Monthly Archives: March 2010

Beacon of History in South Carolina

Inspired by a local lighthouse destroyed by a hurricane in the 1800s, architect Steve Herlong created an eco-savvy home for his family on Sullivan’s Island. Enjoy!

Bright Idea:  Having port-hopped through Europe on a sailboat, Steve and Susan Herlong have a love of lighthouses. When the couple bought property on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, they researched local light stations. “We were charmed by images of the first wooden lighthouse on the island; sadly, it was lost to a hurricane in the 1800s,” Steve says. “We incorporated its design into our house.”

Bright Idea – Lighthouse Styled Home

See Worthy:  There are no view-obsuring railing so that you have floor-to-ceiling vistas of the Lowcountry marshes lining the Intracoastal Waterway.  Metal cables run horizontally between the posts for safety and a sleek nautical detail without blocking the seascape. The Herlongs called on a friend who rigs sailboats for the job. Highlight of the house: saying goodnight to the sun from three stories up. The octagonal porch becomes the perfect perch for taking in the sunset at happy hour.

See Worthy

Exterior Oasis:  An outdoor living room enclosed by the house’s structural supports, which the Herlongs covered in marsh-mud-color stucco and crushed oyster shells. Everyone loves: the shady spot under the house, complete with outdoor fireplace for cool nights when the sound of the surf is too enticing to stay inside.

Exterior Oasis

Ship Shape:  A cypress, V-groove, barrel-vaulted ceiling inspired by the shape of a boat hull provides the most unique nautical room you’ve ever seen.

Ship Shape

Inside Out: Walls clad with cedar-shake shingles and a rough-hewn cedar ceiling painted a nautical blue-and-white scheme, all to create the look of a seaside porch inside.  Is there anything more charming?

Inside Out

Kitchen Calm:  A light- and breeze-filled space, thanks to a pair of large, high-impact-resistant casement windows. Reclaimed wood countertops and a tumbled travertine tile backsplash add natural warmth to the space.

Kitchen Calm

All photos are copyright Deborah Whitlaw Llewllyn©


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Spring Day Trip: Skagit Valley’s flowering fields

Fields of Tulips

Fields of blooming tulips beckon you to this corner of northern Washington come spring, when acres of multi-colored fields beg for some camera time.

This area is one of my favorite places to go for a day trip. Spring is the right time to catch Skagit Valley’s colorful crop of tulips in bloom. Celebrate at the area’s annual tulip festival, then rent a bike and take to the road, exploring the valley while stopping for photo ops of the rainbow-striped flowering fields before you.

Why go to Washington’s Skagit Valley in April? To stand before fields of intensely colored flowers—cherry red, navel orange, pure white—that blanket the area.

In spring, Skagit Valley is a photographer’s dream, with strips of Technicolor petals stretching from your feet to the horizon.

Although it’s hard to screw up a shot like that, keep these tips in mind: Clouds intensify the colors. When skies are blue, shoot toward the sun—backlight makes individual blooms really pop. Keep your eyes peeled for the best spots—often right off the road, where the crowds aren’t.

Spring Tulip

The valley is full of cut-flower stands, but to buy potted spring bulbs for your own garden (and waves of spring-flowering perennials that pair well with them), stop at Christianson’s Nursery & Greenhouse.

Bring your lunch and you can picnic on benches scattered around the 1888 schoolhouse—and duck inside if it starts to drizzle.

Skip the bus tours and ditch your car! The tulip tour is much better by bicycle as you won’t have to deal with crowded pullouts or circling for parking. Rent a tandem, road bike, or electric-assist two-wheeler from Skagit Cycle Center. 

While you are in the area the little burg of La Conner, WA is a must-stop. You can visit Bunnies by the Bay, dine on the waterfront, enjoy some wine tasting, shop a variety of antique stores or the quilt museum. Lovely bed & breakfasts add to the lovely ambiance of this fine waterfront town.

Take lots of pictures and enjoy your day or weekend getaway…you won’t be sorry!

More info:

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A Soft Sea Washed Around the House

A soft Sea washed around the House
A Sea of Summer Air
And rose and fell the magic Planks
That sailed without a care —
For Captain was the Butterfly
For Helmsman was the Bee
And an entire universe
For the delighted crew.

– Emily Dickinson

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International World Water Day – March 22, 2010

Every year, 1,500 cubic kilometres of wastewater are produced globally. While waste and wastewater can be reused productively for energy and irrigation, it usually is not. In developing countries 80 percent of all waste is being discharged untreated, because of lack of regulations and resources. And population and industrial growth add new sources of pollution and increased demand for clean water to the equation. Human and environmental health, drinking and agricultural water supplies for the present and future are at stake, still water pollution rarely warrants mention as a pressing issue.

International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.
The World Water Day 2010 and its campaign is envisaged to:
•Raise awareness about sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being through addressing the increasing water quality challenges in water management and
•Raise the profile of water quality by encouraging governments, organizations, communities, and individuals around the world to actively engage in proactively addressing water quality e.g. in pollution prevention, clean up and restoration.
Water affects every aspect of our lives, yet nearly one billion people around the world don’t have clean drinking water, and 2.6 billion still lack basic sanitation. World Water Day, celebrated annually on March 22, was established by the United Nations in 1992 and focuses attention on the world’s water crisis, as well as the solutions to address it.
This year, a collaborative of US-based organizations have joined to raise awareness and call for stronger commitments from governments, the private sector, and US citizens for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives in low-income countries.
By deploying the solutions that already exist, we can save the lives of thousands of children each day, advance education and employment – especially among women and girls – and fuel economic growth around the world.
Learn more about the events planned in Washington DC and around the country for World Water Day 2010 and find out how you can take action to help make clean water and sanitation a reality for people around the globe…

Beach Treasures

What an exciting week on the beach! The weather has been clear and crisp and lots of beach combing and treasures were discovered. Before becoming a full time beach bum I always thought of beach combing as simply a leisurely walk on the shore looking for a few cool seashells (broken or not) to keep for memory sake. My definition has certainly changed over the year and a half of living here.

Sunset in Washington

I’ll never forget the first time we headed to the beach after a storm. The clouds and wind provided a gloomy aura as we drove the Jeep through the sandy shore of scattered trees, debris and shells. We slowly drove Northward and discovered a trail in the rain soaked sand. The trail was an odd shape, definitely not any kind of vehicle. It veered left, then right and continued northward. We followed this odd looking trail for several miles and continued to guess what kind of animal, vehicle or thing could make such a long and strange trail. In the distance we saw a person…a young person…bundled up like an Eskimo…and this little person was dragging something behind them. Could this be our mystery trail maker?

As we approached the little Eskimo on the beach we found a young boy, not more than 12 or 13, who was dragging a net which was filled with a large, beautiful, green glass float. We had found our trail maker! He had walked for miles and miles while dragging the float which was entwined in at least 10 to 12 feet of heavy, wet, fishing net. The float must of been at least a foot or more in diameter. By the time we had reached him he was heading for the dunes and probably home to boast of his discovery. I know that I’ll never forget the vision of this little boy and his determination.

While we haven’t found a glass float yet we have discovered the joy of spending time together while searching the shore and upper dunes for treasures. Our treasures are sand dollars and fishing net floats (buoys). I don’t really know the story of why a majority of beach dwellers collect these colorful floats but many do and they proudly display them outside their homes for those passing by to see. It is hard to describe the excitement that I experienced when we found our first float. A round, black, large float covered in barnacles had just washed ashore. David whipped the Jeep around and I jumped out into the pouring rain, blustery wind and cold surf to grab it before the waves reclaimed it as their own. We proudly displayed our float on our back deck and the rest, they say, is history.

Our collection of floats has grown by a dozen just this week. Each is a different size, shape and color which just adds to the artistry of our display. As I proudly hang them on our deck I often wonder about where they have been. What have they encountered along their journey? Our collection includes rope found on the beach which strings them together. Pieces of unique driftwood also grace our nautical display area.

I’m not sure why; however our sand dollar collection hasn’t grown as fast this season as last. We did find a nice colony of sand dollars yesterday as well as some very nice clam shells. We’ve collected so many shells over our time here that we are very selective and only keep the best of the best. I recently found a discarded rusty 3-tier vegetable hanging basket and hung it on our deck and filled it with shells. The basket has come in handy – when we come home from the beach we just toss shells into the baskets for the rain to wash and sun to bleach.

We are still searching for our first glass float; however enjoying the journey along the way. If a little Eskimo boy has the determination to walk for miles on end in stormy weather then we can surely wait for our float to come in!  We’d love to hear what your favorite beach treasure and/or discovery is.