Woven Cloth

woven cloth 2, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.
Recently, I became aware of the work of Jude Hill and her blog Spirit Cloth. I've found her quilt weaving so inspiring and love the interactions she gets between layers of cloth and the stitching and embellishment she uses on it.

Cloth weaving

So often I find that after a time, my work falls into a rut and I end up creating the same type of thing over and over. The colors might vary, the theme and even the stitches, but again and again I return to what is comfortable. But now and then something inspires me to climb out of that comfortable rut and to try something new. To see the creative process in a new light, to think differently from the usual. The goal is not to copy someone else's work, but to then create something inspired by their work that is entirely one's own.

woven cloth 1
Inspired by Jude's work, I've embarked on my own bit of "spirit cloth". This bit of woven cloth is created from strips of linen torn from an old worn linen runner, part of which was so riddled with holes it was virtually unusable for anything at all, scraps of silk, some new linen and bits of lace from a bridal sample. With this grid in place, I can't wait to start stitching on it, adding tidbits of things to reflect where I am at this moment on the creative journey!


Wendy's Encrusted Block

Wendy's Encrusted Block, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

With the trip home to Colorado surrounded by busy weeks of work, there hasn't been much opportunity for stitching until today. Wendy's blocks for the Encrusted Round Robin have a carnival theme and have been quite a challenge for me! But I loved the peacock mask in the center and am using it as my inspiration along with the two blocks already completed by Gerry and Ritva!

So far, I've added a few seam treatments and a bit of glitzy trim left over from a ballet costume re-hab. To continue the peacock theme, I created a peacock feather out of some metallic green fiber and added a beaded eye to it! I'll stitch it down to the block after I've completed the seams. Still to come is an embroidered peacock feather, more fancy seams and some bling!


The Road Home

After a lovely week in Colorado with my family, I am back home in Flagstaff. The road home was a study in variations, from weather, seasons, and colors in the landscape. I left before the sun rose and was well into the mountains by the time it peeked over the horizon. On previous trips, I had noted the Stanley Mill near Idaho Springs, CO and made a little side trip to see it. The aged metal siding glowed beautifully in the early morning light!

Idaho Springs mine
Just up the road is a wooden mine structure. I love the rich colors of the old wood.

View from Loveland Pass
One of these days, I must blog about all the tunnels I pass through on the road home (11 or 12 depending on the route I take!). On this trip I skipped the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels that travel for over a mile deep under the mountains in favor of taking a slightly longer and far more scenic route over Loveland Pass. From the interstate, only the bases of the mountains are visible, but up on the pass, the peaks come into glorious view!

Loveland Pass to A Basin
After crossing the Continental Divide on Loveland Pass at 11, 990 feet in elevation, the road winds down towards the A Basin Ski Area (towards the right). The chair lifts were still running but I wasn't able to see any skiers on the mountain. There is still a lot of snow in the Colorado mountains!

Grizzly Creek Rest Area
In Glenwood Canyon, at a much lower elevation, spring is well underway at the Grizzly Creek rest area! When I stopped here just a week ago, spring was barely a hint in the landscape.

Tree pom poms
The new spring growth on this tree next to the Colorado River caught my eye! It's as though the tree is cheering with pom-poms or setting off fireworks in celebration of spring!

Fruit Trees with Pink blooms
The Palisade/Grand Junction area is known for its peach orchards. I've only seen them from the highway before, so I decided to take a detour along the rural roads to see them up close. How delightful to find these pink blooms just coming out!

Fruit tree blossoms
A little further on, the trees are in full bloom! What a contrast to see all this flowery loveliness comparred with the stark desert landscape in the background.

Beautiful trees
In addition to the orchards, there were lots of vineyards and small farms. The road was lined with beautiful trees covered in brilliant green leaves as well as lush blossoming trees and enormous lilacs in bloom!

Utah landscape on I-70
As the highway moves into Utah, the landscape changes back to desert mode with high cliffs and buttes in every direction.

Green layer near Moab
Turning south toward Moab, the rocks exhibit lots of color, from the surprise of these green bands on the hills...

Red layers near Moab
to the deep red cliffs near Moab...

Gold mounds south of Moab
and the golden sandstone mounds south of Moab.

As you can tell the weather made some changes too... from sunny skies in the foothills of Colorado, to cloudy skies over the high peaks, to partly sunny on the western slope to grey skies and sprinkles near Moab. Then south of Moab, the virga (rain that doesn't reach the ground) started...

Ominous sky near Bluff
and then between Blanding and Bluff, the sky became rather ominous looking. Somehow, that flat opaque grey seemed terribly oppressive.

Spring in the canyons
But I loved how everytime the road dipped into a canyon, spring was immediately present with lots of bright new leaves on the trees despite what the sky was doing!

Sandstorm Valley of the Gods
Near Mexican Hat, the reason for the ominous sky became more apparent... the wind was fierce and whipping sand high into the sky, enough that at times it seemed to be dusk, even though it was mid-day. This is an area known as Valley of the Gods.

Monument Valley view
At this point on the road, my favorite view of Monument Valley is usually visible. Not with all the sand in the air though! Yes, those are raindrops on the window too. Not enough rain to clear the air, but just enough to make the dirt cling to the windshield! By the time I reached Kayenta, it looked like I'd been off-roading, though I never left the paved highway.

Monument Valley Sandstorm
Oh, there it is... just a hint!

Monument Valley Sandstorm 2
Even up close the view was quite obscured by all the dirt in the air. Quite an "other worldly" view! The strong headwind and decreased visibility made for a long and tense ride.

Clear Sky near Tuba City
What a relief to finally reach Tuba City and find that the front had passed, the sky was once again a clear blue and the landscape accentuated by the setting sun!

Fresh snow on the peaks
Near Flagstaff, the clouds covered the San Francisco Peaks, the temperature hovered just at freezing and I arrived home to a dusting of fresh snow!


Over the Mountains...

Grand Junction farms, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Passing through the Grand Junction, Colorado area in the spring is a delight! The globe willows, perfect balls of green are among the first trees to leaf out in the spring. This area is known for it's neat vineyards and peach orchards!

Glenwood Canyon
As the highway passes into the mountains, it follows the Colorado River. East of Glenwood Springs, it passes through Glenwood Canyon, an area renowned for it's beauty. There are several rest areas from which to enjoy the river views and a walking/bike path traverses the entire canyon.

Glenwood Canyon Highway
I can remember driving through the canyon as a child with my parents when the road was a two lane road at the river's edge. What an engineering feat it was to put in a 4 lane interstate through this canyon in a way that had minimal impact on the land and preserved the beauty! It's one of the most beautiful sections of interstate I've ever traveled! You can see my car's mascot "Pip" riding on the dash in many of my "road" photos. He's a pika, the smallest member of the rabbit family that lives in the boulder fields of the Colorado mountains ~ in stuffed animal form! He's named Pip because that is the sound they make!

Snowman on Vail Pass
There is still a LOT of snow in the Colorado mountains! Loved this snowman that someone built at the Vail Pass Rest Area!

Snow Covered Peaks
The view from the Vail Rest Area is spectacular, especially when the snow covers the peaks!

Ski Slopes
Down the road from the pass is the ski area called Copper Mountain. It's ski runs are still open despite it being the middle of April!

Lake Dillon
Lake Dillon sits between the towns of Frisco and Dillon and is surrounded by peaks. As you can tell, it is still covered in snow and ice! Spring is a long way off at this altitude!

My Dad
Down in the Front Range however, spring is well underway, as evidenced by the trees and grass in my parents new yard! This is my Dad as he surveys the landscape while I was getting acquainted with my parent's new surroundings.

Jonathan and Puppy
My oldest son came by with the new Australian Shepherd puppy that my son the Marine recently got. What a sweet little gal she is and so smart, quite responsive to the training she is receiving at 7 months of age!

How lovely to be home and surrounded by family once again!

On the Road Again!

On the Road to Tuba City, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

The weather has been beautiful, perfect for a road trip north through the Navaho Reservation and up to Moab before turning east to head over the mountains to Colorado. North of Flagstaff, just after the road turns toward Tuba City, it passes these layered hills. Like a many flavored layer cake!

Monument Valley Utah
North of Kayenta, the road passes through Monument Valley, which straddles the Arizona/Utah state line. It's magnificent from every direction but this view from the north looking south is my favorite.

Sharp Turn Ahead
As the road nears the town of Mexican Hat, Utah, there are warning signs for miles about an upcoming sharp right turn.

And a Hill Too
Oh, and there is a steep hill right before the turn too!

M U S T Turn Right
See? If you don't make the turn, there will be trouble! A river on one side and a solid rock wall on the other!

San Juan River Bridge
This is the bridge over the San Juan River.

The Bottom Dropped Out
The mountains on the east side of Mexican Hat are quite interesting geologically. To me it looks like the "bottom fell out" at the end of the ridges. You can see how they just slump off suddenly.

Delicate Arch
Rather than trying to make the entire drive to Colorado in one day, I decided to break it up a bit this trip and that gave me time to take a side trip to Arches National Park. My first stop was to see Delicate Arch, the arch depicted on Utah license plates. It looks small in this picture (because I'm a mile away from it!) but is really about 45 feet across the base of the opening.

Arches Natl Park
Next I stopped to take a short walk to Sand Dune Arch. To reach this spot, you walk in deep fine sand between the tall narrow fins of rock.

Sand Dune Arch
It's a secret arch, hidden within the rock fins!

Broken Arch
Nearby is Broken Arch. The colors of the landscape here are gorgeous.

Skyline Arch
Down the road a bit is Skyline Arch. Lots of old twisted junipers here that I loved.

Arches National Park at Sunset
The landscape in Arches glows in the setting sun. The snow capped peaks in the distance are the La Sal Mountains. A perfect view to end a lovely day!


Spring Visitors!

Tete a Tete, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

The landscape here is still mostly brown, but when I looked out the window this morning, I saw this little daffodil blooming! The first of the season! I planted these the first year I was here. The bulbs had been forced to bloom but I couldn't bear to discard them so dug holes in the bank and planted them. I imagine they'll be here long after I've moved on!

Mary & Winston
Earlier this week, my friend Mary and her husband Winston stayed with me for a couple of days. They are biking from Tucson to Salt Lake. Their trip from Tucson to Flagstaff took them about 6 days and they climbed about 6,000 feet in elevation ~ going from desert heat to mountain snow and fighting a headwind! Wow! What a journey! How great it was to have them here!

And they're off!
After a couple of days of rest and bicycle repairs, they headed out again. They had delightful weather to start the day! Safe journey Mary and Winston!