Archives for category: Travel

Mary Chittenden Catches a Big One on the Elwha River

Mary Chittenden Catches a Big One on the Elwha River

This photo of Mary Chittenden hangs in Ted’s office.    It was taken on a fishing trip on the Elwha River, probably in the 1920s.  Mary was the daughter of Hiram M. Chittenden, engineer for the Army Corp of Engineers, for whom the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks were named.  Also known as the Ballard Locks, they make possible the passage of ships between Lake Washington and Puget Sound.

This photo of Mary is special to us because of being taken on the Elwha River, can you imagine fishing in this clothing?

I belong to an internet group of mostly women, who appreciate and collect dolls of Wendy Lawton.  If you follow my blog this name will be familiar to you.  At the beginning of the year a theme for the year is given, with a more specific theme for each month.   Members then post photos of dolls to fit the theme.  This is called “Adults Playing with Dolls.”   The overall theme this year is “favorite memories” and for June the specific theme is Favorite Summertime Memories.  Creating scenes to represent memories has sometimes been challenging.

I have wonderful childhood memories of fishing.  We grew up on a lake and I would get up early, dig some worms and spend the day on a little raft fishing.   There were other fishing trips too. I remember salmon fishing with Dad and Grandpa in Puget Sound and once (for me) at West Port on the ocean.  In the fall I would go with my grandparents to the Skagit River and we fished from the riverbank.   During the summer we went to Lake Chelan and I fished from the dock there.    Most of my family didn’t like to eat fish but I loved it!

So, I wanted to create a photo with a fishing theme, but, most of my dolls are rather elegantly dressed, which got me to thinking of Mary Chittenden and wondering if I could recreate the scene of her fishing at the Elwha.    This is my entry for this month.


Mary Chittenden, played by Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, catches a big one the Elwha River, about 1920

Riot of color

A paintbox of colors

Raven’s 12th  birthday was last week and since we had a hotel coupon that was about to expire, we decided to celebrate by staying at at the  BEST WESTERN PLUS Peppertree Auburn Inn in Auburn, which has a nice pool.  We planned to find some special activities in that area. We spent Saturday at Wild Waves, then checked in. In the hotel lobby we noticed folks in elaborate Native costumes and learned that there was to be a Pow Wow that night hosted by the Muckleshoot Nation.
We found our way to the Pow Wow grounds and walked toward the tents as folks were gathering for the Grand Entry where flags are presented and hundreds of dancers participate.

Dancers 3

Woman Dancers

dancers 2

Like wings–

Dancers 1

More woman dancers

This is the 10th annual Pow Wow held to honor Veterans. Dancers and drummers from tribes across the country were represented but most were from Eastern Washington and Idaho. Over 500 dancers were registered and dancing continued into until 1:30 AM, we were told, though we didn’t stay that long. There were dance competitions and some large cash prizes.

Big sister

Big sister waits for her turn to participate

The regalia was colorful and elaborate. There was a great variety of fabrics decorated with beading, feathers, buttons, bells, teeth, streamers and ribbons.


Detailed decoration

beaded leather bag and fan

Beaded bag and feather fan

Our kids participate with the Salish Canoe tribes whose regalia is primarily black, red and white so this was very different.

better from behind

Detail from the back

male dancer

Male Dancer

The music was different also, higher in pitch, it seemed to be sung more randomly rather than as a chorus.  Drumming is done on a large circular drum, three feet or so in diameter. Several drummers seat themselves around the drum and play together.

We got a little of the excitement on video.

The Drum

Drummers seated around one large drum

We felt lucky to have “stumbled” on this event, it gave us a chance to observe Native traditions that are very different from those we have experienced from “canoe” tribes.

Mt Rainier

View from our hotel room, majestic Mt. Rainier

Quilt show

Destination: Quilt Show in Forks

Quilt Show

Ted has the flu.  I have a new appreciation for single parents.  I had planned to go to the Quilt Show in Forks on Friday but had to stay home to pick up the kids after school.  By Sunday I needed a break and the kids were playing well, so I set out knowing it would take about an hour to drive each way and planning to spend an hour there, total of three hours–

Lake Crescent, Olympic National Parkk

Lake Crescent

It was a nice day for a drive, there aren’t any traffic signals between our house and the one in Forks, no merge lanes.  Much of the trip is through Olympic National Park and the road is bordered by tall trees.   Further along there are clear-cut areas and land that was logged at some point, has been replanted and  is now in various stages of growth.

I stopped along Lake Crescent to enjoy the beauty.  The lake is surrounded by mountains and is very deep. The water is cold and clear.  This area is part of Olympic National Park.

Lake Crescent 2Lake Crescent 3

I arrived in Forks on the schedule I had established.  Forks, population 3500, has been a remote logging town for the past 100 years but it recently rose to fame as the setting for the TWILIGHT novel series.  Merchants have capitalized on it with signs like “Bella Ate Here” and “Dazzled by Twilight”  There are often several cars of tourists parked at the sign announcing entry into Forks, snapping photos of each other.  But it is a pretty quiet town, one stop light.


Downtown Forks

It does have an active quilting group however, the Piecemakers Quilt Club.  I have noticed in the past that great quilters often come from quiet places where there is not much else to do.  The group sponsored the FABRIC OF THE FOREST QUILT SHOW which was held during the Fork’s annual “Rainfest.”  This event includes an art exhibits,  and a parade with marchers carrying umbrellas and the quilt show.  The average rainfall is 120 inches a year, which is why it was selected as the “home” of the TWILIGHT series.

The quilt show was held in Forks High School, which I understand is an important location in the TWILIGHT series.  I was warmly welcomed and enjoyed viewing each quilt, snapping pictures of some of my favorites.  I tend to like the “liberated” style quilts using scraps, and not worrying too much about having things look neat and tidy.

Alzheimer Art Quilt

This quilt will be given by the creator to the Alzheimer Art Quilt Initiative to raise money for research. It is small, about 8 by 10 inches.

baskets circles sweet Wonky barns Wonky pineapple

I got some new ideas and now need to time to try some new things.

The drive back was uneventful, kids were still playing nicely when I got home, and Ted was still asleep on the couch. I hope he is feeling better soon.

Lake Crescent 4

No words to describe this, we are so lucky to be surrounded by this beauty.


Family Chickens

Salt Lake City

The longest stop on our trip was in Salt Lake City, where our daughter Robin lives with her husband Ryan and two teenagers Tanner and Thea and 11 year old Maya.  We did so many things during our visit that it is hard to know where to start.

They live in an older neighborhood with lots of trees and they have a large lot, with a chicken house and several different colored laying hens.  Seneca and Raven wanted to check for eggs several times a day.

Their house is small for a family of five and it is seems even smaller as they have two very large dogs,  100 to 125 pounds each, named Alta and Bella.  They are Leonberger dogs and well trained and calm, but they take up a lot of space in the house.


Alta and Bella

The day after we arrived was a skiing day for the their kids, and skiing is one of the reasons they like Salt Lake City.  Seneca and Raven had never been on skis, but Ryan is a patient teacher and by the end of the first day they could both ride the rope tow and made a couple of runs off of the lower chair as well at Alta. Ted went along and skied too.  Robin and I went shopping!

Ready for skiing

Seneca getting dressed for skiing

Raven skiing

Raven gets started.

Robin took me to the most amazing ethnic food store.  They had Asian food of every variety, including items from Central Asia.  I bought some adorable little egg plants and made an egg plant curry for dinner with Thea’s help.  She and Maya made Phad Thai.

Egg plant

Cute little egg plants

Thea cooking

Thea and Maya both cook.

Egg plant and Pad thai

Phad Thai and egg plant.

The kids had fun just hanging out together and Thea and Maya made up a very creative Easter Egg hunt for them using clues that required some head scratching.  But we all went to the IMAX theater, a first for Seneca and Raven and we went to hear the Morman Tabernacle Choir.

Robin took the photo of the chickens at the top of this blog and when a dear friend of mine died earlier this year she sent me the photo saying it made her think of Joan and me talking intently.  So, I made a wall hanging which pictured the chickens and she hung it in the kitchen.   Quilters who see this may think it looks a little familiar, it is similiar to one on the cover of one of Gwen’s books.


The banner I made for Robin using the photo of her chickens

robin discussing

Robin with the chicken on the banner

The night before we left we sat around the table enjoying each other’s company. So nice to be with family.

Three cuties

Thea, Maya, and Gramma Merrily

And on our way to Arizona, Seneca and Raven spotted this sign which was their favorite.

snakes and scorpions

The sign warns of poisonous snakes and insects in the area, would that include scorpions?

Wendy and Keith Lawton

Wendy and Keith Lawton at the entrance to their home

Creative, talented, charming, compassionate, full of fun, full of new ideas, these are some of the words and phrases used to describe Wendy Lawton.   Wendy comes up with the ideas for the dolls she creates, then brings them to life with amazing sculpts.  These are not just pretty faces but faces that tell the stories and put you in the time and place of the dolls.   She designs the costumes often using antique fabrics and laces and always with fine detail.  Until a few years ago the dolls were produced in the Lawton workshop in Turlock, California, but with the challenge of economic conditions they scaled down and doll production has been moved to their home.  Wendy believes in quality and encourages people to play with their dolls.  She has a large following of collectors.

Our kids are very familiar with Wendy Lawton dolls as we have many in our home and we all were looking forward to our visit with Wendy and Keith.   They live in a beautifully furnished home in area of nice homes surrounded by farms where produce and dairy herds are raised.  This is in the San Joaquin Valley area of California.

Seneca and Raven enjoyed meeting the family dog, Betsy (named for the character Betsy in “Betsy-Tacy and Tibb,” a children’s book) and they went outside to play with her.  We had  a short visit then proceeded to the Hilmar Cheese Company for lunch.

R and S with Betsy

Betsy, the Lawton dog, got lots of attention from Seneca and Raven

Hilmar Cheese Company was developed by local dairy farmers who needed a market for their milk.  It is now the largest cheese producing plant in the world.   We had an assortment of sandwiches and pizza from the Hilmar Cafe, then the children went upstairs to observe cheese production from the visitor’s windows which look down on the plant.  They enjoyed the exhibits and hands-on activities.

Seneca at Hilmer cheese

Seneca dressed in a “cheese maker” outfit

Raven at Hillmar cheese

Raven viewing the educational exhibits at the cheese factory

Back at the Lawton home we had a tour of the new landscaping being done, saw the workshop where the dolls are fired and visited Wendy’s work area, which at the moment is filled with doll heads and clothing, waiting for their wooden bodies to be sent from the supplier.  Wendy did not want me to take a photo, and is just hoping that the bodies arrive soon.  Then the dolls will be assembled, dressed and wigged and her work room will be back to normal again.

Wendy and Merrily

Merrily and Wendy outside Wendy’s studio

It is always a treat to chat with Wendy, she is a great story-teller and actually is also an author.   She shared about how her family had also cared for foster childrenwhen she was a child and what a good experience it was for her.

Raven viewed a display of Wendy’s dolls and recognized them saying “Oh, those are Wendy Lawton Dolls” but he didn’t seem to realize that Wendy Lawton, the person, was across the room.

Mailing May

One of Seneca and Raven’s favorite dolls is MAILING MAY. She comes with the children’s classic storybook about being sent by mail to visit her grandmother

The big treat of the afternoon for the kids was the lovely little cakes that had been purchased from OLDE TYME PASTRIES a special bakery in Turlock.


Very special pastry treats

I am a huge Wendy Lawton fan and have many of her dolls in my collection.  We have sold Wendy Lawton dolls since opening our doll business Apple Tree Dolls & Bears in the late 1990’s.   One of my favorites is Nalauqataq who reminds me of our son Ben who came from Korea, but died of cancer.


One of my favorite dolls, Nalaugqtaq, who reminds me of our son Ben.

We enjoyed our time with Wendy and Keith.  When we left we headed for home, spending one night in Yreka, California on the way.  It was good to be home after 18 days and 4500 miles.  I have one more blog to write about the trip, that is about our four days in Salt Lake City with daughter Robin and her family.  I had to skip that part to keep up with happenings and I want to go back to tell you about that.


Continuing from Death Valley, our plan was to drive from Death Valley to Fresno and spend the night with my cousin Liz and her family.

En route we stopped for lunch in the town of Inyokern, California, which is in the Mohave Desert.  My dad was in the Navy during World War II and he was stationed there.  He always felt that wasn’t fair, he loved the sea and had hoped to serve on a ship. Instead he got desert duty. My mother, sister and I spent about six weeks living there in a tiny motel to be near him. Most nights he was able to be home with us. I have many memories of that time though I couldn’t have been more than 4. We did find the motel where our little family had lived, and we had lunch at a colorful local place, but there isn’t much going on in Inyokern.

Lunch in Inyokern

Motel in Inyokern

motel 60 years later<

with cousin Liz

Cousin Liz on the right, under the orange tree

Liz is a little older than I am. Liz was adopted as an infant and I think the family discussions, and talking with her about adoption, kindled my interest in adoption as a child. She now lives with her husband Jim in a lovely old section of Fresno. She is surrounded by family.  In the short time we were there we saw three of their four children as well as some grandchildren. They have two orange trees and Raven had his first experience climbing an orange tree and picking a few fruits. Liz served a luscious lemon sauce over a cake she had made as well as fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast.

Ripley's under the orange tree

Ripley family under the orange tree

Raven in an orange tree

Raven climbing to pick oranges.

Liz suggested that we visit the Vine Market on our way out of town. It is covered with vines which provide shade and reduce the glare from the bright sun. We saw many unusual vegetables including a large array of mushrooms. We bought radishes, green onions, cilantro, and fresh strawberries.

Vine market

Vine Market

fresh vegetables

Common and unusual vegetables


An entire display of fresh mushrooms

We have one more stop to make. Before heading for home later today we will visit Wendy Lawton, the maker of my favorite dolls. We have a bit of business to do, and will have lunch together.


Joy, ready for the 4th of July


patty in Spring

Kiesha, these are nine inch dolls, Wendy sculpts the heads and designs the clothing.


view.jpg”>Desert view

From Phoenix we drove through dry landscape to Death Valley. We spent a couple of hours at the Interpretative Center in at the National Park, they had some very well done exhibits explaining how plants and animals exist with the very small amount of rain that falls. We figured it can rain as much in a day at Ocean Shores as it does in Death Valley in a year.

Desert view 2

Desert view 3

Seneca took some lovely desert flower photos.
yellow flower full<

purple flower  small
Spiny flower

Spiny flower

White flower

White flower and a rusty can!



Dad and Seneca on the desert

Dad and Seneca on the desert

We did a lot of talking about what it meant to be below sea level, the kids concluded that it mostly meant “hot.” It was in the high 90s on the desert floor. Not a particularily hot day for Death Valley.

Sea Level

Sea Level, same as home but windy!

A highlight of the visit was walking out onto the sand dunes at night to listen to the Park Ranger tell Native stories about the stars. We sat on quilts and watched the stars come out, and because there is little surrounding light the stars were very bright.  However it was a windy night and she wasn’t able to tell as many stories as usual, she finished early and we made our way back to the car through the dust.

Desert Sunset

The sky turned from yellow to pink

Dunes at night, getting ready for stories

On the sand dunes, getting ready for stories

We spent the night at place called Stove Pipe Wells, and the kids were delighted to find a nice pool. Early next morning we on our way again. Our next stop is Fresno.

Last death valley

Last views of Death Valley

arch 2Cactus 2walk to archwith treeframed archArches National Park–we have waited a long time to visit this natural wonder.  Yesterday as we traveled through Utah we got to see the amazing rock formations.  According to the information we were given these formation were created because of unusual rock combinations, water erosion and time.  The kids loved it and we couldn’t begin to see it all in one day.   We are spending the night in Moab, Utah.

We also visited the Prehistoric Museum in Price, Utah.  There were no other visitors there at the  moment and someone brought out a dinosaur egg for the kids to hold.  Seneca’s favorite part was sweeping the sand from dinosaur bones in a special discovery exhibit for kids.

Unearthing bones

Seneca unearthing bones with a brush

Goofy kids with dinasours

Goofy kids and Dinosaur Bones

Dinasour egg

Dinosaur egg

Covered wagonIn wagonThe kids are missing school so we are trying to make this an educational experience, which is not difficult, there is so much to see and learn.  Raven had studied the Oregon Trail last year so was interested in visiting Glenn’s Ferry where wagon trains had crossed the Snake River.