29 October, 2010

62 Degrees and Falling

This is my new music chest/sofa table that I bought in Oregon City where my friend sells some of her creations. The drawers are only 12" deep and a lot of my music is for some reason 12.2" but the whole chest has four drawers and 'hides' maybe a third of my piano music collection.

 Mostly stuffed -gazing adoringly at the new Bernina serger.

 Close-up of horns. If this wasn't a toy for a two-year-old, I'd leave it eyeless as the fabric works.

Showing off it's undies.

 Outside for a nibble.

I am nearly finished with my great-niece's birthday giraffe. After some consideration and asking 13 people what they think; eyes are to be embroidered on.  Brown, I think.  I have a friend whose son has cerebral palsy and he thinks the 'no face' is scary. And it is for a two year old.
I am looking also for an old-lady-handbag for Missy Sophea to carry around. You know the ones I mean? Patent leather, medium size with a clasp and handles to carry it around. I am going to cruise a couple of thrift stores to see if I score. I went to a rummage sale at Clarke's United Methodist Church today and did not see any. I've got a couple of days.

In other news, I have scored big time at work with this creation.
We have an old furnace, with an old style thermostat. Add in one menopausal carrier, a boss who would rather yell than fix the problem and you get to the point of....

My Christmas boss bought the thermostat guard but it was only installed about a month ago. Only one person controls the key.  A couple of weeks ago, when I arrived at work, it was 62'. I called the boss, who lives a few miles away and asked her to come in and turn on the heat. Which she did, three hours later at her normal start time.
This problem has been going on for many a year, but the thermostat guard puts all of the responsibility of maintaining the heat standard on the boss.
And there is a heat standard.
We have had only one day at 65'. Most of the last two weeks have been 64'. We are working so 65' is comfortable for most of us. This last week, the temp. has hovered between 62' and 63'. Chilly. At that point, my fingers tend to fumble and drop letters as any dexterity I might have had is too cold.   Not to mention the constant drippy noses.
I have verified with a food-grade thermometer that the furnace thermostat is correct. Anyway - complaining sometimes yields fantastic ideas. This is an old thermostat with mercury. So - a cold pac 'tricks' it into thinking it needs to turn on to reach 62'.  Thanks Dad.
For the first morning in a month, I was warm at work. I only put the pacs on for half-an-hour before my co-workers came and then about had a panic attack when I saw the condensation inside the guard case. It took over four hours for the temperature to start coming down. Maybe I 'tricked' the furnace too far. My goal is not to replace the 'old' thermostat with a new one that cannot be tricked. 
But it was a fine morning.

Tomorrow, we'll try 15 minutes.

26 October, 2010

Sewing Giraffes

My Great-niece's birthday is next week. Costume party is Saturday - but I am stuck working.
I will drive up early next week to see Missy Sophea.
My thoughts were to make her a stuffed giraffe to lug around - maybe find her an old-fashioned ladies handbag. This giraffe is only 10" high but maybe that is tall enough for a two-year-old.
This is my working copy. In the process, I successfully threaded my new serger AND sewed with it. Another lesson learned about sergers? Curves are tricky. I was thinking of the quarter-inch seams and having them double stitched but I couldn't seem to stay on track around the legs.
I switched back to my regular sewing machine and it went a bit smoother. I'm not sure a mane will be involved unless it is looped ribbon or yarn. I like the cleaner look of no mane - bald - if you will.   

Can't deal with remodel any more. Sink got sent to San Francisco and it will be another week - or so- before it trucks on up to Oregon. Meanwhile, the dishwasher can't get hooked up, the toilet is still sitting in the middle of the bathroom and the kitchen island  might take up permanent residence in my bedroom. Good news? I can park in the garage now - which is a blessing at 5am.

And the mushroom farm continues to grow poisonous fungi.
Giant poisonous fungi.

24 October, 2010

House of Eliot & Project Runway

I just watched finale 1 from Project Runway. End result is three of the contestants are showing at Fashion week their collections. Next week (?) is the final finale and the decision of who will win: Mondo?, Andy?, or Gretchen?

Gretchen’s looks are true for her but don’t have that runway wow factor (gretchen is from Portland and definitely has a looser 'west coast' style than the other contestants). As Michael Kors says, "crunchy granola".
I am watching “House of Eliot” from BBC that aired back in 1991. (Can this date be right? I thought I watched it with my mom back when I was in high school).  It's a
bout two sisters who design and sew during the early 20’s.
Evie, on disc three ( I think episode 8) has worn, twice now, this beautiful dress that is white with hand embroidered black dotted lines running from the neckline down, interrupted with some beaded/soft embroidery picture on the front hipline down and the lines pick up from here down to the hem. Hems were at calf length.

Poor stop frame from the video. Can't see the black dotted lines.

The sleeves come down
nearly to the elbow with the same dotted lines down from the sleevecap. The hem on the sleeve has a slit with long rounded edges. It's a fitted sleeve with the slit.
These styles from the 20’s are very Gretchen but they have the wow factor she is missing. Lots of
bias-cut flowing dresses and separates. The coats are very becoming.

Today’s technology lesson: Brian installed Google Chrome as my operating system  - because it is faster – he says.
But I cannot print just a single page (selection) of something from it – it wants to print the whole document. So – I have to cut and paste over to my Word program and then print the selection.
AND – because it will not print shipping labels for USPS/Paypal.
Making me crazy. I finally got around to calling Paypal and they took so long to answer, I typed the question into google and there it was – the stinking answer. Chrome and the newish Internet Explorer 9.? will not print paypal labels. And there is no plan to do so. This has been a problem for over a year.
USPS actually will charge my account for the shipping but the label won’t print – so I have to void the label and wait a few weeks to get a refund on shipping. Then I take the package to the post office with stamps on it.

So – today, I am uninstalling Chrome and reinstalling Firefox.

What operating system do you have???

19 October, 2010

How To Cook Snails

A few years ago, I was invaded by snails. 
Slugs are ookey and I am not going out there with scissors in the dead of night to cut them in half. I can never be Dulcy Mahar.
Rusty, who is seven, used to eat slug bait. About the only way I could contend with slugs was to salt them.
The Invaders took over and the only good thing about the snails is they have a shell. If you are feeling ruthless, you can pick them up by the shell and dash them against the street asphalt or onto the pavers and let them die in agony there. Really - what use are slugs and snails? They generate oodles of slime - is this good for me?
When we were picking up all the branches from tree felling, a huge amount of snails ended up on the burn pile.
But - what to do when there is no fire or asphalt nearby? 
I keep a lot of butter and other plastic containers for painting (trim) and for freezing berries from the garden. They have lids.

View towards street. Ruthless clearing of plants.

New home for snails.

View from street back towards runway.   I am not changing the curves of the bed. It looks so clean to have the defined edge.  This is where I want to put the two-foot shrub roses. About 30 feet from street back to the green japanese maple tree. We are keeping the dogwood (straight trunk) and a hydrangea and some mystery shrub plant that is tucked in tight against the first tree trunk. Since the object is to hide the stumps, this mystery plant got voted in.
The japanese maple has a lovely lean to it from being under the fir trees.

***update on snail collection: Rusty took off with the container and ran around with his head cut off - in the way of joyful puppies - and the container was put in the trash eventually. Where did the collection end up? idk

Today's Stumble

For the full web page, including a clip from West Wing, see:  http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html

Why Can't I Own a Canadian?

October 2002

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted fan,

18 October, 2010

Where We Are Now

I believe we are in the homestretch on the remodeling.
Waiting on the sink still but it should be here soon. Dishwasher is being delivered today and I scrubbed out the toilet so it is pristine white again. I know it sounds funny but today -pristine white brings joy to my soul. We have hard water out here and even with the water softener and filters, the manganese and iron tend to stain.

I found the picture hooks this weekend and we hung 98% of the pictures so it looks like we sort of live here.

The rug pad is airing. They make some fancy wool pads which we will probably be able to afford in some far-off year. For right now, I went to Freddies and picked up the only ones they had and they are coated with PVC. Weird smell, but we have about one more week of Indian Summer and the pad is airing. The rug we bought off Craig's List is synthetic and scratchy on the back side. That rug is still in the hangar but we found this wool rug for the front door at Upscale Consignments in Gladstone.

Of the re-upholstery project of sofa, loveseat and chair - the chair is done and the sofa soon will be. The chair is gorgeous and we can't wait to not only see the sofa but have something to sit on.

Trying to figure out four or five strong people to move the piano back in. Volunteers?

Every night, we take turns O-cedaring, although I believe the verb Swiffering is the new accepted terminology.

And in the meantime/sametime/try to fit everything in time, I spent much of the previous gorgeous weekend ruthlessly stripping the front 30 feet of my ex-fir tree bed. I aggressively tossed plants but came to a halt at the hostas. I bought the hostas for the shady understory of the fir trees. The hostas are huge and I have no more understory. For right now, I placed them in the pots that had petunias in to overwinter. I suspect a redo of one of my shadier beds has now been added to my springtime chores. I plan on planting these low shrub roses in the front 30 feet. I have seen these in several commercial settings, notably at Rite-aid in Canby and along 99E in Milwaukie. They only get about 2 feet tall and bloom continuously from, at least, July and still going strong here in October.
Still investigating the proper genus.  Because right across the street from Rite-aid is Canby Builder's Simplicity Rose Hedge and those roses are four feet tall.
I want the two footers.

14 October, 2010


Once again - my daughter keeps me updated.
Try this.     And this.

Stumble Upon is a website that randomly - well - you can narrow it down according to your interests - anyway - randomly picks a website for you to discover. All you do is hit the Stumble button on your toolbar and you are whisked away to a very interesting place.

This could be Rusty.

or, an Amazing Trick.

Hobbit House...

Grown person tree with kids playing in the branches
Above photo is from www.pooktre.com

12 October, 2010

Microwave Clearance

 Okay - it's installed. Now the cupboard door above won't close.  Not enough clearance. arrrgghhh.
Thinking about it for a moment or two (Rocket went visiting to the paintball field), I loosened the (very long) screw at the top of the microwave and put a shim between cabinet and microwave. Just enough clearance.
But now the other door isn't quite level with the left-hand side door. Adjust, tighten, adjust, tighten.
Good enough.

11 October, 2010

Remodeling Progress

The long list of fiddly details doesn't seem to get any shorter. The baseboards are nailed on, nail holes are filled, touch-up paint has been brushed on. But there are random pieces of blue painter's tape decorating the walls for more touch-ups.
We can't hook up the dishwasher until the sink comes. Utilizing the plumber (?) in one visit to hook up the dishwasher and toilet - although someone is now wanting to install it all himself.
The microwave finally came off the wall and the holes for installing the new one aren't quite in the same spot requiring the purchase of a hole saw set. Once we get the microwave in, then the stove can come back in. 

After living with french doors on the fridge (in the garage) for a week, we decided to go back to a one door fridge. Still keeping the freezer on the bottom.

The real big question is how to cull the crap from getting back into the house. I devised a system of one quarter will be allowed inside, half to garage sale/donation, one quarter to keep in the hangar and think about (for ten years). Of course I had a raging fever (cold/flu) when I said this.

Actually, the bigger question is where are all the big picture hooks. After four days of searching, I found the smaller hooks.

After twenty years we are finally getting a china hutch.   After twenty three years of marriage, we are getting several pieces of new furniture. We bought a Lazy-Boy Sofa here as well as a recliner (swivel/rocker/leather) and the hutch above. We only had to go to eleven stores to find a couch we could live with. Most of the new couches out there are one big (sagging) pillow. They look and feel like one year down the road, they will have degenerated into a saggy lump. We wanted a firm seat, our feet on the floor, and firm back support. So- finally after numerous forays into furniture land, we found a lazy-boy couch that will work (or else) and we went back here for the deal.

I am 3/4 done with putting the pantry back in order. I can't thoroughly clean anything with the  dishwasher not in yet. Foodstuffs (not immediately needed) were stored in the hangar where some pernicious mice had a month-long midnight supper party. Remember the throw out half rule here?

We did find an O Cedar hardwood floor mop for the  floors that involves a double-sided removable micro-fiber cloth that you just use and throw into the washing machine. I liked it well enough, I went back and bought two replacement micro-fiber cloths.

Walls need to be dusted down, windows washed and other fun cleaning jobs. Need help.

I haven't unearthed the curtains yet so I can wash and hang them. They might be in the same place where the picture hooks are hiding.

04 October, 2010

Remodeling Update - and Good Weather

 I got outside this weekend to grasp the last natural Vitamin D's. Tackling my fir tree bed - where we felled 18 big fir trees earlier this spring. All the seeds from the last fifty years sprouted and the bed turned out quite gorgeous. Shrubs we thought were terminal miraculously came back and thrived in the full sun. Several decapitated shrubs and trees survived. Where everyone else was complaining of a cooler than normal summer, I relished the thoughtfulness nature expended for my pleasure.

The brown-eyed susies, nicotiana's, the blue-starred borage; all were magnificent this year.
Underneath the wild beauty lay my very own mushroom farm.
Mistakenly 'snapped' with focus on flowers - not on fungi.

Photo taken again with fungi in focus. Oddly, I kinda like the the first one where the mushroom is out of focus.

Probably very poisonous

 At least someone has not abandoned the remodel. We're down to nitpicky finish jobs. Waiting on the sink to come - then the dishwasher can be hooked up. Waiting a few more days to bring the fridge and stove back inside while floors continue to cure. Figuring out the puzzle of baseboard trim molding and why are we short four of the short pieces? Nail holes to fill and paint to touch-up. Can't hook up the toilet until the sink comes so as to utilize the DW installer in one visit. And, of course, dust everywhere.
 But this weekend was gorgeous and I (aka: the cleaning lady) was undertaking a huge bail-out of the fir tree bed while things were relatively dry (and not slimy). 

Next spring I plan a total makeover of this long-time perennial bed. I want a clean feel, more evergreens, and a more Japanese feel to this 200 feet. In order to do so, I have to reach into my inner ruthlessness and hack it all out. And next spring, I will go another round with ruthless editing.
I've got truckloads of free barkdust so I am hauling a wheelbarrow load to the burn pile and wheeling back a load of barkdust for volunteer suppression. Nothing like being efficient.

03 October, 2010

Remodeling Update - Kitchen Counters

 I admit freely, I am a closet formica fanatic. 
Twenty years ago, the trend was tile countertops. Which I disliked intensely because I am also a klutz. 

I use my kitchen. Dishes occasionally get broken, things fall and break, spills happen. 
And because I am totally a trend setter. 
Have you seen any tile countertops that do NOT look dated? Not so much about trend setting as intensely practical. And the granite countertops that are NOW trendy cost three times as much and you need to be careful what you clean them with as most cleaners will dull the finish.

I know - formica's great. (I should say wilsonart). This time around, we chose Green Tigris.

 Everyone informed us that 4" tile backsplashes are not trendy now. We still love the motif. We decided to let the next people change out the tiles.

02 October, 2010

Sorry, Marcy

Friday garage sale therapy: Found this today for one buck. We used to play this game a lot.

Of course now you need an annoying voice telling you how to play so this must be the perfect gift to send to Minnesota. And the SORRY web site gives you more options if you need to get your game into 2010.

01 October, 2010

Swedish Finish Floors are Finished

Rocket found a safe cave.
 At last!
They look fantastic. It was definitely a process

 After laying out all of the wood, it acclimated for about a week. This was important as we had one piece that came up a full quarter inch. Other pieces had edges rise/lower. All of this is then sanded within an inch of its life and taken care of - as in totally level, totally smooth and pretty beautiful in it's au natural state. We actually ran short a bit of wood and had to wait another week for the wood guys to get back from a wedding and then install it. 
After sanding, comes the finish coats. This is a oil-based finish that sinks into the wood better and is more durable.  So - three coats, three days.
The first two coats could be walked on after four hours (only with socks - No dogs). All windows were open and the September weather cooperated with warm 80' days to help dry the finishes. They buffed the next morning and put on the next coat. 

The final coat needed to be put on with windows closed and 12 hours uninterrupted curing time. Very, very stinky and of course, this information about the 12 hours out of the house was given to me at 6pm the previous night as we were going out to find dinner. Cranky me starts making a list of work stuff, clock, sleep clothes (pillows), etc. that I need to pack out before I can go to bed. Because I didn't come back into the house from Wednesday night until Friday at noon. We slept in the garage. On the air mattress that someone did not blow up enough.

But it was worth it.

This picture mostly captures the final sheen. The first two coats go on very very shiny but this cures out to a beautiful sheen.