Twelfth Night - Gift #2!

So many of us are in the midst of the dark, cold days of winter, I decided we all could use a little vacation!

And since I am going to be your tour guide, I am taking you to some of my favorite scenic places! First stop - my own back yard - spots that are less than a two hour drive from my own front door.

Like Mt. Adams reflected in Takhlakh Lake in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, in Southwest Washington. This is the breathtaking view from the area of the campground set aside for tent camping. Awakening very early one morning, we peeked out of our tent, saw the first rays of the rising sun lighting both the upper slopes of the mountain and the lenticular cloud sitting on the peak, pulled our clothes on over our PJ's, grabbed our cameras and tripods and flew out of the tent in less than 5 minutes. The surface of the lake was like glass. The air was so still not a single leaf was in motion, the cloud formations were spectacular, and the light was perfect. And to think we almost slept right through this moment! OUCH!

I am fascinated by the "bridge" Curly Creek has carved out of solid basalt as it plunges 100' into the Lewis River. Curly Creek Falls is one of many waterfalls you can visit in the Gifford Pinchot Forest, and several of them, including this one, are reached by following very short well maintained trails.

Lower Falls is another of my favorites along the Lewis River. It isn't particularly high, only about 35', but just look at the color of that turquoise pool. No retouching! It is really that blue. You can reach the viewing platform easily, and several additional overlooks provide views from different angles. And... if you are in a mood to hike through rain forest lushness, you can follow the Lewis River trail for a couple miles to explore three more waterfalls!

The state of Oregon is right across the Columbia River from my home in Washington; and again, within a couple hours from my front door you can sit at a picnic table, grill a hot dog or a steak, and enjoy this view of Mt. Hood across Lost Lake.

Now a little taste of the beauty to be found in Northern Washington State!

Mt. Shuksan, a 9000' peak just east of Mt. Baker about 5 miles south of the Canadian border at the end of highway 152. You will feel as if you are at the top of the world when you are walking around up here. Views of both Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker are nothing short of spectacular, breathtaking, awesome and the best part can drive to the top! There are many trails from the parking area but since you are already at the top it is an easy walk to enjoy the views. I used to have to backpack 6 or 8 miles uphill to find alpine country like this!

If you live in the Portland/Vancouver area or are planning to visit this area, e-mail me and I will be happy to give you the information you need to visit these spectacular spots this summer!

Now... before we travel to destinations beyond my back yard, I want to share these beautiful images of the Pacific Northwest. They are all posted on a website called, which brings together images from around the world taken by some of the best landscape photographers in the business. Go to the Gallery and you will find a world map which guides you to excellent and gorgeous images from the country of your choice.

Next stop is Adam Burton Photography. We are all very busy with the beginning of our new year, but do yourself a huge favor, grab a cuppa and take a few minutes to visit New Zealand, Wales, Norway or Antartica, or choose your own favorite vacation spot from the countries represented in his gallery. Adam Burton's images are absolutley incredible. I am a photographer and I have no idea how he does what he does!

Now, how about an African Safari with photographer Andy Biggs? If you love beautiful and sensitive photographs of animals, visit both of his image galleries of African animals - one in color and the other in black and white.

I will leave you now with this image from Sol duc Falls, hidden away in Olympic National Park in the Northwest corner of Washington. I sat on a rock at the top of a steep drop for over an hour to get this shot - waiting and waiting and waiting for the sun to come out from behind the clouds and create the God's rays in the mist at the same moment that the bridge was empty of visitors! I am known for my lack of patience with computers - but suspend me over a gorge filled with mist and the sound of rushing water, and then put a camera in my hands and my capacity for patience seems to expand almost to timelessness!

Thank you for sharing my travel adventure! And don't forget, there is one more Twelfth Night gift coming soon!

Twelfth Night - Gifts for you!


January 6th is celebrated my many as Twelfth Night, and by others as The Epiphany or visitation of the Magi.

In some cultures, people give gifts every night beginning December 25th, Christmas Day, and ending on January 6th - hence the 12 days of Christmas. In other cultures, people give gifts on Christmas Day and again on Twelfth Night. Special cakes are baked to be eaten on this day. In England, it is thought to be bad luck if your decorations remain up after January 6th. (Boy o boy am I in trouble!)

Snowbound! But there is also good news to share!

And the good news first! I am going to continue Gingerbread Snowflakes. But at a slower pace - posting about once or twice a month until the Fall, when I will be back full blast! I am having way too much fun to stop now! I know for sure you can look forward to craft tutorials and maybe a few treasured recipes... who knows.


That Diane, it's all her fault - I am not only hooked, but I would miss all of you so much if I didn't continue. I have made some wonderful new friends and I so appreciate the support all of you have offered me over the past two months. Thank you for being a part of my new adventure.

And now, my snowbound tale.

Merry Christmas Magic all around us!


Snow globe "Santa at Work"

Today I am going to take you on a little Christmas journey to learn more about Christmas traditions in countries that have had the greatest influence on my own celebrations and traditions.

We will begin with the holiday itself - its origins and its traditions. These three links offer a wealth of information about the holiday.

The Sun is returning! Happy Solstice! Happy Yule! Happy ME!


Happy Solstice! The sun is returning! (This is a Nebula around a star or sun.)

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