March 13, 2014

Crows and Crafting: A Little Update

It’s been a while since I posted here! I’ve been busy!

grainy crow

Y’all know birds are hard to photograph. Especially with an iPhone. But on my walk yesterday I couldn’t resist trying to get shots of the crows yelling at me in a tree near the park. Since my shots didn’t turn out so great, I decided to play with all the filters in Photoshop and see the results. Though the images aren’t awesome, I like the colors and grainy look of these so I thought I’d share.

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So what have I been up to besides taking blurry pics of crows? I’ve been job hunting. It’s frustrating and discouraging. The less said about it the better, really.

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The weather has been fairly decent, so I’ve done the tiniest bit of work in the garden. Pulled a few weeds, put down some manure compost. Not too much; it’s going to be a while before I can plant much outside anyway.

grainy crow 2

I’ve been working on my Etsy shop: I’ve got a respectable number of listings over there now.  And I’ve been blogging at the Greenwoman Studio blog quite a bit. Which leads me to the real reason for this post; if you are a crafty type, you might want to check out the craft challenge I issued for the month of April: I’d love if y’all joined me.

What have you all been up to?


February 18, 2014

The Beauty of Puddles

Over the weekend we had severe winds; Monday morning when I woke up I half expected to look out the window and see a Yellow Brick Road. But fortunately we stayed firmly anchored, and by Monday afternoon the sun came out for a while. I took the opportunity to for a walk.

Puddle Wonderful 4

The puddles reflected the trees and the (briefly) blue sky.

Puddle Wonderful 2

Just one more thing to love about the rain: puddle reflections. It’s starting to seem like spring about half the time–which is generally the best we can hope for around here, and which is preferable to the snowbound Februaries of my childhood.

Puddle Wonderful 6

Sometimes the reflections are disorienting; when I look down I feel like I could fall into them much deeper than the millimeters of water.Puddle Wonderful 3

Part of the path at the park was flooded, so I had to squelch through the wet grass to avoid backtracking.

Puddle Wonderful 5

I felt like the soggy walk was worth it just for the reflections on the other side of the giant puddle.

I got wet on my return journey–as abruptly as it appeared, the sun disappeared and the wind and rain came back. But it was nothing a nice cup of tea couldn’t cure, and the fresh air was nice after a weekend of hiding indoors.

February 7, 2014

At Eye Level

I took these pictures of tree bark and lichens during my first walk after being sick in bed for a week.

Tree Texture 4

I was tired and loopy, and really only capable of seeing things at eye level.

Tree Texture 5

I took these pictures across the street from a school where all the students were being picked up by their parents. I wonder how many of them looked across the street at the strangely dressed lady with the camera lens three inches from a random tree.

Tree Texture 3

At least I wasn’t TALKING to the tree this time. I don’t think.

Tree Texture 2

But I can’t be sure. Everything was still a little fuzzy that day.

Tree Texture 1

My vision was even a little weird: it was, in fact, an awful lot like the way the macro setting on my camera works. A few things were in sharp, almost too intense focus. Everything else was kind of a blur. It’s kind of amazing that I didn’t get hit by a car when I was crossing the street. Good thing my neighborhood is pretty quiet.

January 30, 2014

Pink Camellias in January

I took these pictures on my last walk before I got sick. I imagine Camellia’s are blooming all over Portland now, but these were the first blossoms I saw this year.

Camellia 4

The vibrant pink against the dark green foliage is delicious. I love living in a place where winter feels like winter, but where there is always something green or something blooming.

Camellia 5

If the day had been sunny, there would have been bees burrowing in the middle of these blossoms.

Camellia 6

I love the ruffles of this double variety. Like a tutu!

Camellia 3

So sweet.

Camellia 1

January 25, 2014

A Little Sunshine for the Housebound

I’m siiiiick, so I’m spending the day in bed. Which is too bad, because it’s a beautiful day and I wanted to clean out the garden shed. Days like this I’m really thankful for tea, novels and Netflix.

Sunny Park 6

It also helps that I have pictures from a sunny walk I took last week. If you’re tired of pictures of trees, you might just skip this post. I have OCD–Obsessive Camera Disorder. Or something.

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And the trees in my neighborhood park are endlessly enchanting.

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Especially in late afternoon/early evening when they cast long shadows on the grass.

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And of course I had to throw a little moss into the mix.

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It’s no Forest park, but I don’t have to get in my car to visit these trees. And they’re still pretty impressive.

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Of course, it’s SUPPOSED to be raining. And I know we need the rain. But I can’t help enjoying sunshine in January.

sunny park 1

January 23, 2014

Moss: My Latest Photographic Fixation

You can walk the same half mile loop every day and always notice something different. Last week’s obsession? Moss. Especially moss in sidewalk cracks, on the curb, on lamp posts at the park.


Pacific Northwest winters are green, and moss is one of the reasons. In the summer all the moss gets sort of crunchy and brownish, but in the winter it practically glows.


Moss beautifies the urban landscape. Even cracks in the sidewalk become fascinating.


The intersecting seams of green form runic shapes.


Moss has been around for a long time. It’s one of the oldest plants, and one of the toughest. Another plant that gets bad press from the grassy lawn loving crowd, but is loved enough to merit websites and businesses devoted entirely to moss gardens.


Of course, moss is enjoying a bit more popularity these days thanks to the terrarium trend. I approve. I’ve loved moss since I was a kid: I used to peel up sections of moss to cover boxes and stones and make fairy furniture.


These days I like it best when it softens the hard edges of the urban landscape, growing on utilitarian structures and giving them a rustic charm.


And I love the unexpected compositions it creates: I found the beautiful little zen garden in the picture above growing in a hole in the sidewalk smaller than the palm of my hand. It makes me want to bring mossy stones into my tiny garden patch to keep it interesting in the winter. Lucky for me, there’s a nice article from students at Oregon State on establishing moss in the garden. Now I just need to find some good rocks . . .

January 15, 2014

Green and Gray

Portland continues to sport a mostly green and gray palette this week. The days have been dark, but at least it isn’t very cold. The mossy, muddy park a few blocks from my house continues to beckon, and I go with my camera so I can see in new ways.

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This vine grows in whorls and helices on a fence along the way. I can’t wait to see what sort of vine it is: right now it looks like all the other trees and shrubs–gray bark, green lichens, greener moss.

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These wet days make the moss jewel-bright. I want to wear a skirt that color.

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Over the weekend we had a windstorm, which knocked down a bunch of branches. This one fell onto the park bench. Taking pictures of it, I had to wonder:

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Did someone intentionally choose paint the exact color of those lichens for the benches? Or was it a happy accident?

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that cold wet weather is my favorite walking weather, not only because I don’t have to share the park with as many people, but also because I find the low light and cool air soothing. It clears my head and helps me think. Which makes me think I’ll probably never move away from the Pacific Norwthwest.

January 13, 2014


It’s funny the way carrying a camera around changes what you focus on. I went for a walk just after it rained the other day, and all the trees and bushes were hung with perfect beads of water.

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So of course I took pictures of them. Here, then, is my photographic study of raindrops on trees and shrubs. It sounds boring, but I don’t think it is.

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I know I’ve rambled on before about how days that seem monochromatic never really are. The tree bark above is further evidence: just look close enough and you’ll see the colors.

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I’m very fond of our rainy gray winters. This is one example of why.

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There’s a lot to see in a drop of water.

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You just have to look.

January 12, 2014

Coveting My Neighors Plants: Pink Dawn Viburnum

Meet my latest obsession: Pink Dawn Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense), also known as Bodnant Viburnum.

Pink Mystery 3

I met this airy, delicate shrub on New Years Eve, growing between two hulking sequoias at the park near my house. I saw the little pink clusters of flowers from across the park and immediately hurried across the muddy grass to get a closer look.

Pink Mystery 4

They are not only a beautiful shade of pink, they also have a light, sweet fragrance. Blossoms! In late December! Smell pretty! I took so many pictures.

Pink Mystery 5

I love that the buds are a rich magenta, and then the blossom opens and it’s the palest of pinks.

Pink Mystery 1

Someday when I have a yard that I can plant shrubs in, this is going to be the first one I find a home for.

Pink Mystery 2



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