Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Quilts and Vacation

I got back to the Big Quilt this past week. I figure it's now about a third of the way quilted. Here's a quick picture:

I also got my grandbaby quilt all basted and ready to quilt, so I'll have to take another break on the Big Quilt. Baby's due in 3 to 4 weeks.

On Sunday, we left for a few days of vacation "Up North" in Michigan. I even did some quilting there--hand quilting on my Fall Maple Quilt. I did some of the work on the balcony of our hotel room, but yesterday it was a little too cool and windy, so I positioned my easy chair in front of the door so I could still enjoy the bay through the window. 

Now, on to the vacation part of this post. If you visited just to see quilt pictures/progress, you can stop reading here. But we had a great time, and I'm going to post some lots of pictures, not only because I like to share my beautiful state, but because what we saw was amazing and inspiring. Quilt-spiration?

We planned this trip earlier this summer and were eager to bike ride the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, which runs about 18 miles through forests and along dunes by Lake Michigan between Empire and Port Oneida. Seven new miles have been added since we rode the trail a year ago. 

The area is incredibly beautiful, but about two months ago, a devastating storm passed through, destroying large areas of forest. (Even the hotel we stayed at 25 miles away did not escape damage, with sections of siding torn off.) For a little while we were afraid that the trail would not be open for our vacation. It is on National Park land, and the general policy is to let nature take its course rather than clearing away damage after a natural event. However, volunteer crews were allowed to move trees that were obstructing the trail, and they worked quickly to clear them despite many of the workers being without power in their own homes for a week.

Monday, a gorgeous day with temperatures in the 70s F, we rode the trail, not knowing what we would find. This is what most of the trail looked like when we rode it a year ago:

Now, although much of the trail is still beautiful, miles of it are heavily damaged. On our ride, we first came upon this:

And then, later, this: 

The destruction went on for miles. In Glen Arbor, a resort town along the way, cottages that were hidden in the forest are now exposed with acres of stumps around them. As we rode through the town, we could hear chain saws and heavy equipment removing toppled trees--and this was nearly two months after the storm. It was heartbreaking to see such a loss of beauty, but at the same time, we were amazed at the small amount of damage to buildings. And, as far as I know, no human life was lost. The area is changed forever, but tourists have returned, and the communities that were affected are once again in business getting ready for the fall color season. The trail is still beautiful, hauntingly so now, and I know that over time, nature will grow up and cover the scars. It will be beautiful in a different way, and I look forward to visiting often to see how it changes.

Here are a few other scenes along the way:

Color is just beginning Up North, but we came upon this little area of marsala-colored trees. The colors in this remind me of my coleus--I still think there is a quilt calling to me in this color scheme.

This is a restored fruit cannery building in a little "ghost" town along Lake Michigan. I never get tired of looking at it against the brilliant blue water. Definitely more inspiration for a quilt. I have a zillion pictures of it, but am restraining myself and only showing one. 

Yesterday, a cold front came through with some rain and a 20 degree drop in temperatures. We spent the day antiquing. Then, this morning, more sunshine and a feeling of fall in the air, so we took a hike at Empire Bluff on Lake Michigan before heading home. 

The sky and water were so many shades of turquoise and blue--I kept trying to assign Kona color names to them. Always the quilter!

If you're still with me, I hope you enjoyed my little travelogue. Thanks to my husband for taking the pictures. (We have a LOT--thanks to the digital age!)

I'm hurrying to link up today with Freshly Pieced and with Sew Fresh Quilts. Buttons are on the right.

I hope you're having a great week and finding quilty inspiration in whatever you do.


  1. Love the pictures. Looks peaceful by the water.

  2. The storm damage in the area is so sad. We used to live further down the coast so I enjoyed seeing the sand dune shore of Lake Michigan!

  3. That must have been a really powerful storm. Such devastation. Hard to imagine. Though we have a great deal of it from the fires. It takes a long time for things to recover.
    I love the picture with the marsala trees (I don't think we have those?) That would be a great quilt, you are right!
    Our maples are just starting to color now that the nights have cooled off. Fall is here!

  4. Assigning Kona colors to the sky and the lake... LOL, you are a quilter through and through Janine!
    We've had ice storms that caused that much devastation, but never a summer storm. It must have sounded like a massive tornado. I am glad no lives were lost.
    Michigan is a very beautiful state!

  5. All those colors - blue/greens/aqua/grey do make for some inspiration.

  6. That quilting is looking great. It looks like a lovely holiday in a pretty area. We have just returned from a trip so I know what you mean about photo quantity! It's a hard job choosing and editing and archiving seems to be an ongoing challenge...