Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

a glimpse of 2015

At the beginning of each year I create new folders on my computer for the year ahead. During this time it’s fun to look back at the year that just passed.

This year I picked out something that stood out for each month. So much happens in a year, through the seasons.

A monthly highlight in 2015…


We started the year with a trip up the coast to Cape Perpetua. Little did we know at the time, we would be married there later in the year.



I painted the floor of my studio in February, which was an exciting finish to a pretty huge, months-long studio upgrade. I feel so grateful to Steven for always looking out for me and wanting to help me make things better. He has been forging the way in helping to keep my work spaces fluid and functional from the very beginning, when I worked on the floor in a studio apartment!



In March, gardening was underway. We replaced the sheeting on the hoophouse, seedlings were planted, and fava beans were the first seeds to be direct sown in the soil. It was a mild year from start to finish.



April was a stressful month for me and a pre-planned getaway couldn’t have come at a better time. We stayed in what has become my favorite lookout tower yet, nurtured by mountains, crisp cold air, lots of sunshine, cozy fires and a welcome dose of R&R.



My woodcarving really started to blossom in 2015 and in May I was exploring new tool additions, and would soon begin more ambitious projects.



In the first days of June we saw the first tiny fawns.



We welcomed July from the woods of Southern Oregon, at our favorite camp spot.



In August I taught my first leathercraft workshop.



We did a lot of road tripping in September, and finished our travels with a campout with friends, right on the river. While this might seem like a strange choice of photos with all the other possibilities, I remember how radiant and alive I felt when this was taken. This was one of the most healing and joyful adventures, bringing out the best in all of us.



I had a particularly hard time letting go of summer this year. Swimming, gardening, abundant fresh food, camping, bare feet. I wasn’t ready for it to go. I remember this day. I had canned applesauce and then brought out a selection of the goods I’d canned that summer. The autumnal light was filtering into the kitchen in a way I hadn’t seen since the year before. It can be so bittersweet, the way time passes.


And October deserves a second mention, because it’s the month that Steven and I decided to get married! Looking back at the photos from this day have left me smiling so big. Passing through time with this man has been the best thing I could imagine doing. He is and has always been profoundly present for me, and together we have a fortitude that makes me feel confident we could do anything.



Everything felt new and full of fresh potential in November. I also fully sank into the quieter time that comes with fall and winter. I loved the endless rain and fog and we focused on our home, deep cleaning, organizing and settling back inside after months with a more outer focus. It was a period for ideas to culminate and take shape. The pressure of the approaching busy-ness that the holidays bring for me in my work was also embraced, and I was able to use it more effectively than ever, which meant transforming what can often be experienced as stress, into something much more productive.




We started the month of December in Portland. I attended a holiday maker’s market and we were able to spend time with our parents. And we ended the month with family at home. For as full a month as December was, it stands out in my mind as having been a peaceful and restful time. I am so excited for all that is coming to fruition right now.

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I think we’re finding our autumn rhythm, and I’m enjoying the change (even if I’m still resisting slippers and sweaters!). As summer starts to wind down I always feel such an urgency. It literally can feel like a desperate thirst, or as though something vital is slipping away more quickly than I can keep up. This feeling doesn’t usually last very long, but it’s interesting to notice how consistent it is for me each year.

Once the wild urgency passes, time seems to slow down and I am more present to take keen notice of so many changes – in the animal behaviors, the plant life, the color of the sky, the quality of the clouds and the tone of the light. Everything shows the season’s transition, including each of us.

sunset_august24Happy Autumn, all.

Be back soon xo

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For the past couple months – since Christmas, really – I’ve been allowing myself time to freely play around in the studio with whatever my focus naturally gravitates toward. I have really cherished this time, and I feel like a part of me that had become stifled and restrained is coming back to colorful life. I had gotten to feeling like I didn’t know why I was making the things I was offering anymore, and needed to come back around and find my own creative initiative again. It’s been the longest period ever since I’ve had a true change of work in the shop, which also means a true change of work for me. I am a creative, sentient being. I am not a catalog, nor am I a machine.

Some of the things that I’ve been especially enjoying is exploring different kinds of leather work, digging into my stash of collected textiles, and getting immersed in a variety of wood carving projects. Sometimes I’ll go upstairs thinking I’ll just carve for a few minutes, and a few hours will easily pass. I love that kind of focus, where you are effortlessly, fully present in what you’re doing. That’s where it’s at! I’ve also been making an effort to let go of unneeded habits that have formed, and ideas about what I should be making. Free it up!

There will be a shop update pretty soon. Once I know the date, I will be sure to announce it here. I’ve been editing photos the last few nights and I have a few more bags I want to finish up. I’m excited!

Outside of the studio, we’ve been readying the garden and working out the details of a pretty big garden expansion. Not sure how much of the new garden we’ll get done this year with all the other things we are hoping to accomplish, but we’ll be making some first steps soon. In the existing garden I’ve sown the first round of peas, which are already popping through the soil, and I recently planted tomatoes, hot peppers, sunflowers and various greens in starter pots. We replaced the plastic sheeting on the hoop house recently and Steven’s been working on setting up irrigation in there, which is very exciting! I can easily spend an hour a day in there hand watering, so to have it automated with timers will be a huge help. There are a bajillion other ways I could think to spend those hours. Oh and my beautiful kale I was recently talking about? Well folks, the aphids have landed! They sure do love that stuff, dangit.

What are you all excited about these days? What gets your creative spark glowing?

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the winter that never was

It looks and feels a lot like spring here, and it has for a while now.

feb_greens_0Self sown and self maintained greens and flowers. After a tough go with kale this past summer, it has beautifully transformed with the cooler, moister weather.

apricot_blossoms_0aFlowering apricot. This year marks the biggest show yet for this little tree. Fruit? Apparently that is another matter…

hoophouse_febHoop house carrots, planted in the summer. It was too hot back then and they didn’t take well, but over the late fall and winter they have taken care of themselves. I haven’t watered in here for months, so was really surprised to find them! And they have been so sweet and delicious. Over the course of a week or 2 I’ve picked a handful at a time. We are finishing the last of them now and I am making a mental note to do this again, with a little bit more effort on my part.

hoophouse_feb_1I finally started cleaning out the hoophouse. This year we need to replace the end walls, which were set up with plastic sheeting we had lying around, and wasn’t really suited for so much sun exposure. We have all the materials on hand now, and the plan is that we get it done this week.

crocus_diptychCrocus. Fresh, tiny, beauties.

gunneraSome of our Gunnera babies. Steven has been raising (SO MANY OF) these Dinosaur plants from seed. This year they should put on a huge amount of growth. We’re wondering what we’ll do with them all…

sunset_february_1Most every evening lately we are lulled by spring peepers, one of my favorite, most comforting sounds at this home. I think this year marks the earliest appearance they have made yet.


I know it’s bitter cold and snowy on the east coast, which has been so hard to imagine here. I try to keep in mind that nothing will necessarily be as I’ve known it to be. There could be another ice age. We could dry up and this land will turn to desert. Everything is changing. And we are changing, too.




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a new year

Happy New Year, friendly folks.

This year I’ve been letting the concept of “New Year’s Resolutions” stir quietly, without mental inputs or particular expectations, and it’s been refreshing to see what has been coming to me. I appreciate opportunities to check in and consider how to do things better – improve on myself, on my life, on my relationships – and Steven and I tend to do this together a few times a year, usually on birthdays and sometimes at the new year. Checking in with ones self, with honesty and humility, is important for maintaining a healthy, balanced life.

This year feels clean and quiet, with a few areas that create a subtle rise of my heart rate. Those are the areas that require the real honesty and humility :)

A few of the things that have been naturally coming together –

Morning meditation. We go in and out of the habit of making time to be still and tune in, and it’s been quite a while since I have felt so naturally, wholly and peacefully interested in making time for this again. I wake up looking forward to it each day, and have had some excellent realizations, inner adjustments, and heart opening changes taking place.

Cooking dinner with intent and creativity. I love to cook, and dinner is our main meal where we always sit down and eat together, but usually it’s prepared as simply as possible, with as little hands-on time as possible because we are both wrapped up in work or projects. I have been making a point to set my projects aside each evening, gather a few seeds of inspiration and decide on a meal I think we would love. I find I’m going out in the garden more for ingredients, clipping more fresh herbs, and the house ends up filled with the incredible smells of a slow cooked meal. It is so much more satisfying, and our simple diet is becoming slightly more diverse.

Reading; good old fashioned reading, from books written with purpose. My first read this year was “Kinship With All Life,” by J. Allen Boone. This was actually a gift to Steven from my mom (thanks, mom!). I picked it up not knowing what to expect and was a little unsure at first. But then I couldn’t put it down, and I only wish it had been longer! I want to read it again. It honestly has changed the way I go about my day, particularly when out in the world amongst others. One of the things that has stuck with me most is the importance of living, moving and perceiving with pure intent and pure motives, and to see the best in the life forms around me. I feel I already live with pure motives and intent, and I love all life, but really, it can sometimes be hard to see the best in people… and in dogs, which I have become afraid of after being bit a few times in recent years. With people, I have sometimes become cynical, wary and unsure. Maybe dogs are suffering the same plight as their people. It’s important to be alert and discerning in this crazy world, but wariness and cynicism is not what I want the foundation of my perception of others to be built on. A couple days ago, I actually had the best experience I can recall in a long time with a pretty big dog, and I couldn’t help but feel like that wise animal was having fun with me for my own benefit.

Expressing kindness (to strangers): This is something I started trying to do more of a few months ago. It is easy (for me) to go about my way, and not engage the strangers I pass. I easily tend to keep to myself. However, I have been practicing looking out more, seeing all there is to see around me with a clear, open view (rather than the tunnel vision that often happens when you are on a mission, just getting things done), and the result has been that I am pretty much in a whole new world. A simple act, but try it with intent and I bet it will be interesting, at least. In doing this, I tend to look at people’s faces more and longer than I would otherwise, and then I might share a smile, and often a smile comes back. In those moments, it feels almost old fashioned, to see eye to eye and share a smile, and it stirs a feeling that all could be right in the world. I have had some interesting, unusual conversations come about from this as well. Does this sound crazy? Can you relate? I feel things have changed so much in the world, and some of what were once the most basic behaviors that we all took for granted, are now hard and feel ‘unnatural’ for people.


I’d love to hear any thoughts you guys have, things you are working on for yourself, ways you can relate or not, anything you want to share. Would also love to simply know you’re out there. Stats tell me a number of someones are there! Blogging seems to be losing it’s place in the realm of social networking, or at least the place it once had, with all the faster paced, more visual outlets there are. Maybe we are getting quieter as readers. Or maybe the remaining readers are the quiet ones. I am also pondering how to blog this year. All business? All personal? Keep on as usual? … Is there even a need to segment one’s life between business and personal? So many questions : )

Love to all,



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december 4



It’s that surreal time of year, where coffee and a shower, olives and wine, might be the only punctuations in the long days of work. I almost forgot what this felt like, to wake up and work straight until bed time. Happy Holidays :)


We just ate dinner (leftovers, creatively layered in a bake pan by Steven, and topped with sharp cheddar cheese) and then I felt inspired to sit down for a quick blog.


The wrap + snap has been keeping me pretty busy this season. After the fun brainstorm and trials I had that resulted in this, it’s been super satisfying to see this new little gadget companion be so well received. I’m looking forward to having the chance to work on more innovations of a similar vein. I’ve been getting some great feedback from my customers – mostly ladies who are excited to have found the perfect small gift for their husbands and boyfriends (and themselves, too).


While I work, Steven has been making some pretty big changes around me. We’re working on streamlining my studio space so that it’s more organized and efficient. He hauled out most of the old fixtures and funky, makeshift shelving, and has been replacing them with new work benches and creative storage solutions. I’ve invested in some new equipment, added to my tool set, and pared down on some of the stash I no longer use. I am loving all the changes and have been so grateful for the help! This is something I have talked about for a long time, but never seem to have the time for.

I need to do some organizing once things settle down, but already I have more space to spread out, and each step of production is finding it’s own designated place.


Not sure why, but I feel excited about the holidays more than usual this year. It’s a nice feeling, and I can’t wait for the chance to do some gift making.

How about you? Hope you all are feeling well and enjoying the season.







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radio silence

I think it’s about time I broke the silence here. Hello small world!

Summer was truly relished, and as little time as possible was spent on my computer. I thought I’d share a few photos from some highlights of our late summer and early fall. I am still filled with the sense of adventure and timelessness that the warmth and openness of summer seems to nurture, and I plan to carry it with me through the the fall and winter.






Drawn to water, always.







And the comforts of the forest.

rain shelter



Facing worthy challenges that get the blood pumping and initiate creative problem solving and teamwork.





Time spent with friends, from human to heron. Cooking outside. Eating outside. Resting and playing. Healing and changing. Exploring and stretching.

We’ve been focusing our energy back indoors a bit more, cleaning and de-cluttering. I’ve been gearing toward some holiday production for my shop, and we’ve been brainstorming some new ideas for collaborative projects. I hope to start blogging a little more often again too. If you are still out there reading, thanks for sticking around. I’ll be back sooner this time :)





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late august (what?)






With August almost over, I’m feeling that familiar urgency to squeeze in all the things that haven’t yet been done by summer’s end. There is still so much! But mostly, painting the fascia on our house and camping are 2 things I thought I’d have done by now. Painting is not my favorite thing… It will be a miracle if I get it done. Camping IS my favorite thing, but the last month or 2 has been pretty rockin in the shop. After a slow spring and early summer, I’ve appreciated the business immensely, but it’s also made it hard to get out of here for more than a day at a time. Over the years we tend to do most of our summer travel in September, after the crowds have gone home. It’s quieter, the air is gentler and it stretches summer out a little bit longer. I’m hoping the weather holds for us.

These days we are focused on processing the abundance of fresh fruit and veg. Steven got out of bed this morning, passed through the kitchen into the living room and joked to me, “Where’s the kitchen? I can’t find it?” There is hardly a space on the counter right now, and it’s lucky we dine outside all the time, because our dining table is pretty full as well. I kind of love it, even if it feels a little claustrophobic sometimes.

This week I’m roasting plums and tomatoes, making blueberry jam, reading about cheese making (a favorite treat right now is toasted sourdough with ricotta and peach butter. Oh!), drying calendula flowers and herbs, and beginning to save seeds.

Summer here has been pretty sweet, and we’ve had ample opportunity to swim and have campfires in the yard. And when I am feeling bummed we can’t take off on a road trip just yet, we camp out in the backyard. Falling asleep to the sound of crickets and the feel of the night air around us is pretty nice, where ever you are. We woke up one morning to a little fawn galloping around the yard, and came so close to our tent it was jumping over the stakes. Can’t say I’ve ever had that happen, even in the middle of the wilderness!

I hope you all are feeling content with where you’re at, where ever it might be. xo

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backyard berries




and a blueberry peach galette made with someone else’s backyard berries.

This morning I was surprised to find one of our older blueberry bushes covered in perfectly ripened berries. I had quit checking on these particular bushes, as the birds usually hit them pretty hard by now.

And then I discovered the huckleberries, and the insanely fragrant blackberries. And I even picked a few salal.

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pure life

A slice of my own bit of heaven on earth.








red huckleberries

red huckleberries



columbia tiger lily

columbia tiger lily


discovering duck's foot / inside out flower

discovering duck’s foot / inside out flower





A quake of adventure, on a slippery, mossy, rocky ledge, where in a moment of tricky footing my pack nearly rolled into the depth of icy water below.

An invitation to let go, and merge with the roar of the waterfall and lushness enveloping us.

A chance to tune in, delve a little deeper, and forget the rest of the world for a while.

The space to have fun, and frolic with the wild freedom of pure life.

The fullness of the sigh that comes with the nourishment of the self.

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