Native Hedging: Pacific Wax Myrtle

Last summer our neighbors to the south underwent a massive yard overhaul. Unfortunately, it resulted in us loosing a lot of our privacy…grrr.

Since then, Matt and I have considered fencing, shrubs, evergreens and every other kind of hedge/barrier/privacy screen possible.

After calling some nurserys and doing some online digging we found the ideal plant for us: pacific wax myrtle. This native plant is deer resistant, hardy, evergreen, and grows FAST…exactly what we wanted! However, it is hard to find. We called nursery after nursery, looked online, everything was not in stock. Our island nursery said it had been over a year since they could get any in because they are in such low supply.

Then finally, I found a supplier. Local guy, super friendly, and he set aside twenty, 1 gallon pots for us. I loaded them up in the mini (this poor car gets a workout!) and took them back to the island. Since they have been in pots, they needed some trimming this first season to encourage bushing out.

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We planted them along the property line and are so excited for them to grow up and bush out over the next few years!

Snow Day

It is not often that we get snow on our little Pacific Northwest island. In the past few weeks, Matt has been quite vocal about that fact, beamoaning that we will NEVER get the snow that he always hoped to have in the place he grew up to live. Then, Sunday morning, we got a winter storm advisory. It promised 3-6 inches of glorious snow. Skeptical, but optimistic, I went to the grocery store to stock up on staples.

About 30 minutes after getting home the snow started. First very wet and more rain than snow. Then around 6pm the flakes started. They did not stop until nearly noon the next day! We woke up to 6 inches covering our little island world!

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The silence is my favorite part of snowfall. No cars on the road. It was magical. Matt and I walked around the property then retreated indoors for hot oatmeal and cocoa. I worked from home for the day, and he played in the snow. All was pretty great, and then the power went out. Typically we have backup heat with our natural gas fireplace…but it is still disconnected due to the remodel. Thankfully we had cranked out heat pump that AM and things coasted pretty well for most of the day.

By noon we had over 7 inches, and we could tell it was going to start warming up. Every branch was coated and drooping. It was stunning outside! Limbs were snapping all across the island, and we were lucky that the big on that broke in our yard missed the chicken coop by a few feet. Took out some of the fence but that is easily fixable.

By evening it was pretty chilly. We layered up and lit some candles. Played a few games. Watched the daylight fade from the sky. I cooked up a romantic dinner for two: salads and tuna mac&cheese with sweet pickles (one of our weird favorites). Comfort food at it’s best, eaten in a 46 degree house.

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The snow was such a treat!

Seaglass for Climate Change Awareness

Last November I launched into a new phase of my artistic career: seaglass mobiles. In January I launched my Etsy shop and in June applied for my first art show.

This past week I was featured in the Museum of Northwest Art’s SURGE Climate Change Awareness show. It was an honor to be a part of this wonderful exhibit both with beauty and a purpose.

My piece was the largest I have made (so far!) 8 feet long and 6 feet tall! That is a lot of glass. For this particular project I crowd sourced seaglass from collectors around the world to further enhance the message of impact. All of us love to collect, and are directly impacted by the rising and changing seas and tides.

Perfect PDX Surf Weekend

A few months ago we were searching for a couple to join us at the coast for a weekend of yurting and surfing. After texting and emailing everyone we knew, it was my parents that ended up coming with us and it was a lot of fun. The practice of reaching out generated a lot of fun conversations through, and sparked my friend Emily and her husband Ryan to say “we can’t go, but let’s get something on the calendar!” and we did! We set aside a late July weekend and before we knew it, it was here. We made plans to do a quick weekend trip to Portland and tacked on a surf day in Manzanita. Result: seriously one of the best trips ever!

Now, let’s backtrack a bit. Emily and I had actually only ever met 3 times prior, but had always instantly hit it off. Matt and Ryan were added to the mix last time we hung out, at a mutual friend’s wedding over two years ago (!) but we all clicked so well that it was not had to imagine that this trip would be awesome.

Matt and I woke up early, strapped our surf board to the roof of the car and hopped on a 7:30 ferry to Southworth (super sneaky bonus of living on Vashon…no I-5 to get to the coast!) and were walking down the trail to Short Sands by noon. We love this beach and had surfed on a prior trip, but this time the conditions were perfect. No current at all. Great clean sets of gentle but largeish waves. We both caught some amazing rides. We rented 1 board (we are in the market for a second for us) and switched back and forth with ours. The water was clear and warm (for PNW standards) and we were in the water until after 5PM surfing until we could surf no more.

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A week prior we snagged an opening at Nehalem Bay State Park campground (super crowded campsite, but free hot showers and easy access to the beach) and set up camp. We got a pizza and salad to go at Marzanos and ate it on the beach while watching the sun go down. Then we slept; exhausted from a full day in the water.

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By 7:30 the next morning we had packed up and left with the rest of the campground still asleep. Breakfast was coffee and chocolate chip zucchini bread on the beach, we checked out Indian Beach at Ecola State Park to kill 20 minutes while the surf shop opened, returned out board and hit the road to Portland.

Emily and Ryan welcomed us to their sweet new house in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, and then we headed out for a full day of adventure, food and good conversation. As I mentioned, we really do not know each other that well, and it was so refreshing to have a full day to learn more about each other! We hit up all four quadrants of Portland and so much good food.

Stop 1: ¿Por Que No? for tacos. This hole in the wall gem was awesome. Matt and I shared 5 different tacos and ate them like wine tasting…lightest to darkest starting with the pescado and ending with smoky barbacoa. My favorite? Carnitas. So good!

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Stop 2: Saturday Market. What is there to say about the Saturday Market? Art vendors, food trucks, promenade along the river? Great time to just be outdoors in Portland. Emily and I both picked up some local art and the husbands talked about beer…which took us to our next stop…

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Stop 3: Bridgeport Brewery for some summertime refreshment. Let’s just say 20oz glasses of IPA in the summer made us all a little extra happy and it was nice that Emily is pregnant and happy to be our DD. Lots and lots of laughter and stories over beers drummed up conversation about dinner (aka more food!) and the idea of sushi. Emily got a glint in her eye and hatched a plan to take us to another neighborhood.

Stop 4: Saburo’s Sushi. Hole in the wall, nothing fancy from the outside…except that usually it has at least a 90 minute wait. We lucked out with a 20 minute wait. BEST SUSHI EVER! Huge rolls, super fresh, reasonably priced. We tried 5 or 6 different rolls and had leftovers. Leftovers from sushi? That NEVER happens! Real crab in the California roll even. We will be back.

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Stop 5: game shop #1 and #2 to buy Settlers of Catan.

Stop 6: attempted Salt and Straw ice cream but saw the line and just went home to play games!

After an evening of games we crashed, and the next morning went for breakfast and then parted ways. It was so much fun to catch up with Ryan and Emily and see their beautiful city.

Matt and I had a few more to-dos in town…unfortunately checking out the surf shops for used boards was out since they are closed Sunday (boo!). What was a success was revisiting Sat and Straw. Ice cream right after breakfast? Why not! That is what road trips are for right?!

We waltzed in at 11:08am (no line!) and tried ~10 different flavors. I settled on VEGAN mint coconut chocolate whoopee pie. Seriously amazing and possibly some of the best ice cream I have ever had…and totally vegan/dairy free! We were impressed. Matt had excellent bourbon coffee and salted caramel swirl. We sat in the sunshine and enjoyed our ice cream. Perfect end to a weekend.

The drive back to Vashon was pretty painless. Sneaking up to Southworth and skipping I-5 is the way to go. Pulled up just in time for a boat and was home by 4:00. Awesome weekend…and cannot wait to go back to Portland!

SURGE – Artist and Science for Climate Change

I am thrilled to announce that I will be featured in my first official art show with a seaglass piece from my artistic endeavor, Sun Turtle Studio!

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A local exhibit will be featuring artists partnering with scientists to explore and visualize the impacts and risks of climate change. I am working with a scientist from Western Washington University to put together a massive seaglass mosaic – as in HUGE, like 5 feet by 5 feet of hanging glass. Now, I do not have nearly enough in my own personal collection to pull this off, so I have called on the global seaglass collectors through social media to contribute! I am receiving donations from all over the world. It is amazing.

Want to see the piece I am working on? Progress will be shared on Instagram @sunturtlestudio. The show will run at the Museum of Northwest Art September 17-25 in La Conner, WA.

Memorial Day Goals

Memorial Day snuck up on me this year. What? Three day weekend? I will gladly take one of those!

The weekend looks wet and cool, then next week promises sunshine and warmer night temperatures…perfect for my garden goal of tucking in 50+ tomato plants! This year I saved seeds from our three favorite varieties (Old German, Milano and Sun Sugar) and every single seed I planted has now grown into a beautiful strong plant. We transport them from the deck to the living room every day and they are now ready to plant outside. I plan to tear out the last of the chard and kale plants (all are bolted…perfect for chicken treats and harvesting seed!), put down a thick layer of compost and broadfork it all in.

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We also have a massive pile (if you can even call it a pile…more of a mountain) of sticks and branches that need to be chipped. If we can get the chipper started that would be a great thing to tackle this weekend. Some of the larger sticks may get repurposed thanks to this inspiring fence idea.

Matt is finishing up the hardwood floors in the expanded kitchen and then it will be on to finish coating the drywall, adding texture and building cabinets. Time to pick up the tool library table saw!

This three day weekend is going to fly.

Mermaid Treasure: Sea Glass Mobiles

I have officially caught the sea glass bug. A month ago I did not even know that it existed! But after inspiration in Kauai, followed by collecting back in the PNW AND finding a creative art outlet with it…I am hooked.

This past week I completed my first FULL mobile. Isn’t it stunning? Teal and other ocean hues collected from Kauai and home:

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I am on a roll with seven more in production and many more in the planning stage. I have plans for these first few and then am looking at outlets to sell them. Etsy? Some island shops? Word of mouth? I am exploring my options and will see how it goes. More finished mobile pics coming soon!

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My “studio” is currently the (very crowded) dining room table. I would love to set up in a more comfortable (and warmer) part of the house but construction and drywall dust reign pretty much all other spaces right now.

How is that going you ask? Awesome! This week Matt ripped out old lath and plaster from the interior of the to-be guest room closet and put up fresh, clean and non-crumbling drywall. The closet feels cleaner and much less creepy. The attic access is through the ceiling so he rebuilt that too. Since it is cold and rainy though the mud dries slowly so progress is not as fast as we would always hope. So like I said last week, maybe THIS week we will be wrapping up this phase!

In between rounds of tying sea glass this weekend we managed to get a ton done. I baked 3 kinds of biscotti, planted daffodils and 40+ chestnut trees (!), took a beach walk, went to town and cleaned up the yard. Matt was buried in the closet surrounded by dust.IMG_9405[1]

Christmas will be a lovely pause from all this work and filled with family and rest. We are looking forward to it even if our poor tree has not made it up yet.