Winter garden in the PNW

Everything is (Supposed to Be) Resting

The madness of spring is so enticing. I love it when things are opening up and emerging from the ground. I also love the middle of summer when fruit is bursting forth, but I even love the garden in the winter when everything is resting.  Ross Gay

Winter garden in the PNW

Well, everything is supposed to be resting… This has been an unusual winter in the Pacific Northwest.  We’ve had our short days, saying goodbye to sunlight by 4:20 in the afternoon, but that’s really the only thing that’s felt like normal this season.  There’s been plenty of wind but here in Edmonds we haven’t even had a hard frost yet.  Knock, knock, I just tapped my wood desk hoping we don’t see winter weather descend on us tomorrow but honestly this has been a long, gray, dry fall-like end to the year.  We’ve seen rain, wind and clouds but very little fog and the temperature hasn’t dipped below freezing.

Winter garden in the PNW

As a result my annual solstice garden clean up consisted of deadheading summer blooming pots that refuse to quit and dragging the big branches that have blown down in the windstorms into piles in our backyard for cutting up before stuffing them in the yard waste bins for green recycling.  Not exactly what I’d expected.

Winter garden mess in the PNW

Usually by this time our summer annuals have given up in the cold and my outdoor pots are filled with evergreen branches and white lights illuminating the long nights and filling space until spring. This year I didn’t want to throw away perfectly good plants that were still blooming so as a result we still have pots full of geraniums, fuchsias and even some pretty yellow begonias shining brightly by my back door.  Surprise!

Winter garden in the PNW

Now I’m wondering if they’ll last until February when primroses and pansies arrive in their spring blooming abundance.  If so do I dig them out to replace with fresh plants or stay with these hardy few for another summer of flowers…

Autumn Color in the PNW

The Reds and Greens of Autumn

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.Unknown

Autumn Color in the PNW

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Autumn Color in the PNW

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”– Stanley Horowitz

Autumn Color in the PNW

“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.”– Unknown

Autumn Color in the PNW

Shades of Blue: Part 6 Summer Skies and Garden Flowers

Football is on the television, fresh rain is clearing the last of the forest fire smoke and I’m reaching for a fleece vest while looking back through my pictures for another summer gallery.

Today’s choices are all about summer skies, summer flowers, summer nights and summer salads.  Plenty of flowers and time by the water with fresh salads and cool drinks make my happy place complete.  🙂  What are your favorite ingredients for a happy summer place?


Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.  E. O. Wilson


If you’ve ever wondered why Pacific Northwesterners put up with dreary, wet winters it’s because of summers like this.  We don’t have formal vacation plans this year but when an island hike is a short hour away from home who needs an airplane!

It only took a few minutes for Ryan and I to pack a lunch and check ferry schedules before we were out the door and on our way to Whidbey Island for our favorite hike along Ebey’s Landing.  We started at the top soaking up these beautiful views then made our way down to the beach for lunch where  Ryan found a driftwood fort just the right size for two and we settled in for our picnic, watching the waves and listening to seagulls.

A day away from our usual routines does wonders for the soul and the satisfaction of a true escape to nature can carry us through the weeks ahead.


My Year In Pictures: January Week 2

If we say a New Year shows it’s colors in the first weeks of January I hope my 2017 is filled with shades of a pastel rainbow.  Fingers crossed that these photos start a positive trend leading to more time with family, more time in the outdoors and a chance to create some new things for our Etsy store.

The first two photos are the last of my cold winter beach walk with Ryan and John followed by our year-end recap of monthly selfie shots. 🙂  If you’d like to see how we’ve changed over the past three years check out my wrap up posts from 2015 and 2014.  I used my day off to photograph some new baskets and a blanket I completed at the end of the year and I finally tried to capture one of my favorite winter morning moments, sunrise reflecting off snow capped Olympic Mountains.  Cheers to you all from the wintery Pacific Northwest!

My Year In Pictures: December Week 5

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is typically quiet here with kids out of school, parents on vacation and all of us eating too many cookies while binge watching tv shows we missed during the fall.  I did continue to work through the week but in an effort to simplify things I chose to post a series of ornaments from our tree.

You can see we like sparkly glass decorations and as with any meaningful gallery each one represents a moment in our year so a quick recap of this set is as follows:  The wise old owl says breathe, look at Frosty go, yes I do have a wheelbarrow ornament but at least it’s filled with flowers, gnomes are great fun, smile and say cheese, robots are the bomb and Happy New Year’s Eve under the disco ball!

My next post begins the last month of this daily photo project so I’ll be back with seven new pictures in a few days but if you don’t want to wait please join us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to learn more about any of the images but you don’t follow me on these accounts please feel free to click here for IG, here for Twitter and here for FB or select a photo from the Instagram previews in my sidebar.  You don’t need an account at either place to view my photos, everyone’s welcome.


My Year In Pictures: November Week 3

Sometimes my weekly photo subjects are selected in advance so each blog post shares only a small peek into our days and sometimes the collection of images tell a story all on their own.  This week I think the story of old vs new came through pretty clear as we spent the majority of our time making room for furniture from my grandparent’s estate while finishing some new listings for our Etsy shop.  Cleaning, moving, making, photographing and listing filled each open moment and left us with a welcome sense of accomplishment by the end of Saturday afternoon.  I have a few additional photos of Grandma Emma’s things that may appear in future weeks and I’m happy to report a red and white basket sold within hours of its social media debut.  If you’re looking for a handmade holiday gift they are in our Etsy store and ready to ship now. 🙂

I’ll be back with a new post in a few days but if you don’t want to wait please join us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to learn more about any of the images but you don’t follow me on these accounts please feel free to click here for IG, here for Twitter and here for FB or select a photo from the Instagram previews in my sidebar.  You don’t need an account at either place to view my photos, everyone’s welcome.

My Year In Pictures: September Weeks 3 & 4

If you’re a follower of my Instagram feed you already know I’ve moved on from summer photos to fall and we’ve all been enjoying pretty leaves, gardening and seasonal changes so I’m pushing the fast forward button here and posting the last two weeks of September together in one fell swoop.  I really don’t like to fall behind schedule, especially if it’s a self-imposed one so these two-week catch-up posts are not my favorite but after replacing my computer, being surprised by a new operating system,  working through a phone (camera) fail and finally setting up a new phone my carefully maintained photo files were a scrambled mess.  On the surface I’ve been faithfully taking and posting a new photo to social media for every day of the week but behind the scenes it’s been nothing but aggravation each time I try to write and illustrate a new post here on the blog.  My fingers crossed things are sorted out now so going forward I’m hoping for fun and easy writing to finish the year. 🙂

Most of these new photos are really a best-of highlight reel from our summer vacations and as you can see they are focused on my favorite warm weather activities:  hiking and relaxing by the water.  The last two are hints of what is to come with a view through the trees in my backyard and a creepy skull to note the first day of October.  Halloween is John’s favorite holiday and the decorating blitz has started so if you’re a fan of all things spooky I’ll have plenty more to share throughout the month.

Next week we will be back to real-time posts but if you don’t want to wait please join us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to learn more about any of the images but you don’t follow me on these accounts please feel free to click herefor IG, here for Twitter and here for FB or select a photo from the Instagram previews in my sidebar.  You don’t need an account at either place to view my photos, everyone’s welcome.🙂

My Year In Photos: June Week 2

I see a lot of blues, grays along with some warm patches of gold in my latest set of photos which is just about right when it comes to June in the Pacific Northwest.  Blue skies and flowers mixed with heavy gray clouds and warmed by the sun during our longest days of the year.  We had a full schedule with all the end of the year school activities, a quick day trip across the water and a busy work week so for the first time you’ll see I posted more than one photo without any editing.  In contrast, other images are more heavily edited than usual but both approaches are a reflection of how I felt in the moment.  I either wanted move on and post quickly or I tried to add a little color and interest to something that was just a small moment in the day.

The week started with this view from the passenger deck on one of our state-run Ferries and Monday afternoon I began writing the Etsy listing for this new blanket.  Tuesday I wanted to experiment with the new pinhole lens available through Hipstamatic and Wednesday was Ryan’s final band concert.  I made him pose for the usual “hurry up mom” snapshots in his Tuxedo but this spontaneous click taken after John told a slightly off-color joke is my favorite of the night.

Thursday is a look through a large pane of shattered glass and Friday shares one of my favorite ways to relax – watching clouds float over the islands.  Saturday I visited our local bookshop for some last-minute Father’s Day gifts and was happy to see they’ve expanded their hours for the summer season.  Now we’re looking forward to long summer nights with plenty of new books to enjoy.

Coming soon I’ve got a great set of new photos almost ready to share here from our latest adventures and if you’d like to follow along in real-time don’t forget I post my daily photos on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. If a once-a-week blog read is more your speed my weekly recaps will continue here along with caption notes containing editing information for each photo.


A Surprise Every Day: Shaking Up January With Hipstamatic (week 4)

Today I’m going to jump right into my last “shake it up” recap so we can get to my final thoughts about this project and start talking about where I’m going for the next phase of my photo-a-day challenge.  Sunday was a little too cold and wet for my comfort but perfect for this pretty hellebore and Monday afternoon I rode an escalator that took me right past this shiny glass wall and a peek into this fancy bar.  Tuesday I walked past a cute sign in front of a wine store and Wednesday I was really happy our new car has heated seats.  Thursday I went shopping for a US map and stopped to admire this antique world map while Friday I stopped to watch these two men walking on a newly installed glass awning.  They’re braver than me!  Saturday I’d hoped my final picture would be of something special or at least a pretty sunset but my errands took longer than I’d planned and I was out picking up pizza for dinner when the sun went down.   Hipstamatic must have felt bad for me so it served up this lens/filter combination transforming my Tuscan Chicken pizza into a colorful little slice of the world.  All in all a good way to end my first full year in pictures.

Daily journal writing is something I’ve never been very good at.  I enjoy pretty notebooks and pens but after a few days of planned writing my creative spark fades and I get tired of recording the same old things.  My closet shelves hold stacks of slightly used notebooks so when I decided to try one last version of keeping a daily record I didn’t have high hopes for a successful outcome.  This time I came at it from a different angle though looking for something to shake me out of a stretch of boring photos and with a desire to move forward with new ideas instead of placing my creative focus on looking back.    Since another notebook project could be set aside too easily I thought posting my process in this public space might keep me more accountable and about six months into the project I was able to admit that I wasn’t going to stop until I’d reached a full year. Now that the initial year is complete I’m actually ready to start year two!

In order to keep myself on track I decided to start with a structure that was as simple as possible while still producing an interesting product.  Hipstamatic was my favorite app at the time so I challenged myself to explore everything it had to offer in a random fashion.  I activated the “shake to randomize” setting, agreed that I would avoid all post processing and placed my focus solely on composition by selecting small objects and moments to tell my daily stories.  Even though Hipstamatic went through a major upgrade part way through the year I stayed away from the shiny new features and continued to shoot using classic mode in order to maintain visual continuity from start to finish.  By the end of the year I amassed a collection of 365 photos and stories  that I hope will be a great reminder of this unique period in time.

The daily photo routine isn’t always fun, some days I just don’t feel like taking pictures, but apparently I’m not ready to walk away yet so this post is also an introduction the next phase of my photographic journal.  I’ve spent the past 12 months shooting daily images in a square format limiting myself to one iPhone app so for a change of pace the next 12 will be wide open, both literally and figuratively.  Square photos really lend themselves to small views of solitary objects or quiet moments in a busy environment and while I enjoy this style tremendously it’s time to stretch a little and try something new.  Going forward you’ll see a mix of everything ranging from traditional landscape and portrait orientations to circles, fish eye and panorama.  I’m sure there will be a few square images every month but it’s time to open up the point of view and show you a little more of what’s around me on a daily basis.  I’ll be experimenting with all the apps I’ve collected but not explored in depth as well as work through new themes for as long as they hold my interest.  There may be a week of daily dog photos, a week filled with black and white, a week of interesting signs I’ve passed or maybe even a week of new bottles of wine.  The point is to have fun and show some aspects of the Pacific Northwest that live outside of a small, square frame.

My final change, and what really will make this new project a challenge is how I’ve decided to share the new photos.  Instead of filing each photo away until it’s time to write a recap I’ve set a goal to post everyday on Instagram with a quick caption of where we were followed by a weekly recap here on the blog in a format that will be similar to what you’re used to reading in the shake-it-up posts.  If you’re a daily photo person I hope you’ll stop by Instagram to follow along but if this is too much to keep up with then don’t worry, you can still get your weekly recap right here. 🙂