Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hand quilting in the cold spell

It's cold again and windy, too.  Not the kind of weather I like to be out in so this is what I am doing.

 Hand quilted with Artfabrik Pickle Juice size 8 thread and J&P Coats size 7 embroidery crewel needle.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Christmas at Portland Nursery

We checked out Margie's displays at Portland Nursery this morning.

 Margie talking to John

Link to more photos posted on their Facebook page. 

Photo from Portland Nursery


I am using a batik fabric with a dragonfly design for a border on my quilt.  I am hand quilting/embroidering along the wing edges.  I like how it looks and it is fun to do.

Hiding the logo

I don't generally like logos and company names printed on my clothing.  So I fixed my new vest with a bit of batik fabric.  You can still see the last bit (the i and the a) sticking out but it isn't so intrusive.

Rainbow over the alley

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Oven Karma

Our oven died just a few days before Thanksgiving.  Over the years we've had multiple oven failures on or near Thanksgiving.  It must be oven karma.

This oven, which is a Fisher Paykel OB30DEPX1, didn't work when we purchased it new four years ago.  The problem was two wires which were crossed when it was manufactured.   And this time it was another manufacturing issue, a bad connection caused by damage to the cable connector.   The connector was so loose that it arced and built up carbon over the years until it finally stopped working all together.

It died when we were in the middle of preparing for a dinner party.  The cake was baked.  The corn bread (two kinds) was baked.  The pork verde was in the oven when it died and we had to finish cooking it on the stove top.  That worked pretty well but the consistency was changed.   And we were bummed to have a broken oven AGAIN.

Pork Verde prep

Corn bread with jalapenos and cheese

plain corn bread

 Verde ready for the oven

Verde just before the oven failed...

 John watching Steve work on the oven

It was a huge hassle when we had the original problem.  Fisher Paykel was not easy to deal with.  I think it took about a month of much time on the phone with them.  The first two techs who came could not diagnose the problem.   We had to wait a long time for parts that didn't fix the problem.  It was a terrible customer service experience.  And with a brand spanking new oven.

But finally we hit gold and got a technician who could really diagnose problems.  He read the schematic and found the crossed wires.  I saved his contact information and I sent him an email on Saturday night after our party.  When I got up on Sunday, I had a response.  I was so excited that I woke John to tell him.

And today our oven is fixed.  Ahhhh....

The oven tracks all sorts of statistics used in diagnostics.  In the four years we have had the oven we opened the door 4350 times.  We've never used the self clean cycle and the oven tracks that (it's not good for the oven).  We don't cook meat in it.  We've been good to the oven.  I wish it would be nicer to us!

Steve says he likes his job and intends to work there a long time.  We are very happy to know that.  If you can't rely on your oven, it's good to know someone who can fix it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A wonderful photo essay

This is the best thing I have read in quite some time so I want to share it.  Below is a photo from the piece.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feeling bad for the living things outside

Our teeny tiny back yard is supporting a varied and thriving bird community as well as some squirrels.  We have Oregon juncos and chickadees, at least one blue jay, a crow, a family of house finches and a few others I can't name.  We give them water, black oil sun flower seeds and handfuls of walnuts.

The bird baths have been frozen every morning so I've had to add some water each day.  The hummingbirds lost their pineapple sage in the cold snap.  One hollered at us the whole time we were cutting down the sodden mess.  We are keeping the hummingbird feeders well stocked.  I think the next three nights may be cold enough to freeze them so I'll have to change the feeders as soon as it is light tomorrow.

It's sunny today, but cold (no cloud blanket to keep us warm at night).  The wind has died down so we did the stair master today.

I didn't venture out much for the past two days.  I have been mostly hanging out here,  spending my time hand quilting.  This is the view from my comfy spot on the couch.

That dark fabric over the radiator is Pippin's tent.  We call the radiator his iron maiden and he spends a lot of time next to her in his tent.  He gets so hot that I worry about him but he likes it.  He must be part lizard or something.

Sudden Winter

After the warmest October on record we had a severe and sudden cold snap, the earliest in our 20 years here.  The leaves are still on the trees.   It's been in the high twenties, which is cold for Portland.  It was also really windy and mighty unpleasant.  The wind has subsided but the cold remains.

These photos were taken yesterday from inside the house.  I haven't ventured out much except to help with dragging pots to safer places.

Here you can see the quilt batting strips I stuff in the back door crack when it is really really cold and windy.

The back yard, coated with ice.

Leaves still on the trees...

We brought the phormium in from the cold.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Quilt Photos

I took some photos of my older quilts.  Not all the photos were successful, but a few were pretty good...





Friday, November 7, 2014

We managed to get out for a little hike today, something we haven't been doing enough.  We did a bit of the Wahkeena Trail.  The lower part of the hike had some pretty nice foliage.  The water was raging and the air smelled delightful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Roses in November

I played with my camera some but I haven't learned much yet.  I don't feel like working at it.  I perused the manual to get a good idea of its capabilities and buttons.  And then I went outside and took some photos, changing settings but not really tracking what I did.  THAT wouldn't be part of playing...

I got this photo of my pineapple sage.  I couldn't have done this with my other camera.  Still doesn't look as good as what I can see.  But I like it.

John raked while I took photos.  I hate raking but there is so little of it here that I don't have to do it much.

It's not unusual for us to have a smattering of roses at this time of year but it IS unusual for this  rose to bloom now.   It has such beautiful flowers!

This photo is really cropped and the focus is still good.  So cool.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

John making dinner... and, a new camera!

In my last post I expressed my disappointment in both the Coolpix L30 and the S6800.  I remembered my friend Dave had a P series Coolpix that he used on his big adventure with Nancy.  He really liked it so I decided to give one a try.  I got a Coolpix P340 and I found my new camera!

It fits in my bib overalls pocket.  It seems to be better at everything than my old camera.  And, not surprisingly, it cost more.

My L22 had a limited light range that it would work in without a flash.  And the flash made the colors really garish.  That meant I couldn't take acceptable indoor photos unless the light was really bright.  I couldn't take photos of John making dinner.  I couldn't take good photos in our kitchen.  But now I can.

This camera has more functions and features than I know how to use but right out of the box, with no work on my side, it does better than my old one.

Last night John made a delicious beet soup.

the beautiful cabinets John made

Monday, November 3, 2014

Finding a new camera

My Coolpix L22 died.  It would cost much more to get it repaired, if that is even possible, than to get a new one. I liked my L22 pretty well.  It fit in my overalls pocket and so it was easy to have along.  It had good color.  I knew how to use it pretty well.  So I got its successor, the L30.  But compared to my L22,  it was difficult to take in focus photos and the color didn't seem quite as good and it seemed to have an even more limited light range than the L22.  Then I tried a S6800.  Getting in focus pictures was easy.  The indoor photos were better than the L30 but the outdoor photos were dark. and ominous.

Sigh.... I don't think either of these are going to do it for me.