Lower Lewis Falls

It was time for a vacation around our house last week.  We have been working machines for the last few months and it was time to pack up and check out for a bit.  We took to Lower Lewis River Falls with our favorite camping companions for our annual camping trip to enjoy the fire glow, camp meals, beautiful scenery, and of course fun & laughter.  The weather was kind, the water was crisp, and the views were unforgettable.lowerfalls2 LowerFalls1 lowerfalls11 lowerfalls3 lowerfalls4 lowerfalls7 lowerfalls8 lowerfalls5 lowerfalls10 lowerfalls6 lowerfalls9

The Blue Octopus- Sips-n-Canvas

Hi, my name is Monica. I am a craftaholic.

I certainly can’t decide which skills I would like to hone in on in the craft world, so I’ve decided to dabble in them all- and I mean ALL. This week’s adventure brought me to The Blue Octopus in Tacoma, Washington.  My dear friend over at Mary Jo Photography recommended this adventure thanks to a quick snag of a Living Social deal.  I am so glad she did. This is soley a blog about my super excitement about the entire experience. So. Much. Fun.

Walking into the studio space- The Saint Helens Ave Mercantile, you will find a creative co-op run by 4 fabulous and entrepreneurial women.   Located there is the OCD Candy Company, The Tea Works, Wolf Bear Treasures & Orcal Card Reader- Gail Scott, and of course The Blue Octopus. It is filled will all things lovely, creative, and a bit eclectic. Something for everyone really. The painting class is taught by Kerry Cole, who quit corporate job permanently a few years ago to get fully immersed in her art. Luckily for her students and the community, she did.  Her art covers the walls and can be felt in every speck of paint on the tables.  Every piece feels like it is personal and has a story.

The Sips-N-Canvas class is an opportunity for those interested in painting to dabble (stipple) their way into the paint media.  Kerry starts everyone off by having them choose an image that speaks to them.  She gets you all the supplies and techniques needed to create a masterpiece including cheese, crackers, and wine. of course wine. During the two hour class, she is patient, knowledgeable and SO encouraging.

This was one of the best guided art experiences I’ve had in a while, and would highly recommend Kerry’s classes to anyone interested in painting.  Her art is for sale on etsy, in her shop, and at exhibits. Her painting classes are open to everyone, and she even offers private parties. Who’s in?

shareabitoflovepaint1 shareabitoflovepaint2 shareabitoflovepaint3 shareabitoflovepaint4 shareabitoflovepaint6 shareabitoflovepaint5 shareabitoflovepaint7 shareabitoflovepaint9 shareabitoflovepaint8 shareabitoflovepaint10

Garden Pesto Pasta

Our garden is overflowing this year, but of only with a few things at a time.  Each week has brought a new bounty from the containers.  I had a lot of basil this week. Basil=Pesto in my mind (that is, when I don’t have fresh mozzarella cheese).

Our tomatoes aren’t quite ready, so I opted for the local baby heirlooms around.

With these ingredients, my stomach was begging for pasta. Recipe is included below:
Garden Pesto Pasta-8 Garden Pesto Pasta-9 Garden Pesto Pasta-10 Garden Pesto Pasta-12 Garden Pesto Pasta-4 Garden Pesto Pasta-6 Garden Pesto Pasta-7 Garden Pesto Pasta-2 Garden Pesto Pasta-13 Garden Pesto Pasta-14 Garden Pesto Pasta-19 Garden Pesto Pasta-21

Here is what you’ll need:

2 handfuls of basil

About a 1/4 olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

veggies of any kind, I chose tomatoes and zucchini

a little of the “shaky parmesan cheese”

 

Here is the Garden Pesto Pasta Recipe- it is super scientific:

Add basil, garlic, cheese, and olive oil to the food processor, or blender in my case, and blend until only small flecks of basil are floating around in there.

Next, cut your veggies, I used about 12 baby tomatoes and a few large slices of zucchini. Place on a cooking sheet, drizzle a little olive oil and salt, roast in the oven for a few minutes.  In that time, cook about two cups of pasta. I like firm pasta, so I chose bowtie.

First layer pasta, then veggies, then pesto, and a little more cheese.

This is a perfect meal or a great side dish in the summer if you have an incredible amount of basil, tomatoes, and zucchini.

 

 

Clear Lake, Clear Mind

It was time to pack up, power down, and go straight to the lake for me and one of my best friends. No husbands. No children (both human and canine). Just girls.  We met on White Pass at Indian Creek Campground and spent the entire day fishing (and reading) at Clear Lake.  It was a beautiful little blue paradise. Mt. Rainier was on my trail home, and I couldn’t resist a stop to take it all in. Even though only one fish was caught for the weekend, we both were able to unwind and reconnect.  Such a relaxing little mini trip.

ClearLake-11b ClearLake-1b ClearLake-14b ClearLake-4b ClearLake-7b ClearLake-3b ClearLake-8b ClearLake-6b ClearLake-5b ClearLake-9b

What This Country Needs

I recently had the opportunity to work with Broken Trail out of Olympia, Washington. They are a mainstay in the Pacific Northwest country music scene, and asked me to do some new promotional photos for them.

Broken Trail formed in 1996 and consists of four outstanding musicians and an incredible sound engineer. They play a mix of classic country, a little rock, and some of their own original songs. These guys have been known to rock local casinos, clubs, and private events.  They have a self released album, “What This Country Needs” and several scheduled performances this summer.

BrokenTrail-4C BrokenTrail-6A BrokenTrail-1B

Taking Flight

Image

I had the chance to take flight yesterday. It was just the tid bit of adventure I needed. The NW just came off a week of AMAZING weather, and it was so sad to get back to the grey cloudy usual. Before it totally clouded over, Pilot Scott offered to take me up for a quick zip above the city to snap a few photos.The ride  just solidified what I love about the Pacific Northwest. Mt. Rainier had taken center stage, downtown Olympia was it’s usual charming self, and the South Sound water was mirrored. Little bits of heaven.

ImageImageImageImage

Snow Days

This week the Northwest experienced a whole lot of snow, a whole lot of ice, and a whole lot of darkness.  Now coming from Central Washington, I am no stranger to snow. I drive an all wheel drive, go slow, and bunker down when needed. Nevertheless, I found myself worried during the inevitable disasters around us. I had the holiday off on Monday, and made it to work on Tuesday, with my boss questioning my sanity. “You’re here? It is going to get bad, you should go home..” I stayed the day and came home with no problems. The next day we woke up to more than a foot of snow on the ground. Living in a large city with limited snow removal resources, the roads were messy. My office closed, so I managed to have a relaxing and fun snow day.  The next day came the ice. It hailed, rained, and then sleeted for hours. The neighboring trees started to crack.  Then in the back, we heard the slow loud crack of a tree. Our corkscrew willow had lost its entire top.  It’s really a shame, its our favorite shade tree in the summer. A few hours the lights went out. Our house stayed dark for 36 hours. Luckily we have a gas fireplace. It kept the house at a cool 50 degrees. Of course, nothing we couldn’t handle. Neighbors were helping neighbors dig out, making sure everyone had what they needed. What a wonderful show of neighborly kindness. We dug, we laughed, and commiserated about the situation. All in all, I worked 1 of the 4 workdays this week, and loved EVERY second.