Still Alive!

I am still alive, have been busy busy busy enjoying a REAL summer here in New England.  It’s been perfectly hot and humid here – just like summer’s should be.  Can’t believe I haven’t posted since early June!  Wowzers!  Since then, we have done a LOT.

  • traveled to Flagstaff to see my brother, sister-in-law and my lil’ niece Lucy
  • while there, fell absolutely in love with my niece, enjoyed the great company of my bro and sister (in-law), visited the Grand Canyon, hiked a 14 mile point-to-point at elevation (high point, 12,000′), logged 50 miles of mountain biking, drank too much good beer, camped in the shadow of Humphrey’s, sat around a campfire, ate amazing food, relaxed
  • Upon our return, we organized and accomplished  a 20 mile Presidential Traverse, which consisted of 10 peaks, 8 4,o00’ers and 12 hours of above treeline views and terrain.
  • My garden is now producing: cucumbers, potatoes, basil, thyme.  Tomatoes are green, peppers are tiny, and eggplant is just starting, but they’re coming!
  • Raced my first Sprint tri of the season, 10th overall for women, 2nd best women’s bike time for the day!
  • Worked on & finished lots of projects!
  • My friend Becky FINALLY had her baby, Phoebe!

So yeah, I’ve been busy.  Here are a few pictures of what’s been underway, enjoy!

It’s all happening!

Well, no time to blog these days, because during the daylight hours I’m either on the trail riding my bike, dirty hands deep in the dirt, or busy working my day job making trails, managing a community garden, making maps and all that good stuff. And in the evenings if there’s time and I’m not too exhausted, I’ll sneak up to my studio for an hour or 2 and work away at projects.

I haven’t shared any garden pictures, so that’s first:

Here’s my veggie garden.  For the last 2 years I’ve been using a technique called Square Foot Gardening.  It seems to fit well with my rather small garden.  We certainly get enough veggies from it!  Especially with the veggies we get from our CSA at Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton. This year  I planted: potatoes, tomatoes (5 varieties), peppers, cucumbers, basil, thyme, eggplant, onions, chives, cilantro.  Looks so pretty and tame right now.

This is what it ended up looking like last year, and that was with a terrible growing season:

Not too bad actually!

And I’ll upload pics from the perennial gardens once I download them from our new camera!  Heart wide angle lens!

We went to Maine for Memorial Day weekend and had a great time with my folks, and also had a great hike in my favorite Notch – Evans Notch. Evans Notch is nestled right in between Maine and New Hampshire.  It’s not off the main drag so it’s not as busy as the White’s but just as spectacular, if not more so.  Here are some highlights:

That’s the trail we came down.  It was a lot of fun.

So for projects, I’ve been keeping busy.  Still working on my wonky log cabin quilt – I just need to put the final outside border on and then quilt and bind it.  Shouldn’t take long but it’s on hold.  Here’s it almost to the point it is right now, I do love it:

And my friend is having a baby any day – she’s naming her Phoebe, so couldn’t resist making her a “Tweet Tweet” crib quilt:

Lots of other stuff going on, so more to come SOON!  Enjoy the day.

xo ~ Kate

Wonkiness – I’m a natural

So this is funny.  I’ve been on a learning curve in this quilting world, and recently discovered that people actually intentionally add ‘wonk’ to their quilts to make them look more home grown.  I have never found anything more amusing.  I must be really lucky, because I’m a natural!  But I call them MISTAKES not wonk.  Sigh.  Or crooked sewing, whatever.  Boy those folks must really be amazing sewers.  Which, I am not.  I may be ok at matching up fabrics, but the whole sewing thing is not my forte.  So, lucky me, my quilts naturally have wonk regardless of whether that’s the look I’m going for.

The latest quilt I’m in love with so far, but has been slow going because my beloved Bernina is out of commission (yet again).  Hmph.  She’s sitting neglected at Gordon’s Sew and Vac shop, while I anxiously await the arrival of a part that they must have had to custom make for me.  No really – that’s not true, but you can only get Bernina parts from a certified Bernina dealer, which is a drag because I know what’s wrong and I would have had the part 2 weeks ago if I could have ordered it directly from them.  So frustrating!  Not sure if I will get another Bernina.  Depends on how much  I like the shop in Portsmouth.  They have been delightful on the phone.  So we shall see.

So back to the quilt.  I’ve been sewing with my trusty Kenmore that Alex got me for Christmas this year for sewing leather.  It’s coming in quite handy for all jobs right now.  Thanks Alex for unknowingly getting me a back up.  Didn’t know I’d need it.  But I would be OUT OF MY MIND without it.  Too many good ideas go wasted when there is not a sewing machine to be had.  Hand sewing is not my forte …

Ok so back to the quilt (yeah, I’m easily side tracked).  It’s kind of a free form log cabin and there will be 4 of them when all is said and done, framed by various solids and white.  Here’s a pic of a square.  Each one is slightly different, but all using the same fabrics.

I’m pretty psyched about it.

So this morning was a good morning – I got a 15% off coupon for Sew, Mama, Sew shop where you will find an excellent selection of fabrics.  I took advantage of that lil’ coupon and got some fat quarters. Which I seem to really like right now.  I think it satisfies my need for more fabric stimulation while not being too expensive or too much fabric.  Just the right amount.  And of course if I LOVE it, I can order more.  So I’ll be pretty excited to see that package at my door.  More quilts coming right up!  I also scored when I went to Joann’s over the weekend – they were having their 50% off clearance and I found in the way back corner and great pack of fat quarters.  Which oddly enough was exactly what I was looking for.  I have zero purple and teal fabrics, and those are 2 colors that I am digging A LOT lately so I couldn’t have been happier!  Check it out purple, teal and green HEAVEN ON EARTH!  YUM!

I DO however, have way more fabric than I know what to do with right now.  I’m working away at it, but quilting is slow  going and I’m trying to use scraps and save the bigger pieces for clothing projects so it doesn’t look like I’ve made much of a dent, but I have!

Long overdue stool covers:

My little niece Lucy Loo in her new super soft wrap (sewn by her Aunt Kate- that’s me!)  Not sure she looks to happy about it.  🙂

On the outdoor front, my gardens are looking AMAZING this year, I’m so happy with them.  Some plants aren’t doing as well as I’d hoped, but for the most part things are going crazy!  And a month early … scary.  I planted the front planters this week, I’m pretty happy with how they turned out (the other one is identical, in fact symmetrical too!)  Combination of herbs and annuals.  Rosemary, chocolate mint, trailing verbena and a name I can never remember for the purple and yellow flowers but we could just call them beautiful and that would be enough:

And a final shot of my most favorite place to sit and contemplate the world, and it just happens to be a property that I manage for my job, so lucky me – a paid lunch break atop Eagle Rock on a spectacularly sunny, warm spring day.  And yes, that’s the ocean.  Lucky me… Have a great week! xoxo

Weekend Fun

After a riveting day this past Saturday cleaning the dusty, dirty basement, Alex and I decided it was time for a little adventure.  We spent quite a bit of time pondering which hike we’d do.  Last year we got a new ski set-up.  We’ve been really into winter hiking, and overnights at the AMC/RMC huts in the Whites for the past few years. The biggest thing we’ve complained about is that we have to hike DOWN.  We both are into downhill mountain biking in the summer, and the thrill of the downhill is the most fun.  So we thought- hey, we should be able to enjoy the downhill in the winter too!  And not just on my orange Paris sled. So, we contemplated the various set ups, from the full-on alpine touring down through the basic metal edge backcountry touring ski.  Mind you – neither of us are downhill skiers.  We both snowboard on the slopes, Alex being significantly more proficient than I am at it.  I was raised 20 minutes from a pretty big (for New England standards) ski area, but never once got on downhill skis, primarily because I pursued a high school sports career of x-c ski racing, and also because it was cost-prohibitive!  So,  we decided to  look at the various downhill ski set-ups.  Somewhere between $2000 and $300 for a set up.  Well, considering our experience, we went with a more entry level tele-backcountry ski set up.  We got a wide ski with nice metal edges, and an a basic tele/touring binding.  We can get skins as an upgrade so we can ski up-hill, and then theoretically we can ski down the mountains we love so much to hike up.  So, last year in our efforts to learn how to use our skis, we decided to try it at a ski mountain, where there would be less trees likely to get in our way as we learn how to descend on our kind of half-assed downhill set up.  It’s a set up that’s not good at any one thing, and it’s ok at everything.  Too heavy for x-c skiing, not enough control for downhill, but all around ok for everything.  And great for the backcountry skiing that destroyed our last x-c skis at the Frigid Infliction adventure race a couple years ago.

Broken skis

So, our attempt at using our skis at a ski resort kinda didn’t succeed.  It worked better for me because of my x-c skiing background, but Alex really struggled to get control.  But despite our embarrassing attempt to ski the slopes, we still have been dying to use our new setup.  So, that brings us back to the beginning.  Alex and I pouring over the various hikes/ski trips we could do.  We finally came to the conclusion that we aren’t exactly ready for backcountry skiing down mountains on our new skis.  So, with that decided (at about 9PM the night before), we agreed that we would hike the well-travelled Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH.  We packed like we always pack, which is typically for an overnight.  So we were well-prepared for the 7 degree temps at the base of the mountain on Sunday morning.  We set off, and within minutes, we warmed right up and stripped down to just our long underwear.

Just starting out
Halfway there

Within the hour, we approached the the summit.

Gearing up for the windy summit
Just below the summit

We made our way to the top, where the winds were so strong that they definitely blew you off balance.

Summit, brrr!

We thought we’d try out our gear in the winter, so brought the ol’ loved JetBoil stove to heat up water for some noodle bowls.  Well, the stove prevailed and boiled us some water after a much longer cooking time than in the summer (obviously) and we added the water to our noodles.  Which of course promptly cooled down before we could even eat them!  So the gear worked, but definitely a different choice in food next time.  All in all, the hike took us only a couple of hours round trip, and that was with our extended summit stay with noodles and hot chocolate and Baileys, mmm.  Just enough time for our feet to start getting cold.  So it was a short hike for us, but Alex hadn’t ever been up the mountain, so it was a good one to check off his list. And we were back lounging on the couch by 4PM.  It was a worthy day trip.