Friday, October 29, 2010


Friday Fave Five makes Friday a favorite day of the week.  Susanne hosts FFF and faithfully puts up Mr. Linky so whoever wishes to can participate in sharing the gratitude and blessings of their week.  Thanks, Susanne!

Nothing makes me happier than spending time with people I love.  When conversations turn to love languages and how people express love, I am always confident knowing that mine is spending quality time.  This week, I've been smiling quietly remembering my wonderful weekend with my daughter-in-law. 

1.  Hiking at South Mountain
 You can see how steep our trail was.
  If you look carefully, you'll see that I added a little note to the photo below showing where we parked our car and how far away it was.

2. The Cafe at The Farm

Eating lunch among the blooming flowers.

3. Walking through the organic gardens, we found this:

4.  In the back corner of The Farm's property is an artists' studio.  If I lived in Phoenix, I'd beg to be part of this studio!

5.  On Sunday morning, my daughter-in-law was kind enough to drive me to a suburb of Phoenix to hear Joshua Becker speak.  He is a blogger and writer at  If you are interested in simplifying your life, your possessions and your commitments, I recommend that you read his blog and his books Simplify and Inside Out Simplicity.  He's an inspirational speaker, just a guy with a family and a house in the suburbs who wants to help people find their passion and the space and time to pursue it.

My passion is my family and spending time nurturing my relationships with them.  My weekend spent with my precious daughter-in-law was the best gift!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Project 333

Project 333 is the brainchild of Courtney who blogs at  She writes inspiring posts about simplifying everything from your kitchen to your sentimental items.  In September, she introduced the idea of wearing only 33 items of clothing for a 3 month period, October 1st through December 31st.  After reading the post, I knew right away that I wanted to participate, but knowing myself well enough, I wondered if I could sustain that  much fashion 'boredom' for that long.  I mulled it over for a couple of weeks, spent an hour one afternoon writing out a list of all the clothing I own, and finally on October 1st decided, Okay, I'll give it a try.

When I worked through my closet on the day I wrote down my clothes list, I discovered two things. First, I found out that I have fewer clothes than I feared.  Through the years, I've learned what I like to wear, what looks best on me, and how to avoid impluse buying of clothes (most of the time).  Second, I realized that I have more clothes than I thought!  In my mind I thought, "I only have four or five pairs of pants."  Reality check: double that number.  But I wasn't wearing the other pants!  I was cycling through the same five pants and leaving the others in the closet, sad, alone and unworn.  That was lesson number one.

Lesson number two was the realization that I really like the clothes that I wear. They're comfortable and colorful.  They're casual and classic.  They're mostly washable.  I tend to find a pair of pants I like and buy two in different colors and wear them until they fall apart.  I do the same thing with t shirts, but with those I buy them four or five at a time.  Last winter I even did that with a cashmere sweater I found at a great price. I have never owned a classic cashmere sweater, and I have heard people say that they wear their cashmere sweater all winter the way other people wear a favorite sweatshirt.  I loved the teal sweater but my husband preferred the purple one, so I bought both. And I started wearing them instead of my sweatshirt, at home, on errands, to work.  Yes, if I like something, I wear it to death.

When I mentioned Project 333 to The Professor, he thought a minute and said, "I don't think I own much more than 33 pieces of clothing."  He was right; he had a better estimate of what's in his closet than I did.

This link will take you to the first post Courtney wrote about Project 333.

Here is the original post I wrote about Project 333 at the blog I share with my two daughters.

I quietly joined Minimalist Fashion Project 333 on October 1st. When I first read about the project on Courtney's blog BeMoreWithLess, I thought, "Hey, I could do that. No sweat. I don't have that many clothes, anyway." Then I walked back to my closet and took an honest look. I certainly had more than thirty-three items hanging there. So I began to glean and declutter the clothes I obviously would never wear again and dropped them in to a big black trash bag to take to the thrift store.

Here are the original rules for Project 333:

•When: October 1 – December 31 (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)

•What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.

•What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring, underwear, sleep, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)

•How: over the next two months, outline your 33 items, by the 1st of October, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of site.

•What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. If you purchase items for project 333, stick with the one in, two out approach. Consider the essentials and stick to 33.

Now it is October 5th.
I'm posting my list:

1. black dress slacks
2. black capris
3. grey jeans
4. tan jeans
5. navy fleece jacket
6. long sleeved black knit top
7. long-sleeved white knit top
8. navy skirt
9. navy short-sleeved knit top
10. teal cashmere sweater
11. purple cashmere sweater
12. turquoise cardigan
13. print blouse
14. black camisole
15. white camisole
16.-22. various colored t shirts
23. black shoes
24. black flipflops
25. sterling silver earrings
26. watch
27.-28. two necklaces
29. gloves
30. lavender 3/4 sleeve sweater
These last three slots I am reserving for scarves and a sweater that I've nearly finished knitting. Or maybe another pair of earrings (I do love my earrings).
Five days in to this and I'm thinking that because I made my final list last week and started the project when the weather was presenting us with triple digit temperatures I may have over estimated the t shirts and under estimated the sweaters. This week we are having rain, clouds, fog, and temperatures in the 60s. We shall see.

I did add a turquoise fleece pullover within a few days, and I realized that I had not added my tennis shoes to the the list. Even though I wear them for work outs, I also wear them with my jeans several times a week. So, I have 32 pieces of clothing on my list and I'm still holding out for a handmade scarf or sweater.

We are almost 1/3 of the way through the minimalist fashion project, but you can join at any time!  Choose your 33 items and join us!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fave Five from Phoenix

Yes I know I've been MIA from Friday Fave Five for a couple of weeks.  But I have an excuse, a really good excuse.  Really I have.  I'm traveling this weekend. (And last weekend, I wanted people to continue to read my post about 'Not For Sale', so I decided not to post anything for a few days.)

1.  As you can tell from my title, yes, I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. My daughter in law invited me to visit this weekend and we've already been having great memory making adventures. That is actually two blessings--a little vacation and a precious daughter in law.

2.  Because I am participating in Project 333 (wearing only 33 items of clothing for 3 months), packing was a breeze. I love traveling light and it was so simple to pack my few clothes in my backpack. I'm only going to be gone for three days, so I don't need much--a couple of changes of clothes and two knitting projects.

3.  Flying out of Burbank's Bob Hope Airport is a much less stressful experience than going through long lines of security at LAX.  Because it's a much smaller airport, it's easier to navigate through the terminals and gates to get where you need to be.

4. This morning we hiked up South Mountain. The weather was unseasonably cool (in Phoenix that means mid 70s) and cloudy, but it made for great hiking weather.  Photos to follow*.

5.  Fantastic food at The Farm for lunch.  The Farm is a local organic farm in southern Phoenix.  Soup and sandwich at the cafe was superb.  An added bonus was meeting an acquaintance from my hometown who is now on the farm staff there.  What a coincidence!

*I didn't bring my computer with me so I won't be able to upload photos until I return home on Sunday afternoon.  But trust me; the desert is beautiful!

So that's what I have been doing.  How about you?  Check out Susanne's blog and join Friday Fave Five to share adventures, blessings, gratitude for your week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For My Brother

Memories for my brother
(but others can read this, too)
Do you remember our yearly camping trips, every summer, always the same route, south to Coos Bay, Coquille, Myrtle Point, over to the coast at Bandon, and on to Port Orford and Gold Beach, past Brookings, Eureka, Ferndale, all the way to the Redwood Forests?

Do you remember riding in the back seat peering out the windows stretching our necks to see up, up to the tops of those unbelievably tall, high, straight Redwood trees?

Do you remember stopping, every summer, at the Trees of Mystery and never going beyond the parking lot?

Do you remember driving down the two lane highway, passing logging trucks, pulling the camping trailer, waiting, waiting impatiently until we knew we were almost there, almost to the campground, planning how we could get out of chores or setting up the tent, so we could run down to the river?

Do you remember how carefully Dad and Mom would choose just the right campsite?  There had to be room for both the trailer and our tent.

Do you remember the campfires, the smores, the night Dad made fried chicken and everyone else in the whole camp were drawn in by the smell, sniffing the air, wishing they had fried chicken for dinner too?

Just the four of us, every summer, camping along the Pacific Coast, fishing in the creeks, playing in the sand, splashing in the water.

And finally, every year, every summer, ending up in San Francisco where we'd ride the cable cars to Fisherman's Wharf and drive through Golden Gate Park and the Presidio.

Do you remember?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

For Sale for Those Who are NOT for Sale

For the past several weeks I've had an idea percolating in my heart and mind.  I have been knitting most of my life and as you can imagine, I have collected a bit of a yarn stash.  Because I am also a spinner, I have amassed even more yarn created from wool and llama fiber. (Little side note here:  I live in Southern California which has a mediterranean climate.  I don't wear much wool.)  As I've been working through my stash, decluttering what I'm not going to use in the future, I contemplated how I could either make some money from my efforts or share what I have with others.

About a month ago, I decided that I wanted to somehow sell items knitted from my handspun (and often hand dyed) yarns and donate all the profits to a charity.  We have sponsored a young orphan boy (now almost a man!) from Uganda through an organization called Ugandan Lambs Project.  Another charity that I am passionate about is GENERATE HOPE, which focuses on helping young women who have been rescued from sex trafficking slavery.  These were the two groups I planned to give any proceeds I earned from selling my yarns and knitted and felted items.

Just last night, I had a conversation that opened a door to help Generate Hope NEXT WEEKEND.  They are holding an auction event in San Diego and are going to have an arts and crafts table to sell any crafted items they receive for donation.  This will include anything knitted, crocheted, felted, sewn, quilted or beaded.

Do you have new finished items in your house that you could mail to San Diego to add to the table?  Items must be received by Thursday October 21st to be included in the auction.  I know this is late notice, but I want to put this out to any and all people who read my blog just in case you can do something, anything, to help Generate Hope meet their needs and goals.

If you can help, please leave me a comment with your email contact information and I'll get in touch with you and let you know where to mail your package.

Thank you so much!  Generate Hope thanks you. I thank you. And those precious young women thank you!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Early October Faves

Friday Fave Five.  October 8, 2010.
Linking to Susanne's Friday Fave Five is a tradition here at Willow's Cottage.  I love this exercise in gratitude.  If you would like to join, you can link up at Living To Tell The Story.

1. Don't you love weeks that slip by without drama or extended driving?  Of course, sometimes it's fun to travel, but after many trips this year, I'm happy to be home for a few weeks.

2. We (meaning The Professor did it while I sat and watched) finally figured out how to get the camera and the laptop to talk with each other and play nice.  In any relationship communication is a key component.

Here's the proof. On Saturday morning of our weekend in Humboldt County, we joined a group of his classmates on a dunes and beach walk.  Fog hung densely and deeply in the trees and dunes vegetation.  Hoping for a better ocean view I walked ahead.  As I turned around, I saw The Professor and three friends silhouetted against the foggy background.

3. Rain.  For three days this week, it poured in Southern California.  Marking the first measurable rain in five months, the storm soaked quickly into our very dry ground and caused all the plants to slurp up the moisture as fast as they could.

4. Sunshine. After the rain. Most fall/winter rainstorms in Southern California last three days. I don't know why. They just do.  Then the sun shines again.

5. Lavender. It's one of my favorite plants.  I love the blooms.  I love the colors.  I love the smell.  Because one of the bushes outdid itself in growth this summer, I had to cut it back severely since it was overwhelming plants on all sides.  Carrying armloads of fragrant lavender clippings from the garden to the yard debris can wasn't a chore. It was heavenly.

Thanks for reading Willow's Week in review.  How was yours?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Golden Gate Bridge

First opened in May 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge spans the Golden Gate Strait which the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.

Its 4,200 foot suspension span is not the longest in the world.  There are currently eight bridges around the world that have longer suspension spans.  In my opionion, however, The Golden Gate Bridge still the most beautiful.

Friday, October 01, 2010


How about mixing it up a bit today for Friday Fave Five?

The Good News, Bad News Edition.

1.  The Good News is that our long trip of almost 1,400 miles last weekend was accomplished with no mishaps.  I think that should be Great News!  Safety in travel is something I don't take for granted.  The Bad News is that we drove almost 1,400 miles.  It was exhausting!

2.  The Good News is that I took close to 100 photos along Highway 101 from Los Angeles north to Humboldt County.**  Beautiful!  Majestic!  Incredible!  Mountains, Sea, Vineyards.  I love the Northern California Coast!  The Bad News?  Evidently, the new camera and my computer haven't been introduced yet and they're not talking.  So, no photos. Yet.

3.  The Good News:  The Professor graduated from high school with many wonderful kids.  They've all grown up and turned in to great adults.  Attending a high school reunion as a 'spouse' isn't always so much fun.  But this group makes it very pleasant for us outsiders, and at every reunion I get reacquainted with his friends, and I also meet new people.  I think that most reunions aren't like this.  Arcata High School turned out some great graduates.  The Bad News:  I'm not sure there was bad news...maybe just that a couple of people we walked with in the Portland to Coast Relay and the Willamette Valley Relay for several years weren't able to make it to the reunion.

4.  Good News.  Amazingly, Arcata, California is just a couple of towns away from Ferndale, California where my father's parents were born, raised, went to school, met, and married.  So in a way, visiting Humboldt County, California is like coming home for me too.  Bad News.  We didn't have enough time during the short weekend to drive over to Ferndale to see the old farmhouse or visit the cemetery where many of my ancestors are buried.

5.  Best News.  We spent the night at Stanford University with our son and had a great breakfast with him on campus.  Baddest News.  The time was too short.

That's how Willow's Weekend went.  Crazy. Busy. So. Much. Fun.  The rest of the week was spent recovering from the 26 hours in the car and showing up for work.  It was Good.

I'd love to know how far you traveled this week!  Was it good?  You can share here or link to Susanne's blog Living to Tell the Story for Friday Fave Five.