Allietare Clue 1 Bonnie K. Hunter Quiltville Mystery 2015

Posted By on November 30, 2015

Bonnie K Hunter has launched her yearly Quiltville winter mystery 2015 – Allietare! This design is inspired by her recent quilt trip Italy. Allietare means to become cheerful or to gladden – so I am sure this is going to be a good one!

As always I am making two – one to keep and one to gift.  Here are my color choices!  The first photo is of my Christmas Allietare and the second one is my Allietare.  THANKS BONNIE HUNTER FOR THIS WONDERFUL GIFT.

Nov 1 2015 002

Allietare - Winter Mystery 2015

Allietare – Winter Mystery 2015


Clue 1 is now finished for my Allietare!  Clue 1 for my Christmas Allietare 1 is cut out but not yet finished.  It will be finished by the time that Clue 2 comes out Friday!


Allietare Clue 1 finished

Allietare Clue 1 finished

Allitare - Clue 1

Allietare – Clue 1



To see what other quilters have posted about Clue 1 go to this link!

Choosing a Nickname BEFORE Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Posted By on November 3, 2015

After reading about the importance of having a GOOD NICKNAME (from a link posted by an experienced hiker)  I decided that choosing my OWN nickname prior to the hike might – JUST MIGHT be a good idea. Mistakes make great trail names.

“A popular tradition of Appalachian Trail culture is to give thoughtful nicknames to your co-hikers, such as MonkeyButt, Golden Shower, or DangerPants. If you point your headlamp down while you pee in the dark, you’ll be called Flash; if you dig up someone else’s cat-hole while making your own, you’ll be called Divining Rod.

These trail names are what you go by in lieu of your real name — so don’t do something dumb early on, or it’ll follow you for 2,000 miles.”


After thinking back over a lifetime of nicknames that have been given to me, I reasoned that establishing my OWN trail nickname would be imperative for my self-esteem and well-being.  I will share two or three of my former nicknames, so that you get the gist of WHY I need a new nickname and why I am reluctant to have other hikers choose a name for me based on my behaviors.

  • BUTCHIE     (given to me by my grandfather because I was born without hair and bows had to be taped to my head)


  • KLUTZ     (short) for my nickname of Klutzy – given to me by my Delta Delta Delta Sorority sisters – probably because I got my foot stuck in the coils of the box springs on my bed while trying to get my fitted sheets on!  Ok, so yes, I did live in the olden days when box springs under one’s mattress had visible coils.)


  • CRAZY SHIRLEY (given to me by my husband – at the time – who was a radio announcer.)   Crazy Shirley was my ON-AIR nickname and I am sure that the nickname made the listeners in Wichita, Kansas enjoy my antics with greater enthusiasm than if I would have had just a normal name!


OK – so forget the former nicknames – on with new and better ideas!  Here are two or three of my attempts to brainstorm myself into finding a good name.  (I think that I must  have a bit of a competitive nature because when my HIKING BUDDY, Michelle Martin, mentioned last night that she liked the name ZOE for herself – I felt COMPELLED to come up with my name ASAP!!!!)  The pressure was on too, because ZOE is such a great name!

Here are two or three of my BEST brainstormed hiker names


  • My first brain flash produced the nickname BAMBI  (I liked Bambi because the first movie that I ever saw in a theater was “Bambi.”)  I was certain that we would be seeing deer on the trail (and Bambi’s friends included skunks) so I thought that having a deer name that had personal relevance to me would be fun.  BUT ALAS, in my opinion, it really didn’t go well with Zoe.  I couldn’t see myself posting about “The Adventures of Zoe and Bambi on the AT.”   To tell you the truth, if someone didn’t know my history with the “Bambi” movie and the relevance of being with deer and skunks on the  hiking trail, Bambi does remind me, and therefore might remind others,  a bit of a name that might be assigned to a stripper.  I apologize profusely if I have any friends who are currently named Bambi.

    The Disney Movie

    The Disney Movie


  • PINKIE  (I REALLY liked the nickmane of Pinkie a lot because that was the name of my Grandmother Reiter’s horse.)  Grandma Reiter was my role-model for successful aging.  She died of cancer – but prior to that she NEVER got old.  She continued to hike, jump fences – remind me to tell you THAT STORY about what happened after I took her to the Playboy Club in Denver – and square dance EVERY Saturday night.  She was funny, rugged, and I always said that I wanted to grow up to be exactly like her!   She was the inspiration for  me to get my PhD in the field of  Cognitive Aging and all my research on Successful Aging was inspired by Grandma Reiter.  Thus, Pinkie – her horses name, seemed like a good trail nickname for me – to denote love, family ties, and successful aging!  I don’t know why I appear to be so obsessed with strippers’ names – but PINKIE  seemed to be a name that might be categorized in the same class as BAMBI.  (BTW, I have never met a stripper – that I know of.) I honestly didn’t really like the sound of “The Adventures of Pinkie and Zoe on the AT” either!  Shown below is a photo of a horse that REMINDS me of Pinkie (I don’t have any photos of the real Pinkie.)
Grandma Reiter's Look-Alike Horse

Grandma Reiter’s Look-Alike Horse

  • SCARLETT   was the third nickname that popped into my working memory!   I have always related to the “Gone with the Wind” character,  Scarlette O-Hara!  I loved her courage – and spirit – and bravery.  That seemed to be TOTALLY appropriate for a hiking trail nickname and I could see myself posting about “The Adventures of Scarlette and Zoe on the AT!”   If something a little bit challenging happened on the Trail, I could reassure my hiking buddy, Michelle Martin, that “Tomorrow is another day!”   Or if she pointed out some realistic obstacle, I could say, “I will think about that tomorrow!”   But then, I got to thinking, what if something DREADFUL and UNEXPECTED and IMPROBABLE occurred (like if we happened to connect with a bear that wasn’t afraid of the sound of the BIG YELLOW WHISTLE that I plan to buy.)   I didn’t want to be remembered, by my grandangels,  as Grandma Shirley, A.K.A. Scarlett, the hiker who was GONE WITH THE WIND.  (Actually it might have been pretty funny – but I don’t plan to let any bears win.)
Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind


  • My son-in-law, Greg, suggested we adopt the dwarf names of DOC and HAPPY.  I rejected this nickname right away because while his mouth produced the names of DOC and HAPPY,  I knew that deep down inside his psyche his nickname for me would have been DOPEY, instead of HAPPY!!


And just like a falling star that fell and zoomed across the sky before my very eyes, while I was saying good night to Grandangel Sarah,  I thought of the name SNOW WHITE.  My daughter recently said that living with me was like living with SNOW WHITE because of my cheerful nature (Yes, I admit that I am cheerful in the mornings – before coffee or anything!)   My daughter claims that I sing greetings like SNOW WHITE,  “Good morning…..tra la la.  Smile……welcome to your day…..tra la la.”)  Sarah said that it was a good name!  I trust my grandangels!

Then I searched for any special meanings that might be linked to the name of SNOW WHITE.    You might remember that in the beginning of the story that Snow White’s mother pricks her finger with a sewing needle and three drops of her blood fell on the snow piled on her  black windowsill.  This made her hope for a daughter associated with the colors of red (blood) – white (snow) – and black (windowsill.)  This is really great because I love red and black….in fact they are my favorite colors.   The fairy tale, Snow White,  is built around the colors (white) innocence, (red) maturity and love, and (black) death  The story of SNOW WHITE  reflects the metaphor  of a deep sleep interrupted by the coming of spring.  A difficult time of slumber was transformed into a positive outcome  for Snow White, all because of a loving gesture!  Transformation on the trail, for me  – I like that!

So, my heart is happy and I shall be known as SNOW WHITE – my successful hiking adventure will  reflect the renewal of a new ME. And I shall wear red and black on the trail!

I believe that my hiking partner is keeping her nickname of ZOE!  I love it.  Zoe means ALIVE and DIFFERENT (Japanese)!  Michelle is hoping to get out of this adventure alive and I am hoping to become transformed into a new and athletically awakened ME.

SO – stay tuned for “The Adventures of Snow White and Zoe on the Appalachian Trail!”

Things to Ponder Before Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Posted By on November 1, 2015

Now that HIKING THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL is on my bucket list, I need to get serious about getting prepared!  This has to be a successful experience!  I think that Michelle and I have already established that the Appalachian Trail is preferable to the Pacific Coast Trail because neither of us likes to be hot,  so perhaps avoiding the deserts in California might be a good plan!  Michelle pointed out that two postmenopausal women in the desert might be a danger to the wildlife.

I need to remind myself that Michelle and I  may be the inspiration for other middle-aged-postmenopausal women to try something new, so once we embark on the trail, quitting is not an option (cutting the longevity of any given hike on any given day IS an option) and breaks for happy hour and high tea are probably great boosts for mental health!

When teaming up with a hiking buddy, I am thinking that it would be good if our strengths were varied so that we can handle a multitude of  situations.   So far we have shared, on Facebook, a few of our preferences and least notable strengths and Michelle thinks that we will make a great team! She loves flying insects, except for bees,  and I  REALLY  do not like moths or butterflies at all!   I can handle all of the bugs except for the moths and butterflies – so we are good to go on bugs (ALMOST.)    Michelle isn’t a fan of snakes, bears and skunks,  and I am OK with those critters – as long as I have a big yellow whistle from REI that will make the bears and mountain lions retreat.

Here is my FIRST TO DO LIST!

  • buy hiking shoes and train in them (my friend Jennifer said that hiking shoes are better than hiking boots)
  • NOTE TO SELF:  Research the pros and cons of hiking shoes vs. hiking boots BEFORE buying those hiking shoes
  • buy a lightweight backpack and fill it to wear while training
  • NOTE TO SELF:  Research what one should put into the backpack
  • NOTE TO SELF:  Research the best way to get skunk smells out of people and camping equipment should one of  us scream or accidentally blow the big yellow whistle and hence upset the skunk and put it into attack mode
  • walk everyday
  • do weight training everyday
  • NOTE TO SELF:  Find out what to do about the bees.
  • pack Benadryl in case of bee stings
  • pack (preferably decorative) masking tape in case all of our bandaids blow away
  • memorize some jokes in case we need to have our spirits lifted at the end of the day
  • memorize some motivational quotes in case we need to encourage ourselves to keep going
  • pack some bourbon (because it weighs less than wine) in case the jokes and quotes aren’t effective


  • Are you OK with not finding a Starbuck’s every day on the trail?
  • I read on your Facebook post recently that your ARBNB was not a great success because of varmints coming into your open window – so is the zipper on your tent sturdy?
  • Are you OK with hiking MORE than 10 miles? ……I am laughing so hard as I ask this question?
  • Are you OK without a hair dryer?  I included a photo of my air-dried only hair (drilling holes in my pumpkin – a bit scary – but true!)
  • Do you know how to start a fire?
  • How much does your tent weigh?
  • I am directionally challenged, are you good at sensing which way is N, S, E, or W (or can you read a compass?)
  • Are you OK with rain and snow?  I have been known to “SING” in the rain.  Are you OK with this?
  • Do you think that we should have a name for our hiking team?
My Appalachian Trail Buddy

My Appalachian Trail Buddy

sao using a power tool

sao using a power tool

My daughter and son-in-law do not have confidence in the success of our plan to hike the trail.  I am just SAYIN’ that this is really motivating me.  The last time I was told that I couldn’t do something, it was a magical motivator (I was taking a university level algebra class as a returning-to-college-as-an-adult student and the professor told me that since I hadn’t learned the new math – which is now outdated, I might add-  that I would NOT be able to keep up.  Well, telling me that I COULD NOT KEEP UP insured the spectacular outcome.  I got the highest grade in the class and scored the only 100 on the final exam!)

And SOMEONE I know said that we BOTH looked more like Barbie Dolls than hikers.  I am not mentioning any names here because it is SO POLITICALLY INCORRECT – but the bottom line is, “WE HAVE TO DO THIS!”  “WE WILL DO THIS – IF I CAN USE A POWER TOOL TO CARVE MY PUMPKIN, THEN I CAN HIKE THE TRAIL!”  You can do it too, right?  Please feel free to lie to me at any point along the way if you think that it will make me happy ……like, for example, that you KNOW how to wrestle a crocodile!  I am pretty sure that if we can survive writing a dissertation that we can hike the AT!

Let the training begin!  I think I am going to find a course to take in backpacking….


Follow Michelle Martin’s Appalachian Trail preparation at










To Hike or Not To Hike, That is the Question #hikingtheappalachiantrail

Posted By on November 1, 2015

My name is Shirley Albertson Owens and I am 71 years old.  I am an avid quilter and often pack up a wagon (similar to a backpack,  but on wheels) complete with sewing machine and materials to camp out at quilt retreats (ok – to be truthful, no tents or campfires have been involved, but I have slept in a trailer!)  I do KNOW how to pack a week’s worth of supplies into one wagon and one case!

Nov 18 2013 355


I admit that I am directionally challenged, but I  am very good at navigating with a GPS.  I have found my way (all alone) from the suburbs of Midlothian, Virginia to the beach at Corolla, North Carolina  for Quilt Camp every year since 2009.  Shown below is the BIG YELLOW TENT that 14 of us have successfully camped out in for many years!  The years when I haven’t had a broken foot, I have enjoyed long hikes along the beach.




I HAVE backpacked for a week, once in Havasupai Falls, Grand Canyon National Park, in 1986 (that was almost 30 years ago, but I remember it being a “piece of cake” except the part where my husband only packed 1/2 roll of toilet paper for BOTH of us to share. Did I mention that we were tent camping for an entire week – with 1/2 roll of toilet paper?)  Seriously the rugged and rocky hike is considered to be moderately difficult and it involved steep  switchbacks for at least  1 ½ miles of the almost 20 + miles one way.  I remember that we hiked a total of 40 miles.  We had to carry our tent and all of our food and water to last a week.  Since my husband is a literal zombie without coffee, we also had to carry all of the equipment necessary to brew his life-line!  So, I have SOME backpacking experience!


I belong to a book club. A small group of us in Midlothian, Virginia meet once a month to discuss a book that each of us takes turns selecting. We are supposed to read “WILD” by Cheryl Strayed in January, 2016; but since I am an avid reader, I found myself halfway finished with the book by the end of October, 2015.  After reading only a few chapters of  “WILD,” the idea of backpacking – in the wild – started a little spark in my psyche! Actually this was SPARK 2.    SPARK 1 happened after I saw Cheryl Strayed being interviewed on television a few weeks ago! It was with Oprah that I heard Cheryl say that she had walked from the Mojave Desert to Oregon (the Pacific Crest Trail – PCT) with very little prior experience or preparation. She found the experience to be life-changing and empowering. Cheryl said that she walked herself to a point of healing and forgiveness.  It all happened while she was on the PCT!

Then SPARK 3 happened while I was having my morning coffee and connecting with my Facebook friends! I read about GRANDMA GATEWOOD on Facebook.    Emma Gatewood had 23 grandchildren when she hiked the Appalachian trail the first time!  WOW!  As far as I know she has now done it 3 times and the third time she was 75.   REALLY!!!!    I read (with great interest)  that she hiked the trail in Keds sneakers and carried an army blanket and a raincoat (I think that I recall that she also had a shower curtain that she used as a bag.)   HEY, I have running shoes, a quilt and a raincoat……..DING DING DING – my SPARK 3 turned into a SPARKLE. Maybe I could do this! Maybe I really could do this!


I mentioned on FACEBOOK (only halfway serious at this point) that maybe I should  hike the Appalachian Trail (since Emma Gatewood had!) and asked whether or not there might be any of my friends who might  volunteer to join me.  Right away Michelle Martin (a friend and a colleague from our days of teaching at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California) expressed an interest.  And get this,  she had read Cheryl Strayed’s book,  had already purchased a tent, and seemed to be sincerely interested.

SPARK 4 – I just might have a hiking buddy.   I asked myself the question, “With two PhD’s on the trail, two mature middle-aged women who had survived motherhood, divorce, writing dissertations, and negotiating university politics (among other life happenings,) what could go wrong?”  I should really clarify that only one of us is a middle aged woman and one of us is beyond middle aged, but I will refrain from referring to myself as old!   So for now, theoretically and loosely speaking,  we are two middle-aged women! Furthermore, Michelle not only has a tent, but one that we could stand up in!  She sent a picture to me on Facebook.

Hiking the Appalachian trail

Hiking the Appalachian trail



I am going to put HIKING THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL  on my BUCKET LIST.  Once it is on my list, I cannot get it off unless I cross it off as FINISHED!   So, I need to make sure that I am SERIOUS!    I need to remind myself, why again do I think that I can hike the trail?  

First, I was “newly” inspired by my recent experience with my brother and sister-in-law in Kauai.  Connecting with my OUTDOORSY ADVENTUROUS SELF  led me to recently cross zip lining off my BUCKET LIST!  If I could zip line, and if Emma Gatewood could hike the PCT at age 75, then why couldn’t I do such a hike?  I started to imagine myself blowing a big yellow whistle to scare away bears and mountain lion on the trail.  I had a new, exhilarating, wonderful,  and strange sense of power and excitement.

September 2015

September 2015 Zip lining in Kauai with Dan and Glenda Albertson



Second, I thought that walking the trail might lift my spirits.   I had been feeling a bit sad at times as I watched my husband (15 years my senior) being progressively less able to be a full participant in all of the travel and concert-like activities that we once shared.  Slowly, over the past 10 years,  I had become more and more of a caregiver than a partner.  That is really OK, but it was sad to watch a chapter in my life end.  It is sad to watch someone decline.

Third, while I have always tended to maintain silly, humorous,  and positive aspects of my “self”  in full swing, I have also recently felt some uncomfortable feelings related to being spiraled into a second-generation empty nest.  As I watch my children grow into mid-life and my grandangels become young adults, I have been having pangs of nostalgia.  I have found myself wishing for a little person to go on the Dumbo ride at Disneyland with,  or a little person to laugh at my feeble attempts at humor (but it is not time yet for great-grandangels, and come to think of it, eye-rolls are somewhat enjoyable as well!)

The bottom line is that I have been feeling that I really needed to begin a new chapter in my life.  Yes, that is what I needed.  I NEEDED to do something in this new ME CHAPTER of my life that wasn’t linked to being a mother, grandmother, or wife.  Hadn’t I also been prodding myself recently  to make new goals, to learn new things, and to always have things to look forward to?

And now I might have a hiking buddy – with a tent!   So, why not hike the trail!  Yes, the answer to the question is that  HIKING THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL  is the newest and latest item on my BUCKET LIST!


FOLLOW Michelle Martin’s progress in preparing for our hike at


Grand Illusion completed 2015

Posted By on July 5, 2015

It appears that I have not been posting regularly (to say the least!) With the advent of Facebook, I think most of my DISPLAY and COMMENT behavior has been directed there. HOWEVER, it seemed appropriate for me to post the FINAL COMPLETED GRAND ILLUSION 2014 WINTER MYSTERY QUILT.

Thank you Bonnie K. Hunter for his wonderful design.

April 2015 189Because I didn’t want the quilt to grow to a larger size, I put the last border and some other extra blocks into my favorite kind of BONNIE HUNTER scrappy back!

April 2015 193


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