Monday, April 24, 2017

Laurel Hedges

In the back yard I had a HUGE Laurel Hedge. It was a pain to trim and had been growing since the mid 40's. There are photos of my Aunt in the back yard with a nice small hedge behind her in the photos. My husband had built a platform for our bed in the summer of 2007, it was nested into the laurel hedges. The treehouse made it difficult to trim the laurel. We trimmed it about 8 years ago but otherwise it has grown wild and HUGE over the last several years. Well last fall I made the decision to get it trimmed. We had a very difficult time trying to find anyone that would trim the laurels (they were over 40 ft tall). A lot of people would trim the walnut tree but would not touch the laurel. When we did find someone to do all the work they came and topped the hedges. They looked terrible but I knew they would grow back...laurel always grows back. 

As I stated before the laurel was quite large and when the tree person topped the hedge he left all the branches that were sticking out the towards the neighbors house intact. Only problem was they were laying on the neighbors garage. I knew we would have to do something soon the laurel was rubbing his roof and causing leaks. 
That brings us to a couple weeks ago. We had a nasty wind storm and my neighbor lost some branches from his tree onto his garage. He got up on the garage and saw how much of our laurel was on his roof and cut back all the branches that were laying on his garage. Now the hedges looked like a sick tree with a couple of green leaves left for color. It would take another year for the hedges to come back. 

I had wanted to get rid of the laurel for a long time so that is what we did. We cut one of the large tree size laurels down to the ground and replaced it with containers of bamboo. It took about 3 days for us to cut down the large laurel, our friend brought over his chain saw and even he had problems cutting into the base of the laurel. The stump was about 3 ft around. and very heavy. Several of the branches had grown into each other to make one large base for the laurel. This stump took 3 people to move it from the back yard to the side yard to be hauled away. 

Nancy wants to know where the laurel hedge went, she loves sitting in the bush watching squirrels and birds. I know it was a hunting ground for her...but it's gone. We did not grind the stump and that may come back to haunt us, but for now it's covered with landscape barrier cloth and 3 inches of crushed rock...on top of that is a 6ft long container full of rock, soil and bamboo. 

As you can see in some of the previous photos the neighbors garage was kind of ugly. Since we are outside a lot during the warmer weather we wanted to look at something nice. My husband talked to the neighbor and he agreed to let us nail cedar boards to the side. We had a canvas that was given to me by a friend and we put that up too. We are going to paint a raccoon on the white boarded up window. 

The bamboo was installed last week, on a beautiful 70 degree day. It took 3 men about 3 hours to install bamboo. We had Golden Vivax Bamboo installed in 3 container that are 6ft long. The bamboo was already about 12 ft high so we started with a nice tall background that is pleasing to the eye. You can see the cedar fencing and the painting is a nice color spot through the bamboo. Another bonus is the sound of the bamboo in the wind...a nice rustling sound. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Hawaii Vacation

Kimura H Fabric Store
Kimura H Fabric Store

City of Refuge

Salt water flowing into a hot springs
Discount Fabrics in Hilo
Discount Fabric in Hilo

In the middle of January we went to Hawaii. My husband wanted to see about buying property on the big island. I guess you can get some decent land for cheap. Turns out the reason the land is cheap is because no bank will lend on the property because of the lava flow. We also learned that if you leave a house vacant the locals will take everything. We heard story after story of stolen solar systems and houses that were broken into and everything taken...doors, windows, cabinets and rugs. So even though we found cheap land, it's not worth it because if we leave nothing will be there when we come back.
The best thing about going to Hawaii was it was WARM. This winter in Portland was terrible. Lots of ice and snow this winter making us hibernate. I had already looked up the two things I wanted to see in Hawaii...crushed penny machines and fabric stores. 
We happened on the first fabric store by accident. It's called Kimura H Fabric, I had written the name and address down but did not know exactly where it was on the island. We stopped to at a thrift store and it was across the street. I loved the place. It's a little dusty looking from the outside but the fabric inside was beautiful. I bought a beautiful red and white hawaiian print that I want to use to make a sun dress. I bought a brown and black hawaiian print to make a shirt for my husband and some sushi fabric to make pants for the husband too. I like the selection of the fabric at Kimura, it was not too expensive and I found some bark cloth that was quite cheap too. But I had to stop myself from buying too much fabric...I already have a large stash of fabric. I just can't resist hawaiian prints. 
We spent most of our time in Kona and Captain Cook. It was warm and the water was wonderful. We had some magnificent sunsets, only thing was as soon as the sun went down it was DARK. There is not any light pollution, which was really nice. We ate a lot of fish and sat at the beach and read. 
We went to Hilo on the 'wet" side of the island. Everyone said it was the wet side but I had no idea how wet. It rained the 3 days we were in Hilo. In fact Hilo flooded, a couple of the streets were closed. I did find the fabric store in Hilo called Discount blew my mind. I had to buy more fabric. The hawaiian print selection was incredible. I bought some lovely turquoise & gold with a nice tropical theme, it was about $7 a yard. A steal if you ask me. I also bought a beautiful dragon print that was on sale. I got out of Discount Fabric for less than $50. 
My husband does not like to do tourist things, so we didn't go to see a lot of attractions. We did go see a black sand beach, the volcano and the City of Refuge. We drove all over the island to get a feel for the place. We also saw a lot of beautiful birds. Sitting on a deck in the morning drinking coffee and listening to the birds blew my mind. It was very soothing. 
So the food was good, the water warm, the scenery was beautiful. Next time I would stay on the warm side the entire time, skip Hilo except for maybe a day trip. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Road Trip

Last October my husband & I took a road trip A friend had just bought a bar in Doyle California and my husband wanted to drive down there to see the place. So we loaded up our 1978 Fleetwood Cadillac and hit the road. I had never been to Crater Lake so we decided to stopped there for an afternoon. I was amazed, the photos do not do it justice, everyone should go to Crater Lake at least one time in their life. We sat on the balcony of the lodge drank some beer and ate some snacks as we watched the sunset reflect over the water. We had looked into to stay at the hotel but it was booked according to the on line system. While we were there we decided to ask if there was an opening, there was one room for $185 located over the kitchen refrigerators...there was a slight hum but the hotel clerk said it was not that bad. We decided that was a little pricey for us and went on as planned to Klamath Falls. On the way down to Klamath Falls from Crater Lake it was quite and we we almost hit a HUGE cow that was in the middle of the road & a deer ran along the side of the car for a few feet. I was very happy that we did not get in an accident with an animal. Did you know that several businesses in downtown Klamath Falls is heated by underground geothermal energy that was installed in the early 1900? Neither did I. After a night in Klamath Falls we went to Doyle California. Our friend Steve Heck bought a bar called the "Buck Inn". We wanted to see what it looked like and see the small town. It's cute and about 40 miles northwest of Reno. Steve is known for building sculptures from pianos. He was not in Doyle when we arrived but we stopped and had a drink. It's a cute little town, with a population of about 650 people. There is a small grocery store and the Buck Inn…that is really all that is there. We left Doyle for Reno. We were only going to stay for a night but while in Reno our breaks went out and we had to have them fixed. So we spent a couple of days looking around. I kind of like the large neon signs but walking through the casinos was ver strange. You enter one corner and end up exiting the building 2 blocks later. It's difficult to tell where you are as you can not see outside. We found a few crushed penny machines and wondered around Reno but were ready to leave after 2 days. We headed east to San Fransciso (well really we stayed in Oakland)!!! It seems that our Friend Steve was finishing up a sculpture for an artist community warehouse. Steve had installed a large sculpture with about 18 pianos as you pull into the space and was installing another smaller piece in the community kitchen area. We met up with Steve and spent the day helping him work through the process of moving and playing with the 4 pianos he was using to make the sculpture (mostly handing him supplies and beverages to stay hydrated).Since we were so close to SF we took BART into the city and wondered down Fisherman's Wharf. I collect crushed pennies and there as a place Musee Mecanique that had about 13 crushed penny machines. So off we went…the place is amazing. Musée Mécanique, one of the world's largest (over 200) privately owned collection of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines in their original working condition. We later met up with our friend John Law who has a office on top of the Tribune Tower in Oakland. John also repairs neon signes…the Tribune clock and the SF Port sign are a couple that he keeps in working order. 
We took a ferry into Sf on a different night with friends and had dinner. I was a able to go to City Lights Bookstore and see Brian Goggin's sculpture "Language of Birds". The morning we left we had one last stop Childerns Fairyland located on the shores of Lake Merritt in Oakland. They had a crushed penny machine…only problem is you have to have a child to go into Fairyland. We had no kids with us, I was able to see the crushed penny machine from the gate and the nice woman let me go get my crushed pennies. I would have liked to see the park but alas I was only able to get a photo in front of the old ladies shoe. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Granny Square Quilt

I made this quilt top a couple of years ago. I kept seeing this pattern pop up on flicker and found the original pattern here. I fell in love with the scrappy feeling of the quilt. I have a passion for scrappy quilts, you should not ever have to go buy 1/2 a yard of 10 different materials to make a quilt. I come from a family of seamstress so there was always scrap material around. 

I made the quilt top and actually forgot about it till one of my cats jumped up on the shelf and down toppled all my unfinished quilt tops. I pulled out the top and started to look for fabric to complete the back. I had a long piece of this lovely light purple that I wanted to use but I also wanted a little color...something simple but that still had a snap of color. I played around with different colors on my design wall and came up with a nice backing. I think the solid strip of turquoise and the red added a nice break in to the eye.
I had taken a class on the long arm machine at Modern Domestic last year, but just in case you missed that post...a quick recap...when I went to do my 2 hours of studio time I broke the $18,000 machine. A piece of thread broke in the bobbin and they were unable to get it out, the machine froze and they had to pull it all apart. This is the finished quilt that broke the machine. Needless to say I was a little shy to go back for fear that they would never let me use the machine again. 

SO this year for my birthday I signed up for another class to use the long arm machine at Modern Domestic, This time the class was 2 days, 3 hours each day. There were only 3 of us in the class and we each got turns playing with the machine after learning a design. I liked the wave pattern and the loopy pattern, I had done squares inside squares on all the quilts tops I had done so far.  After you take the class you get 2 hours of studio time. 

I finally went on August 11th, 2 hours of sewing on the machine and no problems....well one small one...I put the needle through my finger and broke the needle, but I did not break the machine. I also quilted part of the batting to the back of the quilt. The batting clung to the back of the quilt and when I attempted to roll the quilt on the arms it would not move. That is when I realized I had quilted some of the batting to the back. Oh well, now that I have done it I know what to watch out for when rolling and unrolling the quilt sandwich on the machine. 

I really like the look of this quilt, it's all puffy from the machine quilting and the loopy pattern that I used was a nice contrast to the granny square pattern. I really liked making this pattern I think I will try it again but make it much more scrappy.