September 30, 2011

S is for Sea Shell

Last March Mike and I visited both coasts of Florida; spending a couple days on Sanibel Island and a couple days in Cocoa Beach. In both locations I collected a few small clam shells with holes in their tops.

Knowing that our four nieces would soon be moving from Pittsburgh to Florida, I gathered them with the intention of making necklaces for each as a welcome to their new home.

Using ribbon/cord for the necklace, I attached the shells and a metal letter charm with jump rings and chain. I can imagine the girls wearing them while running down the beach; their long hair flying out behind. Welcome to the sunshine state, girls!

September 25, 2011

Summer Becomes Fall

Our weekend began like this:

And three days later, ended like this:

In between 8 pounds of tomatoes were tamed into two very small jars of spicy-sweet tomato sauce.

September 21, 2011

Okey-Dokey, Artichokey

Last weekend my mom graduated from the certificate program at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center. She's been in this program for the last two years, meeting for one intense week 4 times a year. When she joined she made it clear that we were not to get married, have children or otherwise embark upon anything momentous that would require her participation or full attention (Sara disobeyed a little by getting married, but after waiting 10 years before tying the knot I know that Mom didn't want her to put it off any longer).

As much as we missed having Mom around as much, it was great to hear all about the classes she took, techniques she learned, and to have generally lived vicariously off her enthusiasm.

Last weekend it all culminated in a two-day art show at the new Creative Studies Center in LaConner, WA (Mom had been commuting to their old digs in Oak Harbor, WA).

 Flowers for Mom/Nonny

Mom explored a theme of Artichokes for her show.

Dear Artichoke,
I know, I know
It's been a bad year.
Sorry about the
rain flooding your feet
Sorry about the 
sun not showing up.
But there you have it.
I cloaked you in manure
just the way you like it.
Now, do your thing.

- Nancy Scagliotti


We're all very proud of you Mom!

September 14, 2011

A Canadian Crab

In one short month my cousin (once removed) Cohen, turns 1!
Since Mike and I were heading to British Columbia last weekend, I decided to bring Cohen his birthday present early: one very red, big-eyed Crab.

This is Tipper the Crab, and a pattern for him can be found at Fresh Stitches. A crab seemed like a good idea for one-year-old (easy to grab onto) and it roughly stuck with the theme of the Fish Mobile that I made him a year ago. He is crocheted out of cotton yarn and stuffed with wool batting, and will hopefully survive this next year in one piece.


Though it would have been worth the trip to Canada just to see Cohen, our visit was in fact to participate in the Whistler Gran Fondo. And by participate, I mean drive the cars with all the luggage.

While we drove, Papa, Uncle Joe and cousins Brendan & Katrina rode their bikes the 74.5 miles up the mountain, among 7,000 cyclists in 90 degree heat. Though a little bedraggled at the top, they all made it, and they all had smiles on their faces (albeit, very weary looking smiles).

Luckily we didn't have to drive right back down the mountain, but rented a place at the Tantalus Lodge for the night. My cousin Will flew out from Calgary, and drove up to meet us later that afternoon, and it turned into one great family gathering.


Cohen, Brendan, Katrina, Mike & Will

September 9, 2011

An aptly named Holiday

Our Labor Day weekend was labor-intensive.

New 2010 Deck

Last summer we had a deck built off our kitchen, then Mike and I applied some Behr semi-transparent stain to it.  Fast forward a year and the deck is looking a little worse for wear. Not horrible mind you, just bad enough to be really irritating to Mike. So much so that he decided it was time for us to refinish it.

2011 Deck: mildew stains and discoloration.

Now according to the man at Miller Paint, refinishing your deck is about a yearly thing. I refuse to refinish the deck every year, and Mike refuses to let our deck weather gray.  So we spent 5 solid days over two weekends working on this deck, with the intention that we're going to get it looking so good, and so protected, that we will NOT have to do this again next summer.

First step, remove old stain.  We began by pressure-washing to see if that would work. It did, but took an agonizingly long time and really chewed up the wood. Then we tried a stain remover. This was applied with brushes, left to sit for 15 minutes and then THEORETICALLY rinsed off with the pressure washer.  This worked about 70%. So after stain stripper and pressure washing, Mike and I proceeded to sand the entire deck.

Sitting for 15 minutes (we could only do about 6 boards at a time, so this took a realllly long time).

Following sanding we used a wood brightener to neutralize the wood pH balance before applying new stain.

 Wood Brightener

 Early morning brightened wood

Then it was two solid days of staining the deck (two coats) using those same small brushes.  This time we went for a solid stain (maximum protection) made by Cabot. We agonized over using solid stain versus semi-solid. We really loved the look of our bright orangey deck and didn't want to lose the look of the wood. However the thought of doing this every year got me over that pretty quickly and we went for solid in "Mission Brown".

Hope this lasts...

September 8, 2011


Ever heard of Zentangle? Susanna calls it doodling. Whatever she calls it, she's good at it.

While looking for something to do on the beach at the end of July, Mom introduced her to the art and she was off and running. In most of the photos from that trip she has her head bent over a notebook. Here are two that she did especially for Mike and I.

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