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Sacred Spaces Design | | page 2

Hanging Baskets

See I used some fuschia. Just not ALL fuschia.

Do I like them? My friend Amanda asked me the other day. Well…not particularly. But I kinda like these. Just sayin’.

Sure. I got a fuschia hanging basket for free last summer at Fred Meyer for my hefty plant purchases. I hung it.  But when anybody commented on it I made it clear it was free.  What does that tell you? I think it’s the all-geranium or all-fuschia bit I don’t like. The plain wooden boxes or nasty textured decomposable grey material that they are often planted in also don’t entice.

Ok, this drawing looks like a box of Trix but in person it's real pretty. Especially when they got hung next to a shimmery turquoise pool down in Gig Harbor.

These baskets I had some control over (both the vessel and plantings) and I think they ended up looking pretty hot. So much so I sketched out the ingredients for me to remember and for you if it inspires.

Small is Beautiful – E. F. Schumacher

Small but sweet.

First it was Tiny Gardeners (last blog entry) now it’s tiny plants. A.K.A. small.  What is there not to like about small? Well, I guess there are some exceptions (you have your own), but when it comes to some things, small is just so much darn cuter than large.  Take babies for instance. And puppies.  Need I say more?

Small seduces, confronts us with the wish stop time.

Even today I found myself resisting the image of Milo as a musky teenager. Sorry teenagers. I’ll be your bestie any day but babies are way cuter and smell better and wear white onesies. Now if you wore onesies and smelled like fresh cotton you may convince me otherwise….

Small plants are pretty darn cute too. Like snowdrops (galanthus if you want to be Latin and all). I love these little early spring-time bulbs. I would be tempted to get out my scythe and secure the closest bud vase if these were in my parking strip. But I kept walking on as a good neighbor should.

Small plants do not necessarily make me wish to stop time but invite me to relish what it bears in terms of delicacy.  Sometimes all you have to do is look underfoot and there lays the detail you’ve been needing all along. How quaint.

Author Jon Kabat-Zinn has coined the phrase “the little things…aren’t so little.”  Isn’t that the truth. And I’m not just talkin’ about flowers here.

Tiny Gardener

I opted to paint my own nails for our table for two garden party.

It seems that I have taken a sabbatical from blogging. Once I potted up those amaryllis bulbs (which just bloomed thank you very much) it was sayonara. But I am back.

I have done my share of putzing in the garden though and as I reflect back on January’s fallow-time, my favorite moment was this: getting our son’s tiny hands and face all filthy with soil.  I tried to keep him clean but it was nearly impossible when you got a baby strapped to your front and you are trying to weed.  I don’t think he minded so much. By the way, I can also see why the ladies get manicures.

Some other to-do’s I got going are this:

1. Finish planting the sweet peas and place them on a bright windowsill. I also plan on starting some cerinthe. It self-seeds like crazy but I love it.

2. Sort through my seed inventory and toss any that are expired. Then make a new shopping list to replenish my stock of earthy productive goodness. And to think – all from a itsy bitsy tiny seed. Miracles in the palm of your hand and I am not just talking about Milo here, though that is really all I talk about now-a-days. That and my love of donuts (right, Lis’?)

3. Paint trellises. I have all these nasty wooden ones which bore me to tears. Why not paint them something vibrant? Good thinkin’ G!

4. Pick-up compost. This was my birthday present. Thanks, hon.

5.  Practice setting up the pack n’ play for Milo.  This will keep him cleaner I think. But he is always welcome to dig in the dirt alongside me. Always.

Bulb Alert!


Never before have I found myself at Target at 9:39am.  Now *that’s* a first.  But this is for all you indoor bulb-forcers or come on first-timers (!): pick up this pre-packaged Smith & Hawken bulb forcing kit for less than 5 bones. Did you hear that?  Amaryllis usually cost at least $12 bucks sometimes more and I got these babies for $2.50 each. Sure, it’s prepackaged, not to mention prepackaged by THE big box garden monster but when the going gets rough mama wants what she wants and that is a cost savin’ deal. Call it a double standard. Or a balanced approach to purchasing.

Don’t like the red container?  You know the word: donate or find another creative use. I think I will use ours as a much needed new kitchen crock to hold tongs and such.

Now go and get! Pick up a little bit of garden for an ounce of your green.

A Wintry New Year’s Eve

“You are always writing,” my friend Morgan said to me, “even if you are not literally writing.”  These were words I needed to hear when I was struggling to put pen to paper. Or rather, fingers to the computer keys.  I hold those words dear and found myself saying the same thing to another friend of mine yesterday as we walked with our babies through one of Seattle’s prettiest neighborhoods, admiring the houses but mostly the frost that gave these neighborhood gardens a special sparkle.  She spies a witch hazel beckoning its spidery blooms: “Isn’t it a little early for a witch hazel?” Dakota pondered. It’s not. But we both were surprised to find ourselves deep in December and winter and planning for spring, waiting for our heirloom seed catalogs to arrive in the mail. You can order online but it gives me something to look forward to besides bills bills bills. Besides, doesn’t curling up on the couch with a catalog sound cozy?

Although we may not literally be gardening right now, especially with the temperatures we’ve seen these past couple of days, we CAN still garden in other ways: we can evaluate our garden’s bones, make plant and seed wish lists, find friends to share seeds with (thanks, Dakota), gain inspiration from garden books (I just picked up 3 at the library), and continue forcing those bulbs indoors (amaryllis, paperwhites, hyacinths). Call it low-impact gardening.

At least this is how I am gardening these days.  Which means I can say that I gardened today, the last day of 2010 and I plan on gardening more in 2011. Tomorrow in fact.


Merry Christmas Eve

Baby asleep on my lap. Tree is lit. Paperwhites blooming. Panettone Bread Pudding in the oven. Gifts to be given and received.

Holiday Tradition

ode to jessie. thx for de-mystifying sushi-making.

A family who eats together stays together. Who first said that?  I like it.  But I think I would like it to apply to a broader definition of family – that is friends. Or “families by choice” some say. I feel blessed to have both types of families in my life, and the other night we had our dear family-by-choice-friends Amanda and Joe and their sons Lincoln and Ozzie over for what will now be a new holiday tradition for us both: sushi making and eating before we part ways to our respective other “families” for the official holiday weekend.

Tradition. Tis the season for it. And this year I find myself asking pretty much everyone with exception to those I do not know by name, “What are your holiday traditions?” I grew up with many traditions, many of which I hope to continue with Milo – like gathering with loved ones for Christmas Eve Chili Dinner. My mother’s mother started this I think and my mother and her sisters also choose to continue the thread.

It seems like the holidays are the only time of year where “no change” is set apart as sacred.  My mom and I were reminiscing the other day about the year that she and my aunt gave us what we kids wanted on Christmas Eve – enchiladas.  Big mistake. Not that the enchiladas weren’t delish but it left us still hungry. This deviation taught us youngins’ something about tradition. That is, it isn’t necessarily about the food but about a deeper nourishment that takes place by engaging in an event that has become historical and habitual.

Tradition feeds our spirits.

I love to hear how things become tradition. They don’t always develop intentionally (often traditions “happen” to us) but it seems that it has something to do with the experience of delight or better yet – joy. Thus our desire to re-create and live it anew.

A family who eats together stays together.  We create traditions, sure. But traditions create us.

Milo, you will have chili this year and for years to come I imagine. Sushi too I think with one or more of our families.  But I look forward to be surprised at what develops between this here family of three.  Your very presence may usher us into a new world of tradition entirely. Let the magic begin.

Some of my favorite things…

Christmas tins,


Ornaments for two bucks,

Tinseled tree,

This article,

A new stocking to fill (only helping St. Nick) and traditions to create that knit us together as a family.

Shop Local Again

so crafty.

Freedom is not always freeing if you ask me. Too many choices can overwhelm. Again, for me.  So, this holiday season I decided to narrow my scope and count on my neighborhood (Greenwood in the house!) to help me with my holiday shopping. Not only did I get to know some cheerful, creative and kind shop owners, the best part was that I was done in a day’s time. A DAY. Which freed me up to sing Christmas carols to Milo around the Christmas tree, drink my own eggnog lattes (so much cheaper and enjoyable in one of your own ceramic mugs) and channel my inner crafter.

These cards a 5 year old could make. Which is why they turned out to be a success in my book. Just my skill level.  I am a wanna be crafter. I think about crafts or things homemade more than I create them myself. This is do in large part to having little to no threshold when it comes to tolerating frustration, which speaks to my inner toddler. Yet I like to think if I surround myself with creative people that some of their glitter will rub off on little ol’ me.

Sure. We “can make that!” we declare as we pick up that stylishly felted floral broach adorned with just enough vintage buttons that make you bust open your pocketbook or trot down to the local craft store to gather the supplies. But the difference between me and them is that they really can and I can’t. I just like to think so. Which is why I prefer to think about making that hand knit stocking or stitching that pretty embroidery pattern  rather than try. Sustains the comforting illusion that I can make anything (which is not true of course but it feels good to think so).


Let me get back to shopping. Shopping local, that is.  We live in an age and culture that buys (sigh) their values I realize so if you want more time with your families or friends, time to bake cookies, do laundry or to channel your inner crafter I recommend just walking out your front door.  Makes for a more meaningful gift giving experience. Not to mention, you get to interact with another human being who lives and breathes as you do and is trying jut as you do to sustain and support themselves. It’s more work than filling up your electronic shopping cart and clicking “pay now” in the upper right hand corner of your computer screen but worth the investment.

Here were my stops:

Sasquatch Studios – LOVE! Local art, homewares, jewelry, delicious children’s clothes, and last Thursday you guys could have scored a free beer from Park Pub and 15% off the merch.

Emma Jeans Antiques – I spent at least half an hour learning about the early jazz scene in Seattle at EJ’s at no extra charge. And talk about treasures…

Top Ten Toys - Fun for the whole family. I wanted to buy Milo (I mean have Santa get Milo) all of those marionettes. They aren’t that creepy.

Wouldn’t it be swell if I could make all of my Christmas gifts?  Sure. I value the homemade but there is something to be said for being honest about one’s limitations. As well as those falsely perceived ones.

New Year’s Resolution: Try more. Think less.

Dig This

Modern. Child-friendly. Low-maintenance. Food.

This was my last planting project before Seattle’s “Arctic Blast” – come on, REALLY?!  Arctic Blast?

Anyhow, I think the finery of this project belongs to Fresh Digs. Sacred Spaces was originally going install an assortment of HUGE containers to grow mostly edibles for the two adult cooks of the house and 2 very small sous chefs ages 3.5 and almost 5 but as projects go, we began to think outside the box.  That’s when I was referred to Chris, owner/designer of Fresh Digs and boy are we super thrilled with these custom new modern raised planters. The install was done by Terrain.

I always recommend mixing in some evergreen perennials with your veggies so you have some year-round interest. Chris's design concept included the integration of the owner's coveted old Orange Bowl stadium seats which were rescued from the state of Florida. The garden seats at least 8. Doesn't that soil look enticing?

So although we got a late start in planting for fall veggies we did manage to get some of the foundational plantings in: hidcote lavender, native huckleberry, hebe mckeanii, and cornus midwinter fire.  Although one of the smaller shrub varieties, these dogwoods might get a little large but their shocking twigs in winter was a sure appeal. Come spring, these beds will be chomping at the bit to get some long awaited arugula, radishes, and peas (by President’s Day of course) in their nutritious soil.

All wood is ipe. I just learned how to correctly spell it. This here is a bench seat with storage. Huckleberry planted behind to create an appealing evergreen screen.