Sunday, December 28, 2014

House Picture Update

We worked on some side projects this weekend - putting up exterior lights and organizing and cleaning the garage. There will be a separate post about the garage / work space but today I'd just like to post some pics of the transformation so far. 

The plan for this week is to get the drywall in and, hopefully, get the windows installed. Let there be light!

As for today- here's a bunch of pics of the process so far, Enjoy!


Digging the trough for the plumbing


Digging, digging, digging!


Piles of dirt everywhere!


After filling back the dirt and pouring cement and leveling the floor...looking good!


Welcome to the gun-show!


Planning out the bathroom before the plumbing goes in.


Plumbing roughed in, insulated, and a very big work table


No more front door!


Bathroom laid out and rough plumbed in!


Hello tiny tub! $30 Craigslist find - yay!
  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pink, warm, and fuzzy - insulation is up!

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
the walls were all sealed with no room for a mouse.
We'd caulked and we'd spray foamed every nook and crack
I'd been bent over so long there was a stitch in my back;
The insulation was nestled all snug in its beds
and visions of drywall danced in our heads;
I wore my hoodie, Hubs donned a mask,
D wore both as he worked on each task...


Insulation is up folks! We have one window and are waiting for the last one to arrive just after Christmas. Of course, the one we are waiting on is the garden window. BTW the garden window has a name, courtesy of Hubs and the Venture Brothers, we are calling it the Sanctum Solarium

With the three of us working, the work went by pretty fast and we were finished in a day. That wasn't so fast that we didn't learn a few things:
  •   Buy more box cutters and razor blades than you think you need
  •   A clean work space is a happy workspace - (we moved the kitchen into the workshop to get it out of the way without damage)
  •   Don't touch your face!! - you got an itch? use a kleenex pulled from another room, don't touch your face, don't do it!
  •   Bring a change of clothes
  •   Don't leave your purse on the workbench because even if you don't touch it, it will be covered in tiny bits of insulation and that will get everywhere (don't touch your face!)
  •   Finally, music and ventilation make construction work soooo much better - we opened windows and doors and rocked out to the radio to whistle while we worked

Friday, December 19, 2014

Downsizing...

Happy Yule to all!

Hubs and I have begun the process of DOWNSIZING! 
(that's a little exclamation mark but it is full of big excitement)

Today we went through the bookshelves, getting rid of dvd jewelcases, donating books, and recycling magazines. After so many years of moving year after year sometimes with only a suitcase and a smile, it is amazing to see how much stuff we have collected.

We got the apartment a little over 3 years ago after putting everything we owned into a Subaru Outback. The car was packed with guitars, books, clothes, the dog, pictures, bedding, canvases, art supplies, and many little trinkets that hold some sentimental meaning. Moving now, all that same stuff is proving to be the only stuff I'm willing to keep. 

Our motto for the move: Is it worth the weight?
Is the item worth - 
  •  cleaning it
  •  packing it
  •  moving it
  •  unpacking it
  •  finding a space for it in our tiny little home?
If something is not worth all those things, I have to ask if someone else would value it more, and if so - out it goes! I like imaging someone walking into a Goodwill and finding a book, necklace, or shirt of mine and getting a big smile, falling in love, and enjoying that item for the rest of that item's life. 

There are only two snags in this plan - the bathroom and the closet. 

Oh the bathroom - how I love an organized makeup drawer - how I love using every last drop of shampoo from a bottle - how I enjoy stocking up on vitamins, hair treatments, face masks, and eye gels! Unfortunatly for me, the result of all this is that the bathroom is full of almost used up bottles, jars and jars of fish oil and Vitamin D, conditioners, little jars, packets, and glass vials. 

I keep starting to work on it. It keep trying, but I'm not really getting anywhere. I can't give this stuff to Goodwill, and it is still usable - those vitamins are still good! *sigh*

The closet is HARD. I have a system of sorting clothes for the season and then wearing that seasons clothes pretty regularly. I can't go into my closet and see something I haven't worn in the past year. If I find something I don't like, or it is too worn, or it doesn't suit me any more - then I can get rid of it, but none of the clothes in my closet fit those categories! 

Still, I have more clothes than can fit in the tiny house. Something must be done - but I have no idea what it is. :-(

On a happy note - the one thing I don't have to downsize is my collection of glasses, and my first order from Zenni Optical came in today!! I ordered three pairs of prescription glasses from Zennioptical.com for my birthday. I was so nervous and thought maybe online glasses shopping would never work - but I adore all three pairs, they fit great, and the prescription is spot-on!

I had thought to use Warby Parker because I know some people who have used it and gotten those thick-framed hipster glasses and they seem pretty happy with them. Warby had a clean website, easy to use searching, and nice frames - but none of them suited my taste. 

If you like hipster square frames check them out, but if you enjoy cat-eye glasses, angles, and a variety of frame types Zenni may be a better bet.  

Zenni had a bit of a confusing website. I kept losing my search if I hit the back button, and it was annoying to keep typing the same search terms. Eventually I found several styles I liked - a red framed squared cat-eye, a turtleshell wavy thick-frame cat-eye, and the awesomest clear pink jelly frames. 

Using the prescription sheet from my last opticians visit I was able to easily enter my information, customize the lenses, and even put a purple tint on the pink frames to make them into a set of prescription sunglasses. 

All in all - it was a pretty painless process and I got three sets of glasses I completely adore for under $100 total. I'm hooked!

All three fit nicely into a converted shadowbox that hangs in the bathroom as a glasses display case!
In case you are wondering- there are 5 pairs of regular glasses there (not counting the ones on my face while I took the photo), a pair of black sunglasses with rhinestones, and the new pink jelly sunglasses. I have two other pairs of regular glasses and one other set of sunglasses. 

That's 8 sets of regular glasses and 3 set of sunglasses. 

Some people collect figurines of little cats, I change my glasses everyday.

 
Also - more pictures of the house!

No more front door! (This will be replaced with a window and siding)

The benefits of proper measuring. We measured on the floor all the built in kitchen cabinets and, in order to set the counter height exactly for the over-the-counter garden window, we built one of the smallest cabinets. Look at how close we got with the cabinet to where we had marked "edge of cabinet" - spot on!!

Hello electrician!

Just a record of the dust. There is sooo much dust and woodchips!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

December update

Good Yule Good People!

December is in full swing in Seattle with rain and grey skies and, special for tonight, high winds!
I wish I caught a picture of it, but there was a HUGE rainbow at about 3pm in the U-district.

Other recent events -

We bought windows - a 36" x 36" front window that will replace the front door, and a 36" x  36" garden window for above the sink. I adore garden windows with little orchids, herbs, and violets on them and I'm so thankful to get one! I worked out a trade, so I guess I didn't really buy it, but for trade I have to do all of D's Christmas shopping for his coworkers and family.

The garden window is made by Milgard in Tacoma. It should arrive December 27th and it'll be a great Christmas gift to the house! We went with the same white trim as seen in the picture below. The house has grey and white trim already and we intend to keep it that way even when we redo the siding next year.


Another awesome event was a visitation from the Amazing A last weekend. She came up from Arizona to celebrate a friend's birthday and spent a little time with the Venture-clique. It was great to spent some time catching up with her, showing her the house, and congratulating her on her recent success at becoming a Master Gardener. 

We went to the Kubota Gardens at the south of Seattle and wandered around picking berries and talking about plants, travels, plans, and adventures while she had the time. It was just lovely. Hi A! I miss you!
The amazing A and I

This week I have the plumber and electrician finishing up. Then the carpenter on Monday and Tuesday and then we are done for the holidays. When the windows arrive we will set those into the house and start setting up for finishing work - all the interior drywall, trim, patching and painting.

Slowly but surely February is coming...it will be move-in day before you know it! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tiny house kitchen plans!

Bit the bullet and bought a kitchen over black Friday! In the realm of house-building there are things I can do well and things I have no business doing. I have no business doing plumbing or electrical - although I can help for both, if I were in charge it would take forever and possibly be all backwards!

Things I can do - insulation, drywall, painting, and building ikea furniture. We got high gloss grey base cabinets but we plan to custom build the top cabinets to hold gallon mason jars. I can't handle standard top cabinets, they tend to get left open all the time and constantly threaten to take one's eyes out. Poor Hubs has been nearly mortally wounded! Plus, I can't reach half of the height. Our current top cabinets are mostly unused except to store things we only use on special occasions.


Not my kitchen - but this is a picture of the high-gloss grey. 

So - high gloss grey for the bottoms, white custom gallon mason jar holders on the top. The countertop will be poured by the same awesome folks who sanded and leveled the floor. It should be white or pale grey somewhat like the picture. 

Also - working model of the plans for the house. The door to the workshop goes into the shared space for working on bikes, sewing, crafting, and all the hobbies of the associated house residents. You'll notice the lack of a stove...well, we decided not to get one! Instead, we have a retractable induction cooktop that sits below the cabinet so there are no seams between the countertop and the stove. When needed, it will just pull out from the counter and pop up on the countertop. 

If I need an oven, there is a standard stove just upstairs. 
The washer and dryer are shared but it will be so nice not to have to share them with 20 other apartments. 

This is the working model - more to update as work progresses! 




Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hello New Design!

Taking some time over the holiday to revamp the blog and put some things in order. There is still much more to get done, so patience is appreciated while I'm working on the details. So far I've added new buttons, a custom favicon, a custom banner, changed colors and layout features, started an 'about me' section, and tweaked the fonts and sizes.

Suggestions are always welcome and check back soon to see what else has changed!

Thanks to these lovely folks for tips n tricks on how to get the coding right!
jessicandesignsblog.com 
justagirlandherblog.com 
sewmanyways.blogspot.com
everylittlepolish.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanks mom!

My mother gave me a gift card for Amazon for my birthday and my gift just arrived today!

Winter riding gives me a chilly nose and chapped lips so I got myself a facemask :-)

It is so super!! I converts easily from a half-mask to a full mask for really cold trips, but so far I'm rocking out with the half-mask look.




Also - I went for a walk with my Hubs in our soon-to-be new neighborhood. I found a British phone booth!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Things done, Things to do

It seems the most I check off items on my To Do list, the more items add on to the end of it!

Last night was John Cleese and Steve Scher talking about parents, the meaning of life, alimony, religion, and the release of his new book, So Anyway...
John was hilarious, Steve was insightful and kept the show on an even track, and at one point I got called out for nudging D when John talked about all the little compromises - like one partner needing the window cracked to sleep while the other partner freezes. I always need the window cracked - just a little!
Hubs looked like he was going to cry he laughed so hard.
The only thing I'm just a little sad about is that on John's next stop he's doing the show with Adam Savage. Hubs listens to the Adam Savage youtube podcast and would've loved to see him again. We'd seen him before at a show downtown and it was great so I can only imagine what a good time it will be for John and Adam to share a stage!

Other events and happenings have included: I have 293 sq feet to make into a home! The Seattle Ventures will be moving to a different spot (still in Seattle) that's actually going to be ours all ours. It is tiny, 293 sq ft isn't a lot of space to put two people and a dog, but I'm happily accepting the challenge and looking forward to not paying rent or a mortgage.

What the space lacks in size it makes up for in opportunity. There is a BIG backyard. More space than most Seattleites could get. And I have permission to take it over. With some landscaping and leveling it could be an awesome urban farm.

There's enough room for a veggie patch, about 3 more fruit trees (there is already an apple tree), berry bushes, some raised beds, a patio area (the cement pad already exists), a dog house, and... wait for it... chickens!

2 Plymouth Rocks and 1 Rhode Island Red please.

There is also a driveway, yay for off-street parking!
Last but not least, there is a shared work-space that is separate from the house space. I can sew, craft, and paint there and Hubs has a place to solder and put all his tools and such!

Our current schedule is that we'd give a month's notice in January. But our plumber took two weeks longer than expected and didn't finish so the adage that nothing in construction finishes on budget or on time may be true. March or April anyone?

Non-housing related: My scooter is KICK-ASS. If you want a scooter, I can happily recommend the Piaggio Fly 150. :-) Mine is black and white and while my last bike was a big thumping Cupcake, this little scooter is my Lucky Bunny. It is just Sooooo cute!

LKY BNY - your plate is mine!





Monday, October 27, 2014

My 4th Seattle Birthday!

Today was my 4th birthday in Seattle!

For such a momentous occasion I took a holiday from work and spent my morning reading in bed, then a late breakfast/ brunch at my favorite local pastry shop - ( Fuji Bakery on 15th, I don't want it to close - so SHOP THERE ) then scooting about the city going to various home building supply stores.

I'm not an online purchaser. I like to see it in my hands, feel the texture and weight, and haggle about the price before buying something. Online offers none of that experience to me. So, I went to all these stores - stroking counter tops, opening and closing cabinet doors, curling up in tubs, etc.

I visited - the Re-Store, Morgans, Seattle Homes, Builders Hardware & Supply, Greenhome Solutions, Keller Showroom, and Home Builders Center. Not bad for a few spare hours.

Best customer service goes to the Re-Store - they were the friendliest and most helpful - letting me borrow tape measures and showing me where to find things. They had some options, but it is a re-store so the options may change pretty fast.

Greenhome was... well I wanted to like it. I went that direction just to go there and the showroom is nice and there are lots of options... but NO ONE said hello to me. I don't know if it was the way I looked (riding gear and messy hair from my helmet), but it felt like I was being purposely ignored. I made eye contact and smiled at one guy and he just kept walking right past me. No hello, no are you looking for something, nothing. I was invisible. So that was pretty shitty and I'm not planning to return.

Morgans knew their stuff. Decent customer service, fast, efficient. I got an older guy... that seems to be important to Yelp.

Everybody else was okay - friendly, fast and helpful. I'd go back to anyone but Greenhome Solutions.

After tub-hunting, I went out to eat with D and Hubs at one of our favorite Mexican spots in Ballard and then to Hot Cakes for dessert.

Also -

Green apple peridot ring! I love this shade of green! 





Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Where did I go?

Oh my! Where did all the time go!?

The SugarSpoon Kickstarter didn't work. Although I learned a lot and raised some awesome funds, it didn't make enough to finish. SugarSpoon is still rockin' it'll just take a little bit longer to get all the permitting done.

In the meantime - I took a trip out to a farm about 40 minutes north and found the most delicious apples! I brought a box home and made applesauce, apple pie filling, and apple jelly. The skins from the apples turned the jelly a rosy shade of pink. The jars look like pale pink tourmaline gems - it also tastes delicious :-)

Out in the fields of that farm there were hot air balloons going up. Once at a certain height, the riders jumped parachuting out one by one. D and I leaned against the fence sucking on honey straws and watched the colorful demonstration as the sun set.


Other fun adventures include Macrina Bakery and also I bought a scooter.

Macrina Bakery first - We went to the one in Belltown on First Ave. The inside was pretty dark and cozy but I wanted to eat out in the fresh air so we sat at the metal tables provided outside.
While the plum roll was ok - a little denser than needed and more prune than plum, the apple pie was pretty awesome. The apples were light, thin sliced, and not too syrupy or sweet. The crust was thin but flaky and substantial.


Ok - now for the Scooter! I was looking at scooters for a while - thinking that they might be a good alternative mode for transportation since I sold my Buell. I wanted something I could be a little lazy with - you know, less repair hours and more on-road hours. I'm also notoriously thrifty and so I didn't want to spend 10k of a BMW F650. (although...if one fell into my lap I could always be tempted)

Anyways, I was looking at a Buddy 170i. It is cute, spiffy, came in a style and color I really liked, and had been sitting at Scoot About for about 3 months (since the first time I saw it) without selling. The Buddy 170i also says it can hold two people, claims 90MPG, and has really good reviews online.

I went to Scoot About to try it out for a test drive before buying it - I was pretty sure that it was going to be mine but I just wanted to make sure cause I knew it wasn't something I could return later. So, I go in, ask to test ride, and ... no. It wasn't set up to run. So, I ask if there is another 170i I can try... no.

Now I feel a little weird. I mean, I don't buy jeans without trying them on, I don't buy a book without looking through it, I don't buy a car without taking it for a spin first...why would I be expected to buy a scooter without being allowed to test ride?!

The sales person - who was super nice by the way, explained that they had sold their only 170i scooter earlier and hadn't set up a new one yet. I asked if I could come back when they set one up. It didn't have to be the exact one I wanted, but that it would be nice to try out a scooter and since there were no other scooters in the store that were set up - they would have to set one (at least one) up anyways.

Another sales person came over and did a little high-pressure on me about okay well if we set it up are you prepared to buy it. Of course, if I like it, I will! I didn't appreciate the pitch though.

So I came back the next day and took the Buddy 170i for a spin. It was peppy, light, and had enough oomph that I easily kept up with traffic. It was also tiny, hard for me to see the controls while riding, and jeez did I feel every little crack in the road!

The max capacity of the Buddy 170i is about 320lbs. That's everything. That's me, my gear, anything in my topcase, and another passenger - max out at 320lbs. ouch.

I didn't like it.

I decided to check another shop for a brand comparison - Big People Scooters in south Seattle.

There, I really liked a black and white Piaggio Fly 150. I asked if I could try it out ... no.

He did explain that a lot of people will buy a scooter without an endorsement and without an endorsement you cannot test ride. Ok - I get that. But I have an endorsement and I'd like to do a test drive. The guy happily took my name and number and said I'd get a call when it was ready. No hassle. I liked that.

Two days later (it was ready before then) I came back for a test ride. The Piaggio was longer and I didn't squish my knees against the handle bars. The ride was smoother, easier, comfortable, and down right sweet.

I didn't notice any real difference between the 150 and 170. I rode through south Seattle at 35-40 easy, kept up with traffic, braked well, and I liked that I could read the dash while riding. Also - even on south Seattle roads my tailbone didn't hurt as there was a lot less vibrations coming through.

I went back to the dealership, the customer service was very nice, paperwork went through without causing too much wrist pain and so....

Say hello to my new scooter!




I haven't come up with a name yet. Scooter plates are 6 letters or digits -
WHTRVN? 2-CUTE? ABROOM? GHOSTY? I can't decide. But I can tell you I'm having a great time riding this thing!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

I drink your milkshake!

When I'm not working at place A, or place B, or the many places of C, you'll find me drinking milkshakes with friends and lovers OR - 

Admiring the butterflies at the Pacific Science Museum 

 



Taking pictures of jellyfish - such peaceful-looking killing machines!




Or organizing - say hello to my pantry!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Lemon Curd - egg and butter free

Oh, Lemon Curd, how I love thee!

Sunny, tart, sweet, tangy, but still smooth and rich and creamy - how do you do it?

Is it butter?

All those egg yolks?

Does lemon curd have to be filled with so much saturated fat in order to taste so good?

According to the internet: yes.

Well, in the words of Adventure Time's Earl of Lemongrab, "UNACCEPTABLE!"

I worked through last week with flavors and ingredients trying to find a suitable egg and dairy free lemon curd. First came the vegan sites and blogs. Vegan cooking is a happy hobby of mine and finding healthy alternatives to traditional dished can be a great experience. But, with two vegan lemon curd recipes tried and the results not-so-stunning, I decided to try my own. 

Cornstarch didn't have the right texture, and coconut milk altered the flavor and left it a bit weak. 

Chance left me with some very large stalks of green rhubarb from a sweet family in Tacoma. When they bought the house it came with several fruit trees and a HUGE rhubarb plant. She had rhubarb stalks as thick as my wrist but she simply didn't like the taste / texture of rhubarb in general so it was all going to waste. We connected online and I ended up with a bucket of rhubarb waiting for a recipe!

So, I had all this rhubarb and I needed something tangy and flavorful to add to the lemon juice... ha! Flavor Experiment!

The rhubarb was washed, cut, cut and simmered with a little sugar, lemons, ginger, real vanilla, low sugar pectin, and lemon zest. Low heat and constant stirring as the rhubarb dissolved let the liquid evaporate without burning at the bottom of the pot. 

In the end it became a rich, thick, lemony spread - worthy of the title Lemon Curd.

Egg and Dairy free Lemon Curd!!

I have about 20 sample jars and two 9oz jars of this deliciousness. More coming soon!




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Plums Have Arrived

There is a great variety of delicious local plums coming up fragrant and ready for the picking all this week and next!
I have batches of Rosemary Plum Sauce, Ginger Plum Jam, and Strawberry Plum Preserve filling shelves soon!
 Rosemary Plum Sauce - a sweet and herb infused sauce great served over grilled lamb and red potatoes. The plums come from one tree in the Interbay neighborhood. The rosemary is picked fresh from a large bush just down the block. I place the washed and crushed rosemary into a kitchen cotton-tie bag and allow it to simmer with the plums until the syrup becomes a deep garnet and carries the smell of rosemary all the way to the neighbor's.

Ginger Plum Jam - a spicy sweet reflection at the end of summer, great with a scone and a mug of Seattle Chai Tea! These plums are sourced from a large row of trees on two different properties. The neighbors who gave me permission to pick as much as I like! (- thanks guys!) The organic ginger is from a local market, it is diced and simmered along with the plums and sugar until the sauce gels, it hits 220F, and reaches a deep dark red.
Strawberry Plum Preserve - a surprisingly rich preserve filled with large pieces of fruit and chunky juicy texture. This is a favorite on an English muffin in the morning with some Irish Breakfast Tea. I'm lucky enough to grow fistfuls of fresh strawberries on my patio! The plums are from the same source as the Ginger Plum Jam, but they are simply sliced in half and pitted and then added whole to the pot. The strawberries are sliced in half and simmered with sugar and organic lemon juice. The result is a thick preserve with large bites of fruit and a satisfyingly sweet, but not too sweet, flavor. 

I leave you with two lovely quotes by the poet Mary Oliver - 
My work is the world.Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird- equal seekers of sweetness.Here the quickening yeast, there the blue plums...                -Mary Oliver
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?           - Mary Oliver

Thursday, August 28, 2014

KICKSTARTER IS LIVE!!

The Kickstarter is live!

I'm so excited and I hope everyone enjoys watching me be camera-shy in my tiny kitchen.

Check it out! :-)

www.tinyurl.com/SugarSpoon


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SugarSpoon Kickstarter Revamp - goes live Thursday!

Hi Darlings!

So lots of little adjustments going on to make everything alright.

I found a reliable source for straight-sided glass jars! I'm working with the company to get the product to look right. Of course things will change - so the product you get may not look exactly like the product seen in the old pictures, but the recipe is exactly the same and the inside is just as tasty!


I'm working on label changes using color and different style backgrounds. I want to make them more abstract in the background, like a watercolor painting or a jam stain across the paper.

The SugarSpoon label is set - a circle with a black spoon at a dipped angle across. Also, I've got the fonts set up and the spacing looking good!

These are all back office changes, things I want to get set up before shipping out rewards to people from Kickstarter.

The Kickstarter is also getting some changes - adding a $1 option, updating and adding flavors, and just obsessing over every little thing. I'm anxious about taking that first step - Thank goodness for Doc and his ability to push me along!

Kickstarter goes live on Thursday!!!


Monday, August 18, 2014

SUGARSPOON KICKSTARTER PREVIEW

Hi All!

Finally, finally, I have the SugarSpoon Kickstarter up and ready for previews! Yay!

Check here for the preview! *smooch*

Most of you call me or email me to let me know what think, but comments are welcome too!


Friday, August 15, 2014

The fish kids - all grown up!



It's been a while since we've published anything on the fishy kids. These are the fish I mentioned in an earlier post in January - when my fish had babies while I was on vacation.

I started out with about 20 baby fish. I thought that was pretty decent since I wasn't there to do any sort of monitoring or rounding up of the tank and the filter had been left on the whole time.

3 of those 20 are still alive. It makes me sad, but it was a learning process (turn off the filter!!) and baby bettas don't seem as hardy as the guppies and swordtails I had while growing up.

The three that are still here are phase bettas - meaning they all started out one color and changed over time to where they are now. Dad-fish was a phase - he went from a calico green and white to a dark, almost black, when he got older. Mom-fish had a white body and red fins. I chose her because I liked the white on her body and I was hoping for babies that would have white bodies like mom and green fins like dad. Didn't happen.

The three ladies that are now all grown up:

  • Big Red -  all white (although she started off white bodied with red fins)
  • Money-Penny - red, white, blue, and green, and yellow... and a little mix of everything. She started out red and purple but has changed a ton!
  • Puddles - She has the most stable coloring - blue, that's only gotten darker blue since she's grown

Mr. Fish is the only male betta in the tank, but he isn't the only fish and he isn't the only male. Most people are pretty surprised that I have a tank with male and female bettas and other fish in it. I think it depends on the temperament of the male, the other fish, and the layout of the tank. 

I got Mr. Fish because he had the most beautiful iridescent pale green fins with a mostly white body. I also knew that with those big honkin' fins, he wouldn't be able to swim as fast as my delta tail ladies. 

Shy-boy was an addition from D's parents. They were leaving on their retirement cruise and downsizing their tank. 

I got Shy-Boy and a female sword tail who was half red, half white  and who I called Half'n'Half, but she jumped a few days after arrival. My tank has no cover and the water level is pretty high, so jumping fish are dead fish. *sad face*

The last fish is Sneaker. He's always the last fish - he's sneaky and likes to hide! Sneaker is a sucker fish. He was added to the tank to be the janitor. I hoped for something more showy - but the other types of fish that were available would've all outgrown my tank! 
Sneaker is pretty much full sized at 2" so I think he's pretty happy. 

I have a mix of both live and fake plants in my tank. I need lots of foliage to keep things calm - so every time I add a fish I also add a plant. 

The rocks (not the gravel) are petrified wood from the volcano explosion. You can find it all over the ground out near the amphitheater. It's sharp, but I try to use more pieces and I let moss grow on it to soften it up a bit. 

The three white rocks in the front of the tank are from the beach. When the food sinks to the bottom of the tank it generally lands right near the white rocks and whatever lands there always gets gobbled right up! 

Big Red's space is the rocks. Puddles hangs out by the live plants with Sneaker. Money-Penny prefers the fake plant and the back of the tank. Shy-Boy is a surface dweller always skimming up and down the front of the glass. Mr.Fish hangs out front and center - like he's watching us...or waiting for food!

Thanks for visiting us! - The Fish Kids