Monday, July 24, 2017

A sunny Sunday in Colorado Part 3

Sunday morning we checked out of the cabin in Estes Park.

This is the room I was sleeping in with a quilt on the bed.

I noticed summer cabins in Minnesota also had quilts on all the beds.

I don't know where these were made but no quilt police around ... 

If you ever begin to feel your quilting stitches are inferior, you have only to check these out.

I have heard of something called "large stitch quilting" but not too sure thin is what it means. Certainly the stitches were not only large but widely placed as well.

The rustic cabin furniture was made of very heavy wood.

Even the chairs around the dining table were difficult to move.

In the morning we had planned to do some scenic hiking in the Rocky Mountain Park, and set out early hoping to get a good parking space.
Back over the mountain pass and over the tree line ...

Herds of deer ... or elk covered the grassy areas.

One antlered male and lots of old and young family...

After entering the park and driving along the park roads into the trail heads ...

The road was blocked! 
Parking full
Name not on the list 

turn around and drive back toward the entrance.

Next was plan "B", another hiking trail in a different area. We set  off up another road only to be turned back short of our destination by a full parking lot.

I am still wondering why the entry gate did not mention that there was no parking and those areas were all closed to visitors before taking the entrance fee.

Luckily my senior pass at least saved us that expense ... except for gas.

We did enjoy the scenery as we headed out of the park and back to the Longmont area for a day trip to Button Rock Dam. It may have been plan "C" but if you like rocks and trees and water, it was a great choice and I can't imagine plans A or B being any better.

The hiking road was wide and sunny but the view around every bend of the river was lovely.

.I have to admit, I came home with a few very pretty sparkling rocks.

There were swallows nesting among the cliffs of rock and the cool sound of rushing water.

At the base of the dam there was an outlet with gushing water casting spray in the trees below. Cool and refreshing but too noisy to talk.

We decided to climb the rest of the way up to the top of the dam, stopping in the shade of some pines to eat out lunch.

The Ralph Price reservoir above the dam supplies the water for the Longmont area where my son and his family are living.

The trails were wide and rocky with very little shade. We grabbed what shade we could before making the return trip.

Since we had scrambled up the rocky hill to the top of the dam, we decided to tale the wide smooth road back down.

The view from the bridge shows the overflow stream.

Lots of water running in all directions...

And sunlight glittering on the pines.

It was a lovely way to spend the weekend ... even if the first part didn't pan out.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

An Oregon quickie

I still have two posts worth of pictures ...
or maybe three from the days in Colorado.

Now I have managed to add several more days of pictures with the Oregon gang.

Today was a trip to the Portland zoo and the Audubon Society and lots of family time.

The table runner now has a binding and I will try to make a label for the back ... if I can find time ... so I can give it with thanks to my dog-caregivers.
There have been a number of challenges I never intended them to face.

Internet access here is not readily available so I am hoping my memory will last until I am back inTokyo

This picture was taken at the zoo with Ryden and Irene, the two youngest of the grand kids ... and are they ever grand!
More to come ...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Into thin air ... Rockies Part 2

Saturday morning we took off up Trail Ridge Road, over the continental divide, to Grand Lake.

The day was sunny and bright in spite of earlier predictions of rain.

The scenery was grand and ever-changing.

There were lots of pull-overs and plenty to enjoy as each level had different vegetation.

The rocks had a wide variety of shape and color

and above the tree line the slopes  seemed to be
covered with grass and in some areas, elk were grazing.

Our destination was Grand Lake  on the other side of the continental divide.

Here we enjoyed a picnic lunch and the gang set out on their paddle-boards to enjoy the water.

Maria and Mailie shared a board ...

Kai had his own, as did Jon.

They were soon little specks, far from the shore.

I chose to stay in the patch of shade under the ponderosa pines and do some work on the quilted foot-prints   ... and take a few photos of the trees and wild flowers.

After all had had their fill of sun and fun, we went into town and took a walk, looking in assorted shops. I found a lovely pair of earrings that Jon bought me. Then ...

What should we see along the road ....

A quilt show!

Well, we could hardly pass that by ...

The "Peaks 'n Pines Quilt Guild" was holding their 7th annual quilt show.

We were each given a slip of paper to vote on our Viewer's Choice for each category and best of show.

There were quilts for sale and a number of other handmade items.

Of course the quilters were friendly.

We stopped at another little quilt shop in the town on the way back to the car.  The owner had a long-arm machine working in one room, run by computer. She also had a wide selection of fabric.

So, though I really don't need any more fabric,

This is what I have added to my collection:

4 black and white fabrics selected by Kai for his "Big Boy" quilt.

1 animal Christmas print for my I-Spy collection

(these, bought in town where I went to buy blue thread to mend thorn damage to my pants)

Then from the rockies ... a blue and tan textured print

and a number print ... also for the I-Spy collection.

(In total, 8 fat quarters) Well, when I make the last stop in Portland and unload all the stuff Norie sent to Ryden and the girls, I will need something to keep my stuff from rattling around in my suitcase. So, maybe I'll just look at this as additional packing.....

Dinner ... hot tub ... movie ... and bed were on the agenda. I chose dinner and quilting and bed.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Off to the Rockies part 1

Friday afternoon, after the car was packed, we set off in the direction of the distant mountains.

Though earlier in the week, rain had been predicted ...

we couldn't have asked for better weather.
Our first stop was Estes Park where we had a cabin arranged for two nights.

After unloading our things, we set off to look around the town ... a very touristy place.

There was a show of vintage cars along the street and loud vintage music playing.
We walked the length of the street, down and back, checking out the cars.

A 1946 Ford

                       A Mustang .....

The hood ornament on a 1978 Corvette

A pretty blue Chevy ...

When I was growing up, we had a Plymouth station wagon with wood panelling...

not this brand but quite similar in color and style.

Seeing this brought back many memories.

And how about the fancy hub caps on this Thunderbird....

We ate dinner at a restaurant in town and this was the view from the lower deck.

There were families of ducks , adults, juveniles, and families with chicks.

Not very easy to get a picture as all including the chicks were diving under water  ...

now you see it, now you don't ... only a round ripple where it once was.

The dinner was good but the servings were HUGE. I was hardly able to make a dent in the large serving, and even taking the remainder back to the cabin, it was just too much for even a second meal.

We returned to our cabin for an evening family video ... something about knights and jousting...
and then to bed to rest up for the next day.

Friday, July 14, 2017

learning curve

Getting ready for the weekend outing, I thought I had better figure out how to get my cell phone camera to understand what I wanted it to do ... or the other way around.

I took a walk around the house and garden for practice.

It isa bit difficult in the sun, to see the image on the screen so I had to do a bit of shoot-and-trust.

A rose among the rocks ...

Hollyhocks  ...

A posing pot ... well, I think I am getting the idea.... Moving them to my laptop to a place I can find and use them is next to try.
Well, I still have to tweek that skill ... three of one photo and some hiding elsewhere...

Meanwhile, I decided on a quilt design for the dog runner.

Maybe you can figure out my plan ...

Doggy tracks around the edge.

Quilting is about half way.

It doesn't show much but at least it will be quilted.

and when I spread the runner out on the footstool for a picture ...

Guess what ...

The cat jumps up from wherever she was and takes over the runer.
I have heard this cat does not like dogs ...

Or, maybe it was the photo op ... she sure is a pretty poser.

Now we are off to the Rocky Mountains. Hope to practice my camera skills there.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Checking out the neighborhood ... Colorado, first full day

Our first day together was cloudy with off and on showers.

Son Jon and the kids took me for a short walk along the lake in front of their house.

Even with clouds, it is a lovely sight, quiet and peaceful.
On the weekend, a trip is planned to those Rocky Mountains in the distance.

The area, unlike the Tokyo suburbs,  is filled with nature and even a red-winged blackbird is easy to spot ... as it's voice announces it's presence.

The calls of birds heard from my home are mostly crows, but the cooing of doves is background music here.

Jon helped me setting up my new i-phone and I tried taking pictures on that. Now, I just have to figure out how to look at them or even move them to my computer.

When I see kids using their phones for taking quickie pictures, it looks so simple. I can't even do a good job with the camera I am relatively familiar with!

We saw swallows ... too fast...

and cormorants ... take out the phone and find the button, and all  that is left is a ring of water...

even this pair of pelicans were moving fast.

Maybe today without the haze I can get better shots.

We made a trip into town, and driving down the street to the market, I spotted a quilt store.
Well, that was a "must stop" on the way back.

I needed blue thread to mend a snag in my pants from the rose pruning activities of Boston. So...
Of course that was enough of an excuse to drop in for a look around. Jon posted some nice shots taken in the store but I was too busy looking around and drooling over the lovely fabrics.

I admit I did buy s tiny bit of cut pieces my grandson picked out for his big-boy quilt ... and one owl print seems to have flown into the pile. John James needles came along with the blue thread and two stencils for use in borders (neither fitting the table runner I am working on) ... go figure!

We also stopped off at REI where I bought a long-sleeved wool t-shirt for the coming weekend to the Rockies, and at another shop, some long pants that I hope will be warmer than what I brought along. It seems, after trying on stuff, that "skinny legs" are in, and the only choice that didn't cling like paint were found in the men's section. Well, that's what happens when I have my dad's legs. Of course, they will need to be turned up at the cuff but I think I will wait to shorten them until after they have been worn and washed.

I laid the runner out on the bed over the wedding quilt made 15 years ago. Today is the exact anniversary of it's presentation on the Big Island of Hawaii.

For some reason, the cat took it over.

She was rather irked when I removed it a few hours later and hung it over a chair, and left the room. A few times she has come to the room and glanced up at it, like ... "When are you going to put my blankie back?"

So ... off for another day and another adventure .... and maybe get a bit of practice on using my i-phone camera ....

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Onward .... Stop #2, Ohio

After a busy week in Boston, it was on to Ohio. My brother was waiting at the exit and drove home via our old home in Euclid ... 3000 Hadden Road.

The maple tree in front of my bedroom window is still there ... only a lot bigger and missing all those lower branches with robin nests in view.

The street trees were no longer silver maples, but as big as what was there when I was a kid. Of course the roses are long gone and the path out to the point at the top of "Old Baldy" was closed off. I would have loved to walk out there once more but we would have had to get permission to pass through someone's yard to do so.

My "little" brother's house is in such a beautiful setting.

I think the deck is larger than my total living space and the cool shady area much quieter and inviting than my Tokyo surroundings.

Saturday and Sunday morning was spent preparing for a grand gathering of family, and, as my sister-in-law is really a cousin I grew up with, the extended family was expanded in all directions.

I think Sunday's party was actually a run-over into Monday.

When many years pass between visits, there is a lot of catching up to do.

My siblings are all amazing and we had a lot to talk about.

This is me with my brother, Pete.

I don't think there is anything around that he can't fix.   If you want it ... make it yourself with improvements.

Garden, deck, house, furniture, appliances, ... you name it and he has a finger in the pie. Behind where we are sitting is an old player piano and a shelf of tapes from the "old days".
All in working condition.

As is my usual style, I took my camera along and forgot to take pictures until the very end.

Luckily, others did take pictures and I only need to figure out how to get them from my downloads into a place I can use them.Maybe that will be a task to learn now that I am with my Guru son in Colorado.

My niece, Missy, took this picture for me at the end of the gathering , Brother Pete and Sue, Sister Cyndi next to me with her husband, Bob behind.

We really had a lot of catching up to do and at one time someone took a picture of the group sitting together ... all hands sewing on something and lots of chatter in progress. Cyndi is a great quilter and Missy was sewing patches on to a girl scout vest ... active in both boy scouts and girl scouts so we have more in common than just genes.

Multiple bird feeders were constantly welcoming feathered guests ... and a few squirrels ...

It was nice to get re-acquainted with the birds I had grown up seeing daily and almost forgotten.

I have a feeling that if the flower boxes were laid side-by-side and end-to-end, the total space would be larger than my "garden" at home.

Monday was spent putting things back in place and I think poor Sue had her ears talked off by the time I was ready to go on Tuesday.

One thing about quilting, is that you can move your mouth as well as hands. We did a lot of catching up and a lot of reminiscing.
Without much chance to use English at home, I probably over-did the chatter and there was quite a bit of laughing going on ... which I understand to be good for one's health. The TV never went on and there was no discussion of politics for a change. Focus on family seems to be of higher value.

Though I had planned to do some stitching on the plane to Colorado, I pretty well finished off quilting behind the dog. Probably it was a good thing too as the ride was in a rather cramped space and even pulling a book out of my bag was challenge enough.

Now I need to come up with a quilting pattern for the border. Maybe a cable is enough but getting the dimensions right to make the corners meet will take some fiddling with numbers ... not my forte!

I will be a week in Colorado. There seems to be a Rocky Mountain adventure in the plan for the weekend. That may take a bit of wardrobe adjustment as I haven't brought my outdoor gear. Well, we shall see ... stay tuned for the next edition ...