01 May, 2016

Part Of My Yard

Happy May Day!

Busy weeding my acre this time of year in-between 12 hour split shifts at work and the wonderful April weather.

As you can see, Rusty, who is on better pain meds, helps supervise.

 I weeded half of this bed surrounding our patio. Then gave up moved onto another place that needed attention. I have to cut back the tulips and grab the artillery weeds. The blue on the left is lithospermum.

The house is on the left with the airplane hangar (doors closed) straight ahead.
I've lived on my acre for 26 years. Plants die. Plants get too big. Plants are amazing. We have fairly mild winters here in the Willamette Valley, but once every six years or so, we get hard freezes, ice, and significant snow. (No snow this winter except for one morning). Two years ago, the Lithospermum completely died back but I saw some green shoots near the base and babied it and here it is, lush as ever.

 Stepping back a few paces, this is the pergola with clematis (montana) climbing it. The clematis shades us in the summers and you can sit outside and not get too wet during summer showers.
These clematis rotted off at the rootstock one winter - oh, 7 years ago, but they are now almost where they were before - coverage-wise.

We use our patio most of the year. There is a swing set that needs new cushions sewn. Has anyone noticed that replacement cushions are thinner on the foam? The ones that came with the swing were very comfy. We cook outside on the barbecue and watch the planes take off in the evenings.

Most readers know I live on an airpark. The runway adjoins our acre and runs mostly north-south.    Bucolic.   Anyone use that old-fashioned word lately?

You need patience to garden well. Plants are a tad unruly, not always listening to your mindset of how they should behave. That's okay.


 I still need to pot up my hanging baskets. I'm slow this year. I am waiting on the high school plant sale for the little extras plants that go into the baskets (excuseexcuseexcuse).

Tomorrow is my day off and it's forecast to be 80', so this job jumped to priority one

My upright green japanese maple on the other side of the house sends forth babies that I pot up for the patio. These babies don't seem to grow as tall. I have done some bonsai with them, twisted the 'stems' into circles, played with them a bit. These are getting quite root-bound so I will either give these away at the end of this growing year or compost them and start fresh with some new babies.

Looking left from the patio is my side yard. This is the yard I look at from my kitchen window.
The curve of the beds is lovely. The beds on the left used to be shaded by 40 year old fir trees but we had a little leaning problem and rather then buy a new house for the neighbors, we elected to cut them down.
So this bed went from shady perennials to a very sunny, needs to be edited still bed. I have replanted some taller trees for the bird habitat but also as a living fence between us and the neighbors.  It is very difficult to edit my plants. I've known them for years and someday's I can't be ruthless enough. I tend to let the columbines live.

 I tried a panoramic shot looking at the house.
All it did was give the house and hangar a decidedly weird curve.
That's the grass runway to the far right.

My kitchen window on the right. Just in front is my bird feeder and hummingbird feeder (empty again?). That's hubby there doing something.

 Looking southeast towards the taxi-way, aka our street.

 Another view of looking out my kitchen window.
My living fence is filling out nicely this April. 

My goal is to not see that house there.

Those are my hostas there in front which amazingly took to the sun from being in the shade prior.

 And from the street end, looking towards the grass runway -- past the fir trees we left growing taller.

Serous hummingbird habitat up there in the firs along with owls and other birds. (not to mention the bats). We had an eagle thinking about setting up housekeeping two autumns  ago.

Another panoramic - the entire side length of the yard - about 300 yards?

Strawberries blooming for June.

***This is just my side yard. If you got this far - serious congratulations. This was a good place to put these photos for my reference.

23 April, 2016

Cascade Fishing

The kid went fishing today.
Rainbow trout. Brook trout.
A secret sweet spot in the Cascades.

I was working. He was playing.

17 April, 2016

Star Baby Quilt

This baby quilt is destined for my substitute carrier (on my mail route). She's got about 5 weeks before she pops and I wanted to make her a little quilt.

 I keep some baby ideas in my Pinterest folder and this Star quilt jumped into my head. Fortuitously, Joann's fabrics had 60% off their crappy flannel.

I was trying to pick six colored flannels with the same size motif at Joann's and that was difficult as most of the flannel was most definitely for girls (frozen princesses anyone?). They also had a zillion blues but hardly any greens or reds.

I went for an I-Spy type of fabrics. These squares are 9" when sewn (HST's half square trangles) as this pattern was written using a layer cake cut of fabrics.

I bought enough extra for super shrinkage. This is one of my nicer point intersections where the flannel did not stretch out of whack.



For quilting, I sewed straight lines along the star shape and then tried some free motion quilting on the middle and sides.

First up is my pretty good FMQ of random lines. I did pretty good once I figured out my machine hated the thread I already
had on my machine and reducing the thread pressure helped too. There are some skipped stitches here and there but I'm pretty sure babies eyesight up close isn't good enough to spot it.

And then, I tried some circles. I even drew on the fabric good - round - circles. A little wonky. Oh well. I know certain readers will have a good laugh over my crazy circles.

 I am over halfway sewing my binding down and then it will be finished. This new boy has an older sister named Olivia which is also fortuitous because my niece is named Olivia. I still  have some cute Olivia the pig fabric leftover to make a small purse to carry.

I still need to quilt the four corner squares. No idea what yet unless I repeat the squiggly line thing again. I'm pretty sure I won't be trying circles again....

Oh and Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post. My flu ended up going into bronchitus as in cough, cough, cough. I am feeling better on the energy front and am able to do my normal too many things in one day better.

Star pattern is here.

10 April, 2016


I did sew today.

A customer order for  a CD Organizer that fits on a car sun visor.
She wanted Pink Camouflage. I received the fabrics Thursday and sewed two CD organizers and one Zippy pouch.

Aren't these cute?

I'm not much of a pink girl but hey - if it's in camo, it's awesome.

They are now  in my new etsy store. Part of my future business plan involves more sewing. My RunningWithNeedles etsy shop is filled with vintage sewing treasures. I felt like I was dumping my handmade items in there. This year,   I opened RunningWithHandmade, my second (*third) shop back in January, getting all my finance/organizational ducks in a row.

It's been slow going as I got seriously overwhelmed by not only my business plan, but the usual culprits of work, parents/family, and health issues all deciding to flare up as well.

So, I stalled.

 I'm pretty good with outlining the steps necessary to move forward.
Breaking down the big picture and organizing the flow.

This big picture is big.

I had to take a step back and wonder if it is too much. It has to do with retiring from work and how will I earn a paycheck big. Dealing with family issues that I will be more responsible for when I quit my current job.

I got depressed about, well, everything.
Which led me to getting sick with the worst spring flu ever this last week.
Which also led me to talk to someone, actually several someones.

It helped. having the downtime, getting feedback. I have a family history of depression and I think we all experience it at times. My older sister is hip-deep in it right now. She acknowledges she is depressed but can't seem to find her way out.

I'm working overtime the next couple of weeks so it preys on my mind. I can't help her right now.
I have to help myself first. Which is something my voodoo-hippie doc tries to imprint into my brain cells. If I over-extend myself, I get really sick.

So- what to do?

Ask for help. Put on hold things that don't need to be done today. Minimize your outside commitments. Ask for help.

I feel better in my head about my own situation. I know my on-going business plan is to my benefit. I know that we, as a family, will figure out how to help my sister.

Because of my auto-immune issues, I try to live my life as if I won't be able to do everything I want to do before my disease gets the better of me. Do the best I can. Every day. Try something new. Keep engaged.


***second etsy shop is RunningWithAirplanes which I never stocked as I've never had enough time in the day to do it all.

26 March, 2016

Happy Easter Eggs

 Happy Easter everyone.
We're having Baby Back ribs and Teresa's Carrot cake tomorrow.

 Ukrainian egg decorating. My library repeated a class they held two years ago. You start with a blown-out egg. Apparently, there is a tool to do this instead of blowing them out the hard way!
Funny girl bought a kit, so I blew out three green eggs for her - I almost get a headache doing it the hard way.

This time, we worked with white eggs. Two years ago, brown eggs.

Basically, this is a wax resist method aka batik. Using wax to trace designs, then coloring them, then more wax to enhance the design, then more dye and maybe another run through with wax and dye.

The tool in the right hand is called a kistka. A little tube to hold beeswax that is then melted over the candle flame.

Funny friend's sunny egg

Creative Girl's egg masterpiece.

 Late last week, an old friend emailed me to ask a question. As I still had a few plastic eggs left, I whipped up these drawstring pouches and mailed a wee present to the cutest little girl and her brother. This little girl used to bring me flowers at work - the kind with no stems. I had a little plastic dish to float her bouquets in.

These were fun to make too.
These are yarn wrapped around a water balloon which you squeeze a chocolate egg or two into first. Soak the yarn in watered glue adn wrap, then let dry. Pop the balloon and you have candy trapped inside the stiff 'egg'.

My first attempt at Ukrainian eggs.

This year's eggs