Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

Spokane is Not the Same

Spokane is Not the Same

I went to Spokane yesterday, and I learned something. A few things, actually:

1) I can make that trip in 3-1/2 hours if I leave at 6:30 AM, have summer tires on the car and have the car in sport mode, if there is no traffic (the RV people like to sleep in, apparently), and if the weather is nice. I was in Spokane by 9:00 a.m. (I gain an hour going west).

2) Driving home over Lookout Pass in a crashing thunderstorm is very much like driving home over Lookout Pass in a snowstorm, except that the precipitation is in liquid form. You still have to slow to a crawl because you can’t see anything and the road is slick. You know why I am such a good driver? Because I live in Montana and I get lots of practice driving in challenging conditions.

3) The biggie: Going to Spokane now makes me miss my kids. A lot. I was at Joann Fabrics, perusing the quilting cottons, when I found myself wondering where we should go for dinner. Then I realized I had no one to go to dinner with and I wasn’t staying for dinner anyway. A little voice inside my brain piped up and said, “You’re halfway to Seattle—just drive another four hours and you can see them!” The husband pointed out that I cannot drop in on my adult children like that.

I’ve had kids in Spokane for the past four years. For the first two years, both of them were there. My brain associates Spokane with all the fun things we did when I would go over to visit them. Spokane is still fun, in a limited “I get to come to Spokane and go fabric shopping,” way, but I can tell it’s going to be a while before I can go there and enjoy myself without missing my kids.

The husband said he would go with me some time. That was sweet. It’s totally not going to happen, though, LOL.

I went to Spokane Art Supply and got the supplies we need for the mixed-media class. The class starts today, although it’s a “work at your own pace” class so we’re not on a strict schedule. We don’t want to get too far behind, though. I hit up a few thrift stores for more vintage papers. I dropped my Janome 6600P off at the quilting store for service and signed up to take an apron class next week. I’ll do the same thing I did yesterday—drive over early, get my machine, take the class (10-1) and come home, hopefully not in another crashing thunderstorm.

Maybe I need to make some friends who live in Spokane and then I’ll have someone to visit when I go over there.


This is my current sewing project:


It’s the Fika Tote by Noodlehead. I am having a lot of trouble with it, for some reason. I usually love Anna’s patterns because they are so well written and easy to follow, but I am struggling with this one. I am using Black Essex Linen for the background and the Kaufman Cotton and Flax print I got last week at the quilt store for the accents. I got the exterior fabrics cut out and then started cutting out the lining and realized I didn’t have enough of the lining fabric. Normally, I would view that as an opportunity to be creative—to use different prints for the inside lining and for the outside pocket linings—but I couldn’t make that work. I did a web search to see if I could find more of the original lining fabric. However, that print is five years old and nowhere to be found. I started over with a two-yard piece of fabric for the lining to make sure I have enough. The piece of fabric I cut for the first lining will get repurposed into a scrap quilt.

I’m also going to change some of the construction techniques. The first patch pocket I made with two layers of accent fabric is too bulky. I am going to make it again with one layer of accent and one layer of lining and also make sure the interfacing isn’t included in the seams.

And I am trying a different foam interfacing for this bag. I used the Pellon Flex-Foam when I made the Ultimate Travel Bag from byAnnie, but it was stiff and unpleasant to work with. Kathy, the lady at the quilt store who makes a lot of bags, recommended In-R-Foam by Bosal. It’s a fusible, so I don’t have to baste it onto the pattern pieces. Thus far, it seems to be okay.

I think it will be a nice bag when it’s done, but I am rather “meh” about it. I don’t want it to languish in the sewing room, though. I plan to finish it this week.


Progress in the garden is slow but steady. I mulched the potatoes with straw on Sunday afternoon. I am digging the strawberry patch out of the weeds. The husband did more weeding there last night. That is slow going but it needs to be done. The only alternative is to plow the whole thing under, but the strawberry plants that are in there are healthy and vigorous and the berries are tasty. I would prefer to rescue them. Once they are cleared, I am going to mulch them with straw, too, in hopes of keeping the weeds down.

Everything else looks great. I started a new perpetual lettuce bed—the existing lettuce bed helpfully seeded itself about five feet over and the new bed is not choked with clover and dill. I weeded it and will let the heads that are in that bed re-seed. We’ll eat the lettuce in the existing lettuce bed and plow that one under so I can get rid of the clover that’s growing there.

The columbines in my herb bed are putting on a show:


Also needs to be weeded, ugh.

I have been watching very entertaining group of robins this week. The husband called me outside the other night because Lila’s ears perked up and the husband realized that there were some baby robins in the yard. I went out to check. They were juveniles, yes—I could tell because they still had spotted breasts—but they could fly and weren’t in any danger of being caught by the dogs. Still, I thought it was interesting that they were hanging around and their parents seemed to be monitoring their behavior. I always assumed that once they fell out of the nest and could fly, the babies were on their own.

The next day, I saw the same two juveniles and what I assumed was their mother. The mama robin looked like she was trying to teach them to pull up worms. She would fly about three feet from them and pull up a worm, and they immediately would run over to her screeching, “Cheep cheep cheep cheep!” as they went. She would refuse to feed them and repeat the whole process. This went on for about 10 minutes. I’ve never seen that before. The husband wondered if this was the bird equivalent of adult kids living in the basement.

And there is a black bear in the neighborhood that is breaking into chicken coops in broad daylight. One of our neighbors around the corner now has a trap in her front yard. I suspect that if they catch it, FWP is going to euthanize it. You can’t rehab or relocate a bear like that. The husband is going to give me a crash course in using the shotgun this afternoon just in case the bear shows up here. If it’s that determined, the electric fence around the coop may not be enough of a deterrent.

Finding Your Face

Finding Your Face

Prepping for My Art Class

Prepping for My Art Class