Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Honeymoon Road Trip Day 1...

(click on photo's to enlarge!)

Methow Valley

And we're back again! We were only away for two nights and three days, but it felt like a lot longer. Great times!

I'll start with the route we took through the Northern Cascades...

We drove via Monroe, Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Winthrop, Sedro-Wooley, Lynden, Bellingham, Anacortes, Coupeville and Langley. All in all about 550 miles = 885 kilometres.

The first town we stopped at for some real German 'Curry Wurst' was Leavenworth of course. This town became 'Germanized' in the 1960's I believe to boost their tourism. I think it worked! Having lived in Bayern for five years I can see that they have done a really good job here.


Leavenworth is also the start of the 'other side' of the Cascade Mountains. They have a very different climate here, hotter and drier and no trees!  <wink>

Upper left, a big wildfire on the horizon, thank goodness not on our path. 
(I just read that the fire is now 100 square miles wide and only 8% contained: bad news!)
Columbia River Gorge.

Beautiful Landscapes following the Columbia River up north. Our first overnight was in Winthrop, a little 'Western' town. Cute!


We took a tour of the Smoke- Jumpers' airbase nearby. (see photos below) Mr. G.'s dad was a real smoke-jumper here in 1947, one of the first! (we looked up his name in their archives)

Smoke-jumpers are people that jump out of a plane  ahead of wildfires and then start digging like crazy to build trenches to stop the spread of these wildfires. Very dangerous obviously! Once they are done they have to walk back out to a road which can be up to 28 miles, the smoke-jumper told us. Can you imagine the heat, the filth and the heavy gear on top of being utterly exhausted? Wow!

Another interesting part to the smoke-jumper's story was that they sew all their gear (not the suits, but all their giant backpacks, parachute bags etc) themselves on a 1940's industrial Pfaff sewing machine. I was in awe of his sewing skills and he of mine! (I was wearing my now favorite green with white peter-pan collar shift dress that I made a couple of weeks ago out of some old sheets)  {smile}

Smoke-Jumpers' Base in Wintrhop.
Very bad weather approaching in first picture.
We had a nice beer and dinner at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop and were happy to see our hotel room later on. Quite the day!  {smile}

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Timber Festival...

The last two days (Friday night and the whole day yesterday) we spent at Timber Fest: it was fabulous!

Family friendly atmosphere (lots of toddlers and babies with headphones around), beer-gardens (in the States you cannot drink alcohol in the presence of minors out in public anyway) yummie food trucks and of course fabulous live music.

The Snoqualmie River was right behind the stage and we had a Bald Eagle fly by several times right over the bands! 

People were camping out all over the park, lots of walking involved (a mile from the car), the river and the forest, the mountains in the distance and not a cloud in the sky: just great.

We brought our lounge chairs and our water bottles (it was soooo hot!), plopped ourselves down at 1 pm and left around 9:30 pm, what a great day and all this 'our backyard'!  {smile}

(all photos were taken Friday evening since I didn't want to lug my camera with me all day yesterday...) 

Friday, July 26, 2013

We're Having A Ball...

A 'Ball'-jar that is and maybe even two!  

Mr. G. has a new experiment going: Plum Gin! It won't be ready until November I believe, but it looks like it will be worth the wait!   {smile}

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sewing with Knits...

The first project in the 'sewing with knits' class I'm taking over at Craftsy (see link in yesterday's post) was a 'hoodie'.  In itself the pattern is super easy to put together, but since I'm working with both my new serger/ overlock machine and a new fabric (I've never worked with fleece or knits before), it made for a steep learning curve!

Both fabrics were found at Value Village so at least I didn't have that pressure on me to sew extra well with an expensive fabric. Unfortunately I did not have enough of the fleece fabric for the hood so I used a soft flowery flannel for that.

All went well (although I did have to re-thread the whole machine since I ran out of the original thread the manufacturer had put on, right in the middle of a seam!) until I added the hood to the neckline: oh oh, not enough fabric!!! 

I'm still fiddling with figuring out the seam allowance with the serger and obviously I had made them too small (or short) and the garment itself became too large. Anyway, for those of you who are sewers this will make sense, for the other ones I'm talking gooblygoo right now...  <wink>
Thank goodness I do have some sewing experience and managed to make a little insert there, right in the middle of the photo above. It is certainly not perfect, but it will definitely do!

Oh and by the way, the fit is superb and sooooo comfy...  I think this item might make it into my little suitcase on our honeymoon trip for those cooler evenings... {smile} 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Thrifty Find...

... of the utmost comfy kind: new California King bottom sheets at Value Village, our second hand store!

There is a short background story to my jubilation. In the spring of 2000, when we were getting ready to flee leave Sri Lanka after a two-year stay, we had the opportunity to have a four-poster bed built to our specifications. We did a little research on bed sizing in the United States and thought that the California King size would be perfect for us. And it was! But little did we know how difficult it would be to find bottom sheets...

So very big was my surprise when I found the above bottom sheets at Value Village and not only in these colors but also in other very nice golden yellow colors. I only bought this one and we slept on it already last night. Nice and cool compared to my trusty (and extremely comfy also) flannel sheet that we normally have on there... Sometimes these small finds just make my day!  {smile}

Well, in this heat there isn't much I feel like doing, but in between reading my books and checking out some blogs I have started to take a class on Craftsy called 'sewing with knits'. I have never taken lessons in a video format before, but so far I do feel like I'm getting some 'bang for my buck', as I think they call it here. Check out their lessons under the link above, lots of different subjects, not just sewing.  The first project we will be sewing will be a fleece hoodie! A bit warm for right now of course, but a fairly uncomplicated pattern to start off with...

Well, that's about all for now. Miss M. is off to Cape Cod tomorrow on the East Coast and the men and myself will be attending a small music festival right here in town! (Timber Music Fest) I didn't recognize any of the band names, but Mr. G. did so I'm sure we'll have a good time. (and if not, our home will be walking distance away)

Mr. G. and myself will also be taking a little road trip next week in celebration of our upcoming 20th (!) wedding anniversary!!!  {big smile} We never went on a honeymoon (we were moving from Stockholm to Munich that summer and got married in The Netherlands so no time or money available) so this will be a fun and long-awaited event. I'll try not to take another 1000 pictures this time...   <wink>

I will leave you with this beautiful shot of the super moon, earlier this week, NOT taken by myself but by somebody called Bettina Hansen. I found the picture in the Seattle Times and thought it too pretty not to share. (plus I would never be able to take a picture like that!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Funky Shorts...

I made some funky shorts this week.... using the serger!

Man, that machine sews fast!

I tried to model them but let's face it, Miss M. with her 30 year younger body, models them much better...

A bit quiet over here which suits me fine. We're in a weather pattern where the mornings are super overcast and then the sun starts breaking through around noon time and all of a sudden we're back in the middle of summer. Not today yet though, it is 1pm and still super cloudy. Time for some inside chores...

Mr. G. first cleaning and then waxing the dining room floor!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fun at the Zoo...

Clouded Leopard baby, so cute!
Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma. The weather was fabulous and the crowds were small: great fun!

Sumatran Tiger keeping cool in the shade...

Gyr Falcon I believe...
(look at those feet!)
Fish in the Puget Sound...

The whistling Walrus...
Sea Otter...
Fun goats at the petting zoo...
The zoo is located in a beautiful park and we took the 5-mile drive through it to have a look around. Along the way we spotted several racoons waiting along the road side for little tidbits: they didn't get any from us!

Views of the water ways and the Narrows Bridge...

And another marvelous shot of Mount Rainier, taken while driving... (I wasn't driving, Mr G. was, just to clarify...)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ramblings about Flowers, the Tackling of the Serger and Plums...

This is what our morning looked like today, shiny little water droplets on delicate flower petals.

Unfortunately I don't remember the name any more of this plant, but I think it is one of my most favorite ones in our whole back yard. The flowers are just amazingly detailed and so fragile looking. Here are two pictures of the same plant but without the petals...

So today I knew that I just had to tackle that new serger machine but I was just so hesitant. (i.e. scared) I managed to first clean out my whole sewing area (again!) plus the crafty area right next to it. For those of you who are familiar with this particular piece of furniture: I'm talking about the apothecary cabinet that we brought with us from Sri Lanka. Yes, the one with the 24 drawers! Yeah, major cleaning going on!!!

So then finally, when there really wasn't anything else more to be done, I sat down, put on my reading glasses (threading four different needles brings quite the strain on the eyes...) and I tackled the serger. Two threads had broken and after I fixed those and tried some sewing still nothing happened. Utter frustration let me tell you, but I persevered and I can tell you that it is now actually working!  I don't quite feel confident enough to use it on an actual nice piece of fabric yet, but that will come, I promise...  <wink>

After dinner tonight (a most amazing and spicy cashew & chicken curry made by Mr. G.) I strolled in the back yard and my eyes fell on our plum tree: it is loaded!!! I picked a few and had to eat them over the sink since their juices squirted everywhere: Yum!

I will leave you with one of my other more favorite flowers in the yard: Bee Balm. It says in the description that it grows up to 4 feet, mine are close to 6! (= 1.80m) Pretty balmy for the eyes though!  <wink>

60's Sundress....

Out of an old sheet I found at Value Village last week: so soft and comfy. Perfect for these hot days!  {smile}

PS: No, I did not use my new serger for this dress yet. I've read the manual and watched all the video's. After a very careful first try, two out of the four threads broke... {not smile}

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Lovely Bike Ride...

The arrow points to glorious Mount Rainier in the background...

On these summer days it is a little bit too hot for my liking to go running (or I have to leave the house at 6am which is waaaay too early) so today I decided to go on a bike ride instead. Mr. G. pumped up the tires and oiled the chains and off we went. It was luverly....  {smile}

Corn fields, lilies in the pond, the views and nobody out on the trail...
(click! on the pictures to enlarge)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Up Close...

Saturday, seven thirty in the morning. Soft sunlight, wet grass, close up pictures taking shape...

Miss M. left for the Cascade Locks (Oregon) early this morning. Her left arm in a sling (= 'mitella' in Dutch) because of an earlier fall this week that involved an air mattress and water... She will be camping there with a family and observe her friends in different sailing competitions.

The rest of us will be driving to Georgetown this afternoon (just south of Seattle) to go to a music festival celebrating Sub Pop's 25 year Jubilee. (Sub Pop is a famous record label from Seattle) The weather is fabulous so it should be a fun event.... Here is a funny ad to watch (just click on the word 'ad') and I am proud to say that I have actually met all these people!  <wink>

In the mean time I'm reading Henning Mankell's book 'Den Orolige Mannen'. (from the Kurt Wallander series) Yes people, in Swedish!!!  <wink> I must admit my brain has to work a little bit harder on this one (we left Sweden 20 years ago this summer so it has been a while), but boy do I love to read in Swedish!  {smile}

Friday, July 12, 2013

Oh Brother....

Look what I just picked up at the post office: a Brother 1034D Overlock / Serger machine!

This is a very thoughtful present from my mother (who is also a seamstress), but I am ter-ri fied!!!!  <wink>

As you can see I haven't plugged it in yet. First I need to do some reading in the manual (not my favorite thing) and then we'll see if we can figure some of it out. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

Flooded waters...

With all the recent rainfall and snow melting in the mountains, some flooding occurred once again in our valley. Yesterday, whils...