We’ve essentially lost all credibility with our former claim that it never snows in Seattle. I’m really quite sure that in the first three years we lived here, we saw flurries five times. But we’ve had real snow that many times just this winter. The new house is only four miles from the old one, so I doubt that’s the difference…?

In any case, I was so happy that the first day of my parents’ visit was all blue and mountains, and that the third day brought snow that lasted through the night. My mom misses winter now that they’re in Florida, and I thought it was unusually decent of the weather to cooperate.
From her camera, here’s the backyard seen through the living room windows (with tulips in the foreground!):

And she took a picture of the snowy driveway that I just love. Doesn’t it look like it’s black and white? Until you see the headlights, and the brick on the front of the house, and realize that the light out here is just so dim in the winter when it’s cloudy that the color just disappears.

Yay for company

My parents left a series of email and phone messages on Tuesday asking if we had any big plans for the weekend and if it would be alright if they flew out from Florida to visit. So spur of the moment and wonderful. I love looking forward to our visits with family, but having the chance to just make plans on a whim was an unaccustomed treat.

We spent a good portion of the time eating, talking, watching the fish, looking at wedding photos, showing off wedding gifts, and for Kevin and I, enjoying their satisfaction in the new house. I think all four of us are quite proud of it.

Unfortunately, most of the group shots came out blurry. I’m posting some anyway because I love how happy everyone looks. This was dinner at home after strawberry basil martinis and a great conversation that lasted several hours and spanned too many topics to mention. Blurry Dad, Me and Kevin:

And blurry Mom, Kevin and Dad.


Kevin and I lack photos of us together. Other than the wedding, I only have a handful of us over the last few years, and most of those are special occasions (our first new years in Seattle, the day we got the deed to our house) when we gave up and set up the camera timer. My mom did a good job rectifying that problem while they were here visiting.

The two of us in the kitchen with the pretty tulips (flowers have been SO cheap recently! A great pick-me-up!)

And sitting on the new couch, waiting for Ratatouille to begin…

And in the backyard under the tree…

And finally, sitting in the folding chairs, watching the new little tang acclimate:

Piles of progress

I’ve finished starching all of the super strips, and cut them into the squares. Major progress!

There’s something about the pile of forty starched squares that just looks so, so monumental to me. Perhaps I’ve just been ironing too long. 🙂 And yet, the impression isn’t diminished when I cut them into triangles (and half of those triangles in half again…)

Daybed quilt

Last time I posted on the quilt, I asked if people thought I should proceed a row at a time, or just stage by stage. I loved the suggestion from the comments to work a row at a time (such measurable progress!) until I tried it – too stilted, and I was getting impatient. So I decided to work the remaining bits in phases. I can always swap to a (faster, easier) row-by-row version if that seems optimal. During the seaming of the first two row’s worth of strips, I felt like if one row went awry, the entire superstrip got all stretched and wrinkly. So, this time, I started sewing all of the strips together in pairs first, and then joined the pairs into larger and larger groups. It may be psychological, but I think it came together better. Here are the initial pairs:

Once everything was seamed, I pressed the seams flat and then ironed in starch. I’ve been using Niagara brand spray starch (it’s what they had in the drug store up the road and it was cheap). I bought a heavy-duty canister and an original one – the heavy duty is definitely the way to go. Original might be better for things you wear next to your skin, but it doesn’t hold the bias edges the way the stronger version does. And, note to self, two canisters would be the correct amount for this size quilt in the future.

Here are the first two rows’ worth of pressed and starched strips:

Starched sets

One row takes two sewn-together rows of strips. You can see the other 6 sewn-together racks waiting to be pressed on the back of the chair.

Still in the Season

A few degrees off kilter, but I wanted to get a photo of the Christmas lights up on the blog.

Pretty! We wanted icicle lights (check) and the new LEDs (check), but we didn’t realize that the resulting light would be quite so blue. They probably look even odder because at a slight distance, the ones above the green garage look blue, while the denser ones against the brick on the house look almost-white. I’ve been a fan since they first went up: the color reminds me unshakably of our fishtank, which I love (Merry Christmas, from the fish!)and they use next to no electricity, and it’s our new house, so.

We’ll probably reevaluate next year, though I could definitely see using them on the back of the house. (They’re actually prettier from the inside looking out than from the outside in, I think.) Kevin was really disappointed with the color at first, but they’ve grown on him too. In any case, a post for the blog before they finally come down.

More snow!

It snowed last night, starting around three, and just kept going. Waking up was fun – lots of snow on the ground, and that gold light coming through all of the lacy tree branches was beautiful.

The walk to work this morning was too pretty: white and crunchy. The snow had clearly refrozen a few times, but it gave good traction for walking. All of the branches were feathered, and as the sun hit them they started to melt, so lots of little showers along the sidewalk.

The street ours connects to was still pretty snow and ice covered, but the main street was clear. My peace kept being disrupted by horrible clanking. Several cars were driving along the bare pavement with chains on. This photo is terrible (into the light and I was trying to be quick and sneaky), but this guy on the left actually had them on all four tires.

Given the amount of snow still on his roof, I’m guessing he’d only been driving for a few minutes, and he had a Microsoft tag on his car, so he got up and put the chains on for his 3 mile drive to work. Typical Seattle.

Coming home tonight, the snow on our street (and yard, and roof) was mostly still there. So lovely.

All gone!

On Friday, I got in to work early for a meeting, and to keep things even, I left work at 4:15. It was still light enough to get yard work done when I got home!! (*Huge* progress – it’s not dark at 3:45 anymore! The light always comes back so much faster in January than it goes in November.) I filled one of the yard waste bins to the hilt, and finished clearing the left side of the brush pile.

The weather cooperated on Sunday – blue and clear, and not even that cold – and so I was able to finish the second bin. I was very proud that all of it fit.

Now on to that monster pile in the back – I’m guessing at least three double-bins for the brush, and then another double bin or two of just limbs. Plus a bin for the Christmas tree. Since they only collect every other week in the winter, that puts us at a min of two months? Not terrible.

Strip 2

Making these squares is like coasting downhill. All of the organization and work to sew into strips, press open the seams, and add starch. But then you cut the stiff strips all up into eight neat piles of triangles, and the rest just flies by.

Here’s the pile of pairs of triangles, waiting for seams along the hypotenuse:

And here, a short sixteen seams later, are the small squares that make up the entire row.

A round of pressing and 16 more seams makes 8 rectangles, after more pressing, it’s four seams to make squares, and a final press and 3 more seams and there’s the strip. Very satisfying.