Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  May your day be filled with wonder and light!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Stockings

I finished!  Well, I plan on putting our names on our stockings with iron-on letters, but I think I will wait until January to do that.  They are complete enough.  Wyle's is in the top photo.  Brian's is the one on the left on the bottom, featuring his rank from the Marine Corps.  Mine is the one on the right on the bottom.  I made ours ten years ago when we were first married, and I wanted to make Wyle's this year with materials from both of ours, since she is a little bit of both of us, and also with some different fabrics, since she is her own person, of course.  They are huge - I don't know if the scale shows up in the photos, but it is a fun challenge every year to fill those stockings up!  I always feel as good about finding great stocking stuffers as I do finding 'big' presents.  The actual felt stockings, prior to embellishment, came from my mom.  She made them thirty years ago, when she was making stockings for Dad and me.  I love that even though I did not decorate them the same way as my childhood stocking, they still remind me of it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Preparations

I realized it doesn't seem very merry on the blog lately, but that is just because I have been so busy!  It is a challenge to do two birthdays in December and also everything else that the holidays require, especially when you don't start early!  I have been spending the last few nights working on Wyle's stocking.  This is technically her second Christmas, but last year this time she had just arrived and I was not in the mood to craft.  I have been having a lot of fun working on it now, though, and I am nearly done.  I can't wait to see it hanging beside the ones I made for my husband and myself when we were first married ten years ago.

I hope all of the rest of you are a little further ahead on holiday preparations this year.  This is the time of year I would like to relax and just bask in the joy of the season, and I hope that you are all taking the time to do that, even if you are behind like me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Congregation II

Here is another shot of the birds that had gathered in my backyard this weekend.  Just moments later, they all took to the sky, on their journey.

Monday, December 17, 2012


I stepped into the backyard yesterday to hear a cacophony of birds.  They had congregated in the trees in my backyard, meeting there, perhaps before heading south for the winter.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

McConnells Mill State Park

Here are a couple more shots from McConnells Mill State Park here in Southwest Pennsylvania.  It was so pretty there and I can't wait to return in the spring.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

McConnells Mill State Park

A few weeks ago I ventured up to McConnells Mill State Park with a friend for the first time.  I had no idea such a treasure was so close!  This park showcases the Slippery Creek Gorge, so there are lots of big beautiful boulders and of course, a creek, and lots of that moss I love so much.  There is an old grist mill that we will have to tour another time, and a lovely covered bridge which is still in use.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I certainly have a lot to be thankful for this year, as you can see.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ferns and Moss

There are lots of things I love about Pennsylvania, but ferns and moss move to the top of the list every time I am walking in the woods.  I think because I lived in a dry climate for so long, I particularly love ferns and moss.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shop Closing Dec. 1

I just wanted to let you know that I will be closing shop on December 1st, so if you want to make any orders for the holidays, you should do it soon. 

I will reopen after the new year, and I have some big changes planned.  So stay tuned!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The National Aviary - Flamingo

Last but certainly not least is our American Flamingo.  This bird is hard to miss.  Its orangey-pink color results from the bird's diet of algae and small crustaceans, which are sources of the pigment similar to what colors carrots.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The National Aviary - Gouldian Finch

This beauty is the Gouldian Finch, found wild only in Australia.  They are quite popular as pets around the world, but their numbers have been decreasing dramatically in their natural habitat, a sort of tropical savanna where they like to feast on the seeds of tall grasses.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The National Aviary - Inca Tern

It turns out a lot of the birds in the aviary enjoy the company we provide.  This Inca Tern hopped right up on the handrail and walked right up to me.  I love his wild white handlebar mustach.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The National Aviary - Golden Conure

We went to the aviary here in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and got to see so many different birds from around the world.  This pretty Golden Conure caught my eye as he flitted around the tree branches, and came to rest right in front of me.  I think he must like the attention.  He is a type of parakeet, about a foot in length, native to the Amazon.  What a treat to see one just two feet away!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Leaving Pennsylvania

Well, I'm not actually going anywhere.  Not with the gorgeous leaves we have swirling in the air here.  All my life I was not such a fan of autumn, because it meant winter was fast approaching, but now, I love it.  It's crisp and cool and I adore watching the leaves change here in Pennsylvania.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Autumn Color

There are so beautiful roads around our house, and never more so than this time of year.  This was a week or two ago, when there was still a hint of green in the leaves.  The leaves had all fallen so quickly that they nearly covered the little stream here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Into Autumn's Light

Hi everyone!  I hope you are enjoying this autumn!  I sure have.  Last year I was so very pregnant, and thought I saw such beauty around me, I couldn't drag myself out to capture it.  But, this year, I have been out again and again with my camera, as I want to take advantage of the short window of beautiful foliage here in Pennsylvania.  I haven't really gotten the sort of shot I was hoping for, but then sometimes you get something far better.  That's how I feel about this shot.  I took this in my backyard, of all places, and managed to catch the sun (it has been rare to see the sun lately).  I looked up and found this bit of negative space and I loved how the yellow and red leaves seemed to meet around this bright, almost heavenly, center.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Another neat natural thing I have in my collection is this chestnut from the huge tree behind our house.  They are so smooth and I love the way they feel between your fingers, but they come in the spiniest hulls I have ever seen.  The hulls are covered in two-inch long needles and are the most unpleasant thing to clean up.  How the squirrels get into those hulls without injuring themselves, I'll never know.

Friday, October 5, 2012


I wish I could remember where I found this bit of discarded nature, but I  have been collecting things like this all my life.  As a kid, I had shoe boxes filled with butterfly wings, smooth stones, feathers and the like.  I still have a hard time not saving these things.  Do you do the same?  I suppose it is a wonder and appreciation for the natural world and some need to treasure these little remnants when they are found.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn Arrives Gently

Autumn weather arrived a few days before it was officially supposed to, and the leaves have been working on transforming to gold and red since then, albeit slowly.  I was lucky enough to be out and driving around a day before the hard rains pummeled most of the color from the trees, and I took this shot.  Now all the yellow is all over the ground and we'll have to wait another week or two to see some more in the treetops.  I hope wherever you are autumn is arriving gently.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New In Shop: Retired

I wanted to let you know I added a print of this lovely old vehicle to my shop.  You may recall it was resting near the edge of a West Virginia road I took on my summer road trip.  I just love rusty old things...especially when they look so at home in the wild.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wyle's First Hike

Yesterday we took Wyle on her first hike.  Her favorite thing in the world is to ride on my husband's shoulders, so we thought she'd love the baby backpack.  The day was sunny and crisp, and we set out in time to catch the last of the afternoon light.  We went to Beechwood Farms which has lovely trails through the woods and has the bonus of being the headquarters for the Audubon Society in western Pennsylvania.  The trails are generously wide, which was perfect since we didn't want Wyle to have to contend with low branches hitting her or frankly so she couldn't grab at leaves and eat them while we weren't looking.  We were out for about 45 minutes, and saw bunnies, deer and of course lots of squirrels and chipmunks.  Wyle seemed mesmerized the entire time, though she did keep looking over her shoulder to make sure I was still behind her.  It went so well that I hope we can do this often through the autumn and perhaps even on some nice winter days.  It felt so nice to just get out in the woods, even for just a short time.  Nature has a way of recharging our batteries, don't you think?

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I love how delicate the willow leaves are as they blow in the wind.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Wyle's Room

I have been meaning to photograph Wyle's room for about eight months now, but it always seemed to fall to the bottom of the to-do list.  I had been wanting to share it with y'all.  It is the only room in my house that is together, and I do love it so.  I hope Miss Wyle does, too.  There is a recent photo of our little bird.  If you look closely, you can see two bottom teeth!  They have been causing her (and us) some grief.  One came in right after the other with no break.  I do hope it is a while before the third makes an appearance.

But back to the room.  It is a little woodland wonderland!  I started with the three animal art prints from John. W. Golden, one of our favorite artists.  I had seen them a few years ago and knew I wanted them for my baby's room (long before we even began trying).  I guess I am good at prior planning.  When we moved into this house, I was three months pregnant, and my mom was up to help me with the house.  I wanted to get the baby's room done, but I didn't know whether we were having a boy or a girl, so we decided to go with a yellow that was bright and happy and that I knew I loved.  We have a great view of the yard and the woods from Wyle's windows, and I was so happy to see forest again after living in Wyoming that I decided to go with a woodland theme in the room.  I found the curtain fabric online after much searching for a woodsy pattern.  Brian picked out the crib and reworked the dresser and chest of drawers that had been left to us with the house.  Wyle's Nana lent us the rocking chair, and we bought the white end tables from a local furniture restorer.  I framed the bear family print I had also bought long ago from Zukzuk.  Then I had just one more thing to add - that huge tree decal we also bought from NouWall.  It was so easy to put up and really filled up the room and gave it the warm, foresty feeling we were going for.  I liked it so well I wanted trees in every room!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Foggy Japanese Maples

No, it isn't fall yet.  These are some photos of the Japanese Maple in my parents' front yard.  Again, I took these with the lens all fogged up, but it was on purpose this time.  I really kept wiping it off and it kept fogging back up, hence the color in some and the lack of it in others.  I really like the effect.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

PA to SC Roadtrip - Finally in SC

It took three days and countless stops for fun and diaper changes, but we made it to Moncks Corner, S.C., where I am from and where my folks still live.  It was so nice to take the time to see the back roads and the treasures they hold.  It's not every trip that we can really savor the journey but I really hope we can do it more often and I urge you to, as well. 

This is the Tailrace Canal.  I took Wyle with me one morning to shoot.  She was in the stroller beside me, and gave me about 10 minutes before she had a nuclear meltdown, so my lens had not even had a chance to defog.  I know this photo looks like it is early in the morning, with beautiful mist, but I'd be a liar if I told you that tale.  Yep, that's what it looks like when your lens doesn't have time to adjust to the heat and humidity of a typical southern summer day.  All the years I lived in South Carolina I tried to avoid this, but maybe I have chilled out a little with age?  I think it's kinda pretty this way, even if it was an accident.

Monday, August 13, 2012

PA to SC Roadtrip - Oreo Visit

After we passed through Winchester, we stopped at the home of some friends in Leesburg, VA to visit some puppies.  Oreo, one of the wire-haired fox terriers my mom bred, was had just birthed her own first little of puppies.  Since we were passing so close on our road trip, we decided to stop and visit.  I wish I had taken photos of them; they were so cute!  But I was having too much fun showing Wyle the puppies.  It was so nice to see Oreo again and to know she was in such good hands and so were her pups.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I had fun messing around with these photos from the last post while Wyle was napping one day. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

PA to SC Roadtrip - Winchester, VA

Our road trip took us right through the heart of beautiful Winchester, VA.  This town appeared to be thriving, as most downtown buildings were filled with shops and offices, and even the oldest were well-kempt.  The sidewalks were clean and there were pretty planters everywhere.  The streets were lined with trees and shaded not only the businesses but also amazing homes like the Victorian house pictured above.  All these things gave the town such a warm, homey feel, and truly I hope to return one day to explore further.

Mom fed Wyle while I walked the streets for a few minutes, taking these photos.  Then we drove around and around until we figured out how to stop next to an ice cream shop we saw, but upon closer inspection, it was closed.  That was too bad for us, but we needed to move on to meet some friends later in the day, so we left Winchester behind us and headed for Leesburg.