St. George, Utah and Design Wall Monday

This post is out of order, but I wanted to end the vacation posts on a quilty note!

Very often when we take trips to places where the weather is better (everywhere!) I get ideas of moving.  Many times near the end of trips, I’ll drag Jim to open houses trying to convince him we need another place somewhere warm!  On this trip, though, I was mostly thinking what great places they are to visit, but they were very isolated so I wouldn’t want to live there.  That is until we got to St. George.  It is a lovely little city and we had a short, but nice visit.  It was fun to walk around the historic district and we had a delicious dinner I’m still thinking about at a Thai restaurant called Benja.

We stayed at a great B & B called the Seven Wives Inn (Utah’s first bed and breakfast).  You have to love a place when you walk in your room and there is a Blooming Nine Patch on the bed.

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I still have a little of this Carol Endres border fabric in blue!  They even used it for the dust ruffle.

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You didn’t think I could go a whole week without checking out a quilt shop, did you?  Of course not!  How fortuitous there was Quilted Works was just a few blocks from the B & B so we walked over to check it out.  It is a beautiful, bright shop  They had a fabulous selection of fabric and lots of inspiring samples.  I couldn’t believe how much fabric they had that I haven’t seen in our area.  I did my part to support the local economy, especially since they were having an anniversary sale!

Quilt Shop

Quilt Shop

As we left town we stopped at one more shop called Scrap Apple Quilts.  This was another large, beautiful shop and they also had lots of stuff I haven’t seen here, so I stuffed a little more fabric in my suitcase!  What I really liked about both of these shops was that they carried traditional fabric as well as the bright, fun modern prints.  Their samples also used contemporary fabrics in traditional quilts.

Quilt Shop

Quilt Shop

By the time we left St. George, I was looking through the real estate listings!

There was no time to waste when we got home.  My quilting group is meeting on Thursday and I haven’t even started our project for the month.  We’re working on Perpetual Motion from the Scrap-Basket Beauties book.  I found a box of 30’s reproduction strips and thought they would work fine for this quilt.  The pattern calls for 36 blocks and uses seven connector corners for each block, even for the half-square triangles!  I’m making 48 blocks and knew I didn’t want to make 336 connector corners so I pulled out my Omni 96L ruler and cut the trapezoids to size.  It was a little tricky because the angles go in opposite directions but once I got a system worked out it was really easy to cut.

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After the cutting was complete, it was easy to chain piece the units.  I got quite a bit finished but wanted to see how the fabrics were going to work so I made a few blocks.

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30’s fabrics aren’t my favorites but I think they will work fine in this project.  I may run into a problem with the border—there isn’t any 30’s yardage in my stash so I may have to piece a border. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it!

I’m linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.  Be sure to click the links to check out what other quilters are working on this week!

Getting Back to Reality

All good things come to an end and our vacation is over.  We had a really great time and saw some amazing sites.  I know this won’t be our last trip to the area.  There is so much to see here and we barely scratched the surface.

Our last day was spent in Las Vegas.  The opulence of these humongous manmade hotels pales in comparison to the natural beauty we experienced the past week, but there is probably no better place on earth to people watch! It was fun to take a stroll down the strip.

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If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t get your hands on an old featherweight, it’s because the All Saints store at the Cosmopolitan has HUNDREDS of them in their windows.  This was such a cool window display.  They really aren’t all featherweights but a variety of those great old mechanical machines.  This picture just shows a small part of the display.  The windows are huge!

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I’ll be back at the gym at 5:00 AM in the morning.  It’s not nearly as fun walking on the treadmill  watching the news as it was hiking in the mountains.  My trainer should be happy though–I logged between 5 and 7 miles almost every day we were gone!

Antelope Canyon

The photographs I saw online from Antelope Canyon were what spurred us to to make this trip out west so we were especially excited to visit this amazing site.  There are two parts to the canyon, upper and lower.  After reading the TripAdvisor reviews we decided on the lower canyon.  All of Antelope Canyon is on a Navajo reservation and unless you are a professional photographer (certain camera, tripod, etc.) you have to have a Navajo guide take you through.  You are allowed one hour in the canyon and need every minute of that hour to take it all in.  We arrived just after the opening rush and were lucky to have only six people in our tour.  Parts of the canyon are quite narrow so a smaller group is advantageous in avoiding people in your photos!  This is what you see as you approach the canyon—it really doesn’t look like much at all.

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But once you walk down, oh my goodness.  Words cannot convey the wonder of this special place.  All of these photos are right off my camera, unretouched and I just have a little Nikon Coolpix point-and-shoot.  It is AMAZING!

Our tour guide, Shay, said one of more common questions she’s asked is, “How long did it take the Navajos to carve the canyon.”  People just can’t believe this is all from wind and water, but no human could create anything this beautiful.  These are natural sandstone formations and there are some openings at the top where the light filters in making even more beautiful.  It must have been a good time of day because the way the colors and shadows played off each other was magnificent.

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So have you started planning your trip to see this for yourself?

Page, Arizona

We left Kanab and drove west to Page, Arizona.  There are a few very interesting sightseeing destinations in Page.  First is Lake Powell, a reservoir on the Colorado River, which is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  It is a huge area that straddles the Arizona/Utah border and offers 1,560 miles of shoreline.  It is a man-made lake that was formed in the early 1970’s when Glen Canyon Dam was built.  This lake is very different from those we see in Wisconsin.  It is WAY down in the bottom of a canyon and is very narrow with hundreds of little inlets.  Unfortunately, this is still the “winter” season and there were not many boat tours operating so we didn’t take a ride on the river.  From the photographs you really can’t tell how high we were above the water. 

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Our second stop was Horseshoe Bend.  This is what locals consider the very beginning of the Grand Canyon.  We walked to the overlook and what a view.  The Colorado River is 1000 feet below!  Of course I was terrified and took my photographs from a safe distance of about 8 feet from the edge.  Jim was more adventurous and went right to the edge so he could photograph the actual bend so the better picture is his!!

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In the picture below you can just barely make out a boat in the lower left corner! 

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It was another amazing day of beautiful scenery.  Tomorrow there will be more after we visit Antelope Canyon!

Hiking Bryce Canyon National Park

Coming from Wisconsin, we’re used to road construction. This trip has brought a whole new meaning to the “road closed” sign. There is ONE road that goes in and out of Kanab, Highway 89 and it is undergoing major construction. It is completely closed from 8:30-11:30 AM Monday through Friday. The other 21 hours of the day, it is one-way alternating traffic. That means you have to stop and wait for a pilot car to escort you through.  It is only about a 3-mile stretch of road, but it can add anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes to your trip. There is no detour, you can only wait it out. This is the road we had to take to Bryce Canyon so it took much longer to get there than we anticipated.  The delay wasn’t all bad, though, the temperatures were warmer later in the day.

Highway 89 is an unusual drive in another way–if you want to know where cars go when they die, it’s along Highway 89 from Kanab to Panguitch.  It seemed like every place we saw had between 6 and 20 old cars! The natural scenery is beautiful and more than makes up for it.  Panguitch is just north of the exit to Bryce Canyon and it has an interesting quilty story.  The winter of 1864-65 was very cold and difficult and the settlers had no food.  The only provisions were 40 miles away and in order to traverse the difficult Bear Valley Road in snow was to lay a quilt down, walk to the end of it, move it, then walk to the end again.  You can read more about it here. Now there is an annual Quilt Walk Festival to commemorate this event.

Everyone has probably seen pictures of Bryce Canyon but there is no photograph that truly captures the magnificence.  When you drive through the park, you can’t see the  canyon from the road so you really don’t know what to expect when you walk to the overlook.  All I can say is that it truly was a breathtaking moment for me.  The beauty of the hoodoos is indescribable.  We hiked a few miles in and around the canyon.  Weather patterns change rapidly in the mountains.  The day we were there started out sunny, then turned cloudy but we didn’t get any rain.  As we were driving out, it was snowing! 

Here are a few pictures to entice you to come to Utah and see this natural wonder for yourself.

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We ran into this guy at the bottom of the canyon.  Isn’t he cute?

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We drove through Red Canyon on the way back to Kanab.  It was just too pretty not to stop and take a few pictures.

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There has just been beautiful scenery everywhere we’ve been on this trip.  Now we’re heading toward Page and Lake Powell.

Hiking Zion National Park

We spent about a day and a half at Zion National Park and hiked several of the trails.  It is so beautiful and pictures don’t do it justice.  This area must be a geologist’s dream!  The layers of rock are so interesting and it is mind boggling to think about how this was formed over millions of years.  Here are a few pictures I took during our hikes.

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Emerald Pool

Tomorrow?  Hiking at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Kanab, Utah

We are using the little town of Kanab as a base for the first part of our vacation.  It only has about 4,300 residents but there are several hotels and restaurants because it is in the center of the “Grand Circle” of famous attractions like Zion National Park, Vermillion Cliffs, Bryce Canyon National Park, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell.  After leaving Las Vegas on Saturday we went to Zion National Park (next post!) then headed into Kanab.  Our goal was to get settled into the condo, buy a few groceries and find a bar to watch the Wisconsin-Arizona game.

The first two were accomplished with ease but there really isn’t a bar in town.  We found Charlie’s Oasis Sports Bar and Grill on TripAdvisor and their listing stated they were the only sports bar in town.  We walked in and saw there was no “bar”, only the dining room with  TVs (we also noticed a Brett Favre shirt on the wall!)  They explained that Utah has some unusual liquor laws, one being that alcohol can’t be served without food.  We were okay with that because we had planned to have dinner there anyway.  Luckily they were able to find the game on TV.

Around halftime two men walked in and they, too, were looking for the bar. When they took their coats off we saw that one was wearing a Packers shirt.  We found out he was from North Fond du Lac and his friend from Glendale.  Small world.  We ended up being the only four in the place and happily cheered the Badgers to victory while enjoying our burgers.

Kanab sits in a basin surrounded by high, rocky mesas or plateaus.  There is a trail on the north side of town that goes to the top so we took a hike.

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It was a sunny day but very windy.  I am so afraid of heights and when we got to this point I texted Jen to tell her where we were in case she had to send someone to find our bodies.

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There just wasn’t a whole lot between those rocks and the bottom of the canyon!  We made it though and had a wonderful view of the area.

We saw so many colors of rocks on this hike–everything from red to orange to yellow to purple to green.

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Not only are the colors beautiful, but the rocks are unique.  Lots of striation and texture.

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It’s hard to believe that anything can grow in this harsh environment, but we saw several little flowers and plants popping up.

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This was a really nice hike and such beautiful scenery.  Jim was just happy we didn’t see any snakes sunning on the rocks!

Utah Vacation

No sewing this week as we are officially on vacation. Winter became unbearable a few weeks ago so I did what I should have done last fall—plan a trip to get out of town. Every year I’m hopeful that it will be a mild winter so I almost never plan a vacation until it’s too late to score a good deal on a tropical destination. Coincidentally, about the time I was desperate to go somewhere (anywhere!) TripAdvisor sent an email linking readers’ photos of the year. Several winning pictures were taken in Page, Arizona. Hmm, I’ve been to Arizona several times but had never heard of Page. How did I miss such a beautiful place? I looked it up in the atlas that permanently resides by my reading chair and realized it was very close to another place on my travel bucket list: southern Utah. I’d been thinking about a hiking trip to Zion and Bryce Canyons National Parks for awhile but the opportunity hadn’t presented itself. After confirming that we could fly into Las Vegas, drive east to Page and catch both Zion and Bryce on the way, my next online stop was weather.com to check out the temps. It looked promising with daytime highs of around 65. That sure beat the subzero highs we were experiencing in northeast Wisconsin. I found a reasonable airfare on a non-stop flight out of Milwaukee and sealed the deal with a couple of clicks (and a credit card).

So, for the past six weeks or so I had been checking the weather daily to see if it was still warmer in southern Utah than in Wisconsin. Every. Single. Day. It has been until last Wednesday. All of a sudden temperatures in the forecast dropped and the little sun symbol disappeared behind clouds and raindrops. Boo hoo! It is really disappointing to plan a trip to the desert and have worse weather than Wisconsin. Ever the optimist, though, I packed some capris and t-shirts along with the sweatshirt, winter coat and gloves. Here’s hoping the forecast is wrong and we really will have some warm sunny days. But just in case, I booked a flight to Florida for later in the month.

A stop in Las Vegas just long enough to pick up a car.  Jim is smiling because he’s away from work—palm trees, short sleeves and no coat!

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A couple of pix along the drive to Zion National Park.

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So nice to see mountains!

Right before we left, Bryan called to say that he and Laura were coming to Appleton for a few days and Jim’s brother Chick, who lives in Michigan called to say that he and his wife were coming for a hockey tournament in DePere.  They will all stay at our house so that worked out well for the cats!  We won’t get to see Bryan and Laura, but will come back early so we can see Chick and Val.

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