Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Blessed and Stressful World We Weave.....

when we agree to raise a geek! :o) Well, it's not all her fault, i suppose--especially when her parents are pretty geeky themselves. :o)

Oh, we are so thrilled with our daughter--and yet, she leaves us so confused. Right now is not the time to be confused with so much stuff going on.

It's time to sign up for P&R's classes again (they run as if on a college schedule.) Last year, Ri couldn't wait to enroll in the Irish dancing, and since she was already in an "away from home" school 5 days a week, i made her choose between Irish or ballet/tap class. So Irish she picked. Did so beautifully for her first time out, that she was cast to be at the front of the stage for their recital. **beam**

It's been a rough summer. I think i've successful raised my kid to be a homebody, because now she never wants to leave the house! We've been talking about Irish dancing and adding another dance class because she'll be in "at home" school this year. She choose tap/jazz class and didn't want to return to Irish. **shudder!** what, my little colleen not wanting to return to Irish class?!? No, no, no, this would never do.

Many a conversations were had and so i did what i told myself i'd never do, what most every parent does when their kid is defying their "destiny": i told her she should enroll this semester in Irish dance, so she can perform in the holiday recital, and then if she wants to take a break, she can next Spring.

So we signed her up and emailed her teachers about missing the first class, because my mom and dad are returning this wkend from Brasil, and since they haven't had any contact most of the month with their granddaughter, they are whisking her away to Idaho for a few days in Sept. before i go and pick her up and drag her back home.

We got an email back yesterday from the Irish dance instructor, she'd like to move Ri up to the next level of Irish softshoe, the one that usually is for the bigger grade school kids, because she thinks she has a good grasp of the reel and the light jig. **beam, again** So of course, now Ri is very excited and proud of herself and wants to move up a level so she can learn the slip and single jigs. Exciting times!

Well, they would be, until Hubbie sounded thee alarm with the question this morning, "are you ready to clear out this house and devise a plan to make a move on that Tudor?" I was thinking, "is anyone ever ready to 'clear out their house', Daffy?" However, in light of him being half way out the door and on his way to work when he said it, i figured for domestic interest's sake, i'd smile graciously and leave him with a positive image of me for the rest of the day...especially because he is working late. :o) The rumours are out at the City--the hammer is coming down and layoffs are inevitable. Of all days, hubbies and wifies that work at the City need a reassuring memory of the way they left home this morning--otherwise the bars might be pretty full in the afternoon.

So we've got:
  • visitours
  • travelling
  • two dance classes we're gearing up for
  • soccer practice
  • a possible move
  • hopefully not a possible layoff looming,

all while trying to get a nice routine established for our first year of homeschool adventures.

It's got to be martini time somewhere, doesn't it?

At least their are fun little blogthings to do online for a 5 minute read posts from my beloved blogfriends' blogs and learn things and find silly little things like this:

You Are a 1950s Diva

High heels, pretty dresses, classic makeup...

You're a feminine beauty who knows how to play up her assets!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Am I Crazy?

Wondering if i am completely crazy not to be in *la-uuuuuhve* with that house? Not everyone gets to have a piece of eye candy like that to exist in everyday, eh? But i am neither empowered, nor impressed by that kind of stuff. I don't want a place that people drop their jaws everytime they see it. I want a home for my family--a place where my kids can feel like they had a storybook upbringing. A magical place filled with lots of love and gargantuan amounts of giggles. And, while it would qualify nicely, there are a few things i can't get over.

1. We'd never be able to have a cow (not that i really know what i am getting into raising a cow...but i would like to raise one if Ri was ever interested in it someday--we're joining 4-H next year.) Ever since i saw a gal in Sandpoint who had raised a meat cow, showed it at the fair, and auctioned him off for her first year of college tuition, i've always thought what a great way to teach your child the world of business. Her parents did her very well! I don't think Nona would be able to get to college on the sale of eggs alone. :o)

2. The lack of land--and maybe it's because it's blueberry season here and now you can see all the bushes bursting with their juicy blue gems--not having been irrigated once all season (unless it rained, they didn't get watered and we haven't much rain this summer!) When you drive down that driveway, you see some of the original 23 acres covered with blueberry bushes bigger than a rain barrel from the farm of yesteryear. All that is slated to become "gi-normous", cheaply built houses with postage stamp-sized yards. Is that really the place for a micro farm?

If we could negoiate successfully, we'd have useable land about the size of a football field (3/4's of an acre is what we would have.) Once planted with orchards and a veggie garden, i am not certain we'd have room for a cow. Goats, definitely (we'd need them for ivy control, as the whole hilly part of the backyard is covered in invasive English ivy), and chickens. Hubbie thinks we'd be able to rent some farmland near by if we ever wanted a cow that bad.

3. Room for my parents many years down the road. My parents are in great shape now and for the foreseeable future. But maybe because i was older when things happened to my grandparents, i remember the toll that they took on my parents. Not so much physically or financially as emotionally. They wanted to help take care of them, but there are only so many hours in a day. We, as a family, did what we could, visited and ran errands for them at least once a week, trying to take care of my two handicapped grandmothers at the same time. And after experiencing nursing homes and having worked in the medical field, there is no way i am putting my parents in a facility like that. So we need room for them eventually--and room for more kids too. Not that a 5 bedroom house wouldn't allow for that, but i had envisioned a separate residence on our property, in the name of comfort and respect of privacy, for my parent's visits now and for in the future, incase they needed it.

4. I've been hoping that we would find a level farm with many acres (at least 3) that could help us focus on living a little greener--installing solar for the home, having a managed mini forest to use wood for heat, having enough room to culivate our own food and storage to help save on plums, apples, pears, etc., area for raising meat animals (the county South of us--where the home we are looking at is located) is starting a moblie slaughter unit to help the plight of the local farmer to get his small scale meat business up and running and "legal" by USDA standard--to be able to sell the meats per pound in markets around our area--or even to your neighbour--at a more cost effective rate.

However, maybe i should focus on the good things too:

First and foremost: there aren't any "bikini baristas" near this home we're looking at. We had another one open in our area just a few weeks ago, on the stretch of road that has the worst rate of prostitution in our area and that happens to be located near our local library! The new shop reminds me of what you hear about in Amsterdam--signage reading "Sneek a peek"* (too bad they aren't as good at spelling as they are at making a corset and thong look appealing in public, eh?) and "Pasties and Pearls, Girls! Girls! Girls!" It's disgusting!

2. Also, if we lived in this Tudor house area, i highly doubt that on our way to Mass we'd have to call in to the local police to report a prostitute trying to pick up a John on the street corner just a 1/2 mile from our home. Like we had to do this past wkend.

The only thing "questionable" near the new house is a tatoo parlor, but hey, at least that is a legal form of business, regardless of your morals.

Alright, just these two would be enough to make anyone move, but....

3. Valley soil, Sir!! Valley soils here are the best in the area--one of the cashiers at one of our frequented grocers lives not too far from this home. She had a yard sale at the end of July and had tomatoes! and zucchini to sell at her sale. Tomatoes!! I can't even think about a fresh tomato until about Sept--end of August, if i'm lucky.

4. A historical house with lots of history. That's something i've always wished for.

5. It's still in a walkable area--we found a bridge with sidewalks over the hwy nearby, which means Riona and i could walk or bike a mile and 1/2 in to the library, parks, restaurants or stores. We could even walk to the fairs they have throught the year: Victorian Country Christmas, Spring and end of Summer fairs, sewing expos, homeschool expos, you name it. :o)
Especially convienent is the fact that it isn't too far away from either train station Hubbie might need to use to get to work--he could still bike to either train station from this house. Proximity to the commuter line is a big priority of ours, as otherwise commuter traffic in the area doubles any regular travel time on a good day--triples it on a cold, wet winter day (of which we have a lot of.)

6. Even though i don't like the way the house is sorta on display the way it sits on the hill above the Valley floor, it's a great home i could really see us enjoying...especially great because there aren't neighbours too close by (even the new houses would be built a few hundred feet away on the other side of the wetlands.) When we were there this weekend, enjoying the view from the deck, i kept hearing clunk, clang, clang; clunk, clang, clang. Finally figured it was a couple of neighbour cows in the woods next to the house. Amazing! I told Hubbie, "Look, those neighbours don't smoke, cuss, and fight. Those are the kind of neighbours we'd like!" :o)

7. Because the house sits up on the hill a bit, we wouldn't have to worry too much about flooding. There is a creek behind the house, and the house has a couple of sump pumps, but older homes around here are expected to flood a little bit. We're high on a ridge now, and even our carport walls leak when there are big rains.

See, today i find more things right than wrong; yesterday it was the other way around.

Oh, i waiver so....why can't i be the "make a decision, take a stand, forge ahead" kinda gal??

It doesn't help either that Hubbie keeps mentioning to me how the City's income has fallen off and the budget is kaput (we all know that every city in America is going through that now, eh? Hardly anyone is selling a house, not many people are shopping in malls or shops.) I can't help but think that layoffs might be coming eventually--he hasn't mentioned specifically, but it's happening everywhere--it almost seems that it is inevitable in every sector. Not that i think Hubbie's job is in immediate jeopardy--he is a excellent and hard working Environmental Engineer, however after all the parks and non-essential law enforcement and fire positions have been evicted, what goes next? Are the codes & standards the state's Dept. of Ecology has set essential enough for a city to have to keep a full staff in an environmental engineering dept.? There could be better times ahead to feel more confident in buying a new home--especially when you are talking about trading up a significant bit.

That's the $1,000,000 question, i suppose, literally.

BTW, please feel free to answer my original question, located in the title of this post. :o)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Starting Another Project...

You know "shiny ball syndrome", eh? I've got it bad!

my first granny square

red heart's blueberry pie

This past Spring, i picked up this great color of Red Heart yarn (blueberry pie) with the intention of making a lovely crocheted curtain in a seashell pattern from the book, Vintage Crochet. After a few modifications for a bigger window opening and 15 crocheted rows, i could tell this was not going to work for Ri's room. So i bagged the project, but keptthe yarn, thinking we could use it for something.

Soon after, i saw a post on House on Hill Road about her beautiful granny square throw she was making and i was intrigued. I knew i would try making a granny square blanket with this "Blueberry pie" yarn. I just didn't know what i would do to make the square fascinating.

Tonight, while cruisin' the aisles at the store, i found what i think will work--just need to find the right combinations: i love that heather grey with the blueberry.
I came home and made my first granny sq. immediately using this tutorial from The Purl Bee.
Not certain i like the blue with it...maybe in the right ratio it would work better. If it were the last round, it might be better. I think maybe the first two rounds i will try in the blueberry colour, then grey, then the blue. I definitely think the blueberry pie and the blue colour crocheted in rounds together does nothing to enhance the look--too similar. Maybe what would be best is a grey center, blueberry, more grey and then blue?
I'll be playing around with this the next few days, trying to decide which looks best and then start crocheting away.
Maybe i'll have a little poll on which granny sq. looks best. :o)
Hope you all have a great week!

1926 English Tudor, Puyallup

UPDATE: Yesterday we decided to bag the sale (only 10 people showed up by Saturday at 2:30, so we decided to box everything up and take it to a local 2nd hand store in time to celebrate Mass with Fr. "Bro-in-Law" in Tacoma.

That left us open on Sunday, so we went house hunting. Just as it happened, a realtor from the Tudor home we looked at in June. The developers want someone to purchase the outbuildings on the property with the house, so they are willing to make property line adjustments with a buyer. We all concluded that this might be some time to try to get some property out of them too--maybe 2 acres or so.

So we met up out there again, went through the outbuildings and the house. Learned from a gentleman that stopped by that he used to date the girl that lived in the house. After the English gent and family (the Avries) listed this, a footballer from America (last name Bonds, played with the UW and won a Rose Bowl tournament for them) bought the property. They ran a blueberry farm, The Avries-Bonds Farm, off of the 20 acres that this home originally had. Yesterday, as we drove out, we saw these gorgeous blueberry stands, covered in non native Himalayan blackberry vines, lining either side of the driveway. Locals were out picking them clean. The bushes are at least 30-40 years old, so you can imagine the amount of blueberries. Sadly, it is these stands that are slated to become a new neighbourhood of 50-80 McMansions.

While walking through the outbuildings, we discovered a trough that denotes a milking facility, a Steelcase Tanker desk, a 1960's calendar, and this sign--which Hubbie and i immediately fell in love with--that helps record what bushes have been picked clean and tell fieldworkers which still need harvesting. When all the pegs are turned a certain way, it reads "completed".

What a find, eh? We both agreed that if we purchased the place, we'd be cleaning this sign and hanging it in our living room. :o)

Just a few more pictures to round out the post:

This is the kitchen...amazing, isn't it??? I am standing in the larder.
I love this rack. At first i thought i was a spice rack, but the slats don't have bottoms. So what could this have been used for?

This is Nona in a downstairs bedroom with a great view of the backyard.

The house from the back yard.

Well, the sad tale as it goes is that Hubbie has poured over all the information on the internets that he can find. Codes, property values, flood plain maps, zoning codes and has come to a very sobering conclusion that isn't too hard to guess. Cities just don't like farmers anymore. There isn't much usable, flat, non wetland property we could potentially get out of the deal, and basically the developer just wants someone to property line adjust the outbuildings onto this property and assume responsiblity for having to fix or tear down because they don't want to spend the money on it themselves. It's these types of developers i hope suffer so much through these economic downturns that they can't recover their "business" after the economy turns around. Makes me so mad i could spit fire, but they aren't the only ones to blame--it's also our culture of the bigger, better *Brand New* homes that are mass marketed to people that feel their lives can't be content without such a cheaply made mini-mansion. We won't go there today, though. :o)
If we really dealt with the developers , if they would accept the deal Hubbie would like to propose, then really we'd only be getting the about the same amount of property that we have now.

Is it worth it to have a house like this? That remains to be decided. Or maybe by the time we decide, someone will have decided for us and bought the place.
Original Post: 6.20.09

Here are a few pictures of a really nice home we looked at today. The current owner has had it since 1947!!

There is a long driveway--easily big as a city block. This is what's at the end. The house sits above the Valley floor and is nestled in the base of South Hill.

The neighbour came by while we were standing on the deck. They share an easement drive with this house. He said his family has been neighbours with this house from the beginning--mid 1920's In this area, the big hops farming boom was just dying out then due to disease and with many Dutch and European settlers here and immigrating still, bulb farms--mainly daffodils and tulips--started gaining popularity and popping up all over the Valley floor. We aren't sure what was farmed here on their 20 acres + originally, but the neighbour did tell us that the original owners were English and this home was designed by the gent based on a house he had known in his old neighbourhood there.

This is the intersection of the old house (on the right) and the 1970's addition (left).

This is the addition...the people who owned this home took loving care of it. This old bay window is actually original. It originally was on the wall they blew out, and they replaced it in the front of the addition, so it is next to the front door.

Ready to see the treasures that await inside?

This is what they call the dining room. It is the first room on the right as you walk in the door. The coved ceiling blew me away--especially because they are painted a beautiful blue-green and the walls are a creamy blue. Sadly, the original dark wood has been painted, which also means the windows have been sealed shut. Don't you just love that radiator and chandelier?

This is the living room just across from the "dining room". Little Miss Ri looks like she belongs here, eh? I absolutely love the hearth--flush with the wood floors. And the window seating and the radiator boxes. Oy!! First thing that would have to go is that mirror above the fireplace. The other thing we would change is the dining room...why would you make a dining room next to your front door? I thought that was just for apartments? One great thing about this house for us is all the bookcases!! That would be a **huge** asset. Anyway, this whole area would become a living room.

The window to Ri's right is the front of the house. There is a gorgeous view over the land in front and the Valley. On a clear day, you can see to the Olympics. Sadly, all that land is slated to become 70 McMansions. razz-a frazz-a (explicative, explicative)!!

The floors seem to be hardwood, but what type? We aren't sure. Probably Doug Fir, if it was locally sourced. I love the detail of the darker band of wood to designate rooms.

This is the main floor bedroom (pre-addition, this was the only bedroom on the main floor.) Wouldn't it make a delightful guest room?

Outside, there is a creek that runs just beyond these windows by a few feet, representing the property line.

This is the guest room closet. This window is at the front of the house & has a view of the Valley.

Here is the downstairs bathroom (was the only pre-addition).
Looking at it in a photo, it's charming.
Seeing those cranberry stripes in real life kinda makes one feel as though they are Alice in Wonderland! :o) They would have to go! And sadly, (have you noticed there are lots of "sadlies" in this post? huh.) the tile floors, which i fully expected to be pink or white hexagonal tiles where an unfortunate vinyl. *Sigh*

This is the kitchen and a slight view of the backyard.

The kitchen was amazing, dark, but amazing. See that stove? It's an old school Frigidaire! It replaced the old woodstove that would have been there in the 20's-40's/50's. The old chimney is still accessible under that wall jutting out above the stove. Wouldn't it be lovely to recreate that?!? You could heat the house with that!

This is the room that in the 20's till modern day refrigeration would have been the cooler, or "larder" as the English say.

It has been turned into a nook that has tons of cabinets, even one housing an old wooden, wall mounted ironing board. Sadly, this room isn't big enough to be the dining room. But there are so many cabinets and pantries in this area...i wouldn't even need a canning room. All the "little put-up jobs" would fit in the kitchen!! It puts our 1950's galley style kitchen to shame.

In keeping with the original floor plan, we're on to the upstairs...

Surprisingly, there is an upstairs lu.
Just the right amount you need for an old house like this--
a simple water closet, complete with radiator!

1 of 3 bedrooms upstairs, with a view of the backyard

2 of 3 bedrooms: this was the original "master".

Lots of old, beautifully kept woodwork in the house!

those 1970's light switches need to go though!

3rd bedroom is a gem...those windows actually open inward.

In the room is a small closet built into the wall and another hide-e-hole of a closet.

Wouldn't this make a great kid's getaway?
From here, it was down to the unfinished basement. Very dark down there, as you would expect, but charming, unexpectedly.

The house is heated with an old boiler. This photo below is a picture of the old wood/coal closet.

The basement has a few of these too...they are ash depositories for the mainfloor fireplace, and this one for the original stove that was in the kitchen.

We have one in our carport for our fireplace...makes cleaning out the ash a lot more fun!

This is a large living area sandwiched between the boiler room and the coal closet.

It would make a great living room for tv and computer, if we could be assured there were no water issues. It's actually built like a have to climb 2 or 3 steps off the basement floor to stand in it. Immediately, i could see Ri and her teenage friends (in just 7 years, you know) hanging out down here.

This would have been the garage, i believe. Now it is this adorable little space...what would you do? Craft room? Parties? The door leads to a covered carport at the front of the house. Perfect for Spring and rainy Summer day parties.

Another little area in the basement...crafts or writing area for me and Mike?

Now, moving on to the addition back on the main floor. This is where this house is disturbing.
It was added on in the 1970's. This is the window that i mentioned was repurposed. The 70+ year old woman that used to live here was wheelchair bound, so she had it built so that she could remain in her home. This room they are trying to sell as the "master", but it truly is large enough to be it's own apartment! We talked of possibly making this a dining room--probable formal dining room. Little wainscotting and some cabinets and hutches might make it look wonderful?! Definitely, the carpet has to go!

This room is just off a little hall that is the intersection of the basement stairs, the backyard/back carport (this house has 3 carports) door and the hall from the living room and doorway to the kitchen. If you could see over to the right of the bed, there is a deadend hall with a window, 3 closets, and a huge linen cabinet, then a doorway to the bathroom.

This is the bathroom, complete with jetted tub and another linen cabinet.

It also has a handy telephone and astray mounted near the toilet! (say wha?)

Sorry i didn't get more pictures of the outside. It's pretty hard and it was rainy today (11 minutes shy of our record for longest dry spell, if you can believe that!?) The front walk to the door is a curved staircase with dense bushes. The backyard is a pretty little patch of grass (500-600 sq ft or so) that is mucky and muddy even after 30 days with no rain, so i am guessing the creek contributes to a lot of that, which could be really bad for the house's foundation, being that the creek runs just a few feet from the west side of the house.

We are ambivalent about it so far....namely for 3 reasons: 1. there is no usable land (where would we start our Mactutis Family Farm?), 2. it's pretty pricey (and because i am a geeky restorationalist kinda gal, i can't fathom how much more denairo we'd have to spend restoring light fixtures, switches, flooring, painted molding and windows...), and 3. NO ELECTRICAL OUTLETS UPSTAIRS! We get put out still, after living in our home for 8 years +, because some rooms only have 1-2 pronged outlet per room (no ground wires here!) Or if you are lucky, the bathrooms in our current home only have an outlet in the light fixture. Seems to me that might be a pricey thing to remedy as well....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Sorry for the intermission and the filler post from the other day.

I'm busy reorganising parts of the house, trying to slowly ease The Child into homeschooling, clean up the yard a bit, and get ready for a yard sale this wkend.

Of course, it can't be as simple as "hey, i think i'll spend the week at home purging cabinets for a yard sale this wkend."

3 things that almost have completely deterred me:

1. Apparently, this is the wkend our neighbourhood association (not homeowner's association, but a neighbourhood assoc that is supposed to help start up block watches, push us to sign up for communal mailboxes to ease the mail carriers plight, and help neighbours help each other. So far, they've performed poorly for every task, because they can't stop bickering or scheming--which is why i retired as secretary last year. It's an association that is politically charged when there is no need for it.) I disgress...

So, in order to have a yard sale in my own yard this wkend, i had to pay $10, or Lord knows what the old biddies would have done to our house or family. One man was completely and publicly humiliated in meeting after meeting and has been shunned by anyone in the hood ever since. Believe me when i say these ladies are ruthless. I think the head hen in any flock in the entire USA would be kinder than some of these women in the neighbourhood group...not only are they shameless, but elitest to boot. Yeah....quite the combo, eh?

2. Most everyone we know who has children going into some form of school away from home is in a sheer and total ****PANIC**** because they are going back to school in 2 weeks and we haven't gotten together all summer. Hark, SUMMER IS OVER! Oy...! I know where i've been....and our phone hasn't been a'ringin'. :o) Not until this week, that is. :o\ We are sad our family friends' children will be going back to school as playdates will be harder to arrange with loved ones, and it always seems like you can never get enough time these days with these friends--extended family, as it were. However, we have made it a priority to get together as much as possible this summer, so we are happy and grateful for the time we've had. I am really not good at saying no to kids...especially when they want to play with my kid--my kid was the shy kid, that i didn't think would ever have friends. Now she has the same problem her momma does--everyone thinks because you're so laid back that you're the bee knees, and they want to visit visit visit; only when it's convenient for them. Grrr! I don't have time to entertain when i've got purging to do....come sit on the lawn, use my sprinkler, delight in my garden, but please, don't disturb me from my packing and purging!!! :o)

3. I've really packed up and gotten rid of a lot of stuff. I can't believe it, but i guess i have. Wishing now i hadn't freecycled so much stuff. I am to the point where i am thinking of answering freecycle ads that have tons of stuff they're giving away, so that i can keep one thing (to avoid the guilt) and sell the rest. Ha! It's a sick thought, i know. And i won't do it, but man, what'd i have to cough up $10 for so i could try to sell a popcorn popper, a weight bench, and a few of Nona's clothes. UGH! Which also leaves me with the realisation that it isn't stuff that is cluttering our's PAPER and GROCERIES! more UGH, UGH, UGH!

It might be a few mores days between posts. We've got a visit with one of our dear friends and her mom at the children's garden this wk. We've got rollerskating. We've been contacted by someone we haven't seen since early June, who invited themselves over for a playdate with my kid on Thursday at my house. Yeah, lovely....

You know the Mary Engelbreit picture with the little girl with the snarled up face with the caption that reads "Must. Change. Attitude."? That little girl is me this week.

If you'll please excuse me while i have a week!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I *heart* Picnic!

I've just discovered the new (to me) function on Flickr where you can doll up your photos a bit.

I love what it did with this photo i took of Hotel de Haro:


hotel de haro-fied

Fortuitously, i just picked up a cream colored frame at IKEA that desparately needs a photo!

Gifts from the Garden: Saturday, 8.15.09

The corn is putting on tassels (good weather, please hold on for 15 more days!!!)
I am hoping this works, because this is a new kind of corn we are trying
to short season climates--only 65 days till maturity.
Garden Huckleberry (Nightshade) volunteers from last year

Roma toms comin' right along

This was a little volunteer tom from last year's plants.
I hope it's another Roma--i want to make lotsa pasta sauce this Fall.
When we left for the beach it was only about 2 inches high, now it's at least a foot!

Ri's carrots finally sprouted
A few zucchinis are starting to fill out--this year, my plants have been plagued by powdery mildew like nobody's business!

First of the pumkpins to turn...wondering what to do with this baby?!
We usually grow them just for October displays, but now....
Maybe some roasted? I wonder if we should leave it till it gets cooler.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When Frugality Bites...

Cleaning out the spice cabinet has led to a Freecycle posting that makes me look like such a baffoon. Don'tcha just hate that?! Thankfully, i've got lots of emails from fellow Freecyclers sympathizing with me as they have the same type of problem--the message read as follows:

From: Whit
Date: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 10:14 am
To: King County Freecycle
Subject: OFFERED: 1 lb. tub of Ground Allspice

You know when you're shopping for a certain spice and you find that small little 2 oz container is just as expensive as the 1 lb jar, so you think to yourself, "Man, i'd be stupid to buy that little jar when i could get all this!"

Cause really, the smart person would have bought the 2 oz jar if they only needed 1 tsp of ground allspice.

Well, just call me Stupid, but don't call me late for dinner, or any baked good you'll be making with it. :o)

In all seriousness, i do infact have a 1 pound plastic tub of Sauer's ground allspice (minus the teaspoon of it that i used for chili sauce.)

Now that i have a year's worth of chili sauce, i don't want the allspice hanging around the house for the year, expiring.

If you can put it to good use, especially with the upcoming holidays, please email me!


Double thankfully, within just a few minutes of confessing my spice purchasing iniquities, a gal emailed me that she would be here today to pick it up. Of course, a couple hours after, she was having freecycler's remorse i think, as i got an email back stating that if i never needed any of it back, just to email and let her know. :o)

Do you think if in 2015, if i was short on some allspice and i emailed her, that she'd still have some? :o)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Took The Plunge

Yesterday, Ri and i set out for Ikea.
When you get a bug about Ikea, you gotta go quick.

Seattle is an Ikea kinda town--3400 sq foot houses are built with such little bedrooms, little dining rooms, and thousands of cabinets in the kitchen--Ikea's just the place to find furniture that fits, and millions of things to fill though cabinets.

It's also a place that everyone goes too when it rains.

Today, it rained for the first time in 4 weeks--HA! Take that you rumour that "Living in Seattle is like living in your shower all year long!" :o) Well, that's overstating it a bit. But Quillyute, WA, that's a place that knows what it's like to live in your shower!

Anyhoo, we procured 20 of the spice bottles and a bigger version of the style for my baking soda that i buy in bulk.

and some nice heirloom tomatoes from the grocery, as you can see.

And we got a few other things that weren't on our list--a nice wooden shelf from the kitchen section for Riona's room. We need to get her dresser top cleared of the sports trophies so she'll have room for her boom box A&P got for her. We got her some nice wooden hangers--kid's sized--to hang up her nice coats.

Then i found this and...

i had to restrain myself
(look familiar? see what i mean about Seattle being an Ikea kind of town!)
I only purchased one (these babies could break the bank, especially if you bought their embroidered lampshade counterparts!) Now i am wishing i would have gotten another at least--i think they would look so wonderful in our bedroom--i love that slightly Spanish vibe. It reminds me of the desert.

We were in the store a whole 2 hours, and it seems like all Ri and i said to each other was, "Hey, look at that! It's the (fill in the blank) from the beach house!" ;o)

After we settled in at home, i started testing out my jars--filling them with numerous duplicate bags of thyme, cloves, and cumin seeds. My only complaint: the tops don't screw on. They have a silicone gasket inside the stainless lid that closes down on the glass. Not ideal, sure, because the first time someone unknowingly lifts one by the lid...whoopsy daisy, there goes all your parsley all over the floor. Lord, may it please be something as cheap as parsley!! :o) But i think once i get them in a fabulous little wooden crate, it'll be easier to pick up the whole shee-bang.

I've also changed my original thinking--i am thinking of round labels now...on the tops. Maybe it could work? I'll have to investigate!
But first, my pea brain needs to remember the idea Ri had for an embroidered pillow for her room. She *hearts* dolphins, so we talked about making a felt pillow sham, with a reverse applique of a dolphin, starfish, and maybe some kelp or something. Stitching those pieces of fabric on the felt to cover the holes might be a good way for her to learn the running stitch. Have to make sure the pillow is small enough though--i don't think she's have the patience or the stamina to do a sham for her sleeping pillow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


My parents are on a month long trip to Brasil for their 40th.

I haven't heard from them in 4 days, as they are on a 4 day train trip with an acquaintance down there.

I'm trying to remain calm...

but news articles like this one aren't helping matters!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Ponderin' Projects

This'll be just a little stream of conscious note to self.

Feel free to skip it; or read it and rejoice in laughter and thankfulness that you aren't plagued by the psychoses i exhibit frequent.

This kitchen re-organization do-over has got the old wheels a spinning. Hear that speaking? And as i am not one of those "buy it off the shelves, just like it is and bask in the glory of it's perfection" kinda girls, it of course involves power tools, trips to a few different stores, and quite possibly spray paint. Egad! Now you know i really mean business, eh?

As every worthwhile project begins in my home, so does this one: with a consultation with my Pop. A few years ago, he made this perfect little wooden crate for me that included some great gifts from him and my mom that they got at their craft fairs.

I repurposed it into a cookie sprinkle caddy.
(True be told, they look a heck of alot better than those Diprivan box cartons that i saved from work after restocking the IV room all day. They are the same size/style fo the wooden crate, just in white cardboard form. Yucky! And of course, now they have a stigma associated with them, because of MJ's death. It's probably like using old blasting powder cartons as moving boxes. People see those things nowadays, and they'll turn you into the State Po-lice. Which reminds me of a good bumpersticker i saw the other day: "The Patriot Act: Preserving Your Rights By Taking Them Away".)
I disgress....

The crate is simple enough in it's design.

I'm almost certain it would be something he could teach me to make. After all, you know the old addage: give the girl a groovy little box, she'll be able to find 1 thing; teach her to make groovy little boxes and she will rule the world! (ahem) Rather, her cabinets will be so orderly.

Leaning toward the Ikea Droppar spice jars --they are similar in size to the sprinkle containers.

These little guys are 2 inches in diameter, meaning that if i made them 10 to 12" long, i could get a fair amount of spices contained. And compared to the plastic lidded glass jars at $2.19 ea. i saw at our "one-stop shop", these $2.99/pair are a steal! Woot!

Will definitely need to invest in some slim masking tape and a grease pencil to label each jar appropos.

Also, i am on the look out for some nice Flour/Sugar containers. Would love to find some vintage ones, but fear i haven't the patience, nor the stomach for that. Who know's what the previous owners' habits were like. Blech!

Rather, am thinking if i could find something glass, like these spice containers, they'd be great washables "after each use"!

Main objectives for the flour/sugar containers:

can it fit 5 lbs? can my 2 cup measure easily fit in and out of it?
if i ever start purchasing bulk bags of flour, are they easy to find many and/or affordable?
does it have a silicone or rubber gasket on it to keep the mealy bugs out?

5 stars to the lid that can be painted an attractive robin's egg blue colour!!


Does Fiestaware make any crocks bigger than what we saw that the ocean? Fiesta makes some really snazzy looking turquoise and cobalt blue canister, that would go with our Fiesta bowls we got from our wedding reg. Decisions, decisions.

Such dilemmas of the home engineer, eh???