Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cruise Journal Part Five--Longyearbyen, Magdalene Bay, and the Polar Ice Barrier

After a lovely day at sea, we docked on August 3 at Longyearbyen, on the western coast of Spitzburgen, the largest of the islands in the Svalvard archipelago. It is one of the world’s most northerly towns.  Not until the end of WWII did Svalvard become a part of Norway.

We took the ship’s shuttle bus into the City Center. We browsed in a few shops, bought some souvenirs for the grandchildren, and then spent much time in an excellent museum. This museum detailed the history of the region. Interestingly, it was named European Museum of the Year in 2008.
Leaving Longyearben

We were amused by this company's name.  No, we're really not at
the North Pole...yet!
Bob and a stuffed polar bear,
in front of one of the
The next day was another day of breath-taking sights! We cruised Magdalene Bay or Magdalenafjord, Spitsburgen’s most beautiful fjord. During the 1600s whaleboats plied these waters, but now it is an attraction for nature-lovers, with thousands of rare species and good whale watching.  We saw numerous glaciers, far more than we'd seen on our Alaskan cruise in 2001.  I have numerous lovely pictures of the glaciers, but will restrain myself and put in just a few!

glaciers in Magdalene Bay

A close-up view of a

Glaciers in Magdalene Fjord

Auguest 4th contained, in a way, the raison d'etre for the entire trip! This was the day that we sailed to the Polar Ice Barrier, the farthest northern point on our cruise. The sights were interesting but not spectacularly beautiful. The day was overcast, misty, and cold (in the 40s). Joe and Ray Cannon actually got much better pictures than I did. At one point, a few of the ship's crew took one of the small boats (not a life boat but one used for repairs) out to the barrier to gather some ice for us tourists to see up close and touch--ice actually from the Polar Ice Cap! Not the North Pole, of course, but as close as the vast majority of travelers in this land will ever get! Click on this link to see much better pictures than I was able to get! Scroll to the bottom of this page from our cruiseline and you'll see the crew cruising out in the little boat to collect some ice.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Note:  this is for quilters only!  Other readers might find it a bit too detailed!

Block pattern:  Goose Tracks Log Cabin    Block size:  3" finished.

Preparing the pattern and the fabrics:

1. Cut freezer paper into 8 ½” x 11” sheets. For a small wall hanging of 12 blocks, you will not need more than one sheet of the 4 master pattern blocks. (Some people use just one of the patterns for all 12 blocks!)
Note:  a friend gave me the master pattern for this particular block. The same methods could be used for any block pattern suitable for paper piecing, but of course the cutting directions would differ.

2. Using a combination copier/printer machine, place the master pattern onto the bed of the copier.

3. Then put the prepared freezer paper into the printer tray, printing the pattern onto the wrong or dull side of the freezer paper. Cut out one of the blocks to use for your first block(s). Make sure to cut well outside the dotted line on the pattern.

4. Choose assorted scraps of medium and dark value fabrics in your chosen color scheme (or in a totally scrappy scheme) and one background light. Use the same light for all blocks. (I used many different mediums and darks for a controlled scrappy look—controlled because I did follow a loose color scheme.)

5. Cut the “logs” from 8 assorted fabrics, 4” long and 1 ¼” wide.

6. Cut the background fabric into two sizes of squares, 1 ¾” and 2 ¼”.Cut the larger squares diagonally into half square triangles.

Paper-piecing the block:

1. First use just a dab of water-soluble to glue the small square onto the middle of the back of the freezer paper pattern, underneath section #1, gluing the wrong side of the square to the unprinted side of the pattern.

2. Next, carefully fold the pattern back on the line between the middle square #1 and log #2. Using the add-a-quarter ruler, trim to ¼”.

First trim about to be made using add-a-quarter ruler and rotary cutter

3. Choose one of the fabric logs and place its right side against the just-trimmed right side of the middle square.

This photo shows log 3 being added to log 2, with the edge of the center square showing.
4. Carefully sew along the edge of the printed line, being careful not to sew into the paper pattern.

5. Next, unfold the pattern, flip over, turn the fabric just sewn right side out. Press the seam just sewn with the tip of your iron (or with a little mini-iron).

This shows log #3 being pressed.

6. Then fold the pattern back between logs #2 and #3 and follow the same procedure.

7. When you get to section 6, this is the first triangle section. Use one of the background triangles for this section. The triangles will be used for sections 6, 7, 12, and 13.
First triangle has just been pressed.

8. If you can remember this sequence, it will soon become automatic: fold, trim, sew, open out, press. Move to next section and repeat.  
Block ready for last 2 triangles

9. After the last two triangles have been sewn, remove the paper pattern. Trim the outside edges of the block to ¾”, lining your ruler up with the seams.

Above is the completed block with the edges trimmed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Another Interruption: Colorado Cool after Norway!

After basking in the cool and the gorgeous scenery of Norway, how nice to come back home and leave immediately for Colorado!  How nice to be reminded that we have our own spectatular scenery in our country, that takes a back seat to none!

I had to go sans husband, but the daughters and their families were there, as well as my brother and sister in law, a nephew, and a great nephew.  The grandchildren had a glorious time writing stories, hiking, horse back riding, taking in the attractions at the Purgatory Ski resort (the alpine slide, bungee jumping, rock wall climbing), and the highlight of our visit, white water rafting.

The picture above depicts the mountains to the East of my brother's house, with the sunset reflecting off the mountains and the clouds.  Here are a few other pictures that capture some of our fun times:
Locke, Dawson, Malcolm, Susan, Lia,
Kathy--and the dog, Ace!

Lia doing flips, high in the air, on
the bungee jump!
Malcolm celebrated his 9th birthday while we were
in Colorado.  Here, in his new frog cap, with Locke and
his birthday cookie-cake, made by me, decorated by
his Mom!
Malcolm, Lia, Locke, Dawson, about
to go white water rafting!  (Locke making
a typical funny face, rather Vampire-like!)

Malcolm jumps for joy after winning
a game of Fish Eat Fish!  

Lia and Dawson riding the ski lift, on their way
to coming down the Alpine Slide!