Thursday, July 29, 2010

The garden at sunset

Sunset supper in the garden on the artist 
girlfriends' retreat. 

It was as beautiful as it looks. A true meeting of creative minds, ideas flung out, gifts shared.

A toast to those who share without reservation,
who have not forgotten how to play,
who nourish their imaginations and those of their friends.

I wish you could have joined us.

Photo © Kristen Tourtillotte
and a Ps... Kristen is one of the best young photographers around.. click above to visit her.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ordinary happiness

When you stop to notice, even weeds are amazing.
The regular paths we use daily are as stunning as they are humble.

The pleasures of friendships renewed.

Fields that feed us. Buildings that shelter man and beast.

The joys of color

and form.

Simple miracles like dew in the morning

and birdsong.

And the gift of being able to see, to stop and really see the world around us.

These everyday miracles fill me with wonder and I can't help pausing to say a heartfelt thank you.

We are surrounded by so many astonishing wonders.

Thank God for ordinary happiness.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer's happiest pinks

It's warm this week and I am tickled pink!
Perhaps that's why I'm seeing everything through rose colored glasses... 
the sunset, the sweet peas, the raspberries.

Are you loving pink today, too?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Silver linings

Did your mother tell you that every cloud has a silver lining?

Well, mine did, and I believe it with all my heart.

So when Russell had some physical challenges and our vacation plans had to change, we decided to make lemonade from those lemons and spend a little cha-ching on bikes for our staycation.

Oh, the fun of one's first new bike since second grade. And yes, I have still been riding that old teal-colored Schwinn coaster bike all these years!

We packed a gourmet picnic and pedaled out through the farmland.

Past fields of potatoes, raspberries, blueberries and spinach.

Past orderly fields of lettuces so perfect and bright it reminded me of a ride at Disneyland, where you rode in boats past tiny gardens that were too tidy and manicured to be real.

We cycled down rural roads lined with orderly barns

and some I would love to rescue.

Past happy farmhouses where children swung on tires and sheepdogs chased us, tails wagging...

and tractors hummed like mechanical bees. What a delicious sound. What a great perfume, even if it did make me sneeze.

We rode along the river, and paused for that picnic on a grassy bank.

"Come on home," called Mr. Wonderful at last. So we did.

Back we cycled, tracing our path down country roads lined with berries and wheat and cows...

Back to our own little garden, where the sun set golden among the hollyhocks...

...proving that every cloud has its silver lining.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A day on the water

Ferry boats are perhaps the quintessential Northwest icon.

So when my friends came for an artist retreat I could hardly wait to bring them to the ferry at Anacortes, where we sailed for Friday Harbor. A short drive across the island brought us to Roche Harbor.

Even the tiny US Customs office makes you grin.

There might be a more charming village somewhere, but if so I have never seen it.

This sunny July morning it looked as if the entire Northwest was smiling on us.

Blue sky.
Blue water.
Forests that run clear to the sea.

Soon we were off to kayaks and dipping in the Pacific.

Paddling through sparkles on the water...

munching on kelp...

...threading our way through channels
alongside sailboats and seals,
away we went for hours.

When we returned to the landing, all the artists had ideas galore.
Inspiration was blowing like the fresh breeze.

We'd come together for retreat and refreshment.
Surely we found it on the water in the San Juan Islands.

What a glorious day we spent on the water.
Perfect for artists seeking inspiration and eye candy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beautiful food

Perhaps it's telling that the first thing we did on the artist retreat was to shop our way through Seattle's Pike Place Market. Oh, how we enjoyed the visual feast!

Even the humble artichoke looks great at Pike Place.

The crop of our own Queen Anne cherries overflowed just like the ones at the market.
The eating began the moment we got home and continued through the entire week.

Tea in the treehouse...

Breakfast on the farm...

Dinner in the garden...

Our meals and snack were pure eye candy.
And every one of them delicious.

I think my artist friends are amazing when it comes to food as art, too.

Even the kitchen looked fabulous!

Brenda took us out to the garden to paint parasols, making the decorations for a stellar Chinese lunch.
Susan led us outdoors for Spanish tapas.
Barb and Kristen fed us on chicken salad in artfully carved canteloupe bowls.
And I invited the girlfriends for a Scandinavian picnic.

It was obvious these girls know how to make eating fun. And gorgeous!

Even a simple sandwich became a work of art.

And these are only the peeks from the point & shoot cameras. 

All the while Kristen hovered with her professional camera and her expertise. I haven't seen her photos yet but from the peeks she shared at the back of her camera I am already drooling.

I'm thinking I need to cook like this more often for my own family...
to think and make a definite effort to give them meals that look as good as they taste.