Thanksgiving Weekend - part 2

Pansy Block 01, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

In addition to spending time with my sister this weekend, I also was able to spend some time crafting! In addition to working on some Christmas gifts, I was able to get two blocks pieced for crazy quilting. The beautiful embroidered pansies on this quilt came in the baggie that I won for the July Challenge on CQI. The fabric the embroidery was done on was trimmed quite close to the stitching, so the first order of business on this block is to get it sewn down in order to protect it without damaging the stitching.

Fairy Block 01
The second block I pieced uses a Fairy print as the focal point. I'm envisioning this block covered with leaves, plum colored flowers and white morning glories (or moon flowers?)

Winter book cover
I also was able to work on a scrapbooking project. Last year I did a Christmas scrapbook, but this year, I wanted to focus on the winter season as it can be so beautiful here in the mountains of Arizona. I gathered an assortment of blue and white snowflake papers to make the pages from. I still have to add holes and the ribbon binding.

Snow on Branches
Since we had our first real snow this weekend, I have my first picture to add!

A Trip to "Africa"

Thanksgiving Weekend - Part 1

Stars and clouds bush, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Well, not quite! On Saturday, I joined my sister and her husband and some of his family to tour the "Out of Africa" Wildlife Park near Camp Verde, AZ. After a bus ride through the "African Bush" where we saw giraffes, antelope, ostrich, and zebra, we toured through the wildlife preserve. Neither my sister or I are terribly fond of caged animals, but these cages are enormous and the animals we saw were relaxed, playful and looked wonderfully happy and healthy! Along our walk I spotted this fascinating bush with clouds of feathery white dotted with perfect little star flowers. It makes me think of stars and nebulas. I'm pretty certain it is a native Arizona shrub and not African, so will have to look it up.

The park had lots of tigers including this regal one enjoying the sun. We thoroughly enjoyed the Tiger Splash event where they brought two tigers in to play with the keepers in a pool. Using the tiger's natural instincts, they played with them much like we do with our house cats, but with more safety precautions in place! What fun though to watch the tigers chasing balls, leaping after balloons and jumping into the pool with complete abandon! It was one of the most enjoyable wild animal shows I've seen and it was easy to see that the tigers enjoyed it every bit as much as the humans involved!

Love these tigers!

This lion was magnificent sunning himself on a hillside. Temperatures were in the mid 60's while we were at "Out of Africa" and the lions were all laying out in the sun while the tigers with rare exception were all laying in the shade!

Ringtailed Lemur
The park had a number of Ring-tailed Lemurs as well. So pretty! Cunning too! In one enclosure, the young ones had figured a way out, so the park was busy trying to fix the hole they had made to prevent their escape!

After we finished touring the park, we returned to my sister and BIL's new home! How delightful to see their lovely new home and them so happy in it! I only took a few pictures but the best one is of Sophie enjoying her cozy spot on the bed! What you can't see is the "bed monster", her companion Lou, who is hiding under the brown quilt making a soft purring bump on the bed!


Around the Apartment Today...

Shell vignette 01, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

My newish camera has been giving me fits, mostly because I still don't understand how to use it very well. So I spent a good part of the day doing some research and learning some new things about how to use it. Since I learn best by practicing, I decided to put them to use by taking pictures of things around the apartment.

Shell vignette 02
After Thanksgiving, these sea themed vignettes will be put away until late spring. I do love the soft shades of aqua, creamy whites and taupe tones and the patina of age and the subtle iridescence on the old glass jars and the sheen of mother of pearl.

spinning vignette
In the autumn, I find myself returning to certain crafts such as handspinning and knitting that have been neglected over the warmer months. This pile of natural and green wool will eventually end up in a knitted wrap in a leafy pattern. Spinning is a meditative process for me, so soothing and calming.

happy packaging
While in Colorado, I stopped at Pacific Ocean Market in Broomfield, an enormous oriental grocery. I love wandering the aisles and picking out new items to try from time to time. On this trip, I picked up a package of Royal Green Tea Mochi. The packaging is just plain happy and makes me smile! So bright and cheerful! And the Mochi weren't too bad either! (don't ask me about the green tea cakes that tasted like crisp scrambled eggs with green tea powder... not my favorite!)

Dove imprint 1
What a lovely surprise when the sun at last came around to my windows today, to see this large imprint of a dove on the sliding door! Since I haven't seen any stunned doves on the porch, I'm hoping the dove wasn't injured and was able to fly away safely. Shocking though is how dirty the window is just a few short weeks after having been washed!

Sleeping Thomas
After seeing Thomas sleeping so contentedly this afternoon, I moved the comfy chair to a sunny spot and we both had a nice snooze in the sun! When one works nights, a nap isn't just a wonderful luxury, but a neccesity when one rises too early in the day!

For those looking for photography tips, The Pioneer Woman website has a wonderful and witty Photography page! Lots of great tips explained for those of us who need it in everyday English!


A Flurry of Snowflakes

Rita Block after
When Rita's beautiful blue, silver and white round robin blocks arrived and I read her request for a winter theme, I knew immediately that I wanted to cover a block in snowflakes for her!

Rita Block before
The center fabric on the block is a wonderful textured silver grey silk, folded and pleated to form the basketweave texure. I love the added dimension it gives to the block.

Lisa work on Rita detail 1
In addition to the frosty snowflake buttons scattered on the block, I added a large snowflake of embroidery and narrow silk ribbon.

Lisa work on Rita detail 2
A tatted snowflake was given a little extra sparkle with irredescent beads. The embroidered silver snowflake below it has a thread of irredescent blue blending filament added to the silver floss. It doesn't show up in the photos, but in person, it makes the snowflake sparkle with a delightful sheen and adds a hint of color!

I want to thank Kirsten of our wonderful local scrapbooking store, "About Memories and More" for a blog award she gave me! I'm supposed to list 7 interesting things about me and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers. Because so many of the bloggers I visit regularly have already received this award, I'd like to pass it on to all of you who haven't yet received it!

Here's 7 things about me that will hopefully be interesting!

1 - In college, I DJ'd the morning show of our college radio station and had my radio broadcaster's license!

2 - I worked for many years as a Drafter/Structural Engineering Technician designing floor and roof systems using heavy timbers, glulam beams and other engineered wood products.

3 - While growing up, I wanted to be a naturalist studying wildlife and eco-systems. I was afraid of the mathematics involved in getting a science degree so instead turned to anthopology and art. When I returned to school in my mid 30's for architectural drafting training, I discovered math wasn't so bad if I had something to apply it to!

4 - While growing up, I also wanted to be an author/illustrator like Beatrix Potter or a naturalist/author/illustrator like Ernest Thompson Seton. I'd still love to write and illustrate children's books someday!

5 - I was a certified Childbirth Educator for many years and taught childbirth/breastfeeding/parenting classes to over 4,000 families and labor coached many families through childbirth. I loved it so much that I made it my emphasis when I became an RN in my late 40's!

6 - I love to teach and can talk long and passionately about topics I'm interested in and find that public speaking doesn't really bother me much. But I'm really a very quiet, rather shy person when not teaching or speaking or if I'm with people I don't know well. I have never been able to figure out the art of small talk and never seem to be able to think of something to say until long after... it's something I work at all the time!

7 - More than anything, I want to travel to the British Isles someday! So many places I want to see and experience there! The Highlands and Islands of Scotland, to hike the West Highland Way, see the Lake District, Exmoor, Cornwall, the Yorkshire Dales, and the places King Arthur might have been, the west coast of Ireland, Glendalough Abbey, Iona... the list goes on!

Santa Fe Trail - Fort Union

Santa Fe trail, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

The road home from Colorado follows the Santa Fe Trail across northern New Mexico. On the way home this past week, I stopped at Fort Union, a major stopping point along the Santa Fe Trail.

Fort Union 17Nov09 01
Though I knew about the Fort from reading I had done, I had no idea just how large a place it had been until I saw it from the road on the way in. The ruins are quite extensive. I'm hoping that you can get an idea of how large it is from this pananrama shot.

Most of the ruins visible are actually from the third fort built at this location. A few ruins of the first fort are visible across the broad valley and you can walk out onto the earthen embankments of the second "star" fort. The third fort was built in 1863 and remained in use until 1891. The fort was built of adobe and today, the chimneys, topped by fired brick which protects the adobe, are the prominent features.

Storehouse window
Also still standing are the storehouse walls and foundations. Deep stone foundations and tall walls topped with brick provided storage for food goods from the east. The outer walls still show marks from the hands that created the walls.

Ft Union windows
Looking through layer upon layer of windows gives you a glimpse of how extensive this Fort was. These windows are all from the storehouses.

Mechanics corral
This area is known as the Mechanic's Corral. Here they fixed wagons and equipment for the military and civilians on the Santa Fe trail. It must have been a busy place in it's heyday.

Mechanics ruin
Throughout the years following the Fort's abandonment, residents in the region removed the windows and doors and other useable parts, which sped up deterioration of the adobe walls.

stone walk
This stone path leads from the fort, past what used to be the corral and out to the Santa Fe Trail.

Santa Fe trail north
Standing on the Santa Fe Trail looking to the north, one can sense what it might have been like to be one of the early travelers on the trail. The vastness of the landscape... the quiet of it... is immense. I stood here for a long time taking it all in.

prison block
The only intact building on the Fort property today is the Prison. Made of stone blocks it has weathered the elements very well.

cell block
A wooden door remains on one of the prison cells, hanging on massive iron strap hinges. One can imagine what a dark and uncomfortable place these stone cells must have been.

Officers quarters 17Nov09
Standing in the midst of the ruins, with a little imagination, it was easy to imagine what a bustling and busy place Fort Union was at its peak. Now, the vacant doorways open up to a remote landscape. Here, one can grasp the vastness of the country and gain a true admiration for the men and women who traveled the early wagon trails for months at a time to cross this land in search of a better future.

Panorama 1
Fort Union, is 8 miles north of I-25 near Watrous, New Mexico. Allow at least an hour or two to walk among the ruins. The above panorama is a 365 degree view from the top of the 2nd Fort earth works. Click on it to see a larger version on Flickr!


El Morro National Monument

One of the things I love about traveling is that there are always new places to see and experience. Making these little side trips makes a long trip so much more enjoyable for me and keeps the long drive interesting. On my way to Colorado yesterday, I took a side trip to see El Morro National Monument in western New Mexico.

El Morro from the East
On the map, El Morro is quite small and I really had no idea what was so special about it as I hadn't looked it up ahead of time. This band of rock sticks up and while lovely to see, didn't seem to warrant a National Monument as there are similar rock formations all around the southwest, many of which are far more spectacular! But on arriving, I discovered that another name for this spot is Inscription Rock.

El Morro Rocks
I hiked the nice paved trail that curved along the base of these rock cliffs, watching the ravens overhead and listening to the birds in the pinon and junipers trees.

Still Waters
At the base of the cliffs there is a pool of still water. There is no spring here, but rather rain and snowmelt runs off the rocks above and into the pool. For hundreds of years, it has provided clear fresh water to travelers through the region.

Clear  Pool
The pool was such a peaceful spot. The water is so still that the rock walls above are reflected with pristine clarity so that they seem to extend below the water as deeply as they soar above it. This rare source of pure water in a desert region was what attracted all the people who left inscriptions on the rocks.

There are many petroglyphs including these bighorn sheep, still bearing the marks of the tools used to create them. Imagine carving the rock by hammering deer antlers as chisels!

1692 inscription
The earliest lettered inscription dates to 1605 and was left by the first governor of New Mexico, even before the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusets! The rocks have many inscriptions from the time of the Spanish conquest including the one above from 1692 which states:

General Don Diego de Vargas,
who conquered for our Holy Faith and for the
Royal Crown, all of New Mexico, at his own expense, was here, in the year of

All over the rocks are names and dates, some of the people have known historys, others do not.

Inscriptions & Carvings
Sometimes there are extra bits carved in the rock such as this curved rope-like design.

Elegant Graffiti
But far and away, the most elegant graffiti I have ever seen is the name of E. Penn. Long chiseled into the rock in 1857 or 1859. What is known about Mr. Long, is that he was part of a U.S. Army unit that tested the usefulness of camels in the American Southwest! The camels didn't last, but Mr. Long's insignia in the rock did!

Stone Stairs
The trail along the base of the cliffs was lovely! From the plantlife at the base of the cliffs to the lovely stone stairways on the steep bits. What a fascinating stop this was and what a wonderful look at the history of the region El Morro National Monument ended up being! So, if you ever cross New Mexico on I-40, allow time for a detour south between Grants and Gallup to see this amazing spot!




Living Room, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

For today's post, I'm borrowing an idea from Dawn and posting a "Daybook" entry.

For today...
Working tonight! Lots of babies being born in Flagstaff right now!

Outside my window...
The afternoon sun is sending warm rays of sun across the hillside. Collared doves are feeding contentedly at the birdfeeder.

I am thinking...
about all the things I need to do before my trip tomorrow.

I am thankful for...
My family that I'll get to see on Thursday!

I am remembering...
The house I grew up in... this will be my last visit home to that house.

I am going...
to Colorado tomorrow to help the folks pack for their upcoming move.

I am hoping...
That my sis and her husband and my parents are blessed in their new homes and have many happy years in them!

Noticing that...
It gets dark awfully early these days!

Pondering these words...
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139:9-10

From the kitchen...
Leftovers! Trying to clean the fridge out before my trip!

Around the house...
I’ve been rearranging furniture and downsizing things! Looking forward to getting it all finished when I return next week!

One of my favorite things...
Sunshine streaming in the windows and the Kitties curled up in the sunny spots!

Mollie in the sun
Miss Mollie
Thomas in the sun
Sir Thomas


Beaded Felt Pins

Beaded Felt Pins, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.
With an unexpected night off work last night, the creative juices were flowing and I had lots of time for stitching! These felt pins were lots of fun and fairly quick to make using things I already had!

Hope Pin
I've had the Hope and Believe beads for some time now and they seemed perfect for a pin. Both the green and white heart shapes are cut from a wool/poly felt overlaid with a bit of green wool roving from my spinning stash. Using pearl cotton, I feather stitched the edges of the roving down to the top layer, then added beads freehand! The little bird bead is from a little stash of antique Arizona totem beads that I came across a while back.

Believe Pin
The Believe pin was my first attempt. The beads are a bit more random... I think I like slightly more order! But it was fun and nice to be creating once again!

seams block 3
I also worked on the seams of the third cream/white crazy quilt block. I've been trying to use a greater variety of stitches in these blocks. There are a few variations of feather stitches, herringbone and chevron stitch and my favorite in the lower right hand corner ~ the Spanish Feather stitch. I love that it looks like fancy braiding! I had tried this on the first block, but was glad it ended up to be mostly hidden as it was quite uneven. This seam isn't perfect, but I think I finally got the knack of it!

Looking back at the pictures of the first two blocks, I realized that there are still three small patches that need to be filled with stitching, so that's the next thing I plan to work on!