• 12Sep
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Scottish Castles

    Of course you can’t visit Scotland without visiting castles!

    This is Culzean Castle.

    It had a fabulous clock tower.

    It’s on the coast near Ayr.

    The view up the coast was incredible!

    I was fascinated by the erosion of some of the sandstone!

    Probably the most famous castle in Scotland is Edinburgh Castle.  It totally dominates the city and you can see what a strategic vantage point it had.

    Our first evening in Edinburgh we took this sunset shot.  It had been raining and the sun peeked through for just a few minutes and lit up the castle!

    This is Cawdor Castle, still occupied by the Dowager Duchess of Cawdor, but she opens it in the summer for tours.

    We spent more time touring the fabulous gardens than we did the castle!

    This is the remains of Urquart Castle.

    It was such a beautiful setting.

    It was spread out over a very large area.

    We climbed the tower and peeked through the windows.

    I loved this tiny round one!

    Stirling Castle.  Do you see a trend with the weather while we were in Scotland?  We were there for two weeks and saw very little blue sky!

    This was a cool little ruin.  It must have been a tiny castle–just perfect for a princess!

    Here’s a castle we snapped from the bus.

    Those castle builders really knew how to pick the best real estate!




  • 28Apr
    Categories: travels here Comments Off on My Swedish Bird House

    This is the story of how I happened to have a Swedish birdhouse right here in Long Beach, Washington.

    In 2008 Bob and I took a trip to Sweden with my sister’s family–Sally, Ray and Cole.

    The charming town of Lidköping had shops all around the square.

    Of course, we visited them all, including a hardware store!  On the outside there were paint samples on little houses!  They were so charming, we had to take a picture.  Some of the little houses had board-and-batten siding…

    …some were stucco….

    …and some had vertical wood siding.  They even had different styles of window trim!

    Inside, we were even more charmed by the paint swatches—more cottages!

    It made me want to paint something!

    But then we saw the birdhouses!  They were typical Swedish style cottages with amazing detail.  Most houses in Sweden are painted red, like this birdhouse.

    Some are painted a really pretty golden yellow, like this one.  This is the back view, with the trellis.  Have I said “charming” enough yet in this post?  These birdhouses were definitely charming!

    I really, really wanted one, but how on earth would I get it home?  Alas, we had to leave the birdhouses there and all I had to remember them by were these photos.

    Now, fast forward to last weekend.  Bob and I were in the cute (notice I didn’t say “charming,” although it would be appropriate here!) little town of LaConner, Washington.  We went into a shop called Go Outside.  It had an eclectic mix of gardening items, books, stationery and more.

    We wandered through, and were heading for the door when, up on a high shelf, I spotted…..drum roll, please……a Swedish bird house!

    OMG!  Bob reached it down for me and I headed straight for the counter.  Now, I must say, there was a bit of dust on this beauty.  Obviously others hadn’t realized what a gem it was.  It was even marked down!  I asked the proprietor what he could tell me about it.  He said, “Well, it’s from Sweden.”  I didn’t say, “Yeah, I already knew that!”  He told me he had a box for it, disappeared into the back room and returned with the box.  I learned from reading the box that this isn’t just a “nesting box,” it’s also a “bird table in winter.”  I think “bird feeder” might be a better translation, but I’m delighted to have a “nesting box/bird table!”

    At first I didn’t really care about the box, but then when I saw the Swedish and English text on it, I was glad he had it.

    I’m not sure yet where we’re going to put it, but when we got home, I set it on the garden fence for a photo op.

    The attention to detail on this is amazing.  I’m crazy about the typical Swedish doors.  I’m always taking pictures of them when I’m in Sweden.  Like this one.

    And here it is in miniature on the birdhouse!

    It has a chimney and white trimmed windows….

    …and of course the trellis is on the back.

    But I’m afraid I’m going to have to say “charming” again because I think the most charming thing about this birdhouse is that it has its own birdhouse on it!

    Can you tell I’m thrilled with my find?


  • 25Apr
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on A Night to Remember – Titanic!

    In the spirit of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy, the Shelburne Inn hosted a Titanic tea and dinner.

    I went to both!

    I dressed in a period appropriate tea dress, of course.

    The tea sandwiches were both beautiful and delicious.

    Laurie had researched what was served on the Titanic, so we were eating authentic cuisine!

    Laurie is a wonderful baker, and her currant scones were fabulous!

    As we arrived for dinner, we were given our boarding cards.

    Of course I had changed.  A proper lady wouldn’t wear the same outfit to tea AND dinner!

    Bob and I both passed inspection.  Whew!

    We had lovely printed menus.

    We were joined by LaRee and Andy.  LaRee has a fabulous vintage clothing collection, and her ensemble is from the period–including the corset!

    I had the spring pea soup with bacon lardons and chervil.

    Bob had poached spring asparagus with champagne vinaigrette.

    Our pianist, Jennifer, had researched the music and gave us a program of fifty songs that were played onboard.

    Everyone at our table had the filet mignon lili with spinach and country turnip puree.

    LaRee did a presentation about the clothing styles of the era.

    For dessert, I chose a chocolate dipped eclair with American ice cream.

    Bob chose the antique orchard apple tartlet with vanilla bean ice cream and cider syrup.

    Before leaving, I just had to try on one of LaRee’s vintage hats.  This one has a 37″ brim.  I think I could pull it off!

    It was a fun, fabulous and scrumptious day!

  • 20Apr
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Flat Stanley!

    A Flat Stanley arrived in our mail box recently.  He was sent to us by our grandson, Justin.  Justin enclosed a letter saying Flat Stanley was looking for adventure on the Long Beach Peninsula, and we were asked to be his guides.  Following is the story of Flat Stanley’s time with us.


    We welcomed Flat Stanley into our home.


    He immediately made friends with the Dala horses.


    But he’d heard a rumor there were tractors in Papa Bob’s shop.  He loved Miss Alice, because she matched his shirt.


    But then he decided John Deere green is really his favorite color!


    He said the pretty mint green on Grandma Karen’s old Dodge was almost as pretty as John Deere green.


    He took a sewing lesson on Grandma’s Featherweight…


    …but decided it was more fun to play hide-and-seek in the fabric bolts.


    We took Flat Stanley on a trip into town.  He wanted to drive, but Papa said, “No.”


    So he rode on the dashboard and watched for the Welcome to Long Beach sign.


    He was getting hungry so we went to Doogers for lunch.  Flat Stanley ate crab!


    While the grownups were visiting, he climbed on the pilings….


    …and hung around in the fishing net.


    But what Flat Stanley wanted to see the most was the ocean, so we drove down the beach approach.


    We thought about having a picnic at the pavilion, but we were too full.  And, besides, there were too many seagulls there.


    Flat Stanley found a sheltered spot out of the wind and did some sunbathing and played in the sand.


    He even got to ride on a silver salmon!


    There are lots of things to do in Long Beach, like fly kites and go to the Kite Museum.


    But one of the most fun things is visiting Marsh’s Free Museum and seeing Jake the Alligator Man.


    There were lots of seashells and coral there, too.


    And a great white shark!  Flat Stanley wasn’t even afraid to have his picture taken in the shark’s mouth.


    It was getting cold, so Flat Stanley slipped inside this sweatshirt pocket.


    Like a good citizen, he visited city hall.


    He learned that the rhododendron is the state flower of Washington.


    He was even more excited to learn that Long Beach is the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail, and that William Clark carved his name in a tree here over 200 years ago!


    After all this sightseeing, everyone needed some refreshments, so we had a hot chocolate at Angie’s coffee shop.


    Then we went to Uncle Sidder’s grocery store.


    Uncle Sidder let Flat Stanley play with his baseball bat collection.


    Flat Stanley knew all about cranberries because Papa Bob used to be a cranberry farmer.


    He looked in the vines for some cranberries, but it was the wrong time of the year to find any.


    But it was still fun to be at the bogs.


    Flat Stanley asked if he can come back in October for harvest.


    Then we went to the port dock in Ilwaco, where the fishing fleet is moored.


    Flat Stanley got to go onboard a boat!


    But just as we were leaving, Flat Stanley was snatched up by a giant condor!  Luckily Papa Bob was quick and grabbed Flat Stanley out of the condor’s mouth.


    Grandma and Papa were worried that Flat Stanley had been hurt by the condor, so they called an ambulance.


    The paramedics put Flat Stanley on the gurney and took him to the hospital.


    The doctors in the emergency room checked Flat Stanley out.  Luckily, he was okay.


    And he was very glad get back to Grandma and Papa’s house after his big day!


    The end.

    Well, except for this one…..I don’t know who needed it more, Flat Stanley or Grandma and Papa!


  • 17Dec
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on A Coastal Drive

    Last Month, Bob and I took a lovely driving trip to Eureka, California.

    On our way south, we hit the coast at Crescent City, California.

    The views were spectacular.

    Bob was really good about pulling over for photo ops.

    As you can see, there was quite a bit of cloud cover…

    …but it wasn’t raining, and that’s always a good thing!

    I always love the haystacks along the coast.

    Every stop was amazing.

    Can you imagine exploring the coast and trying to come ashore through these rocks???

    After a few wonderful days in Eureka, we headed north along the coast again.

    This time, we had a gorgeous day!

    The water was an amazing shade of blue.

    We stayed on the coast all the way north to Oregon…

    …and all the way through Oregon…

    …from border to border!

    Even though I live on the coast, I never tire of the changing views.

    This little cove looked so inviting.

    And who doesn’t love an arched rock?!?

    Even the coastal trees are beautiful.

    It was nice that we weren’t in a hurry.

    That doesn’t happen very often.

    We took our time….

    …stopping when we wanted.  We spent the night in Newport.

    When we got up the next day to very different weather.  This is the view looking out to the ocean from a park on the beach.  Really.

    It did clear up some later in the day.

    But even wearing a shroud of fog, there’s still something beautiful about the coast.

  • 29Nov
    Categories: musings, travels here Comments Off on Groovy Signs

    Our recent trip to Grants Pass, OR and Eureka, CA yielded some great sign finds.

    Grants Pass welcomed us by telling us, “It’s the climate.”  I’ve got news for them.  Their rain wasn’t any more special than our rain at home.

    There were plenty of fine looking places to stay.  Darn, no vacancy at the Crest.

    Looks like the Flamingo has gone to monthly rentals only.

    The Bunny was tempting.

    Almost Heaven–hey, isn’t that West Virginia?

    Dining options were also plentiful.

    This one tempted me the most.

    Although I do like Italian food.

    We could have shopped at the Court House Market if we wanted to cook our own dinner.

    Or perhaps Spadoni’s.  We could pick up a bottle while we were there.  Must be California!

    Easier just to slip into the Wonder Bur for a drink, I think.

    However, a martini at the Shanty might be better.

    There were lots of choices of movie palaces, like this on in Orick.  I wonder what kind of vacuum they use?

    Ah, the Rogue…

    …I believe I went to a movie with him once.

    Of course, how could on not prefer the Ritz?

    Bob’s favorite–a place for doughnuts!

    And speaking of Bob…

    …we could have picked up a fine used car, either at Bob’s or…

    …at A-1 Pre-Owned cars.  I wonder which is better, used or pre-owned?

    All that glitz and pretty neon.  Eye candy!

  • 07Nov
    Categories: Everything!, quilting, travels here Comments Off on Houston Quilt Show – Part 2

    More quilts from the quilt show in Houston.

    Patriot’s Dream by Barbara Shrout,  The name is inspired by a line from America the Beautiful—“O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years…”  I love the curved edges.

    Barn Raising by Lauren Semple.  Isn’t it amazing what can be done with half-square triangles!

    Standing Strong by Sharon Dixon.

    The Secret Life of Dancing Tulips by Jeanne Brenner.  The title refers to the dancing tulips subtly quilted into the border.

    I love the shading achieved by different tones of the same color.

    Sunflowers 2 by Charlotte A. Hickman.  I think sunflowers are such happy flowers!

    Black-Eyed Susans and Yellow Mexican Hats by Mary Ann Vaca-Lambert.These two flowers grow wild along the roadside in Texas.

    Portraits of Flora by Timna Tarr.  What a great use of many, many fabrics!

    This next quilts wasn’t at the show in Houston, but there’s a reason I’m showing it here.  It’s called Checkerboard Vortex, maker unknown.  It’s quite famous in the quilting world, appearing in many books and at the recent Red and White quilt exhibit in New York.  This quilt was made around 1920!  In the book Twentieth Century Quilts 1900 – 1950 it’s described as, “Extraordinarily contemporary in its design, this amazing quilt is a triumph of precise design and piecing, and it it an astonishing precursor to the art of Vasarely.”  Like many others, I’m in love with this quilt.

    Incredibly, Nora Ronningen has made her own version of the quilt which she calls Vortex in Variation.

    I could hardly pull myself away.  It was stunning!

    Preserve Nature, Preserve Self by Susie Johnson.  Did you know the gingko tree has been around for 270 million years!?!

    Redwork Revisited by Susan Dague.

    The maker used old kitchen transfers for the designs on this quilt.

    I think the sashings are great, too!  They are just half-square triangles.

    One of the exhibits was called Text on Textiles.  In the display area were several old typewriters.  Wow, an orange one!

    Ethel’s Diary by Eileen Campbell is a great use of photos and words on a quilt.

    I remember pressed tin toy typewriters like this one!

    This adorable portable is a lot like the one we have that Bob’s grandfather used in his “Tailoring Parlor” in Libby Montana in the early 1900′s.  The carriage flips forward and the whole thing fits into a case!

    Salvaged Words by Jette Clover.  There are pages from vintage books used on this quilt!

    I’ve used words and photos on labels, but not as the main focus of the quilt.  This is from my Dearest Brother quilt, which tells the story of Anna Lena’s life.

    Hmmm, that might make a good blog post!

  • 28Sep
    Categories: musings, travels here Comments Off on Corner Quilt Shop

    When we were in Deer Lodge, Montana recently, I stumbled upon the most adorable quilt shop.  It’s in an old bank building.  The building is great looking even from the outside.

    But when you go in, it gets even better!  Check out that marble counter.

    It was a long narrow space with very high ceilings and a loft.  There was even marble on the stairs going up!

    There was a great view of the shop from up there!

    Isn’t the millwork around the door beautiful?

    The displays were so well done, with kits and patterns hanging near all the samples so I didn’t have to ask.

    It was a great shop!

  • 20Sep
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Greetings from the State Penitentiary!

    When Bob and I were in Montana last month, we visited the State Penitentiary, now a museum!  I love this old post card image I found on the net.  I was just wondering, who was the intended consumer for this postcard???

    It was interesting but also kind of creepy touring the prison, which was still in use until the late 1970′s.

    The prison is in Deer Lodge, Montana, and is now part of a large museum complex, including a fabulous car museum and a doll museum as well as the prison.

    Nearby is the Grant Kohs National Historic Site, a part of the National Parks system.  Don’t you love the visitors’ center?

    The entrance to this cattle ranch was down a path which took you by this old wagon…

    ,,,and these teepees.

    Fittingly, the public restrooms were in a log building!

    At one time, the Kohrs family ranched 10 million acres.  Can you even imagine?  It is still a working ranch, but now there are only 1,000 acres.  Still sounds like a lot to me!

    In the beginning, the Kohrs family had a modest home, but they prospered and added on to the house.  The result is a beautiful Victorian farm house.

    No photos were allowed inside, but I did find these on the NPS website.  The parlor was lovely.  Mrs Kohrs was born in Germany and made many trips back, bringing lovely things to furnish her home.

    The kitchen was quite modern!

    The dining room was in the addition and was fabulous.

    The tour exited through the back of the house.

    I love the old steps….

    …and the picket fence…

    …and the flower garden.

    The most beautiful pink poppies were blooming.  They have been growing there since Augusta Kohrs’ day.  I asked if they sold seeds in the gift shop and our guide said they did not.  Then she said, “Just help yourself!”  I’m so glad we were there when there were mature seed pods.  Next year I should have pink poppies in my garden to go along with the purple ones I already grow!

    There was an authentic chuck wagon.

    And a pretty authentic looking “Cookie!”  He offered us boiled coffee, which Bob tried.

    I loved all the little accoutrements.

    And how ingenious is this little basin which hangs over the wagon wheel!?!

    They still raise longhorn cattle here.  I tried to get this guy to lift his head for a glamour shot, but he was too interested in the lush grass.

    It was a great spot and I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

    One last note.  Not all early settlers were as prosperous as the Kohrs family.  This photo was on display in the car museum, of all places.  The reason I like it so much is because of the shelf decoration.  I always say that the thing that differentiates humans from animals (besides the fact that we have a soul) is that humans decorate.  No matter how bleak the surroundings or how difficult the lifestyle, people have always made an attempt to beautify their homes.  I love it!





  • 03Sep
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on A Drive to Montana

    Bob was born and raised in Montana, and we go back as often as we can.  We generally drive, and one of our favorite little towns to stop in is Ritzville, Washington.  Unfortunately, in the last 20 years that I’ve been traveling through there, the downtown has lost many businesses.  We would always have a meal in one of the downtown restaurants, but they’re all gone now.

    Our favorite was the Circle T, but even its sign is gone.  The Whispering Palms is closed, too.

    As is the old theater.

    I think the bar and grill is hanging on!

    No gas today.  Most of the business has moved out by the interstate exchange.  Bye, Ritzville.

    Well, you know you’re in Montana when the sconces in the restaurant look like cow skulls!

    We stayed in Kalispell and had breakfast at Sykes.  Yep, 10 cent coffee!

    We went with some of Bob’s family to Glacier Park for a picnic.

    There’s a handsome bunch!

    We were on the shores of Lake McDonald.  Breathtaking!

    I love the tenacity of trees.

    I think it’s so cool that they still have the red busses in the park.  (Yellowstone has yellow ones!)

    This is the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell.  The grounds were the prettiest I had ever seen them.

    Kalispell has some cool old buildings, like the fabulous art deco TV station.


    And the very proper City Water Department.

    The old theater.

    We had lunch with Vernon and Thelma, now both in their late eighties.  On the wall was this picture of Vernon and Pastor Pete.  I think Vernon is as handsome as Marshall Dillon!

    We had breakfast one day at Wheat Montana.  Loved the poster.

    This is the view from Bob’s cousin Glenn’s house.  Talk about Big Sky Country!

    Wheat fields in the front of the house and the Flathead River out the back!  It doesn’t get much better than that!

    Another tenacious tree.  It’s a long ways from the river now, but I think spring floods have had a go at it a time or two.

    A couple more old signs.

    And a Beaverslide!  For those who don’t know, it’s used for stacking hay.

    Next, our visit to the state penitentiary!