Gift Hats

I absolutely LOVE making Christmas presents and this hat makes the perfect gift! This hat is for my son (oh, please don’t tell him his mother tried it on!). The pattern is fun to work with. It knits up fast, has a great texture and is real stretchy. Used a wonderful wool yarn – less than one skein and maybe four hours knitting time.

The making of a hat . . .

The making of a hat . . .

Now I want one for myself, but alas, I plan on making one as a gift for my sweetie first! Here’s the link to the pattern on Ravelry – There’s still time for you to make one too!

Categories: Knitting, rose lavoie | Leave a comment

What’s Growing On

What a treat to be able to pluck a sun-ripened tomato off the vine!

Sun ripened on the vine

Sun ripened on the vine

And the herbs, oh my. Oh so good, oh so convenient. I can’t begin to count the many wonderful grilling sauces and salad dressings we have enjoyed. This summer’s container gardening, absolutely a success!

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Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Small Space Container Gardening

Living in a top-floor condomenium with a lovely southern exposure, we are enjoying the coziness of the deck. Well on the way to making it feel like home, we have refinished a small table, found the perfect chairs, picked up a practically new barbeque grill for next to nothing (thanks to CraigsList!), and started growing herbs, tomatoes and flowers in containers.

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Categories: container gardens, gardening, Outdoors, photography | Leave a comment


Last year I snagged this gorgeous Dutch Colony antique armoire from Singapore off of the local Craigs List for an unbelievable rock-bottom bargain price. How old it is, I don’t know enough about antiques to tell, but have been told that maybe it is as old as 18th or 19th century. From the hand-carved floral design on the doors and trim up top, the hand-hewn markings on the lumber lining the inside and the basic design and stability of the piece, I am absolutely delighted with it and admire its detail.

Antique Dutch Colony Armoire from Signapore

Antique Dutch Colony Armoire from Singapore

I originally configured this armoire as a desk for an old desktop computer system, and while I’ve streamed the occasional movie on this computer, having a laptop computer and a Kindle Fire, it seems I rarely sit at this desk and compute. Besides, if I want, there is a desk in the study/guest room right in front of a big, beautiful window where I can sit and use the laptop if I want to do some serious computing. Thus it seems this armoire, although a beautiful piece of furniture in the main part of the condo, is totally under-utilized as a funtional piece of furniture.

Currently configured as a computer desk

Currently configured as a computer desk

Recently, while working on a sewing project on the dining room table, I got the idea that I ought to turn this under-utilized armoire into a useful sewing area. Looking for inspiration on armoire reconfigurations on Pinterest, I found the most amazing piece (go here to see more – ). This is exactly what I had in mind. Well, I won’t be painting that beautiful, hand-hewn wood that lines the back of my piece; but the shelves in my armoire have been replaced with modern lumber, so I can paint those. I can also make colorful fabric and ribbon bulletin boards (something like this – – only in a color that matches my color scheme) to attach to the inside of the doors of my armoire and I can add a hinged (or pull-out shelf) to use as the sewing machine/pressing surface. Don’t you just love projects that create something useful out of something so lovely – and under-utilized?

Inspirational piece from Pinterest - an armoire configured as a sewing station

Inspirational piece from Pinterest – an armoire configured as a sewing station

Here it is after relocating the computer to the desk in the study and the sewing machine, fabrics, supplies and tools to the armoire. I’m loving it as is, and there was so much room, I was able to use one of the shelves to store my watercolor and other painting supplies. Yeah!

Filled with sewing machine, fabrics, sewing notions & watercolor supplies

Filled with sewing machine, fabrics, sewing notions & watercolor supplies

Yet to do:

  • Paint the interior shelves.
  • Add a slide out shelf just below where the sewing machine is now to use when sewing, and paint that shelf
  • Make fabric and ribbon covered bulletin boards with pockets for inside both doors – for notes, patterns, photos, pin cushion, other little supplies
  • Add a small flourescent lamp under the very top shelf to add better lighting when sewing

So far there has been no immediate cost for this recogfiguration. I  have a quart of paint on hand that I got as a free sample a year or so ago that is about the color of my inspirational cabinet that will be perfect for this project. I have plenty of fabric and ribbon in my fabric/supply stash for covering the bulletin boards, but will need to purchase the actual boards to cover, and I will have to purchase a small flourescent lamp. I will first, of course, check our local ReStore for these items before i head to a real hardware store.

Even though it is not yet quite finished, already I love it!

Categories: art shows, craft shows, photography, quilting, quilts | Leave a comment

Leucistic Robin

Having observed this bird ourselves in the neighborhood, turns out, our bird of a different color is famous in our hood. On our walk home from the grocery store, we spied this 8″ X 10″ glossy displayed on the community bulletin board outside at Nelson’s Market.

Our leucistic robin's photo displayed on neighborhood bulletin board

At first sighting, I would never have guessed it was a robin as I would not expect to see a robin with a white head. It is a robin though – a leucistic robin. Leucism is a rare genetic mutation that prevents the development of pigmentation cells as seen in the abnormal plumage on our neighborhood robin. For more information on bird leucism, go here –

Categories: Hikes and Walks, Outdoors, People, Places, Things, photography | Leave a comment


Just when I start to feel that our gloomy, rainy days will never end, as if making up for all that gloom, a beautiful rainbow (double at that!) appears.

Double rainbow . . .

I am sorry that I have complained so much, so often about the wet, windy weather of late, but the gloomy weather keeps me from enjoying hikes along the trails. Really though, a rainy day on the trail is better than no day on the trail! I should simply purchase better rain gear. You can go here – – to read about my hikes.

Categories: Outdoors, photography | 2 Comments

Birthday Celebrations

We celebrated with a delicious dinner of goat cheese and sundried tomato stuffed ravioli, sauted chicken breasts and mixed sugar snap peas and baby carrots – all drizzled with a thick marinara sauce and sprinkled with flaked asiago and parmessan cheese. Followed by a grand finale flaming birthday cake – a cheese cake with fancy chocolate dipped strawberries, this turned out to be the best birthday celebration ever.

Happy birthday to you . . .

Happy birthday to you . . .

Happy birthday dear Kent . . .

Happy birthday to you . . .

The best birthday EVER, and it wasn’t even MY birthday. What’s up with that?

Hanging the "memories" birthday gift . . .

Hanging the "memories" birthday gift . . .

Happy birthday memories . . .

Categories: Events, People, Places, Things, photography | Leave a comment

Taylor Dock Walk

What is the difference between a walk and a hike?

I found myself asking that very question as I walked along Taylor Dock with a friend today. We had a great time as we walked, and it felt absolutely wonderful to be outside in the sunshine. The coffee and conversation made for a wonderful break in the afternoon, but I didn’t break a sweat. I wore my regular shoes and we basically just loitered the entire duration of our walk. It was a beautiful day to enjoy a stroll and the view. The sun was shining so gloriously on the newest addition to our waterfront, Grace.

Grace is art, gorilla art. A beautifully graceful steel and rivited sculpture snuck in by an anonymous artist in the middle of the night during a low tide and mounted to tin island (a pile of tin scraps left over from the hay day of foundary work along the antique Fairhaven waterfront.) Snuck in during the dark in order to avoid the complex permitting process for such a piece of art, her beauty is appreciated by all.


But it was during this walk that I found myself questioning the difference between a hike and a walk. You see, with 2012 being the year in which I turn sixty, I am well on my way to meeting a goal of completing sixty hikes before my sixtieth birthday. (You can go here – Sixty Before Sixty – to read about those hikes.)

Today my friend and I walked approximately 1-1/2 miles in and around Fairhaven, along a portion of the South Bay Trail, along Taylor Dock, over Pattle Point and around Boulevard Park, but I did not consider this walk a hike. Today we walked slowly. We strolled really. We chatted (even a little about the difference about a walk and a hike). Often we stopped along our route to enjoy the waterfront views. At Boulevard Park, we stopped in at Wood’s Coffee, ordered coffees and sat outside for practically an hour as we sipped our drinks and continued our conversation.

That was when I realized the difference between a walk and a hike!

You see, last month, I did categorize some of the same walk route as today as a hike (you can go here – South Bay Trail – to read about that hike). Last month’s South Bay Trail hike consisted of a brisk walk of well over five miles in snowy conditions. I wore my hiking boots, I carried my pack, the conditions were harsh and I broke a sweat. It was not just a stroll, nor did I loiter. I got some good exercise out of my effort. That’s the difference!

The basic Wikipedia definition of a hike is, “Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails“.

Categories: Hikes and Walks, Outdoors, Parks, People, Places, Things, photography | Leave a comment

Fish Taxi

After completing the first hike today toward my goal of Sixty Before Sixty (sixty hikes before my sixtieth birthday) through the grounds of the Northern State Recreation Area (see Hike #1 – Northern State Recreation Area) in Sedro Woolley, I drove on to the town of Concrete for a visit to one of my favorite places, the Lower Baker Dam.  Just before the turn off for the road leading up to the Lower Baker Dam, we cross the Baker River by driving over this bridge. It is one of my favorite bridges in all of Skagit County.

Baker River Bridge

I like to go directly to viewing area for the Lower Baker Dam first to get a good look at the dam before I go on and do more exploring in the area. I find it to be such an impressive wall of concrete when I stand there and look out to the dam. My father worked on some rehab jobs there when I was a young child. I was so little that I do not recall exactly what it was exactly that he did at the Lower Baker Dam (something to do with construction and often with concrete), but to this day, it feels good to stand there and see something of such mass that he was a part of.

The Lower Baker Dam

Of course, a dam like this, at 285 feet high along a river like the Baker would pose an impossible hurdle for the lifecycle of salmon as they fight their way back up stream to their breading grounds each year, so the operators of the dam, Puget Sound Energy, were faced with solving this problem. Their solution, quite an elaborate Fish Taxi!

Dena learns about the Fish Taxi at the Lower Baker Dam

What happens is, the fish are trapped by being directed to swim into a holding tank. Once the tank has filled with enough fish, they are pumped out of the holding tank and into a large, portable tank on the back of a flatbed truck. Then, the tank full of fish are driven (taxied!) up the road, around the dam, and released back into the river. So continues the life cycle of the salmon!

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Categories: Hikes and Walks, Outdoors, People, Places, Things | 1 Comment

Burn Pile Party

Have a big stack of branches and brush piling up in your back yard? Then why not have a burn pile party?

Burn pile party . . .

Here’s how to host a burn pile party:

  • Make a large pile of fallen tree branches and brush in the back of your yard.
  • Apply for a burn permit through your local fire department. (Note that it might be helpful if your back yard backs up to a large beaver pond, and if you are retired from that local fire department.)
  • Fill your crockpot with pulled pork, make up a few salads and bake a big batch of cookies.
  • Contact your friends and invite them over for a Burn Pile Party.
  • Light your burn pile on fire, and let the fun begin.

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He is retired from the fire department, but this is still some serious back-yard burn pile fire tending!

This is some serious fire tending!

Then later, you can always entertain your friends by playing then some ragtime.

He's playing me some ragtime . . .

Categories: Music and Dance, Outdoors, People, Places, Things | Leave a comment

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