Into the Storm

Our annual family vacation started with a hot summer morning. And became an insane summer storm!

StormWe crested the pass into the Carson Valley to see these clouds massive over the sky. I must say that I have not seen green skies before. And these were really green. We pulled over on a lookout spot to watch lightning fork and flash across the sky. We tried catching a lightning strike on camera. They are shy, quick, and always out of the frame :)

We drove down the hill. The storm arrived in the last stretch of highway. Big plops of rain that drenched the windshield. Then hard cracks on the roof and windshield as hail joined the rain. And lightning speared with crashes of thunder. In the back seat, Ian quickly moved from wonderment to apprehension. We calculated the time to the store (one block) as an alert blared from our radio.

BLEEEEP BLEEEEP Emergency flash flood warnings…

We drove at a crawl to the store as water sloshed over the road. How well did we know this area? Could the whole road wash away? We were below the pass and the mountain range.

We made it to the parking lot and the rain and hail managed to intensify, becoming a crashing  pummeling thunder on the car roof. Ian became increasingly upset. I glimpsed muddy water washing into the parking lot. I reassured Ian and myself as we stayed in the car to ride out the storm.

Want to feel small? Want to feel how mighty the sky can be? Sit in a Prius as a red-cell storm (on the radar) passes directly overhead. Whew!

So we waited it out and drove past washouts and rock slides to our hotel. Where the power had gone out! No power meant no keys. And no elevators. So we had to wait for security to let people into rooms one by one. Rain kept falling as clouds broke into peeks of clear skies.

Security walked us up seven flights of stairs to our room. Where dark gathered. And, yes, it wasn’t the vacation that we had planned, but there was magic in the quiet. The kids played ipad games sparingly (didn’t want to waste the battery).

Around 8pm, the power returned! Yay! We appreciate all of the little things again. Like charge cables and elevators. I felt like Rapunzel for awhile stranded in my tower.

But morning arrived with power and (almost clear) skies. Vacation is on!

ipad anika

Time to go play :)

Children’s Festival 2014

Our favorite event of the year! The Children’s Festival is here!

We became a unicorn, a fairy-kitty, and Superman (I was a pirate but we forgot a photo with me :)). We found new friends!

I will let the photos tell our story since we have a busy evening. Enjoy!

Thank you so much to all of the volunteers who make this magical day possible. Such a treat!


Off to save the Enchanted Forest! :)

Go, Blog, Go

How quickly days become weeks. And weeks become months. I’ve been busy. And distracted. And dealing with CMT flares.

I miss this space. I need a place to observe and record. To inspire myself. Maybe inspire others :)

So I’m back.

Rough edges, difficult days, sunshine and sparkles.


I get caught up in the meaningful posts. The stuff that matters. But my original plan was to create a living history. Showing life for my children when they are older. Sharing my journey with CMT. Being quietly present, not for the big moments, but the little things. They pass quickly.


And they are the moments that I want to remember.

So I commit. Again. To showing up :)


Life happens fast.

Time to slow down and notice. :)

I hope you get to hear (and see) more from me in the next days and weeks and months :)

DANK Opening Reception

Last Friday we joined talented artists in Nevada County to celebrate DANK. The opening reception featured good people, good art, and good fun!

I love challenging my kids with the question, “What is art?”

My kids have ideas about paintings and drawings. Framed portraits. Wide landscape photos. But this?

“Water the Children”

A boat with a sprinkler? Where they become a part of the installation? This inspired them.

I observed that the viewers became part of the art when they interacted with it. So my children stepped up to perform.

Dancing in the Rain

Art is fun :)

We found beautiful art inside, too! I enjoy how this photo caught the talented Shelia in the background and in the mirror :)

Collection by Sheila Cameron. Can I seriously bring all of these blue beauties home? I love, love, love these colors. I am in the deep sea :)

We all adored this collection. These treasures were found by a dog named Tyler Foote. The collection is called Tyler Foote Finds: A Compendium of my Ignorance. Again, we pondered about dogs and art. And admired the collection with each find labeled. So cool!

And knitted sculpture hanging from manzanita branches. Another fun way to observe, question, and admire.

I didn’t get to catch all of the fun. I missed the bathtub adventures (yes, a real bathtub in the parking lot) and some other lovely installations. Which means you need to go visit for yourself. I can’t promise that the water art will be active. Check the Facebook page for updates.

Yay art!

The DANK Inaugural Showcases Nevada County Contemporary Art
Artists’ Reception:Friday, August 1
5 – 9 p.m.
300 Spring Street 
Nevada City, CA 95959
For gallery hours please visit

Reflector First Photographs

Who needs a reflector?

Me, apparently!

This week I bought a 5-in-1 reflector because I have a wedding shoot tomorrow (exciting!). Of course I needed to play with it before the big day.

I thought reflectors were fancy. I had no idea how they could create dramatic effects.

All of these image were taken with the reflector propped against my leg using the white or gold side. The kids were mildly tolerant of my efforts.

Ian was geared up for an epic battle. He was a robber and bandit and protector all in one. I wouldn’t want to meet him in the woods!

I broke my 50mm lens last week (another story) so all of these were with my 85mm. They built a new fort behind the shed. It’s guarded by a horse.

Ian really wanted to photobomb Mila. It’s hard to be sneaky when you have a backpack and laser gun and a tiger-flashlight.

Anika let me try the diffuser with her. Oh my goodness, I am in love :)

These were in sunlight with shade behind. She was holding the diffuser over her head.

I cannot wait to play more with my new toy :). I always wondered why photographers carried or set up that bulky white screen. Now I know. The fun begins :)

I hope you get to play and discover today :)

FYI- in case you are interested, I got theProMaster SystemPro Reflectadisc Kit 32-inch 5-in-1 Litedisc Set. It sounds complicated, but it’s very simple. So far, very sturdy too :)

PS- this is an affiliate link. Should you decide to purchase, a small amount returns to Lenkaland. Your price remains the same. Win-win and thank you!!

Welcome Summer

FlowersThe trees shusshh with a light breeze, the sunshine pours in through open windows, and the kids chatter aimless stories in another room. Hurrah for summer!

May disappeared in a pouf of crazy-busy. We started with Anika’s birthday and ended with Peter Pan (which I direct with kindergarten/first grade actors). This years production featured Ian as Tick Tock, my niece as Tinkerbell, and Anika as Queen of the Fairies (an onstage helper).

I also finished the school’s Tech Plan. 70 pages!

Summer is so welcome here.

Although the chitter-chatter has become, “Ian, stop! Ian, stop!” from the other room… Hmmm. Guess I should intervene.

Okay. Crisis averted.

After the mayhem of May, I decided that I really want to scale back. Be mom. Write stories. Make fairies. Paint. Photograph. Be here. Now.

It’s a tall order for me. I thrive in Mayhem. The mayhem is a distraction of the best kind. I only feel symptoms when I slow down. Of course, I make it all worse by amping up, but the escape seems worth the fallout.

Except it won’t last. Like the seemingly peaceful chatter from the other room, it can change to sharp edges quickly.

I have to slow down and find the deeper escape. One that comes with calm, not frenzy. Oh, it’s such a challenge for me but also so good when I can be rested and healthy.

The escape of mayhem is an illusion. Because landing after mayhem hurts. Moments rush into days which rush into months which rush and rush and rush.

Which is why I want to slow down this summer. Notice and write and share images of our lives.

Summer is good to me.

WaterDiving in :)

Pegdoll Swap at We Bloom Here

What a treat for spring! We Bloom Here (one of my favorites) is hosting a Peg Doll Swap! Inspire yourself with sweet peg dolls, and sign up to share. I am super-excited to see what everyone creates. I love little pegdolls. I call them gnomes. They can be seasonal, like these summer gnomes. Directions for these seasonal gnomes first appeared in Bamboo Family Magazine.

Summer GnomesSummer Gnomes by Lenka

Or to celebrate events. The bride and groom were gifts for my friend’s wedding. They appeared at the top of her wedding cake.

GnomesFFC2014-3Bride and Groom by Lenka

This was also an itty bitty gnome for my cousin’s wedding. For them, I made the entire family using bendy fairies. They also got to be atop the wedding cake :)

GnomesFFC2014-2Baby Gnome by Lenka

See more images of his family here.

Margaret has wonderful ideas for the swap. Her inspiration is Matryoshka style peg dolls. She is open to many ideas. Want more inspiration? Check out the collection she features here and here.

A few of my favorites…

Toadstool Tots by MamaWestWind

gnomecoupleGnome Couple by Beetle and Fern

dandelionsWish Gnomes by We Bloom Here

springSpring Dolls by This Cosy Life

 I have my own inspiration board on Pinterest with all the peg and fairy dolls that I love all over the web. So much talent! So many cute creations.

Follow Lenka Vodicka-Paredes’s board In the Magic Forest on Pinterest.

I hope you can join the swap! The deadline is May 5, 2014, so hop on over to We Bloom Here to participate! Let’s create :)

If you want serious inspiration (and directions!) for lovely peg dolls, check out Margaret Bloom’s book, Making Peg Dolls.

*please note: these are affiliate links. Should you decide to purchase, a small amount returns to the Forest. Your price remains the same. Win-win :)  Thank you!

I look forward to seeing what we share with one another! The little wooden pieces are available at A Child’s Dream Come True (not an affiliate) and most local craft stores. Margaret says that other styles of little people are welcome too. Going to be fun!

Wishing you a delightful day!

PS- Forest Fairy Crafts does have a free Knitted Bunny Gnome pattern if you would like to give that a try :)

*originally posted at Forest Fairy Crafts

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