Friday, September 30, 2011

What a Mess!

This series of photos is an attempt to make my designer friend feel very neat and organized...because she is!
Here's the view from my studio door...not a clear space in sight. 

My desk is totally covered with miscellaneous papers...mainly my ciphering for tile designs and orders. 

But dog walks are never missed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quilting Goes to the Side

I had a great time in Atlanta! Everyday was packed with so much...we worked and played very hard. We are building a home so my reason for traveling to Atlanta was to work with my great friend who is an interior designer. It is so great to work with someone who knows me and my husband so well. I now feel enthused about the new had been a real struggle for me prior to the trip...I love my current home.

We are building a rustic style home. Cedar exterior. Wood floors of reclaimed wood on the main level and basement studio. Large river rock, double sided fireplace between the great room and dining room. Cedar lined vaulted ceilings. You get the picture...very Alaskan...a place my husband can hang dead animal heads. I do have a few walls reserved for quilts.

First we picked out the slate tile for the entry way and mud room along with the carpet that will be on the upstairs level with the bedrooms.

There is some fun glass tile thrown in this sample board that will appear in our powder room.

Then we picked tile for bathrooms.

The tile for the laundry room and bath that are next to the bedrooms with a piece of the carpet.

The master bath tile. The dark brown tile is from the store's floor but it sure looks great with our look. The center grey tile is granite and my friend placed it there to give me an idea of what to look for when I check out counter tops.

Then the most fun part...looking for furnishings. We  haven't bought new furniture in 20 years! I think I'm due.

A wool area rug for the great room with a charcoal leather sectional...maybe a blue ottoman or pillows like the top of the photo. In the left bottom half of the photo are fabric options  for dining room chairs. We are going with a rustic wood table with a trestle bottom. Maybe a bench on one's a narrow space.

The tile and carpet prices jump on October 1st so I have to figure out my tile amounts now! Quilting will be on the back burner for awhile...but I am enjoying getting caught up on all the quilting blogs I regularly read...lots of great projects.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I spent a little time on Sunday getting the final block for Henrietta Whiskers prepped. I still need to stitch around my wool appliques.

I'm pecking away on some binding.

Here's the pattern for the next gathering of my Breakfast Club group. That's coming up next week so I needed to figure out my fabrics. It's a strip quilt with three accent colors for the triangles.

I stayed in my comfort zone with earth colors. These two sets of Bali Pops that have been patiently waiting in the sewing studio.

But not much is going to get done on the sewing front for the next week because as we Alaskans like to say...I heading the lower 48...the contiguous states. I'm going to Atlanta for chick time. I have to wear dresses, high heels and pantyhose at least twice! Nice slacks, dressy tops...clothes I've owned for a couple of years but never worn! All the Bailey men will be keeping down the home front. Sure hope my sweet dog, Jenny, has a good time with them...she's going to miss me.

I will get some cross stitch done on the plane favorite activity for air travel.

Ever the optimist, I have two more cross stitch kits packed just in case I need them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Into the Raging Water - Don't Miss That Pullout

Day 12 - Just Four Miles
This was the first morning everyone was up early and we were on the water by 9 a.m. I guess I wasn't the only one anxious to get off the river. We weren't supposed to show up at the pullout at Diamond Creek, until after 10 a.m. because commercial boats set up for day trips from that beach and there wouldn't be room for us. But the guide book said there was a beach to wait at just before the main departure beach. Unfortunately, the high water level had put that first beach under water so we had no choice but to crowd into the commercial boats.

Because there was so little beach area when we arrived, the Bailey raft was having a hard time staying out of the main current. All of the sudden the water was pulling us past the pullout. Help! Zman was rowing like crazy but we were still moving farther away from the beach. If we missed this pullout it meant a two day journey until the next pullout location. AK Santini  threw a rope to those on the shore and thankfully a lot of the men getting the commercial boats ready, came running and helped pull us back to the beach. That was so scary!

There was just one more raft from our party and we managed to get them tied up to trees above the commercial boats. No one was going to extend their trip for two days!

The commercial boats left and our outfitter showed up with a big truck to load everything into. Just like the beginning of the trip...we had to do all the loading and off loading ourselves. 

It was a little fun to jump on top of the rafts to flatten them out for loading into the truck. 
We had a bumpy 40 minute drive up a gravel road to the top of the canyon.

Back in civilization! We grabbed a quick lunch.

The Baileys had a plane to catch in Flagstaff and our driving time from Diamond Creek didn't leave much time for dallying. All our other expedition members were driving to their homes in California. Their cars had been re-positioned by our outfitter so once we got to the our lunch spot, they could be on their way home. 

Saying good bye is always the worst part of any trip with good friends. A last hug from my fellow teammates for camp chores, Ironman, Fearless Leader and Huck. 

AK Santini with his team - Brainiac, T.S. and Hiker Girl

Zman with Grizzly Mama and Survivor Man

And the fourth team - Lovey, Ballerina Girl, Peacekeeper and Seinfeld.

We sure hope we get to see them all soon. I think those Californians need to venture to Alaska!

We didn't have enough time to run to a hotel before hitting the airport, so the Baileys each took a turn bathing in a small sink at the outfitter's office. I bought a baseball cap to hide my hair. My hair was a little bit thicker by the end of the trip...guess I was taking some extra sand home with me.

Just in case you think I'm the only one with a tale to tell...check out this gal's Grand Canyon story. She was on a commercial trip...she doesn't know how good she had it!

To our Fearless Leader...I am glad I did it.  

Rafting the Grand Canyon July 2011 - The Adventure of a Lifetime. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Into the Raging Water - Light at the End

Breakfast on the 11th morning. Zman and I enjoy the view. 

The best part of this trip was getting to spend so much time with my 17-year-old son. Since Zman is our second son, he was robbed of a lot of "firsts" that his older brother got to do in our family history but Zman definitely got the trip of a lifetime with us...and he even talks about doing it again. He has a great dad that not only lets him lead but encourages him. I don't think many teenagers get to raft level nine rapids with only eight days of rafting experience, while their dad videotapes them. But Zman was more than capable of handling the pressure. He loved it! It was so reassuring for me to see him in action. I now have even greater confidence in him as he begins his adulthood journey. 

Back to the Adventure: Our plan was to get an early start and an early finish. We wanted to get the best camp for our last night so our trip on the final morning would be easy. That meant we had to beat the other private rafting trip that had beat us every night to the primo camp. We had a secret weapon...

Survivor Man was going to kayak ahead and claim the camp for our team! Zman would row his raft with Lovey and Brainiac. It was just AK Santini and me in the Bailey romantic.  

That morning it was cloudy...and it pretty much stayed that way the whole day. We only had 10 miles to travel that day and they went incredibly fast.

We passed the other private rafting party that was just finishing a hike in a side canyon. They shouted to us, asking what camp we were heading for. There weren't too many camps left before reaching the final pullout so it was pretty important for them to figure out they needed to take a camp above the river from us. 

We came around a bend in the river and in the distance we could see a green kayak planted vertically on a hill of boulders with an American flag on top. It was a great vision!

The river guide book said the camp pullout was a little bit of work with eddy currents. These are currents at the bottom of rapids that pull you back up the river. They are very difficult to row through but I think we would have passed a lot of river stops without them. As usual, the guide book was spot on...the rafting captains had a lot of rowing to get to the camp pullout.

Camp at mile 222...four miles left to travel for the last day. time.

We had a little champagne and "talked story."

We compared stripes...

and injuries. No need to share those photos. Thankfully, bruises and cuts were the worst of our injuries though we had the added assurance of traveling with a doctor...our Fearless Leader is a doctor...very good to have on a trip. But as Grizzly Mama had already pointed out on their honeymoon to a hotel guest that needed some medical attention, "He's only a dentist."  

And so the Bailey family got another line from the trip for "inside" family comments.
Sometimes a dentist is just what you need.

There was very little fresh food left at this point. Lovey made a Mexican enchilada casserole for our last meal. It cooked over coals in the dutch oven. 

Ballerina girl and I had to check it out too.

AK Santini showed Grizzly Mama how to operate the satellite phone. Her parents were very worried and greatly relieved to hear we were all okay. I guess they had a better idea than I did about what we could expect to encounter on this trip.

Grizzly Mama told them about the flipped raft...

but I think the flash flood story was saved for later. Satellite phone conversations can end rather abruptly so it was best not to try and cover every thing on the phone.

The kitchen had to be completely packed before we went to bed. Once again our goal was to beat the other private rafting group to the pullout location. This was the last night I would ever be on a planned camp out...I didn't sleep any better than the previous 10 nights.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up

I was feeling like I hadn't gotten much accomplished this week in the studio when I realized I had neglected to share my version of Kim Brackett's "Snail Takes a Detour." 

It took me a couple of days to quilt this beauty.

I did some interlocking leaves for the inner borders with the teeth.

I did freehand "J" the light areas.

The dark areas weren't as "neat" but they work. Hopefully I will get the binding on this weekend.

I also finished a block from a lingering BOM project. This is from a Moda U series. These patterns lack details for layout. The applique pieces are provided with a small drawing of the actual layout. I'm much too close to the seam allowances everywhere on this block. I will probably just sew an additional inch of the background fabric around all sides but if you have this in your stash of projects too...beware. Still, I have made progress.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Into the Raging Water - The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow

Day 10 started out like all mornings in the Grand Canyon. It was sunny. I had some of the best banana pecan pancakes ever, hustled up by supreme pancake maker - Survivor Man.

I think Survivor Man was in his element on this trip. He had such a cheerful camp shirt on for the 10th day. I recall he even did some singing that morning...lovely singing voice. "The sun'll come out tomorrow..."

Our gathering spot from the previous evening was taken over by ants so we squeezed  onto the path to the boats  for our dining room.

Here's Hiker Girl, Ballerina Girl, Seinfeld, Brainiac and Huck finishing up breakfast. AK Santini is down by the boats...see that terracotta water? It was a major pain to filter water with all that floating sediment material. 

Time for a bath in that lovely water...Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap. It gave Zman's scalp a lovely tingle. He had some river rash along his hairline from his hat band. Everyone else skipped the terracotta hair wash.

Huck, T.S. and Zman with canyon Mohawk hairdos. 

I had figured out the previous night that Tinactin spray worked great on my river rash on the back of my neck and shoulders. Just wanted to pass that on in case you need to remedy heat rash in a rush. All too soon the sun shirt and life vest were donned to cover up and encourage the rash again.

This was an easy day which as you can probably guess means it was one of my more favorite days. I was done working as an official cook on the trip! There were no rapids left comparatively speaking...just ripples. We were very fortunate to bump into a commercial group at a side canyon where we were planning to seek out pictographs. One of the commercial guides, Wiley, offered to hike with us up to the pictograph location because he said we would never find it on our own...he was right. 

Just above the heads of Huck and T.S. are some very faint pictographs. The dark smudges on the far left are also pictographs. Wiley was a wealth of information about the tribes that had inhabited this particular area. It is amazing how many tribes throughout the ages inhabited the Grand Canyon. Tribes fought. Some mysteriously died out. I really enjoyed getting information about something other than a rapid's rating and techniques for navigating the rapid. 

Lack of information about geology, vegetation, inhabitants, animals, etc., was a big downside. Our Fearless Leader had very thoughtfully provided various reference books to all of us but there just wasn't the time nor the energy to read and share. When we were on the river we could shout from boat to boat but until the last two days it was far too hectic to take in much of anything. If I could push the redo button I would definitely opt for the commercial trip versus the private...ideally with all my wonderful companions of this trip. I think there was some potential for fun in that scenario.

As the day went on the clouds moved in and we got into our usual trouble of finding a campsite in the threatening weather. Every time we hit a campsite it was full. AK Santini and Zman were pretty good at taking the lead and looking for campsites. We had traveled 27 miles that day to Fall Canyon. We made sure to place our tents far from any flash flood area. We did learn from our mistake. 

Not too much fresh food left with two nights remaining. Burritos for dinner. Hiker Girl whipped up a delicious Oreo cookie dessert. (If you have her over for a potluck make sure and tell her to bring a dessert. I figured that out by day 10.) We had a little lightening that night. Our satellite phone finally worked but we made Zman turn it off when the lightening started. We really didn't need to experience any other calamities like electrocution. And we didn't. It was a quiet night.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

BOM Progress

I have challenged myself again to work on BOMs that have been sitting around the sewing studio for a while. 

First up is Block 3 of a series called Shivery Snowmen from Sue Garman. I will finish the face with beads and a polymer clay carrot button after it is quilted.

Here are the first three months together. 

Next up...a Moda U BOM that involved hand applique. This block just needs berries and flower centers added...17 circles.

Despite having finished nine blocks there are five more left plus patchwork blocks. Quite a diversion from my usual stuff.

But these BOMs do get finished...though it may take years instead of months!

This was a Moda U BOM from 2006-2007. The top was finished in 2007 but it had to wait for quilting. 

The backside is so pretty. I am so mad at myself for not remembering to take an outside photo was so gorgeous. Maybe I'll get another chance tomorrow.

September 11, 2001

Ten years ago our home phone rang around 5:30 a.m. It was a high school friend of my husband's calling from Houston. He asked where my husband was, who is a commercial pilot. I told him, my husband was moose hunting in the wilds of Alaska. Our friend then told me to turn on the television because two commercial jets had flown into the twin towers in New York City. 

All too soon there was news of a third commercial jet crashing into the Pentagon. The pilot community is rather small. My husband is a retired military pilot with many former squadron mates flying for all of the major commercial airlines. There were also a handful of his former squadron mates working at the Pentagon. I worried about our friends. 

Then came the news that all air traffic had been grounded in the United States. I was surprised to learn even the small planes that ferry many of life's necessities to remote Alaskan villages were included in the grounding. Hunters expecting a plane to pick them up from their remote campsite would not be getting out for some days. The weather is usually the culprit for travel delays in Alaska so hunters carry extra provisions. My husband had gotten to his remote campsite by boat that year instead of an airplane. But like every hunting trip, I had only a window of time to expect my husband to be gone. He might not be home for four or five more days.

It was an incredibly beautiful day here on Sept. 11, 2001. A clear blue sky, moderate temperature and brilliant fall colors. I went for a long walk on trails along Eagle River with mountains pushing up on both sides of me. It was so peaceful.

As it turned out, my husband had started heading home on 9/11. When he reached his first stop to a remote village he was told about the terrorist attacks. He and his hunting partner almost didn't believe it. He called home that evening. He was still too remote for television but I rambled on about the day's events. It would take him another full day to get home.

None of our pilot friends were involved in that day's events other than being stranded like many around the world.

I do believe I will always remember 9/11. I am amazed how politicized the event has become. It makes me wonder what it was like when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Were there Americans who felt the Japanese were justified in bombing the United States...that the success of our country was somehow to blame for the actions of others to kill innocent people going to work or traveling?

We have learned since 9/11 how miraculous it was that more lives weren't lost. We have learned about the heroic actions of the "extra-ordinary" passengers on United Flight 93. I now have a sense of great pride when I think of all those who struggled that day with incredible events and made morale decisions to risk their lives to help others. I hope I would be able to react so instinctively in a crisis.

My thanks to those who made decisions that day and since that have led to 10 years of  fighting and stopping terrorism.

I remember.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Sun is Shining!

Just for fun! Hope you enjoy it. I think this would be a video my pilot-husband could make....he's been to a lot of these places. It makes me smile just to think about him dancing! Where is the Grand Canyon?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Into the Raging Water - Too Much Information

I saw a video very much like this at the rafting outfitter's office minutes before we left on our 12 day trip. Lava Falls was THE rapid I was most worried about riding.

You'd think after surviving a flash flood I would be a little more confident but not so. 

It was late afternoon and cloudy with a few sprinkles when we arrived at Lava  Falls. We pulled over...a feat that always made me nervous. What if we didn't make the pullout and went down the rapid without being able to scout it? That never happened to us but I was always afraid it would because I am a worry wort. Yep...always thinking about what could go wrong. That's why seeing a video with a flipping raft caught in a "maytag" was too much information. I'd rather not know what scary obstacle I had to face.

We all went to the scouting site. Lots of discussion was had about who would walk the rapid. I had learned walking a rapid involved some pretty strenuous hiking and by this time in the trip everyone pretty much knew how I felt about strenuous hiking...not my favorite thing. Plus...this was a BIG rapid. It looked like some pretty mean water would have to be crossed by a raft to pick up a walker...what if the raft couldn't get to me through all the rough water? Even more scary...being stranded at Lava Falls.

So the best option to me was riding in the raft. Lovey and Huck were going to walk. That had been decided the night before by Survivor Man. Lovey had definitely had her share of water adventure in the flash flood. Everyone else decided to ride the rafts.

Zman - our confident raft captain for the trip through Lava.

Deep in prayer. We were in the second slot to enter the rapid of our four-raft group. All I could hear was my heart beating.

The video camera ran out of battery power so you see a very brief part of the trip. Did you notice how close we were to the left shore? That was just where we wanted to be...away from the BIG water.

All the rafts made it. We rendezvoused and toasted our success. 

I did get a little wet on my ride. 

We patiently waited for Survivor Man to join us with  Lovey and Huck. I made the right decision. Hiking Lava was intense. The trail disappeared and Lovey was scaling boulders most of the way down. 

The rain held off but we had to trek five more miles down river before finding an available camp. Two commercial groups went through Lava Falls right before us so the closest camps were taken as we made our way down the river. I really hated that pattern we were in...behind other groups when looking for a campsite.

Warning - More Complaining Ahead 
It was my last turn to cook. We made camp at 7:45 p.m. Everyone was starving. Our camp was crowded with Tamarisk trees. I felt so claustrophobic and stressed! Peacekeeper came up with a great idea to grab left over cheeses and salami from lunch to cut up for a quick appetizer. Fabulous! It got everyone out of my way.

 On the menu - Grilled chicken, steak, baked potatoes, pasta salad and a baked cake of some kind for the dutch oven. A meal that would take hours to cook! The chicken breasts got cut up and sauteed on the cook top. The baked potatoes got cut in half...most were partially rotted so my plan to make them cook faster worked with trimming bad spots. Grizzly Mamma made the pasta salad. A lot of our vegetables were going bad at this point. Dessert got axed...Hiker Girl did offer to make the cake but I thought it was unfair to the clean up crew to drag their chores till 11 p.m. That had happened to me on July 4th when we had our first cake from the dutch oven. It just wasn't worth it. It was easily after 9 p.m by the time we ate dinner.

This was one of my least favorite camps. It was buggy with all the vegetation around us. It almost felt like a jungle. That night it rained. The tent was so stifling. I had a rash from the top of my neck down my back. At this point in the trip we all had some spots of "river rash." 

Just two more nights and three more days. We should have had a big celebration that night after finishing our final large rapid but we were all pretty poopers.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Official- A Finished UFO

I just finished sewing the binding on this lovely Moda U quilt called "Postcards," started in 2006-2007. This was one of the first quilts I tackled in batiks. Now it is rare that I work in anything other than batiks. Of course batiks are more expensive...isn't that how it always works!

  This was also the quilt that I learned to use EQ software. At the time it was EQ5. (EQ has been updated twice since then and is much easier in many ways. Importing fabric is far easier now.) It was great practice to figure out how to create the blocks in the program. They were all based on a nine patch grid. I highly recommend taking an existing pattern (you have purchased...keep in mind copyright issues) and trying to recreate it in EQ to learn your way around the program. 

The postcard covers are pretty cute. I wonder how many other ladies who were in the class ever finished their quilts? Sadly, instructors were changed halfway through the class and things fizzled out pretty quick. My top had been done for at least three years, just patiently waiting for me to quilt it. 

I would love to take a photo of this beauty outside to show it off but we are in a non-stop gloomy weather system that has persisted for six weeks now and there is no sign of a change anytime this week. I have a new quilt top ready to go on the frame so somehow between walking Jenny and cleaning (I hate cleaning when it's gloomy...I really hate rain...I'm ready for snow...snow is bright and happy.) I should get to it soon. What a great start to September. Maybe I'll even get two quilts done! I don't think I've had a finish since May.