I have been in a little creative slump

So what to do when this happens? Try something different.

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I did a baby quilt this week for a customer. The longarm was serviced while on vacation and it is stitching very well. I also put a block together of the little hst for the chevron blocks I am working on. Pictured is the fabric panels and fabric I  bought in Scotland while on vacation. Something very different for me! The last bundle of fq was in the mail on my return  from Quiltmaker magazine for helping test blocks for their last 100 block magazine. And lastly, while on vacation this article about me being a Modern Quilter was released. All that wonderful stuff happening, all that wonderful fabric to play with and I find myself in a creative slump.

Maybe it’s jet lag, maybe it’s because a cold is lingering. Maybe it’s just because I have been working too hard with a commute to another city half time and the break from quilting was just what I needed while on vacation.

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My husband and I have been going through our vacation pictures this week. See previous posts to hear all about this trip of a lifetime. Yesterday we decided to do a fall drive, weather is great and we just couldn’t sit home!! I went to a Wool and Lamb Festival and spent an extravagant amount of money on the most beautiful yarn. I am knitting a feather and fan wrap. After three starts I have made progress.  Ahhh, a very nice change of pace from quilting and just what I needed.

I will load a quilt on the frame tomorrow. I will continue to look at my vacation pictures for inspiration. I will also look at the nature picture from our Autumn tour yesterday, look for another post about the tour in the future.

This what I do to get my creative block defeated. To Recap:

1. Take a break or maybe even a vacation, my vacation was pretty life changing

2. Do something totally different creatively

3. Seek inspiration in the ordinary

4. Do/go somewhere different

5. Seek inspiration in other art forms- I went to art museums, listen to music and studied architecture

6. Be ok that a creative block happens but don’t stop being creative!

7. I also think regular exercising, eating right and sleeping well is part of being creative


Stay tuned for more about the vivid autumn I have been having!




Day 6 in scotland

Today was the day in our Scotland vacation that the Master’s World Championships started in Inverness.  We had so much fun so far and the games were so well done. I loved the chance to rest my feet and take pictures of my husband throwing heavy implements. He loves it so much and I enjoy the competition myself.

2014-09-28 21.11.42Prior to starting the games my husband and our friend Mark.

Here are shots during the games:


After a full day of doing games, there was a night time parade of the clans. It was the first time in 150 years that the parade was done in Inverness and it ended at the historic Northern Meeting Park. Many clan chiefs and dignitaries were present. It was the only time we were able to step foot in that park. It was the park where the games were started up again 150 years ago after the games were not allowed in Scotland. It was so cool.

I had an adventure because I couldn’t walk the entire parade with the hills. So I parted from the group to walk to the room and then meet them at the end of the parade route by the B andB. Well, I made a wrong turn in the dark, in the fog and wound up taking a tour of other neighborhoods. I came to a main road and got confirmation from the grocery store I was going the right way and as I got to the end of the parade route as the clans were coming down the hill. I could hear the bagpipes all over my walk but I couldn’t cross the river due to road construction and being a bit disoriented due to the fog. I had no phone but overall I got where I needed to go. The  pictures turned out and I walked the final leg with my husband. I decided not to leave the group again.

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It was so much fun to be part of history! Here is a line to a video of the parade:



2 more days of the Highland Games, good thing because by now in this trip what I thought was allergies was really a nasty respiratory infection. I was prepared and wasn’t gonna let it stop me from having adventures !!!



Day 5 of our vacation

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Today is a picture perfect day, too. The weather is perfect so we went to Urquart castle. A lady thrower named Kate rode with us as she is travelling alone for the Masters World Championship. We know her from games in Michigan. I can’t imagine travelling to another country by myself. She is part of the Michigan group so she is not ALONE. I am pretty inspired by her athletic ability and her courage. Spoiler alert, she came in fourth in her age group at the end of the weekend. YEAH KATE!!!

This castle is a ruins and the big bonus is the view of Loch ness. I have to say that the castle portion was all up tiny spiral stairs and up steep hills. Several stories. And I did it, no getting frozen at the top. I was not gonna have a repeat of last year’s lighthouse incident.  My feet are really feeling it today. I am looking forward to sitting at the games over the next few days.

What can you say about Loch Ness except, WOW!

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We went back to Inverness and my husband registered for the games. They had registration in a night club, ha ha ha, the first and only time I will ever be in one of those! Then we had dinner in the town council townhouse. There were so many people we actually ate in the town council chambers. What a lovely building. It is pretty hot so I stepped out after the dinner. So glad I did because I was able to talk to locals who were security and learn about their feelings about The US and of course the Referendum. Many Yes people are vocal here.

And what is so interesting is that the athletes are a big hit with the tourists and generate a ton of photos and questions about the games. After dinner the MWC hosts had a concert for us to attend. It was the BEST show ever. I saw Highland Dance, bagpipers and bands. My favorite was a group called Manran.

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I have to say our stay in the b and b called Moyness House was great. It was close to everything we needed and we could walk if we wanted to. The décor was formal but not stuffy. We had a larger room that was very comfortable. The hosts are very helpful for weary tourists and very patient in giving directions, advice and tour advice.

Tomorrow is the first day of the games!!


Scotland vacation Day 4

I wanted to give you a laugh,  at the end of  day 3 we walked to the downtown to get a lay of the land and some food. My feet are a mess and walking is very painful but I digress. By this time we are hungry. So I was asked what looked good,  by my husband,  on our little walk. I chose a really bright and cheery looking resturant. We go in and much to our laughter is was an AMERICAN FOOD resturant, lol. Best BBQ pork  I have had in a long time. Ha, travel so far and I was so thrilled for bbq.


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Day 4- Today is our big day of sightseeing. We drive from Inverness and our wonderful b and b (more on the Guesthouse later) to view Loch Ness. What a day we have for pictures. The loch is more beautiful than a camera can capture, and have I mentioned that I left my camera charger at home so most pics were taken on my Galaxy 5 cell phone and my Galaxy tab 3. I think that the cell camera is SUPERB!!!



Loch Ness is very big and blue today. We are on our way to the west coast of Scotland to see Eilan Donan castle. There is so much to see in this vast place called the Highlands. It does capture the imagination. We stop along the way to take pictures and enjoy the sights. We aren’t sure what we are going to see on this day but is is really breathtaking as the day unfolds.

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The Highlands along this road is not very populated. It had one stop for gas, food and restrooms along the way. Our top speed was about 50 but most of the way it was a 40 mile an hour trip. The castle is amazing. It is still used for weddings. No pictures inside but that was ok because the beauty of this place is on the outside anyway!! The inside is restored and showcases family history and artifacts for generations. Things are so ancient here, it never ceases to amaze me.


After our day of castle touring we return to Inverness. We walk around Inverness to find the games field.  Along the way, we find the ancient field called Northern Meeting Park where the first Highland Games were held 150 years ago, after wearing tartans and all things Scottish were banished from the land. Hmmm, we were about to participate in all things Scottish by the world this weekend and to see that park was…..emotional. It is still there, untouched.

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We walk along the River Ness and the wonderful river walk they have. It also included footbridges to little islands. Trees were huge and I imagined that fairies lived in the wooded areas. Inverness is a city of about 60,000 but it has a small town charm and hospitality. There is a Shinty cup championship this weekend too so town is busy. Lots happening with Homecoming Scotland and the Referendum.

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The hosts of the Masters World Championship Highland games host a first pint at the Castle Tavern.  Yummmmm best steak I have had and we met many atheltes here as well as our hosts. Scotland has hospitality that I have never encountered before. My husband came to the conclusion that Ediburgh was built on stairs but today I came to the conclusion all of Scotland was, as you can see there are plenty of hills too.

Inverness castle is very pretty but it is a newer building so no touring inside, it has a view also. Outside on its grounds are tons of wild and domesticated rabbits! It is used for local government.

I think I am in a most wonderful place.


Day 3 of our vacation

This is a day that we start to head to Inverness. We  drive ourselves. I have to say that driving is a challenge because it is slow going, has tractors on the highway, and one lane roads. My husband did a great job but it wasn’t easy for me to be a passenger on the left side of the car. We did stop at Stirling Castle on the way, wow, what a tight road full of hairpin turns to get to the castle. There is a lot of give and take driving on these roads that are so narrow.

But it was worth it! The views were great. Each castle had it’s own personality and different way to be explored. Stirling had a guided tour, costumed actors and a tapestry weaving project that is going on right on sight!!! This tapestries tell a classic medieval  story of the Unicorn Hunt. I learned that the unicorn is a national animal of Scotland and used in Royal heraldry.

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2014-09-09 10.19.55 2014-09-09 10.36.43 2014-09-09 10.55.10Very pretty views!  We are well on our way to the city in the Highlands, Inverness, where the Masters world Championships are held this year and my husband will compete in the Highland games. We are looking forward to the competition.


Day 2 of our Scotland vacation

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On the second day we woke up to the sounds of sea gulls, kids playing and a dog barking. It is actually an eerily quiet neighborhood, the street I live on is loud. Breakfast was delicious. The house is adorable and the neighborhood is magical. I feel like I am in a Harry Potter movie.  we see uniformed students going to the chocolate shop for a break, the tea and sweet shops, and the stone buildings. We take a double decker bus to Edinburgh Castle.

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The Castle is an overwhelming place at first view. This is the biggest castle we toured. It has amazing views of the city. It has the crown jewels, museums, cannons being shot off and the site of the August Tattoo.  The grand stands for the tattoo are being torn down and you can see that in some of these pictures. The castle and all of the road up to it is very ancient. The multiple buildings are well preserved and the cobble stone streets are authentic. This is a must see site.

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We walked the Royal Mile  and went to find the Apin Banner at the national museum. This is the flag that my husband’s ancestor saved at the battle of Culloden. It was a wonderful moment to see it and read the story on a plaque in a museum. We toured through part of the museum.

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We also went to St Giles Cathedral, it is a beautiful place. It has lovely stained glass windows and a little chapel where the Knights of the Thistle meet. We saw the burial sites and cathedral for Gray Frier’s Bobby. And lastly we toured Mary Kings Close (no pics). That was the underground city the current old town it built over. Ton’s of history on this day. Edinburgh is a bustling place. We had picture perfect weather, and every one is commenting on the unusual sunny warm days. It is very humid but in the 50’s.

Everyone is also talking bout the upcoming vote for independence, it is called “The Referendum.”

I can’t get used to all the tight quarters, narrow streets and the large amount of tourists in the off season! My feet are letting me tour and I wouldn’t let it stop me any ways. Everywhere we look is a new thing to see!  Today was a ton to take in and we sleep well. This is the beginning of an adventure!


My last two weeks

I returned yesterday from a two week vacation in Scotland. I plan to review this vacation in several blog posts and there will be many pictures each post. I also will give my thoughts about each day. I think that this was one of those experiences that really opened my eyes about me, my life and the world around me. I loved each moment, each person we met and learned many things.

Day 1

We landed in Edinburgh after three planes and about 11 hours of flights plus layovers. I had to walk down old fashioned stairs to get out of the plane. I am exhausted. My feet are very swollen and blistering because of the flat shoes I wore. I didn’t want to be messing with my shoes during security checks and I thought they were a good choice. I am limping. I am aching. I am a little bit dizzy and off balance, I have a middle ear condition called Meniere’s Disease and flying is not great for vertigo.

We had an hour and a half in customs. Wow,  did I have to use the rest room. There was heightened security due to the Referendum for Scottish independence. And ahead of us has a group of  100 teens from Japan…several with paperwork problems. We go to get our car and they wont take a magnetic strip credit card for our deposit, they want something called a pin and chip credit card. We already paid Avis. They wont take cash.

Crap, another hour wait and EuropeCar, the competition to Avis- can you tell I am a little put off with AVIS, took our charge card no problem, they called it in. Oh,  and we got a Mercedes. A MERCEDES! We have no phone to call the B and Bto let them know that we are going to be late for check in. Stress is running high . Driving the 7 miles was crazy, the streets are barely one car wide, traffic circles galore, on the left side to drive and we have been up for 36 hours.

Then no one answers the door at the house and the front door is locked. We found a nice lady walking by and she offers to call the house for us as the staff was vacuuming or “hoovering” and couldn’t hear the bell. We got checked in. Relief sets in. We get info about the town and public transportation. .

We walked to a local gourmet restaurant. Curry. Ugh. I am a bit allergic to it and don’t have a taste for it.  We just cant do much sightseeing due to fatigue and we go back. I am hormonal, exhausted, in pain. I cry. Not sure I am strong enough for all of this travel and culture shock. We bring things from home for the daughter of the local quilt shop and she lives in Edinburgh. Not far from our room!  We meet  after email communication and give her some things from home.

Albyn TownHouse is a wonderful guesthouse. We have a third floor room, more stairs— oh my poor feet, and a beautiful view of the city. I am shocked at how quiet this town it. It smells of age, whiskey, sea air,  damp stone and gardens. It is lovely. I am delighted by the décor of the house and look forward to breakfast. Our adventures begin! I am feeling a bit hesitant about being able to keep up with my husband who is in shape and keeping up with our plans of sightseeing.  I resolve that in such a delightful house and surrounded by history this is going to be great!

First pic is the Airport in Traverse city, then the wild colors of the tunnel in Detroit to the international terminal a musical surprise with the light show!

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the take off and wonderful weather

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The first pictures of Edinburgh and our guest house called, Albyn Townhouse

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I have never left the States to travel and I have the wonder of a child on this trip.

More to come