Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Winter Solstice Quilt

Donna made this lovely modern quilt called Winter Solstice, a pattern from McCalls Quilting Magazine.  You can purchase the pattern at this link This is a great pattern for using larger prints.

I used Bayside for the pantograph, off white So Fine thread and Quilters Dream Blend batting.

Monday, December 9, 2019


Vicki made this sweet Slideshow quilt, designed by Atkinson Designs, using farm themed fabrics.  The red sashing fabric really sets off the prints.

 I used a pantograph called Delicious that has apples, leaves and flowers.  The batting is Quilters Dream Blend and thread is a beige So Fine. 

Not much snow here at all!  Just a few inches on the ground which is rare for this time of year.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Hawaiian Sky

One of the things I was most looking forward to on our trip was taking nighttime photography.   The second night we were there the sky was clear and out we went with my camera gear and tripod.  As I went to set up my camera on my tripod I realized I forgot my adapter which holds the camera onto my tripod!  I almost cried, I couldn't believe for forgot my adapter!  But as you can see I did manage to solve my problem by picking up a cheap tripod at Walmart the next day and try again.  It barely did the job and my camera fell off it once!  No damage to the camera just my nerves. 

The photo above is one my favorites of the Milky Way and was taking on a scenic overlook along the highway north of Kona looking south.  The light you see to the bottom left is approaching traffic.  I was able to time a few shots so I didn't get the cars bright lights. Now this spot has other challenges and that was the local critters!  As I was setting up I noticed Tim flicking bugs away from my tripod...on closer inspection I realized they were 2 inch long cockroaches and they were everywhere!  I wasn't going to let a little bug ruin my evening so I just ignored them...except when they ran over my foot!  I did a little 'happy dance' when that happened.

The next photo shows the Big Dipper upside down between the trees below and Polaris ( the North Star) is at the bottom of the photo. This was strange to see as I am use to seeing the Little Dipper high in the north sky tipping over and pouring into the Big Dipper.

It was fun to have the palm trees in the foreground of some of these pictures.  I really wished the Observatory on Mauna Kea was open so we could have experienced an evening sky watch with experts who could have answered my questions! I was excited to learn that I could see southern hemisphere stars there but not familiar with them.  Something for me to brush up on before my next trip that way. :)

This last one is looking south early in the morning, I took most of the photos with the trees in the foreground at 4am.  There were a few other people out star gazing as well and it was also a good time for us to get our laundry done lol!  

Friday, December 6, 2019

Black Sand, Sea Turtles and Manta Rays

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is on the south end of the Big Island and was one highlight on our trip.   Black sands of volcanic glass created when the lava reaches the sea and instantly cools causing it to shatter into tiny fragments.  It has a sharper feel to walk on than coral sand beaches around the island.  My feet never felt smoother after walking it for about an hour!  lol

A common site at this beach are the sea turtles and there was one for us to see.  They have them protected behind barriers to keep from getting too close.  Most beaches have signs say 'stay 3m or 10m back from the turtles'.

Here he is having a little snooze in the nice warm black sand.


Well that woke him up! lol

Another highlight of our trip was a double haul canoe paddle out to see the Manta Rays after sunset.  Paddle, sunset and manta rays...that's my kind of adventure!   The area around Keauhou Bay is were we went, right in front of the Sheraton Hotel.  Back in the 80's the hotels bar started shining lights into the water and they soon noticed the Manta Rays swimming around the lights.  The lights were attracting plankton and the Manta Rays feed on the plankton.  So since then each evening the bay is full of snorkelers and canoes each with their lights.   We saw about 4 different Rays and I wasn't expecting them to circle up like they did as they fed, it was very cool!

( Video now works!)

For my next post I'll share my night time photography.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

I am sure you all saw on the news back in 2018 that Kilauea lava started flowing out of Fissue 8 in Pu'uO'o and the caldera collapsed. Lava had been flowing from Kilauea from 1983 to 2018.  Here is a link to an article about what happened and the current conditions.  We drove along Highway 132 and came to a dead end as the road was closed due to the resent lava flows.  Part of highway 132 was reopened while we were there but this part shown in the photo is still closed.

A lot of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open, only a few roads, trails and sites closed.

Here is the view of Kilauea crater.

Found a great diagram to show just how much it changed after the collapse.

We drove down Crater Rim Drive to the ocean, lovely drive.  

We parked at the end and walked to the recent lava field flows ( recent being 1983- 2018). Tim and I were totally nerding out here!  My husband is a geologist and I studied geology in university ( that's how we meet) so this was a fun experience running around on new lava flows. We are use to seeing 1.9 billion year old flows in Canada that have a bit of weathering so it was fun to see them fresh!

Walking on new lava sounds like walking on fine crushed glass.  The surface is rough from all the gases escaping (vesicular texture) and those sharp edge crunch as you walk on them! This is a beautiful example of pahoehoe lave or ropy lava. You don't want to fall on this stuff!

This next picture shows the contact between lava from 1970 and 2007.  The 1970s lava from Mauna Ulu is well weathered and has a turtle shell pattern, the 2007 lava is still un-weathered. 

Here is a close up of the 1970s lava with its turtle shell weathering patterns.

All is quiet regarding lava activity on the island right now so that is why we had beautiful clear skies. I was told when the lava is flowing it can get very hazy,smoky across the island.  But I think I would be fine with the hazy if I could have gotten the change to see lava flowing off these cliffs!  Oh well, that's still on my bucket list.

Next we went to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, that will be my next post.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Last week Tim and I finally went on our first Hawaiian vacation.  This has been on our bucket list for many years and it was wonderful to finally check this one off the list.  We decided on the Big Island because we like to explore and seeing the volcanoes were high on our priority list.  We are not much for laying on a beach but really enjoy walking them and swimming in the ocean. So we found a great resort in Waikoloa Beach which is about half hour north of Kona that was right on the beach. Here are a few pictures from our first walk.

Because of the 4 hour time difference we were up pretty early each morning so the beach was empty.

We rented a 2 person kayak to explore the bay and the reefs.  Saw some fish and a few sea turtles in the distance poking it head above water briefly.

I was intrigued by the workers trimming the coconut trees with a machete.  They have a lot of skill using the metal ring 'climbing contraptions' on their feet!  Not easy work at all in the hot sun.

Tim noticed this Praying Mantis on one of the fallen leaves, guess he got chopped out of his home!

We went to a Luau which was very entertaining and the food was fabulous.  The sunset that night was spectacular too.

Half hour after sunset the blue hour was pretty good too!

Checked out Hapuna beach, one of the best/beautiful white sand beaching on the island in my opinion.

Then off to Pololu Valley Lookout,  it was too hot to walk down to this beach, for me anyway!

Next stop Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park.  Love the colour of the water here as it breaks on the rocks!

Lovely walk to Akaka Falls, now we are on the tropical eastern side of the island.  I'll stop here and continue with our trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the next post.