Archive for July, 2007

Camping at Pamelia Lake

We went camping at Pamelia Lake in the Mt Jefferson Wilderness for the past few days. It was our friend Alex’s birthday weekend, and as a trial for our trip to Vancouver Island in September, we were only supposed to pack the necessities, including freeze-dried pre-packaged camping meals.

Compared to Alex, Marcy and David, I am so out of shape (I’m sure I’ve said this before). I packed as light as I thought I could get away with, meaning no luxuries like a change of clothes except for some capilene underwear, and no swimsuit (I swam in my bra and quick-dry shorts). I even bought a new backpack and sleeping pad in hopes of cutting some weight. And did I mention that David carried the whole tent by himself? Regardless, I was huffing and puffing practically the whole uphill 2.3 mile hike. What a challenge!

This was the first real hike where Barkley had to carry his own pack, too. A couple weeks ago I got him a red Kelty K-9 dog pack and steadily added weight during our neighborhood walks. For the weekend he carried his own food, a little water in a Platypus bladder, a collapsible water bowl, some dog waste bags and a leash. Mia also carried her own pack and both dogs seemed to have no trouble at all. I guess I could have tried to train myself the same way, by carrying my pack and adding weight, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. 🙂

Pamelia Lake is really beautiful. I couldn’t stop taking pictures (until my camera started flashing the low battery warning). I definitely need to start carrying an extra one. I would say swimming in the lake with our friends and the dogs and watching the bald eagles were some of the coolest moments. The saddest moment was when a guy came by asking if anyone had cell phone service, because someone just had a heart attack. We found out later that he died and had to be carried down the trail on a stretcher. Very sad. David philosophically said that it is better to go with your family around and doing something you enjoy, instead of just at home alone. I guess that’s true.

Day two we hiked up the 3 miles to Hunt’s lake and spent the afternoon. There we had one of the worst prepackaged meals – a Backpacker’s Pantry Turkey with Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing – which never fully reconstituted and did not have an appealing texture or flavor. Actually both of the Backpacker’s Pantry meals we tried were awful. Next time I’m going to stick with Mountain House meals, like their pasta primavera, which was the best one we ate. It just so happens that they’re also an Oregon-based company.

Some photos from our trip:

A first glimpse of Pamelia Lake

Alex & Marcy embracing by the lake

Barkley and his reflection

A little trout that David caught

bee

The bee that landed on my pant leg

View of Mt Jefferson

Butterfly on the trail

Pink wildflower, Hunt’s Lake

View near the Pacific Crest Trail

Sunlight through the trees

Sunlight over Pamelia Lake
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Basic Beeswax Collage

beeswax collage

Last night I took a 3-hour class called Basic Beeswax Collage with Portland artist Linda Womack. It was held at Collage on NE Alberta, where I had previously taken an encaustic painting workshop.

This was a fun class, and Linda was great at explaining and demonstrating each technique step-by-step. Basically, instead of using glue, we used melted beeswax to embed layers of paper and other matter like feathers, dried organic material and fabrics. We also used mediums like crayons, oil pastels and encaustic paints to add color and tools like screens and stencils for texture. All the materials were provided, but several students brought their own.

The most important step when using wax is to be sure that each layer or added element becomes “fused” with the layer below. This means either melting the paper into the wax with a quilting or tacking iron, or heating the wax with a heat gun.

Working with tangible materials was a treat for me, very different from designing on a computer. The melted beeswax emits a warm, sweet smell and it is much harder to control. Despite my best efforts, the wax often seemed to have a mind of its own, but it some ways it’s fairly forgiving. Because of the built up layers, you can often scrape away mistakes. Even better is to just go with the flow – literally. For my piece, I cut out one colored butterfly and several black-&-white photocopied butterflies, two sheets of thin material for the background and drew the flowers with oil pastels. Not too bad for my first collage, but I’m already looking forward to my next opportunity.

This and other classes at Collage can be found at DIYlounge.com.

The Wedding Dress

wedding dress

Marcy tried on my wedding dress tonight. She and Alex have decided on a private courthouse wedding and have recently scheduled a reception for September. They came over to dinner tonight so that we could talk details, since I have the honor of designing the invitations.

I think we were discussing what she was going to wear to the reception when David suggested she consider wearing the dress I wore at my wedding. He went to the closet and pulled it out, stored in its original garment bag and shoved to the back, behind our dusty winter coats. Even though I had looked at our wedding photos just yesterday, I had forgotten how beautiful it was in person. How the rich silk drapes so elegantly, and the subtle shimmering of the burnout satin on the delicate floating chiffon. With it’s plunging back and cowl neckline, it is by no means traditional. It’s elegance is understated, calm yet unmistakable. I admit, that for a moment, I hesitated. A wedding dress is pretty personal. A small fortune in materials and memories, all bound together with threads of hopes and happiness.

Mine has not been a family to pass down heirlooms. I have no idea what any member of my family wore when they got married. There are no photos, and almost no one to ask. I do know that my mom, and probably my grandmother, did not wear a wedding dress. Sadly, both of those marriages ended in divorce.

Besides the memories, I’ve been holding on to that dress with the secret hope that, if I ever have a daughter some day, she might consider wearing it. Perhaps in the future it could be altered to suit her style, though the current design is timeless. Or maybe it could be used on another important occasion, like prom perhaps.

Eventually Marcy was convinced to try it on, complete with matching shoes for effect. It was astonishing. She looked amazing! It showed off her slender height and lightly tanned skin to perfection. It magically seemed to fit her, even though we’re built differently. It was one of those moments when you can’t help but be struck by the rightness of the situation. Marcy looks great in that dress. Wouldn’t it be cool if she wore it for her reception?

In the end, Marcy was sweet to say that I should think about it for a few days and that if I changed my mind there would be no hard feelings. Naturally, she mentioned being nervous about the prospect of spills or stains, and that is a possibility. I am willing to take that chance and hope that she is too. What good is an expensive dress that is never worn? Especially one that’s available and so obviously perfect for her? How many brides have worn a wedding dress once, only to push it to the back of their closet, forgotten amidst their unused winter coats? Beautiful dresses are made to be worn! They are a celebration of life. I realize now that I would be honored if Marcy decides to wear it. Maybe someday there will be others, but for now, I am happy that it is something that I have to offer a good friend, even if it took my husband to make me realize it. And hopefully, very soon, we’ll all have the pleasure of seeing it shimmer once again.

3 Years Ago Today

Every year on our anniversary, I spend just a little time looking at our wedding photos. What a day! Time just flew. And did I mention it was a record 103 degrees?

David and I before the wedding

Three varieties of rose bouquets

My Dad and I before walking down the isle

We’re married!

A simple and delicious almond poppyseed cake with
raspberry filling and cream cheese frosting

The outdoor dance floor, ready for after dinner dancing

Chinese lanterns in our wedding colors of red and white

All photos above taken at the Jenkins Estate by Soren at Coughlin-Glaser Photography.

Such Good Times

Dear Alan & Sandy,

It was so great having you here for the past few days. I’m glad that we could share with you a little part of our lives here in Portland – from berry picking, to Mt. St. Helen’s, to exploring the markets, to dinner and games with friends – all such good times.

You both are truly an inspiration to us. We are so grateful for your unfailing support and generosity,  your insightful wisdom and your unconditional love. And thank you so much for being the best in-laws anyone could ever ask for.

With all my heart,
Emily

Is there such thing as too many blueberries?

blueberries

I know, we’re going a little blueberry crazy over here. But, I mean, BLUEBERRIES! How can anyone not love those plump, sweet blue-black pearls of utter sweet (and healthy) goodness?

David, deftly picking only the most succulent berries

Sandy, with her colander of  treasures

Yes, we went blueberry patch again, especially because we had free labor visiting from Colorado (read: In-laws 🙂 ). In just a short time we collected 10lbs of fruit, enough to gorge ourselves and have plenty leftover to freeze for later  (lay a single layer on a baking sheet until they freeze. Then transfer the frozen blueberries into gallon size ziploc freezer bags). I’m so glad its summer.

Fresh Blueberry Hand Pies

blueberry hand pies

Photo from VeganYumYum, for Blueberry Hand Pies

One of the blogs I really like is VeganYumYum. I’m not vegan, but Lolo’s recipes and photography are so fresh and delicious. The first entry on her “Favorites” page is for Blueberry Hand Pies, which I decided to try since I had so many fresh-picked blueberries from the other day (recent post Picking Blueberries in the Rain).

The recipe starts with an easy Pate Brisee (French style crust) that is made in a food processor. Because the filling calls for frozen blueberries and I wanted to use fresh, I slightly modified the ingredients to 3 cups fresh washed blueberries, 1 Tbs. sugar and 1 Tbs. cornstarch. I say freshly washed because the berries needed to be slightly damp for the sugar and cornstarch to stick to the fruit. Then I followed the rest of the directions, except I skipped the sugar/milk glaze because I knew we would be re-heating in our toaster oven. By the end I had 12 golden and very yummy hand pies. Mmm!