Saturday, June 18, 2016

Around Here

It's been hot and dry this week, good weather for getting outdoor home improvement projects done.

Fast on the heels of his triumph in sanding and painting the deck Ben moved on to tackle the upstairs balconies.  After pressure washing, belt sanding, hand scraping and painting the first of the two balcony decks, Ben moved on to the posts and railing.  That work takes much longer, but he has managed to transform about half of the pieces from this.... this.  

At the same time Paul and I worked on improving the look of the concrete pad that at one time held a hot tub.  Paul pressure washed it and I painted it with two coats of Sherwin-Williams concrete stain.   I love how it turned out.  If I'd have realized how straightforward it is to paint concrete I would have done this last summer. 

The good weather has meant lots of outside eating and drinking.  Isn't this a pretty table?  We were invited to our neighbors for drinks and brought along the sunflowers as a hostess gift.  We were all tickled at how they fit the decor; very Martha Stewart, yes?

We've had a house guest for much of the week.  That Handsome Dog Gus has been here was invited along to our neighbor's house to meet her little wire haired dachshund, Emilie.

Little Emilie was daunted by Gus's big size and spend most of the time sitting on Ben's lap, but she finally got brave enough to get down and take a closer look at Gus's Frisbee.  

Jacquie Gering, one of the leaders of the Modern Quilt Guild, came to the Boulder quilt guild to speak and give a workshop.   "Modern" quilts are characterized by "the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternative grid work."  I really enjoyed hearing Jacquie and seeing her quilts in person.  This one, called Homage, is a tribute to the work of artist Josef Albers and his studies of color.  

And notice what Jacquie had on her Powerpoint screen; what great admonition.

I took Jacquie's workshop which was on lines in quilt designs, both in the making of the quilt and in the actual quilting.  The top piece is, of course, Jacquie's sample for the workshop, and the bottom in what I made in the class.  

I finished a small piece for my art quilt group which challenged its member to make something using fabric crayons, ink or paint.  I used Pentel Pastel Dye Sticks to draw a flower which I then machine stitched, hand embroidered.  I added some borders, some hand dyed ribbon, and an unattributed quote which I found somewhere on Pinterest.  Sounds easy but it wasn't.  I had one problem after another, either technical or design, and I had to just keep thinking "What can I do now to make me like this piece?"   Since the whole object was to meet a challenge I kept at it and in the end I did like it! 

Our beautiful weather has resulted in some beautiful flowers.

And it's been gratifying to see the fruits of some of the gardening we did last year.   Here, for instance, is a vine Ben planted last summer now growing vigorously up a trellis by our neighbor's shed in a little shade garden that Paul and I uncovered last year as we whacked back a lot of overgrown plants around our yard.  

Fetcher has, of course, been outside living the high in the summer weather.  We often find him napping under one of our trees after he's made the rounds of the neighborhood.  But Spikey also loves the summer sun.  When he's lucky he gets to spend an hour or so in the morning sun that streams through the studio window.  The bright sun warms him up as he watches the world outside.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Morning Hike

I went out this morning for my first hike in several days.  It sure felt good to be back on the trails.  My body was really telling me to get outside and move!

I set up the hill through our neighborhood to Chautauqua and then up the Bluebell Road to reach the top of the Enchanted Mesa Trail.  It took me two miles of uphill to get there, but I was rewarded with pretty views, the smell of pine, and the sensation of crisp mountain air.

Then I headed back and picked up the Bluebell Mesa trail which parallels the road on a gentle downhill.  It winds around to main trail that runs up from the front of the park.

As I approached the main area of the park it was now about 10:30 and I realized that there were a lot of people in the park.  Oh, that's right, it's Sunday.   Usually I don't go up into the park on the weekends and I had forgotten how crowded it can get.

I think it's great that so many people love the park and get out to enjoy it, but I prefer to get my hiking done when everyone is working or still in bed.  It's one of the advantages of being older and retired.

There were also a lot of wildflowers in the park.  I've been trying to take photos of the lupine for a few weeks now and haven't had much luck, but the photo I took today turned out pretty well, don't you think?

I may never get a good picture of the wild poppies in the meadow, but I'm trying!  I love the Colorado poppies which are now in bloom in practically all the yards here, including ours, but to see them growing wild is very cool.

I don't think this is a wildflower since I spotted it growing by a nearby street, but it might be since it was all alone with no friends to keep it company.  In any case, it's a beauty. 

We are expecting showers this afternoon and it looks like clouds are coming in, so I'm off to do some yard work before relaxing the rest of the day.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

Steamboat Springs

After a fun and interesting drive through Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road on Wednesday we drove to Fraser where we spent the night.  We had been there in late late December 2014 when it was  snow covered and freezing cold.  We wanted to see it the summer and were eager to go back to the The Ditch on 40 restaurant and to check out a famous pizza place, Hernando's.   They were both great and we enjoyed being back in Fraser.    

Thursday morning we drove up to Steamboat Springs, a ski town which also boasts two hot springs and a couple of mountain tops filled with ski runs.  

Not my photo; taken from Steamboat Springs web site

After a springtime break in action, the gondola up the mountain reopened on Thursday afternoon so we took a ride up, up, up, to the top. There we admired the views and watched the mountain bikers who had come up in the gondola with their bikes start their long but fast ride down, down, down the mountain bike trails.  

After riding the gondola back down we relaxed by the little river that ran through Gondola Square.  It was a lovely sunny afternoon so we all chilled out a while a this pretty site.

In the evening the grown ups went to the Cafe Diva where we had a very good time eating and drinking.  

Our hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites, was very comfortable and had three hot tubs and a heated pool so we didn't miss going to the springs in town.  We'll have to do that another time, along with biking the Yampa River Trail  Clearly Steamboat Springs merits another visit.

We did visit the Fish Creek Falls this morning before driving home.  We were quite surprised at its size and beauty.

Now we are back in Boulder and Jean's visit is about over.  Good thing we'll be seeing her again in a few weeks!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Guest Blogger

Jean is our guest blogger today: 

"My wonderful sister took me up into the Rocky Mountain National Park today, elevation 11,700 feet.  I'm having a great Colorado trip with her wonderful family!  I'm having a great trip and won't want to go home."  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Look Who's Here!

My sister Jean is here!!

And the poppies are blooming in all their glory!  

The orange poppies against the purple iris are especially eye catching.

 What could be better?  Well, how about that the roses are blooming as well?

All this loveliness is quite amazing.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Little Memento

My sister is coming to visit on Tuesday (yeah!!!!)  and we decided to clean up the deck for the occasion.  Despite the fact that we had scraped and painted it last year much of paint had worn off over the winter and the whole deck needed a good cleaning.   So we (mostly meaning Ben) pressure washed it and scraped it with a belt sander and put two coats of good deck paint on it.

It looks so much better now.

Fetcher apparently walked across the freshly painted deck at some point and made his way into the house, leaving a little memento behind.  

Our friend Inger was over the other day and being a cat lover she was quite charmed by the prints.  "Surely you'll leave those there forever," she said.  

Yes, I guess we will.  We sure love Fetcher. 

Friday, June 3, 2016


While the Memorial Day weekend is still on my mind I wanted to share these photos of Paul's ska band, known as SkaTissue, at the Teen Battle of the Bands which was part of the weekend Boulder Creek Festival. 

It was such fun to hear them.  Unfortunately, the group won't last much longer since more than half the players are graduating seniors and will soon be off to other adventures.