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Clearing

This is what has been keeping me from sewing for the last two weekends. We are finally getting the land prepped to start putting in the barn. After the snows and winds last year, our temporary housing for the animals and the hay have about run out of time. The snow crushed the building that housed the grain and milking area. So, we are finally getting things in order. Eric has been digging up stumps and leveling out the ground. We will have to have the professionals come in with the laser level thing to make sure we are within code, and to help with the retaining wall that will keep Grandpa’s shop from sliding into the barn.

The barn is still in the design stage as we haven’t decided exactly what we want it to look like. Eric likes the monitor look, with the peaked roof and a section that pops up above the main level. That would give us a loft option, but it appears that design is more expensive that we might want. So, now we have to decide if we want looks or function, or a happy medium. I am sure the design guy is going to hate me by the time we are finished. Oh well. Eric doesn’t really want it to look like a boring metal building. Perhaps we’ll go for a two pitch roof. I think it is called a Gambriel roof.

Clearing stage 1

So until we decide on the final design, we will just keep playing in the dirt. Which isn’t as bad as you might imagine. It means that the tractor gets to come out and play, and we have a few trees to cut and split for this winter’s heat. The goats are enjoying the branches and shrubs that are being left over for them to snack on. Yummy! The kids are having fun too. The older one gets to drive the tractor and use the chainsaw and the younger one gets to slide down the dirt slope, play with rocks, and run around with the goats. Fun for everybody!

sink surprise

No need to be so dramatic! Just because the sink is actually empty and clean at the same time! A minor miracle at our house. I had just scrubbed everything, flipped the sponge up to dry, and when I turned back to the sink I realized that it had a face.

It’s the little things that get me through the day.

Anita's Pinwheels

I will apologize right now for the picture quality. It was very breezy and keeping the block in one place long enough to snap a photo was a challenge.

Anita made a lovely starter block with a globe in the middle. I didn’t have any map fabric to continue the theme that the other ladies had going. So I looked at the colors she had in her block ,and went to my favorite fat quarters in my stash, and made her some snappy pinwheels. I had fun making these. They remind me of my daughter running around the yard, giggling, and making the “Spinnies” go. I hope they make Anita as happy.

Now I wait for the next envelope to start the second quarter. I will work on knocking out the some of my blocks for my other two swaps. The 9-patches are moving along well. I should have those in the mail to Aunt Pitty Pat tomorrow.

Hummingbird snack

Outside my sewing room window we put the hummingbird feeder. I thought it would be nice to look out the window and see them. They are such beautiful little things. Em is absolutely fascinated by them.

No one told me how loud those tiny birds can be! Their wings have a humming buzz to them as they come in for a landing. (Hence the name Hummingbird I would venture to guess.) That isn’t too bad, as then I know when to look up to see their shimmery green bodies hovering gracefully to sneak a snack. The problem seems to be when one male decides that the feeder is HIS! He will sometimes let the females feed, but he dive bombs everybody else while making a high-pitched chittering sound. I did not know they made this noise and it took me by surprise the first time I was buzzed as I went out to check the nectar feeder.

Pulling up a sit-down

Now I know that I need to wash and refill the feeders in the late evening. I also know that if I want to see some really good air maneuvers I can either pop in the Top Gun DVD or grab an iced tea and sit on the porch and watch the territorial little fella run everybody else off.

So as long as the hummers want to hang out, I’ll keep the feeders filled outside my window. Then we can watch their graceful dance around the flowers in the garden and catch them when they sit a spell and have a sip on us.

Pride of Washington for Courtney

This block goes with Courtney’s blocks about the places we live or what is important to us. I like where I live and I was able to find some fabric that has a bunch of those places and things represented

The center panel has the new football/soccer stadium, Qwest Field, where the Seahawks and the Sounders play. It is tucked in behind Mount Rainier. This mountain can be seen from just about anywhere in the central to south Puget Sound region. There is also a Bald Eagle and an apple, since we have a few of both. The totem pole is a nod to our large Native American population and their fascinating history and culture. The blue & white dome is the Tacoma Dome (largest wooden dome structure) where sports, concerts, and events are held. The Puyallup Valley was famous for it’s daffodil farms until they paved over the fields and put up warehouses. (Don’t get me started on that!) The building at the bottom is the dome on the rotunda of our Capitol Building in Olympia. Interstate 5 (I-5) links Canada, Washington, Oregon, California, and Mexico as the main highway system on the West Coast

Center panel 'Pride of WA'

The upper left hand corner square has a ferry for shuttling cars and people across the Puget Sound and to the islands. The sea otters are fun to watch, and more apples & daffys. There are glimpses of evergreen trees tucked in here and there. Most of us have an afinity for green trees and growing things.

The upper right hand square holds part of the Pike Place Public Market sign, and the Space Needle. The Space Spike as we like to call it at our house, is probably the most recognized landmark in Seattle. The tulips represent the Skaget Valley and their huge tulip fields and the festival they hold every year.

Corner panels of "Pride of WA"

The lower left section has an Orca, a Salmon, and a sea plane. These attractions bring in tourists for sight seeing or for the fishing. There is also a swatch of the Olympic Mountain range behind them. This range creates the weather necessary to sustain the Olympic National Forest. A temperate rain forest with huge ancient trees and rivers.

The bottom right piece has an image of the older Narrows Bridge, but not the newer one they finished a few years ago. I cross these to get back and forth to the “big city” of Tacoma from where I live. There is also a fishing boat to represent the many different fisheries we have in the area.

The other three fabrics were going to be pieced together somehow, but that was before I found this little tour of WA in fabric. I hope she likes it and it isn’t too busy for her!

On to #6!

Dino roaster

This was a very good grill for at least 6 years. We used it a lot. Sadly, it was no longer safe to use. We were getting bits of the upper racks falling on to the meat on the lower main grill. (Who uses those upper rack thingies anyway? I think I tried it once when we were making a ton of hot dogs for the boys at a little league game.) The handle is barely hanging on by two loose bolts on one side, and the heat deflector is disintegrating.  The final straw for me was two nights ago. I had Cody head out to light it up for some pork loin chops. I put the meat on and shut the lid, that is when I saw that the flame was burning on the outside of the grill. If you look closely you can see the heat spot below the main grill and the just above the control knobs. I worried the whole time that it was going to blow out the side of the house.

Now, Father’s Day is coming up next weekend. My husband is a great guy and an awesome dad. Just ask the kids. So for an early Fathers Day gift we went to Home Depot and scouted out some new grills. (Home Depot ’cause we had enough gift cards saved up to pay for the whole thing! Thanks everybody!) With a little help from the sales clerk we picked out a new Char-broil. Meet “Red”.

Shiny & new!

It is designed with “Infrared” cooking technology. I read about that. It basically makes the molecules in the food vibrate until it is cooked. Or so the booklet says. I like the fact that there is a chamber thing in there that catches all of the extra stuff and makes it really easy for me to clean it out. It keeps the flare-ups to a minimum (less carbon char!) uses less gas ,and cooks faster. The propane bottle is neatly tucked away from little fingers. The spare burner is also covered, which will be handy for keeping leaves & fir needles out of it. And look at the inside!

Slick & smokin'

The grates are ceramic coated for easy clean up. Yes there is a warming rack, but it doesn’t wiggle around like the other one did. We can use the smoking chips in here too. It has a rotisserie attachment we can add on later and they have a cast iron insert that replaces one of the grates & works like a casserole dish. Mmmm baked beans or a beer hot tub for the bratwursts! Oh baby!

Honey had this put together in about an hour. We had a lovely steak off of it tonight. I think it will take a bit of adjusting to the new cooking times and temps, but it was darn tasty and much safer! I think summer dining just took a turn to the outdoors. I can’t wait to get the onions & peppers from the garden on there!

Let me know when you will be by and we will fire her up ! At the very least we always have “hotgogs”in the freezer for the little miss, and we can roll out a few of them for ya.

Here it is. I am not real thrilled with it, but it is done, and that is enough said.

Debby's shack

I made it with items on or around the cutting table. The snowflakes are from my “winter” kitchen curtains. The stars, babies, ME, and pink flowers are from my diaper/tote bag projects. The green swirls were left over from the Safari quilt Turtles. The purple is from an other quilt. The roof and the front step are just stuff that was hanging around. I was lazy and just used a piece of fabric with a selvedge still attached instead of sewing in one special.

I know I still have another “house” block in the works, but the next one seems to have fewer building covenants. I already have the blueprints for that construction project on the table. Next though is the block that I am showcasing our state in. It will have to wait a few days since I MUST get a few of those tote bags done for the weekend.

As a side note to the post on the weather. That evening, the winds shifted and the temperature dropped 20 degrees in about 30 minutes. Heaven! We have even had a few sprinkles of rain. Everybody has been in a much better mood since then.

Too hot!

We live in Western Washington for a reason. Primarily because of it’s more temperate weather patterns. It should NOT be 90 degrees plus in the first week of June! No one in my house is liking this. The only good thing is that the garden and the lettuce boxes are doing great! We may get a red tomato at this rate. I know I shouldn’t complain, since last summer was so cold and wet that we didn’t get anything to grow until July. Can’t I have it somewhere in the middle?

Lettuce boxes

This helps keep the slugs out of our lettuce.

Our first prospective tomato

We can only hope that this little guy gets ripe enough to eat!

Strapped

You may be wondering this tangle of strips are for. They are the handles for the 23 tote/diaper bags that are on my work table. If I went by the directions, I would not have nearly the amount of work in these things. After making myself several, I have adjusted the directions and pattern to make the bags more durable and have a better finished appearance. Enter the top-stitching marathon. It was my design alterations that made it so, therefore I should not complain. And I am not. I just must have had amnesia when I thought it would be better to do a big wad of them all at once and get some gifts out of the way.

Well, the handles are done, the pockets are done, the linings are stitched, now to cut and sew down the Timex for the bottoms and the assembly can begin.  Yes, Sadie, yours it at the top of the pile, even though Emily “helped” organize the straps this morning before pre-school. I imagine she will have fun matching them all back up again when she gets home.