Outside

Tell us about the experience of being outside, looking in — however you’d like to interpret that.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us OUTSIDE.

My Black and White Tuesday post included the news that I was posting a color photo of the evening sunset from the same Ferry trip on my new Facebook page.  Several of you clicked over to take a look (thank you!) but Vastly Curious sent me a very nice note asking if I could also share the photo here for anyone who doesn’t use Facebook.

Daily Prompt Outside

If you have successfully managed to stay outside the reach of Facebook this post is for you.

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Our Landscaping Project: Progress Update

Progress

Writing an updated post about our big landscaping project has been on my to-do list for several weeks (months) but hey, life is busy and I rarely make it to the bottom of a list.  I didn’t think I would be posting anything today but when I saw that the Daily Prompt was Progress I realized I was out of excuses.  Here is a look at what we’ve been working on this fall.

I know my last project post said we were postponing painting until the end of September due to weather but our surprise stretch of heavy rain was followed by weeks of unusually heavy fog and as a result we couldn’t finish painting until early December.  I couldn’t believe how much moss grew on our roof in just one week.  The short days and cold temperatures left a very small work window in each day but Hans kept going as long as he could and I’m happy to say most of the body of the house is a clean, fresh gray and our newly trimmed windows are sparkling white.  Our front and back door will soon be a beautiful navy blue and the porch is complete with a new set of stairs connecting to the driveway.

Our drafty old car port is now officially a garage with insulated walls, garage doors on the front and double sets of French doors on the back opening to a patio.  We still need to paint the interior walls, hang shelving and apply frosted panels to the glass for security but it feels great to have a covered place to park again and somewhere to securely store all of the outdoor tools.

Most of the landscaping is finished in the front and you can see John’s favorite little sub-alpine fir-tree at the top of the pictures above.  This tree was harvested by permit in the Cascade Mountains and will slowly grow to a relatively small 20 feet.  It’s planted off the front corner of our new porch to add a foundation point and a little screening from the street.  We spent another very wet Saturday driving from nursery to nursery picking out the last of our plants and one October weekend was the time to get the fir, 12 compact laurels for our new hedge and several flats of heather, bergenia, dwarf mugo pines and viburnum.  We selected winter, spring and summer blooming varieties in hopes of some year-round color and I can’t wait to see the full effect as everything settles in and starts to grow.

The side yard was an unplanned project but when our excavator said he could clear the brush and boulders so we could access the back yard without going through the garage we said “ok”.  We were able to reuse the huge granite boulders in the front yard as focal points but we didn’t have time to figure out a permanent landscaping solution for the newly cleared side of the house.  As a temporary fix I ordered a few yards of crushed rock to spread along the side of the house and under the front porch for the winter.  I though sod was heavy and now I know 8 yards of crushed rock is heavy too, especially after a rainstorm.  We have a little more to shovel but the mini-mountain is almost gone…

We have a good list of details to finish in the spring when the weather warms and a winter worksheet that includes more lighting and new door hardware but I am really happy with our progress so far!

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Three

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Four

Our Landscaping Project:  Weeks Five and Six

Speed

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SPEED.

Every September the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce hosts the Edmonds Classic Car Show filling our downtown area with hundreds of classic cars, live bands, great food and a lot of families having fun. We always stop by and Ryan and his cousins race from car to car trying to choose their favorite(s). Sometimes the bright colors win, sometimes the incredibly loud engines win and a few times originality has been the top feature.

When I saw today’s Daily Prompt: Speed I couldn’t resist showing a few of our family photos from the past two car shows. The cars return September, 8th 2013!

The First Lost Tooth

First

From the moment he lost his first tooth Ryan insisted he would keep them all forever.  The Tooth Fairy was kind enough to leave this first one behind, along with a shiny silver dollar…

Ryan’s teeth continue to fall out but while the anticipation of a visit from The Tooth Fairy has diminished, he still wants to keep them.  Now I find teeth in pockets, on the floor of the car and tucked in dresser drawers long after they left his mouth.  A quiet little sign that he is growing up in bits and pieces, too old for some myths and stories but still wanting to hold on to the excitement of loosing a tooth and keeping a souvenir.

Posted as part of the Daily Prompt:  First.

Standing Out in a Crowd

When was the last time you really stood out in a crowd? Are you comfortable in that position, or do you wish you could fade into the woodwork?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us STANDOUT.

Standout


Last weekend my family definitely stood out in the crowd.  Every year we come together for one big party to celebrate birthdays, cook a huge dinner and take at least one fun day trip as a group of goofy tourists.  My sister Erica organizes matching t-shirts and party favors around a theme and this year’s choice was Lego.    Now you know where my Wonder Woman mini-figure came from!

Not to be outdone by a group of 11 in the same t-shirts, pointing at a mountain, Ryan had to take it one step further and strike a pose all his own…that’s him fourth from the left on one leg.

Credit for this photo belongs to Erica who blogs at the lovely Growth and Possibility.  She has some beautiful photos and fun stories to share about her life and travels and if you enjoy my blog I know you will have a great time reading hers as well.

Posted as part of the Daily Prompt:  Standout

The Artist’s Eye

Photographers, artists, poets: show us ART.

Michelle W. – The Daily Prompt

My usual approach to a Daily Prompt post is to trust my instincts and write about the first thing that comes to mind.  This rule isn’t working for me today though as I am struck by so many different ways to respond to the challenge of showing art. I’m not sure how to choose a focus or if I even want to raise one form of art over another as my ideal representation.  I could dust off my Art History degree to write a serious post about how art and it’s appreciation  evolves with societal changes and the passage of time, but maybe a few photos of some favorite or ground-breaking pieces would communicate my point more clearly.  Of course I also love gardening and nature so images of the land and plants should represent another form of art. If I expand my thoughts a little more there is dance, literature, music, theater and photography to consider.  Even a great speech is part of the arts experience when delivered with emotion and honesty.

Instead of spending all night looking for the elusive, perfect photograph to portray my ever shifting vision of art I decided to post a picture that just makes me happy.  It shows a great ending to a beautiful day with family, yes another form of art, and I hope you like it.

Art

What I Like About Travel

One of the things I enjoy most about travel is the chance to experience a brand new view during very normal moments. I’m sure most of us have been disappointed by a sub-par hotel room with an uninspiring view of the parking lot but I don’t take pictures of those mistakes… I do however take pictures of wide open skies and landscapes in new-to-me colors.

One mile from my home, in any direction, the view is pretty much guaranteed to be dominated by trees.   As my ideas for this post started to come together I stepped outside to take a few photos trying to find the sky through the trees.

Don’t get me wrong, I love trees and the shade they offer but every once in a while I really want to see an open horizon.

John, Ryan and I spent last week away from  home for a long awaited family vacation. Thursday’s forecast was for a very hot day but we woke up early and drove to my Aunt’s house in hopes of a short hike before the heat sent everyone indoors. Our reward was finding ourselves surrounded by new terrain and uninterrupted views of bright blue sky.

Open sky is something I always look for when travelling, what is on your list?

To see more great travel stories and methods take a look at the Daily Prompt: Trains, Planes and Automobiles.

Bookworms and Words

Tell us about the last book you read (Why did you choose it? Would you recommend it?). To go further, write a post based on its subject matter.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us WORDS.  By Michelle W. on June 16, 2013

BOOKWORMS

Every month I like to feature a book that opens with a great first line.  I quote the line, share a few of my memories about reading the book and include recommendations from past reviewers; my past choices are posted here.  For May I decided to take a slightly different approach and instead of selecting a book based on the authors opening sentences I chose one based on how those words made me feel.  I have read Terry Kay’s To Dance With The White Dog countless times and it always makes me cry but I thought my emotional reaction to the story would make a good beginning for a new post.

Well, June is half way through and I have yet to post my re-read review of To Dance With the White Dog as this time around the story hit too close to home.  It is still a wonderful novel but my life experiences have changed since my last read and the connections I feel with the characters and story line are not something I want to write about now.  I still recommend it though and will likely pick it up to read again in a few years if my old, well read copy holds together.

Bookworm

Sam Peek’s children are worried. Since that “saddest day” when Cora, his beloved wife of fifty-seven good years, died, no one knows how he will survive. How can this elderly man live alone on his farm? How can he keep driving his dilapidated truck down to the fields to care for his few rows of pecan trees? And when Sam begins telling his children about a dog as white as the pure driven snow — that seems invisible to everyone but him — his children think that grief and old age have finally taken their toll.

But whether the dog is real or not, Sam Peek — “one of the smartest men in the South when it comes to trees” — outsmarts them all. Sam and the White Dog will dance from the pages of this bittersweet novel and into your heart, as they share the mystery of life, and begin together a warm and moving final rite of passage.  From the back cover.

“Terry Kay is a perfect writer for those who love to read. His prose contains
music and passion and fire. His work is tender and heartbreaking and memorable.”
(New York Times bestselling author Pat Conroy)

“This short book moves
like poetry….A loving eulogy to old age….A tender celebration of life, made
poignant by death being so close at hand.” (Los Angeles
Times)

“To Dance with the White Dog is what literature
is — or should be — all about….Kay is simply a miraculous writer….This
book…burns with life.” (Anne Rivers Siddons)

“A hauntingly beautiful
story about love, family, and relationships” (The Most Reverend Desmond M.
Tutu)

“A master storyteller.” (The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution)

WORDS

My photograph for “Words” is an image of the box Ryan gave me for my birthday last week.  I love the simple yet heartfelt message and will use it to store the small gifts he has given me for birthdays and Mother’s Day.

Words
My birthday gift from Ryan.

Daily Prompt: Weekend

Photographers, artists, poets show us something from your WEEKEND.

Weekend

If you have read my About page or Hello widget you can see I mention right away we love gardening and remodeling our home.  In fact one of the reasons I started this blog was create a space to document and share a few big home improvement projects that have been slowly working their way up our to-do list.  When we bought this house four years ago it had a lot of features I was happy with (location, space and privacy in the yard) and two major ones I wanted to change right away (dark brown paint and a rickety, narrow front porch).  In our first year we put on a new roof and finished two interior rooms but the really big items on my “must have” list have had to wait… until this weekend when they finally reached official planning and scheduling status.

Our project got a jump-start last summer when the Utilities District let us know our large Cedar Trees in the front yard were too close to the power lines and needed to come down.  They gave us a fair amount of money to use towards replacement plants but losing these trees meant we had to rethink the entire yard since what was once an established shade garden is now sitting in full sun.  We talked through our ideas over the winter and this spring hired a Landscape Architect to help us with a new comprehensive plan.

We are also working through the measurements for a new porch, deciding on door styles to convert our car port to a garage, selecting more decorative window trim and finding the perfect house colors.  It is going to be a busy summer but I can’t wait!  Every few weeks I plan to post photos, including some really awful before shots, and if all goes well we will have a finished project with a lot more curb appeal by fall.

Daily Prompt: Everyday

Is being “normal” — whatever that means to you — a good thing, or a bad thing? Neither?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us EVERYDAY. The Daily Prompt – Michelle W.

After seven years our “Everyday” is about to change.  This playground at Edmonds Elementary is where my son’s school day has begun and ended everyday from Kindergarten through sixth grade. The wonderful group of 45 kids have shared everything for seven years but soon they will be split between two larger middle schools.  Ryan is going to miss the camaraderie of this great community but at the same time his excitement about middle school is building and we are all looking forward to the next step.