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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Category — Mixed Bag

February is For Hearts and Horses, Art and Wine, Cinderella…and Chocolate!

February is a short month that offers a long list of activities. From quilts to chocolate, kites to Chalacha – no need to stay home.

February 1-29Castle Rock Quilt Show – Castle Rock Exhibit Hall, 147 Front Ave NW, More than 80 quilts All those tiny stitches! Don’t miss them at the quilt show.

Friday, February 3 – First Fridays in Multiple Cities!

February 3 First Friday – Ridgefield, 5 to 8 p.m.- Alcove Art Gallery will feature nine artists for the month of February. The theme will be entitled “Passion for Art.” Shops and restaurants will be open, too.

February 3A Chocolate Affair to Remember – 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown Camas. Sample locally made chocolates, specialty chocolate drinks and more! Plus local quilters kick off 2012 with a show of their original work at Second Story Gallery in Camas. The annual open exhibit in February will begin with a reception on First Friday and remain on view inside the Camas Public Library through the end of the month.

February 3 First Friday Artwalk – Downtown Vancouver, 5 to 9 p.m. Always a great celebration of community and fine art and a way to stroll with neighbors and friends. Downtown shops, restaurants and lounges welcome you as well. Art is leading the way for changes in downtown Vancouver!

February 3Wintertide – VSO Chamber Music Group – 7 p.m. Trinity Lutheran Church 309 W. 39th Street in Vancouver. The Columbia River Brass present various styles from composers including Wilke Renwick, Samuel Scheidt, Eric Ewazen, Dave Robertson and J.S. Bach. Concert is repeated on February 5 at 3 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Camas.

February 3-4Indoor Market – Long Beach Grange, 5715 Sandridge Rd., 10am to 4pm. A variety of vendors will be selling farm fresh eggs, home-baked goods, handcrafted items, goat cheese and goat milk soaps, gift items, art, jewelry and more. Lunch will be served from the Grange kitchen.

February 4Stand up Comedy at the Old Liberty Theater – Downtown Ridgefield. 7:30 p.m. An evening of “honest comedy” featuring: Ian Karmel- From IFC’s “Portlandia” plus other comics. 21 and older. Tickets by phone: Don Griswold,, booking phone (360) 601-7549.

February 4-5Asian New Year at the World Kite Museum – Long Beach. This opening has special events to introduce the Bali Kite Exhibit. The exhibit lasts until March 25.

February 7Chocolate Confession by Joan FreedKiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver. This hilarious one-woman show is a fundraiser for the Pink Lemonade Project. This is a perfect warm up for Valentine’s Day!

February 10-25Sense and Sensibility Magenta Theater – downtown Vancouver’s theater troupe presents an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel in their intimate theater.

February 11Valentine’s TeaPomeroy Living History Farm, 20902 NE Lucia Falls Rd., Yacolt. Noon. Reservations required (360.686.3537). Seasonal menu will include assorted tea sandwiches, scones, desserts and two kinds of tea. A tour of the historic log house can be added for a small, extra charge.

February 11-12Columbia Gorge Wineries Valentine’s Day Open House Weekend – Columbia Gorge Wineries in Washington and Oregon. Winery Open House Hours are 11am – 6pm. What a great opportunity to taste and purchase wine for Valentine’s Day.

February 12Bravo! Concert Series – Leonard Bernstein Mass – St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 400 S. Andresen Road, Vancouver. 2 p.m. Leonard Bernstein’s Mass blends sacred text, human emotions and musical styles – from classical to sacred, rock, blues and jazz. The Bravo! Chorale, guest soloists, and Chamber Orchestra will perform.

February 14 Musical Dinner Theater Historic Trout Lake Country Inn. Go up and play in the snow on Mt. Adams and then enjoy a dinner show.

February 16-19CinderellaThe Columbia Theatre presents Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. February 16th at 7pm, February 17th at 7pm, February 18th at 2pm & 7pm, and February 19th at 2pm.

February 17-19Washington State Horse Expo – Horses and equestrians come together en masse at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Check out the full program schedule.

February 18-20 Columbia Gorge Wineries President’s Day Open Houses – Yet another wine weekend as the Gorge wineries open up again to celebrate President’s Day. More than 30 wineries will be open with special releases and discounts. Live music at Maryhill Winery.

February 21 Volcano Views & Brews – Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro in downtown Vancouver at 801 Washington Street. Doors open at 5 pm. Speaker presents from 6:30 – 8 pm. Rick McClure, the Forest Archaeologist and Heritage Program Manager for Gifford Pinchot National Forest presents “The Place Called Chalacha – History Beneath the MSH Monument Headquarters and Chelatchie Prairie.”

What a great month! See you out there!

February 2, 2012   No Comments

April Outings: Tulips to Tea, Wine to Walking…and More!

Spring is kicking in with LOTS of activities and events in Southwest Washington. Here are a few ideas to get you moving:

March 18-April 24 Spring break is FIVE weeks long at the World Kite Museum in Long Beach. Make a kite, get coupons for local businesses at a museum treasure hunt, participate in themed weekends at the Spring Fling.

April 1-3 – Passport Weekend to a World of Wines in 40 Miles -Start the month with a trip to Columbia Gorge wineries with this special event, which takes place on both sides of the river. Details here on where to purchase your $15 passport, which will give you special offers including lodging deals.

April 1 – First Fridays. Both Vancouver and Camas have first Friday events. Enjoy art, meet the artists, have dinner and celebrate with friends. Camas even has “Will you pick the golden egg?” contest happening at various shops. Details are at Vancouver Art Walk and Camas First Friday.

April 2 – 30 – Woodland Tulip Festival No need to travel to The Netherlands to touch tulips. Tour the bulb fields and display gardens of Holland America Bulb Farms. This annual event includes crafts, music, children’s activities and more. Check here for details.

April 4 – Guitarist Greta Pedersen performs a matinee concert at the Columbia Theatre in Longview as part of the Rainy Months Series. Information and tickets are available here.

April 9 – International Discovery Walk Festival This beloved event attracts walkers from all over the world to Vancouver. It is such a delight to see the flags of the countries represented. Biking and swim events are offered, too. Admission charge. Go to the Festival Web site for more information.

April 16-May 8 – Lilac Days Festival We have plant hybridizer Hulda Klager (plus MANY volunteers) to thank for this fragrant festival, which is held on the Klager homestead in Woodland each year. All things lilac are offered at a special store (including lilac starts) and Hulda’s home is open for tours. The Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens are located at 115 S. Pekin Road, near the Holland America bulb fields. Admission. Click here for more details.

April 23 – Easter Tea Tour the historic house at the Pomeroy Living History Farm and enjoy tea with scones, sandwiches and desserts. Admission. Visit the Pomeroy Web site for more information.

April 27 – What do I do now? A financial summit for women will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Red Cross Building at the Fort Vancouver National Site. Financial writer ( Julia Anderson will moderate a panel of experts. Admission. Details and tickets are available here.

There is so much to do this month. See you out there in Southwest Washington!

March 30, 2011   No Comments

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

10 Lessons Learned at the Recycled Arts Festival

Rebar. Plastic bags. Gasoline cans. Art? This weekend, there were dozens of artists at the Recycled Arts Festival in Vancouver who have transformed the rusted, the plastic and the bound-for-the-landfill into collector’s items. Esther Short Park was lined with more than 80 vendors displaying remarkable reuse talents. Thank you Clark County Environmental Services for a great event! A few lessons stood out:

1. I don’t have to feel guilty about those (now rusty) garden tools I left in the rain.

Rusty tools can create great yard art

More information available at Howling Heights Metal Designs

2. Plastic bags can become a thing of beauty.

If you can crochet, you can create beautiful bags and rugs from plastic bags

Lots of products available through Molly J Walter

3. Those splintery chopsticks from my favorite Chinese restaurant can have a new life.

Who knew that chopsticks were so versatile?

There are lots of choices to purchase at Kwytza Chopstick Art .

4. The bowling balls I have been collecting are just begging to be beautified.

Way more interesting than Victorian gazing garden balls

Visit Ta-Dah Handmade about artwork and classes.

5. My collection of out-of-style sweaters could become in-style, felted hats.

These sweaters look great as hats!

Visit Sweater Heads for a great selection.

6. You can teach an old, red gasoline can new tricks as a dog.

Low maintenance pet - perfect for empty nesters

More information available at Howling Heights Metal Designs

7. A cigar box wants to make music.

These cigar box instruments can even be amplified

Alan Matta at Hammered Frets has the details on his instruments at

8. Wine bottles recycled into jewelry can be way more interesting than gemstones.

Beautiful glass beads made from wine and beer bottles

Learn about hand-torched, glass bead jewelry at Late Night Lampworks

9. Vases, light fixtures and other glassware can become stunning, luminescent statues for the garden.

These glass art pieces will never stop blooming in your garden

For details about these sculptures, email or visit their Facebook page Tiffany on a Stick.

10. Every nut and bolt deserves another chance.

Nuts and bolts start new lives

More work available at Fairy Forge.

Got stuff? Avoid the landfill. Get out there and start re-creating!

June 27, 2010   3 Comments

“Creeking” on the Lewis River

by Julia Anderson
Kayakers from throughout Southwest Washington gathered on the East Fork of the Lewis River in Clark County on Saturday for a competition they call “creek boating or creeking.” Some 40 competitors sized up Sunset Falls with its roaring spring run off before testing themselves against other kayakers and rafters on a timed course.

Creeking on the East Fork of the Lewis River

Sponsored by Alder Creek Kayak with a store on Hayden Island and Next Adventure, an outdoor gear store in Portland, the event is one of several hosted by organizers of Northwest Creeking Competition, a loose group of kayak enthusiasts.

On Saturday, the parking lot at Sunset Falls, east of Battle Ground and south of Yacolt was filled with kayaker vehicles, trailers and gear and lots of fans including a large number of dogs (on leashes). Volunteers staffed a registration booth with race fees ranging from $10 to $20 depending on the event.

Believe it or not, kayaking can take many forms…hard-shell long- and short-boats, inflatable kayaks and even rafts with both men’s and women’s races. About mid-day, two-man rafts were plunging over the falls with a few landing upside down with their paddlers forced to swim. Don’t worry, despite the sunny warmer weather most competitors were wearing dry suits to protect against cold water temperatures. The day ended with a raffle and barbeque.

For more information on Northwest Creeking Competition, visit

April 13, 2010   No Comments

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Celebrating the Chinese New Year in SW Washington

Gung Hay Fat Choy! We wish you prosperity! This is a greeting for Chinese New Year. This year, the 14-day holiday begins on Sunday, February 14.

Lion Dance at the Chinese New Year Celebration in Vancouver

Lion Dance at the Chinese New Year Celebration in Vancouver

In 2004, husband Gary and I had the great, good fortune of celebrating Chinese New Year, The Year of the Monkey, in Hong Kong. A post-SARS tourist recruitment deal with VIP seats at the Chinese New Year parade, fireworks, day tours and other enticements lured us to this fascinating city. Upon our arrival, we joined the shopping throngs in the flower market of Kowloon, where we bought yellow chrysanthemums (for longevity) for our hotel room and ahhhed over all the red decorations. Ever since, we have celebrated the Chinese New Year at home.

Last year, a friend and excellent chef made a multi-course Chinese dinner for 13 at our house to celebrate the New Year. This year, we attended the Vancouver Chinese New Year celebration sponsored by the Friends of the Cascade Park and Vancouver Community Libraries. The event included an energetic lion dance by the Portland Lee’s Association Lion Dance Team and a giggle-inciting “Images of China” puppet show by Dragon Art Studio plus dance and singing groups – a lucky way to celebrate 2010, The Year of the Tiger, the year of both our births.

Get the flash player here:

The dates of the New Year differ between Asian countries. Vancouver’s Vietnamese community celebrated the holiday on January 30 with a large community event. Portland’s big celebration will be an eight-hour Chinese New Year Cultural Fair on February 14 at the Oregon Convention Center. There are many other events scheduled at the Lan Su Chinese Garden (formerly the Portland Classical Chinese Garden) at NW 3rd and Everett from February 14 through February 28.

It’s time to plan your own celebration. Here are six ideas for celebrating the Chinese New Year:

1. Call your favorite Chinese restaurant and ask if they are offering any special foods or menus for the Chinese New Year. If not, go any way and order a multi-course banquet. Chinese families often eat Buddha’s Delight, fish and dumplings to kickoff the holiday. Mandarin oranges are popular, too.

2. Plan your own feast at home. In Vancouver, the International Market (3216 E. Fourth Plain Blvd) should have the ingredients you need.

3. Visit some import stores for new year’s decorations. These aren’t easy to find in SW Washington. I hate to send you across the river but…great places for decorations are the import stores across the street from the Lan Su Chinese Garden and the amazing Fubonn Shopping Center, where you will also find foods from all over the Asian world.

4. Pick up some red, lucky money envelopes (hong bao) (available in Vancouver at the International Market mentioned above) for children and unmarried family or friends and distribute them with money in an even amount. ($8 would be especially lucky because 8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture.)

5. Decorate with fresh flowers. Chrysanthemums (longevity), narcissus (prosperity) and plum blossoms (luck) are three options. Bamboo plants are good year-round choices, too.

6. Visit your relatives. This is the time of year that Chinese people around the world travel home to make “new-year visits” to relatives and friends. Visit YOUR family! Wear red and take them some mandarin oranges! Have a great time and don’t forget to tell them Gung Hay Fat Choy!

For more information about the history and traditions of the Chinese New Year, visit

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February 8, 2010   5 Comments