A journal entry from Friday.

I’m standing on the bridge watching maple pinwheels fall. (Helicopters didn’t exist when Anne did.) The sun is lighting them up.  One…two…and then the wind blows and hundreds detach from the branches and fall in nature’s confetti.

I’ve been thinking about the concept of being needed lately.  I want Beau to need me.  I am needed by the children for snacks and shoe tying yes – and that is all apart of nurturing.  But I mean- my beauty. My soul.

I have been struggling a great deal, for months and months really, with the idea of success. Art, my book…can I “make” it. As if my beauty is a business and if it isn’t wanted I am a failure.

Today as I stand on the bridge I am thinking of the books deemed successful. And the opposite rings true. I need Harry.  I need Anne.  I need middle earth and tea with Mr. Tumnus.

LM Montgomery had depression.  She may have even committed suicide.  Anne was her escape. The people who created these characters are almost irrelevant. Their success is not a factor that really truly matters.  My therapist said something a while ago that sticking out to me today.

“Think of all the children who need your book.”

And even deeper I am thinking of how much I have needed Flora. Perhaps I need her in the way sweet Lucy Maude needed her Anne.

faerie lanterns

I am in such an equinox fairy land mood lately! I’ve been mooning over golden age fairy paintings of fall flights. Yesterday I set my heart on finding a way to make lanterns just like theirs.  I had Lucy come over so we could brainstorm together. I started with tissue paper but it ended up looking like flowers so we went on a forest walk to collect leaves. We found the perfect pinky purplish orange leaves!  Collages57  Paintings by Arthur Rackham and William Timlin, Margaret Tarrant

These lanterns were so easy to make it’s almost silly I’ve never tried it before.  It’s just jam jars, glue stick, and leaves.  That’s it!  I used rubber bands to hold them in place.  The leaves stayed their pretty colors all evening, and today they’re dried and a little browner, but still SO pretty.  Happiness! And in case you’re worried about the leaves burning my house down, I bought some little led lights to put in them when they aren’t being supervised :)


Here’s what they look like all dried up the next morning:-23

I think this will be our new equinox tradition! The boys loved it!-24

Seattle Gardens

As summer takes its last sigh I want to reflect on the some of the gardens I got to go to this summer. First off, I went to The Northwest Flower and Garden show in the spring.  It was my first time and I have to say it’s the closest I’ve come to what I imagine the royal garden competitions to be like.  I could hardly believe the settings created from scratch in what is essentially a warehouse space. Suddenly I was in a secret garden, or an orchid jungle, or a new mexico retreat.  And they were created overnight! Think Willy Wonka meets Greenfingers. I went by myself, feeling very nervous, wearing my bright flower embroidered sweater and the woman taking tickets at the door exclaimed, “You’re prettier than the gardens in there!” I know that’s bragging, but I loved it so much.  It set the tone for how lovely gardeners and garden lovers are.  They see beauty in nature and simple color and delicate shapes, and aren’t afraid to delight in it and plant a seed and make more of it to share.  I decided I must see more of what others had to share.   And so public garden viewing commenced!

Gardens visited this spring/summer:

1. Purple Haze Lavender Farm and Jarin du Soleil lavender farm in Sequim.


2. Orin and Althea’s garden at the UW center for urban Horticulture. (and the adjoining scented garden). This garden is only a couple of miles away from me and I went almost every week. It’s so serene and lovely and there’s a walk to the lake that takes you through gorgeous meadow and a landscaped orchard. I really cannot believe it’s free.  I always feel like I’m traversing on someones hallowed private property when I go.  It’s my favorite garden/countryside experience in the city.20140717-142829-52109505.jpgIMG_688120140717-143128-52288422.jpg


The following are from the Union Bay natural area connected to the urban horticultural center.


-5-11-123. The bee garden/ veggie patch/ courtyard in the arboretum. (And of course the arboretum in general)

IMG_6985-13  -194. The UW herb garden. This place is unreal.  It’s like going to a terraced garden in italy.  And as an educational garden it has every herb you can possibly think of.  I’ve been back three times and there’s always something new and exotic blooming. 20140802-135921-50361082.jpg20140802-135922-50362901.jpg-3-17-15


5. The UW rose garden. The entire uni is beautiful and makes you feel like you’re in england, but none so more as the castle ish buildings and meticulously planted roses around the big fountain. A new park is going in next to this, with a train to downtown so I basked in its current summer time seclusion!-1-1620140802-135920-50360477.jpg


This woman in on the front of the uw library, just up the steps from the rose garden.

-185. Ravenna Gardens…this is my happy place.  There’s a fountain right next to it (and anthropologie and eateries and UVillage all around it) and it makes me happy every time I go. Sometimes I even just go and park in front of it in the early morning to journal. The flowers are sectioned by color… and the shop is inside a conservatory.  LOVE!       20140802-135920-50360032.jpg

6. Meerkirk rhododendron Garden on Whidbey Island. I went specifically for the daffodils this time, before all of the rhodies bloomed. It’s beautiful no matter when you go!     20140328-192457.jpg

7. One of the many gardens at the garden show. 20140313-211305.jpg8. My mom’s garden. 70 roses, a view of the sea, an orchard next door, and a pool.  Need I say more??-7-149. The Japanese Garden at the Arboretum (I’ve featured this one several times on the blog. It’s a favorite!)-8

10. The blue bell wood! In Ravenna Park.DSC04797  DSC04808

11. I want to include Discovery Park for the wildflowers. There were so many different varieties on our last adventure there I just couldn’t believe I was still in the middle of an urban world. 20140622-092039-33639703.jpg

12. And of course…my own garden! Here’s me with my bounty of lilacs last spring!


Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 10.17.44 PMHappy garden hunting! I promise there’s more secret gardens lurking around the corner than you can possibly imagine.  If you have one I don’t know about please dish!

Edit: how could I forget? The conservatory at Volunteer Park! It’s in renovations right now, but still fun to go to. The dahlias are blooming nearby in the park too! IMG_5181.JPGIMG_5178.JPGIMG_5166.JPG

Lakeshore flowers.

Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
– W.B. Yeats

The White lake

“Blanca lake trail…you broke my spirit on the way up, and broke my heart on the way down, but we had one hour of bliss in between,” Random Instagrammer.img_9909 Ha! Yesterday Beau and I hiked to Blanca Lake. It’s the most aqua lake in Washington State.  To get there you have to go up steep grueling switchbacks 3 and a half miles up a steep mountain. There was a sign before we started detailing some of the hike and it said it was HARD in capital letters.  It was. Beau hardly seemed to get tired at all but I felt like I might pass out every few minutes. I’ve been running a couple times a week so I thought I was more in shape! By the time we were done I could barely walk. But it was so worth it!  The woods were so lovely. They were covered in fall mushrooms and turning leaves.  Then once we came up out of the treeline the ridge was covered in blueberry bushes and bright green meadow where the snow had melted. Butterflies kept landing on me and little Pikas were peeking out of the rocks.IMG_9908.JPGThe lake is like something out of a sci fi.  I kept having to remind myself that there wasn’t something wrong with my eyes.  Beau called it murky emerald. I called it double mint gum. My phone couldn’t capture it, but the waves were an electric green. It looks like it should be warm, but it’s freezing.  That didn’t stop people from jumping in though! Girls were laying out on the rocks in their bikinis and dudes had their go pros out. It was a pretty popular spot!  But I didn’t mind the company.  Everyone was so friendly.  It felt like we were all in this crazy hike together.  We made friends with the people we kept passing back and forth with on the switchbacks.  They had a shiba inu so I felt like I was doing the hike with a fox! Also of note…I counted 10 natural red heads on the hike.  10! 11 including the shiba inu. I’m dying my hair today!

6a00e54fcf738588340167694acd17970b-580wiBeau said the lake reminded him of something like The Lady of the Lake or Avalon.  It really is something magical to behold! (painting by Arthur Rackham)

blush and honey and ruffle and plaid.

Well, it’s happening again.  I’ve got that Anne in Windy Poplars feel and I’ve got an itch to wear a plaid cape and shoes with buttons. Collages38Today I perused Mod Cloth for the latest trends…which I cannot afford right now (because I want to eventually go to Ireland and Prague and Disneyland with all the non-money I have), but love looking at and trying to emulate nonetheless!  I love making collages.  Holing up by a fire, drinking a big mug of tea with butter cookies, and searching through my favorite shop websites to make silly albums of clothes I’ll never wear is a favorite fall pastime.   Anyhoo… Everything in this collage is from Mod Cloth, except for the cape…that’s from Ireland on Amazon. WANT. But maybe I could find some plaid fabric and just sort of drape it…huh. Oh and the servewear is from Anthro. Collages33The other thing I do EVERY SINGLE FALL is swoon over red heads.  See that top right picture?  That’s the picture that came with the henna I just ordered. I want to be strawberry blond and as natural red as I can muster. I’m so excited! Many of the red haired lovelies I know dye their hair brown or blonde and it is a shame, I tell you.  Natural red hair is like magic. I think they have fairy or mermaid ancestry. Desktop13


I love September.  It snuck up on me a few years ago. It used to make me cringe and worry about dark days and school, but now it’s one of my favorite months.  It’s still warm, yet the air changes into a golden, spicy, tangible hue. September feels like the hues of an Edmund Dulac painting to me:edmund dulacThere’s something in the shadows.  They’re longer and crisper, and the difference between golden leaves and dark hollows is more pronounced. I went for a run in the woods today and the valley smelled strongly of cedar and a sweet fruity smell like ripening apples. The earth gave a crunch and dust motes swirled. Autumn is making her way through the wood. I stood on the bridge looking over the canopy and little yellow birds flew from branch to branch.  A bright golden bug swirled far away in a shadow.  It caught the light and sparkled at me. I imagined it was a fairy.  The spirit of fall waiting, perhaps.   Collages28

The Green Isle calling.

You know what’s been whispering to me lately?  Ireland.  I’m not really sure why.  I follow some British folks on Instagram and see their meanderings in the isles, so that made me long for far off sandy coves and green glens, but it’s more than that.

Yesterday I was walking with the boys from the doughnut shop to the library and a little gentleman with orange hair and a plaid coat walked past, then turned, looked me in the eyes, and said, “top of the morning to you.”

This was after the Collins siblings had taken us to an irish pub in Cannon Beach and the place we stayed just happened to have mossy green rocks straight out of a stone circle. I kept imagining I was there as we toured little sea caves and I picked flowers in the green banks along the river.

Then my mother in law pulled a beautiful floral book off the shelf and said, “This book looks like you.” it was a book about a small sea village in Ireland. (I wish I’d written down the name of it…oops).

I have Irish heritage.  I have the freckles and green eyes and a red headed mother with Irish citizenship to prove it… but I’ve never been. My family has all been a few times but it’s never been a very large draw for me.  But now it feels as though it wants me.

Can that happen?  Can a place call to you to come to it? Are the rocks remembering my ancestor’s home and seeking to find her children? Should I go?  Or is there still some other meaning yet to be discovered?

Maybe I just need to dye my hair red.

In the meantime I’ll bask in the beauty I got to be in this past week. (All the collage pictures are from Arch Cape and Hug Point on the Oregon Coast) Can you see why I kept thinking of the green isle?Desktop10West coast, best coast!



My Family.

Oliver Finn Harry 2014 2-001The-Collins-2014-188The-Collins-2014-203-1The-Collins-2014-190The-Collins-2014-196oliver finn harry laughingThe-Collins-2014-205This weekend we stayed with the Collins family in Arch Cape on the Oregon Coast. The extended family had some photos taken by Portland based Kristine Ridley. We took the opportunity to have some romantic pictures of Beau and I taken. I never think to plan for this type of thing so it was lovely to have it land in my lap!  (We haven’t had any of just the two of us since our wedding!) I LOVE how they turned out.  The boys were being complete crazies that day so I opted out of photos with  them, but when we got home they were all in such a happy mood, tan, and sparkling I sat them down on Finn’s bed and promised them pop corn if we took a good one.  (I also went cross eyed and said “fart” a few times). I am so over the moon delighted with the shining souls I get to be with every day. All of my boys are treasures, each their own shade of gem.

Happy September!