Sisters Jennifer (left) and Jill Nelson have painted and distributed about 75 rocks so far throughout Edmonds as part of their “Edmonds Rocks” group which aims to bring a little joy into the lives of people who stumble upon their creations. “The kids get so excited when they find something they like,” Jennifer Nelson said. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Sisters Jennifer (left) and Jill Nelson have painted and distributed about 75 rocks so far throughout Edmonds as part of their “Edmonds Rocks” group which aims to bring a little joy into the lives of people who stumble upon their creations. “The kids get so excited when they find something they like,” Jennifer Nelson said. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Edmonds sisters aim to spread joy by hiding decorated rocks

EDMONDS — Two sisters from Edmonds have been up to a little project this summer.

They’ve been painting rocks and hiding them around town and on the Washington coast. The underside of each rock has instructions for finders: Keep or re-hide, but either way, post a picture on the “Edmonds Rocks” Facebook page.

People have set up similar pages in recent months for towns around Western Washington, including several in Snohomish County.

Jennifer and Jill Nelson, 50 and 45, grew up in Edmonds. Jill Nelson and their folks still live there, while Jennifer Nelson is a school librarian in Pierce County.

Jennifer Nelson was camping in June at Bay View State Park in Skagit County when she found a painted rock. She followed the instructions when she got home, which led her to the Whidbey Island page. It reminded her of the pet rock craze from the 1970s.

“They had tons of photos of these people finding the rocks,” she said. “What a fun thing this is for summer.”

Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Nelson sisters and some family members had a painting party. They starting placing the rocks at parks, beaches and trails, often during walks that start and end at their parents’ Edmonds home.

Earlier this week, they were working on a fresh batch of rocks. Jill Nelson painted an antique red truck, complete with her black Labrador “Buddy” riding in the back. Jennifer Nelson finished up an orca and a sea otter. Beach scenes just make sense for Edmonds, she said.

Eventually, they’d like to host a barbecue for everyone from the Facebook page.

Finding a rock should be a “day brightener,” Jill Nelson said.

“It’s something you might stumble across in downtown Edmonds,” she said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

Rock groups

There are painted rocks groups around Western Washington. Facebook pages for local areas include “Snohomish County Rocks,” “Arlington Rocks,” “Brier Rocks,” “Granite Falls Rocks,” “Lake Stevens Rocks,” “Stanwood Rocks,” and “Whidbey Island Rocks.”

Organizers request that you don’t hide or re-hide rocks on private property or at businesses without permission. Sno-Isle Libraries ask that people check in first with staff before placing rocks inside library branches. Rocks also should not be left in national parks or on state ferries.

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