Monday, September 9, 2013

Quilting and Science Experiments

This is as far as I've gotten on the Half-Square Frenzy.  I will be adding a narrow border of something, probably in lime green (Rave Green, for all those Sounders fans out there) and then a wider border in purple or dark blue.  I don't have enough of any of the purples left to make a border, so...shucky-darn...I'll have to do a little shopping.  That's OK, I need to get some Halloween fabrics for the swap next week anyway.

And this is what Emma's One-Block Wonder looks like.  I used the Japanese fabric around the outside that made up the hexagons in the middle, so you can get a view of what the fabric used to look like.  Looking at it now, I should have put in a narrow border between the hexagons and the print, but c'est la vie.

Speaking of la Francais, Emma is enrolled in French this year.  It'll be fun to re-learn along with her and she can practice a little with my parents (who learned a lot more than I ever did...then again, I never traveled to France to be able to use it outside of the classroom).

Mr. B, on the other hand, was invited to be part of a study at Children's to test the Safety and effects of Lumacaftor and Ivacaftor, the drugs developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals that will, hopefully, be a life-changing concoction for patients with CF.  He is not sure he wants to be part of the study; we're talking to him about it and he'll have to make up his mind soon.

I started going to yoga.  It isn't very intense and the instructor gives options for modifications for poses that *some of us* can't do, and gives the over-achievers poses to challenge them.  I like that this instructor isn't a 90 lb. rubber band; she's actually on the plus-side.  She also doesn't laugh when I lose my balance and fall over, which I really appreciate.  I will have to remember not to set up my mat next to the mirror.  I don't need to see that.

I took my longarm machine in for a tune-up before we went on our long trip, and I finally got it back today.  Apparently it's been sitting there waiting for me for several days, but they forgot to call and tell me to come get it.  That was nice of them.  I was having trouble with the stitch regulator going too fast, so they had to fix that as well as give it the usual lube-oil-filter treatment.  They did a bunch of repairs on it including replacing the main board and the power board (some kind of computerized electronics on it), removed thread jams from the roller wheels, installed missing washers from the encoder kits (wonder why those weren't there to begin with?), removed burrs and delinted everything.  The cost to do all that would have been $1200.  That's right--TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!  Luckily, I had purchased the extended warranty and service package (about $300) and it covers it ALL.  Totally worth it.  Heck, it covered the broken encoder from earlier this year, too, so it's paid for itself five times over.

Kelly is making more changes to the house. He's just not satisfied unless he's drastically re-arranging the TV system every 6 months (new units, new service providers, new remotes...).  Now he's decided to move it to the other side of the wall, into the front room.  This involves cutting holes into the wall (the one we just had painted a few months ago after getting the ceiling repaired in the front room), re-wiring electrical stuff, crawling around in the crawl space (aka the creepy-crawly space), and generally making a mess.  I really wasn't interested in having this project done, but by the time I realized he was serious, he had already cut holes in the wall.  It hardly seemed the time to complain.  We'll see how this goes.

I, on the other hand, am tired of carpet bugs (which seem to come in waves every few months as the gross creatures hatch) and I have decided to make the investment in the house and get rid of all the carpet.  We went to look at hardwood samples and are trying to determine if we should try to do it ourselves (we have the tools, so that part's take care of) or if we should hire it out.  Or rather, if we can afford to hire it out.  We'll have to hire out some of it, like the stairs, but I think we can do the rest of it ourselves with a little bit of practice.  I figured I'd start with my closet, which doesn't connect to any other room but the bathroom (and we're keeping the vinyl for now--we'll probably upgrade to tile eventually, but it ain't broke, so...).  If it looks HORRIBLE and I don't have the confidence to do it, I'll hire it out.  It's a good place to start, I think.  First, however, we'll need to gut the house--sifting through closets and drawers, pitching old clothes, organizing and hanging and boxing (into Rubbermaid toters), and then moving furniture into the garage (after gutting the garage, too) or working around furniture to get it done.  It's gonna be a big project, and it may take weeks to get done, especially if we do it ourselves.  I'm leaning toward hiring the guys to do it, especially for downstairs, but we can't drop $8000 on flooring (yes, this is for the whole house at about $4 sq/ft for red oak with the 100 year warranty) and then having to pay the guys another $8000 to install.  We may have to do it room by room.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Veritable Smorgasbord!

I just realized how long it's been since I posted anything.  What's up with that?!

Sometimes the way I figure out what I have done in the last few days/weeks since I last posted is to go back through my Facebook pages and draw from that.  I don't keep a journal--I was never good at that sort of thing--but FB is sort of like a journal...just less space and it's pretty public.  So, Dad, that's what it is.  Simple snapshots of what you're doing or thinking, sharing thoughts and ideas, recipes, and, more of than not, misinformation about viruses and political ideologies.

Since we returned from our two-week boomerang across the country, we did the annual shopping trip to buy supplies for the teachers and students of grades 4, 6 and 10.  Can you believe it?!  I remember when the kids were 4, 6, and 10 and now...oh, man...  I didn't get first-day-of-school pictures this year.  It was raining.  Maybe I'll get first-week-of-school photos instead.  It cost a pretty big sack of pennies to get all that stuff.  Notebooks, pencils, pens, rulers, was over $200 when all's said and done, and we didn't even have to buy expensive calculators or anything.

Ben had a doctor appointment in Bellevue, so afterwards we decided to go to the Crab Pot for lunch.  We had never been there before and thought it might be fun to eat our lunch with hammers and bibs.  Ben got a kick out of the whole shrimp with the heads on them.  I thought they looked like they had long French mustaches, so we called this one Monsieur Petit (although if I had been able to look it up in a French-English dictionary, I would have called him Monsieur Crevette).  He made lots of Frenchy accents and then ate him.
Ben went to Cub Scout day camp again this summer.  He had a "blast"! Yeah, I know.  Bad pun.  It was really close to home and kept him running for about 6 hours a day doing crafts, archery, and other activities.

I got the main part of Emma's Japanese Hexagons quilt put together.  It's missing a little piece up in the corner (I pulled it to match the fabric, and now of course, it's missing.  Sigh.)  I need to add a couple borders on it, then quilt it.  However, I still don't have my big longarm back from the repair shop.  I'm going to pop by tomorrow morning and see if it's there in the shop and no one bothered to call me.  Since I don't have any jobs lined up now, it'll be nice to get a few of my own projects done.  I know she's anxious to have this quilt on her bed.

This is another thing that I started working on, made from 6" squares sewn into half-square triangles.  I think I'm going to make them into pinwheels instead of Broken Dishes (cover up the top row...the purple triangles should be spinning in a pinwheel).  A friend suggested making some half-size pinwheels and setting some of those in there as well as large plain squares to create more interest.  I'll have to play around with that idea.

Kelly and I are continuing to enjoy attending the Sounders games.  They played Portland Timbers (boo) a couple weeks ago, and in Sounders Supporters tradition, they came up with a great tifo.  Tifo, from the Italian word, tifosi, meaning supporters, is a display of support for a team during a derby match with a rival team.  The Timbers and Sounders have had such a rivalry for decades, before they joined the MLS.  Each scheduled home game against them motivates the larger of the Sounders supporter clubs, the Emerald City Supporters, to put together these awesome displays that they unfurl before a home game.

There is some debate on our part as to who the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are in this set of banners...  In this picture, the stands are full.  Over 67,000 fans showed up to witness the Sounders spank the Timbers...and they said that soccer would never be popular in America.  Last year's average attendance was a record-breaking 43,144.  Compared worldwide, our average attendance would be 6th in English Premier League, 4th in Spain's La Liga as well as Italy's Serie A, and 11th in the German Bundesliga (National League).  Normally the attendance is around 43,000, and they only open up the last 25,000 seats for these derby matches against Portland, LA, and Vancouver.  I suspect they'll break the record again this year--the season ends in October.

Of course, going to the game has its disadvantages for the vertically challenged.  This is what my view of the game usually is:
Nice haircut, dude...can you move a smidge to the left?  (Standing on tippy-toes)

It's tradition to stand for the entire game--the only ones that sit are the people in the first five or six rows.  After that, standing.  We're more than 15 rows back, so...yeah.  Standing.

We came home to this sight:
Posting it on FB, a friend said, "That's amazing!  How did he get the teddy bear to do the one-armed push up?"  ha ha ha!

I don't get enough pictures of this lovely young lady.  And she's SMILING!  She gets her braces off in a couple weeks...wooot!

We went to the State Fair.  It was...mediocre.  We got ride bracelets for all of us, and it truly paled in comparison to Great America.  But it gave me the opportunity to test out some of the new features on my phone.  Kelly and Cammie rode on this spinny bucket ride.

Ben didn't care for the rides much.  He like the carousel and ferris wheel, but got into the spinning ride that is shaped like football helmets.

Mostly he just liked the cotton candy.

Cammie went "hang gliding".

They fed the llamas, which tickled.

Played with the tractors (the sign said, "PHOTO OP:  SIT ON ME!" so we accommodated them, even though the seat was wet).  Not too far from this batch of tractors was a little museum that housed a Geocache in the yard.  The employee there helped me find it when my Geo-unit was acting funny.

The other day, Kelly decided to buy a pomegranate.  I decided to use the peels to make dye.  I probably should have cut all the pieces up small to maximize the amount of dye coming from it, but I followed the internet's directions of soaking the bits in water overnight (or 48 hours, in this case), and then putting mordanted yarn into the bath and warming it up, then letting it soak overnight.
The color is pretty close to what's in the photo here, a nice buttery yellow.  Many of the things you dye with natural dye stuffs turns out various shades of tan or yellow.  I'd like to try to do some other colors, like Brazilwood.  I'd also like to experiment with other mordants since I've mostly only done alum with cream of tartar.

On a personal note, I started to do yoga.  This is mostly to help build strength and flexibility--I just had a bunch of blood drawn and all the numbers came out normal...or pretty close.  There was something weird about the kidney function results that I didn't understand, so I'll have to find out what that was about.  I know I have a stone hanging out in there, but it hasn't bothered just showed up on an X-ray a while back.  <shrug>  I've gone to the yoga class twice and while I'm not the only fat chick there, I have to remember not to set up next to the mirrors.  I don't need to see my performance in a glorious full-length reflection of my inflexible, clumsy self while I'm surrounded by svelte rubber bands that bend and twist with ease.  The first time I did yoga, it took about three days for the pain to catch up with me.  I went again today, so I might try to do some stretching and a few poses just to see if that helps reduce the painful effect.