Red barns...

Jacob Rego settled in the Kittitas valley in 1912 with his wife and parents, and raised Durham cattle and hay. He built the barn that first year to shelter his cattle and store hay. Hand-hewn timbers, round pegs, and square nails form the foundation of this beautiful red barn, which today shelters miniature donkeys on the ground floor. The upper floor is a recreation room for the Gibson family, the current owners of the farm.

The patriotic barn quilt was painted by the women of the Gibson family.

Shared today on The Barn Collective.


Along the Cedar...

In between rain showers, we walked along the river near Landsburg. There are amazing things in the woods, if you take your time and look, really look. Like the shapes hidden in the green.

Faint stripes in the trillium petals, the first one I've seen this year.

An Oregon wood snail, crawling across the tree roots.

And really big cat tracks in the mud.



Right under my feet, the most beautiful color.


Cats that love quilts...

She stayed close all day, following me upstairs and downstairs, to the bathroom and the kitchen. Only when I sat down would she settle down on the sofa, propped up against one of my favorite antique quilts. From the 1970s based on the fabrics, it's a beautifully made tied quilt that was obviously loved before it came to live with me. Cats that love quilts... perfect for my family.


Bare branches...

Everywhere I look for them, those perfect single trees that stand alone and perfect in shape and structure. Usually I find them in pastures, sometimes in cemeteries, but this one stands in a nearly abandoned city park, nothing left but an old driveway and stone walls. In just a few weeks, this tree will leaf out in brilliant green. But today, it's beautiful in its bare branches.


Home away...

This is my quilting home away from home for a few days. Me, my Featherweight, and eight projects. And fifteen other women who'd rather be quilting than anything else for four days.

Outside the windows, two feet of snow was still hanging around at the end of winter. Down the driveway, a dining hall and three meals a day. At the bottom of the hill, a row of small cabins. And just five minutes away, a cute quilt shop.

I spent a few days pulling together projects for this week, knowing I wouldn't have enough time to finish them all, but wanting to bring a variety of things to work on.

From 7 am until late at night, we sewed and talked and laughed, and got to know each other better. Some of the women are in my Tuesday sewing group, the rest are in my quilt guild. Three times a day we walked next door to eat, and after dinner we brought out the wine, and the day started to wind down.

And the next morning, we started it all again.



I hope you are blessed
with a heart like a wildflower.
Strong enough to rise again
after being trampled upon,
tough enough to weather
the worst of the summer storms,
and able to grow and flourish
even in the most broken places.   
  - Nikita Gill


Spring barn...

It snowed in the wee hours of Monday morning, and Mission Ridge was white in the morning sun. But it was warm and calm as we headed off to drive the back roads and photograph barn quilts in the lower valley.

This beautiful barn was built in 1895 by homesteader John Burch for his dairy cows and draft horses. He sold the farm in 1912 to Daniel Brunson, and it's been in the Brunson family for more than a hundred years. There are two Bear Paw/Evening Star quilt blocks on this farm:  one on the barn, and a smaller one on an outbuilding near the farmhouse.


Looking for blues..

There is still snow in the hills above the valley, and grasslands full of wildflowers and running water. We walked for hours, looking for that glint of blue in the gravel... that telltale sign of an Ellensburg Blue agate. It's the only agate considered to be a gemstone, it's that beautiful, and that rare. We walked, and talked, and laughed, enjoying our time together.


American barn...

It was a beautiful (and early) morning drive over the mountains to Ellensburg. On Tuesday, a five-day quilting retreat starts. Until then, relaxing with my oldest friends, photographing barns and barn quilts, hunting for Ellensburg Blues, and catching up over good food and wine.

The sun was just starting to peek over Umptanum Ridge to light up this Gothic-style barn. It's one of my favorites in the Kittitas Valley.

This barn has a blue metal roof, and it's in great condition despite its faded white paint and weatherbeaten doors. The American flag is the perfect decoration.

Linked on The Barn Collective.



I'm heading off for a week on the dry side of the state. First a few days with friends, some hiking in search of Ellensburg Blues, and a lot of barn photography. Then five days at a quilting retreat with other friends, women I've come to know and admire over the past six months.

The Pilot is packed with the Featherweight and a box full of accessories, and another crate packed with nine projects to work on. I won't finish half of them, but I'll sure enjoy having options. And I'll enjoy the time to focus simply on creating new quilts and sharing time with new friends.

The weather on the east side will be unpredictable, just like it's been at home the past week. But the chances are good for some sunshine, and that will be very good indeed.

See you in a week!


Little houses...

When I saw a demonstration of art quilts last month, I fell in love with this one... a collage of small houses with gardens in front, flower boxes, and fancy doors. And I remembered. Hours spent walking through the streets of Dublin, photographing the amazing doors.

For the June guild meeting, I need to make my own collage quilt. There are ideas running through my head of all the different ways to approach this assignment, but I can't stop thinking about those Dublin doors. So maybe my quilt will have a neighborhood of houses... or maybe, just doors.


A day of firsts...

Finally... a day of no rain and time to spend in the garden.

The first camellia bud opened... and the second... and the third... and the fiftieth. Finally!

The first time the wheelbarrow has been out of the barn this year.
The first perennial bed weeded.
The first buds on the forget-me-nots, which have spread throughout this garden.
The first fruit tree in bloom (with the others right behind).
The first hummingbird.

The first pulled muscle. Oh joy.


Scene & Story | March 2017

The first one showed herself as soon as we got out of the Pilot and headed toward the beach.

In the tangle of huge boulders that reached over my head, a well-fed tabby with a dark markings and a brick nose. She peered at me from behind a rock, as if to make sure of me before she ventured out onto the path.

She was the advance guard, and slowly the others came out from between the rocks to check us out. As I took pictures, I noticed food and water bowls tucked into alcoves, and cardboard "roofs" set in place to provide some shelter.

These two were obviously friends; the smaller one rubbed her head repeatedly against the larger, white bib shining in the shadows.

We've read that this band of feral cats is well cared for by the locals, and they certainly looked in perfect health.

By the time we left, there were seven cats sniffing around the Pilot; after everywhere we've been today, there was a wealth of scents for them to enjoy.

Linking up today with Sarah and Lee on Scene & Story  for March



My first haircut in six months. Road construction everywhere I turned, so finally I turned toward home and the sanctuary of my sewing room. DW updated his phone, and started the taxes. I looked out the window and thought of spring, and the work I need to do in the garden.