2011 Year End Review….
Sheba | December 25, 2011 | 12:26 pm

2011 has been a roller coaster of a year.

It started out with Shawn getting laid off from Microsoft in January 2011. But since I.T. had been tearing him up inside and things were pretty stable with my teaching gig,  I told him that I would be happy to support him while he chased a dream… We both have this little fantasy of owning a bed and breakfast when we ‘retire’ so I figured that owning some kind of restaurant would be an important stepping stone to that dream. So Shawn started researching and planning. I keep doing my teacher day job and training with the dogs.

Proud of his toy destruction

We adopted Frankie in June of 2010, and he turned out to be an anxiety ridden spaz! He was supposed to be part English Mastiff and Part Great Dane. This would, in theory, make him big, slow, lazy and loving. BUT after getting to know him, training with him and watching him RUN… we discovered that he must be at least 1/3 Greyhound!  Tearing up the house, destroying furniture and driving us crazy also led us to believe he might have some separation anxiety. Luckily, I discovered Jennifer and the Dog Spot.  She examined his issues and felt that it ~might~ be separation anxiety but was more likely a lack of confidence and too much energy.

 frankie at agility training

So Frankie and I started with Basic Training Classes, then moved on to some Fungility Training and finally a class called Games and Tricks. The physical and mental stimulation was so helpful, and the daily homework kept us both on our toes. Charger even got to learn some new things too.

  charger2011

Speaking of Charger, he turned 14 years old yesterday (December 24th is his birthday according to his adoption records.) When we got Frankie, it was because Charger had slowed down so much we thought he was on his last legs… Frankie was going to be an “overlap” dog for us. Charger had put on a lot of ‘old man’ weight and was up to 145 pounds. The vet had told us to put him on a diet. Luckily, Frankie and him have been really bonding and getting along great. Charger has lost almost 20 pounds chasing around the little guy and acts much younger than his 14 years. We are so lucky to still have him with us. (age expectancy for his breeds are 9 or 12 at most)

Artfest Dolls 2011

In April, I went to my usual art retreat, Artfest. Pretty much the only time this calendar year that I made any (non-school related) artwork. and it was great to see many of my online artsy friends in real life.

Meanwhile, Shawn made his restaurant plans. At first the plan was small, food trucks were all the rage and that looked like a good one man operation. But looking into all the details it turned out that doing a truck would be much more complex and expensive than a basic brick and mortar store (or so it seemed.) So after several months of researching the truck idea he shifted to looking for a good location for his restaurant. He found several different “turn-key” locations that were for sale for what seemed like reasonable prices… but there was always something a little weird or fishy about the situation. Unfortunately, one too good to be true location ended up talking him out of a couple thousand dollars. Small claims court and a counter-suit followed and added some stress to our already difficult year.

Charger the Life guard

In August, the Gaub family rented a wonderful lodge in Leavenworth and we spent a week away from the stress relaxing in nature and living like the rich and famous.

SWIL outsdie B4002 

Summer arrived and we found a promising location. While we negotiated with the landlord and tried to secure funding from the banks is was a big, long, hurry up and wait situation. Finally after signing the lease we found out that the banks were just not in the mood to loan us ANYTHING! But we forged ahead anyways. We had the restaurant BUG and were too excited about the possibilities. We spent a couple of the summer months CLEANING, painting and remodelling the space to fit our needs. 

Painted and getting cleaned up

We hired some staff, worked on the menu and recipes, ordered food and began with a Friends and Family “Soft Opening” in the beginning of September. Then after a week of low key service and some tweaking of our processes, we finally did our grand opening along with the Everett Gallery Walk On September 19th. Showing Adrien’s latest photography for the first month, relaunched her artistic career.

Adrien's Art up in the Restaurant

Planning and running a restaurant is a prety time consuming endeavor and along with the dog training it didn’t leave mush time for my other pursuits… like triathlon and artwork. My plans to do the Seattle to Portland bike ride fell through due to lack of training time. But Mom and I supported Brad and David as they did it in the usual ONE day. This was a good choice, as I discovered that the STP is not really the type of riding that I enjoy so that is not really a goal I am interested in keeping on my list. I did manage to do the Danskin triathlon though no personal bests this year.

The rest of the year has been consumed with working essentially 3 different jobs… teacher by day, then waitress at the new restaurant by night, and bookkeeper and marketing queen in any of the spare time that I may have. Plus keeping up with daily dog mommy tasks, like walking, feeding and taking the boys to day care and the parks. Luckily, I have a fantastic Student Teacher this year. Kevin has been making the newer, larger class sizes manageable. And his presence alleviates the extra stress from the restaurant that brings me to work a little more tired everyday. Plus it has been a professional joy to share my knowledge with him, and to be seen by him and get feedback has been invaluable. We teachers usually work in such isolation that we don’t get a lot of feedback for how we do our job unless it is something that makes a BIG slash. I have to avoid getting a big head this year as I get daily compliments on how I do my job. It has been perfect timing though, since after 10 years of doing the job I was beginning to get a little burnt out and ready for a change. This year with Kevin at my side will be a huge blessing in so many ways.

Untitled

We proudly had the entire family at our new space for the Thanksgiving holiday. One of the best celebrations that I can remember, it was the highlight of the season. Having full use of the restaurant kitchen and dining space made for a relaxed event. The huge turkey cooked in just 2 hours in our gas oven and was juicy and delicious due to Alton Borwn’s brining recipe. Shawn’s mom and brother Josh even drove up from Portland to join us, and his brother Dean brought his fiance’ Linh. The full Gaub family was in attendance too… Grandma and Grandpa Gaub shared photos and stories from their recent month long visit to Australia.  

There is never anything BORING about being restaurant owners. Most of the time we are feeling very blessed. Many little happy accidents have occurred in the process, including getting just the right people to help us at just the right times. We have felt God’s guiding hand during most of the process. But because the bank didn’t want to give us the loan we really needed, and there are a million hidden expenses in owning a restaurant… money has been tighter than ever before. So this holiday season finds us in a not very festive space.

The few days we have closed the restaurant to relax finds us staying at home, and quietly celebrating with our dogs and counting our blessings. We have a wonderful roof over our heads, loving and supportive friends and family, cuddly dogs that love and need us, and are healthy!  The people we serve at our restaurant enjoy our food, our employees are loyal and happy to help us build our dream. Although, we have both found our bodies retaliating against the stress with the worse than usual winter colds, we do have health insurance and can see a doctor when we need to, so this too is a blessing.  We have met many wonderful people as we get to know the community we live in better than ever now that we are local business owners. We have both found a new exciting passion for food and experimenting with new ingredients. We have big dreams and plans for where the restauarnt can go, we just hope and pray to get enough business, recognition, regular customers and therefore INCOME to keep it all moving forward. If you are ever in the area, please come by for a visit because we would love to share our passion with you!

Who knows what the next year will bring… but we are sure that it won’t be boring! I hope your year was full of blessings and excitement too.

May you never be afraid to follow your dreams! Happy Holidays!

Burger at SWIL
Sheba | September 24, 2011 | 9:10 am

Things are moving forward at the restaurant. and the reviews are coming in. everyone LOVES the food! the employees are getting the systems down. and word of mouth is starting to spread.

We have officially been open for one week now. We should have the credit card machine running by Monday. that has been a huge headache! then next priority is BEER! everyone wants some beer with these mouth watering burgers. we have added a bunch of healthy stuff and a veggie burger too. Shawn is listening to the public. we added kids stuff too.

Stuff What I Like Menu
Sheba | September 2, 2011 | 10:47 am

Where, oh, Where?
Sheba | August 30, 2011 | 8:23 am

Have I been??

front painting in progress

I am excited to share that I am helping my S.O., Shawn, pursue one of his big dreams… opening a restaurant! So this summer I have been busy painting the interior of the site, doing marketing and book keeping for the business, planning the art shows that will be featured on our walls and much more. Our opening date is right around the corner and things are moving quickly. Plus I return to my day job as Middle School Art teacher this week! Very little time to squeeze in any art. But hopefully giving myself a show in the restaurant will be a motivator! Meanwhile, I am accepting submissions of my other artist friends to show in our space.

Check out the website! www.stuffwhatilike.com

and like us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/#!/Stuffwhatilike

Birthday
Sheba | May 25, 2011 | 5:20 pm

Today I turn 44 years old. I took the day off and went to the spa. I enjoyed 4+ hours of relaxing, soaking, scrubbing and mosturizing. Lots of wonderful time to reflect and think… some new thoughts are stewing… but my brain is mostly mush from all the pampering, so I will have to share another time. Needless to say I am having a wonderfully relaxing day!

Mary Stanley
Sheba | April 19, 2011 | 9:01 pm

The rug hooking teacher posted some great pictures and her reflections on Artfest 2011.

She included this great picture of me with my finished heart with wings. I loved this project and looking forward to trying something simular with my students.

Artfest 2011: Part Three
Sheba | April 14, 2011 | 7:27 pm

The last day of classes is often the most difficult because there is usually only so much energy and creativity that I can muster up in the course of one partial week. Luckily, I managed to do a good job with class selection and the last day was a meditative Rug Hooking class with Mary Stanley. I took this class specifically because I hoped to bring back a project for my students. I have a TON of burlap, yarn and what I thought were rug hooking tools. It turns out that there are a couple different types of rug hooking and the tools I had were for LATCH Hooking, not Rug hooking. I continued to be successful with finishing all my projects, so that was my goal again today.

The class was based on the subject of houses and I did like what the samples looked like and thought that it would be a good subject. However, I got to the class and was feeling rebellious and didn’t want to do a house. I decided to go smaller so I could finish in time and made a little heart. I just clicked with this medium though and cooked right along on the technique, flying quickly through my little project. So then I expanded my heart to include wings and managed to finish the whole project, even adding  the backing to finish it off.

I SWEAR I was not trying to be a show off or a teacher’s pet, but I came up with a technique to better hide the folded burlap edge by couching a strip of felt along the edge while sewing the heart to the felt backing. Mary had suggested coloring it with a sharpie or black acrylic paint. I thought my method gave a more polished look so I showed her as I was working on it and once it was complete she had me share it with the class.

Mary shared a lot of resources and some of the history of hooked rugs and it was quite interesting, but most of the traditional styles and patterns are not really to my liking. There are plenty of people out there being modern and cutting edge with this old technique.

I enjoyed yet another small class (all three of mine were under 10 students) and while I know this makes it harder for the teacher to finance their trip, I appreciated the additional assistance and level of intimacy that it adds to the class.

Today Mandy, Lisa, Jen and I managed to have lunch with this super funny gal. Poor Mandy fell on the floor when her heavy back pack caused her chair to tip over. This girl shared with us that she had had a similar experience in middle school that had been very traumatic. Then she told Mandy, “Your falling over didn’t traumatized me in the least.”  Perhaps you had to be there, but we were all laughing pretty hard, and loud enough to attract the attention of a few other tables. We invited her over for drinks that evening, but she didn’t make it. Oh well, it was a fun lunch!

That night was the big fest Show and Tell. Usually it is pretty crazy, hot and packed. But all of artfest was a little lighter than past years. I put my work out like everyone else and was excited to notice many people stopping to photography and comment on my Monster Doll projects. I decided to throw out the handful of business cards that I had in my bag and they were all snatched up in moments. After looking around at all the work and noticing a couple of artists that I want to keep on my list for next year, I decided to pack up and head back to the dorms.

It took me another 20 minutes or so to manage that though, because I was mobbed with questions and comments and was even obliged to pose for some pictures. I had some very interested buyers of these lovely creatures and will be following up on that plan. Even Andrew the teacher came over to snap some pictures and chat. I feel a little weird offering my dolls from the class for sale, but people were really into them. I plan to make my future dolls a bit differently so as to not directly compete with his sales, I hope.

When I got back to the dorm I was really missing my dogs and my honey. I called home and chatted with Shawn, but it didn’t help. After a little wine I ended up doing some performance art, imitating my dogs and their silly habits. Darn everyone and their I-phones too, because there is proof of this silly behavior.

MUCH later that night I woke up to find Mandy awake and cleaning the common area at 3:30am. I was awake enough that I decided to stay up and chat with her for a while. Which was nice, but not sure if Rita thought it was so nice.

The next day was time to pack up and hit the road. As usual it was a wonderful time, but I was anxious to get back home and see my puppies. On the ferry home I had time to jot down some ideas that I have for some more dolls and even wrote the plan for a class I would like to teach.

It was hard to get ready to go back to work, but it was a wonderful break and I am so happy to get back my artistic mojo.

Artfest 2011: Part Two
Sheba | April 14, 2011 | 7:24 pm

We had amazing weather so I went for a little jog in the morning. I enjoyed the coffee made by one of our dorm mates, Colleen, and appreciated the fridge as I ate some yogurt, granola and fruit.

Friday’s class was Monster Rag Dolls with Andrew Dyrdahl. This was a recycled materials, doll sewing class and I was looking forward to using some fabric scraps. I brought my sewing machine, luckily being able to drive I can bring something heavy like that. It was great that Andrew planned ahead and worked with a local sewing shop to have some extra machines on hand to use and then students could even purchase them for a small “show” price. This was very thoughtful of him and the students that had to travel on the plane were quite thankful. Although this project could be made entirely by hand sewing, it was much easier and faster to sew the body and limbs with the machine. When we went around the room doing introductions, there were several fairly inexperienced sewers in the bunch, despite that everyone in the class successfully finished one or MORE dolls within the day.

The main ~new~ things that I learned included how to use coffee to stain fabric (the key is using vinegar to help set the color), I discovered a great strap turning tool that I didn’t have (and had to go buy on my way home) and heard some fun thrifting secrets for finding good fabrics and prints. I busted out 3 quick doll bodies before lunch, which was the goal. We needed to coffee stain them before lunch so they had time to dry before stuffing. At home, of course, you can toss them in a dryer, but not at the fort. Luckily, we had sun and old fashioned radiators to speed along the process.

After lunch, we stuffed and embellished the dolls and finished the day with a show and tell. I was amazed at the work that came out of this class. Each doll had some personality from the artist but they all looked like they could be in a show together too.

That night was vendor night, which I checked out briefly, after a mediocre Thai dinner in town with Jen and Lisa. Then, I finished up my own dolls that evening while hanging out with all the girls. We read silly yearbook entries from some 1920′s vintage year book. They were very odd and seemingly snarky. Someone decided we should all write a yearbook entry for different camp members, so we drew names. But this project seemed to fizzle out by the end of the weekend.

I am not sure if it is the unfamiliar beds or the fresh sea air, but I had really weird dreams every night. But I still managed to get enough sleep to be refreshed each morning and ready for more art.

Artfest 2011: Part One
Sheba | April 14, 2011 | 7:24 pm

I wish I could remember all the years I have been to Artfest, all I know is that I have been on and off every year since it started. (I guess I could look carefully at all my journals and bags to see the years.) But I think this year was the best year ever! All my classes were perfectly wonderful, I didn’t have any weird or overly horrible experiences. Although I got a budding migraine everyday towards the end of each intense class. Luckily, it quickly went away before it was time to enjoy the wine and company of the evening activities.

On Wednesday after finally finishing my packing and taking the dogs to the park for a last long run, I hit the road to Port Townsend. I was rained and hailed on and the week looked like it was going to be a cold and ugly one. When we checked into the dorm I was astounded to discover some new fancy furniture, 2 fridges and a stove in the kitchenette. I am not sure how we managed to get such nice stuff, because I scouted around and did not find any similar upgrades to the other dorms. People started rolling in quickly but I decided to head out to the grocery store to pick up a few things to cook in our new kitchen. I skipped the opening thingie, it was about chakras and I was not interested in that! I enjoyed my first evening visiting with old friends and meeting some new ones.

Thursday morning was Paper Mosaics with Ty Schultz. Marcia was supposed to teach the class along with him, but since there were only 5 students she went off to make wigs instead. The basic technique for making paper mosaics was nothing mind-blowing new for me. The thing that was different was the papers we used for the project. Ty and Marcia had painted tons of scrapbook and painted papers with a thin coat of resin. It gave them a raised, glossy surface that when cut into tile like bits it really looked like a tile mosaic. But the real magic was when we painted in the ‘grout’ (which was just a colored paint pen in grout like colors) He provided us with a couple of different adhesion choices, both double stick tape and a liquid glue in a tiny tip bottle. I preferred the tape because I just hate getting my fingers all sticky. I quickly finished a couple of little mosaics and began a larger one. My goal with each class was to start small and finish everything in class. I was pretty successful, almost to the point of annoying my class and dorm mates. Today’s muse was the hand so each of my little works of art featured that as the subject. Unfortunately, making the special resin papers was not part of this class, which was disappointing to everyone in the group. “Take my resin class,” was the main answer when we inquired. Granted it was great to get right to the tile mosaic without waiting for thick goopy liquids to dry first, but it was still disappointing to not really be able to go back and replicate the look in my studio. I did end up buying some Pitt pens on my way out of town so I can finish my last piece from the class. Ty was a great instructor, very helpful and good at balancing pieces of information with time to get working, along with handouts that I can look at again.

One fun little bit is when one of the parents of one of my art club students came by to say hello. Her daughter had overheard me talking about going to Artfest and knew that her parents would be going, so told her mom to search for me.

That night I cooked up some lasagna and garlic bread in the new dorm stove and we had a little evening in with all the girls. There was some evening “Iron Chef” activity that sounded like fun, but we heard that it tended towards a mob scene so most of us skipped it. The idea is awesome though. Each of the participating teachers was given a bag of art materials and found objects and they had a set amount of time to create a work of art using at least 5 of the items. These finished works were then auctioned off to create a scholarship for people to come to Artfest that need some financial assistance.

One of my favorite parts of artfest though is the evening dorm show and tell. We all come back from class and show off our various projects, dish the dirt on the class, teachers and other students. Then if anyone has an energy left, we journal or finish up the projects from the day while we talk into the night. Eventually people start to peel off to sleep, depending on their zip codes usual

Artfest 2011 is in a month! and other news
Sheba | March 12, 2011 | 5:26 pm

getting super excited…

I finally (after having to do A LOT of cleaning and sorting) found my stuipd artfest booklet that showed what classes I was taking, so I could look up the supply lists. and I am super happy to discover that ALL the supplies are things I already have in the studio, so I will not need to BUY anything! which is a good thing since I am the only income in the house right now. there is a class fee for 2 of the 3, but that’s ok.

I will be Making paper mosaics,
class example

then monster rag dolls,
class example

and finally rug hooking houses.
class example

In other news… Shawn, my domestic partner of almost 10 years, is going to be starting a new business. He is going to start a food truck, which should lead to catering and eventually down the road a full restaurant.

The theme is going to be based on his roots in the Island of Saipan. Island style grilled chicken that is marinated in a sauce of garlic, ginger and soy sauce (plus other top secret stuff) it is very savory, not sweet like the Hawaiian Islands. Plus he will have sides of Red Rice, Potato Salad, and Lumpia. He is still working on the name and plenty of other details before he will be grilling and serving. But it is an exciting shift in our house.

Here is the truck, we looked at it again today, still trying to hammer out the contract details with spanish/english interpretation needed.

My puppy, Frankie graduated from basic manners class with flying colors. So we got x-rayed to check his hips to see if there is any hip dysplasia issues. Luckily there is NOT, which means on Apr 2 we are starting an agility course training class! so excited.

This is what happened to the couch!

This is they type of thing he was doing to our couch BEFORE manner’s class. Luckily he has moved past this troublesome behavior.

I have another big bike ride tomorrow (40 or 50 miles) and soon I have to start weekly back to back big rides to be ready for my STP 200 miles ride in July. It  is getting so close so fast. It is going to be a BUSY Summer!

Now off to work on some more artfest trades!