22 February, 2012

Bonsai; bōn-ˈsī

Bonsai; bōn-ˈsī: a potted plant (as a tree) dwarfed (as by pruning) and trained to an artistic shape; also : the art of growing such a plant  Merriam-Webster Definition

This Sunday I developed a much greater appreciation for the art of bonsai on our visit to the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection located south of Seattle in Federal Way, WA.  We spent over an hour with our wonderful guide Scarlett who was kind enough to answer the questions of our small group of 3 on a cold day where toes freeze and noses run.  The collection is breathtaking and each tree, grove and forest has a story.  We learned many interesting facts about these pieces of art and nature.  For example, each bonsai has a date of origin and the date they became a bonsai.  A tree becomes a bonsai when the artist begins its manipulation, this can be a seedling they sprouted themselves or a tree that has been growing in the wild.  Some of the trees are decades old before they become bonsai.  The photos below taken with my broken camera and frozen fingers don't do these living pieces of art justice but they'll give you an idea.

Trident Maple Acer buergerianum                            

Shimpaku Juniper Juniperus chinensis var. sargentii

Japanese Beech Fagus crenata

Formosan Juniper Juniperus formosana
Note the dead white wood and the live brown wood.  This technique was displayed several times and the results are beautiful. 

Catlin Elm Ulmus parvifolia

Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens
Our friend Blake standing next to a redwood bonsai! (I want one)

We will be going back in a few months when flowers are blooming and in the fall when the leaves change color, I can't wait!  We were told that only half of their collection is on display at any one time so there may even be some different trees.  I'll go ahead and say this is one of the best things I've seen on our recent travels.  My love for trees drives my desire to have one in my house.  Maybe if I start now I'll be able to successfully raise, train and care for a bonsai by the time I retire.  This hobby would take a lot of commitment.

13 February, 2012

Home Improvement: Kitchen Shelves

In a previous post I mentioned some shelves we were building.  After a few hiccups our kitchen shelves are done!  Before I left for CA we had cut all the pieces and mapped out the studs in the wall.  The stud finder was beeping all over the place and it was a puzzle to separate the studs from the pipes/electric lines.  We prevailed and then realized that the stud placement changed our plans and we made wrong cuts for the shelves, GASP!  I had to leave the next day so Aaron took over the project and finished while I was gone.  I am a grateful girlfriend since they look great AND he found the time to hang up a pot rack. Let's here it for the boy!

Here's some before and after pictures.

 What's an even better thing to come home to than brand new shelves in the kitchen?

  These guys 

12 February, 2012

26 before 27

So I made a list of 26 things I want to do before I'm 27.  I've seen this idea around the blogosphere for a while now and have been waiting for my birthday to come so I could compile my own list.  Luckily I was flying on my birthday so I had plenty of time in the terminal and on my flight to decide what I would include.  I think this short term bucket list is a great idea to inspire throughout the year and I will be keeping you updated as I check things off!

1. visit Alaska or Hawaii
2. sew a dress
3. go to a Sounders game
4. visit Carolyn
5. plan a trip overseas
6. use a jigsaw
7. go whale watching
8. start learning GIS
9. spend the night in a yurt
10. run a 7 minute mile again
11. fill a sketchbook
12. complete an embroidery project
13. catch a salmon
14. learn to screen print
15. develop a killer hot sauce recipe
16. read Origin of Species
17. eat a raw oyster
18. build a mobile
19. fly a kite at Gas Works Park
20. learn a programming language
21. design/start a quilt
22. join a climbing gym
23. go stand up paddle boarding
24. start an Etsy shop
25. bake my bread more than I buy it
26. camp in the desert

There's a range of difficulty and dedication here.  Eating a raw oyster is more a matter of will while visiting Alaska or Hawaii will be a matter of time/money.  I'm tempted to make all sorts of bucket lists now; craft, travel, Seattle, lifetime, but I think I'll just start with this one and see how it goes.