Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pink45

Over 18 months ago I put this little baby quilt together at retreat just for fun. I had some leftover HST's from another project, so I grabbed some coordinating yellow, pink and orange stash fabrics to cut into charm squares.  Along with the perfect flannel backing, I folded the quilt top over a hanger where it's been resting comfortably for all that time just waiting for a baby girl.

Pink45 by Poppyprint
Pink45 measures 31 x 40. Perfect for baby rolling over practice on the floor.

When I heard the news that my neighbour's daughter was expecting a girl, I was super happy (and did some patting myself on the back) that this little number was ready to go.  Naturally, I waited until the recent Vancouver heat wave to quilt it. Luckily, it didn't take very long...I'm super fast at this loopy swirl and it is my go-to all over FMQ pattern when I'm in a time crunch.  The baby is coming to visit from California later this week!

Pink45 by Poppyprint
Quilted with Aurifil 40wt yellow 2115

It definitely makes me shake my head that I'm gifting a baby quilt to our former baby-sitter's baby!! She's a welcome first grandchild and I hope she uses this cosy quilt right up to the last threads.  Because it is always my wish that baby quilts will be loved, washed and loved some more, I usually attach the binding by machine so that it is extra sturdy.  In this case, I sewed it on back to front and completed the stitching with my Pfaff topstitch foot (which I LOVE!). It has a fence right in the middle of the foot that you can snug up to the fabric edge, and a wide needle opening so that you can move the needle over a few ticks to the left or right of centre (depending on what side of the fence needs the stitching). You can see what you're doing and it's a breeze to get a nice, straight topstitch line.

 Pink45 by Poppyprint
Donkey from Violet Craft's sweet Madrona Road line. Also pictures is some Lizzy House Castle Peeps & Pearl Bracelets and Happy Zombie Happy Mochi Yum Yum.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Alaska Photo Essay Part II - Juneau and Ketchikan

Bonus for us, our cruise aboard the Celebrity Infinity gave us the opportunity to see TWO glaciers! That's right, in Juneau one can take a public bus for a couple of bucks, then walk a mile and a half to the Mendenhall Glacier. So four of us did. The sun even came out!

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Handy location right beside the bus loop in Juneau.

Juneau, AK
The walk along the highway from the last bus stop to the glacier was pretty enjoyable!

Mendenhall Glacier from the highway approach
Our first glimpse from the road!

Mendenhall Glacier & Nugget Falls
This is the view from the visitor's centre. We took the short hike along the shoreline to Nugget Falls, which you can see on the right side of the picture.

Mendenhall Glacier
Great glacier viewing from the sandbar below the falls.

At the Mendenhall Glacier & Nugget Falls, Juneau, AK
The "I was there" shot, photo credit: Dana Michaelson

Nugget Falls, Juneau, AK
This is the "Sindy was there" shot ; )

We lucked out and got a great cab driver back into Juneau who took us to a spot where we saw over 30 eagles in the tree tops, surveying the town landfill (which was out of view). We had a great seafood lunch, then we wandered around town, visited the beautiful Changing Tides quilt shop located in a historic building-turned-mall downtown and then made our way back to the ship.  Here are a few pics from my saunter. The town is built up a steep slope, so some folks have a very long staircase walk to get home instead of a sidewalk! On one of the higher streets in town, the steel grate sidewalk is cantilevered out over the slope beside the road.

Juneau, AK

Juneau, AK
For such a small town, it was exciting to spot three independent book sellers!

In Juneau, AK

Stitch at Sea Alaska 2015

Juneau, AK
I don't envy the homeowners at the top of this staircase on grocery day!

"Row housing" in Juneau, AK
I love that these homes are connected by an elevated walkway sidewalk to their front doors.

In Juneau, AK
The letter-carrier benefits from mail boxes at the bottom of the stairs!

Garden in Juneau, AK
A curb-side garden....condensation catchers or to keep birds out?

In Juneau, AK
This truck just seems to personify Alaskan fishing town.

Juneau stairs
I took this staircase back down to the pier and our ship.

Next stop, Ketchikan! I was there 10 years ago on a cruise with my whole family, celebrating my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. The town was pretty much as I remembered it.

We only had 30 minutes to snap a few shots of town before Katie, Joan and I had a date with a zipline at Southeast Exposure.  We weren't quite sure what to think when the owner of the company met us on the dock in a walking cast and crutches! She assured us that her ankle injury was from a hike while searching for a lost dog. That might have been the moment Joan started getting a little shaky.

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Ketchikan, AK
The view as we pulled into the very long pier that can accommodate 4 cruise ships end to end.

Ketchikan AK

Ketchikan waterfront
Chief Johnson welcomes people to town from his statue on the pier 3 entitled "The Rock" by Dave Rubin.

Creek Street, Ketchikan
Ketchikan's infamous Creek St., where back in the day a fella could find whisky and the company of a 'lady' to take his mind off of the incessant rain.

And now onto our adventure in the trees!!  We were so lucky, only the three of us signed up for ziplining so we had the entire course to ourselves along with our fun guides Jeff and Cameo. We gasped, we laughed, we screamed. It was an awesome afternoon.

Southeast Exposure Zipline Trek, Ketchikan
Harnesses, check!

Southeast Exposure Zipline Trek, Ketchikan
The safety talk. I just love their faces as Jeff demonstrates falling off (and getting back onto) the platform above us.

Southeast Exposure Zipline Trek, Ketchikan
First stop, the ropes course!

Southeast Exposure Zipline Trek, Ketchikan
Cameo sends Katie off on her first zipline!

Southeast Exposure Zipline Trek, Ketchikan
Look who's conquered their fear and having a blast now!!

Southeast Exposure Zipline Trek, Ketchikan
This is an incredible 700 year old cedar that was part of our the zip trek through the forest. It was pretty humbling to stand "in" this magnificent tree.

Southeast Exposure Zipline Trek, Ketchikan
Just a short stroll over a wobbly bunch of 2 x 4's about 40' off the ground. No biggie.

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Here comes Joan!

Docks at Southeast Exposure, Ketchikan, AK
The second to last line takes you out to this 30' tower in the ocean!! So cool!

Southeast Exposure Zip Trek
Jeff's doing some maintenance while we're out there.

Southeast Exposure ziptrek, Ketchikan, AK
And Katie's off to terra-firma once again.

Southeast Exposure Ziptrek
After our zipping, I took a little climb up the 55' wall. It's been ages since I did any climbing and it was super fun until my right hand started to cramp.  I managed to make it all the way to the top and ring the bell, yay!

And, that's pretty much it, folks!  The week was beyond wonderful and I'm feeling incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to spend it with such nice women. The balance of creative time, fine dining, dancing, discovery and excellent company was just right.  I never cracked my novel, but that's okay....I've got some beach time coming up this summer.  Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our Stitch at Sea.













Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stitch at Sea Photo Essay 1: Vancouver - Hoonah - Hubbard Glacier

Ready for some "I went on a cruise to Alaska and all I took were these glacier photos" pictures? I promise they won't all be ice. A few of us went ziplining, too!  I didn't have occasion to use my big camera too much on the ship, but I tried to take higher quality photos than iphone shots when we were in ports.  I'm going to share some with you in this post from our 7 night cruise from Vancouver to Alaska aboard the Celebrity Infinity.

Hoonah, AK
Pulling away from Canada Place

Vancouver's sulphur piles
We make the yellow crayons in Vancouver ; )

Leaving Vancouver under the Lions Gate Bridge
We left at a low tide, under sunny skies on Saturday, June 7th. We're just about to sail under the Lions Gate Bridge.

Hoonah, AK
The next morning we were all set up and sewing by 9:00. Design wall batting supplied by Pellon. We had an entire day at sea to work on our Improv Under the Influence quilts using gorgeous Oakshott colourshott shot cottons!

Hoonah, AK
On the afternoon of day 3, we reached our first port of call, Icy Straight Point at Hoonah, AK. The ship anchored offshore and we took a short 10 minute ride to the wharf in lifeboats.

Hoonah, AK
The Cannery has been converted to museum displays and shops. It was there that the lovely couple that run HiBearNation Quilt Shop met us with generous goodie bags and welcoming smiles. 

Hoonah, AK

Hoonah, AK
The old and the new. Our Celebrity Infinity anchored off Ice Straight Point

Hoonah, AK
Lots of fishing boats in this small town marina...this one was drydocked for storage/repair.

Hoonah, AK

Hoonah, AK
Looking across the harbour from town to the native cemetery 

Hoonah, AK
Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear benches in Hoonah

We departed in the early evening for the long cruise north to the Hubbard Glacier. The seas were rough and I was awaken about 2:00 a.m. thinking I'd likely roll out of bed! The naturalist on board told us the ocean was 5000' deep out there, so big rollers were to be expected until we cruised back over the continental shelf into Yakutat Bay, then further up into Disenchantment Bay.  Captain Michael was able to get the ship within a mile of the glacier's terminus - apparently a first for this cruising season. Lucky!  Captains have to be very cautious as icebergs that have calved off the end of the glacier can be the size of 10-storey buildings and can shoot up from under the water at unpredictable angles after falling off the glacier's terminus.

Although the weather was overcast and raining, the glacier was super impressive. It is truly difficult to capture it's massiveness in photos, though.  You can get some idea from this shot (remember, we are a mile from the ice!).
Hoonah, AK

I moved around the ship as it slowly rotated in the bay, allowing guests on all sides of the ship to see the glacier. I spent some time up on the open-air top deck, in the Constellation lounge where the naturalist was speaking over the sound system sharing glaciological and historical facts and on the balcony of some friends.  The glacial ice takes about 400 years to travel to the terminus from the zone of accumulation 122 km inland from the sea (so says Wikipedia).  



Hoonah, AK
I was really hoping to see that enormous chunk fall into the sea way down there, but no luck!

Hoonah, AK
This "bergy bit" was floating beside the ship in the silt-laden sea. The colours would have been much prettier if the sun was out, but the striations in the ice are pretty awesome!

Iceberg, Hubbard Glacier, AK
Here's another massive iceberg beside the ship - if only we could see how big it is below the water, where the other 90% of it is hidden.  Glacial ice is actually very dirty; the ice scours and grinds the bedrock below the glacier as it moves downslope, assimilating the rock into the ice flow and carving a valley under the glacier as it goes.

Hubbard Glacier, AK
Isn't it beautiful? It's a force of nature that is truly awesome. As our ship sat in the bay, we could hear the booming, cracking and groans of the ice breaking up.

Stay tuned for part 2, in which we visit the Mendenhall Glacier and go ziplining outside of Ketchikan!