Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grass Valley and Lakeport, California

September 6-12, 2011

Grass Valley is a quaint little community in the foothills north of the Sacramento Valley. At an elevation of approximately 2,500 ft above sea level, they tend to have cooler temperatures than the valley floor of North/Central California. They also tend to have a few snow flurries each winter as well. The foothills are covered in pine, oak, and madrona, which has a beautiful red bark, making the drive from the Sacramento airport (their closest major airport) quite picturesque.  It is a beautiful, clear day with the temperature in the high 80's when I arrive in

My hostess, Chris Parks, has a lovely home tucked into the hills not far from town. She has a wonderfully inviting garden with fountains and a swimming pool, surrounded by pine and redwood trees. My home-away-from-home for the next three days!  On Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to present my trunk show to the members of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild.  They were a very fun, enthusiastic group and I very much enjoyed my time with them.

On Wednesday, I taught a class based on my Nautilus pattern to 20 attendees.  There were some beautiful renditions of the Nautilus shell started, and I look  forward to seeing pictures of all the completed quilts very soon! 

Thursday was a day of sightseeing with Chris as tour guide. We visited the Empire Mine State Historical Park, which is located just a mile down the road from Chris' home. Established in 1850, the mine consists of 367 miles of tunnels that crisscross under the town of Grass Valley. In fact, most homeowners in the area only own their property to 100 feet below ground; the mine retains rights to the tunnels underneath. When the mine closed in 1957, there was a total of nearly six million ounces of gold that had been mined from the site.

Looking down one of the tunnels. 
Can we say claustrophobia fast enough!?!

This is one of the original buildings at the Empire Mine site.

Sign in front of main building.

The owners of the mine had a beautiful home, complete with park-like grounds,next to the mine and open for tours.  Here, Chris is in front of one of the fountains.

This is a picture of the huge bronze statue by the fair grounds entrance.

What trip to a new town would be complete without a visit to the local quilt shop? Sugar Pine Quilt Shop is in a renovated home and has rooms filled with reproduction prints, lots of Bali fabric, and a great selection of Asian prints (yes, I did manage to add to my stash!).

Friday was a travel day from Grass Valley to Lakeport, California, which is located northwest of Sacramento. I said goodbye to Chris and met Ellen Hall of the Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild. Ellen drove me to Jane Alameda's home, where I'll be staying for the next two nights. Jane's home has a beautiful garden overlooking a wooded valley and a friendly cat named Lucky, who slept with me both nights - felt just like home!

Lakeport sits next to Center Lake, which is the largest lake entirely within the borders of California. Center Lake is also the site of many catfish and bass fishing tournaments. Because Lakeport is lower in elevation than Grass Valley is, the temperature is in the mid- to high 90's.

A view of Center Lake, geese, and the beautiful rolling hills beyond.

On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to speak to the Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild. This guild has about 150 very talented, creative members and it was a pleasure to show them some of my work.

In the afternoon, Ellen Hall and I took a road trip around the Lakeport and neighboring Kelseyville area in search of barns that had traditional quilt blocks painted on them. Called the Quilted Trail, there are currently about a dozen barns, packing plants, and businesses sporting a brightly painted quilt block on the side of the buildings. One of my favorites was a Monkey Wrench block painted on an old barn with a dilapidated old truck parked next to it. I also enjoyed seeing a block on a barn where all the "animals" were made of iron. It was a very enjoyable afternoon!

The Monkey Wrench block with an old truck
parked next to it - perfect!

Another of my favorites - a horse and her (camera shy) foal
next to an old barn with a quilt block.

Some of the local businesses are even joining in on the fun. 
Here, a local wine tasting room with an appropriate
quilt block on their building.

Here is the link if you'd like to get more information about Lakeport's Quilt Trail:

On Sunday morning, September 11, members who had gathered for the Thread Painting class, stood for a moment of silence in remembrance of those lives lost ten years ago. May they rest in peace - and may we never forget! We then spent the rest of the day working on a Great Blue Heron and Butterfly thread painting samplers. It was a busy, productive day for the participants.

Ellen is working hard, along with two other attendees.

Great job, Clara!

After class, Ellen and I drove to her home in Roseville, which puts us much closer to the Sacramento Airport and a flight home on Monday morning.  I want to thank both guilds for giving me the opportunity to come and speak to them. I can only hope they enjoyed it as much as I have - thank you!

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