I just returned from a fall break road adventure with my family. First of all I need to thank SO many of you for the kind words on my 7th blogging anniversary. I was so humbled and honored that so many of you would take the time to do that. I know I will never be able to thank you individually, so please accept this thanks as a pathetic substitute.
Second, I need to apologize for not getting the winners drawn and announced before we left for our fall break. I was frantically trying to wrap up all my loose ends before we went out of town – including a bunch of sewing for Quilt Market this week – when I got one of those phone calls from the school that one of my kids had fallen at recess. So after rushing to the school, a trip to the Urgent Care clinic for x-rays, and a diagnosed broken collar bone, there went the time I was going to get all those other things on the ‘to-do’ list done. So thank you for your patience! Winners will be announced later today!
Despite our un-welcome collar bone excitement, we had a great fall break (no pun intended). We embarked on an epic road trip south to Arizona this time – our primary destination was the Grand Canyon. I was the only one of the six of us who had ever been there and it’s been about 25 years since then.
I thought I’d share a few pictures from the trip since it’s such a unique part of the country. And because it’s pretty spectacular scenery. It really is that vast. Even in person, you feel like you’re staring at the painted backdrop from an old western movie. We felt a little bit like the Brady Bunch, except we didn’t ride any mules, or find a creepy old ghost town, or drive a sweet station wagon.
But we did do a couple of hikes (and we did see other people on mules!) These shots are from the Bright Angel trail. It was so cool hiking down into the canyon. So much more vegitation – and more beautiful – than I expected. Plus we talked with a bunch of nice folks along the way, including a charming older couple from Normandy, France – hiking the 12-mile round trip out to Plateau Point – and a couple from Chester, UK and Bristol, UK as well as a variety of locations across the US and Asia. The kids and I only did 3 miles round trip.
We also hiked Shoshone point (third picture in this post) which is kind of a hidden gem and we had the place all to ourselves for a long while.
Here’s some southwest inspiration for you. This is the Desert View Watchtower, inspired by ancient Pueblo watch towers and designed by architect Mary Colter. It was completed in 1932. The details were so cool. I love that stone work at the top of the tower. I’m kind of fascinated by Mary Colter now and want to read more about her.
These re-creation murals on the inside of the tower were done by Hopi painter, Fred Kabotie also in the 1930’s.
During our epic road adventure, we also stopped in some little towns in southern Utah and eastern Arizona – a few specifically because of family ties. On our way south we spent the first night in Kanab, Utah. My mom’s grandmother was born and raised there and my mom has deep roots among the earliest non-native settlers there. Both of these houses were built by her great- and great-great-grandfathers. They were so adorable. AND… both were for sale. Totally impractical to ever actually buy one, but a girl can dream…
We visited other little towns in eastern Arizona where my grandfather’s family pioneered some tough territory. These pictures are from the Stinson pioneer museum in in Snowflake, Arizona.
All of these quilts were in the Victorian-era Flake Home next door.
Another ancestor’s home, built by Jesse Smith in Snowflake. It’s a beautifully-kept old home, full of family memorabilia.
It’s common knowledge that I’m a sucker for all old quilts, but imagine my utter joy finding this quilt made by and for my great-great grandmother, Janet Smith. The quilt is made up of signature blocks and I even found the block made by her daughter Leah (my great-grandmother). Here’s a picture of Janet and Leah together. I met Leah in my lifetime – she passed away when I was two. It was so fun to find this connection to my own people.
I love the large Baptist Fan quilting. You can tell it was done as a group effort/quilting-bee style as the Fans start in different directions on both sides of the quilt and work toward the middle.
And then, even better – this quilt made by Janet’s mother (also Janet, just to be confusing). It’s really similar to the Pine Burr quilt in this post. I need to try and get up the guts to make one.
But probably my favorite stop was this ranch in Hunt, Arizona (not even on the map!) where Leah lived and raised her family – including my grandfather. With no electricity or running water, she delivered 3 of her 10 babies (and loved them all) here. As the family grew, they later moved to Phoenix, but they still spent summers at this ranch. She felt like they were the happiest times of her life. Seeing that little 4-room house chokes me up a little. I couldn’t have done it, but I’m sure grateful she did. She raised an amazing bunch of people.
Coming home made a few more stops along the way, including Canyonlands National Park where we hiked again and saw really old Native American art.
The Needles District, Canyonlands
We also hit a spectacular sunset in Monument Valley.
We are proud National Park junkies. (You can see some of our past adventures here.) Next year is the centennial of the National Park Service in the United States. Pardon the phone snap-shot of a print at the Grand Canyon gift shop, but I came across these quilt block designs to commemorate each National Park for the centennial. I’m really intrigued! This is all I’ve found about them online. If anyone knows more, let me know. They are some beautiful blocks!
And now we’re home again. It was such a good trip. The kids were troopers – especially the one with the broken collar bone (although, truthfully, he was the most cheerful 😉 ) – and my husband was the biggest trooper doing all that driving. In addition, I always love road trips to get some good handwork done. I got two more quilts bound on the road – including this one that will be a new tutorial on Wednesday. Stay tuned!