And very little traffic.

Thursday afternoon, we borrowed a kayak (included in the rental) and paddled out into the bay. We did not feel adventurous enough to try to go across to Jack Island, choosing instead to parallel the shore.

The water was pretty calm, and it was very pleasant being out on the water.

Friday morning, we packed up the car and at Tim's suggestion took a more scenic route home. We drove south over Deception Pass, stopping at a turnout to walk across the bridge and check out the historical markers.

We stopped in Oak Harbor to walk around the old downtown, and had lunch in Coupeville, where I ordered Penn Cove mussels.

Then on to Clinton where we boarded the ferry toward Mukilteo and home.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Evolving Hearts Quilt

I took the pattern for this 20-inch block and upsized it so the largest piece would fit on 18-inch-wide freezer paper. The resulting block will finish to about 28-1/4 inches.

Then I pieced 16 of the smaller hearts to go on the four sides.

I had drafted a corner heart pattern, of which I made up four. But when I had them all arranged on my design wall, I did not like the corner hearts. Because of the redrafting, they have a different silhouette which bother me.

I have drafted a new corner heart pattern, which I will be sewing up later this week.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mystery Flower

Yesterday evening, Tim and I were taking a post-prandial stroll through the neighborhood.

As we were heading back home, we passed a tree a couple of blocks from our house. The flowers on it caught my attention. I had never seen anything like them before.

Tim snapped a few pictures with his phone.

Can anyone tell me what kind of tree this is?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Some of the prettiest flowers in the yard are on the south side of the house, where they are easy to overlook.

There is a planter box next to the deck outside our bedroom with these iris.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival #2

This is my entry in the Large Quilts category in the 2014 Bloggers Quilt Festival.

It's a Double Wedding Ring that I started about 9 years ago and finished last year. It measures about 100" x 100".

It's so big that I don't have enough space anywhere to lay it out flat, except maybe the back yard, and I don't really want to lay it on the grass. So I did the next best thing — carefully arranged it on the fence between us and the neighbors. What you can see in the picture is a little more than half of it — there are 8 rings on each side.

I started it so long ago that I don't really remember my motivation. I think part of it, though, was I was a little tired of making small quilts. I didn't know anyone who would be having a baby any time soon, and how many wall quilts does one person need? So I went to the other extreme.

I didn't like most of the Double Wedding Ring patterns I saw in books or online. They generally seemed to be more square-ish, or if the arcs were nicely curved, they flattened out where the rings intersect. I drafted my own pattern on the computer for perfect circles and prettier diamonds at the intersections.

I paper-pieced the arcs — way easier than trying to use templates! All the green, purple, and blue jewel-tone fabrics were from my stash. Those colors are the ones I gravitate towards, so they are well represented in my fabric collection.

I chose the yellow and red because of the contrast they provided against the jewel tones.

Two reasons it took me eight years to finish this quilt are because I did not work on it continuously, and it is 100% hand quilted. Especially when I was quilting it, I would put it down for several months, especially during the summer when it could be just too warm to be buried under a huge quilt!

First, I outline quilted, and then I designed my own heart-and-feather motifs, one for the lozenge shapes and another for the whatever-they-are-called shapes.

I had a genuine feeling of accomplishment when I tied off the knot after the last stitch I took for the binding. But once was enough, I think.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Welcome to the online quilt show that is Blogger's Quilt Festival!

This is my entry in the Small Quilts category.

It's called "Falling Leaves" and measures 23-3/4" x 25-3/4".

I had a variety of autumn-colored leaf prints in my stash, which made me think of Maple Leaf blocks. But then, I had to go get the yellow background fabric, because I tend to not have much in the way of yellow. Isn't that the way it goes — you try to use up some of your stash and end up with *more* fabric?!

I wanted to convey a sense of random motion. So I just started adding strips of various widths to the sides of the Maple Leaf blocks, arranging the blocks, turning them in different directions until it looked right, and then trimming as needed.

Before adding the scrappy binding, I marked the top with a simple leaf pattern, connecting the individual leaves with short curved lines to create a "vine-y" look, and hand quilted it with contrasting brown thread.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014


In the years that we have been together, Tim and I have taken a number of ferry trips to a variety of destinations — Vashon Island, Friday Harbor, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island.

Personally, I like to space out my trips back to the same place, because usually there's not anything new or different to see. But when Tim suggested that we take the ferry from downtown Seattle over to Bainbridge Island to visit the new Museum of Art, I was all for it.

You can't miss it. The location is ideal. You'd have to go out of your way to not walk past it on the way from the ferry dock to the downtown area.

Unexpectedly, admission is free (though I did make a donation as we left). Also, the museum has a very liberal policy on photography. When I inquired, they said I was free to take pictures of anything and everything, so long as I did not use flash.

The museum's focus is more on arts and crafts, kind of like the Bellevue Art Museum, rather than fine art like the Seattle Art Museum. Although we have a membership at the SAM and enjoy going there, some of the exhibits there don't engage me. Even though I have a slightly better understanding of Modern Art from taking art history while I was at Shoreline Community College, it's not something I generally find myself liking.

At BIMA, however, even some of the more abstract pieces felt more accessible to me. Perhaps because there was some resemblance to recognizable forms.

Petroglyphs by Glenda Guilmet
Some were more abstract but still evocative.

Tsunami by Tracy Lang

Generally, I guess I have to say that I have a greater appreciation for art in which I can see a mastery of technique necessary to create the work in question.

Ms. Susuma II by Shawn Nordfors
Contemporary Man by Shawn Nordfors

by Heikki Seppa

by Heikki Seppa

by Heikki Seppa

Shilshole by Alfredo Arreguin

This was in a hallway upstairs. I did not see a card with the artist's name.

Also in a hallway without a card. This appealed to the quilter in me.

Several pieces had a humorous aspect, sometimes with an edge, with additional meaning communicated through the work's title.

Pleaser by Sue Roberts

Safe Risk by Sue Roberts
Armchair Adventure by Sue Roberts

Beginner by Karen Buhler

New to the Neighborhood by Karen Buhler

Practice by Karen Buhler

The Power of Self Esteem by Eileen Sorg

Some were just fun.

Out on a Limb by Debbie Fecher-Gramstad

SeaQuester by Linda Jarvis

Signum by David Eisenhour

Spring by David Eisenhour

The gallery on the second flour was devoted to more sculptures by David Eisenhour. These seemed to derive their inspiration from organic forms found in the sea.

Old Growth

Earth Stinger

Progression II

Endless Forms




Shell Game