Friday, September 02, 2011

Home from Vacation

It's taken me several days to unwind, unpack and savor memories from my trip to the Tacoma, WA area. I slept well, ate even better, laughed hard, talked long into the night, experienced new things and revisited places I haven't seen in years. People and places I spent time with spanned nearly my whole life - from a high school friend to an art quilt friend of recent acquaintance - I didn't realize until it was almost over what a microcosm of my life this trip would be. It was wonderful and will take more than a couple of posts to share! Since the trip began on my birthday, I thought an appropriate place to start would be to share the birthday part first. A few cards had arrived before leaving, but many more awaited me when I arrived home.

And presents! A box of chocolate-covered strawberries from a brother.

And from my niece, packaging that was as much a gift as the gift within. The tissue paper may work for my tissue paper sun printing technique, and the wrapping paper is thick like a fine handmade paper. I am sure I can incorporate it into an art piece.

Inside was something fun - Keel's Simple Diary with this bright yellow cover. How does my niece always know what I need? I never would have picked a yellow one, so bright it almost hurts my eyes, but I must admit, it makes me happy when I pick it up to use it. Hard not to be sunny when looking at this. And inside is a very playful format for recording your days. Like the newspaper blackout technique, it is oh so much easier to start with something on the page than face the blank sheet daring you to think of something important. I can tend toward too serious, I nearly rolled my eyes when reading the "instructions" but after the first page, I now look forward to what the diary wants to know about how my day went. Here's a sample: "Your day was (only choose one) ( ) a party. ( ) a U-turn. ( ) a smarty."

I had some birthday money too and used that as an excuse to treat myself to some fabric and bead souvenirs. The green leaf batik is from Harbor Quilts and the beads resting on it from Gig Harbor Beads just up the street. Both of these are in Gig Harbor, WA which was my base. The other two are lengths of batiks I found in a second hand shop in Pike Street Market (Seattle) that specialized in vintage textiles. Don't know how vintage these were but I paid $8 for 4 yards of what I think is African batik on the left, and $5 for a little over 2 yds of what I think is an Indonesian batik in Sari form. It's a very similar design to a used sari I bought from a vendor years ago at the Minnesota Quilt Show. Regardless, I felt these two pieces were a real find and a steal.

Anyone know what this label says/means? I also spotted after the fact, a small sticker below this label with "$9" written on it. Yes, I DID get a steal.

I spent most of the vacation with Sherrie Spangler who besides feeding me, running me around and providing a place to sleep, also gave me one of her quilts as a birthday gift. It is called "Red Energy - First Chakra" and I am definitely feeling its energy now that it hangs in my office. Energy and motivation is something I've sorely lacked this year, and often it is difficult to keep up the momentum of renewed vigor trips often generate; I'm amazed at how this quilt is pushing me toward a more upbeat feeling and, well, energy. Thanks Sherrie!

Finally, here's a gift that was delivered yesterday, although the generous giver did not realize it was a birthday gift. On the brief train ride between Seattle and Tacoma which happened to be on my birthday, I sat by a man from Libby, Montana who spends some of his retirement time making Diamond Willow walking sticks and canes. Since I have a brother who does woodworking, I was interested in learning more about this diamond willow and how he worked with it. He doesn't have a website and didn't have any business cards with him so I gave him one of mine so he could send me more info. As the conversation progressed, I mentioned my walking and hiking routines, and before I knew it, he was offering to send me a walking stick, no charge! Happy birthday to me from a perfect stranger - I guess there's something to this opening up bit.

Stu Cannon is the artisan's name, and he explained how he works the diamond shapes (cankers caused by fungus) to bring them out more, similar, I thought, to the way I work with fabric.

The walking sticks have a leather strap with this nifty antler slide. This one feels exactly the right length for me and I must get out and try it. Stu also uses larger pieces of diamond willow for lamp bases and vases. His prices are very reasonable, so if you are interested in his wares, you can contact him at 425 Indian Head Road in Libby, MT 59923 or call 406-293-7274. He's shipped these all over the country.

Next up? Probably the amazing food from my trip.


Connie Rose said...

Glad you're back safely and had such a wonderful time! Thanks for sharing your B-day gifts with us all. Have a wonderful weekend!

June said...

Sounds perfect, both the trip and the b-day. How delightful.

Little Wren said...

What a wonderful vacation you had!