Sunday, August 28, 2016


Years ago, I read about Brighton in a book. . .I think it was the Shell Seekers. Then it was referenced in another book and from time to time, I would hear people talk about taking holiday in Brighton and spending time on the beach.

I've wanted to go. So DH and I boarded the train and headed there for a day trip. The train from London seems to leave for Brighton about every hour so there are lots of opportunities to go and lots of return opportunities too! Although, I would suggest not traveling during the heavy commute times as there are a lot of people who commute! It is about an hour to an hour and a half ride.

We arrived early and walked through town to the beach. Along the way, there are little eateries and shops. It didn't take long to arrive at the beach, it is downhill all the way!

One of the attractions is this place, the Royal Pavilion. It was transformed between 1815 and 1823 to be a sumptuous pleasure palace by the sea. It has an Indian theme on the outside and a Chinese theme on the inside! We didn't go inside; but, enjoyed walking around the outside!

We made it to the beach. Now, in Oregon, the beaches are sand. Imagine my surprise to see these rocks!!!

As we were watching the activity in the water, I saw a lifeguard boat approach the beach. I saw a lifeguard run down the beach. I sure thought that I was going to see a shift change or perhaps, there was a rescue about to begin.  Imagine my surprise when the land lifeguard sat down and removed his shoes, then waded out into the surf a bit. The boat came in close and the land lifeguard tossed a package into the boat. The boat retreated; the lifeguard put his shoes back on and the show was over!
I wouldn't think it would be comfortable to lounge on the rocks; but people were. It was cool and windy, yet there were people swimming!

I understand that there is sand below the rocks and swimmers time their swims to take advantage of the sand at low tide.

Upon arriving at the beach, DH immediately sat down, removed his shoe and took a photo of his foot. This is something DD does. I had to snap him in action.

I was surprised to see that the beach area was much like a boardwalk complete with an arcade and carousel! That is the Palace Pier in the background.

Down at the west end of the beach we saw this metal structure and thought about all the things it could be. . .a mooring for boats, a structure for Christmas lights. . .then a local told us it was the burned out West Pier!

The West Pier was built in 1866 and plans to renovate it were in place; but, it burned in 2003. It was an interesting story.

We enjoyed a fish and chips lunch and then we headed back to London. It was a great day to celebrate the end of such a fabulous trip!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More Quilted President's Blocks

Funny isn't it? I had some days that I dedicated to quilting the President's blocks. . .I achieved little! I have no idea why that happens; but it did and it does!

Well, we had two days and an overnight with the two granddaughters so there went a whole chunk of time; but, it went happily and I wouldn't change a moment! Those granddaughters are so much fun to be around. They brought their sleeping bags and Papa pitched a tent in the back yard. They were excited about the experience.

The four year old, while checking out the sleeping arrangements, took me aside and crooked her finger. When I bent to hear what she wanted, she whispered in my ear, "Gran, there is no toilet." No problem, I replied. You just take your shoes and when you need to pee, you come in the house. You can use Papa's or Gran's bathroom--your choice.

She nodded her head and then asked, "Where's the faucet?" Oh, that's an easy one, I replied. You just bring your water bottle with you. She seemed relieved, looked around the tent one more time and asked, "Where's the light switch?"

At this point, I almost burst our giggling; but, I replied in all seriousness because this was a serious conversation, "No Worries. You bring a flashlight with you. If you ask, Papa might even let you be in charge of it!" With all her questions answered, she was ready to camp!

Their camping experience lasted about an hour for the 2 1/2 year old and three hours for the 4 year old. They decided sleeping in the house was more to their liking. It still was a hoot and they want to do it again!

I am staying "focused." This is my word for the year! I have quilted more blocks.

Isn't this a fun block? When I was a kid, my brothers, cousins and I use to take inner tubes to the lake to float on, dive through and have pushing wars. Marci, who made me this block, didn't know me then; but, she couldn't have made me a better block!

I quilted a medium stipple in the background; quilted some lines in the hair, stitched down some of the lines in her jacket, stitched some loops on the inner tube and added some waves so the water.

I have taught a lot of swimming lessons over the years. Sometime during the swim session, we would have a safety day and the participants often practiced throwing the rescue buoy. It was  a fun way to impart safety lessons!

Liz made me a great block. Quilting around the words to make rectangles was a good way to quilt the space and leave the words legible.

I also stitched around the letters and quilted some stars in the red polka dot fabric. One would see that if they were close to the block or looking at the back. Yes, it is all free motion quilted!

My friend JoJo embroidered this block for me. She digitized the design. She does amazing work in her embroidery business. If you want one or one hundred of an item, OR if you want your logo in thread, she can do it and beautifully too.

This block has her touch--that lilac fill stitch and the heart fill stitch are her trademarks to me because she likes little pieces!

I added the circle quilting (Cindy Needham's ultimate stencil) because when you teach others who in turn teach others it creates a ripple effect.
Not only have I taught CPR classes, I've also trained many people to be CPR instructors!

The appliqué on this butterfly block is beautiful. People couldn't understand how this had anything to do with Red Cross, swimming, Hawaii or CPR. I got it right away. It stands for the butterfly stroke! It was fun to add a little detail to the butterfly. I echo quilted the block. Jan and her sister Maxine both served on the board while I was president. So I decided their two blocks would have the same background.

This block, that Gail appliquéd, is the local Red Cross Chapter logo. She got it spot on! I added a gentle line in the green and the blue. Originally, I quilted some more circle rows around the appliqué; but, it didn't feel right. The straight lines work great.

Gail and I worked together at the Red Cross Chapter so this is a special block.

I put these next two blocks together so you could see that the quilting is different! I wanted to use the ray quilting here; but, the stitching would have interfered with her signature.  All the straight lines, I quilted using rulers. I'm starting to get the hang of ruler work. Holding the ruler though tires my hands.

Marvalee likes to play with new techniques and materials. The piecing on this block was puzzle like. I wished I could have quilted it to maintain that look.
No two red cross blocks were made the same. No two blocks will be quilted the same either! Lyn stitched this one. She chaired the Saturday Workshop committee and put on a wonderful event. It's nice to have one of her blocks.
Gosh, Wilma, I can't tell you how many laps I've swam over the years. I started swimming laps 35 years ago when I was pregnant with our first daughter. I haven't talked about lap swimming. . .how did you know?

I quilted along the print in the water to accentuate the waves and around each piece of the lane line to be sure that those fused pieces weren't going anywhere!

I still have many more blocks to stitch; but, it has been fun to think about each person who made each block while I work out how to quilt it!

Sunday, August 21, 2016


We arrived about 10:30 in the evening to our daughter's flat. We drove in right behind the truck that was delivering her groceries! What a great service it is. She places her order on line and states the time she wants it delivered and it happens! I was impressed with the quality of produce and meat selections as well as how carefully the items were packed to maintain their freshness. I also said what a great way to carry in those heavy bottles of water!  If ever DH decides to take a break from grocery shopping, this might just be the way to go for me!

 The next day, we had a walk about along the Thames and then made it to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard which is amazing to see! This statue was near the palace and I snapped the photo because of the gold combined with the grey stone.
We visited the Imperial War Museum. London is expensive; but, most of the museums are free! We purchased a "guide" and then spent about four hours wandering through four of the five floors of exhibits. The fifth floor was a special exhibit that we didn't visit. We were all impressed with this museum. It has so many interactive exhibits and there were so many docents telling stores, holding artifacts and answering questions.

On our way home we stopped at the Bermondsey Market for lunch. There are lots of good food vendors and we saw Jensen's Gin Distillery.  We did a tasting and purchased a little. It was a great day.

The following day, DD took us to the Borough Market which was one of my favorite locations the last time we visited DD in London. On this day, we sipped a special coffee, bought some special cheese and ate oysters on the half shell. During our stay, we went three times to this market!

The cheese shop was super busy; but, I couldn't resist snapping this photo of all the cheese on the counter. Also, The Rogue River Blue at 77.80 pounds is a cheese produced just about five hours south of where we live. It was fun to see a product of home among the English and French cheeses!

The line to the coffee was extra long. I took this photo of DH and DD; but, what I also wanted to capture were the quilting patterns in the arches behind them!

Can't you just see the quilting patterns on the front of the market building??

I took a photo of this blouse because it also had the circles as trim around the sleeves and bodice!

This was the fish vendor stall. There was such a wonderful variety available.

This is the worker preparing our oysters. He was so fast with getting these ready.

Wow, they were good!!!

Speaking of quilt inspirations, check out this little house. It is called the shell house/hut. It was in the Lower Grosvenor Gardens. The design reminded me of quilt borders. There were two in the gardens. They were built in 1952 to commemorate Marshal Foch and they had a purpose too! One was to store garden tools in and the other was to house the garden attendant! They were locked so, I don't know if they hold garden tools now! It would have been an extra small space for the gardener; but, maybe he used it for a place to sit and have lunch or coffee???

Then we met a couple of DD's friends at The Goring and had high tea. My what an experience that was!!! The Goring is where Kate Middleton housed her wedding party before her marriage to Andrew. It was so cool to be able to be in a place that has been so celebrated over the years. It was also cool to see a grandmother celebrating her birthday with her daughter and granddaughter.

I enjoyed listening to DD's friends talk about their lives. What interesting people they are!! They both speak fluent Chinese and both lived/worked in Beijing. I went to China in 2009, it was a wonderful trip. They also speak fluent French. I keep trying to learn French; it isn't easy. I can't imagine being able to converse in so many languages!

The following day, we started out to explore; but, just made it to the market for fortifications before we decided it was just too wet to keep slogging about!

Tower bridge in the background is a beautiful bridge. Check back next week for the final installment of our trip.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Edinburgh and the Train

On our final day in Scotland in Edinburgh, we started walking around the city. I saw a wonderful garden that ran for blocks and blocks. It was totally fenced. We kept looking for an entrance; but, all the entrances were locked. Come to find out, this green space area was just for the tenants in the neighboring homes. They had a key to enter! We saw lots of thistles on store fronts, door handles and statues. I liked this one on the wrought iron fence.

Along the way, I saw quilting patterns in the manhole covers. This one reminded me of a plaid  woolen fabric.

The office buildings were a mix of old and new.

I'm partial to seeing the old.

The steeple on this church was so high!

We saw lots of houses built on the edge of cliffs and the beautiful greens were every where.

This square was typical of the architecture we saw and for the moment, it wasn't raining too much to get a shot! I like the coloring of the sky though.

For lunch we went to BrewDog pub where they brewed their own beer. I was surprised to find local beer! It was good as was the pizza lunch and it was nice to have a rest.

We really had planned to eat local fare. . .like blood pudding and haggis; but, it just didn't happen this time. DH thought the glasses said it all!

It was still wet so we decided to take a taxi and visit the Britannia. The Britannia is the Royal Yacht that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had built to their specifications in 1953. She was in service from 1954 to 1997. We did enjoy taking the tour. You walk through the dining room, bedrooms, kitchen, sun deck, staff quarters and even the laundry area! I was surprised at how much you were able to walk on the actual carpets and flooring. If it were in the states, you'd be walking on runners to protect the existing floor surfaces.

In one area, you could don a hat and jacket. DD did and I love this photo of her that her dad took.

I took this photo of the sailing knots which was very interesting.  I can tie a half hitch, a bowline and a slip knot. I learned the bowline when I was learning how to ride a horse. I can see why sailors spent a lot of their time learning to tie knots. I didn't know that there were so many!!

Then, it was time to depart Scotland via train and head to London, England. The train trip was about 4 1/2 hours which gave us plenty of time to see the scenery. I'll admit, I was a bit sad to leave behind the lush green rolling hills. But, I plan to visit again and see other parts of the country.

We were in first class and DD told us that because she purchased the tickets early, the ticket price wasn't that much more than coach. It was a relaxing way to travel and there were lots of snacks to eat and a variety of drinks available.

We played cribbage and I unknowingly counted incorrectly.  DD snapped the photo of DH telling me about my math skills and I'm getting it that I only added 15 more points than I should have. . .but, I'm trying to shine it on!

Sunday, August 14, 2016


After we left Oban, we continued to drive scenic routes. Have I written how beautiful Scotland is and how green the country side is? The views are truly breath taking. We stopped along the way at a grocery store and purchased some items for dinner as well as for breakfast as we opted only for the "bed" in the bed and breakfast where we were staying.

DD navigated us from a narrow paved road to a rutted sort of gravel road with the phrase, this must be it and I said out loud, I wouldn't think so! We drove probably five miles on this road and by golly, it was right. We arrived at our destination.

Our room was formally their daughter's bedroom. The room was huge. Outside the window we could see a stable and horses. Across the way, a huge pasture full of sheep. See the small photo on the lower left. The next morning, DH and DD were looking at the window and watched a man on a three wheeler ATV drive up to the sheep. Riding on the back of the ATV was a dog. The man walked around the pasture a bit, then signaled the dog.

That dog worked those sheep from one corner of the pasture to another and back again. The man whistled and pointed and that dog WORKED! They enjoyed the demonstration. Watching a dog herd sheep or cattle is quite the sight. Those dogs LOVE what they do. It was an amazing show and how wonderful to have seen it!

We left the bed and breakfast and drove a few miles to. . . .yes, the Dalwhinnie Distillery.  This is the place DD said was her favorite. . .Well, it became mine too!

Who knew scotch and chocolate were a wonderful pairing???
I can tell you first hand it is darn good!

You can spend a lot of money on scotch. . .we bought some. . .but, none of these!

After Dalwhinnie, we stopped in St. Andrews. DH is a golf fan. It was cool to walk about the area. We saw people playing golf. DH told us it was "only" about 175 pounds to play a round. DD did buy DH a hat so he had a souvenir!

Notice how close to the water this course is!

Again, the scenery is so beautiful. I was surprised to learn that golfing has happened here for more than 600 years.

This is the view right next to the course! I sure didn't realize how close the water was from seeing tournaments held here on television.

This is what town looks like. In many of the cities, bricks are used for housing; but, I just thought that all these turrets were unique.

From here it was back to Edinburgh for one more day of seeing Scotland!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Thank You, JoJo

In October, I'll be exhibiting a few of my quilts as part of 21 past presidents of the Clark County Quilter's guild. I was president from June 2013 to June of 2014. We were chosen to be the featured artists for the show this year. In this link, you can see all of us.

In my mind, I had a few quilts that I wanted share; but, when it came to making THE choice of what would fit the space. . .well, that was another story. So, I stalled and then I asked for help. JoJo from "Through My Hands," came to visit. Here is a bonus for you, if you click on her link, you have the opportunity to join her on an adventure. Hanging out with JoJo is always fun so I hope you will join us! She took me on a year hexagon journey that was one of the best mysteries I've ever been on. You can see my finished project here.
Oops, I just lost my "focus" so let's get back to my problem of selecting quilts! My house is small and the largest space is the living room floor. I cleaned the floor several times to remove as much Bailey hair as possible. Bailey is our two year old golden retriever. I comb/brush her every day; but, she still drops loads of hair. Before you ask if she is worth it, I'll tell you yes. She is the sweetest dog we have ever had. Yes, she spends a lot of time in the recliner in this position too!

Oops, my "FOCUS" is definitely off today!!! I collected my quilts for consideration. I separated the quilts into stacks. The stacks were: probably not, maybe okay, possibly and absolutely.  Later, I realized I had left seven quilts on my walls, two on beds and one in storage that I totally forgot! I had plenty to choose from.

Had I thought--I would have photographed the piles of quilts so I could have shared some of the chaos with you. My DH walked into the house when we were in process. First, his eyes were like saucers and his mouth opened and closed. In the end, he shook his head over the piles! He said something like. . ."I'm not even going to ask!" What a smart man he was!

My display space allotment for the show is 16 feet and 5 inches on one wall and 8 feet 1 inch on another. It was great working with JoJo and hearing her input. She kept me focused on the selection process and in a little over an hour the job was complete. I had been agonizing over choosing for months and look at all the time I wasted!

What helped me was watching her deal with the challenge. I was grouping the quilts in terms of techniques. She grouped the quilts according to color or if there was an element that was repeated from one quilt to another. Immediately, I felt a sense of calm so I knew we were on the right track.

We would get a grouping together only to find out that we had more "quilt" than space or there wasn't an appropriate sized quilt left to fill the space. On one occasion, JoJo said, you should have made a smaller one and another time, she said, what? There isn't another quilt that will work with this color grouping? You'd better get busy!
In the end, these are the quilts that I'll share. We chose quilts that will hang well with each other and also show a variety of techniques.

Each of the quilts in the first grouping have a bit of yellow in them along with some tans/browns. The Santa, I stitched in 1998. The other quilt with tree border, I stitched in 2010. The one with the two women, I stitched in 2010. The one with the barn I stitched in 2007. You can read about it here.  The mini that you can only see the corner of, I stitched in 2015.

There is appliqué, thread work, piecing, quilting, pieced backs and scrap usage! I had to chuckle, I  guess over the years, I haven't changed a whole bunch!!!
In this group, the main colors are red, white and blue! I'm still quilting on the president's block which is on the far left. The pink/red one in the center was originally going to be a table runner using Gyleen Fitzgerald's pineapple ruler; but, I kept finding more scraps so I kept making more blocks! I made it in 2012. The blue and white quilt at the top, I stitched in 2015. I posted about it here. The Asian looking piece, I stitched in 2007 and the red, white and black piece, I quilted in 2008.

It was a good exercise to get the quilts out and group them. I really had no idea that I had so many in a particular color way!  By the way, if you would like to see any of these quilts in their own post, let me know in the comments section. I'd be happy to tell you what inspired them; but, I don't want to bore you.

I am blessed to have friends who tell me like it is. I appreciate their input and their patience getting that information into my head! Thanks again, JoJo!!! Who helps you when you get stuck?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Oban Distillery--Fish and Chips

It rains a lot in Scotland. The locals say if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes and it will change! The photos of the beautiful green hills in Scotland truly look just like the photos in magazine spreads. I always thought that they were photo shopped! We took the scenic route from Edinburgh so we could see a bit of the country.

This is a photo of the city of Stirling. We checked out the museum there which had an interesting exhibit of the natural history of the area.

We traveled inland far enough to wonder at the rolling hills and the sheep!

Across from the sheep was a pasture with highland cattle. What amazing hair coats they have!

Some of the roads we were traveled were narrow. Some of the bridges were wide enough for just one car!

I loved the idea of being able to stop because we saw something interesting.Notice, I wrote the idea? Our driver was determined to get us to the next location with time to spare!

We spotted this cross and building and said stop. . .too late to pull into the drive; but, there was a wide spot in the road so we were able to pull over, get out and walk back to take a few photos.

Workers were renovating the church. It was called St. Conan's Kirk. We didn't go into the building; but, instead walked up the hill to check out the celtic cross.

The cross was erected in 1900 in the memory of Caroline Agnes Campbell. Too bad we didn't learn the story of her and why 34 friends erected the cross. You'll have to scroll up to see the cross.

We also pulled off the roadway for a cup of coffee and happened on this river. We didn't gaze long as serious rain started to fall!

By the time we actually arrived in Oban, we were ready for lunch. We had read the fish and chips were good here so we stopped in a restaurant and had some. Wow! The fish was absolutely the best I have ever had! You'll have to scroll up to see our plates of fish and chips!

This is the back and front of a flyer of the location of the restaurant. If you go to Oban, drop in to eat some fish!!

Oban is built next to the sea. Here are a few photos that give you the idea of the area. That was a quaint looking hotel and the red building sure has an interesting shape!

Boats moored in the harbor.

Buildings around the shoreline.

Our main purpose in Oban, was to visit the distillery. I learned that Scotland exports 98% of the scotch made there. I also learned that the distillery came first and the town sprang up around it.

That building has been around since 1794 and it has produced liquor all this time!!

During our tour, we learned that you can eat ginger and drink scotch together. It is a delicious pairing!