Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mount Roosevelt

The Friendship Tower c.1919

spiral stairway to the lookout

Harney Peak

rock fields

Just north of Deadwood, follow the gravel forest service road to the sign - Mount Roosevelt picnic area. Take the 3/4 mile loop trail to the top where you will find a great view all around. We saw Bear Butte to the northeast, Harney Peak to the south, Belle Fourche lake to the north. It was hazy on the horizon on this day, but on a clear day you can supposedly see Devil's Tower to the west.

Mount Roosevelt elevation 5689'. The stone Friendship Tower was built in 1919 by Deadwood Sheriff, Seth Bullock, as a dedication to President Theodore Roosevelt, his close friend of many years. Bullock wanted to create a memorial of his friend’s life and a place where people could view wide open spaces that both Bullock and Roosevelt had become so fond of during their lives.

Monday, October 27, 2014


double four patch by Paula the Quilter

One of my blog friends, Paula the Quilter (and knitter), invited me to join in the Around the World Blog Hop, which includes a few questions and answers:

What am I working on? Right now I am making two t-shirt quilts (in my head).

IT IS TIME, time to gather t-shirts and make a quilt for graduation. A family tradition for two generations now, and this year there are two high school seniors in the family.

A little background... In the 80s or 90s, I don't remember exactly when, I read an article in a magazine (remember those glossy soft book-like things where we used to get ideas) about a mom who had saved t-shirts from her child growing up (sports, school, vacation, etc.) and put them together in a quilt for the child to take to college. I loved this idea, so immediately started saving my kids' tees.


Around the turn of the century (2000), I made one for each of my two girls, the design all uniform, in rows, one-directional. Initially I used yarn to tie the quilt sandwich together, but found that did not last, so after much use those two got refurbished and quilted properly.

I thought I was finished making t-shirt quilts, you know - been there, done that!

THEN the grandkids started coming along, and they told me they were saving their t-shirts for their graduation quilt that granma Susan would make for them...

How does my work differ from others of its genre? The actual work of sewing and quilting does not differ from others, but the finished product is very personal and unique and full of granma love.

granddaughter Sarah's - all in rows, one direction, added t-scraps for border

grandson Kyle's - rows again but shirts turned different directions

Why do I create what I do? Tradition, family, memories, rite of passage, milestones, recycling.

NEXT I tried to do one without rows, and came up with this one (below), which was more in sections than rows, a little bit harder. Carrie wanted it more random, even without sashing, but I found that not using sashing at all made it too stretchy. This very minimal strip (1/2" black between the shirts) made the colors really pop out.

daughter Carrie's #2

NOW we are now caught up to present day. I have 2 more grandchildren to make quilts for - in time for graduation next spring. 

With all these past experiences and pictures to build on, I asked my last two granddaughters what design, color theme, and backing they wanted for their t-shirt quilts. I showed them pictures of my past quilts and lots of links to ideas on Pinterest.

Madison: "I like Kyle's and Carrie's where they're not all just laid out in squares but instead rotated to fit and has the rectangles and squares. Maybe, if there's enough, use the squares from fronts of shirts as the border (like Sarah's)...just a thought. I'm gonna stick with basic black background. Flannel on the back! Don't know color yet..."

How does my creating process work? The creative process includes input from the person who will be receiving the quilt, time spent with that person, trial and error, and again lots of love!

Tee time table:

Save t-shirts forever
Give t-shirts to Granma by 11th grade
Last call for t-shirts mid 12th grade
Wash t-shirts
Cut out designs to be used
First draft laid out on floor
Decide on layout and sizes
Iron on fusible backing
Cut out squares
Decide on color for strips
Sew together top
Get fabric for backing
Take to quilter
Pick up from quilter
Make label
Finish binding

SO, it is that time, time to start sewing on these quilts. 

BUT, I am on the road, 1500 miles away from home and hearth and sewing machine. 

When are you coming home to make my quilt, granma?

Soon! Don't worry, it will get done. I am working on it right now.

In my head :)

here are a couple of blogs where I get great inspiration:
Linda at life, quilts, and a cat too (great t-shirt quilt inspiration)
Wanda at Exuberant Color

Friday, October 24, 2014

photo op

Senior Class Pictures! These are not the stuffy ones we used to take back in the day, sitting posed and stiff. There are a lot of options out there now to capture special moments. Local photographer, Crystal Newgen has a great eye for composition, you pick the place, you can bring props if you want, and she always captures great photos. Madison is Crystal's senior representative this year. She chose to shoot at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, one of the colleges in her future. Madison brought along some props to show one of her interests/hobbies - photography!

Today I'd like to sit and read, 
Forget I have a job I need,
Ignore the things I have to do,
And just enjoy a book or two.

on instagram
#Senior #SeniorPictures
#Berry #BerryCollege
#classof2015 #Photography

photos by Crystal Photography 'be unique for you' 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

borrowed time

moving day

fall camping!

Buddy keeps saying we are on borrowed time, as far as the weather goes that is. The weather is unseasonably warm and dry, an excellent thing for building a job or living in a camper.

This weekend we moved to a new campsite, one of the four in the campground that is winterized (water connection is protected). 

neighborhood construction

As we were moving in and getting set up, we watched the neighbors working on their camper, adding an underpinning of plywood and Styrofoam board. So that started the wheels to turning, Buddy starting surfing for ideas on how to winterize a camper. He is eyeing some materials at the job that he might can use. 

Just a short walk away, the lake next door is slowly draining for spillway repair. The geese and ducks are vying for space on the dwindling water surface.

The cottonwood trees are spectacular! I would like to take some home to plant, I wonder if they would live in our neck of the woods?  

For now, the yellow leaves are falling outside my office window. The sky is blue and the breeze is warm. But we all know what is coming and we are all living on borrowed time...

Friday, October 17, 2014


Bison can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. Historically, the animal played an essential role in the lives of the Lakota (Sioux), who relied on the "tatanka" for food, clothing and shelter. 

50 million buffalo roamed the west prior to European settlement. By 1890 the herd size was down to 2000. Now total buffalo population in the US is up to around 500,000. The herd size in Custer State Park is 1300.

buffalo rule the roads

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SD Rocks!

backside of dam

pine beetles

Sylvan Lake was created in 1881 when Theodore Reder built a dam across Sunday Gulch. 

Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park, much quieter now that a lot of the other tourists are gone. A full sensory experience - water, sky, trees, sun, breeze, and lots of ROCKS! Whether you walk around the lake trail, climb on rocks, have a picnic lunch, or just sit and enjoy the view, a great place to visit.  

Saturday was a beautiful day, in the 70s, sunny. We spent the afternoon in Custer State Park, did a little hiking, drove through the needles highway, saw some buffalo, a nice day. But we kept watching the time as we were headed to the Alpine Inn in Hill City for supper. 

Our list of places to see and go is dwindling down. We were told early on to eat at the Alpine Inn, but to wait until the tourists had gone home or it would be way too long a wait. According to the locals, timing is key. The doors open at 5 for supper, but you must be on the big covered porch before that to get in line. 

The menu is simple, with the only choice being the size of the steak: 6 oz or 9 oz bacon-wrapped filet mignon, served with a baked potato, toast and a quarter wedge of lettuce with our delectable homemade ranch dressing.

That's right, no choice of even salad dressing, no loaded baked potato, no other sides, keep it simple.

Then there is the dessert menu. The campground owner was actually drooling just talking about it. 

We made it in time, secured our place in line, and ate the delicious steaks. Alpine Inn - check!

Monday, October 13, 2014

not Columbus Day

Crazy Horse Memorial

celebratory powwow

Today is Native Americans Day here in South Dakota, NOT Columbus Day. 

Since 1990, South Dakota is the only state in the nation to celebrate Native American Day, when all other states are observing Columbus Day. South Dakota honors its cultural heritage, and is home to nine tribes of Sioux peoples.

The local celebration will be at the Crazy Horse Memorial. Following a scheduled blast on the mountain, all visitors are invited to stay for a free lunch of traditional Native American buffalo stew. 

At the first holiday gathering, Gov. Mickelson told more than 1,200 people, “We can’t turn back the clock. We can only turn to the future together. What we can do as leaders, both Native American and white, is teach others that we can change attitudes.”  ~ crazyhorsememorial.org 

No love for Columbus here, discovered America indeed! I don't think so...

~pictures from Black Hills Travel Blog

Friday, October 10, 2014


Canyon Lake is disappearing... the wintertime project of spillway repair has begun, the lake will be drained of all water, the project will last through March 2015.

When we first arrived here, a local man told us the lake is home to ducks and geese, and then during fall migration there would be hundreds more geese here for about 6 weeks before moving on. He also said the lake freezes solid in the winter months. But this year will be different with the lake being drained. The geese won't like it!

Sometimes I hear the geese honking overhead, maybe they are saying, "Honk if you love Canyon Lake!"

Maintenance is key to keeping up a beautiful park like this, and the Rapid City Public Works Department does a great job on this and all the local parks. The joys of park maintenance.

I was out yesterday taking these pictures before the lake disappears, while walking I met a lady who said they have to drain the lake periodically to clean out the goose poop :)