Wednesday, February 24, 2010

three months! where did winter go?

My last post was on November 30th, and it is now February 24th. It's amazing how time flies when I'm not looking, especially with so many activities filling up our lives. So, a quick sum-up of the past few months, which will hopefully be embellished with photo posts this weekend.

Christmas was lovely, if quiet with just the two of us and Chris working the holiday. We had a great Christmas Eve with friends filled with Rock Band and a tasty dinner from PSC, followed by a morning of video skype with family while opening presents. Just three days later I took Ezri, Jadzia, and Phoebe to go on the JCJ trip to Phoenix AZ for the Wags to Wishes tournament on January 1, 2, 3. The trip was great, if very long on both sides, and it was glorious to leave the cold and rainy Pacific Northwest for a few days in the sunny 70-degree desert. Ezri got to try herding sheep again and earned her HIC, and Phoebe got to try out barn dog several times and ended up tied for first over the weekend with 8 rat finds in just 5 minutes. All three girls ran very well in the tournament, and we set a new club record of 17.82 seconds with a lineup of Ezri / Indigo / Riker / Epic.

My bike has kicked over 18,000 miles, and just two weeks ago we found that the back wheel bearings had gone bad, causing wobble in the wheel and deactivating the ABS and auto-off on the turn signals, which is what led me to take it in to the shop. The degeneration was likely very slow, hence why I didn't realize it was a problem as I kept compensating for the limitations of the bike, but once it was fixed the difference was definitely huge. I'm definitely lucky as it's entirely possible the back wheel could have come off, with obviously bad consequences. All is well now, and I'm now paying much more attention to any change in the bike's handling, no matter how small - I definitely don't want to repeat this experience!!

I've continued to work on my quilting, finishing the third of the three matching butterfly quilts in December before I left for Phoenix, and starting my next project the same week. I've definitely outgrown our original sewing machine (a Janome New Home that Chris received as a gift for Christmas 1997 or 1998), and after several weeks of searching, tryouts, and reading reviews, I purchased a brand new Janome MemoryCraft 6600 from a quilt shop in Duvall. In order to learn all I can about using my new machine as well as improve my quilting techniques, I'm now working through a quilt instruction book including basic techniques, building a sampler quilt top, and doing projects that use each technique as it is taught. Right now I'm learning strip piecing, and will be making Chris a brown-and-blue coffee-themed lap quilt with the first project pattern. Amusingly enough, I've also picked up a third sewing machine - this one given away for free on Freecycle, that turned out to be a 1951 Pfaff 130 still with the original added electrical motor, plenty of extras, and housed inside the original wired cherry cabinet with knee control. Amazingly, it still works just fine after all this time (including at least 10 years in a garage), and had no issues sewing a test piece with all of its different stitches, although there was a slight smell of burning from the aged wiring. I'm planning to take the machine in to have it looked over, have the wiring upgraded to modern standards, and have it updated to have its own power cord and foot control so that it can be used outside of its cabinet. I'm also going to use the cabinet as a project to learn how to refinish wood, as it's pretty nice and just needs a good sanding and new finish to look even more lovely. My research has indicated that this type of machine will go just about forever, and is quite good at doing heavier projects such as light leather, sailcloth, and nylon webbing, so I plan to see if I can make dog collars with it once it's in full working order.

This weekend is the sewing expo in Puyallup, and I'll be going on Friday with Christy, Lindsey, and Julie - I'm definitely looking forward to it!