My favorite Seattle souvenir is a glassybaby.  I actually treat myself to two of these lovelies every time I go back, usually after breakfast at the HiSpot around the corner. Glassybaby moved their glass blowing 'hotshop' to my old neighborhood – Madrona shortly before we moved, but it wasn't until after I left that I started collecting them.  Go figure!

Glass blowing at Glassybaby 

There are three glassybaby stores in the Seattle area, and in October of 2009 a New York City location was added, but all the glassybaby are made in the Madrona shop. They blow 7 days a week and make between 150-210 pieces every day. I'm in awe of the process and how the artists movements mesh with one another. The first time I saw glass being blown in real life, I was shocked at how loud the music was being played!  I assumed there would be constant dialog, but actually each person's role is so specific and well rehearsed that speaking is not really necessary. Instead, there is a unified fluidity – each artist performing an integral role.  
Glassybaby colors 

It's a color cacophony the moment you step inside.  With all of these delicious colors, I'm a little ashamed to say I always choose one of the whites…  
Glassybaby misc 

This time however, I chose the Bedford Brown – a creamy, cafe au lait sort of color. 
Glassybaby candle lighting

The candle being lit is one of the Bedford Brown's that I purchased.  I always pick the ones with pigment ranging from light-to-dark.  When they are lit, they're just beautiful.

My glassybaby
 

Besides the stores in Seattle and New York, glassybaby can be purchased directly from the website, or at Cube and Whitewater in Los Angeles and Lotus Bleu in San Fran. 

While we were at the HiSpot having breakfast (yes, I did eat non-stop!) I ran into our old contractor, Neill!  Neill just finished building a new house for himself and his new bride, Sandra and invited Geno and I over for a quick tour.

Ainslie1 

The front entrance is still being worked on, so we entered through the back.
Ainslie2 

The two story floor-to-ceiling windows add so much light – perfect fix for the dark, gray Seattle days. Neill installed a remote operated shade that covers the entire window wall for privacy and to filter light. Radiant heat was installed underneath the concrete floors.  The wood slat platform in the upper right is actually the 'hallway' that connects the two upstairs bedrooms and bath.  I got a little bit of vertigo walking on it.

Ainslie3
Ainslie4 

Here's Neill showin off his mondo tv.

Ainslie6 

On the right side of the dining room there is a pantry.  Both rooms share a large sliding door (one of my favorite design features), allowing them to be closed off from the kitchen.
 
Ainslie5 

Perhaps the most special part of my Seattle trip was my visit with my dear friend, Mrs. 'F'.  A few years before we moved, I started volunteering with an organization that provided companionship to the elderly.  I always felt that helping those in the last stage of life that either didn't have family, or just needed a visitor was an important thing for me to do.  Mrs. F just celebrated her 101st birthday.  She is a Holocaust survivor and an inspiration in every way.  When I first started my weekly visits, I read her the New York Times.  We talked politics and about current events – sometimes taking walks on the rooftop garden.  Pretty soon, it became clear that she just wanted a little escape from her senior residence, so every week we pulled a "Thelma and Louise" and I put her walker in the trunk and off we went to parks, out for lunch, ice cream – even shopping – once.  I always leave our visits feeling so blessed to have had such a wonderful opportunity.  

Mrs. frank
 
     

    

 

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