2019 The Year of This and That: Week 10

Have you ever had a week that felt busy in the moment but didn’t result in a list of accomplishments?  My best case scenario for a week like this is that everyone made it through without any major problems and each busy day lead to something good later so by this metric I’ll call last week a success.  Yay!  I took steps toward bigger goals, put out plenty of fires and used my photo sharing time to feature some favorites from the past year that didn’t fit into an overall weekly theme.  In other words “a bit of this and that.”

My photo choices were little glimpses into things that made me happy; some pretty garden flowers, a forest road, a hiking trail, fluffy white clouds and an iconic PNW beach scene filled with driftwood logs.  All images taken with my iPhone 8+ edited in Hipstamatic or VSCO.

A fun side note:  posting so many hiking photos led me to design a new hiking T-shirt available now in my Etsy store.  All I need is some warmer weather and John, Ryan and I will be hitting the trails in style.

Northwest Frame of Mind on Etsy

Decatur Island, WA

2019 The Year of Sunshine, Soft Colors and Decatur Island: Week 3

Sometimes a look back at soft, summer pastels is a nice way to pass through the dark days of January.  Our warm winter continues but by this time of year the short days start to wear on me and I dream of long evenings outside until 10:00 pm enjoying the sunsets and visits with good friends.

Like this weekend in September on Decatur Island with Ryan, my friend Suzie and her daughter Naiah taking senior pictures.  Ryan and Naiah have been friends since daycare and we’ve shared more than a few vacations here in Suzie’s family cabin by the beach so when I got the chance to have the two of them together for official portraits I jumped on it.  They were great sports and we walked all over the island finding favorite locations and making new memories.

I you’d like to see Ryan and Naiah as little ones on Decatur take a look at one of my first posts here 6 years ago.  Forward

As for me this week has been a rush of working a few extra hours before attending to a long overdue matter followed by a stretch of enforced downtime.  I’m not one for quiet hours on the couch, or naps during the day so the thought of two weeks of doing nothing has been more than a little worrying.  I know plenty of people dream of something like this but I’ve actually been making lists of activities I can do while still following instructions and resting.  If anyone has a great book to recommend or a tv series/movie that I need to binge watch now’s the time to share!

As with past year-long photo challenges I don’t plan to post here every day, I’ll save that for my Instagram and Twitter accounts, but you faithful blog readers will get one weekly recap every Sunday.


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 Pictures: July Week 4

Hard to believe July is already in the past but at least we had a good time while it lasted. 🙂  This week’s set of photos is a mixed bag combining some favorite vacation shots with scenes from my walks through the city and a new order ready for shipping from our Etsy shop.  All in all it was a good month here in the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday’s photo is from the deck of our return Ferry as we slowly navigated the thick fog between our island cabin and home on the mainland while Monday’s image is a piece of public art inside the Seattle Bus Tunnel at Westlake Center.  Tuesday I brought back a lovely sunset from Lopez Island and Wednesday night I packed this driftwood scented candle to ship to a new customer.  Thursday and Friday I was in the mood for some black and white and both images are from our hike out to Iceberg Point.  Saturday closed the week with one last sunset.  I promise to be more creative soon but with all the pretty sunsets we’ve seen I just couldn’t wait to share!

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.

My Year In Pictures: July Week 3

After seven months of staying close to home and really stretching to make my daily images appear interesting I finally got out to take some pretty island photos.  One of the creative challenges about keeping up this daily/weekly series is what to do when busy days mean no time for photo scouting so I made the most of our trip away and now you get to see the results.

I’ve had the great fortune to visit ten of the San Juan Islands and even though they are close geographically each one is unique as they host a wide variety of artists colonies, farmers, military bases, marinas and wonderful opportunities for outdoor recreation.  This year we returned to Lopez Island, known for its friendly residents (don’t forget to wave at each passing car and cyclist) and laid back atmosphere and spent as much time as possible hiking and relaxing by the water.

This week starts with a beautiful sunset over a butterfly sanctuary and Monday’s photo is my peek-a-boo view through the rocks at Watmough Bay.  Tuesday’s picture is the lovely end to a bike ride and Wednesday I posted this shot of Ryan and his cousin Emma enjoying a quiet moment from the rocks at Iceberg Point.  Thursday night we returned to the sanctuary around Otis Perkins park and Friday’s image was snapped at Horse Drawn Farm where we bought fresh vegetables for dinner.  Saturday’s shot is of the wispy fog that almost blocked our return home… more shots from that trip next week. 🙂

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.



My Year In Pictures: July Week 2

While there are two different ways to view the lack of regular entries on my posting calendar the end result is the same… I’ve fallen woefully behind in my recap schedule.  The good news is I’m keeping up with my daily Instagram/Facebook/Twitter pictures so there are plenty of new images to write about and I plan to do a lot of writing over the next three days so we should be caught up soon!

The second week of July began with a flurry of pre-vacation activity and ended on a driftwood filled beach in a quiet corner of the Pacific Northwest so if you’ve been following me on social media you’ve already seen a lot of pretty Lopez Island pictures but I’m really looking forward to sharing them with everyone here.  Sunday was our day to catch up with yard work and Ryan’s turn to grumble and groan about the fact that this is our second summer with a push-mower.  Monday is a shot of some pretty Mahonia berries in our front yard and Tuesday and Wednesday are scenes from my evening errands to the library and grocery store for books and BBQ sauce.  Thursday morning I shared this super soft throw blanket in our Etsy store and Friday’s picture captured the moment we left clouds behind and sailed out to sunny skies.  Saturday brought a hike along this rugged beach where the kids explored, flew kites and gathered walking sticks.

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.

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (Invincible Summer)

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

iPhone Nature 2 1-8_Snapseed

When our winter days are cold and dark I hold tight to moments like this knowing summer will come again.  I took this Whidbey Island photo on a picture perfect August day as we hiked along Ebey’s Bluff after lunch on the beach below.  The warm, salty sea breeze and sparkling blue water were enough to make the day memorable but what you can’t see is the pod of Orca Whales that swam and played just off shore.  I’ve had the good fortune to spot whales before but this was my quietest encounter and the first time I could enjoy the view completely free from boat traffic and small airplanes buzzing by to follow their every move.

Posted today as part of Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge:  Nature

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol (Summer Smiles)

Share your smile with the world. It’s a symbol of friendship and peace.

Christie Brinkley

This morning I’m remembering our 2014 Lopez Island adventure and dreaming about planning a return trip. One year ago today we hiked to the top of Iceberg Point and Ryan’s smile shone brightly from morning to night.

Sharing friendship and peace this post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Symbol.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse And The Spirit of Our Inner Child

“The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.”

Stephen Nachmanovitch


When I saw “muse”  was the theme of the latest Weekly Photo Challenge I knew the days ahead were going to be full of beautiful photos and posts as bloggers around the world let us peek behind their creative curtains while sharing inspirations and favorite places.  Regular readers know I love living in the Pacific Northwest and write a weekly series highlighting how I find photographic inspiration in the midst of daily life so I want to lead this post in a slightly different direction and talk about the feelings behind these moments rather than a particular view.

Inspiration comes in many forms and often it’s the result of a visual trigger but sometimes a thought during conversation, a piece of music or a well written passage can generate that same sense of excitement and discovery.  That special moment when you recognize the birth of a new idea.  As an adult I compare that singular feeling to care free childhood days when something simple was so fantastic it filled my head and heart with happiness.  These moments don’t have to be big but kids know how to live them to the fullest and creative adults have a knack for remembering that easy joy while translating it into their art.

Of course I couldn’t illustrate this topic without sharing a summer view from the San Juan Islands but my favorite part of this photo is the free-spirited smiles freely shared by Ryan and my niece Emma after a sun filled day at the beach.  They look happy, content and ready for adventure – my favorite kind of muse.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone, But Not Forgotten

The remote beaches and rugged coastlines of the San Juan Islands are frequently mentioned as one of the top vacation destinations in the world but travel magazines rarely mention their history as a haven for turn of the century smugglers and rum runners. Famous privateers made and lost fortunes smuggling drugs, immigrants and alcohol in and out of these misty coves and waterside caves along the US/Canadian border while secretive island residents found creative ways to supplement their farming and fishing income through some illegal side jobs.

Island stories from the 1920’s are full of enterprising settlers who set fake signal fires to trick smugglers into dropping their loads of rum and whiskey early so a second crew could row out and collect the shipments bound for Seattle or Vancouver Island.  Legend has it the Deer Harbor general store on Orcas Island openly shelved Prohibition era liquor behind regular goods since the going rate for a bottle of whiskey was $16 a quart while eggs were 15 cents a dozen.  Bottle caches were often hidden on Canada’s D’Arcy Island next to the leper colony and a very special double seat outhouse sat by Obstruction Pass on Orcas with one hole dedicated to personal business while the second hole was actually the entry point to man-made caves and stashes of whiskey.

Signs of this side of the San Juan’s secret economy are all through the area if you know where to look and as we’ve traveled through the Islands we’ve spent some fun days at both Deer Harbor and the aptly named Smuggler’s Villa on Orcas.  We’ve boated around fog filled coves on multiple islands, climbed into sandstone caves on Sucia, and just this summer walked along Rum Runner Road on Lopez Island.

Gone but not forgotten

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Gone, But Not Forgotten.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

“How did it get so late so soon?”
Dr. Seuss


Long summer days are one of my favorite things about living in the Pacific Northwest but nighttime still comes far too fast.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Nighttime.