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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

OMG: August finish

 I took handwork along on our trip but I didn't sew a stitch.

It was nice to get back to my sewing machine.

Here is my August OMG, finished.  When we left (August 9) I had quilted about half the center.  I finished it yesterday afternoon and took it over to Julie last evening.  She had nearly finished mowing the lawn so she opened the package outside.














She likes it.  


















Here's the back with signature squares and a lovely poem by e.e.cummings.


Check out other OMG finishes at Red Letter Quilts !


P.S.   Here is a hearts-and-flowers hug quilt for another Magpie friend. That design inspired this quilt.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

National Parks from Grand Teton to Banff

(Note: this a very long post with lots of photos.)

Our 35th Road Scholar trip was simply splendid!   It would be impossible to not be impressed by the scenery. The advantage to a group tour is that all the arrangements are made in advance -- lodging, meals, lectures.  We left the driving to the bus driver so we just sat back and enjoyed the sights.  Road Scholar programs are comprehensive.  (We had one free afternoon and one dinner on our own, both in Banff. Everything else was included.)

You can read the official program details here.  You have probably seen the Ken Burns National Parks series, so you know some of the background about the places we saw.  We stayed in six hotels so we got used to unpacking and packing.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park.  Geologist/tour guide Keith Watts (Earth Tours) provided interpretation for our tour of the park. In the afternoon we visited the National Museum of Wildlife Art which is a big place tucked into a hillside outside Jackson Hole.

Elk antler arches at the four corners of the Jackson Hole town square. They were a Rotary Club project in 1953 and have been rebuilt since. (Elk provide a renewable resource.)

















Using a 2x4 to demonstrate geologic history.




The Moulton barn on Mormon Row. The barn is a well-known landmark. It's been photographed and painted many times.











Yellowstone National Park
The first national park (1872).
2.2 million acres, 2% developed.
4 million visitors in 2015.  Up 6.5% so far in 2016.
We saw bison and elk, but no bears or moose.




 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.













We had a step-on guide (park employee) for a daylong tour of the park highlights.

Lots of bubbling and boiling -- beautiful colors!




















I saw Old Faithful erupt twice -- once from the porch of the Old Faithful Cafeteria and then from the back while we had a hike on the other side.











Look at all the people who lined up to see Old Faithful!


 The lobby of Old Faithful Inn.
(We stayed at Canyon Village in a  brand-new lodge.)












Mammoth Hot Springs was my favorite at Yellowstone. The boiling water leaches through limestone to create travertine marble.




The gate is at the north entrance to the park. We were exiting.


We spent Saturday night in Helena, Montana.  That evening we had an introduction to Montana history.  Sunday: on to Glacier!  We enjoyed a box lunch on the grounds of the Glacier Park Lodge. There was a wedding on the lawn (unplanned entertainment for us).
 The Glacier Park Lodge was more impressive than the Old Faithful Inn. The pillars are real Douglas fir trunks.












We stayed at the Many Glacier Hotel.  It was built in 1915 and designed to look like an Alpine chalet.  Our room was on the other side (facing east). We had a balcony and found out that it was right under the eaves where bats roost -- four dead bats and a lot of bat poop! (Just before sunrise one morning I opened the curtains and saw the bats returning from their nocturnal hunting.)






 We took a boat ride on Swiftcurrent Lake (seen in the hotel photo) and Lake Josephine. This required a walk between one lake and the other -- "just a quarter-mile," said the 25-year-old guy on the boat. Well, that quarter-mile was hard going for Stevens and another woman in the group who both have peripheral neuropathy. We appreciated the help of our fellow RS who lent their arms to help them get back.

This photo was taken facing west at sunrise, capturing the reflection of the mountains on the lake. It looks like a fake backdrop, doesn't it?!

A dozen of us took a hike around Swiftcurrent Lake. (Stevens sat on the balcony and read. No bats in broad daylight. )We saw the signs but we did not see any bears. We did see a ruffed grouse and three chicks, right on the side of the trail.



We rode the Red Jammers along Going-to-the-Sun Road to the top of Logan Pass. The Jammers are 1930's buses that were retrofitted in 2001. They have the original bodies on modern chassis with flex-fuel engines.  We saw four bighorn sheep far up on the mountain. (They appeared as four white dots in the photo that I took.)


Saint Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island













Crossing the Canadian border was easy.  We had filled out customs declarations ahead of time and our passport numbers were all on a list.  We stopped at Waterton Lakes National Park and the historic Prince of Wales Hotel. (It was named for him in hopes that he would stay there. When he eventually visited he stayed in a private home.)















Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a Unesco World Heritage Site.  (In French: "Le Precipice a Bisons Head-Smashed-In.")  Each year the Blackfeet rounded up buffalo and drove them over the edge of the cliff. They then butchered the buffalo to provide food and hides for the coming year. There are  other buffalo jumps across the plains, but this one has the best archaeological record.

















The village of Banff is enclosed by Banff National Park. The town is a lot like Jackson Hole (restaurants, galleries, winter sports, summer sports, tourists).  Our hotel was right downtown. It was great to stay in one place for three nights!  We began with a tour of the Whyte Museum founded by painters Peter and Catharine Whyte.  The "Gateway to the Rockies" permanent exhibit provides an excellent history of the town, sports, and tourism.

This is the Whytes' house on the museum grounds.


We took a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain.


 Looking down from the gondola cab. Some people opt to take the gondola just one way and hike down (or up) the mountain.















Walking on a glacier was not on my bucket list, but now I've done it! We went to the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park.

It's quite a tourist enterprise, with a large visitor center (and lodging). Actual time on the glacier is about 15 minutes. It's cold!

This is one of the special ice-field buses.

Glacial ice is a beautiful blue under the surface.















We stopped at Lake Louise in Jasper to see the historic hotel.

The lake is turquoise-blue because of "glacial flour," which is limestone suspended in the water.



Peyto Lake (pronounced p-toe) is another example of glacial flour. It really was this color.





We left Banff and headed to Calgary. We spent the day at Heritage Park. It is the largest living history museum in Canada and includes First Nations to the 1950's. There's a sod house, an "old west" town, and a carnival midway. A steam railroad train runs around the permeter of the park.  It was a great way to wind down the trip.



Our final dinner, on Friday, was a banquet. Several people had collaborated on a ballad to commemorate our experience (sung to "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean).  There were hugs and promises to stay in touch.

The trip home was blissfully uneventful. We landed on time at O'Hare, the limo came promptly, and we walked in our front door at 6 p.m.

It was grand!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Weekly update: OMG, RSC, L&E, and packing


Monday, 5:51 a.m. 
This will be the last sunrise-over-the-lake photo for a while. We leave early tomorrow morning for our next Road Scholar adventure -- national parks from Grand Teton to Banff.


Two pairs of long pants and two pairs of capris?  Or three long and one short?





I finished the placemats and altered the bedsheet for Cindy. She picked them up on Saturday and brought fabric for one more pillowcase.  That's done and I think it marks the end of this round of commissions.

Though my backings stash had several possibilities for the back of the heart quilt (my August OMG), I didn't have enough of any one print for the borders.  Shopping trip!  This Kaffe Fassett millefiori print is just right. I've quilted the hearts and the cornerstones and I've begun quilting the white background.




Signature squares from the block-makers are pieced into the back.
A closeup of the e.e. cummings poem.














"Grayed purple" is the August RSC color.  As I searched the stash for the appropriate colors I found purples I didn't know I had.  Here's the block.

I used up most of the 2.5" HSTs in last month's rail fence quilt so I'm replenishing the stock.






Monday linkups:
Rainbow Scrap Challenge
 Monday Making
 Oh, Scrap!
 Main Crush Monday
 Design Wall Monday