Another Trip to Colorado

Sunrise on the Res, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Thursday's drive to Colorado began in the wee dark hours of the morning. By the time the sun rose, I was near Monument Valley. The colors in the landscape were made more intense by the night's rain showers. The light and color in the landscape was glorious.

Reservation Sunrise 1
It was the most beautiful I think I've ever seen the Reservation.

Distant Peaks
The rays of morning light showed off some distant peaks that I believe are actually in Colorado.

Verdure Utah homestead
Between Blanding and Bluff lies a lovely green valley that I always look forward to seeing. There are some abandoned houses here that I love. Each time I see this one, I find myself wishing that someone would rescue this lovely house and bring it back to life. It's just the kind I place I would love to have. When I stopped to take the photo, I discovered an plaque stating that this was the site of an early Mormon settlement called Verdure.

Me at Colo Ntl Mon
I took a break from the long drive and spent a couple of hours at Colorado National Monument. The scenery of this eastern rim of the Colorado Plateau is spectacular with a high vertical rock walls, amazing rock formations and many canyons. Some ladies that I met along the way were nice enough to take this picture of me.

ZigZag creek in Canyon
The steep red rock walls of the canyons are spectacular. I love how the creek in the bottom zigs and zags it's way along and how brilliantly green the vegetation is over the creek.

Cone Ovens
These formations are known as the coke ovens because their shape is similar to the coke ovens used to heat ore. The twisted and knurled shapes of the bristlecone pine made a great frame for the view!

Juniper Berries 1
All along the rim, the junipers are in full fruit. In places the berries are so blue and so profuse that at a glance they appear to be blossoms!

All across the Plateau, the rock and soil is layered in multicolored bands ranging from white to gold to green to red to purple. At this outcropping, I loved how the green soils were capped by a layer of golden stone and carried a band of deep ochre red in the middle. It's fascinating to think about all the things that have happened across the eons of time to create these different layers. Seas that have come and gone, rivers that passed by for a time, times of dense forest, ages of deserts. We live in such a blink of an eye as geologic time goes. I find myself wondering what mark our time will leave on the land.

Back on the road again, I headed east across Grand Junction and into orchard country. There is such an extreme contrast of the lush trees on the valley floor and the barren rock buttes above.

Fruit Jewels
At this orchard, the apricots and plums hanging from the trees were stunningly beautiful! I couldn't resist buying a small bag of apricots ~ so yummy when they are fresh and wonderfully ripe!

I also picked up a couple flats of succulent peaches!

Fresh Peach Pie
Which resulted in a the baking of a couple of yummy peach pies!


Summer Moods

Abalone Shell, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Despite my pack-rat tendencies, I really love having my surroundings simple and serene. Every so often, I spend a day clearing away the clutter that seems to creep in around me, and for a few days at least, things have the serenity that I strive for. This large abalone shell was a recent find at a flea market in Colorado. it sits on the table beside my living room chair where I sit when stitching. The combination of shells and shades of white just says "summer" to me!

Another area that received a tidying up is the top of the china cabinet. Here I've displayed some of my stoneware. The coffeepot was my mother's while the other items are things I've found here and there. The old mirror with it's aged silvering catches the light beautifully!

Vine on the Green Bag
My summer mood has been carried across into my stitching as well. A vine has sprouted across some patchwork which will be on the side of the bag.

Textured stitches
Over the past few months, as I've learned about various types of decorative quilting type stitches, I've really come to love the texture they add. The process of adding the stitching is lovely and slow, a chance to savor handling the cloth and watching it grow. Though I must admit that I'm getting anxious to finish this so that I can use it!


A Bit of Bunny Lace!

Lace from Susie, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

When I got back from Colorado this past week, a box was waiting for me from one of my blog readers, Susie W! It was filled with spools of wonderful cotton eyelet lace and a bag with these pieces of crocheted lace! Susie said, "The cute little bunny also needs to find a home with you!" As you can imagine, I thought so too and so as I've been working on the Green Bag, I think I've found a spot for it! Thank you so much Susie for the delightful box of goodies!

Green bag side 2
In order to make progress on the green bag, I sewed one side seam so that I could wrap the elements around from front to back. It makes working on the bag a bit awkward at times, but allows the elements to flow freely around the bag without being interrupted by seams. I ended up leaving out the woven cloth piece I'd originally intended to include. It just didn't seem to work as I progressed. Instead, I've added more of the little 1" squares done in 9-patch.

Lace Bunny
I'm thinking the bunny lace will fit nicely here! I've got some narrow velvet ribbon in shades of mossy green that I may use to help it become one with the rest of the piece.

On the first side, I've added some bluebirds among the trees. The western and mountain bluebirds are one of the first signs that spring is coming here in Flagstaff. I love watching them flying through the trees and listening to their beautiful song! I'm thinking there will be a few more before the bag is finished!


A Pansy Block for Carolyn

Carolyn's blocks for the Pansy DYB (do your block) round robin are gorgeous! I had such a hard time choosing which one to work on. At first I was leaning towards doing a block in rich deep shades of plum and wine, but in the end, I choose the peach block based on a shade of wired ribbon I had. It was a perfect match! I just love the way this block turned out!

A Pair of Pansies
Sometimes I wonder why I hold on to so many things, but when the opportunity comes to use an item on a block like this one, I'm so glad I did! The velvet millinery pansy is one I've had for ages, tucked in my old sewing box along with a number of other vintage sewing trims. The enameled and jeweled butterfly in the lower right (of the top picture) has also been hanging around for a while. I almost got rid of it a few months ago. I'm glad I didn't as it turned out to be perfect for this block and provided just the right accent!

Lisa's work on Carolyn's Joint Block
For this round robin we are also doing a bit of work on a "joint block". I added another wired ribbon pansy and did some seam embellishment.


A Day on the Tundra

Cascade Falls, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.
My youngest son and I spent a lovely day in Rocky Mountain National Park on Sunday. There are two roads up to the top of Trail Ridge, the top of the continental divide. We chose to follow the old road dating back to the early 1900's. It is still a one way gravel road traveling up the side of Endo Valley. One of the gorgeous stops along the way is at Chasm Falls. The walk down to see the falls is steep and somewhat slick, but well worth the effort! There is something fascinating about seeing the rushing and tumbling water cascading over the rocks!

View from Fall River Road
As we neared tree line, views of the tundra covered peaks came into view. So green at this time of year! Despite it being the peak of summer there are still many snow fields on the slopes. When I say green, I'm thinking in terms of the high alpine zone known as the tundra. Above tree line at elevations of 11,000 feet and higher, the average summer temperatures are in the upper 40's. One of the things I learned on this trip is that trees can't survive where the summer temps average below 50 degrees F! The tiny plants here often grow for decades and some for centuries. So, though it may not seem that green, when you think about the odds this elevation zone has to overcome, frigid temps, low oxygen, relentless wind, deep snow, permafrost and a growing season of 8 to 12 weeks, it really is quite amazingly green!

Tundra Trail
Near the Continental Divide, we took a short hike out on the tundra where the wild flowers were in bloom!

Alpine Clover
At this altitude, plants grow low to the ground with deep roots that travel down through the permafrost. These alpine clover are only a couple of inches high.

This is Alpine Phlox in lovely pale shades of blue and white, only an inch high.

Alpine Avens
Alpine Avens covers the ground in many places creating a golden carpet. These are about 3" tall.

Rose Campion
One of my favorites is the Rose Campion, in places there are brilliant mounds of pink. This one averages only 1 to 1 1/2" tall.

Quartz Boulder
The deep frost heaves rocks up to the surface such as this large quartz boulder. Many of the rocks are covered in a rainbow of lichen.

Visitor Center Roof
At the top of Trail Ridge, the roof of the Visitor Center is covered with a grid of heavy logs which provide strength for the roof to withstand the immense snow that drifts over the top in the winter. i've been there early in the spring when the snow was so deep that it still flowed well over the height of the roof and deep narrow paths were shoveled out to the doorways.

Elk Herd on the Tundra
Heading back down to the valleys on the main roadway, we passed this large herd of healthy elk. They summer on the tundra, feasting on the plants here. The herds are enormous and there are many who are concerned that they are over grazing the tundra, especially the tundra willows which are home to the ptarmigan.

Forest Lakes from Trail Ridge
From the top of Trail Ridge, the views of other mountain peaks and high mountain lakes are spectacular. The lakes in this view are only accessible by the most determined backpacking climbers, who must first obtain limited back country permits and then must pack in, with little to no trail to follow.

Tundra in Bloom
I love that there are still areas in Rocky Mountain National Park that have been left so pristine. It's part of what makes this park one of my very favorite places. Each time I visit, there are new things to see, or old things to see again with a new perspective! And always, there is lots of wildlife to see. We saw Big Horn Sheep, Elk, Mule Deer, coyote, Least Chipmunks, Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels, Chickaree Squirrels and many varieties of birds on this trip! This view of the Mummy Range (of mountains) was taken at the top of Trail Ridge. The carpet of flowers was gorgeous!/p>


A Pocket Prayer

Pocket Prayer, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

One of my young co-workers has been struggling with some heart problems recently and spending a lot of time in the hospital. I wanted to do a little something for her, so I gathered some fabrics and pieced together this little Pocket Prayer. The velvet heart was cut from my recent dye experiments. Many prayers for a strong and healthy heart were stitched into this while sitting in her hospital room keeping her company. Stitching was added around the heart and a simple rolled hem was created from the backing fabric to bind the piece. It's a tiny tactile piece, only 3" square, small enough to tuck into a pocket or purse, to remind her with each encounter, that many prayers are going out on her behalf.


Seaside Vignette 2010 and summer stitching

Seaside Vignette 2010, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

The old white shelf has received it's seasonal makeover! I love pulling out the seashells, the pale aqua bottles with their lovely patina, the mermaid dotee doll and the painting I had done. Each year it is a joy to bring these things out, add or take away an item or two and shift things around a bit for this year's vignette. There is something about the creamy shades of white and shell with the pale aqua glass against it that just makes my heart happy. You'd never know that I've lived landlocked all my life and only been the sea a handful of times!

seaside pieces
Two of my summer stitching projects also follow the seaside color theme of creamy whites, pale aqua and linen shades. These have now been "invisibly basted" using Jude's technique. It gives the pieces a substantial feel with an added depth somehow.

Green Bag side 1
There has been progress on the green bag as well. Most of the stitching on the first side is complete. The little appliqued bunnies remind me of the girl scout badges I used to earn for my sash! Now, the bluebirds are coming... pics to be posted soon!

For Jude's Spirit Cloth Class, I've been working on this piece, which is coming to be known in my mind as "Ever After." I loved the movie of that title and I found the more recent movie, "Enchanted" to be, well, simply enchanting! As someone who is always dreaming, always hoping, this piece somehow is becoming emblematic of my dreaming nature. Beautiful fragments, stitched together into something delightful! I'm curious to see where it will end up!