Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Most Amazing Thing EVER Invented

Last Christmas I received a Kindle from my husband. It is the most amazing thing EVER.

As I've said before, I'm a big time reader. I wasn't really sure I would like an e-reader, I thought that the BOOKS were what I loved, but it's the reading... the story.

I'm currently reading the second Stieg Larsson book, "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and it is my 100th book read on my Kindle. Yes, 100 books since Christmas (I said I liked to read!). What I love the most about the Kindle is that I can (and do) take it everywhere with me. If I have a few minutes, I can pull it out and read... anywhere, anytime. Don't have a book, don't like the one I'm reading, well I can just buy a new one in seconds. I can buy books that are coming out in advance and when they are released they appear like magic. Since I've always purchased books (I'm way too impatient for the library to have what I want available) the expense has actually been less than what I usually spent on books at Costco. I've also read a few classics again, such as "Little Women". Another great feature about the Kindle is the ability to look up a word as you are reading. I actually hadn't needed to use this feature until I read the first book by Stieg Larsson, "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo". Because his books were written in Swedish and translated, there are quite a few "old english" words used in this book, although I could usually figure out the meaning just by the context, it was really cool to be able to look up the definition.

If you've been looking at e-readers and are unsure about them...well from one book lover to another, I say go ahead and try one... I think you'll love it! In fact, the only thing I don't like about my Kindle, is that sometimes when I pick it up I forget what I'm reading... no book cover to remind me!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Have "Theme" Issues....

Ask anyone, I have "theme" issues. When planning a party, I gotta have a theme... it can be color, an item, anything gets me thinking and planning.

A couple of years ago we had a family reunion. My Mom asked me to put together some baskets for raffle ticket prizes. Of course I really went all out, both with idea/concept and color. Each basket had a theme and once I started finding items, well that started me down each color path. I tried to be sure to incorporate homemade items in each basket.

My idea of creating themed baskets comes from a Rachel Ashwell (Shabby Chic) book about gift giving. She has such amazing ideas, using such simple things.

I created 9 or 10 baskets. One was for small kidlets, one for a tween/teen girls, a gardeners basket, etc. These were some of my favorites.

The Creative Basket - full of vintage and new sewing, knitting, stitching and craft items (including Martha Stewart GLITTER). The colors were pink, aqua, white and silver. I even made a pin cushion out of an old tarnished baby cup.
The Farmer's Market Basket - a bushel basket full of home canned jams, jellies, preserves, pickles, a map to local farms, a candle in a jar, salt water taffy in a box made to look like a crate, walnuts from my tree and towels that look like seed packets.
The Mad Housewife Basket - in a galvanized bucket, a bottle of wine (with appropriate label), crystal wine glasses, clothespins, tea, tea cup, big bead necklace, Meyers dish soap, handmade dishcloth, fun sponges and rubber gloves.

Family Movie Night - In a big bowl (just the size for popcorn) I included movie passes/tickets, a DVD, popcorn, individual popcorn boxes, movie sized boxes of candy, Jone's Soda in fun flavors, fun straws and napkins.

And my favorite... The Spa Basket - an appropriate titled Oprah magazine, homemade bath salts (in a cool, blue vintage jar), flip flops, soap, towel, tea, nail file, candle, soap and some sea shells.

I like to use this idea for gift giving. I find some little thing I know the person would like and build off of that idea... of course coming up with a "theme" along the way. It doesn't have to take a lot of money, I spend a lot of time looking for just the right things... I find things everywhere... the grocery store, flea markets, antique stores, drugstores... you name it.

And obviously, I really enjoy the hunt.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Hunt

We're on the lookout for an old gate. I've seen many in the past, but lately, no luck. I saw this one last week on my trip to Canada (where I found the gnomes). It seemed a little expensive, even on sale.

Oh well, the hunt is half the fun.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What's in a Name

The name of my blog, as well as the name I'd like to use for our "farmette" is from a childhood favorite.

I'm a BIG TIME reader and have been since I was young. By the time I was 8 or so, I was fully immersed in the world of Nancy Drew. To this day, my favorite type of books are mysteries, suspense or thrillers. Not to be confused with horror stories... I like to be a little scared, not terrified!

So when we moved here and started talking about names for our place, I of course picked "Red Gate Farm". My husband wants "Bouchard Gardens"... this name is a play on a famous garden on Vancouver Island (Canada).

We'll see who wins. At least for now I can use the name here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Gnomes are Home

Yesterday (Friday) we went to the statuary "farm" in Canada. As you can see, it is quite an amazing place. Every imaginable statue, urn or bird bath could be found. Some of them had been sitting outside for years! If you wanted an old weathered version, you could usually find it. After looking around we decided not to get the "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" that were also available. To be honest, a 4 1/2 foot tall Snow White was kind of creepy!

Instead we came home with these three fellas. There is also a fourth gnome, but he was riding around on a turtle... I just didn't really like the lazy, little guy. After all, these three are working hard with their hoe, watering can and wheel barrow and he's just riding his turtle around. The nerve!

I placed them around my gardens. I like that they are all a little weathered and don't look brand, spank'n new!
I can see this little guy out my kitchen window.

They make me smile!

PS -Warning. Christmas. In. July.

We also had an out of season tag-a-long. Love his chippy feet/boots and paint. I can't resist anything to do with Christmas :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Search is Over

I've been looking for a cement garden gnome (or gnomes) and cement pots for a long time. I haven't come across any gnomes and the pots always look new.

Yesterday my mom and I went shopping across the border in Canada (only 10 minutes or so from my house) and also to mail a package to my daughter, who now lives in Toronto. On the way to the antique mall we passed by a run down looking place that makes and sells cement garden "everything". I'm talking fountains, birdbaths, flower pots, urns, gargoyles, kittens, dogs, grecian figures and the elusive garden gnomes! You can get them painted or plain. Some of the plain ones even look weathered and vintage (the look I'm going for)!

The funny thing is, I should have thought of this place. My son played hockey for over 10 years. Our hockey association played in a British Columbia league and we traveled to Canada once or twice a week.
All. Season. Long.

I've passed this place hundreds (or does it just seem that way) times. When we started searching for someplace that still makes these, I never once thought of this place! I'd even searched the Seattle area, to no avail!

I didn't buy any yet, I'm planning another trip with my husband in the next week or two. I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Finally, some fresh veggies and berries from our garden. The weather has been so strange here that I didn't think we'd ever harvest anything this year!

The beans will be ready for picking tonight and hopefully in a few more days some pickling cucumbers too!

Monday, July 19, 2010

My birthday

I had a birthday recently. However, I won't say which one.
I got a fabulous gift from my Mom. In May she went to England, Ireland and Scotland for a month with her sister. I told her about Cath Kidston, of which I'm a huge fan.
They visited one of her stores outside of London. Needless to say, I was so excited to see a gift wrapped with red, Cath Kidston ribbon! I couldn't wait to open it. She gave the this beautiful floral fabric, jar toppers and gift tags. I'm unsure how I'll use everything just yet. She also gave me the bags that everything came in... so cool.
The other gift you see peeking out is a vintage Nancy Drew book but that post is for another day!
PS - head over to my daughter's new blog, Dropped Stitch Knitter!

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Furniture

The old furniture, a loveseat and couch, were just too big for this living room. It was furniture we purchased for our other house a number of years ago.

Old houses, mine is from around 1920, just don't have large living rooms. I guess before TV, people just didn't use their living rooms like we do now.

The new furniture arrived yesterday afternoon from Pottery Barn. I'm really happy with my choices. The new chair. I love the sage green velvet slip cover on both the chair and the couch.

As you can see, Cady has made herself at home already. The dogs (and my husband and son) are why I thought slipcovered furniture was a good choice.

We also replace our large 4 foot square coffee table with a vintage, more rectangular table. It was an older, maple type table that I painted and put new knobs (aqua - my new favorite color) from Anthropologie. (LOVE that store). It's hard to see but it's kind of a bronzy, brownish color. The same color that I painted the bookshelf and the inside of the large wall unit (cut off in the left side of the picture).

Even though I still plan to get an additional chair, maybe in the fall, I think the room will seem more open without the loveseat cutting off the entrance to the room. I'm happy..........

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer has finally arrived...

Summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. It seemed to have taken a long detour before finally arriving.

After Thursday's record breaking temperature of 88 degrees (yes, that is a record for us) we've cooled off to more normal temperatures in the upper 70's. The plants (and weeds) have really grown. I was beginning to wonder if my vegetable garden would ever grow.

The dogs, Cady and Kasia, enjoying the shade.

I love summer.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The harvest has begun

We live in raspberry country. Our northern part of the county is home to acres and acres of raspberries. We have fabulous sandy loam soil that is just perfect for raspberry growing. Combined with our weather we produce more raspberries than anywhere else in the US. Washington state is the top producer of raspberries and our county produces 85-90% of those berries. This means we produce approximately 75% of the raspberries in the US.

The harvesting is just starting. It gets kind of crazy on our roads with the raspberry trucks ferrying flats of berries back to farms and processing plants. At this time of year, I can stand in my front yard and when a raspberry truck passes by.... well let me tell you that the smell of raspberries follows. It's wonderful.

The raspberry pickers sometime even keep running in the dark... if you've never seen a raspberry picker... well they look like some sort of space vehicle.

My son is working for his 3rd summer for a local farm, one of the bigger ones in our county. He works hard and the days are long. They work 7 days a week if necessary.... and for a few weeks every July it's necessary.

Hope you get to enjoy some fresh raspberries... they may have come from my little corner of the world. I know you all will appreciate all of the hard work it takes to get them to your kitchen.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cherry on top

A few years ago, our cherry tree looked like this. It was so loaded we could pick bags and bags - from the ground! It was CRAZY!

This year our harvest is nonexistent. A late freeze in April came along just as the little baby cherries were forming. A few days later I noticed black, shriveled little baby cherries.

Our weather has been very strange this year. We had warm weather in February and March, enough to start everything growing. Then cold, miserable and wet April, May and June. Now we are at the beginning of a heat wave - we're supposed to set record temperatures for today, tomorrow and Friday. After our cold and rainy June (and 4th of July) I won't be complaining.

But the cherries will be missed.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I'm glad June is over.....

It's the first day of July and I'm glad to see June go... it was full of highs and lows and I'm just not talking weather - although the weather in the PNW has mostly been low.... I haven't been keeping up on my blogging.... I felt like I barely kept up with anything during the month of June. This is what June looked like....

0 blog posts
1 really big bruise from falling off my back porch

1 college graduation in Seattle
1 phone turned off/on silent during college graduation

1 two hour trip home from Seattle in a panic

1 trip to emergency room

1 ambulance ride

1 trip to Harborview Hospital's burn unit

1 new couch purchased

1 new chair purchased

1 old coffee table sanded, primed and painted
1 final trip through University of Washington

1 daughter moved out of her college apartment

1 lunch at Burgermaster

1 final trip to University Village

1 graduation/going away party

1 toilet in the front yard (in the middle of said party)

1 trip to Vancouver (Canada) airport

1 international border crossing (well once each way - and yes although it doesn't seem to be, Canada is a foreign country)

1 good bye to my daughter who moved to Toronto

1 coffee pot that had to be mailed to Toronto for a whopping $38.00

2 closets cleaned

2 trips to Goodwill with a carload of donations

4 trips to Seattle

6 Trophy cupcakes

7 tubes of bacitracin

10 nights of my son sleeping/recuperating on the couch

21.75 hours of sick leave from work

41 hours straight without sleep

177 hours at work

? number of boxes (daughter's stuff) still looking for a place

? sunny days - not many

? cloudy days - many

? inches of rain - way too much for June

? loads of laundry, house cleaning, weeding, watering (yes, on the sunny days)

Welcome July!