November 9,2012

Life is certainly not ALL about quilts . . . . though I know there’s just GOT to be a patchwork idea somewhere in the new bridge at the Yaak cabin. The property came with a delapidated bridge to the other side of the river, where most of our property is. And, the bridge was a major factor in our decision to purchase the land. Each Spring with the runoff, lots of huge trees come floating down the swollen river, and they slam into the support of that old bridge, creating a hefty log jam, and also applying quite a bit of pressure to the bridge’s structure. This past summer it was mid August before the river was low enough to get in and chain the logs to drag them out. All that also means pressure against the bridge for a few months. No wonder it’s been moving! In fact, it had 22″ bend in it, and we suddenly realized that if it crumbled under the weight next year – or the year after (it was coming, for sure!) we’d have to locate all the bridge parts whereever they were downstream and pull them from the water. Could really be expensive –bridge parts scattered along several miles, and some maybe even in the Kootenai.  So — pics here show the old bridge frame after the decking was removed.  It absolutely crumbled in a couple of places.  And then the setting of the new bridge.  It was indeed a show!  Two huge track hoes – they are amazing!   The new bridge is 36″ steel and no center support, meaning we should also not get the Spring runoff log jams.   The bottom photo was taken two days after the top two.  It was Jer’s first trip across the new bridge — to work on one final burn before we locked up and come home for the winter.  BTW – that snow didn’t last, though we know there’s soon more on the way. . .

October 9, 2012

What EVER happened to September — other than racking up another complete year of my life ? YIKES! The days seem to simply roll by.

I did a bit of stitching with the new Somerset collection of fabrics from Benartex.  This is Crowning Glory.  Also did a remake of Trellis.  And a couple of new designs — a feww download pattern Benartex, and a charming easy one for McCall’s Quick Quilts.  Quilted all 4 myself —  honestly not my favorite activity.  I LOVE the designing and the piecing, though know they need to be sandwiched and finished . . . . .

Heading to the Yaak this weekend with 4 fabulous women — the members of the Outdoor Quilt Show steering committee.  We’ll be mighty cozy.  The cabin is quite comfy for 4 people, but we’ll be 5 – and tucked in snugly.

Jery has lots of the dead stuff from the forest floor in good piles / collections.  Fall burning season is a couple of weeks away.  Once it’s safe, we’ll both be there working the controlled burns.

In addition to the Somerset stitching, I’m beginning to play with quilt designs using my new collection that will be out in May.  This is INCREDIBLE !  I have the digital files for some of it already – think the rest of the files will arrive later this week.  That means I have 5 months to create designs, and then probably about 2 months for stitching.  unheard of!  Now that I’ve teased you a bit —  I just need to ask your indulgence for a wee bit longer before I can begin sharing.

And –  mailing another proposal to Benartex today.  Takes a TON of time to get these ready .  In my head I’m noodling the thoughts for Spring ’14.  Getting it prepared is on the slate for Dec & Jan.

Hopefully this explains some of my silence.  I am trying to be a bit more diligent about posting on the Animas Quilts FB page.   I think what I need to do is set up some alarms on my computer — to remind me.

August 23, 2012

FedEx (don’t you just LOVE that driver!) arrived yesterday with goodies! This is a new collection from Benartex called Somerset. Obviously, I’m about to begin stitching.

I head back to the Yaak Cabin today with special company — my cousin and her daughter from Huntsville and my Mother — for 4 nights. Then . . . yum, yum — I’ll be stitching next week!

August 18, 2012

Some days you just MUST get in and go for it! Actually – this was last weekend in the Yaak. I’ve been anxiously waiting since the heavy spring runoff for the river to get low enough that we could pull the logs that were jammed against the bridge – – -. What fun! Though when we stopped at noon for lunch my toes were SO cold I was walking barefoot on the hot concrete patio at the cabin trying to defrost them! Jery had the wench attached to his trailer. The process was to slip a choker over the end of a log, then get sort of out of the way as he started dragging it out.  Prior to this really fun day, I’d cleaned as much of the debris as I could by reaching from the bridge.  This third pic is what we started with. Now, it’s all gone — big logs pulled out and drying in the sun for possible campfire wood next year. Then there were more smaller ‘foundation ‘logs’ (buried totally and completely water logged) that I got to pull out and toss on shore — they wouldn’t float on downstream!

Gotta admit –  it was a GREAT FUN day.  In the top photo – I’m standing on a large rock on the river bottom.  It’s really slippery —  slimy moss all over the rocks on the bottom.  They trick is to not land on your butt —  as that’s a total soaker!

July 28, 2012

The Fawns seems to be arriving a bit later this year. This Mama and Baby were sighted on the road just North of our Eureka home. Thank heaven for smart phones! Otherwise, I’d have missed this photo op all together. I was sitting there, so enjoying them, when some approached from the other direction and RATS – the turkeys honked their horn. The exit / escape began.

It’s been a rather interesting week, weather wise. Last Friday eve – while in the Yaak – an incredible wind storm blew through. We stood within the hoped for safety of our cabin and watch the trees bent at 90° angles. Actually, the first thing was hearing what sounded like fireworks, though knowing there was no one near. It the the sound of trees snapping / breaking. It was truly incredible. I stood there watching – probably with my mouth hanging open – and when I finally thought about taking a picture, the wind let up a bit and the trees righted themselves. We discovered LOTS of damage to trees in our area from the MicroBurst. It sort of followed the border and hit in Eureka, too. Some trees were simply totally blown over, pulling them up by the roots. One of those landed across our fence at home. Jery & I got it off the fence this morning — him cutting small sections at a time with the chain saw – and me dragging the cut off limbs into a clearing for burning in late fall. The only reason the fence wasn’t broken was because of the branches and leaves that were supporting it once it fell. Very large Ponderosa.

Two nights after the storm, we were back in Eureka and enjoyed the way the sunset lit up the clouds and mountains to our east.  Those mountains regularly take on the appearance of folds during sunset, though they aren’t usually pink.

I’ll head back to the Yaak with a special friend tomorrow for a couple of days, then home to get ready for the big quilt show next Saturday.  Then, the day after the show, I’m hosting a 4-night retreat in the Yaak — fun stitching with some terrific people.

July 7, 2012

How dare I wait SO long between posts! Really no ‘good’ excuse. Simply got caught up in Spring, Quilt Market, my new fabric line – Tulip Festival with Benartex, then Ireland as part of the McCall’s help team, home to enjoy the cabin (I was away from it for a month), and now home for a week! The cabin is rented from today until the 14th, so home we’ll be!

So — to attempt a ‘catch up’
At Quilt Market, which was in Kansas City this year, I displayed in a section of the Benartex booth. Market was made especially fun because KC is where I started. We lived there until I was 9. During that time, my cousin Linda lived only a vacant lot away from us, and we were steady playmates. Linda joined me in KC. The day after market ended, we rented wheels and toodled around. Great day with a dear friend. Market had another bonus — my son Serge joined me on Friday eve and we had a super visit, too.

Jery & I headed to Kalispell the day before my flight to Ireland – to enjoy a day with our Moms. Less than 10 miles south of Eureka, a deer nailed us. We limped my wheels back home and took it to a neighbor’s body shop. Then loaded in the pickup and set out again. Best news was that Denny had it all fixed when I returned home!

My friend Kelley traveled to Ireland with us.  She & I spent a couple of nights in NYC on the way, enjoying an evening at Jersey Boys and a full day working on next Springs collection with the stylist and artists at Benartex.  Then, off to Ireland.  Our 3rd day in Dublin was a ‘free’ day.  We found our way to the Jameson Distillery (chandelier of their bottles), took the tour, and both became ‘official’ Jameson Taste Testers.  The ONLY souvenir I brought home from Ireland was a bottle of Jameson for Jery – – carefully packed in my checked bag.

We had a 3 day tour of the Irish countryside before arriving in Galway for the quilt show.  The country is very pretty and green (rained a LOT!), and the Irish people are incredibly sunny – and full of charming weather jokes.  I especially liked their rock fences in the fields, which will be the same in Montana once our country is as old as theirs.  We, too, are overloaded with rocks, and we keep moving them —

Galway is a cute town – lots of ‘walking’ streets.  Though I think what I enjoyed the most was a pub crawl one evening.  This magnificent floor was at the first Pub.  You know — Guinness isn’t half bad.  I’m not a fancier of beer, but it’s pretty good.

Home again for a few days.  It’s rained in western Montana tons lately.  June was the wettest month on RECORD – ever!  The river through our property has been out of its banks 3 times this Spring.  We’re incredibly green – like Ireland.  Though it feels like summer has arrived.

March 24, 2012

In NW Montana I’m not quite certain it really IS Spring. Not only have we had a weird weather winter, as it moved into March, the weirdness seemed to increase. Typically March is our wettest month, and this year seems to be no exception. On Thursday 3/22, we woke to 5″ of fresh snow. By 2 in the afternoon that day, it was all gone — soaked in. 2″ more on Friday morning which also disappeared quickly. As I look across the valley this morning, I can tell it’s snowing on ‘yonder’ hill, though not here.

All this weather info to let you know that Jery & I are probably a bit ‘bonkers’. We are heading to our Yaak Cabin pre-dawn tomorrow. It’s 1000 ft higher there and they do have snow on the ground. In the summer it’s only 45 miles from door to door. Not now, though. There’s an un-maintained pass on the forest service road which is our summer quick route. So, tomorrow we’ll drive 150 miles to reach the cabin . . . . with 2 vehicles. Jer will have the batteries (we’re off grid there and the batteries have been home in a warm place for the winter) and all the stuff that can get wet in transit . . . including the new cat house, special for Hank. 2 coolers of cold food. Snow shovel . . . . . and pup Toby.

In my wagon I’ll have Hank (he travels SO well – just open the door on the carrier and he walks right in), our clothes and this pile of stuff, all collected and ready to go . . .

It’s SPRING!

Oh, my gosh!

Whatever have I done — not visiting with you since June. That’s terrible, and I apologize. I see that I last posted a Yaak Cabin construction photo . . . and that did really consume our summer.
Jery & I ‘moved in’ to the cabin in mid-August. While the inside was mostly done, there was still siding, 2 porches, a shed for the generator, etc – plus landscaping (??) to be done. Then we had more fallen trees to round up and burn, others that had dried after being hauled off the bridge debris, to be cut in lengths the tractor could handle – and bring home. Those are now chopped and split in our our winter woodshed.

We had TWO quilting retreats, and tested the process. All went quite well, so we’re ready for the ‘real’ retreats I’m hosting. I’m enjoying a winter of studying recipes to find the most delicious meals to serve our guests. Getting a good supply of those! (and learning which to NOT make again, too).

We came home – and home will remain in Eureka – in mid November, about the time the snow was beginning.  The pass which is the short route from the Yaak to Eureka was already closed, and our final trips were the 3-1/2 hour long way around.

Other BIG NEWS of the summer is a fabric collection proposal I made to Benartex, and they accepted.  The collection was completed by the end of November, and the designs are off for engraving.  It will be released at Market in May.  I’m not at liberty to discuss the specific details quite yet, though I can tell you that it is ‘pretty’ and the colors are clear, of course.

December has been mostly computer time – designing patterns to use with the new fabrics, as well as a new BOM, which I think is really gorgeous!  In due time, I’ll be able to share it all with you.

I’m working on another fabric proposal.  It really takes a long time.  The one from this past summer was mostly done in the Yaak – on the laptop, on batteries.  Batteries would run down, and I’d cover it with a towel to keep the sawdust out and plug it into the generator Jery was running to power his tools – to recharge.  Crazy, though it did provide me with ‘thinking’ time.  The Yaak cabin is ‘off the grid’ though now has it’s own power supply – that wasn’t there when I had the collection to design.  This new proposal is working easier because I’m home with my 2-screen setup, plenty of power, and time to draw, re-draw, and then draw it again and again with a mouse instead of a touch pad.  LOL.  Even with all those comforts, it stretches my imagination and some days causes wandering and muttering.

So – here it is, the last day of 2011.  I have a snazzy Poached Pear dessert to prepare and friends coming to help us enjoy it and a glass of wine this eve.

Happy New Year!

NEW Solution to a Problem

First – the Problem.  Spam messages have become an ‘issue’, so . . .  should you wish to comment (and it’s always terrific to hear from my friends) you know how to send an email.

Second – This post gave me an opportunity to show you the cabin interior with all the elec and plumbing roughed in.  And — the opportunity to share a Hank (kitten) story.  We started taking Hank with us two trips ago.  I bought a small harness and we rigged it so he had about 20 feet in which to get properly tangled before we had to come to his rescue.  Actually, each entanglement showed us how far we needed to move the 5 gal water jug he was tethered to – to avoid future tangles!  That’s all because cats don’t generally move easily — they need to be confined long enough to realize it’s a new home, etc.  Each night we put Hank, his litter box, food and water in the back of the enclosed pickup, so he’d be safe.  Well . . . last week Jery decided that the poor baby was a bit too confined, and suggested that we lock him in the cabin overnight, with all his gear.  Sounded good to me.  I figured he’d appreciate 1000 sq ft vs. the back of the pick-up.  Tuesday night we tried that.  Wed morning – early – like 5-ish- Jer stepped out of our camp trailer, and then came back in saying ‘cat’s out’.  Hank had somehow managed to get up in the rafters, then out over the top because the soffit isn’t there yet, and then dropped the 9′ to the ground.  Therefore, Hank is now ‘out’ for the night – each night.  He’s apparently being 100% cat, prowling most of the night, because his daytime naps are MUCH longer.  He’s taken charge 😉 of his destiny!

Our days (and nights) are mostly at the Yaak — working on the cabin. We’re ‘roughed in’ with plumbing and electric, and about to insulate before dry wall (only a week away!)

Sadly, I’m getting way too much spam at this blog . . . . please use our web page and follow the links to the cabin to see what’s up here.  I think I’ll need to end the blog because of spam.   sigh.