quilting

A trip to Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is in Olympic National Park. I don’t get up there every year — it’s a bit farther than it is to Mt. Rainier — but I did combine a trip up there with a stop at the annual quilt show in Sequim, Washington, which in turn is associated with Sequim’s annual lavender festival. All in all it makes for a terrific, but very long day.

I’m going to concentrate on the wildflowers I saw, like I did with my last post about Paradise. The lavender festival was a bit earlier than usual this year. It’s usually the last weekend in July, but this year it was the 19th through the 21st. This meant that the flowers I saw were a bit different than those I normally see on this trip, because summer progresses so quickly in the mountains.

Most of the flowers I actually saw this time were on the Hurricane Hill trail, the first mile or so of which is along a south-facing slope. The meadows above the visitor center at Hurricane Ridge itself were mostly not quite in bloom yet, especially the lupine, which can turn whole sections of the meadows blue.

Anyway, here’s a sampling of photos of what I saw, with the full list after.

Columbia tiger lilies -- literally dozens of them.  I've never seen that many at one time before.

Columbia tiger lilies — literally dozens of them. I’ve never seen that many at one time before.

Scarlet paintbrush, just opening.

Scarlet paintbrush, just opening.

Harebells, or, as my flower book insists on calling them, bluebells of Scotland.  How can they be of Scotland if they're here?

Harebells, or, as my flower book insists on calling them, bluebells of Scotland. How can they be of Scotland if they’re here?

A cow parsnip, a purple thistle, and a meadow.

A cow parsnip, a purple thistle, and a meadow.

Scalloped onion.  I'd never seen this one before.

Scalloped onion. I’d never seen this one before.

Rockslide larkspur.  The last time I saw these I was in Yellowstone.

Rockslide larkspur. The last time I saw these I was in Yellowstone.

Some sort of saxifrage, I think.

Some sort of saxifrage, I think.

A nice bouquet of larkspur and paintbrush.

A nice bouquet of larkspur and paintbrush.

Nootka roses.  I don't think I've ever seen them here before.

Nootka roses. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them here before.

Broad-leafed lupine.  I had a hard time finding any that weren't just in bud, but these were lovely.

Broad-leafed lupine. I had a hard time finding any that weren’t just in bud, but these were lovely.

Magenta lupine, which the flower book claims is endemic to the Olympics. But if that's the case, why have I seen it elsewhere?

Magenta lupine, which the flower book claims is endemic to the Olympics. But if that’s the case, why have I seen it elsewhere?

Those white dots are American bistort, and the mountains in the background are the Olympics, with the visitor center in between.

Those white dots are American bistort, and the mountains in the background are the Olympics, with the visitor center in between.

And here’s the list:

Western wallflower

Broad-leaved arnica

Yellow monkeyflowers

Alpine phlox

Nootka roses

American bistort

Columbian tigerlilies

Paintbrush, magenta and scarlet

Harebells

Hawkweed

Yarrow

Woolly sunflowers

Pearly everlastings

Cow parsnip

Avalanche lilies

Thread-leaf sandwort

Thistle

Saxifrage — not sure what variety exactly, sometimes it’s hard to tell

Scalloped onion

Fireweed

Leafy peavine

Rockslide larkspur

Broadleafed lupine

Mountain heather

Asters

25 in total.  Not quite as many as I saw at Paradise, but a credible day.  I wonder how many I’ll see at Sunrise next week?

Categories: exploring, hiking, national parks, outdoors, parks, plants, quilting, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Two weeks ago today

Was the beginning of my annual road trip.  This one wasn’t long, unfortunately, nor was I ever more than a day’s drive from home, so I wonder if it really even counts.  But I had my reasons, first of which was that I was doing research for the new novel, which is set on the Oregon coast, and second of which is that I’m sort of saving up for another long trip in a year or two, I hope, so this trip was shorter than normal.

The morning mostly consisted of a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Portland, Oregon, in the pouring rain.  This late in the spring downpours of that duration aren’t usual, but it could have been worse.  It could have been hailing (our hail is more properly called graupel — pea-sized blobs of slushy ice — not real solid-ice hail with rings if you slice it open), or it could have been booming and crashing.  Spring is, after all, when we get our rare thundershowers.  So my windshield wipers got a workout.  No big deal.  If I let the rain stop me from doing things in this part of the world, I wouldn’t do much, that’s for sure.

I arrived in Portland in the late morning and made my pilgrimage to Fabric Depot, which is one of Portland’s stores on steroids and the biggest fabric store in the U.S.  Over 1.5 acres, or so their website says (they’re housed in an old Fred Meyer, which is the local answer to Target or Walmart).  This was by no means my first visit there — I usually make a Portland run at least once a year to hit this store and Powells (the other store on steroids, about which more in a minute) — and I usually time it to hit one of their sales.  Which I did this time.   I won’t go on about it anymore lest I start sounding like a commercial, but I will say just two more words.  Quilter heaven.

In the afternoon I hit my other store on steroids, the above-mentioned Powells, which is another biggest-of-its-kind store in the country.  To say that Powells sells books is to say that Microsoft has this little operating system.  Their main location, in downtown Portland, is a full city block and four stories tall.  They hand you maps at the door, in lieu of breadcrumbs, I suppose.  The rooms are color-coded as well.  I wonder how many customers they lost before they started doing those two things.  They sell new and used books, side-by-side on the shelves.  I’ve never been to any other bookstore that does that, although I’m sure there are some out there.  At any rate, I spent most of the afternoon there.

I spent the night at the Hawthorne Hostel in southeast Portland.  I like hostels, although they’re few and far between in this neck of the woods.  This one is in an old Craftsman-style bungalow with a great many “green” updates.  Part of the roof, for instance, is covered with growing plants, and they have a cistern, which runs the non-drinking water water things like toilets.  A lot of hostels are run by what my father used to call “those hippies.”  I rather like it.  It makes for a nifty ambiance.  And it was right on a bus line that ran straight to downtown, so I didn’t have to fight traffic the next day.

I didn’t take any pictures this first day, nor did I two weeks ago tomorrow, which I mostly spent at the Oregon Historical Society Museum library, and exploring downtown Portland.  I promise you that starting with two weeks ago day after tomorrow, I took more than enough photos to make up for it.  Really.

Categories: books, exploring, highways, quilting, travel, weather | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

my quilts

And now for something completely different.  Just because.

Here is a link to a page with photos of all the quilts I’ve made in the last twenty-five years that are still in my possession or that I had enough prescience to take pictures of before I gave them away.  Be forewarned, it’s a huge page with a lot of pictures!

Categories: quilting, website | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Three weeks ago, Day 14

First real geysers of the trip

It was chilly but the clouds were not at all ominous when I left West Yellowstone this morning.  I stopped at one of the picnic areas along the Madison River to write, then stopped again at Madison Junction, to find the ranger station/bookstore that I hadn’t visited before.  It has a nice view down the Madison River valley, and some really nice fabric blocks printed with vintage postcard images and such.  If they hadn’t been so expensive, I’d have bought them in spite of the fact that I’d already overrun my fabric budget for the trip.  Well, there’s always next time.  Or the website.

My next destination was the Firehole Lake Drive.  I wanted to see if there was a prediction posted for Great Fountain Geyser.  Great Fountain is the only geyser with regular predictions outside of the Upper Geyser Basin, and it’s well worth the effort it takes to see it (you have to understand, I have a thing about, a fascination with, a passion for geysers, so I may be a bit biased here, but going to Yellowstone without spending time waiting for geysers to erupt is like going to New York City for the first time and not visiting the Statue of Liberty — as one of my favorite fictional characters often says in other contexts, that’s just wrong). 

Anyway.  Great Fountain did indeed have a prediction written on the plastic sign at the entrance to its boardwalk.  It was for later that afternoon.  So I got back in my car and decided to drive down to West Thumb, saving the rest of the geyser basins for Sunday and Monday.  Except that Cliff Geyser was going off as I drove by, and how was I supposed to keep going without stopping at least for a while to watch one of my two favorite small geysers? (the other is Sawmill, in the Upper Geyser Basin)

As I drove over the Continental Divide on my way to West Thumb, one of the most scenic spots in the park in my humble opinion, I noticed that there was still snow along the road at the highest elevations.  I wondered if the lake would still be frozen.  I have seen it frozen before, except for the spots where there are hot springs on the floor of the lake which keep those parts open all winter, even in below 0F temperatures.

As it turned out, the lake was thawed.  As it also turned out, the weather was beginning to turn, spitting cold rain and wind.  I searched under my car seat and lo and behold, discovered that the canvas sack I keep my knit cap and mittens in was still there!  There are some advantages to being too lazy to completely clear out the car before heading out on a long trip.  Between that and the coat I had had the sense to bring with me, I was just fine.  I spent the better part of several hours wandering happily along the boardwalks admiring the beautiful hot springs, the spectacular lake, and the gorgeous Absaroka Mountains on the other side of the lake, until it dawned on me that if I wanted to attempt to catch Great Fountain, I had better hit the road.

The drive back to Great Fountain was uneventful, except for the ice pellet shower I ducked through over the Continental Divide.  The pellets themselves were tiny, about the size of the head of a quilting pin, but plentiful enough that I had to use the windshield wipers.  By the time I got back to Great Fountain, they’d stopped, though.  Good timing.

Even better was Great Fountain’s.  The pool was already beginning to overflow, and I only had to wait about half an hour, watching the center begin to bubble and boil, until all of a sudden there it went!  It was a good, one-burst eruption.  I’m not into the scientific part of the whole geyser thing, all the if it does that now when it’s already doing this it’ll go off in the next event cycle (a process Grand Geyser watchers in particular elevate to a fine art); for me it’s more just a very strong aesthetic appreciation.  But oh, I do aesthetically appreciate a good geyser eruption.  It’s one of my favorite things on the planet.

After Great Fountain did its thing, I drove on around the Firehole Lake Drive.  I had stopped to walk another boardwalk when the ice pellets struck again.  When an ice pellet hits you in the face, I am here to tell you it can sting.  So that was the end of that.  By the time I got back to West, the sun was out.  But it had been a long day, so I found some supper and holed up at the hostel for the night. 

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If you like my travel writing, you might enjoy my fiction set in Yellowstone:

Repeating History, “A GRAND yarn you can’t put down.” Janet Chapple, author of Yellowstone Treasures
http://mmjustus.com/fictionrepeatinghistory.html

Categories: animals, exploring, geysers, museums, national parks, outdoors, philosophy, plants, quilting, travel, weather, Yellowstone | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Three weeks ago, Day 11

 Lewis and Clark, well, Clark, anyway, again

My journal entry for today begins, “A week from today I will be home <sigh>.  But I still have seven days to go.  That’s a lot.”  And later in the same entry, “I’m less than 250 miles from Butte, according to the signs on the Interstate — which means I’m less than 2 full days’ drive from home — but not yet.”  These trips always go too fast.

Neither I nor my car nor the Motel 6 in Miles City blew away overnight, although not for lack of trying.  The weather had calmed down considerably by morning, thank goodness, and after a grocery run and a fruitless search for block (as opposed to bag) ice again — the last ice I’d bought was the last available block at a convenience store in Williston, which lasted approximately twice as long as the bag I’d bought before that — I got back up on the freeway and headed out.

Although I forgot to mention my third (and determinedly last) quilt shop of the trip the afternoon before in Miles City, which had some wonderful tan tone-on-tone fabric created from national park maps.  I collect national park fabrics — I once made an entire quilt made in a national park theme, as a matter of fact.  So I jumped on this one with glee. 

Anyway.  Back to I-94.  It took a couple of hours for me to get to my first stop today, Pompey’s Pillar National Monument. Pompey’s Pillar is another of those newfangled national monuments, like the Upper Missouri Breaks, administered by the Bureau of Land Management instead of the National Park Service.  I know of a third category of national monuments as well, administered by the U.S. Forest Service — an example of one of those is Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, a couple of hours south of where I live, and it seems there’s at least one more category other than that.  Apparently after a certain date, who administers a newly-created monument depends on whose land it was carved from.  The land on which Pompey’s Pillar NM sits was purchased from a private individual.  I assume when that happens the monument is assigned to whichever agency seems most logical.  

At any rate, I seem to be digressing something fierce today.  Pompey’s Pillar has always been sort of a minor item on my personal bucket list.  It was named from Clark’s nickname for Sacagawea’s baby son.  Lewis was not with Clark (they had split up to cover more territory on the way home), when Clark stopped to carve the graffito on the side of the pillar that is the only tangible in situ evidence of the entire journey.  “Wm. Clark, July 25, 1806”  From my journal again, “I’ve seen a lot of old documents in my time — the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, etc.  But there’s something mindboggling about seeing the name of an explorer carved in a rock along the actual route he took.”

Many wildflowers were in bloom, too, along the trail and the stairs leading to the top, from which was another of those it’s-got-to-be-more-than-180-degrees-from-horizon-to-horizon views.  And the ‘interpretive’ center, which was bright new, dating from the bicentennial of the expedition in 2006, was well-done.  I picnicked there, and then drove on to Billings, just past where I-94 ends as it runs into I-90.

Billings is the biggest city in Montana, and it actually looks and feels like a city, with tall buildings and everything.  I needed to do some practical things, like get gas and cash and do laundry, so I spent a couple of hours there.  I think I was most impressed by the flowers in people’s yards.  I am inclined to notice such things, anyway, and it was early June, after all, but they really were lovely. 

 It was fairly late in the afternoon by the time I left town, and I had thought of finding another motel, but after being cheated out of camping the night before by the weather, I really wanted to camp.  Besides, the weather had cooled considerably, and I was back in the eastern foothills of the Rockies, at last.

So I drove on to the small town of Columbus, where I saw an RV park by the side of the highway.  I stopped there, only to be told I had to have an RV to stay there, but the lady said that if I went south through town to where the state highway crossed the Yellowstone River, there was a nice free municipal campground.  So I did, and there it was, right on the river, shaded by the ubiquitous but very pleasant and enormous cottonwoods, where I settled down for the night.

The river was very full, and the place was very peaceful except for two extremely unexpected sheep.

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Repeating History, “A GRAND yarn you can’t put down.” Janet Chapple, author of Yellowstone Treasures
http://mmjustus.com/fictionrepeatinghistory.html

Categories: exploring, history, museums, national parks, outdoors, plants, quilting, travel, weather | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Three weeks ago, Day 9

 Theodore Roosevelt National Park — the north unit

I believe I even had oil workers for neighbors in the campground last night.  At least they had camping gear.  One of them even had a trailer.  They were as nice and polite as could be, though, and since we all cleared out at about the same time the next morning, they didn’t even wake me up trying to get to work on time.

 Fort Buford and its campground were about an hour north of the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, just west of the town of Watford City, where I had tried to get a motel when I was going through my bout of reservation-making a couple of days before.  When I actually drove through it, I was glad I hadn’t been able to.

Do you ever create mental pictures so strong of places that you haven’t been to that when you actually arrive you think you can’t actually be in that place, it has to be wrong?  I did that with Watford City.  Maybe because it’s a town on the edge of a national park, and in my experience towns on the edges of national parks are a bit more attractive than, say, a construction site.  Watford City was one big noisy dusty construction site.  I suppose it was understandable enough given the circumstances, but still. 

But then I drove a few more miles south and the whole world changed.  The edge of the land dropped off from undulating prairie to the bluffs and buttes of the North Dakota badlands, and when I turned off from the highway onto the main (and only) road into the park, I got that lovely feeling I always get in national parks, of being in a place where nature matters.

I stopped at the visitor center, where mine was the only non-NPS vehicle in the parking lot.  TRNP’s north unit is one of the least-visited units of the national park system, and I can testify that it was pretty darned empty the day I was there — I think I saw two other cars the entire time I was in the park.  I looked at their exhibits, then I headed further into the park on a leisurely tour. 

I like badlands.  I like the texture of them and the shape of them.  I like the exposed layers and the unexpected look of the formations.  There’s just something about them that jump-starts the imagination.  Rocks shaped like cannonballs, ledges so flat and chiseled you could balance an egg on them, pyramidal rocks with more layers than an ice cream cake.  Just wonderful stuff.  The weather was nice, too, if a bit warm.  The only disappointment was that the road was only open about halfway into the park.  Apparently the land had slumped under the road, taking the pavement with it, and they hadn’t repaired it yet.  Since slumping is a major method nature uses to create badlands, I couldn’t complain, and I didn’t.  I got out and walked a small piece past the barricade, then decided that it was just a bit too lonely to walk far.  What if I had a close encounter with a bison?  They do live in the park, along with wild longhorn cattle and feral horses.  As it turned out, though, the only critters I saw in the north unit that day were birds. 

I walked a nature trail at the campground, down to the Little Missouri River, and I ate my lunch in the picnic area, well-shaded by more enormous cottonwoods.  Wrote a while.  Then I headed on south to I-94.

I have this book, called the Quilter’s Travel Companion, that lives in my car all year.  It’s basically a national phone book for quilt shops in the U.S. (and Canada, too, come to think of it).  Anyway, it had a listing for a quilt shop in the city of Dickinson, located on I-94 a few miles east of where I met up with it.  It was still the middle of the afternoon, so I decided to go see if I could find some good North Dakota-themed fabric as a souvenir (fabric is a very useful souvenir, especially after it makes its way into a quilt where it reminds the quilter of the good time she had acquiring it).  The shop was adorable.  And I found some wonderful fabric, of course. 

Then I headed back west, Dickinson having been the easternmost point on the entire trip, and found the motel room I had managed to snag in the small town of Belfield, which is apparently just out of commuting distance for the oil workers, and on my way to the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  But that was for the next day.

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Repeating History, “A GRAND yarn you can’t put down.” Janet Chapple, author of Yellowstone Treasures
http://mmjustus.com/fictionrepeatinghistory.html

Categories: animals, exploring, museums, national parks, outdoors, philosophy, plants, quilting, travel, weather | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Three weeks ago, Day 5

The oldest town in the state of Montana isn’t that old.

If you’re an Easterner.  Or a European.  But by intermountain West standards, ~160 years old is pretty ancient. 

Fort Benton, Montana, was the head of steamship travel on the Big Muddy, and hence one of the most inland ports in the world, from the 1850s, when special steamships were devised that could handle the shallow waters, snags, and other impediments of the Upper Missouri, and the late 1880s, when the railroad came to Montana (I’ve occasionally wondered if Charley, the hero of Repeating History, which is set in the late 1870s, might have traveled by steamship from Fort Benton at one point — maybe someday I’ll find out).  Nowadays, it’s the seat of Chouteau County, and bigger than I had thought it would be, with an elegantly remodeled Carnegie Library (about which more anon), and a stately stone courthouse.  It is, after all, Town for a great many farmers and ranchers, who are the main reason for its continued existence. 

But it also knows its large place in Montana history, and does some lovely things with it.  The riverfront, for instance, where once upon a time hundreds of puffing, smoking steamships disgorged thousands of tons of freight destined for the gold mines of Virginia City and Last Chance Gulch, is now a grassy promenade studded with signs telling the town’s fascinating history.  Did you know that an acting governor of Montana drowned in the river here?  Or that a dog named Shep once gained national fame for waiting here for years for a master who never came back?  (the man couldn’t help it — he’d left town in a coffin)  The Grand Union Hotel still welcomes guests (albeit at a price that was completely out of my range) behind its stocky but elegant red-brick façade.

And then there are the museums.  Sorry.  You know by now that in one of my lives I am a freelance museum curator, and it will probably come as no surprise to you that I was, in part, a history major in college.  Fort Benton, oddly enough, has a restored fort.  The Museum of the Upper Missouri tells the story of the steamship era.  The Upper Missouri River Breaks Interpretive (sigh) Center introduces the shiny new (so new that the last time I was in this part of the world, in 2000 when a friend and I kayaked part of the Upper Missouri, it didn’t exist yet) Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.  And then there was the Museum of the Northern Great Plains, which tells the story of the homesteaders and ranchers, and the tough lives they led and still lead. 

And, of course, there’s the Hornaday buffalo.  Have you ever seen a buffalo nickel?  This was the fellow they modeled it on.  Ever gotten a good look at the bison on the National Park Service logo?  Yeah, him, too.  The whole diorama, which consists of sixteen, if I remember correctly, bison of all ages and sexes, lived in the Smithsonian Institution for decades before making its roundabout way back to Fort Benton, where it is on permanent display now.  I have to admit to a strong preference for live and wild over taxidermied when it comes to any animal, but still.

It wasn’t until late in the afternoon that I discovered every motel in town was full — not tourists, but some nearby road construction project.  I went to the library to see about some wifi so that I might find an alternative (camping is all well and good, but not several nights in a row).  As it turned out, while it was nice to check my email, the librarian was of much more help.  Seems there was a set of cabins, mostly used by hunters, in the next little town down the road.  I was dubious, but I called, and yes, since it wasn’t hunting season, they had a vacancy.  I snagged it, thanked the librarian, and tooled twenty miles north to the wide spot in the road called Loma (population 85).

Not only was that no hunting cabin (unless you counted the elk motif decorating the entire place), it held the most comfortable bed I slept on during the entire trip.  The restaurant next door was called Ma’s Loma Café.  As I was to find out, Thursday nights were Mexican night.  Cooked by Ma, who was first generation Mexican-American.  I had the best fajitas and guacamole I’ve had in years.  Not hot spicy, but delicious spicy.  Combined with classic Montana beef (in my humble opinion some of the best on the planet).  I’m drooling just thinking about it.  I did not eat alone, either.  As soon as I sat down, the couple at the next table invited me to join them, and I, for one, had a wonderful time.  They were locals, and as interested in me as I was in them. 

And after that?  I wandered back to my cabin, sank into the bed from heaven, and that was the end of me for the night.

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Repeating History, “A GRAND yarn you can’t put down.” Janet Chapple, author of Yellowstone Treasures
http://mmjustus.com/fictionrepeatinghistory.html

Categories: exploring, food, history, museums, outdoors, philosophy, quilting, travel | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Three weeks ago, Day 3

 Helena, Montana, is a nice town.  If I could stand the climate, which is hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and very dry all year round, it wouldn’t be a half-bad place to live.  Granted, it’s a bit isolated out there in the eastern foothills of the northern Rockies, but no more so than anywhere else in Montana.  It’s an hour from Butte, a couple of hours from Great Falls, and only four hours from Yellowstone, after all.

But I was heading in the opposite direction from Yellowstone.  At least for the time being.

I had two research stops planned on this trip, and Helena was the first.  The Montana Historical Society is headquartered in Helena, with a terrific museum and a research library staffed by some extremely helpful librarians.  I spent the morning there poking through clipping files and microfilm, looking for anecdotes written by people who had been in Yellowstone during the days after the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake since I am going to be placing another character in the park during that event.  The Hebgen Lake Earthquake was the largest (7.2-7.5 on the Richter scale — the 1906 San Francisco quake was a 7.9, for a basis of comparison) earthquake in the Rocky Mountain region in recorded history, and, in the area immediately west of the park, it caused a landslide that killed almost thirty people and created an entirely new lake. 

Inside the park, no one was killed, but a great many buildings (including the Old Faithful Inn) and quite a few miles of road were severely damaged, and what the earthquake did to the thermal features (geysers, hot springs, etc.) apparently put on quite the show.  Some of the changes were permanent, some temporary, but it is safe to say that the Hebgen Lake Earthquake profoundly changed Yellowstone, and the stories people told about it are a novel begging to be written.

From research to what I’ve been calling shilling, for lack of a better term.  After lunch, I went to the Lewis and Clark County Library, where I spoke with one of the librarians and left bookmarks, then I strolled on down Last Chance Gulch, which is a) what Helena was called back when it was a mining camp in the 1860s before it became Helena, and b) the name of the main drag downtown, which is now a tree-shaded, lilac-lined pedestrian mall.  I stopped at the city hall’s historic preservation department, the chamber of commerce, a local bookstore, and at the Lewis and Clark County Historical Society along the way, trailing bookmarks as I went.  I also found a new-to-me quilt shop, and, of course, left with fabric.  Ahem.  My name is M.M. Justus, and I am a fabricoholic.  There.  That’s out of the way.

By that time it was late, and I went back to my motel to get ready to head on the next morning.  I do like Helena.  It was a good place to set part of a novel.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of today.  But there will be more tomorrow.

Repeating History, “A GRAND yarn you can’t put down.” Janet Chapple, author of Yellowstone Treasures
http://mmjustus.com/fictionrepeatinghistory.html

Categories: books, exploring, geysers, history, museums, national parks, plants, quilting, Repeating History, research, self-publishing, travel, writing, Yellowstone | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

blog touring some more

Kathleen Ernst, who writes historical fiction (including some of the American Girl books) and who used to do living history performances for a living, is hosting me on her blog:

http://sitesandstories.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/meet-meg-justus/

This one’s about the Job Carr Cabin Museum and quilting in public [g].

Categories: history, museum work, museums, quilting, volunteering | Leave a comment

A time to reckon, I guess

These were my goals this time last year

1) Complete my first two freelance museum gigs.

I did. Both well enough to get rehired [g].

2) Find more potential clients and land more gigs.

I found one more new client, which I’ve been working steadily for since April, plus, as I said, rehired by both my old clients, although one has since gone dormant till spring for lack of funds.

3) Go to more museum workshops and a conference, and continue Heritage League committee work.

I’ve been to two workshops and taken two classes, but I didn’t make it to any conferences. The HL committee I was on finished its work in September, but I’ve been asked to be on the board, and probably will.

4) Write the mystery house rough draft.

Well, no. I’ve been working on the Yellowstone trilogy, though, and I will get back to it after I’m done with it.

5) Revise Sojourn, last year’s NaNo book.

Again, no, because of the Yellowstone trilogy. It’s in the pipeline, though.

6) Figure out what I’m going to do about the rest of the Yellowstone trilogy (which may end up as a duology), and get back to work on it.

I did figure it out, and what I did was do one more edit on Repeating History, create a cover, and format it for Amazon and Smashwords. I self-published it in early August, and it’s been selling a steady trickle of copies ever since.
And, no, the Yellowstone trilogy is not going to be a duology. True Gold, the second book, has an almost complete rough draft, and I have begun revisions.

7) Finish piecing the Imbolc Flame quilt, and finish quilting the Yule Log Cabin quilt. Maybe start a nice, simple throw of animal fabrics and the animal cross-stitch patterns I did last summer.

The Imbolc Flame quilt is pieced. I haven’t layered it yet, but I’ll get there. The Yule Log Cabin, well… It’s the disaster I finally ended up giving away partly quilted. First time I’ve ever done that with a quilt. The throw has just started to materialize (sorry, bad pun). I started piecing on it last week. I’ve also created several quilted pillows and am almost finished quilting a baby quilt for the great-nibling due in April.

8) Find some good 6″ square flower cross-stitch patterns for my Beltane quilt and begin stitching them.

I’ve stitched half a dozen of them, but I got sidetracked with some other projects, including a cross-stitched pillow. The Beltane quilt will happen. Eventually.

9) Go to Crater Lake, Yosemite, and WorldCon in Reno in August with my friend M.

We went, we had a great time [g].

10) Do more research on Washington history — find some more good stuff for my writing.

I did some, but I got kind of sidetracked researching True Gold.

11) Blog regularly.

Weell… Regularly, but not nearly as often as I would have liked.

And now this year’s goals

1) Complete the new museum exhibit by the end of February, and keep getting rehired to continue the textile collection work.

2) Pursue more collections work as opposed to exhibits work. Only sign with the dormant client if they have sufficient funds to finish what they hire me to do and a concrete objective for that work. Sign a contract with at least one new client.

3) Join the Heritage League board. Take a Photoshop class. Pursue other career educational opportunities including the Washington Museum Association conference, in Seattle this year.

4) Finish True Gold and self publish it by the first of June.

5) Write Finding Home (the third book in the Yellowstone trilogy) and self-publish it, hopefully by the end of the year.

6) Learn better book marketing skills and put them into practice.

7) Redecorate the living room. My living room has had a lighthouse theme for the last twenty years, and it’s time for a change. I have picked out some cross-stitch patterns and quilt fabrics with North American wild animals on them, so it’s a start.

8) Finish the baby quilt. Finish the animal sofa throw. Make a new table runner for the sofa table. Layer the Imbolc Flame quilt and start quilting it.

9) Make new cross-stitch pictures for the living room. I have eight picked out. We’ll see how many I can finish this year.

10) Make my first long car trip alone in five years [sigh]. The plan is to take off for two or three weeks in June and drive east. Maybe a night or two in Yellowstone to scatter bookmarks, but I want to go farther east than that, maybe as far as Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. I also want to visit some of the historic sites like Fort Benton.

11) Get the garden cleaned up.

12) Blog more frequently.

So, what are your goals for 2012?

Categories: museum work, national parks, quilting, Repeating History, self-publishing, travel, True Gold, volunteering, writing | 2 Comments

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