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!


Sunday, November 02, 2014

Soon the dawn of a new age

G'day all!

Today (well yesterday by the time you read this and maybe two days ago or more for some!) was the last day of my current age.

One plant, old flowers and new!

Tomorrow I am a year older.  I am already a year older in most parts of the world, but not here on the west coast of the USA.  Nope, not yet.

The last year has been an interesting one.  On my birthday last year, we got confirmation that our offer for this house had been successful.  There's been lots of fun times and lots of omg, why did we buy the house times too.

So many puffballs.  Wonder what they
are growing on?

But I am much happier here than I was in the apartment.  For starters, I can paint the walls whatever colour I like (so we have different colours and break all the rules of painting small houses).  I have a garden.  I have so many things to do that I can't keep up with them.

Friends and family have had babies.  Old friends have reappeared in my life.  We have part time access to a cat, which has entertained us greatly.

Running late, chryssie!

Things have changed.  It has been a year of flux and I'm hoping this coming year will be a bit more settled.

Today we did a bit of work in the garage and got the final two sets of shelves out of the house.  (yes, there is a fair bit of stuff that still needs to be sorted through, boxed up if necessary and moved out to the garage but my word what a difference it makes!)

See this?

You see mess but I see a massive, open laundry that doesn't have two large sets of shelves in it.  I'll tidy up the mess over the next day or two or three.

Shelves, with wood frames around
them so we can put doors on them

Instead, the shelves are in the garage and now have stash on them.  DH has his own stash, btw, it isn't just mine.

This means we can bring the boxes that a friend has been storing for us for umm, most of the last year (blush - so much for two or three months!) down and start sorting them out and getting them in the garage too!  And when we've fixed up the wardrobes (built ins, aka closets in the US), some stash will live inside.

A sample of our stashes

After an afternoon of helping with garage stuff and repacking stash into the new tubs (6 gallons, from IKEA) and moving the boxes out to the garage, I'm knackered.  I'm also extra pleased.  The old 60L tubs were too heavy for me to lift when they were full of fabric, but I can easily manage one tub and was not too challenged by lifting two tubs at a time.  Yay!  This means not having to get DH to lift fabric tubs down for me.  Now I can work my way through my stash more easily to find what I want to find and also get rid of fabric I'll never use.

I've decided that I shall do as I please on my birthday.  This probably means I will spend some time cleaning up because ARGH!  We have stuff everywhere!  It is pretty much guaranteed to rain, sigh, as always on my birthday.  DH promises me yummy slow cooked pork spare ribs for dinner.  We've worked out how to make them ever so tender.  It is so very easy - you just cook them on a very low temperature for four or five hours.  They come out so very yummy!

This yarn is itching to be cast on.
But it isn't itchy yarn!

I think I will cast on another baby cardigan.  This time instead of mostly blue/violet, I will have the body be the paler speckled yarn.  Then I can distribute them to the new babies and noone will feel left out, and I will have reduced my stash by just a little bit and hopefully spread some happiness around :-)


Saturday, November 01, 2014

Oh evil, evil place of enticement

G'day all!

Today we made a little more progress on the garage.

Very small SUV with lots of plywood for attic cat walk
DH was hell-bent on getting a "catwalk" done in the attic-space but I insisted that on the only guaranteed dry day of the next week, we would hang the gutter on the garage roof.  (We have two gutters to hang but we started with the one that is more of an issue.)

Yay!  One gutter.  We are yet to fix the downspout - it is currently held in place by an upturned bucket and a chunk of concrete- but it will eventually feed into a water tank or cistern as they are known hereabouts.

The car park was almost pretty!
We had to go to Limback Lumber (for contents of the car), Lowe's (for more colour changing ceiling white cos if I am going to be painting stuff, I want to have fun whilst doing so and having pale mauve wet paint helps me see where I've been so I don't keep doing the same spots over and over) and then to Home Despot for a new filter for the shop vac (that isn't a Shop Vac).  The trees at HD were amazing!  Pity we didn't get any sun to show their redness off better.


We also fixed up the big window, which is actually a triple glazed door.  Because it is a door, it doesn't have the usual window frame around it, so DH had to get inventive with fitting it.  Some L shaped aluminium, then insulation all round and trim on inside and out will make it look like a bought one!

Shingles are next, then trim, then paint!

Squirting compressed air at me
But today's major excitement was a trip to one of our favourite places.

Starts with I.

Ends with a New Zealand parrot that has a particular fascination for the rubber trim on cars.

I had thought IKEA had lost it a bit two or three years ago but oh my, tonight, I wanted wanted wanted half the things I saw.   Oh that fabric, and that one and that one and and and and!  Oh that bed linen and this one and this one and this one and this one!  (Yes, very odd, me wanting some effectively black and white stuff but I'd actually use the fabric in quilts or I'd get fabric textas and colour it in ;-)  Oh that bedside table!  Oh, look at these nifty wardrobe things!  And that table!  And that set of shelving!  And that set of drawers!  And those lights!  And those lights!  And hey, that would be a good basin for the bathroom when we fix it up and I like that tap!

Just as well that we were only there to get some plastic tubs (new stash management - boxes are smaller and I should be able to lift them plus they fit three to a shelf rather than one and most of a second one if you jiggle them just so) and mostly managed to stay to that, along with the death star light in turquoise, though it looks green to us.  (Thanks, SiL, for putting us onto it!).  We also had dinner there, which turned out to cost us nothing after we dropped well over a hundred bucks there - that was part of the deal they have at the moment.  It worked for us, though we didn't know about it.  Plus we were the second or third last to be served before they shut the cafeteria!

So an excellent time was had at IKEA.  We've got even more ideas about what to do where in the house.  Pity I forgot my phone - I had it in my other pants.  It could've told me how many steps I took there.  I think it would get me about three or four thousand.

I have the feeling we will be going back before Christmas, after the garage is finished.  (Oh bliss, oh joy, the garage creeps towards completion!)