Friday, May 22, 2015

Spider Webs Up! Delta Junction, AK!

String Spider Webs are te fasted most fun quilt EVER.

They all turn out wonderful no matter what color palette or stash of scraps are used…

And they can be so varied from the background fabric color chosen, to the individual strips and strings of fabric used as the webs themselves…

So much variety!

And absolutely NO stress what so ever – as our newer quilters found out.

This is FUN!  And fun is what it is all about!

Of course it all starts with bags and buckets and baskets and totes of scraps – and they came in by the baleful.  We’ve ALL got them.  Every project makes scraps..so this is a fun time to sew them up!


Some came in zippered bags.

These came all the way fro washington state, and those reuseable zipper bags for sheet sets, pillow cases and curtains and other linens make great project bags.  These had the air squooshed out of them and ade a flight from Washington State to spend these workshop days with us in Delta  Junction, AK!

However, they didn’t stay this neat for long…


It just can’t be helped!

String piecing is messy and this poor featherweight was in danger of a scrap avalanche!


Lonnie, busy pulling from the big bag at her side!

A life time of scraps and memories in this narrow strips and pieces….so fun to dig through!


They sewed and sewed all day long!


Look at these blocks coming together!

You can find the free pattern for String Spider Web under the Free Patterns tab at the top of the blog.  It’s a fun one – and everyone should make at LEAST one spider web quilt in their life time!

There are more photos!  Click the image below if you are unable to view the slide show on your mobile device.  You’ll be taken to the photo album for viewing.

String Spider Web, Delta Junction, AK 2015

I had a great time with these gals yesterday, and we had a fun lecture last night ---after dinner HERE:


Buffalo Center Drive In –a Delta Junction Icon!

And really great food too!

Today we do it all over again ---I’ve got a SHIRTTAILS quilt workshop from my book Scraps & Shirttails ---working in the recycled fabrics and plaids and stripes will be another great way tp sew it up today.

This evening I head back up to Fairbanks…my two days of workshops and a lecture starts with them tomorrow.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Church of Orsanmichel, Florence!

You can find amazing places in the center of Florence.

And while many places charge an entry fee to get in, some places like the church of Orsanmichel is open to the public by donation.

A small church compared to many others in the city limits, it is not to be missed ---Great architecture, beautiful domed ceilings, frescoes, and gorgeous tiled floors.

Everything a quilter’s eye needs to be inspired!

The building was constructed on the site of the kitchen garden of the monastery of San Michele, which is now gone.

The Aialik Glacier—AMAZING!

Sunday was a beautiful day for a trip through the Kenai Fjords by boat.

There was almost no wind on shore – quite a difference from the day before.

The sky was blue and the sun was shining ---

But that doesn’t mean it was warm on the boat…

I was so glad we packed parkas –and I had to BUY a hat because I forgot to pack one.

We were going to need it on this 6 hour ocean cruise that left the port in Seward, Alaska and explored the regions around Resurrection bay and beyond.


Our Vessel – the Callisto Voyager!


Ready to set sail!


It was just a breath-takingly gorgeous day!


Clouds hugging mountain tops!

Our route this day would take us over 100 miles round trip, viewing wild life both on shore and in the water, with the Aialik Glacier being the highlight of the trip for me.  I took SO many photos, and I will share those, but the majesty of a calving glacier just has to be experienced!


Watching our wake behind us!


Can you believe this scenery?


Dall porpoises playing along side our boat!


And there it is—in the distance, the Aialik Glacier –and we are getting closer!

Watch the magic of this glacier in the slide show below. I wish it could have been video.  When a glacier calves and breaks off it is preceded by a huge cracking sound, and then a roar of thunder as the ice comes crashing down into the ocean. It’s an ice earthquake of huge magnitude.

And I am left wondering at the age of this ice that is now floating around us in the blue blue sea outside of Resurrection Bay.

Click the image below if you are unable to view the slide show on your mobile device.  You’ll be taken to the photo album for viewing.

Aialik Glacier, Seward, AK 2015

Today I’m in Delta Junction, teaching a String Spider Web workshop for the Forget-me-knot quilters.

I’m so happy to be here, it’s been 4 years since I’ve been here with these ladies and it promises to be a good time, followed by a lecture and trunk show tonight.

Have an awesome Thursday, everyone!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

On the Streets of Florence!

If you happen to get lost, you can find a bronze map of how the city of Florence is laid out….amazing to think of centuries upon centuries of growth in this city.

And you are right, there is NO WAY to do Florence in a day.  It’s just not possible.

But it is perfect for a taste tester – a teaser, if you will – for the next time you come back, because you WILL want to come back!

We walked and walked and walked, and walked some more,and around every corner was another wonder to be seen.

I posted about the Cathedral already – but there is more!

Seward by Land

The bay was at its calmest early on Sunday morning.

What better thing to do than pack breakfast in the car, and drive out to the end of the road and see what nature has to say?

May comes as a gentle relief to this region that can be badly battered and beaten during the worst months of the winter.

This morning Seward put on its best beauty and brought peace to my soul.

As I walked the shore line I thought about what things might have been like here 100 years before.  Harsh and brutal – but filled with so much hope of providing a life and a livelihood to families who had come from all over to make this part of Alaska their home.


My favorite photo EVER!


The sun shines down on this old boat, permanently in dry dock.

((okay, I have to admit it – a certain song was going through my head with lyrics of “A Three Hour Tour, a Three Hour Tour….”))  But look at the beautiful view!


It was indeed a good morning in Seward, AK!


Gentle waves lapping at a lonely cove.


I left my footprints on the shores of Resurrection Bay.  And Seward left its footprints on my heart!


Can you beat this glory?

No, but you can add to it with this waterfall:

Still many other photos to come!  After this restful morning, we boarded a boat for a Kenai Fjords tour –6 hours discovering the wonders of the Fjords!

Yesterday our 12 hour train ride was fabulous, bringing us from Anchorage all the way to Fairbanks.

Today we move on down to Delta Junction where I’ll be meeting with the Forget-me-knot Quilters for  two days of workshops and a lecture.  Looking forward to seeing them again!

Will post when I can as wifi and time is available!

Much love from the land of the midnight sun – which is no lie, sun set at 11:30pm here last night and was up again by 4am!  Egad.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Viva, Firenze!


Yes, you are right.

There is a very naked, very green man standing over our heads.

No, it is not the Jolly Green Giant ---though I am sure he was very jolly in his day.

This is part one of our day in Florence, Italy – or Firenze as it is known locally.

Our bus stopped here for a great panoramic view of the city, and we also got to  pose with the lovely form of the bronze David, a replica of the original marble one in the museum.

Yes, we could have stayed in line all day to get a glimpse of the real one, IF we had a ticket - but when you’ve seen ONE naked statue – you’ve…well, you’ve not seen them all, but there was SO MUCH TO DO in one day that we chose instead to experience all that we could fit in, instead of waiting in line all day for one thing.

And this bronze, though a replica is every bit as impressive as his marble counterpart!  There is also a replica marble statue OUTSIDE of the museum, so yes – we really had our share of “Little David” as he was soon called on our day in Florence.

We did EVERYTHING we could, and I am having a hard time figuring out how to break this day down cohesively, not to mention I’m in the midst of a beautiful Alaskan trip which has a lot of beauty to be posted as well –so Florence, you will be spit spot shoved in amongst everything else!

A Visit to Sew’n Bee Cozy!

In the little harbor town of Seward is an adorable little quilt shop that is definitely a DO NOT MISS on any traveling quilter’s itinerary!

Sew’n Bee Cozy has been in this location for many years, welcoming quilters from around the globe, beckoning them in to “Come pet the fabric!”  and see some quilts, patterns and kits that are uniquely Alaskan in nature!

I couldn’t resist stopping in –it was just around the corner from our hotel.

And it was open on a Sunday afternoon ---this is after all, Seward Alaska – and cruising quilters NEED quilt shops to be open when ships are in port!

One of the Holland America line ships just happened to be in port as we arrived, and we know how it goes –cruising quilters can sniff out a quilt shop miles away, and in the door they came:

Monday, May 18, 2015

And Then there was Show & Share!

Loads of Sew & Share from our two workshop days in Soldotna!

This is Cheri with her Bowdacious from Adventures with Leaders & Enders!

One thing I have to say about these Alaska gals – they are hearty stock!  Our workshop may have been in Soldotna, but we drew in quilters from as far south as Homer, and as far North as Anchorage and Wasilla –and as far east as ENGLAND!

If we arrange it, they will come.   In Alaska, no one is afraid of a little driving trip, and it often turns into a very fun and adventurous retreat weekend.

And they brought  Show & share – which I love more than anything!

Bowdacious was our workshop when I visited two years ago – so it was fun to see many completions on my return visit!

A Day Meant for Driving!


Blue skies --

Open Road --

Music up loud --


Most of my life is run on schedules, time frames and agendas. 


We had all day to get from point A (Soldotna) to point B (Seward) and could take as long as we wanted to get there which meant taking some side roads.  It meant stopping where photo ops beckoned.  It meant taking little walks down to the gravely shore of lake front to take in the beauty and the wonder of this land called Alaska.