March 14, 2014

Field Trip: Snow at Mt. Rainier

Caitlyn loves snow. That's a horribly brief and to the point sentence that doesn't convey the degree to which Caitlyn loves snow.

Of course, we live in a place that gets only occasional snow. When it snows here, it's pretty and it's fun, (usually) not enough to seriously snarl things up, although to an eight year old, I think the snarling is part of the fun. I've explained how more snow in Seattle wouldn't be a good thing, but I guess I've not been terribly convincing. I've made some effort to explain how months of snow might not be fun, but that's flopped as well.

I don't think our recent outing to the snow at Mt. Rainier has done anything for Caitlyn except reinforce her notion that Snow = Fun.
Caitlyn in a snow tunnel
Yeah, she looks like she's having a terrible time.

Actually, the weekend was a fine lesson in perseverance. We'd gone with friends (6 adults, 3 kids - perhaps the most ideal ratio possible) to do some cross country skiing, something most of us hadn't done in years, if at all. Our first time out, Caitlyn fell frequently. (I fell too, within 5 minutes of putting the skis on, and lightly sprained my wrist. I had taken a quilt for binding in the evenings and then couldn't hold a needle.) There were tears and so much frustration; at one point, she looked at Ian and me and demanded, "Is this supposed to be fun?" She'd fall, she'd struggle to get up, she'd fall again.

But by the end of the weekend, she was getting back on her feet more easily and doing better at keeping up with the other kids.
Caitlyn on skis
She invented silly names for all the different ways she could fall down, then demonstrated them all. She preferred skiing in the tracks of others but didn't balk much at the idea of forging her own path when it might get her somewhere interesting.
We had a wonderful time. It snowed while we were there, so we had fresh snow and the magic of falling snow. Our outings were short enough to be fun without being exhausting. We had good food, good company. It was quiet (except for the vuvuzela) and scenic and altogether lovely.
We probably haven't done anything to convince Caitlyn that snow is anything but a fantastic playground. She's been praying for snow in Seattle since we got home.
Caitlyn on skis

March 08, 2014

Sew.Quilt.Give Block Update

Wonky Churn Dash blocks
Sew.Quilt.Give. asked for Wonky Churn Dash blocks (tutorial here) in pinks and at any size for February. I'm super curious how this quilt is going to turn out. The Churn Dash is an old (traditional) quilt block and although I think of myself more as a "traditional" quilter (as opposed to "modern"), this one has never really appealed. I think the wonkiness helps, though.

The blocks we made last June have reappeared as a finished quilt. Check it out. I quite like how this one came out: it's scrappy but not overwhelmingly so; I like the diamond chains in the layout; and I even like the different background colors, something I don't like whenever I imagine it. Nothing like seeing it for real!

It's now been a year since I was "queen bee" for Sew.Quilt.Give. I'm so close to being done with last March's quilt, just one more side to bind, I think. (No, I don't know for sure since I avoid unfolding any more of the quilt than is absolutely necessary. I'll just bind it until I'm done.)

But it's my turn to lead the bee again, regardless of what's done or not. I've hopefully asked for something easier this year: scrappy trip around the world blocks (tutorial here) in the blues and blue-greens of the Central California Pacific. Washington's ocean is grayer than I'd like for this quilt, and I'd like no more than a hint of tropical blues. Think pelicans and surfers, sea lions and cypress trees, foggy mornings and mermaid hair.
Scrappy Trip block in blues

Scrappy Trip block in blues

Scrappy Trip block in blues
(I took these pictures in a hurry on a cloudy morning - I don't think reality is quite as dark as it appears!)

I plan to lay all the blocks out in a barn raising layout, so the final quilt should be only 5 or 6 feet square, depending on how many blocks I get. That's a perfectly reasonable lap quilt size and way less intensive than last year's epic undertaking!

Wish me luck!

March 04, 2014

Sew Grateful Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of my Sew Grateful giveaway!
Random numbers from
Fabric #1, the peach colored silk, is headed off to Commenter #24, Emily, who said:
Comment #24
And Fabric #2, the lighter weight bronze silk, is off to Commenter #11, Laurie, who said:
Comment #24
Congratulations to both of you! Your new fabric will be on it's way on Thursday, since the post office is right next Caitlyn's circus class.

And thanks to everyone who commented. I think 30 comments is a high water mark for this here little space on Teh Interwebs. Thanks for stopping by! Do feel free to stop by again for tea and muffins, quilting and sewing, gardens and randomness.

March 01, 2014

Field Trip: California, Coast, and Cousins

Welcome to March! I’ve got little daffodils blooming in the backyard to remind us that it’s not going to be cold and gray forever. It can rain some more, though. I’d feel better heading into summer with more snow in the mountains first.

Back at the beginning of February, to help my grandmother celebrate her 90th birthday, we took a week off from the chill of Seattle and trekked to California. We had a lovely birthday dinner with family, and Caitlyn got to spend time with her cousins, whom we don’t see nearly often enough.
kids in a tree
The adults managed to pry the kids away from binge sessions of Minecraft long enough to go for a hike or two.
hibernating ladybugs
The woods were still cold, although the kids caught some banana slugs in the act of reproduction so I guess it wasn’t that cold. These ladybugs were still hibernating, though. It’s really tempting to knock some of them into your hand so they’ll warm up and crawl around, but then you have to give them back and hope their neighbors will take them in and keep them warm after you walk away. I’d never seen ladybugs cluster like this. Monarch butterflies do something similar, although I’ve always managed to miss them.
Pacific from West Cliff
We took a couple of walks by the ocean. When I think "ocean", this is what I see: dark blues, rocks, sea lions, waves dotted with surfers. I guess that’s what happens when this is the ocean you grow up with.
On one of our walks, we saw dolphins, an otter, and a flight of pelicans in addition to the usual population of two-legged marine mammals.
cold seeps
And I got to indulge my inner rock geek! You can’t always get to these formations; tide and weather can sometimes make them dangerous or just plain inaccessible. They are Miocene era (7-9 million years ago) cold seeps. Carbon rich gases or fluids (like methane) find their way through the sedimentary stone (Santa Cruz Mudstone, in this case), then react with the sea water, causing a carbonate precipitate. The cold seep structures follow the direction of the cracks in the rock, so they are both horizontal and vertical; the vertical ones look a lot like toilets.

We missed the Super Bowl chaos while we were away. We aren’t very good sports fans, generally; we followed the game via Twitter only because Seattle’s team was playing. The day we came home, Seattle was celebrating with a parade and a high temperature below freezing. Fun times!