30 September 2009

Wee Princess Rosamunde


Wee Princess Rosamunde, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

With more time at home than I had expected this week (my cold turned into bronchitis and an eye infection!) I spent some time looking through various art and craft books. One of those was Salley Mavor's, "Wee Folk". I'd long wanted to try my hand at making some of her little fairy folk. Being short on silk flowers for skirts, I pulled a bit of lace from my stash instead. Topped with a simple skirt of bits of silk ribbon trimmings, a sweet little felt jacket embroidered with rayon threads, Rosamunde came to life! Being a spinner, I thought I had lots of fleece that would work wonderfully for her hair, but the colors turned out to be all wrong! Too bright, too dull, wrong colors, nothing just right. Then I spied a hank of rust colored wool I'd brought home from my Mother's and realized I had just the right auburn shade if only I could figure out how to make it work! Unplying the wool gave it a lovely curly look, perfect for a lush head of cascading locks!

Rosamunde and Dancer
While gathering embroidery threads for wrapping the arms and legs of Rosamunde, I came across this old felt horse I designed and made when I was a teenager. Though a bit worn and smushed, he made a charming mount for Rosamunde and she promptly named him Dancer!

For the record, Rosamunde is 2 1/2" tall. Dancer is 3 1/4" tall.

26 September 2009

My Cozy Spot


cozy spot, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

I had no sooner arrived home from Colorado when I came down with the sniffles, sneezes and a sore throat. I've spent most of the past few days tucked inside my cozy reading chair with the afghan, tissues and a cup of tea at my side, kitties curled in my lap and good books to get lost in. Now to decide if I'm feeling enough better to go back to work tonight.

23 September 2009

From South Dakota to Arizona


Siblings, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

I've logged a lot of miles this past week! We made a trip to South Dakota to attend a memorial for my Dad's sister, my Aunt Jean who passed away earlier this summer. It was so lovely to spend time with the family! Shown above are the remaining siblings, my Dad, my Aunt Mary and my Uncle David.

U Fred
My Uncle Fred ~ husband to my Aunt Jean. He's worn a beret ever since he and Aunt Jean returned from their time in Africa in the late 70's or early 80's!

Wall Elevator
The family gathered in Wall, South Dakota, a small town on the western prairie known primarily for Wall Drug, home of free ice water for the weary traveler and 5 cent coffee as well as it's proximity to the Badlands. All of these towns have grain elevators and to me they are the iconic images of the towns on the western plains.

Wall Dinosaur and the folks
Another icon of Wall Drug is this dinosaur on the east side of town. Had to get my parents into the picture!

Mounted Jackalopes
In Wall Drug, I always get a kick out of the Jackalopes! I've heard many a tall tale about them over the years! If you look at my flickr photo stream, there are other fun bits of taxidermy to view from Wall Drug.

Badlands Sunset, Pinnacle Point
One evening, my cousin Jackie and I headed out to the Badlands to capture the sunset. The colors of a prairie sunset, even in a clear sky, are blazing with color and breathtakingly beautiful.

Pinacle Point in the evening
The pinnacles of the badlands pick up the evening light. So lovely.

Devils Tower 20Sep09
On our way back to Colorado, we detoured north to Devils Tower National Monument in northern Wyoming. What a shame that it is called Devils Tower due to a translation error in the 1800's and not something closer to the original name, Bear Lodge, given by the the Kiowa who lived here in the past. Regardless, it's a stunning sight to see, rising above the hills and fields surrounding it.

Wyoming prairie
Across eastern Wyoming, the vistas are immense. At the National Grassland Visitor Center in Wall, SD, we saw a quote that summed up just how I feel about these vast spaces.

Anyone can love the mountains
but it takes soul to love the prairie.

Wyoming Pronghorn
North of Lusk we came upon this herd of pronghorn (aka antelope) grazing by the road. They watched us for a moment and then lept away across the hillside, flashing their white bottoms.

Western Sunset 20Sep09
In Wyoming we saw another gorgeous prairie sunset!

1st snow on Longs Peak
Stormy cool weather followed us all the way from Wyoming into Colorado. The next day, there was snow on the peaks!

Ludlow monument
Leaving for "home" gets harder and harder each time. To make the journey more pleasant, I made many stops along the way to visit sites that I'd seen signs for but never stopped at previously. One of these was the Ludlow Massacre Memorial. 63 men, women and children were killed by the militia during a mine strike here in 1914. Outrage over this attrocity was one of the things that eventually led to nationwide reform in mine safety and improvements in wages and housing for miners. I found the monument to be quite touching, even more so as my Granddad was a coal miner in West Virginia in the 20's and 30's.

Ludlow buildings
Nearby the Ludlow monument, there are many abandoned buildings including these old school houses. I love the aqua shutters on them! It seemed to be a day for taking pictures of old abandoned buildings. I took many that I hope to share at a later date.

Spanish Peaks
Heading south on I-25, the Spanish Peaks stand high above the surrounding lands. With their fresh snowcaps, they were quite stunning in the clear morning light! I'm convinced that the powers that be, looked for the best view before placing telephone and power poles. They always seem to be in the way of the best views!

Capulin Caldera view
One of my stops was at Capulin Volcano National Monument in northern New Mexico. It is similar to the cinder volcanoes around Flagstaff, but you can drive to the top of this one and hike around the caldera! Just as I reached the top, a cold and windy snow squall blew in and grouple (little snowball like snow) came down hard! I decided not to walk the trail but did enjoy the view into the caldera from the little shelter there.

Capulin view north
The views from the top of Capulin provide stunning vistas across the high plains and mesas of New Mexico! They say that on a clear day you can see four states from here; Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas!

Wagon Mound house
Near Wagon Mound, I stopped at another abandoned farm for this shot. The windmill still pumping away while pidgeons roost on the chimney!

Fort Union Ranch NM
I'd hoped to visit Fort Union National Monument on the Santa Fe Trail, but arrived too late in the day. Sweeping views of the the Fort Union Ranch were gorgeous though!

Oak Leaves 20Sep09
Now my travels are over for a little while. Autumn is in the air and the leaves are changing. There are so many handwork projects I want to work on and things to share! I'm looking forward to settling in for a while and having time to create. Meanwhile, my sister and her hubby have bought a new house and will be moving soon and my parents are hoping to sell their home and move soon as well, so it may turn out to be quite a busy autumn season!

16 September 2009

A Weekend in Estes Park


Men in kilts, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.
One of my annual delights for many years now, has been attending the Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival in Estes Park, Colorado. Though I am not Scottish, I fell in love with all things Scottish through the writings of my favorite author, George MacDonald. Estes Park is surrounded by mountain peaks and often the weather mimics that of Scotland according to many of the people I've met from there. This weekend was no exception! Even with the damp chilly weather, the festivities went on. Above are the dancers from the 1st Battalion Scots Guards doing a sword dance.

Umbrellas
All day Saturday, the rain drizzled down and umbrellas were in abundance!

Raincoats
There weren't a lot of kilts in view as most of them were covered up with rain gear! There were some dour faces among the pipers, but the perfomances were as wonderful as ever.

Leader of the BandMaking an entrance
In the evening, my son the Marine and I went to the Tattoo. The 29 Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Band made quite the entrance! They put on a splendid performance!

29 Palms Marine Corps Band
Throughout the evening, the rain came down harder and harder. I felt so bad for all those performers out in the rain getting soaked to the skin. But the performances went on as though the weather was perfect. Then, just as the evenings ceremonies concluded, the rain stopped!

1st Battalion Scots Guards
The next morning dawned clear and bright! My youngest son joined me for the day and we spent it listening to the many muscians, including the Brigadoons, Colcannon, the Boston Kiltics, Hadrian's Wall, Brother and The Next Chapter. We could have listened to many more wonderful groups but there just wasn't enough time to take them all in. Each year, there is an amazing amount of great Celtic music to enjoy at this festival from the most traditional folk music, pipe bands, modern Celtic music to Celtic rock!

Jousting
We also took in a little of the International Jousting Competition. This is the real thing, not something stages, but full contact jousting! Pictured here is the light armor joust. The end of each lance is tipped with shoe polish and points are awarded for the location of the "hit" on the opponents shield. It's really something to watch! Later in the day was the Heavy Armor Joust in which the jouster attempts to unhorse his/her opponents!



Elk in the meadow
Each evening, between the day's and evening's activities, we took a couple hours in Rocky Mountain National Park, just up the road a few miles from Estes Park. It's the beginning of the rut and the big bull elk are gathering their harems. I love seeing them out in the meadows.

Magnificant Stag
We watched this particular bull run another large bull off and take over a harem after a clashing of antlers. We didn't have a clear view, so no pictures, but the sound reverberated across the meadow and hills.

Autumn Bracken
Autumn is well underway in the mountains. I was struck by the loveliness of color in the bracken.

Rose Hips
The wild roses are filled with hips this year. Bright orangey red jewels tipping every branch.

leaf light
These leaves seem to be turning white with the changing season. I loved how the light coming through the aspen trees above lit them up.

Endo Valley, RMNP
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my very favorite spots. Each visit brings something new, whether it's a view un-noticed previously, a new wildlife observation or a new enjoyment of the flora and fauna of the park. I highly recommend a visit here to view the abundant wildlife, the magnificant mountain views, to experience the hiking trails of all levels, the drive over the continental divide at an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet and to just enjoy nature in all her glory! Mid September is especially nice with the changing colors, the aspen turning to vibrant gold on the peaks and the eerie sound of the elk bugling in the evening hours echoing through the canyons and across the meadows. I've been to a lot of National Parks throughout the west this past year, and Rocky Mountain remains my overwhelming favorite!

05 September 2009

The Comfort of Books

Since I returned from Sequoia, I've been working almost every day. It has left little time for stitching, but on the few nights I've had off, I've found rest and relaxation in reading. At times like this, I love to pull out old favorites, my comfort reading; those stories that take me to another place and let the worries of work and the world fade away.

01 02
This time, I'm re-reading L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. I love the first two movies they did of the series and do watch them every so often, but even more, I love getting lost in L.M. Montgomery's words in these books! The first four books of the series epitomize (for me!) an idealized life, one which, has flavored my own and grown with me through the years.

wc 55 01
Every so often I think about what my list of "Essential Books" would include. What books would I keep if I had to get rid of all but one bookcase-full? Here is a glimpse of my list.

Bible
H. D. Thoreau - Walden
J.R.R. Tolkein - The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings
George McDonald - Sir Gibbie and too many others to list!
L.M. Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, The Blue Castle, Jane of Lantern Hill
Frances Hodgsen Burnett - The Secret Garden
Laura Ingalls Wilder - Little House books
Jane Austin - Persuasion, Sense and Sensability, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park
Dodie Smith - I Capture the Castle
Rosamunde Pilcher - The Shell Seekers, Coming Home
Henry Beston - Northern Farm
Sigurd Olson - The Singing Wilderness, Runes of the North
Eric Sloan - Diary of an Early American Boy, Seasons of America Past
Tasha Tudor - TT's Private World, TT's Garden, TT's Heirloom Crafts, A Time to Keep
Diana Gabaldon - Outlander series
Beatirx Potter - all the little books!
Stephen Lawhead - The Song of Albion trilogy

I'm not sure all of these would fit within one bookcase, but I would certainly try! I would love to know what books you'd include on your list of essential books!

p.s. The sketches are from my sketchbooks over the past few years.

p.s.s. this is my 250th post! And I'm nearing 100,000 views and 100 followers! WOW! Be watching for a give-away in the near future!

p.s.s.s. I'm working the next several nights in a row and then it's off to Colorado for the annual Longs Peak Scottish Irish Festival and to see my family! Once I return in late September, posting (and stitching!) should pick back up to a more usual pace!

03 September 2009

54 Years!


Engaged!, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Wishing my parents a Happy Anniversary today as they celebrate 54 years together! I love this picture of them, taken to celebrate their engagement in 1955.

50th Anniversary
This lovely picture of my Mom and Dad was taken at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 2005!

Happy Anniversary Dear Ones!

02 September 2009

Autumn in the Air


SF Postcard, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

My latest stichery project is a fabric postcard for an exchange on Stitching Fingers. The coming autumn has me thinking about leaves and loving the tones of green and brown together.

Changing Aspen
Autumn seems to be in the air the past few days and I can see it in the aspen leaves near the apartment. We've had a very dry late summer, which is unusual for this area as usually we get daily monsoon moisture in the afternoons. This year it has been virtually absent, so things are turning color a bit early. Each day I watch the gold and scarlet become a little more pronounced on these leaves. It never fails to amaze me how beautiful change can be!

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