Tag Archives: Mill Valley

Photo Friday: Tamalpais Motel at Dusk

I’m not sure quite why I can’t resist lingering over a neon roadside sign at dusk. Nor why I find some to be just a bit forlorn. Perhaps it’s the gulf between the sign’s bright promise — in this case evoking our local mountain, given the Native American Miwok name meaning “coastal mountain” — and the reality of a motel, or a bar, or an eatery that’s seen better times. Or maybe it’s just the time of day, the light, the glory and wonder of neon, and the beckoning of the open road, none of which ever grow old.

Have you seen and photographed something unusual, whimsical, beautiful, or otherwise interesting in your travels? Has anything surprised you or caused you to pause? Or have you simply experienced a small, lovely moment that you wanted to capture? If so, I hope you’ll share with us by leaving a comment with a link to your photo. I look forward to seeing it!

Photo by Susan Sachs Lipman

You might also like:

Photo Friday: Ghost Sign
Photo Friday: San Francisco Storefront

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Snapshot: This Moment. 9.16.10

{this moment}

Yesterday, I went for a hike near my house in the mid-afternoon. On my return to the car, at precisely 3 p.m., I heard chanting coming from the woods. A lovely lone male voice, the chanting sounded vaguely Middle Eastern, with haunting notes that were close together in the scale. I stopped and stood in the fog to listen. This man emerged from the woods — rainbow-laden, strewn with bells, tassels and pouches. Eyes closed and continuing to sing and (I took it) pray, he made a left turn and continued down the popular trail.

“This Moment” is a Friday ritual. A photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment that I wish to pause, savor and remember. It is inspired by Amanda Blake Soule and legions of lovely bloggers.

I hope you’ll be similarly inspired and leave a link with your own “moment.” I’d love to see it.

I hope you have a wonderful and soulful weekend.

Photo by Susan Sachs Lipman

Make a Honey Spice Cake for a Sweet New Year and Fall

depotpumpkin

Honey is one of the world’s oldest foods. Ancient Egyptian tomb reliefs from as far back as the 3rd millennium B.C. show bees being smoked from their hives to produce it. Nomads and traders helped honey’s popularity spread worldwide, while it remained a prevalent sweetener in the Middle East, where it still often, and wonderfully, appears in Mediterranean, Arab and Jewish dishes.

Jews around the world traditionally celebrate their new year (which this year begins at sundown tonight) by dipping apples in honey, and by eating honey and spice cakes, the better to usher in a “sweet new year.”

And lots of people ring in Fall by making honeyed cakes of wonderful harvest ingredients like pumpkin, and warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.

This terrific and tasty honeyed spice cake recipe is from the San Francisco Chronicle. The resulting cake is at once dense, moist, and extremely flavorful.

Of course, you don’t need a new year or season to make this cake. Its firmness and ease of slicing makes it a natural for school lunches and after-school treats. It’s loaded with healthy ingredients and happens to taste especially good.

Photo by Susan Sachs Lipman:
Pumpkin spice cake at the Mill Valley Book Depot


Mill Valley Paint-Off

A 20-year tradition in my town of Mill Valley, CA, the annual Paint-Off is open to anyone who wishes to create art in the town square over a Summer Saturday — the one rule being that you depict what you see within the time allotted. The Paint-Off is a lot of fun for both the artists, who plant themselves in various spots to create, and the spectators, who mingle and watch the art happen. It’s relaxed and filled with camaraderie and talent. When brushes and other implements stop, public and artist balloting begins, and a winner is declared. (And, yes, the original idea came from the Pillsbury Bake-Off!)

Lots of artists depict the Depot Bookstore, the focal point of the Square. It used to be a train, and then bus, depot.

There were plenty of other scenes.

Looking further up the same street:

These trees were made with fabric that was sewn on and then cut.

More images of the day:

Look closely at the painter, below, and the picture, above.

We all watched as the ultimate winner was announced.

My personal favorite, this beautiful ink and watercolor painting by David Savellano called “Mill Valley in the Round”, won both the People’s Choice and the Artists’ Choice awards. The execution is so clever. The drawings remind me of beautiful children’s book illustrations.

All in all, a very inspiring day!

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Snapshot: Flight

Spotted this week .. in a very prolific butterfly season, a Painted Lady butterfly in repose (in San Francisco, city of “Painted Ladies“, the name for its colorful, ornate Victorian homes.) This video shows the lifecycle of the Painted Lady butterfly.

Also seen: a busy female Anna’s hummingbird, enjoying the nectar of a Meyer Lemon tree in Mill Valley. This is a good general hummingbird site.

Happy gathering!

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Egg Dyeing Workshop

A few days ago, I posted about the tradition of dyeing, giving and celebrating with eggs for Easter and spring. Today I got to attend a lovely workshop, where we dyed eggs with plant dyes, in the Mill Valley store Maison Reve, under the guidance of Molly de Vries. It was a lot of fun and wonderful to gather with neighbors of all ages to enjoy a time-honored art. Egg dyeing is easy, inexpensive, creative and limitless. I enjoyed seeing everyone’s decorating ideas and techniques.

The plant dyes had been created in advance using onion skin, turmeric, cabbage, and beets.

Molly also provided tape, string, crayons, and beeswax, so people could create designs on their eggs, which would often show up white after the eggs absorbed the dye. (For complete dyeing instructions, see my earlier post.)

I used beeswax to make little dots, which I put all over the egg before soaking it in the onion skin dye for about 40 minutes.

I had help removing the wax, to reveal the white of the eggshell (and a little wax, which the group liked) underneath.

Happy Easter and Spring.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Flea Market-Inspired Spring

Inspiration and beauty are all around. For many, Spring is a season of sun-dappled sidewalks and flea-market weekends. Of exploring shapes and colors which take their cues from nature, history, and the whimsy of a flowing line. It’s the season of looking around with fresh eyes.