I’ve been back in Anchorage for a week now, and it is time to get busy, get in sync with the rhythm of another school year–enrollment, school supplies, check-ups, clothing, and shoes.

I’ve waited until the last minute before, and it is never a pretty sight. So, I try and pace myself. While getting the kids ready and out the door for school is painful, the reward is a quiet house for six hours every day–Monday through Friday. That’s the light at the end of my tunnel.

I feel like this past week has been the first time in ages that I have been able to breathe deeply.

Staring in April it went like this–

I busted a move and cleaned my house to hold the Wrangell Mountains Center’s Spring FUNraiser–complete with information table, silent auction in my studio, and a live band in the living room.

I got on a plane to Portland Oregon where I attended Fiberlandia the SAQA conference and delivered my first ever keynote speech. You can read more about the talk here and here.

Maria Shell The Art of the WordI returned to Alaska where I focused for 12 hours a day on the piecing and quilting of HOME.

HOME by Maria Shell and the Residents of Moore PlaceI got back on a plane to Columbus, Ohio to attend the amazing opening night of Quilt National.

I then traveled to Charlotte to install HOME at Moore Place.

HOME by Maria Shell and the Residents of Moore PlaceThen it was back to Ohio for two weeks of study with Nancy Crow at the Crow Barn– I know you folks want me to write about this, but everyone at the Barn was so uptight and anti-blogger, I just haven’t had the confidence to tackle it yet.

Maria Shell I returned to Anchorage and spent two weeks getting things like my hair done, unpacking, packing, and heading out to McCarthy. (No photos of me with foils–and that’s a good thing.)

July was a series month of Alaskan summer activities.

A FULL day of celebrating our nation’s indepedence. You can see the complete parade by clicking here. (Including two looks at that guy’s naked bum.)

My favorite summer celebration is the McCarthy Whitewater Festival. While I don’t raft (yet), I do support my friend Nancy in running the race. I am her personal photographer. I hike half-way up to where they put the rafts in for the short race, then jog back down in time take photos. I love this celebration.

I did lots of dancing at the bar including one FABULOUS night with the California Honeydrops my new favorite band.

californiahoneydropsThe three days of SEW FUN were SEW FUN (there will be more on this later….).

In addition to SEW FUN, I did three other afternoons of Wrangell Mountains Center programing–Kids’ Making History and two afternoons of making ornaments for the Christmas tree headed to the White House this fall.

The boys and I walked out to the Kennicott River the day after Hidden Creek Lake went out. Hidden Creek Lake drains every year and causes the Kennicott to rise quickly–it is intense.

I attended an assortment of meetings including one hosted by the National Park Service about our place in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Turns out WE the people who live in this park are wilderness too! What does that mean? Well, no one is exactly sure at this moment, but I think I am going to dedicate some time to following this story line.

According to my FITBIT, I walked/hiked 170 miles in July. Not bad–that’s five and half miles a day. I hope I can keep that going. I covered lots of beautiful country.

McCarthy, AlaskaI excelled in the walking department and failed in the stitching department.

I brought four quilting projects, six clothing projects, and ten knitting projects out to McCarthy. I came close to finishing one quilt. I traced several clothing patterns and did a bit knitting, but I did nothing close to what I had envisioned for the month.

Maria Shell Sewing Studio- McCarthy StyleI’ve got to step it up in the making department. My slow moving studio practice is affecting other things–my ability to apply for new opportunities, my blog, my general well being.

It happens every year. I think I might just become one of those really bad mommies, and then my kids go back to school!

I know for you folks outside, it is still summer. Up here, we’ve moved into falling leaf season. We are turning towards the dark.

Maria Shell What's NextPeople frequently ask me, “How do you handle all of the dark and cold of your winters? Isn’t it terrible?” And I say, “Our summers are so off the chart wacky that we welcome the cold, the darkness, the warmness of our homes and indoor lives.”

Starting today. I am in autumn hunker down mode.

But before I officially leave the summer of 2015, I have one more little story to tell. Tripp (as in son number three) has decided to become his own version of the Tripp Advisor. It’s spelled like his name with two p’s. He spent the summer reviewing Neil’s grocery store, the Potato, the local museum, you get the idea. Last summer, McCarthy got a new public outhouse which is very close to our cabin.

McCarthy, Alaska's New OuthouseTripp wrote a raving review.

Tripp's review of the McCarthy OuthouseIf only the toilet paper were softer, he would have given it five stars.

How are all of you preparing for the autumn? Do you have lots good projects in mind? I would love to hear about them.

This entry was published on August 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM. It’s filed under Just Plain Stories, News And Events and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

18 thoughts on “WHAT’S NEXT?

  1. metaphysicalquilter on said:

    Favorite phrase on the outhouse “Would you poop here again?” Is it no wonder that to get young boys to read they had a series called “Captain Underpants”. Loved raising my boy. It’s worth the time away from the studio…. Enjoy your winter.

    • Yes. Boys identify with poop and all things poop related. It’s weird but true. Sometimes, I feel very outnumbered and all alone in my prissiness, but then sometimes I love feeling out numbered. There is only one queen in this house. You are right about being with family and missing time in the studio to do it. This weekend all three boys were gone, and it was just too quiet.

  2. profmom@comcast.net on said:

    The last entry was simply the best!!!!! That’s a downright elegant outhouse.

  3. I am looking forward to future posts about the quilt you worked on at the Nancy Crow workshop–and to meeting you in person at a SAQA meeting.

  4. When you schedule a workshop or workshops in Anchorage, I hope you will announce them in your blog, because I would like to attend one.

  5. Thanks for the recap of your busy spring and summer. Sometimes I think we need a break from intense studio work so that we can refocus and prioritize what we want do next. Here’s to a productive fall!

  6. I LOVE your recap. Just watched the California Honeydrops–fabulous! Thanks for the link. I have them bookmarked on youtube so I can listen to them while I’m quilting today. That might be counterproductive though–they definitely make you want to move!

    If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love very much your home quilt. So much to look at, and the meaning behind it makes it that much more.

    And of course, being the sister of a BOY, I loved your son’s outhouse review. I hate to tell you, but my brother, at age 55, still enjoys poop and fart jokes :/

    Thanks so much for such a fun blog. Oh, and I took one week at Nancy Crow’s so I know what you mean, but as a writer, you have the right to write about your own life. Share away 🙂

    • Thank you Debby for all your great comments. My husband is right with our sons when it comes to the poop jokes. I know I need to get over it and think of writing about the Barn as writing about me, but people were pretty intense about their opinions about bloggers, and I would hate to violate anyone’s trust. Thank you for stopping by!

  7. Mickey Beebe on said:

    Don’t get too relaxed. In November you have to get back on a plane and come to CA to do a class for the South Bay Area Modern Quilt Group! I’m looking forward to it and to meeting you!

    I think you Home quilt is fabulous.

  8. Renata Pires on said:

    Hi Maria! So proud to see one of your beautifull quilts in the Internacional Quilt Festival Catalogue! Hope to meet you there again in october! Congratulations. Sincerily, Renata

    Enviado do meu iPhone


  9. You’ll have to add an ammendment: “… and Amy Meissner and I FINALLY went for a walk. After 10 months of talking about it. And it was a really long walk and we’ve probably solved at least half of the world’s problems.”

  10. The first of MANY walks. It’s a professional obligation I do believe.

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