Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fourth FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011

Yesterday, we celebrated the fourth FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011.  This time it was Pat's turn to be honored in the celebration.

We started the party in the morning with Pat opening the gifts sent through the mail to her.  I was in such a hurry to get my parcel mailed off to Pat before my holiday that I forgot to snap a picture of it.  So, the picture below has been "borrowed" from Pat's site. 

I made Pat this bag/purse from a pattern called, the Cross Town Carry - Regan's Bag by Marlous Designs.

This is a fat quarter friendly pattern which can be made from 7 fat quarters.  This was a pattern introduced to our Monday night quilting group by Leslie.  Thanks for sharing your talents Leslie and leading us in successful completion of our bags!

I included a package of Coffee Crisp Bites in with Pat's gift.  It has become a tradition this year for me to include something Coffee Crisp in with the birthday packages I send.  We love Coffee Crisp in our house and I have been sharing this not-available-across-the-border treat with my friends. 

After Pat was done opening her birthday presents, we started working on our quilts.  Pat's choice of pattern was Minnesota Hot Dish by Atkinson Designs. 

This is one of my blocks.  You would never suspect that this log cabin inspired block would become the spiral design of the finished quilt.

I didn't have time before Saturday to cut my strips so I only finished a few blocks--enough though, that I could see the design emerge when you placed the blocks together in a quilt. 

All the fabrics in my quilt were 2.5 inch strips cut from my stash.  Shop the stash first!

Utah-New Mexico Vacation-Part 11

From Colorado, we continued north to South Dakota where we visited the Crazy Horse Memorial site.  The day we were at Crazy Horse the fog was so thick that you could not see the mountain.  Instead, we had to be content with looking at the smaller bronze statue of Crazy Horse located within the Visitors' Center.

There were many quilts for sale in the Visitors' Center and Gift Shop.

There were also quilts within the Museum connected to the Visitors' Center.

After leaving Crazy Horse, we headed over to Mount Rushmore.  As you can see by my picture below, the only thing visible was the fog.  Somewhere behind me, through the fog is the famous mountain carving of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt.

This is a picture of my husband in front of The Avenue of Flags.

While in South Dakota, we spent two nights in Deadwood.

With the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1875, miners, muleskinners, madams and entrepreneurs were flocking to Deadwood by the spring of 1876 to discover their fortune. Gunman, Wild Bill Hickok was Deadwood's most famous resident.

By 1876, Wild Bill had reached the age of 38 and had just recently married Agnes Lake, whom he promptly left in Cincinnati as he made his way to the Black Hills of Dakota Territory, no place for a respectable woman. He organized an expedition to travel west from St. Louis and arrived in Deadwood via Cheyenne in June of that year. Traveling in his company were other famous characters of the Old West, Calamity Jane and Colorado Charley Utter along with a host of “women of ill-repute” looking to make a living in the gold town.
Wild Bill’s reputation preceded him. As a noted lawman, gunslinger and gambler he was already immortalized through American folklore and dime store novels. Some speculate that he came to Deadwood to attempt to land a job as the local lawman, others muse that he was after the gold that the miners spread across the gambling tables, or possibly a combination of the two.

Deadwood Gulch was filling to the brim with humanity that summer, all looking for the same thing: gold. Main Street rang with the sounds of the constant construction of retail stores, saloons, brothels, and hotels. The breeze was sweet with the smell of fresh cut pine and the sweat of hard work. The street, a trail blazed along the creek where miners and prospectors toiled long hours, was a muddy path cut deep by the ruts of heavy wagons and horse hoofs. The town was rife with lawlessness and home to several noted killers of the time. The lower section of town, the north end, became known as the badlands as the seedier establishments congregated together to attract those searching for “recreation.”

Wild Bill was known to frequent those establishments that summer, in particular to join a card game on a regular basis. He was always careful to sit with his back against the wall as there was always someone looking to make a name for himself by ending the famous gunman’s life. On August 2nd, shortly after noon, Bill made his way down from the covered wagon he called home to the No.10 Saloon where he greeted the bartender, Harry Young, and made his way to a table where a game was already in progress. He was wearing his typical black frock coat and hat, his mustache and long brown hair flowing in fine fashion. Around the table sat Carl Mann, Captain Massie and Charles Rich, leaving one seat open, back to the door.

Bill asked Charlie Rich to change places, but he laughed and refused as he was winning and had no desire to change his luck, so Bill sat down on the fated stool. He hadn’t been playing long when a drifter by the name of Jack McCall entered the room. Jack circled the table and then as he made his way around Bill’s back he swiftly drew a pistol and shouting “Damn you, take that!” shot him in the back of the head. Wild Bill Hickok, Prince of the Pistoleers, folded forward onto the table splaying his cards, black aces and eights, forever known as the “deadman’s hand.”

The bullet traveled through Bill’s head and struck Massie in the left wrist. McCall waved his gun wildly and attempted to shoot others in the bar but his gun wouldn’t fire so he backed out the rear entrance.

McCall ran up the street but didn’t get far as the cry arose that Wild Bill was shot and he was drug from a hasty hiding place in Shroudy’s Meat Market. The no account drifter was tried by a miners court and acquitted because of his claim that Wild Bill had killed his brother. He left town on a fast horse that afternoon. It was later discovered that Jack didn't have a brother and he was captured and hung in Yankton, SD, where he is buried in an unmarked grave.

This story of Wild Bill Hickock was taken from the following site on the Internet:

From Deadwood, it was a long day's drive back to Regina, Saskatchewan and then a flight home to BC.

This was a spectacular holiday full of great experiences and fantastic scenery!

Utah-New Mexico Vacation-Part 10

After our stay in Santa Fe, we headed north to Colorado.  We awoke in Colorado Springs to a dusting of snow.  As the sun warmed the ground the snow melt everywhere except Pikes Peak visible in the background of the Garden of the Gods Park in the picture below.

In August 1859 when two surveyors started out from Denver City to begin a town site, soon to be called Colorado City they came upon a beautiful area of sandstone formations. One of the surveyors suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden" when the country grew up. His companion, exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods." It has been so called ever since.

Below is a picture of Balanced Rock within the Park.

This is a picture of my husband posing as though he was the full weight of the rock on his shoulder.
To get the perspective of size, this is a picture of my husband next to the rock.

After leaving Garden of the Gods, we travelled down the highway to Denver.  We enjoyed a tour of downtown Denver with our step-aboard guide which included an inside look at the Capitol building.

The capitol building was built in the 1890's and in 1908 24 karat gold was used to plate the dome. The gold plated dome commemorates Colorado's Gold Rush days, and the early pioneers and miners who helped build the state of Colorado.

The architecture inside the Capitol building was spectacular.

The interior of the capitol was built with the rare and priceless Colorado Rose Onyx.  The mauve marble is so rare that its known supply was completely used up in the process of beautifying the capitol.

This quilt, hanging in the Capitol building is comprised of blocks that symbolize Colorado.  The 19 stars on the left and right side of the quilt represent the 38th state--Colorado.  A total of 250 hours of hand embroidery and machine stitching was necessary to complete the quilt.  The quilt was originally hung in the 2007 Colorado Quilting Council Quilt Show which was held in the Capitol building.  What a fantastic location for a quilt show!
I spied this quilt hanging in the office of the Governor.

Utah-New Mexico Vacation - Part 9

From Santa Fe, we took a day trip up to Taos.  In Taos, we visited the Taos Pueblo.  The Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The multi-storied adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years.

The Pueblo is made entirely of adobe -- earth mixed with water and straw, then either poured into forms or made into sun-dried bricks. The walls are frequently several feet thick. The roofs of each of the five stories are supported by large timbers hauled down from the mountain forests. Smaller pieces of wood are placed side-by-side on top of the large timbers; then the whole roof is covered with packed dirt. The outside surfaces of the Pueblo are continuously maintained by replastering with think layers of mud. Interior walls are carefully coated with thin washes of white earth to keep them clean and bright. The Pueblo is actually many individual homes, built side-by-side and in layers, with common walls but no connecting doorways. In earlier days there were no doors or windows and entry was gained only from the top.

The North-Side Pueblo is said to be one of the most photographed and painted buildings in the Western Hemisphere. It is the largest multi storied pueblo structure still existing.

The pueblo wall completely encloses the village except at the entrance.  The wall used to be much taller for protection from surrounding tribes.  The pueblo's primary purpose was for defense. Up to as late as 1900, access to the rooms on lower floors was by ladders on the outside to the roof, and then down an inside ladder. In case of an attack, outside ladders could easily be pulled up.

This is a picture of me with our guide--a university student who supplements his income by narrating tours of the Pueblo.  I asked him if he was often asked to pose for pictures with tourists.  He told me that yes, he did get lots of requests, but he didn't mind as he thought it was neat to be in photo albums all over the world.

After visiting the Pueblo, we headed into Taos to the Taos Plaza.  Our bus parked in a parking lot within walking distance of a quilt shop--Taos Adobe Quilting.

This is a picture of me outside the shop.

The shop was small but jam packed with colourful fabrics.

I bought a selection of SW Themed fat quarters...

...and a kit to make a pepper table runner.  The pattern and fabrics are from a collection called Caliente Peppers by south Sea Imports.  We have seen lots of red peppers hanging from buildings and in doorways so this table runner will definitely remind me of my trip to the SW. 

Utah-New Mexico Vacation - Part 8

In Santa Fe, we visited the famous and beautiful Loretto Chapel.

The story of the Loretto Chapel began with the appointment of Bishop Jean Baptisite Lamy to the New Mexico Territory in 1850. The following year, Father Lamy asked the Sisters of Loretto to establish a school for girls in the town of Santa Fe.

In 1853, the Sisters opened the Academy of Our Lady of Light (aka Loretto). Over the next twenty years, the day and boarding school flourished and grew. By 1870, the Sisters believed the school needed a chapel. Funds were raised, land was purchased, and in 1873, work on Loretto Chapel began.

Only as the Chapel neared completion did the Sisters realize that access to the choir loft, 22 feet above, would have to be by ladder. A staircase would take up too much space in the small chapel. Climbing a ladder to the choir loft would be a great difficulty for the Sisters. This posed an impossible dilemma that no architect or carpenter was able to solve.

According to the story, the Sisters, seeking an answer to their architectural design dilemma, made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. Legend says on the ninth and final day of the novena, a man showed up at the chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later the elegant circular staircase was completed and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. Some believe that he was St. Joseph himself.

The staircase is a wonder. Some of the design considerations are said to still perplex experts today. Built without nails (only wooden pegs) the staircase has two 360 degree turns with no visible means of support -- a kind of double helix design -- and with no railing. It was not until 1887 -- ten years after the staircase was completed -- that an artisan added the railing.

There are also design questions about the number of stair risers compared to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction -- some of which appear not to have been available from any known local source.

The staircase in Loretto Chapel is truly a miracle of construction and design.

After visiting Loretto Chapel, we wandered through the shops in the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe.

I didn't find a quilt shop in the Plaza, but I did find these wonderful textiles and quilts hanging outside of a colourful little shop.