Friday, June 23, 2017

Ten years

G'day all!

Today marks ten years since we first moved to the US.




My doesn't the time fly?

It has been interesting - I've learned a heap along the way, seen a bunch of stuff.  I've learned and grown and changed.  One can't really help it.

And I must publish this as a little note so that it gets today's date on it, not tomorrow's - 23 June 2017 is ten years since Colorado.

Ten years, stretching out.  So many memories, good and bad!  Some of my writings from June 2007 are a hoot, so enjoy!


Sunday, June 04, 2017

Heavens to Betsy, a finished object (or two)

G'day all!

I've had a frantic few weeks.  Okay, couple of months.

We've finally reached a detente on the crappy weather here - we're getting glorious summery weather interspersed with mank - pretty typical in June here really.

I've been busy making a quilt.  I didn't realise making a quilt could be a full time job and more but boy did I work on that quilt for weeks for many many hours a day.  However, until it reaches its recipient, you can't see the quilt.

Instead, I offer you a bit of knitting.  It's a cardigan, believe it or not.  I started off with a bold choice for me - burgundy and gold and white stripes.  And I hated it.  Not me.  Not colours I wear or have stuff to wear under it.  So I changed it, overdyed the gold yarn to make it green, changed the burgundy for blue and SURPRISE!  Colours I will wear happily.

This is not an FO

::Rolls eyes::

I've had some quilts done for ages.  I'm having a bit of a love/hate with the first one - I love the fabric, I think it is so pretty and lovely but I'm not so pleased with the fabric designer.  It's not a personal thing, mind, it's just something that made me somewhat more of a Tula fan.

I have fun with my free motion quilting.  I just do stuff as it happens.

When I'm doing the backing, I often like to have co-ordinating fabrics and also use up scraps and excess blocks from the front.  Sometimes I have to cheat.  I nearly always do pieced backings, though the most recent finish doesn't have anything from the front on the back.  This one does.

The back - this is a really badly centred shot, sorry!
The front is pretty.  Very simple, just pretty.  I was going to set this one free into the world but I sorta like it so I'm currently vacillating between gifting it and keeping it.

One day I'll stop relying on phone shots of the quilts for blogs.
That day has not yet come.
Then there's this thing.  I had some charm squares that I bought, thinking they would be pretty.  Nope, hideous.  Hideous the lot of them.  So I put them all together and made a two faced (or two backed) quilt.  Got rid of some of my favourite and least favourite Rowan fabrics too.

Front or back?
It's one of my more hideous creations but I'm owning it (though I haven't put a label on it!).  I am going to get this quilt free in the near future when I find a place to donate it too.  I think it is awful but someone out there will like it and think it is really cool.

Front or back?
I hope ;-)

I've got some other quilts done earlier in the year so I should share them.  Some of them need to find new homes too.   I've done a bucket-tonne of knitting too.  It occurs to me that I don't have beauty shots of the knitting.  Should get them.

Finally a few shots of happiness and joy in my garden.  Some Austin roses and hyoooge poppies like we are not allowed to have in Australia.  We can have Flanders/Corn poppies and Californian ones and Icelandic ones but we cannot have ones that look like opium poppies.  Woecakes!

And strawberry season has arrived!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The long winter

aka the winter of our discontent.

G'day all!

Long time no blog.  It's been a pretty rancid winter here, cold, wet, even quite a few snow days!  And very very grey.

Daffa-daffa-daffa-daffa- daffodils

But Spring is now here, or at least the plants assure me that Spring is here - the (cherry) plums are flowering and so are the daffodils.  The crocuses have croaked and the pears are getting ready to flower, along with the tulips.  The stellate magnolias are coming into full bloom.



Stellate magnolia

So nice to see Spring at last.


I've been making stuff all the way through.  DH started a new job and that has been umm interesting, often in the Confucian sense.  We've had a trip to California out of it, a trip that brought almost record amounts of rainfall to those parts (yay us?).  And we aren't mentioning politics but that is hella interesting too.  I have learned a lot about how politics works in the States over the last while.

If the weather continues to improve I might be able to get some outdoors shots of all the things I've been making.  Pretty much every semi-decent day recently has been rather windy, making it hard to get shots of stuff as it blows away.... The lighting inside has been pretty average most days.  The few good days I've spent out in the garden, prepping it for spring and summer planting.  I've got to find places to stick two quinces, a nectarine and two American pawpaws.  (I think they are pawpaws.)  And there's some hardy kiwifruit too.  That will make about 10 or so different sorts of fruit trees on the property.  Hope I can share some pics later in the season when they aren't just bare sticks!


Monday, December 12, 2016

Home, glorious Home

G'day all!

What an exciting few weeks I had!

We flew Home for over a month.  Yep, home to Australia.

I was having a very big birthday you see and wanted to be in Oz for it.

Cake!  Yum!  I think this was my third or fourth cake.

Turns out my government wanted to send me a birthday present - it was a bit late for my birthday but hey... My government cares about my innards and doesn't want me to die early.

Best birthday present EVAH???

The trip (and the birthday) were most excellent.  I caught up with a lot of friends (and missed some but hey, they didn't contact me after I directly contacted them) and got to see family and new family.  And I didn't do the screening because I already am being screened.

The US Department of State (which grants us visas to live here as temporary residents) will be very pleased to know that I still call Australia home (gah, can't handle this in any of its versions and when I read the comments, I'm not the only one).  It is most definitely Home.  This is handy because our visas do make it clear that we need to maintain links with our home country.  Well we do.  All our family is there and we have property there and friends and everything.

Going Home was like sliding back into a comfortable pair of shoes.  Oh there were wobbly moments, like having to do a bit of Oz bureaucracy, driving on the proper side of the road (LOL, glad I was on mostly familiar roads cos they make it much easier to remember which side to drive on, but this doesn't help with mixing up indicators and wipers!) and then having to get new visas (because someone went and got himself a new job) and change our flights (because someone went and got himself a new job and they needed him in the US on a certain date) but it was so nice to be Home.

This greeted us when we went for a walk at a nature reserve near big sister's place:

Kookaburras (that is cook-a-buhras) laughing.  So kind of them to say hello!

I think I wandered around with a stupid grin on my face for over a week.  Everywhere I looked, there were gum trees (Eucalyptus trees and their cousins).  I had forgotten how ubiquitous they are.  They are like conifers here in the Pacific Northwest.  A view without one of them in it has to be very very urban or a cityscape.

A big thank you to my big sister and her husband and family for welcoming us when we were not sure where we would stay.  They gave us our own bedroom suite, fed us, looked after us and loaned us a car even though it inconvenienced them.

But birthday parties and weddings (number 2 nephew) and new babies (new niecelet to add to niecelet) and travels around the state don't last forever and then you have to come back to other home.

Other home is a bit challenging at the moment.  Home is nearly in summer, which means the days are long (14 or so hours), the weather is warming up (generally in the 20s C) and the rain is backing off.  Other home has 8 hour long days (when it is sunny), is blasted cold (somewhere between freezing and 6C), often is overcast for the whole day, sometimes rains and indeed greeted us with snow two days after we got back.  Resetting our body clocks has been massively challenging because it never really gets light.  I can't even get good photos on the phone camera because it is so dull.  Plus it is not Home home, just current home.  It is lovely here in everything bar winter, but coming from almost summer to definitely winter (no matter what the calendar says) is difficult.

Also other home is having a bit of renovation done so there is stuff everywhere to add to the stuff I/we brought home with us and we've got a never ending mountain of washing to do after an incident with some overly perfumed washing detergent whilst in Oz (not at sister's place).  We don't have a dryer so everything has to be dried on racks.

I have a gazillion pictures to sort through and share - I might have to do a links post cos there are so many pretty pictures.  If I took less than a thousand shots on the phone, let alone on the big cameras, I will be surprised.

But now I have the run up to Christmas.  I have stuff to knit and a quilt to make and a house to tidy up and clean and a mountain of never-ending washing so that at least keeps me occupied on these short, dull days.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

A summer of lace, part one

G'day all!

I thought I should do a knitted finished object post - I've been knitting like crazy for the last couple of months.

I've been taking part in a knitalong my favourite group on Ravelry (RemRants), Summer of Lace 2016.  I guess it isn't so much a knitalong where you all do the same pattern as a group encouragement thing where we show off what we've been knitting and it should have some lace in it.

A couple of weeks ago I took some of my new knits down to the beach and did a photo shoot of them and a quilt I finished months and months ago.

First, for your delectation and delight, we have Dawn:

Convenient driftwood, and colours match the shawl!

The pattern is Girdle of Melian by Raven Knits Designs (links go to Ravelry).  Light yarn is aptly named Dawn, in a silk, wool and seacell blend by Fidalgo Artisan yarns.  Its colour is more subtle than my pics show.  It really looks like that clear blue light of just before sunrise.  The darker edging yarn is Mora, 100% silk, in Azules by Mmmmalabrigo.

More driftwood! 

Convenient old piling.

This one was actually a knitalong in six or seven parts.  I took it with me to Glacier National Park and knitted frantically on it during the evenings.  (Did I mention we went to Glacier?  Probably not!)

The yarn provides a lovely drape

Next we have Deepwater, my version of Waiting for Rain.  This was an interesting knit, very wordy pattern mind, that you can customise to be how you like it.  So of course instead of being a single colour, I immediately used a gradient set of mini skeins (Graphium in Iachos by A Hundred Ravens - apparently I'm the only person to have ever put it on Ravelry).  The dark colour is Madtosh Stargazing in Twist Light.  My phone pics (and the big camera pics) lose a bit of the subtlety of Stargazing - it is really a dark blue with lighter blue and bottle green bits and very yummy.  Actually the phone pics also lose the beautiful shades in the Graphium minies - a couple of the colours are absolutely gorgeous IMO, subtle variants of blue and green with a bit of mauve thrown in.

Left end

So long.  Rightish side

This is truly a very long shawl.  It is over two metres from tip to tip and as such, terribly hard to get shots of!  Very pretty though.

It spans all of the roots of the driftwood tree!

Third, but by no means least, is my version of Anemone canadensis, another design by Raven Knits.  This one is a design that is meant to stand up to variegated yarn, so I pulled out a skein I bought in London and had at it.  Yarn is Ziggy Stardust by I knit or dye.  Colourway?  None was given.  Pink, mauve and deeper pink.

A nice size shawl, fits over the shoulders and onto the front
This was a test knit so I did it exactly as written.  This was a fairly easy knit for me - once I had the lace pattern established in my head, I could zip along.  The pattern changes at the edging but again, it becomes obvious after a while, at least for me.  There's beads along the lace border - that slowed me down a bit!

There's mauve beads and pink beads there

This one doesn't match the scenery.  That is fine!

A rare modelled shot.  Yes the back is on my front.

Now what to do with the shawls?  They aren't really a thing to wear with tie dye tshirts, though maybe I could get used to them worn that way.  They are warm, surprisingly warm for such light and delicate things.

Finally, here's a sneak peek at a shawl that is still waiting for its soak and blocking.  Do you like the little glass turtle?  I think he is gorgeous.  He was made by Beau Tsai.  I have another shawl just off the needles and a third one only needs another hour or two of knitting before it joins the other five I've completed this summer!


PS if you are a knitter or crocheter or have interest in the fibre arts including dyeing and weaving and are not already on Ravelry?  GO!  Join!  It is free!  Free, do you hear me!  There's no catch, except you might get soul-sucked into the world of Rav and never resurface.  Your fibry world will never be the same again.  There are fora for chatting about your favourite patterns or techniques or designers or yarns and your fan-person tendencies, you can look at patterns until your eyes fall from your head in amazement, you can look up yarn and look at other peoples' finished much good stuff!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Life happens, even when you aren't looking!

G'day all!

Time is slipping through my fingers.  How did it get to be near the end of the day already?  How can I not have blogged for all of August?  How can it be September already?  Signs of autumn are showing up everywhere - stressed trees are losing their leaves, non-stressed trees are starting to go orange and red....

No, not yet, I'm not ready!

My garden is going bonkers but I'm starting to worry that I won't get many more tomatoes ripened.  I've got many many green tomatoes, like I'd say at least 20 kilos/50 lb of the things are still green.  The weather has been pretty average the last week or so, though it is meant to become a bit sunnier now.

Thriving, half-fallen over tomato

Big tomato!

Little plant, many capsicums/chillies/bell peppers


I would like my eggplants to keep producing/start producing.  The little finger sized ones have been going great guns but the bigger ones have only really just started getting into it.  The capsicums are coming along nicely though I'm learning not to expect too many fruit off the one plant.  I only seem to get three or four capsicums off many of the plants.

But I have been getting some good yields even with the weather being bonkers - hot one week (30C+) and cold the next (struggling to get to 20C).

Fruits of my garden

Today I've done a bit of spinning, plying up about 220m of a rather rustic yarn.  Four years ago I bought some fleeces at Oregon Fleece and Fiber Festival (OFFF).  I had them processed by a couple of different processors.  The dark fleece from a sheep called Odette came back rather full of VM (vegetable matter) and neppy.  After wondering what to do with it for three years, I'm just going to spin it up and deal with it being rustic.  The big lumps of veggie matter and lumps of not-well-carded wool get pulled out, the rest are being spun up.  The result is a quite bouncy yarn, not exactly butter soft but not too bad either.  I think Odette is/was a Corriedale.

I pieced the back of a quilt.  Then I fixed up the front of the quilt.  It is a simple design, some leftover jelly roll strips pieced together then cut into long strips, joined by white.

And for whatever reason, even though all the pieced strips were the same length, by the time they were sewn onto the white sashing strips, the last one was a full inch longer than the first pieced strip.  I had to rip out three nearly 70" long strips....  Who would ever think that such simple things could cause such annoyance?

Remember, pins are your friends.  Pins were the only way I could make those bad boys all play together nicely.

We had some excellent fun on the weekend.  DH's parents were in Vancouver, BC.  They wanted to visit Butchart Gardens.  We managed to co-ordinate well enough that we met up in Victoria on Vancouver Island and went off to the gardens together.  They took a Harbour Air seaplane from Vancouver, we caught Kenmore Air from Seattle.

De Havilland Beaver, from the trip back

It was excellent fun!

The float planes navigate by sight - they must remain low enough to be able to see features in land (or I guess water).  They can't fly through clouds that obscure the ground.  They can't fly if the clouds are too low.  This means the views are amazeballs.  On the way up, we got to see some splendiferous views - the islands and Puget Sound are so pretty.  The mountains would've been pretty too if there hadn't been puffy cumulus clouds in the way.  I was able to recognise where we were most of the way - it is cool being able to tell where you are from your memories of how the roads go and the sights you see along the way when driving.  (Links - take offs and landings, going up, coming back.)

Victoria put on a lovely display for us on Sunday.  It was sunny and so pretty, and a wooden boat festival was on.

Monday was meet up with the parents day and be chauffeur driven in our rather large, double-decker "limo" to the gardens.  They are impressive gardens, I must say, and worth visiting.  (Click the link if you want to see more pics - there's too many to put in the blog.)

Also impressive is that after an incident with a carelessly flailing hand (not mine), my phone still works after bouncing two or three times on some rocks and then PLOP!  Straight into a little man-made creek.  I think some credit must be given to the protective case I keep it in (Tech21's D30) and to Samsung making the phone water-resistant.  It isn't waterproof but it should be okay if it gets rained on or falls in the toilet, etc.  And so far, so good.  I took the case off and dried the cover carefully, then flicked the phone a few times to get water out of the headphone jack, and dried it again, then took the back off and dried any water there (around the speaker in particular).  The phone was still working through all of this, btw.  It only turned off when I, ahem, accidentally dropped the battery on the ground.  Oops.

Impressionist picture thanks to a dunking in the water

My lasting memory of that will be the gasps and the looks of horror on peoples' faces as they watched the phone bouncing straight towards the drink.  I was pretty peeved at the hand flailer, especially as he stood in the way through the whole thing, but also half amused by the aghast looks.

If that isn't a good ad for my now outdated Samsung Galaxy S5 and my D30 case, I don't know what is.

Just as we left the gardens, it started to rain.  Timing, eh?

The in laws then took off back to Vancouver after a spot of arvo tea and a beer, we wandered in the rain to dinner and our second night in Victoria.  On Tuesday morning we looked at the weather with some trepidation - it was grey but apparently not foggy and the cloud ceiling was high enough for the planes to fly.  DH had a meeting to go to at noon and we expected our 9am flight would get us home by 10:30am at the latest.

Just as well the meeting was at noon because our flight was late and then we got caught up re-entering the States (can you believe there were five Australians out of six passengers on our flight?  I didn't even realise it until we got to Seattle - they sounded normal to me and it was only when I saw their passports that I realised they were normal but not American if that makes sense) and it was after 11am before we left Kenmore Air.  Good thing the bus trip only takes 20 minutes and a bus showed up right smartly when we got to the stop.

Canada gave us parting gifts - DH has a cold and I'm fighting it off, though I think it is a losing battle.

Did I buy yarn whilst I was there?  Is the Pope a Catholic?  (Some people will debate this.)  Of course I bought yarn!  I bought yarn of varying Canadian-ness.

Yarn processed in Canada (well roving, Briggs and Little), yarn dyed in Canada (Indigo Dragonfly) and Italian yarn imported and distributed by a Canadian company.

Lovely Canadian woolly stuffs
I must show off some of the things I've been knitting recently.  I've been on a shawl kick even though I forget to wear the danged things.  Do love knitting them though - there's no pressure about them fitting.  As long as they can wrap around your neck and hopefully even your shoulders, it is all good!  Must remember this blogging thing more often.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Time to breathe!

G'day all!

Life has been hectic for the last while.  Nothing bad has happened, I've just been busy.

I put us in for the edible garden tour and confirmed just after we got back from England.  Who knew that there was so much to be done in the garden?

And then my in-laws arrived three days after the garden tour.  It may not surprise you to know that clearing the study was a laborious process?  My knitting, quilting and computer room became their bedroom for nearly three weeks.

The in laws left yesterday evening.

What did we do whilst they were here?  The first week involved puttering around and waiting for good weather, not pretty average weather.  We took off to Artist Point at Mount Baker on one fairly clear day.

The second week DH and his dad started building a shed.  The shed will hold the bikes and the mower and plywood and stuff.   DH and I have to deal with the windows, the gables and the shingles.  We were inspired by a pretty shed we saw in someone else's yard and then went sideways from there.  As we are wont.

Setting up the floor

Discussing the walls

Bringing the doors and windows home.
Amazing what you can fit in a Fit!  (Jazz)
Admittedly my passenger walked home....
Tying down the window frames in the right spots
Starting the sheathing/bracing

Sheathing done!
Starting the roof
Ridge beam in place

Now you can knock at the shed door.
Apparently I have put too many pics in or swapped them around too much because I can't caption the polycarbonate roof one nor the one above it.  Weird.

Doors hung!

We wandered down and saw the salmon run at Ballard Locks.

DH and his dad dealt with a bit of a dry rot problem in the kitchen.  It started on that bottom right corner where we found a bit of fungal fruiting happening.  DH pulled the trim off and found not a whole lot wrong with that but when he looked further afield... the lady who owned the place before us had had a new window installed by a certain Very Large Hardware Store chain and they used plain old plywood as sheathing.  She bought the house in 99 so the ply didn't last 20 years and maybe only ten years....

It was pretty breezy in the kitchen
for a couple of days.

We went on a grand trip to Glacier National Park.  That was fabulous!  I have so many pics to share.  I'll just leave that link there.  I should talk about that more.

And then we got home, DH and FiL hung the doors on the shed and then the in laws were gone!  The house feels rather quiet and empty without them.  I've got plenty to do though so I'd best get cracking on it.