Year in Review: Beautiful Places

It still feels like a time for reflection almost a week into January, and while browsing through some photos I realized that I’ve been to some pretty awesome places in the past year.

Deception Pass in the Spring

NYC’s High Line

Boulder, Colorado

Tree Bookshelf

Such a cute, sweet idea. A tree design that holds books.
Design by Shawn Soh

All Vespertine

Photo credit to Lala Fisher.

While listening to Bjork, realized I didn’t know what “vespertine” means – just means “something of, relating to, or occurring in the evening”. How pretty. So what are some favorite vespertine flowers in the garden? Moonflower, evening primrose, and night-scented stock!

Orange and White Birdhouse

Would you move in if you were a bird?

The newest addition to my (lawn-free!) front yard.

My First Client

I had my first client four years ago. It was for a female coworker in Florida, and she wanted me to create some containers to brighten up her backyard pool area. Unfortunately I lost the photos of the final results, but I did find this little gem! It was a splendid spring day and I was still driving around in that blue jetta.

I learned so many things from my first real-world experience: pricing supplies, charging appropriately for time spent, and how narrow profit margins can be without proper research! Thanks Judy for the experience!

Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes

The first time I dyed with natural plant material, it was for Easter eggs. My mother showed me how onion skins can be used to produce a rich, warm brown for plain white eggs. I didn’t appreciate it as much when I was little, perhaps I just had a preference at the time for the electric blues and pinks that come in most egg coloring kits. But now I’m growing an organic garden, and I’m looking for ways to avoid harsh chemicals in many other areas. So when I saw this book, I was definitely curious.

The crafts illustrated in The Handbook of Natural Dyes are gorgeous. The hues range from soft purples, browns, and greys to vibrant yellows and greens. The ranges in the colors produced from certain plants is affected greatly by the mordant (“fixative”) used. The author Sasha Duerr explains everything you need to know, and also provides a number of great ideas for your own creative ventures.

So now you have a great use for any extra blackberries in your garden, coffee grounds, or even old herbs from your spice rack.

The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes, available from Timber Press for $19.95.

Zooming In

So great to be using a microscope again! We were using guides last night to identify flowers from plants in the Grossulariaceae (Currant), Rosaceae (Rose), and Asteraceae (Sunflower) families.

Plant Identification

After a few years of putting off learning more about botany, I finally enrolled this spring in a plant identification course at the University of Washington. This was partially spurred by a humbling moment in a new client’s yard where I thought I knew the name of a plant and it just wouldn’t come to me. I’m usually pretty good, but I also didn’t grow up in the Pacific Northwest so there is still a lot for me to learn!

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