Tag Archives: Changes and Transitions

DIY Dot Art

One component of our new life here in Central Washington is that, due to the local economy, we are able to rent a very large house. I mean, really, really, big. It’s probably at least triple the amount of space that we had at our townhouse in Portland. Our newly expanded environment came not only with increased floor space, but also increased wall space. Since we most certainly were not in possession of enough of anything to decorate these numerous walls, and because living in small town means that there are not sufficient retail options for purchasing home decor (oh, that I could just run over to Target and peruse the always-trendy selections of affordable decorations…), I had no choice but to re-awaken my crafty side and tackle the project myself.

Before I dive in, let it be known that I am not a naturally artistic person. I envy those for whom a pencil or paintbrush will magically bring to life the images dancing in their mind’s eye. Therefore, the projects that I share here may require supplies, patience, or tracing paper (or tracing off a computer screen with printer paper, in a pinch!), but they do not require any innate artistic ability. If I can do it, you can too.

1. Pencil-eraser Dot Trees. The inspiration for this project came from a blog that provides very detailed step-by-step instructions; the author even includes a shopping list with exact paint colors and a print out of her tree shape. But that would be too easy, and I prefer to complicate my projects–so I loosely followed her idea, but created my own tree shape, selected my own paint colors, and decided that it would be part of a two piece set.

This project was very time consuming, but extremely simple and the repetitive dotting even had a soothing, mindfulness-meditation aspect. To be honest, and I will always strive to be honest here, I am not 100% in love with my final product and wish I had spaced my background dots further apart to allow the first coats to show through more. However, considering that I used pencils I already had in my desk, paints that were purchased for a different project, and two used canvas boards (I painted over some oils from a MUCH earlier era in my life), the cost for this project was almost zero. I hung them in frames I bought at Hobby Lobby for 50% off and I do think the overall effect really improves the atmosphere in our newly formed guest room.

2. Fading Metallic Dots. This one is basically a copy cat from another blog, though instead of using a 30″x40″ canvas as that blogger did, I used a 4’x4′ canvas that my husband built ages ago and has been plaguing our garage (and admittedly plagued his sister’s garage for many years; thanks Colprons!). Since our canvas had been through several moves and was rather dirty, I painted the entire thing with white house primer before starting. Yes, I do mean the type of primer you would use on a wall, because trying to cover that enormous beast with a tiny artist brush and acrylic paint was taking far too long. Once I set to it with the primer and a correspondingly beefy brush, the canvas was covered and gleaming in no time. Conventional? No. Effective? Extremely.

The best part was that this was a finished-in-a-single-afternoon type of project. I think Trevor was extremely surprised to come home to find a piece completed in the span of a single day, especially after the sluggish progression of the pencil-eraser dot trees. Again in the name of honesty, I admit that I do wish that my gold dots hadn’t turned out with the apparent orangey tint, but overall my husband and I are both very pleased with the outcome and it looks great in our bedroom.

3. Festive Outline Dot Greeting Cards. I get all the credit for this idea. These greeting cards were actually a way for me to test this dotted outline method for some future projects I have been scheming about. The first ones were not pretty, not pretty at all. But later generations were cute enough that they will be sent out into the world via my old friend the USPS.

The lesson here is that dots are easy! Dots are fun! Dots are very forgiving to work with! And, unless the shopping possibilities shape up around here, there are very likely to be more dot art projects in my future.


Northrup Canyon + a bonus brag

This post is going to be about our most recent, and fabulous, weekend adventure, but first I have to brag a bit about myself. Let me reframe that: I would like to confidently share about some accomplishments from last week.

As anyone who has been reading along will know, my husband and I recently moved to a small town, a town where we had no friends or family, and our closest acquaintances were our landlords. For the past several months my husband, my books, and our German Shorthaired Pointer were my only companions. I really did want to make new friends, but finding opportunities to meet people became a bigger challenge than I realized and, after years of enjoying the built-in community afforded by various forms of education, I was out of practice.

Finally, after almost three months here, things started coming together last week. On Wednesday morning I toured the county mental health department. On Wednesday evening I attended a book club meeting at the library. On Friday morning I visited the young women’s small group. And on Sunday, Trevor and I went to the home of one of the small group members for a football party.

Now, for all of you out there who lead busy lives with jam-packed schedules these fledgling forays into our social environment might not seem like much write home about, or blog about, more precisely. But I was nervous about putting myself out there and relying  on the graciousness of total strangers in new situations. Very nervous. From my vantage point this  week I am feeling very proud of myself; I endured the  stomach-turning and anxiety-sweating that, for me, are an inherent part of trying new things, and I’m now that much closer to building community here in our small town.

Okay, now on to the actual point of this post: a recap of an awesome day trip that we took last Saturday. We picked a trail on the Washington Trails Association website (for all you Washingtonians, this is and AWESOME way to find trails that are nearby and to screen them for your preferences) and drove North.

On the road, headed North.

On the road, headed North.

We planned to hike Northrup Canyon and then hit the Lenore Lake Caves on our way home, but Northrup Canyon was so beautiful that we spent much more time there than planned. I was overjoyed (and very surprised) to find myself among tall pine trees and brilliant fall foliage. Reading an informational pamphlet later on in the day, we found out that we had unintentionally discovered the “only natural forest in Grant County”. My enthusiasm for this place is such that, despite the long drive, I have already requested a repeat trip as soon as possible to hike even further into the canyon.

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After our hike Trevor convinced me that since we had already traveled the majority of the distance from our house to the Grand Coulee Dam we might as well capitalize on our position and drive the additional 20 minutes to check it out. We were both sufficiently impressed with the enormity of the structure and very amused by the 1970’s area interpretive videos at the visitor center.

Grand Coulee Dam!

Grand Coulee Dam!

It was a great day, and we finished it off by with a platter of fried appetizers called “The Pounder” at a hole in the wall restaurant in one of the tiny dam towns. No shame. (And also no picture, because it was devoured without regard for documentation.)

Sunset on the way home.

Sunset on the way home.

As promised


When I first began spreading the word that the next four years of our lives would find us living in a small, agriculture-centric town in rural Central Washington our friends and family responded with great enthusiasm: “what an adventure!”, they said. Several people insisted that I should begin a blog to chronicle these “adventures” with the dual purposes of providing a means of stay in touch and giving my suddenly endless quantities of free time some meaningful structure (more on that later).

Now, I will confess (as I do intend for this blog to be built on honesty) that my level of excitement about the prospect of our our move was considerably less than that of friends, family, and my husband. I dreaded moving to what felt like the ‘middle of nowhere’, a place far from any comrades or kin, a place without a Target! But, we’re here now and I’m working diligently on becoming acclimated to the cultural climate. Since I do regard myself as a person of my word, here, as promised, is my first attempt at blogging.

Here’s what can be anticipated:

  • Commentary, comparisons, and confessions about life in a small town
  • Anecdotes about our “adventures” here and abroad
  • Reports on our progress with a new level adulthood, such as successful recipes, worthwhile projects, etc
  • Etc.

Now for a bit of an update, which is what the majority of you are here for anyway. We moved here at the start of August and have been (very) busily settling in to our (very) large house and yard. Transitioning from a 900 square foot townhouse in the city to a full-sized grown-up house with an acre of grass to nurture has been quite an adjustment. We are working hard to make this big house homey and to not have the ugliest lawn in the neighborhood.

Trevor began work in the third week of August and since that time I have been trying out a new occupation: housewifery. Some of you might object to this enterprise, pointing out that it seems wasteful to acquire a Masters degree and then let it sit gathering dust. I would have to agree, but I assure you my foray into “homemaking” is not fully by choice and I desperately hope it to be a temporary position. You see, opportunities are a bit limited here in my field, but have no fear, I am steadily developing ideas and prospects for gainful employment. In the meantime, I am enjoying, yes enjoying, the freedom to read, experiment in the kitchen, and become accustomed to our new environment.

I hope you’ll have as much fun following along with this new adventure as I hope to in having it,


*A note on the name for this blog: Naming a blog is harder than naming a baby. Okay, it’s true that I have never named a baby, but I did find the forced commitment to an enduring name for this project very difficult. I meant to begin this project concurrently with out move (more than a month ago) and post ideas have been obnoxiously racing around in my mind for weeks, but my momentum was forestalled by the necessary first step of choosing a name. Many ideas were brainstormed on road trips with my husband, cute titles having to do with country roads and rows of corn, but I was troubled by the thought that the name would become obsolete with the termination of our four year term here; and what if I had enjoyed this undertaking enough to want to continue? Then it came to me in a flash of inspiration, though we will almost certainly move from this place in four years, we will almost as certainly continue to live somewhere in the great and beautiful Northwest. (If life makes a liar out of me, I hope I have the grace not to be too bitter). Thus the name, ourNWlife.