“You say it’s your birthday! It’s my birthday tooooo!” ~The Beatles
Beau and I went to the butterfly house at the Pacific Science Center and I spent about an hour just ogling chrysalises and taking pictures of fluttering wings. I found out about Paper Kite Butterflies. First I was just enamored with how many big white and black butterflies there were, all fluttering together in lazy flocks. I even took a selfie with one. Then, while looking at all the pupas I gasped at some shiny bright metallic gold chrysalises. I had never seen anything like them! I took a picture. On the way home I looked at the name of the pupas in the picture, then looked up their butterflies on google. They were the same black and white butterflies!
Fast forward to later when we had all had some cinnamon roll birthday cake, Harry brought a christmas present from my mom I hadn’t opened the packaging too. A little butterfly kite!
I can’t help but see some significance. Birthdays remind me of change and growth. I’ve felt a little bit chrysalisish…perhaps even caterpillarish lately. (The irony of my wearing a striped shirt just like the striped caterpillars of the kite butterfly was not lost on me.) More and more I realize that we are eternally going through different stages of growth all throughout our lives. We can even be simultaneously sprouting wings as we are still working on a cocoon. It never really ends. The trick is finding beauty in every stage. I think getting older is helping me see how. The things that mattered so much to 20 year old me seem trivial now. I’m glad to think that things that make me sad today will someday have some time and wisdom between me and them. I’ve learned that loneliness is time to reflect and work on self care, humility is a step into reality, and failure is fuel for courage.
But I wouldn’t have known these things if I’d been flying high as a kite all through the years. And I won’t be able to go deeper and learn more if I don’t expect and welcome change now and in the future. Even the coloring of the butterflies means something to me. When everything is going well life seems to be black and white, you think you can see clearly and make decisions and create ideas based out of naivety and jadedness. But truth and strength come from adversity. Life doesn’t have easy answers, and the world needs to be seen from different hues.
Perhaps the butterflies were trying to show me that while difficult to shed one’s exoskeleton and become something new, it can be a brilliantly golden time. Ones own poetry and glittering soul are shown when the pain of growth happens.
image from AZcentral.com
I’ve been loving these lyrics from La La Land’s The fools who dream:
“A bit of madness is key
to give us to color to see
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that’s why they need us
So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays
And here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy, as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make”
I watched Woody Allen’s movie Magic in the Moonlight last night and fell madly in love with every beautifully framed shot.
The costumes, sets, vistas and romantic lighting…swoon! I need more chinoiserie wallpaper, floral hats, and lacy feathery sparkly dresses in my life! (as if I don’t already). I love it when movies take you on a mini vacation. I feel like I just walked through a flower arbor tunnel in the French riviera.
And although the story line and writing didn’t get great reviews, I liked the idea of it: if skepticism makes you unhappy, why not look at the world in a miraculous light?
The real problem with this movie is that the age difference between the two main actors is so unrealistic that the romance takes you by surprise. You’re not rooting for them to fall in love because the whole time you’re thinking he’s more of a mentor. I never felt butterflies in my stomach and the final scene at best is a shoulder shrug and at worst makes you think about kissing your dad. I think this movie would have done much better at the box office if Allen had chosen a younger man or an older woman. Maybe it says something that I was paying more attention to their clothes and the chairs they were sitting on than the scenes themselves?
I’ve been reading Edith Holden’s 100 year old book. It’s a log of all the more exciting natural beauty that occurs throughout the seasons. She paints flora and birds and gives snippets about the months. Ellen gave it to me on thanksgiving!
I’ve been thinking about how I have been a modern version of her lately. “The City diary of a Millennial Lady” ha! There are many parallels between our experiences.
We have a love of the same kind of poetry and red toadstools and birds! I’ve documented and given snippets of my days throughout the last ten years or so. I’ve also been writing about my floral inspirations and seasonal memories for my next book; The Art of Flora Forager. I hope it’s as well loved by someone as I love Edith Holden’s book!
Here’s my diary from the last few days…
~Made a Polyphemus moth out of sticks, leaves, and floral matter. I had the perfect curled up dead leaves to make its cocoon, and orange berries for the nobs on its caterpillar’s head.
~Drove down a dark forested highway to pick up my sister. The trees were black against a solstice evening sky. One valley had a ghostly mist looming at eye level so I could see above and below it. It was a living thing, creeping nearer as I escaped into the mountains.
~I used lots of curry spices, cardamom and cinnamon for a soup. The children surprised me by loving it.
~I set up a butterfly enclosure in the sitting room. Ten wriggly caterpillars came in the mail and I have been eagerly watching them grow every day. Soon they will be chrysalises and I will hang them in the enclosure so they can transform into Painted Lady Butterflies!
~flocks of tiny bush tits have been in the lilacs bushes eating their pods. One flew into the house and fluttered back out when he noticed me.
~We’ve had a few snowflakes interspersed with rain. I wish it would stick and stay for christmas, but it looks like we’ll have a sunny holiday. I’d like that better than rain, so I’ll take it.
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…
Ian Falconer’s design was magical. He’s the Creator of Olivia the Pig…see her in the box to the left?
Everything 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!
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!
Isn’t this transformation from paint to fabric incredible? They even dye all their own fabrics!
I loved finding out special details, like how the rat king has one gold tooth,
some of the womens’ wigs have birds on them,
they use a pancake griddle to heat up their stick-on jewels, (They were SO sparkly on stage!)the parzipan skirts were literally made to copy a doily Ian Falconer brought in and showed them!
And did you know that professional ballerinas can go through three shoes in one night?
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
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
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.
On thursday I had a gallery of my work up at the garden boutique Niche Outside. It was such an incredible night! I 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. The 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!)
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.
I 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