Inspired by “8:15 On A School Day”

7:45 ย on a school day
Last minute typing
Trip to the copier
Hello to the kiddos
Who chat in the hall

11:45 ย on a school day
Restless class

Clock watching
Waiting for lunch cards
Hungry tummies
Rule them all

2:45 on a school day

Class is smiling
Lining up chatting
Headed for a snack
Rapt attention to the read aloud

3:45 on a school day

Grand Teton National Park

South of Yellowstone sits its sister park: Grand Teton. The change in topography within the span of 20 miles is mind-bending. Yellowstone is hills and curves; the Tetons are tall peaks and sharp angles. Another difference: you traverse THROUGH the hills of Yellowstone, but you travel ALONG the edge of the Teton mountains. If you speak French, you may already know what the term “Tetons” refers to…if not, you’ll have to look it up. ๐Ÿ™‚


Our first stop of the morning was at the Jackson Lake Lodge. The best work I can think of to describe this hotel is magnificent, but even that word hardly does it justice. You enter the lobby at the grind floor level, then climb a single flight of stairs into a sitting area that showcases the floor to ceiling windows that overlook the meadows and mountains beyond. It was truly breathtaking!


Capturing the view from inside didn’t work too well because of backlighting issues, but this is essentially the view. I took it from just outside the hotel.


We ate breakfast there at a diner style counter. But unlike most places, this counter was continuous and filled the entire room. Very cool!


With happy tummies, we went back to admiring the view. There were animals all over in this meadow. We saw mostly elk, but did spy a female moose ducking in and out of the brush. I think moose may be camera shy- she eluded my camera!


We made one last stop at the activities desk to schedule a trip on a scenic raft float. We loaded up and headed it to the Snake River, eventually pushing off at the landing where Ansel Adams took his famous photo of the Grand Tetons.


It was a picture perfect day to spend on the river. Sunny, warm, and just a little breezy. I am happy to say we all looked stunning in our life preservers!



A couple of hours later, we returned to the lodge, having spied a bald eagle and some pronghorns on our river ride.


We headed for a short boat ride on Jenny Lake, then onto Teton Village. Unfortunately, our options were sort of limited in Teton Village, as many of the shops and restaurants closed early. We settled on The Alpenhof. You guessed it- Swiss/German food. Personally, I was thrilled! Mom had a brat, dad tried the burger, as for me- Jagerschnitzel mit Rotkohl und Spaetzle. (Pork loin with red cabbage and Spaetzle- a noodle). Mmmm….

By this time, the sun had set and it was time to head back to the cabin. I offered to drive, and we took the “shortcut” road back…8 miles of white-knuckle death trap road. Yeah, never again!

Our day in the Tetons was great….such a beautiful place!

Rafting under western skies,

The Dynamic Duo Tackles Yellowstone

Thursday morning dawned bright and clear in Yellowstone. The plan for the day was to see the “highlights” of the park we hadn’t seen the day before. It was just dad and I that day- mom opted to skip the mountains in favor of a quiet day at the cabin. We assured her we’d be back in probably six hours….good thing she knows us well. It was more like 9 1/2 hours!

Our first stop of the day was at Virginia Cascades. It was a smaller waterfall that we had spotted heading to our cabin the night before.


After that, we spied Kepler Falls. Here’s a picture of my dad and me with the falls behind us.


From there, it was onto Old Faithful. As we came around the last turn before the road to the getser, we could see the steam indicating that it had just gone off. So, we opted to have brunch at the Old Faithful Inn. This lodge was beautiful and very rustic. By the time we had our meal, it was time for Old Faithful to go again. Dad and I got a kick out of listening to people cheer every time little burbles of steam or water shot up. Eventually, they really got to cheer when Old Faithful finally went off!


We went on around the circle of road that makes up Yellowstone. On the far northeast corner of the park, we came upon a number of vehicles doing crazy things in the roadway. This usually signals one thing: wildlife.

Not wanting to miss out on all the fun, I hopped out of the car and headed toward where all of the two-legged creatures were watching and pointing- yep, it was a bear! I tried taking several different pictures. Of course, the first couple of shots are of the bear’s backside. It seems that’s what the animals always give me…their bums. But I did finally manage to get a side profile shot.


Once the “bear jam” cleared up, we we on our way through some high, rugged country. It was beautiful, especially since I wasn’t the one driving! As is always common in the summer, we encountered ROAD CONSTRUCTION. Few things get the adrenaline pumping like driving high mountainside roads in a single lane with no guard rails. I think dad was more than happy to give up the wheel after that.

We made a couple of stops at more lodges. That meant snacks and gift shops-two of my favorite things! Check out this coke machine…they don’t look like this in Indiana!


In the gift shop, I found ornaments made from bison poo…..crack me up! I didn’t buy any-but I sure wanted to!


We headed back to the cabin. Mom was glad to see us. We piled into the car again to hunt up some dinner. Since our cabin say one the road between Yellowstone and Grand Teton park, we headed south. Along the way, we found a sign that read “Marina-Pizzeria.” Apparently when services are scarce, one multitasks. We checked it out, and enjoyed great pizza while overlooking the shores of Jackson Lake. It was even sunset, since we can’t seem to eat dinner before 9:00 out here. It was a perfect end to a great day! Friday, we were on to Grand Teton National Park…more about that in another post.

Wildlife watching under western skies,

Yellowstone, Unplugged

I am almost a week behind on blogging! Yikes! I’ll do a post tonight, and try to catch up over the next couple days…

Last Tuesday night, I met up with my parents in Bozeman…yeah! I was very happy to see them.

On Wednesday, I took the rental car back to the airport with a mere 4,033 miles more on its odometer than it had when I picked it up 4 weeks before. I love unlimited mileage!

From there, we headed south to the gateway to Yellowstone. We entered the park through Roosevelt arch at the north entrance.



Finally in America’s first National Park, we stopped in Mammoth Springs for a bite to eat in the dining hall. It was beautiful!



Then it was on to the west side of the park. We were in search of the 2Ws…waterfalls and wildlife. We didn’t get far before we saw our first critters. In fact, we didn’t even get to the parking lot! There was a herd of elk wandering through Mammoth Springs!

Very cool to see. We then headed south along the west end of the park to the actual springs. They are really interesting, as they steam even in the 80+ degree heat. However, the smell of sulphur is enough to make you’s so strong.


It wasn’t too long until we had our next two wildlife encounters-both with bison. We passed one just standing in the middle of a clearing alone. That’s something I noticed a lot throughout the days in the park- lots of these animals seem to be loners. I guess I thought they always followed a “herd” mentality.


We went to the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone” area of the park and met the second bison of the day..he was just hanging out on the side of the men’s restroom building…apparently he needed to make a pit stop as well.



The Grand Canyon area was magnificent. It had waterfalls, a stream, and of course, sheer cliff faces. We were there after the sun began to set- and the canyon seemed to glow with the rays of the sun. GORGEOUS!



After a long day of exploring, we decided to cool off with a tasty treat…huckleberry ice cream!



We headed to the park’s south entrance and located out cabin. It held a few surprises for us…no tv, radio, air conditioning or wi-fi connection. It had running water and indoor plumbing, but otherwise..RUSTIC.

So, no posts. More Yellowstone to come soon!

“Reconnected” under western skies,

Cue Willie Nelson….

‘Cuz I’ve been “on the road again!” Corny, I know. But that’s been the theme of the last two days-lots of time spent on the road, driving from central Oregon to the east edge of Idaho. It’s farther than one might think.

I started out the day yesterday (Sunday) packing up the car and heading out.


I drove for several hours on U.S. 20- yep, the western end of the same highway that runs through Angola. Oregon really flattens out, and becomes a vast, open space filled with scrubby shrubs. Not terribly scenic…


I ended up in Boise last night. After asking the hotel desk clerk for a recommendation, I headed into downtown Meridien, Idaho to Bardenays. It’s a local distillery that has good food. It was pretty neat inside- the bar was huge, the kitchen was open, and the distillery equipment was much like what you would see in a brewery.




I decided to try their lemon vodka in a huckleberry lemon drop drink. Tasty!

I got a good night’s sleep last night, knowing I had another long day of driving today. I headed out into the hot sun, in search of the Moon….

South and east of Boise, the landscape starts to get more scenic- lots of hills and some really dark soil. The dark soil makes sense, if you know about the area’s past volcanic activity. The only green I saw was around rivers…you can always tell where water is…



I eventually arrived at the moon. Craters of the Moon National Monument, near Arco, Idaho. This area looks unreal. On one side, you have the smaller starts of the Rockies, on the other side, it’s giant lava fields. It really does look like a lunar landscape- stark and alien.





I hiked a couple of the shorter trails, trying to absorb the contrast in the scenery. It was something to see! There are some hardy plants and trees that have found ways to survive in the barren landscape.


After leaving Craters of the Moon, I headed for tonight’s stop- Idaho Falls. My room actually overlooks the falls, created by the Snake River. It’s quite pretty.



Tomorrow it’s back to Bozeman, in search of some different wildlife. Have you seen them recently?


Listening to the falls under western skies,

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

The town I’ve been taking classes in this week is Sisters, Oregon. It’s named after three mountains that can be seen from town, known as the 3 sisters. They’re apparently pretty tall, as they all have snow on their peaks yet.


Today, I followed the advice of a quilter I met in my Montana class: I got up very early and headed to Sisters well before the official 9 a.m. start time. In fact, I was in Sisters at 7:15. I found parking easily, but imagine my surprise when the entire highway was rerouted around the center of town. Apparently this quilt show is a VERY big deal.

One of the interesting things about this show is that they display the quilts outside. Every business in town puts up quilts on their porches, balconies, rooflines, etc. here’s a few shots of the early morning:




I decided (along with apparently everyone else in town) to grab breakfast at The Gallery. While I was there, I met a friendly woman who shard what she knew about the a lot show. The town relies heavily on this one day event; she said they were expecting 30,000 people. 30,000! I think ,ost of the arrived while I was having breakfast. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So it was time to see the show. Pictures tell the story so much better than I can:





There were so many styles, colors, sizes…here’s a few of my favorites:





That last one cracks me up!

The last stop I made was at the Teacher’s Tent. The instructors from the week out their work on display.

This is a variation on the Honey Quilt done by the instructor, Elizabeth Hartman


These are by Rob Appell



This one’s by June Jaeger, the instructor for the pet quilt:


Other instructors made these:



By 11:00, I felt like everything I looked at was made out of patchwork. There were hundreds of quilts, and they were all wonderful. It was starting to get really busy:


I headed out of town, appreciating my good fortune that Bernadette had advised me to go early. Traffic was backed up for miles.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the pool, soaking up my last bits of Oregonian sunshine. Tomorrow I leave Bend to head for Boise. Time to work my way back toward Montana!

Packing again under western skies,

Get Your Inner Wonky On!

I finished the week of classes here in Oregon with modern quilt designer Elizabeth Hartmann. She was my instructor yesterday, too. Today’s class was on an improvisational piecing technique she called “mod mosaic.” In the quilting world, the term”wonky” is used to describe seams that go crooked. Our pieces today were meant to be purposely crooked. It sort of goes against everything I know about seams as a quilter, but it ended up being pretty fun!

Here’s a photo look at the steps:

Cut a pile of rectangular and square shapes; arrange.


Put together using a white sashing.



Join pieces and create bigger blocks.


Here’s a close up shot:


Pretty wonky!

I have really enjoyed the classes here this week. As a quilter, they’ve really stretched me to try new things and to think more deeply about fabric as art. It’s pretty exciting! I can’t wait to finish these projects when I get home and get started on the others that I have running around in my mind!

Tomorrow is the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Festival. I’ll post more about that tomorrow- it should be something to see!

Wonky under western skies,

Piecing It All Together

I’m going to start tonight’s post with a couple of seemingly random observations. I’ve been meaning to share them for a week, but I keep forgetting….

Did you know?

1). Montana and Oregon have NO sales tax.
2). Every gas station in Oregon is a full-service station. It is against the law here to pump your own gas. Very, vey odd.
3). Today, the odometer showed that I have put 3000 miles on the car. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, since two days have passed since my last post, I have competed one quilt top and just barely started another….I love the method, but it is time consuming.

Yesterday, I spent the day in class with instructor Rob Appell. He is the antithesis of everything you may think about a man who sews….he’s a surfer, plays guitar, skateboards, rocks Shaun White-esque hair, is married and has two kids, and, oh yeah, is a fabric artist and quilt designer. He was amazing. His passion is the environment, particularly the sea. He also is a conservationist who has donated over $13000 from his sales to wildlife groups.

Here’s a few of his pieces:



Yesterday, we worked on endangered species wall hangings.

I apologize in advance that my picture-taking seems to be slipping. I get engrossed in a project and forget to snap pictures. For this project, we followed a pattern and added pieces to a piece of plain gold fabric.

Here kitty, kitty…

Last night, I had dinner with a couple of new friends. Teri and Carolyn, if you’re reading this, thanks for inviting me! Then it was off to hear about Melinda Bula’s journey to becoming a fabric artist. Before they let her speak, they introduced the instructors and let them share a piece of their work. I’ve included a couple of really interesting ones. You start to get a sense of how diverse the art quilt world can really be.





Today, I spent the day with a young quilt artist, Elizabeth Hartman. She’s probably a couple of years younger than I am. I am also doing a project with her tomorrow. It’s kind of fun to round the week out with “modern” quilts as opposed to what is considered traditional patchwork. We worked on a pattern called “The Honey Quilt.” It’s triangles sewn into half-hexagons, then made into strips. Sew the strips together, and you start to get this:

Pretty fun and funky! And yes, I picked those colors…and yes, I realize they “look like me.” I can’t help it…I love those colors!!

Tonight I came back to the poolhouse after class to float around and read. This week has been mentally tiring. I decided tonight was just for relaxing. It’s been a wise choice. Here’s my little piece of heaven:


Now I’m sitting outside listening to birds and watching the shadows creep across the patio. They have some stunning sunsets. I love the peacefulness of the evening, and also the colors the sky as the day transitions to night. This was a couple nights ago, right here by the poolhouse:


Peaceful under western skies,

The Emergence of “Da Frank”

I’ve survived the first quilt class of the week here in Oregon. And I’m pleased to say that I did just fine! The information I gained during the last class really helped with this one, though the actual fusing technique is different.

These are a couple of my instructor’s designs:




It starts with a line drawing of the photo, which is then enlarged onto butcher paper. You can see some of the other subjects in the pictures below.



These images are mirror images of the actual photos we sent the instructor. It was our job not only to recreate the picture, but to also transpose it. Good times!

Te next step was to color code our drawings to determine where dark, medium, and light shaded fabrics were needed. The colors were just for coding, so they didn’t need to be realistic. Meet Technicolor Frank:


The we traced and created pattern pieces on fusible web. Fusing and cutting takes a LONG time. The were just the dark brown pattern pieces.


After you have it all cut, then you start working on sections. I started with his tail, then worked forward.


The rest of it is like doing a big jigsaw puzzle: connect, press, overlap, connect, press, etc. eventually, you get to a finished project. Here’s a couple from class:





Wait! Did you see that? I FINISHED!!


I was pleased. I thought it was a good likeness of “da Frank.”




Is it perfect? Nope. Am I really learning what I set out to learn through this grant experience. Definitely. Am I loving every moment of it? You betcha!

The last two days, I’ve left class mentally exhausted. Good thing the house I’m staying in has pool access. I’ve been working on finishing a novel while sitting or standing in the cool water. Rough stuff.

Tomorrow’s a date with a Bengal tiger quilt…grrr……

Basking in the sunset under western skies,

The Blogger Returns

Ok, I took a day off from blogging last night. I got wrapped up in a sewing project for class this week and didn’t get a post written. That’s okay though. There wasn’t a lot to report.

My adventures began bright and early yesterday morning, at 6 a.m. I was super excited to go check out the tide pools, and the ‘net indicated that the Cape Perpetua Visotor’s center had a good trail with which to start. I had seen awesome pictures of what people had found, and I just knew I was going to find some awesome things for myself! Well, turns out, not so much. I hiked for awhile, only to realize that I was on the wrong trail, headed inland instead of out to the coast. D’oh! It was really pretty, though.

So I hiked back to the trailhead and tried another trail. This time, I got the right one. It was an overcast, cool morning and the shoreline was shrouded in fog. I found lots of little tidepools, but I guess they we too close to shore. I was hesitant to venture farther out onto the rocks alone…given my natural grace, the slippery rocks, and oh yeah, the OCEAN…it just didn’t seem all that wise.



I hope these people had better luck than I did!


I did manage to spot one piece of wildlife to photograph…


Ha! I hiked back to the car, disappointed, but happy to have 2.5-3 miles of hiking done for the day. I stopped to read the signpost near the parking lot before I left, in case the visitor’s center was hosting something I thought I’d like to see. Turns out, maybe I should have read it first, before I wandered into the woods alone.


I spent the afternoon at the beach, and the evening working on a sewing project for later this week. This morning, I packed up my things and left my little ocean retreat. Of course, I stopped and took some pictures along the way- it’s gorgeous there!




My last stop on the coast was at the sea lion caves. Apparently, this is the only rookery for this type of sea lion all along the Pacific coast. It was an interesting stop, even if it did feel “touristy.” The cave was dark and stinky, but to be able to hear the sea lions was amazing. They make really loud noises. Some sound like grunts, some are squeaks, and still others sound like moos. I have some inside and outside shots of them.







From there, I drove about 5 hours to Bend, OR. I took a dip in the pool, tried trout and marionberry cobbler for dinner, and am now tucked away, anxiously anticipating the pet portrait class tomorrow.

Drowsing under western skies (that I can see through the skylight!),