Sunday, May 28, 2017

Another Quilt Finished - With a Fantasy Back

Happy Memorial Day weekend. In this area we have gone from the lingering winter straight to summer. It has been pretty darn warm. Thankfully it is still cooling off at night.

With weather in the 80s, I hadn't anticipated quilting this weekend. Like a lot of people in this area, I do not have AC and quilting in the heat can be miserable. However, I got going early in the morning and finished the final quilting pattern and the binding.

Nim silently suffered that we were still in the house when the sun was out and made sure to lay in locations that I couldn't possibly miss him. Leela let him into some of her sun spot to make him feel better.  

The full photos give this more of a pastel colored look than it really is. I took a close up of each block again. It shows the more true red, and the fun detailed patterns.

It is nice to have this one off the machine. The cats were making tents in it, despite my best efforts.

These little hedgehogs have been so fun.

Even with most of the fabric not coming from the same line, the little animals were all working.

This darker badger and bunny fabric is actually in the same line as the backing. The backing is SO amazing. I could hardly do it justice taking photos of it.

The fantasy and detail of animals is just beautiful. You could easily turn the quilt over and enjoy a completely different blanket.

I have another top ready to be pinned and put on the machine. I have to laugh that these past 3 quilts were all supposed to be done by Christmas. :)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hiking Seabrook, WA

On May 12th Jack and Nim arrived at the Sandpiper on Pacific Beach to celebrate their birthdays! It was a brutal traffic day and rained so heavy at times I questioned if we would be outside at all during the weekend. I got caught in 2 heavy accumulation hail storms on the way to the beach. I was so happy for the getaway I just didn't care. I remembered my knitting this time!

Nim turned 7 on May 12th, and Jack turned 5 on May 15th. The Sandpiper is where we had stayed last year and it never disappoints. We added a third night to this trip, and similar to last year, it still wasn't enough time away. It was nice to see just how comfortable the dogs are at the Sandpiper. They know the drill, and we rented the same 2 units as before.

Imagine our surprise when we woke up Saturday morning to sun. We had been prepared for Saturday to be the heavy rain day. With the skies clear, we decided to drive up to Seabrook and look into some potential trails in the area.

I just don't know what to say about Seabrook. The development is unapologetically loud, and the growth since last year is overwhelming. Seabrook has changed both the hillside and the ocean bluffs in that area dramatically. However, this town seems to have their vision, and the shop owners have never been anything short of helpful and nice. We walked into Buck's Bikes and were given a map of the area trails, and some great information regarding the trails.

We started by walking north on the 109 towards the trail head for the Narnia trail. Narnia is very pretty. As you can tell from the photos, there is some obvious logging roads with some decent second growth trees. There were many old stumps from old growth long ago logged.

From Narnia we took a little side trail and hit some service roads. These service roads are probably on their way to development roads at some point. But on our sunny Saturday hike, we had the roads to ourselves. We reached a point on the map in which we should have cut through town again, but instead took this straight trail down to the 109 again. There were fairy houses all along the trail.

I have no idea what Nim is saying to Jack in that photo, but I am sure it was important. This bridge is at the end of the fairy trail and right before you hit 109 south of Seabrook. There is a little shell to collect a "toll." I wished I had had some change.

After a short walk south on the 109 we ended up on another service road and I made an executive decision that we were going to hike up the Downhill mountain bike route. This was probably not the right decision given the day had been hotter than planned but it was pretty and it was mercifully short. Technically we were supposed to actually stay on the service road and hit the Mike-O-Rama loop from the road.

The Mike-O-Rama loop is a fun cut that gives fantastic ocean views from a vantage point above 109. I would have loved to have had a little picnic up there.

We completed the Mike-O-Rama loop, went out the service road, up the 109, and back up the fairy trail to finally get back into town. While Courtney and I took turns getting food, the pups rested up from their adventure.

I would like to pack better and do this hike again. I would probably explore more of the service roads. With the development coming to Seabrook, I am hoping that more forest trails will be added. With an active mountain bike community, this is very likely to happen.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Quilt Finished

Hello Tuesday! With my machine back, I have started clearing some of the quilt top clog I have going on.

Nim took a break from his busy chewing schedule to pose with this latest quilt. Our time is precious right now because basically there are two current weather options in North Bend: pouring rain or not raining. The "not raining" times are very short still.

I am extra motivated to get these tops moving because I am kind of in an art quilt mood. This will be a new direction for me. I saw this workshop I would have loved to take that was all about making art work in quilting and a friend of mine makes these amazing works of art based on her travels to Africa. I am ready to see what I can do.

This Japanese Maple has held so many quilts for photos. What a good little tree.

The back was a basic pink flannel. I have decided to feature each block on its own as well so you can see the cute fabric.

I saw this quilt on Instagram that reminded me perhaps I should try and develop my free motion quilting styles. I always default to the same thing.

It works. :)

These little monkeys...

My other two tops got their borders this weekend. One needs a back, but both should be on the machine soon. Then I can try and clean up the fabric mess.

I have now expanded to 3 fabric bins. :| This is a bit of a crisis with the size of my living space. Time to stick to stash busting for a while.

In other important news, I will leave you with 2 vital pieces of information:
  1. The X-Files will be returning (again).
  2. The Giraffe Cam is back! And it looks like they will have it up every Tuesday.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Port Gamble, Port Ludlow, and Easter Sunday

Hello and late Happy Easter! Also, in my case, Happy-end-of-tax-season!

Last weekend because it was the Easter holiday and the last weekend before the tax deadline I decided to get out of town. Ha! My friend's family has a little beach house in the Port Ludlow area. It is dog friendly, spotty internet access, and peaceful. It was perfect.

We originally were going to go to some workshop but it had been an very expensive month for me in car repairs, and really, we just want to be outside with the dogs so we dropped the workshop and opted to hang out.

Nim was thrilled in the ferry line as you can see. The day before I had left him alone for 12 hours to deal with the car, and he had an accident in the house. Once he saw me packing he wore himself out following me around the house such was his concern about being left again. Little did he know he was coming.

I had recently made some slime and promised my sister a ferry photo with it.

First stop off the ferry was at the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe. Not only did we make it for happy hour, but they had some truly amazing food there. I would highly recommend.

After eating a large amount we rolled into the beach house on Port Ludlow and immediately back out for a hike with the dogs. The hike turned into a night hike and it wasn't a short one. It was lovely. It also helped me digest a large dinner and the dogs had a great time.

The next morning we explored the shoreline and tried to figure out which Port Ludlow trail we were going to hike for the day.

Jack is far in the distance. Getting a shot of the two of them that morning was impossible.

Since we had hiked the night before, we opted to skip the hiking and get out on the water! This was a great idea. I used to kayak a lot more, and I really do miss it. These were more of an open kayak/raft, but the operation was basically the same.

In the distance you can see a dragon. Actually one of the more stunning photos of this dragon I found online and it was from 1999! So clearly this guy has been around for awhile. Check out this post and scroll down to the see the dragon in the water - it really is a cool picture.

At the Dragon's Head we basically got out and had a picnic. I spent a lot of time turning rocks and enjoying the birds and sea life. I think I could have lived out there if not for the tide.

As we headed out again we stayed much closer to shore to try and see more sea life. There is a particularly ugly crab in the water to the right of the starfish. Too spider-like for my taste.

We had to leave Port Ludlow Saturday afternoon, but what a great little break. It was that perfect change of pace that helps get you through a hectic week.

Easter Sunday Nim got a little walk in a lot of high wind. He was thrilled.

Then a couple of sisters came over so we could eat, paint eggs, and decorate Nim. Look at those glutes!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Signs of Spring (Done with Winter), Cascade Yarns KAL, and Dreaming...

Here we are...WELL into Lent, and I am just so lacking in blog posting for one of my favorite time of year.

One of the kickstarters I wish I mentioned during this season of Lent before it closed is Love Letter for My Children - The Maggie Doyne Documentary.  I have mentioned BlinkNow and Maggie Doyne on more than one occasion and I am looking forward to seeing what they produce.

This winter has simply crushed me. Some of it is the weather, some of it is a series of uncomfortable events all in these past months, and probably (hopefully) some of it is another internal change/growth. The picture above is straw on my Gunnera, which I hope survived the winter. I wonder if this straw covered Gunnera is a slight metaphor for myself right now...a bit dormant with bits of green growing everywhere and something potentially growing deep buried that no one can see yet.

I was extra relieved to see a sign of the Easter Lilies! All the Easter Lilies got completely decimated last year due to a weed wack miscommunication and I greatly worried about them. I felt much better to see them starting to bloom.

The above block is the single block I have completed for the Cascade Yarns KAL. They have released 8 blocks so far. Oh well. Hahaha. I am committed to it, and actually have enjoyed most of the blocks. I think the biggest challenge with this KAL is the various designers. You would think that wouldn't be a problem, unless like me you hate checking your gauge.

The best thing about the KAL is once again I always have a knitting project with me when I leave the house. I am happy to have knitting back in my life that regularly again, even if it is just 15 minutes here and there.

My sewing machine took a month+ holiday in the repair shop and I only recently got it back. I hope it enjoyed its time off. Now I need to catch up on some quilts!

I have some great things coming in the next months which I am looking forward to and dreaming about:

April 15th - Friends of The Trees, Medicinal Herb Growing
April 16th - Easter (Nim will have his cute little Easter neck tie on soon).
April 18th - Tax Deadline (This has been my first year working client entirely on my own. This is a good thing, much as been learned).
May 12th - Beach Vacation!!!

("Spring" Drawn at the Chinese New Year celebration in Bellevue)

3 of us decided about a month ago that we needed a book club. It would allow for beer and wine drinkers to hang together, with their dogs, and knitting. I have occasionally looked for a book club, and have yet to find a good fit.

For our first book we selected "A Man Called Ove." This was before I realized it was a movie. Thanks to the movie I now can pronounce "Ove" correctly. Without giving much away, this is what I will say about this book - only 2 out of 3 of us finished it. The 2 of us that finished it, started it, got to a given point, took a break, and then sucked it up and tried again. It is not a hard read. It is not a long read. It is depressing. Yes it redeems at the end, and I am generally glad I finished it, but it doesn't suck you in for escape (at least not me).

In between quilting today, I will be narrowing down some new book ideas for our group. Happy Sunday in this season of Lent.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Boulder Garden Loop

It is amazing to realize that last Monday I was completely snowed in, and this Monday the sun is shining and both Nim and I could hike without jackets.

The snow level is still really low and I didn't want to hike in snow today anyway, so I opted to stay closer to home on my winter loops. Today was a good day for the Boulder Garden Loop off Little Si.

We didn't have a tight window, so I made sure we detoured to see how the forest fire burn area is recovering.

Slowly the black on the tree is becoming less stark, but it is still pretty hard to miss.

Nim was so happy to be out.

It is always hard not to over hike during these first nice hiking days.

For the most part we had the hike to ourselves until we were on the way out. The few people we ran into were all happy to be out on such a pretty day.

For me, this was also a birthday hike. And how lucky am I to get weather like this for it. :)