Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A special boy

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

But this one is priceless. 

Kaleb's very essence captured in a photo.

What a special boy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Church picnic at the Lake

It's one of those annual things.
Summer wouldn't be summer without the yearly afternoon at Big Lake.

Men grilling.
Pot luck sides and desserts.
Baptism in the chilly lake.

The annual picnic is a ritual of summer.

This year there were more people than usual. 
Everyone knew Ken & his cronies were going to grill those famous ribs. 

The desserts were mouthwatering to say the least.
I had to restrain myself when I saw Barb's blackberry cobbler. I could have eaten the entire pan by myself. And it was a big pan!

I love how there are people of every sort at our church picnics, side by side and happy as can be.

Great grandmas and babies and everyone in between.

This year we had so much fun nobody wanted to leave. 
Even with the chilly weather, nothing could dampen the joy we had together. 

"No!" I heard a child scream as the sun went down. "I don't want to go home!"

What fun to be part of a community with so much love and laughter.
Already I can hardly wait til next summer.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Best friend a girl ever had

She's my most constant companion and she thinks I'm amazing.

When I leave, she sits by the window. If I'm back in thirty seconds I get a greeting that says "I'm so thrilled you're back!"

When I'm gone for two weeks I return to find her at the same window, with the same smile, her whole body wagging for joy.

Penny is a wonderful friend. As odd as it sounds, she is teaching me much about how to be a good friend. 

Believe the best about your friend.
Keep an open heart to all.

Live in the moment.
Find joy in the simple things.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rosa Sonata

Usually I work on topics assigned by manufacturers.

"Three beach themed images with coordinating borders and backgrounds in primary colors. No people included, please." Or "A holiday card with snowmen, use the attached color palette only." 

But this time I dreamed up my own images and had a lovely time, inspired by the last Colette roses blooming by the studio door. 

And the company I did sent me a note saying, "so pretty!"

Now I'm back to the list, but renewed and energized. It's amazing what a breath of fresh air it is to run on a long leash.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Heirlooms outdoors

It was the names that caught me last spring, standing there in the Co-Op, looking at the packets of heirloom seeds.

Grandma Einck's dill.
Bull's blood beets.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes.

And the lettuces!

Bronze Arrowhead lettuce.
Grandpa Admire's lettuce.
Reine de Glaces lettuce.

I succumbed to Grandpa Admire and Flashy Trout's back lettuces and Grandma Einck's dill and a handful of others.
We have eaten them all summer and I decided to try to save seeds.

Just as I began to think it wouldn't happen, the blossoms came, and with them the bees.

It's amazing what quiet drama happens right under your own nose sometimes.

I can hardly wait to gather my own lettuce seeds. (Notice I didn't mention the beets... tougher than the soles on my gardening shoes, and Grandma Einck who didn't sprout worth a hill of beans.)

But the lettuces made up for it.

Even the photos were fun. I have never taken a picture of a bee's behind before!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"What I would really love," he said, "is another blackberry pie."

And since it was his day off and I was longing to play hooky anyway, we pedaled away on our bikes for a glorious hour outdoors.

At this point I am hoping you're not groaning and muttering, "Oh no! Not more pictures of the glories of her beloved rural Northwest Washington!" 

If so I think you'd better not read on.

Because I am enamored of barns. Particularly when there are end-of-summer bales of hay in the surrounding fields.

Or charming hedgerows of berries just waiting to be popped into your mouth, framing the view so poetically.

Passing this barn we could hear laughter in the blueberry fields behind. 
Silly romantic me, I imagined they'd taken a pie-and-lemonade break from the sweaty farm work.

I will never tire of the rural views here.

There is a deep appreciation for the land and the source of our food. 

It's late summer, the corn is ripening, blackberries line the roads and life is very, very sweet.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blackberry jubilee

Today was blackberry day.

We hopped bikes and trundled past the neighbors' laundry flapping on the line...

past the potato and pumpkin fields...

...down the road past Susan's farm stand. 

I had to stop and gaze at the details (thank heaven for a patient husband)
like a dead beetle I spied beside the road, trimmed in iridescent purple and blue...

and the ladybug on elegant Queen Anne's lace waving in the breeze.

After all these diversions we reached the goal: a particularly juicy blackberry thicket.

Half an hour's labor yielded a bonanza.


Then the result:

another glorious pie.

Tomorrow I'll cycle down to Barrett Road and pick another quart. 
Blackberry gelato tomorrow.

I wish a friend would stop by for iced tea and gelato in the garden tomorrow afternoon. Any takers?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

...in which she reveals her summer secret!

Summer has always seemed the perfect season for play.

And this one is no different.

I've baked lots of pies, learned to make gelato and had a splendid art retreat.
But I've also had a secret! I've been playing with incorporating photos into the mix of my favorite mediums. I've combined cut paper, calligraphy, letterpress printing, airbrush, and now photos.

Revealing a new look like this always feels like one is showing one's naked self to the world. Eek! But I decided to take the plunge.
What do you think?

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I took the plunge.

After longing for a "good" camera for ages, I succumbed and came home with a big box and a brand new Nikon. 

The learning curve has just begun now that I've had a couple days to read the manual.

So Mr. Wonderful and I hopped on our bikes, pedaled down the river a bit and settled in beside a blackberry thicket. He munched while I experimented with the camera.

I have a lot to learn but this first try tells me the lessons will be rewarding ones. 

Even the shots I messed up were pleasurable. 

I've been working on some bees and blooms, and the reference shots you see here will be of great help even though they don't look as well as I wish they did.

There will be time to learn and grow into this new camera. 

Next month I'll share with you my adventures in Italy, Turkey and the Greek Isles as I work my way through Europe on another cruise ship. 

For now it's peeks through my lens at the beauties of my own backyard.

Summer blessings surround us, and I send you the friendliest of smiles.

I would love to hear from you, to know what is warming your heart in the thick of summer.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A romantic bouquet

I married Mr. Wonderful because he was the most romantic person I'd ever met.

It's a rare man who understands that the gift of a new shovel is so much more romantic than a bunch of roses from the florist. That a picnic pulled from a backpack can be far better than dinner in a high rise. 

Call me a hopeless romantic but I still have a birthday card our son wrote for me tucked inside my Bible. It's a hand drawn deep sea diver drawn by his eight year old hand years ago. Priceless.

I love thoughtful creativity, it's far more romantic than anything with a price tag, don't you agree?

Mr. Wonderful knew I'd be delighted with a bouquet of the first blackberries of summer and the lingering last sweet raspberries, tucked into the crystal goblet I found at Value Village last week for $1.

Isn't that romantic?

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Last night I worked through the night again and this morning the house full of hungry guests and major deadlines were (ahem!) not so welcome. Let's just say it wasn't pretty.

Until I went out to the garden, gathered a bunch of sweet peas and a few fresh eggs. I pulled some peaches from the refrigerator, unearthed the old spattered Betty Crocker red cookbook and turned on the oven.

A pot of blueberry green tea, my favorite breakfast knife, almond scented peach coffee cake were the result.

I can still smell the peaches, the aroma of sweet peas, and there's a slight whiff of blueberry in the air.

It's amazing what a few good sniffs will do to one's outlook on life.