Thoughts from the trail...


While much of the country is buried under blankets of snow and ice, here in western Washington we've been enjoying one of the mildest winters in recent memory...

Dawg & I walk often, no matter what the weather, but it is a particular pleasure to wander deep into the woods this season when we have several inches of spongey moss under our feet
and paws.  

The woods around us are mainly a mix Douglas fir trees and red alder with an understory of salal, oceanspray, serviceberry, mahonia, willows and the very sweet smelling (in June), wild Nootka rose.  There's also an abundance of lichens and mosses, too numerous to even begin to identify.  

I'm viewing all of this native plant material in a completely different way ever since reading an absolutely stunning book about dyeing textiles with leaves, bark, seed husks, and many other natural materials.  Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles, written by Australian textile artist India Flint, is a fascinating read and warning, you may never look at plants in the same way again!  More of her work can be seen on her website and she writes an informative & visually glorious blog, Prophet of Bloom. So I'm eyeing the windfalls, broken branches, dried ferns and plotting my upcoming dye experiments. Thank you, India, for my *new* eyes.

After surfacing from all these plant-based thoughts, I remembered that today is the last day of the month - which means that tomorrow I begin an online 'Digital Photomanipulation' workshop. Online, how cool is that?!  Right from the keyboard in front of my comfy chair.  The students work at their own pace, with tutorials and lots of individual attention if we need it. You see, I've had this ongoing love/hate thing with digital photography for some time.  It occurred to me that maybe a crash course, taught by a creative photographer (in this case, Susan Tuttle), might provide just the kick in the derriere I need. I've been lazy, playing only with the limited tools in iPhoto (Mac) when I know I could do so much more and probably have a whole heck of a lot more FUN.  The two photos below illustrate the extent of what I currently do with iPhoto:
Straight out of camera
Levels changed, warmed, sharpened details, highlights lowered
I think there's still room in the workshop, if anyone needs a kick, too :>]]  In the meantime, it's back to beading my January page. Stay tuned, my friends, and I hope everyone has had a very good weekend.


  1. thank you for those very kind words, my dear! your woods sound absolutely wonderful
    i'll wander on by...nosing for windfalls

  2. Your woods trail reminds me very much of Southern Tasmania, especially around Cradle Mountain. It's beautiful to see your trail and i can feel the moss underneath and smell the damp lichen from here. Thanks for that, it's very cooling. Kaite

  3. thank you for listing and describing the trees and plants that surround you on your walk...I'm just having this thing for flora and abundance lately and this post falls into that category.

    I'd love to take the photo manipulation course, though I don't have any free time or money right now. Maybe in the Spring...enjoy every moment of it...I'm sure it will be one of those life changing classes. I know my first photography class was like that...

  4. You find more fabulous blogs than anybody I know... Thanks so much for sharing them, along with all these other glorious thoughts and photos.... Sweetpea Path is quite a gift!

    Hugs, Robin A.

  5. Beautiful woods! Sounds sort of like the woods in Maine. And good luck in the class. Sounds like it will be good.