Back to Normal

Back to normal–whatever that is, huh?  After any trip I am always anxious to get back to normal.  That seems to always include a stop at Trader Joe’s to stock up on dairy and vegetables, making a batch of homemade yogurt, and cleaning the house.  How does a house get dirty while you are gone?  Oh.  Three little doggies…

Anyway, it was a wonderful fall trip.  Full of color and inspiration, and that was before I ever got to the quilting retreat!  So here’s my rather long and picture-full report.  And then I can truly get ‘back to normal.’

First stop was just an overnight stay in Klamath Falls.  I didn’t want to try the 9 1/2 hour drive to Sisters in one day.  (Although I guess I thought that would be okay for the drive home…)  Hotwire helped me make this reservation.  I can’t say enough good about my experience with Hotwire.  I called them because I had made a reservation and then they sent me an email with a better deal.  So even though their reservations are ‘no backsides,’ they honored that and gave me a $30 refund.  Which I applied to this place.  It was a very luxurious resort, only about 3 miles off the main drag.  I thought it would be a perfect place  if I was a writer and wanted a place to hide out and write for a while!

The next morning as I drove towards Sisters, I crossed a body of water and noticed the name was ‘Pelican Bay.’  Hmmm, isn’t that funny how they choose to name something?’ (thinking that Pelicans were sea birds, and this was an inland lake.)  Just then I noticed some big birds out of the corner of my eye!  Fortunately there was a place to pull over, and I grabbed my camera and jumped out of the car.  I was so EXCITED when I saw the first  three pelicans in this picture.  They were so much bigger and brighter than the ocean pelicans I am used to seeing!

And I was beyond excited when this PLATOON of pelicans floated into view!  So glad that I stopped to enjoy the view.  So many times I just keep on driving.

I had done map quests to Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods to stock up on food for the week.  And so I stopped at Costco, and it turns out that was the only place I needed to stop.  I got one of those whole cooked chickens, a bag of salad with all the fixings, a loaf of their good bread, and a giant container of grapes.  Turns out this was a non-cooking trip.  So all that stuff was just right for grab and go meals.

The little cottage I rented (ha!  It was bigger than my ‘house,’) was beautiful and perfect for two people.  I was alone until Sunday night when my best friend arrived to spend a couple of days with me.

First night I was signed up for a lecture with Gwen Marston.  She is such a talented artist, and so funny and down to earth.  Her hand quilting  is beautiful, and has influenced how I am quilting my ‘housetop quilts.’

I had a free day in between, and I took advantage of that to explore the town of Sisters on foot.  I got in plenty of walking exercise.

I was inspired by Gwen’s work, and took out a little pack of hand-dyed fabric I had bought at the previous quilt show, and started a little quilt.

Later in the week I actually started hand-quilting on it, using Gwen’s liberated quilting method!

And finally the retreat started!  Here is an example of the work of Sue Spargo, the other teacher.  Her work is over-the-top spectacular, filled with every kind of handwork imaginable.

close up of some of the stitching:

I was quite unsure of myself at the beginning of this workshop.  All I knew for sure was that I wanted to use some deep magenta and green wool that I had bought for the project.  So I ended up spending a day and a half just piecing the top.

NO.  Those are not yellow clouds or mushrooms.  I ended up using this next picture that I took of the scene right outside the lodge where the class was held.  Lovely shapes of drying yarrow.  The quilt will look better when I fill in with stems and foliage and maybe some birds (I hope!)

I did get the hang of appliqué, and I finally got around to learning some new stitches the last day.  Very fun!  It was also fun to work with wool and silk, and velvet, some fabric that is considered difficult to work with.  Sue had a lot of experience in using those fabrics.

My friend arrived Sunday night, and so of course we went out shopping on Monday.  So fun to be able to talk in person with a friend.  Much better than the telephone!  I had to check out the local yarn shop, just for Shelley!

I bought three skeins of an old favorite, Koigu yarns, and started a ‘linen stitch’ scarf.  I totally LOVE the way the colors change constantly, and this is a fun and easy stitch to do.

Soon enough, the week was over, and I was on my way home.  I drove home in one day through rain and snow and sunshine.  And beautiful views of Oregon, one of my most favorite states.

It was a week full of creativity of every type, beautiful color, a little too much good food, not quite enough exercise, and plenty of great conversation, with just enough relaxation mixed in.

And now…back to normal.




11 thoughts on “Back to Normal

  1. Oh, I have my routines to get back to normal too. I have a coworker who will arrive back from a trip at midnight and be at work the next day. I do not comprehend this. I need my buffer inbetween.

    Love love love the photos of the pelicans! LOVE. And though I am not a knitter in any way, shape or form, I truly appreciate those photos of the yarn shop… I think I might be able to hear Shelley’s shrieks from here!

    The whole tone of this post is beauty and peace. I think you had a wonderful time. Welcome back.

    • Yeah, when I worked, there were women who did that too. I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now.

      I think you’re right. It was a very peaceful vacation.

  2. Sounds like a great week – I can’t wait to add Oregon to my list of visited states. That cottage looks wonderful. So glad you enjoyed it and got home safely.!

  3. Oh my. So much eye candy in this post. And that yarn shop!!!!!!!!! I want to go there. /Liz Lemon, 30 Rock. But seriously, wow. I want to try the Koigu yarn – it’s gorgeous! We need to have another yarn shopping/knitting day, and soon!

    Your embroidery is stellar. I’m so glad you used it for your header – it’s really beautiful. The whole workshop looks like it was amazing; so glad you had such a good time.

    The pelicans – who knew? Great shots!

  4. What a fun post! I loved the “herd” of pelicans. 😀
    And the embroidery and embellishments on the tree in her quilt is indeed stunning. But you know what?? Yours is too! The way you started your quilt, with the rich embroidery over the velvet/wool/silk, well, I can’t wait to see the rest. I love love that look. So rich and sumptuous!

  5. Oh I love those “life unscripted” moments. It’s wonderful when we have time (or MAKE time) to stop and savor them.

    I’m glad you had so much fun at the workshop! Your work is so beautiful. I suspect you will be leading workshops yourself someday!

  6. I have taken a class with Gwen and agree that she is a gem.

    On first glance at the crayon shaped yarn cubbies, I thought it was an appliqued wool wall hanging.

    Very glad you had a fun time.

  7. What a fulfilling week you had!! Those quilts are amazing – I can’t even imagine doing something like that.

    Glad you are back safe and sound! 🙂

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