Friday, March 27, 2015

Tulip Time in the Pacific Northwest

I love the changing of the seasons. Sometimes I find myself yearning to live in a warmer climate, where the sun shines more and there aren't so many gray drizzly days, but then I remember all the benefits of living in a mild climate, especially as hubby and I age, and I soon find contentment again. I love it as each season moves into the next, but Spring is my favorite season. I love seeing everything coming to life again.

Yesterday we threw a few things in the car and drove North a little less than two hours and found ourselves in the Skagit Valley. Now I have to admit to you that I have lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life except for 4 short years when I lived in eastern Washington. In all those years I had never traveled north for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I had heard about it for many years, but had never been curious enough to go check it out. Until yesterday. And I am oh so glad we did!

Our first stop just off the freeway was for ice cream. It was one of those "oh, ice cream! pull over" moments. You know the ones ... when the guy driving behind you is probably muttering under his breath about how crazy the old people in front of him are diving. As the gravel in the parking lot crunched beneath the tires of the car I spotted the sandwich board sign that reminded me that although I felt like I had driven far from home, I was indeed still in Washington:

Ya gotta love Washington!! :)

After purchasing our ice cream (moving right to the munchies and skipping the recreational stuff) we drove another few miles and checked into our room at The Wild Iris Bed and Breakfast. Flowers greeted us on the porch:

and a lovely gathering area was just next to the check in desk:

A warm greeting and an escorted walk to our room brought smiles to our faces at just how lovely The Wild Iris truly is.

We couldn't have been happier with our room, and the fireplace and soaking tub were an extra bonus:

If you're into lounging around the facility there is a lovely front porch with comfy chairs. Next time we visit I plan to do some knitting there:

After settling into our room, and spending a little time relaxing, we took a walk where all the shops are. I discovered a yarn shop which is always a pleasant surprise:

After checking out the shops, we had Italian food for dinner at La Traviata in La Conner:

The next morning we reluctantly checked out and headed out to find the tulip fields. It didn't take long, with the help of a great map that showed us where they all were. We decided to go to RoozenGaarde Farm and were delighted to find everything that we were hoping for, including an amazing gift shop.

I took far too many photos of the flowers, so I will only include a few here. I wish there was a way to include the fragrance we encountered when we opened the car door. The scent of the flowers was powerful and wonderful.

Thanks so much for hanging in there with me if you've gotten this far. I know it's a long entry, but I couldn't help but indulge myself as I'm reliving the fun I just had in The Skagit Valley. I leave you with these two photos. As we were driving back to the freeway to return home, we noticed what we thought was a lot of something white blooming in the field up ahead. We wondered out loud what if might be, possibly white tulips? As we got closer we realize it was Snow Geese. Many many MANY Snow Geese. I simply HAD to pull over for two more photos:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Oh my! I had forgotten all about this blog since Facebook took over my life. Maybe I will try a little blogging. Maybe this will be a one-time post and a forgotten blog left to languish will replace future posts. Who knows? Time will tell.

I've been busy with my new hobby: knitting. Unfortunately that placed my quilting on the back burner. I admit to feelings of guilt each time I walk by the sewing room. Sometimes I think I hear my sewing machine calling my name. But oh so much easier to just pick up the knitting needles.

We had a mild winter and very early spring. Lots and Lots of sunshine has replaced the usual gray drizzly skies. The crocus are already done blooming for this year and flowering trees are showing off all over town. My maple trees are just beginning to open their leaf buds. As always I enjoy spring just a little bit more than the other seasons.

Jake and Emma went to play at Rainbow Bridge last year. We still miss them. We talk about a new furry family member but I just don't think that either of us are ready yet. One of these days it will probably happen, but just not right now.

We have two new great grandsons since I posted last. And our son is engaged to be married sometime soon. I have settled into retirement quite well and love the mostly lazy days I spend doing whatever I want, with an occasional appointment tossed in.

That's about it. If I remember to post, I'll stop by with some photos of my latest knitting project. Making a pair of green tweed socks right now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time to Sew Again

I'm excited for January to arrive. I know, I know, Christmas isn't even here yet. But I've signed up for two quilting clubs at The Wild Rose Quilt Shop ( in Orting and I can't wait to get started.

Each group meets once a month.

One is the "Lunch Bunch" and we meet for 4 hours and each work on our own quilt that will be complete at the end of the year. And, as indicated by the group name, we meet over lunch time and have a meal together.

The Second group is "Jo's Little Women Club". It is a step back in time to the Civil War era, with sewing small quilts using reproduction fabrics from that time. We will be discussing books written about that time period, learning about women's lives back then, taking some field trips to local quilt shows, possibly even making some soap.

This is a photo of one of the quilts we'll be making:

"Jo" is Jo Morton of Jo Morton Quits, Nebraska City, NE, and her fabrics are Andover Fabrics. I've just become aware of her and her reproduction fabrics and can't wait to learn more.

But first .... Christmas ..... :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


There is an echo in Safeco Field!!

It is my opinion that there are TWO seasons to each year: 7 months of BASEBALL and 5 months of WAITING for baseball.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Lady Washington

I'd like to begin by mentioning that my love for sailing began when I was in my teens. I had a friend who would take me with her when her parents went sailing on their sailboat. I fell in love with the movement of the boat on the water, the sounds of the lines straining with the tension of the sails full of air, and the cry of the gulls. To me, then and now, it just doesn't get any better than that.

I've always dreamed of having my own boat and being able to be out on the water whenever I wanted to, but that never happened. But through the years I've had occasion to get out on someone else's boat and when that happened, I loved every moment of it. There was a time, about 15-20 years ago, when we were able to be aboard a friend's 49 ft sailboat for a week in the Canadian San Juan Islands. That was such an amazing opportunity and I will remember it forever. But that's another story. :)

I wasn't aware of The Lady Washington, nor that it was possible to actually sail on her. When I discovered her online I couldn't buy tickets fast enough. I was delighted to find that I could get tickets for the Sunset Sail on Wednesday, August 19th.

If you aren't aware of her either, just a little background: The Lady Washington is the Official Ship of the State of Washington. She is a full-scale reproduction of the original Lady Washington built in the British Colony of Massachusetts in the 1750's. In more recent times, you may remember her from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean in which she played The HMS Interceptor. I must admit I did think a time or two, while moving about her deck, that Johnny Depp did indeed walk this very deck also. I digress ... LOL

Our three hour sail was done on a 90 degree day, so the weather was perfect, and the sunset magnificent. We arrived at the dock about 3 hours early, intentionally, so we could hang out at the water until time to board. We found a little pub nearby and sat outside and enjoyed oyster sandwiches and conversation with another guest, while breathing the salt air and enjoying the sounds of the waterway. Walking a short distance, we found a small marina store, and purchased some bottled water and snacks to take aboard with us. At approximately 6pm we were allowed to board, given safety instructions and then motored away from the dock and out into Commencement Bay.

The Hawaiian Chieftan sailed at the same time, and we considered ourselves fortunate to be aboard The Lady this first time out. (when buying tickets, you can not specify which ship you want to be on, you just have to get lucky enough to be assigned to the one that you want) Once away from Thea Foss Waterway and out into the bay, sails were raised and engines slowed (I'm not sure if they were ever completely cut). We stayed in that vicinity of the bay for the evening, sailing back and forth, while the crew attempted a few sailing maneuvers. The 360 turn without changing the sails only accomplished 180 degrees, but impressive just the same. And then the setting sun took center stage.

It was difficult to disembark, but the attitude seemed to be that Barb could NOT now live aboard The Lady, no matter how much she might want to. We left the world of water and fantasy and returned to automobiles & paved highways, and made our way home.

We have committed to sailing on The Lady at least once each summer, and are so very pleased to have found her.

If you'd like to know more about her, you can read about her, and The Hawaiian Chieftan, here: Grays Harbor Historical Seaport

And .... finally ... some of the photos I took while aboard:

The Lady Washington, before boarding

Would those be pirates climbing the rigging?

Me, with The Hawaiian Chieftan in the distance

The Hawaiian Chieftan

As close as we could come to Pirates - a few members of the crew

Another view of The Hawaiian Chieftan

Sailboats on Commencement Bay

Mount Rainier at sunset

A beautiful sunset

Another of the sunset, with the Olympic Mountains to the right

Two of the crew, and a last peek at the sun for the day

The end of the day, with the lights on shore beginning to become visible as darkness takes hold.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Class Quilt

My quilt from my latest class is pinned together and ready to quilt. The shiny spots you see are the brass pins that are holding the top, batting and back together. I'm going to quilt this one myself, on my machine, just to see how I can do. I did try to shadow quilt one of the bow-ties, and except for one or two wobbly stitches, it turned out pretty good.

I learned a lot in this class. A lot of new techniques were introduced and I feel a little more confident to pick designs and color now.

Here's a close up of one of the corners. The binding isn't on yet. The brown you see at the bottom is actually the backing.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Many Trips

I really like this block. I haven't been as pleased with a block as I am with this one in a long time. I love the colors, and the movement. It's called "Many Trips".

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sewing Again

When I went back to work last spring, I forgot that I had a sewing machine. Well, maybe didn't forget, but sure didn't make time to use it anymore. In December I realized that if I want to sew, I will have to schedule time to do it and make it a priority. So I signed up for a new quilting class and have taken two of the eight so far. Here's my first block, and I'm working on block number two.

The colors are exciting and different from anything I've done before and I'm really enjoying it. This is the Log Cabin block.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

6th Quilt Block

This one just makes me laugh. I missed the class on how to do it, and the instructions that I picked up were not complete. I thought that I could fake it, and I sorta did ... except that when I was done, the block is 11 1/4" square instead of 12 1/2" square. LOL Oh well .... guess I'll not be using this one in the quilt. LOL

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Finished Quilt

I'm amazed at how long it's been since I posted anything here. I went back to work the end of May, and obviously I haven't had much time for anything but that. However, I DID manage to finally complete the binding on my quilt and it's even been through the washer and dryer to soften it up. Any evening that's a little cool, you can find me curled up under it on the couch.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

5th Quilt Block

Another square for the block a month quilt. This makes 5. I tossed this one together in a hurry. And it shows. Oh well. What the heck. :) I'm a working girl now. I'm just happy to have it done in time for class Thursday night.

Friday, June 09, 2006

My First Quilt - back from the quilter

My quilt is back from the quilters. Wish I had a better camera or was a better photographer, but this will give you an idea what it looks like. I still need to put the binding on.

A little closer up, to give you a better idea of what the quilter did. She used a varigated thread.

Here's a close up of what she did in the group of 4 small, light squares. You can see on the other photo what she did in the small, single light squares.

And a close look at the boarder. She used feathers here and I'm really happy with it.