Saturday, November 21, 2015

T minus 33 days and counting .... to Christmas

Where on earth did this year go??  How is it possible that this week is Thanksgiving?

This is the first Holiday season without Mom and I have to admit, I'm not doing so well.  There I admitted it. I'd hoped it would be easier, but I guess it is what it is - I'll just have to buy Puffs Facial Tissue in bulk this year! And try to avoid the Christmas specials and commercials!

Mom loved the holidays - every opportunity for a big production was welcomed.  She calmed down in her later years ... but boy-o-boy growing up, holidays were crazy!

First was Halloween - and Mom belonged to a "Social Club" - the Lenox Club.  Lenox was the name of the street everyone had lived on at one point or another.  Most of the members were family and longtime friends.  Most were ancient!!  Mom and Dad were some of the youngest members! And they had a Halloween party, complete with costumes.  In fact, you hoped your costume was good enough that no one would know who you were!  And I remember some weird costumes, because of course, you had to organize it from your closet or go thrifting for it.  No store-bought or rented costumes ever considered!!  I thought all parents did this! Below is one of the costumes!!  Mom hated that this photo existed - I can just hear what she'd say about being on the blog!! (insert my evil laugh here!)

Then Thanksgiving - the whole family got together, and being a Nebraskan family, the Husker game was always playing.  We planned around a lot of football on TV.  But the TV wasn't on during dinner.  I remember sitting across from my nephew (just 2 years younger than me); because we got into too much trouble sitting by each other! I remember putting black olives on our fingertips and trying to give each other the finger without being caught!  HS age - it was fun!!

Now don't think the rest of us just milled about during the games on TV.  Oh, no!!  There was a planned craft activity, attendance was mandatory - all hands on deck.

There were Mr and Mrs Santas; and I remember variegated crepe paper wreaths - we had to cut the paper in strips, wrap it around a dowel and using a kid's block smash it hard into crinkled curls.  Shiny Christmas balls were added.  It took alot of curls and we had to make one for everyone!!  I guess that's where I got my sweat-shop training!

                                           Image result for vintage sequin fruit

Then there was the year of sequined wax fruit.  Lord help us!!  We had to thread the sequin on a straight pin, then pin it into the wax fruit.  Why or why I ended up with the banana, I don't know - but that sucker went on forever. My fingers were dimpled for months after that.  I don't know why we couldn't hammer those pins in - it would have been easier. I remember just gold sequins on ours.  There is a reason no one does this anymore!

But the piece d'resistance was the turkey carcass breast bone made into a Santa's sleigh!!!  Don't look at me like that!  Ours was glittered!!  My DH told me he really did reconsider marrying into my family after that project was brought up!! (I don't blame him!) And yes, it was stuck into styrofoam!

And Christmas - well, it was spectacular!  There was a flocked tree that children were not allowed to help decorate - there was always a color theme.  Probably why my children always decorated the tree and there was a multitude of ornaments on it.

There was chili and hoagies on Christmas Eve, a tradition we still follow.  That informal set-up is a good plan.  It takes into account those who have to work or travel that day, Christmas Eve Church services, some go early and some go late; and keeps it all casual and welcoming!  But we did open family presents on Christmas Eve.

Then Christmas breakfast.  I remember setting the table watching Art Linkletter's Tour of the Holy Lands on TV???  I don't remember what we ate, but I remember setting up 6 ft long tables so we could all eat together.  Christmas dinner was later in the day so everyone could go to the In-laws and come back.

Here's an assortment of Christmas photos in no particular order!!

Christmas - waiting for Santa to come.  At the farmhouse, I was in HS.  The dogs were always part of it too!

I think this was in our basement on L St.  I was in elementary school. Not pictured.

Farmhouse - the aftermath!!! My nieces.

L St porch on a mild Christmas.  I'm the dark haired girl in a twin set!!  It was the 60s! Very fashionable!

L St basement - must be after Christmas breakfast but before presents. I'm in the red sweater, but don't you love those matching cowboy shirts my nephews are wearing!!  Grandma and Grandpa Grant on the couch.

Everyone dressed up, we were going to church later.  At my sister's duplex house on 33rd! My nieces and nephews with me.

When my Sister moved to Waverly, Christmas happened at her house.  My DD posing with the Great nephews and nieces.

My dad posing with the first Great-grandchildren!

Lined up with our favorite presents!  A little too cold out for adults to come out!

Christmas Eve - I'll grow into those jammies - maybe by next year!

At Farm with our oldest dog - Paddy O'Shea he was brought home on St Patricks Day as a puppy.

Thanks for reminiscing with me. Next time - favorite presents to give!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tomorrowland movie

Last week we watched the movie, Tomorrowland and found it very entertaining.  It reminds me of our visions of the future in the 60s (when I was a kid).

And with all the special effects Disney adds ... it was great fun.

After the movie I told my husband, I really have to clean out my sewing room, I'm sure my medallion is in there somewhere!

He muttered, "I'm not worried, you're never going to find it!"

And I think he may be right!!

I also read The Martian by Andy Weir - I may be in Sci-Fi mode!  The book was as good as the movie.  It made me laugh out load, which makes it dangerous to read in bed at night!!  Just saying!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Just a brief moment to breathe!!

Today I'm celebrating - I mailed the box to Nebraska yesterday morning!  Inside were the wedding quilt, three doggie blankets and four Christmas stockings!!!  Now it's all up to UPS and I can relax slightly before continuing on my pressing To-Do list!!!

C and I are walking twice a week.  And oh my - we've had some epic "Oh my goodness" adventures!

We went to Cape Ferrelo. A favorite viewpoint.  Walked down to the beach, lost the trail, so ended up guessing wrong and followed a deer path :( up the bluff.  I tripped over a blackberry vine (they are so sneaky!) But the biggest problem is I came down in a mound of blackberry vines!  OUCH!

It was terrible - I had the stickers all over me, and lots in my hands.  No glasses with me, so I couldn't even rest my hands on anything without driving them in further!!!  Then we got to the top, and discovered a very large wind had come up!  Truly, it was Keystone Kops take a walk!!!

C discovered this definition:  Adventure: Something that seemed like a good idea at the time!

I took 16 stickers out of my hands with tweezers.  I was still finding them days later.

Ahh, but other days, it's glorious.  At Harris Beach Park there is a huge tidepool that's hanging around.  Great photo opps!

The tide pool

Path down to the beach

A view point around every corner!

On to quilting business!!  Here are some closeup photos of the wedding quilt quilting - C, my friend called it "Spotlights", I like it!

Quilting done by walking foot.  I don't really like very dense quilting, the challenge is to make it "even" throughout the quilt.

The borders were quilted with one of my favorite motifs - ice cream cones.  Hmmm, one of my favorite foods too!!! Coincidence??  Probably not!

Also in the box - Christmas stockings.  A pair for the new couple and one for their dog!  Dogs can't read, so I just add a picture of a dog on it.  I find all stockings go together if they are the same size.  It's a theory that works for me!!! Don't spoil it!

The stocking that is different is the Caroler that is for my niece - the mom of the groom.  She has this H*U*G*E mantel and there is a caroler for everyone one in the family hanging from it.  I started making them for her in the early 90s!  4 children, 2 step children, then they started marrying, then grandkids started coming ... she doesn't do dog stockings! (Thank goodness!) But there are 16 (hmm, seems like more ...) stockings all made at different times, and they all match much better than expected!! They even hang at the same angle!!!  A Christmas miracle in my opinion!

Three doggie blankies. These started when my sister thought that everyone should get baby blankies and those with only "furry children" should get them too!! So, being the good sister I am, I made them for her for HER Christmas present.  Oh my! Our family 'goes thru' a lot of dogs!!

These are easy - just 2 lengths of dog-ish fabrics, and using my sewing machine alphabet I make a long ribbon repeating "Sit! Stay!  Good dog, (insert the dog's name here)" and applique it on top of the whole cloth fabric.  I sew them together like my receiving blankets with some flannel as batting. They are sturdy - I've only lost one to the dog chewing it up!!! BUT I always emphasize I don't do repairs to dog blankies!!!  Just so they know!

I also taught myself a lesson yesterday.  Have you ever had that project, or in this case a repair, that you had an "easy" fix in your mind.  But you can't find the right notion, supplies or 'some such' for it??? 

My DS wanted the old felt-Velcro Christmas advent calendar for his boys.  Yes, it was a great feeling that it would be passed down.  But the felt was in terrible shape, the slightest vibration sent all the velcroed 'ornaments' to the floor.  Trust me, with 2 and 4 yr old boys in the house, there are vibrations!!  Lots of vibrations!

So I sewed wool over the tree and the numbered boxes, where the velcroed ornaments hang until their turn.  They used it last year, but I still needed to find some numbers and apply them.  Never found them.  And I "refused" to think about it any other way. ALL YEAR!

Well, it IS November and I didn't want to be responsible for this calendar not becoming part of their tradition. So after reading how we should use our own handwriting - not just computer fonts transferred for labels, I wrote each number in the correct box and took it along to my "Woolies" meeting yesterday.  Being entertained by everyone, I outline stitched the numbers with wool thread all day.

I resisted the books being passed around, nose to the grindstone and it was completely done by the end of the meeting.  It only took me 4 hours!!!!  It's a little 'folksy' and I'm not wild about the 2s but I like it.  I can't believe I put it off for a year when it was that easy!!

Ladies, learn the lesson from me!! What are you putting off??? It feels so G*R*E*A*T to get it done!!  So GO DO IT!!

In other words, do what I say, not what I do!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Busy busy Fall!

I'm pleased to announce that the Wedding Quilt is DONE!!  (and the crowd goes wild!) The happy couple picked their colors ... teal, grey and purple.  Oh dear, I had to go shopping!!! And I think I became attracted to teals and greys!  Not good news for my stash storage or budget!

I used a free pattern online - Classical Elements and Illustrations offered by P&B Textiles.  It was a good pattern.  I very carefully cut out all the strips and squares.  It pieced together very well.  I added the border because I wanted it just a skootch bigger.  And Voila!

I thought I had a quilting plan, but when CY, a friend who is also an excellent quilter, saw it she suggested highlighting the diagonals.  I quilted it myself on my DSM (domestic sewing machines for the non-quilters in the group!) It was harder than I thought it would be!!  

I have a pretty good setup for quilting. And although I have done free motion quilting, I do prefer walking foot quilting.  

Here I am in the dining room of the apartment.  DH ordered a very large table when we moved out here.  He wanted something large enough to still have room for a meal when I was in the midst of a project.  Thank you, dear heart!!!

I have a portable sewing table that I can adjust the height, so with my acrylic 'sewing machine surround' (which increases the space around the needle so your quilt can be spread out a little more) the quilt moves smoothly onto the dining room table. You don't want gravity to pull it this way and that, distorting your stitches!

Note that the foot pedal cord is wrapped around the leg of the table.  That's to keep me from tripping on it or losing it way under the table!!

The ironing board keeps the majority of the quilt off my shoulders and off the floor while I'm feeding it through the machine.  Looks pretty spacious, doesn't it!  But then you add the quilt itself!! Not so much room now!


The chairs help to keep the quilt from falling off the table.  Trust me, that quilt goes every which way as you work with it.

The view from the other side, Hard to believe I use every inch of space!!  In fact, when I'm quilting, I encourage DH to go on a golf trip - and he runs for the door!!!  It's the biggest mess you ever saw ... for days!!!

 I have a 6.5 inch harp (opening between the body of the machine and the needle.  It's bigger than I've ever had before, but you have to squeeze the quilt through that opening during the process and trust me ... I think it's like mud-wrestling an alligator!!

Ahhh, but the end result is oh so nice!!  Don't you think?? DH thought we'd better have a shot of it with our ocean behind it!  And yes, this is our view!!  Life is good!

I needed to go up to Portland to pick up my new glasses. So I planned an adventure with Miss P and Mr M.  I love having 1-on-1 time with them. Or is it 1-on-2 time?? We can really get things done!

IKEA was having a "Design a Stuffed Animal" contest.  So Miss P and Mr M each designed some adorable animals for it.  Then we packed up and went to IKEA to turn them in.  BUT we went by the MAX or as I call it - the train.

Other than the rain, we had an awesome day.  Believe it or not, we sailed down Scholl's Ferry Parkway without a single red light!!!  Not sure that's ever been done before!!  Got to the Beaverton Transit Center lickety-split.  Bought the tickets and the train was there!  So far so good!

The train we got on goes all the way to the airport so we didn't have to change trains downtown or anything!  We had a great view out our window and it's always interesting to see a big city from a different point of view! Sorry - I still can't take a focused picture when the train is moving!

It took an hour to get to IKEA, and although that is longer than driving (some days!) there's never a guarantee that you won't run into a traffic snarl in Portland!

We got off the train and walked across the parking lot to IKEA!  Found the Customer Service desk and turned in our drawings.  Then we went to check out the stuffed animals.  The contest is a yearly event, and we saw the latest animals.  Too cute! And we went over to the usual toy department.  I had promised that we could get one stuffed animal each.  When asked I said $15 max ... but I didn't see that 4 foot shark that was under $15!!!

Mr M immediately decided on the shark and he's so cute ... what Nana could resist?  He promised that he would carry it and take care of it!  

Miss P has a little harder time picking.  She likes to pick the perfect new animal to fit into her other animals at home.  She picked a snake, no, a polar bear, no, the shark, no, the Huskie, no the dachshund, and on our 3rd trip through, she settled on the Mamma and Baby Elephant.  Good choice!

We bought a few little things that Nana wanted and headed thru the checkouts then stopped for a yogurt cone.  I thought we'd done wonderfully time-wise but it was later than I thought.  Mr M was still eating his yogurt cone and it was still raining, but we had to head for the train.  So Nana carried the shark, Mr M is a little too short to carry it thru rain puddles anyway!!  He was done with his cone by the time we got to the MAX platform, and we didn't even have time to throw away the napkin and the train was there.

Back in Beaverton, it was still raining, hard!  We had a bout a 3 block walk back to the car. I had a shark under one arm, dragging two (a little whiny) kids by the hands down the street.  I do believe I may have looked fierce enough that no one was going to mess with me!!!

Later that day, Miss P wanted to write stories rather than color.  What a great idea!!  So we wrote and drew pictures of our day.  Too fun.  She wasn't done yet, but the last paragraph she wrote ended with "And then we had to put up with my brother's shark!!!"

I think it was a success!!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Season's Greetings, Dearie!!! in other words - Happy Halloween!

Why, oh why, do we love Halloween so much!  Why couldn't we love something in summer so all our Holiday decorating isn't the last 3 months of the year!!!  Oh well, I do love it!

Here's some more pictures of the Halloween quilts - with the grands!

Don't you just love that 'spontaneous' zombie hand coming up from the back of the quilt????  I love elementary school age!  They are so-o funny! This was the second skeleton quilt - and I like the calm of the checkerboard compared to the disappearing 9patch.  These quilts were tied after quilting around the panel.  I love a tied quilt - it molds around your body so much, keeping all the heat close!

I imagined these quilts being brought out in the Fall and used until after Halloween.  Washed and hidden away until the next fall.  When I mentioned that to my DD she said, "I don't think that is going to happen, mom.  We're still dragging out the baby quilts to sleep with when we don't feel good!!" Oh well!

Both strippie quilts were quilted with a walking foot on my DSM.  If you enlarge the picture - you can see it.  They turned out well!


Strippie quilt.  Note there are 2 Orange fabrics in the one on the left.  I may have been a little 'stressed' working to deadline.  I lost one of the black fabric strips on my black wool design wall!!!  Imagine my surprise when I walked back into the "Staging Area" (no longer a sewing room!  No room to sew in there!!!!) and spotted it after redesigning the quilt! Sometimes I truly miss my mind!

This 4 yr old face - doesn't it just melt your heart????

The skeleton is about the size of a thinner 4 yr old???  I really wanted these pictures of the kids standing next it it.  It won't grow, but they are all shooting up like weeds! Note "Nap Anatomy" was made with disappearing 9patch blocks.  It's chaotic!  Perfect for a Halloween quilt, but I did do checkerboard for Mr Bones, the second one. 

Parental units with the kids!  This was the only time that Mr K, 2 yrs old, stood still for a picture. The rest of him are just blurs!!  (Hope for better luck next visit!) 2nd skeleton pictured with the Portland bunch.  Hmmm, I didn't change those sizes, I must have taken the Portland picture with "square" on the Ipad! Trust me, the quilts are the same size!


And at long last - a finished UFO!  I took this class in fall 2014.  Adapted from a pattern that had the pumpkin stems/leaves hanging off like penny rug flaps.  I didn't want to deal with that fussy work and my table is big.  This 17 x 43 runner is a better fit for me.

The pumpkins are hand appliqued using blanket stitch, the strips were couched and I used warm and white batting.  It's sturdy!  I machine quilted it with my DSM.  I can't hand quilt through all those layers.  My mind thinks I'm 30 but my hands feel like they are 90!  I'm starting to get picky about what I do by hand.  AND it wouldn't have been done - back to the bottom of the UFO pile for sure!!

At our babysitting gig,  DD left me the homework assignment about our 1st graders' heritage.  Asked DSIL where his family is from "Dunno! somewhere in Europe?"

Hmm, deadline looming, must be boy-ish or Mr M won't do it.  Well, okay then - how about England and we can make a Buckingham Palace guard!  Off to JoAnn's for some felt - which thankfully was on sale.  You'd be so proud of me!  Two grands in tow, into JoAnn's - and coming out with ONLY what was needed for this project!  It may have been a first!

Miss P - my 3rd grader - was involved in all the conversations; the shopping and then she (because she wasn't allowed to do the project for Mr M - which they both would have preferred!!!) made her own person.  She had a "Peace" t shirt; jeans and very stringy embroidery floss hair!

Mr M cut out the paper patterns we drew on the Flat Stanley type doll.  He placed and glued clothing, drew the face, designed a gun and sewed on the buttons!  Those weren't going to stay put glued!  Of course, all with my help and supervision!  It took a couple of hours, but turned out really good!

At the end, the funniest thing happened.  Miss P turned to me and said, "Gee, when I did this project, I was Swedish!  Can we have different ancestors?"  YEP!  Remembering that would have saved alot of texting and anguish. Oh well, I believe we were working closer to Christmas that time.  DH does have Swedish ancestors and we liked the idea of candles on her head!!!

Did I mention he has the same teacher!?!?!?  Hope she has a sense of humor!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Batting clean up!

Ok, does anyone else feel like they've been watching too much baseball???  I'm going batty!!

First story to finish -

Last day of the cruise.  We were at sea and already our minds were on getting everything packed and out in the hall before bedtime!  It's amazing how what we brought and what we collected, and/or bought exploded in the room!!

Friday:  On the way to Victoria

At 10 in the morning, we met with all the quilters we'd met on board for a giant show and tell! There were 6 (one not pictured, darn!) of us and it was fun to see the different "favorite parts of quilting." We loved seeing all the photos on our phones and the handwork we had with us.  A couple of them even went to the quilt shops after hearing about them from us.  And we made plans with N to meet at Road to California.

I went to the Captain's Mariner's lunch with U. A great dining room lunch with yummy soup; a cheese strata; and berry cobbler. We got our picture taken with the Captain too!

Then it was "Out on deck for a Cause" for me.  Walking for Cure for Cancer, in honor of mom - I walked 2 of the 3 miles and then went for ice cream on the Lido Deck!!  OK, you know I always am ready for ice cream anytime, any place, so this was no surprise! The walking tour tonight is making me cautious about how far to walk this afternoon.

Stroll thru Victoria                            6:30                        2 hours                 

Start out from ship terminal and walk with your guide on a journey of discovery through one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Western Canada. Streets are lined with period houses and you will hear captivating stories of the people and events that shaped this charming town.  The crown jewel is beautiful Beacon Hill Park, complete with manicured flower beds, towering trees (keep an eye out for nesting eagles and herons), and perhaps the occasional ghost or restless spirit.  

Reaching Downtown Victoria you will encounter a vibrant city with an English old town atmosphere. Your guide will introduce to you two very famous buildings - the Legislature bldg and the our famous Empress Hotel. A great deal of history surrounds both these famous landmarks and some of the stories are right out of the "truth is stranger than fiction" department. 

Your tour ends on the lawns of the Empress Hotel.  Guests who wish to stay in town to shop or explore independently are welcome to do so, but must make their own way back to the ship.

Wear sturdy walking shoes, bring bottled water. Restroom facilities en route are very limited. Bring your sense of humor to best enjoy this lively and entertaining outing.

We were an hour late docking.  Not sure how we got that far off schedule.  So the Walking tour of Victoria started later and by the time we got to the Beacon Hill Park, it was after sunset.  We did see a group of trees that Heron were nesting in.  (Don't cross into the white part of the pavement, just saying!!) But we saw a tree with peacocks nesting in it.  They are BIG!  And how did they get up that high???  It was full dark when we got downtown, the Legislature Bldg was lit up.  I walked thru the Empress Hotel after the tour.  Did a little shopping and then caught the free bus back to the dock.  It's a lively downtown area, very pretty setting.  But the tour was tougher walking than I thought! We were always cutting across rough lawn, in the dark or semi-dark.  I had to keep my eyes out for anything I might trip over!!  (Save the knees!) U was not feeling 100% so she backed out.  It was for the best, it would have been way too much for her. I didn't know anyone on the tour, but glad I did it.

When I got back to the room, U had used our "communications white board" (Best Dollar Store buy for the cruise!) Told me to meet her for a drink in piano bar, she'd saved me a place.  We're all packed and suitcases in the hall, night-night!!

I'll report on our Seattle Mini-shop hop later!  I promise!!

Our quilt guild had a bus trip to the Expo in Portland. 23 intrepid quilters.  One was 90 years old and the rest of us could hardly keep up with her!!!  The last bus trip for this guild was 10 years ago to Santa Rosa.  She was just a 'youngster then, only 80!!!)  We kept track of yardage bought at our stops and it was a very impressive number by the time we got home! It was lots of fun!  And we were all still friends when we got back! Bonus!

For the last two weeks, I've been making Halloween quilts for my grandkids.  I've been collecting those cute Halloween fabrics for a few years, added a few more on the bustrip to Portland, so it was time to get off the my ...  and get sewing.

Now a smarter person wouldn't wait until October to do so .... but let's not go there.  DH and I babysit at both homes before Halloween and I'm happy to say, 3 quilts are done, and the fourth one is planned, pieces cut out and ready to sew together.  With no further fanfare ... here they are!

The skeleton panel was the hit of the bus trip to Portland.  We found it at Fabric Depot and carried off the majority of the panels on display!!  Bordered with disappearing 9patch blocks.  This is the first of this design.  I'm going to make checkerboard with the same 4.5" blocks that are cut.


Halloween strippie!  I tore apart 2  half-price kits I bought for the fabric.  I wasn't going to make those patterns anyway!  I love this back.  I bought that panel a year or so ago from Forget Me Knots in Bandon Oregon.  I guess I was saving it for this back!! 

Funny story - my design wall is black and there are black 8 1/2 strips for the strippie quilts.  Well, I thought I'd messed up and only cut one because I didn't 'see' it on the design wall.  So quickly found another orange fabric; put the black in the middle and orange strips top and bottom!  Then of course, noticed the darn hidden-in-plain-sight strip!  Oh well!


This is obviously the same pattern - made for one of the two younger grandsons -who would live in Superhero capes if they could!  The blue backing fabric is Japanese and has "Super Hero" banners on it.  Since there wasn't enough, I added a Halloween town print too.

Hey!  Why are there not Halloween gift bags???  I could have used 4 of them!  Designers take note!!!  Nanas everywhere are ready to buy them!

I made the lap quilts the size of my favorite lap quilt! 57 x 70  It's big enough to cover you with room to spare.  And it looks nice on a twin bed, just not quite enough drop.  A bunk bed size, if you will.

I had to rely on my old border figuring secret!  Did you know you can 'Google' math???  I asked it "what numbers divide into 43" (the width of the center section), the other dimension was 59.  Both are PRIME NUMBERS!!  nothing divides into them!!  P Poor Planning on my part, I'm sure.

So I found my old adding machine tape.  (Every sewing room needs some of this, along with Freezer paper!!) Laid out a length equal to the size I needed; folded it again and again until I got a section around 3 - 3 1/2." Then marked my quilting segments using that!  Works like a charm!

Another secret I'm passing on to you today is marking:  Mark your quilt with Crayola Washable Fine Line Markers!!  A quilting friend in Nebraska (she's been featured on the cover of Quilter's Newletter Magazine a few times!!!) told me that's all she uses!  AND they go on sale every August!!  But DON'T tell anyone we're using them for quilting or the price will go up!!!!

That's all for now.  I'll be back!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Alaskan Cruise - Day 7

We woke up in Ketchikan!  It was a smooth docking - we didn't even realize we were here!  After a quick breakfast with a wonderful Bostonian couple, we headed off the ship early.  We walked to Creek St - where salmon and men come to spawn (LOL!) ... and even got our totem pole charm. 

Our excursion today is:

Herring Cove Bear Adventure    8:00        3 1/4 hours                         

Join this bear viewing opportunity, which is accessible by road. You'll begin with a narrated 8 mile coastal drive to the forested area of Herring Cove located within the Alaska Rain Forest Sanctuary. Meet your guide and set out on a walking expedition to locate some of the black bears that call this area home. 

You will pass thru tall stands of hemlock, spruce and cedar as you explore the sanctuary. A boardwalk and a series of 5 elevated bridges lead to a private viewing platform overlooking Eagle Creek where bears often come to fish for salmon in the stream. The nearby Whitman Hatchery ensures that the river is teeming with salmon every summer.  

Typically, large numbers of black bears gather here to feed on these huge runs of salmon that are returning to spawn in the stream. Bald eagles perch in the trees waiting patiently for scraps left by the bears. Mink and marten often frequent the area and seals can usually be seen near the mouth of the stream feeding on the bountiful fish runs.  You will have ample time to observe the wildlife activity. 

At the conclusion of the mile-long trail hike you will have an opportunity to interact with and feed Alaskan reindeer and walk through the historic Herring Bay Lumber Co sawmill established by legendary pioneer Ben Fleenor.  See bird of prey up close at the raptor exhibit and visit with a native master carver crafting a totem. Enjoy a snack and beverage at the General Store. Transportation to and from the sanctuary is by motor coach.

The Sanctuary is not exclusive to your tour, it is a multi-use site. so you will encounter guests participating in other tour activities. To minimize resource impacts and maximize wildlife viewing opportunities, this tour is available only to small groups and on a limited basis.  

We caught the bus to Herring Creek. They were very strict.  No gum or candy in your mouth; no food, candy, gum, wet wipes in your bags!  So we cleaned all those out into a bin and off we walked.

It's good luck to touch the totem when going in!

We climbed up the first ramp to the bridge and looked.  And looked and looked!  There were zip-liners going by above our heads!  

When we asked our guide about the set up and why it doesn't bother the bears.  He told us bears have no predators from above, so that doesn't alarm them.

Our guide told us all to look up the hill for bears headed our way; and here they came from down the hill by the creek!  A mom and her 2 cubs.   We took thousands of pictures because we weren't sure where they were going to stop!  But they came up to almost under where we were standing!

They are under the swinging bridge!

Here they are, almost under "our" bridge. For the first time in my life I understood why hunters wanted to take trophies!  Their coats were gleaming black and looked so inviting and cozy ... I wanted to take one home!  I think we watched them for 20 minutes or more.  

You can see the claw marks on the tree where the cubs have climbed.  The cubs stay with Mom for 2 years.  The male bears will try to kill the cubs.  That put mom back into heat and then she can have HIS cubs!

There's a joke of how you can tell what kind of bear is chasing you:  When you are being chased by a bear, climb a tree - if the bear shakes you out of the tree, it's a grizzly or brown bear.  If the bear climbs the tree with you, it's a black bear!

Here's a 'money' shot of salmon jumping.  We walked thru the forest - saw bear scat (yes, they do ... in the woods!); banana slugs and the fish hatchery.  Saw totem poles and met a totem pole artist. Here's a 'topper' in progress.

And we got back into town in time to look thru the jewelry stores.  We picked up all the free gifts I could for Miss P's new jewelry box!  How fun. But we were not in time to take the city bus out to the quilt store.  Oh well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad!  

Later that night I kicked myself.  We should have hired a taxi to take us to it, wait for us and bring us back!!  But it never occurred to us when we were there!

We were back on board for the salmon bake.  The promised rain didn't show up or at least waited until after we left at 12:30. It's been a charmed cruise, weather-wise.

The rest of the day was "at sea" so we went to "The Fragile Oceans" presentation.  I thought it would be a video from NOAA, but it was an interesting lecture.

We stayed for the Captain's Talk and had Mimosas.  He was a good speaker.  And even when asked for questions, I didn't bother to ask why we were out of dill pickles!  A serious situation for lunch sandwiches!

Then we went to the Dancing with the Stars on board session.  I really wanted to try it, but when the instructor said, bring out the sexy ... ummm, no thanks!

Tonight was Gala night, luckily no one at our table was really dressed to the nines.  Met a lovely Japanese woman - N and her husband B.  Then J&S joined us.  They knew each other too.

N is a quilter!  She asked how long I'd been quilting - 41 years.  She said I beat her.  And (thank goodness) I said, that doesn't mean I'm good, just have stamina!  WELL, it ends up - she's a Paducah Show winner!  A pattern designer! and has been accepted into the invitational Japanese shows!!!!  Canon Beach Quilt Shop carries her bag patterns.

What fun to meet her and talk. So tomorrow morning, we're meeting at 10 in the Crow's Nest with our projects for show and tell.  I let the other quilters we've met know too.  Can't wait to see N's hand quilting she's working on!  You do meet the nicest people on cruises.  Especially if they are quilters too.

Dinner was really good: shrimp cocktail; pear, blue cheese, arugula salad; sea bass with Italian veggies; and flourless chocolate cake!  It was excellent.

We went to the show "Ever After " and there were a lot of children there - but it wasn't really a kid show.  An adult version of 3 fairy tales!!  I think there was something like that on IOTSs cruise.  I don't care for them.  We got there late, because we headed the wrong way AGAIN!  So I sat partially behind a pillar! Didn't help endear the show to me!

Tried to get into the piano bar; nope! Tried to watch a video on our dvd player, nope!  So Ulli is sewing and I'm 'blogging' and we're losing an hour tonight anyway. Good night!