Pre-Chicago post

We’re leaving tomorrow for a week in Chicago for Thanksgiving.  Of course, I have a sinus infection (it’s just fate – my sinuses are tiny and infection prone) and we’re still in the middle of making a cover/stand for our new iPad (which I’ve loaded up with PDF shelter and girl-stuff magazines from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand!).  We’ve also gotta clean the house, because how depressing is it to come back from a week’s vacation to a messy house?  Let alone come back to one that smells like last week’s dinner prep.  My little sister will be staying in the house for a couple of days mid-week so our cat, Arthur, doesn’t completely feel abandoned, but we will have to have things mostly put away for her, too.  Because my mom is picking her up on the way north for Thanksgiving dinner and I don’t want her to feel compelled to tidy up, which she does compulsively.  It’s not that we don’t appreciate it, it’s just that we can never find anything later.


You're going WHERE? Without ME?!?

Before I start to really wake up and get going on today’s tasks, I wanted to share a little side project Matt and I have just started.  We’ve always been interested in birds – especially the birds we see on our walks through Seattle’s extensive city park system – and the birds we can see from our back yard, which turns out to be quite a lot.  Over the past few months we’ve seen these birds just from our living room windows:

  • Bald Eagle
  • Osprey
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Bushtit
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Northern Flicker
  • Hummingbirds (a few varieties)
  • (and of course, American Crow, Rock Doves [feral pigeons], and various Gulls)

We’re bound to see more as we explore more of the parks in Seattle and other cities.  But you can only have so many pretty photos of birds without having something to do with them.  So we’ve started a new blog called Urbaniformes.  The name comes from the naming convention of the orders of birds (like, Pelecaniformes, or Strigiformes), but with a specific focus on city birds.  If we happen to see birds on less urban adventures, so be it, but mostly it’s going to be about city parks and our backyard. It’ll be an outlet for our birdwatching photos, identifications, and general birdbrainery.  It’ll also be a place where we can write about the different parks in Seattle.  There are over 400 parks and open areas in the Seattle City Parks system, and we’d like to visit them all and document them.  Mostly for birdwatching potential, but also for their views, features, and accessibility.  Yes, it sounds like a big task, and a little more global than is really feasible, but it’ll get narrowed down to something manageable after we get our feet wet.  The first few posts will be about our backyard flocks, baffling squirrels, and a city park walk in Olympia, WA.

In other news…..we’re getting closer and closer to having our sideboard done.  I think I’ve lost our “before” photos, so I’ll have to dig them up for our official DONE! post about it.  Here it i, freshly accessorized and lacking all of the crazy clutter that is currently taking residence there:

It had been a horridly lacquered brown art deco piece with a waterfall curved front.  There was faux tiger-maple paneling (a decal over paint), painted aluminum hardware to look like brass, and a top that was badly damaged by water.  I stripped every bit of paint off I could, repaired damages, and then painted the whole thing with Martha Stewart’s “Seal” – a soft deep taupey gray.  This was originally to be the undercoat for a completely silverleafed finish, but time and space have limited us.  It might have been cool, but I’m really digging the gray-yellow thing.  The inside surfaces are all painted with Benjamin Moore’s “Macaw” and the hardware was sandblasted by a friend at work to remove the brassy paint, then primed and sprayed with Rustoleum Gloss Enamel in “Sunburst Yellow”, a perfect match for the Macaw.  All that’s left is to finish painting the drawer sides, and to line it with the pretty wrapping paper I bought from Lucca in Ballard, which is a printed collage of vintage Italian advertisements.  The cupboards are for bar essentials and liquor, the bottom drawer is for my Silhouette SD machine and accessories, and the top drawer will invariably be a catch-all.

The accessories in the room are, vaguely L-R: Tall IKEA Billy bookcakse in black-brown; 5 gallon “Western Stoneware Co.” crock (from my grandpa’s barn); all color photographs on wall are by Matt, in IKEA Ribba frames and were matted by Matt; top empty frame was a cast off from the Burke Museum – you can’t tell but it’s one of those heavily carved gilded frames, but I’ve sprayed it with a navy gloss paint; the clamshells are “mossback” razor clam shells from Matt’s first trip clam digging at the coast with my family, in a shadowbox frame I bought at Michaels; there’s an old pair of  steel calipers just in front of the frame, from the Burke Museum (I used to work there and was allowed to keep things they no longer wanted in the exhibits department); the sea urchin is one I picked up off the beach as a kid, on the Straits of Juan de Fuca; the white marble bust was a gift from my Grandma Inez -she always thought it looked like me; in the footed silver bowl ($3 Dearborn Goodwill score!) are an emu egg, an ostrich egg, and a Spode teacup (Upland, CA, Goodwill) with a red maple leaf in it; under the sideboard is a generic basket from a long forgotten store, filled with my shelter magazines; the unfinished box is in pre-project phase – it’s from my dad; the smudge stick is from my boss, Preston, from a trip to New Mexico this past summer; the model boat was a $45 find at a little antique store in Georgetown, Seattle, called Fruit Cocktail; the etched glass decanter was from the Port Angeles Goodwill and cost less than $1 – the fabric flowers in it are my mock ups for my wedding flowers; on the wall are two wooden boxes with carved balsa birds – they were from a little shop in Leavenworth, WA, and both originally painted a dusty blue on the inside.  I painted them red for the cardinal and yellow for the goldfinch;  the empty red frame was $0.50 at a garage sale, and I painted it;  the tiny RSVP painting is one I did, and it’ll be used as our RSVP postcard for our wedding next year; the last thing you can see is my little bust of Verdi, which I found for $6 at the Fremont Antique Mall, and spray painted glossy black.

I outlined this carefully so I don’t forget how it all was before I dismantle it next week.  You see, with the introduction of the corner armoire I’m sitting at and typing on, we have no free space left for a Christmas tree in this apartment.  We’ll be leaving it by next Christmas, so there’s no need to find a more permanent solution, but we have to do something because Matt LOVES Christmas.  So, the sideboard and the wall above it will be host to our Christmas decorations.  We’re going to make a series of about 7 wreaths to hang on the wall, and our wrapped gifts will go on the sideboard.  I love to decorate wreaths, so stay tuned for photos of them as they go up.

I decorated our door wreath last night with things I just had laying around – a grapevine wreath from JoAnn about 3 years ago, left over berry garland from around that time as well, and some plaid wired ribbon from the bargain bin at JoAnn this past summer.  Five minutes and essentially $0 later, we have our front door festive for both fall and winter, due to the blues and browns featured.  I’ll probably not take it down until about February, if it makes it through the snowy winter we’re supposed to have.  It’s been coming down like dandruff today – not heavy, but in flurries.  It won’t stick today because we haven’t had the weather to allow the ground to freeze yet, and by Tuesday it’ll be sunny and clear again.

Well, my sinuses have cleared enough for me to get going a bit.  I promise a post on our iPad cover when we get back, and any projects I might work on when we’re gone…..I think I can swing a few squares of my embroidered state bird quilt….


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