Not So Stellar Weekend

Well, it was not terrible…but not great either.

Friday afternoon I went to the pool, only to find out there was a swim meet, so no workout for me. I caught a ferry home, took one look at Matt who had been texting me about itching all day, and turned back into the ferry line to take him to urgent care. Lack of medical care on Vashon is probably one of the more serious downsides to island life. We lucked out and only waited 20 minutes before he could be seen…verdict: allergic reaction to something, and the poor guy was covered head to toe in hives. Medicine has helped but he is still fighting the itching. Dinner was take and bake pizza after 9PM, which felt super late for me. I have been going to bed before 8 most nights these days!

Itchy guy meant the fireplace brick was on pause. It sat all weekend untouched. We really just milled around, cleaned, took care of house stuff, and went to bed early. A dear friend visited the island on Saturday afternoon so we did a beach walk for sea glass and catching up. Hot chocolate on the beach: awesome idea.

All in all it was a restful weekend, but not what we had intended. The fireplace brick will need to be revisited this week, and we have grout ready to go. We also have a table saw checked out from the tool library just waiting for book cases to be cut. I am all geared up to do our taxes, but the forms have not arrived yet. I did have a win in submitting my business taxes for the first time! And we made some killer eggplant parmesan. So at least that was progress.

That is how it goes though, some things are just out of your control.


Memorial Day Goals

Memorial Day snuck up on me this year. What? Three day weekend? I will gladly take one of those!

The weekend looks wet and cool, then next week promises sunshine and warmer night temperatures…perfect for my garden goal of tucking in 50+ tomato plants! This year I saved seeds from our three favorite varieties (Old German, Milano and Sun Sugar) and every single seed I planted has now grown into a beautiful strong plant. We transport them from the deck to the living room every day and they are now ready to plant outside. I plan to tear out the last of the chard and kale plants (all are bolted…perfect for chicken treats and harvesting seed!), put down a thick layer of compost and broadfork it all in.


We also have a massive pile (if you can even call it a pile…more of a mountain) of sticks and branches that need to be chipped. If we can get the chipper started that would be a great thing to tackle this weekend. Some of the larger sticks may get repurposed thanks to this inspiring fence idea.

Matt is finishing up the hardwood floors in the expanded kitchen and then it will be on to finish coating the drywall, adding texture and building cabinets. Time to pick up the tool library table saw!

This three day weekend is going to fly.

Do it All

The weekend goal was to finish demo. That means getting the beam up, kitchen wall down and a dump run to take all the debris out of our house. Of course, construction never goes quite to plan, so we are flexible with adjusting those expectations. Especially when it means balancing good quality sleep and breakfasts.

Saturday morning promised sunshine so we ate croissants and headed to the beach to hunt sea glass and agates. The sun was perfect for agate hunting and we came home with a handful! Awesome start to the day! Then it was time to change into construction clothes and get to work.

Matt made more progress on the demo, but it was slower than we both had hoped. By Sunday afternoon it was clear that we had some questions and needed to pause again. We called in our go-to resource, Shane, and he came over to take a second look. Our plan for installing the beam was good, but not quite as good as his years of experience. Thank goodness we called! We needed a different bracket and a different type of screw…and he recommended some additional bolts for the attic rafters. With inexperienced blank stares looking back at him he offered to show us exactly what we needed at the store. Can you say lifesaver? We trucked into town, and $60 later we were ready to tackle the beam.

While Matt went back to the project I picked up some more hobby work. Posted two new mobiles to Etsy and shared them on Instagram. I also made a neat connection to work as a day-of wedding coordinator for an island wedding this summer! I am so excited to help this bride out and use some of my creative wedding and planning energy in a local way! And I finished our taxes. Horray for finding money to finance our DIY remodel. As I was happily working away in our freezing cold house (the ceiling is open to the attic so all the heat just leaves), Matt discovered that the bolts were too burly for our drill so that meant another pause until we could borrow on Monday. Thank goodness for generous neighbors with tools! So we called it for the day.

Monday morning I had a work meeting on the island and worked from home the rest of the day. Flexible schedules are amazing. I worked away at the dining room table while Matt worked on the beam through the soon-to-be-gone kitchen wall. At 4:30 we were ready to hang it! It only took 3 tries to get the post heights just right and then it was set in. Screw in some brackets and it is in! Woohoo!

Today I am writing from a coffee shop before an all-day work workshop. I am excited to see the wall down when I get home! This will be the hardest week to live in the remodel (well…maybe cabinet painting will trump it…) because we will not be able to really cook. Our stove will be in the middle of the dust zone so it covered with plastic and cardboard. Not available for use. We will get by with the toaster oven and oven but we are a no-microwave household so tea and hot water are not really an option. Guess we will be reheating things and eating out!

Project summary:

  1. Remove french doors and fill in new guest room wall
  2. Widen entry to living room to add french doors and transom
  3. Open wall between new dining room and living room
  4. Remove old guest room closet
  5. Add supporting beam in kitchen
  6. Remove wall between kitchen and new dining room
  7. Drywall to close up all construction areas
  8. Repair/add and refinish hardwood floors
  9. Add additional kitchen cabinets and counter tops
  10. Paint all cabinets white
  11. Paint walls and ceiling
  12. Build built-in bookcases and new fireplace mantel in living room
  13. Move existing gas stove to new fireplace area
  14. Finish all baseboard and casing trim
  15. Move on to the basement!

Demolition & Seaglass Weekend

We knew it was going to be a busy, full weekend. To kick it off, we had chocolate croissants from Trader Joes and extra good coffee. (If you have not tried the frozen, bake-at-home croissants, do it NOW). Powered up with a tasty breakfast we were ready to tackle the weekend.

#1 priority: start demolition on the [old guestroom] new dining room closet. The closet sits between the [old guestroom] new dining room and kitchen…aka, the wall that is coming out! We started by moving furniture into the basement and into the corner of the room and covering it in plastic. Then taped thick paper to protect the floors. Matt worked on disconnecting the electrical and labeling circuits so that we could take down the drywall.

While Matt destroyed walls I worked on seaglass mobiles and shipping orders (!) for the Etsy shop. I officially launched last week and have had great feedback and 6 sales! So exciting! I also ran a giveaway on Instagram/Facebook which was a learning experience and fun. So awesome to see so many people engaged with my shop and creative process!

I have added more mobiles (new and past designs) to the shop and standardized $5 shipping for all orders. If you have not checked it out, please do and let me know what you think!

Sunday morning we each took an hour to ourselves. I worked on mobiles (surprised?) and Matt played some computer games. We took a quick walk down to the beach, and then it was back to work. Goodbye closet!

This week we need to figure out a final molding plan for the house. We are going to take out 99% of what is there (very standard, very boring molding) and put up bigger, 1920s era pieces to bring back the house’s original character. We also need to take a dump run because we have piles of drywall and lath everywhere! So proud of my hand husband for taking on this project!


All We Did (and a recipe)

After a week back in the office (hello water taxi/bus commute!) I envisioned a weekend of progress on our remodel. Finish the closet drywall, take down the plastic and start priming and painting walls. Right?

Ha. We spent the weekend in glorious slow mode. Sleeping in. Drinking coffee and taking long walks to the beach. We went to two beaches on Saturday and one on Sunday (can you tell we love living on an island?). Spent 3+ hours walking, listening to the waves, picking up agates, sea glass and driftwood. It was magical. We brought home bags of glass. All perfectly frosted and in a beautiful array of colors.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning and sorting glass, cleaning and drying driftwood, and cooking. And sitting in the hot tub. Bending/squatting down on the beach for hours does wear out your back and legs. We made our favorite soup with fresh made chicken stock, and ate in front of episodes of Parenthood and It’s Always Sunny.

The renovations did not get touched. We continued to navigate around the plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling. I did not make any mobiles. Progress on those projects will get tackled this week while we feast on delicious leftovers.

Kale, Sausage, Bean Soup

Our favorite go-to, especially with fresh kale from the garden. Awesome with a hot baguette.

  • 1 package sausage, out of casings (we like spicy Italian)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 32 oz can tomatoes (diced, or if whole, cut into pieces with juice saved)
  • 16 oz chicken stock
  • 16 oz water
  • 2 bunches fresh kale, destemmed and ripped into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 2 cans garbanzo or white beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oregano
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley
  • Parmesan rinds (optional but totally amazing if you have them)

Cook sausage out of casings until golden, remove and set aside. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook until tender. Add tomatoes and juice, stock, parmesan rinds, oregano, parsley and kale. Simmer until kale is wilted. Add beans, sausage, basil and extra water and simmer until kale is tender.

Enjoy topped with grated Romano cheese and hot pepper flakes.



Return to Port Townsend

For our third anniversary (how has it been so long already?!) we wanted to go back to Port Townsend for a weekend getaway. An Airbnb was selected, but no availability till October…so we booked a late anniversary weekend for the fall. It turned out to be exactly what we needed. August was busy enough with house painting and other weekend commitments, and the fall colors were great this time of year.

Last Friday we headed out. I still am in awe of how much closer to everything we feel living on Vashon Island. Well, close to everything except maybe the cascades. Surfing is 2.5 hours away, Port Townsend 1.5 hours. We are near to Seattle, and Tacoma, AND the Kitsap Peninsula (and therefore the lake property). It is pretty awesome. After the short ferry ride to Southworth we were on our way, and before we knew it, arrived in Port Townsend.

First order of business was dumping our stuff at the Airbnb. It was a cute little 1 room tiny house, 10×12 with a small bathroom, kitchenette bed and outdoor shower. Perfect!

Then we went out for long walk around Fort Worden. I was in a bit of a funk because my main camera was cardless (argh!) and my phone memory was full. No pictures was hard for me. We walked around and discovered a new part of the fort and reminisced at our wedding site.

We walked until sunset and then headed to town for dinner at Waterfront Pizza (they catered our rehearsal dinner). Service was slow, and then made slower by some issues with our order so our pizza was on the house. Turns out the slow dinner was a good thing so we spent less time at our Airbnb.

When we got back “home” for the night we were pooped and headed to bed. That is when the trouble began. We were both really bothered by an odor in the room. We are still not sure if it was mold or an air freshner or what, but it kept us up for hours. In the morning, we decided we could not handle another night there and reluctantly shortened our trip. The day was supposed to be rainy and we knew we did not want to spend time in that room.

So we loaded the car, and headed to town for breakfast. Pastries and coffee at Sweet Laurette’s, cruising the farmer’s market were a great way to start the day. We wandered all the standard shops along the waterfront and found a vintage 1940s or 50s art deco framed print for our house at an antique shop.

By 1:00 we were ready for another Port Townsend tradition: ice cream sundae at Don’s Pharmacy soda fountain!

We took a second lap around the fort (this time with a camera!) to work off the ice cream and then hit the road home.

All in all it was a great trip, and being home Sunday was really quite nice. The cats and chickens were happy to have us home and it make the weekend stretch just a bit longer. Most importantly, it reminded us how much we just love spending time together wherever we are.

10 Years

This past weekend we celebrated 10 years of life since high school. Can it have really been that long ago? We had an informal meet up at Boundary Bay in Bellingham on Friday night, and then the official reunion Saturday. It was wonderful to see and catch up with so many people in person. I’ll admit, I was skeptical on how much I would enjoy the reunion. With Facebook and Instagram I have a pretty good idea of what everyone is up to. What I did not expect was how much fun it would be to reconnect with those people that I actually don’t talk with much. Friends, well, maybe not even, but rather classmates that are only on the fringe of my social spectrum now were so much fun to get to know as adults! Our lives are different, the social groups from Ferndale High are gone, and it was just plain fun.

Matt and I got many comments on our homesteading life on Vashon (made me question if I over-Instagram things!) We talked to friends that single and married, with and without kids, living far away or still in Ferndale. It was great to see people and reconnect in person. The class of 2005 really was a wonderful group of people.IMG_4538[1]

So a trip to Ferndale for the class reunion also meant visiting my family, and the slew of activity that those usually entail. This time the focus was deck demo. Their 17ish year old cedar deck has finally been given the boot to make way for maintenance free composite. Dad and Matt were crowbarring, unscrewing and sawing away for two days, and have the blisters to prove it. I helped by trimming and moving boards, planting tomatoes, and delivering lemonade.


Speaking of lemons, we brought home two new hens: Lemon and Penny! My mom found them from the kids of a friend that needed to rehome school-project chicks. We happily added these two ladies to our flock and are now up to 8 + Dude rooster. They were very patient in the hot (super packed!) car ride back to Vashon.IMG_4536[1]IMG_4537[1]

We also adopted a sea kayak! A family friend was looking to rehome one of their singles and we happily took it off their hands. (Bonus: it matches the mini!) Unfortunately it is still in Ferndale since we were not quite set up to bring it home with our current roof rack setup. Hopefully we can bring it down soon though and get her in the water!


We also picked strawberries. And went to the dairy for ice cream. Busy enough?IMG_4526[1]IMG_4525[1]

Sunday night we pulled into the ferry line just as a boat was pulling up. I swear, living on the island gives you magical ferry timing (knock on wood). 30 minutes later we pulled up to our little house, let the chickens out, pet the cats, unloaded 17 lbs of strawberries, watered the garden, made dinner, ate while we watched an episode of Parenthood on Netflix, and finally collapsed into bed. And you know what? It was one of the most rejuvenating weekends I have had in a long time.