Inking up!

Inking up!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Madrona, Mountain, and Moon

Happy New Year to everyone! I am still working on hand painting the last two dozen of a 100 cards to mail out. The cut was loaned to me by Jami at Sherwood Press in Olympia. She's a gem.


The holidays have been lovely. I have truly taken a break from studio work (except these cards and, oh yes, a small printing job) to enjoy family and the out of doors.

My Christmas celebrations are few and far between, and this was the first time for Bill and I to get amped up at all. We were inspired that two of his children, Jessica and Joshua, and our granddaughter Emily were coming out for Christmas. A few days earlier I had pruned a huckleberry. (Bill was dismayed, but I think he will be happy with the plants nearby getting a bit more sun.) I brought the branches in and we started decorating. The garland is from a fair trade store, made from plant material and dyed red. The branches were then hung with Magnolia tree seedheads, rosehip clusters, some Chinese plant medicine slices I saved years ago from my prescription formulas, glass icicles, with many jingle shells and a few sand dollars from Sanibel Island, Florida. There are also two bird nests tucked into the branches. We love it! Bill cuts numerous snowflakes every year, and those are hung in the window. (I usually use them for stencils to sprinkle powdered sugar or cocoa through to decorate cakes.)

Now it was Bill's turn to do some pruning. He took on the Maple that is shading the hummingbird garden. Bill has climbed lots of mountains, which is very handy for getting up trees. All he needs is a rope!

There were also walks to the beach, which is at the bottom of the hill. It's a sea salty inlet, part of Puget Sound. Toward the east is Mount Rainier, here with the moon up high and this beautiful Madrona by the beach.

From the beach we can also watch the sunset. In this photo Bill caught some stars sliding off the water towards us.

Here's another picture Bill took. It is looking out the office window where I sit typing this post.

It has been so foggy here, and freezing most nights and late into the days. On Sunday I was out walking and I heard the sound of pouring rain nearby. I looked up, but the sky was blue. The sound of rain was unmistakable. Right next to me was a fir shedding all its melting frosted dew, I suppose. It was incredible. Heavy drops, light rain, mist, all sizes of drops were coming off it. It looked like the tree was under a shower! I wanted to get under, too, but I was already cold just stopping to stand and watch it happen. Though I could hear more rainfall in the distance, all the other nearby trees were dry and silent, or wet but not yet dripping, I suppose. I had never seen such an isolated or thunderous incident with the tree melt. Coincidentally, I think it is the same tree the red tailed hawks were nesting in last year.

Snow frosted Mullein in the hummingbird garden.

I hope everyone has a beautiful and healthy 2010. Now I will get back to work so I have more studio progress to report on!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Road Trips and the Joy of not Cooking

On a recent visit with my Mother she showed me this photograph.

When my Mother was young, her family moved from Sherman, Texas to Hilt, California. (If you've heard of Hilt, it would be a surprise. It was one mile south of the Oregon border on I-5. Hilt disappeared, and now it has somewhat come back. It would also be a surprise if you've heard of Sherman, Texas.) There were other family members that moved to the Hilt area, but most of my grandparent's family stayed in Texas and Oklahoma. So in this picture above my grandparents and their three children aged 10 - 14 and my great aunt Mary and uncle Raymond and their daughter, Linda who was about 4, are driving from northern California to north central Texas for the Blankenship family reunion in 1950. So there were eight people in the car! I love the pile in the rack on the top of the car. Cars were so big then, and Mom says Linda slept in the back window during the drive. Long road trips have been genetically inherited from both sides of my family. And Bill seems to have the bug, too. His mother, Alma, has driven out to visit us from Illinois every year!

My own road trips have largely been up and down I-5. For a long while there were regularly irregular trips to San Francisco for the Book Arts Fair at Fort Mason. A few of these I took with inspiring book artist, Mare Blocker. Our first trip down together we went to the Sanrio store, where Mare had told me you could always get your picture taken with Hello Kitty. Several purchases were also made.

Going to San Francisco and getting silly pictures taken seems to run in the family. This was taken at Playland on the Beach, a large 10 acre amusement park. These are my Grandparents about 1955.

This is my Mother on the right and her Aunt Mary (rumored to have married five times, and unfortunately widowed every time) on the left.

Taking road trips and finding great food is the best. I would love to have everyone write back and tell me where and what to eat when I am on the road. ANYWHERE! But I want it to be REALLY REALLY good food.

My recommendations:
Seattle -- Paseo in Fremont. The pulled pork plate with rice and beans and salad. La Spiga on Capitol Hill. Get the lasagna or the minestrone soup. Sunlight Cafe in Roosevelt. I love the nutburger with cheese and a side salad with tahini dressing.

Olympia -- Trinacria, a Sicilian restaurant. The lasagna and the pizza and the salad dressing. Divine. Old School Pizza, the olive and mushroom is my favorite. The Bread Peddler has great sandwiches and soups and of course, treats.

Portland -- Pearl Bakery. I love just about everything here, but always have to get the chocolate panini.

Near Cashmere, Washington -- D'Anjou (a bakery). Buy anything and everything and eat it all yourself.

San Francisco -- Three Seasons, a Vietnamese restaurant in the Marina District. Try anything for the main course, but then the fried bananas and coconut ice cream for dessert. This is a must eat place.

Sanibel Island, Florida -- Trader's has the best crab cakes on the island, I know, I tried them everywhere (that's where the driving comes in). For a very nice dinner out go to Thistle Lodge. I had the best snapper. Thanks Annie and Bill!

Somehere in New Mexico, Kathy Kuehn drove us for 3 hours to have the best burritos or tacos with Hatch green chilis. I don't remember where it was, but it was on the way to visit Clifford Burke. Kathy always knows where to eat and where the best pie is.

This is why eating at people's houses is not always the best idea.

In January and February I will have many trips to Portland and in February another trip to the Medford, Oregon area. I think late spring or early summer we will take a trip to Montana and Colorado. And any place north of Seattle between there and the border? Please, please, please, tell us where and what to eat or where to have a silly picture taken!