Author Archives: ldroppers

Seattle Aquarium

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the Seattle Aquarium with some friends and now we are finally posting about it! I’m not saying that kids are distracting and take time, I’m just saying.

TL;DR The aquarium was a little small, but cool and fun nevertheless. The only downside was that it is surprisingly hard to take pictures in the aquarium that turn out at all with the weird lighting, thick glass, and fast motion. Mostly, I blame the index of refraction.

I think that the highlights were probably the otters for me, as they are very cute and entertaining to watch. It was more of a generally cool place with some neat underwater viewing like a huge dome and some giant tanks. We would probably go back at some point in the future, but are not in a rush.

Insert generic coral in an aquarium photo here.

Insert generic coral in an aquarium photo here.

Jellyfish! They had some color changing light and UV to show of the jellies phosphorescence.

Jellyfish! They had some color changing light and UV to show off the jellies’ phosphorescence.

Trapped in a gelatinous cylinder.

Trapped in a gelatinous cylinder.

Half of an underwater dome.

Half of an underwater dome.

An outside picture so you can reflect on how weird aquarium lighting is.

An outside picture so you can reflect on how weird aquarium lighting is.

Garden 2019 Retrospective

This was our first year in West Seattle and this means getting to know the new garden!

On the plus side, there was a bit of a garden when we moved in: one nice plum tree and one not so nice plum tree, two mediocre blueberries, and two nice fig trees. I pruned the plums aggressively and they produced alright. The berries needed a bit more pampering, but we got a handful. The figs, sadly, had too much shade or cool weather and, while we had a couple hundred figs, almost none of them got ripe. So, for the trees, I think it is just one more year of aggressive pruning to get them back to normal; then we shall profit.

On the herb front, there was some very nice sage, thyme, and seasonal parsley. Also a bunch of chamomile, but I didn’t recognize it until too late to harvest. At the end of last year, I added some rosemary and I will probably add some marjoram and basil as seasonal herbs. And I planted hops in the spring, which might count as a herb?

For the first time ever, the corn I planted got us edible corn! It was exciting but not worth it, so corn experiment done. The sunflowers are staying around for the flowers even if I never get a seed (we got maybe 50-100 seeds this year). And the scarlet runners really like the sunflowers to run up, providing us with a couple of meals worth of beans.

The tomatoes and peppers where a bust – next year, I am going from seedlings rather than from seed.

Swiss Chard (or silverbeet) remains my favorite to grow and Jasmine puts up with it OK. I think maybe worth while to add in a little lettuce for variety. And the sugar snap peas are Jasmine’s favorite so I will be running those back as well.

I planted some strawberries late in the season and they LOVED the weather, so they get a whole 3′ x 6′ plot on their own. And we will add some raspberries in a 3′ x 3′ container.

Overall, I would say I was quite happy with the garden this year and I can use the teachings to make it even better next year.

 

Corn! We got a half dozen ears. They were a bit starchy. It was not worthwhile.

Corn! We got a half dozen ears. They were a bit starchy. It was not worthwhile.

My favorite. Sunflowers.

My favorite. Sunflowers.

Scarlet runners nestled up against the sunflower. Double Flower!

Scarlet runners nestled up against the sunflower. Double flower!

New Christmas Stocking

After Holly was born, we knew we had to follow family tradition and make her a stocking. Lloyd and I spent a lot of time working out a design together that we both liked before I started knitting. It took less (calendar) time than I thought. Babies sleep most of the day so I had plenty of knitting time! Bonus: I already had most of the yarn and only had to buy one skein. This wasn’t planned; I just have a lot of yarn.

We’re very happy with the result and are looking forward to using it for many years to come.

Working out the design on grid paper. We decided to go with something a bit more hollyish than the original design.

Working out the design on grid paper. We decided to go with something a bit more hollyish than the original design.

The finished stocking,

The finished stocking,

Our Christmas fireplace. Just a slight variation in stocking sizes...

Our Christmas fireplace. Just a slight variation in stocking sizes – probably reflective of our (eventual) heights. :)

Seaside, OR

Last weekend we took a micro vacation down to the Oregon coast. Awkwardly, we have been to the ocean a number of times since we moved out to Seattle a couple of years ago but, given how close we are to the Sound and our own coast, we hadn’t yet made it south of the Columbia River.

Since we live right next to a ferry, we took that for the first stretch of the trip which both feels weird and let us bypass the terrible Ft. Bragg / Tacoma traffic so I was very happy with all of that. Seaside was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be: a sleepy beach town that is 100% focused on tourism. As an odd piece of trivia, Seaside is also the end of the Lewis and Clark trail and the various signs don’t let you forget it.

The house we rented was right next to the beach and we probably spent 5 of the 8 hours of sunlight everyday walking the beach. It was extremely pretty and well worth the trip. I think next time we go we might want to stay a little further out of the town – especially if we are there in the summer – but it was nice to be able to walk to the amenities (read: coffee shops and restaurants that were still open).

We had a great time, although traveling (at least short road trips) with the baby required a bit more planning. Happily, it didn’t cramp our style too hard.

You can see the edge of the beach from our (rented) front yard.

You can see the edge of the beach from our (rented) front yard.

Guest cousins' dog!

Guest cousins’ dog!

This is 100% a prog rock album cover. I may have been listening to too much Pink Floyd recently.

This is 100% a prog rock album cover. I may have been listening to too much Pink Floyd recently.

We we right next to Haystack rock, which is a well known tourist attraction (apparently ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

We we right next to Haystack Rock, which is a well known tourist attraction apparently ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Saved the best picture for last.

Saved the best picture for last.

Purple Leggings

Another post from me and, oddly, it’s another pants post. This time: baby leggings. After spending an embarrassing amount of time looking at patterns for baby clothes, I discovered that they were great for getting rid of small amount of fabric. Of course, I don’t have much of that around, so I immediately pulled out the fabric I had left over from a test dress I made for this. If I had been more familiar with baby clothes at the time, I’m not sure I would have made sparkly purple leggings but they were still fun to make. (Side note: it’s totally fine if a girl owns clothing that doesn’t have glitter on it!)

I got the pattern from Spoonflower, but I thought I’d walk you through the steps.

The pattern pieces. This whole thing uses about half a yard of fabric.

First, cut out the fabric. This used about half a yard of fabric. Perfect for those leftovers I totally don’t save.

Sew the front and back together at the sides.

Sew the front and back together at the sides.

Hem the bottom of the legs.

Hem the bottom of the legs.

Sew the inner leg seem.

Sew the inner leg seem.

Sew in the waist band and you've got a pair of pants! These took me less than an hour to make.

Sew in the waist band and you’ve got a pair of pants! These took me less than an hour to make.

Golden Gardens (Ballard)

So, I guess we are about at the once a month updates. Welcome to content creation – more posts will be coming soon.TM

But we made it out over the weekend and went for a nice walk north of Ballard and managed to find a park we had never been to before. Golden Gardens was small, but pleasant, and the walk there from Ballard was along the water of on the Burke-Gilman trail, so nothing to complain about there. Would walk again, especially in the summer when jumping into the Sound might be in the cards for all of us.

Baby's 19th coffee shop.

Baby’s 19th coffee shop.

The more Ballardy side of the walk

The more Ballardy side of the walk

The weather at the park was for the birds.

The weather at the park was for the birds.

Shilshole marina was on the walk, so pretty much uninterrupted boat views for a quarter mile.

Shilshole Marina was on the walk, so pretty much uninterrupted boat views for a quarter mile.

Golden Gardens park via the magic of watercolors.

Golden Gardens park via the magic of watercolors.

Black Pants

I thought I would get back into posts with a simple update; I made another pair of pants for Lloyd. These pants came about from a series of mistakes. A couple of years ago, I bought some black fabric to replace the top of a dress. When the fabric came, it was way too stiff to use for the dress so I put it in my fabric stash and forgot about it. Later, I bought some black fabric to make pants for Lloyd but, since he didn’t need any new pants at the time, I just put the fabric away until needed.

Fast forward to earlier this year when it came time to make the pants. I pulled out all of the black fabric I had and none of it seemed suitable for pants. Except for the fabric I’d originally bought for my dress. So I used that. Happily, the pants turned out really well and seem to be pretty durable. However, there may be more pants fabric floating around the house somewhere that I haven’t found yet! Also in black…

The finished pants!

The finished pants!

These seemed huge when I was working on them given the scale of my previous pants project.

These seemed huge when I was working on them given the scale of my previous pants project.

Froyo (You can take the transplant out of California but not the California out of the transplant.)

Alternative title is “or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cali.” We received a mixer as a present when we got back into the country a couple of years ago and, while Jasmine has been using it for some time for baking, I decided to get in on the act. And what better way than with ice cream! After some experimenting, I found this recipe works the best both for my taste and the ice cream maker as the yogurt adds tang but there is still enough cream to get good mouthfeel and creaminess.

-2 cups heavy cream

-2 cups whole milk yogurt (PLAIN)

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1/2 cup of sugar

-1/4 to 1 cup of chopped up fruit (strawberries or cherries are my favorites).

Mix 1/4 cup of sugar with the fruit and let macerate for 2+ hours. Mix all other ingredients and put aside in refrigerator. Mix the fruit mixture with the cream and immediately add to the ice cream maker. Wait for it to get firm, plus and additional 5 minutes because you are probably wrong and it will get more firm. Enjoy! It lasts about 3 days in the freezer before it gets hard so you’ll have to eat it sooner than that – for shame.

The mixer in all of its churning glory.

The mixer in all of its churning glory.

MMmmm, frozen yogurt.

MMmmm, frozen yogurt.

PAX West

After being overtaken by events during the past couple of weeks, we are back into the blogging and going to try to catch up on the missed posts. First up from the way back machine of about two weeks ago:

Neither Jasmine nor I had ever gone to a convention before so we decided to change that up and bought tickets to the PAX West in Seattle. For those of you not in the know, PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) is a large (~80k people) Video and Board game exposition where you can check out all the new games and meet the creators and others who like the same games. As we are both fans of gaming, we thought we should at least check it out.

As it turns out, Jasmine wasn’t able to make it but, one ferry ride later,I went and checked it out. As it turns out, very large conventions are not my jam. It was, as would be expected, full of really cool games, and everyone I interacted with was nice and happy to be there, but the operative words are “full of”. With that amount of people in that small of a space, I don’t think I could really enjoy myself. So, overall, I would say worth trying, but not for me.

This is was the entire convention center looked like, more or less.

This is was the entire convention center looked like, more or less.

Some of the presenter had sweet dioramas!

Some of the presenters had sweet dioramas!

The best part of the day, coffee and donuts at a a punny place (Porpoises)

The best part of the day, coffee and donuts at a pun place (General Porpoises).

Victoria Gardens

Apparently we have been busy in the last week, but see the exciting conclusion of our Victoria wanderings below!

One of the aspects of wandering around Victoria that Jasmine and I like the most is all of the various gardens that are open for the public to wander through. This time, the big ticket find was Government House, the residence for the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. The grounds are full of a surprisingly large number of sub-gardens with multiple rose gardens, a wilderness area, and an obligatory herb garden. It was a very pleasant place to wander around for an hour or so in the morning.

One day we will run out of things to find in Victoria, but not this visit.

A water feature is key for Pacific Northwest gardens.

A water feature is key for Pacific Northwest gardens.

The rose garden.

The rose garden.

Manicured English garden

Manicured English garden.

Lavender everywhere in the herb garden! It is almost a weed around here.

Lavender everywhere in the herb garden! It is almost a weed around here.

There was a heraldry exhibit apparently? I took a picture of the cutest coat of arms.

There was a heraldry exhibit apparently? I took a picture of the cutest coat of arms.