Saturday, January 31, 2009

Having a Nice Visit in Portland

Luckily, my 700 mile drive up to Portland yesterday was quite uneventful. Though, on a few of the hills near Grants Pass the truck wasn't going very fast, the Ford Ranger was a quite a trooper and didn't give me any problems towing that very full trailer.

I've been enjoying the visit up here with our friends. Much catching up has taken place.

Today I went to two different RV lots in Portland. While both of the RVs I went to specifically see would be fine, the dealers didn't appear to be motivated to make amazing deals. Sure, the units were marked down a bit off list (maybe 10%), but clearly they aren't in enough distress for me to be interested. =)

I was also happy to get a chance to go to Burgerville this afternoon. I know it's lame, but it's one of the things I missed moving out of the area.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quilt Tops Done, Done, Done

This morning I finally finished the border on the third quilt for my nephews and niece. Yah! So, now I am going to take those three quilts, plus my dragon lap quilt, up to Portland with me to have them machine quilted. Hopefully the machine quilter won't be so busy that he can't get to them fairly quickly, because if he is, they'll just end up staying up there until I can make it back in a few weeks.

I am going to try and finish loading the trailer today. It's pretty hard to make sure all of our SCA gear is packed and in the trailer because, really, we have it everywhere throughout the house. I was hoping to get off early tomorrow, but Jeff threw out his back and hasn't been able to help me with the loading and we've been busy with social visits. So, if we don't manage to get the trailer loaded tonight after work, then I won't go until Friday.

I plan on doing some fifth wheel shopping while I am in Oregon. Today, I am also trying to pull my list together of RVs I want to go look at. It's going to take some organizing, because I have piles of craigslist ads all over the place. I'll probably spend several days driving around looking at new and used RVs. If I don't find one up there on this trip, we'll go ahead and buy the one I like here (assuming it's still available) and have it shipped up to Oregon.

I am grateful for our friends up in Oregon who are kindly housing me/us during visits, storing our considerable amount of stuff during the trip and allowing us to borrow their address during our adventure--Thanks!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Finishing up the last Quilt

Well, I have decided making four quilts in less than two months is too many! I like quilting, but I'm seriously tired of piecing these borders. But, I'm planning to go up to Portland, Oregon later in the week and I'd like to bring these quilt tops with me to get them quilted. I finally dragged myself into my sewing room this afternoon, and managed to finish up two of the edges on the blue quilt. I'm planning to finish the other two edges tomorrow.

An SCA friend dropped by tonight to borrow some SCA-related reference books while we're on the trip. She is borrowing six large file boxes of books. I'm still surprised I'm letting them go, but it's not like I'll be using them. =)

I'm not looking forward to driving the trailer to Oregon, but it needs to happen before our trip and I'm the only one with time and no job. I'm not very confident driving such a long load, but hopefully it will be good practice for our fifth wheel. I hope I never have to back up, because I really cannot do that. I'll only be stopping at pull-through truck stops along the way.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shopping for RV and Starting Packing

Yesterday we drove almost 3 hours up to Sacramento, because there were a couple of new 2007 RVs that looked promising from the posted floor plans and pictures and we wanted to finally go looking for our home for our trip. I really enjoyed myself and it was also really educational. 

We learned RV manufacturers have mastered the art of making cheap materials look good for the pictures! Also, the high end units also have some of these "cheats" in their manufacture. And, by cheats, I mean they use woodgrain wallpaper/vinyl or whatever you call it. They use real wood cabinet doors but then paper over the cabinetry framework. My guess is that a unit, after living in it full-time for a year with that paper, won't look too good.

One of the RVs, a 2007 Holiday Rambler Presidential Suite, had a desk, nice shower, decent kitchen, and had only minimal woodgrain wallpaper (just on the least accessible/noticeable areas) and had most all the rest of the options I really wanted. In fact, we almost bought it, but we'd agreed not to buy anything on this trip. And it was still considered new, as it has been sitting around the dealer lot. The dealer was basically discounting it something like 40% from the retail price. However, when I got home and discovered we were going to have to pay something like $8,000 in sales tax and registration use fees if we buy the truck and fifth wheel in California, it quashed our plan to purchase this unit. Bummer, I forgot about the frigging 8.25% sales tax. That is too high a price to pay for basically two months of residency down here.

Luckily, in the evening, I was able to locate some similar units up in Oregon, so I guess we're going to go buy in Oregon. So, now I've decided I need to get hustling and start shuttling stuff up to Oregon. We have our SCA cargo trailer which Wendy and Ross have kindly agreed to store for us during the trip, so I think I'm going to try and get that loaded and bring it up to Portland later in the week, probably Wednesday or Thursday. Then while I'm up there, I'll go ahead and rent a room from somebody and start to reestablish our residency; I'll see what I need to get my Oregon drivers license back and reopen our credit union account. Then by the time we need to leave on our trip, we should be able to register these new vehicles up in Oregon. 

Jeff is off looking at trucks today. We need a Ford F-350 or the equivalent in another brand and he wants to test drive them. Though, since we don't know if GM is going to make it, we're slightly hesitant to buy their truck. We're not sure what we're going to do. It will probably depend on what we find the best deal on at the time we go shopping.

Today I am working on packing the SCA trailer. I'm packing up our SCA costumes and feast gear, except for what we're bringing on the trip. Though, now that we're going to Pennsic, I'm going to have to rethink how much clothing we bring. We were just going to bring one medieval cotehardie outfit and one T-tunic outfit but two weeks is a long time in two outfits; I may have to try and make more. I'll have to go see if they have laundry facilities on site.


Since writing this earlier, I learned we can buy the RV and avoid paying sales tax by having it "shipped" up to Oregon for about $500. We'll have to think about how much we want that particular fifth wheel.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fifth Wheel Shopping

Well, I've mostly finished the trip maps and attractions we want to visit; I'll still want to spend some time looking up restaurants, but that isn't really necessary before the trip. I just like doing it, because I prefer non-chain restaurants that get good reviews, but I can live with the chains if we don't have time to make a full list of restaurants.  

Yesterday afternoon I turned my attention to shopping for a used Fifth Wheel. My first impression is that there are fewer of them available, as compared to the massive glut of motorhomes I found when I was shopping for those. Oh well. I guess that will be good on the back-end, when it's time to sell. So, we probably won't be as successful in getting a really good deal, as far as price.

I'm trying to buy the reviews for the Fifth Wheels now, but I haven't been able to get a hold of the company where I bought the reviews for the Motorhomes last fall. So, right now I'm just shopping based on the interior finish. Clearly, in my recent years, I have become a wood snob. I really like the units that are finished nicely with wood cabinetry and panelling. Gad, the unit is going to be pretty expensive, unless we manage to find an older one we like. 

Also, it seems most trailers seem to be set up to sleep as many people as you can cram in there. I really wish I could find a smaller trailer that had a luxury setup, but designed for only two people. I keep finding the nicer trailers are all 35+ feet long (which is longer than we want), but they use probably 1/3 of the space for seating. There is only going to be the two of us and we don't need a couch, recliners and extra chairs.

If I could dream up my trailer, it would be about 30 feet long or less, if possible, and have only two comfortable chairs to sit in, plus the table with chairs. I also like the kitchen in the rear. And rather than the couch, I'd like a desk and storage space. I'm wondering whether it makes sense, or is even possible, to buy a used unit that is mostly finished the way I like and then rip out the couch and put in a desk or low storage. Unfortunately, in my several hours of searching various online listing sites, nothing "perfect" has presented itself. At least, not in the lower end of our price range.

I'm off to the dentist for a cleaning. Hope you all have a good day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Progress on Stained Glass

I woke up all motivated to tackle our Heraldic stained glass project—I don't want to move it in pieces. I've gotten stalled on my rabbit, because the turtle isn't done. We need the glass to be more stable, before I can cut detailed pieces that surround the rabbit, so I have thrown my energy into helping Jeff with the turtle and into starting the coppering process. We made some good progress this morning and we'll work on it again in a couple of hours to see if we can get another row of diamonds done.

The little white dots on the edges of the glass is solder to lock the pieces together in place. Jeff will do a more complete solder job when we're closer to being done. At this point, you just solder lightly to keep the pieces from shifting, but you might need to move something so you solder sparingly.

We FAXed over our rejection of the seller's addendum this morning so this ends an interesting chapter in our lives, at least for now. We've offered that if they want to reconsider our offer in the next few weeks, they can let our realtor know.

Here is the progress we made on our stained glass panel today:

We're watching the 5-hour version of Pride & Prejudice tonight. We started it this afternoon while we were taking a break to rest our feet.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Worked on Stained Glass

On our mission to finish projects before we move, I pushed myself to get restarted on our Heraldic Stained Glass Window. I actually did one of the hardest parts for the rabbit's half; breaking the purple glass for the border. We bought this lovely purple glass, but there wasn't really enough of it to cut extra pieces if we goofed up. And, of course, the first cut broke wrong. It had me quite nervous about the rest of the cuts. Luckily, everything else worked out fine and I managed to get it out of the glass. Though the glass looks black laying down, it is actually a very pretty purple water glass.

I'm hoping to continue work on the clear diamond field tomorrow. And then once I'm done with the rabbit's half, I'll continue work on Jeff's turtle.

Also, here are some pictures from our earlier project sessions.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Great Time in Corvallis

We've had a really good time in Corvallis. We really like the town. It's small enough to feel like a small town, but big enough to have most of the stores "in town" that you might need. Jeff got quite adept at navigating the downtown grid.

Yesterday, after getting the car fixed and driving around town for quite a while, we actually went and looked at two houses for sale. Sharon just couldn't help it--they were too cool to miss....

We spent today walking around the downtown area, checking out the local shops. I don't know why, but we bought quite a few books. You'd think with our current plan, that buying books would be out of the question, but I guess old habits are hard to break. =) We love buying books.

We've gone to a number of local restaurants, they were all quite good and affordable, another good thing about college towns--cheap food!

We've had nice weather here, and we've been having a good time. Tomorrow we'll be heading down to Eugene, for AnTir's 12th Night. We're looking forward to visiting with old friends.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Preparing for Travel to Oregon

I'm out of practice in getting ready to travel. I've been making lists and hoping I remember to bring everything we'll need (and do everything at home that needs to be done before we go).

Rather than traveling all the way up to Eugene (one-day of driving each way) for just one day of visiting, we decided to tack on a couple of days in Corvallis. Corvallis is the town where Jeff wants to move once we're ready to settle down, but I'm a little less convinced. I've been through it a few times, but I've never actually spent much time there. We had planned to stay there in December 2007 (as part of a fairly long anniversary trip), but just as we got to town it started snowing, so we ended up visiting the coast instead. The coast was still cold, but it wasn't icy. Anyway, we still want to have a couple days to see Corvallis so we're going to do it this trip.

I had hoped to make it up to Portland (to see friends and drop off my quilt toppers for quilting), but Jeff had a hard time getting any time off. (Sigh, I'm looking forward to him being unemployed.) Therefore, I abandoned my quest to finish the third quilt before we go. They'll just have to wait until later in the spring, when we plan to visit Portland to drop off our plants and trailer at a friend's place for safekeeping during our U.S. trip.

Unfortunately, I didn't make a new costume for 12th Night since I wasn't planning to go until a few days ago. Oh well. And we'll probably end up dressing very simply (T-tunics and the like) in order to conserve packing space in the car.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Trying to finish quilts before Quick Trip to Oregon

I've spent the last day and a half solid trying to finish my nephews' quilts. I'd like to have them done to bring to Oregon with us, in case we find ourselves anywhere near Verboort, where my favorite machine quilter lives, "Hee Does It." I've just finished the green quilt (I did the labor intensive, fancy border) and am now going to try and get the blue one done too. I hope I make it.

Despite the recent snow up in Portland, it looks like we may be able to make it over the pass at Shasta and up to Eugene. We'll cross our fingers that the decent weather holds. We want to come visit. And I have some amount of morbid fascination in watching the death of Rivers Ithra.

So many things to do in the next couple of days....

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Perhaps a Quick Visit to Oregon

Jeff and I are thinking about running up to Oregon to go to AnTir's 12th Night. At this point, it depends on the weather and if Jeff can get the couple of days off. He's already had a week off for the holiday (the building shut down) and his boss may not be too keen on him taking yet more time. We'll see. We won't know until tomorrow, when Jeff talks to his boss about it. Don't know if many of our Rivers region friends will be at the event, but we do hope at least some. Luckily, we know quite a few people in Summits, so we should still enjoy the visit.

We're going a little stir crazy hanging around the house so much, we thought we could use some time traveling, even if for a few days.

I managed to get the blue quilt pieced this morning. Now, I just have to figure out the borders for the boys' quilts. Maybe I'll do the hard border so they'll all be the same...

I'm spending the afternoon cleaning my sewing room and replacing handles on worn canvas bags. Hopefully the new heavy weight handles will last better than the old, lighter weight belting.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dragon Quilt Top Finished

I was happy to receive my new iron this morning so I had to blow off all my other activities to finish my dragon quilt top. Luckily, I have enough of the dragon fabric left to also use the fabric as the backing--yah! I think I may also attempt to quilt this one myself, because it's so small. I usually hire someone to do it for me, but that's for the huge King size quilts I make.

I've definitely decided to pass on school this quarter. I want to spend all my time preparing for our upcoming move. I am still concerned about running out of time to do our huge (and growing) To Do list.

We also today got our copy of the Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog DVD (and some CDs I ordered on Christmas day) and we're watching the singing commentary.  It's pretty fun.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Progress on Dragon Quilt

I was having a lousy day today, so I went and hid in my sewing room and worked on my dragon lap quilt.  Here is the center of the quilt, sans a fancy pieced border. Unfortunately, I still haven't gotten that iron, so I cannot work on the border without it. I guess I need to go investigate when it was shipped.