An Illustrated History

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Post-Thanksgiving Thankfulness

I was fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving in the Bay Area, visiting extended family who I haven’t seen in years, eating and drinking exceptionally well, and basking in this gorgeousness.

The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay, CA.

Pretty magical, right? Everywhere I turned I found something else to admire. It’s funny– I was surrounded by so much beauty, but I hardly took any pictures. Kind of a disappointing realization, but maybe it’s a good indication that I was fully present, prioritizing the people I was with and enjoying the moments that transpired. Instead of scrambling to document every little thing, I was attentive to the experience as a whole. And the few things I did capture are lovely glimpses that conjure something warmer and encompassing and special.

My cousin Lauren & me; my mom & two of my aunts.

Sun-lit poppies.

Of course, once I returned home I had to face excruciating guilt.

You abandoned me and caused me great anguish.

No one can ever know the depth of my despair.

Thank you to Steve and Andrea for being such gracious caretakers in my absence!


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Cat Lady Confessions

The time has come to make a few very important introductions. As you can see in my “About” section, this is a blog about making things and paying attention… and a good portion of my life involves paying attention to cats. I love ALL the cats, of course, but especially these two:

Gilbert. Mustachioed, six-year-old Tuxedo cat extraordinaire. Enjoys perching, kneading his front paws, and gazing at me mournfully every time I leave the house.

I like eating things I’m not supposed to and then throwing up noisily!

Emily. Four-year-old calico. Fancies herself to be an excellent hunter (of laser pointers and unreachable birds outside). An expert in basking, sunning, and soliciting tummy rubs/meals with ear-splitting, croaking, screeching yowls.

You’ll rub my tummy if you know what’s good for you.

These two certainly up the adorable in my life, are hilarious and endlessly surprising, and bring me a lot of joy. They also drive me crazy, like any self-respecting cats, but that’s part of the deal. You’ve got to clean up some cat barf if you want to enjoy some cat snuggles.

Halloween 2012, a bit more subdued. Halloween 2011, full-on cat lady.

I know you’re digging my (elastic waist, high-water) jeans. DIY, if you can believe it– I know those iron-on cat patches look professionally done. The whole outfit is thrift-store/Dollar Tree, and you can bet that I’ve worn that wooden cat necklace in real life. (Three more things I’d TOTALLY wear: these Charlotte Olympia flats, this scarf, and these rings. See my board on Pinterest for more.)

Stay tuned for more cat-themed posts! Including illustrations, I hope. And feel free to leave me some links in the comments– the internet is an endless treasure trove of cat magic, and I’m sure I haven’t seen it all yet.

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Yes To…

(a pop of red, and a tiny plane; self-portrait!; a back-lit leaf; more bare branches)

…enjoying blue skies and luscious light (even if it slows down my usually rigorous walking pace). My neighborhood was so pretty and golden yesterday afternoon. The trees are becoming more and more bare, and I’m getting more creative about layering my work-out gear.

I also spent some time with my sketchbook last night, and came up with this optimistic little spread:

(photo cropped and enhanced with some Instagram magic– love how the paper’s texture becomes so apparent)

(scanned version with crisp lines and truer colors)

When it comes to translating my hand-drawn art into a digital format, I love having options; my scanner provides the most faithful images (that is, if I wrestle my bulging/wrinkly sketchbook into the right position), but I’ve found that I also like taking photos with my iPhone. The photos definitely add some personality, and document my drawings’ tactile qualities. You get more of a sense of the materials– the toothiness of my sketchbook’s pages, the crinkles that occur with collages and wet media– and can see traces of the process of making.

The inspiration for this image came from a model’s pose in a J Crew catalog (Fall 2008!) that I’ve hoarded. The silhouette/cut of the clothes is pulled from that photograph, but the color/design elements are from my own imagination. 🙂


Admiration, Illustrated: Creatures of the Wind

Inspired by this spread in Vogue‘s November 2012 issue, I decided to record my adoration of this Creatures of the Wind ensemble (also pictured here). I did some tinkering around, color-wise, but the idea is there– a full skirt embellished with Swarovski elements, that sleek vest, and those cheeky oxfords…

Can’t you just imagine those shoes with a pair of slouchy, rolled-up jeans and a quirky little sweater like this J Crew treasure? Sigh.

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Verboort 2012

Such a glorious weekend! On Saturday, my friends and I attended the 2012 Verboort Sausage Festival (a local event that we anticipate all year) and much fun was had by all! I’m not really a sausage fan, but I still had a great time. With a group like this, it was impossible not to.

It’s a pretty straightforward affair– you buy a dinner ticket, ride a bus to the beer garden and wait for your number to be called, and then return for an all-you-can-eat buffet that benefits a local school. Sorting through the many photos that I took on Saturday reminded me why I love this event so much: It’s a chance to enjoy a bunch of small, silly, easy moments with people I care about. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Steve and me, with a couple of rascals in the background!

It’s only the beginning of the winter holidays! What events/traditions are you most looking forward to? Are there any local, unusual festivities that you and your friends attend every year?