And now . . . the ‘professional’ Wedding photos!

SO excited to finally see the professional wedding photos from my son’s wedding!  I can’t ‘post’ them on my blog because of copyright, but here’s the link to the Wedding album that the photographer put together:

P1220419This is one that I took.  Click link below to see the professional album.

Clarey – Howard Wedding 8-29-2015

The Wedding.

P1220414This handsome young man escorted his mama down the aisle, gave her a big hug that prompted a few happy tears and seated her; then waited, beaming, for his bride to be to ascend the aisle.

P1220417The bridesmaids and groomsmen have all traveled down the aisle followed by the flower girl.  The music changes and the crowd stands and turns to look back in anticipation of the bride.  Here comes the beautiful and teary-eyed bride on the arm of her equally teary-eyed dad who is proudly sporting the Clarey family kilt.  Attempting to smile through the tears, they hug and he tenderly ushers her into place facing her husband to be.

P1220418The ‘uncle of the bride officiant’ gratefully erases everyone’s tears momentarily with a bit of humor.  Happy tears though they be on this joyous occasion, we’d really prefer to not become so tearful that our noses begin to run!

P1220419The cloud filled sky shelters the sun from the eyes of the guests and sunglasses are removed and tissues held at the ready and they say their I do’s.

P1220420The officiant forgets to tell the bride to put the ring on the grooms finger and begins to move on to the next part of the ceremony.  The bride quickly slipped the grooms ring onto his finger and everyone chuckles in unison.

P1220421The clouds begin to thin as they repeat their personally written vows to each other.  Just as they are being pronounced husband and wife, as if right on cue, sun bursts through the clouds as they presented as the new Mr. & Mrs. Howard.

That is ALL the pictures I took!  I was just too caught up in soaking it all in to remember to keep snapping photos. I didn’t want to miss anything by being too preoccupied with taking pictures.  I’ll leave the rest to the professionals and wait to see those later on.

It was a beautiful ceremony and fun reception; as was the rehearsal dinner for ALL the guests the evening before.  Since it was a ‘destination’ wedding and nearly all the guests had already arrived the day before, the bride and groom included everyone in the rehearsal dinner.  It proved to me a nice ‘pre-meet and greet’ for everyone.

P1220405The brides rehearsal dress was almost as beautiful as her wedding gown!

P1220406It was very overcast and SMOKEY from all the wild fires at the rehearsal, but the smoke had almost entirely dissipated by the wedding.

P1220407The view just behind the spot where the ceremony took place.

P1220408OOPS!  I cut off the end of the banner in my photo.  It reads #howardlyeverafter2015 their tag for Instagram pictures.

P1220410Entrance to ‘the Barn’ where the rehearsal dinner was held.

P1220413Casual and family friendly seating for the rehearsal BBQ dinner.

P1220412Congratulations Megan & Elliot!

EXCITING NEWS! I’m going to be a mother . . . . in law!

10489827_10203633285605167_6016854349616900613_nI am SO thrilled!!!  While away on a trip with her family to Istanbul and Amsterdam, my son (my one and only child) proposed to his girlfriend of 2 years, Megan.

10305512_10204038190378045_8222019419718380038_n (1)Her younger sister snapped this picture from afar.

1780805_10152082542997713_1898719087_nI did my best to teach him well, and I am sure he is going to be a wonderful husband, and someday, a loving father to my grandchildren.

1209375_10201572301361849_1216062126_nThey have been to, and in, multiple weddings over the last 2 years.

1209059_10100787884889358_1149592348_nNow it’s their turn to plan their own special day.

Here are a few more pictures of their journey together thus far:



I couldn’t possible be more thrilled to welcome this smart and beautiful young woman into my family.














I TRIED to just pick out a FEW of the best pictures of the two of them; but DANG if they aren’t just TOO photogenic and they’re ALL good pictures!

600195_10200156099772469_1935748574_nShe truly IS his ‘other half’.










Taken in Spain last summer.

1452037_10201991531882350_19885169_nParis last summer.







Hand made blown glassware they made last year for their anniversary.


10001508_10202945107441143_384072209_nCongratulations Elliot and Megan!  I could not be happier for the two of you.

Published in: on July 3, 2014 at 10:00 am  Comments (4)  
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My birthday boy

He’s 28 years old now.  Wow.  I remember the day he was born like it was LITERALLY yesterday.  He’s growing up and I’m  getting OLD!  sigh

YIPPEE!  I finally got to use my pretty cake stand to put a cake on!!! 

It’s a GLUTEN FREE chocolate cake with fresh raspberry topping.  His girlfriend was recently diagnosed as being allergic to gluten.  Continual stomach aches mystery solved.  Venture into finding GOOD tasting gluten-free baked goods . . . a real CHALLENGE!   I used a Bob’s Red Mill chocolate cake mix.  It turned out ‘okay’.  “Pretty good, for gluten-free” they informed me.  A bit too dense, and quite DRY; which I had expected, and hoped the excessive raspberry gooeyness on top would cover up.    I think I’ll work on some recipes of my own.  Surely there are ways to make it less dry and more moist and fluffy.  Adding a banana maybe?

It took three of them to light the ‘sparkler’ candles.

I tried to capture the ‘sparkling’ in a photo.

These candles melt FAST and do not BLOW out!  Have to be put in a glass of water to extinguish.  But they ARE fun!

And because he IS who he is, he HAD to try to blow them out!

They just got home from ten days in Hawaii, visiting her grandparents.

He was still a bit ‘bedraggled’ from his night out with friends partying for his birthday.

Picture of the ladder shelf Michael built for them a couple of months ago. 

Michael built it and let them paint it.  Looks as good as the ready-made (and much pricier!) ones to me! 


Picture of the ginormous Pottery Barn inspired wall clock face I made for him; which he does NOT like!  I wanted him to stand next to it so you could see how bit it was by comparison.  He couldn’t even muster up a smile for mom!

Oh well.  He LOVED the two new bar stools we got.  Of course I forgot to take a pic of those.  Just your basic modern looking stools with suede like seats; which match their sofa and loveseat.

Modern abstract wall sculpture

The idea for this thing came about shortly after my son and his girlfriend moved into their new apartment.  They had bought a nice new sofa and loveseat, and we were discussing decorating options for the rest of the room.  Someone (I don’t even remember WHO had the original idea!)  thought a big grouping of weathered fence boards, artfully arranged, would look cool on the wall. 

As we brainstormed from that starting point, I thought about painting the boards in varying shades of brown, similarly to their new sofa.  THEN I had the idea of putting lighting behind the wall sculpture.   Then, since their furniture is so new and has such clean lines, we decided to use NEW wood, instead of old weathered wood. 

I had Michael cut me a bunch of pieces of scrap birch plywood.  Then I painted them assorted shades of brown.  This was probably a YEAR ago!   Our schedules just didn’t match up for the longest time.   If they were home on a weekend, we were busy; and vice versa.    Since this was going to be a very large piece, I was going to ‘construct’ it at their place, and let them watch over the process and try different arrangements to see what they liked best before we permanently attached everything. 

We took the painted pieces over to them, and just never got around to assembling it.  Finally one day my son got tired of looking at the pile of wood and just started playing around with it, arranging it in different ways on the floor.  Found an arrangement he liked, and started screwing the boards together from behind.  And he had it hanging on the wall when we went over for Mother’s Day!  Now he just needs to add the lights behind it. 

Nice job, son!!!

Halloween witches!

I LOVE seeing what others do with the ideas we share and my e-books.  Check out the witches THE CINNAMON STICK made using my e-book:

witches cinn stick

You can see more of their Halloween open house photos on their blog HERE

As you can see by how many of them they made, they are fast, easy and pretty inexpensive to make.  See the e-book HERE

I sure miss living in the ‘burbs’ and having a kid at home this time of year.  Halloween decorating is so much fun!  One year Elliot and I cut out over a HUNDRED bats from construction paper and hung them throughout the stairwell entrance to our four-plex.

And I took a BIG box (big enough for a person to fit into; but didn’t have a person in there) and set it right next to the door.  Took a shirt and gloves and stuffed them and let them partially hang out. Set a pair of boots beside the box.  Took a scrap piece of a 2×4 and tied clear fishing line to it and ran the line through the side of the door.  When the trick or treaters knocked on the door; I pulled on the string and it REALLY sounded like someone was trying to get out of the box!

Next to the door was a handmade tombstone (used the innards of empty cereal boxes for the headstones) that read, “Here lies the trick or treater who knocked on the wrong door!”  And then on the small landing half way up to our upstairs apartment I build a scarecrow.  Strapped him on a hand truck to keep him upright and tied a piece of fishing line to one of his hands and made him ‘wave goodbye’ as the kids went down the stairs.

Of course, the obligatory ‘spooky sounds’ tape was playing.  Under the lower stairwell I had tied a sheet to an old box fan  and turned it on the create a ghost!

Ahhhhh . . . . those ere the good ole days!

Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 9:44 am  Leave a Comment  

SERIOUSLY?!?!? Snow again????

Seriously!  Mother Nature is messing with us here in the Northwest BIGTime!  It’s snowing again this morning.  sigh.  They are saying that there could well be snow (even on the LOWER elevations!) on Mt. Hood for skiing well into the summer.  Now the ski resorts really NEED a good year, but enough of the white stuff down here already!

The local outdoor Farmer’s Markets are usually in full swing and bustling by this time of year.  HA! 

Spring WILL eventually come.  And hopefully ‘gradually’ enough so the snow on the mountains doesn’t melt TOO fast and cause spring flooding, which is known to happen in these parts.

This next picture is for e.beck.artist She recently asked her fellow bloggies to share a picture of one of their favorite works.  I ‘tried’ to post the link in her comment section, which did not work so well.  And I really LOVE this picture and the snow today is making me feel a bit like the emotive response I have to it.

My son, Elliot is the ‘actual artist’.  He painted it at the ripe old age of THREE!  He was a very prolific little artist.  When he was younger (he’s 25 now!) we had an entire ‘gallery’ of his work framed and hanging throughout our home.  He even entered a ‘public hanging’ (art show!) in Portland when he was five.  And we did an outdoor artist market that summer. 

The artist market was a real hoot!  I set up a table and had dozens of his painting framed and displayed.  (now this was BEFORE I knew I had the least bit of artistic talent.  Really!!  HIS interest in art is what got me interested!)  My friends from work knew we’d be there and several of them came by to purchase.  And they weren’t buying his stuff ‘just to be nice’!  They REALLY wanted an Elliot Original.  Whenever anyone’s birthday or other special occasion was coming up, I’d always get hints like: “You know it’s my birthday next week.  hint hint.  And I sure do like Elliot’s paintings.  hint hint.”

So there were some real ‘art snobs’ wandering about this summer outdoor artist market.  I don’t say that in a negative way.  But these were people who KNEW art, unlike ME, who just knew what I liked; and maybe had a knack for taking a pictures of blobs of color my son made and cropping, matting, framing and titling them. 

Elliot was wandering around the market (but where I could see him) enjoying the other sights and the dulcimer music; playing with his toy cars in the shade of a nearby tree; just basically being a five year old.  A very sophisticated couple came over to our table and chatting amongst themselves were discussing things like the ‘color and tone and movement and emotion’ in the paintings.  fianlly the gentleman looked up at me and complimented me on MY work.  Asked where I’d ‘studied’ and mentioned noticing the influence of some famous artist whom I’d never heard of nor can remember the name of! 

I just smiled and said, “My son painted these.”  The mans jaw just DROPPED.  Back then I didn’t look old enough to have a son old enough to be an artist.  (even though I was 33!)  And I pointed to Elliot over under the nearby shade tree.  I think the man thought I was kidding.  He hurried off, a bit embarrased I guess.

Well, here’s the picture of Elliot’s that inspired this blog entry.  It’s titled ‘pre-dawn’. 

Do you see what I saw when I looked at this painting?  What does it make you feel? 

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 7:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Best friend’s wedding

My son, Elliot’s best friend, that is.  Mike and Elliot have been best friend’s since middle school.  (they’re 25 now)  Mike is just exactly the kind of guy a mom whats her only son to be best friend’s with.  I had not yet met the bride to be, so I was very excited to be going to the wedding.

It was held at a historic house in Oregon City.  An outdoor ceremony.  The weather was looking a little ‘iffy’ (like possible showers!) on the drive out there.  But just before the bride walked down the grassy aisle, the sun broke through the clouds!

The young female minister is the groom’s cousin.  My son, Elliot is the guy in the middle.

Jen was a VERY enthusiastic bride!  Honestly, the happiest bride I have ever seen.  It was all the GUYS who got teary eyed!  My son, Elliot, slipped Mike a tissue after he handed him the ring.  Then he needed one for himself!

The happy newly weds!

Once they were out of sight and ‘thought’ they were out of earshot, we heard Jen scream, “WE’RE MARRIED!!!!”

Michael was a little nervous going through the receiving line.  We were about half way back and he realized Jen was an enthusiastic ‘hugger’.  Michael is not a hugger upon his first meeting of someone.  I made sure I went first when we reached the couple.  I introduced myself as “Elliot’s mom”.  “Elliot’s mom!!!” the bride squealed as she grabbed me and hugged me.  And then I introduced her to ‘my Michael’.  “Another Michael!!!” the bride squealed with delight.  (there must have been a dozen Michael’s there!)

I managed to steal my son away from his best man duties for a few moments and a picture with me, and one with Michael.  (which I obviously snapped too soon as Michael was not yet smiling!)  Elliot said his cheeks hurt from smiling so much!

The maid of honor gives her speech

Time for the best man’s speech.

The groom stole the mic for a minute

Time to cut the cake.

And yes, they smashed cake into each other’s faces! 

I managed to find Mike talking to his mom and sister and got a picture of the three of them.  “Do I still have cake up my nose?” he asked before I snapped the picture!

The bride and groom’s first dance.

And of course, ‘the dip’!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Ain’t love grand?!?!?!

 So, last night, when my son and his girlfriend were over for dinner, he showed me the photographer’s pictures on line.  I had wrapped their wedding gift in LIME GREEN paper with hot and light pink curly ribbon.  I found a really cute ‘stand up card’ of a groom carrying his bride.  The card was WAY too cute to just stuff into an envelope; so, I put the card on top of the package.  Anyhoooooooo…….  MY wrapped package was the one the photographer chose to take a close up photo of the wedding rings sitting on! 

I can’t show ‘that’ photo, but here is the one I took of the package before we went to the wedding.

When we got to the gift table to drop off the present, Michael ‘tried to’ hide it at the back behind the other ‘normally wrapped’ gifts in pretty white and silver paper and bows.  I made him put it in the FRONT!  So, last night when we saw that the photographer had deemed MY gift wrapping job ‘the one’ worthy of photographic remembrance, I got to say “I told you so!” to Michael.  And Elliot commented, “I should have known that YOU wrapped that one mom!”  he he

Congratulations Mike and Jen!

Published in: on November 26, 2007 at 2:12 pm  Comments (2)  

My analogy of Heaven

I’m always reminded of it this time of year.  When the temperatures get unbearably hot.  When Elliot was little, but old enough to go on a day hike with mom, (probably 5 years old) we started an annual tradition.  On one of the hottest days of the summer, usually in August and over 100 degrees (which we only get a couple of days a year here in the Northwest)  we’d hike to the top of Multnomah Falls.

No air conditioning in our apartment or car in those days.  The ‘too hot to stay home’ days were spent at the mall, or a movie, or at the pool.  And once we were tired of all that lounging around to beat the heat, we’d pack a lunch, lace up our hiking boots and hit the road, then the trail! 

 It’s about an hours drive to the falls.  Multnomah Falls is the second largest year round waterfall in the country.  A HUGE tourist attraction, right off the interstate.  Most folks only climb as far as the observation bridge.  After we practically had the trail to ourselves.

It’s always a bit cooler in the gorge.  A nice breeze coming across the Columbia River.  The shade in the thickness of the trees.  But, still, it’s summer and it’s HOT.  By the time you get to the top of the falls (620ft.) you are dripping with sweat and entirely drained of every ounce of energy.

The top of the trail is actually above the falls a bit, you have to hike down another small trail to the ‘overlook’, where you are literally looking over the top of the falls.  Talk about a rush!!!!  The water thunders so loud that you can’t even talk. 

After a couple of minutes you remember that you are exhausted.  Elliot and I always hiked back a bit on the Larch Mountain Trail to the stream that feeds the falls to rest and eat our lunch.  We’d step across a path of rocks to the  middle of the stream and find a good ‘sitting rock’.  We’d peel off our hiking boots and sweaty socks and dip our feet in the icy cold mountain water and eat our lunch.  We always brought extra to share with the chipmunks.

After lunch, and a good long rest on the rocks, there is suddenly a feeling of complete renewal.  THIS is the feeling that I imagine Heaven will be like.  After our long, hard, sweaty journey here on earth we will be nourished, refreshed and renewed for our eternity. 

Here is the website for the falls:

Published in: on July 9, 2007 at 7:54 pm  Comments (1)  

Patience . . . patience . . . patience . . .

I’m sure that those of you who are parents would agree that other than LOVE, raising a child takes a lot of patience.  Patience with the child.  Patience with yourself.  And eventually, the child’s patience with you. . .

As I already mentioned, my son Elliot, my only child, is almost 25 years old.  And I STILL have not put together his baby book!  I always thought I’d ‘find time to do it later’.  I have a whole box of snippets of hair, his first pair of red (and very scuffed up!) saltwater sandals, scraps of paper with scribbles of momentous occasions like first word (it was ‘hot’ of all things!) and first step.  One of these days I’ll get it put together so I can give it to him.

Another ‘one of these days’ projects that kind of goes along with the baby book is that I have always wanted to put into writing my favorite stores about him.  A little book of all my favorite memories of him growing up.  And I’ve decided to get started on that here in my blog.  I know it’s not about primitives or art or trash to treasure projects, but being Elliot’s mom is a HUGE part of who I am.  Revisiting some of my favorite memories from his childhood is just something I need to do every so often.

Here is my favorite story about patience:

When Elliot was ten he met his Grandpa Louis for the first time.  Grandpa wanted to buy Elliot a computer, and so he did.  I seldom had time to use that computer, and when I did use it it was just to type up letters to friends using the Word processor.

A few years went by and we took the plunge to getting internet connection.  And I ventured onto the WWW.  I started my first web site (with much trepidation!)  And I locked up the computer a LOT!  So much so that I wouldn’t even use the computer unless Elliot was home to ‘fix whatever I messed up’!  Eventually I learned that it was no big deal to just shut down and restart the computer and my comfort level grew, with occasional lessons from my now teen-aged son.

Then it came time to learn to ‘cut and paste’.  I didn’t need to do it very often and I always forgot from one time to the next how to do it and was always calling out to Elliot for help.  In his annoyance at being interrupted from whatever else he was doing, he would usually just come and do it for me.  Which only confused me more!  I needed to learn to do this myself, so finally one day I asked him to talk me through it,  (I know!  Not that much to be talked through. . . )  But I wanted him to go over it several times in a row so that I would ‘have it down’, and not need to ask him to help me again.

He sighed impatiently, arms crossed, tapping his feet as if he couldn’t wait to get away from there.  “Mom!  Really, it’s not that hard!”  I looked up at him and smiled and said, “Excuuuuuuuse me, but do you know how long it took me to teach YOU to wipe your own BUTT?!?!?!”  He sighed and walked away.

But he was much more patient with me and my computer lessons from then on!

Published in: on May 14, 2007 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment