Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Red Plaid Suitcase, Memories from my childhood.

As a child, my parents had wonderful friends, that I came to know as Auntie and Uncle. We'd spend many hours together....dining, sharing Holidays, consuming many cups of coffee around a smoldering fireplace...and always surrounded in laughter and love. As the youngest child amongst the growing group of family friends, I often would retreat to Auntie Phyl's breakfast nook, a delightfully warm room of knotty pine walls, large windows trimmed in Priscilla curtains and the constant smell of fresh brewed coffee. The adults always sat in the kitchen and I would climb from lap to lap intrigued with Uncle Ralph's salty pipe smoke, Auntie Phyl's laughter and the gentle way I felt like one of their own. But when my boney knees grew to be annoying, I was directed to a lower cupboard door that held a magical case....There I found the Red Plaid Suitcase.
I welcomed the red plaid suitcase as it was filled with wonderous treasures. Captivating books took me on simple adventures. Well loved teddy bears with faded bow ties still managed to return the love and crayons, jacks and rubber bouncing balls, all filled endless hours of time well spent in Phyl and Ralph's kitchen. The case itself seemed heavy and large but new upon every visit. The shiny latch would snap open and the red plaid gave way to it's interior of faded khaki and cream gingham. I loved that little suitcase and toted it around like it was my own.
With a blink of my eye, I found myself as a young adult and the cupboard that held the red plaid suitcase passed into a memory , unvisited dark and quiet. Time marched on...families grew up...married, started families of their own, and the realities of my childhood grew dusty and distant, like the cupboard that held the red plaid suitcase.
Several weeks ago, I heard the sad news that Auntie Phyllis had suddenly passed away. Silently my heart broke. As my family began to remember her, wonderful memories refreshed my heart as we gathered to celebrate her life and the rich memories once again became clear. Years have past since I last saw the red plaid suitcase but today, I became a child again.
Karen, one of Auntie Phyl's grand children came by for a brief visit to my shop in downtown Edmonds. I was pleased to see her but upon a second glance I could see she was carrying the suitcase. Reaching out to me she said, "We want you to have this..." There it was....the red plaid suitcase...and in that moment I was 5 years old again. The case seemed smaller and lighter then I remembered. The toys inside the suitcase were absent and had given way to generations of love. The latch, now rusting with age still sprang open as I held and breathed in this fond memory.
Today, while I am writing, the tears flow a little less, and the heart strings are being tugged, but I am grateful the child is alive in me today. The suitcase will find a special place in my studio where I create, write and dream. Even now, some 45 years later , when I see the red plaid suitcase, I can feel the legacy Auntie Phyllis left behind, and in a funny little way, I can smell the coffee brewing, hear the crackling fire and I am surrounded in laughter and love.
To Auntie Phyllis..... I love you!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Just had to share... this little lovely popped up in the garden last year , in short, thanks to the birds. This year, with Springs length of season, the Hollyhock wasn't as tall but was very striking and showy. Known to the Chinese as a savory tasting leaf, I think I will admirer it at a distance, as rust is prone to these NW transplants. These plants speak of love, the rest I'll let you investigate and finish the story of the Hollyhock.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Light in the Attic

The light in the attic has drawn a few eyes from the passerby this day.
This attic, studio room upstairs in the shop is a wonderfully bright room overlooking 4th street S. The room was unfinished, so a little tiffany blue paint, a good sweep and then I stopped. Whats up with that light box on the ceiling? Four light bulbs cast a cold haze over the room. This will never do. A few garage sales later I found a cigar box full of keys, a dozen punch cups, some dessert plates, goblets and several hands full of old silverware. A little drilling, some celedon ribbon and wire and POOF, we had made a chandelier. Instantly it created a buzz. Some begged to climb the stairs to view it, while others wanted to buy it. But this little lovely is staying here with me in the studio at Bountiful Home and Nursery, so more folks may enjoy the light in the attic.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Junk O Rama

For the second summer, Bountiful Home and Nursery will host Junk O Rama. This fund raising event is an artist gathering of collectors who love to re-purpose, reuse and recycle. From many walks of life this junk tribe will sell treasures that amaze.
In tandem with Junk O Rama is Parasols on Parade, another fund raising event. Five market umbrellas have been given to local artisans to embellish. These amazing and whimsical works of art will be on be on display throughout downtown Edmonds raising awareness for the event and to raise money for the Edmonds City flower fund.
We are passionate about beautifying Edmonds with flowers, so what a better way to get involved, then to give to the one fund that really supports Edmonds beautification. So join us on Saturday August 13th for Junk O Rama in the gardens at Bountiful Home and Nursery.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yellow Roses

In Victorian flower language, a yellow rose spoke of jealousy.
In the Western US, the yellow rose spoke of love familiar, humble, native to the land. The yellow rose is the prairie rose, the remote, the extraordinary in the ordinary. It bears a equal to that of other roses, but also speaks of home, of the too-often-overlooked glories of domestic happiness.
The humble yellow rose was immortalized in a popular cowboy song: "The yellow rose of Texas is the only girl for me."

Thursday, July 7, 2011


The Hollyhock....'Alcea Rosea', Hollyhocks stand for fertility, for ease of creation and abundance. These plants certain do know abundance when neglected and somewhat forgotten. I can remember my grandmother growing Hollyhocks behind her garage, in a very hot gravely alley in Wapato WA. There wasn't much draw to the alley other then the daily chore of emptying the garbage, but upon a closer look, towering walls of color would overwhelm you. Hers were pink and magenta, and never held onto rust. Originally Hollyhocks were a Chinese flower grown for the savory taste of its leaves. Brought to England in the sixteenth century, these once tastey tid bits now were sought after as fast growing beauties, showing off its stunning and various blooms. Make love a daily habit, the hollyhock seems to say, and something grand and imposing will arise.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vintage Cards

Vintage postcards have always intrigued me. As a child, the pretty pictures fascinated me, as an adult the message lures me in. Perhaps, more then the message, is the memories that live on in the script found on the side of these tiny treasures. They were first known as picture postcards when they first swept Europe and then the US. during the first fifteen years of the twentieth century. Picture postcards celebrated landmarks, commemorative celebrations, even natural disasters and postcards were printed for every holiday including Labor Day and Groundhog Day. Postcard groups popped up and enthusiasts would conspire to shower loved ones with hundreds of cards. Like email today, postcards were attractive because they afforded a fast, inexpensive and relatively effortless means of keeping in touch with others. They were a way to send your best while writing the least. Many picture postcards were heavily embossed, sporting a structural relief while others incorporated gold and silver foils and some bits of fabric. A postcard wasn't simply a picture; it was a sensuous thing to touch and treasure, a democratic art. Even when postcards were new they were avidly collected. Most postcards sold in this country were printed in Germany.
Today the postcard inscribed with greetings from far-off, seemingly halcyon time are ever more seductive. But what intrigued me as a child still lures me today....that their message is timeless: It is important to stay connected with one another.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Daffodil Narcissus

The daffodil stood for chivalry in Victorian England, perhaps because it sometimes stood in the snow, waiting for the rest of the flowers of Spring.
The crisp bloom's name can be traced to Old English affodyle, meaning early arrival. "The sweet o' the year," wrote Shakespheare, "when daffodils begin to peer."
Garden Lore: Pointing a finger at a daffodil was said to prevent it from blooming. Reputedly, it is unlucky to take a daffodil into a henhouse. Never mix your cut daffodils with cut tulips as they do not agree.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sweet Peas

This is the time of year we all long for more color in the garden, warmer temps on the lawn and dream of days that are to come. Being the optimist, I love arm chair gardening and sketching the early Spring containers and garden beds. But the one my favorites that speaks Spring loudly are Sweet Peas!
These old fashioned flowers, are once again in vogue. Breaking through the warming soil, these nuggets of sweetness are some of the best bloomers and most fragrant in the garden. Soon the sweet pea starts will be arriving. For those of us who fail to plant near Presidents Day, this is like striking Gold. Once you find them in the Nurseries...Plant Now! Here's a little forecast:
From the large petals of the 'White Diamond Wedding' to the darkest flowers called 'Black Knight' these flowers show off. Fragrant, mixed colors and marbleized blossoms dance atop curly stems. Names like Painted Lady, Old Spice and Knee High, conjure up strong images of flowers from days gone by. I'm especially fond of the Knee High variety as they act as a strong addition to any hanging container. Great color mix with long stems need little support as these beauties climb up the hanging container, but plant a few to hang down out of the container too. Using Sweet Peas as a trailing plant can bring pleasure to the passerby. Picking these flowers regularly for windowsill vases produce more flowers. Always let a few flowers create seed as they will assure your favorites for next year. Stay tuned cause the Sweet peas starts are coming.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Four years ago this past week, Bountiful Home opened.... and what a ride it has been. Recreated in what was The Weed Lady house, Bountiful Home has found it's place...a modest and cozy shop filled with Old World Home Decor and Nursery. Throughout the past few years the shop has had some huge successes and a few failures along the way....but I'd rather rest on the good things which spur me on each day. Garden festivals and Junk Markets have exploded across the Nursery and scattered the front lawn. Classes up stairs in the attic have warmed the house with laughter and movement and exposes many to the shop. Vintage Markets, away from the shop continued to grow the shop with new friends and more opportunities.
The leaning back porch of the shop is my makeshift office with an incredible inspiration wall. Upon this wall sits business cards and ads, Thank yous and Invites, pages from torn magazines, badges, gift tags, awards and posters. These are all great reminders of where I have come from and ideas to spur me on to where I will go. As I write, the preparations for this weekends 4th Anniversary of Bountiful Home are under way. I'm excited. So drop in on Friday and Saturday and enjoy some tea and cookies and help me celebrate this wonderful weekend.
A dear friend wrote to me in a card the day four years ago, on the eve of Bountiful Home's opening.... "Its twilight outside....and its sparkling inside. As I turned off the lights and walked through for the last time ( before the hoards of people come running in ) I paused and realized I had just walked through YOUR dream come true. Its true I'm living my Dream....please come by and enjoy it with me. Best, Todd

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A little Shakespeare

Blow Blow Thy Winter Wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho, sing, heigh-ho, Unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho the holly,
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
Thou dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.

Then heigh-ho the holly
This life is most jolly. William Shakespeare