Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Night Sweetness

Everyone is in bed early tonight...

I am hyper-productive this week because I have so much to do. Today was much quieter than yesterday weather-wise so we did get out for a very quick walk and a much needed computer break.

That is about as close as Nim gets to the edge of the bridge. Which I find fascinating considering he has never once looked over to see what is below (and how far below).

Have a great evening.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Windy Monday

Good morning!

(Leela's disapproving look during Downton marathon - she may also have been yelled at several times for attacking my knitting project.)

This weekend I made the fatal mistake of starting Downton Abbey. I don't know why, but I didn't expect to like that show so much. Let's just say that a lot of knitting got done, I have already finished season one, and that was about as productive as the weekend got.

Not my favorite Monday! Such a laundry list of things to do including some seriously procrastinated homework that can wait no more. This wind is threatening to take out the power.

At least this morning is already more productive than the weekend so that is a good start. :) Have a great day - was your weekend more productive than mine?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Good Luck and Ugandan Water Project

This week went fast! And I can't even say it was eventful, except for yesterday. Yesterday I got a package with this cute little project inside:

I had to beg my friend to let me put it on the blog. :) She has been a huge support while I am going through unemployment and a good sounding board on tips in applying. This is her amigurumi hamster attempt number one, also referred to lovingly as "turd with a face" and "good luck turd."

Leela loves it as you can imagine. Right now it is taped to my monitor. I will say that shortly after receiving it I did find another job I was excited about and got down to applying. Who I am to question sources of luck?

Ugandan Water Project

Peas and Thank You had a post this week with a giveaway to support a kid's group that was raising money for Ugandan Water Project. The giveaway is now closed, but it did give me a chance to learn about another charity.

Ugandan Water Project in addition to collecting funds to facilitate clean and safe drinking water also sends teams of people to Uganda for hands-on participation.Their premise is a compelling one: if kids are not spending hours a day collecting water than more of that time can be spent in school learning. Not a bad mission to support.

Have a great Friday and hopefully a wonderful weekend.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Today was another increase in Nim's mileage and activity while not quite hitting the trail yet. It wasn't raining until later afternoon...not warm, but still decent walking weather.

Nim was happy to carry his beloved long line around once again. This is an elk area and they have done a good job reducing some of their paths to deep swamp, so we eventually came back out and walked other paved trails.

For knitters and crocheters in the area, my mom sent me Vogue Knitting LIVE information for the "Seattle" dates. Fortunately for me, it is technically in Bellevue. If you live here you know there is a huge difference and traffic headache between Seattle and Bellevue, but whatever they want to call it. Check out the information on their hands-on classes, lectures, and the marketplace. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Straight Sewing

Today I finally had a few hours to start getting to know my new machine. The Baby Lock Crescendo is probably not a great "beginner" machine mostly because it is a huge investment, however that is not to say a beginner couldn't operate it.

It is not necessarily an overly complex machine to work with, it is simply computerized. If you are not comfortable with a computerized system, you are not going to like this machine, but if you embrace the technology, I have found it fairly straightforward and intuitive to work with so far.

Today all of my sewing was on the "straight stitch foot."

Another option I have for straight sewing is the "dual feed foot" which is a somewhat clunky looking appendage:

I didn't attach it today, but you can probably see the belt system that helps with the feeding of fabric and would probably be particularly useful with thin or slick fabrics.

I got my first error today:

And I had a bobbin hiccup:

Both were user error and quickly corrected. I pretty easily started using the machine and got a lot of sewing done towards the Super Bowl Mystery Quilt.

That purple swirl focal fabric is ridiculously fragile. It tends to shred very easily so this may not be the most functional quilt when it is done. I do like how it looks however.

Nim had his second day of increased activity and is SO at peace.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gossypium Quilt Shop and New Baby Lock Sewing Machine

This morning Nim got some walking time with a couple of his friends. Definitely his longest and most rambunctious walk since being injured, so fingers crossed for no limping.

He was very content afterwards.

After the morning walk I came home and went to work on massive housecleaning. This large box was taking up a space in the house and it was time to make room for my new machine inside.

Yes, I got a new sewing machine! My mom has wanted to buy me a new sewing machine for several years, somehow 40th birthday seemed like the perfect time. :)

The smaller machine on the left is a Pfaff Creative 1371. It is over 25 years old. My mom has a long history of sewing on it, and I have really put the miles on it these past few years.

Just looking at the two machines (and if you sew knowing the massive changes in machines over the past 25 years) you can probably imagine I am a bit intimidated by this new Baby Lock Crescendo. But I also am really excited to start sewing and quilting on it. Expect more posts on my experiences with it soon.

Before we went sewing machine shopping we stopped at Gossypium Quilt Shop in Issaquah. I missed their grand opening last week because I was sick.

I have to admit, this shop has absolutely exceeded my expectation. It is a big, bright store with a lot of inventory and a down-to-earth atmosphere. The shop owner was behind the desk and her really nice daughter was moving bolts around the shop trying to make room for the latest fabric order. I will absolutely be visiting this store again.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Snoqualmie Valley Winter Shelter

I hope everyone is enjoying the start to their Lent season.I have a few things I am working on personally.

One item is that I am going to "fast" from obsessive job searching. This may sound irresponsible for someone who is unemployed, but I think a session in the AM and one in the PM is enough. I am almost in the bargaining stage of unemployment grief...I obsessively read articles, listings, often for hours as if more studious time will somehow yield a different result! My goal from this fast is to see if I can master more healthy and productive job searching and if I can feel a bit more balanced.

Snoqualmie Valley Winter Shelter

I was personally really happy when this opened up. The Snoqualmie Valley area has some really rough weather and wilderness conditions without a lot of social services. Our homeless are probably more hidden (compared to an urban city) unless you hike or walk in the areas they are camping. We also have a lot more of what I call "freeway transient" in this area. I find a lot of people sleeping packed cars in parking lots or back roads. I also see cycles of younger people that will be present for a few months and then gone.

Unfortunately this shelter in not year round, which I don't agree with, but I am also not actively involved in fundraising or giving time so I am not really in a position to criticize. We also just passed a law in the area to fine people for "illegal camping." This is a bit unfortunate as I doubt they have somewhere else to go (and at the end of March REALLY won't have anywhere else to go), and I kind of doubt they have the $100 for the fine anyway.

This shelter is a great start for this area. I am proud of the people that took steps to address this local problem.

Believe it or not, I did a swatch last night for a sweater I want to make. I almost never take the time to do one, but the yarn was expensive and I don't want to get well into the sweater and realize it isn't going to work.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oreo Cheesecake and Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat

So I won't go into the details, but yesterday I found myself searching for Oreo recipes and ended up finding several for Oreo Cheesecake?!

I had never heard of this. Since I had rented "The Waitress" as well (romantic/comedy movie that I didn't like at first but grew on me - she invents pies) I figured it was only fitting I try a vegan version.

I made Oreos from the Chocolate-Covered Katie site and combined them with her vegan cheesecake recipe.

Since my homemade oreos were not as crunchy or adhered as store bought it was more of a layering and careful folding process.

It is actually pretty darn good. And rich. And I have eaten a bit too much of it already...clearly I only follow some aspects of Lent - fasting, in the food sense of the word, not being one of them.

Fun upcoming events (local):

Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat - I have said I am going to this more than once and have yet to make it. Probably because it is in Tacoma.

Wayward Cafe vegan Girl Scout fundraiser (I just made that event name up) - Basically a Seattle girl is a Girl Scout and a vegan and since our distributor of Girl Scout cookies aren't even accidentally vegan (like say store bought Oreos) she does a bake sale at the Wayward Cafe to raise her contribution. This will be happening 2pm on February 16th and March 2. I saw the cakes from last year and experienced a sugar rush just looking at the photos. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Fat Tuesday and A Discovery of Witches

Good morning celebrators! Regardless of how you celebrate the day, I hope it is something happy just for you.

Yesterday I finished "A Discovery of Witches" and I think perhaps my feast today will be going out and buying the second book.

Normally I am not bothered when people tell me about endings and surprises in books and movies so I tend to forget that this actually bothers other people...I am trying to get better.

"A Discovery of Witches" is one of those books that greatly benefits in the constant surprising unfolding in my opinion so you have nothing to worry about me spoiling something.

So with that in mind, I will say simply two things:

1. I bet I would enjoy yoga if I was a witch
2. When was the last time a house was one of your favorite characters?

I really loved this book and often more for the surrounding history and supporting characters than the two primary characters. Nim loved this book too because I was so sick I basically was stuck in bed reading it. It is written by a woman who is a history professor so if you don't enjoy reading extended history, fictional or not, you might not love this book, but I hope you give it a try.

Lastly: Lenten Rookie Mistakes. Enjoy.

Monday, February 11, 2013

More Fog

This morning is more foggy sky. They are saying we might see sun this weekend, although they said that two weekends ago and it definitely didn't happen.

I woke up yesterday feeling a bit better which means I went into frantic germ busting and cleaning mode which included cleaning Nim.

You can tell he was thrilled. What was funny is that they other two tubs were taken by huge mastiffs. The male next to Nim was exceptionally large - like stick his head out of the tub and practically touch Nim large. When the female got out of her tub she wanted to check Nim out which was zero effort since from the floor she could pretty much reach his rear.

I love watching handlers with mastiffs. It is like watching the great Dane people...they tell their dog one thing and the dog saunters off on Hawaii time and does something else. And since it takes them about 2 steps to get to their intended goal I think that this works well for them.

Nim and the cats have a new game going involving the cat toys. It involves Nim collecting them up tight to his person, and the cats rushing in and stealing them.

Whatever works.

Lent is coming this week which I am very much looking forward too. I don't know why I enjoy the Lent and Easter season so much, but I do. Don't forget that tomorrow is Fat Tuesday! This also can be Pancake Day or feasting day. I might make Oreos today in preparation (although that would kick off my feasting today).

You will be pleased to know I am not giving up peanut butter, chocolate, or really any food item again (we all know how well that went last year). I do promise to highlight a charities since I really enjoy doing that.

I always enjoy reading the other blogs on what Lent means to them. Gives me some good ideas.

Enjoy your week and enjoy Fat Tuesday!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I am done being sick now

I personally know people who got this flu way worse than me, but wow. I am done. Thursday was my worst day with Friday a close second.

Friday I think I was in bed, knitting, with two movies by 6pm. Nim did some good snuggling while I knitted.
Rented movies were: The Dark Knight Rises and Looper. I have to admit, I am not a huge batman fan, but I like Christopher Nolan and many of the actors of his batman trilogy. Visually they are great action to watch and make an easy knitting movie. I wish I could remember the blogger that mentioned the sound issue, granted I am clogged up, but between masks, explosions, and weird vocal tones (hard to explain) it is a bit hard to hear what is being said at times. Anyway, it was a good laying around sick movie with lots of action and not a lot of thinking...unlike Looper.

Looper. Where do I begin with this one? First off, the kid in it kind of blows my mind. I actually stopped the movie to to a search on how they got some of that acting out of him, because those were some impressive scenes being basically carried by a very young child. This is a sci-fi film and it has some violence, but it has some very stunning visuals as well. I actually got really frustrated at the end, not because of the ending, but because I wasn't ready for it to be over.

Today I made another batch of lentil soup based on the Chocolate-Covered Katie version. This time I was basically gutting my fridge of all the produce I am not eating because I am sick. I also added quinoa after about 45 minutes of the lentils cooking and of course coconut milk again.

Nim's newest thing is the broccoli stalks. He loves them. There is some literature out there suggesting that if broccoli makes up over 10% of your dog's diet it will make them sick. Nim is a big dog so the stalk will be a blip in his calories, but I include this information for smaller or fragile dog owners out there.

I completely forgot to mention The Chocolate Shoebox bake sale in Seattle this weekend! This is their last bake sale as the store is closing. This one benefits Old Dog Haven (one of my favorites) and New Moon Farm.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Acupuncture and New Quilt Shop

Today was Nim's second acupuncture appointment.

He sees Dr. Amy Ward. Her doberman Aquila is a cousin of Nim. She showers Nim with all sorts of attention but still doesn't let him get away with squat. :)

For his age it is amazing how well he does with this (zero pins dropped today). It is also amazing to me how much obedience helps considering I had to pretty much pin Rusty between my knees.

Basically it is a 30 minute extended "Stand-Stay" and I am pumping treats. It is good for both of us. Today's treats are Nature's Balance, cheese, and Milo's Kitchen Beef Jerky.

In other news a new quilt shop is coming to Issaquah! I don't know what it is about the City of Issaquah's rent, but yarn and fabric stores just don't tend to stay which is very frustrating.

Anyway, grand opening this Friday, February 8th: Gossypium Quilt (Facebook page), she does have a site in progress, but I am not going to link to it right now because it isn't "live."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Deer Don't Run When Your Dog is in a Stroller

Yesterday we had a bit of a weather break and so I decided to try walking Nim again.

Thanks to Nim's injury, I have decided that Nim's trick of the month already complete:stroller - thanks mom.

We also have been walking in places we don't normally (hooray for another goal accomplished), like this paved trail in the Snoqualmie Ridge area that I never even knew was there because I am normally on the narrow dirt trails.

So turns out when your dog is in a stroller, the deer don't run. You will have to take my word for it, but they were very close to us.

And just slowly walked away.

Meanwhile one of the strangest comments I got was from two women walking towards me. One woman has she got closer said "you scared me!" I actually didn't have a comeback for that one because I was so confused by it. :) Did I scare her because I am pushing a huge stroller with a giant dog head sticking out?


The other more groan-worthy comment came from a lady that was trying to catch her rushing golden retrievers and was very nice, however her comment was: "I thought you were going the other way with your baby." Sigh.

I need a sign that says "he is not my baby, he is just injured." :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday, Superbowl Mystery Quilt, and Leaving January

Today is such a Monday! And not in the good re-start sort of way. I did some housecleaning to get my brain on track.

Since we have more than started February I will give a quick recap on my monthly goals before getting into my latest mystery quilt.

My two monthly goals are (nothing to report yet on the year goals):

Teach Nim one trick per month:For January we had a solid start on getting Nim to jump over my right leg and then he was injured. I won't be revisiting that goal for awhile, but I was just bringing the leg maybe a couple of inches off the ground when we stopped. The more interesting complication was his reluctance to jump close to my body. If you think about it the distance from my hip to my knee is not very wide.

Hike/walk somewhere that is not my usual places: Not at all! I blame the crappy weather, stress, and Nim's injury. :)

Some people might bemoan one month into the year and already two "fails." That is why I call them goals and not resolutions.

On to the Superbowl Mystery Quilt!

Leela could hardly contain herself waiting for all my pieces to be cut and carefully laid out.

I almost didn't want to put any photos up. It is so dark and dreary right now it is hard to get any photo that remotely captures the color.

This is a close-up of the focal fabric:

I am very curious to see how it sews because cutting it was tough. You just looked at it wrong and it stretched.

I didn't get far last night and immediately ran into some problems.

Mostly this is because I was dealing with stash, so some stuff I was able to cut for quick piecing because I still actually had selvages left to work with and some I was cutting individual pieces from all the scraps I could find.

After the above situation I handled my next sewing instruction differently.

You can see I have a mix of strips for fast sewing and pre-cut units. So I did the strips first, then cut them up, and then sewing them to the pink units.

Possibly more sewing later today. Although my fabric looks really dull in the photos they seem to mix well so I have hope!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Take Two: Doberman in Stroller...Success!

Hello on a cold Saturday!

This morning the elk herd was out in force and they made me late. How often can you say that elk made you late?

Finally they moved and I could load up Nim and a different dog stroller into the car.

I am borrowing this dog stroller from Sandy of K9 Aquatics, Inc. It is just a bit more Nim's size than the modified kid stroller I showed in the last post, so I was more willing to test it in public along roads.

With the support of my human friends and Nim's dog friends (who totally were checking their pal out in the stroller) we started walking Renton to set up some trails for tomorrow's dog training. This area is known as Fairwood specifically. If you aren't from the area, that might not mean much, but lets just say dogs in strollers are not a common part of the community in Fairwood.

Nim did a fair amount of yelling, particularly along the Fairwood golf course loud enough for several golfers to take note. I closed the top for awhile so he would stop talking.

Truthfully, this cheered me up. This has been a rotten week and having a down dog hasn't helped. I will say my hats off to those that regularly push double strollers. Wow. It takes a lot for me to feel like I am working my legs, but pushing 70lbs of doberman uphill will do it.

Near the end of the walk we finally passed a pedestrian that showered Nim with the baby talk and validation he so desperately needed. I think we kind of made her day as well.

The stroller is made by SolveIt and is rated up to 110 pounds (large). There is also a conversion kit to turn it into a bike trailer. If your dog is used to a soft crate I think they will adapt fairly well.

Some of the more funny things that happened along our walk related to weight distribution. If he suddenly threw his weight back we did a wheelie and if he leaned hard on either side he would end up leaning on the side tire which behaves much like an unwanted brake...especially if being pushed up hill.

Most importantly, he was absolutely exhausted when we were done, without any wear on his healing body.

Have a great weekend! I may be starting another mystery quilt tomorrow if I can get my act together.