Posts Tagged ‘seattle’

birthday week

Sometimes I wish I had a birthday every week. 
We had a really nice time over the weekend with Ryan and his girlfriend. The weather cleared up and we enjoyed a beautiful day on the beach – a rarity around here this time of year. Saturday night there was crab for dinner and a great surprise of a yummy cranberry pie for dessert. The weekend ended all too soon; its a nice thing to get to know someone over a couple of days.

No sooner than they left, the next evening Justin drove out and stayed for a couple nights.For breakfast Justin made a blueberry dutch baby  That evening he took us to dinner at what used to be an okay place. Unfortunately things have either slipped, or maybe just gotten stale. the food was okay, but the atmosphere was annoying (courtesy of a ‘musical balloon’ which kept singing, again, and again…..) Luckily the company was good. 
Thursday we went to dinner with friends at the Depot. It was fabulous – my only regret is that we didn’t take Justin there. He would have enjoyed it so much more. I had a  crab macaroni & cheese, and Richard had a gnocci and wild boar dish that was divine. 

During and between all the company, its been storm after storm. We lost power last night for a few hours, and there’s a call for a bigger storm arriving on Sunday. I was looking around this morning and I couldn’t figure out where this pile of ‘ice’ was from – it was nearly 50 degrees out.    Then Richard noticed what was missing from the deck:      the glass top from the table. Somehow the wind -which never got over 50 mph- picked it up and lifted it over the bbq and sent it crashing into the fence down below. There is a bazillion pieces of safety glass to clean up – maybe with a shop vac???
Needless to say I’m nervous as to what might happen on Sunday with a much bigger storm on the way. We won’t be here though, as we leave for Seattle in the morning.   Little Richard arrives into SeaTac on Monday morning. We may stay the night, and drive back home here on Tuesday. There is orientation at the school on Wednesday, and he’ll start on the following Monday. 
Life here is about to get a lot different. 

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Seattle bound

 In a little while we’re off to Seattle. We’re going in a day early to go to the Bellevue Botanical gardens Christmas light display. We’ll spend the night at Mom’s, and this way we will be in town tomorrow when Lauri and Aidan leave. It’s been a fun week, and unfortunately I didn’t get any baking done. I forget how busy it is with a six year old around.  I keep forgetting to get pictures, but I have managed a couple. 
  His mom said he wants two front teeth for xmas.
   We’ve had lots of rain, but yesterday and today are pretty nice. Lauri was hoping to see it snow – she’s never witnessed that before. A true SoCal native, it would seem. Just maybe there will be a bit on the way towards Olympia. 

I have the sewing done, all my Christmas stuff finished, but haven’t gotten cards out. You can’t do it all, I suppose.

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spring, please.

We had a great trip into Seattle. The fall colors are so beautiful this year, or maybe it’s just that I don’t remember how things looked last year. Maybe it’s that compared to the sort of seasonless-ness of Southern California, the range of colors ( there is little green there after 9 months with hardly any rain ) in the northwest seems especially varied and bright. It made me like fall, rather than think of it as only the prelude to winter. I should have taken pictures, but somehow I was too captivated to do so. 
We had a great birthday party for Mom, with everyone in the family there except Sarah  šŸ˜¦ . ( I hope they can take a vacation together at some point ) Lots of good food and great conversation. Spending time with my boys really impresses me at the men that they’ve become; each is flourishing in the careers that they’ve chosen.
We went to see "Where the Wild Things Are" and I loved it. As Justin summed it up – it’s more of a movie about childhood than a movie for children. There were so many metaphors and lessons of childhood and life. The costumes were not always pretty, but perfect nonetheless. Maybe it’s that I see so few movies in a theater that the ones I do feel pretty special.

Yesterday it was our good weather day of the week, and I spent it outside planting bulbs.About half of them were a couple types of tulips, and the rest were mixes of daffodils and narcissus, with a handful of hyacinths. A total of 240 ( according to the package totals ) and by the end of the day I was whooped.  This was a first for me – with the exception of a few lillies and glads last year, I’ve never planned this far ahead for anything outside. I’m anxious to see how many of them actually come up – only a few are outside the fence until I know that they’re deer resistant. I’m more into the instant gratification of annuals and this waiting for five or six months for results will drive me crazy.
Is it spring yet?

I did a little Halloween decorating ( very little )  and  We’ll get a couple of pumpkins, of course. There are now two kids on the street, so just maybe there will be some trick-or-treaters!

While in Seattle I spent a day walking Mom through the cutting out of her ( and mine ) One Block Wonder quilt. Mine will be for Richard ( the grandson one ) and since the rain is about to set in, that will be the project this week. I’m excited to get started on it, as I bought more of the same fabric to do one to keep; I think the keeper will be done with octagons to try something different, rather than the hexagons that this one will be.  I’ve also revised the fall/winter sewing list, and added a couple of garments ( and subtracted some summer things that I didn’t make ). I used to sew only clothes, and part of me misses that. It must be time.

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Seattle Bound (too)

This morning we head off to Seattle for a few days. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, especially Ethan who’s visiting for the weekend. We’ll celebrate Mom’s birthday a week early on Sunday, with the whole family gathering at her house.

On the way we’ll detour through Tacoma, to pick up an end table that matches the coffee table that I got a couple of months back. The guy has listed it on craigslist a few times (without a buyer ) though the price hasn’t changed. 

While we’re there I’ll spend a day cutting out a quilt at Mom’s house. She wants to do a one-block-wonder so I’ll walk her through cutting and beginning that project. I will start the one for little Richard out of the tattoo fabric at the same time.
I also want to go see Where the Wild Things Are at IMAX . It should be a nice relaxing trip.

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almost-home day

Which I suppose is Wednesday to everyone else.
It’s a funny thing when you live in the middle of BFE that it sort of becomes stressful? ( not sure if that is the right word) when you come to the city. Each time I notice the difference more and more. One of the biggest things is cars. In huge numbers.
I spent two hours crawling through traffic on the way here on Sunday afternoon, never going above 25 mph. gaaaah.  The payoff was worth it though: dinner at my sister’s house with family.

Monday all went good with Mom, and tomorrow morning we are headed back to my house. We’ll be followed by my sister and niece and her two kids, who will all stay for a few days, and then Mom will return to Seattle with them when they go home. We plan on doing some serious blueberry picking while they’re there. The Kite Festival begins on Monday, so maybe the kids will get to see some of the goings on.

Today I was seriously thinking of going to the Levi Store, but then thought of the fact that If I were to buy some new jeans, it would again push the self made jeans project to the bottom of the list, and I would be $$ poorer to boot. (It already happened the last time I went and bought a pair.)

Richard is having a great time at Bonneville – but I miss him ( as does Sunny ). I can’t wait for him to get home next week. Sunny is just anxious to get back to her big fenced yard. Funny how quickly she got used to having relative freedom. It was pretty interesting on Monday night when I came back from the hospital sans mom. She was really quiet, and I found her sitting on the floor staring at mom’s bed – when I walked in she kept looking at the bed, then at me. A sort of ‘first he’s gone, and now where is she???’ look. But when I brought mom home yesterday she was goofishly happy.
I love dogs.

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This morning Richard left for his annual trip to Bonneville. For the next 8-12 days it will be only Sunny and I.  He’ll be camping out the entire trip this time, unless there’s major rain, in which case he’ll come home early.
We’ll be missing him a lot. ( not enough to want to go with, though ) Last night we took the jeep for a ride on the beach – it was fun, and by the time we got to Long Beach we had sunshine to boot. We saw a crazy amount of birds – they are stopping here in huge numbers. The newspaper says 
"There are thousands and thousands and the numbers seem to increase daily. Various species of gull, Caspian terns and brown pelicans abound, and double-crested coromorants fill the sky. In the last few days vast numbers of sooty shearwaters have appeared. They seem to have begun their migration as they are cruising back and forth along the Pacific Coast. There is a feeding frenzy as schools of herring and/or anchovy swim with the tide."

So for the next few days I’ll sew a bunch as the weather is cool and cloudy out and there is a call for rain. If the weather clears/ warms up I will finish painting on the little boat, and try to get it filled with dirt and some plants. We’ll try to get some long walks in. On Sunday I’ll be driving into Seattle for a few days.  Mom is having some medical stuff done so Sunny and I will go keep her house company. If it’s nice out I’ll try to pick some more blueberries before I go to take with.

I made the world’s best blueberry pie the other day. First up, I have to say that I’ve never been much of fan of blueberry pie. I always thought that they were ‘okay’ and didn’t get what the fuss was about. Maybe they were’nt the the best pies? But, now I’m a convert. I got the recipe from a Cooks Illustrated’s email link ( in which I had to watch a video a couple of times to write it down and make sense of it )
Here is the recipe that I wrote down ( I couldn’t just copy the text because I’m not willing to pony up the $ to be a member of a website for a magazine that I already subscribe to! ) The video is worth watching ( slow loading tho’ ) as they explain it better than I can.

Best Ever Blueberry Pie

pie dough:
in food proccessor  put 
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt         pulse a couple times to mix
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter and 1/2 cup shortening – both cut into cubes straight from the fridge – they must be COLD
Process these together with the flour for 15 seconds ( it will look a little sticky )
1 cup flour and pulse 5 times ( there will be dry flour ) Turn this mixture into a bowl.
Add 1/4 each COLD water and vodka ( yes, vodka!) Mix lightly – it will be a bit gooey. Divide in half and wrap each in plastic, flatten into a 1" thick disk and chill a minimum of 45 minutes. 

In a medium saucepan put 3 cups blueberries and mash them a little. Cook over medium heat until thick and jammy – about 8 minutes. Cool a bit, and turn into a bowl and add another
3 cups blueberries ( about a pound of berries in total )
3/4 cup sugar
2 T Minute Tapioca – ground fine
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
pinch salt
1 granny smith apple – peeled, grated, and with all juice squeezed out in a towel ( using only the dry apple in the filling )
Fold this mixture together and set aside while dough is rolled out.

Preheat oven to 400 and put the rack on the second lowest position. Place a cookie sheet on that rack to preheat as well.

Roll dough out one disk at a time -( in the video they said that it didn’t stick, but I only had success rolling it out between two sheets of saran wrap ) Fit first one into pie plate, leaving 1/2 inch overhang. Fill with the blueberry mixture, and dot with 2 T butter cut into little cubes. Roll out second crust, cut at least six quarter sized holes, and cover pie ( again, the plastic wrap makes this a lot easier). Trim 1/2 inch, fold underneath the bottom crust and crimp all around. Brush the whole top with a mixture of
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water. Sprinkle lightly with coarse sugar if desired.

Place the pie on the cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake another 30 or until the top is golden.

This pie needs to cool for a minimum of four hours for the filling to set properly.

So, off I go to the sewing room for a few hours.

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sewin’ & pickin’

Since we got home from Seattle last Tuesday, I have almost managed to sort of accomplish almost a couple of things. You get the point.  I did of course add to the list of ‘projects’ by several; and added and subtracted one thing  – so it feels like I did something.

In Seattle Mom and I spent a couple of hours? at Nancy’s Sewing Basket up on Queen Anne hill. It is a wonderful thing to take as much time as I want in a really nice fabric store. Everything from silk to linen to wool to cotton – and a wonderful selection of each. I wandered through and touched and felt and thought about nearly every piece in the store. Then we walked to the back of the store into the Ribbon Room and sort of drooled over the selection in there. I used all of my restraint – do I need any antique french ribbon?( hmmm. there’s lots of it that could go with the collection of antique fancy buttons. no. not now. ) I did leave there with a zillion ideas and a really cute jacket pattern by Indygo Junction – they had it made up in an Amy Butler home dec weight cotton; it sold me. Also I bought a gift for a friend ( and another for myself ’cause I liked it so much ) . Came home and ordered fabric for the jacket. Now that I live in the land of jacket wearing – I can have all the jackets and sweaters that I want! Middle of summer is good for jackets here.  
Friday I went to a little gift shop in Ocean Park that was having an anniversary sale – 14 years ( and I’d never been in before ). I came away with a cute tablecloth – that matches nothing in my house. But I had different plans for it. There is enough fabric there to make two skirts, and also two really wide 7" printed borders that can be used on other stuff (an apron or a child’s dress, etc ). And yesterday I made one of the skirts for myself:  
I used a tiny little print for the facing/waistband and the same for the pockets in the front seams.

Saturday I went to be a ticket seller for our quilt guild’s raffle quilt at the Ilwaco Farmer’s Market.  It is the big fundraiser for our guild, and all of the proceeds go to local charities – boys & girls club, animal shelter, food bank and such. Here’s a pic:
 I think it is the prettiest quilt that they’ve done ( that I’ve seen anyway ) The fundraiser quilt is always a group effort with many members making the blocks. A lot of the fabric is hand dyed, and the quilting was done by a really good machine quilter ( who is also our president this year ) .

This afternoon – if it warms up some I’m going to pick blueberries with my neighbor. We checked last week and they were ripening  – slowly – but the bushes are loaded as compared to last year. We have only one bag left in the freezer ( been rationing ) after blueberry pancakes several times lately. We’ll see how long it takes to pick a few pounds.

I will resume work on the sewing list – a shirt for Justin, and a big ‘weekend bag’ before I go back to Seattle on Sunday. And who knows what else – it’s a fluid list.

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new bag

A couple of weeks ago ( already!! ) I finally got around to making a new bag. And after two weeks use, I gotta say I love it. The first test was an all day wear at the quilt show just after I made it. Comfortable, and roomy enough to hold everything
(but I didn’t take the bait and put only a few things in it ) That’s the worst thing about a big bag- you find yourself thinking " hey, I have room, I’ll just pack that along as well" Next thing you know you have a purse that weighs as much as a small child.
The pattern was the High Street Messenger by Amy Butler.Though I think her stuff is really appealing, it becons to the newer ‘crafter/sewer’ types. But shouldn’t. I think to make one of her things succesfully, you had better know how to sew.  At least know how to decipher the directions. Maybe its that I do know how to sew, and am comfortable reading and following ‘designer’ and ‘coture’ directions. And maybe I just don’t know how to read ‘craft’. Hmmm. But when the pattern pieces call for you to use the same paper piece three different ways (" cut off at this line for the inside lining back piece"  and "use only half of this piece for the underflap back" goofy cryptic things like that. I know, maybe they were trying to save a tree, but, come on. If you need three pieces of paper you do. And it would have been a lot more straightforward to either Letter or Number the pieces. In their order of use.
I used fabric that is the same pattern as the print that I used in the last quilt ( but in a different colorway ). And though it’s interfaced, all finished it is neither too soft or too stiff.

Anyway, the finished product took about seven hours start to finish. Now that I understand how it goes together, no doubt I could do it in less than half that time. And I would totally make it again. Every seam comes out completely finished and all raw edges are hidden inside. Zippers, to keep things seperated, and everything is lined.  Here are the pics:
Front      Back with a full size zipper pocket  
Under the front flap there are two big pleated pockets and another zipper pocket on the inside of the flap.
And inside the bag is a hanging organizer pocket with another zippered compartment  I chose a bright color for the cavernous inside to make it easier to find things  – I’ve had too many bags that are the black hole inside. There is reference in the directions to carrying a laptop in it, but mine is a little too big to fit, I think ( and heavy ). The strap is wide and comfortable to wear cross-shoulder, and there is a nice little tab with a magnetic snap to keep the flap closed. Well designed overall, but with kooky directions. But now I know. And I’ve become a little more proficient in reading " craft ".

Tomorrow we leave early for Seattle for a couple of days. After the week of serious fog here, the heat will be sort of nice.

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Seattle came and went quickly. Saturday was the dash in, helping Ryan some, and his bbq. Sunday was dinner at Gretchen’s after working on the quilt, which I was able to completely finish. Thank goodness for mom’s quilting machine. A couple of shots before the binding went on:
    and a detail of the stitching that shows on the back – this quilt has a ton of stitching on it:
and . Worst part is that it is too small for our bed, so maybe it will be an alternate for the guest room.

The Richards arrived here on Sunday, so I felt compelled to get back home by Monday. The weather has been great, so today we went to the beach where we got the mantle log to look for some driftwood that they could make into a bench or two for the yard. We explored the huge washup piles of wood, and the two younger Richards got to work on a fort, while my hubby and I went on a short hike. Along the path    were tons of ripe salmonberries – and a few ripe wild huckleberries. When we got back to the beach, the two younger Richards had completed their house:    did I mention that their dog, Souxie, is the cutest?
While I was in Seattle, Richard finished the fence, and Sunny is happily free of the zip line and any tethers. She is one happy dog, and is relentlessly persuing the chipmunks and squirrels. So far there’s no desire to get beyond the boundry – here’s hoping it stays that way.  This is the first time she’s actually been able to explore a lot of the property. Oh, and I nearly forgot to put in a couple of pics of the coffee table. I think it is from 1962 or thereabouts.    it opens up via a swivel, into a long or angled bi-level affair – like so:  
It got a good cleaning today, and now I just need to re-grout a couple of the tiles in. I might just keep my eyes open for the matching end table. Or not.

With the weather so nice, I’m hoping to finally get the trim and deck railing painted.

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done! (almost)

So, the fence project is finally nearing the end. The weather was perfect today ( finally ) and we did everything but complete the last two gates. This will be wonderful once we’re done – to be able to let Sunny out from anywhere and not have to hook her up on the zip line will be heaven. Of course some of the neighbors think we’re nuts ( they could be right ). Yesterday we had a goofy guy ask us why we were fencing " is all of that for the dog???" I sort of want to start a rumour that we’re getting a couple of horses just to drive a couple of them crazy. Anyway – he suggested that we could use ‘liquid fence’ aka deer repellent aka wolf pee in a bottle to help keep the unwanted beauties ( deer) from grazing our plants and flowers. No, thanks.
I’m leaving in the morning to go to Seattle for the weekend, Richard will stay home and build the gates. And wait for the arrival of the Richards, as they’re supposed to be here on Sunday or Monday. I’ll finish up the quilt at Mom’s, see the boys, and bring home my new ( old ) coffee table that I had Mom pick up for me that I found on craigslist. I’m excited. Here is the asked-for shot of the new ( old ) sofa: She’s in pretty good shape (given that she’s about as old as I am). But, she smells worse, and I’ll need to do some spring re-tying. (the light spots in the pic are just sunlight )If anyone has suggestions for the smell other than fabreeze ( I’ve used two applications so far )- please share.  I swear it didn’t smell at all in the shop – I even sniffed it all over, but out of that environment, well….. It is getting better with leaving the doors open during the day.

We’ve had a few really low tides this week – in the minus 2 region. I took these pics the other day:     Pretty cool to see how the contour of the beach looks without any water on it.  It was really, really out there. But still no people.

The evening before the low tide there was a huge racket coming from a bunch of crows – they were in the tree down the street. It was a little spooky seeing them all hanging out in the tree hollering.  And when we walked by in the morning on the way to the beach there was one dead one – do they indeed murder? Is that why they call it a murder of crows? ewww. Glad they weren’t in my tree. Though, maybe my neighbor went a little nuts over the racket – who knows.

So a week from now it will be the big fourth of July here – with a zillion fireworks on the beach. Richard has been working on the old jeep in the hopes of going for a fireworks lit beach drive next Saturday night. Here’s hoping he gets it finished.  

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