Monday, August 24, 2015

And then the summer got away from me...

Oops, how did that happen? I see the last entry was in early July, and here it is nearing the end of August.  Somehow the summer just slid on by.  I hope yours was fun and that you have some lovely memories.

Me, I did a bit of this and that.  The biggest "This" was a trip up to Washington.  Wanna see some pictures? 

First stop, Rogue River, Oregon.  It's just outside of Grants Pass and is about halfway between my house and Seattle.  So I cruised through Oregon listening to "Go Set A Watchman" read by  Reese Witherspoon. I loved it and it was the perfect accompaniment on a long drive.

Along the way, I stopped in Eugene to stretch my legs -- and stumbled onto Voodoo Doughnuts which I'd always heard of but never visited.  That called for a purchase of doughnuts -- 2 to eat, and a few more to sketch.

Next stop, Seattle where I stayed with my friend Dori.  I didn't take a ton of pictures, but I did do a sketch of her backyard.  Her home is right on Lake Washington with a view across the lake of Mercer Island.

We had a lot of fun while I was there.  We went to a wonderful art show in Bellevue, we went to the Seattle Center to see the Chihuly glass museum which I've been wanting to do FORever, and we saw Snoqualmie Falls and had a lovely lunch at the lodge there.  Oh yeah, we talked the whole time too, as good friends do.

From there, I went up to Whidbey Island which I'd always wanted to see. I drove up the Seattle side, and entered the island at its northern end, via Deception Pass which was stunning.

On Whidbey Island, I'd rented a little cottage via VRBO, and it turned out to be perfect.

 It had one tiny bedroom, a "just right" kitchen for making sandwiches to take to the beach and pouring wine and cleaning crab, and a cozy living room that had just the space I needed to read, gaze at the water, and sit at the little table and paint and stick stuff in my travel journal.

Oh yeah, I sketched that too.

I spent my week there exploring, taking photos, sketching, poking around, driving on backroads, walking on the beach, picking up odd bits of driftwood, seashell, and rock.  

 I fell in love with the charming little towns, and oh, those lush hanging baskets of flowers that I found all over the place!  


My dear friend Paige took the ferry over from Port Townsend one day, and we had a very fun day chatting and poking through thrift stores.
 One afternoon, my landlady texted me to ask if I wanted some fresh caught crab.  Yes, please!  I came home to find an ice chest with two big cooked and cleaned crabs on the front porch.  Dinner for several days! (this wasn't it, but I did take this picture of a crab on the beach.)

And speaking of the beach, I Sketched some of the treasures I found on my travels.

 One evening, as I was perusing my Ipad researching options for the next day, I stumbled onto the Whidbey Island Sketchers' website, which announced that they had a sketching meet-up the following day.  I emailed, asked if they allowed visitors, and was told to come on and sketch!  So next afternoon found me in Freeland at a wonderful home and garden for a peaceful afternoon of sketching with some very friendly sketchers.

At the end of my week, I ferried over to Port Townsend to stay at Paige's and explore around there some more.  After Whidbey Island, PT felt like a bustling city.  But really, it was the same charming, quirky town it always is.  I had a wonderful dinner at a favorite restaurant, Sirens, sitting out on the deck.  I didn't mind the service being slow -- I had time to sketch.

 One of the things I love most about PT is my friend Paige's home, and how she has charming installations everywhere.  This Buddha watches over the favorite shady spot of her sweet departed dog Annie.

So, there you have it.  I drove home by the same route, listening to the 2nd half of Go Set a Watchman, and marveled (in a bad way) at the smoky haze that covered the sky from Portland all the way south to Healdsburg.

Aren't summer trips the best?

Monday, July 06, 2015

Playing Around

Here's my latest journal!  It's on a playful game theme, and I had the best time putting together papers and images and bits from old games to make this.  It brought back so many memories of fun times playing games with my family.  I used vintage game bits, too -- old monopoly money and cards, old playing cards.  I even broke out my Dremel and drilled holes in a few old poker chips and dice and Monopoly hotels.  It's funny what you think about drilling when you're holding a Dremel in your hand...

At any rate, this one makes me happy.  You can see a full video flip-through if you want... and yep, it's up for sale on my Etsy shop but I might have to make another for me.  Oh boy, more drilling!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

A Summer Treasure Hunt

Have you heard of "The Curse of Oak Island?" My sister told me about this tv series on the History Channel, and now I'm obsessed. 

 This reality show follows two brothers, Rick and Marty Lagina, as they search to find possible treasure and the answer to some long-existing mysteries about Oak Island in Nova Scotia.  Rick, the older brother, read about the island, the lore of its treasure, and the history of discoveries there in a Reader's Digest magazine when he was 11 years old, and he became obsessed with the story.  Now, he and his younger brother Marty (an oil engineer) have bought an interest in the private island and have invested millions of dollars in exploring it.  There's a great interview with some of the main guys here that explains how they got involved in the mystery.

There's a great cast of real-life characters, including long-time treasure hunters and Oak Island explorers.  There are experts who come to give advice on discovered coins, old wood, hieroglyphic marks on rock, metal detecting, you name it.  There are stories of discoveries on the island made as early as 1792, and suggestions that the island could be the hidden location of the ark of the covenant, the lost menorah from Solomon's temple, treasure hidden by the Knights Templar, the Rosecrucians, maybe even Spanish pirates. 

So there are the treasure-hunting dreamers, but they're teamed with skeptical scientists who want evidence and scientific reasons to believe that there's reason to keep exploring. It's fascinating to see how they apply the latest technologies to try to find out what's there.

This is really a great adventure show, and it's got me hooked.  I'm part way through season 2. There are two seasons' worth of shows available on Itunes and Amazon Instant Video and it looks like there are some full episodes on Youtube. There'll be a season 3 according to the show's facebook page, but there's no specific air date yet.

It'd be a great family show, I'm thinking -- a great way to combine history and modern science and technology.  If I were still home-schooling Miss C, I'd love using this to link up science and history and geography.  

Anyway, I'm loving this show -- even with the History Channel's style of overly dramatic announcer, and the way they repeat a lot of information which gets tedious if you're binge watching several episodes per sitting (as someone MIGHT be inclined to do.  Ahem.)   It's the perfect summer viewing.  I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Continuing on our tour of Humboldt County...

There are a lot of victorian buildings in Northern California, and it's a joy to see them still used and in good shape and well cared for.  On the way to Eureka last week, we stopped for a bit in the little town of Ferndale, which calls itself "the Victorian Village."  Perhaps you've seen bits of Ferndale without even knowing it:  it was where "The Majestic" with Jim Carrey and "Outbreak" with Dustin Hoffman were filmed, and its victorian buildings are recreated in Legos in the California Legoland.

But I digress.

 The town is basically a main street about 3 blocks long, and then a lot of homes, some charming and victorian, some more ordinary.  But we strolled up and down Main Street, admired the beautiful architectural details, took a few photos.

Ah, they don't make buildings like they used to, eh?

It's nice to see them occupied.  Here's a shot of the main street.

Immediately after taking this picture, by the way, we made our way to the Ferndale Pie Shop and bought a strawberry rhubarb to take home with us.  It was delicious -- truly tart and rhubarby.

Oops, I'm digressing again.

The next day, we set off to find the most famous victorian house in Eureka, the Carson Mansion.

It was built by lumber magnate William Carson in 1885, and was a private residence until the late 1940's.  It was then bought by a private group whose mission is the restoration and preservation of historical buildings.  From what we could tell, the inside is only accessible to club members for dinners and such.

But my, it is beautiful.  All that detail!

It would be a great sketch subject, if you had a good place to sit and a few hours to do it.

My sister and I both fell in love with the victorian house directly across the street, known as "the Pink Lady."  It's currently for sale, and when we got home we looked up the listing to see if we'd correctly guessed the price.  Any guesses?  You can see the listing here.  (Oh!  I see the listing shows it as "off market" now.  I wonder if the Ingomar Club bought it, too?  It was listed for $1.3 million when we looked.  I'd guessed a million.... so I was only a few hundred thousand off!) 

Anyway, we liked this house a lot.  Carson built it for his daughter when she got married.

Kind of makes you want to sit on the porch and drink sasprilla, huh?  I don't even know what sasparilla is, but this house makes me want some.

I think it was just after this that we wandered off to find lunch.  All that architecture made us hungry. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Speaking of the ocean...

My latest "jumbly journal" is on an ocean theme.

 I started with some beautiful decorative papers that have wonderful ocean themed images on them.


And from there, I started decorating and adding fun bits and flaps and envelopes and pockets and all.

A lighthouse demanded its own tall flap.

It's over on my Etsy shop now, but you can see the full journal, page by page, right here: 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ocean, and Redwoods, and Bears! Oh My!

 This past week, my sister Laura and I headed up north for a sisters' mini-retreat up in Humboldt County.  We stayed in the town of Eureka, which is about 5 hours straight north of San Francisco.  We'd rented a cozy little house in a neighborhood full of little old 1930's houses, and we spent 5 days exploring and hanging out and taking pictures and generally having a good time.  

To get there, we got to drive through a lot of redwood forests.  There's a wonderful stretch of road called "Avenue of the Giants" where you cruise along with huge redwood trees towering on either side of you.  It's gorgeous, and it smells really good too.

 Along the way, we saw an assortment of wonderfully tacky tourist spots. And we stopped at almost every one.  Because, you know, it's a vacation thing to do.

My favorite was this one, "Confusion Hill."  What's not to like about a place called Confusion Hill?!  Apparently it's one of those mysterious places where water appears to run uphill and gravity seems wonky. We didn't venture back to that part of the attraction.  We were distracted by the carved redwood bears.

Do they have these in other areas of the country?  I think of them as a California redwood forest thing. Anyway, we admired the various poses and skill (or lack thereof) in making good bear faces.

My sister decided that she wanted to get a small one for her front porch, so we set out to check out all the bears along the way so she could pick the best one.  After various stops and much scrutiny of different bears, she decided she liked the Confusion Hill bears the best -- which meant we'd stop on the way home. Oh boy, more Confusion ahead!

I used to drive up to Eureka several times a year when I was taking a long-term bookbinding course up that way, and I always wanted to stop at this Grandfather Tree place (because, as you can tell by now, I love these sorts of tourist spots) but never had the time.  This time, we stopped.

And it was one huge tree.  The statistics were rather mind-boggling.

 At the Grandfather Tree place, I spotted the bear I'd have taken home... if he'd been for sale, if I could have afforded him, if he'd have fit in the car. (And the answer to all of those was "no.")  But I liked his look of stoic wisdom.

Then we were back on the road, to see more redwood trees.

About 5 hours after leaving home, we made it to our little cottage.  We found this place through VRBO, and we both had the same reaction -- it looked like our grandmothers' house, and brought back a lot of childhood associations. It turned out to be charming -- not fancy, not updated especially, but clean and comfortable with a grandma's house sort of vibe. 

What did we do while we there there?  Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

So you want to see how that book turned out?

I showed you the other day how I started with this piece of paper as the inspiration ...

and now there's a finished journal!

You can see all of the pages here:

And I've even listed it for sale on my Etsy shop.  I sure am having fun with these journals.

Oh, you don't have time to watch the video but you want to see a few pages?  Here you go!

I'd like to work on my next journal, but I've got some laundry and packing to do.  I'm going on a little vacation next week!  Yoo hoo!