Appreciation

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Turns out, it’s summer here! The weather has been flip flopping from drop dead gorgeous to what we call The Nothing.

It’s still been warm, at least!

Even with the beach intermittently disappearing and reappearing, this summer has been going well. We’ve been lucky to meet some really great guests and have been even happier to see some of the families who vacationed with us last year. It means a lot to us that they chose to vacation with us and means even more when our guests choose to return again. We’ve started placing comment cards in our rooms to gauge how we’re doing and take notes on things we may have overlooked. It’s been overwhelming the amount of positive feedback and appreciation our guests have left on these little cards. I get excited whenever anyone reads the notes and I keep all of them. They are like a little cheering squad that keep me focused on why we work the way we do.

It all matters to someone.

It’s like an amazing cycle of appreciation. We appreciate our customers and our customers appreciate our dedication to them. It makes it easier to get going in the morning to know that what you are doing is important, even if it is ironing bed skirts and folding towels.

We are a small place, but we are important to our guests. It’s nice to be appreciated, so we’ll keep appreciating our guests right back.

Goodbye, WhimseyBox. Hello Grays General Store!

Tags

Before I write this post, I want to make it entirely clear that I absolutely love the idea behind WhimseyBox subscriptions. The business just isn’t quite there. Yet. I wish them the best.

I subscribed to WhimseyBox in March. After a couple flubs, I excitedly received my box “April” box in early May.

My First Box: buttons, bright turquoise paint, stencils, a stipling brush, and a teeny tiny canvas. My thoughts: Cute! I’m sure I can figure out something to do with these. I will add them to my craft stash along with this box of crinkle paper, yellow crepe and pretty satin bow!

My Second Box: (again, a few weeks later than expected, but still excited to open it.) A tiny fabric covered notebook, a Black Crayola Fabric Marker, a Red Crayola Fabric Marker, A bit of purple craft floss, a bit of blue craft floss, and some googly eyes. My thoughts: Hmm. Crayola? These look just like washable markers that Won’t. Wash. Out. HIDEFROMKIDS. A notebook! I would take a milion more. I cannot bear to write in it. It is too adorable. What is with my office product obsession? Add floss to craft-floss-bird-nest container. Oh googly eyes, alone or in pairs, you belong every where, so cheer up and smile smile smile!

My Third Box: Studs. A Leather swatch. My thoughts: uh. Really?

So I cancelled my subscription. I don’t want to make this a negative post. Just an honest one. Maybe I’m not as into the serendipity of mystery crafts as I thought I would be.

I don’t think this is all WhimseyBox’s fault. I really blame this new local craft/gift/coffee shop (see General) that opened up between me and our closest grocery store. The Grays General Store blipped onto my radar when FB analytics starting picking up I was feeling crafty (Thanks Big Brother!) and showed me this interesting little ad link on my news feed. Make Something the ad taunted. I need to go to this store. Immediately. So I made up an excuse serendipitously needed help with sewing my wedding dress and went in to explore the shop. Britta and Judy have done an amazing job with the shop in very little time. Right now it is stocked with fairly priced craft supplies, locally made gifts, and neat little trinkets I will one day need to own for myself. And cookies. And divine Honey House Lip Butter and lotions that I’m pretty sure have some addictive (but entirely natural) additive in them. And refurbished sewing machines. A craft studio. Coffee. Did I mention cookies? I really just didn’t want to leave. This store feels like Etsy fell off the internet and exploded in Hoquiam. And it’s great. I’ll rephrase that. This store is better than Etsy and the internet because it’s in real life. With real people who really like to create and they will teach you how. Or you can teach them to do something you know how to do. Or you can sit around and eat cookies and sip tea while everyone crafts simultaneously in a harmonious and peaceful circle of creation. I’d stay longer each time I stop in if I didn’t feel so creepy with all the lovey feelings I have for this shop. And if my wonderful children didn’t wreck things. Sigh.

I’m at peace with my WhimseyBox decision. I wish you the best, my internet friend. Real life craft stores with real cozy chairs beckon. $15 dollars worth of yarn and fabric from Grays General Store keeps me in projects for over a month. I may even have some extra dollars for more Lip Butter. And a homemade cookie. Of course. I know Hoquiam is not local for everyone. The good news is, if you are driving to visit us, you’ll pass right by Grays General Store. Win!

Mother’s Day and the Perks of Being an Innkeeper

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I love DIY. I love the channel, DIY blogs, how-to’s. The works.

I DO NOT like living in a construction zone. Especially with kids. It seems like even the slightest disturbance in the norm compounds into hours of extra cleanup and fuss. Sometimes these things just need to get done. It doesn’t mean I will like them. It’s so much nicer when the demolition dust is on the other side of a screen. A good, thick television or computer screen.

When we moved into the Innkeeper’s house, the owners took the opportunity to update the house after almost 10 years of living from the previous manager. The house needed it. The kitchen was gutted, the bedrooms were taken down to the studs and reinsulated (or in many cases insulated). Each layer of linoleum screamed out it’s decade as it was pried from the subfloor and new, modern laminate hardwood was laid in it’s place. While all this business was happening, we were tucked away in one of the hotel rooms. During the almost 2 month renovation, we stayed in at least 3 rooms. Our residency in the units really helped to highlight things we would love to do to update each for future guests. Our rooms are all cozy for a vacation, but for a family of 4, daily life gets a little too cozy. We (prematurely) kicked out the contractors, swept up the drywall dust and vowed to complete the rest of the remodels ourselves.

Then came summer.

Needless to say, we’ve been procrastinating a little too long. When John asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I had a few simple requests. Refinish the kitchen counters. Our kitchen counters were new when we moved in, but a light coat of linseed oil just didn’t hold up to the wear and tear of toddlers and a few mislaid cast iron skillets. To fix it would mean a bit of sanding and multiple layers of sealer. This means dust and fumes. Happy Mother’s Day! Not! While John heroically shouldered the task of sanding (and terrifying the dog) I decorated cookies with the kids at Mother’s Day Tea. They had a great time touring (see; running circles covered and filled with frosting) Gray’s General Store, and I had a great time chatting with Britta, the new owner of a great, local-handmade-centric craft and gift shop in Hoquiam.

I mentioned the perks of being an innkeeper. I cashed in my final Mother’s Day request when we arrived home and found out waterlox is pretty smelly for a pretty long time. We chose instead to stay in our newly finished remodel. Room 8.

Best Idea Ever.

Poor Hank was terrified of the power sander, but settled right in to life with a deck.

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I know I did!

2012 Day Trip #3: Rainforest Loop Hike/Willaby Creek

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

After our trip to July Creek, the kids have been pretty excited to get back out and explore more trails.

Actually. They really just wanted to revisit July Creek and play in the water again. I convinced them we could find another really awesome hike if they trusted me. After a quick lunch, we set out to get ready for another sunny spring day.

Sunny. Yes. We left our house and it was 65 degrees and sunny. Nola insisted she needed her raincoat. And galoshes. And sunglasses. Funny enough, as soon as we parked in the RAINforest, it began to drizzle. I could see the twinkle in her eye when I conceded she had dressed appropriately. She said “See? The fairies are always right.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I had no ground to argue!

At least one of us was prepared.

Linus on the other hand would not leave the house unless he was able to wear his sister’s sun hat. We are a stylish troup!

As soon as we entered the tree cover, I was really amazed by how little rain made it down to us. Spring has really been good to the forest and every tree has brand new leaves. I wish I was good at remembering my botany, but aside from ferns and random flowers, it’s all just greenery to me. Lush, iridescent, incredible greenery.
With a side of mushrooms. I know there are foragers out there who rummage through these woods and return home with spoils of wonderful edibles. Mushrooms always remind me of the movie The BearUntil further notice, any mushrooms discovered outside of the farmer’s market or shelf at the grocery are considered poisonous.A few minutes through our hike, the sun broke back through the gray. The speckles of yellow through the trees spotlighted interesting flowers and promising buds. I’m sure there is something new to look at ever other day on this trail.

We made it to the bridge over Willaby Creek, ate some bananas and turned back towards the car. I was impressed with Nola’s hiking. Linus stayed in the backpack through “tunnels” where the trees grew closer together and blocked the sun, but he was happy to wiggle free and eat snacks when we stopped in clearings.The trail was fairly level. It only became slightly difficult for a 4 year old right before the bridge, but she made it through with only a little hand. I think both kids were disappointed there was no clear access point to the water. They could see and hear the creek for most of the hike, but were never able to toss stones into it’s depths. I’ll have to factor in a water feature next time for sure. I had to get creative in order to keep their mind away from tromping off the path down to the crystal blue stream.

So I looked for bugs

And explained all the baby plant-lings along the path would not survive the wrath of their red rain boots. I think only a few blades of grass were injured along our hike. They were sacrificed by Linus for a stick that laid just out of reach.

We made it back to the car with just enough string cheese and juice to make it the 25 minute drive home.

PS: We hiked the loop backwards! Originally I had planned this because we had hiked the beginning of the loop with a friend on a previous visit and I wanted to see the other side. It also helps because it gives you a slight down-hill return. A good 25-30 degree grade is good to keep a sidetracked toddler rolling forward.


Rebel against the arrow!

2012 Day Trip #2: July Creek

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

I feel like we have really lucked out here. This spring has been peppered with beautiful sunny days and it’s only May. I hope I didn’t jinx anything, but just in case, we followed a clue from a friend and took a trip to explore July Creek along the North Shore of Lake Quinalt. Within just about a 30 minute drive, this little spot is closer than the grocery store. Perfect!

The trail was nice and level for the most part and Noonie even made the trip carrying all our drinks.

I chose what looked like the clearest path down to the water’s edge with a little pebble beach and lots of driftwood to climb on. While I took some photos, the kids went about doing whatever they wanted.

Of course, Nola jumped right into the glacier fed lake.

And Linus broke out the snacks he’d been waiting for since we packed them at home. Explaining the difference between a “right now” lunch and a “future” lunch to a 2 year old is pretty challenging, but he understood as soon as I put the lunch box down it was fair game. He sat on the log next to me and said “Do you like hiking?” and I said “I do. Do you like hiking?” and he nodded since his mouth was full of sandwich. He helped me make them before we left the Inn and he was still feeling pretty proud of his accomplishment.

We spent a good 3 hours goofing around and only saw one person near our little beach. He was drifting in a boat and fishing. The kids enjoyed discussing boats and fishing while he floated past our shore. Nola sat down next to me with her PBJ and asked “Why is it so beautiful here?” and I didn’t really have an answer for that. But I’m glad we got to see it.

I’m a Fabric8 Semifinalist! Now what?

Tags

, , , , , , ,

If you are following along here, you may remember my post about my Fabric8 entry design. Well.

I made it into the semi-finals!

Super amazing, right? That means I am one of 100 amateur fabric enthusiasts in the running for a real contract with a real fabric company to sell my real fabric designs. Winning the contest is basically like winning a job. And $1000. And a Wacom tablet. And Spoondollars.

Yes. This is a real big deal.

Until May 9th thousands of people (maybe more?!) from all over the world will be judging the 100 semifinalists and narrowing down their picks to the final 8. The Fabric8, if you will. The Fabric8 will then be asked to compile a complete collection of fabrics that will go though another set of voting. Then. Winner!

Now? Stress! Anxiety! Feelings of inadequacies.

To keep my mind off the voting happening over at Spoonflower, I’ve been working on coordinates. This is not me being cocky. This is me being productive. During my own voting session, I had trouble narrowing down a favorite design. Spoonflower is filled with a lot of amazing people with a lot of impressive talent. I feel very honored that I made it through the first elimination. Now I’m just trying to stay busy.

This is a tiny slice of what I’ve been working on. After a few crumpled papers and brutal  constructive criticism from John I am pretty happy where it is heading!

That reminds me! Voting officially closes over at Spoonflower on May 9th. That is in one day! If you like fabric and exciting contest sorts of things, you should go vote! You don’t have to pick mine, but if you like it you should!

Best of luck to all the designers involved. I’m excited to see what you all come up with in the next round!

Jen (drizzlydaydesignco)

45 Days to the Big Day

Tags

, , , , , ,

I’ve been busy plotting and planning with Pinterest. Do you have any idea how fun this website is? I don’t know how much of the last few months were wasted drooling over fancy party supplies and lacy dresses, but I feel really productive whenever I add a clever diy or color inspiration to my “Big Day” board.

With all of the excitement surrounding our wedding, it’s been a challenge to keep our budget in check but not feel like we are cheaping out on our special day. As a happy-medium I’ve been pushing myself to rethink expensive and prioritize what I feel is important.

What is important?

Having a meaningful wedding.

What isn’t important?

Stuff.

This doesn’t mean we are all going to dress in rags and sit in mud puddles for fun. It does mean we are passing on pricy things that mean nothing to us. For instance, instead of investing money if beautiful floral arrangements (that die), I’ve coerced a few friends of mine (Angie at CUTEure Creations included) into helping me make centerpieces. I’ll be DIY-ing boutonnieres, corsages, and bouquets using bits and bobs from my craft stash and neat objects in my April WhimseyBox. Instead of buying those giant shiny diamonds, we settled on a set of rings from an independent jewelery artist at CocoandChia who fashioned us a beautiful set of rings that complement my Grandmother’s engagement ring. My dress is vintage from Sessle B Vintagery and we are choosing to wear TOMS.

I don’t want to divulge too much of what I have planned because I know at least some of my friends and family read this blog and I want them to be surprised on our special day. I was really planning to post about our wedding after it happened, but a blog from The Doodle House really resonated with me and reinforced that my labor of love (literally) is worth it. Our wedding is going to be the day we celebrate being together with each other and it’s a perfect excuse for us to drag our family members out to Pacific Beach to visit. I want to make pieces of art (or craft if you’re a purist) that our family and wedding party appreciate and will care about because they are special to us.

The important parts are the people. Luckily, I can use all the money I didn’t spend on a wedding dress to feed them all when they get here!

2012 Day Trip #1: Ruby Beach

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

There are only so many sunny days I can spend around the house before it starts to feel  like I am wasting the spring away. The kids and I decided to hop in the car for a day trip up to Ruby Beach. We spent some time at Ruby Beach last year, but the weather on that day was not nearly as nice. All the stones that cover the beach were warm and the wind was pretty mellow.

Driftwood rises up and blocks the first path to the beach. There is a clearer access point further down the trail, but since part of the idea of taking a trip is to tucker everyone out for nap time, I chose the path less traveled.
Hello There, Ruby Beach! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to cross the creek to reach the larger sea stacks, but they are pretty hard to miss.
With the recent rains, the creek was moving pretty quickly and was swollen with water. I also could have planned our trip around tides before leaving home, but that’s no fun! Next time we’ll bring waders.
There were still plenty of rocks to climb on this side. She’s yelling “I AM THE WINNER!” I was pretty impressed with her determination to reach the top of these rocks.

After climbing everything in sight, I enlisted the kids to find as many heart shaped rocks as we could. They decided throwing rocks in the water was more fun, so we sat on the sun-heated stones and I found this one.
Good-bye, Ruby!
And this is a photo of Destruction Island off in the distance. My new semi-obsession is to devise a way to reach it. Currently the lighthouse is on auto-piolot and it is a nature reserve. Honestly, I just want to see the 20 pound feral rabbits. If anyone has a helicopter lying around, and a license to use it please let me know.
Do you have a favorite Olympic Peninsula hiking spot? Please share. We’ve got more sunny days coming up and toddlers running wild around the Inn.

Secrets on the North Beach

Tags

, , , ,

The funny thing about moving out of the city is how your point of view changes. We gave up our sweet digs in the Roosevelt neighborhood over a year ago for a pretty amazing opportunity to “work from home” managing an inn just steps from the ocean. The Pacific Ocean. The Olympic Peninsula. Mountains. Wind. And water. In all of it’s ubiquitous forms. I didn’t expect to change much when I moved out of Seattle’s cozy, and busy embrace.

Things have changed. We are employees of a small business. Really small. 10 rooms. My partner and I are in fact the only full-time employees. A lot rests on us, but this is not a stressful job. Our job is to make sure our guests enjoy their time on the beach. For the most part this is easy. Keep the rooms clean, replenish towels and toilet paper, and recommend local places worth a visit. Together with the owners and a rag-tag (in an endearing way) group of handy helpers, we’ve spent the last year polishing up the rooms to the point of being quaint and cozy without feeling harsh and sterile. This is a real beach spot. All of your senses are overwhelmed with the presence of the Pacific. Like it or not, that tumultuous beauty is always there.

Pacific Beach is special. It is not a sea-port with a history filled with jewels and and busy grandure. This town is from logging. From fishing. It also stands shoulder to shoulder with Tahola and Moclips. This is a colorful and gritty (again, with endearment) beach town filled with people who move out here for a reason. It’s different here. Island-like. Every business is a small business because PB is too small for corporations and franchises to even take notice.

At first John and I felt like we had been let in on a huge secret. No one knows about this place! A town of our own! To build as we see fit! Mold in our palms! We could make this place GREAT! If only we had ___. Or a __!

We learned Pacific Beach is already great. Towns are not built by people with crazy schemes and deep pockets. Those are just buildings. Storefronts. Facades. Villages and towns are made with people. The quality of those people directly affects the foundation of a town. Sturdy, interesting people with a good dose of weird are holding Pacific Beach together. The paint is weathered, but if you were battered by an ocean every day and night you wouldn’t look so shiny and new either.

I cannot say Pacific Beach has something for everyone. This is a quiet beach town with a huge stretch of ocean to wander. This is a town where the locals talk about everyone’s business. This is the kind of vacation town where kids grow up visiting and then come back as retirees. This is a town where the local kiteshop/coffeeshop/souvenir shop is where you can find someone who can take a look at your car. Or fix your electricity. This is a town where the local kids go razor clam digging and will clean and pack a limit and sell it to you like lemonade for under $20. People live here. There aren’t a lot of people, but with this much flavor packed in each, you don’t need to add too many. I am grateful to be part of this community, for however long we stay here. My only hope before we leave is to let out the secret of Pacific Beach, Washington.

Just a little bit…

Fabric, waves, and seamless repeats

Tags

, , , ,

I’ve been chin deep in this waves pattern for a couple months now. It started as a stress -reducing doodle and has since escalated into a very time consuming fabric design. It would be nice if the design pays off in the Fabric8 contest, but I feel like I flexed some important creativity muscles regardless of if it ever makes a dime.

The time consuming portion of this fabric design was not the lines, or filling in the pattern. 90% of the time I spent was on creating a seamless repeat. Here is the method I used.

Start with your pattern. Fill in as much of the paper as you can, leaving a little gap around the edge of the paper. Try not to go all the way to the edge because you’ll need the space to connect your design to itself.

Did you finish your lovely picture? Is it wonderful? All you’ve dreamed of? Fantastic! Now chop it in half. Yes. Perfectly in half. My cutting tool of preference is an exact-o and ruler, however any straight cutting tool you are comfortable with will work. The trick is not to lose any of your design with this chop. One clean swipe. Then tape the outside edges together with your design center on the outside.

The gap makes sense now, right? It’s your finishing space. Obviously, the pieces of your design you cut apart will fit back together and now you have to continue your first loop. Your horizontal loop. Take your pencil and connect your design in a way that makes sense. (If you’re gutzy, feel free to jump in with pen.) That will look like this:

Great! Before I filled in the horizontal repeat completely, I chose to move on to the vertical repeat. Chop your beloved design in half again, along the other axis and carefully tape along the back of your design.

After you fill in the gaps, pay special attention to the edges where your design will meet up. you could tape it together and insert some cylindrical object (coffee can, oatmeal can etc) and finish your design on a tube or leave it blank, disassemble and reassemble your whole piece. That part all depends on your tape. When I finished with my pen illustration, I wound up with this:

The only issue I found with this method is that very noticeable tape line. That gap translates to about 4 pixels. I’m sure there is a better tape out there, but next time I am thinking of using tracing paper and creating layers instead of just one piece of chopped up paper. Instead of redrawing everything from scratch, I connected the lines after I vectorized my image. This step isn’t necessary, but I do like the look of crisp vector lines. I think I’d like this printed on a nice silk scarf. I’ll have to save my housekeeping money for some yardage.

I hope this tutorial was helpful and gives you a new appreciation for non-geometric repeats! Feel free to post what you come up with! I’d love to see some out-of-the-box designs.

Jen

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.