I Came. I Tweaked. I Conquered.

I dug in this afternoon and finished the last nine 9-patch blocks for the final two rows of this Moss Garden quilt and got them, along with the last nine ten inch squares up on the design wall. I also moved two of the previous rows to my second design wall since one is not big enough for a queen size quilt. I’m able to get the horizontal rows needed on the wall, but I can’t get the width. fin1

To do the final tweaking of the quilt top, I take two photos and put them together in a document to get one view of the entire top. Here are the two photos that were combined for the one image above. Click on the images to get a bigger view.

This final tweaking is the most frustrating part of making a quilt top for me. It seems like if I find an issue I want to fix, when I move a block to fix it I make a whole new problem somewhere else. Eventually, I just have to say, “that’s good enough.”

The blocks near the bottom of the quilt aren’t as dark as they appear. I keep looking at this on the design wall and that darkness just isn’t really there. It’s all due to lighting and camera angle.

I made a couple of tweaks to this layout after I took these photos. And now I’m done. I’ll start sewing the blocks together tomorrow evening. Once it’s all together, I’ll get some better photos.

I have a pretty good pile of scraps left over from this quilt. I’m already thinking of my next scrap quilt. I have some ideas for a string quilt made from KFC fabrics. I’ve been drafting out some sample block ideas and it looks like it might be fun. I’ll share more later this week after I have some time to give it a little more thought.

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… around a dozen ten-inch blocks, a stack of 3.5 inch squares, and some WOF pieces that may get cut into 2.5 inch strips and put away.

The new Kaffe Fasset book that I ordered, Quilts in Burano, arrived early this evening. I haven’t had a chance to go through it in too much detail yet, but it’s always inspiring to get a new Kaffe book!

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Moss Garden Moving Along

The big old blocks really go fast. I spent a couple hours on this quilt this afternoon and evening and have gotten a lot done. Tomorrow, I’ll tweak the arrangement of the blocks, and will move two of these rows to my second design wall and then add the final two rows. nine

I might remove one or two fabrics that I’m not loving in this quilt. But I want to think about it before I make that rash decision.

This quilt will be nine blocks by nine blocks, plus a border.It should end up being a queen size quilt.

One of the people I hiked with yesterday is Heather, an excellent photographer who loves to take photos of dogs. She got some great ones of my dogs.

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Bender is an expert level poser. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad photo of him. He will sit and pose for as long as you like, and he’s just so handsome that you can’t help but take a good photo.

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Rico is very handsome in a different way. He is a beef cake! He’s all twisted steel and sex appeal. And he’s so sweet.

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The dogs ran their hearts out yesterday! And all those dogs just get along so well. So nice to have dogs who you can just toss out there together and they are all fine.

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And then these handsome boys. What can I say about these guys? They’re pretty amazing!

Today we went for Rico’s weekly sheep herding lesson and he was amazing! I wish it was easier to post a video here.

 

 

Moss Garden Quilt Is Under Way

I met some friends early today for a hike and then came home and got working on my next quilt. I cut all the fabrics last night, so was ready to get busy when I got home today around 10 am.

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I made a lot of headway today. These blocks are 9.5 inches, and the 9 patch block pieces are 3.5 inches each. I still need to move some things around on the design wall. But I’m really liking how this looks.

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These fabrics are so amazing! I just love putting colors and patterns together. This looks different in reality than it did in my head, but I LOVE it!

The pattern for this quilt is free on the Free spirit website. I’m using different fabrics than this pattern calls for. You can find the pattern here.

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There’s all my pieces just waiting to be assembled.

And I want to talk about this fabric for a minute…

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That amazing fabric is Jupiter in the green color way. I found it online a couple of years ago and bought two yards — and I wish I’d purchased a lot more. This is the first time I’ve ever used any of it. I LOVE that fabric! The colors are so vibrant and bright. It’s one of my all time favorite Kaffe fabrics and  it can be a little hard to find. This is one that I’d ask KFC to bring back again!

I’m thinking I’m going to make this quilt 9 blocks by 9 blocks and will add a generous border. It should end up being a queen size quilt. And I’m thinking I just might keep it for myself! It doesn’t hurt to have options for your bed quilt!

Today was my last day of vacation. As I mentioned above, I met a couple of friends really early this morning to go for a hike.

And I mean ridiculously early.

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Yes, I really set my alarms for 3:30 and 3:45 this morning. 3:30 was the warning alarm, and 3:45 meant GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF BED!

It took me about an hour to get ready to go and I had a drive of a little over an hour before I met my friends at the trail head at 6 am.

I don’t see a lot of sunrises in my day to day. But I saw a gorgeous one this morning on my early drive… complete with a view of Mt. Hood.

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Let me just say that I am not a morning person. But our trek was so beautiful and quiet that it was worth the early alarms. My two friends and I and our seven dogs hiked for three hours and didn’t see one other person.

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It was 46 degrees when I arrived at the trail head, but it was easy to keep warm with the exercise. And it was so gorgeous when the sun started peaking through the trees.

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These boys sure did enjoy a nice long trail run with all their friends. This has been a great week for dogs!

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I just love the dense forests in Western Oregon. The trees are thick and big. There are ferns everywhere. And there is an earthy and organic smell that is unique to this part of the world. It’s pretty magnificent.

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We were well spaced out through our hike. Must have been at least 20 or 30 feet between us at all times. My friends are serious walkers. We did not lolly gag on this hike. We covered ground! The only stopping we do is to take photos of dogs!

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One last photo of the first rays of morning light and the dense forest fauna.

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Pandemic Vacation Beach Day

beach13Day three of our pandemic vacation found me and my boys on Arcadia Beach on the Oregon Coast. Low tide was at 9 am so I got up early and was on the road by 7:30. We were on the beach a little after 9:00. There were only about ten cars in the parking lot when we got there.

It’s 80 miles to drive from my house in SW Portland to the coast. It really is wonderful to be able to take a really easy day trip to the beach and get refreshed and recharged in a matter of a few hours. There’s nothing like a few hours on the beach — the salt air, the surf, the wind, wide open spaces — to make all the stresses and worries fade away.

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The dogs absolutely love the beach. They know when we get close and they start whining about ten miles before we reach our destination. Maybe they can smell the sea air. It’s torture for them to have to pose on a rock. But it’s a tradition that we take a picture of them posing on something when we go to the beach. They would rather just RUN!

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I always check the tide tables before I go to the beach because my favorite beach is bordered by a cliff. So you really need to be aware of where the tides are and whether they’re coming in or going out. The tide this morning was really low. I’ve been coming to this beach for ten years and I’ve only seen it this low one other time. This meant that I could walk from my beach to Cannon Beach to the North and Hug Point Beach on the south.

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It was so beautiful today. It was supposed to be cloudy with a high of 64 degrees, but the marine layer burned off by about 10 am and the sky was so incredibly blue. It was perfect weather!

I walked  6.33 miles on the beach! The dogs must have run 20 miles… literally! As I walk, they are running almost constantly. They had actually slowed down by the time we got back to the car!

When I first moved to Oregon, the sea stars were plentiful. You would see the orange and purple ones, some as big as dinner plates, all over the rocks. And then over several years, they all disappeared. I don’t think they ever figured out what happened to them. It was so sad to see them disappear. But now, they’re coming back and we saw quite a few today. Not like the old days, but they appear to be having a come back.

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This one was bigger than my two hands combined.

It was odd to take a trip to the coast and not stop anywhere. There’s a lovely little quilting store in Cannon Beach that I always stop at and spend some money. But I didn’t stop today. I just don’t want to go into stores that aren’t absolutely essential. And as essential as fabric is, I have a room full of fabric!

We were so efficient, we got home just after 2:00. So I called a friend who visited often before the pandemic and we would always go to the beach when she was in town. She wanted to see photos and hear about our beach trip. She’s the one who introduced me to Kaffe Fassett Fabrics and to quilting. She gave me my very first scrap of yellow brassica and I can remember how incredible it was to me. And look at me now!

After telling my friend about our day trip, I spent some time cleaning up my sewing room… putting away that huge pile of batik scraps and doing some general straightening.

I sewed the final seams and pressed my scrappy batik quilt top last night. It all went together so easily and nicely. It turned out about 64 x 74 inches.

beach1I’m going to finish it without a border. Trying to decide what to use for a backing. I’ll need to buy something as I don’t have a piece that’s right. I’d like to have a large print, multi color batik for this one.

I was famished by 4:30 so I made a big salad for dinner and then took the dogs for another 3.77 mile walk while I listened to music to end the evening. We walked over 10 miles today! I can’t believe how much better I feel. Could have easily walked five more miles! I’m sure we’ll all sleep really well tonight.

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Tomorrow morning I’m meeting a friend back at Frenchman’s Bar for a hike and a swim in the Columbia. I’m planning on starting my Moss Garden quilt tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

Fastest Quilt Top Ever

Today was my first day of a week long vacation and after an outing with the dogs in the morning I returned home and got to work on this quilt. When I stopped last night I had 40 blocks completed. I finished the remaining 16 blocks by around 7:00 pm tonight, took the dogs for their evening walk, then came home and sewed the vertical rows together.

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It’s hard to comprehend that I have this much surface area in batik scraps. And there’s still a ton left.

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Tomorrow I’ll sew the rows together. I’m going to go to Costco in the morning for my big monthly stock up and then we’ll take a drive up the Columbia River Gorge in the afternoon. Maybe head up to Hood River and see if we can find some fresh fruit and maybe some spectacular views of Mt. Hood.

This morning we headed up to Frenchman’s Bar on the Columbia River for our first vacation outing. We took a walk around a big field and racked up about two miles. The grass was really tall and there was a fair amount of stinging nettle to navigate. The front of my calves are stinging tonight. It’s finally easing off, but I can still feel it.

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Then we retraced our steps back down this path trying to find the foot path to the river that we’ve always used. We got back down to the far end and found the path. It was really overgrown by blackberries so we had to form a plan B. We walked back down the field  to the more formal path that goes from the parking area to the river. And in about a half mile, we were there. By this point we had walked about four miles.

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The dogs were really ready for a nice cool swim by the time we got to the river.

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That’s Rico above, and then bender below.

done8 The river was gorgeous today. Smooth as glass. The sky was incredibly blue with just a few clouds. And we almost had the entire place to ourselves.

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These boys are so patient with all the posing I make them do!

We walked along the beach most of the distance back to the car. By the time we were done, I had walked five miles and the dogs had probably run ten! They are completely wiped out tonight!

All ready for a good night’s sleep and day two of vacation tomorrow.

 

On One of My Jags

I’ve gotten forty blocks done since I started on Friday night. Thinking I’ll need a total of 64 to make a generous throw size quilt. So just 24 more blocks to go. I’m liking the look of this quilt.

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It’s pretty common for me to go on sewing jags like this. I get an idea in my head, think about it a little to make sure I have a good idea of how it will work, and then I just go. And I can be pretty obsessive about it.

And when I start something like this, even thought I’ve already got two more quilts I’m pretty much ready to start, I’m going to have to finish these blocks or it will nag at me. Plus I know that if I don’t finish the blocks this could sit unfinished for years.

I did add a twist to this quilt today by inserting some pieced wedges. I think they’re interesting and add a little interruption to a pretty repetitive quilt.

I simply sewed some of the strips trimmed from these blocks to each other in a row, and then trimmed them to have straight sides.

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I made a bunch at one time, which appeals to my need for order and efficiency.

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And them trimmed them into wedge shapes so they were ready to sew into a block.

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I might make three or four more of these pieced wedges. I don’t want too many of them in the quilt. I just want to see one every now and again.

Now I have to finish this so I can start my green and pink Kaffe quilt!

My vacation week starts tomorrow. I’m planning on taking the dogs fora nice hike and swim in the river in the morning, and then more sewing in the afternoon.

Completely Out of the Blue

I started a new quilt last night completely out of the blue. I hadn’t even thought about it until about two days ago.

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The quilt that inspired me to do this was on the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild blog. It was made out of solid blues and greens, but I thought it was a great way to use up my impressive supply of batik scraps.

So late last night I dug into my batik scrap box and started pulling strips that were wide enough to go across the full width of an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper. That was the most time consuming and complicated part of making these initial 14 blocks.

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The strips are sewn onto a piece of newsprint. I bought a ream of it about a year ago for paper piecing templates. These blocks will be sewn together into long vertical rows, which will then be sewn into the quilt top.

The blocks will be offset from column to column because I don’t want all those straight horizontal lines at the top and bottom of the blocks to all line up across the width of the quilt because I think it would be really apparent… and not in a good way.

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The newsprint makes it really easy to tear the paper off. But even then, it’s not my favorite thing to do.

 

I have this piece of batik that I might use for the back… or I might find something more dynamic and fun for this bright quilt.

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Itching to Get Cutting

I’m still thinking about fabrics for my next quilt. I’ve ordered a few missing pieces to fill out this selection of fabrics.

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I think I’m only missing one piece of what I ordered. As soon as that arrives I can get started.

I’ve decided that I’m going to use these fabrics for the Moss Garden quilt. Here it is with the fabrics specified by the pattern.

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The solid blocks and nine patch blocks are 9.5 inches so this will work up fast. The pattern is free from Free Spirit Fabrics. You can find a pdf of it here. I haven’t decided yet how big this quilt will be. I might go ahead and make it a queen size if I’ve selected enough fabrics. I already have a big piece of fabric for the backing and have plenty for a bigger quilt.

While I’m waiting for my last pieces of fabric to arrive I’ve started looking at fabrics from my stash for a yellow quilt. I’ve wanted to make a yellow quilt for awhile. These fabrics aren’t final and I have a few pieces on order. Some of these will probably be deleted and I have a few other pieces I’m considering. A friend of mine is sending me a piece from her stash that I haven’t been able to find online.

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Look at all that fantastic color! It’s amazing to me that you can have all that gorgeous color and still see clearly that this will be a yellow quilt. I recently purchased a big piece of yellow feathers that I’ll use for the backing.

I’m thinking about making the Yellow Pot Pourri quilt in Kaffe’s Simple Shapes book, but using my own selection of fabrics.

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This quilt is made up of three different size pieces that are assembled almost randomly to make larger blocks. I haven’t decided if I’m going to follow the very detailed drawing in the book, or if I’m going to design my own block using several different size squares and rectangles to make up a bigger block to get a similar effect. I’d like to make the block to it sews together with no need to match any seams as the blocks are joined together. After struggling so much with my scrappy hexagon quilt, I’m craving something that will go together easily.

It’s been hot here this week. That means that our mid day walks have been a little shorter since the dogs get so hot. I also worry about them burning their feet on the pavement when it’s really hot. We’ve also been taking our evening walks a little later when it cools down. I’m already noticing that it’s getting darker a little earlier each day. This always makes sad each year because I just love the long summer evenings. I wish we could have that beautiful evening light all year long.

We had our agility lesson tonight. It’s about a 20 mile drive for me to get there, so by the time I get home it’s completely dark. After our lesson tonight I took the dogs for a walk around the campus of Clackamas Community College, which is near where I have my lessons. The sunset was amazing!

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We’ve had gorgeous sunsets this summer. I wonder if I’m just noticing more of them because I see them as I’m out walking the dogs each night.

I’m taking next week off for some needed vacation time. I’m planning on doing a few day trips… at least one drive out to the coast and a nice long walk on the beach. Then a couple of hike days. Maybe head up the Columbia River Gorge for a day trip. The dogs would love a swim or two in the rive.  And then I plan on getting a lot of sewing done.

I’m excited to get going on all these gorgeous fabrics!

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Seeing Colors — Thinking About my Next Quilt

I’ve been thinking about my next quilting project. I’ve pulled some fabrics and have ordered a few more pieces. Here’s where I’m starting…

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This selection isn’t final. But it’s a basis for where I’m going. They’re all Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. I have a big piece of that turquoise zig zag that I’ll use for the backing.

I’ve been playing around with ideas on a pattern. I was even, at one point, completely sold on using this gorgeous soft dahlia fabric as a sashing…

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Even got so far as adding… MORE SPOTS!

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But I’ve pretty much completely abandoned that idea because I don’t think it lets the fabrics play with each other the way I want them to and it’s just not the effect I was hoping for. And also because I’m a little tired of sashing right now. But I will use that pastel dahlia fabric in the future. It’s really gorgeous! I’m ruminating on some ideas for that fabric.

So my next KFC quilt will likely be sashing free. I’m pretty sure I’ve landed on a pattern. I’ll decide for sure once I get the fabric pieces I’ve ordered and see it all together.

I’m planning on getting a lot of progress made this weekend on the second aboriginal quilt that will look pretty much exactly like the one in this post. 

I had enough blocks left over for an entire quilt so I decided to make one for my nephew/godson for Christmas. The blocks are almost done. They just need the sashing and cornerstones applied to one side of each block and then they can go up on the design wall. I’d like to get this all sewn and the backing pieced before I start working on the new Kaffe Fassett Collective quilt. I should be able to get it done this weekend. I’m planning on taking next week off of work to get some rest and relaxation in before all hell breaks loose later in August. I’d like to be working on a new quilt next week and not finishing up this one.

I had my first salad with my garden tomatoes for dinner tonight. I really love the tomatoes in the summer.

mon3It’s a little difficult to grow tomatoes in Portland. I have much better luck with cherry varieties. I get a pretty good yield… definitely enough to keep my salads really tasty for a few months. But it’s tough to make a BLT with cherry tomatoes.

My plants don’t look terribly healthy. I hope I can keep them producing through August, at least. I’ve never had tomato plants turn yellow like this.

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But look at all those little beauties ripening!

it’s been really hot here the last couple of days. It was over 100 today. I didn’t get a walk mid day because it was 90 degrees by 11 am. That’s just too hot to be out in the sun. The pavement can get hot enough to burn the dogs’ feet, so I try to curb our walking when it’s that bad. Luckily, I have central air so the house is comfy. I work with a lot of people who don’t have more than fans. It will be a tough few days for them. I actually had to go outside this afternoon to warm up because I got so cold sitting at my desk.

So the boys and I walked tonight after the sun went down. It was still hot, but much better than earlier in the day. We had to go out because they were driving me crazy! They had so little activity today that they were really rearing to go. We got about 3.5 miles in, which is what we typically do in the evening. Only saw two or three other people. We got home just as it got dark.

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I’ve started carrying a mask in my pocket as I walk so I can put it on when I get onto the local trail. There tends to be more foot traffic on the trail and it’s harder to get good distance from other people. So I’m getting into the habit of popping my mask on when I get onto the trail.

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This mask is made from the pattern found on this post. I’ve added a larger size pattern to this post as well. I’ve made a few masks for myself on the larger pattern because when it’s really hot or when I’m using one during more activity, I felt like the other one was just a little too snug. This one allows just a little more space and helps the mask stay in place as I’m moving around.

I just love that gecko fabric! Like I’ve said before, if you have to wear a mask, it should at least make you smile.

 

 

 

A Break from Our Routine

Today was finally Friday! It was an amazingly cool and lovely day here. I don’t think it got much past 65 or so and the clouds stuck around all day so it was really cool and wonderful.

I took the dogs for a 2.5 mile walk before lunch today and then had to go into the office to sign some paperwork in the afternoon. I decided that since I was out and it was cool, I should take the dogs along and then find a nice walk on the way home.

So we stopped by Lewis and Clark College and walked around campus on this gorgeous day. We wandered all over the place, saw lots of really pretty landscapes, and not more than five people in 3.5 miles.

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I just love this photo. Oregon has some really amazingly big trees. These two stood there like sentinels along this path and it looked like a perfect place for a photo of my boys.

I’ve never been on this campus before and didn’t want to get lost, so I asked my phone to mark the location of my car so I could use my map app to find our way back.  That made me feel confident enough to take sidewalks, trails and roads as I saw them, and not worry about having to stay oriented. That made the walk really fun as I just turned and walked a dirt trail, went up that staircase, walked that winding sidewalk and strolled along roads with no traffic as I saw them. We saw landscaped gardens, patios, patches of forests, lots of birds, and athletic fields. Around every corner was another surprise.

This gorgeous building houses the college president’s offices. It was very grand and stately.

Here’s an even more stately view with some stately canines.

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This is the less stately rear view. There were a couple of people out enjoying the patio. They seemed to think we looked very suspicious. We might have been the only people they saw all day!

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We came around one corner and saw two of these sculptures outside of an art gallery.

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My dogs are willing to jump up on anything when I ask them. Looks like maybe they’ve done this before!

One of the coolest things we found on campus was this covered bridge. I wanted to walk back and forth across it several times and look down into the forest below.

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And of course, the obligatory photo of dogs on rocks.

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It was really nice to get out and walk in a new area. It’s really good for my spirit to see new things and stimulate my brain. And the dogs love it too. They like their regular walks, but any time we walk in a new place they have an especially wonderful time.

I’m going to take advantage of this campus for walking more often. It only takes a few minutes to get there and it will be nice and shady when it’s hot. It’s supposed to be 100 degrees here Sunday and Monday… after being in the mid 60s today!!!