June 22, 2009

Fibers and Inks

I'm supposed to be packing. Instead that task is being avoided by posting three photos that have nothing and everything in common.

My photo making excursions are most often taken on my own, wandering around observing and capturing. More of a quiet and contemplative process. And then there are the photos made when I am also enjoying the company of others.

The photos above were taken during different outings with camera buddies, my husband and friends respectfully. The difference in the two types of photos...one has unseen laughter and fun carried in the fibers and inks of the finished results. Those are the photos that make me smile every time I look at them. Reminders of treasured moments.

I'm so excited to head down the road tomorrow for a few days with folks who all enjoy playing with fabric, paint, yarn, threads and any number of other things in Portland, OR. It will be wonderful to rev up the right side of my brain mid-week. And while I'm there, I'll be making a few more pictures with unseen laughter. Hope you will be making some time for laughter this week as well.

The photos: Top, a feather cloud in Gig Harbor, WA. Middle, a tin building in Idaho. Below, a sidewalk garden in Gig Harbor, WA.

June 21, 2009

Work Can Be Fun

For a good example on how to keep some fun in your daily job try THIS! Surely this Rhode Island policeman is keeping the towns road rage numbers low. The intersection outside my workplace could sure use him.

June 20, 2009

Turning the Tattered Pages

Continue to exist; be prolonged

Antique stores are a calming pleasure for me, serving as a reminder that objects can sometimes endure against all odds, circumstances and stages of decay. They persist, endure. In doing so they present histories that beg to be revealed.

Who, what, when, where and how questions arise, especially when those items seem to hold some connection to peoples daily lives.

Who wore this hat? Who did the lovely hand work?

What attic held this tattered lampshade beyond it's years?

When did this amber glass take center stage in someones home?

Where did life take the little girl who once loved
the doll in the store window.

How do such fragile and well loved treasures remain intact.

Stories waiting to unfold hide in the nooks and crannies of antique stores. They sit on window sills, tables and shelves, changing colors, gathering dust and waiting for you to come find them. Waiting for you to turn the tattered pages of the past.

June 12, 2009

Woven Brooms, Dreams and Stitches

Promise (Noun)
A declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or
that guarantees a particular thing will happen.

My grandfather believed that the promised outcome of working in a broom factory, to afford attending college, would result in a better chance for success. It was the early 1900's and he traveled from TX to the Sue Bennett College in KY where he took courses in mathematics during the day and worked at the broom factory by night. Upon completion of college he returned home to work as the traveling bookkeeper/auditor for a chain of TX dry-goods stores, Perkins Bros, owned by his great Uncles. His prospects looked good; he was hard working, honest and receiving accolades from his employers through the years.

My grandmother, who was also hard working, smart and a skilled seamstress was employed by Perkins Bros as well. She had been with them for quite some time and came to know my grandfather during his periodic trips to town. Sharing a mutual respect for each others skills and independence they built a friendship, then courted and fell in love. In 1910 they married on the banks of the Sabine. She wore a lovely lace trimmed white dress with a tall white hat which must have required good balance. He wore a dapper suit, stylish hat and broad smile. The next day they made the journey to Dallas to share the news with my grandfathers Uncles. Imagine my grandparents surprise when told, due to their marriage, my grandfather would be replaced. The Uncles believed being married would interfere with his required travels for the store chain.

I'm not sure if the brothers Perkins thought my grandfather would rearrange his circumstances to suit their "single auditors only" rule or not. Regardless, once he had fulfilled his commitment to them, he was off to CA in search of new opportunities. When a position was secured my grandmother joined him and they settled in a town where once again they worked for the same company, Kutner and Goldsteins. They dreamed of opening their own business one day and saved every possible penny for that purpose. As they were getting close to achieving their goal World War I called. Like everyone else's plans, theirs were placed on hold while my grandfather headed to France.

Once safely home from the war, my grandparents began again to work toward their dream. Finally, with a little money and determination they began the first of what became a small chain of shoe stores known for excellent service, quality and treating their employees with respect. Involved in their community, family and business, they happily worked side-by-side for forty plus years. The early weaving of brooms, dreams and stitches made that promised success real.

Oh yes... the oft repeated store motto? Don't spend your life two feet from happiness!

Brooms - An Aside
I have long admired brooms. Odd maybe but true. Beyond their wonderful shapes, textures, colors and detail, I marvel at their enduring simplicity and usefulness. Unlike WalMart's impact on small business, the vacuum has not eliminated the broom. Dirt floors to marble, terrazzo to wood, we are still sweeping away when the circumstance calls for it. Brooms remain a kind of hold on the past and the quiet repetitive process of using one can seem almost um... meditative.

The brooms pictured above and in another recent post about Idaho are varied in their styles, sizes and age. Many are contemporary while others are vintage versions captured in antique stores. These photos were taken in WA, CA and ID.

For a bit of broom history try THIS. To see an old broom machine go HERE. Some beautiful brooms are found at this SITE. And lastly, many of the long handled colorful brooms pictured above are made in Thailand by a Fair Trade company. Search Thailand brooms and you will find them on numerous sites.

June 11, 2009


Flowers are like some people.

Opening more slowly to the world around them.

But worth the wait.

Wright Park hot house in Tacoma, WA. Enjoy!

June 3, 2009

Back When...

Back when buildings were constructed like this.

And we moved our goods and selves in horse drawn wagons.

We started our days by freshening up this way.

Likely dressed in simple clothing like this.

Worked hard to put food on our tables.

And we still had time to greet our friends at days end.
Here's hoping your day is a good one.

These photos were taken at the Fort Nisqually Museum
at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma WA.

June 1, 2009

What Could I Do?

There is a small magical house on a corner in Tacoma where the owner pushes the space between sidewalk and street to the max. The grass vanished long ago and was replaced with richly composted soil, trees and a perennial parade that delights all who pass. The little home and it's gardens have been in the local paper on more than one occasion, keeping those passer-by numbers high.

I raced to do an errand last week at lunch and was pulled here (and to Wright Park again) instead. What could I do? There is much to see once the thousands of blooms bloom. The mass of foxgloves were close to bursting. I'll go again this week. 

There are so many areas on this corner property that beam with color, strong and soft. But it's that long border that keeps me coming back year after year. Walking to and fro, with tall lush plantings reaching out to touch my shoulders, leaves me scented with fresh growth.

This gives you the view from the sidewalk. I'm sure at a few points the neighbors must have thought I was lost for good as I crouched down to try and snap shots again and again. 

There was a steady breeze blowing so a good many of my photo attempts failed, but a few flowers kindly stood still for a second or two. If you are in the Tacoma area and needing a beauty blast, head for the corner of 13th and Verde. Maybe we'll see each other there.

PS...These photos can be clicked on for a bit closer look. I would do that more often but the loading time taxes my patience. 

Oh, almost forgot, if you are in the mood for flowers be sure and check out my friends at Family Fusion for more home grown floral fun.
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