Saturday, December 20, 2014

Solstice, almost

G'day all!

Long time no blog.  And I am soooo happy that we are nearly at solstice because the gloom is starting to get to me.  Sunset at 4:18pm is much much too early.  And the sun only rises at around 7:45am if it can be bothered.  Some days we don't actually see any sun at all - it just stays grey and dim all day long, like living in twilight.

It's been truly flat chat around here.  Late November I was making a quilt to enter into a quilt show - didn't get in but mine joins the other 75% of rejected quilts.  I'd show you pics of it but I don't have good ones of the back yet.

Ah heck, lets show you some pics of parts of the front.  I don't have good shots of the back - every time it is clear and sunny here at the moment, I'm busy doing things other than taking pics of quilts!  But I do have to hurry up and get shots because I'm donating it before Christmas, which leaves me very little time indeed!

Note the direction the needle is headed on the applique

So I'm a member of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild.  The Modern Quilt Guild is having challenges every few months where a fabric manufacturer supplies fat eighths of fabic (you know what a half yard of fabric is, well a fat quarter is what happens if you cut half a yard down the middle of the fabric and is about 22" by 18", and a fat eighth is half of a fat quarter).

Insane quilting

The last challenge I made quilted cushion covers, as seen in this post.

Quilting quilting quilting

This time around I made a nice little quilt.  Michael Miller is promoting their fairly new range of Cotton Coutures.  The bundle they supplied were the Spring colours - those you see above plus white.  I didn't use any of the white on the front of the quilt.

Colour skewed but shows it is bound!

I got the idea for the pinwheels from my friend Dana's book, Imagine Quilts.  (You can get signed copies from Dana's website, or buy unsigned from your local quilt shop, the publisher or Amazon.)  I made up some slightly wonky Dresden Plates then machine appliqued down the two smaller ones (they are about ten inches wide I guess).  The big one is about twenty inches across and umm it was quite wonky, so I hand appliqued it down!  Then I quilted them madly - zigzags down the colour rays and "sine" waves in between them, then zigzaggy flames in the spaces where they start meeting.  It is a bit of a challenge on my normal size sewing machine but it gets the job done with a minimum of fuss (as long as I remember to put the foot down to engage the tension!  Oops!) and maximum of noise.

I'd show you the back but I don't yet have one single pic of it - that is why it hasn't been donated yet.  I pieced it and it looks pretty amazing if I say so myself.

So that quilt ate every last spare minute of the last ten days or so of November.

November also finished rather cold and clear.  We got some snow!

Snow in November

Our street is oh so pretty in snow - we have some lovely Craftsman type houses on it.  Plus that morning DH got me up to make sure I saw sunrise.

It was a bit of a winter, milky sunrise but that was ok, it was very pretty in person, the phone just washed it out totally.

The interesting thing about this snow is that as the day wore on, the weather cleared more and more but... it stayed close to freezing, so the snow did not melt.

It also brought with it dry, polar air that kept the place close to freezing for several days, and gave us some nice sunsets.

Once was snow, now more like ice.

My baby had icicles on him!

Yet some of the trees still had leaves.
And see that blue blue sky!  Lovely!

I had to wear my snow boots to the beach/
to keep my feet even slightly warm.

But the sunset was lovely :-)

December?  Where has December gone?  I've been flat chat this month too!  I thought I had everything under control, we had managed to absorb much of the stuff DH had brought out of storage (hooray, our friend now has her spare room back!) and then DH decided it was time to fix up the built in wardrobes.

You would not believe how much work there is in a roughly 2.2 metre by 2.2 metre by most of a metre space.  We have made beautiful shelves for the study/second bedroom - I even did some routing and I most definitely helped with the table sawing of the whole set.  A few coats of gloss paint and they are looking really good.  We've been cutting and placing plasterboard (drywall or blueboard) over the last few days to tidy up the holes around the shelves and now we are working on our bedroom's side.

The shelves are actually as close to square
as we can get them in a non-square house.

I've been crafting other stuff as well but more on that when I have pictures of the things I've made.  It is really difficult to get good shots when the days end at around 4pm and you realise you forgot to get shots whilst you had some degree of daylight.

Hopefully I'll be back soon with more on what's been happening in December.  It truly has not stopped.   MiL and FiL arrive on Tuesday so we have to get a wriggle on with our wardrobe fixing up!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Serendipity 2014

G'day all!

Yesterday we headed off to breakfast at our usual Saturday breakfast spot (Portage Bay in Ballard).  We like it, it is convenient for us - a short walk away - and it is filling.  It isn't cheap but you get good quality food and lots of it.  (Oddly enough I loathe paying nearly $10 for an omelette that keeps me going for only an hour or two after I eat it.  Dunno why, but with a hash from Portage Bay, I'm good until 2 or 3 in the afternoon!  And I get leftovers as well :-)

Fire in the sky
 Sigh.  We had to wait - we weren't late but everyone was getting an early start.

And then someone asked DH a question about the fleece top he was wearing, one that he bought in Taswegia twelve or so years ago (and gee, after all he's put it through, it is still looking okay if you discount the bits of paint and putty/spackle stuff).

The rain went away!  Yay!  Other people got some though.

Turns out the couple we ended up talking to have some rather compatible interests - he's a plant guy and has travelled extensively for it as his work and she's a knitter.  So we had breakfast with them and then DH brought them back to our fantastically messy house (we got the rest of our stuff out of our friend's house and umm yeah, we need places to put it all!) for coffee and to show them the living roof and talk about plants and stuff.

What happy serendipity!

This shop has the most amazing window displays

Work on the garage has slowed right down now - DH is working in there and it means that the last bits of painting are yet to be done.  I've got some priming to do then we can paint the trim with semi-gloss paint, plus we need to do a bit more bead board around some corners.  Still, it is working for him and he's getting plenty of visits from the cat - she scratches at the window and cries (soundlessly - it's triple glazed) to get his attention.

Love this combo.

Our attention is turning to the house again - what do we need to do to prepare for DH's parents' visit?  And there are a few things that need attending to, one of which is critical and the others would be very good things to fix up or change.

I'm sure this is late this year.

The days have shortened right down now - sunset is before 4:30pm, on the days when we can see the sun.  On rainy days it gets quite dark quite early.  Even on sunny days like today, at two thirty I thought it was getting quite late.  The sun barely clears the houses on the other side of the alleyway.  You can see from the sunset pics that the sun is setting far to the south now.

Getting some good reflections at the moment

It's chilly too - the week of frosty nights has set a standard now, though night-time temps are only dropping down to fridge levels now, not freezing.  On warmer days it is getting to about 11C at best, and generally is cooler.  If there is little in the way of wind, I'm happily running around in my fleecy tops with a long sleeve tee under them and two layers on my legs.  It seems I'm acclimating.  Yikes!

A finished sleeve, highlighting the jogless jog

I have a self-imposed deadline for getting my Stripes Gone Crazy redone - I want to have it finished and wearable in a week.  I managed to get the four row stripe sleeve done a couple of days ago and the 20 row stripe is flying along - it is just so quick to sit and knit around and around and around whilst watching old eps of This Old House.  Vroom!

Pretty tree lights in Ballard

I'm also working on a quilt that I want to enter into the Modern Quilt Guild's challenge - I have to get it done by Friday to get pics of it and have it entered by Sunday.  I need to pull my finger out because Thursday will be eaten up by Thanksgiving.  Still, I'm pretty pleased with how the quilt is coming together.

One of the applique pieces.
(My spell-checker is going nuts - pieces is too a word!)

The colours are a bit pastel but that is because it is based on a fat eighth (half of a fat quarter, which is a half yard cut in two bits) of fabrics supplied by the sponsor of the challenge.  I put my name down, they sent me fabric.  Alas because I can only use fabrics from a certain range, I had to buy more of them.  Sigh.  Anyway, just in the last two days I've gotten it coming together, and it is contributing to the chaos in the lounge room.  The backing is done and I'm well into the appliqueing on the front.  I think it is pretty cool, hope I've got the layout right because once these babies are appliqued down, they are not moving for love nor money, not until they rot.

Glad we are done with frost for the nonce.
It did weird things to the soil.

 So I have to finish the front, make the quilt sandwich, baste it then quilt it, square it up and then bind it - thank heavens for being allowed to use a print for the binding!

I'd better go get cracking on a bit more appliqueing.  And spell-checker, applique is too a word!  Go check your dictionary!  You've been confusing me all the way through with refusing to believe applique, appliqued and appliqueing are words - I had to go look them up to check!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Well almost once a week....

G'day all!

I've sort of missed boring people with a post a day.

Frosty violas!

What's happened recently?

Frost flowers on my car

Welllll....  I am not whinging about the terrible weather because the weather hasn't been terrible.  Whilst places around and west of the Rockies have been getting snow, we've been getting very chilly nights (down to -3C!) and sunny but very cool days.  I think I prefer frosts and sunny days to manky greyness, even if the sunny days involve getting up to 6C at best and me being cold a whole lot.

I've been trying to get out and walk every day but I've failed these last two days due to having to run around after DH.  He didn't get his licence when we first moved here and it is becoming a problem with getting (or more keeping) car insurance.

Golden leaves

So Tuesday we went to get his learner permit equivalent but couldn't cos the Department of Licensing was shut, then yesterday we went back (including driving all the way up to Lynnwood) and got that bit of paper and he sat the written test. 

And today?  Today he did the driving test.

Big guy, small car.  NB driving school car.

Tomorrow we go to get him a driver licence.  He passed the test!  Yay!  This means we should be able to get and keep insurance unless something really bad happens.

Silly prunus!  It flowers in autumn, winter and spring!

Alas this means driving to Lynnwood again.  Now you would think I would like Lynnwood cos of the name but driving along Aurora Ave/highway 99 is umm, icky to be frank.  The road is wide and a 40 or a 45 mph zone, so it sounds quite inviting.

Still enjoying the leaves that are left
Trees are dropping their leaves rapidly in the freezing temps

Lots of water being released at the locks/weir

But there's traffic lights that seem designed to stop the traffic as much as they can, there's roadworks that make part of it are so choppy that you wonder if you'll rip the tyres apart and then there's the shops along the side of the road.  Oh, a pawn shop followed by a gun shop followed by a teriyaki chicken (plus sushi!) place followed by a vape shop followed by a smokes shop followed by a gun shop and a sushi place and oh another pawn shop...  Much of it doesn't feel very inviting and indeed feels rather down market.

Commercial fishing boats use the locks all the time.
There's a fishing port just up the channel

I might just check the traffic and see if we can't zip up I5 instead.  Or maybe we can go to the closer office and get the licence there - the internetz tells me they don't do testing but they do issue licences.

Great sunset just before the skies cleared

Yay!  The internetz for the win!

Fallen leaves

I had a lovely party on Sunday, so sorry most of you could not make it!  DH slaved to get the garage ready, then realised that we did have to clean up the house somewhat - after all, we don't have a loo in the garage (and if we did, it would be a little more open than most people would expect as the garage is all one room).  One of our friends came round and helped DH move stuff around to open up the floor and make things nice - thanks, L!

Ribs require fingers and a lot of serviettes/napkins

I did a whole bunch of cooking - ribs, a chicken, ran around and got bits and pieces, made brownies and a pink lamington cake.  Oh how I love pink lamingtons (gluten- and dairy-free of course!).  If only I knew how to make the amazing gluten- and dairy-free creme patisserie that Uncle Rick's used to make in Oz before they sold their business and disappeared....  I'd certainly be a lot more rounded because I'd just eat pink lamingtons with this amazing creme patisserie all day long!  And I tend to prefer salty/savoury things over sweet.  A friend brought a yummy potato salad and with some salad greens, we had ourselves a meal and a half!

Cake!  candles!  It must've been a birthday party!
(And ladies, AFAIK, cake guy is available!)

Anyway, of course by the time the party rolled around, I was pooped!  (and that is pooped in the Oz sense of being tired, not being pooped on.)  But it was still lovely to see people and eat nommy ribs and chat and catch up a bit with some of them.

And I may have had a small incident at the local knitting conference.  I knew I wouldn't have time to do a class there but I did wander up and have a look at the marketplace.  There was lots of yummy squishy yarn.  Some of it may have followed me home.  I may even be knitting with some of it, cos why would I want to knit with the old stuff, even though I want to finish my Stripes Gone Crazy cardie.

Noone saw me smuggle this yarn home.

I finished another baby cardie, with more of the yarn I dyed a couple of months ago.

Pretty pleased with how the dyeing worked out

And I've even done some spinning!

Colour is a bit off, less green

Then a good friend from Sydney visited Seattle this week so we caught up with her a bit.  Okay, we hogged her for three nights out of five.  That was excellent.

The foul and horrible things we do to visitors,
like take them to lookouts such as this

Hmm, not much else has been happening.  I think I've discharged my duties for the nominating committee for the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild since we had the AGM on Wednesday.  Now I just have to do things for the quilt show that is coming up at Island Quilter - I have to design an info poster.  Better get out the book work bought me on graphic design.  I want it to be informative and nice!  And I might look at my book on infographics too.

Okley dokley, that's your bloomin' lot for the mo,


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Darkness falls

G'day all!

Another manky day in Seattle.  We didn't get much rain but we certainly got plenty of cloud!

The sun is somewhere out there!

This date is a public holiday in my home city and I may have decided to take it as such.  I don't get American holidays and I have a lot of cleaning and tidying to do.

And it is a good thing that I am cleaning and tidying because I found that we have a teensy infestation of carpet beetles.  Interestingly, we don't have any carpet, just a few small cotton rugs and no rugs near where I found the only infestation that I've seen so far, just some dust bunnies, neglected paperwork and some escaped yarn.  As I continue cleaning things out, I'll keep checking for more unwanted house guests.  I'm fairly sure that my stash is okay as I haven't seen anything in the yarn I've been playing with and re-organising recently.

You know the flower people at the market
are running out of flowers when
they start using ornamental kale...

I guess I'll be very careful with the vacuuming over the next while.

Paint dots on the laundry wall

In clearing out the laundry of its shelves and tools, (well sorta clearing it out as it now is refilling with homeless bits and bobs), I discovered that a paint tray had managed, unnoticed, to dribble on the floor waaay back when I painted the bedroom.   (The paint tray lived in the laundry overnight as I have the most amazing ability to put my foot in paint trays even if they are not on the floor and the laundry is out of the way and not a place I am likely to wander into in the dark.)   Much to my surprise, the paint had not bonded with the vinyl flooring - I thought it might stick very well - but peeled straight off.  Now I want to pour paint on the floor and wait for it to dry then stick the resulting blobs on the wall.

Rain in the last 48 hours or so

The garage saga continues.  In the last few days, we've fixed both the windows, covered over the second last gap in the internal sheathing, done the last bits of taping and mudding (okay there is one spot yet to be done but it has an ugly inch wide gap in it = too big for mudding) and put the bead board most of the way along one wall.

Half nekkid wall
Between this and getting a whole heap of stuff out of the house, it feels like we are really starting to make some progress.  Yay us!

Don't look too closely at the corner

Now I have to go around and paint things again to cover over the paint that covers over the bleed through from the OSB and we will be closer to finishing.  Still got plenty to do (like shingling and trim and the floor and the gutter and the door and the apron/entry to the garage) but it is getting much closer.

I've now managed to blog every day minus a couple for four weeks or so, yay me.  I might back off a bit but I've at least gotten into the habit of it again.  I've also got various projects on the go so I have something to talk about!


Monday, November 03, 2014

A new age

G'day all!

Today I am a new age.  I am two years away from a very significant birthday.

I am usually coy about how old I am but it is time to own my age.  After all, I have wrinkles and am developing a liking for lavender, as in the smelly herb, not just the colour.  I've always liked lavender as a colour.

Still crazed and now with added wrinkles!

So happy birthday to me, today I am 48.  I am allowed to be wrinkly and like lavender.

Birthdays for me are special, even more so now.  Hooray, I've made it to another birthday!  I'm still here!  See?  I'm waving, over here!  Birthdays are for being made a fuss of.  Birthdays are for doing fun things and having parties.  That is why I'm having my birthday again on Sunday.

What did I do today?

Clever DH bought me yarn without knowing it.
I want more of these but I'm being good.
I have lots of yarn to knit.

Stuff all, really.  I developed a hankering for a new pan or something to dye yarn in, but neither of the local op shops had what I wanted and the local walmart equivalent only had what I wanted if I would pay three times what I wanted to pay for a dyeing pan.  I think I'll just get a big crock pot again (bigger than the one I cook our meals in - I discovered that two people only need a small crock pot) and then I can make all the nifty spray and splatter dyed yarn that I want.  (BTW, that is Madtosh Merino Light in Holi Festival, Cosmic Wonderdust and Magic.)

Swanson's Christmas display involves
model trains.

I went to Swanson's (nursery) and bought a crinum (lily) for the front yard and a bulb planting thing and two glass birds with feather tails for the Christmas tree when we get one.

I paid a medical bill.  I helped DH do some of the plastering in the garage whilst wearing my second best pair of exercise pants.

In other words, I lived dangerously and on the edge.


New knitting.

I knitted for a while and I spun some yarn and I wore a new dress and Nathan cooked ribs for dinner but we've decided we like the expensive ribs better (guess there's a reason for them being expensive!).  We watched "From Russia with Love."  It is weird how Bond starts cracking the Bond-isms two thirds of the way through the movie as he starts dispatching baddies.  I packed another couple of little tubs with fabric.

These are the dull tediums of rainy days in Seattle.  November is the worst month of the year for rain, and my birthday is right at the start of it.  We lose daylight saving on the first Sunday of the month and suddenly it is getting dark at 5pm.  On days like today, when the sun does not even hint at coming out from behind a cloud, it is quite dreary.  We might see a little bit of sun tomorrow but the first day the sun appears in the forecast is on Friday!


Ah well, this too will pass.  And that's another old person test I need to get done.  Yick!