Wednesday, September 21, 2011

West and Back Again

  • 2  people, celebrating 39 years of marriage
  • 3 quilt shops in: Lincoln, Nebraska (Cosmic Cow); Durango, Colorado; and Napa, California
  • 5 different US National Parks
  • 10 different motels including the Wine Country Inn, St. Helena, California
  • 13 whole days away from home
  • 17 can't-buy-these-anywhere-else bottles of Napa Valley wines from six wineries
  • 4,538 miles on our Nissan Rogue, from Iowa to California and back
That's what I've been doing!

Between September 6 and 19, my husband and I traveled. We drove and drove on a long anticipated visit to Napa Valley, California. We spent more than a week sight-seeing our way through Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, with incredible views of breath-taking scenery, and sometimes cliff-hanging, hair-raising mountaintop roads!
Cliff House, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
While at the Visitor's Center at Canyonlands National Park, we met a couple from Wentworth Falls, New South Wales, Australia. Of course we had a nice chat about family, and places we had in common.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Arches National Park, Utah
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon, Inspiration Point - 8,100 feet
If HE looks like he's sitting on the edge of his seat, he is!
He didn't like having his back to the open cliff!
In between dazzling views in five National Parks - Isn't God a masterful landscape artist? - we passed through Durango, Colorado. Though we'd never been to Durango and didn't have time for a good visit, I managed to convince my husband I needed to visit the Durango Sewing Center. The shop had a ad in a tourism brochure that advertised 10 percent off a purchase with just a mention of the brochure. It's another reason to always stop at the visitor's center in each state.

We stopped, though 15 minutes wasn't nearly adequate to take it all in, let alone decide what fabrics to buy!

Durango Sewing Center carries lots of modern fabrics that include Art Gallery Fabrics. I wasn't familiar with that brand, but I am now! I learned they're designed by the Art Gallery Fabrics owner, Patricia Bravo, and that all the 100 percent cotton fabrics are 200-count. I wanted every one of these Nature Elements prints, but settled on just one... the gray one.
"Nature Elements" collection by Art Gallery Fabrics
A clerk brought out a quilt made entirely of Art Gallery Fabrics and insisted I feel it. The hand is extremely nice.

I especially liked perusing this rack of one-yard pieces of various prints. That's "Wrenly" at the bottom right. I'd seen it on blogs and on-line quilt shops, but hadn't seen it in person. It's odd that I knew it was Wrenly before I checked the selvage to see if I was correct! See how much you learn when you read blogs?
Display of one-yard pieces
The next quilt shop I visited happened several days later, just after we'd ridden the Wine Train - in the Vista Dome car - a three hour-long trip from Napa to Calistoga and back. We started the lunch trip with champagne, and it kept getting better and better, including just about the best food we've ever eaten.

Check out these teeny, unbelievably in-credi-lious hand-made Grand Marnier dark chocolate truffles.

Ahhh, but I digress...

Quiltmaker in Napa, California. I don't know how I lucked out, but all three of the shops I visited on this trip had modern fabrics. I was in my element, gushing over all the bright, retro, fun prints, and wishing I could take home every single bolt in the Quiltmaker shop!  
I'm very much into lime these days. It's the new neutral according to American Quilter magazine.
 This is what I love to see!

A selection of "Sherbet Pips"

I have to thank the shop owner (above), and two customers, who did their best to keep my husband engaged and entertained while I looked around. When I returned to the cutting table with another bolt of fabric to add to a small, growing pile, he would groan and say, "Aren't you done yet?" Before I could reply, the shop owner had my back: "She's only getting 1/3 yard. That's not very much." 

One of the customers saw my selections and said, "I don't know how you can choose so quickly!" Believe me. It's a talent I've had to develop.

I spent only $25 on fabric which I was quick to justify as being much less costly than some of the bottles of wine we bought.
Wines from Reverie - Yes, that's "Ass-kicken" wine. The vintner's last name is Kiken!
It was wonderful to get out and see the natural beauty that the US has to offer. I hadn't been to some of those national parks since I was a kid - like 44 years ago - so it was especially nice to appreciate them more the second time around than I did the first.

And the ambience of Napa Valley is magical.

The ambience of home is comfortable. The dog, who was ably cared for by a close friend, was thrilled to see us again. Who knew that an eight year-old beagle- chow mix can leap three feet, vertically!?

And other happinesses...
  1. I won a giveaway from World of Charity Stitching and have a $50 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop that I must spend.
  2. I learned that Snowflake Medallion quilt and Life is a Celebration: Nature (the red bird in the tree wall hanging) have been juried into the Pacific International Quilt Festival. Though I can't attend the show, if you're in Santa Clara, California, Oct. 13-16... well, lucky you!
  3. I'll be teaching beginner quiltmaking lessons for another Stitchin' Mission - #25! - at a Lutheran church just down the street from me. It will be a large class (no class size limit), so that means many baby quilts for pregnant moms at House of Mercy here in Des Moines. If you're in the area, please join us! We start Thursday, Oct. 6.
  4. We're going to see these three little men and young lady very soon. I can't wait!
Austin (16 months)
Aesa (10 months); Tay (two, Sept. 28)
What happinesses are happening with you? Linda


Doris said...

Great recap, and most of all, congrats on your acceptance into the juried show! I really must start entering things one of these days...

Tammy Vasser said...

Wow! It looks like an awesome trip! It's so great to get away and so nice to get home. See you soon!

Deb said...

What a marvelous trip, and many congrats for getting your quilts juried into the show. It looks like you had a great time, and I know you will enjoy the wines for some time to come.

Sallie said...

Happy anniversary! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

Jackie's Stitches said...

Happy Anniversary!

I've not been to the states you've mentioned but sure want to go one day. There is so much here in the US to see and do.

Congrats on getting your quilts juried into the show!

~Michelle~ said...

I didn't know there are so many national parks in Utah! Glad you had a good trip - enjoy your fabric & wine!

StitchinByTheLake said...

Congratulations on the anniversary, the wonderful trip, AND getting your quilts in the Pacific show...awesome!!!! blessings, marlene

Pinky said...

brilliant!! I love the art gallery fabrics, in fact I used one (in kind of a tan/brown colour) on the backs of the placemats that have the anthology fabrics on the front!! :) Driving through a (or many) national park in the US is very high on my list for our next trip over!

Julia said...

What a great trip, and congrats for getting your quilts juried into the show...
39 both look too young to be married that long...congratulations!
Julia ♥

Julie said...

Welcome Home! Your trip sounds just wonderful, a little bit of everything. Wine, fabric, great scenery and fabulous food....nothing better.....Oh yes then I remembered, grandchildren...

Elyte said...

What a great trip Linda, you got to experience a little bit of everything.
Your grand children have grown so much. What a beautiful young lady Celina is.

Edith Bieri-Hanselmann said...

Linda, congratulation on your anniversary and of Ciudad for the acceptance of your quillt to a jurier Show! I enjoyed all of your pochendes from your Trip so much, thanks for losging!

Sue said...

I was born and grew up in a small Utah town so your photos of the West made me smile. :) This sure sounds like a fun trip for your anniversary.

Lindi said...

Happy Anniversary! It certainly looks as though you had a lovely time. It's spring here, and all those lovely fresah colours you have just posted pics of, look sooo inviting!I don't know how you restrained yourself. lol
The Grandies are growing, so quickly! Not babies anymore, but little boys. Same here with my Grandson. And what a gorgeous young lady Celina is! She's a stunner! And so confident in the way she carries herself. :)

Patty said...

Happy Anniversary. Looks like you had a fantastic time on your trip. Love all the wonderful photos. Wasn't Cosmic Cow wonderful. I met Roxanne, the owner, quite a few years ago and see her once in awhile at quilt shows where she is a vendor. The grandchildren are sooo cute, and growing so fast. Have a wonderful time with them.

Frances Moore said...

We were also in Napa for our anniversary and we also rode the wine train!Glad you had a great time and congrats on PIQF

Sue said...

What a lovely trip you had. I am very envious. I have a DH who doesn't like to travel, so unless he was playing golf or horsing somewhere there is no chance of a trip like yours. Never mind I have a sister who likes to, so we can go together!

Jeannette said...

Wow that is an awesome trip! 39yrs? You guys don't look old enough for 39yrs! Congratulations!

Ivory Spring said...


Welcome back!! I have to say I am a bit jealous... now, I can't wait to grow up so that I can travel you do, hahahaha.

Karen said...

What a great post - happy anniversary. I've actually been to the Durango quilt shop - we were out there snow skiing one year. Hope you enjoy all your new treasures.

mary beth said...

That looks like such a wonderful trip...some of my favorite places to see! I am still dreaming of a trip to Napa Valley, it's on the bucket list! The fabrics in the quilt shops has me drooling! I think I would be too overwhelmed to choose , especially with a hubster lurking around wanting me to hurry up!


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