Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just a quick word

You'll notice or hear the new player. Thanks for the idea Tina at Cherry Hill Cottage and Kim at Daisy Cottage. (If I knew how to put those little forward thingys, I would put those in. Please feel free to tell me how though. ;-) I borrowed Kim's first song from her player because I found it so beautiful. I hope she doesn't mind. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I let Seth blog this week. Hope everyone has a great week.

Out of the woodshop

This week out of the wood shop we have a beautiful bench. It's about 4 feet long. It was quite simple to cut but not simple to assemble. It has a white sealer stain on it. I began this project last year while we were making the oak cabinet. I had to quit working on it to work on the cabinet. It took me about 4 weeks this year to apply four coats of stain on it. It needs a long time to dry.

Here we have a beautiful welcome sign. Scrolled out of oak remnants from the cabinet. It has a natural stain which gives it a golden look and one coat of clear gloss. It adds a very beautiful touch to my new room.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Tole Mour

So I bet you're wondering where I was while Mom, Dad, and Tina were remodeling my room?
I had embarked on a 7 day sailing trip aboard the Tole Mour, a 150 foot schooner run by C.I.M.I(Catalina Island Marine Institute). We set sail Monday, Sept. 3 from Long Beach, CA and headed west to Catalina as well as the other channel islands. Our first day was spent sailing to Catalina where we anchored in Isthmus Cove for the night. We sang sea shanties after dinner then went to bed. The next day we got up at 6:00 am and did the polar bear dive, which is diving into the ocean AT 6:00 IN THE MORNING (better than coffee). After breakfast we had our first snorkeling trip in the cove where we saw the usual Garabalde, Starfish, and Erchins as well as a Leopard shark and Horn shark (depicted below). We then set our course for Santa Barbara Island, a small island northwest of Catalina. We anchored there for the evening and learned how to square dance for the night's activity. We also watched sea lions chase flying fish which was way cool. Day 3 we started off with the usual polar bear dive, which was the coldest one of the entire trip. We then had breakfast and a snorkeling trip to swim with sea lions. Once we were done snorkeling, we went ashore for lunch and a hike. After the hike we hauled anchor and headed back to Catalina to a cove directly across the island from Isthmus Cove. For the nightly activity we watched a movie projected onto one of the sails. Unfortunately no matter how hard we pleaded they would not let us watch "Finding Nemo" or some other movie. Instead we had to watch "Around the Horn" a documentary on a sailing ship that made some 80 trips around Cape Horn (trust teachers to suck the fun out of everything). On day 4 we sailed to Shark Harbor to do some boogey boarding before heading for San Clemente Island located west of Catalina. We had sea watches which are 3 hour shifts for each group when you help the crew run the ship. They lasted till 12:00 am so there was no night activity. Day 5 found us anchored on the west side of the island where we snorkeled in some crystal clear water. We saw most of the same fish but the coolest was the bat ray we found lying on the bottom. After snorkeling we did the rope swing while lunch was cooking. The only bad thing was that San Clemente is owned by the Navy, so at noon the island went hot which means they started bombing it!!!!! So just as we were putting up the rope swing we heard several loud BOOMS which meant the F-14 we had seen flying around earlier had commenced its bombing. Fortunately we had known the island was going to go hot so we were well on our way back to Catalina before the bombing really got started, so we didn't get to see any of the explosions (bummer). On the way back we pulled 10 knots under sail with all but 2 sails set(up)which is really quite awesome. We anchored on the southern tip of Catalina. For the night activity we watched "Blue Planet, the Deep" and jumped into the water at night to swim with the biolumenising plankton, giving you the feeling you were swimming in a pool of thousands of tiny blue lights which light up every time you stirred the water. At dawn on day 6 we arose from our bunks to do our last snorkel around the the harbor of Avalon (the small city on Catalina which even has its own Vons). On the snorkeling trip one of the guys in our group found a bicycle handle bar, a fishing spear, and a car battery. We also feed the fish who were not scared of humans. So the minute the bread was in the water we were swormed by tons of sea bass (some measuring 2 feet in length) as well as some Garabaldes. A few people, including me, had our fingers bit by some sea bass. After we got out of the water we sailed for one of the C.I.M.I island camps. On the way there I got to go aloft with most of my group to unfurl the lower topsail, later the same day I was allowed to go up with some other people to furl the same sail as well as the upper topsail wich is a little higher (I did really well considering I'm not one for heights). We anchored just off shore from the camp and went ashore to visit their small aquarium which had two touch tanks. This was for the last night activity. There we got to see some different varieties of star fish, an octopus, a Morey eel, a giant kelp fish, and some other fish. We also got to touch some sea stars, sea hairs, some sand rays, as well as some leopard sharks, horn sharks, and a few tiger sharks. They also had some crabs in the touch tanks that we weren't supossed to touch but most of the boys daringly touched them just out of their claw's reach. On day 7 we did the last polar bear swim and for a treat one of the crew took us to the bow sprit, which is the net that runs under the pole that sticks out of the bow of the ship, there we got to jump 20 to 25 feet into the water below, yee ha. After we emerged from the water we went ashore to kayak out on the ocean. After which we went back to the ship to jump off the bowsprit again before heading back to the main land. On the way we saw our 4th pod of dolphins and a pod of blue whales which we followed real closely till they dived. It was the perfect thing to end the trip with. We made port, said goodbye to the friends we had made and left for home.
And now you know the rest of the story.
This is the Tole Mour anchored off Catalina Island.
This is the fore mast. You can see me on the fighting top waving. The sail right above me is the lower square sail which we were going to unfurl. The sail above that one is the upper square sail which I later got to furl. I also was allowed to climb to the very top of the mast which had an awsome view.
Here is the Leopard Shark we saw the first day snorkeling
And this one is the Horn Shark we saw the same day. The person holding it is our crew chaperon Emily. We gave her the nick name of "THE QUEEN OF SHARK CATCHERS".

These pictures are of the rest of the kids relaxing on the stern (top, the guitar was one of the crews) and the bow (bottom). Don't be fooled by the photos though. We hardly got breaks because if we weren't setting or striking sails, we had pride (a sort of ship cleaning period that took place after every meal) or else we were in classes learning about oceanography or marine biology. In fact the few breaks we did have were pretty short most of the time and were ended by the dreaded sound of the Muster Forward bell (by the end of day 7 I was ready to chuck it over board).
Hope you enjoyed this and have a great week.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Once Again

Well we managed to pull off another "while you were out". Seth took a 7 day Tole Mour Tall ship trip. We decided this was a good time to redo his room while he was gone. Especially after the comment he made the week before he left. "Gee mom, I wish you, Miss Kelly, and Miss Janie had time to redo my room while I'm away. I know you don't though because of work and everything." I said "Yeah, I'm sorry Seth. Work is pretty hectic right now. We'll try some other time." Seth left Labor day Monday and we got busy.
Here we go. The before shots.
I really hadn't realized how much my neat kid had become like my messy kid.

Now the work begins:
One of the first places we went was to RAD. Where we purchased this cool bookcase headboard and chair. Cost? $45.
We'll strip this baby and stain it. Recover the cushions in corduroy, probably some shade of red.
Then we went to Lowe's. Don't ask how much we spent there because it was more than enough. Then we went to Big Lots to purchase the cool curtains and shelves. Fortunately we didn't have to paint the walls like we did for Tina's room redo. Seth likes his "crisp toast" paint job. Yep that's the color name.
Here's Tina working. She did a lot of the work because I was busy working my big girl job and so was everybody else. This was the first week we had students in the library and things get pretty hectic when that happens.
Neil assembling things. He'd really like it if I would quit doing projects. He just wants everything done, neat, tidy and put away. Thank you very much. Seth returned late the following Sunday to a room that looked quite a bit different. Here's the finished product or near finished product. We ran out of time because well with work, etc there just wasn't enough plus the carpenter was out to sea. That really puts a kink in the works.
Here's Tina reading on the "new" bed. We painted the headboard black and put new knobs on it. Kelly made the cool hot rod pillowcases. I've got to finish up the Route 66 quilt I started several years ago. I'm ashamed to admit. I bet Seth feels like I never finish anything for him.
Seth likes Coca Cola memorabilia. So we did one wall of his Coke things. These are the shelves we got at Big Lots. We painted them black. I still had a half gallon of black left from Tina's room. It came in handy. I still have more black paint. Ugh!
Close up of Coca Cola things.
The chair isn't finished. This will add to Seth's incomplete feelings he has for his mom, but at least he'll get the jest of what we were trying to accomplish. We did manage to get the chair stripped. We just need to stain it and cover the cushions. Kelly says she'll help me one weekend.
We used the old, smaller desk for a new nightstand. This worked great. It gave us a large surface for Harry, the tarantula and also created a niche for his ammo box. You can see it in the first photo. We ditched the old bookcase. Actually it moved to the school room and created the new system here. This is what cost the most at Lowe's. Seth's worth it though. Notice the incomplete desk the carpenter has to put together when he gets home. The only way we could get a desk for this spot was to make it our self or himself as the case maybe. We did stain most of the shelves and got the hardware installed.
The dresser moved where the bookcase used to be and got a cool retro cover which you can't see unfortunately. I hope to eventually find a mirror to put in this spot.
Here's a good shot of the front view of the desk/bookcase system.
And here's the really surprised owner returning home. He was distracted by a phone conversation he was having with a friend as he walked into his room. He really likes the room and wished we had built the desk. That's what you get for being the family handy man though. Enjoy your room Seth.

Morning glories for Morning Glory Cottage

After the rain last night the sky was just beautiful this morning. Seth took some pictures of the morning glories out front. These will probably be some of the last photos of these beauties. This is a side view of the front yard. You get a pretty good shot of the three morning glory "bushes". I love morning glories as you can tell. Actually there's very few flowers I don't like. I even like thistle with its puffy, purple head.
This guy is actually a vine from the one on the trellis who crept his way over here and grew over the shepherd's hook I have staked here. Cheeky little guy!
This is a close up of the one growing up the trellis. It finally decided to bloom after much persuasion.
Here's the monster. It's more than fulfilled my dreams of filling up the garden bench Seth built. The cats all love it. They think it's their secret hiding place and a wonderful place for a nap during the hot afternoons. You can't even sit on the bench part of it anymore, at least unless you're daring.
This is the front. The morning glory has decided to take over this flower bed. Which is what bind weed will do. Couple more weeks and I'll be pulling them out though and the other flowers will be glad.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where is earth again???

Okay, maybe I did fall off the face of the earth this time. Things have been so hectic with home school starting, work and taking care of my mom. It's really not an excuse but an explanation. I haven't even had time to visit my favorite blogs. So I've got a lot of typing and reading to do. Since there is rain forecasted for the weekend maybe I'll get both done.
Well I promised that as soon as the pirate quilt was complete I would post a picture of it. So here it is.
It's really bright and busy. The students love it and so does the staff. Our district office has even come over to see. This is the grand prize in our paperback book drive. It hangs in the main school office attracting a lot of attention.
This is the center of the quilt. We had thought originally that we would do applique or crayon pirate squares, but found these preprinted squares and decided to do something easier. Hopefully we get a big turn out for the event for the school year.
The other thing I've been busy with is the continuation of our kitchen remodel. Seems things happen real slow and then all of a sudden it kicks into high gear. When I left for work on Monday this is what the wall between the dining room and kitchen looked like. This, of course, is the kitchen side.
When I got home from work this is what greeted me. It's so exciting!
When I got home Tuesday evening this is what greeted me. Yes!!! The room looks and feels so much bigger. Neil kept walking around the island every time he came into the kitchen and commenting on how much he likes it.
Here's a closer picture. We started our kitchen remodel last December. But we've paid it out of pocket and not with a loan. It takes longer that way.
On Wednesday when I got home the framework was in place for the corners. The contractor wasn't able to put in a full day that day so not as much got done.
Miss Kitty isn't sure what we've done with the wall and not too sure she likes the hole in the floor. She'll get used to it and she'll settle down once the work is done.
When I got home today some of the new drywall/plaster work had been done. Contractor says this is the tedious long part. Who cares the wall is open.
We're hoping to mimic the arch between the dining room and living room. We felt it would give it continuity and make it look like it had always been that way. We're thrilled in case you haven't guessed. Please excuse the mess in the pictures. I thought the contractor would show up Monday and discuss things to come back another day to do it. Nope, he started that day. I wasn't really ready. Left Tina in charge to clear all my pretties from the corner hutch and the shelf in the dining room. I'll keep everyone posted as we go. Neil says he'll help me paint next Wednesday when he is off. Hopefully, everything will be complete by then.
I hope everyone is doing okay in blogland and I promise that I'll get around to see how everyone is doing. I've missed seeing what you are all up to. Take care!!