Monday, February 27, 2012

Masters: Walton Ford

I find it surprising that most people are still shocked when they find out that the world's most famous naturalist, John James Audobon, killed the wildlife he painted. Many people now villainize him for it, I think that vilanization shows a fascinating difference in the way we think about nature now and the way they thought about it a hundred years ago. We've become a destructive force, we're taught that our actions and our cavalier wastefulness has a direct effect on the delicate balance of nature, which is completely true. But during Audobon's time, nature was still considered the dangerous force. Nature was not seen as delicate, it was savage, something to be conquered, civilized, and then brought into the parlor as a trophy.

Walton Ford's work uses the imagery of naturalists and incorporates allegory, myth, and our contemporary view of nature.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Newest additions

This one was the first brave soul out of the nesting box

One of and possibly the only good thing about being stuck sick in the house all week has been being able to watch as these little guys finally left the nest. When I was growing up I had a finch that lived forever, way past the life expectancy for finches. My mom had been saying that she missed having a little birds in the house, so I got her three for her birthday back in October. Well three turned into four and four turned into seven a few weeks ago when three eggs hatched. I didn't want to mention the hatchlings until their survival seemed guaranteed. The first couple of weeks of a zebra finch hatchling's life are very delicate. They're often rejected by their parents and thrown out of the nest. Some people try to hand feed them, but they are sooo tiny when they're first born it's easy to feed them too much and they can aspirate on the food. But these little boogers were very well cared for by both parents, but mostly by their father. The male bird did most of the feeding after they hatched and did at least half of the egg sitting before they hatched. Now they have their own little flock.

Right now the hatchlings are all grey, but eventually their beaks will turn orange. The males will get bright orange feathers on their cheeks, stripes on their chests, and spots under their wings while the females will remain mostly grey except for their beaks.

When they were first born they were the ugliest little alien creatures, greyish-pink and completely featherless with eyes that bulged out of their heads. Now they're kind of cute, but still really clumsy. They keep falling off perches and flying into each other. All part of the learning process I guess.

Once they're a little bigger I think the nest box will come out. Seven is definitely enough for now.

These two are still not so sure about the whole thing.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A peek into one of the areas in my home where I get some work done. In addition to bill paying and application organizing, my desk is where most of the blog posting, photo editing, and sketching happens.   I made sure to make it pretty before I took the picture, it's not usually this organized. 

The top photo is a shot of the wall next to my desk. I guess it's my "inspiration board" but I kind of hate that phrase so let's call it the wall of stuff I like to look at. The work above the desk is my own. I like to have it around to keep me focused on whatever project I'm currently working on and so I can over analyze it obsessively and figure out what to improve on for my next piece. And yes, those are two doll heads on that pile of books, they are my creepy desk companions.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wish I were here

::Lovely Creature:: 
for Test Magazine winter 2010
photography : Harley Weir
styling: Raphael Hirsch
model: Henrietta Helberg

I'm living vicariously through this photo shoot right now because I haven't been out of the house in 5 days. I can't seem to shake whatever it is I caught. I guess for now I'll just have to imagine I'm galavanting around the lovely country side.  

images via

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


And here it is. The only decent shot I got on what was supposed to be a quick day trip to the coast and turned into a 24 hour debacle. I guess the story starts with the fact that February has been a rough month for me. February always seems to be rough, actually. I don't if it's because everybodies cranky from having to wear 12 layers of clothes between thier skin and the sun for several months or what, but I dread February every year. This February I've been struggling with overwhemling feelings and fears of failure as well as financial and employment problems. Usually a trip to the mountains or the coast helps put things in perspective for me, a mini vacation from my own over active brain. But this trip was not destined to be the pick me up I needed.

I woke up feeling a little less than fresh and my mom asked if I wanted to cancel for another day. But, despite feeling a little under the weather, I decided that the mental health benefits would outweigh the slight physical discomforts. We packed my camera, some snacks, and of course cell phones and wallets. I decided to wear my wool coat instead of my water proof coat because it's warmer and at the last second threw some gloves and a hat into my backpack just in case.

Once on the road, it rained the whole two and a half hours it took up to get there. It's February in the Pacific Northwest so of course it was raining, but this wasn't typical misty Northwest rain. It poured, there was intermittent hail, and the wind was so strong it yanked the wheel away from my mom a couple times, causing the car to swerve. But we were hopeful and determined and we made it all the way out to our destination. Originally we had planned on walking a two mile trail along some dunes from an observation tower to a light house. We got out of the car and ran up the observation tower, which was open on the sides but covered on top. It was so windy the rain was coming down sideways and whipping through the tower. The wind was so strong that it was making the metal grating hum and vibrate. Needless to say I snapped a couple pictures and ran back to the car, but not before getting absolutly soaked. I was beginning to regret wearing the wool coat and not the waterproof one.

And this is where our quick trip to the caost turned into one of the most frustrating 24 hours of my life.
Once we got back to the car it wouldn't start. Annoying right? But it happens to all of us at some point. My mom called roadside assistance and they told her someone would be there in an hour. We ran out in the rain to the little town we drove through to get there because we had been in a car for two and a half hours after all and I was feeling under the weather and therefore trying to stay hydrated and you get the point. Almost everything was closed except for one little knick knack/ quilt shop, which made my mom happy. She bought some fabric and we used the facilities and headed back to the car thinking we just had to wait a little while longer. That was at three o'clock. Fast forward through increasingly hostile phone calls over the course of three and a half hours and the tow truck driver finally showed up.

The next two hours were spent in the freezing cold cab of the tow truck as it went 35 mph down the highway. Next thing we knew the tow truck driver was telling us the truck wasn't going to make it up the hill outside Olympia so they had to put our car on a new truck while we stood in the pouring rain. They switched trucks at some country store with two gas pumps and an outhouse in the parking lot in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception, and they were going to leave us there. Needless to say that was not an acceptable plan so the first tow truck driver told us he would drive us into town while the other one drove our car to the dealership, with the promise that their boss "knew some places to get a rental" and he would call once he found something. Well, "into town" meant a 7-11 off the highway where the driver promptly and unceremoniously abandoned us with no way to get anywhere and no idea where we were. And you've probably already guessed that the boss never managed to call us back once his drivers where rid of us. All I can say is thank the lord for smart phones. I don't know what we would have done without my mom's blackberry.

We ended up finding a hotel for the night and walking through the pouring, freezing rain again to the car dealership in the morning to find out that they don't service cars on the weekend. That there wouldn't be anybody to work on the car until Tuesday because of the holiday weekend. I'm proud of both my mom and myself because at this point one of us should have just started screaming, throwing things and smashing windows while the other curled up in the fetal position on the floor and started sobbing. But we held it together and managed to get a rental car and eventually we finally made it home after 24 hours.

Now, if you remember back to the beginning of this story I said I woke up feeling under the weather. Spending three and a half hours soaking wet in a car with no heat, then two more hours in a tow truck cab with no heat, then walking through the pouring rain for a mile the next day did not make me feel any better. Since the weekend I've been laid out with a really bad chest cold and a cough that sounds like my lungs are coming loose, and I, like many people in America, can't afford health insurance. On top of everything, having to fork out money for a hotel room and a rental car, my mom found out yesterday it's going to cost $1,000 to fix the car and that's money we just don't have. I just want to cry for days. I don't know what to do. Sorry to be so depressing, but I needed to let it out somewhere and hopefully once I've written it all down and gotten it out of my head I can get on with trying to figure out what to do next. One thing I am very thankful for is that even though it is a very stressful time, nobody was physically hurt or in danger, and I have a very good friend who was willing to go to my house and feed my poor dog after I called her at 10:00 pm.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I finished this book a few weeks ago and I wanted to write something about it here, but I'm finding it strangely difficult to write anything coherent expressing how I feel about it. I had a very emotional response to it, to put it in the simplest terms. There is a whimsy in Karen Russell's writing that is deceptive. There is a darkness in her writing that is surprising. Both of which make her the perfect voice for a 13 year old girl. I started to write a long post about the emotional respose I had to it and it turned into a rambling post about how weird and difficult it was for me to grow up in a small town in Florida (where the book takes place). I figured people probably don't want to read my memiors in blog form so I ended up deleting the whole thing. Every page of Swamplandia! brought up memories, and not just "remember when..." memories, the kind of visceral memories you form without knowing when you're a kid, the kind of memories you feel. It was a good read, but a difficult good.

Monday, February 13, 2012

In Progress

Clearing out the yarn stash

Saturday, February 11, 2012

From my sketchbook

See more from my sketchbook here

Thursday, February 9, 2012


scarf: made by my mom
skirt: made by me
belt: H&M
boots: Target

Oh hi, it's been a while since I've posted an outfit. So here I am channeling a woodsy urchin or something. The one productive thing I managed to get done a couple weeks ago when everyone was snowed in was this skirt. It's made from heavy flannel and wool. I made it specifically for the winter days when I'm tired of my jeans, which is pretty much what I live in alllll winter. My mom made the gorgeous scarf a couple of years ago and is reserved for fancy outdoor occasions and ridiculously cold days when I need four layers of wool around my upper body.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I snapped these out the car window the other day (don't worry, I wasn't the driver). How can you not love living in a place where you get to see this while you drive down the highway?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


::The Tenant Farmer by Andrew Wyeth :: House by the Railroad by Edward Hopper::

Lately I'm inspired by barren landscapes and ominous houses. Maybe it's the winter getting to me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Of Two Minds

This was taken in the cabin from here. Originally I had much darker intentions for this photo, but the photo itself would have none of it, so here we are.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Jason Wu for Target

::Jason Wu for Target::

It is my shameful secret that I am hopelessly addicted to Target. I know, I know big box stores are evil for a whole list of reasons, but it's so convenient and affordable. Damn the system. Their line of designer collections is just mean. How can a poor (in the monetary sense) girl resist a limited run of something she would never be able to afford otherwise? It is evil corporate genius. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mid-Week Masters: Antony Gormley

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Antony Gormley is a long time favorite of mine. Gormley has an incredible ability to draw attention to spaces with his work. His work doesn't just occupy a space, it interacts with it, it make you take notice of the environment his work sits in, and conversely, makes you notice how your own body interacts with the space through his work. I saw Blind Light in a gallery in New York a few years ago and, for me, walking in that space was a truly terrifying experience. I don't think my reaction was the intended reaction, but walking around a bright, opaque box, only able to see about six inches in front of my face, with strangers made me more than a little panicky. Even though my reaction was unpleasant I still think this piece is brilliant because it is so simple, just a fog machine and a glass box, yet it elicited such a visceral response.  

All images via Antony Gormley's website. Please follow the links for individual photo credits.