The beauty of a dark, PNW autumn

The darkness has come over the PNW again this year.  Beautiful, foggy mornings.... thick, dark, rainy afternoons.  In between crazy canning sessions, starting school and school groups, and getting last minute sunny day projects while there are still rare sunny days warm enough to do outdoor projects, I wander with my camera, capturing the beauty that is these unpredictable days.

Just for good measure, I decided to teach myself how to take pictures of the harvest moon.  Unfortunately, it hasn't been clear enough to see it again since the night I took this.  So I am very glad I got such a good shot on my first try!

Farewell, dearest sunshine!  See you next May!

The Entire PNW

Downton Abbey Birthday Party

"Lady Cyan invites you for high tea and cocktails in the gardens of Downton Abbey at half-past four on the thirteenth of July, two-thousand sixteen.  Appropriate formal dress is expected."

Our footmen carried comfortable chairs and tables out of doors for the Lady and her guests.

The high tea menu was a tasty selection of short bread, digestives, and scones. The scones were fresh baked and flavored with Earl Grey tea and fresh dried lavender.  Local honey and lemon curd were added.  Earl Grey and English Lavender Vanilla teas were served.

The ladies were set up comfortably for tea and card games to pass the time while Miss Patmore worked hard in the kitchen, making everything perfect for their celebratory meal.

 Although the gong was rung, the same dress was worn for tea as well as dinner.  Lately at Downton, the formalities have been relaxed. 

The footmen stood at the ready to serve the meal.

The meal was a formal affair, despite being outside.  Carson could not let the light and festive mood slacken the correct notion of propriety.


Cucumber Sandwiches

Cream of Leek and Potato

Fish Course
Salmon Pate
Buttermilk Toast Rounds

Meat Course
Glazed Ham 
Grilled Cauliflower

Raspberry Parfett 
Vanilla Bean Cake w/Raspberry Frosting

Red - Black Cherry and White Grape juice
White - Pina Colada Juice and 7up

At this point, one of the tenant farmers released his farm animals and they were running loose around the formal guests.  The footmen had quite a time rounding them back up without being noticed by the formal party.

Cake and gifts were received with hearty thanks, but nothing improper, from the Lady Cyan.  


In all seriousness, this party was an absolute blast!  As was sharing the show Downton Abbey with my daughter, which inspired this party to celebrate her 15th birthday.  We were wonderfully whisked away to 1920's England for the evening of games, formal dinner, and tea, all in high-class style.  The girls all stayed in character for over two hours.  For us moms, the conversations were our favorites.    

Girl 1: "Lady Cyan, I heard your mother is from.... America??"
Lady Cyan: "Oh yes!  And my father too, actually.  It has been... interesting."

Girl 2: "I have spent my summer at the Kings Court."
Girl 3: "Were there any special gentlemen?"
Girl 2: "I have MANY special gentlemen."
*collective sigh*
Girl 2: "Lady Cyan, how have you spent your summer?"
Lady Cyan: "Well, mostly..." *rolls eyes* "I've been shut in.  BUT, I have been secretly meeting this one boy, ahem, 'gentleman'.  Really, we haven't done anything improper... yet."
Girl 2: *Gasp* "Yet?!?"

Hope you enjoyed it!  It sure was fun to create.  It was a lot of hard work, but wow, it turned out incredible and fun!

Happy birthday, to my beautiful girl!

{this moment} - Secret Garden

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

A space for beautiful flowers

There is no doubt that my yard is at its finest in May.  The flowers are stunning, the clover lawn grows beautiful and every picture I take has the stunning backdrop of a perfect wedding venue.

As June comes around, my world becomes awash with every imaginable shade of green, which can be lovely, but it doesn't even touch the impressionist-Monet-painting that my yard is in May.  

The woman who owned this house before us, told me "Wait till next spring.  This house is a spring house."  We purchased in June.  "Next spring" felt very far away... but then the next May came around, I had a brand new baby, and I spent every moment I could sucking up every bit of life and color in my yard.  I had never intentionally planted flowers before.  I had never wanted them to take up space in my yard because I wanted every inch to be utilized for food... and that spring, that spring changed my mind entirely.  As I sat under the yellow chain tree for the first time and held my newborn baby and bumble bees were buzzing past me to get to the next flower in an endless array of blossoms, my heart shifted.  I needed flowers.  In that moment, I became a flower girl.  

Here is that baby now, 5 years later.  And our yard always has a space for flowers now.  A fresh bouquet is a new beginning, because in my yard, it means a new spring.

The skies are usually grey, the rain is often, but warm, and the flowers are currently gorgeous!

© Collecting the Moments

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