Sunday, May 27, 2012

Seattle Folklife

It was a beautiful day at Seattle Center yesterday when we took in the 41st annual Northwest Folklife Festival. It's one of my favorite Seattle events of the year.  It's the the largest free cultural arts and music festival in North America, showcasing hundreds of bands, dance troupes, street performers and other representatives of the lives of folks from around the world.

The event attracts over 200,000 spectators and participants each year.  A lot of them were there yesterday because the weather was spectacular...the perfect amount of sun, breezes & warm temperatures.  It was lovely being able to stroll around listening to live music while snacking on some great food and taking in all the cultural eye candy that surrounded us.

I wasn't fast enough to snap photos of some of the gorgeous folk costumes that we saw.  The most beautiful were from a large contingent of Indian performers.  This year there was even a new Bollywood dance event to enjoy.  Very cool.  Bollywood dance is becoming quite popular in these parts as both a cultural interest and a great exercise alternative to the gym.  

There were whole families of performers busking on the sidewalks.

There were many serious musicians.  I learned from a friend who's an expert in this area that this group I snapped a photo of has some of the "fastest pickers in the state".  They were great to listen to as their fingers tap danced on the strings.  Loved it.  

There were some geniuine old timers (check out his awesome harmonica holder belt!), and some great showmen.

And the beautiful blue sky...
You gotta love Seattle.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Syttende Mai

Today is Syttende Mai, celebrating the 17th of May, which is Norwegian Constitution Day.  Our part of Seattle is home to a large number of Scandinavians, Norwegians in particular.  The North Pacific Fishing Fleet is headquartered here, and many generations of Norwegian families have made it their home over the past 150 years.  

We have the only Nordic Heritage Museum in the U.S., and the largest Syttende Mai parade and celebration outside of Norway.  The parade is just plain awesome...either as a celebration of the city's Scandinavian connection or simply as a vibrant community event.  Last year over 20,000 spectators watched a parade of over 100 community organizations.  This year I'll be sitting in a chair (that will have to be set out early in the day in order to get a decent spot) to take pictures as my children all march with their schools and sports clubs.  

Can't wait!

Monday, May 14, 2012

How To: Colorful Party Lights

This fun, kid-friendly project is a great affordable idea for spring and summer party decorating and is easy enough for even the smallest hands to create. Our version was inspired by this lovely post at  

Here's what you need: 
  • Plastic cups - translucent rather than clear are less brittle and cut more easily
  • Mod Podge , Acrylic Medium or White Glue (the glue will have less sheen; choose glossy for Mod Podge or Medium for extra sparkle)
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brush
  • Tissue paper - I used 15"X20" sheets
  • Electric Tea Lights

Cut tissue sheets into near-squares - Each 15X20 sheet should make 6

Paint cup with Mod Podge.

Center tissue on bottom of cup and press straight sides of square to cup.

Press points of sheet to cup.

Paint/glue tissue to cup with Mod Podge, making sure folds and overlapped sections are secure.

Allow to dry (about an hour, perhaps more).  Cut four triangles out to make leaf/petal shapes in edges of the cup.  The corners of the tissue squares should be the points of the leaves.  Many other shapes are possible as well.  You are only limited by your imagination and your scissor skills.

Insert tea lights and enjoy!

You can use multiple colors of paper for different effects or cut out shapes. Kids can even color tissue with faces with permanent markers before attaching to cups. The possibilities are endless.

all photos courtesy of Britt McCombs

Friday, May 4, 2012


“Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.” Mordecai Wyatt Johnson

I come from a long line of people who love dogs.  We like cats too and have had a few as pets over the years, mostly as ranch cats who keep little critters away.  But dogs have been key companions for almost every member of my family for generations.  They have all been on my mind a lot lately for many reasons, and were the inspiration for our new Dirty Dog Soap.  We’ve had a special affection for herding breeds, but really any four-legged friend has been welcome.  Some have been shelter dogs, some have come from breeders, and one was even found as a puppy, abandoned, covered in mud and left in a parking lot in a cardboard box.  Her name was Molly.   Many of them have been working ranch dogs, a few have been city dogs (who love to visit the ranch), and one was a wild coyote dog who adopted the family all on her own.  See if you can figure out which one she is. 

One of my grandmas fed the ranch dogs pancakes and kibble every morning for most of her life and all of theirs.   When she was planning to be out of town on a trip, she would cook large quantities of pancakes and put them in the freezer to be doled out daily during her absence.   She wanted to make sure they were taken care of.    

We’ve loved them all…  



Don "The Wonder Dog"



Oh, how I wish I still had that belt.

He was named after a character from Lonesome Dove.



Dexter & Molly
This was our holiday card picture one year before the kids were born.  We don’t usually dress up the dogs.  I don’t think Molly was very keen on her hat, but she did look pretty fancy.

Sometimes special eye protection is necessary if we’re driving really fast though!


She was the happiest, sad-looking dog I’ve ever met.

His nickname is Barky McBarkypants.  He is a great protector of the homefront.

A happy lady and two puffballs: Mac & Missy

There are others that I don’t have photos of, but I wouldn’t want to overlook:  Lady, Skxx, Chief, Caesar, Tammy, Bo, Gypsy, Blanco, Shawn, Cody, Herman, Duke, Chloe, Ranger, Ringo & Daisy.  Most of them are are gone, but not forgotten.

This poem by Jimmy Stewart pretty much says it all.  Get a tissue.

Have dogs been important in your life?  What are their names?