Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Long, Long Time Ago...

Well, back in September,  we went on vacation to Portland and vicinity. I'm so embarrassed that it has taken me until now to post pictures of our fun trip, but we came home and everyday life got in the way, and I had all these pictures I wanted to post, and just didn't take the time to do it. And for that I apologize.

So-- I am going to make this post long on pictures, and short on words.

Anna (Woolie Mammoth)  gave me some tips of places to see, so when I saw this sculpture at the Domaine Serene winery I thought of her, and had to take a picture. He was very cute!

Daisy really wanted to come along.

Cool barn quilts.

Mt. St. Helens was our first stop. It was really amazing.

Though a little gloomy the coast line was beautiful.

                                                                        The Farmer's Markets were wonderful! Get a load of all that basil! 


The entire Columbia River Gorge road was  beautiful, but the waterfalls were really spectacular.

                                         Of course we did a bit of wine tasting!

And went to Voodoo Donuts. I've never had to stand in line for a donut before. This is a really popular place.

Stopped at Fabric Depot, where I am sorry to admit I only bought a package of bells. I just didn't go in mentally prepared to buy fabric. But I did look at everything.

Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe in West Linn is one of the most charming and nice shops ever.
Beautiful Mt. Hood
We were a little short on wildlife this trip.

While I neglected to take any pictures of the food (too busy eating, I guess)  I do want to say that if you're in Portland, PokPok is worth the stop. My only regret is that we didn't order more of their famous chicken wings--or actually JUST their wings. They were sticky and sweet and delicious.  I would go back and stand in line just to have them, with maybe a side of rice or a vegetable. The other items we ordered were  good, don't get me wrong, but the wings are memorable.

So in a nutshell, that was our Oregon trip. I'm sure we will  go  back--it is a beautiful state and there was much we left undone.

I'm not big on New Year resolutions--I don't like to set myself up for failure, but it is my intention to post here more often. It may not always be too interesting, but if I post, I will hopefully get better at it .

So with that said--see you soon!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Plumbing trumps Electricity

I had hoped to be showing you beautiful pictures from our trip to Oregon by now. Like this barn quilt I thought was wonderful, but alas, life got in my way!

Day one home was fine, errands, some food in the fridge, etc.. Day 2, not so good.  The shower backed up as Sweetie was taking his early morning shower and one of the toilets did some bubbling, but I chalked it up to early morning line maintenance. Later in  the morning when shower backed up on its own and toilet bubbled with no house water running I knew we had a problem.

Mr. Plumber arrived in a timely manner, and they took the top off the pipe in the yard used for cleaning out said pipes. Things went downhill from there. First they bring out chunks of what looks like condensed paint, or grout or cement, followed by duct tape, followed by large roots. Then his roto- snake won't go any farther and all we're getting is dirt. Two large pine trees sit on top of this part of the yard and he's talking broken pipes. My stress level continues to rise. So, he goes to get a larger roto-snake, which of course takes a couple more hours. And when he comes back that won't go anywhere either. One direction (toward the street) , nothing. the other direction as far as the outside of the house.
Oh, yes, and its raining. It hasn't rained REAL rain here in WEEKS, but today it is. To the tune of 5 inches.

Since no progress is being made with the roto-snake thingy it is decided that he will return this morning and they will dig up the pipe, and dig up more pipe to see where the break is, and fix it. And they are going to have to hack through the mass of tree roots along the way, which will probably eventually kill  the tree.

By now I am not too fond of these pine trees. Many of my neighbors have removed theirs--they shed needles constantly and fill roof gutters. But I'm pretty much opposed to randomly cutting down trees. With so much building going on it seems the bulldozers just come in and level things with no regard to trees or the wildlife living in them. However, I am rethinking these trees if they are going to cause damage to my house. They also sit next to the driveway so I am now expecting them to suddenly break through the concrete.

Needless to say, we did not have plumbing for the night . We had to go out to dinner in the rain, and since neither of us wanted to  go far, and I hadn't gotten my shower that morning, we ended up at a chain Italian restaurant near home. It reaffirmed why I don't eat at chain restaurants except in emergencies. Adequate was about all I could give it. If I had been willing to drive a little farther and spend a small amount more, I could have had good food. But that would have required me to put on some makeup and change clothes. Next time I will.

Washing my face and brushing my teeth in minimum water in a plastic wash basin brought back memories of camping with my parents. Back then it was more fun. Sponge baths were in order--also not very satisfying.

I had hopes that Mr. Plumber would be here early this morning even though I knew he had a small job to take care of. When he wasn't here by 10 a.m. I began to panic, fearing he had decided that chopping through tree roots were not how he wanted to spend his Saturday. (Insert additional stress here.)

But he finally called and arrived an hour later . After chopping and digging for awhile he called me out to see...this!
This is a picture of a clean out pipe that goes-- NOWHERE!!!

To the left it goes as far as the house foundation and stops. To the right, where it would lead to the main sewer, there isn't even a pipe! No wonder the snake was pulling up roots. And the other debris were just junk thrown into the hole by the builder people.

Now, we have no idea where the clean out pipe is located, even if there is one.  Maybe this is just some ugly builder person joke--"let them think they have sewer access".So they remove one of the toilets and run the roto-snake through there, hoping to find the clog or hear where it exits the building to give some idea to the location of the clean out pipe. Well, they heard what they were looking for, and found, under landscaping and several inches of pine needles a true clean out pipe--yeehaw! The snake did its job, we heard running water, everything flushed, everything drained, and the pipes weren't broken.

It was a lousy two days, though. When Hurricane Ike blew through we were without electricity for 2 weeks. It was like we were the forgotten area, we aren't close to the coast, just in the wrong convergence of power lines. Galveston got power before we did, and there wasn't anyone there to use it. But during that time we had hot water and plumbing.  I  could shower and I could flush.We cooked on the grill, made drip through coffee on a camp stove and went to bed early.  This is why I say, when push comes to shove, I'll pick plumbing. First thing I did after Mr. Plumber left was take a really nice shower! 

Spunky was even stressed, This is where I found him when the Orkin man came.
I don't think he was even sure how he got up there!

Oh, as a final note, a good tip the plumber left with me was, if you are building a house, take video of all the plumbing and wiring in the walls before the dry wall goes up. Things are not always where they should be and it can save you to know exactly where that pipe or wire is located in the wall.

I'll be back soon with nice, pretty pictures of our Oregon adventures. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I'm moving along on the little stitcheries to hang on the wire frame. Finished up through December! But of course I've gotten a  bit distracted starting up some new projects. Since its been so hot I thought I might feel cooler if I worked on winter things:

Is this cute or what? I won't tell you how long I've had the pattern, but today was the day...with a little bit of greenery inside he will look cute hanging from a doorknob! Next up I'm doing a re-do of this pattern, making a garland of snowmen.
I've been trying to spend more time in my sewing room. I focus better, have more ideas, and get more done when I'm in there. More time should be devoted to the cleaning of said sewing room, but when I pick things up I can't find anything! One time my Mom made a cute little sign that said "Creative minds are rarely tidy" and attached it to one of the lamps--it was days before I noticed it!   All my little piles of stuff works!

I also finished a fall hexie table mat I started last year (UFO complete--Yay!) It was fun to do and brightens a table.
This is going to prove to be a good purchase. Lots of great projects inside.

I read an interview with Kathy Schmitz in Quiltmaker magazine where she said she uses Sulky 12 weight thread for her blackwork stitching. I've never been too happy with my  blackwork, for no particular reason, so thought it might be worth a try.  I haven't gotten very far into the project, but do think I'm going to like it. Think it makes a crisper line than floss. BTW, there are 3 nice stitchery projects in the Sept./Oct. issue of Quiltmaker.

Progress on my Snowbound quilt has been absent from this blog. I got it out the other day to start on the tree blocks and ended up putting it back. This is turning out to be more of a frustrating pain in the...than I anticipated. I am tired of the cut and paste method of getting the pattern pieces together and I still have a snowflake that I don't think is the right size and another snowflake had to be redrawn because it looked like something other than a snowflake! I would be happy to pay a bit more for a pattern that uses large paper and gives me full size patterns. I'll get back to it at some point, it is a cute quilt. (Whew! A little rant can make you feel so much better).

Picked this up at JoAnn's the other day. I'm embellishing a denim vest and this has some fun designs in it. May even be useful on pillows or wool.

Where has this stuff been all my life? I have to work hard to get my fingernails to look good. Yarn and fabric don't help either, so when I saw this written up I dashed out and got some, and it is great! I'm finding that even if my nails aren't long, if I can keep my hands moisturized and the cuticles looking good, it's not too bad. My other go to item is OPI Nail Envy--great stuff!  

See you soon!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July?? Already??

I can't believe it's July!  Hope everybody had a good 4th. This little stitchery is the only thing I have managed to finish. I love little  quilts  I can put out each month. These are Buttermilk Basin from several years back that I am just getting around to making. Having the metal stand was what  motivated me. They look cute on the mantle and are quick to finish. I'm working on October now, so think I have them under control. 

I have lots of projects under way--I love to start them, but working on several at a time means it takes longer to finish anything. Yesterday I pulled the fabrics together for this mini tree skirt.
Pretty sure I got the picture from Pinterest--it originally came from Jo Morton. My reds are a bit darker. I'll make a couple of the flowers and see how I like it. If it turns out, I think I may need a nicer mini tree than the ones I've picked up at Hobby Lobby!

We recently went back here to celebrate Sweetie's birthday. This is the same charming cabin we went to for my birthday, but the weather was much nicer than  in January! I love it here.
We could sit out and enjoy the view and watch the turtles. And depending on  the time of day, enjoy our beverages of choice.  Since this was a road trip I took my Nespresso Pixie along--it was great to have good coffee.  (and yes, good wine). I can't be the only one who likes to travel with their coffee since they make a travel case for it. Any place we go we are usually busy nonstop, but this is one place where we like to just hang out.
On Saturday morning we got up early and went to Fred's Lounge  in Mamou to hear Cajun music.  
Fred's is only open one day a week and they broadcast on the local radio station.
Very fun--if I were around Cajun music much I would have to learn to dance! We also searched out and sampled boudin from several places. Since moving to Texas we've had our summer of BBQ joints, our quest for the best hamburger, and now all things boudin. Each place is different and we are finding which places we like best for future visits. Need to clear out the freezer to make room.

To continue the birthday celebration we went to Oxheart in Houston for dinner. This is a really small place that is getting rave reviews. With a name like Oxheart I was originally skeptical of the menu, but they offer three "tasting" menus a night and change it often. One is vegetarian, one has a combination of vegetables and meat (our night it was grouper and guinea hen), and a third that is a bit broader with a couple more offerings.  We took our own wine, but they do offer wine pairings, and I think we would try that next time. I was able to get our seats at the counter where you can see into the kitchen which was fun. Chef's do place things on the plates with tweezers--it's not just for TV!

This is another reason why I don't get as much done as I would I like--I have helpers! Spunky evidently decided I had worked long enough and it was time for a kittie break. I ultimately finished the stitching and am ready to start on block 3 of "Snowbound".

We hadn't been to Trader Joe's for awhile and I wanted to pick up some of my favorites. These were the one new item I picked up--tasty.

That brings us up to date. I'm going to try to have more fiber related pics next time, and not wait so long to post! We'll see how that goes. 



Sunday, June 9, 2013

What I did on my Spring Vacation

I take this picture every year as we head to wine country. Not only is it the Golden Gate Bridge and so beautiful I never get tired of it, but it symbolizes the start of what I know will  be a wonderful vacation.
We go to Sonoma every year--it is just my favorite place. It's beautiful, and tranquil, great wine, wonderful food, and an uninterrupted week with my husband!

The weather was unseasonably warm, which means I packed all the wrong clothes, but it was so nice to be able to sit outside and not worry about rain. You could almost see the leaves opening up on the vines. ( I forgot to mention that we've been home awhile--everything is all leafed out now).
Food and wine pairings are the trend in lots of restaurants. This is a shot of some of our food at Partake by Kendall Jackson in Healdsburg. We really enjoyed it and found it was the  perfect amount for a light dinner. Another night we did the same thing at Mayo Family Wineries in Kenwood. This is a great way to have some interesting food and try several different wines at the same time. And with the small portions, you haven't made a big commitment if you don't like it. I frowned at the beet salad placed in front of me, but found it wasn't bad. I definitely wouldn't have selected it on my own, but tried it, shared a bite with my husband and it was gone. (No, this has not changed my overall feeling about beets)!
There was even wildlife! At one of our favorite wineries the wine maker was telling us the story of a gopher snake they had in the tasting room a few days before, when we heard commotion in the other room. Said gopher snake, or a relative, had just wandered out from under the desk where a tasting room employee had just been sitting. She was a bit rattled and not as interested in  the snake as we were. After some picture taking and snake touching they released it farther out in the vineyard.

Have you ever seen a dog bed this big? These were the biggest dogs I've ever seen--and there were THREE of them! Looks like we missed a picture of #3, but he was just as big as these two. The spotted one had some major slobber going on, too, but they were very nice dogs!

There is nothing better than a fresh, small, yummy oyster! They taste briny, and fresh, and kind of hard to describe. It's like taking all the good aspects of the ocean that you have in your head and putting it into one lovely bite! We've been wanting to go to the original Hog Island Oyster Company location since we drove past it a few years ago, so we wrapped up the wine tasting early had headed to Tomales  Bay where we weren't disappointed. The view was great and the oysters don't get any fresher.
Sweetie's brother lives in the bay area, so we spend some time with them, and when possible, hit the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building, which I love. And since we were doing some cooking, there were reasons to buy produce! Here I am picking out multi colored baby carrots to roast--I'm happier than I look, it's that picture phobia thing...I also scored some wonderful strawberries and two great cheeses that we had for dessert. Oh, and the cookies, an oatmeal, molasses and peanut butter filled  peanut butter sandwich cookie that I just barely shared with anybody! I'm attempting a duplicate of that one! 

So there are some of the highlights of our vacation. There was no shortage of wine, we brought back more than was my original plan, and we added two wine clubs to the family. But each time we open a bottle, it gives us the opportunity to relive our trip and make plans for next year.

I don't have anything woolie to show. I finished a cowl, but haven't blocked it yet since it will be 6 months before I have a chance to wear it. I'm prepping a couple other projects and hope to start knitting the yarn I got on vacation.

I really need to stop "following" some of my Pinterest boards. Too much good looking food keeps showing up on my page. I'm making this for bee this week--I hope it's good!
And I hope my friends will forgive me if it doesn't end up looking this nice.

Since there were dogs pictured on the blog today, Daisy felt it only right for there to be a picture of her as well.
She wishes you a happy week. I'll try not to stay away so long. I blog a lot in my just doesn't seem as interesting in type! :)