A Balcony Person

Sunflower Flats

More and more I realize how fortunate I’ve been to have family in my life, who are what I think of as my “Balcony People.”  Someone (I can’t remember who or how long ago), wrote a book I read about the people in your life who you can count on to be there always cheering you on, no matter what.  I’ve had that with my family all my life and what a huge blessing!  It started with my grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles, and of course, my dad and mom.

Linda Jane Jacob, my dear sweet mother, is one of my Balcony People.  In her eyes I can do no wrong (nor can any of my siblings!)  She thinks we all work way too hard, too many hours, etc. etc.  She would do anything in the world for me.  That’s a true Balcony Person.

It’s not unusual for me to call her early in the morning, rain pouring, wind blowing, “Mom, would you be able to pick me one last bunch of forsythia?”  She replies, “Sure, no problem, when will you be here?”  I say, “Ten minutes.”

She wouldn’t be happy about this picture, as this isn’t her usual dressed-to-the-nines-self.  She’s always the one with the coordinated outfit, matching purse, earrings and shoes.  But remember, I just got her out of bed to pick forsythia!  So, she’s sporting her new gardening boots from Sunflower Flats, her stocking hat, and her helpful side-kick Corgi named Bella.

She’s my mom, always and forever my Balcony Person.


“Surviving is important, but thriving is elegant.”  ~Maya Angelou

Star Magnolia

Spring seems to sit well with my dancing lady.  How could you not with Star Magnolia as your backdrop?  And the fragrance?  Heavenly.

One would never know what she’s endured this winter by looking at her now – rain, hail, snow, and even wind that flipped her onto the muddy ground at one point.  (ever had one of THOSE days?)  But, it didn’t matter, because she’s not only a survivor – she THRIVES elegantly.



Made in Tillamook County, USA!

Do you love to buy products that are made in the USA?  How about made in Tillamook County, USA?  Here at Sunflower Flats we appreciate the talented individuals in our county and we are supporting them by offering their products a platform in our shop.  We will dedicate several blog posts to featuring their work so that you can get a glimpse of the 12+ local artists that we work with.

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Cami Schild and Samantha Wagner started out knitting headbands for a hobby and adding some sort of extra flourish to them – usually buttons or flowers.  Like most hobbies, it got out of control, so they formed Proverb Sisters and have been working together to create products as well as market them locally.  Perfect ear protection for our cold, spring winds and many color combinations to choose from, their headbands keeping us warm and stylish at the same time!


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Jan Woodbury – besides being a lovely, sweet lady (like SAINTLY kind) – teaches kindergarten in South Tillamook County.  Not only does she teach, but she has a passion for constructing felted purses in rich, earth tones with classy details – all truly one of a kind made with up-cycled material.  Jan also knits hats, mittens and scarves.  All made right here in Tillamook County, USA!


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Like flowers, words inspire.  Sometimes they go right to your heart and soul and connect.  Maybe it’s even a card with a saying on it that it just too true and you keep it in your card shuffle to ponder yourself.  I have one of those in my endless shuffle from many years back, and it’s always good to read it and yet again, think about it and realize, hmmmm still no one to send it to!  Dana Anderson Cunningham of ArtLight Media in South Tillamook County creates these cards on quality paper using found inspirational quotes against a backdrop of her block print designs.  They’re perfect for sending, but can also be placed in a spot at work or home where inspiration is needed throughout your day (as in EVERYWHERE!)


Come in anytime to engage your senses and see what’s new from our local artists!


Don’t Be Tamed!

“You were once wild here.  Don’t let them tame you.”  ~Isadora Duncan

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Chloe, Mom and I painted last week.  We missed Carsen, but he was in Central Oregon visiting his cousin, Sawyer.  Don’t let the picture above fool you!  This was in September 2009 when Chloe was painting my sunflower patch, but I can’t help but long for days of summer and bright sunflowers….it will come soon enough!

Anyway, back to painting last week, watching Chloe in action, I’m hoping:  ”don’t let them tame you.”  Whatever it is within her that gives her the ability and confidence to go for it comes out.  The week prior she decided to paint a cow skull for her Aunt Becky using a palate knife with all kinds of colors, so she added more color this week after seeing she had toned it down more than she liked.  This week’s new subject was an owl’s face on the entire canvas.  With piles of paint on the palate and a big brush already heavy with paint, she dove in starting with it’s big, bold chartreuse eyes.  (I thought the eyes would have been last, but what do I know?!)  She always works it all out in the end!



Painting requires losing yourself in the task and I love that about these several hours.  One doesn’t have to think about anything (translation: work) except how to get the bird the right shade of blue, a little snow on the branches and berries that are a reddish, brownish color.  Being consumed by something other than work is a welcome break from it all!

Carsen will be back at it next week, finishing the horn on his buffalo head and mom will continue to paint grass over the pond because “water is too hard to paint.”  That’s okay, mom, “don’t let them tame you.”  And you either, my dear Chloe.

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Blooming Branches

Three forsythia shrubs in our yard are work-horses for me this time of year as far as providing height to bouquets and a bright yellow texture for winter/spring arrangements.  Closer to Easter, forsythia can be used to form basket “handles” for basket arrangements.

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Forsythia takes me back to college days, specifically my freshman year at Willamette University in Salem.  I was a fish-out-of-water there, struggling, ill-prepared for the rigor of a private university.  Usually 10 chapters (at least) behind in my reading, papers due, test tomorrow…Yes, your basic freshman nightmare!

Continuing my quest to avoid study, I walked downtown Salem to the local florist and bought a huge bunch (branches were at least 4-5 feet tall) of budded forsythia.  I lugged these back to my dorm room and placed in a bucket of water.  It did wonders for my mental health to bring nature in!  The bright yellow branches bloomed for several weeks in my institutional green cement-walled dorm room.

I don’t even remember the eventual test grade, the reading subject or what my paper was about.  I only remember the forsythia and how it helped me in the winter of 1974, and yes, it is still a favorite of mine!

You can often find a similar bunch of forsythia branches in the front window of my shop this time of year.

You can often find a similar bunch of forsythia branches in the front window of my shop this time of year.