Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day in Manitou and Colorado Springs

I forgot all about our day trip last week! Rich and the girls and I went to Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs and had a fabulous day.

Our first stop was at the cliff dwellings (here is the link:
It was cool, but we didn't spend a lot of time here- it isn't too big and it was really crowded.

Next stop was the Cave of the Winds. We LOVE caves and fancy ourselves as spelunkers... we have been to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, and Wind Cave in South Dakota before this. Here is the link for the Cave of the Winds: (

The tour was fun and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves seeing the underground world.

We hadn't eaten and it was mid-afternoon, so we stopped and had a bite to eat before heading over to the Garden of the Gods.

I had seen a brochure of The Garden of the Gods- but was astounded at the size of these monumental rocks! I guess I thought they were much smaller. Here is the link for that: (

We got lots of wonderful photos despite the rain at the start of our visit- and we need to go back and spend a half a day doing the park properly. We didn't have a lot of time because the girls had a babysitting job that evening.

For the time being, enjoy the photos here and check out the websites for more information if you want. Now- doesn't any of this make anyone want to come and visit me here in Colorado???

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My newest art quilt

I have finally finished my art quilt! I had it done in time for my Art Critique Group last week- they had seen it in progress and had made some suggestions. I took one of the suggestions and it did improve the overall look.

But this concept and its construction was something that I had come up with a few months back. I have been keeping an inspirations journal for my quilting; every time I have a thought or idea, I make notes and sketches.

Now the weird part is that even though this finished wall hanging is somewhat what I first imagined, it is quite different overall. I did step by step, leaving it hung up on my design wall in between. Sometimes an idea of what to do next just came to me, other times I took ideas from other quilts I saw at the guild or in a magazine- not exactly of course. Just that seeing others' work helps me to imagine more widely what I could do in my own work.

This piece is called "Reborn" and is full of symbolism, which I love. I played with textures and machine quilting, there is a little embroidery and beading, and most of all, I let myself out of the pattern box and into the unknown territory of my imagination.

There is already another work in progress on my design wall, and I have been making notes like mad this week! Of course, this has been a big week, with the Front Range Contemporary Quilters Guild meeting, our Art Critique Group, and then our ATC trading group just this morning. (More on that later). LOTS of creativity and exceptional talent being shared with some brilliant techniques I can't wait to try...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Storm in Littleton

Well, after an unusually rainy period here in Colorado, we have finally joined the ranks of those in this state and many other places as well, who have been hit by freak hailstorms this summer.

We have enjoyed the rain, it has been really good for the vegetable and flower gardens, and it has made everything so nice and green. A few of the rainstorms have been hard ones, forcing the plants to bend over in submission.

However, last night's hailstorm not only bent the plants, but beat some of them to shreds! I guess some things might recover from the barrage of wind and ice pellets, but there are some poor plants that will not. It's a little sad- all that time and work, now just pummeled into the ground. You can see in the photos here; the amount of ice that was coming down last night, the melon plant ripped apart, and the amount of ice still in the garden this morning.

That will teach me! I hadn't even taken any photos of my little backyard garden yet; every time I went out there to work proved a longer job than I first counted on and by the time I finished and got cleaned up, I didn't go back out. Now I have no proof or satisfaction of seeing what my labours first brought me.

Now we wait for things to warm up and dry out. Then I can see what- if any- damage control I can do on my end. We can't control the weather and so lamenting about it won't help. I am very thankful that the only damage we incurred was to the veggies- with the hail and 60 mph winds, some people around the area lost power, had trees come down, or had damage to their homes.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Well, I came as close to a lifelong idol of mine last night as I guess I will ever be.

Rich and I went to the Denver Botanical Gardens and saw Joan Baez in concert. JOAN BAEZ!!!

I have listened to her and loved her and her music as far back as I remember listening to music... in fact, her album, The First Ten Years, is the one I remember from when I was around 3 or 4 years old. It's the first music I remember listening to and knowing.
And so it feels like it has always been a part of me somehow.

And of course, way back, when Rich and I were first getting to know one another, he sent me a CD in the mail- Joan Baez. The CD was Any Day Now- Baez sings Dylan. In his note accompanying the CD Rich wrote: "... it doesn't get any better than this". And he is so right.

There was a HUGE line to get in and so we ended up having to see Joan mostly from the back (that is a dumb setup if you ask me), but we were pretty close and she was great about turning around occasionally and acknowledging us back there... ;)

Her band is great, and I feel lucky to have seen her son, Gabriel Harris, on stage with her too. What a treat! They did a good mix of old and new stuff. Joan didn't take a break at all, instead performing just with her guitar during the time the band took a break. First she sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" for Odetta, and she talked about meeting Odetta for the first time. Joan's voice is just as beautiful and strong as it always was.

She spoke about and sang for the people in Iran who are on the cusp of great change. Joan is still speaking out for those who need extra voices and it is amazing to think of what she has done in her lifetime, both through her music and her actions.

Later, she sang a Dylan song, Don't Think Twice, It's Alright- and did a PERFECT Dylan imitation towards the end of the song, it was so cool and fun.

She is just a tiny thing, not too tall, slim, elegantly dressed- and she has this light about her. I was honestly just in awe, being in her presence. When she smiled, you could just see her glow.

The tickets had clearly stated that there were to be NO photos or video and so I didn't bring a camera. But people were taking photos all over the place and they weren't stopped by anyone. So I did attempt to get a couple on my phone. They are poor quality, but better than nothing I suppose.

When I got home, I hastily did a sketch in my quilt journal and wrote down some details I will need- seeing her, a wall hanging came to my mind. I have to document this momentous occasion!

I never in a million years thought I would get an opportunity such as this- and seeing this wonderful woman in concert was definitely something that was a dream come true for me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Last night, my friend Elizabeth and I went to see the musical, "Quilters" at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. We just LOVED every minute of the show and I am SO happy I didn't miss out seeing it!

This play originated in Denver more than 25 years ago and has enjoyed great successes. There is a synopsis of the play on the Denver Center for the Performing Arts website: (here is the link in case you want to check it out:

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love that particular period in history and I have read many books about it. But I still learned things, and these actresses really brought the joy and the sorrow of that time to life. I cried when they did- and felt the happiness they showed over the little things.

I think the hardest part of pioneering women's lives must have been children. Miscarriage and still births were common, but more dangerous was the sheer number of pregnancies most women endured in their lifetimes. I knew that these women must have felt- but had never read about in any detail- the fear and struggle over getting pregnant yet again, the worry they had of not surviving another pregnancy or birth, and leaving behind many helpless children. Some risked asking a doctor to help them- some resorted to homemade folk remedies to terminate the pregnancies. How horrible it must have been to know that you are expecting another mouth to feed when maybe you can't feed the ones already around your dinner table, or knowing that the last time around you nearly didn't survive, or were laid up for a long time, putting much stress and strain on your husband and family, but having no choice whatsoever in the matter.

Hands down, the best part of not only this play, but of pioneering women, was their spirit. Life was unfair and hard and sometimes downright cruel, but they endured. Not only did they brave through it all, but they managed to do it with a fierce spirit and joyful heart, creating homes for their families and art through the quilts that told the stories of their lives.

Made me want to come home and go straight into my quilt studio!!!

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