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Driftwood, for some it is a piece of wood found washed ashore.  For others, it is a sculpture, a piece of art that is often added to a home or garden to be enjoyed.  I photographed the opening of a women’s clothing consignment store in a small Seattle neighborhood, Madrona.  I’ve lived in Seattle for over 15 years and have enjoyed watching Madrona grow from a sleepy neighborhood into one that is quite charming.  I feel the addition of retailers like; Juniper, Glassy Baby, Hitchcock and Driftwood have been instrumental in this neighborhoods growth.

This summer I had the pleasure of assisting the owner of Juniper with the lighting for her store.  Since opening her store, she’s had the same lighting and this summer wanted to add new lighting to reflect her taste, her style and to give a little punch of light to some dark areas in the store.  I have experience with lighting so was happy to help and photographed the new lights here.   So, after having worked with Lisa I was hoping to do more.  I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into Driftwood and was asked by Natalie if I would photograph the opening of her new retail location (across the street from her old space).  I was thrilled.  These are the photos from that night.  (it’s a long one).

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i was born in the fall and love fall for that reason and many more.  the crisp mornings, the shadows and the incredible lighting of the days are a few of the reasons this is my favorite season.  now that i have kids i look for many opportunities to explore fall with them.  one of my favorites are farm tours.  i didn’t grow up on a farm but my dad did.  i used to spend a few weeks every summer at my grandparents farm and feel so appreciative of that opportunity.  i loved to explore the farm as a child and some of my fondest memories were; taking the cows out to pasture and bringing them back, fishing in the pond and playing make believe on the farm equipment (i pretended the farm equipment were spaceships and the nuts and bolts were the controls).  yesterday we took our kids out to whidbey island for the 2012 whidbey island farm tour . here are the highlights…

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life has it’s many struggles and the introductions of kids does not make those struggles any easier.  kids can do some remarkable things to you, to your life.  they make you more aware of what is important and who you are as a person.  lately i’ve been meeting many new people, women actually.   school has started, a new school, which means meeting new families, new women.  the “d” word has been a common conversation piece.  it seems that the parents groups i am a part of and the new moms i am meeting all have something in common; divorce.  it seems to be the “in” thing or maybe it is because of my own marital struggles i am more aware of this.  blogging about marital problems you may ask?  well, sometimes when it is difficult to talk about the things at home an outlet is needed.   i am not here to share my dirty laundry nor do i want to stay hidden behind a curtain.  having kids has changed me.  it has changed us.  i just don’t know if the changes in us can live together or if they are best to live a part.  this is not an easy decision and is even more challenging when young kids are involved.  how do you work through difficulties and still be the role models you want to be for your kids?  i’m not sure what the future will be, all i know is although it may be a rocky one, i have confidence that the correct path will reveal itself to us.  

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I was reading a blog post recently from Otto von Münchow called Patiently Painting Walls.  It really hit home for me.  I was struggling with my own insecurities of no longer working with a non-profit organization I have grown to love.   I started with this organization with little to no experience with photography.  I had a relationship with a person at this organization who felt something when she saw my photos and encouraged me to explore it.  Through conversation I soon became the volunteer photographer for this non-profit.

Recently, however, the board of directors have elected to not have me volunteer anymore and are moving in the direction of putting the photography services out to bid.  I am an artist so immediately this brought out all sorts of insecurities in me.  I had to challenged myself to sit down and look at what I was being presented with, what they were telling me instead of looking at all of the negative self talk I am accustomed to.  This negative self talk can often be my safe place to go.   Can you believe that?  Negative self talk is my safe place? My comfort zone?  Ridiculous isn’t it?  Well, fortunately Otto’s blog post came along at just the right time.  It wasn’t just his post but one of the comments that really struck me;  “I guess it’s important in creativity, photography or any other pursuit that you stick with it. I remember when I was doing martial arts that there were a few people who started around the same time as me, but didn’t train as often, or as hard, and then disappeared, only to come back a few months later. Sure enough, their skill level was way below mine, and their lack of practice meant a lack of progress and soon they quit. They didn’t have the guts or the patience to stick with it, even though they were surrounded by people at the gym who were local and national champions to inspire and coach them. I’m too old and too injured now to train, photography is far safer, but the lesson I took from martial arts is that there are no shortcuts in any activity worth pursuing!”  This comment was important to me because one of the negative things I tell myself is “give up, this photography thing isn’t really for you”.

I now am looking at this with appreciation.  I am challenging myself to continue my education, I am trying to find away to attend a challenging workshop that is my dream, AND I am reflecting on the appreciation and gratitude I have for this non-profit organization.  If I hadn’t had the opportunity to work for them I wouldn’t have the wonderful relationships with the many incredible staff and their clients that I do  and it was because of the work that I did that has provided me with the photography path I want to pursue.  I also have to remember that I brought some pretty great things to this organization.  I gave them photos.  They never had their own photos before and this was a gift I presented to them.  I also came up with the idea to have a video showing the work they do at their annual fundraising luncheon.  This has become an annual thing for them and it was an idea I presented.  Things happen for a reason and although we do not see it at this moment we will soon.  Each experience we have is a stepping stone to more incredible opportunities to come.

These photos are some of the wonderful clients I met while volunteering my time.

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i look at other families and wonder how they seem to have it all together?  i feel that we are always, somehow, out of sync as a family.  we chose a to take a brief vacation while having our long awaited back splash installed in our kitchen and carpeting in our basement.   the place we decided on was my idea.  it was an inn + winery in eastern washington.  i heard friends rave about this place and remembered they had yurts so thought i’d check into it.  the location, the heat, the pool, and location seemed ideal for a brief family get-a-way.  i proposed the idea and SOLD, we made the plan to go.

it seemed like the best of all worlds; great activities for the family and a little wine tasting and relaxation for my hubby and me.  what i didn’t realize was the inn was in the middle of nowhere.  now with 2 young kids it is important to have plenty of snacks and activities for them to enjoy.  i assumed if we needed we could just run to the grocery store and pick up what we needed.  i had no idea that the nearest town was almost a 30 minute drive away and the grocery stores were not quite what we were used to.  oh no!  the inn had a restaurant but it was fine dining.  not the place to take kids and relax.  ooops!  we didn’t do our research well.

extra activities outside of the hotel were not quite what we imagined but we had fun anyhow.  we explored a petrified forest, played in the awesome hotel pool, saw some dinosaurs, more play in the hotel pool, found a quirky little town on the columbia river that had a nice sand bar for the kids to play, make sand castles and to just have fun and more play in the hotel pool.  when the trip ended the kids were sad.  aaah, success.  funny, the kids had no idea of the challenges we had.

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beautiful scarf by le.sens and wall art by marigold + mint

south of the heart of the madrona neighborhood you will find a charming clothing and accessory store, juniper. the owner of the store, lisa, has created a store that isn’t full of simply beautiful pieces but a collection of well thought out designers and their items that are timeless, developed with a sense of care and genuine integrity (as quoted from her “about” section).  i’ve known lisa for many years when she worked at another retail store.  she was one of my go-to people because of her sense of style and recommendations.  i was disappointed when she left and found myself excited when i heard she opened her own store.  i knew it would become one of my favorite places to shop.

lovely fabric bags by dominique picquier

this summer i stumbled upon an opportunity to help lisa with the lighting design for her store.  she was discussing a lighting makeover when i happened to stop in.  lighting is a career i had pre-children.  i eavesdropped on the conversation and then started talking to her about it and before i knew it i was helping her.  my approach was simple.  i listened to lisa explain the areas in the store that she felt needed a boost in lighting.  she also wanted a sense of her style in the decorative fixtures she selected.  i suggested to her some simple products that would boost the light levels where she wanted and provided her with some guidelines and direction as to the decorative fixtures she was interested in.  she would then select research and select the lighting fixtures she was interested in and send them to me for my comments.  the result is in the photos you see.  i only wish i had taken “before” shots.  the lighting is beautiful and representative of lisa and the look of her store.  simple and elegant.

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My youngest child has this wonderful spirit about her.  I’ve started to collect photos of her to in hopes of creating a little photo project, over time.  I have two children, a boy (older) and a girl.  I love them both dearly.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but there is something about my daughter that has me wanting to parent her in a different way.  I treat her a little differently than I do my son, with a different expectation.  It’s not bad but there is something different.  I see something similar in other moms too.  I listen when they talk to their sons and then to their daughters.  Something different.  I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet and find I’m challenged with finding words to describe how I feel and hope that through photos my words will start to show, visually.   So, for now it will be just photos and hopefully in the future a story.

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Last weekend we took a much needed adventure.  Things were pretty crazy around the house as my son was entering a stage of trying to be more independent.  I love the fact my kids have always been independent and adventurous but this new stage is more than I bargained for.  So, after a lot of stress around the house we decided it was time to hit the road for some new scenery and fun.  I suggested we could either head east and visit Roslyn (home to the 1990-95 hit Northern Exposure) and Lake Kachess or we could head north to Bow-Edison and Mt. Vernon (Skagit Valley) area.  My husband said north.  Oh what a lovely choice he made.  The moment we pulled off of I-5 onto highway 11 I was in heaven.  I love farm land, it makes me a little homesick.  I grew up in a rural area with many farms around us including the pig farm next door.

Edison is this charming town hidden in the Skagit Valley on a lovely road called Farm to Market.  If you are heading north on Farm to Market you first come to the Farm to Market Bakery.  Quite the yummy spot to stop at for a sweet treat or even a savory one too.  We stopped for what we thought would be a moment but my kids met a young girl there and it turned out to be over an hour of fun for the kids and a relaxing moment sitting outside on a beautiful sunny day for my husband and me.

As we strolled along in this quaint little town, we saw many reasons that would warrant a second trip back and more than likely an overnight trip.  I could see this as being a lovely little get-a-way.  The town is a true artists town with wonderful gallery’s and restaurants that any “foodie” would love to spend time in.  We had our lunch at Slough Food. Love the name and love the slough.  When you walk in you are introduced to a retail store of specialty foods and wine (yum) and as you walk out back (outside) you stumble into a beautiful little courtyard set up for wine tasting and slough side enjoyment.  The kids picked a table at the very back that had this wonderful view of the slough.  J was so happy he even took time to smell the roses (it was a sunflower, actually).

After a long afternoon of wandering and enjoying the town, the people and the beautiful galleries we decided it was time to head home.  BUT, we first had to take a little drive to Sammish Island in hopes of spending a little time frolicking in the water.  It truly was a beautiful day.

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