Go Native

It’s that time! The Thurston Conservation District native plant sale is Saturday, March 3! There will be vendor booths and activities for kids. And the Master Gardeners will be there!

The 2018 sale will be held 10 am to 3 pm at the Thurston Conservation District offices located at 2918 Ferguson St SW Tumwater, 98512.

The sale will also feature a few workshops:

  • 11 am: Gardening With Mushrooms –  Fungi Perfecti, Loni Jean Ronnebaum
    This presentation will feature information on low tech mushroom cultivation for home and garden, people, and the planet.
  • Noon: Best Practices for a Healthy LawnThurston CD, Nicole Warren
    Gear up for summer lawn parties! Are you frustrated by weeds and moss in your lawn? Come learn about appropriate fertilizer application, protecting water quality, and tips for a beautiful lawn.
  • 1 pm: MycoremediationFungi Perfecti, Tristan Woodsmith
    A brief overview of our research on the use of fungi for filtration of water (mycofiltration), the breakdown of toxic wastes (mycoremediation), empowering ecoforestry strategies (mycoforestry) and helping to influence and control pest insect populations (mycopesticides). Tristan will also discuss our current bee research with WSU.
  • 2 pm: Soil Testing for a Productive GardenThurston CD, Nicole Warren
    Is your garden not producing as much as you want it to? Seems lackluster? Are you amending your soils without testing them? Come learn why your soil’s nutrients affect plant growth, what you can and can’t change, and how to make those changes. Details of Thurston CD’s soil testing program will be shared as well.

The annual sale allows gardeners to pre-order plants so watch for that annually in January. I preordered a bunch of plants and picked them up today. Guess what I will be doing this weekend!

One of my goals in my yard is to remove invasive plants, like the Himalayan Blackberry, and focus on planting native plants.

Because I have a wooded yard with lots of plant material, I decided to order some marker flags from Amazon to mark the location of the new plants so it will be easier to keep an eye on them and enlist my better half’s help in watering them if needed.  There’s always some mortality when planting bare root plants and plugs so go easy on yourself if you decide to buy plants this way. The TCD provides good planting and care instructions. It feels like a little more work — with more uncertainty — but it can be easier to establish plants this way because they are growing in place.

You had me at “plant sale.” <3

Keep growing!


Brown Derby Antiques

We visited Brown Derby Antiques over the weekend. Located on Capitol Blvd., just off Interstate 5. It’s one of the 29 establishments in the Antique Vintage Association of Olympia Shopping Guide and Map that I mentioned in another post

Location: 4800 Capitol Blvd SE, Tumwater, Washington 98501-121, 360-701-9009
Hours: 10  am – 6 pm, Monday-Saturday and 10 am – 4 pm Sundays and by appointment.

This place is jam-packed with all kinds of goodies. If you like vintage kitchen things, this is the place for you! There is a giant coffee tin that I am still thinking about! They are also super friendly and helpful.

Happy treasure hunting!


Today’s weather: Oh, man, it snowed today. Not very much but it was sobering to someone sitting on a stack of garden seeds waiting for spring. Plus, really cold. Woke up to temps in the 20s and it didn’t warm much. <sigh>

Law Enforcement Memorial

State of Washington Law Enforcement MemorialWe visited the Law Enforcement Memorial on the Washington State Capitol Campus.

The inscription says, “Their duty was to serve. Our duty is to remember.”

The monument has the names of law enforcement officers who lost their lives the line of duty in Washington. Sadly, 275 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1854 when Washington was still a territory.  The memorial is in a tranquil spot overlooking Capitol Lake and the Puget Sound with a view of the Olympic Mountains.

You can learn more by visiting the Behind the Badge site.


Capitol Lake


Today’s weather: Cold and rainy in the morning but warming up to the upper 40s.

A copy of a copy can be a beautiful thing

One of my favorite Michael Keaton movies is Multiplicity. In it, the main character Doug decided that he needs more bandwidth and finds a doctor that will clone him. Unsatisfied with one clone he adds a second. But then his clones get in on it and make a copy of a copy. Things start to go really awry at this point.

But I digress.

It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the Tivoli Fountain on the Olympia Capitol Campus is that times two. It’s based on the Tivoli Fountain in Copenhagen, Denmark which itself is a replica of a fountain at Villa d’Este, near Rome. The original fountain is the work of Pirro Ligorio, a 16th-century architect.

The fountain in Copenhagen was built by Fritz Meyer of Copenhagen. Peter Schmidt, then president of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation saw the fountain during his visit to Copenhagen in 1949 and believed that the Capitol campus needed a similar feature. The foundation, Schmidt and Meyer all had a hand in bringing the fountain project to fruition. I am always impressed by the sheer force of will that can bring a project together.

The fountain was rededicated in 2017 after extensive repairs. You can learn more about the fountain and other public art and memorials on this Department of Enterprise Services website.


Today’s weather: About 45°F mid-day. Looks like rain and — eek — snow is coming our way this weekend. We enjoyed this dry-ish spell while it lasted. A warm front would be welcome. 😉

So much fabric, so little time

I think I made my first quilt on a whim, many moons ago. I was somehow roped into teaching a quilt-in-a-day class to fill in for an ailing instructor. I was an experienced sewist but not a quilter at that point. I guess it never occurred to me to say no! So I learned to make a pieced quilt (the quilting knowledge came much later). I have probably made at least 20 quilts since then. Most of them are my own design but I decided to make seasonal quilts and I got this Pixel Heart in a Pixel Heart design by Daydreams of Quilts on Craftsy.

I liked the computer design aspect of the pixel heart. I push pixels around all day, after all. I wanted to have a scrappy look so I went through my stash. I actually had quite a few blues and reds after stocking up for another quilt project. (I used blues instead of blacks for the inner heart – the symbolism felt better for me.) This was a great pattern: good directions and easy-to-follow with a full-color grid that I referred to often during the piecing stage!

But I needed the whites and beiges for the background. So I went to Joann fabrics to see what I could find. I found some great white on white and white on beige fabrics, along with a black on white arrow fabrics that look like Cupid’s weapon of choice. Sing along with me and Sam Cooke.

Spray n BondI also needed to replace my spray adhesive. I bought the Spray n Bond basting adhesive. It was virtually odorless, easy to use and I had no issues with overspray like I have in the past. This is one of the best things to happen to quilting, IMO. You can attach the pieced top, batting and backing with easy to use spray glue. It’s temporary and washes out. I remember all of the safety pins I used to sandwich and hold quilt layers in the past. Once you have been stuck by 100 safety pins, spray adhesive seems like a wild dream come true. I also needed some batting. I use Warm and Natural batting because I like how it shrinks into a soft old fashioned looking quilt after quilting and washing.

Location: Joann is located in Target Place Plaza next to the Target in Olympia, 2725 Harrison Ave Nw Ste 500, Olympia, WA 98502, 360-754-0500
Hours: 9 am – 9 pm, Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm on Sunday. (It’s always a good idea to verify the hours, especially around holidays.)

Joann has an app and/or you can sign up for their mailing list to receive sale notices and coupons. Pro tip: Always use coupons!

Keep it scrappy!


Today’s weather: Cold in the morning but warming up to low 40s. Wondering if we can be done with winter now.

Winged Victory Monument

One of the many things to see on the Washington Capitol Grounds is Winged Victory. Created by artist Alonzo Victor Lewis (1886 – 1946), Winged Victory honors veterans of World War I. It was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1938.

The impressive Winged Victory Monument depicts the goddess Nike, also known as Victory, hovering protectively over four figures, a sailor, a soldier, a marine, and a Red Cross nurse. More than 21,000 U.S. Army nurses and nearly 1,500 U.S. Navy nurses served in military hospitals in the United States and overseas during the war. There were 116,516 U.S. deaths during World War I.

There are four inscriptions on the monument:

  • East facing side: “To the memory of the citizens of the State of Washington who lost their lives in the service of the United States during the World War 1917–1918”
  • North facing side: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend”
  • West facing side: “Their sacrifice was to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world”
  • South facing side: “They fought to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom, and democracy”

Winged Victory
Winged Victory in 1938 [Photo from the Washington State Digital Archives]
Public art has the remarkable ability to present a multilayered story adding historical and cultural dimensions to the public spaces that we use every day. You can read more about the importance of public art in this monograph.

Lewis was a painter before he became a sculptor and he created a fair bit of controversy by painting the prizefighter Jack Dempsey. You can read more about Lewis here and here.

If you have ever wondered how monuments are cared for over time, the Washington Department of Enterprise Services provides a fair amount of detail about the upkeep of this monument and other monuments and public art pieces on their website.


Today’s weather: cold again today. Woke up to temps in the high 20s today. Proof that you can’t be lulled by random 50 degree days in February. Winter is not done with us yet!

Coffee and More Coffee

We visited the Cafe Au Lait Oly coffee stand near Target In Olympia and ordered our standard order, Americano for me and Chai Latte for my better half.

Let me say first of all that the baristas working at Cafe Au Lait Oly are SUPER NICE. Wow. So friendly. They even put whipped cream on my Americano no questions asked. My better half liked that they steamed the almond milk for his Chai. They were very busy so it’s obviously a popular spot. Two drive-up windows and the friendliest service I’ve ever had ordering coffee.

Seriously. Plus, a great cup of coffee.

Location: 2925 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia, WA 98502, (360) 791-3537

Hours: Mon – Fri: 5:30 am – 7 pm, Sat – Sun: 7 am – 6 pm

Go get your cafe au lait love!


Today’s weather: Chilly this morning and in the low 30s. The sun came out and we had blue skies on our lunchtime dog walk.

What time is it?

We went to see the newly refurbished Territorial Sundial in front of the Washington State Library, the Joel M. Pritchard Building, on the Capitol Grounds in Olympia. It was just reinstalled in early January and rededicated on January 30, 2018.

Territorial Sundial in Olympia WashingtonThe sundial was originally dedicated in January 1959. Sculptor and metal artist John W. Elliott (1883-1971) created the sundial with bas-relief panels depicting Washington’s history.  (Elliott also redesigned the Washington State Seal that appears on the state flag.) Originally installed in the 1950s, the sundial was in need of a number of updates. University of Washington emeritus professor and sundial expert Woodruff “Woody” Sullivan was a consultant on the project.

A sundial is made up of a flat plate and a gnomon (pronounced something like nomen). The gnomon is the part of the sundial that casts the shadow.

Want to learn how to read a sundial? There are handy instructions near the Territorial Sundial on the Capitol Grounds. Or check out Just Energy’s page.

Reading the Territorial Sundial in Olympia WashingtonDid you know that you can make your own sundial out of paper? Check out http://hilaroad.com/camp/projects/sundial/sundial_calculator/sundial_calculator.htm. You can also buy a pretty cool pocket sundial on Etsy.

You can keep up with everything happening on the Washington Capitol Grounds by following  Enterprise Services on Twitter and by following the Washington State Capitol Campus Visitor Services on Facebook. You can also sign up for email updates.

The Washinton State Capitol Grounds are beautiful and even in February, several things were in bloom. It’s a fun walk with lots to see and mountain and water views.

Shine on!


Today’s weather: In the low 30s again this morning — warming up to the 40s — and cloudy but no rain. We did some yard work today and it wasn’t too bad.

More books? Yes, please!

I know I have written about the Timberland Regional Library before but I think their semi-annual book sales deserve special attention. This weekend is the book sale at the Olympia branch.

  • Sale Hours: February 10, 10 am–4 pm; February 11, 1–4 pm
  • Location: Olympia Library, 313 8th Ave SE, Olympia

You can get early access to the book sale as a Friend of the Library. See http://www.olympiafriends.com/join/ for more information on how to join or buy a membership at the door. Donations can be dropped off to the library’s circulation desk. Please place your donations in a box or a bag. If you have a large donation–10 boxes or more–please make an appointment. If you have a lot of books and cannot bring them downtown,  email the book sale coordinator Irene at [email protected]. Your donations are also tax-deductible.

Fun fact: Between 1,500 and 2,000 of book donations go directly into the library’s inventory and onto the library shelves every year! How cool is that?!

We went to the sale to stock our new Little Free Library AND support the Friends of the Library. And let’s be real: we both love books.

Some of our finds:

  • Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Lady and the Tramp (based on the Walt Disney movie)
  • Two Night World anthologies by L.J. Smith
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowlings
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  • The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • The Northwest Gardeners’ Resource Directory

Coming soon to a Little Free Library near you!

It’s just $10/year to become a Friend of the Library; $15 for families and just $150 to become a FRIEND FOR LIFE. Woo-hoo! 

Save the date! The next Friends of the Olympia Library book sale is May 12-13, 2018.

Keep reading!


Today’s weather: Colder this morning–31°F at about 6 am. Brrrrr. But we had highs in the mid-40s. And sunshine with no rain. Everything is a trade-off. I wore my sunglasses more than once today! #winning

Treasure Hunt

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Olympia has an amazing array of antique stores. Who knew? The Antique Vintage Association of Olympia and the Greater South Sound Area have a handy map and a website to guide your shopping adventure. We visited Courtyard Antique Mall, home of Orange Fresh Vintage and many other sellers. You could probably spend a few days here and not see everything. It’s jam-packed with goodies of all kinds. If you are new to Washington and doing a full-on embrace of your new home, there are some fun Washington-themed items to be had.

Some of my favorite things:

  • Metalwork in the shape of Washington including this framed piece and some fun metal ornaments.
  • If you are a geographer or just like maps, this pillow with a map of Washington is for you.
  • Olympia breweries are a popular destination and this six-pack holder is super fun.
  • Several mid-century modern pieces including this dresser from Orange Fresh Vintage (they also have a matching side table)


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Orange Fresh Vintage also has a lovely floral sofa that would have found a way home with me in my younger days, pre-big dogs.

There are 17 shops on the map in Downtown Olympia alone! That’s a lot of antiquing fun. Be sure to check out the site and pick up a map. And keep up with your favorites on Instagram or Facebook.

Be sure to check out Courtyard Antiques! They are open 7 days a week, 10 am – 6 pm
Location: 705 4th Ave E, Olympia WA 98506, 360-352-3864

Everything old is new again!


Today’s weather: Colder, low to mid-40s BUT–no rain. And I saw my first robin! Spring is coming!