"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Snowflake Series

Last month I worked on a mini illustration series of color snowflakes in honor of the magical magic that is winter:

I may or may not have gotten carried away with some of the crazy colors, and I played around with different styles, but seemed to find my footing near the end. It was a great exercise for me! I am currently working on a Wild and Wondrous animal series and posting them on Instagram. Or, if you'd like to see some of my past series, you can now see them on their own page on my website!

I have such a hard time picking a favorite winter activity, but sledding and snowshoeing are at the top of my list. What about you? What's your favorite snowy activity? (And don't say "staying inside!")

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Grolar Bear

Have you ever heard of a grolar bear? It's sometimes called a pizzly bear? I don't know, but it's supposedly a mix between a polar bear and grizzly bear as their habitats increasingly overlap as we overheat our planet by burning fossil fuels. While most animal hybrids don't occur in the wild, these do. So, I drew one:

I've been working on an illustration series this year of these animal illustrations and should have a hefty stack of them come 2017. Due to the illustration style, these little guys can be preeeetty time consuming. Hard? Sure. Worth it? Duh, yes. If you want to follow along this series, I'll be posting them on Instagram and also on my Feather & Fir business website they are completed.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Around here, we've been making valentines until our eyeballs fall out of their sockets. Even though most of the hard work was post-thumbprint, I still had to get a baby thumb to cooperate 54 times to complete all his valentines:

So silly! And a little time-consuming. Mine were much easier:

All it took was some swift white crayon action and some just-as-quick watercolor added. The longest part about making my valentines was setting them out to dry.

Do you give out valentines? What did you do this year?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

At the Ballet

Our kid is turning out to have quite the affinity for dancing, so when her dance teacher told us about the Alice In Wonderland ballet she had helped choreograph, we went on a mommy-daughter date to see it:

The makeup and costumes were so creative, and so were the imaginative parts that would normally be difficult to show on stage. They pulled it off, though, and captivated P-double-B's attention until the last 15 minutes (when she emphatically declared that she was done watching and wanted it to be over). I'm just happy we made it that far, silly turkey!

After the performance was over, we joined the throngs to meet the cast and talk to them. My favorite part of the performance was the caterpillar who was comprised of 5 people. Pepper's favorite part was when the Mad Hatter kept fixing Alice's hair and making her wear different hats!

This was the first real ballet we had been to together, and I'm sure there will be many more to come. Have you ever been to a ballet before? If so, which one?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Frigid 5K

That crazy dreamguy of mine recently ran a frigid 5K, and boy was it cold! He ran through arctic winds and stinging snow pellets like a champ, then jumped in the frozen lake without a care in the world:

(My favorite is the face of the guy watching Kirk as he performed quite the remarkable cannonball.)

Of course we were there to support the insanity, but stayed warm and bundled all the while. Plus, as usual, we got to share in the spoils of a race well run! Pepper has already claimed the penguin plunge key chain Kirk earned, which she assumes is a medal of bravery.

Kirk has been making plans to run a race every single month this year, which we're excited about! This should lead to many great new adventures for our family. He's already gotten plans through April, but if you know of any fun races May-December, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Call for Volunteers!

I am the Art Team Lead for the upcoming All-together Playground that is going to be built in Utah County in just a few short months. It's a playground that has many accessibility features and will a community-build project. How fun is that?

What a great reason to pull together as a community and make something we can all be proud of. If you want to learn more about who it helps, you can do so here.

I am putting together a volunteer team of artists, craftspeople, and designers! Our job is to make the playground beautiful and fun while incorporating historical elements that make our area unique.

If you'd like to be on the Art Team (which I don't know why not because it's going to be awesome), please sign up here, so we can get cracking! There is a lot of work ahead of us, but it will be so much easier with more hands.

Other teams are looking for additional members as well, so if you're interested in helping with the construction, planning, child involvement, special needs, or the many other ways of helping, please sign up here as well. Or, if you are able to help financially, you can find sponsor opportunities here.

And of course, spreading the word about this project is one of the best ways you can help!

So what do you think? Is this something you'd like to be involved in?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Burns Night

If you're Scottish, you probably know of the great tradition that is Burns Night. It's a jolly gathering of friends during which we feast at a fabulous Burns Supper, toast and roast, and share poetry while appreciating all the good and irreverent things Robbie Burns, Scottish poet, gave to the world. It's usually hosted around the anniversary of his birthday and can be quite the formal affair with kilts and tartans all around.

We decided we had waited long enough over the years and would host our own evening of singing, toasts, and rhyme-sharing:

You should know that Burns Supper includes traditional Scottish fare, which was most likely born out of desperation if you take a close look at the ingredients. Luckily, both Kirk and I come from strong Scottish stock, so we survived.

The cock-a-leeky soup is a nice take on something similar to the chicken noodle soup that is comfortable to so many people. The neeps and tatties are good too, and aren't too adventurous unless you haven't ever had mashed rutabagas before. They're pretty much orange potatoes, though, no biggie. The most interesting dish by far is haggis, which is usually sheep offal mixed with oats and spices and boiled in a sheep stomach. We don't typically have access to such ingredients, so in order to make our Burns Supper a success we had to take a new-world spin on it. Still.

First of all, meatloaf is the worst. Second of all, haggis is crumbly liver-flavored meatloaf.

But, the flourished recitation of Address to a Haggis makes it acceptable. We were lucky enough to have a true Scotsman do the honor, and the brogue was better than we could have dreamed. He really let it loose for us, too. What a pal!

This is how the evening works:
  • The guests are piped in (yep, we had a friend who brought his bagpipes along!)
  • There is a welcome speech and someone recites the Selkirk Grace:
Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it;
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.
  • People gather and eat the soup course (we made cock-a-leeky, which is a soup with chicken, leeks, and barley)
  • The haggis is piped in and the cook presents it to the guests
  • Someone recites Address to a Haggis and brandishes a knife and carves open the meat at the appropriate place in the poem
  • We toast to the haggis!
  • The piper tastes the first bit and declares it fit
  • The feast commences and can include a dessert course (we made a version of cranachan!), a cheese course, and a coffee course too
  • After eating, a program begins with an Immortal Memory Toast to Robbie Burns
  • There are poem and ballad recitations of works by Burns
  • There is a Toast to the Lassies by one of the men
  • There is a collaborative reply Toast to the Laddies by one of the women
  • More poems and literary discussions ensue
  • We end the evening by joining hands and singing Auld Lang Syne in one another's faces as we jig in and out of a big circle
Fun, huh? It was nice to learn more about the traditions, share sentimental toasts, and join in a festive rendition of Auld Lang Syne to end the evening. The poetry was so nice, and the company nicer. It gave us a great excuse to break out the fancy china and my literary anthologies! We may need to make it an annual tradition, especially now that I know how to track down the appropriate offal ingredients.

Have you ever heard of Burn's Night or been to a Burn's Supper before? Do you want to learn more about it or have any questions about this fun tradition?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

An Atlas of Impossible Longing

I recently finished reading this little gem of a book:

I love the vibrancy of eastern culture and this book definitely brought India to life. Roy is such a poetic author, too. Some of my favorite themes in this book were:
  • The analogy of the house (and family) drowning then recovering as the water recedes
  • A need for a secret, quiet place where people can think, escape, dream, and rest
  • Tradition vs. following one's heart
  • Parenthood: presence, absence, focus, adoption
  • Religion: puja, Partition, Muslim and Hindu
  • Speaking freely: the parrot, Kananbala, Larissa Barnum
  • Love: parent to child, forbidden, marriage
  • Gardening and nature
Have you ever read this book or any books by Roy? If so, I'd love to hear what you thought!