Saturday, February 22, 2014

Moving right along

G'day all!

Lots of things are happening around here at the moment.

The garage gnome.

DH and friends have been slaving on the garage.  Seriously.  Last weekend two different lots of people came round and got totally soaked working in the pouring rain and helping reframe and roof the garage.  We really really appreciate their help!  Today another friend came round and pretty much all of the framing is done, only the (short) north wall needs to be done at this point, then we can close in the walls again, put in new windows and doors and do the final, proper roof rather than the temporary plywood one... and get it inspected and put insulation in and then plasterboard and and some flooring....  Only a little bit of work to go!  LOL

All of this bit now is framed up with the new trusses.

It is good to see progress being made.  More than good, exciting!

When I said lots of rain, we got this
in less than 24 hours...

I finished my quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake challenge.  I know a number of people obsessed about what to make.  I sewed strips together with some solids and then played with my Hex n more ruler and made hexagons (that came together much more easily than my last attempt when I cut two different size hexagons!)

 Some of the hexagons are matchy matchy.

Matchy matchy 1

Matchy matchy 2

Some are a bit scrappy

Scrappy-ish 1

Scrappy-ish 2

And apparently the quilt fell off the railing before I got a picture of the completely scrappy hexagon.  I quilted them all with stars of different sorts in them.  The scrappy one has a pointy star, the others more regular stars.

The back will give you a headache if you wiggle it up and down too much!  The central panel is made out of challenge fabric too, including the solid grey.  And I just noticed that I reversed the top panel so it is a mirror image of the bottom one.  Oh well.

Once the weather gets a bit better, I'll wash this quilt and the green one, and the Riley Blake challenge quilt will go to a charity and get a new life there.

We are seeing signs of Spring.  Forced tulips have appeared in the shops.

I buy expensive market ones
An extremely early evergreen Clematis.

A rather excited Rhododendron.
I was excited to see it too.

The crocuses didn't croak in the snow!

Instead more came up!

Real snow drops!

A Rip van Winkle daffodil in a pot

The French Tarragon not only survived
but is apparently thriving!

Today I saw the first cherry plum blooms.  I didn't get a pic of them as the phone was at home charging, plus it was raining at the time.  I've been watching buds getting fatter and fatter.  It is a very exciting time of year.  Two mystery plants in the back yard are Forsythias - one of them is getting fat yellow buds.  It is pretty amazing to think that in another month, everything will be greening up madly and there will be blooms all over the place cos at the moment it feels like winter will never end.

Oh, I went to the city last week and got my dodgy vocal cord looked at.  The specialist said it is working quite well now, not perfectly, but my voice is still rough and I'm still having issues with breathing.  He suggested I see a neurologist - he thinks my tremor is playing into my larynx issues.  (I have a tremor, presumed familial because my mother had one too.  Thanks, Mum, for all the rubbish genes you gave me!)  He said that my larynx is showing signs of spasming, which is probably not helping me breathe.  I'm getting a bit over the whole thing.  I am working on regaining some fitness but I have to be careful - if I get too breathless I go into a panic loop, oddly enough, but if I can get past that breathless stage I'm ok-ish, well as ok as you can be when walking makes you puff because you've lost all fitness.  I'm still doing my rehab exercises though and they are now about as advanced as you can go.  I hope.  LOL  They are pretty darn challenging - one legged pelvic bridges and we are working on getting me onto dead bugs on a foam roller plus other things.  I rubbed my belly the other week and freaked because it felt all stringy and lumpy and weird.  Yup, those would be muscles.  I'm rarely getting back pain any more so the exercises must be working!  Plus I read that for women at least, strengthening your glutes is excellent for your pelvic floor, better than Kegels because it is stabilising the whole area, not just exercising one little bit.  Sorta like doing bicep curls might give you great biceps but your triceps and shoulder muscles and torso muscles and leg muscles are lacking.

Finally, I went up to Swanson's garden centre with a friend yesterday.   I may have bought quite a few bare root fruit trees for our back yard orchard.  At 40% off plus a $25 gift card they didn't cost as much as I thought they would.   They will surely make guest appearances on the blog over the next while. 

Berries!  Blue, tay, boysen and logan.

Today I dug a hole.  Then I dug another hole.  Neither filled up with water.  This is a good thing.  So is the fact that my back didn't give out on me. Then I stuck an apple with five different apples grafted on it into one hole and another apple, an espaliered apple with four different types of apple on it in the other hole.  Digging holes is hard work - the turf is quite thick and then once you get through that, you are into glacial till, which locally seems to be quite loamy but with a lot of pebbles in it.  Gardens grow well in it, but some mulch and stuff would make plants really sing.  I'll look at that sort of stuff once the rest of the major expenses for the garage are out of the way.  I'll also look at paying about two grand to get the lower whorl of the Douglas fir pruned off so it doesn't interfere with wires or next door's plants and also get the laurels removed, including the stumps ground.  Some of those laurels are about two Arnies around.  They are HUGE!

One apple tree planted. Ah-ah-ah.
I'll finish with a couple of links that I've had hanging around for a while.

Go Luke!  I always did like the "good boys".  Sigh.

The Wife and Blake is entertaining me.  I remember when Blake's 7 was required viewing at 7:30 on Friday nights on Auntie (Australia's ABC).  Mum and I would plot how to get everything ready for the Old Man's lodge night and not miss any Blake's 7.


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Bits of everything

G'day all!

Oh what a busy time we've been having here, yet so far we don't have that much to show for it!

Quartermaster Bay, Vashon Island.  Moody and magnificent.

I was away last weekend at the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild retreat.   I was rather concerned before going - I have Food Issues, as regular readers will know.  I couldn't find the power cord and pedal for my sewing machine, noisy and heavy and slow beast that it is... but it is better than nothing!  Also, because of this ongoing issue with my vocal cord, I make interesting noises when I'm asleep and apparently now snore as well.


Sunset.  Pretty!

So the idea of having to share a room was umm, intimidating.  The food issue also intimidating and not having anything to sew on?  DOH!  Then there is the small issue of spending a weekend with people I don't know.  For some people this would be the Best Thing Evah but for an introvert?  It's a form of hell.

As it turned out, I had a perfectly marvellous time.  The food was fine - they are used to catering for people like me - I have quite normal food needs apparently!  The company was lovely - many quilters are fairly introverted, which isn't really surprising I guess because it is a fairly solitary activity (though you can have quilting bees and get togethers and quilters have been known to work on the one quilt in a group).

Low tide was low - high tide pretty much obliterated the beach!

Well my lovely room mates were indeed lovely - one said I could not outsnore or make more noise than her husband and the other normally sleeps with earplugs anyway.  I didn't keep them awake, which was very good.  They had more difficult food needs than me!  It was nice to a) have people who grok how food issues can really screw you around and b) to feel relatively normal.  LOL

I think it looked better dressed in greys - much more moody!

I got to see my quilt hanging up one last time (and, ahem, may have bought some more fabric... sigh)

Big green quilt!

The surroundings and accommodation at Camp Burton on Vashon Island were superb.   We had been told to expect rustic but we got a new "bunkhouse"  with three people to a room and our own en suite, a cleverly laid out en suite with toilet to one side in its own room, shower to the other in its own room and the vanity in the middle.  I have never understood the idea that all three bits have to be in the one room - separating them makes so much more sense.

Avast me hearties!

I think the surroundings speak for themselves, as you have seen above!  Pity I forgot to take the phone down to dawn on the water - it was pretty amazing!

And the sewing machine issue?  I borrowed a machine from someone who could not go - it was wonderful of her to offer it to me when she was a bit sad about not being able to go.  And it worked perfectly all weekend, allowing me to make this:

Riley Blake challenge quilt top,
backing is white white not blue!

I also got to explore Vashon a little.  The previous times I'd been there it was either persisting down or we had run out of daylight.  I found a nifty lighthouse on the adjoining Maury Island, and it turns out that our neighbour here grew up right next door to it!

Point Robinson lighthouse, Maury Island

I timed my drive home to coincide with the start of the Superb Owl.  The local team was playing and I figured that the ferry would be quiet - I think this shot is proof of that:

I have never seen such an empty ferry before.

And I ended up at the neighbours' watching the game.  The Seahawks absolutely slaughtered the Broncos and Seattle erupted.  There were people running around jumping up and down with joy, fireworks and the whole joint was going off.  I didn't go to the parade - the buses were full and it was frigging cold this week - most of it didn't get above fridge temp and we had two or three days that didn't break freezing.

Poor hummers couldn't feed from these!

That'd be ice in the pond there... (MOHAI, Lake Union)

This week we got the agreement from our neighbours saying we could alter the garage, HOORAY!  So I spent a few hours down town over two days to get the agreement recorded and then the permit issued, and DH is going full steam ahead on getting the garage reframed and the new roof done.


Except last night this happened:

Passing on tea on the deck

and it was still quite snowy this morning

My baby!  Covered in snow!

Antler-like snowy branches.


Quite a bit of snow!

and as it turned out it was still snowy late this afternoon, so we spending the day at the garden show instead was a good plan!

First crocuses - I guess they won't

We saw some wonderfully cool things - both of us were rather impressed by some of the garden gates we saw.  They weren't always practical if you were looking to exclude dogs and children from the back yard (excluding cats requires a lot more effort) but gee there were some nice gates.  I told DH if we ever bought one, we'd be taking it home with us - we couldn't leave it behind!

Not our cat on our bed.
She made herself quite at home.
No gate would exclude this cat.
We saw pretty plants and pretty displays, most of which the phone is too crap to capture.

This one was bright!
Saracenias (pitcher plants) were the plant du jour and we saw a heap of Australian plants, some of which would even survive outside in a crappy winter like we've had this month and in December (multiple days of below freezing are not common here).  We brought home a few orchids to torture, though I've got a much better idea of how to look after various of them this time, and I have a couple of things to plant in the yard (PEONIES! And a dahlia.  And a bleeding heart).

Beside the glass bamboo is a
non-critter excluding gate

Now I want to find some echinoderms!

I don't know that a sand dollar will do.

There has been knitting too - I've finished a sock and am working on a couple of other things, including a top that I put down months ago when it started getting cold.  If I finish it, it will free up another set of needles.  I only have about ten rows of sleeve to go so I really should pull my finger out.

Works in progress.
Yes the sock really is lurid.
This week, however, will be devoted to finishing my challenge quilt - I have made a backing for it and now have to find the batting, baste the top, batting and back together then quilt it and bind it, all by Wednesday night!  Oh and also getting my current work module ready for polishing by someone else.  I thought I'd have it done by Friday but then the permit process got in the way... Still it is close and I'll be glad to move on to something else.  After many months of working on the one thing, I've had enough of it.  Time for fresh eyes to find its faults.