Friday, July 31, 2009

Lightning Quilt Top Done!

Finally, today I finished sewing the quilt top. Yah! I have also assembled the backing in the purple batik as well, so I am finally done with this project, at least until it comes back quilted. After it does, I'll have to sew on a binding.

I also spent too many hours ironing, folding and putting the unused purple and yellow fabrics back up on the shelf, ready for the next project!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Walking Again

In late-2007, Jeff and I started regularly wearing pedometers when DeAnza invited us to participate in their 10,000 steps program. We track our steps at a really good website: a 10,000 steps program located in Australia. (If anybody wants to be one of my online walking buddies, let me know and I'll invite you.)

Anyway, I started with a goal of 6,000 steps per day and worked my way up to 9,000 steps a day on average. I maintained it through the winter, but then summer hit. Every time we get horrible, hot weather, it derails my walking efforts.

Unlike our friends in the Northwest, we are finally having some cooler weather. So, I am trying to do more walking again.

I have started dressing Shasta in her harness and let her take me for a tow (read that: brisk walk). I've started with a mile in the morning and a mile in the evening. The last two days I've gotten over 8,000 steps a day.

I'm hoping that the worst of the summer weather is over and I'll be able to maintain my walking at least until next summer. I've also signed up for a physical education class in fall quarter so I can work on upper body strengthening.

On the quilting front, today I spent much of the day (when I wasn't goofing off on my computer) assembling the pieced border on my lightning quilt. I finished three edges and I'm now working on the fourth edge. I'll surely finish the top by tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to being done with this one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quilt Blocks Assembled

Yesterday I visited my Dad's place and laid out the quilt blocks. We didn't have any space in our current house large enough to lay them all out at once. As I gathered them up to bring back, I had to carefully make and label piles so I could reassemble them back here in Redwood City.

I had a long day today and managed to get all 49 quilt blocks assembled. I don't know why it took so long, probably because I spent so much time ironing and making seams match. It is a relief to get this done this far. I still have to make a complicated, pieced border, but I'm almost there. (I'm going to do one more row around the outside edge to finish the incomplete lightning bolts and pinwheels and then one solid border.)

It's folded in half in the photos; this is going to be a king size quilt when it's finished.

I probably won't be able to work on this much tomorrow. I have errands to do, including an appointment at Cañada College. I'm trying to get my paperwork in order.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lightning Quilt Blocks Done!

We've gotten a lot done today already!

This morning I endeavored to clear out the master bedroom. I couldn't get around in there on crutches very easily and I was tired of it. We've had a large, maybe five foot, rolling rack in there which was still full of the clothes we couldn't fit into the closets. And a large pile of boxes that also hadn't been completely unpacked (full of sweaters, mostly). Today I went through and unpacked what I could and just put the rest back in boxes with detailed labels and Jeff loaded them in the truck for the trip to storage. I cannot think of the last time we dressed up, so I also packed up the formal clothing. We'll need to rotate our winter and summer clothing, once we get settled. This morning, this corner in the bedroom was full of the rack and a pile of boxes next to it.

I also assembled our new shoe rack and hung it on the closet door. It's funny how they tell you that they fit a certain number of pairs of shoes (in this case 18), but they forget to mention that you have to wear size 5 to get the shoes on there! =) It's still an improvement over a box on the floor.

After a few craigslist appts, I've spent this afternoon working on the quilt and have managed to now complete all 49 squares! Woo hoo! I still have the hard part left, of course, which is arrange and assemble the blocks, and make the pieced border. That will probably take me at least three days.

We still haven't bought a television for the living room and I think we're finally going to go shopping for one this evening. We're going to start at Costco, because they have one that is a really good size for our entertainment cabinet.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Garage Nearly Cleared

Last night my Dad and his wife, Maxine, came and helped us clean out the garage some more. We made some great progress! Once my Dad takes his car later in the year, we may actually be able to move our stuff over from storage and stop paying that expense. This is the first time in a very long time, you've been able to walk from one side of the garage to the other! We've still got a large pile of garbage to dispose of (in the backyard), and a few things to sell on craigslist, but there's not really much left to do.

After going to the dog park this morning, I spent some time posting a number of free ads on craigslist. My grandmother was quite the collector of mayonnaise jars and coffee cans. We were going to recycle them, but I decided to post a free ad on craigslist and see if anyone wanted them. We already have people scheduled to come pick them all up soon. And I've got a taker for the last 240 canning jars, but they won't be gone until early next week. We're making good progress!

I still have a cabinet out there full of "vintage" stuff that I need to go through, but that project can wait until it's cooler out. =)

I've also spent about three hours working on the lightning quilt. I've got 30 blocks complete and another 10 fairly close. I may actually have enough squares cut out to finish. I'm hoping to finish this project up by the end of next week.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Latest Mini-Trip Travel Plan

Jeff and I have started talking about taking a six-week road trip next year. Okay, so we cannot afford to take a year off in this crummy economy, but that doesn't mean we need to stay at home until things recover. So, we've started talking about taking a six-week trip next year. We're hoping he can take that much time off from work (four weeks would be unpaid), but we're not entirely sure Apple will let him go for that long.

Anyway, we're thinking about covering about 5,000 miles in that time, which may be way too much for only six weeks. Our preliminary thoughts are to drive out to Yellowstone and spend a couple of days. Then drive out to Chicago, IL and return to California along the old Route 66. We would manage to see at least some of the country, and it may help us decide whether we're really cut out to live and travel in an RV for a year. This would be practice for that year-long trip we want to take. =)

Here's the preliminary map:

View Larger Map

And here is our Google Map that we'll continue to update as we add (and subtract) cities. Hopefully this will work out; we'd love to go.

View Revised Short Trip in a larger map

We're initially thinking about beginning this trip in September 2010. (Who wants to travel across the middle of the US in the summer?) I don't know if this would be in our car or rented RV. And we don't know if Shasta will join us or not. We haven't gotten that far in the plan. Now that we have a preliminary plan, Jeff will approach his boss with the idea and ask for permission to take the time.

Fabric Binge

I got a delivery yesterday of another fabric order. Oops. The seller, Thousands of Bolts, was having an End of Bolt Sale last week and they just happened to catch me on a day when I was weak. They have some beautiful batiks and they usually cost about $6/yard. generally charges $7-$8, and they don't have as good a selection, in my opinion. And your local quilt store usually charges $10/yard. So, when I figured out I could get them for even less than $6/yard, I was too weak to resist. =)

Anyway, I got the shipment yesterday, and I'm really happy with the quality of the fabrics; they washed up really nice. They didn't fade or get ruined, like sometimes happens.

I spent several hours yesterday ironing fabric. I had several pieces of cotton leftover from my grandmother's fabric stash and I finally washed, ironed and folded them into stacks. I also began working on the new fabrics, once they made it out of the dryer. I've still got a few pieces left to process this morning.

Last night, Jeff and I sifted through the new batiks and I think we've changed the fabrics planned for his Fibonacci lap quilt. He just wasn't happy with the way the original fabrics looked together and this new order was a chance to rework the fabrics. Here is his new set of fabrics.

Besides processing fabric, I spent much of yesterday sewing little squares for the lightning quilt. I'm trying to get through that quilt before I move onto another project. Now that we have the fabrics for the Fibonacci quilt figured out, I'm eager to work on that one, but I'm trying to make myself finish the lightning quilt first... I'm hoping Jeff's lap quilt will be enough of a motivator to help me get through my current project.

I plan to continue work on the quilt today. Now that I've got a good supply of the little squares, I'm going to start building block components and try to make progress on making blocks. I need 49 total and I have only about a third of them done. Now I want to start building these blocks and see where I am. I don't want to cut too many pieces.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Another Productive Day

Well, I guess there is nothing to motivate like a deadline! Since I start school in 4 weeks, my motivation to actually make progress on our unpacking has definitely improved. I actually managed to finally empty out the closet in my sewing room and move my fabric in! I even managed to get the bookcase moved to the other wall where we wanted to place it a couple of days ago. There is still a fair amount of old stuff to sift through, but at least now I've gotten it moved out of the closet.

I did quite a job on the plumbing yesterday. I guess the plumbing in these old houses isn't up to 200 quarts or so of spoiled canning waste. I actually ended up having to call out a plumber who spent over an hour snaking the main line. I guess this was a good learning experience for me. =) We now have nearly 300 jars to try and find another home for. I've got the ad on craigslist and hopefully they'll go soon.

I'm planning to continue working on my sewing room today. I hope to get it pretty well cleaned up and most everything put away that has a place.

This evening we have our dog obedience class again. This will be the next to last class session down in Downtown San Jose. Soon we'll be able to move to a closer group.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cleaning Out the Garage

My stepmother came over today and helped with making progress on cleaning out the garage. We cleared out the three remaining metal cabinets on the side of the garage and I washed them down. And then I pulled out the plastic tubs of grandma's old stuff sitting in a pile to put the stuff into the cabinets. My hope is, now that I can get to it all, I will work on sifting. I want to sell or donate all the stuff we decide not to keep. (Given my recent experience, probably mostly donate.)

Yesterday I said that I thought we had gotten the last of the canned goods. Today, I realized I spoke too soon. We found another big cabinet full of jars. And, another new record; the oldest canned food now is 1967. At this point, I'm hoping to find a 1966 because that's the year I was born! =)

I've been running the dishwasher all day washing these canning jars so I can sell them on craigslist. Canning jars is the one thing you don't have trouble selling, especially this time of year.

Update at 9PM. I've been emptying canning jars all day. I'm on my fourth dishwasher load full. And now I've managed to backup the plumbing... Ugh. I guess these old houses don't have the greatest plumbing. My Dad is not going to be pleased about this if he has to come fix the plumbing tomorrow.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Furniture Shuffling

Last Tuesday Jeff and I bought a used file cabinet from someone advertising on craigslist. This morning, finally, we brought it into the house. We put it in the little bedroom, but we had to first unload and move a bookcase. And then, to conserve floor space, we partially disassembled the birdcage and set the top on the file cabinet. Unfortunately, it's not the most attractive arrangement, but it will work for now.

We needed to find a place to stow the bookcase, and it ended up in my sewing room. It will, unfortunately, in this location be blocked by my sewing table. We really want to put it in the other open piece of the wall, but the problem with that plan is obvious...

I REALLY need to get the closet emptied of my grandmother's old stuff so I can move my fabric into it. Sigh. Too many of our projects are dependent on something else happening first.

Actually, most of the day we spent at a Katydid's Square Dance Club BBQ. We used to belong to the Katydid's a long time ago (1984) and my Dad and Stepmother and Aunt, all dance with the group. We should be dancing with them... =) It was warm and Jeff decided to get comfortable for a quick rest.

My Dad and his wife, Maxine, came by tonight and helped us work on cleaning out the garage. My Dad moved his car out of the garage for a few days so we could get to the metal cabinets along the wall to clean them out. Yeah. That's the project for tomorrow and Maxine is going to come help. They also took the construction debris to throw in their church dumpster; the rest of the stuff we're going to dispose of by scheduling a Bulky Waste Pickup.

I think we finally pulled out the last of the ancient canned goods and found the winner. This is the oldest canned food we found: 1968. Doesn't appear you can read the label in the photo, unfortunately. I think it was applesauce. It wasn't too gross either.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Productive Day

We've plugged away at our to-do list today. Many of the outstanding projects were to the stage where I wanted Jeff's help to finish them. Jeff started with hanging my serger thread racks. They are actually installed on a stained piece of plywood and then that is screwed in only two places to the wood panelling. I couldn't bring myself to put a dozen holes into the wood panelling. And then Jeff thought it would be neat to arrange the serger thread in diagonals, so I just let him put the thread up in whatever arrangement he preferred.

And, finally, we have gotten the sewing room Roman shades hung! I'll have to take a picture tonight when it's dark so you can see them better. Though, I do like the "stained glass" look during the daytime. These were a pretty fun project. I'm glad we didn't buy the $20 plastic ones JCPenney was selling. Though, I would have to admit we spent more than that, by the time we bought all the materials. But I am much happier with this result.

Besides rigging up the Roman shade with the cords, I have been plugging away at the lightning quilt. I spent a couple of hours cutting triangles and probably another hour sewing them together to make the little squares. And now I'm trying to assemble the large blocks. I'm trying to see where we are on quantities before I spend too much more time cutting. I don't want to cut too much.

Jeff and I are both feeling very tired this afternoon. He's off to take a nap; I'll just have to get to bed earlier tonight. I think I'll go do some more mind-numbing sewing on the quilt. =)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Quilting Again

I had quite the fabric buying binge this week. Oops, and I've been so good at using up my stash so far this year. But when I needed to buy fabric for the kitchen curtains I just slipped back into fabric-buying mode. Uh oh. I hesitate to show the pile of fabric, since Jeff reads this blog.... =) I got a 17 pound bag from yesterday. It included 6 yards of home decorator fabric to make a shower curtain and a curtain for the guest bath, 16 yards of purple fabric for borders and backing for the lightning quilt and 11 total yards of fabric for the kitchen curtains plus some extra to make 6 matching placemats. In addition to these, I bought about 14 yards from from their $4 batiks and clearance section, since I was ordering... And there is a quilt store a few miles away that sent out an email which made it sound like they were closing and were liquidating their inventory. I had to go to that sale....didn't I? =) (Though, it turns out that they aren't closing, just drastically reducing their fabric offerings and stressing their machine-quilting services. I thought they were kind of slimy to word the email like they did.) Anyway, I found this really heraldically-cool fabric that I couldn't resist. Unfortunately, there was only a yard. But they had a coordinating fabric and I bought that. I've tried to find more online, but I think it is too old. The only shop I found that had any is located in UK and I'm trying to decide if I really need more. Of course, once I found the fabric, I had to dig through my stash to match it up. I don't know yet what exactly I'm going to make...that plan is yet to be discovered.

Since I am finally done with the Roman shades, I decided I could let myself play with an old project. I pulled out Jeff's lightning quilt to work on that. I've worked on it all afternoon and I'm just starting to do some sewing. I've mostly been ironing and sorting and figuring out where I was at. I need a total of 49 squares and I have 15 complete and quite a few more in various stages of assembly. There are some really interesting fabrics in this one. I might not use some of these fabrics if I were to start today. We pulled the technique for this quilt from "Spectacular Scraps: A Simple Approach to Stunning Quilts" by Judy Hooworth and Margaret Rolfe. The authors stress you should use color families. "As we are talking families, it is important to remember that all families have their funny members. So this is your chance to include your funnies-- the odd fabrics, the uglies, the strange ones." Well, I sure did what they suggested... =) Now I'm going to start mixing in some of the plum batik that I bought for the backing. I have many hours of cutting ahead of me still.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Registered for Fall Quarter

I finally got the ball rolling on my enrollment at Cañada College today. It's a good thing too! I figured school would start sometime in September, but apparently it starts on August 19! Luckily, I've already managed to register for classes. I am still trying to set up an appointment with their Counseling Dept to figure out what of my DeAnza classes will transfer and count toward the certificate here. Since I'm not sure what will transfer, I went and signed up for the maximum number of classes I would want to take; I figured it was easier to drop than to try and add at the last minute. They're offering five of the paralegal classes in the Fall Semester and I signed up for three of them: Legal Research & Writing, Torts, and Civil Litigation & Trial Prep. (I actually took Legal Research & Writing at DeAnza, but the teacher was so awful, I don't feel like I learned much of anything and am thinking I would like to avail myself of another opportunity to practice these valuable skills.)

Anyway, if I stick with this schedule, I will be in class three nights a week, Mon, Wed & Thurs, basically from 7PM to 10PM. The end of the semester isn't until Dec 18; it's going to be a long semester... And this schedule may be a problem for dog obedience classes if we end up attending the Mountain View Deep Peninsula AKC Dog club, because they meet on Monday nights. I hope the San Mateo group finds a site soon, as they meet on Tuesday nights.

It will be good to be back in school again. It may actually cut down on my facebook goof-off time and get me back on track on the job plan.

My mother came over today and we made three more batches of jam. This time we made Peach Plum Jam, my Mom had half a flat of peaches she needed to use up. We're going to have to give some of this jam away, as we've got quite a large collection of it building up. But I'd rather give jam away than let the plums rot on the ground. =)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fruit Season!

We're having a really productive day today. Jeff went and picked the rest of the plums off the tree in the backyard (about two lunch size ice chests) and we have the flat of apricots he bought at farmers market yesterday. We decided that today would be a good day to get through the fruit.

Yesterday, we grabbed the last of the packed canning jars out of storage and got the last of the cabinet in the garage unpacked. I had expected we would need to sell some, but they all fit. I think we're set for jars, at least until we start canning fruit slices. We mostly can jams, butters and syrups. We tend to just buy canned fruit, probably because we've never had a cheap and plentiful source of fruit (excluding blueberries, that I only like in very small quantities).

We mixed up four apricot pie fillings and put them in the freezer. Plus, Jeff is going to make up a pie this afternoon for us to enjoy this week, as a reward.

We've also worked through two batches of jam. One batch was just plum and the other we did about half plum and half apricot. That batch actually cooked much faster and looks better (less foamy), so I think that's what we'll do for the rest of the batches.

We're taking a well-deserved break for a couple of hours this afternoon and then we'll resume our canning efforts. We'll probably do another two batches today, and if there is anything left, I'll do some more tomorrow.

We've also got two small peach trees in the backyard, and they're starting to look close to being ripe. Maybe we'll have a batch of peaches for next weekend.

This morning, the last of our furniture sold on craigslist. Now we're mostly down to the vintage old stuff left from my grandmother and my Dad's stuff. I'm still trying to decide between having another garage sale and just donating it all. I guess we'll see.

Update later in the day. Jeff's Pie:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Made a LONG To-Do List

I've had a really unproductive week, it think because as I look around the house I just get overwhelmed by the mess and boxes. So, yesterday, I finally just sat down and started making a list. I don't know why it took me so long; I'm usually good about lists but I've been in sort of random mode for the last month or so. I think the list is really going to help. I'm only putting one big thing on any given day so we can get our big project out of the way in an hour or two and then we can either goof off the rest of the day knowing we accomplished our plan, or keep working on the little stuff.

This morning we've already accomplished the big thing. We have a very expensive rug we bought in Oregon that was in our dining room. I don't particularly want to liquidate it on craigslist yet, so we have to keep it somewhere safe. I wasn't comfortable putting it in storage (due to weather concerns), but we found a clever spot in the tiny bedroom. There is a corner behind the bookcases that was empty, and the rug fit just right in there. We had to re-roll the rug, because the movers rolled it crooked and then we had to unload the bookcase and move it out enough to tuck the rug back there, and then we put the books back in the bookcase. And while we were at it we unpacked a couple more boxes of books.

Yesterday I also figured out the plan for finishing the master bedroom closet. This is an old house and the closet isn't a "standard" size, so I need to do some sort of custom organizer. (Most standard closet systems are designed for closets that are two feet deep, this one is more than three feet deep.) I came up with an easy plan, and I don't think it will cost us very much. The main difference between our plan and DIY closets is that our shelving is going to be 20" deep and standard shelving is more like 12" deep; I don't want to waste that much space. I have already ordered the metal rods and sockets, as well as a couple closet accessories, i.e. sliding tie rack and belt hooks. I also found a shoe rack that should fit the back of the door. This will really help to ease the congestion in the master bedroom.

Anyway, I'm trying to find someone who will build the closet organizer for us, but if I cannot find someone who will do it for less than $200, then we'll go ahead and give it a try ourselves. I've emailed a local handyman for a quote, or hopefully Brian (the guy who did our master bedroom) will be available soon.

On Tuesday we finally are getting our new dressers delivered. I'm really looking forward to that. We should finally be able to unpack almost all of the boxes in the master bedroom. And anything we don't unpack on Tuesday, we'll probably just take to storage.

The last two days were great for craigslist. Yesterday someone came and bought our 100+ boxes we had leftover from the move. I bought way too many and I was going to store them for the next move, but then I decided to try and sell them for around what we paid. We did take a loss by the time you consider sales tax and delivery, but at least we don't have to hassle with them now. And this morning someone came and bought the cherry desk, chair and printer stand. We did take a considerable loss on that one, but at least it is finally out of the garage. I was getting ready to donate the set if it didn't sell this week.

I really wish I had taken a "before" picture. Now my Dad can finally get his antique car out of the garage! There was a mountain of furniture behind the car, blocking it in. Some of it went to storage, the rest has been sold.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More Shopping

I had a "duh" kind of moment a couple nights ago. We have been using a futon in the living room "temporarily" until I found couches that were in a more suitable color. I've been surfing on craigslist for weeks now and cannot seem to find something to my liking that is near enough to risk the trip to see them. I've had two disappointing visits to look at couches as they just weren't the colors they looked like on craigslist. Colors don't photograph well, I guess. Well, last night it occurred to me I could just buy a new cover for our futon and skip buying a couch for now. We do still want a loveseat, eventually, (for when we have company) so we may ultimately end up replacing the futon later on. But this way I won't feel rushed to find something.

Jeff went this morning and picked up our new Highlander (he took CalTrain to the nearby station and walked to the dealership from there); lucky him. I still haven't ridden in it, as he just continued on to work. He says its nice. We'll add pictures to the blog tonight, once he brings the camera home.

We've had an uneventful week this week. Dog Obedience class Tuesday night. Barony of Westermark SCA meeting last night. Unfortunately, I've been particularly unproductive this week during the days. I've sold a couple of things from craigslist, but for the most part our ads are just expiring without inquiry. I'll probably end up donating most of it which is also fine.

Yesterday, I had a binge at I decided I needed a few more yards of the kitchen fabric when I realized I hadn't made them full enough in my plan so I needed to buy another 4 yards or so. Well, I bought quite a lot of fabric when I discovered they had about six different batiks for $4/yard. I bought 16 yards of purple to use for a backing for my yellow and purple lightning quilt I have in progress. It's actually a really nice scrappy quilt that Jeff designed with lightning bolts and pin wheels.

(Karen, do you have any ideas for quilting it? I'll be happy to send it off to you for quilting, if you're inspired. It's King Size, or will be when it's done later this year.)

Tonight, we're taking delivery of a quarter of a grass-fed cow from a way-not-local ranch. We're paying about $6/pound where WholeFoods charges $12/pound so I figured it was worth trying it this way despite the inconvenience of having your freezer full of meat. It's apparently about 100# of beef, so I think that will be our meat of choice for the next several months. I think we should figure out how to replace our BBQ we gave away last fall. Not sure if we'll buy used, or if we'll buy some cheapy one to last us the couple more years we're likely stuck here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bought a New Car

Well, we bought a new 2009 Highlander Hybrid tonight. The Sunnyvale Toyota dealer had a vehicle that had the options we wanted (which were few). Though, at one point the sale was in doubt, as their price was $300 over what I had understood to have been quoted over the phone, but after we left, the manager changed his mind and gave it to us at our price. They're still making a bundle by the time you add up all the bogus extra charges they tuck into the invoice to pad it, like the holdback and the TDA (Toyota Dealer Advertising Fee). And what the heck is a Wholesale Financial Reserve? It looks to me like they padded their invoice by over $1600 in these bogus fees. Next time I need to remind myself to skip buying the new vehicle and buy one a few years old. =)

Anyway, though we paid for the vehicle tonight, we didn't drive it home. Since we were just going to have to bring it back for after-market installations tomorrow (or the next day) we decided to take delivery after they got everything installed. The only things we bought from the dealer was the cargo net and the iPod interface. We'll get the rest of the options elsewhere; the dealer has such outrageous prices. We'll probably still go and buy a navigation system and a few of the cosmetic things, like mud flaps, etc. from auto supply places.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lovely Weekend

Yesterday we enjoyed a barbeque at my father's house in Santa Clara. (Thanks Dad!) My brother, James also showed up with his family and Shasta had another evening of playing with Lizzie. Then we wandered over to the nearby grass field and watched the local fireworks display. Shasta did pretty well for her first scary fireworks event.

Jeff has worked most of the weekend, excluding dinner yesterday. He worked yesterday afternoon and then headed to work this morning at 6AM and still isn't home. So much for my plans to take a load of debris to the dumps. Oh well, maybe next weekend.

Today, I've been trying to finish up the sewing room Roman shades. I've gotten them to the point of sewing on the rings and I'm having a hard time staying on task. I keep getting distracted with my laptop.

I think that we're going to order the Toyota tomorrow. We located one in Sunnyvale and Jeff dropped by and checked out the amethyst. The color is subtle and changes, depending on the light and angle. But it's probably good enough; I think we'll go for it.

After dinner yesterday, the family walked over to check out a 1912 Craftsman house about 3 blocks away that's been for sale for about 10 months. I've been watching it since last September or so. Back at that time it was $1.15M, now it's down to $750K. When it had the latest price drop I was really tempted, right up until I checked out the inspection reports which revealed to me that it was a money pit (it needed $150K of foundation work, just for a start). Oh well. After the visit yesterday, though, I continued to dream about the possibilities, but, today I see that it went pending, so I guess that's out as an option.

Even though I'm not seriously looking at houses right now, (really, I'm not) I usually check out what's available in Portland and Corvallis every couple of weeks. The kind of house I'm looking for is very specific (early 1900s Bungalow with the original unpainted woodwork on an oversize lot) and I don't think they're easily available so I keep watching for good houses to hit the market. On Thursday, I found another beauty in Portland, but it's surely overpriced. I think if it were closer in to downtown, they'd be able to get their price. But, according to my quick research, its neighborhood is loaded with much cheaper large houses and a ton of foreclosures. I think they'll have a problem getting their $679K asking price. But I'll keep watching it. If the price comes down to around $500K, then I'll probably get real interested. =)