Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Day

Yesterday we went to the movies and saw Planes: Fire and Rescue. I didn't know that we were going to see it in 3D, just chose a time that worked.  Before we go into the theatre, the kids always like to guess how many people will be there.  I guessed that we'd be the only ones, and I was right until just before the movie started, when another family came in.

Then we stopped at Schneider's in Bellevue to try out their ice balls and see whether theirs rated higher than Sweet Tooth. Turns out they did. They don't pack down the ice as much and then put it into a bigger cup. Easier to spoon it out.

Then it was across the river and to the zoo.  Perfect day for it.  Not too hot and not too crowded.  The giraffes were in their house where they can be viewed from above, up close and personal.

Both of the kids wanted to take a picture of this lion, and the pictures were almost identical.  The lion was snoozing except when a UC helicopter flew overhead and that got his attention. 

All too soon school will be starting and these summer days will be coming to an end.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back Yard Gardening

This week has been a mid-summer treat, weather wise.  I've used the cooler days to work on my back yard, mulching, pulling weeds, and doing a little planting.

The bed beside the fence is partly new this year, moving right from the gazing ball.  In the spring I put down cardboard and topsoil, and next spring the grass will have broken down and the soil will be ready to plant.  I've mulched that bed and also the spot toward the front where the big tree came out.  I don't think things will grow where the tree was, at least not yet, so I've started with a few containers.

I was happy to find some rhubarb at Lowe's this week and planted it in the circular bed that was here when I moved in.  There was some overgrown sage there that was definitely unattractive.  In the spring I'd like to plant more rhubarb.  I don't think that I could ever have enough rhubarb.  Normally, I'd plant it in the spring, but I think it will be fine with extra water when the weather warms up again.

My plan is to have grasses hiding the fence and the yards behind it, with beds coming out from there.  There is always a plan.     

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Edible Landscaping

Yesterday the kids and I went to the Krohn Conservatory for their Edible Landscaping summer show. We didn't spot too many new ideas, but I did like this bamboo teepee for beans.  The mix was on primarily flowers and just a few veggies.

This tower looked interesting.  We spent some time in the education room, where the kids crayoned on the kraft paper that covered the tables.  Playing in the background was a video about how to do the tower planting.  I have plenty of ground space and no deck space, but it's an interesting concept.  I did a little research and found that it can be done in conjunction with worm composting.

Even though I didn't get a lot of new ideas, I did come home ready to work on my back yard again.  Just pulling out aged bushes and collecting a contractor bag full of weeds and escaping mint earlier this month made a big difference.  I have spots where two trees were removed a couple of years ago, and I'm thinking about some kind of raised bed in one and a fire pit in the other.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Washing or Not

I have a whole ridiculous set of goals every year, separated by category, no less.  There are even mid-year goal adjustments.  Some are long-term, like "worry less" and "figure out the winter evenings."  And some are easier to achieve that check mark signifying that the goal is complete.

Several years ago I made this simple little pumpkin quilt, about 14" x 20". I don't even remember where I first saw it, maybe in the Fons and Porter magazine.  Every time I would see it, I'd think, "I really need to quilt that" but I never did.  This year, I put it on the goal list.

It only took a couple of hours to quilt and bind it, and even then only because my quilting is so dense.  After it was finished, I decided to wash it.

I've been reading a lot about whether to wash a quilt once it's been quilted.  Just like prewashing the quilting fabric, there are two different schools of thought about it.  Washing the quilt shrinks both fabric and batting, but especially the batting, so the quilt crinkles a little.  It's softer.  The quilting buries in a little. 

I've mentioned before that I don't wash my donation quilts because they get washed at the hospital.  And I don't think I'll wash quilts every time.  I just finished a wedding gift, for example, and I want to give it in all its cripsy newness.  Church banners, probably not, because they are viewed up and away and no one sees them up close except for me and maybe a curious person or so.

But, for smaller things like this, that I'll keep on a table or display on a wall, I'll be washing.  For one thing, when the quilting recedes, the mistakes are much harder to see.  I like that.  And I like the texture, it's just nice to touch.  The fabric softens all that dense quilting, both visually and in the way it feels. 

I want to quilt and wash something else. There has to be something else in my UFO box.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


My across-the-street neighbor has the nicest pool, and yesterday she invited the grands to come swimming. Of course they said yes, because summer is back and they love to swim.

And of course my neighbor offered them ice cream at the end of the swim, because she's just generous like that. 

Nora had a few scrapes from the Playscape earlier in the day, and at the end of all that swimming they were magically almost gone.  I'm always surprised that by this time in the summer she has a pretty little light tan, despite all the #50 sunscreen. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Christmas in July

All of a sudden, it was July 1.  And, all of a sudden, there was Christmas fabric in the stores and there were Christmas projects on the internet.  I really love that, because in July it seems possible that ANYTHING could be finished by Christmas.

I do have one finished Christmas quilted throw in my stash of Christmas gifts.  And this weekend I worked on this work sample, from Anita Goodesign's Dot the Halls.  The design collection comes in four sizes, and I just know that the largest one would make great gift potholders.

On the back of the mini quilt, I embroidered this design from Anita Goodesign's Christmas Quilt Labels.  It would look better on an actual quilt label, but I needed to get that sample finished and this worked fine too.

And now, I'm kind of in the mood to look at those Christmas projects.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The crowd at Kings Island was big yesterday, the lines were long, and we just stayed a few hours and rode a couple of rides.  Nora won this prize that was so large that someone was paged to get it. Aaron did pretty well for himself too, with darts and balloons, but nothing could quite compete with that huge animal.

The lines for food were long too, so we opted out and went to McDonald's in Oakley, taking our food to the park down the street.  Then we explored the Blue Manatee bookstore, which was such a treat.

There is a smoothie/coffee bar as well as books.  Aaron's new fave flavor is mango and the barista said that yes, she could make a smoothie with just mango instead of a blend of flavors.  Then it was on to some reading and picking out just the right books.