Monday, August 30, 2010

Every new beginning...

Comes from some other beginning's end.

I'm not necessarily a believer in the old English Proverb, "All good things must come to an end".  I think there are exceptions of an eternal nature.  However when the subject is summer, the words ring true. 

This past weekend was our last scheduled summer event.  A reunion at one of our favorite lakes.  It was wonderful to be with family and the view, as always, was beauteous, but the air felt different - subtle changes dancing in the atmosphere.

Some not so subtle ones as well.  When sand started flying in our faces with stinging ferocity, lightning flashing in the sky, I knew those last carefree hours of relaxing in the sun, while the kids played on the beach, I had envisioned, would not be coming to pass. I felt robbed of an annual rite of passage.

The next day, as we were driving through the canyon, making the long journey back home, I noticed leaves already changing color on the scrub oak.  Sure, we had comforted ourselves as we were leaving, saying we'd try to make it back one more time, so we could still have that last day with the sunshine bouncing off our heads, toes luxuriating in soft, warm sand, but it was just talk.  Deep down we knew the truth  - we wouldn't be coming back. Not this year.

Along the way, we passed by our Alma Mater. Evidence of fall semester was everywhere. The dorm parking lots were full, and new college students were roaming around campus gettting their bearings straight.  For a moment I was transported back again, filled with the excitement of newly found independence and the unknown.  That fresh, away from home for the first time, feeling. Completely enveloped in possibility. I wanted to stop and tarry for a while, absorb that energy, but we kept on driving.

As we drove along, talking, our plans started to evolve. We were no longer devising a way to capture one last day at the beach, but rather contemplating an upcoming weekend in our favorite college town.  A fall football game. In my mind I could already picture us walking around campus, colorful tree canopies overhead, leaves crunching underfoot, visiting all of our favorite haunts of yesterday, our future still ripe upon the horizon.

And, for me, in that moment of shifting focus, summer gracefully surrendered. 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A week on the Oregon Coast

(looking north from the tide pools on the beach where we stayed)

Last year my husband and I discovered Oregon.  We were so smitten with the beauty of this state, we decided to return this year with our kids and my sister-in-law and her family.  We found a cute little house online & booked it for a week in August.  Finally, that week came, & what an AMAZING week it was.  The couple of days we spent driving weren't too bad  either - the kids were troopers.

The house we rented was in an idyllic master planned community south of Lincoln City.  It could not have been more charming!  I kind of have a thing for houses with big front porches, so with every house in the entire neighborhood looking like this...
I was in beach house heaven!
 There was a central park with a playground, volleyball-pit, & fire-pit for roasting marshmallows.  We did it all.

We took many walks and my husband went jogging up these hills every morning.  It was just too beautiful to stay inside.

Now, let me show you our favorite thing about this neighborhood.  See that staircase on the left, in the picture below? 
Come with me, up those stairs, to the top of the cliff...

And then down this the beach!
 (in real life we're land locked folk, so having access to the ocean was exciting)

Check out that view. We came to the beach at least once a day, sometimes twice.  We counted - it was 170 stairs each way (both sets of stairs).  340 round trip.  Our leg muscles were sore, but we didn't care.

Those rocks in the distance (above) were tide pools.

They were full of all sorts of fascinating creatures.  The kids checked the tide schedules regularly so we could be down when the tide was low.

They were also very dedicated beachcombers.  Here they are sorting through their loot on the first day we were there.

Their stash just kept on growing.  Most of their treasures came home with us in gallon sized zip-loc bags so they could show their friends.
(when they opened the bags up it was so stinky - I'm not a fan of eau-de-rotten-crab!)

We played on the beach, went crabbing - & then bought crab at the local crab stand when we didn't catch anything (still fun),  we had famous clam chowder from Mo's, met some of our cute cousins for ice-cream & cheese at Tillamook, visited the Sea Lion Caves, and went to the aquarium in Newport, spotting whales swimming off the coast along the drive. Every night we sat in the hot tub and showered in the outdoor shower - very condusive to good night's sleep.

And we loved watching the sun set over the ocean.

Are you ready to see more of the coast?
(I know - this post is already huge, but I just can't help myself)
 We went on little excursions almost everyday.  The following are just a few of the gorgeous places we saw.

South of the Sea Lion Caves near Florence.

Haceta Head just north of the Sea Lion Caves.

Devil's Churn.

South of Devil's Churn.

My husband took this picture at Cape Kiwandis. So pretty - one of my favorites from this trip.

Looking south from Cape Meares.

Looking north from Cape Meares.

This one's a drive-by shot of the view from Oceanside.

North Depoe Bay.

We saw three light houses.
 Yaquina Head in Newport.

Haceta Head down by the Sea Lions Caves near Florence.

And Cape Meares (just a little guy).

But of all the places we went, the beach where we were staying was my favorite.
Can you see why?

Did I mention the sunsets?

*UPDATED * Since so many people have asked where we stayed in Lincoln City, I
 thought I would share that information:

If you end up going, tell them I referred you...maybe they'll give us some kind of referral
 discount on a future stay. :) 
We would LOVE to go back!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Scrappy LOVE Jelly Roll Quilt

It has taken me a lot longer to finish this quilt top than I thought it would - not because it was a hard quilt to piece, I've just  been experiencing a major shortage of free time.  Once I resorted to early morning quilting (the uninterrupted, before kids wake up kind) I was able to get her done.

I used a jelly roll of Amy Butler's Love fabric line with one Sis Boom print thrown in (see if you can figure out which one doesn't belong). The neutral strips are Kona Ash. This is a pattern I kind of made up as I went along. I cut the jellyroll strips in half so they were about 22" long and just randomly sewed them together into one long strip. I cut the Kona Ash strips 1 1/2" wide. And round & round I went, starting each new printed row where I left off.  Kind of a pathetic explanation, but it was pretty simple.

See the orange fabric below?  That's the one Sis Boom print.  I didn't quite have enough of the Love fabric to finish that last row, and I was too impatient (& cheap) to order some more, so I went foraging through my stash.  I think it works - blends in with all the other busy prints.

I think it will make a fun travel/picnic quilt. Plus, I spend a lot of time sitting on the sidelines at soccer games, it would be nice to have something colorful to sit on. That will be my new goal - to have it quilted before soccer season begins.
My little guy starts kindergarten today - so exciting! I'm off to get him ready.