Tuesday, September 25, 2007

falling leaves

Fall is here! And we have some grand colors this year. I love decorating for fall, putting a little burst of fall color in every corner of the house.

A few years ago, I volunteered to decorate the entry way of our local Pioneers' Home (senior center). They had a large dining table along one wall and lots of windows. I would spend hours looking through magazines, getting ideas to decorate for the different seasons. Then Tracy, my daughter, and I would do our craft projects on our lunch hours, and then decorate the room. It was so much fun.

One of my projects were falling leaves.

Here's what you'll need:

Fall colored leaves.

Velourish cord in fall colors.

Beads in fall colors; with holes.

Next, cut the cord into lengths from 6" to 12" depending on where you're going to hang them. I hang them in my windows, from light fixtures, from the handles on my kitchen cupboards, and from shelves. You'll want them to be varying lengths, so they look as if they're falling. Now, tie a knot on to one end.

Next, string beads on to the cord, pushing them down to the knot. You can put as many or as few as you want.

Lastly, push the leaf stem up into the beads. If the stem is too thin, it might slide out; if it's too fat, it won't fit; if it has a fat stub on the end, just cut it off. You can do a single leaf, two leaves, or three, just depending on how small the stems are and how much room you have to slide the stem up in to the bead.

And lastly.... hang them!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


The web defines heritage as "practices that are handed down from the past by tradition."

My mother grew up on a farm. They made do with little. She learned canning and all of her adult life, canned all the bounty from our garden. We had a large pantry that was filled to the brim with canned green beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, grape juice, pickles, pears, peaches, and the list goes on.

I moved away from home when I was 18 and came to Alaska, where I've lived ever since. It hasn't been without regrets that I've lived so far away from family for so long. You miss out on so much. You're not at all the family gatherings and reunions; you're not hearing stories, learning family history, or gathering memories. Yes, I have many regrets about living here all my life.

But it's funny how you take your heritage with you, even if you don't know what it is at the time. I'm so much like my mom and I can see me in my daughter and my son. Some times I find myself holding on to a purse in my lap when riding in the car and I think, "oh, no, I've turned into my mom!" But some heritage is good. I love to garden; I love crafting and making things with my hands; I love making my house a home, I love the simple things in life. Thank you, mom.

But one tradition, one part of our heritage, that didn't get passed down to me was canning our bounty. I could defend myself by saying it's because we don't have the fresh produce available here. It costs a small fortune to feed a family, let alone buy in bulk to can.

My son has proven me wrong. My son, 23 years old, has lived here all of his life.... has carried on the family tradition of canning. I am so proud of him, I could burst. He started canning pickles last year and has moved into pickled beans, cucumber relish, dill asparagus, salmon, and other treats. And it's good! Michelle, his sweetie, has even dove in and made some pickled garlic.

I am so proud of my children. All two of them AND their partners. All of them. Family is so important to them as is family traditions and their heritage. Tracy commented the other day how Bucky is "just like grandpa." He has turned his linen closet into a pantry and is filling it, stockpiling it if you will, with his home canned bounties. I am so proud that he's carrying on the family tradition of canning; canning and sharing his bounty; canning and making memories; canning.... because he's his grandmother's grandson....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

first snow

The last few days were so stormy; windy, rainy, ugly. Typical Juneau weather. Today it's gorgeous. Brisk; 40 degrees. A perfect fall day.

Yesterday while driving home from work, I thought I caught a glimpse of snow on the mountains surrounding the glacier. But then it could have been cloud formations as well....

My first instinct was right. Here's some pictures of Juneau on a beautiful, fall day. Enjoy!

This is Mendenhall Lake, taken from Skater's Cabin at the west side of the glacier. That's Mendenhall Glacier .

Just a zoomed in version.

I find icebergs fascinating and like imagining imaginary shapes.... This is a glacier duck.

This is Skater's Cabin. I'm not certain the history behind it but in the winter when the lake is frozen, you can stay warm inside this little cabin and the frozen lake will be alive with ice skaters.

I guess it's been around for awhile...

What a beautiful view! How grand to get married here, or have a picnic.

This was, indeed, a gorgeous day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

favorite arrangements

There's this blog -- Things Look Like Things -- that has the most incredible series of photos, connecting one photo to the next. If you read the profile, it looks like they're all taken off flickr. Check it out.

Here's some of my favorite arrangements around the house.

This is just my messy bookcase but it's MY messy bookcase! I love books. I love to read. I mostly love just looking at all my books. I have them categorized by subject: gardening; nature; Alaskana; westerns; classics; romance; series; biography type; travel; miscellaneous. When we go South, Barnes and Noble is usually our first stop where we will buy a dozen or more books. I love light reading; nothing that requires deep thought. The best part about reading is just that, reading. Finding a good book to curl up with and letting everything else go to the wayside until that book gets done.

This is one of my favorite photos. I love the connection of the colors from the plate to the little photos and then back to the marbles. My sister gave me this collection edition of the plate many many many years ago; the picture in the little black frame is me and my best friend, Karin, that was taken at my daughter's wedding; the little white framed photo was given to me by my best friend; and the marbles are just a collection of marbles.

I also love this collection of white and black. Some of the bottles were found in the hills of
Juneau where mining used to take place. Some garage sale finds. The two door plates were also found in the hills of Juneau amid old mining shacks.

This display changes with the seasons but one thing is always consistent: single, seasonal flowers in the bottles turn these bottles into a prettier display. These are from my garden. Soon there will be fall colored mums and then..... red carnations for Christmas!

Have a great day! Nancy

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

traditions, a good thing

I'm not certain what I have to write about as I start this post but just feel it's been so long since I've posted anything. Let's see.... we recently returned from three days in Seattle where I went to get my hair cut. Yes, we have hair salons in Juneau, but I'm so tired of getting a not-so-good cut. On our way back from Sedona in June, I swung into a Gene Juarez studio and got the best cut of all times. I absolutely loved it and have decided that all my hair cuts will be done there. Okay, so maybe I won't be flying down every ten weeks just for a haircut but we'll see. It was a good excuse to go buy baby stuff!

But the best part of any travel is coming home. To our Sadie. To the rain. To the cool, brisk clean air. Yes, there's no place like home. My nephew and his significant other house/Sadie sit for us when we leave. Shodie always has the house looking so clean with little bouquets of flowers everywhere. I commented on them the other day and she said it's a family tradition. Forgive me that I won't get this story correct but you'll get the gist of it. I don't tell jokes either because I can never remember the punch line.... Anyway, when her mother was a young child, they would walk down the road to her mother's house and along the way would always pick wildflowers to take. Whenever Shodie comes for dinner or to house sit, she always brings flowers. Always. I think it's a wonderful tradition!

What traditions does your family have? Fall traditions? My mom always had the house decorated for every holiday. Nothing extravagant but she had this little nook, the area behind the wall oven, that she would put decorations. I decorate to the extreme, with decorations everywhere.... It's tasteful though! I think! Isn't it, Tracy?

Fall is the beginning of the baking season for me. I think that should be a season all it's own, don't you agree?! I have plans for baking an apple crisp for dessert tonight and then pumpkin bread, monkey bread, and a blueberry buckle for tomorrow. We're also having our first of the season turkey dinner tonight. Not quite a full menu but turkey, dressing, potatoes, fruit salad, rolls, and miscellany. So baking and large cooking is definitely my tradition.

I've still been doing a lot of planting in the yard. The nursery where I work is winding down for the year and any perennials and shrubs not in great shape are getting tossed.... Into my car! I'm sorry but I just can't bring myself to throw them out so bring them home. They're just poor, pathetic things but I'm hopeful that with a little tlc, they'll be just fine. But it's been a lot of planting trying to incorporate the salvaged plants into some new, vibrant, gorgeous shrubs. I love all the fall color right now.

Okay, enough rambling and back to traditions... Let me know what your family traditions are, whether they're generations old or newly created by your family. I'm going to come up with some too. Have a great fall day! Nancy