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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Posts from — November 2010

What do deer, snowmen, butterflies and angels have in common?

Question: What do deer, snowmen, butterflies and angels have in common?

Answer: They are all featured at this year’s Festival of Trees. And they all make stunning decorations for the holidays.

I just previewed the trees from the Vancouver Rotary Foundation’s 15th Annual Festival of Trees, which kicks off at noon on Friday, November 26 at Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver. Placed among the vintage airplanes, the trees look great! (Full disclosure, I’m a member of the Vancouver Rotary Foundation Board of Directors so I’m a little unobjective about the event!)

Watching the decorators work their magic on their trees (some fresh, some artificial, some flocked, some not), I learned a lot about how to create a beautiful tree or other holiday decor.

Here are a few of the many lessons I learned:

1. Start with a theme.

One tree has a charming “birds of a feather” theme. Another features snowmen. A third is covered with charming ornaments related to deer. Could I come up with a theme from my mishmash of ornaments? Possibly.

A theme can start with a snowman.

2. Work with a color scheme.

Each Festival tree has a definite color scheme. I love warm colors and copper is a great base color to start with like the tree “Sylvan Revelry.” Reds and blacks can make a dramatic statement.

Copper, olive green and off white make a beautiful color scheme.

Red and black add drama and elegance to a tree.

3. Get your decorations in a row before starting.
All Festival decorators seem to be very organized, with their lights and ornaments spread out on long tables. Maybe it’s time to cover a table with my decorations to inventory what I own, what I should toss, what might look better on a gift package than on a tree and which ornaments could be fun to add to a wreath or garland.

Don't hang one ornament until you are organized!

Do an inventory of your ornaments before you start.

4. Put the lights on first and feel free to mix them.

I knew that lights should go on the tree first. But it never occurred to me that you could mix different kinds of lights. One Festival tree has mixed strands of small white lights with blue snowflake lights for a charming look.

A mix of white lights and blue snowflakes illuminate this tree.

5. Go elegant.

Flowers. Butterflies. Birds. Ribbon. Words. All can bring an elegance to your tree.

Bejeweled butterfly ornaments can help create a stunningtree.

Joy is what your holiday decor should be about!

6. Go whimsical.

There are some very silly and fun decorations out there. One of the Festival trees is covered with hilarious deer ornaments.

A charming deer ornament.

Yet another deer!

A matching deer top completes the tree.

7. Make your own tree topper.

The days of a lone star on top of the tree are gone. Make something fun or unusual to crown your creation.

The decorator made this top for her snowman-themed tree.

Add vertical elegance to the top of your tree.

8. You can’t go wrong with birds.

Okay, it goes without saying that birds and trees belong together. So why not do a tree that focuses on our feathered friends like one of the Festival creations?

A charming feathered ornament.

Another feathered friend.

Owlet ornaments.

Every bird-themed tree needs a bird house.

9. Pull it all together.

Think about your complete picture. Do you want a matching wreath and gift wrap to go with your tree? Check out this Zebra-themed design.

A fully coordinated theme and look for your tree.

10. For more ideas, you need to visit Vancouver Rotary Foundation Festival of Trees!

The trees will be on display at Pearson Air Museum on Friday, November 26, noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday, November 27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, November 28, Noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Other events include the Community Tree Lighting on Friday night at 5:30 p.m. at Esther Short Park followed by the Vancouver Pops Concert at the Hilton at 7 p.m. Runners and walkers will enjoy Hot Buttered Run and Kids Kandy Kane Race on Sunday at Pearson Air Museum at 10 a.m. (Fees, registration and details at Energy Events)

See you at Vancouver Rotary Foundation Festival of Trees!

November 24, 2010   No Comments

“O! how Horriable is the day!”

“O! how Horriable is the day!” Captain William Clark entered those words in his journal on November 22, 1805 after experiencing a nasty day on the Columbia River. “Before day the wind increased to a storm…and blew with violence throwing the water of the river with emence waves out of its banks almost over whelming us I water, O! how Horriable is the day,” he wrote.

Those last six words are now the name of the annual celebration at the Knappton Cove Heritage Center. This year, the event will be held on Saturday, November 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in conjunction with the “Ocian in View” Cultural Weekend at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco.

The hospital building at the Knappton Cove Heritage Center

Knappton Cove is “Columbia River’s Ellis Island.” While the East coast immigration center is well known, our own Ellis Island is a quiet, fascinating gem located at 521 Washington SR 401 just three miles east of the Astoria/Megler Bridge bridge.

The property has been a camping and fishing site for Chinook Indians. Early explorers included Captain Robert Gray, who sailed into the Columbia River in 1792 and Lt. William Broughton, who, as part of Captain George Vancouver fleet, moored the HMS Chatham at Knappton Cove later that year. For years, a fish cannery straddled the river with a long wharf and cannery buildings.

As the US Public Health Service Quarantine Station (1899-1938), Knappton Cove played a significant role in the history of US immigration. An estimated 100,000 individuals passed through the Quarantine Station from 1899 to 1938.

During that time, cargo and immigrant ships entered the Columbia River at Astoria. Upon inspection, if it was determined that disease or vermin was on board the ship, it was sent to across the river to Knappton Cove, with its deep channel and distance from the good folk of Astoria who didn’t want the facility, on the Washington side of the Columbia.

Imagine you have traveled for weeks by ship from your native country in Europe or Asia. You have survived the crossing and finally reached the shores of America. Now you need to pass health inspection and have your possessions “deloused” in large retorts. Smallpox, cholera, bubonic plague and typhoid were among the communicable concerns. If you didn’t pass the inspection, you were isolated and detained before you could travel on to the Portland naturalization office.

Ships went through a 48 hour fumigation process, which included filling the ships with fumes sulfur pots to kill rats. (Later cyanide gas was used to fumigate the ships.) In her book, The Columbia River’s Ellis Island, The Story of Knappton Cove, Nancy Bell Anderson reported that 97 sailing vessels and 35 steamships were inspected during the first year of operation including ships from such disparate locations as Russia, Peru and Japan.

Nancy Bell Anderson discusses the historic site with visitors

The Knappton Cove Heritage Center documents not only the quarantine station with its hospital (also known as lazaretto or pesthouse) but also the other uses of the property over the years including the sports fishing camp established by Nancy’s parents, who bought the property in 1950. Sans SR 401, their front yard stretched down to the river. Nancy has been involved with the site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, since she was 12 years old. She is currently President of the Center’s Board of Directors,

The Center is the only place in the world where you will find the 100,000 Clothespin People Project and the “It’s A Small World Clothespin Museum.” Kits are available for making clothespin dolls dressed in native clothing from immigrant homelands.

Each room of the former hospital documents the history of the site and the people who passed through its wards. A small shop has books and other items available for purchase.

One of the hospital room displays

The Knappton Cove Heritage Museum is only open Saturday weekends in summer (or by appointment). So November 13 is a great day to visit no matter how “horriable” the weather.

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November 9, 2010   1 Comment