Hawaii – Flora, Fauna & Fabric

Aloha Y’all!  We have just returned from a sun filled week in Hawaii.  I want to post some of the 1677 pictures we took.  We did all the very typical touristy Hawaii thingsHawaii-Flower-1.  We took in two islands – Oahu and Maui.

Oahu is the home of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and Waikiki. This is a bustling, urban, big city area!  We stayed in Waikiki for just a few days with a little bit of beach time, a tour of the city with a visit to Pearl Harbor, some fireworks on the beach and a wonderful Valentines dinner at the Fresco Italian restaurant.

We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and our room on the 24th floor had a nice view!

Oahu-viewMy toes were happy!

happy-toesPearl Harbor is not to be missed!  Very moving!

Pearl-HarborThe hotel had a brief but fabulous fireworks display on the beach:

FireworksOn Sunday we took a quick flight to Maui.  Such a beautiful island!  Much more laid back and relaxed than the Waikiki/Honolulu area!  We rented a jeep so we could tool around the island and, of course, take the infamous Road to Hana!

Road-to-HannaFull of hair pin turns and very narrow single-lane bridges, the Road to Hana is a challenge but worth some of the most stunning views in the world.  Here are a few of the road-side waterfalls:

road-to-hana-waterfallroad-to-hana-waterfall-2We were definitely ready for an adult beverage when we returned to our hotel.  This was our view from the balcony in Maui:

Maui-viewWe stayed at the Royal Lahaina Resort.  It was wonderful!

I did find some quilt shops on Maui!  The first was The Maui Quilt Shop in Kihei. This little shop is jam packed with Hawaiian prints and patterns.  The lady who helped me said they were “a large shop in a small space.”  I found this Hawaiian Sunbonnet Sue pattern (called Aloha Sue and Aloha Sam) and some pretty fabrics which I will use for their clothes.

Aloha-Sue-and-Aloha-SamAlso found a cute pineapple pattern.  I have a lot of batiks already, so this will be a fun use of some stash!

Pineapple-PatternThe second Quilt shop was called Sew Special.  This shop is in the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului.  It is a huge shop with lots and lots of fabric.  It was a little overwhelming!  But I found a pattern using the Sashiko technique of needlework.  This should be fun to try out!

SashikoOne other quilt shop called Quilts n’ Fabric Land is in the Wharf Cinema Shopping Center in Lahaina.  This is a very busy, touristy area and we had a heck of a time finding a parking place.  I did get a bit of the Hawaiian fabric shown in the Aloha Sue picture above.  Not far down the road is Cheeseburger in Paradise – I would highly recommend this for a break from all the quilt shops!  After all, you don’t want to get peckish shopping for fabric!

There used to be a quilt shop in the Hyatt Regency in Lahaina, but it has sadly been replaced with some sort of teeny weeny bikini shop.  After Cheeseburger in Paradise, that is out of the question. 😉

One of my favorite activities during our vacation was the Whale Watching Sunset Dinner Cruise we took on the Pride of Maui.  This was an awesome adventure!  We saw lots and lots of whales splashing around.  It is hard to catch them with a camera but here are a few pics:

Whale-tailwhalewhale-tail-2We had a great dinner with ribs, chicken, lots of shrimp and strawberry shortcake.  And the sunset was beautiful!

Oahu-sunsetOn the last day we had to check out by 11am but our plane didn’t leave until 6pm, so we drove up to the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm.  While most of the lavender was not in bloom, there were many beautiful blooming flowers in the garden.

Hawaii-Flower-2I’m sure this is even more amazing during the summer!

lavendar-farmsOnward to a incredibly delicious late lunch at Mama’s Fish House – a Maui must!

So, I hope these warm tropical pictures will help you stay toasty during all this nasty winter weather.

Aloha!

Around the World Blog Hop

Have you heard about the fabulous “Around the World Blog Hop?”  Every Monday we are passing the blogging baton on to one of our favorite bloggers.  Last Monday, my stitching buddy Barb linked to me on her Just Sayin’ Sew blog.  Thanks Barb!  Here she is with one of her wonderful Inklingo blocks:Barb-with-another-Inklingo-

To participate in the Blog Hop, I first answer some questions and then link to the next blogger  – who will blog about the Around the World Blog Hop next Monday.

Question 1:  What am I working on?

Oh my, that is quite a question.  I keep most (not all) of my projects in these colorful plastic boxes from Costco stacked up in a cabinet in my quilt studio:

Quilt-projectsFrom the tippy top box (a 4 patch exchange with friends) to the very bottom box (quilt blocks for my JSS bee exchange) – there are plenty of projects to work on.  However I’m not going to show you the contents of each one of these boxes – just some highlights of very recent projects and one new one on the horizon.

This week I took a workshop through the Trinity Valley Quilters’ Guild on Miniature Baskets with Margie Payton. It was fun but very intense!  Here is my miniature basket quilt top:

Miniature-Basket-QuiltI put the quarter on the quilt so you can see just how tiny those little baskets are!

After that very small project, my Austen Family Album block of the week seemed enormous!

Little-and-BigLast month, my friends and I hit the Houston Quilt Festival.  After seeing all the beautiful red and white quilts, including this wonderful Just Takes 2 quilt, I have been once again inspired to take up my purple and white Just Takes 2 project.

Friends-at-the-quilt-showHere are blocks 55, 56 and 57.  Only 43 more to go!!!

Blocks-55,-56,-57One last show and tell!  I’ve decided to participate in Bonnie Hunters new Grand Illusion Mystery quilt, which begins on November 28.  I’ve got some gorgeous batiks for this new mystery quilt:

Fabrics Can’t wait for the first clue!  Check out her blog and join me if you can!

Question 2:  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t think my quilting differs that much from others. I like to try many different quilting techniques, from paper piecing to needle turned hand applique and everything in between. I do like to have several projects going on at the same time, so I never get bored!  If a project doesn’t appeal to me today, I’ll pick up something else.  I love to begin projects but really do try to finish them now and then too!

Question 3.  Why do I write/create what I do?

I love to quilt!  I love that I can be creative and don’t have to draw, paint or sing (I am really bad at all three).  I blog about my quilting because I’m an insufferable show off!  I love to share what I’ve been working on.  I love to share others work too – quilt shows, bee days, quilt shop hops, etc.  If I can pique your interest, make you smile or give you a tip you can use, then I feel good.

Question 4.  How does my writing/creating process work?

I take lots of pictures!  The pictures tell me what to write!  I edit the pictures in Adobe Photoshop Elements, cropping, enhancing, resizing and finally saving a version for the web.  As I go through these steps I’m actually composing  the story behind the photo.  Sometimes it is a long explanation and sometimes all the photo needs is a name.  When I write, I try to give you lots of links to other web sites, other artists, patterns, fabrics, books, tools, so on.  The internet is full of resources!  I like to share those if I can.

Passing the Baton

Next Monday, December 1 check out Postcards from Panama for the next Around the World Blog Hop posting.  Carol from Panama is another amazing Inklingo quilter!  And I just love her bright fabric choices!

This week in the US we are preparing lots of fabulous pies, turkeys and side dishes so we can celebrate with friends and family all that makes us thankful.  One thing I am thankful for is to have this opportunity to share with you!  Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Blooming Blog

This past Tuesday, we made the trek over to the Dallas Arboretum for Dallas Blooms.  It was a little bit cool and Spring is a little bit late this year (ok, a LOT late) but it was the perfect time for the tulips!  They were simply gorgeous!

PathwayThey were everywhere!  And in every imaginable color… yellow and orange:

Yellow-and-Orange-TulipsPurple and White:

Purple-and-White-TulipsPinks galore:

Pink-and-White-TulipsHere is a close up of a few pink tulips.  Doesn’t that just look like Easter?

More-TulipsOther flowers as well.  Many bright yellow daffodils amongst the tulips.  And these were in containers at the entrance.  I think they are peonies.

PeoniesThere are two large “peacocks” with fabulous “feathers”….

PeacockAs well as these mystery yellow flowers – maybe lilies of some sort.

Yellow-FlowersEven the hyacinth are still in bloom:

HyacinthSo, if you are in the North Texas area, be sure to check out Dallas Blooms!

Happy Spring, y’all!

I Need a Vacation From My Vacation

I haven’t blogged in a while because I’ve been on vacation!  We had a wonderful time in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon!  It was certainly a fun filled vacation but now I need a week with nothing to do – another vacation!

Welcome-to-Las-VegasWe flew into Las Vegas, rented a car and the next day drove to the Grand Canyon.  There is nothing like the first time you see the Grand Canyon in person.  Driving along on a relatively flat plateau, arriving at the park gates, parking your car at the first overlook you can find … walk down a path and then – WOW!  Totally blows you away!  Pictures do not do the the amazing grandeur justice, but I must show you some of my favs.

Grand-Canyon-2At one point we saw a helicopter and it was positively miniscule – looked like a gnat!

Grand-Canyon-4The weather was gorgeous!  Below you can see a bit of the Colorado River in between canyon walls.

Grand-Canyon-3

Grand-CanyonUnbelievable!

Mule Ride – The next day we went on a mule ride.  No, this mule ride did not go down into the canyon – those trips now take 2 days and we didn’t have that much time.  This was the “Three Hour Tour”.  And believe me, my bottom is very glad we opted for the short version!

Mule-rideMy mule’s name was Willow and she was a sweetheart.  Although she did like to stop for a little green snack now and then.  David’s mule liked to snack so much they put a muzzle on him.  We rode in a line through the woods to The Abyss Overlook.

Riding-thru-the-woodsWe got pretty hot and dusty and I really don’t understand why they don’t pad those saddles!  I walked funny for days (ok, I walk funny anyways – so I walked even funnier for days)!  But we had a great time and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything!

Rafting – Next day we were up early for a smooth water rafting trip in Glen Canyon.  A bus took us upstream to Lee’s Ferry and there we boarded pontoon rafts for a day on the river.  Early on we saw a wild horse overlooking the Colorado River:

Wild-Horse-on-Rafting-TripThe water was crystal clear and like a mirror.  My favorite picture of the whole trip:

RaftingHow cool is that?

Rafting-2We stopped twice at little beaches.  At the first stop we took a little hike to see petroglyphs.

PetroglyphsPetroglyphs-2Our second stop was at a beach where we ate a yummy sack lunch.  I got brave and took my shoes off for a bit of wading.

rafting 3It was probably 100° outside but the water was about 46°!  Brrrr – that water was cold! When the raft picked up some speed on the river, the spray felt fabulous!  And dried almost instantly!

rafting-4A long bus ride home, but it was a good chance to take a nap!

The next day we drove back to Vegas.  On the way we did stop in Kingman at a Connie’s Quilter’s Hideaway.  Cute little quilt shop on Beale Street.  They don’t have a web site, but if you are in the area, be sure to stop.

Now Vegas was having a major heat wave.  I know, it is usually hot there in June, but not this HOT!

HotWalking up and down the strip was not high on our priority list!  So the next day we went to Hoover Dam for the Dam Tour!

Hoover-DamThe last time I was there this awesome bypass bridge did not exist:

Memorial-BridgeThe inside of the dam is really interesting.  The power plant:

Hoover-Dam-Power-PlantThe art deco Terrazzo floors – I see quilt patterns… do you?

Hoover-Dam-Terrazo-FloorsHoover-Dam-Terrazzo-Floor-2And art deco sculptures:

Hoover-Dam-Art-Deco-SculturBack to Vegas again for one last night!  We went to The Blue Man Group show!  Super fun!

Blue-ManGambled – all of $5 in a slot machine (gambling is just not my thing – I have other things to spend my money on, like fabric!).

And we saw the fountains at the Belagio.  That is the Paris Hotel across the street.

Belagio-Fountains

I was ready to head home the next day! I did get a bit of stitching done on the Inklingo COTSG project in the plane:

Stitching-on-the-plane

We sure did pack a lot of adventure into our vacation!  It was great!  Now… I think I need a nap….

Take care, y’all!

Quilt Shops of Alaska

As you may have guessed from my last blog, I’ve been in Alaska!  After a 7 day cruise on the Sapphire Princess traveling from Vancouver up the inside passage we then spent 3 days in Mt. McKinley, Denali and Fairbanks.  I am a little overwhelmed with the 60 million pictures I took!  And I want to share most of them with you.  😉  I have lots of blog material and potential titles (like the Elusive Moose) have been floating around in my head.

But since this IS primarily a quilting blog, I thought my first blog about Alaska should focus on the wonderful quilt shops I visited.

Silver Thimble in Ketchikan

This large shop is on the second floor of a little mall called Salmon Landing close to where the ship docked. Since it was one of the only rainy soggy days we had in Alaska, the location and the hot coffee was greatly appreciated!

They had lots and lots of gorgeous fabric – much of it was inspired by Alaska wildlife and culture.  I was immediately and especially taken with the Barbara Lavallee designs.  Here is one of her fabric panels called “The Quilters” along with a salmon fat quarter I couldn’t resist.

Changing Tides in Juneau

Another upstairs shop – just packed full of fun Alaska fabric and some gorgeous Alexander Henry Russian looking fabric called Nadya that they were just unpacking from the boxes and hadn’t yet priced.  I drooled over it for a bit but ended up getting some native Alaska prints.  I think they’d look nice in a bear claw quilt!

I noticed they had a bowl of finger pincushions for sale on the counter and had to share with my friend Barb as this is her specialty (see her blog post My 2nd Retreat Project):

Oh, and with my purchase I received a free Forget Me Not thimble.  That is the state flower of Alaska!

Rushin’ Tailor’s Quilt Alaska in Skagway

I found the cutest fabric to go with Barbara Lavallee fabric panel I purchased in Ketchikan:

Skagway is a fun little town and I will be blogging a lot more about our adventures there but I did want to show you the “limo” and the advertising on the back.  Looks like a great way for quilters to get around!

Swift Stitches in Talkeetna (near Mt. McKinley)

Not really a quilt shop but a shop with lots and lots of cute little wall quilts for sale, although there were a few fat quarters available too.  The shop is appropriately named as the owner was swiftly stitching a million miles per hour on her Bernina.  I told dear hubby that if he ever heard me go at it that hard to bring me a glass of wine!

Northern Originals near Denali

This very cute shop was spotted by dear hubby from the bus as we pulled into the Princess Lodge across the street.

Lots of original and unique patterns as well as the Alaskan fabrics I had seen at my other stops.  I really liked the colors of this blue 9 patch embroidery pattern but will probably make it a wall hanging rather than a pillow:

Fairbanks – I struck out in Fairbanks. 🙁  We had such a limited time and all the quilt shops were far away from the lodge and from the touristy downtown area.  But I was assured by the locals that quilting is a big thing during those long, cold, dark winters.

I know there are lot’s more quilt shops in Alaska – I mean we didn’t even stop in Anchorage!  But I did get to see a nice sampling of what Alaskan quilters are up to!

Have a great weekend, y’all!  I’m going to sew!!!

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