Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It was a warm one today!

The temps reached 81 degrees F today in the Scottsdale area! Guess where we were hiking today? Yup! You got it!
Arizona has had an exceptionally warm January with average daytime temps of 72. 
I look at how tanned Mr.O is getting and keep hoping I will get a little colour, but I just get more freckles! It's just not fair!

All this sunshine has more blossoms opening up. We saw some lovely red flowering bushes today, and this is one of my favourite desert plants. The Ocotillo

I left the camera at home, so these shots were takn with my phone.
Such a unique looking plant. This one stands 8-10 feet tall but these long thin stems can reach 25'. The trunk is covered with needles and small oval leaflets. Brilliant red flowers occur at the tips of the branches.and are very pretty when they start to blossom.

This one was just starting to flower and it was taken with the zoom on my phone so it really doesnt do it justice, but hopefully in the next week or two I will have some better shots.
We started out to hike about 6k but ended up adding to it and by the end we had hiked over 8 km over some pretty rocky terraine to an elevation of a couple thousand feet( i think; i have a hard time remembering all the elevation numbers from day to day)

If you look at the bottom of the map beside the blue bar inside the circle, that is where we started. Now follow the red line keeping left almost to the top of the page to the red star, that is where we hiked to. From there we backtracked down a bit to where the trail goes to the right and looped down to the next star almost in the middle of the map. From there we continued down until we met up with our original trail and continued on to our car in the parking lot at the bottom star. Over 8km. My foot and ankle was killing me and I was hot and dusty and ready to rest!
I had packed pb&j sandwiches but I was more interested in water than food today, and when we arrived home I made up a big jug of homemade lemonade.

Mr O had one glass and I pretty much polished off the rest. When lemons are selling at 20 lemons for $1.00 homemade is the way to McCains frozen lemonade happening here!

Yesterday was our oldest grand daughter's 19th birthday and our daughter had a surprise party for her and just look at the cake she made for her!



Into this and then .....

Into THIS!
With the help of KitKat bars, mini Reeses and Smarties! 

It was part of the tablescape for the party and here's the birthday girl...

Happy Birthday Savannah! We love you!

" Let them eat cake." 
                               Marie Antoinette

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Itty Bitty Update

I'm not sure why, it happens, but the days are shorter here in Arizona. They have to be. That's the only way to explain why I get so little done.  Actually now that I really think about it, I get up later than I did for many years; that shortens my day by 2 hours right off the bat. Combine that with short Arizona days, and I am just not getting as much done!
After a quick coffee I am off to an hour of aerobics. Shower, hair and breakfast pretty much takes up another chunk of the morning. There was a bit of time to tend to a few things and then i was off to my stained glass workshop til 4.
I am making headway but, it is a slow process.

You really can't tell by the picture but there are 4 colours there, a dark amber, light gold, dark red, and olive green. With a paper pattern behind, the colours are quite dull. I got another 1/4 block cut, grinded/smoothed and pieced together. I also learned how to apply the copper foil to the cut edges, apply the "flux" to help the leading stick, and then use the soldering gun to apply the "lead".
Very slow work!

Here you can see that I got three seams leaded. Doing this kind of thing sure gives me a greater appreciation for some of the intricate, huge, detailed stained glass windows in some of the churches and cathedrals we have visited during our travels.
The lady working next to me is not a novice, and wanted a quick easy project to work on while here, so she used her bits and pieces to make a mosaic type design on a lantern. So delicate and pretty, and I'm sure it will be very pretty with a lit candle inside it.

 I have only bought a minimal amount of tools because I keep telling myself " I am NOT starting another hobbey!" It makes it hard to stick to my guns though when I see such pretty pieces being made.

After class, it was home, a quick bike ride, supper, and off to do a little retail therapy with my sis. A real treat for us to spend this time together. 

Tomorrow, Mr. O has another hike planned for us. Not sure of the details, but it is bound to be another interesting one.

It has crossed my mind that I forgot to show you some of the things I purchased on Saturday at the Olde  World Quilt Shoppe. 

A new pattern book because You never can have too many books, and I like the patterns inside and at $6.50 I figured it definitely a good deal.

I have been slowly gathering up civil war repros for another quilt so that was where I concentrated my time in the shop. I still need some greens, blues and purples but every little bit helps.

And last but certainly not least is my kit for one of Carrie's newst Schnibbles, Squared. This is the one Carrie was demonstrating Saturday. The quilt on the pattern packet is done with Minick and Simpsons Indigo Crossing, but she demoed a change of fabric that resulted in a much different look.

Carrie's Squared is on the table in front of us. It is still in a flimsy stage, but beautiful just the same!

So there you have itty bitty update of my slightly shortened 21 hour Arizona day.

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever.

Horace Mann

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sign, sign; everywhere a sign...

I had such good intentions of keeping a regular log of what's happening here in Arizona, but as you can see from the date of the last blog post that has not happened. Every day I had great intentions but by early evening, i just seemed to run out of steam and creative writing was just not happening...did I just say that? ..."by early evening I run out of steam"...oh my...if ever there was a sign of my "aging" that would be it! I am the proverbial nighthawk! I am the person who would start a major project at 10 o'clock at night!
 I am blaming it on the sun and fresh air, NOT on my age. I refuse to believe that just because I turned 60 I will automatically slow down...not yet!
I know I am not going to remember everything over the last couple weeks, but I think I will start with today and work my way backward.
Today we went on another hike. This is my third one but Mr.O has done seven! We hiked a bit over 6km over hills and rocks and trails through the desert. 
There are signs of spring blossoms getting ready to splash the desert with colour.

Signs of wildlife, but much of it way to fast for me to photograph...lizards, eagles, ground squirrels, an assortment of small birds, and this

A Sonoran ground snake. Of the two of us, I was much faster fleeing the scene than the snake!

There is so much beauty in the desert and although the rocks, sand and mountains are all brown, there is nothing plain about them.

It's surprising to me how much green there is, but I am told that will change as the sun gets more intense and there is less and less precipitation.

Our first hike was quite a rugged climb. My sister and her husband and Mr. O and I ventured out on a hike in Gold Canyon to see the petroglyphs. I went with just a little footie sock and my light weight running shoes, but made a note to get better foot gear for the next time out. It certainly makes a difference in negotiating the rocky terrains. It was a pleasant climb with beautiful views and we got to see the petroglyphs at the end of our hike.

I have joined the quilting group here in the park and have spent a couple days quilting with my sister as well. The results?

I have 27 scrappy granny squares done.

I pieced a charity quilt for Arizona Quilts for Kids and quilted 2 baby ones.

I cut 48 squares and appliqued approximately 150 circles to make this quilt for my oldest grand daughter. One border is on and the last border is cut and measured and ready to apply and then I hope to find a longarm quilter to quilt it for me. It should finish up at about 76x100. 
This months Schnibbles is cut sewn and ready to assemble.

I have been spending Monday afternoons working with these tools.

This is my progress so far...

With a little more guidance and several more hours I hope to end up with a stain glass hanging of a 12" square quilt block that resembles this

Several times a week we walk to the market to take advantage of the exceptional bargains on fresh fruit and veggies.

Now I'm sure you know that fruits and veggies are not the only things I have been shopping for. Yesterday my sister and I took a forty minute drive out to my favourite area quilt shop, and just look who we met!

Carrie, from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company, (the Schnibbles patterns designer herself!)
Carrie was just finishing up a class and was gracious enough to take a few minutes to talk with us and pose for pictures. She had extra kits and we were able to buy the kit she had demoed that day, AND she also had her finished quilt from the American Patchwork and Quilting quilt along! G O R G E O U S!!!    If I had any doubts about making this quilt, they are totally dissolved. I can hardly wait to start it! I blogged about a couple posts back and it is available in the Feb. issue on the newstands now.

I leave you with a few cactus photos with captions




SEE YA! Bye bye, adios, catch you later.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Settling In

Settling in to a New Year, and a new accommodation. We arrived here in Mesa 3 days ago (I think). It is amazing how the days just slip away from me and I have no idea what day of the week or month it did that happen to me?
We had a lovely drive, the last leg of the trip. There is a haunting beauty in some of the stark landscape, and the colours are so beautiful.

We arrived in Mesa a bit early so we had time to gas up, get a car wash, and grab a quick lunch before meeting up with the owners of our accommodations.
I was sitting in the car during the car wash kind of smiling to myself at how many "old people" there seemed to be around. (Fast forward) We went to Wendy's for a quick lunch and I was looking over my receipt and noticed that we were not charged for our 2 iced teas...the receipt said "2 seniors iced teas" free.
I said to Mr. O, well it sure doesn't take long to get put in your place eh...yesterday Gail commented on my blog that she thought I was fifty not sixty, and that was quite a boost to the old I get two free seniors iced teas...and I didn't tell her I was a senior..she apparently knew! Sigh.....
After unpacking we went to get groceries, and I have to say it was a bit of a sticker shock.

You may not be able to see everything, but I bought
2 onions, 3 tomatoes, 2 bunches of fresh radish, 1/2 lb of mushrooms, 1 green pepper, 1/2 lb green beans, fresh garlic, broccoli, cucumber, head of lettuce, potatoes, 3 large pink grapefruit, small watermelon, 1 honeydew melon, bananas, 4 mangoes, 2 large tubs of blackberries, 1 1/2 lbs. grapes, a chunk of fresh parmesan cheese, a container of gourmet black licorice, and a bottle of gourmet peppercorn salad dressing.

Can you see the bill total?  $28.60.   $12.00 of that was for the cheese, candy and salad dressing. All the rest was fresh produce that amounted to $16.00 !!!

Needless to say, we will be eating lots of fresh produce while we are here!

And speaking of fresh...

I stepped out onto the front deck and picked this from our tree. This orange was growing just 30 minutes before I ate it...can we say YUMMY!?

While Mr. O and I were out walking our 5km. this morning, I brought along the camera. I had to share a few Christmas decorations we don't see a lot of in Northern New Brunswick...

 Christmas lights in palm trees and orange and lemon trees...Santa hats on cacti. Living poinsettias out in the yard...nope! Not gonna happen where I come from!
A sweet, sweet bonus for me being here, besides the weather, and the great prices on fresh that my sister and her husband are renting just across the road from our park! We live many thousands of miles apart and are lucky to see each other once a year, and here we are living in the same neighbourhood for the next 2 months!
Mr O and I had supper with them last night and toasted in the New Year (at 10pm)

By the looks of us, you would never guess we were toasting with "Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea". We are such party animals!
Today we hosted a supper of salad, bbq ribs, and potato salad, and then talked the guys into playing a few games afterward. A great start to the new year!
Tomorrow I spend the day quilting with the guild here in the park.
Ahh life is good!

I leave you with this last thought. Many of the blogs I follow gave a year in review, and I entertained the thought, but I think my year could easily be summed up with one photo

The Lord Bless you and keep you! The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! And may you all have a Blessed, healthy and Happy New Year.

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