Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Love the Library

Pin It We live close to the main branch of the Everett Public Library. It is a comfortable biking distance from our house so we visit quite often.

Check out the cool bike rack they have in front of the library.

The original library was founded by the Everett Women's Book Club. The original building that you see on Hoyt and Everett Ave was opened to the public in October 1934.

The library was remodeled in 1991 and a portion of the old building was restored and turned into a coffee shop. The other portion is the lobby, book return, and check-out desks.

This is a view of the new part of the library. Pretty spectacular, huh?

Which brings us to my favorite part of the library. The Quick Picks section. I pick out books one of two ways. One is I research an author, put a hold on a book, and go pick it up from the hold shelf later. Another feature I love because I can do this from home and the librarians will find the book for me and I just have to pick it up. Easy, simple, fast. The second way is the library has a quick pick section of popular or recommended books. I can browse, read the backs and pick out 4-8 books at a time.

This is actually a vintage related post though. I'm getting to that part. So, Ruben and I go to the library the other day for his math tutoring lesson. In the lobby they have a table of books the library is discarding and selling. I see these....

Four huge volumes of Ladies Home Journals for the years of 1945, 1948, 1949, and 1951. Attractively bound and only $3 each. I almost squealed with delight right there in the library, but I didn't dare. I have been reading 1945 and will post picture of some of the goodies inside later.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pacific Distillery

Pin It A couple of weeks ago we went down to my Brother-in-law's business, Pacific Distillery, to help bottle a batch of gin.

Pacific Distillery is one of a handful of micro-distilleries in Washington State. They make small batch, hand crafted Gin and Absinthe using all organic ingredients. How do I know the ingredients are organic? Because we grow some of the Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium & pontica) in our yard. The name of the Gin is Voyager Gin and the Absinthe is Pacifique Absinthe.

Pictures taken with my phone. Display of all the herbs used for the Absinthe and Gin.

Herbs used in Pacifique Absinthe:
Grand Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Roman Wormwood (Artemisia pontica)
Green Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
Florence Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare/azoricum)
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

Herbs used in Voyager Gin:
Lemon Peel (Citrus limon)
Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)
Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
Orris (Iris germanica)
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Orange Peel (Citrus sinensis)
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Green Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

I'm not a great expert on the gin or absinthe because I don't drink. I have tasted the Gin and it has a nice flavor without being too pine tasting. Most gins I have had in the past taste a little too much like liquid christmas tree for my taste. Voyager has a very mild pine flavor with other flavors layered in it. You don't even have to put a lime in a Voyager gin and tonic to make it palatable.

This is the alembic that he distills his liquors in. Cool looking, huh?

My job during the Voyager Gin bottling was to put the plastic foil caps on the top of the bottle after it was filled, corked, and labeled.

The plastic foil caps get heated and shrunk to the top of the bottle next.

If you live in Washington State, you can buy Voyager Gin or Pacifique Absinthe from most Liquor Stores. If your local store doesn't currently carry it, ask about it, they can order it. If you live outside Washington State, there are some mail order companies that you can buy from. Here is a link to some Online retailers that carry both liquors.

If you try either one, let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

2011 Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop

Pin It Last week, June 22-25, my Mom, Ruben and I did the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop. We spread it over 3 1/2 days and visited 53 out of the 56 shops. I had never done one before and probably won't be doing another one anytime soon. It was exhausting. Typically we got up around 4-5 am and were on the road by 6am. Most of the days we were visiting the last shop just before closing time of 8pm. This meant on some days I didn't get home until after 10pm. We drove about 1700 miles during the 3 1/2 days.

This is the poster of all of the shop blocks made up into a quilt. A few of the blocks aren't pictured, and one block (the old lady in the middle of the floating blocks on the bottom right) was not possible to get because the shop went out of business and closed before the shop hop. Sorry about the blurry look of this. I can't take a photo of my poster because the flash keeps making a big spot in the center. This pic is from the shop hop website.

Day 1, Rest area on the way to Vancouver, Washington. Our strategy was to drive as far away as we could at o'dark thirty in the morning and get to the first shop before it opened at 9am. Then we would work our way back home stopping at shops on the list along the way. The theory was, if you missed shops close to home, it would be easy to do those on the last day. But if you started from home and worked your way out, you wouldn't want to finish the outlying shops on the last days because you would be tired and wouldn't want to drive so far to get them.

Day 2, at the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry, waiting to leave the dock. This day we drove up through Whidbey Island and got two different shops. Then we left the island in the north by the Deception Pass Bridge (a very high, very scary bridge) and got two more shops in Anacortes. Then north to Lynden and worked our way south.

Goofing around before the Langley quilt shop opened on Whidbey Island.

If you don't know what a quilt shop hop is or have never heard of it, it is a group of shops that organize a couple of days for people to visit each shop. You get a passport, which is just a listing of all the shops, that you take to the shop and have them stamped. In exchange, you get a design for a quilt block and enough fabric to make that block. Each quilt shop designs their own block. Some blocks are pieced, some have applique, and some have embroidery. Kids over a certain age can get either a full size block or a 4" square of novelty fabric.

Here is where I admit that we bent the rules a little. Ruben is only 9 years old but the shop hop rules want the kids to be 10 to get a regular block instead of the novelty fabric. Most of the novelty fabrics the shops were handing out were gag worthy. So, being that my Mom gave me life and as such is a goddess in my eyes, I had her dub Ruben as being 10 for 3 1/2 days. You will be happy to know that he is back to being 9 again now.

Day 3, Bainbridge Island. For some reason we ran into quite a lot of trouble getting to about a half dozen different shops in different towns because of road construction. The GPS on my phone would get us in the general vicinity, then we had to rely on road maps to get us around the construction. They say in Western Washington that we only have two seasons. The rainy season and the road work season.

This is an example of what the quilt shop gives you for your block. On the right is the instructions and enough fabric to make the block. The shops are only supposed to give you three pieces of fabric. If their block requires more fabric they usually had completion kits for purchase ($1-5) that include additional fabric, embroidery floss, transfers, etc. You can see an example of the completion kit on the left.

I have to do each block twice, one for me and one for Ruben. Or as my Mom pointed out, the practice one (Ruben's) and then my block!

Here are my first two blocks. Notice the different initials on the handkerchiefs. I have been doing the piecing in my sewing area, and the embroidery while I watch TV. I'm enjoying doing the embroidery because it gives me something to do. Usually when I watch TV I feel impatient because I'm not doing anything useful. It is hard for me to just watch TV and not do anything.

Here is the next block I am in the middle of working on. This one is taking me a lot more time to do than the first two blocks because there is a lot more embroidery. It is done in a simple back stitch. I had to look all the embroidery stitches up on the internet because I've never done embroidery, although I will probably do more in the future.

Has anyone every done a shop hop or something similar?
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