By hand...

When I got home from retreat on Friday, I unloaded my sewing stuff and carried everything downstairs, and left it. And it's been there ever since. It's too cold to work in my sewing room. So I am hand-piecing the blocks of a flannel quilt, in the warmth of my living room. It will take much more time than using my machine, but is very satisfying... and great practice for hand quilting.

This cute red and black bear quilt will be donated to the "car campers," a group of homeless families who sleep in their cars behind the church that hosts my quilt guild.


February snow...

At 7:00 am it was 24 degrees and snowing, about 4 inches on the patio table, even deeper in the orchard. The wind always blows strong across the patio, between the house and the big cedar tree, and the snow is always shallower there. There are tracks on patio and deck, rabbit?

I settled Madison on the platform in the window and left her looking outside at a white world. It snowed all day long, heavy in the morning, stacking up fast... then tiny flakes, then heavy, then tiny again. But all day long, the snow built up.

Beautiful, sparkly, brilliant snow.


Game board...

This little game board quilt is one of my favorites, and I plan to keep it. So it's perfect for practicing my hand quilting. The checkerboard is made from 1-inch squares of blue and white, surrounded by a border of red and blue flying geese. The quilting pattern is a simple one: diagonal lines through the checkerboard, and outline quilting for the flying geese. Just straight lines. The next little quilt, I'll move on to curved lines.

I worked on it during the afternoon, while keeping a fire going in the woodstove, and keeping an eye on Madison, who was sleeping on her tower in front of the window. And late afternoon, right on schedule, I looked out to see huge snowflakes blowing around in the breeze.

Finally... we get our snow!



After three days of getting up at 5:00, sleeping in this morning felt almost sinful. The house was cold; I made myself a mug of lemon tea and lit a fire in the woodstove, then bundled up in a fleece quilt and read until DW got up a couple of hours later. And by then, I knew I was sick. When DW wandered out in his sweats to make tea, I headed back to bed.

And I stayed there all day, sleeping (mostly), and reading. Madison came to see what happened to me, and curled up on the bed and stayed all day. It's cold and cloudy, and I'm still hoping for snow. I finished one book and started another, kept up with e-mail and Instagram, and didn't feel at all like being vertical again until dinnertime. We heated up leftovers and settled down by the fire to watch a movie, and then I headed back to bed.

Since retiring, I've rarely been sick (which tells me what a germ factory I used to work in). So when I do get a bug, it takes a bit to realize it.



How do geocachers celebrate New Year's Eve? with lots and lots of geocaching events, that's how! Of all the events to choose from, we managed four:

Ring out the year with a kick = early morning coffee in Parkland
Thanks 2018, End of Year of the Dog = hot dogs at a cute little place near Green Lake

Did Love find 2018 caches in 2018? = mid-afternoon brew and conversation at Fremont Brewing
Say Goodbye to 2018 with the WSGA = a big party! Dinner and a glass of red with caching friends in Renton. After all the food today, my dinner was a yummy appetizer of Brussels sprouts.


Really, really wet...

Heavy rains were predicted for today... bummer. Because we're going to Shelton for a geocaching event. Breakfast, then driving the back roads and logging roads, picking up geocaches along the way. And today, getting very, very wet.

We did the route backwards, so it was a couple of hours before we started running into fellow cachers. Like at this remote location, south of Lake Cushman in the Olympics. Cold, windy, rainy... searching in the woods for the elusive geocache. Eight of us looked for this one with no luck. We went back to the Pilot, where I stayed. Wisely, I think. Everyone but us gave up and moved on, but DW thought he'd take another look just as another group arrived. And this time, he found it!

We stopped halfway through the route at a cache hidden deep inside a wrecked Model A (I made the find this time)... we were just outside a bakery, and were soaked and cold and needed a break. And hot coffee. And a big scoop of Olympic ice cream.

The day finished up at a local restaurant for dinner, and it was amusing to see the level of commitment of caching friends based on how wet they were. One gal made a beeline for Walmart to buy new clothes, then came to dinner. I was so glad we brought a complete change of clothes, from head to toe.


Family snow...

A day in the mountains (snow!!) is often how my sister chooses to spend her birthday, and this year, I tagged along. There were three generations in my sister's van, and we're going to spend the afternoon sliding down the hills at Stevens Pass.

Heading east on the ferry, out of the rain and into the snow

The nordic area at Stevens has lots of parking, warm bathrooms, and lots of sledding hills. We pulled on snow pants and more layers under warm jackets, and the kids were off and on the hill before we knew it.

This dog was dressed as warmly as I was!

My nephew is a snowboard instructor at Stevens Pass; he met us with a couple of cool snowskates that the little girls took to like ducks to water.

The day couldn't have been better: plenty of fresh snow, comfortable temperatures, lots of giggles and laughter.

I was glad of the hours spent in the snow, especially with my family. The way things are going, it might be the only snow play I will get this winter.


Christmas day...

It's a tradition that I treasure, and look forward to every year:  Christmas day with my sister. When our parents died a couple of weeks before Christmas, we began this tradition of spending this special day together. Our family loved this holiday, and our parents made it special for their three daughters. And we've done what we can to continue their tradition.

So early on Christmas morning, DW and I get up early, and catch a ferry to the island. We start the day at our niece's house, have breakfast and share hugs and talk, watch the little girls open their gifts, eat more breakfast, play games, play pool, and if we're lucky, watch the snow fall.

Then we move the party to my sister's house. We cook dinner together while we snack on brie and crackers and sometimes grilled vegetables, then sit down and have dinner and wine. This year we made mini tamales together, for an appetizer. And my sister made three kinds of enchiladas for dinner, along all the toppings and a big green salad. It was a great meal, shared around a table full of laughter.

Then before the little ones crash, we open more presents. DW and I spend the night, so we sit up late with my sister and brother-in-law, a few special hours just the four of us.


Seeds from my garden...

The past few years, my sister and niece have given me seeds harvested from their beautiful gardens. This year, with all the new perennials I added to a new flowerbed in the fall, I was able to harvest seeds from a lot of new plants. So come Christmas, I decided to repay the favor.

In a basket of stamps, I found the perfect one: From the Garden of. Just what I wanted, and in the perfect size. I ordered tiny kraft envelopes, sorted my seeds among several packets, and dated them. Besides my sister and niece, I have seeds to send to my dear friend, Linda, who lives in Ellensburg.

Columbine, Black-Eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower, Pincushion flower, Rose campion, and Campanula. These grow very well in my garden, and I hope they will do the same in theirs.


Catching up...

The past six months or so, the story of my life where my blog is concerned. Busy, torn between too many passions. When it's nice, I want to be outside. When it rains, or snows, or is too cold... I just want to sew. That's good for the stack of unfinished projects, but not so good for writing and taking photographs. In the new year, just around the corner, I hope that will change.

One of the old projects I've moved to the top of the stack is this log cabin quilt, made from pastels. It's a very old pattern, called Cabin in the Cotton.

I set it aside when I made a wedding quilt for my niece in 2006, and never got around to finishing it. There have been many others that passed under my needle, but not this one. Lately, I've been in the mood to work on it again, and it's been a great project to take to my Wednesday sewing group. I only have about 30 blocks left to make, the large blocks, and the tiny ones, then I can cut the white sashing strips and start making the top. Maybe I'll take this one to my retreat the end of January.

This is the complete quilt from the book. Isn't it gorgeous?