Friday, December 28, 2007

News

Well, there's just a whole bunch of news. Melissa got a great new apartment (pictures to come) and many weekends were spent organizing and moving her into her new place. A sweet room for Isabella. We scored all kinds of great new furniture for free. I'll post on that whole experience very soon.

Christmas was great and relaxing. We tried to keep it all as low-stress as possible at Victor Street Farm. Marty and Melissa (two very close friends of mine) dropped in on December 23rd and stayed the night. Conor was really excited to have a houseful of people and it seemed very festive. My boss gave us a 16 pound turkey and we'll be eating it forever. Conor managed to get mostly educational and stimulating toys, which made me happy because I dislike a lot of plastic garbage toys all over the floor. Bella got a new bike, as well as the usual little girl fare. Tyree and I traded art supplies and I got a membership to the YMCA.....something I've been saying I need to do for about 9 months. Now I need to make time to use it. Need to.



The tree was squeezed in beside the ever expanding library.





The stocking were hung on the bookshelf with care.....



I even spruced up the YW as best I could (being a bit scared of heights.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas List

Just a little note to beloved relatives who might be reading this, I have purchased the kids these books for Christmas, just in case anyone else was as excited as I was about them. I think Conor already knows.





Doe Bay Thanksgiving....

We had to get away for a couple of days to recharge. Tyree and I spent Thursday and Friday soaking in the tubs at Doe Bay on Orcas Island. I had injured my neck the previous weekend in a fall. I’m happy to say that after a couple days of sauna and soaking (torturous bed, notwithstanding) I have regained full mobility.

Here are a couple of pics from the Doe Bay website. I forgot my camera but we had a beautiful full moon. The resort is pretty, but not luxurious. Our cabin was pretty sparse and the furniture and bedding left something to be desired, but the tubs and sauna were worth it all. They have a clean facility.

I think that was our cabin on the right...


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pain de Campagne

So, for the record, the flavor of that last loaf was good, but the texture, lightness and crust were NOT.

In my quest for a decent loaf of home baked bread, I bring you Trial II.

I determined problem #1 with the last batch was the ambient temperature of the starter and dough....my solution? A heating pad. I placed the bowl of starter on a heating pad set at medium and the next morning it was really happy. I did the same thing with last night's dough with good results. We keep our house col at night because we both sleep better that way. The dough didn't like it.

My first dough was also too moist. We fixed that as well. So first I bring you a stock photo of what pain de campagne should look like:



The traditional photo from France



And then, of course, our French Country Bread:



I think if I had dusted it with flour before baking, it wouldn't be too bad. We'll slice into after we get home from the theater tonight.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

First Sourdough....

I've been experimenting with the new Kitchenaid mixer. I started my own sourdough starter last Saturday and fed in diligently throughout the week. My perception of how much a naturally fermented loaf should rise might have been a little off.

I followed The Village Baker's recipe for Pain de Campagne, from the first step. The last rise was not as successful as I'd hoped for, I think, three reasons: the dough was too moist, the temperature of the house was too low, and I'd added a little too much salt. Also, I managed to get the whole loaf stuck to the surface I was rising it on. I got frustrated and ripped it off and baked it, torn side up. The starter that I'd set aside from this batch doubled in size immediately, a good sign, so I'm going to try again for another loaf tomorrow.




I'm patiently waiting for it to cool.

Thrift store treasure

I picked up this little bench for $6.99 at the Value Village here in town. Bella helped me clean it up and put new upholstery on the seat. If I had to guess, I'd say it went with a vanity. It's the perfect height for spinning yarn at my wheel.




Sunday, November 4, 2007

They say it's your birthday......

it's my birthday too, yeah.....







Thank you, my love.

(Yes, I made homemade dog biscuits for Theta with my new toy.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Studio

Here are some photos of our studio. I realized I hadn't posted about it since the last gallery walk. We were lucky enough to go from the darkest studio in the building to one of the lightest. This is taken at midday in the downpour. Sunny evenings have the best light. I tried to upload a video, but no luck. It's quite the oasis from downtown AND the house. That's my bike there in the foreground. The floors are green. We painted them when we moved in. The space is relaxing and the heater works great. I worry that as Bellingham continues to grow and gentrify, there won't be many spaces like this left. I guess that's when we all move to Ferndale or something.



The napping Chaise



The very best view of the GP demolition.




My work bench and shelves.





The bookbinding side.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Big pile of craft (noun).

What's going on here? I can't say for certain. If I go into much detail, your Christmas present might be spoiled. I am crafting (verb) in bite size servings. Just a little here and there. I bought a gigantic bag of laces and trims and notions for about $5 at the thrift store. The rest was inevitable.

one down...

....three more to go. Tyree mentioned that he wanted a really big, stretchy knitted Christmas stocking. Then the rest of us had to have one, too. Sorry about the fab photo. I always forget to take them when there's natural light.

The cuff and toe are my handspun and the red yarn is Brown Sheep's Lambs Pride Bulky. I got the pattern here, though I didn't follow it exactly. Obviously the pom-poms were not going to be popular. I may get crazy and put a T on it for him. You just never know.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Content.

It's been entirely too long since I have written. I had a pretty big grant due at work yesterday and it was eating up any creative activity in my brain. It's a little nerve wracking, particularly when your organization depends so heavily on public grants. Grants that can go just towards operations expenses are few and far between. Having that $20,000 carrot dangling out there and moreover, having it rely on my skill is frightening. I'm learning every day, though.





These are finally becoming a familiar sight.


There was a weird light yesterday evening. Nice rainbow, though.

Meet the Family....


Janet Simpson

Tyree Simpson
Conor Simpson

Isabella Simpson


Melissa Simpson

Happy 7th


Can you tell what this is? It's my niece ripping down the water slide at the aquatic center.



Then she swims across the pool, drags herself out and does it 135 more times in a row.




Last summer I watched her swim against the current in Whatcom Creek and pull herself up a rope ladder in the waterfall. The kid's strong.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sorry about the flash photography.


Bella with no teeth and her Grandma's present, Pinky Pie, who has a scary electronic la-la-la-la song that freaks Auntie out.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is that a squirrel or a labrador?

Fall is my favorite season these days. I love the harvest and drying of our produce. I love wool clothes and socks. It's the official start of knitting season. I like it as much when the nights come early as when the days begin to grow long. There's something sad and final about pulling up the last of the summer vegatables, but our growing season is long and fall and winter starts are already in the ground at the YW City Garden.

The sunflowers that grew so tall are overburdened with seeds. They bow their heads towards the earth providing some challenges for our neighbors. Or not.




It's as easy as 1



2



3!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Post Nuptials...



There was no time for blogging.

I am officially done with wedding season. I was only a bridesmaid once, but it was one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever been to. Mom, just so you know, there are some of Bella in there. She gave each of the bridesmaids a pashmina in a different color and her grandma made all of the flower arrangements. Her blog that led up to event is here. The woman is an organizing machine.

Anyone with an interest can view photos from Addie and Cary's wedding here and here, both of which are unofficial photographs. I'll post a link to The Official Wedding Party photos when Addie does. That's three weddings in 4 weeks. Aack!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

After all these years....

A few YWCA pictures

The alley. The sky was so blue that day.




This is the lounge. Yes, there is too much pink.

Why hello there!

Sometimes it's nice to know who's talking to you.

Me: in the lounge at the YW looking through old articles. This might very well be the only photo taken of me in 5 years.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tear out your useless lawn: Before and After

I love before and after pictures. The first one is of the back corner of our lot. As you can see, the top left corner of my camera lens is still broken.



Before



After



Before



After...the boards are keeping the chickens out of the veggies.

Just what I needed, another hobby....



I managed to forget these posts even though I finished the chair about 3 weeks ago. It's very comfortable. I like it for knitting because it doesn't have any arms.

I didn't take any before photos, but I will say that the original colors had that brown/gold/orange/ 70's thing going on. I loved the shape of the chair, but the seat needed restuffed and the fabric needed to be more modern. Otherwise it would be too Victorian fluffy for me. I was going for something that felt like this. Without the price tag.



The tufting gave me a bit of trouble because I was just going from memory, without instructions, but I've since acquired a great upholstery book work from. The next one (yeah, I'd do it again) will be tighter and more professional.

Deb, could you get out of the sunflowers? Thanks......

Here we have our giant mutant sunflowers, which grew an extra foot while we were in Colorado. And Isabella, holding her favorite chicken, the beloved Debbie.