Cynthia St. Charles Store

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Beartooth Fishing with Pablo

Pablo is my seven year old nephew who lives in New Haven, Connecticut. His parents bring the family to Montana every summer for a visit with family. Pablo's wish list for his summer visit to Montana included fishing and fossil hunting. We were happy to have the chance to try to accommodate him.

Weather in Billings has been hovering in the high 90's into 100's daily for the past three weeks or so. We considered our options and decided to take Pablo and Jorge on a camp out high in the Beartooth Mountains, where it would be cool. We knew we would be able to easily find a good place for Pablo to fish.

The cold rainy weather in the Beartooths took us by surprise. Several members of the party had failed to pack rain gear. Elizabeth and Airus donned a black plastic bag for the hike to the lake for fishing. We hiked about 1/2 mile from our camp site to Lower Sheepherder Lake.

Bundled in coats, hats and gloves, Pablo was still able to catch four nice Brooke trout for supper. He caught a fish on his first cast! Jorge caught three, but tossed one back and both the fish I caught were too small and had to go back in the lake.

Airus and Pablo slept well in the tent. The adults were all intermittently awake in the night because it rained constantly and some of us were getting wet!

It was a lot of fun. We can't wait to go back again soon.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park has the highest major highway in the country, which tops out at 12,183 feet above sea level. Nearly one third of the park is above tree line - an elevation of 11,400 feet.

Rocky Mountain National Park holds 72 named peaks above 12,000 feet. Longs Peak (I don't have a picture of it) is 14,259 feet.

Upward earth thrusts pushed the Rockies skyward 70 million years ago. Then, three major glacial episodes sculpted the scenery from 738,000 to 13,750 years ago.

Congress created Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915.

Joe is able to flex his elbow pretty far now.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Whirlwind Trip to Denver

Joe and I left Billings early Friday morning and arrived in Denver by late afternoon. We had time to check into our bed and breakfast, grab a quick bite to eat, and made our way down to Santa Fe Drive. It was the art walk, and a lot of other galleries besides Translations
were open. It was so refreshing to see REAL ART! If you ever find yourself in Denver with a few hours to spare, try walking down Santa Fe Drive - the Denver arts district. It is wonderful!

The SAQA Regional Show - FLOW was wonderful. Since we arrived late, I wasn't able to figure out who the SAQA members or artists were from those in the gallery. I did introduce myself to Judith Trager, the gallery owner. She was easy to pick out because she was wearing a name tag.

Out of respect to the gallery owner and the exhibiting artists, I did not take pictures inside the gallery. There was a large exhibit of work by Maximo Laura, a Peruvian weaver. We loved his work! You can see examples of his work here.
Here is a picture of the bed and breakfast where we spent Friday night. Our room was the Tower Room - hidden behind all that ivy!
Tomorrow I will post pictures from our trip through Rocky Mountain National Park.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I am so happy to announce the opening of the Regional Studio Art Quilt Associates show, "Flow" on Friday, July 20. Yes, one of my quilts was juried into the show. I am very anxious to see this gallery, which specializes in textile art.

Here is the invitation!

Very exciting news! I think maybe Joe and I will drive down to Denver to take in the opening! I have been ill with a very nasty cold and have had a terrible case of laryngitis, but am starting to feel better, so I am optimistic about being able to go on Friday.

Our wedding anniversary is July 28, so we will just call this an early celebration. I hope to book a room at a bed and breakfast in Denver, then maybe we can drive home via Rocky Mountain National Park, which is on our list of places we want to visit together!

We have had a lot of stress the past 6 months or so and really need a break!

Hopefully, they will let me take pictures at the gallery to post on my blog!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Windows #2

Last night I finished sewing the sleeve on this quilt while watching "The Secret".
It took several weeks to complete the quilting. Then, the binding had to wait because I needed to finish Joan and Chris' wedding quilt in time for the wedding.

I really like this series.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

07-07-07 Yellowstone Park Wedding

07-07-07 was a very popular wedding date. We were fortunate to be in attendance at a beautiful wedding in Yellowstone National Park.

Here is the chapel at Mammoth Hot Springs, where Joan and Chris were married yesterday. Joan and Chris both have a long history in Yellowstone. Joan currently teaches at the little school in Mammoth. Chris worked for the National Park Service in Yellowstone for many years, but is currently working at Grand Teton National Park.
Here is the happy couple, Chris and Joan Miller.

The reception was held at the home of good friends who are fortunate to live right across the road from the Mammoth Terraces. Here is the view of the Terraces from our table at the reception.

This group of friends all taught at Gardiner Elementary School (at the north entrance to Yellowstone Park) back in the early 1980's. We've stayed friends through the years, even though most of us moved away to live our lives elsewhere. That's me in the orange jacket (which I made of raw silk, hand dyed and screen printed).

Saturday, July 7, 2007

More from the Wyoming Backcountry Road Trip

Our Fourth of July Road Trip continued on northward along the Wyoming Scenic Backway road called Alkali Road. This rough mountain road began in the arid low lands of Bighorn County. As we climbed higher, we found ourselves surrounded by a band of sheep. I grew up around sheep, so I knew how to get them to move off the road. The other members of our group were not so familiar with sheep, so they enjoyed seeing them, and were especially entertained by the two sheep dogs (Great White Perinese) that were with them.

After we passed over the top of the mountain, the entire ecosystem changed from high desert to alpine forest. The wildflowers were stunning!

The next stop was Shell Canyon. This is a beautiful narrow canyon with Shell Creek running through it. Because of the geological uplifts and erosion, rock formations dating back 10 Million years can be seen here.

Shell Falls

Joe and I at Shell Falls

We followed Highway 14 north, then turned west at Burgess Junction, heading for Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark. Medicine Wheel is a 1.5 mile hike from the parking area, but well worth the trip and we had wonderful cool weather by the time we arrived at 5 PM.

The Medicine Wheel is a sacred aboriginal site where Indians still perform religious ceremonies. Located at the top of Medicine Mountain at an elevation nearly 10,000 feet, the wheel consists of 28 spokes radiating from a central hub. The wheel is 80 feet in diameter and is made from unhewed rock pieces. Six additional mounds or cairns are spaced unevenly around the rim. Each mound has an opening that faces a different direction.

The origin and meaning of the wheel are unknown. Some archaeologists suggest that it resembles the Mexican calendar stone, while other think it was used for astrological purposes.
Nobody really knows how old Medicine Wheel is - or who may have constructed it.

Visiting Medicine Wheel can be a powerful and mystical experience. It was an amazing feeling the first time I visited. I was profoundly moved, and continue to feel its power when I visit.

I've been visiting Medicine Wheel nearly every year since the late 90's. I've always found spiritual inspiration here during my meditations, and it has called me back time and time again.

This rock formation near the wheel is particularly compelling and significant to me.

Our last stop on the Fourth of July Road trip was at the Five Springs Campground for a picnic supper and a short hike up to Five Springs falls.

By the time we were heading back home to Billings, it was getting dark and we were entertained by fireworks all along our 1.5 hour drive.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Road Trip - Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site

We treated ourselves to a Wyoming Road Trip on July 4. Our first stop was at the Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site . Back in the 70's, a series of archaeological digs uncovered human habitation artifacts indicating that this location has been used by humans for more than 10,000 years! They dug through about 26 feet of soil and rocky sediments, discovering 60 cultural levels . The excavation site has been refilled, but the petroglyphs and pictographs remain. Here are some of my better images from that location.
There are a series of human forms along this wall.

This animal is clearly of the deer family - with horns, and it's body appears to be pierced with several arrows.

Such expressive figures!

There were a lot of shield images.

We noticed a couple of young birds nesting in a fissure right above a group of petroglyphs.
I've been told that these are falcon babies - probably peregrine falcons.

Looks like they are guarding the petroglyphs!

There is a beautiful stream running through the site. Great for a refreshing wade. It is easy to understand why this narrow canyon would be chosen as home to so many civilizations.

We enjoyed our picnic lunch at a table along the stream, under the cool shade of a majestic cottonwood tree. Note Joe's new arm brace - he has some mobility now! Yipee!

The rock formations in this area were really interesting.

This was really interesting - one of the lower layers has eroded away - making it appear that the upper strata are floating on air!

I took a lot of pictures and the ideas for quilts are filling my brain!

Left to right - our road trip party - Joe, Caleb and Michelle.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fourteen Different Colors - Recycling Soda Ash Solution

Fourteen MX dye colors have been added to these same containers of soda ash solution. I've not changed or discarded the soda ash, but did add a bit once when the containers seemed to be getting a bit too low due to evaporation. This was a successful experiment with recycling soda ash solution in MX dyeing in order to conserve water.

I dyed the following colors in this order (most of the color names are Dharma's, but a couple of them are from Pro Chem):

1. Butterscotch
2. Overdyed the Butterscotch with Camel
3. Bronze
4. Khaki
5. Charcoal Gray
6. Maroon Brown
7. Chocolate Brown
8. Deep Orange
9. Chinese Red
10. Scarlet Red
11. Fire red
12. Fuchsia Red with 1 tablespoon New Black added
13. Deep Yellow with 1 tablespoon New black added
14. Golden Yellow with 1 tablespoon New Black added

The final two colors of yellow looked orange when they came out of the dyepots. I was a little concerned. I was pretty certain the red dye had all been exhausted, but my eyes were seeing orange, not yellow.

After final washout - I had some very nice yellows after all.

I am going to take a break from dyeing for a week or two, but I will be back. I need to get some cool colors added to my stash.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Seeing Red

The gradation dyeing with recycled soda ash continued on Sunday with a series of reds.
I set the washing machine for the final washout on Sunday night and Monday morning, they were hung to dry (only till damp)

When removed from the line slightly damp - ironing them is quick and easy with my trusty Ironrite. This ironing machine was popular in the 40's. It is a godsend when I have a big batch of fabric to iron. It does a fabulous job.

Here are the reds. From left to right, the colors are: Scarlet red, Chinese red, Fire red, and Fuchsia toned with a little bit of New Black. (Dharma color names)