Paperseed on Instagram

A couple months ago I finally joined Instagram. At first, I thought it was just a fad, like Hipstamatic, something that I didn’t really like or care to be a part of. I’m not sure what made me change my mind, but I’m really enjoying it now. It’s like photography practice on an (almost) daily basis, but using my phone instead of my dSLR. It’s so easy, too – no having to find time to sit at my computer to download photos (like I do with my dSLR), and then uploading them onto the web when I have time. It’s all so… instant. And taking good photos with my phone is part of the challenge.

The other thing I like about Instagram is that the people who chose to “follow” me do so because they are interested in looking at photos. They expect it. This is different than on Facebook, where I only uploaded photos if I thought they were relevant to me, my family, or my friends. After all, would my FB “friends” want to see a minimalist photo of sunlit bamboo leaves against a perfectly blue sky? Or a closely cropped architectural detail of Pittock Mansion? Or a single, rich sapphire-blue feather found on a walk? I don’t really think so. It would be too random, and then I’d feel like I had to explain it using words. And sometimes words just aren’t necessary, don’t you think?

So, anyway, I know I’ve been scarce in these parts the last month or so. That is soon to change, hopefully. We’ve done some pretty neat things this summer, which I’d love to share once I have some time. Plus, I also have some sponsored posts in the works (hooray!). Meanwhile, checkout my Instagram feed to see more of what we’ve been up to, and I’ll be back soon!

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Photography Goods: Paper Quilled Vintage Camera Cards

Back in January I mentioned buying a Beginner Quilling Kit. You can see my first attempt here. It was fun, but I haven’t had a chance to try it again since then. While looking for inspiration I came across these awesome quilled vintage camera cards by Sweet Spot Card Shop on Etsy. OMG! So cute!! The little details, like the tiny gems for the flash and lenses, really sets these apart.

That got me thinking about the art of quilling in general. A lot of quilled design feels sort of dated. And that is good if that’s the look you’re going for. But what could bring this skill back for the masses is if quilling took an updated turn – whether being added to mixed media, or moving beyond the common bouquet of flowers you see all over. Anyway, Sweet Spot Card Shop really nailed blending the art form and making it appealing to today’s buyers. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to get a card (or calendar!) like these?



A bit of happiness

Covering a wall with butterflies

Do you ever search the web to find a little bit of happiness? To me, the web is kind of like a magazine, full of ideas and inspiration and eye-candy (depending on where you look). One blog that is always good for the aforementioned qualities is Color Me Katie. She’s a photographer living in Brooklyn and shares lots of happy and colorful things, from crafts, to street art, to improv. I envy her rare gift that makes the ordinary extraordinary.  Take a look at these photos and see if her feel-good work doesn’t make your day a little bit more sunny. 🙂

Putting Rubber Duckies in street puddles

Drawing a kitty face on a toe

Birds flying out of a magazine

Marshmallows with faces


Handmade camera accessories

I love to see the creative things people sew for cameras. At one time I was all proud of myself for sewing this camera strap cover, but that was peanuts compared to the beautiful patchwork versions from House on Hill Road. The blue one in colorway thirty-six is my favorite.

And check out these SLR camera covers by Pixbag. Talk about stylish.

Then there are Lens Pets by Mandee Franee – perfect for anyone taking photos of children. I’d smile if I saw these, too. What do you think? Over the top or just really fantastic?

(Thanks to greenclogs for the facebook shout out about the straps, and to my husband for sending the camera cover link).

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Lomography Spinner 360° Camera

Have you heard about the new Lomo Spinner 360? I love the idea and the photos, but don’t relish having to use 35mm film again (or carry another camera!). Digital just makes everything so much easier. Call me lazy.

Photos above by K.D. Stevens. See more photos here and here. Via


Self-portrait plus, week 14

Am I too old to do cartwheels? My wrists think so. It isn’t like it used to be, that’s for sure. Back in the day, it was effortless. Now I just end up feeling dizzy. I better get practicing if I want to be the one to teach Chloe how it’s done. 🙂

As part of my goals for 2010, I am posting a weekly self-portrait “plus.” See the entire set here.


Camping at Pamelia Lake

We went camping at Pamelia Lake in the Mt Jefferson Wilderness for the past few days. It was our friend Alex’s birthday weekend, and as a trial for our trip to Vancouver Island in September, we were only supposed to pack the necessities, including freeze-dried pre-packaged camping meals.

Compared to Alex, Marcy and David, I am so out of shape (I’m sure I’ve said this before). I packed as light as I thought I could get away with, meaning no luxuries like a change of clothes except for some capilene underwear, and no swimsuit (I swam in my bra and quick-dry shorts). I even bought a new backpack and sleeping pad in hopes of cutting some weight. And did I mention that David carried the whole tent by himself? Regardless, I was huffing and puffing practically the whole uphill 2.3 mile hike. What a challenge!

This was the first real hike where Barkley had to carry his own pack, too. A couple weeks ago I got him a red Kelty K-9 dog pack and steadily added weight during our neighborhood walks. For the weekend he carried his own food, a little water in a Platypus bladder, a collapsible water bowl, some dog waste bags and a leash. Mia also carried her own pack and both dogs seemed to have no trouble at all. I guess I could have tried to train myself the same way, by carrying my pack and adding weight, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. 🙂

Pamelia Lake is really beautiful. I couldn’t stop taking pictures (until my camera started flashing the low battery warning). I definitely need to start carrying an extra one. I would say swimming in the lake with our friends and the dogs and watching the bald eagles were some of the coolest moments. The saddest moment was when a guy came by asking if anyone had cell phone service, because someone just had a heart attack. We found out later that he died and had to be carried down the trail on a stretcher. Very sad. David philosophically said that it is better to go with your family around and doing something you enjoy, instead of just at home alone. I guess that’s true.

Day two we hiked up the 3 miles to Hunt’s lake and spent the afternoon. There we had one of the worst prepackaged meals – a Backpacker’s Pantry Turkey with Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing – which never fully reconstituted and did not have an appealing texture or flavor. Actually both of the Backpacker’s Pantry meals we tried were awful. Next time I’m going to stick with Mountain House meals, like their pasta primavera, which was the best one we ate. It just so happens that they’re also an Oregon-based company.

Some photos from our trip:

A first glimpse of Pamelia Lake

Alex & Marcy embracing by the lake

Barkley and his reflection

A little trout that David caught


The bee that landed on my pant leg

View of Mt Jefferson

Butterfly on the trail

Pink wildflower, Hunt’s Lake

View near the Pacific Crest Trail

Sunlight through the trees

Sunlight over Pamelia Lake


3 Years Ago Today

Every year on our anniversary, I spend just a little time looking at our wedding photos. What a day! Time just flew. And did I mention it was a record 103 degrees?

David and I before the wedding

Three varieties of rose bouquets

My Dad and I before walking down the isle

We’re married!

A simple and delicious almond poppyseed cake with
raspberry filling and cream cheese frosting

The outdoor dance floor, ready for after dinner dancing

Chinese lanterns in our wedding colors of red and white

All photos above taken at the Jenkins Estate by Soren at Coughlin-Glaser Photography.


Mini Winnies Phone Ornaments from Italy – Part 2

Pooh bears

I recently wrote a post called New Pooh Phone Ornament from Italy, about these adorable miniature Disney toys that Marcy brought back from her recent trip. Tonight I was able to photograph her collection. Aren’t they cute! She also brought one of the little marketing inserts so that now I know they are from Tomy Yujin Europe vending dispensers and my gnome is one of eight in the “Garden Edition.” The insert also says “Because of small parts, not suitable for children under the age of 3 years” in 13 languages.

According to the TYE website the Pooh Animal Wear (aka Mini Winnies) are the “hottest new fashion craze to hit Europe” and “their crazy removable rubber outfits have swept across Europe to become Disney’s no.1 selling toy. The fashion began in 2002 when the first Winnies were designed in Japan with Collection 1 and 2 being sold across Europe.”

The website doesn’t list where there might be TYE vending machines in the US, but I recall Marcy saying she saw one on a business trip to San Francisco, maybe a year ago. Part of me hopes they might make their way to Portland, but on the other hand, maybe I appreciate them more because their not.


French Sugar + Design = CAN À SUC

sugar puzzle pieces

I was recently given the neatest gift. Along with a pair of nice porcelain espresso cups with matching saucers, I also received an exquisite box of CAN À SUC, sugar cubes from France that are pressed in the shape of puzzle pieces that actually fit together. And for the particularly discerning connoisseur, they come in white, golden and dark brown. Sweet!

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New Pooh Phone Ornament from Italy

I get excited over the funniest things.

Two years ago when our friends Marcy and Alex returned from a trip to Italy, Marcy brought back a handful of super-cute tiny Pooh bears. Basically, they were miniature, hard-plastic bears, each wearing a different, removable, stretchy-rubber costume.

At the time, they were popular in Italy as cell phone ornaments, presumably so you could i.d. your phone at a glance. I wish I had a picture of my old one, before it got all beat up and the tail pulled apart. It was a Pooh in a red seahorse outfit with yellow stripes. I played with it all the time. Plus, it actually made it easier to feel for my phone at the bottom of my purse.

This year, Marcy said they were a lot harder to find, but eventually she did come across some. Lucky me! The pic above is of my new one – a little garden gnome! It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies “Amelie.” Irresistible! Why hasn’t anyone brought this trend to the US?

Read more at my other mini winnies post. 


Yay! Moo MiniCards!

Moo MiniCards with Mouse

I was so excited to come home and see that my Moo MiniCards arrived! At first I didn’t know what the small white package contained, because I was thrown off by the “Royal Mail” postage sticker and the London return address. I knew Moo was based in the UK, but for some reason I figured it would be cheaper for them to contract out orders to printers in the final destination country. I’m pleased to find out they come right from the source.

Overall, they’re quite nice – small, sturdy and very cute. The printing is pretty good, but you can see some grain in the photo quality. I wonder if that happens because I chose to download from Flickr? Anyway, they’re worth it. Only $19.99 for 100 cards, and they come in a perfectly-sized white plastic box. The simply designed belly-band lets you know that the cards and box are recyclable, and that the cards were made using paper from sustainable forests. I chose to use my own photography, but a huge selection of other nice images are provided, too. On the back I just put my name, email and my blog address.

I’m impressed by the way every detail seems to be so thought out, from ordering method to presentation. And just in case you were wondering, they include a little order card that says “Yay! You’re our new best friend.”


Bees, Aphids, and More New Plants

Orange Dahlia with Bee

I couldn’t resist tracking this bee with my camera this morning, on his way from flower to flower. He seemed to favor the dahlias and settled long enough for me to capture several nice close-ups like this one.

For the fourth of July today we celebrated by… buying more plants. To us, plant shopping is like an addictive drug that keeps us struggling to support our habit. It doesn’t help that we have a terrible aphid problem this year that destroyed many of our favorites, forcing us to find replacements. Today our purchase included a yellow zinnia, french lavendar, cuban oregano, 6 white impatiens, a 6-pack of coleus, and 3 purple gomphrena. Luckily most everything was on the 10 for $10 table at Fred Meyer.

David Planting

David planting our new impatiens

David recently did some research and found two good, organic solutions to our aphid infestation. On the worst areas he sprayed a product called Organocide, an insecticide and fungicide that will also help treat problems like the powdery mildew and blackspot plaguing the roses. Afterwards, for other areas that weren’t so hard hit, he released ladybugs, which can consume over 5000 aphids during a lifetime.

Hopefully, this is where we’ll draw the line for this year. Now we’ll just get to sit back and watch the summer sun do her work.


Eastern Oregon Day 4 & 5: John Day Fossil Beds, Painted Hills and Smith Rock

I didn’t post about these two days, probably because we were either having too good of a time or simply exhausted from driving or the excellent hiking. These two days we drove from Baker City to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument – first to Sheep Rock and then to the Painted Hills. We’re definitely going to come back another day to see the Clarno site, which was farther north than we were able to make on this trip. From the Painted Hills we headed to Smith Rock, where we camped in the bivouac area. God that place is just amazingly gorgeous. Makes me wish I was still a rock climber. The next day we hiked around the whole park and by evening we were home. Here are some pictures from these days:

john day fossil bed area

Painted Hills

Smith Rock

Smith Rock Sunlight

Deer at Smith Rock

Smith Rock White Flowers

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Living Homeless

Homeless tent

Yesterday I was surprised by this homeless person’s camp as I walked up from my car to the office. Homeless people aren’t that unusual in this area, but this is the first time I’ve seen an actual dwelling. Sometimes in the evenings I’ve seen them sleeping in the entryways where they’re partially protected from the elements, but they’re usually gone by morning.

It was just so odd to see all this stuff exposed on the side of the road, practically right outside my building. At first I walked past it, but then I decided to come back down and hastily snap a few photos. Normally, I try to compose shots more artistically, but it felt really weird, like I was was intruding on this person’s privacy even though they weren’t there. I didn’t get very close either. I didn’t want the owner to feel like I was trespassing or had my eye on his goods. I’m not happy with this photo, but maybe its just reflecting the truth – that there is nothing happy in being homeless.

A nearby worker with the road crew saw me take the picture and said that there were actually two tents there early that morning. Apparently the crew needed the occupied parking spaces, so one of the guys took down a tent, stashed it in the other, and then they just walked away.

When I left work last night, the tent was still there and it remained there this morning. I wonder why the owner doesn’t take it down and carry it with him? Isn’t he worried that someone might take his stuff? Or that another homeless person might move in? Or is there some unwritten code of honor on the street? I guess I just don’t get it, but I hope he’s alright and wasn’t forced to abandon his stuff.

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Ordering Prints Using Flickr

My Flickr prints finally arrived! I’ve been meaning to replace the art in our set of four Pottery Barn wood gallery frames for a while now, but just haven’t gotten around to doing it. I figured some 8×10 photos would make a nice placeholder.

Flickr makes it easy to order prints. There are two options – you can place your order and pick it up at Target, usually in about an hour, or you can have them printed and delivered through Flickr. I chose the Flickr service because they give the option for matte and not just glossy prints. Although I didn’t mind the delivery fee, the 7-10 day wait seemed like forever.

I ordered 5 of my simple landscape photos so I’d have an extra if I decided to change one out. Because of their large size, the quality is probably not as crisp, but they turned out fairly good. I expected them to arrive flat, but instead they were rolled up in plastic and secured in a mailing tube. If I had more patience I would have tried to flatten them out before placing them in the frames, so they curl just slightly. Overall, for $2.15 each 8×10 and $1.49 for shipping to the door, this is probably one of the best wall art bargains possible.

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Extraordinary Creatures

ping-pong tree sponge

These images are from a website promoting The Deep, a book by Claire Nouvian. It includes a gallery of incredible photographs of deep sea creatures. It’s really another world down there, impossibly unique and beautiful. My favorites are the images shown above – the star shape of the Ping-Pong Tree Sponge, the ethereal look of the Blacksnout seasnail, and the too-cute-for-words Dumbo octopus. It is almost hard to believe these things are real.

This book definitely looks worth buying. It would also be great as “budget decor” if the individual images were taken out, matted and framed. And what a conversation piece! Be sure to click on “Gallery” after viewing the flash animation. Thanks, Anne, for the link.

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Day Trippin' – Hood River, Maryhill and Stonehenge

Today we decided to go to Maryhill Museum in Goldendale, Washington, about 1 1/2hrs from Portland. The drive took us through the magnificent Columbia River Gorge, past incredible waterfalls (like the famous Multnomah, the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States), two huge dams (the Bonneville and the Dalles, where Google’s new 30 acre campus is located), and mountainous rock walls and sparkling river views.

Columbia River Gorge Farm Breakfast

We’ve explored the Gorge on many previous trips, so today we drove straight through, except for one important detour to the Historic Columbia Gorge Hotel, located in Hood River. I had heard about their “World Famous Farm Breakfast” and thought it would be a perfect way to start the morning, especially since we would have already been on the road for about an hour.

The 5-course breakfast is a fun treat for $30/person. Seating is in a “morning room” to the left of the main dining area with beautiful views of the river and the hotel’s well-maintainged landscape. When you arrive the table is preset with a pedestal fruit tray, then comes a whole baked apple and delicious crispy apple fritter, oatmeal with brown sugar, a choice of entree – I chose the rainbow trout with 3 farm eggs and hashbrowns and David chose the croissant with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, and to finish a country biscuit with butter and local wildflower honey. A lot of food, but all so scrumptous! Afterwards, we spent a little time exploring the gardens and grounds, including the view of the 207-ft Wah-Gwin-Gwin Falls. I can see why this hotel is so popular for weddings and other special occasions.

Maryhill Museum of Art was maybe another half hour east of Hood River. The museum collection was nice, but not one I would likely visit again, although they did have a nice collection of Faberge, Rodin sculptures, and memorable international chess sets among the other fine art. I preferred the view and the outdoors, especially the current Outdoor Sculpture Invitational. And curiously, there were quite a few wild peacocks randomly roaming around. Their call is something awful and I was startled more than once by an eruption of loud barking screams. They seem to wander freely and we were able to get surprisingly close.

Maryhill, Peacock, Scenic View

Another unique part of Maryhill is its full-scale replica of England’s Stonehenge. Apparently Sam Hill, the wealthy entrepreneur who bought the 6,000 acres of land overlooking the Columbia River, erected the structure as a world war 1 memorial as a reminder that ‘humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war.” I wonder how he’d feel knowing that almost 100 years later, that remains to be true.

Maryhill, Stonehenge, Scenic View

The winds at Stonehenge were so fierce while we were there that we stayed only long enough to snap a few photos and take in the blustery view. We could barely stand in one place, so we decided to head back to Hood River for dinner and a little shopping in their charming historic district. Being Sunday, many shops were closed by the time we arrived, so I definitely plan to come back and look around more another time. David chose the Full Sail Brewery for dinner and were we lucked out with the best two person table in the house – right next to the large back windows with a perfect view of windsurfers and kite boarders in the distance. We even talked about looking into a lesson one day soon.

Columbia River Gorge Scenic Views

After living here for 7 years it is hard to believe there are so many trips like this still out there waiting for us, a mere couple hours away. And the variety of it all, beaches, mountains, canyons, waterfalls, forests, rivers, lakes… there is just so much to see and and experience. Its too easy to think ‘someday I’ll do that…’ instead of making time to do it. So right now I’m really proud of us, and satisfied that our day was so well spent and rewarded.

 All these photos and more can be seen here through my flickr account.

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Golden Calendula Heart


Every once in a while I take a photo that I really love, and this calendula shot fits that bill. The color just turned out so rich and warm – like it glows from within. And the texture and details! Its all there, captured in a moment of nature’s perfection.

Calendula, also known as “pot marigold,” is very hardy, long blooming and easy to grow. I started some last year in the flower garden from a packet of Lilly Miller “Pacific Beauty” seeds. Although they are annuals, a couple survived over the winter and sprouted several baby plants this year. Calendula is considered a fairly versatile plant – the petals are thought to be edible (beautiful in salads), and as an herb it has properties that can reduce inflammation. I’ve seen it most often used in “calming” products like herbal teas and diaper ointment. I’ve also read that when planted near tomato plants in the garden, marigolds help to discourage aphids.

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