My new book: The Art of Flora Forager!

My new book comes out on September 26th!

I’m letting people know about it early becuase pre-ordering is always a killer deal. It’s available on Amazon for $13.49! tinyurl.com/florasbook

The Art of Flora Forager has 108 images of my floral artworks encompassing animals, faces, fantasy, characters, fantasy, and my memories of places I love. It’s pretty much the end-all, best of, piece de resistance book for anyone who loves my Flora Forager Instagram account.

And it’s GORGEOUS. The team at Sasquatch did an incredible job of making a book that will become a beloved keepsake. It will look beautiful being unwrapped at Christmas, on a coffee table, or on a shelf. The title is metallic gold, it has the prettiest peach background, and my firebird was chosen for the cover because it was a favorite when Instagram posted it, receiving over 1 million likes.

I hope you love it!

(I also love that it’s pink and orange because that combo always makes me think of my cousin Deena <3 )

 

 

Yellow Rose

Yellow rose,
Eternal womb.

I planted her in your roots.
“Wrap her in your earthen arms, yellow rose.
Cradle her forever.”

But now you taunt me with your tiny buds,
year after year.

The pain creeps slowly,
Like the orange at the base of your petals.

And I try to ignore you at first.
There are other blossoms; bigger, more boisterous than you.
Heady aromas, frills and bright colors.
Children grown and strong and ready to be cherished.

You are delicate. Barely any thorns, hardly any fuss.
Easy to forget.

But as the garden fades into summer,
I pick out your familiar sugar-lemon scent.
And with it the memory returns.

Webbed fingers, blue eyes.
A still red heart sheathed in translucent skin.
She fit in the palm of my hand.

Peach and yellow burgeon across your blooms like a sunrise.
Your brightness calls me to you.
I can’t help but come.
Your petals fold around my face.

I breathe you in.

I am the translucent one now.

I am the one you still cradle.

I have lost.
but because of you, yellow rose,
I never will be.

Anne

I watched the Netflix version of Anne of Green Gables (Anne with an E) this week. I have no comments, except for that I am SO glad that I got to grow up with Meghan Follows in the Kevin Sullivan version of Anne. I just love it so SO much. Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.35.59 AMNothing can really compare for me. Lucy Maude Montgomery spent so much time describing everything in bloom, and the color of the sky in all its forms, and the beauty of the world…I loved how that version stayed so true to it with its cinematography. That being said, though, I am very excited to see how the Netflix series progresses, because I would love to see the Royal Gardener vs Gilbert Blythe romance story from the books. (The Sullivan version broke from the books quite a bit in Anne of Avonlea and the continuing story).

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.37.23 AMScreen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.38.04 AMScreen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.45.11 AMScreen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.36.14 AMScreen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.40.16 AMI don’t think I’ve ever seen a couple with more chemistry than these two. Sigh.

Inspiration: True Moroccan style

One of the things I love doing is going online and looking at holiday lets. I made a collage of a bunch of screenshots I took of airbnbs in Morocco today. I love how you can get a glimpse into other lands and traditions by doing this. There have been a lot of Moroccan inspired styles in stores here in America, but I want to see how someone actually lives and decorates from a place in the world. Collages215I LOVE all the different patterns and colors in these pictures. Somehow they managed to have method and cohesion in what would frighten me in my home. I’m inspired to love the parts of my home that I don’t love (ie tilework in my kitchen and bathroom), and to reimagine some of the areas of my home that are a little drab.

Dreams of the desert

When I was young I read the book Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, and ever since I’ve wanted to one day visit a real desert with my partner, enveloping ourselves in the dreamy landscape so opposite from the lush green one I’ve always known. Knowing this, Beau proposed to me at the Grand Canyon, flying me down for just one day! But we still had never really taken the time to immerse ourselves in a desert. A couple weekends ago I got my wish when we flew down to California for the super bloom! We hiked in the Anza Borrego desert and visited Joshua Tree Park and it fulfilled my romantic idea of what a desert could be. I think my favorite thing was unexpected color. The arid landscape had some of the brightest blooms I’ve seen…if you could find them. The hills would turn to shades of lavender, purple and pink as the sun got low. We would drive past whole valleys filled with yellow daisy bushes, and on our last sunset we walked through one of them. It was a dry, earthy magic I’d never experienced…one who’s flavor I need to taste again.

We stayed in Korakia Pensione, a Moroccan and Mediterranean inspired villa in Palm Springs. It was like taking a step back in time or entering a dream. We both said that if we did it again we’d probably spend a couple days camping as well. Things in Palm Springs we enjoyed: Cheeky’s Cafe, the Art Museum, Moorten’s Botanical Garden and Cactarium, and walking through mid century mod neighborhoods.

Balance

A tiny translucent snail prodded the quince blossoms. I weighed my love for those peachy profiterole shaped flowers and for nature as a whole. It wasn’t my garden. If it was, the darling snail would be toast. I left him alone, leaving the job of snail expulsion to this garden’s owner.

I’ve been trying to take a respite from work. I finished my Flora Forager books a couple weeks ago and since then I’ve been trying to not take any commissions, not get caught up in sales performance, and stop looking at flowers as potential profit. I’ve been doing things like baking bread, taking my kids to the beach, and taking more walks through the neighborhood. I love smelling the fresh budding magnolias and cherry trees, talking to my dog as he makes odd little discoveries, and leaving my brain open for what thoughts may come.

I often weigh the Now with the Eternal. Living in the present, cherishing and enjoying my current circumstances, against my innate desire to put a positive, beautiful stamp on this world for generations to come. Which is more soul fulfilling?

A woman I know once said even though she hated being a mom, she felt like she was doing God’s work and therefore it was eternal and good. The whole jewels in your heavenly crown concept. I found that fascinating. I LOVE being a mom, and therefore often feel guilty for enjoying it so much, and feel like I ought to do something more productive with my life than watching wolf documentaries with Oliver, hatching dragon eggs with Harry on my phone, and playing Zelda with Finn. (Ok…maybe my guilt has more to do with their screen time) But still. Why are we so pulled to make ourselves do things we think we SHOULD do instead of living into the things we were meant for?

Why do I wonder at my purpose at all? Sometimes I wish I had less internal thought. It’s exhausting being philosophical.

I always come back to the balance. The “middle path” as they say in Buddhism. When I came home from my walk I noticed a big snail making his way into my primroses. I picked him up and broke his shell between my fingers without a second thought.

Painting

I’ve had my paints out a lot more recently. Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.29.21 PM

After a few months working on floral artworks for my next two books I suddenly longed for the fluidity and inventiveness of watercolor.  I set up a card table with a white board on top in my office and set out all of my paints and brushes. Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.29.46 PM

I didn’t use it for anything but storage and printing when we first moved in because I needed to be in the same space as my babies. Then the other day it suddenly occurred to me…I can actually use my office! It’s like our house grew a new limb. I’m so excited to find a perfect painting desk and make the room a little more homey. It’s already cute because it’s an attic, but it feels cluttered and a little drab to me. I saw a faux bamboo BRIGHT green lacquered desk the other day and I may just go back for it. It reminded me of the Moon Maiden. Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.30.12 PM

Best of all, I think taking a break from my painting may have made me a little better at it. Or perhaps it was learning to paint with petals and figuring out what works with color and form. I don’t know. It’s as if the painting part of my brain needed some farrow ground or needed to “sleep on it.” I mean I’ll be honest I’m not, like, the best painter in the world or anything, but there are less and less absolute wrecks in between the good ones :)Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.30.31 PM

My dream has always been to paint some pretty scenes for my chapter book. Will that thing ever see the light of day? Time will only tell. But I feel just that much closer.Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.30.49 PM

 

 

Specimens

The other day I gathered a few natural items for the boys to look at more closely. Oliver was the most excited about the butterfly wings. He quickly found which ones they were in our field guide.Harry declared the whole thing was BORING because he wanted his turn.Finn was most fascinated with the magnifying glass itself.when Harry got his turn he was finally happy!

Oliver showed me something I had never noticed before: the delicate purple zigzags on the sea urchin. There’s always more to see and discover! Now I need to get my macro lens out and get some pictures! 

Self promotion is sticky

I hear it time and time again, “I love creating, but I hate self promotion.” It’s a strange, sad truth that those who have the introverted stamina to sit and make something beautiful in a studio often can’t make a living on the beauty they put forth.

One of my friends makes the most incredible, intricately detailed paper cut creations. They should be selling for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in a museum. But she says her art is too precious to her to ruin with the stress of trying to sell it. I get that wholeheartedly.

When you’re trying to sell something you have to be careful. You can’t come on too strong, you can’t come on too soft. You can’t have too many opinions about things having nothing to do with your art, but you have to have a voice people want to hear. I find myself curating my thoughts sometimes. There might be something I’m passionate about that I want thousands of people to hear, but then I’ll remind myself that I’m trying to sell a book, and the jobs of my publisher, our income, and my own sanity when the negative comments roll in, are at stake.

I’ve been honest on here about how I have social anxiety. I have it under control now, but there are days when I get thrown back into old patterns of thinking trying to please the world. The other day I was having a lovely time with friends and enjoying every minute, then afterwards collapsed into Beau’s arms and he said, “exhausted by talking to too many people?” Imagine me at 3 in the morning, glancing at my phone to check the time, opening up instagram, and reading 500 comments!

I posted a picture of my journal this week, then got nervous people were tired of my self promotion and deleted it. I posted a picture of a robin I made, then got nervous it wasn’t good enough and deleted it. I posted a couple pictures from the tv show I was on, then got nervous and deleted it. Then I had a phone conversation with publicity at Sasquatch and she said I could reveal the cover of my next book and I got so nervous about how it didn’t match the other posts I had done that day and would throw off the look and feel of my instagram page that I had a stomach ache the rest of the day.

There’s no good answer for any of this. I just needed to take a moment to write it out. Hey…if you need to write something out you should buy my journal.  It’s on sale at Amazon!

^that’s a joke in case you couldn’t tell. I mean, I know you can, but I got really nervous about how you might not get it.

^that’s also a joke.