Columbia Gorge Visit

When the Historic Columbia River Highway was completed in 1915, generous landowners and civic groups donated property to create scenic retreats along the route. Among the most spectacular spots are Chanticleer Point, Crown Point, Latourell Falls, Shepperd’s Dell and Multnomah Falls.

I recently made the short trip to what is known as The Gorge. From Highway 84 East we took Highway 30, the Historic Columbia River Highway, making a few stops along the way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. The first stop was at Chanticleer Point, today known as Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint. When the world-famous Chanticleer Inn burned down in 1930 the property was purchased by the Portland Women’s Forum and donated to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department. That’s the Columbia River with Washington to the left of the river and the Vista House at Crown Point on the right. Click on the image for a larger view.

06-16-16 from Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint

Next stop was Vista House at Crown Point.

06-16-16 Vista House

The original idea for Vista House was conceived by a consulting engineer for the Columbia River Highway, Samuel Lancaster. He saw the opportunity to establish a rest stop, a memorial to Oregon pioneers and “an observatory from which the view both up and down the Columbia could be viewed in silent communion with the infinite.” The building is a domed rotunda featuring Art Nouveau elements, marble interiors with brass fittings, gray sandstone exterior and clerestory windows with opalescent glass in a simple tracery pattern. The building was completed in 1918 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. And the view:

06-16-16 Vista House view

Just 2.5 miles from the Vista House is Latourell Falls.

06-16-16 Latourell Falls

From the parking lot it was a short walk to the falls. In fact, the falls along the historic highway are 1 mile or less from their respective parking lots. I’ll be wearing my hiking shoes next time I go and we’ll stop at several of them.

On the way home we passed a field of lavender. I can still smell that delicious aroma!

06-16-16 Lavender field

And around the next bend was a fruit stand where I bought cherries and blackberries.

06-16-16 Cherries and blackberries

The blackberries were enjoyed for breakfast; the cherries made some fabulous jam.

06-19-16 cherry jam

That’s a strainer filled with chopped cherry bits (the center of the pits) to deepen the flavor.

06-19-16 cherry jam 2

There are many reasons to return to The Gorge and I’ll be doing that soon.

Sauvie Island Visit

We recently crossed the bridge over to Sauvie Island, an island in the Willamette River just 20 minutes from where we live.  The northern half of the island is a wildlife refuge with 12,000 acres of state-owned habitat for wintering waterfowl, swans, herons, sandhill cranes, bald eagles and 250 other species. The southern half is primarily agricultural. In addition, parks, viewpoints, beaches and many recreational options are available to the public.

We were interested in locating the farms on the island and learning about the produce available. We stopped at Kruger Farm. Click on images for a larger view.

05-13-16 Suavie, Kruger Farm

Yes, they had strawberries, but we decided to come another day for those.  We did pick up vine-ripened tomatoes and baby artichokes, among other staples. Those odd-looking greens in the middle are garlic stalks I’ll be experimenting with.

05-13-16 Kruger produce

Next we took a quick tour around the island. Not far up the west side of the island we came across an osprey nest with attentive adults. Here you can see one on the nest and the other on the adjoining poll having lunch.

05-17-16 Ospray

These huge birds are simply glorious to see in person. Their nest looks rather precarious to me though. We couldn’t see any chicks but trust that they are there.

05-17-16 Ospray 2

When we were coming down the east side of the island we found two Bald Eagles in a corn field.

05-17-16 Bald Eagles

What a surprise it was to see them on the ground! We obviously have much to learn about their habits.

A narrow inlet of water separates the island from the main land of Oregon. On it are many well-established, picturesque homes.


Even the bridge crossing the inlet is charming. This view is taken from the last island store before the bridge approach.

05-17-16 Sauvie Island Bridge

It was a beautiful day to be sight seeing. We will return, and soon. The produce selection will become much wider and the fruits, including many varieties of berries, will be ripening during the summer.

Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary turns 100 on April 12th. Since her first book, Henry Huggins, was published in 1950 over 91 million copies of her books have sold. It’s entirely possible then, that, like me, you read many stories involving Henry, Ramona Quimby and Ribsy, Henry’s dog.

Cleary grew up on NE 37th Street in Portland and she borrowed the names of nearby streets as settings for her fictional characters. Klickitat Street (“It reminded me of the sound of knitting needles.”) is where the Quimby family lived and Grant Park, just five blocks away, is where Henry dug up thousands of nightcrawlers to sell so he could buy a football.

I recently visited Grant Park to take in the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for Children. The park, honoring President U. S. Grant, is contiguous with the grounds of Grant High School, and is almost 20 acres in size. Additional features of the park include a large playground, dog park, athletic fields, walking paths, picnic facilities and tennis courts. The Sculpture Garden features three of Cleary’s characters: Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ribsy. (Click on an image for a larger view.)

04-09-16 Grant Park, Beverly Cleary Sculptural Garden

The life-sized bronze sculptures were created using vintage clothes on wax models to lend a realistic feel. The sculpture of Ramona is dressed in raincoat and boots, with a joyous expression.

04-09-16 Ramona collage

Granite tiles placed around the sculptures are inscribed with quotes from Cleary’s most famous books.

04-09-16 Ramona plate

Henry sports a winning smile and an apple in his pocket.

04-09-16 Henry collage 

And Ribsy has a shiny back and ear tips from the many children who have played on him since the Garden’s 1995 dedication.

04-09-16 Ribsy collage


While I visited the park another couple was there taking pictures of the sculptures. We chatted about our love of Cleary’s books. The husband, I’d say in his late 30’s, boasted his love for the books because “They taught me to read and to love reading!” That was, of course, Cleary’s goal.

In honor of Cleary’s contributions, April has been Drop Everything And Read month for many years. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a book and settle down!


di Rosa Art

Last week I had an art date with a friend. We went to the di Rosa Gallery and grounds on Sonoma Highway in Napa. Rene Di Rosa was a passionate art collector who became equally renowned for his famed Winery Lake vineyards and his philanthropy. In 1960, he purchased 450 acres in the little-known Carneros region of Napa and became a leader in the fight to preserve the region’s agriculture and open space. Today the property consists of over 200 acres of landscaped grounds and open space, including a 35-acre lake and wildlife preserve. Roaming freely and unperturbed by visitors, we encountered two peacocks who were quite willing to pose for us.

di Rosa, peacock

The Gatehouse Gallery is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday for drop-in visits. This gallery features rotating group and solo exhibits and selections from di Rosa’s permanent collection.

The Main Gallery contains the heart of the di Rosa collection– approximately 2,000 pieces by over 800 artists — and includes modern and contemporary paintings, drawings, sculpture, and photographs by well-known Bay Area artists including Robert Arneson, David Best, Roy De Forest, Jay DeFeo, Viola Frey and others. One visits the Main Gallery by guided tour only.

The courtyard just outside the di Rosa home displays two engaging Viola Frey pieces. This larger-than-life reclining man has the lake as backdrop. I loved the chair (on the left). Click on an image for a larger view.

DiRosa, Viola Fry work

At first glance, my friend took this smaller Frey piece for a live person.

DiRosa, Viola Fry workThere were many unexpected pieces in the collection. This car, for instance.

di Rosa, hanging carDuring our tour we heard more than one person say that they lived in the area and had driven by many times without stopping. They were very glad they had taken the time! The majority of visitors were from out-of-state. If you have an opportunity to spend some time at di Rosa, take it — it is a real treat.

La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum

I had the opportunity to be at the La Conner Museum the day before the closing of Best of the Festival, the exhibit which featured my art quilt Nature’s Fractal. The museum occupies the historic Gaches Mansion which has been lovingly restored and maintained and is quite a treat to walk through. Sybil, the well-informed volunteer staff member on duty, contributed significantly to an enjoyable experience of the museum. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed of this exhibit with the one exception, my work, seen here:

Franki Kohler, Nature's Fractal at La Conner MuseumIn addition to the Best exhibit, the Abstracted exhibition featured work by Fibre Art Network of Western Canada which intrigued me. Pairs of fiber artists interpreted their subject – one in a representational fiber art piece and one in an abstract/non-representational fiber art piece. Photographs without flash were allowed for this exhibit. Here are a few of the works that grabbed my attention, starting with Barcelona Fruit Stand. The representational piece is by Judy Leslie, the abstract is by Robin Fischer.

Barcelona Fruit Stand, Judy Leslie and Robin FischerI thoroughly enjoyed the playful quilting and extravagant embellishments of Robin’s work.

Barcelona Fruit Stand, Robin Fischer, detailIchthyic Biosphere was thought-provoking with Save Our Oceans — Save Our Planet by Judith Parson and Dead Oceans — Dead Planet by Kathleen Buckoski.

Ichthyic Biosphere, Judith Parson and Kathleen BuckoskiBoth pieces of Milkweed were executed by Mariann Parsons because her artist partner was unable to complete her piece. I couldn’t decide which one I liked most!

Mariann Parsons, Milkweed, both piecesFifties Flair by Valerie Wilson and Brandy Maslowski was a very fun spin in the time machine!

Fifties Flair, Valerie Wilson and Brandy MaslowskiThis museum was well worth the visit. I’ll be watching for future exhibits.

IQA Part III – Quilts and Retail Therapy

Here are a final few quilts that stood out for me, starting with a hand quilted and embroidered Tree of Life by Betty Alderman.

Betty-Alderman-1This tribute to the military by veteran Catherine Zeleny was especially touching. The Veteran’s Home depicts the architecture of the building in Yountville, California,

Catherine-Zeleny-1and the machine embroidery lists US wars, actions, branches of service, as well as titles, terms and phrases familiar to military personnel. She also included the full text of the oath of enlistment.

Catherine-Zeleny-2My grandfather spent his final days at the VA hospital. He and my grandmother are buried nearby.

Susan Stewart’s Distraction makes nice use of a commercial embroidery design. In spite of the floral design, the gray lines make me think of a man’s handkerchief.

Susan Stewart, Distraction

I especially like the small touches of purple-red fabric which balance with the large embroidery opposite. Her machine quilting is elegant.

Susan-Stewart-2Speaking of hankies, I found some real treasures at Bonnie Lattig’s booth, BJ Designs.  Bonnie has been bringing clothing from vintage textiles, antique quilts and other textiles from Austin to this exhibit for 25 years. Click on an image for a larger view and more information about each hankie.

All the hankies are made of the finest linen and, with the exception of the California hankie, have hand-rolled edges.

The George R. Brown convention center has many places to relax and refresh but my favorite spot was the park across the street. This photo was taken from a balcony on the 2nd floor.

11-1-Houston-parkLast, but never least, I was thrilled to find Kunna Prints among the vendors this year. I B-lined to their booth the first day and nabbed 2 pair of their Mary Jane’s. Fishies!

10-31-Fish-molaand stripes. These are happy feet.

10-31-Line-molaThese shoes are very comfortable.

See more about IQA Houston here and here.

This is an Off the Wall Friday posting.

IQA: Old, New and Wanna-be Friends

Thousands gathered in Houston for the 39th annual IQA Festival, most with the goal of seeing all 1300+ quilts, 1000+ vendors and taking in as many of the 380 classes as is practical.

My goal was quilts first, selected vendors (I always have a short list) second, then 2 lectures. It’s always fun to find friends and share their excitement of work hung in the exhibit.

Jeanne Marklin wasn’t there but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Traditions

Jeanne Marklin, Traditionsand a detail

Jeanne Marklin, detailand Going in Circles.

Jeanne Marklin, Going in CirclesIt was fun to catch a few minutes with Sarah Ann Smith. She was teaching and trying to see the exhibit — not an easy task! Here she is with Listen to the Song in the Night, her entry for An Exquisite Moment.

Sarah Ann Smith, Listen to the Song in the NightI was fortunate to meet and enjoy the company of two art quilters from the Northwest. Here is Sherri Culver’s much-deserved 3rd place winner, Emmy Tovo:

Sherri Culver, Emmy Tovoand Emily Stevens’ entry for West Coast Wonders, Into the Woods:

Emily Stevens, Into the WoodsThen there are those artists who I wanna be friends with, like Ruth Powers. I’ve seen her work for several years, in many venues. Her work is always worth lingering over. I found myself in front of In the Bleak Midwinter many times.

Ruth Powers, In the Bleak MidwinterAnother very moving piece I went back to again and again was A Leap to Freedom by Esther de Visser of the Netherlands.

Esther de Visser, A Leap to FreedomAnd a detail

Esther de Visser, detailStaying in the Netherlands, here is Deanna Shafer’s tribute to van Gogh:

Deanna Shafer, Vincent: Haunted GeniusA detail of Vincent: Haunted Genius:

Deanna Shafer, detailI stopped by to visit Mendelssohn, of course.

Franki Kohler, Mugging with MendelssohnI’ve come to think of him as Ambassador Mendelssohn since he’ll be on the road for the coming year. You can read more about that here.

And you can see installment number one about Houston here. More quilts and retail therapy are up next. I hope you’ll join me.

International Quilt Festival Houston, 2013

The plane ride to Houston was a bit rocky and I had a 2-hour layover in Albuquerque so I was glad to have Linda Lee Peterson’s latest page turner, The Devil’s Interval as my companion. If you enjoy murder mysteries and smart women with real flaws, this book should make its way to your must-read list.

I arrived in Houston in just enough time to empty my suit case and dash to the convention center for the Preview Night opening at 5:00 p.m. — one can manage a lot in the 2 hours before the exhibit is open to the public. My first stop was at the Studio Art Quilt Associates table to eye the foot-square quilts that were still available at their auction. To my amazement and delight, Meta Heemskerk’s Rembrandt to Mondrian was still available. I snatched it up. Meta is a mixed media artist who is completely driven and highly productive. She joined Postmark’d Art a couple of years ago so I can boast a growing collection of her fine work.

Meta Heemskerk, Rembrandt to MondrianI love the crisp, clean lines of this piece: the bold black lines that define shapes, the straight-line quilting that covers the entire work and the ‘license’ she took with the image (downloaded from NGA Images at the National Gallery for Art). I especially like the fact that she has combined a Dutch and American artist in the work and the maker and owner are Dutch and American. I think there was some Kismet working in my favor!

I dallied in the ‘Art: Whimsical’ area of the exhibit next. Four pieces stood out for me. According to artist Pauline Salzman, man’s best friend transcends all political parties. I think her Mt. Ruffmore supports that statement.

Pauline Salzman, Mt. RuffmoreI wish IQA would include the size of the pieces, but they don’t.

I laughed out loud when I stopped at David Charity’s Bit Map, inspired by his knowledge that Basenji dogs have a fetish for paper. Oh my!

David Charity, Bit Map Nemesis III: Elton is Cindy Henneke’s reflection on her garden and the havoc that local armadillos do to it. She shared that during construction, the floral fabric she used reminded her of you-know-who, hence the name.

Cindy Henneke, Nemisis III: Elton Kristen Bryson’s title simply says it all: Does He Make My Butt Look Big?

Kristen Bryson, Does it Make My Butt Look Big?And a detail. . .

Kristen Bryson, detailI will be sharing more wonderful art quilts, new friends and more this week. There’s bound to be something for everyone so stay tuned.

Keep Calm and Carry On

I recently experienced another birthday and received a card which now holds a front-and-center place in my studio. The front of the card has a birthday cake at the top (replacing the Queen’s crown) followed by KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON in white lettering on red background. The greeting: “Relax. Make a wish! It’s just another birthday.” (See Persimmon Press and type in “Keep Calm”) I chortle every time I see the card.

The former WWII admonishment is often easier said than done. For instance, I’m off today to attend IQA’s annual Festival in Houston. I’ll be seeing many friends that I only see in Houston because we live many states apart. And I’ll be taking in the special exhibit Festival Awareness Project 2013: It’s Raining Cats and Dogs which features my art quilt Mendelssohn. How can one keep calm? Then there are hundreds of inspirational quilts, the vendors (once again I’ll be looking for beads and antique hankies), special functions for IQA and SAQA members and, in the course of all this, the new friends that I’ll make! How can one keep calm? It seems impossible.

I’ll simply have to do my best. I will share the fun right here next week.

Meanwhile, carve a pumpkin, celebrate the harvest of the season and don’t forget to change your clocks on Sunday.

Pumpkin word cloud


Sketching on the Road

I was in Ashland, OR, recently enjoying some of the plays and the great food and I took a quiet moment for myself to do a bit of sketching and watercolor painting.

Franki Kohler, ChickenThis is one of three ceramic chickens that Pat uses on her dining table. This one was medium-sized and the most colorful of the trio.

I’m rather fond of chickens but I have nothing like this one in my collection. Search ‘chicken’ on my blog and you’ll see a few of mine.


When traveling, I like to find something that will help to bring home the fond memories of a destination enjoyed. In April I attended a SAQA conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The first day there I took a cooking class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Creating those recipes at home has been great fun and recalls the informative and fun class.

I also ordered a pair of boots from Boots & Boogie. The selection of styles, materials and color choice was vast, making the decision difficult. Owner Roy Flynn had me try several styles to find the one that worked the best. Then I saw these Cayman Alligator/Italian Calf boots and the decision was made.

Franki Kohler, BootsThey arrived last month and I couldn’t be happier with the fit and comfort. These boots were a splurge souvenir that I’ll enjoy for many years.

Santa Fe is Serious About Art

Yes, indeed, there is gallery after gallery on Canyon Road, but there is art and inspiration that everyone can enjoy on just about every street you drive or walk down. Here are some final shots I found inspiring.

Meet “MAThilda,” the first Art-o-mat installed in  New Mexico. You can find it ‘. . .one block south of Santa Fe’s historic Plaza, across from La Fonda Hotel. Put in $5.00, pull the knob, and ker-plunk. . . You’re an Art Collector!’ What a great color and a great use for an old cigarette machine.

Franki Kohler, Art-o-matAcross from the Post Office this bull’s head is put into action with the wind.

Franki Kohler, Nodding Bull 2

Franki Kohler, Nodding Bull 1

Local stones create a fence.

Franki Kohler, Fence of stone

Branches create a fence.


A few final doors I couldn’t resist, like this substantial, secure example which welcomes you with a string of local chilis called a ristra.


This gate isn’t keeping anyone out. It’s just here to enjoy!


I didn’t see very many red doors. The follow-through on the color scheme was very fun.


I love the door-within-a-door or gate.


No explanation needed here. . .


or here.


I loved the way this entry begged you to come on in.04-30-Door-7

This last one looks rather plain


until you get up close to see the charming hardware.


From beginning to end, Santa Fe was a real treat. You can read about some of the other things I did while there here and here.


Appreciating architectural details in Santa Fe can become a full-time occupation. My eye is always drawn to doors. The first two are on the front of the same house.

Franki Kohler, Door 1

Franki Kohler, Door 2

This wall and door provide privacy. When the greenery fills out in a few weeks the house will be completely obscured under its shade. I find the sunflower on blue tile very charming. There is a door knocker mid second row. I wonder if it really alerts the household.

Franki Kohler, Door 4

Complete blue.

Franki Kohler, Door 3

More blue — less security.

Franki Kohler, Door 6

Nothing seems quite straight here. But the combination, including the crooked mail boxes, is so charming.

Franki Kohler, Door 5

At first glance, this design may seem haphazard but I think it was carefully thought out. I particularly like the use of simple natural elements to create texture and privacy.

New World Cuisine – Chocolate!

I’m in Santa Fe for a SAQA conference and had a morning open. My friend Carol Larson suggested a class on mole at Santa Fe School of Cooking and I said, “Count me in!” David joined us and we had a great time.

Chef Tracy Ritter took us through an historic background on chocolate, a variety of peppers and other essentials before the cooking began. Dishes to be prepared included:


Chipotle shrimp in adobo

Arroz verde


Chipotle black beans with cacao

Warm Mayan chocolate pudding

Chef Ritter started by taking us through a primer on a variety of chilis that are used in southwest cooking, including their heat levels and fresh and dried appearance.

Franki Kohler, Chef Tracy Ritter talks peppers

The mole was the first dish to assemble since it would take the longest to cook. Mole can consist of a wide variety of things — and, surprise! — it doesn’t always contain chocolate. We learned that the three primary cornerstones to a mole would include chilis (2 or more varieties), nuts and seeds, and fruit. Chef Ritter cooked a recipe that she has developed containing 19 ingredients including ancho and guajillo chiles, pecans, sesame seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), green apple, dried apricots, Mexican chocolate and bitter chocolate — this was, after all, a class about chocolate. Among the many essential steps of creating mole is toasting seeds, nuts, chilis and spices — toasting these ingredients releases flavors essential to the mole.

Franki Kohler, Mole, ready to simmer

Here is Chef Ritter tending to the Calabacitas, a dish common to the southwest containing corn squash and beans — also known as the three sisters.

Franki Kohler, Chef Ritter tends the Calabacitas

Chef Noa helps with final touches.

Franki Kohler, Chef Noa helps with final prep

Once cooked, lunch is plated.

Franki Kohler, Plating Lunch

Mirrors make watching all the action so easy.

Franki Kohler, Plating Lunch

And here’s lunch. Chipotle shrimp in adobo are plated on top of the mole. Yum! Yum! Yum!

Franki Kohler, Lunch

Having the historic and cultural background for the foods and preparation of the dishes was key to enjoying this class and meal. Future travel plans will include cooking classes for me.

A Bit of Venice in Oakland

The Bay Area offers so much to do and see that it is difficult to make a choice! Sometimes, we just act as if we were tourists and choose to do something that we’ve never done before.

For this outing, I purchased tickets for a gondola ride through Gondola Servizio. We caught our Venetian-built gondola at the historic boathouse on Lake Merritt next to Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill.


Alessandro, born and reared in Venice, met us at the dock.

Franki Kohler, AlessandroThe 50-minute cruise took us around just half of Lake Merritt. The lake is a large tidal lagoon that lies just east of downtown Oakland, California. It is surrounded by parkland and city neighborhoods and has a popular 3.1 mile walking and jogging path  along its perimeter. It is historically significant as the United States’ first official wildlife refuge, designated in 1870.  It is also on the US National Register of Historic Places and a National Landmark.

There are many reasons to visit the Lake. Here’s the Rowing Club where you can learn to row for fun and exercise or join a team to compete.


Here’s a view of the Bellevue-Staten Building, designed by Herman Bauman and constructed in 1929 using an architectural blend of Spanish Colonial and Art Deco styles. In the distance you see the Oakland hills.


Here is a look at some of the detail of the gondola. The building on the left is the Scottish Rite Temple; on the right is a condo structure.

03-19-Gondola-features And another detail — these hold the boat ties.


There are many of these very practical aeration fountains on the lake. They work hard and they are beautiful.


Just around this turn is Children’s Fairyland —  a 10- acre park designed by William Russell Everett, and built in 1950 in Lakeside Park. When Walt Disney was thinking up ideas for Disneyland, he visited Children’s Fairyland for ideas. I played there as a youngster.

Alessandro shared details about the gondola and its construction as we glided around the lake. He also shared a few bars of some opera arias. The time sped by!

Here we are coming in to dock. Tables with red umbrellas fill the long dock and provide ideal dining most of the year.

Franki Kohler, Docking

There are many more reasons to visit Lake Merritt. You can read more about the lake’s history and points of interest here.

Improvements at Asilomar Conference Center

Improvements galore are in the works right now at Asilomar Conference Center. The signs indicate that the project will take two years. Right now the work is focused in the area surrounding the Phoebe A. Hearst Social Hall, Merrill Hall, Pirate’s Den and the Sea Galaxy buildings at the far south end of the center (next to Sunset Drive).


They are working in several places simultaneously, so progress is evident day by day. In fact, from morning to afternoon, progress was obvious.

03-05-improvements-2 03-05-improvements-3

These sidewalk forms will be filled in with some lovely light-dirt colored brick. I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture of a finished sidewalk. You can see some good pictures of the finished walkways on Del Thomas’s blog.


This stairway goes up the side of Pirate’s Den, a building that dates from the 1920s.


Let’s hope that this never changes! This is the view from my bedroom window in the Scripts building.


I’m hoping that when they have completed these outside upgrades they will turn to the sleeping rooms.

Wordless Wednesday


Domestic Projects

I’m just back from a heavenly four days in Carmel with four girlfriends who love to quilt, eat, shop and walk along the beach. My idea of bliss!

A stop in San Juan Bautista for lunch at Jardines de San Juan begins the whole decompression experience. A relaxing lunch outside on the large patio is always a treat. San Juan Bautista is an historic town with a Mission and chickens — yes, they are known for their wandering chickens.


I have often seen them on the restaurant patio, though not this time. I actually borrowed the image above from Family Threads, our first stop after lunch. This shop is just down the street from Jardines and has been open since 2010 but this was my first visit. I had a scrap of sunflower fabric with me and found some perfect companions for making pillow cases.


You may recognize the sunflower fabric on the band from my recent sunflower scrap projects. (If you are new to my blog, you can find those projects here.) I have sunflower fabric to use as trim on four more pillow cases and will still have a few scraps left. Life is good.

While in Carmel, one of our must-do stops is at Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove. Owner Gail Abeloe and her staff make it fun just to be in their cheerful store — all the latest fabrics and projects tease you at every turn. There is also a gallery in the shop which features art quilts — this month there is an incredible exhibit of Thom Atkins’ beaded art quilts. If you’ve never seen Thom’s work, you are in for a jaw-dropping treat. Here is the cover of his latest book to give you an idea of what he does.


I found a pair of white kitchen towels with a pierced edging and great finish that I couldn’t resist. I purchased the last two on the table and couldn’t wait to get them home and embroider them.

02-19-Kitchen-towelsI used 100-weight silk thread to keep the sketch-like look of toile. I think they will be quite fun in the kitchen.