Spring Travels

April 8th, 2016

Spring is beginning to show its face around here! The birds are happy! A Flicker is tapping out his mating call on our metal chimney liner, the Sandhill Cranes are very noisy. Somedays it’s cold and we have snow flurries. I like this weather! It seems normal to me—like the weather I hated when we moved to Montana 48 years ago.

Bill and took an eight day break to California. When we returned I was greeted with your wonderful stories of Singer Sewing Machines. I’ve never counted, but I think I received more responses from that letter than any other. Well, perhaps I did receive more when I announced I was retiring our huge outdoor quilt show. For those of you who wrote—I loved your stories. Thanks! We could have a precious little book from all your sentiments. I loved hearing from you.


The week before Easter Bill and I visited our granddaughter, Quinn, at the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA. We had a grand time attending Quinn’s U of Redlands lacrosse games. Our daughter Anne,  joined us from Colorado. Sunday afternoon Anne and I attended a Mother/Daughter Tea at Quinn’s sorority. Everything was perfect about it! Ideal weather- sitting on the lawn with blooming trees and bushes and orange trees full of fruit! I especially enjoyed seeing what the sorority girls wore to a tea………. Quinn is such a darling young woman. It is a delight to spend time with her--- whenever---wherever! We’re proud of her!

Quilt at the Big Bear National Park Center

Quinn had classes and practices to attend so she recommended that we take a drive to Big Bear Lake in the mountains outside of Redlands. Bill, Anne, and I had a great time. It was delightful to get away from all the traffic. We really don’t care for that! With snow in the mountains and the ski hill tram still running we could imagine a family ski outing like the ones we took when the our kids were young.

We took time to browse through the Big Bear National Park Visitor Center. It was obvious that the rangers had spent lots of time with the displays. Murals on many of the walls were a perfect backdrop for mounted wild life from the area. When we first entered the building I could spot a large quilt on a faraway wall. Album quilts made by talented area quilters were proudly displayed. The quilter ladies had been instrumental in fundraising for the charming center. It was obvious that the people employed there were passionate about their place of work.

Big Bear offers many lodging opportunities. Unfortunately Big Bear Lake has diminished significantly over the years. Due to the drought there was very little run off to replenish the lake. We noticed once useful docks with grasses in areas where water used to be. Obviously global warming has influenced this area.

Credit to the Quilters


Isn't this quilt great?


Another quilt, amazing aren't they?

We told ourselves an area like this must have great après ski dining. We drove around until we found an area called the Village and an eclectic place call Big Bear Lake Brewing Company. I had the best hamburger I ever remember having! I ate half of it and boxed up the rest for another day. Bill and Anne enjoyed sampling their award winning microbrew ale recipes. I don’t remember what they had to eat. I was too busy enjoying my burger.
From there we moved onto the Ice Cream/Candy shop. It was fun buying treats to take home to the family. What a combo--- ice cream and candy. Some broken candy could be found in the multitude of ice cream flavors.
We got back to campus in time for one of three of Quinn’s lacrosse games. I saw my first lacrosse game when Quinn was in 4th grade. I thought it was  the stupidest game I had ever seen- running after a ball with a basket on a stick!  I understand and like it much better now.

We love the city of Redlands. Quinn showed us around. This is the backdoor of the City of Redland Library.

The front of the library.

The weekend ended and we drove Anne to the airport for her flight back to Denver. We struck out for Palm Dessert. For a very long time Bill has had a bucket list including golfing at Palm Dessert. Coincidentally Bill has a ISU Vet School classmate there and he contacted him. He hooked up with Virg and had a great time golfing at his club and meeting his friends. I think I had an even better time staying in the Hampton Inn. I really didn’t want to go out! I vegged out in the room watching the Home and Garden Channel. I read, napped, read, napped.  You get the picture. I brought along some needlework (original design of Montana Barns) but I didn’t touch it. We were included in on a couple of social events with Bill’s classmate and Pat, his wife. I studied the life style of the truly retired and their friends!

A picnic at Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve with Bill’s Vet School friend.

  According to legend, Mormon pioneers considered the limbs of the Joshua trees to resemble the upstretched arms of Joshua leading them to the promised land. Spring break was being celebrated by many, many young people climbing the boulders and strange rock formations. If you are in the area of this park I definitely think you would find it worthwhile to take a couple of hours to visit the Joshua Tree National Park.

Before we left for our CA trip I had clipped an article about Joshua Tree National Park. Neither Bill or I had ever heard of the Park. We headed out to find The Tree. Some people have said that the national park is the best idea America ever had, but we’re wondering--- one tree? We learned that Joshua Tree is an iconic plant of the Mojave Desert. We also found that the Joshua Tree is not found in every part of the Joshua Tree National Park. On our first visit we entered at the wrong entrance- no Joshua Tree there! When we did locate some of the Joshua’s I thought it was the strangest looking tree I had ever seen. It has spiky, succulent leaves, but it is not a cactus. It is a member of the agave family. 

Climate change threatens Joshua trees. Less available water means fewer young Joshua trees. Less available water also means fewer young Joshua trees can grow. The inside of a Joshua tree is fibrous and has no growth rings. That makes it hard to know how old it is! Some researchers think a typical lifespan for a Joshua tree may be 150 years.

On our fourth, and last day of our stay—alas—there were fresh sayings and our sweet hostess had returned. I told her how I had appreciated her thoughtful, friendly approach. She made my day! She was such a clear example of what a difference one person can make in just one day – in one place! Reluctantly she allowed me to photograph her. Following her example I told myself to try to make a positive example in just one person’s life a day and I wrote to her manager to tell her what a fine employee she has.

You’re probably thinking---when is this travelogue going to end? Just one more thing! At our first breakfast at the Hampton Inn where we were staying I noticed hand lettered signs with sweet sayings. How charming I thought.  I asked the hostess if she had written them. Yes, she responded she had written them. For two days the messages did not change and I didn’t see the gal responsible for the messages.




What projects have you been working on? I’m still sifting through all those scraps I’ve been saving for years when I have more time. Soon, I’ll be showing you what I’m making and how my revival of the Bunkhouse is coming along. Stay tuned! 


Sale Patterns! Here are a couple patterns we thought you might enjoy for spring and summer. Now 25% OFF and supplies very limited. Order by clicking on pictures or names.

May Basket by Magenta Rose




Charity by Crabapple Hill




You may remember or be familiar with Crabapple Hill's Gardner's Alphabet. It was originally sold as a block of the month but we have found that we still have a complete floss kit available. We can order the pattern set for you too. Don't miss out on the opportunity to make this stunning piece. Order by following this link. Both are now 20% off and we have great up close pictures on the website.



2016 Retreat Dates at Nine Quarter Circle Ranch have been set!  June 12-14 and September 15-18. Please consider the Spring or Fall Quilting In The Country Retreats at the remarkable Nine Quarter Circle Ranch. Outside of Bozeman on your way to Yellowstone National Park, the ranch is one of Big Sky's oldest dude ranches.

For several years the QIC Retreat participants have been asking me to lengthen the time of the retreat. I am giving that a shot this year. Notice June is a shorter amount of time. September is longer and will give you time to finish the theme project and work on your own projects. Rest, read, hike and just generally relax with your old and new friends. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Too bad it isn’t next week! If you’ve been planning to attend one of my retreats—now might just be the perfect time. Please don’t procrastinate. Join me! You'll love the project (pictures to come soon!) -- the Montana Star with needle felted flowers.   

June 12-14, ONLY 2 nights,  $399.
September 15-18, ONLY 3 nights, $525.