Wednesday, December 31, 2008

tabula rasa... { and a giveaway }

First of all, please overlook the fact that this photo is out of focus. My perfectionism has taken a holiday! ;)

In honor of the NEW YEAR, I'm trying to clear out my Etsy shop! I've reduced the prices for the four remaining items. It's time to start fresh! Tabula rasa. Clean slate. I've been working on some new illustrations but they are all in various stages of incompleteness (the story of my life).

I'm also holding my very first GIVEAWAY! If you would like to own the illustration pictured above, leave a comment for this post and make sure I can contact you (through your blog or e-mail). I will choose a winner at 11 p.m. on Saturday, January 10th by using a random number generator. The illustration shown is an original and is mounted onto metallic silver paper and lovingly housed in a 5x7 black frame.

Thanks to everyone for being a part of my online life. Thank goodness for the blogosphere!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

can't stop thinking about...

I can't stop thinking about this web video: The Story of Stuff

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

warmest wishes

Happy Holidays to everyone I know and also to everyone in blog-land. Warmest wishes, today and always.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I am the diamond glints on snow

We continue to get snowed upon and are completely buried in it. But that's not what this post is about.

I had a weird moment last night: I took both dogs outside at 1 a.m. so they could do their business and while standing in the the yard I saw a red streak of light, directly above me in the sky. It was a totally blinding flash that lasted only a split second and it completely freaked me out.

I'm the type that needs a scientific explanation for everything. After doing a bit of research today on the web, I now have to assume that what I witnessed was part of the Ursid Meteor Shower, which is actually supposed to peak tonight. I'm not totally sure if that's the explanation. I suppose I should stand outside tonight* and look for the same crazy effect.

Curiously, though, the streak didn't seem to be high up in the stratosphere or mesosphere, it seemed to be a couple hundred feet above the house. What the heck? Of course the flash was probably amplified by the blanket of pure white that our neighborhood has become. I'm sure the snow helped to refract some of the light, making it seem brighter and closer than it would have been sans-snow (???).

The title of this post was taken from a poem written by Mary Elizabeth Frye
*update: I wasn't able to stand outside that night. I was lost in deep, deep, lovely sleep.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

thanks for the cookies!

Sometimes the best gifts are the kind that are destined to end up in my stomach. J's mom has a true talent for baking and we're always so happy when she sends us cookies for Christmas.

deep freeze

Today marks this year's winter solstice. We're buried in snow and ice and boy-howdy it is CHILLY! It all reminds me of my Montana years.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

weekend scribble {three}

my current crush {three}

If I ever make it to New York City, the first place I will seek out is a boutique called Roberta Roller Rabbit so I can buy one of Roberta Freymann's amazing quilts. Oh, someday... *sigh*

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

laundry day

One bright spot amidst the endless succession of domestic TO DO lists is when I get to fold my freshly laundered tea towels.

Tea towels are yet another material obsession for me – for some reason I get a weird bit of satisfaction out of folding them up and stacking them into a tall pile (especially when they're all warm and fresh from the dryer). Yep, I'm a laundry nerd.

I bought my very first tea towel ages before I had a kitchen of my own. I bought it as a gift for someone else but I decided I should keep it for myself. It moved with me from dorm room, to apartment and so on and so forth. I still have it and will probably continue to use it until it falls apart.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

blog nation

Hi y'all. I was tagged the other day by Marchi Made It and I'm playing along but in my own abbreviated way (sorry, I like to break the rules)! First and foremost, saunter on over to Marchi's blog and check out her work and her words (and make sure you check out her serene industrial photographs – they are especially nice).

The normal tagging rules require that I reveal 6 random things about myself but since I was tagged once before, I think I've already exhausted the short list of random things about me.

SO, I'm going to list FOUR things that I love about blogging:

1. You meet truly lovely people through blogging – people you would not have met otherwise.

2. Meeting people through blogging reminds me of having pen-pals – remember doing that in grade school? The whole pen-pal thing never seemed to last, but "blog-pals" don't disappear after a few weeks.

3. Blogging is my new therapy – I get better results AND I don't have to pay for it. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

4. Reading other blogs is a good way to realize that there are things in the world that I didn't know I wanted or needed, but OBVIOUSLY I needed a pair of rainboots (in black) and it took reading about them in a blog to find that out. Whew, did that make any sense?

The normal tagging rules also require that I tag 6 other bloggers but the last time I tried that I was ignored by everyone I tagged and I just can't handle that type of rejection again. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

lonely little garlic clove

We thoroughly enjoyed our turkey-day feast last week... so much so that we made a second batch of garlic mashed potatoes and cornbread stuffing on Saturday. I refuse to feel guilty about being so gluttonous. It was lovely!

We used a lot of garlic over the past five days (and I'm sure my co-workers appreciate my spicy aroma. hmmm, sorry!). I had to giggle a little when one of the garlic cloves turned out to be itty-bitty; perfect for a lilliputian.

Anyway, this tiny clove reminded me of a cute Thai saying but I can never remember the exact phrasing. The saying is about being alone without your family: when you are by yourself, you're a lonely little garlic clove that has been separated from the head of garlic. I know I don't have it quite right, but I've already pestered Phil too much about silly Thai translations, so I won't bug him again about this phrase (maybe later).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

my current crush {two}

My current crush: Vertical Ray of the Sun. It's a film. Watch it. It's beautiful.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

life-coach in a cup

I have a tea addiction and my favorite varieties are crafted by Yogi Tea. Every single tea bag has a little snippet of wisdom printed on the tag and the one that made an impression on me today was: Love what is ahead by loving what has come before.

My interpretation of this can be summed up by that lovely old concept of 'No Regrets'. Or maybe, more accurately, my tea tag is telling me I should have reverence for my past. I have to be honest, though, I've never been able to decide if subscribing to the 'No Regrets' philosophy is strong and noble OR a complete and total cop-out.

I definitely regret some of my past choices. Right now I'm grappling with a few that greatly affected my career path (path? more like career ditch). I wish I had done a few things differently, which is to be expected.

I don't want to miss the point that my yogi (in tea-tag form) is trying to make; I may not like what has happened in my past but I will have to make peace with it in order to make room for the possibilities of the future. And that, my friends, is a challenging task.

P.S. the most creepy coincidence, as I was typing this blog post, a character in a movie on t.v. said, "It's not about what happened in the past, or what you think might happen in the future. It's about the ride... there is no point in going through all this crap, if you're not going to enjoy the ride."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

modern american poetry

As I sit here and watch Iron & Wine on Austin City Limits, I'm reminded of how much I adore Samuel Beam's music. I haven't listened to Iron & Wine in a while, which is a shame. Samuel Beam is a true poet...

"Mother remember the night that the dog had her pups in the pantry? Blood on the floor and the fleas on their paws and you cried 'til the morning..." ~ Upward Over The Mountain, Iron & Wine

Thursday, November 20, 2008

two minutes of sunshine

It sounds like Santa *might* be planning to bring me a new digital camera this year. Cross your fingers!

This afternoon, for two gorgeous minutes, the sun popped out from behind the massive rainclouds. On rainy days such as this, it's rare to get such bright natural light in my favorite photo-taking spot.

When the sun broke through, I knew it was the perfect time to take a photo. However, I didn't have anything to take a picture of at such 'short notice' so I had to go with the classic pure-white egg from my refrigerator (un oeuf). Reminds me of Art Class 101... the very beginning. Light and shadow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

identity crisis

As a designer, I find that the most difficult project of all is designing one's own logo. It seems to be much easier to design for other people. I personally can never decide on just one logo concept for myself – it's my perpetual identity crisis.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

less than graceful

I don't know what is going on with me lately. I've come down with a sudden case of graceless-itis (a condition and word that I just invented; maybe it will catch on). I'm going through a phase in which I keep injuring myself, dropping things, spilling things, forgetting things, making stupid decisions... ugh.

Not to hash through a whole laundry list of my recent foolish moves, but some of my follies include slicing my finger open at work a week ago (oh, poor baby), almost losing my Husky (he's fine, I learned my lesson), and spilling a glass of red wine on my favorite green West Elm quilt. Those are merely a few examples... a bunch of other things happened but I won't dredge it all up. Such is life – but why? Why is it always something despite all effort to avoid injury, stress or mistakes?

So, now, out of all this frustrating crap emerges a totally banal little light at the end of the tunnel – I've fallen in love with a cleaning product. Miraculously, it took ALL of the red wine out of my quilt. I'm such a skeptic so I've never believed that 'oxy' products actually work, but they do! I used Woolite Oxy-Deep Stain Remover. It's meant to be used on carpet but it saved my quilt... so then I dug up all my clothes that have mystery-stains on them. Out, out damn spot(s)!

My finger is healing amazingly fast, so no big deal. My dog is safe at home (curled up with us on the couch). So, life is truly good but I hope to cure my graceless-itis. Soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

blue thursday

...can't even express how exhausted I am...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

weekend scribble {two}


See? Television CAN be educational. I had no idea (until today) that 'Mocha' is the name of a port in Yemen where coffee was traded for over two centuries – that's what I learned while watching T.V. today.

While 'mocha' is also the name of a type of coffee bean grown in Indonesia, I found it interesting that the word 'mocha' probably originates from that port city in Yemen. Yes, I'm a self-declared word-nerd so this sort of stuff intrigues me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

things left undone

I found this drawing while going through a box filled with my old illustration work. Gosh, I think I drew this over 5 years ago.

We moved into our house approximately two years ago and, sadly, I still need to unpack quite a few boxes that are in my office.

I should use the term 'office' loosely, because the particular room that should be my office is really just glorified storage at the moment. The boxes that are piled up in that room are full of beloved books, art supplies and a large collection of my old illustrations.

I have grand plans for my office space. The nasty carpet that was in the room when we bought the house has been removed but that is the only progress I have made. Maybe I will document the redecoration of my office on this blog... it might motivate me to actually get started.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

big nerd

It's possible that I might be THE BIGGEST nerd on the planet. My significant other gave me a bunch of binder clips the other day, in all my favorite colors, and I was positively giddy about them. It's safe to say that I was more excited about these binder clips than I would have been had he presented a bouquet of flowers – although flowers would have been nice, too. *wink wink*

I love office supplies! Especially supplies that just sit around and look pretty (and supplies that don't remind me of the actual work that I should be doing). Hey, so did you know that binder clips were invented in 1911? I had to look that up.

gee, thank you!

She's almost my own personal marketing and public relations machine: I'm talking about The Ordinary Housewife; not only did she choose my blog as one of her favorites, but she also bestowed me with this lovely Kreativ Blogger Award. However, this award comes with a caveat in that I now must pass it on to 6 blogs and I must then list 6 things that I love.

Before I throw my lists at ya, can anyone out there tell me who originally created this lovely Kreativ Blogger Award? I see it has made its way around to many creative folks out there in the blogosphere. Gosh, where did it come from, how did it get here, what's its purpose on Earth, what is the meaning of its life, what Great Being created it? Ya, I was trying to be funny there in case ya missed it. But really, who started it?

Bread & Honey
Little Brown Pen
Cannelle Et Vanille
La Porte Rouge
Shanks Art
Authors Asia

Sweet Thai Delight Yogi Tea
Home Decor Magazines
California Rolls
Flowers / Foliage
Silk Soy French Vanilla Creamer

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Words. I love words. In fact, I think I might be a word snob. I refuse to use abbreviations in my text messages, forum posts and blog posts. I still use proper punctuation, spell words out completely and always check my spelling. And, since I have never in my life actually spoken the phrase "laugh out loud" I find that I have no need to use that ever-so-popular abbreviation in my writing. Never. A little pedantic, I know, but someone has to preserve 'real language' before we all forget how to spell; before we humans start to communicate purely with abbreviations.

I don't know why I love words so much. I just do. I'm a verbivore. When I was in college, our college radio station broadcast word etymology snippets in a program called Chrysti the Wordsmith and I thought the program was brilliant. Word origins are totally fascinating. In fact, as soon as Chrysti published a book, I ran out and bought it (Verbivore's Feast: A Banquet of Word & Phrase Origins From Chrysti the Wordsmith).

Anyway, what's not to love about language and words and letters? This week, my favorite word is invective, a noun that means "highly critical or insulting language."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

sweater weather

...simply thinking of warmer and sunnier days because now the temperatures have dropped considerably.

Pretty soon the mittens, scarves and sweaters will be brought out of hiding. The leaves have turned and nighttime descends much earlier than I'd like.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

my current crush

Lately I've been on a big Mossy Green + Silvery Grey kick in my illustration work (pictured at left). That particular color combo just clicks for me. It has a lot to do with my current home decor crush, my current design obsession: a Bargello pillow designed by Jonathan Adler. I adore the pattern and the colors, but I could never EVER justify paying $110 for a 16x16 pillow so it simply must remain a crush... an unrequited love. I shall never own that lovely pillow. *sigh*

Through a total fluke I was able to get an amazing deal on a different pillow in his Bargello series when I was in Montana (it's the 'chevron' pattern). We walked into a random store on a very quick walk through downtown Bozeman, and ta-dah! There it was, ON SALE. I swooped it up and brought it home and now, every time I look at it, I grin because I just happen to be THAT materialistic (that's not completely true; I try to lead a simple life). It really does make me smile, though. Good design can cheer a person up and those Bargello patterns make my heart pitter-patter!

Friday, October 10, 2008

tag! i'm it.

I am so new to the world of blogging, that when I was 'tagged' the other day, I had NO IDEA what that meant. After looking into the matter... I finally figured it out. I was tagged by a fellow blogger: The Ordinary Housewife, so stop by her corner of the blogosphere and see what she's up to today! Um, since I've been tagged, I'm supposed to tell y'all seven things about myself:

One: I freakin' LOVE to type... and, yes, I've been told that it's strange that I love typing so much.

Two: When I was a child, a doctor told my mom that I was allergic to milk, so I had to eat cereal with orange juice on it instead of milk. I don't recommend it.

Three: I have extremely brittle fingernails. Ew.

Four: The first three cars I ever owned were blue and I actually really hate blue cars.

Five: My spine curves ever so slightly to the right. Ya, it's scoliosis.

Six: We don't own a functional oven, so we 'cook' with our counter-top toaster oven. A lot.

Seven: I really enjoy my privacy so I don't like to reveal much about myself.

OH MY, I've made myself sound like such a freak! A brittle-nailed, spine-curved victim of milk allergies who also loves to type but hates blue cars. Hilarious. Is it fair to tag people I already know? Well, I'm going to tag a few people I already know since I'm such a rule-breaker. And, can I just say, this was a lot of work! Whew. Time for nap.

The rules of Blog Tagging are:
1) Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4) Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

The Search For Nicole
Copacetic Zine
Esthetic / Aesthetic
Bread & Honey
Adventures of Minco

Thursday, October 9, 2008

i've got moxie

Some of you may recall that I was boasting a bit in a previous post about having my art featured at Moxie, a completely cool clothing shop in Portland. My one-month feature at the shop is over.

Only one of my pieces sold. My response was, "Yay, I sold a piece! Whoo-hoo! Oh, but bummer... I only sold one." Happy. Sad. Happy. Sad.

I am so thankful that Dee at Moxie gave me the opportunity to show my work; I'm endlessly grateful to have gained a bit of local exposure.

I've re-listed a few of the 'unsold' illustration pieces on My Etsy Page (at a nicely reduced price) but more importantly, I've been working on a whole new series of pieces that I plan to post on Etsy soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 3, 2008

one angry mama

My dogs are my children. It's probably emotionally unhealthy to be this attached to my animals but they really are important members of our family. A lot of people I know don't really understand why I treat dogs like family... they think I'm a bit off my rocker.

Our Chihuahua is a rescue. Before she was rescued, she spent the first three years of her life in a basement with 100+ other dogs and she is, rightly so, fearful of everyone and everything (except for me). I'm very protective of her.

Really, I'd protect my dogs the way other people would protect their human offspring. The point was driven home last night when my Chihuahua had a major seizure – actually I don't know if it can be called a 'major' one but it seemed pretty massive to me at the time. It was directly and yet indirectly caused by another person who shall remain nameless (a person that I barely know) and I have never in my life been this angry at another human being. Well, except maybe my former boss at 'a large Portland-based corporation' or the asshole that broke into our house 3 times in Thailand or the Construction Fuckheads that held our property hostage for a year while they built two of THE UGLIEST houses I've ever seen, smack dab behind our home. Hmmm, I see I've strayed off-course. Rage! Rage! :)

You see, it's a really odd feeling to be this upset about 'the seizure incident'... like maybe I'm overreacting just a bit. Pure rage is a foreign emotion for me. I'm still feeling really unsettled. Disquiet.

If I dig deep, I know I'm this upset because the last time I had to deal with a pet having a seizure, was the day that Jasmine, our 17-year-old akita mix, died. The morning that she passed away, I was home alone in bed, and was awakened because she was thrashing around on the floor having a massive seizure. I carried Jasmine to the car and then sped down the road toward the vet's office... and that was that... the end of her life. It was a really tough day and last night brought all the sadness back to the fore.

I'm continuously shocked about how much I still don't know about seizures in animals. I'm getting better at recognizing a seizure, but I'm amazed at how each episode is so extremely different, depending on the dog. I learned last night that a seizure can be the end result of an animal being SCARED out of its wits... a type of panic attack or cataplexy. It's just amazing what a physical body will do in response to extreme emotional input. So much to learn.

By the way, the person who caused all this chaos has a nice bite from my dog. So, hyper-girl, let that be a freakin' lesson to you: DO NOT TOUCH MY DOG. And, I think I have the right to be this mad.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

give me food

I'm still using my silly archaic camera but, hey, ya make the best of what you've got.

Just when I had given up on the neighbors (since apparently I think it's their duty to give us free food), one of them finally brought us some tomatoes yesterday. Plump, home-grown, happy tomatoes that aren't afraid to be asymmetrical or flawed. Awesome.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

do not lick the furniture

"Do NOT lick the furniture." I actually had to say that to a member of the household today. And, yes, it made me laugh.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

light and white

This afternoon, I was attempting to take close-up shots of cuttings from my 'Bells of Ireland' plants but most of the shots turned out poorly. When I took the plants away, I noticed how lovely the upside-down jar looked in the sunlight (it was being used as a platform for the cuttings). Ya gotta love happy accidents.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I could do this forever

I have a terrible memory, but I'm pretty sure it was my friend Risa that used to ask all of us what we would choose if we could only have one food item for the rest of eternity. I think my response was always pasta. These days I'm more likely to choose Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce or an ever-lovin' California Roll. If it wasn't Risa, then it was Jeremy or Nathan. I know for sure that it was Risa that clued me in on her 'Look-Level Theory'... the genius of which I might expound upon in a later post.

That being said, you may notice that it usually takes me a while to get to my point. If you're already tired of reading, you may want to skip to the end.

My point, dear reader, is this: if for some bizarre reason I was forced to choose one task to perform for all eternity, it would be Logo Design. I could do this forever. So why am I not designing full-time?

I'm smart enough to know that my purpose on this planet IS NOT to pick up 30 pounds of dog shit each week, but that's what I do. No loss of love for the dogs that produce the poo, dear ones, I just wonder what happened to my design career. Hmmm.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Chiaroscuro Artichoke

Both dogs are passed out on the couch (taking up the entire couch, I might add). I am completing a bit of design work while sitting on the floor. As I write about this scenario, I realize my priorities may be a bit off. Hey, as long as the dogs are happy...

On a totally different note, many of our neighbors used to stop by and bring us vegetables from their gardens and I've noticed that none of them have done so this year. I can think of two possible reasons for this: 1) we've finally mastered the art of total social alienation OR 2) our neighbors are as broke as we are and are saving every bit of food for themselves.

The artichoke in the photo was from one such neighbor (took the photo last summer). After using it for it's 'chiaroscuric' qualities, I tried to steam this poor artichoke. I totally botched it and couldn't eat it. I need to learn how to cook an artichoke!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

a few decades behind

...speaking of being behind the times, my digital camera is basically a rock with a battery in it. It might be time for a new, fancy-pants version. I'm always setting up little photo shoots in my kitchen. I call them Kitchen Window Pics... because we all know how natural light streaming through a window can make for kick-ass lighting.

I had hoped that this photo would be crazy-clear (even used my mini tripod) but the quality is just not as good as expected. So, I choose to blame the camera and not the pin-head operating it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I make art.

a few billion years behind

Seriously. I feel like I must be a few billion years behind the rest of the world in terms of this whole blogging thing. But, it's so typical... it always takes me a few years to catch up to the outside world.

The real point of this post is to announce that my art is now hanging up at MOXIE in Portland! Little old me... and my little bits of art. For the entire month of August, my art will be gracing the walls of a clothing shop that ROCKS. Check it out if you're in Portland: 2400 E Burnside (

I make cut-paper illustrations... one-of-a-kind, hand-cut originals. The bold and simple 'line-work' is created from paper cut with an x-acto knife. My cut-paper illustrations are usually for sale on Etsy ( but I've cleared out the Etsy shop for now.