spring and seattle

We went out to a wee farm this week.  Some friends of ours have sheep and their baby lambs were born, so we wanted to go for a visit.

This particular mother was very lenient towards us, thankfully, and allowed the munchkins to love all over her baby.  On this farm our friends also keep cattle, goats, gardens, rabbits, chicks, chickens, dogs, and everything that make children sufficiently wildly happy.  Being out-of-doors on a spring day was good for me too!  The light is so much kinder, the palette brighter, the air fresher.

My girlfriend also shared some of her fresh rhubarb which I made into a strawberry pie.  This pie plate was emptied in five minutes flat. 5 minutes.  I can’t wait until all the growing appetites in this house start to kick in.

Here is the Seattle chocolate shop that I promised to tell you about.  It’s just a few blocks up from Pike’s Place Market, across from the Seattle Art Museum (and just down from the Gelatto shop). It’s called Fran’s and it also has a wonderful hot cocoa station.  Dh and the munchkins were already ordering gellato up the street for us, or I would have had to have one. I did pick up a lovely egg filled with chocolate chicks for Easter.


We also stopped in at the French style bakery, Le Panier, after lunch for some take home treats. (No, I didn’t get all the ones pictured below, even though I would have wanted too!)






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Common Mother

It was only a five hour drive to another country last week.  We may even have gone up for the Olympics if I’d had realized how close it really was.  Nothing of those games remained besides the grumblings of the commuters about the shove of people on the mass transit while the games were there.

We got the benefit of coming after the games though in the hotel rates.  (They had a “spring special” on the website.)  We stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel and had two bedrooms as well as the pull out couch in the living room. The lobby was nice and the staff quite friendly, not at all stuffy about us being there with all the munchkins.

Our suite was much larger than I’d thought we were getting, and though a “bit” worn, perfect for us.  The munchkins took no time at all in turning the livingroom into a comfy space.

I’m really not much of a tourist, ever, at all.  However, I thought that we would like to experience a suspension bridge over a river and treetop bridges like ones in Myst, one of their favorite games.

We took the subway and the ferryboat to get there, which the munchkins just loved.

We only needed to stay for one night in B.C., to take care of some business there, so I hadn’t made plans for us to do too much.  It was very nice to just get a feel for the place in order to find out whether we wanted to come back.

I also found a little shop just down from the hotel, La Vie in Rose. Things were reasonably priced even though it was right on the main avenue.

I have to say that the whole city gave us a flashback of being in Europe, because of the British influence.  It’s so lovely that it was just a few moments over the border.  We really enjoyed our time there, and are already thinking about when we can go again.  It was cold while we were there though!

The sketch of the children is from Marguerite de Angeli’s Mother Goose Book.  The city of Vancouver had quite a few of the older houses on the main streets outside the city proper, similar to the ones back in the Netherlands as well as many Victorian homes of early settlers from England.  We stopped in Seattle on the way home, and I’ll show you  some places there next week.

These cities are a far cry from where my mother’s family grew up in Appalachia.  The watercolor on the left is from a book named Appalachia, illustrated by Barry Moser.

I ordered a wooden Indian stamp from England after watching a video on how fabric is hand printed in India.  The stamp arrived this we
ek and we are going to try it out in our fabric books tomorrow.  I’ll show you my book when we finish the class in four weeks.  It’s the same class I was teaching last semester, and I have just continued working in the same fabric book.  See the earlier photos here.

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This is what I want my whiskey barrel herb garden to look like.  (Photo from B&B link below) Last year, it did not. Last year, it attempted to breed mosquitoes, until I found them and turned the whole mess over.  (Sounds familiar doesn’t it.)  It seems, according to this blog, Backyard Farming, that all I needed was a few good holes.  Hmm. I’ll be trying again, without drowning my plants.  I found a bunch of great instructions about pot gardening that I hope to try this year at Baking and Books.

I am both amazed and excited that All of the munchkins have decided that

they can share a theme for their birthday parties this year.  I can not tell you how pleased I am.  Of course, dh says “Why do you need a theme? Make a cake and buy food.”  He does not think like me at all.  The littlest munchkin is dreaming of candy, candy, and more candy, so I know that dh is not far off the mark.  However, this does not deter me. This is an oportunity to decorate!  Naturally, details to follow…

Patty brought me this darling miniature basket from Africa.  She was on a survey trip with her husband and ran across these in one of her girlfriend’s homes there.  It’s full of the deepest scented beans I’ve smelled in a long time.  It’s customary to share a bean when your friends come to visit.  They chew them up and then spit out the bean when they’re done.  I’m keeping mine for the scent as a reminder of friendship and travel.

We are on to our next city in the art history class I’m teaching on Fridays.  I chose China and showed the kids this very cool clip from a documentary on China. This week I found a straight forward guide to making simple paper for their first time.  It’s by Denise Fleming and will be easy enough for them to do.  I took a papermaking workshop years ago and loved it.  This particular class of kids is very inquisitive so I think they will enjoy it too.



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Beautiful on the inside


This blog is a place to escape into the beautiful, the innocent, the excellent.  Sometimes beauty is in the middle of the greatest storm, and there it stands and shines.  The following list of blogs are beautiful to me because of the storm that is surrounding them.  Being an encouragement to those whom we find beautiful inside makes their light shine even more brightly.  I want to feed the fire of their beauty.

Left above,: Host family in New Orleans for dh’s crew.  Center: DH in New Orleans, Right: member of dh’s crew with a toxic refrigerator

Below: Frequently Updated Information on Bright Spots in Haiti:








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When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad


The next munchkin and seeing my sister in the rear view mirror…


Christmas tea with friends at the Heathman Hotel


Making peppermint patty chocolate brownies; ice cream; and pomme frite with dh in downtown Portland. Finding a good book at Powells, tea and prayer with my girlfriends, (and running into her dad with 50% off coupons at Michaels!), homemade spaghetti, applesauce, apple pie, voice mails of my little niece saying “um”, goodnight kisses from the munchkins…

What cheers you?



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Fresh…are you ready?

It caught me by surprise.  The fact that my first post to you would be on the eve of the New Year.  How fitting, though, since this is where I think about my resolutions…

Here are some lovely ones that should not be too hard.  Let me know if you take the challenge.

Nine lovely things for the new year…

1. A new years resolution kept: do you have one from last year that you worked on?
2. A romantic idea for your Valentine: find a little something that fits their love language.  Dh loves to be encouraged and have things done for him. (Like planning a little get-away.)

3. A room swept clean: it always improves my attitude if I can find a place to organize.  Architectural Digest helps me every now and then with the impetus to work on a room.  Of course, the munchkins love to be in clean swept rooms, so it rarely lasts.
4. A letter mailed: is there someone you know who doesn’t need a little care package from you?
5. A project started: this one makes me feel alive!

6. A meal made: Christmas has filled my refrigerator with lovely leftovers.  I’m going to share some with a neighbor tomorrow.  Is there someone who would love a home cooked meal from you?
7. A place visited: I love to travel.  I think I actually need to travel.  I moved every two years while growing up, and I’m afraid it’s in my blood.

8. A child kissed: whether it’s a niece, nephew, grandchild, or one of your own munchkins, one kiss is never enough!
9. A new skill learned: I’m going to be taking photography lessons! I’ve never studied that before, so I’m excited! (I figure that if I take or teach one class a year, it will keep me thinking…)

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On a jet plane…

By the time you all read this, I will be flying to see my sister’s new little munchkin in Florida.  I leave at 6 am. Those of

you who know me well can laugh now.  I won’t be coherent until I hit Denver at 10 am.  That said, I thought I’d leave you with a few white Christmas photos. Everything but the tree is up around here, my promise to myself kept.  I knew I’d not enjoy Christmas at all if I still had anything to do by the time I got back home on the 17th. However, if you by chance are not yet finished, there are lovely white things at The White Company that I do like this year… (especially the stripey red and white children’s stockings and buckets.)

The Dutch celebrate Saint Nickolas’ birthday on the 5th and 6th of December, separately from Christmas.  He’s been here, as evidenced by the tiny pepernoten cookies under the shoes.  The shoes were filled with chocolate, but that’s long gone.  Below is the sheet music idea I wanted to share with you.  I have a lovely star that I got

at Willow’s Nest, made by Wendy Addison.  It’s sitting in our bookcase in the living room where I’ve used piano

sheet music to “wallpaper” the inside of the bookcase.  The paper has made it so bright and cheery that it will be a while before it comes down.

The last photo is what you get when you ask the munchkins to find something white to go under the wineglass domes.


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Have you ever thought about where your pockets first originated?  When you look at drawings of ancient togas covering Greeks and Romans, they don’t have pockets sewn into their clothing. Once you reach the Middle ages, they appear.  However, instead of being hidden, they are worn on the outside, attached by a belt.  (Pockets to the left are from the collection at the MFA Boston.)
I made my own version of one of these, with braided ribbons for the “belt” when I was working as an art director for a summer camp, many moons ago.  I didn’t have a way to close mine, however, so every time I bent over, I lost all of my trinkets, coins, and love notes from little boy campers.

I researched to find out how they kept all their treasures inside.  The patterns I found used a double flap and toggles or buttons.  I decided to use a zipper.  I drew a little scene on canvas and added glass bead-work, then stitched it up.  When I originally envisioned the pocket, it was to work with the diva doll, but they didn’t end up going

together.  It didn’t take too long to make, the longest time for the artwork was sewing on all the individual beads


for the fruit and flowers.  The most time consuming part of assembly was inserting the zipper by hand, since I couldn’t figure out how to do it by machine.

I’ve loved elephants forever.  At least, since my Gram brought me a little one from India when I was ten.  When she passed away, I asked for the mother elephant that she had kept.  Since moving to Deer Haven, another animal has grown on me.  I’m sure you can guess which one.  I started peeking around Etsy for little deer things and came away with this lovely site called Trafalgar’s Square.  It looks like the artist has a new blog as well at onelittlehollow.blogspot.com

We took the munchkins away for a one night summer vacation this week to Great Wolf Lodge. I know that sounds short (and a bit late), but that’s all a kid really needs when they’ve been allowed to run free for a month out here.  We went on a Sunday night/Monday when everyone else was away at school, so we just had itty bitty people around and no lines on the inter-tube rides. They LOVED it.  There was literally no wait for the pools they wanted to swim in, and it was only an hour’s drive away. A pool and no airfare.  That’s a bit rare here in the chilly Pacific Northwest…





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Twice a year we escape to downtown without the munchkins in tow. We eat, read books, shop, see a show, sleep, and hopefully start over.  Here are some highlights from our escapades.



We brought the blackberries to match with the croissants from Villaggio. Wonderful late night salad at Pazzo’s. Fresh orange juice at Lucy’s Table.



and read


(I do understand that this isn’t the typical vacation reading for most people…)

Shop (window and otherwise).


Window shopping at Coco and Toulouse as they are never open when I’m there. Beautiful fabrics from a cute new shop near me called Aunt Tam’s. I’ll have more photos from them later for you. Also, the elusive anthropologie.

Show. Julie and Julia. Recommended for adults. Lovely.


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