The Nutcracker!

On Friday my sister Lucy and I went to the Nutcracker! The Pacific Northwest Ballet generously gave me a tour of their costume shop last week and it was amazing to see their handiwork on stage! It was such eye candy! Here’s a little floral design I made after seeing the sugar plum fairy costume…screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-44-39-am
Ian Falconer’s design was magical. He’s the Creator of Olivia the Pig…see her in the box to the left?screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-44-50-amEverything was so colorful and detailed. We gasped a couple of times! I wish I could have taken a picture of the snowy forest with layers upon layers of branches or the walnut boat arriving in the candy kingdom covered with doilies and sweets! I loved the forced perspective of the living room decorated with silhouettes and pastels and red stripes. I felt like a little kid! When the tree got bigger and bigger I was so excited. I had only ever seen the show on tv, and nothing can compare to being in person!screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-44-59-am
The flower waltz was obviously my favorite dance. Especially since I got to see the design and the women who painstakingly cut each and every petal!screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-46-11-amscreen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-46-56-am
Isn’t this transformation from paint to fabric incredible? They even dye all their own fabrics!
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I loved finding out special details, like how the rat king has one gold tooth,screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-46-02-amscreen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-45-53-am
some of the womens’ wigs have birds on them,

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they use a pancake griddle to heat up their stick-on jewels, (They were SO sparkly on stage!)screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-45-32-amthe parzipan skirts were literally made to copy a doily Ian Falconer brought in and showed them!

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And did you know that professional ballerinas can go through three shoes in one night?

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So much goes into a show like this!
Getting to go to the show after all this behind the scenes fun was truly a one in a lifetime experience. Thank you to Lindsay Thomas and the incredible team at Pacific Northwest Ballet for making it all happen! If you haven’t been to the Nutcracker, go! You can get tickets here.

Artist Love: Norman Hartnell

I love these cream puff confections created by the fashion designer for the ladies of the royal family in the 20’s through the 50’s.  He designed their wedding dresses, ball gowns, fancy wardrobes, as well as Queen Elizabeth’s ornately embroidered coronation dress with beaded thistles and roses.

I love this sweet story…When Queen Elizabeth I first visited France with King George VI in 1938 she had to be in mourning for her recently passed mother. But instead of all black, Norman Hartnell had the idea to have her wear all white dresses, hats, gloves, and accessories.  It is now known as the White Wardrobe and at the time it inspired France so much that they called her “The Queen of two Nations.”

Imagine being able to wear one of these sparkling pieces… you’d definitely feel like a princess!

“I despise simplicity. It is the negation of all that is beautiful,” ~Norman Hartnell

Wild about wild mushrooms!

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This year I went to the Wild Mushroom Show with Sarah Hartsig of Hazelwood Forest. She’s pretty much the only person I’ve ever encountered who loves mushrooms and Beatrix Potter as much as I do. Probably more! screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-18-48-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-20-17-pmI wore a vintage mushroom dress I’ve had stored away for just the right occasion!screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-18-58-pm

October was all about mushrooms. Hunting, painting, marveling, eating… I have always detested the taste of mushrooms but have been trying over the last few years ever so carefully to find the ones I love. Chantrelles and truffles have pretty much been it! I like them in soups and on pizza. This year I tried cooking the rare matsutake mushroom that tastes a little like cinnamon…I liked it! It only cost me $34 a lb..haha.

Because I really have no intention of eating mushrooms, when I go hunting it’s just to find the prettiest, biggest, most fascinating ones!  The kids love it. We were especially delighted by all the Amanita Muscarias that were out this year!

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My painting and Oliver’s painting of mushrooms :)screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-20-49-pm

I think my favorite thing at the show was the natural dye display. The colors contrived from lichen and mushrooms are SO delicate and muted. I just adored seeing the silks, yarns, and felt in different fungi palettes. They’re perfect colors for fall!screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-20-08-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-19-59-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-19-10-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-19-18-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-19-27-pm

Artist Love: The New Yorker

This is obviously a variety of artists throughout the decades, but I love how The New Yorker’s art is both commentary and beautiful. Clean, simple lines, and somewhat pastel. It reminds me of artists like Walt Peregoy (101 dalmations) and Eyvind Earle (Stleeping Beauty). We recently subscribed and I’ve especially enjoyed the satirical covers over the last few weeks.

The articles have a dreamy, yet frank quality that I am not used to, but am devouring.  Perhaps switching from news online to an actual printed publication is reteaching my brain to enjoy the beauty of taking a breath between headlines.  I’m currently reading Esmé in Neverland by Jill Lepore and loving it. Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 11.13.31 AM.png

Back to the Garden

We are stardust
We are Golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
back to the garden

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And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
back to the garden

Joni Mitchell

Flora Forager Art Show!

On thursday I had a gallery of my work up at the garden boutique Niche Outside. It was such an incredible night! img_0872I picked a flowy leafy dress and a crown to wear and spent the day making tiny creations under glass, then friends, floral admirers, and Seattle art lovers came and toasted to the beauty of flowers with me.  It was what I think a lot of us needed the day after the election results. While Seattle was filled with thousands of protesters and many hearts were heavy, my little art world was a place for us to feel some comfort. img_0817The Chop House row was hosting a few other artists with live music in the courtyard. I ended the night under string lights eating bay leaf ice cream from the Kurt Farm Shop and a cupcake from Cupcake Royale (their photographer gave it to me during the show!)img_0888

I wrote my previous political post the same day, and was trying my hardest to summon strength to be joyful among people who might be hurting. When I went to drop my kids off at my mom’s she urged me to gather some flowers in the garden. What I found there was echoes of spring!  Cherry blossoms, lavender, my favorite roses, and daisies. My heart was wrapped in a warm bubble of sunshine.

img_0900I want to thank Nisha and Amir Klien for hosting me in their shop. They were so kind and loving to me, and every single person who came.  I adore them!  Check out their websites here: nicheoutside.com and fleurish.com

Being a woman

Whew! What a crazy week. On monday I wrote a long piece about being a woman and the struggles I’ve been facing recently.  Then on tuesday I woke up with a spring in my step, excited about pink pantsuits and promise and played Sister Suffragette over and over while I did the dishes. Then that night the world seemed to come crashing down all around me.

Wednesday I wept. I woke up weeping and continued getting verklempt all day. Unprompted, my boys asked if HilIary Clinton lost because she’s a girl.

We haven’t talked very much about our political leanings with our boys, besides telling them some of the issues and letting them decide for themselves. We correct them when they imitate their school mates with sayings like, “Trump the dump” or “Killary”. I have explained to Finn things like what same sex marriage is and what abortion is and though I’ve been told he’s too young, I want to make sure he hears about the issues from me. He understands why people would vote for either party, and that we cannot fault people for their beliefs. More than anything Beau and I want to lead by our actions. Love is always the answer.

I made a female symbol out of red white and pink flowers and posted it on instagram, saying America belongs to me. And it belongs to my best friend who immigrated from a Latin country, and it belongs to my sister who is in love with her girlfriend, and to my mother who stayed home to raise her children when she was a year away from her doctorate. …Only to get cyber bullied by people who are too ignorant to understand why what I had made was not an affront to anyone. “Get off your high horse!” “I’m sorry I bought your book!” “Get over yourself!”

Beau was shocked and said, “guys were getting mad at you?” and through tears I said, “No. WOMEN were!”

I think it’s entirely fair to say it’s sad to not see a woman be president. I mean, the original suffragettes were communist and were against marriage and bombed beautiful buildings…but I can’t help but still feel a connection there. Anarchy seems like the answer when walls surround you and hate is spewed from those in power. I want to tell my teenage self that someday she won’t have male leaders telling her she needs to respect the boys and stop wearing makeup so they aren’t led astray…after being punched in the back for talking back to one of them. (true story). Or have the boys tell her her boobs look huge after she’d finally become a leader for her drama group and spoken in front of the group. Men cannot understand how that feels. How hard it was for me to get back up on stage and speak again. And how those types of statements are still haunting me to this day. I’m tired of simple eye rolls being the only thing we can do to pacify “locker room talk.” If the same type of statement made to women were happening to say, a minority, people would be screaming out “racism!” “intolerance!” but for some reason when it’s about a woman everyone’s like “oh you know, boys will be boys.”

I know it’s complicated. I know there’s more to this election than gender. And I know we shouldn’t be seeking a hero to fix everything. But right now I’m feeling the sting. Deeply.

One consolation is this: The boys and I were driving in the car after school yesterday. We crested the hill and I looked out over the wide expanse of our Seattle neighborhood, lit with colorful leaves and a shining lake. A comfortable bubble in this country I find true peace in. Finn said, “You know what I’m saddest about? It would have been nice to have had a woman be president.”

Through all the societal blunders and mess of emotions and personal frustrations I’ve had about being a woman…I must be doing something right.  screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-36-13-am

 

 

Vintage Insect Books!

Gasp! I’m so in love with golden books and vintage insect paintings. A mixture of the two is stunning! desktop67I stumbled across these yesterday because my editor sent me a mockup of the cover for my next book! There are some elements of it I’m really excited about.  I want all of my future books to be beautiful, the kind of books you want to display on your shelf and never let go of. I think this next one will be one of those! I won’t divulge too much but I will say there is pink involved. Stay tuned!

I’m especially loving gold with midnight blue. (I found a ring yesterday that had midnight fiery blue labradorite in a gold setting…for only $5! It makes me feel like a creature of the night. But I digress…)

LOOK at these fairy/poem/flower books! Swooooon!collages176

And I even found one with a picture of me on the cover! How did they even capture that?  I thought I was alone that night!

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What to wear?

Now that I have the date set for my art show I must think about the most important* thing… WHAT should I wear?

I’ll never get to walk down a red carpet, have another wedding, or go to prom again (at least I’m assuming I won’t…you never know.) So now’s my chance to pull out all the stops, wear whatever says “ME!” and encompasses my art. Someone online said I should wear a little black dress..If it comes to that you’ll know it’s because my body has more of an “I think we should look eight months pregnant!” idea than my brain’s “let’s be a runway model in a garden” idea. The goal is to look as much like FLORA FORAGER as possible, whoever she is.

Here are some fun things I found while perusing the botanical underbelly of the womens dress industry.

This “I’m going to paint botanical prints by a pond” dress…

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This Briar Rose dress that would have me hearing Flora’s voice say “make it pink!” in my head all night.

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This “I always wanted to be Miss Frizzle when I grew up” star gazing dress…

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This “Someday I’ll go to one of the monarch migration spots but for now they can migrate to ME” dress…

This one I actually bought online and I wish so badly it looked as good on me as it does on this model…

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This “I never got to be a flower girl so I must indulge my inner child” dress…

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The Free People Magic Garden Party dress that Beau bought for me for my birthday last year, was the wrong size, and then sold out. :(

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No matter what I end up looking like, I hope I feel at ease. *Because I know it’s not really important at all….

(But what shoes should I wear?!)