Sunday, 4 August 2013

I know it's been too long, but I am back now

Well hello there. Had you given me up for lost - sold to the quilting slave trade in outer Birmingham in advance of the Festival of Quilts, or impoverished by over eagerness on Etsy. No, it was just a  holiday, oh and a bit of a manic lead up to said holiday beforehand. It is nearly 2 months since my last blog ( sounds like something you might hear at confession ?) and I have been itching to get writing again but there was so  much to do both before and after our trip that I just had to be patient. But now the bags are unpacked, the laundry is done ( but not ironed) and I have had a productive day catching up on my Bee blocks so its time to fill you all in on what we have been up to. 
just a wee taster of our beautiful trip

The beloved and I were lucky enough to head off to the North West of the USA for a great chunk of July and oh my goodness, what a wonderful place. We managed to pack in a little bit of the city, the beach, the high plains and the mountains not to mention lots of wildlife.  If you are not familiar with this part of the world and it seems many that Brits in particular are not, I cannot recommend it enough. We started out in Seattle, which was hot and busy but great fun and then headed south down the coast ( stunning) for a few days then headed inland to the high plains of Bend. Here I had an ulterior motive as the 2nd Saturday in July every year is the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Festival and I had managed to wrangle the date so this was the pivot of the holiday ( my husband is such a  patient man!).
 Sisters has a population of about 2000 the rest of the year but on this one day it is boosted to over 15,000 with visitors from all over, converging to see this great mix of work from all over the world. There certainly was a mixture of styles and my heart was lifted to find not just the traditional quilting that is more common in small town USA. There was  great addition of "Modern Quilting" and the organisers of this extravanaganza, "The Stitching Post" was a fabulous Mecca of all things modern, with every kind of beautiful fabric and pattern you could imagine. A shop with very little beige is the best way I can describe it. Most definitely worth a visit on line too, here. There were of course some which did not suit my taste and JB and I had a competition to see who could spot the ugliest one of all, but of course that would too unkind to divulge here tee hee ( you could always email me if you too are truly wicked too!). It was a very very hot day, but the locals of Sisters have it sussed and so well organised that, despite so many people, we didn't have a moment of stress or quilt-rage, although I would like to send a warning to photographers everywhere. People on mass are camera blind!!! How many of my carefully composed pictures suddenly were bombed by a batty old lady from Florida in dodgy sun hat wandering aimlessly by? Can't even count them....
Next stop after Sisters was the Blue Mountains out in Eastern Oregon, where we stayed on a  beautiful farm with a terrific couple, at the Barking Mad Farm. If there was a way of shipping my family and friends en masse this would be place I would go to retire. Me and the old chap sat on our balcony at night looking our over the fields, to see the buffalo roaming and the larks flitting by, whilst sipping on the local brew picked up an aptly named micro brewery named Terminal Gravity ( you can figure it out I am sure). Idyllic was not the word.  

Our hosts were a hoot and we met some great fellow inmates and I have to say I was sad to leave, but it was time to head back west towards Seattle and our flight home. On our way though we stopped off at a bizarre little town called Leavenworth, which I had visited some 14 years or so ago, but which had stuck in my memory. Deep in the Cascades is this small "Bavarian" themed town, the brain child of some chap back in the 60's who thought a themed town would save it from becoming a ghost of a place. And by George, was he right! It is clearly a popular place to visit and in the most amazing surroundings, but sitting in a restaurant deep in Washington State, with all the signage in German, waitresses are in full dirndls and 95 degrees in the shade, well it is all a little disconcerting. An experience I think JB called it? 

The view front our deck at "Run of the River ", Leavenworth, WA

We adored our lodgings, as the locals like to call them, which was a very smart retreat on the outskirts of the town called "Run of the River". Definitely another recommendation  if you are ever in Leavenworth and want to escape the leiderhossen. It is stunning, very romantic and a joy to stay at. Oh and not for the light hearted breakfast wise.
Anyway, for fear of this turning into a travelogue, we arrived back home to the inevitable end of the first Scottish heat wave in years, torrential rain, a fried garden and three suitcases of washing. But I did have the excitement of trying to find a home for all my quilt shopping ,which as you can see fair filled the dining table.
I went mainly for fat quarters, based on a space and weight analysis ( ever the scientist you see), but managed to sneak in a few cutting blades, some very snazzy zips and a few patterns. These will certainly pop up on the blog in the future so I won't go into details  now, but I would like to give credit to some great shops below which I visited on my journey. Everyone I met was fantastic and perhaps a little intrigued in by the small English woman from Scotland and her large husband. I did not take it personally that they all ( to a woman!) said they adored my husband's accent which was " so much nicer" than mine. At least they didn't think I was Australian on this visit, which has been the norm on previous US trips. We will not of course not mention the unfortunate incident of the Seattle quilt shop who took advantage of a somewhat jet lagged middle aged woman and ripped her off completely, but let's just say she was "Stitched up like a Kipper". For those from across the pond that is not a needlework term....You might like to google it.
 It has since been back to work as normal, but I did have the added excitement this week of a birthday, a tipsy food tasting night at Harvey Nicks in Edinburgh and a lovely new SLR camera from the beloved, so it's not all bad. Bee blocks awaited me on my arrival home and I have spent the day catching up on all the blocks( they are all on flickr if you want to pop by) which I need to get out in the post. Do you know though, it hardly feels like we have been away. But hold on, what's that large pile of fabric still sitting homeless in the dining table, unable to fit in the stash shelves. Oh yes, I remember now.
Fabulous. That's all I can say of Oregon .Fabulous.
The Painted Hills, High Plains, Oregon

  Special thanks for making my retail therapy part of the holiday go to:
 You were all Fab


  1. So now I am stalking you to see what else we have in common.
    Your trip sounds like a real treat.

    1. hahahaha stalk away . I am still in shock over our duplicitous blocks . The trip really was fab thanks, and i would really recommend the area


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