Olympic Peninsula

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The Olympic Peninsula is in the northwestern part of Washington state.  It is home to the Olympic National Park, but the park itself weaves in and out of the Olympic Wilderness and National Forests.  Several small towns sprout up here and there between the park and the wilderness areas, Quinault, Forks, Port Angeles, Sequim.   It’s hard to know where the park begins and the wilderness ends.

You can see my post here on Olympic National Park.

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It’s a huge wooded area and beautiful drive in and out of the park and forests.  We love the eerie fog and rain forest trees.

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It’s hard to imagine the amount of rain this area must have to get to develop the lush green that is evident by the result of it, but very interesting and beautiful to see.

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Portland’s Japanese Gardens

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I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Portland, Oregon as a travel destination… but if stuck there, I would recommend Portland’s Japanese Gardens.  It is poetry in life and living Japanese art.  The gardens are a contemplative beautiful place filled with moss ridden artfully composed bonsai trees and Japanese sentries.

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The walkways and landscapes were stunningly choreographed.  Admittedly a better time of the year to go would be when the leaves are flowering and with more color – probably October.  Definitely worth the visit if in Portland – probably the best thing in Portland to see and do, in my humble opinion.  Frankly, I hope never to have to go back to Portland… while I’m sure it’s not altogether true, it sure seemed like the bum population must outnumber the working class.  But that was just our observation staying in downtown, as we had to step over and around the abundance of people sleeping on, in, and around the streets. It was disconcerting and uncomfortable for us.  Would never go back.

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Pendleton Woolen Mill

When I was in grade school I hated history… it was my least favorite subject… that and geography.  Now that I am older, I find history and geography fascinating.  We tour places around the world and seek out museums and tours to heighten our knowledge, whether it’s home or abroad.  Education gives one new perspective and insight.

We recently had the opportunity to tour the Pendleton Woolen Mill in Pendleton, Oregon.  Not something I would have normally took a great deal of interest in, but given the opportunity all knowledge and education is good right?

Well, I was fascinated by the vast work and manipulation that goes into the simple task of not just making a Pendleton blanket… but the YARN, that goes into the Pendleton blanket.

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It starts from the ‘fur’ from the sheep.  It begins as coarse clumps of fur, which is picked through by large rollers with fine comb brushes to pick it apart.  This fur goes through the rollers several times before it starts to resemble cotton.

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These woolen fibers are then layers like puff pastry and kneaded through a series of rollers to press it into fine layers of strands until it can be funneled into a fine singular strand of fibrous wool, then twisted into individual strands of woolen yarn.

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The yarn it then threaded onto individual bobbins that can be loaded into looms to weave Pendleton products.

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It takes 2-1/2 sheep to make one blanket, and about 2 months of work and process.  It’s a fascinating process to watch as this dying art comes to life.  Only 5 woolen mills still exist in this country, and 2 are owned and operated by Pendleton.

 

Function over Form

Since I have started selling more photographs I have needed a more useful ‘studio’ space.  Necessity is the mother of invention they say, and we created a work surface to sit on a futon coach we had in our office.  We put cute little curtains in front of it to hide the fact that it was actually a couch that this work top sat on.

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Somehow we actually thought we might use the couch again… well that wasn’t a viable idea!  Instead the couch became a place to put stuff… on, under, and around.  So we opted to get rid of the couch altogether, and build some cabinets to house the clutter that collected around the couch.

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We cut 7 sheets of baltic birch 7-ply plywood to make sides, tops, bottoms, shelves and doors for our cabinets, veneering all the edges with solid pecan wood.  We made 3 separate boxes.  We sanded the doors, shelves and boxes, and fit hinges for the flush mount doors.

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Then we stained and finished the bunch of them over 3 days.

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Once they dried we brought them up to the office and installed them in place.

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Whew!  What a difference.  They are not only beautiful, but functional.. and clean.  No more clutter.  They came out great.