Silver Star Mountain

We went for a restorative hike a few weekend ago at Silver Star Mountain in Washington. I felt like a walk though alpine meadows up above everything was just what I needed. It was misty and moody, and all the wildflowers were out, it was wonderful! Although part of the draw of that hike is the amazing views from the top of the nearby major mountains, which of course we couldn't see though the clouds, so we'll have to go back on a clear day.



New Downloadable Note Cards

I made a few more downloadable note cards for all kinds of occasions and now they are in my Etsy shop.


Freshly Painted Studio

Studio 1

Studio 2

We finally had the time and energy to paint my studio! When we moved in and the past few months it was a dark blue, which wasn't bad at all & was fine to live with for a bit, but having rented for years my dream is to have all light colored walls! Actually most of the house is already painted a lovely light warm grey, and there were a few buckets left in the cellar, just enough to paint my studio. We also painted the door and all the trim around the windows etc fresh white. Now it feels so much more open and cheerful!

This is only step one in making the studio of my dreams, which is why it looks so bare I suppose, the arrangement is workable but temporary. Next on the agenda:
- A new desk. I've been drawing at that drop leaf table for years, and it works fine but it's less than ideal. Because it has a curved edge and a seam in the middle the actual working area is tiny.
- I'm not crazy about that big shelf unit. It's very useful, but I'm not sure it's really the most convenient way to store the things I need. I'd like to figure out a better system, but I have to think on what that might be for a while.
- I'd like to get some plants and a comfortable chair to put in the corner for times when I don't need to be at my desk.

Long term I want to strip the wallpaper (yep that's wallpaper under that paint) and to strip and refurbish the windows (something we want to do to the whole house) but that's a big job so it'll be a few years down the road. In the mean time I love my studio and I'm just so happy and lucky to have a room to work in that isn't also my bedroom/living room/dining room/kitchen as well!




Little Foodies

If you follow my Instagram then you may have seen the sketches of these back in December. I had the idea of making an alphabet of fancy foods, or really just some of my favorite foods. It's languished somewhat because I couldn't decide how I wanted to paint the sketches. I'm pretty happy with these, but they're still not quite right...maybe if I did it with more limited color? One or two? I don't know! Anyway, I wanted to share them as they are now and maybe I will either finish the alphabet, or start again in a new style. Process!

The sketches


June Reading

Not a great reading month, I didn't really enjoy most of the books! I did enjoy and would recommend reading South Riding, but it was just so sad! No necessarily a bad thing but I just wasn't in the mood. My favorite from this month was an audiobook, First Bite, I thought it was fascinating, thoughtful, and refreshingly no-nonsense. I Await the Devil's Coming Was interesting because of the time and place it was written (by an 18 year old in Montana in 1901), it was sometimes funny and sometimes alarming, but I can't say it was fun to read (especially since I'd just read about the rest of the authors sad life in the books forward). I liked it but I doubt it would be for everyone.

What I read in June:

South Riding by Winifred Holtby
Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh
• From The Short Novels of John Steinbeck by John Steinbeck I read: The Pearl, The Red Pony, & The Moon is Down. I'd already read the others.

The Seance by John Harwood
Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1) by Jacqueline Winspear
I Await the Devil's Coming by Mary MacLane

Audiobooks I listened to in June:
• First Bite: How We Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson

Movies & TV Watched in May:

• Pretty Little Liars Season 6
• Jessica Jones (the first half of) Season 1
• Plus some Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

How about you, did you read or watch or listen to anything good in June?


Forest Wedding Invitations


I had the pleasure of illustrating and lettering this set of wedding invitations for a couple in Australia last year. They wanted a forest theme since their wedding was going to take place in a pine grove, and they wanted to be surrounded by animals, including their two cats. I love the personal touches people ask me to put in their invitations! The set included the invite, rsvp, a map, and a thank you note card.



I also designed a few patterns for the backs of the map etc.

(Photo courtesy of the bride)


Marriage Document

wedding document

Some friends of ours got married in June, and some mutual friends of ours asked me to create a beautiful document for them and all the witnesses at the ceremony to sign (aka all the 80+ guests). I thought it was a lovely idea and together we settled on a fairly simple design incorporating an important phrase of their vows and calendula flowers, the main flower at the ceremony.

I did manage to get one non-blury snap a the party after the bride and groom, and a bunch of guests had signed.

wedding snaps

Craving Something Sweet


I was craving some kind of baked good like crazy the other day, sometimes at 4pm nothing but buttery cabs will wake me up. I happened to have all the makings of oatmeal cookies, which aren't usually a favorite but I wasn't about to turn my nose up at either. This is a pretty standard recipe, but I made it "healthy" and "interesting" by using WW flour and dried apricots.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour, baking soda and powder, salt and spices.
Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla.
Mix in flour mixture until well incorporated, then add oats and apricots.
Drop tablespoon fulls onto parchment lined baking sheet, flatten slightly.
Bake about 10 min. Let cook on the baking sheet for a min before transferring to cool on a wire rack.
Eat several right away, you've earned it!



Bird Friend

bird friend
Quick little drawing.

I've been exploring a more simple way to draw faces for a few months now and I have to say it's improved my working like a lot. It's so freeing! I also think it makes my illustration work look way more cheerful, and it's easier to get different expressions with this more simple style. I fought it for a while, I feel like there is this weird unspoken pressure to not change and evolve your style, to stay "on brand" and consistent. But that is just not me! I am always changing, and hopefully improving, and my drawing is too!


Bits and Pieces of June


June was a good month. it was an especially good month for making stuff & feeling empowered because of it. Most of the empowerment came from realizing that I can mend my own jeans and now I'm safe from having to buy new ones for a while! This feeling of self-sufficiency led to my first experiments in fermenting vegetables...

I've always been deeply apprehensive about fermenting, but something switched in my brain this month (possibly from being in daily contact with sourdough starter?) and I felt like I totally could do it! I love kimchi but it's pretty expensive to buy and easy cheap to make. The more I read the more I realized there's not much chance of poisoning myself either. Also, it's not an all day process at all and pretty forgiving as far as ingredients. I used a mixture of this recipe and this one and it took an afternoon of mostly waiting while cabbage salted.

This is my second jar, the first is eaten! I'm going to let this one ferment a few weeks in the fridge though.
Now I'm ready to ferment everything: sauerkraut, gingerbeer, and mead are high on my list. I'm also thinking about pickling? We'll see.

I've still been making bread like crazy. I've got the technique to where it doesn't feel like the main event of the day and I don't have to keep looking at the steps in the book. I feel like I can add more variation now and work on getting a really good loaf. I'd say mine "will do", but they still end up with too tough and done a trust on the bottom & not enough rise in the bake, so I want to work on that.

I made a earl grey & apricot cake last week. I over baked it a bit. Oh well it still tasted alright, even better dipped into a beautiful tea mixed by my friend the tea maker.

I'm finally able to pick flowers from my garden and fill every spare jar and the few small vases I have!


Personalized Invitations & Snnouncements

I had the pleasure of working on a few personalized invite/announcement projects in the last few months.

Moving Announcement
I absolutely love how this moving announcement turned out

Cello Invite
I loved this idea that a client came to me with for invitations she could use over and over for her daughters many cello recitals, she just has to fill them in with the specific info.

I'm happy to wok on more like this, just get in touch!


May Reading

I guess it doesn't look like I read very much in May, but actually the month was "bookended" by two long & dense, but wonderful books, one of which I ended up finishing in June. I adored Middlemarch, which surprised me because I've only tried to read one George Eliot book in the past and didn't care for it at all. I'm glad because 19th c. novels by women makes up 90% of what I &there aren't that many. I tried to read Daniel Deronda for book club and it was just a drag, I wasn't in the mood I really think you just can't be rushed with 19th century novels. I'd like to go back and read that again, and then work my way through the rest of her books, slowly.
The Ali Smith book was too Ali Smith & just not great. I'm definitely noticing that her best work is the most recent and the quality goes down the farther back I read, which makes sense.
I thought the The 100 Year-Old Man &ct would be a lark to read on the plane while visiting my family, but it was painfully tedious and annoying.
The Ruch Ozeki book though! I loved it, it reminded me of a Murakami book.

Middlemarch by George Eliot
The First Person: and Other Stories by Ali Smith
The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Movies & TV Watched in May:

•More Friends Season 3
•Lady Dynamite: Season 1
•Grace & Frankie Season 2
•Chef's Table: Season 2
•Plus some Poirot


More Work For Others: Hand Lettering

Art Star Weekend Poster

A recent poster I did for Art Star Philly. It was nice to work on some cool lettering which I hadn't done in a while.


A Few Things I'm Into Right Now

Nice things from May

Dandy Blend
This is so tasty! I like to have it in the afternoon when I'm craving something creamy but don't want caffeine. I can't really drink coffee anymore (the acidity) and I don't think this is really a replacement taste-wise, but it tastes delicious and scratches the same itch. Plus dandelion is supposed to be good for your liver and digestion and it's a pretty good source of iron and other vitamins and minerals. Those are only nice extras though, not the main reason I drink it.

Specifically this rosewater, which I avoided for a long time because I got it into my head that it only used rose oil & wasn't a hydrosol and therefor not as good. I actually checked it out recently and it does use rose oil, but it also has rose hydrosol and it's way less expensive and easier to find than any other rosewater! It smells nice, I love spraying it on my face after I wash it.

Pinon Incense
The smell of this is like a warm comforting campfire. I got this box at my new favorite store in town Palace.


Work for Others: Branding

I wanted to share a few logos I've worked on in the last year (a few of these are from 2015 but I don't think I've shared yet).

Secret Crystal logo

secret crystal process

LTP Logo

On A Breese Logo

Rambling Rose logos

I love working on logos! Get in touch if you'd like the look of these and would like to discuss having me design a logo for your business.