Crazy great playground #tongeren #belgium

On Sundays most all the shops are closed in Europe. Grocery stores, hardware stores, etc, etc. There will be some bakeries & restaurants open and often special events that occur, but other than that Sunday is like an official "rest day". I like it. It was inconvenient at first but you learn to organize yourself accordingly and then go with the flow.

On Sundays you can take a drive over to Tongeren, Belgium, to their famous flea market. It's huge and FULL of eye candy. Amazing never before seen things await you and your pocketbook. Beware! They also as we've discovered, have an amazing playground and park area that is as much a destination as the flea market. We had a great day yesterday enjoying a bit of both.

I would have loved to have brought one of these home had we a purpose for it. They would fantastic faucets for an outdoor sink. My mom also thought it would be a fabulous pot filler mounted over a cooktop. Talk about a statement piece.

Giant duck head faucets #tongeren #antique

My find was a gorgeous blue folding iron table. I had spotted it there over a month ago and happy joy it was there again yesterday! It wasn't pricey and it fit in the car - even better! I love it against the (way too pale) yellow of the house. It's a delicious slice of color and so practical. I can imagine using it for years to come and I'm sure it will be a part of future craft sale set ups.

My new old iron folding table from #tongeren #antique #market

Jared is a lighting geek. He has been amassing little lanterns for future projects. I'm wondering when the "future" is...but he has time ;o) Yesterday he saw the ultimate lantern. It was not cheap, but worth the price (much better than ebay!) and so so pretty. It's an antique copper ship's lamp. Complete and fully functional. After getting it home Jared and my dad checked out its insides and found lots of wick still left. My dad suggested we actually use it at parties for lighting. That would be fun. Right now she lives on top of our office space. Shiny, pretty thing she is.

And Jared's find: #antique #copper #shiplamp He's giddy about it. Fully functional too.

After the market we hit the crazy good playground. The weather was so warm and sunny, we filled our solar cells well....ahhh. Bird enjoyed the bikes, Griffin climbed all over the play structures and practiced his sliding, then we all jumped in a paddleboat and experienced the best part of our day. It was so nice to float around in a sunlit lake, with soft thin clouds in the sky, ducks and geese swimming curiously by, people to wave to on the benches. I was more than happy to pedal us around while Jared sat with Bird and Griffin in the front and munched on snacks. It really was the nicest way to end the day.

Biking #tongeren #belgium

#tongeren #belgium #pond

#paddleboat #tongeren #belgium

Now we're back to a mostly regular week. My parents are still here but are away for the next two days to explore Brugge and Gent on the coast of Belgium. My mom goes back to work next week (she is a school teacher with DODDS) so she is using her time well. Bird is back to kinder/preschool and every day is still a challenge but it's going okay. Jared, well, he's in a new position today. He received a promotion of sorts (a job shift, to something that seems will be preferable, or more effective as they like to say here) and also gets a new boss today. I haven't heard from him yet. Hoping all is well. This is life here for us. So many changes!

Griffin and I are creating new routines with our time together and I'm planning out my next project. I'm working on illustrating and printing tea towels that I'll sell in my Etsy shop. I'm just in the illustrating phase but getting excited about colors and trying to just focus on this one little project. My mind can wander so quickly and then I'm getting ahead of myself and accomplishing almost nothing. Focus is the word of the moment. Bigger things come from chipping away at little things right?

Have a lovely week!
Hugs, Devon

Marvelous Metz

Metz, France

We took a couple of days off last week and headed for my parents house (~3hrs away). We had originally planned on finding a "cabin in the woods by a lake or river" or "quaint French beach house on the coast" but it proved to be pretty difficult to do. In the end, we had a pretty fabulous four days of vacation. Seeing my parents, getting out for an evening just me & Jared, hiking in the Eifel forest region, and exploring the town of Metz in France.

#eifel #germany #yellow #flowers

The Eifel is a really neat densely forested area not super far from us. So nice for getting away and being in nature. We realized it was the first time we had actually hiked together as a family of four! We found & munched on wild strawberries & blackberries, got stung by nettles (poor Jared!), made it up to a good look out point and had a picnic, and just kept encouraging Bird & Griffin to keep going. Haha, that took up a lot of our hiking time.

Top of a hill in the #eifel #germany

Griffin & Bird really enjoy my parents house. My mom has it stocked with toys & books and they just go nuts with the big open spaces. Our homes here in Germany are so much bigger than they were in the states!

Our crazy kids love my parent's house

My mom and I enjoy walking Phylo at night after Jared and I have put kiddos to bed. It's been gorgeous most evenings. My parents home is surrounded by farms and the wheat is in the middle of being harvested. I love seeing the changes every time we visit.

#schwedelbach #germany #moonrise

On Friday we drove to Metz, France. Our tactic with kids is to drive directly to a playground that we find the night before using google maps satellite :o) It's the best way to get their energy out before we do something that's not so fun for them. The first thing we saw was the Moselle River. SO PRETTY! It was a beautiful day in general and the river was sparkling, full of swans and fish, and a few people wading in with fishing poles. Containers full of colorful flowers line the railings and bridges.

We ended up not actually finding a playground where we thought there was (!!) but were happily surprised by an empty mini-golf course.

Mini golf #metz #france

The cathedral in Metz was so amazing. Huge and mesmerizing. Because it was a sunny day the color streaming through the stained glass windows was fantastic. Griffin tried out all the chairs he could while Bird crashed for a few minutes in the stroller.

#metz #cathedral #france

#metz #cathedral #france

#chagall #metz #france #cathedral

Griffin loves trying all the chairs #metz #france #cathedral

We found a gorgeous garden in front of the opera house. It was so inspiring. I really could have spent hours there :o)

Magical garden #metz #france

Blooms #metz #france

On Saturday we did a little flea marketing with my parents. That afternoon we all took naps - even me, the most resistant to napping! Then out for some time to enjoy the sun (which you know by now is something not to take for granted here!!) with some bike riding, hay bale "rolling", and later out for Thai food with just Jared (thank you to my mom).

Sunday we hit the road with a really really packed car. We picked up more treasures in France and Phylo barely had any space ;o) We stopped on the way home for a picnic in a field and got to stretch our legs.

Bike for two #bike

Those hay bales are heavy! #hay #farm

Headed home. Spot the Phylo dog :) #roadtrip #germanshorthairpointer #dog

Painterly clouds #sky #clouds #germany

Bird and Griffin have been playing "sleeping games" lately. They're ridiculously cute. Our little guy is so easy going for his big sister it's amazing. When we got home from traveling Jared and I got swept up in cleaning, laundry, etc. while kiddos chilled out in the living room. I took this picture after Bird had convinced Griffy to lay on a bed she'd made him, then tucked him in, and was "reading" him a book. Love!

She made him a bed, tucked him in, and is reading him a story. #love #sisterandbrother

Thanks for reading this long picture filled post! :o) I'm hoping to get back in the blogging routine again. Especially with living here and all these amazing places we're visiting. It seems a shame not to document it all! Hope you have a lovely rest of the week.

Hugs from Germany :o)

The three month check up

Following Phylo dog in the rain #germanshorthairpointer #dog #aachen #germany Hello hello! I've had friends bugging me to get back to it with the blogging. I'll start slowly but consider this my re-entry :o)

Germany life is going okay. Ups & downs. I have nothing to compare it to really as it is a completely new experience for us. But I'm reserving judgement until I've been here awhile. It has been very rainy lately...this "sun girl" is definitely weather challenged!

Nancy, France #nancy #france #reflection In newsy news, Bird turned FOUR on Friday. Hooray for 4!! We had a lovely long weekend with my parents in Kaiserslautern and did some traveling & thrifty shopping (the best kind) in parts of Germany & France. Bird helped make cupcakes and we did singing & presents & celebration with just our little family and my parents. It was very different from birthdays past but totally enjoyable. Sometimes low key is okay.

Good morning! I'm 4 today Birthday treats Nancy, France #nancy #france #villamajorelle Jared and I celebrated TWELVE years of marriage yesterday. Woot! We actually celebrated last Thursday night with a yummy French dinner out while my parents babysat.

Dinner for two ☺ #celebration Phylo dog turned 7. It's hard to believe really. He's still such a puppy in many ways. I think he loves it here (when it's not raining and he misses his walk). He gets to be off leash for walks so he's getting much more exercise than I could give him in California. He also loves the house I think. It's roomy and there's lots of cozy places for lounging :o)

Phylo has claimed this spot #germanshorthairpointer #dog My studio. We moved all the tables to the window wall for the light and also to block off the door (3 stories down!). #studio #attic #cozy I've been setting up my studio. It's such a great space. I'm the luckiest girl. Bird has started a few days a week of "kindergarten" (they call it that here but it's really preschool). So far so good. She's iffy about it some mornings but I think she's going to ease in and enjoy it. The best part is that we can walk. Yep, just 5 minutes walk. That's totally life changing. And good too, because we still have just one car. Our van is still in CA DMV limbo. Ugh.

Kinder. Back at it. I want to do what they're doing! Griffin is our Griffybear, almost 15mths old...he's teething hardcore these days and keeping us up at night. Painful. Like 2-4am not sleeping. Or wide awake at 3:45am. Nutty. He and Bird share a room so it can be complicated. But I remember this phase with Bird. Teething is hard for our kids. And for us. It will pass eventually... He's still such a sweetie. He's starting to say lots more words. Books, car, thank you, this, dog, tons of animal sounds. He wants to be a big boy so badly. We have him out of his high chair and he climbs by himself into a Stokke like chair with no straps. He wants real sandwiches he can hold in his little mitts. No cut up pieces for him, no thank you.

Tantrum. Hates being told no :) And what am I planning for my time? A mix of everything. Being mom, squeezing in art & textiles whenever possible, trying to take better care of myself. This is a big adjustment and I'm trying to not apply too much pressure to myself. I've been thrilled to have this beautiful space at the tippity top of the house (3 stories up, like a treehouse!) and have lots of little projects lined up. Painting a pair of mid-century side tables discarded on the street (why thank you!), revamping old lighting finds, framing up artworks. On my desk are fresh illustrations ready to be painted. And after our trip to Nancy, France, my head is spinning with ideas for textile designs.

Painted background. All for now, night! :) #watercolor #painting #rabbit #flowers #blue I'm on Instagram every day...I need to get better about Twitter, and only very occasionally check facebook. But I'd love to see you on Instagram and if you want to keep up with me and what we're doing that's the best place to be. My Instagram name is devonholzwarth.

#poppies #aachen #germany Outside the cathedral #aachen #germany Hugs from Germany!

It's official :: Auf Wiedersehen!

That's right...I just said goodbye, in German ;o)

We are moving!!

Not forever, just a 3 year commitment and we're keeping our house and doing storage and such. So we're definitely coming back (can you hear my relief?). Jared resigned from his job of 11 years and took a new one with a company in Germany. We will be moving in March. Until then (and maybe then too?) things are going to be tough...Jared will travel for 2 or 3 weeks at a time every two weeks :( But the pay off will be living right on the border with the Netherlands, 4+ hour drive from Paris, quick trip to Belgium, 3 hours from my parents (they're by the Air Force base in Ramstein), with 30 days vacation a year, oh, and Ikea (Netherlands) just 25 minutes away which is the same amount of drive time it is for us here ;o) It's the important things right?

Mostly, it will be a new experience. A fresh start, a paradigm shifting maybe. I think we've been needing it. I've been trying to accept my current situation of having so little time to myself and being so busy with two young children. I may as well go focus on that in a different country right?

Speaking of no time to myself...I'd better publish this now before it takes me a week to come back to it.

Hugs, Devon

3 adults 3 kids 2 dogs::Camping in Big Meadow

Big Meadow

We were just a little afraid...but we did it anyway :o) Like most anything with small children, camping was a lot of work but it was so worth it for the change of scenery, fresh air, new experiences for Bird, time with friends, time w/o internet and phones, etc., etc.

We drove into the Sierras on Friday and luckily found a spot at Big Meadow campground. Our initial plan was to camp at Lake Alpine but our friend David got there before us and found it to be less than ideal (boggy, no fire ring which meant NO fires, eep!, & LOTS of mosquitos) so we found a sweet little spot at Big Meadow. Picture huge granite boulders, towering redwoods, creeks with crystal clear cold water, miniature everything else - mosses, powdery blue butterflies, teeny alpine flowers. Just divine.

Big Meadow

We spent time both hiking & exploring as well as trying to get Griffin to sleep, haha ;o) I walked up and down the road for half an hour with Griffy in the sling while reading my Sunset magazine. Heck, that actually was somewhat relaxing.

Jared did what he normally does. Made me nervous by throwing Bird "high in the sky please?!" (her words) and crossing rivers on fallen logs with 4mth old Griffy strapped to his chest. Not too happy about that one still...

Bird LOVED it all. We are planning our next trip and hopefully one for each month next summer as well.

The only real issue was how crazy cold it got at night...and that when sharing one space for sleep, if one person wakes up often everybody wakes up. This can be a bit of a bummer. Note photo below...hard to tell but that is the sunrise behind Jared and the kids :o)

Big Meadow

David and his little guy joined us in camping. Bird loved having someone to dote on.

Big Meadow

Big Meadow
We'd only been at the campground half an hour and look how dirty Bird was already! I'm STILL washing clothes & bedding, etc. Even the ergo carrier smells smoky.

This picture is great because it shows that Phylo is the same while camping as he is at home. Always wanting to be up on something. He chose the little table for his bed. And tada! That is our new car...sadly, we had to let go of the Element. It's a bit of a bummer - it's been such a fun car and was awesome for my mural business. But the Odyssey can do just about everything the Element did and possibly better. It fits a 4x8 sheet of plywood or drywall FLAT on the floor and you can close the doors! It gets better gas mileage. It can fit 8 people. And Phylo. And lots of stuff. And I can't tell you how much easier it is to get kids (especially in a rear facing carseat) in and out of the car. WOW. Yes, we have a minivan and I really LOVE it. :o)

Big Meadow

We also played at Alpine Lake on Saturday. Beautiful deep cold lake. I'd love to go back with a canoe and paddle to the inner islands. Maybe next summer.

Big Meadow

Bird was nervous about going in the water at first. But when she finally did it was near impossible to get her out.

Big Meadow

I encourage you...if you have kids and have not taken them camping, you should REALLY do it! It's worth it.

Big Meadow

Hugs, Devon

A Santa Cruz morning

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

We've started hitting up a different Santa Cruz beach after hearing the rangers were ticketing dog owners at Its Beach who weren't following the leash policy. It's actually not so bad though...Mitchell Cove is just a little further down the stretch and has been surprisingly varied throughout the different seasons. The first time we went it was covered in a low tide of kelp forest seaweed (bulbous masses) and tons of flies (yech). Sunday was just gorgeous - the mosses were emerald green and the sandstone and ice plants seem to scream out with color. There were a handful of friendly dogs & owners and enough open space for all to explore.

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

This picture captures the joy of running from the surf as well as the agony of feeling your iPhone dropping from your pocket into the ocean. All's well now.

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

Mmmm, moss...Grandma & Bird admired its beauty.

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

Phylo wanted to climb the rocks too! We helped him up there a couple of times then he managed to get up all on his own with a good running start.
Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

The coolest cave.

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

Funny thing about the ocean here - it's supremely cold at first then you just get used to it and start romping around like the dogs do :o) Of course, you'll usually see people in bare feet with wool sweaters on. It *is* still early spring here.

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

Loving having my lens back.

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

A day is not complete without lots of jumping off things (and in this day's case, a whole lot of cliff climbing too - the girl is unafraid!). Jared is excited to finally have someone who will likely bungee jump and sky dive with him (in the future of course - how young do they allow kids to do those things?? Scary!).

A perfect morning in Santa Cruz (with or w/o your furry friend): hit a beach to get your feet wet and sandy - Mitchell's Cove or another less crowded one, then take a walk along the ocean (W. Cliff Dr.) and watch the surfers battle it out for waves, then head over for coffee & breakfast burritos at Emily's on Mission. If you have young people with you (who still nap) this may be the end of your day and time to head back over the mountain. But if not, you could always then go play disc golf at the local course, or go hit up the boardwalk rides & arcade. Another awesome place to get a bite to eat is Charlie Hong Kong's which is where we ate on Sunday, followed by a little meandering through Greenspace (both on Soquel). And if you're fabric nutty like me then you would absolutely not miss the opportunity to go around the corner on Seabright Ave. to Hart's Fabric!

Seriously fun stuff in Santa Cruz...enjoy :o)

Hugs, Devon
39 weeks pregnant, totally uncomfortable & irritated, trying to maintain great attitude

Merry Christmas from Montana

Montana Snow
We've been sledding (lots)!

Enjoying cozy fires & a constant stream of Jared's espresso drinks (oh my the heartburn).

Pulling on & peeling off layer after layer of clothing.

Montana Snow
Remembering what cold really feels like (not since my RISD days in Providence).

Exasperated by ill-fitting (pre-pregnancy) snow clothes & all the rigging needed to keep them in place.

Thoroughly enjoying watching Bird enthralled by her older (8 & 12yr) & younger (7wk twins) cousins.

Montana Snow
Trying to soak up the extreme beauty of Montana - Big Sky country.

Wishing I'd brought more than my iphone for pictures.

So happy & grateful for family, fun times, new experiences, and this beautiful wild place.

Merry Christmas to you wherever you are this season!
hugs, Devon

Favorite pictures of Summer

Favorite pictures of Summer
Long weekend camping - exploring redwood forests & wild empty beaches.

Favorite pictures of Summer
Bird really getting into our cold west coast ocean.

Favorite pictures of Summer
Trying to keep Bird from swimming away and appease Phylo's nervousness around water!

Favorite pictures of Summer
(Jared doesn't usually look so GI Joe, but always wears these pants while camping ;)

Favorite pictures of Summer
Mmmmhh! First smore.

Favorite pictures of Summer
Humboldt Redwoods State Park - big trees, river, little critters all around.

Favorite pictures of Summer
Getting into Daddy's things too.

Favorite pictures of Summer
Visiting family in 105 degree Texas - cooling off whenever possible.

Favorite pictures of Summer
Bird turning two.

Favorite pictures of Summer
The beautiful pergola Jared built!

Favorite pictures of Summer
Our first really warm day (in a fairly chilly summer overall).

Favorite pictures of Summer
Popsicles made from yummy farm picked strawberries.

Favorite pictures of Summer
We really enjoyed a ton of Summer fruit this year...strawberries, apricots, figs, raspberries...

Favorite pictures of Summer
Picking strawberries at the farm we subscribe to (and my last week with glasses).

Favorite pictures of Summer
Peonies...the beginning of warm days.

And now onto Fall & pumpkins & Halloween & Thanksgiving & more good times with family!

Hugs, Devon

And back home

Bird in the window

We're home from sunny HOT texas...happy to be getting back into some form of routine. & do I ever need a dedicated work day. My brain is popping with ideas & I'm working on a couple of projects using my Spoonflower printed fabric. Can't wait to get on it & share with you.

Have a lovely day!!
hugs, Devon

My weekend with Heather Ross, textile design, & Portland

My strawberries & tomatoes pattern from Heather Ross Workshop
My pattern, "Strawberry & Tomato Patch" from the Heather Ross textile design workshop

I can't believe it's Thursday already...this time last week I was packing my suitcase for Portland and absolutely giddy about what could be ahead. Today I'm desperately trying to get this written while packing for another trip - this time to see J's family in Texas, aka the Mohave.

Long story was a really special and amazing time!! Meeting Heather Ross (well, I actually met her last year at Hart's in Santa Cruz and chatted with her twin sister for awhile - not knowing till this trip that it was actually her twin, haha) was so FUN and she really is so great. For me, getting into this class was a dream come true and I didn't take it for granted - believe me that my rear end still hurts from those computer chairs ;)

Day 1 Heather started us out with introductions and then we jumped right into drawing, all squeezed around two ikea tables pushed together, elbow to elbow. It was challenging for some...I admit I love any reason to draw & didn't mind the exercise. I drew little houses, a sea turtle (ripple on the brain), a girl in the rain, a whistle (you can see I really embrace randomness), and then ended up spending a bulk of time (20min) on tiny tomatoes & strawberries.

We picked our favorite sketch then proceeded to make copies of it and move around the pieces, composing patterns. At this point several of us were a little hesitant to commit to using our half thought out morning scribbles for our workshop's feature pattern. But I went with it, adding a little sketched out Bird to the mix - you know, the ultimate strawberry & tomato eater - of course! ("shawbees and matos" as she would say).

By the end of the day we had our sketches scanned and some of us were already up and running on the computer, coloring away in Photoshop. I was looking over my pile of copies thinking of what in the world I was going to do with the mess. But oh! it was 4pm and time to head out for eats. Portland doesn't disappoint. We all thought it was cheap to eat there. And that there is no shortage of mac & cheese.

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
That evening was also Heather's public talk at was really enjoyable, & funny, & very candid :o) She is working on several new & exciting things - wallpaper, children's books, her own book with printable designs! Such an inspiration.

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
I have to say that Portland is a ridiculously walkable city. And clean too - noticed that right away. All those responsible Portlanders putting their recyclables in the readily available dispensers all over the place. And the bikes! It's truly a cyclist's meca.

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
I got coffee from many (many, many) different places but my favorite cup - a latte - came from
Stumptown which was connected to the Ace Hotel where I stayed. The bathrobes they provided were really cute & comfy - so much so apparently Heather bought one to take home :o) Great souvenir! (click on the Heather link above to see her post on the weekend)

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
This was the cave, I mean classroom, at
Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) that we did all of our work in. Heather went over her basic set up for working on fabric & it included: iMac, wacom tablet with stylus, color wheel, sketchpad, coffee, and a posable model for when drawing people. I think there were a few other things - oh yes, a scanner for sure. And probably a printer (we got to use the incredibly nice, large format printers - gorgeous!).

Day 2 we got to work with our computers & tablets! Heather went over how to use the stylus (and emphasized ergonomics which I really appreciated) and started us off in Photoshop using channels to lay out our patterns (instead of using layers). It was so liberating to break free from layers!! I have been trying to figure it out for a while (longer than I'd like to admit) and just couldn't get myself past a point of frustration or a long enough naptime (from Bird) to do it. It really isn't so difficult but it is a different way of looking at things - and it makes a lot of sense once you get started. I probably cut my drawing/coloring time in half using channels instead of layers. That's remarkable.

The day was an absolute blur...just being pasted to my chair and drawing in Photoshop...tomatoes & strawberries, tomatoes & strawberries. The best part of the day was figuring out how to get out of the city and go swimming (picture below). Sometimes there are just things that round out your time in a place perfectly & that's what our evening outing to Sauvie Island did (& only 20 min away!). I came back with just one mosquito could have been lots worse. The water was so refreshing and you know, it sure beat staring at a computer screen. Later on we went to a cute restaurant, Ping, and had chinese food (with a thai twist).

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
Heather (these shots are taken using the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone)

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
Adorable new friends, Jamie & Vera (Eliza not pictured but she was there too)

Day 3 was crunch time.

I was still (hand slap) working on my artwork instead of getting it into a pattern & ready to print. And my flight was soon after class was ending. So it was a bit of madness. I raced like crazy to color in every last tomato and strawberry and my little berry patch raider and then spent lunchtime running back to the Ace (in heels no less) to get my suitcase, grab and eat lunch and tea (while running in the heels & pulling the suitcase), then back to the computer. Heather was really helpful with suggestions for layout and color ways, as well as suggesting an inspiration to consider when planning out my patterns (Josef Frank, who I already am mad about).

By 2:30 most of us were printing out our patterns on glossy 13 X 19" paper and the excitement level was high. People were rushing in with gorgeous printed patterns that they had designed from start to finish from just Friday morning - it was a really cool thing.

Then it was on to quickly burning files, getting group pics, saying good byes, buying mailing tubes from Office Depot, catching a cab to the airport, an hour + plane ride, having my awesome neighbor pick me up, and arriving home to see Jared (and not Bird as she was sleeping). Then crashing for the night (and really not having any energy till probably Wednesday)!

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Our group of ladies, and
"Quilt Dad"

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Going over our work

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
My roommates and buddies for the weekend, Eliza & Jamie

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Jamie, Heather, & me :o)

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Post-swim at Sauvie Island

Hope you enjoyed the re-cap!

And hopefully soon I'll have printed fabric to show you...we are getting a credit from Spoonflower for printing what we made in class. Yay! I have some tweaking to do on my pattern - with color and pattern balancing - and then it's destined for linen I think. Not sure yet what I should make with it. Ideas? And should I put yardage or fat quarters in my shop?

I'm off to throw the rest of whatever clothes I'll need for 100+ degree weather into a suitcase and cook up dinner. We have farmfresh squash, tomatoes, green beans, and kale...think it's time for a summer pasta toss (with prosciutto, yum!).

Have a lovely weekend all :o)

hugs, Devon

ps: more photos at the Fabric Design with Heather Ross flickr group

Spring Travel, Part 2: Sarreguemines, France

After getting over the worst of the jet lag we headed over to France, just an hour+ from my parent's home in Germany. Now maybe it's all in my head (because I do have quite the soft spot for France) but I could tell a difference as soon as we had crossed the border. It's like when we would go visit family in Costa Rica for Christmas and as fun and exciting as it was I always knew when we were back in Panama (besides literally crossing the border) and I would stick my head out the window to breathe in the air of home :o) Anyway, maybe it's not too that extent but France did look & feel different from Germany. The houses had shutters, there were even more gardens, the people were a bit more stylish - even at the McDonalds we stopped in for Bird to run on the playground (we didn't know where any were at that point). By the way, it was the first time I'd been in a McDonalds in years - I bet they don't serve cafe au lait at the ones here in San Jose.

We went to Sarreguemines first (I have to look up that spelling every time - sheesh) and hit the first playground we saw. It was so peaceful. No one around but us & we sat on a bench and ate our packed lunch and Bird made us laugh. My mom ("Gigi" as she's known to Bird) got her inner child on and had fun on the rocking cars. Made me happy. So happy that I did it too (actually it doesn't take much to encourage me...).

We did some thrifting in both Germany & France. At the flea market we went to in my parent's area Jared said "Wow, their crap looks just like our crap" :o) It's true really.

We had much better luck at the French thrift stores outside Sarreguemines & Forbach. It was there that Jared joked that we were cleaning out all the copper in France. It felt like it. We picked up so many pots & watering cans & planters (the molds were a present from my parents) that we had to ship back two large boxes! I love having these "treasures" scattered throughout our house & garden now. It's even sweeter that they were thrifted, yes!

Even though the thrift stores were in more industrial areas one had a lovely field next to it and we had fun picking daisies, tossing Bird, and just goofing off before having to make the trip home.

More of those fields of brilliant yellow rapeseed! Wish we had stopped, haha. I realize all my field pictures are from the car, flying by.

Thanks for joining me on this part of our up will be a German castle and some fun in the trees :o)

More pics from this leg of the trip at my flickr.

Have a lovely weekend!!

Spring Travel, Part 1: Schwedelbach, Germany

It's our first week back from our European jaunt through Germany & France. I confess that I was terrified about the plane rides with Bird. It really wasn't so bad. It helped (quite a bit) to have my iphone along - full of photos & family videos and toddler game apps. Oh, and the jumbo sized charger as well. We scored an empty seat for Bird on BOTH flights. We were so grateful.

My parents live in Schwedelbach, Germany. It's sort of a country side village. My mom is a teacher and works on the local American military base. My dad is retired and able to pursue all the creative outlets he wants to (and there are a lot). The entire bottom floor of the house (and its a big house) is his studio and is full of paintings, clock projects, model ships and cars, various furniture projects, gardening tools and experiments, etc. - he is a tinkerer. It's been so long since I've been to their house...they usually come see us since they lived in Japan for the last 7 years (we visited just once). It was SO wonderful to see them in their own element again, surrounded by their well traveled and collective style. Every where you look there are treasures. And books - so many books.

I wish I had photographed their house more. The twelve foot long Japanese fish wind socks hanging in the stairwell. Their large eyes peering at you from the second floor, reminding me of something from a Hayao Miyazaki film. The Turkish rugs in rich reds and blues. The copper kettles, pots, pans in casually assembled collections throughout the house. What I admire is that as artfully as things are arranged, they really aren't just collections and vignettes, they're useful everyday items. My eyes had never been fresh enough before to see the artistry of my parents' home, and it was really inspiring. And it was another one of those moments where you look at your parents differently. Oh, growing up.

Bird had a great time exploring the house and getting to push her "yaya" (stroller) around their neighborhood. Just down the hill is the area's glass recycling receptacle where you drop off your glass by color. Brown, green, clear - all organized, so German. It's actually pretty fun I thought - sliding the bottles through the holes and hearing them smash at the bottom :o) Bird cringed at first then got really into it.

I got to see one of my favorite teachers from way back in junior high, as well as my former school nurse. They're at the same base my mom is now and they all love to hang out together - visiting new restaurants, taking tours, exploring. It's a really small world.

At one restaurant we walked to Bird made a new friend, Josephine, who captured Bird's interest (and taste buds) by reaching from her high chair over to Bird's with french fries (pommes frittes). One after another. It was giggly and cute. And I was just glad that Bird was eating something. Then they raced around the courtyard together and made us all laugh.

One of the most picturesque parts of this area of Europe in spring are the flowering fields of rapeseed. They're just everywhere! And the yellow! It's a true lemon yellow - acidic, bright, attention getting, soul lifting yellow. Driving from the airport in Frankfurt, down to Schwedelbach, and all over into France we were surrounded by the fields of yellow. Jared said they provided the sunshine since the real sun was too stubborn to come out for most of our time there.

More photos of Schwedelbach and beginning of our trip at my flickr.

Now it's back to work for me! Working on a new design for fabric - it's fun stuff, share soon!

Have a lovely Monday and come back soon for part 2 of our trip - forging into France & exploring the forests of Germany.


Lake Tahoe

We went to Lake Tahoe this weekend and had such a great time. There were a couple mishaps - lack of sleep for all of us & food poisoning for Jared - but our general feeling about the trip was a positive one. It's so nice to get away sometimes. Not having to board a plane or pack for a week's time was a bonus.

It was fun to see & play in SNOW! We sledded a lot (Miranda was the youngest sledder we saw - she was often happy just to sit on my lap and watch). Phylo got to run around a big snowy meadow and eat mouthfuls of fresh powder.

You can spy the cute little cabins where we stayed in the photo above.

Lake Tahoe in the winter is such a play of opposites. Lapping waves on a sandy beach with patches of snow & ice interspersed between pine cones and crustaceans crushed into the shore. The array of blues and grays in the clouds and sky were incredible.

Here you can see that there's something on my lens, haha.

And you can also see the sad little bruises on Bird's face. The result of knocking heads with Phylo in a game of ball (that Phylo won).

This is the uncropped version of the first photo in the post, which shows it was actually Jared throwing our Bird up in the air and that she can't actually fly - which I'm certain that you had assumed by now.

There are lots more Tahoe pics at my flickr.

And to follow up from my last post...this is what I painted at Noodle & Boo last week. It's a 16' x 10' wall that will have cubicles in front it (where I didn't include flowers). I took the photo with my phone so it's a little dark & not so crisp, but you get the idea. I didn't leave the work site till 11pm...and didn't get to complete the other area of the office to be painted (I just wasn't up for working into the next day - I mean, really). I'm headed back this week to finish up.

Happy Martin Luther King day to you!

Fight Love Live


Filoli. 654 acres of estate and gardens from the early 20th century. It's maybe only 30 or so miles from us and I just went for the second time last Friday. It didn't disappoint of course.

I took my visiting friends who couldn't have been a better fit for this place. They told me multiple times that they were in Heaven and proceeded to fill their cameras with to-die-for images. (Which will probably become paintings later on - check out their site here).

At Filoli there is something gorgeous around every bend...

And in every wheelbarrow.

Lining every set of stairs.

And behind every "secret garden" gate.

Sometimes its in the details...

You can't help but be mesmerized.

I mean, really, have you ever seen such a blue hydrangea?

Or felt like you were swimming in yarrow & lavender?

I nearly fall over whenever I enter this garden. It's Filoli's "knot garden" and it's otherworldly.

It's my favorite part of the entire estate.

Miranda had a good time I thought. I carried her for a bit (through the house on a self-guided tour), then into the stroller for most of the garden, then onto my back in the ergo carrier until we were ready to call it a day and get refreshments at the cafe. I think she's going to want to walk walk walk everywhere when she finally does start walking. For now, it's so great that she's happy being held and carried and strolled :o)

A few more pretties to show you. These glorious sunflowers lined the perimeter of the knot garden.

And this is one of the many water features. I love water lilies...

For more about Filoli...the house, the amazing gardens, how to plan a visit & maybe do some plein air painting go here.

Have an inspired day :o)

Laguna Seca


Trying to squeeze in this post in the few minutes Miranda might spend in her nap this morning.  I say might as I'm pretty sure she's not sleeping yet.  Crossing my fingers (and toes, and whatever else) that she'll just settle down already and drift off.  Jared's been gone for the bike race since Friday so it's just been me and the Bird.  I tell you, I have a whole new appreciation for you single parents out there!  You amaze me, I don't know how you do it!

Saturday morning I had planned to jet off early for Laguna Seca Raceway (Monterey area, like an hour and a half from here).  Mbird takes two naps a day so I figured she could sleep while I drove.  Thankfully she did...for the most part.  I had picked up some new goodies for her and had them strapped to her carseat for her to play with.  A neato silicone teether, a Haba pacifier chain with fabric and wood flower faces (cute), and I tossed in the "Peek a Who?" book in case she wanted to be bookish.  She's quite the bookish babe actually.

It was a beautiful day down there.  Kind of day you have to be careful of actually.  It feels cool and refreshing and mellow and you pass the day without care only to find you've been burnt to a crisp somehow.  That was me last year...  This year I had sunglasses and sunscreen and brought a hat for Miranda.

The race works like this: at noon on Saturday the gun goes off and riders make their way through a 15+ mile mountain bike course around Laguna Seca.  It takes around an hour to complete a lap.  When the first riders are coming in the second riders are ready to go - it's a relay, and you determine how many riders will be on your team.  Last year I think Jared had a team of 8.  This year it was whittled down to 5 (painful, yes).  Basically, teams are trying to accomplish the most amount of laps possible in 24hrs.  This is one those "why do people do these things to themselves?" sorts of things :o)  When I talked to Jared this morning he was getting ready to go for his 5th lap!  Poor guy!! (Not to mention Jared's eye injury from Thursday...what a week it's been let me tell ya.  If you want to see that check it here).

I'm ready for another set of hands on deck.  Come home anytime Jared!  In fact, why don't you head out for that 5th lap, but bike to your car instead and drive home? :o)  No one will suspect a thing...

Driving back to San Jose I was so struck by how gorgeous this place is.  I'll always be a Panama girl.  I'm from there, I grew up there, that's home (though it seems I rarely go back).  But I love California.  I really do.  There's just something so strongly satisfying in the landscape.  It's infected me & I don't think I ever want to leave.

The April Escape & New Old Things

Our trip to Florida was such a great time...really, even with a 10 month old :o) Especially with a 10 month old. Miranda had us cracking up all the time and it was awesome to introduce new things to the big Atlantic Ocean, the Everglades, and tons of family she had never met before.

We spent our first night at Jared's aunt's house in Sanford, right on a river's edge.
Magical, really.

Hello up there Bird.

We drove down to Palm Beach for my brother's wedding the next day. It was a gorgeous day, a beautiful and very touching ceremony right on the beach, and the reception just steps away.

So fun to see family again...there they are, talking with their hands ;o)

Miranda's great Uncle Al sketched her while she snoozed on Jared. Look for that framed in her room later on - it came out so sweet.

Jared looked fab in his new tie we bought on Etsy.

Whew! We were tuckered out...all that dancing!

After wedding hoopla, we spent a few days hitting the beach and exploring the "real Florida". We so enjoyed John D. McCarthur State Park...the beaches, spinner sharks catapulting in the air, warm ocean waves, sea oats and other funky foliage, lizards galore...

Mbird really enjoyed the sand!

I mean REALLY enjoyed the sand ;o)

She may have had more fun than we did.

Just one of the many reasons I love Jared...he's willing to do things I would never try. Like take our daughter into those big Atlantic waves - hoisting her into the air when they'd come rolling in. She had a blast :o)

Mmmmhh, salty.

This is how quite a few of our days ended.


Back home...
We finally got a laundry line up...I found a fabulous 'hook house' and vintage clothes reel off Ebay. Then we washed up our wedding regalia and watched it float in the breeze - how lovely.

Oh beautiful dress, I will wear you again soon. Maybe with a wide belt and sandals? How about a denim jacket?

(Should I post pics of the 4 way access clothespin bag I just whipped up...?)

And today Miranda is 10.5 months old. I guess it really does go by fast.

xo, devon

Back from Sunshine Land

We're back from our Florida trip and I've got lots to share... :o)

I will say that Miranda's headband turned out awesome! That is, until she busted it halfway through the wedding ceremony. That was right after breaking the elastic band of my bracelet, causing big freshwater pearls and tiny onyx and coral beads to tumble into the sand, some of which will never be seen again - at least by me!

I'll be back later...xo, devon :o)

And here we go

Off to Florida for my brother's wedding...

Ready to get dressed up (still have to finish Mbird's headband - there's a peek below), enjoy the ocean and some sunshine, and have a little vacation...goodness knows we need it! I know it may not be restful, but at least it will be something different.

Hope you all have a lovely Easter :o) See you in a week!
xo, devon