• 21Nov

    A few days ago I was having lunch at the Port of Ilwaco.

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    As I drove away, I saw some local crabbers getting the pots ready for the upcoming Dungeness crab season.

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    I wonder if these guys would be good quilters?

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    As I pulled over to take some pictures, I heard, “Hello, Karen.”  It was Ed–a guy I grew up with and went all through school with.

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    This is what they’re hoping to catch.  Dungeness crab.  In my book, there’s none better.

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    Every fisherman has his own color buoy.

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    The season starts near the end of the month, and right now the crab pots are stacked up everywhere.

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    If I were a crabber, I’d want buoys this color!

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    Crab is a traditional Christmas treat in our family.  I can’t wait!

  • 13Nov

    I have to preface this post by saying that I was born in Pacific County in 1953, my mom was born in Pacific County in 1923, my grandma was born in Pacific County in 1894.  Her mother (Anna Lena) moved to Pacific County in 1890.  Anna Lena lived here the rest of her life, my grandma lived here her entire 90 years, my mom and I still live here.  We’re kind of fond of Pacific County!  I live on the beach side of the county, but my forbearers lived on the east side–not all that far from Falls Creek, where we just had our retreat.

    This is the creek view right across from the gym where we did our sewing.

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    Our county is still 80% forest.  My grandpa was a logger here.  The native forests were mostly cedar–and in many places you can still see the old stumps from the first logging–even though it was probably a hundred years ago that they were cut down.

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    Lots of them have turned into “nurse logs,” providing a base for seedlings that have grown into magnificent trees of their own.

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    Even under this tree there was once an old stump.

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    If you look closely, you can see where the loggers notched out a place for the springboards.  These boards got them up high enough to saw through the trunk where the diameter wasn’t so large.

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    Even though our weather was very rainy, I decided to walk along the creek to the falls–about a mile.

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    It started out as an easy, flat walk.

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    There were so many cool trees along the path. like this one with THREE trunks!

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    And this one with two trunks.

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    I just love the little ferns that grow out of the trunks and branches of the trees.

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    At first the path was a one lane, gravel road.  It crossed a bridge and opened into a lovely meadow.

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    There was a tiny cabin there.

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    It must have been there a long time judging by the maple trees in front of it!

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    The trees were bare, but there was plenty of “evidence” on the ground that these were maples!

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    I was always told that if you were lost in the woods, you could find North by looking at the trunk of a tree.  There would be moss growing on the north side of the tree.  Well, here’s one of the maple trees.  Side 1.

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    Side 2.

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    Side 3.

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    Side 4.  Hmmm, I’m thinking this isn’t going to work for finding North.

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    This snag looked as though it could star in a horror flick!

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    The farther I went, the more rapid the creek was flowing.

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    Soon the gravel road ended, and it was time to start the climb to the top of the falls.

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    The trail was strewn with leaves.

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    And snugged the side of the hill.

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    The vine maples were so pretty with the vibrant yellow leaves.

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    Even though it had quit raining, everything was dripping.

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    The path climbed pretty steeply.  I could still see the creek below.

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    When I rounded this corner and reached the top of the nexts rise, I could really hear the falls.

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    The water was cascading over stair-step looking rocks.

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    But that was just the lower falls.

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    It was hard to get back far enough to get good photos, but you can see how much water was flowing here!

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    Here’s looking straight down from the top of  the main falls.

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    It was definitely worth the walk.  Twice, since I forgot my camera the first time!

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    Pacific County is a pretty good place to live!

  • 10Nov

    I’m just back from the Anna Lena fall retreat.  Boy, was it fun!   We were at the Falls Creek Retreat Center, and we did our sewing in the gymnasium.  There was plenty of room for all 63 of us!

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    One of the best things about retreat is the inspiration you get from seeing what others have been doing.  I’ve posted pictures of the show-and-tell we did to flickr.

    Evelyn brought the Twelve Step Program quilt that she’d made from my book, Bundles of Fun.

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    And during the weekend, Terry made the same quilt!  It’s amazing how different they look!

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    It was fun to see other quilts made from my books.  Ginny made this quilt for her daughter.

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    It’s the cover quilt from Big Print Quilts, but, boy, does it look different with the fabrics she chose!

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    Here’s another one from Big Print Quilts.  See me subtley waving the book above the quilt?!?  This one is Pat’s and it’s called Whopper.

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    This quilt, called Summer Fun, is from Fat Quarter Fun.  Janet made this one.

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    I love the way Twelve Drummer Drumming, from Bundles of Fun, looks with Mary’s fabric choices.

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    Also from Bundles of Fun is this basket quilt.  Sue made it and is donating it to a breast cancer fundraiser.

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    Renee was making these adorable dress blocks from a box of scraps from her grandma’s attic!

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    Teresa, who teaches first grade, was making book bags for all of her students!

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    Barbara had a kit to make a table runner–and she didn’t even know the fabric was from my Santa Claus Lane group!  And the pattern was designed by my friend, Karen Montgomery!

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    And, speaking of Santa Claus Lane, Robin made a Santa Claus Lane Jumper for her granddaughter.  I just had to use the last of the Santa Claus fabric to make kits for this.

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    You have to have some fun at retreat, too.  Here I am wearing my Christmas tree skirt!

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    We had an ugly fabric exchange and made bags–most of which weren’t ugly at all!

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    Bob even came by on Friday to do maintenance on people’s Featherweights!  He was the only boy allowed–and after lunch we sent him on his way.

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    It was a great time, in a great location.  I even walked to the falls–but more on that later!

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    In the meantime, you can see other posts about the retreat from the following atendees:

    Monica – The Happy Zombie

    Sarah – Anyone Can Quilt

    Robin – Crafty Musings

    Evelyn – Use The Loot

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  • 03Nov

    Out by my Swedish Cabin is a house for the trolls.  I put this house there so the trolls would have a place to live and wouldn’t be tempted to move into the cabin and cause mischief.  This has actually worked quite well.  As you can see, the Troll House even has a tall, pointy roof because, as everyone knows, trolls do not have any manners whatsoever and don’t remove their hats when they go indoors.  This photo was taken when we first put the Troll House in the woods.  We had cut down a dead tree and put the Troll House on the stump.

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    Now, I don’t really think of trolls as being farmers, but I do think our trolls are cultivating mushrooms.  Is there a season for mushrooms?  Perhaps here in the damp coastal climate of the northwest, mushroom season is all year long.  These two photos were taken by my friend Sarah on the path to the cabin when she was here in June.

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    In August, when McKenna and Justin were here visiting, I discovered these mushrooms growing on the trolls’ log!

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    And this week, a whole section of the path was sprouting with these!  I thought they were two different kinds of mushrooms (see the dark ones at the top and left of the photo), but they’re all the same variety (whatever it may be), they’re just in different stages of maturity.

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    As they grow older, they open up and flatten out.  How cool is that!

    I left my camera on a log while I ran in the house for something.  When I came back, it was in a different place.  I thought my mind was playing tricks on me!  When I uploaded the photos, this one was on there!  I think one of the trolls took it!  The cabin from a troll’s perspective!

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    But as far as the troll/mushroom connection–today was the clincher.  I was out near the cabin, and what did my eyes behold?  The stump under the Troll House has sprouted scores of mushrooms!

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    I may have to sleep in the cabin tonight to see if I can catch a glimpse of the trolls harvesting by the moonlight!

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  • 02Nov

    I know it’s time to do the fall clean-up in the garden, but it’s so hard to cut back or pull up plants that are still blooming, even if the last rain storm beat them down and tipped them over.

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    Yesterday was an absolutely glorious fall day.

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    After taking full advantage of the extra hour we got from “falling back,” I headed right out to the garden.

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    Well, after I checked with my neighbor and expert gardner, Melinda.

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    She grows the most beautiful dahlias, and I wanted to know if it was okay to cut mine back now.

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    But how can you cut back things that are still blooming???

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    And even things that aren’t still blooming are still beautiful.

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    This sunflower head is 20 inches across!

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    And my little sunflowers are still showing some color.

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    What’s prettier than yellow and blue?

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    And what’s fresher than daisies?

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    These line the whole west side of my vegetable garden.

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    I remember sitting on the lawn at my grade school during lunch and making daisy chains from the daisies that grew wild in the grass.

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    And later, when I was in high school, daisies were a favorite of the flower child generation.

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    I still love them.

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    On the north side of my parents home was quite a patch of big daisies that seemed to thrive on neglect.

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    When they sold that house a few years ago, I dug up a few and they haven’t disappointed me a bit!

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    Even my hollyhocks aren’t ready to say good-bye to summer.

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    And this feverfew grows wild next to my compost pile.  It got started when I tossed a commercial bouquet of flowers onto the pile last year.  Instead of composting, it decided to sprout!

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    Very high up on my favorites list are nasturtiums.

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    Could it be because they are so easy to grow?

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    Or because they cover so much ground?

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    Or because they’re ORANGE–the most popular color in Anna Lena Land?

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    Maybe.  But, the long and short of it is, I didn’t cut back or pull up any of the flowers.  I know with the next storm they’ll probably be goners, but until then, if they want to bloom, who am I to stop them?

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  • 01Nov

    I’ve been saving the selvages from my fabrics and I’m getting quite a bin full.

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    A long time ago I made this fun Quilt In A Cup, but I haven’t done anything else–until now!

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    It’s really fun to see my name and Anna Lena’s on the selvages.  I’ve been wanting to do something with them, but it seems like there’s never time for a project that isn’t FOR something–to support a fabric line, for a class, for a book.  So, a few days ago, I decided to heck with everything else, I’m making something with my selvages!  The result is this little bag.

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    It was more of an experiment than a real project, and I’d do some things differently if I did it again. But it’s kind of cute and I did learn a cool thing when quilting the orange polka dot fabric for the bottom.  If you look at the polka dots just right, they make a perfect diagonal line!  So, I sat down at my Elna and just followed every other line of dots to do my grid quilting, and it worked perfectly.

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    I think you can see it better from the back.

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    I’m going to remember that for a future project!