Mt. Rainier- Sunrise and Beyond

I’ve gotten in this new habit of taking an afternoon off from the 9-5 to go adventure off in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. With so many destinations within a few hours’ drive, it seems wasteful not to.  It transforms a day from a morning of meetings to an afternoon of outdoor bliss.  This time, I took to the mountain with my favorite adventure and photography friend Mary Jo.    We decided on a simple hike to the Fremont Fire Lookout.  What was supposed to be a casual 5 mile hike, proved to be more difficult for us than expected. Lots of breaks for “photos” and conversation made the trip much easier.  Once we reached our destination, we celebrated with a libation and a lot of photo taking.  Back down was much easier, with many stops to take in the gorgeous Mountain Sunset and wildlife.  It may have been dark when we got back to the car, but we both agreed it was worth the adventure.

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Secret Gardens

I can’t seem to get out of the greens lately.  I have been fixated on greenery and plants.  I promise to branch out (pun totally intended) with my photography now that the weather is cooperating. I am cooking up some projects to keep the creativity flowing.

This week brought me to Wright Park Arboretum and the W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Tacoma. I met up with a fellow photographer, Mary of Mary Jo Photography to catch up and to talk photography, business, and adventures. She was even able to take a new “about me” photo for the blog here. She’s the best- she brings life and fun to her photos- and does weddings! Check her out.

Back to the Conservatory- this place is a small hidden little gem in the center of a busy city. The glass and green seem to come out of no where.  It opened in 1908 by a local park commissioner as a gift to the city. It holds beautiful Victorian details that are covered in shades of green.  While small, it is worth the $3 admission to take it in.  I found every texture in the book and the subtle humidity and warmth was welcomed on a spring day.

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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?

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Calligraphy- a nearly lost art

I’m not sure about anyone else in my immediate generation, but I haven’t really written cursive since Mrs. Petrich’s 4th grade class. It’s slightly depressing to see my attempts at formal cursive- nothing seems to properly connect, and as for scale? Totally non-existent.

Enter Calligraphy, and a lovely local artist, trying her best to rekindle this dear pastime. Caitlin Dundon of One Heart Studio in Ballard, Washington is meticulously mastering her craft and willing to share with any wanting to learn.  I signed up for her Into to Calligraphy course with my favorite photog-friend, Mary of Mary Jo Photography.

After venturing around Fremont and Ballard to partake in deliciousness at The Other Coast Cafe, we wandered around Venue-the location of the class. It is an incredible local store with really great locally crafted goods. It took a lot of willpower to not buy every.single.thing. in that store. I did not leave empty handed- but could have enjoyed everything there.

The class had 8 openings, 7 of which were filled. Two long tables are set up with all necessary supplies in the middle of Venue. Paper, ink, and your own take-home Calligraphy pen are included. Caitlin is attentive to learning needs, and demonstrates her craft with ease. She gives a little bit of background for each type taught.  Students are encouraged to learn the basics and add their own flair. Needless to say, I struggled immensely with my “formal” calligraphy style, but the whimsy of my innate penmanship certainly took over with plenty of support of all around.

I have all intentions of signing up for Calligraphy II: Fun and Fancy Lettering offered.  Classes start at $40. Which is  a stellar deal for the art of a diminishing craft.

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