Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Elliott is a Bear/Ewok and Adam's team at work dressed up as HTML tags (he's an "anchor tag")
No cheetah suit this year :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Exotic dye results!

My friend Annalisa (of tree skirt and Virgin Islands fame) came to visit a few weeks ago. She was in town to see family and attend a natural dye workshop at Earthues. We had a great time catching up and driving around Seattle. We even went on a tour of Theo's Chocolate Factory, which I now totally recommend to everyone.
Beside having a great time with her, Annalisa's visit was made even sweeter because she passed on some leftover dye from the workshop!
(left: coccineal with citric acid. center: coccineal. left: madder)
Coccineal is a scale bug harvested from cactus and dyes wool deep red-purples. This was second-hand dye and I still got great pink-reds! The orange is from the same dyebath but I added citric acid crystals to change the pH.
Madder, of British Red Coat fame, comes from the red roots of the Madder/Rubia tinctorum plant) and dyes wool a deep red-orange. This second-hand dye was somewhat exhausted but still gave a nice orange-yellow.
I love the results!
from left to right:
coccineal+citric acid; madder; coccineal; coccineal, madder overdye on a a previously failed dye attempt)
I still have a few quarts of indigo dye to use! Very excited because I love indigo.
There was a logwood dyebath, but it was exhausted ("used up") and produced a pale grey on wool yarn...I'll probably re-dye it in indigo.

Friday, October 28, 2011

On Productivity...

I am back from a week trip with my family in California. It was wonderful to be together and visit Briana's grave commemorating 6 months since she died. I will post more details and photos soon. For now, here is a darling one of Elliott and his Uncle Thom:
I feel particularly rejuvenated after this trip. I am ready to renew good, daily habits like waking up early, getting to bed early, reading, exercising, keeping the house clean, and making time for creative hobbies. I guess it takes a trip away from your house to get realistic about how to fix your house.
On the plane home, I drafted a "Potential Daily Schedule."
I have avoided this schedule business because I'm the type of person who would become a hermit -my default personality - if I begin to put the nap and cleaning schedule higher on the priority list than getting out with Adam or seeing friends. However, I feel like some schedule parameters will benefit my productivity so I don't spend hours on end visiting fellow mama friends or looking at things online while "breastfeeding."

I will now carry a sketchbook and notebook at all times so I can keep track not only of things to do, but of project ideas. I'm going to actually draw out projects with detailed descriptions and nice artwork while breastfeeding. I have about 60 projects (yes, that is a realistic number) yet to be started. They are primarily sewing projects: clothes for me, clothes for Elliott, mending clothes for Adam; but there are also many home projects like making a book of our wedding photo (hopefully before our 3rd anniversary).

Well, I best be going; I have things to do and people to see.
So far, I am happy with my efforts from day 1 and 2 of the new me.

(Yesterday, I took a pressure canning class and can now can my own beans and meat! Crazy!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Astoria

The last trip of Adam's paternity leave was to the Oregon coast.
We had wonderful, foggy, soggy Northwest weather making the coastline more dramatic and beautiful in my opinion.
We stayed two nights in the town of Seaside, but drove south to Cannon Beach to explore.
In Cannon Beach, we walked along the main beach to Haystack rock. It was incredibly windy. I could barely walk a straight line and Adam's hat blew off and went whizzing down the beach so fast he almost didn't catch it.
Here is how Elliott enjoyed the wind:
Sand raced across the beach and whipped our ankles:
We saw many jellyfish washed ashore:
The other wonderful thing we did in Cannon Beach is eat. We ate three delicious crepes at Crepe Neptune, a lovely creperie owned by a young couple
and drank an absolutely heavenly Mayan Chocolate Shake at Chocolate Cafe.
If you are ever in the area, you must get one! We asked tons of questions about their recipe (Alpenrose vanilla ice cream, 70% dark chocolate, Saigon cinnamon, Ancho chili pepper, Chipotle chili pepper) so we can experiment at home.
Back home in Seaside, we took Elliott swimming again by wrapping him in a towel and periodically dipping him into the warm water.
Elliott finds swimming relaxing:
He gets so relaxed he falls asleep:

Here's a cute photo of Elliott's bum :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Two weeks ago, we went to Leavenworth for a camp trip, Octoberfest, 4-wheeling adventure.
We stayed one night in a timeshare (a gift from Adam's aunt - thank you!) and one night camping with Andra and her kids. Unfortunately, I guess I was too busy having fun with them I didn't take any photos from the camping part of the trip :(
Leavenworth is a cute, fake-Bavarian town in the mountains about 2 hours east of Seattle. It is beautiful and close to excellent climbing and hiking/backpacking. Adam and I often think about moving there, but there isn't much for work beside working in restaurants and stores catered toward weekend tourists. In fact, the whole town is kind of a tourist trap in that most if the stores look to inviting and appealing because they are named and decorated to look like a store in a quaint European town, but inside you find typical American tourist junk. It almost feels like you are at Disneyland, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But... we did get tricked into buying a mediocre hotdog and the world's worst pretzel (seriously!) because the storefronts were so 'cute.'
Hahahah, oh, well. It's still a really fun town, and I still wouldn't mind living there!

Adam found a Fla-vor-ice and was happy for the rest of the day.
Here's an example of the cute storefronts all around town. Everything has a hand painted sign, even McDonalds and the 76 gas station.
At the timeshare, we went for an early morning swim in the outdoor pool and spa. It was a beautiful, crisp, mountain morning and Elliott's first swim in a real pool - but I forgot the camera :(
Elliott loved the pool, though! No surprise there, I guess, since he loves baths and showers. You'll have to imagine him content and relaxed with steam rising off his tiny shoulders as he floated about, wrapped in a towel, looking like a Buddah in a pool surrounded by mountains and pine trees.
Here's Elliott pretend-eating a carrot! Now that I finally trimmed his nails, his hands have been out of their mittens and grabbing on to everything.
Elliott loves to breastfeed as much as possible, so I forget that when I ask Adam to 'take a picture of me' I'm usually here we are, doin' what we're always doin' :

Friday, October 7, 2011

Good Morning!

This is what I wake up to every morning:
Elliott loves the morning!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

'4 wheeling' camp trip

We bought a 4 Runner two weeks ago from a stranger on Craigslist and took it camping the next day. We lucked out; I think the car is fine, though it'll need new shocks soon.
We drove north of Seattle to the Mountain Loop Highway, an easy access road with many hikes and camping areas. Our plan was to drive on dirt roads with our new car, and we had seen some good ones in this area last year.
Our first day was nice, but we got a little rained out on the second day (and there were swarms of nocturnal 'daddy-long-legs' spiders all over our camp area, which I found disgusting. They were crawling up our legs and jumping off our shoulders. Horrid, absolutely horrid. If you opened the tent to 'use the bathroom' in the night, spiders would invade before you could even zip the door shut!)
I found Ischnoderma benzoinum for the first time!
It has dark purple-brown, fibery upper surface and a white pore surface. But the character that gives this fungus away is the strong anise odor. It is amazing to walk through the woods and find something growing off a log with this smell!
a close-up:
Here is a cute photo of Elliott after he cried himself to sleep while Adam and I were rushing around packing for our trip:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paternity Leave

Adam took his paternity leave for the month of September. We recorded every fun thing we did each day so we could look back on the month and remember how much fun we had, as opposed to feeling like the month passed too fast and we didn't get to do anything fun. Notice how many times I said 'fun'? That was the theme of paternity leave.
Here is the summary:
3 camping trips around Washington
1 non-camping trip in Oregon
bought a used Toyota 4 Runner on Craigslist
Adam got a hunting licence
looked at cute houses to rent on Craigslist (West Seattle, mainly)
played D&D at least twice a week
played Magic a couple times
preserved 150 lbs of fruit
Adam became radioactive for a bone scan on his injured ankle
went roller skating
watched season 4, 5, 6, and 7 of 'The Office'
visited friends and family

More detail on camping trips to come...
Here are some cute photos of Elliott:
This is my view when I wear him in the Baby Bjorn adorable!
He likes playing with his tongue: