October Color

I love October.  It's probably my favorite month, aside from December.  The changing leaves, crisp temperatures and harvest bounty are so inspiring.  I also know that I'm not alone in this.

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."  ~Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

I was inspired to get out and search for some great leaf colors to make leaf studies and then I photographed the gorgeous bouquet I bought at Fall Fest today as well as the squash gracing my table.  How about you?  Are you savoring the season too?

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Totality

 Beautiful Rimrock Ranch

Beautiful Rimrock Ranch

The total solar eclipse last week was the talk of the town for pretty much the whole summer.  I remember hearing dire predictions about crowd size last spring and it only got worse as time went on.  By the week before the eclipse we had taken all precautions- gassed up all the vehicles, filled the pantry, and scouted out all the back road routes we might need to take to avoid traffic.  Mark was out of town, so it was just Ryan and me making plans to head to the total eclipse zone for an overnight.  

At our house we could have seen a 99% solar eclipse.  At first it was my inclination to be satisfied with that, but after hearing my Dad's argument (and pretty much anyone who has seen a total eclipse) why we should go the extra mile (or 30) to see this once in a lifetime spectacle, I relented and started making plans.  

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As it turned out, while there were localized traffic jams, including a really awful, hours-long jam east of Prineville for folks going to the Symbiosis festival, in Bend we actually had very light road traffic.  Our route to the eclipse would take us to Sisters and then north to where we would have 1 minute and 24 seconds of totality.  But, like I said, I scouted out the back roads that I'd never tried before and since this was an adventure, Ryan and I took those back roads even if we didn't need to.  It was fun to see a part of Central Oregon I'd never been to.  We loaded up the pickup with camping gear and lots of food and drinks and headed to a private ranch for the eclipse party.

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Rimrock Ranch is private, but the owner coordinates tours with the Deschutes Land Trust and the Sisters Astronomy Club.  My dad is a member of the SAC and so we were invited to join ranch owner Gayle for a night-before star party and the eclipse viewing the following morning.  

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Skies were rather smoky over most of Bend and Sisters, but luckily the ranch was a bit north of the smokiest part and we had pretty good skies while we were there.  This field is the place where the astronomers set up viewing telescopes for all the celestial sights.  

 My sister Cheryl

My sister Cheryl

Sunday afternoon was pretty hot and spent mostly relaxing in the shade, but by the evening the temperatures had cooled enough to make a game of frisbee a pleasant pastime.  

 Brother-in-law Mark and Ryan

Brother-in-law Mark and Ryan

 Sunset view of Black Butte

Sunset view of Black Butte

 Sunset view of Mt Jefferson, with smoke

Sunset view of Mt Jefferson, with smoke

 Black Butte sunset

Black Butte sunset

After sunset we were treated to a fantastic star party.  We had views of Saturn with moon and rings, Jupiter with two moons, globular clusters, nebulae, and beautiful meteors.  We didn't get to bed until rather late.

 Eclipse day sunrise

Eclipse day sunrise

We woke up before dawn on Monday and caught these beautiful sunrise pictures.  Ryan and I are really night owls, so this whole experience is something we rarely see.  

 Home sweet home on the ranch

Home sweet home on the ranch

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 Sleepy head

Sleepy head

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By 9 am we were breakfasted and mostly packed and ready to watch the eclipse.  As I said, my Dad is an amateur astronomer and retired physicist.  He was over the moon (so to speak) about the possibilities of a total solar eclipse right in his back yard.  He and several others from the SAC brought telescopes and binoculars with solar filters.  Of course, we also had our solar eclipse glasses.  The eclipse started shortly after 9 am, but it wasn't until about 10 am that you could notice a definite shift in the light and a cooling of the air temperature.

 Dad, always with his eyes to the sky.

Dad, always with his eyes to the sky.

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Everyone needs glasses, including Scrabble.

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This was at about 10 am.  The light was changing all around, the temp was cooling by quite a bit and Scrabble was loving it.  I started drawing my sketchbook page, ready for the eclipse.

 What do you call a group of Volcanologists?

What do you call a group of Volcanologists?

 Gayle and Cheryl with one of the glass tile souvenirs that Cheryl made.

Gayle and Cheryl with one of the glass tile souvenirs that Cheryl made.

In addition to the astronomy club folks and their families, there was a tour group of volcanologists that had a tour at the ranch for the eclipse.

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After 10 am the light became more and more eerie.  

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 Ryan, Mark, Cheryl, Dad and me, with minutes to go

Ryan, Mark, Cheryl, Dad and me, with minutes to go

 Totality!

Totality!

Once totality began I tried to take a photo of the sun, but my camera wasn't focusing.  I gave up on that and got this one photo of everyone in the dark.  The 1 minute and 24 seconds were going by so fast!  I did get a video of all of us reacting to the eclipse which you can see part of on Instagram.  In addition, my Dad made a time lapse video of photos he took of the eclipse.  It was an amazing sight and worth all the trouble to get there for it.  Makes me want to see another one!

 Sunday ranch view

Sunday ranch view

 Total eclipse view

Total eclipse view

Here are some of the pages from my sketchbook of the two days we were at the ranch.  I'm glad I was able to record my thoughts soon after the event.  It was truly spectacular.  If you are ever in the path of one you won't soon forget it!

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10 Years

It's hard to believe, but 10 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It seemed like a good time to pause for reflection.  It took 9 long months to get to the end of the treatment period, so I'm sure I'll be celebrating that too.

Hope you had a wonderful Independence Day if you celebrate.  It is Quilt Week here in Central Oregon and it's a busy one.  I've got one more blog post before the Sisters Outdoor Quilt show on Saturday.  Stay tuned for that!

January Ramblings

 A Northern Flicker Party in the midst of the storm.

A Northern Flicker Party in the midst of the storm.

January- what a month!  If you follow me on Instagram none of this is new, but I thought I'd make a note of this remarkable month.  I started off the year with a bad case of bronchitis and a slow recovery.  We already had a couple of feet of snow on the ground when a double whammy of storms hit us in early January.  My husband managed to get out to his business trip to Chicago which left me here to deal with the snow on my own.  As of now we've had over 5' of snow this winter- very unusual for Central Oregon.  Some of that had melted by the time the big storms hit, but still there were roof collapses all over town including a school gym (luckily no one was in the building).  Lots and lots of buildings are also dealing with ice dams.  The roofers are going to be super busy this summer.  We were lucky to not have roof issues, but Mark spent the week after he got back dealing with roof snow and ice.  There was a week there where we were out shoveling and snowblowing several times a day. 

 After the storms.

After the storms.

When the sun came out we were greeted with the most beautiful snowy views around Bend!  We also had the good fortune to be able to ski right out the door. I spent loads of time watching and feeding the backyard birds.  The feeders have been so incredibly active.  Even now, more than two weeks after the last big dump of snow the snow on the ground at our house is over 18" deep with snow banks and plowed piles reaching 5' or more.  We've had some melting and the roads were a mess for a while, but it's been pretty cold this past week so melting has slowed down.

 Skiing on our neighborhood walking path.

Skiing on our neighborhood walking path.

 Path in Drake Park.

Path in Drake Park.

 Footbridge across Mirror Pond.

Footbridge across Mirror Pond.

 The other day in our neighborhood.

The other day in our neighborhood.

When I haven't been dealing with snow I've been knitting.  I ended up making 13 pussy hats.  Six of them went to Washington DC for the Women's March.  Six went to friends here in Bend (plus one for me) for the local Women's March.  The local march was amazing and it was wonderful to see the huge marches all around the world.

 6 hats sent to Washington.

6 hats sent to Washington.

 5 of the 7 hats that went to the Women's March in Bend.

5 of the 7 hats that went to the Women's March in Bend.

 Marching with friends.

Marching with friends.

I'm still using up stash yarn and decided to continue to make pussy hats.  The two below are in blues because some people might not care for pink.  These are available for sale in my Etsy shop. 

 Blue pussyhat for sale.

Blue pussyhat for sale.

 Turquoise pussyhat for sale.

Turquoise pussyhat for sale.

Another thing I've been doing lately is all these little bird watercolors.  I'm having so much fun with them.  I've put a selection of these original paintings in the shop as well.  

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If you've read this far I thank you!  One thing you will notice is the absence of any fabric based artwork.  I haven't sewn in a couple of months now.  I think I'm in a bit of a rut, though it doesn't bother me.  I'll get back to it at some point.  This past week has been distressing due to the death of my father-in-law and the current political climate.  I plan to spend the foreseeable future knitting, painting, reading and just taking care of things at home.  Quilting and sewing will happen again when I get some inspiration.  I will be heading to QuiltCon in late February and that always gets me fired up.  

Quilt for Pulse and More

 Quilt for Pulse 50" x 60"

Quilt for Pulse 50" x 60"

I've been putting off finding a new photography spot for the larger quilts I do.  There's really no great spot at this house.  I wish I had a uniform background on these.  Today I finally set up my clothesline between a couple of pillars on the back patio.  At least it faces north, but you'll notice I waited just a bit too long to get the above shot today because the sun just started to peek around the corner.  I'll plan better next time.  

This quilt was made for the #quiltsforpulse quilt drive that the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is heading up.  I finished it quite a while ago, it just needed a photo!  It will be off in the mail tomorrow to arrive ahead of the September 15 deadline.  The heart blocks are improv pieced from slabs of solid scraps using this heart block tutorial.  I hope that this bright and happy quilt will comfort someone involved in that horrible tragedy.

In other community quilt news, I have these two which will be donated to my local guild's community quilt program.  The first one is another string pieced block using all the scraps in the bin.  I experimented with doing some wonkier diagonals, but I don't think I like the effect.  

 String Quilt 48' x 48"

String Quilt 48' x 48"

This little folk art applique quilt is an oldie!  I had the center panel and red borders in progress and finally decided to just finish it off.  I think it's cute, but it isn't really my style anymore.  I'm sure some little one will love it.  I just realized while writing this post that I forgot to add the bird's eye, so I did a few embroidery stitches there and now it's all set.  

 Folk Art Birdhouse Quilt 39" x 46"

Folk Art Birdhouse Quilt 39" x 46"

 My quilt photo set up- nothing fancy!

My quilt photo set up- nothing fancy!