28 December 2012

Sandhills Day Trip


Our friend Brady came in from New York for a quick visit this week, the first of what I hope will be many visits from friends in the upcoming year. There wasn't much going on in town, so we made a spontaneous day trip to the Monahans Sandhills State Park.

08 December 2012

The Next Big Adventure

The best CouchSurfer

Four years ago today, my life changed forever when I hosted a tall, scruffy CouchSurfer named Sam. He was riding a motorcycle home for Christmas, from San Francisco to Charleston. His last minute request almost went unanswered because the CouchSurfing website would not load a reply page, but I managed to get in touch and let him know he was welcome minutes before he left an internet cafe in New Mexico.

27 November 2012

Aerial Nudes by John Crawford

John Crawford's Aerial Nudes

When I saw this series by John Crawford, I was immediately drawn to them. I love the bold, graphic shapes of aerial photographs, and I enjoyed the humor in spotting the nude in each photo. Each one gives the viewer a little aha! moment of incongruousness.

13 November 2012

Tiny Showcase

Tiny Showcase
Left: Adam Hancher Right: Susie Ghahremani
I've been following Tiny Showcase for years, but this is the first time I've thought to blog about them! If you haven't heard of it, Tiny Showcase is a small print shop in Rhode Island that sells high quality,  limited edition prints from talented artists on a smaller scale, so you don't have to be rich to collect some great art. In addition to this, a portion of each sale goes to the charity of the artist's choosing, so everybody wins!

04 October 2012

Souvenirs from New Zealand

Retro Funk
Retro Funk Vintage shop in Oamaru

New Zealand and Australia are loaded with souvenir shops. There are good ones and there are bad ones, and my least favorite ones are the ones packed with cheesy, cheaply made imported junk. If I could only bring back one thing from New Zealand, why would it be made somewhere else? Because someone stamped New Zealand on it? Because it's in the shape of a kiwifruit?

My idea of a good souvenir is something made in the country, preferably by an artisan or a local factory. In New Zealand, all sorts of things used to be made domestically, before it was easier and cheaper to import. During many of my thrift store wanderings, I have come across many vintage garments, homewares and toys made in New Zealand. Here are a few of the great things Sam and I have collected in New Zealand.

01 October 2012

Pumpkin Banana Muffin Recipe

Pumpkin banana muffins

When I came across this recipe via Pinterest, I knew I had to try it. However, I made a little change to cut out some of the fat. Instead of using a whole stick of butter, I used half butter, half applesauce. I also kept my liquids separate until the very end.

27 September 2012

Family Reunion, Covington edition

Chameleon yoga

Despite my woeful absence of late, I have not abandoned the blog! This post is extra long to make up for lost time. We just returned to Texas after nearly a month long visit to the east coast. This was my longest visit to Charleston so far, and we had a wonderful time catching up with Sam's family.

20 August 2012

Neil Dawson's Large Scale Sculptures

Horizons appears as a giant, Lichtenstein-esque falling sheet on a green hillside in New Zealand.
Photo: David Hartley, from Neil Dawson's website

Thanks to my friend Jane, I recently came across this photo of Neil Dawson's sculpture Horizons, but as it turns out I've been admiring his work in situ for quite a while.

19 August 2012

Lover's Eye Brooches

1. For sale at rubylane.com 2. Sold by georgianjewelry.com 3. Sold by georgianjewelry.com 4. Sold by georgianjewelry.com

As a teenager, I had a large section of one bedroom wall collaged with single, vignetted eyes, of all shapes and sizes, cut from various magazines. Some visitors to my abode found the display cool, others creepy, but I always liked the way it looked. Eyes can convey so much, and each one is as different as their owners. Therefore, when I saw these "lover's eye" brooches, I was smitten.

03 August 2012

Family Reunion


Our first week back has been all about family. We arrived home on the same day my brother Jordan arrived home from Germany, where he's been living for the last couple years. Needless to say, my parents were thrilled. Our journey involved 30 hours in 4 airports and 3 airplanes, a 6 hour road trip, and 2 sunrises, but with the time change we arrived on the same "day" we left. It was definitely the longest day of my life.

20 July 2012

Farewell, Nelson!

Nelson Party Nelson Party

Nelson has become a second home, and with it we found a second family. The long-termers and fellow workers we met at Tasman Bay Backpackers were great, and we ended our time with them by having a rowdy and joyful party full of hugs, music, funkyball, late night breakfast and a little bit of braiding each other's hair.

08 July 2012

Nelson Lakes Day Trip

Nelson Lakes

We took a spontaneous day trip to the Nelson Lakes National Park with a few friends this week. The views were typical New Zealand stunners, and the sunshine made the chilly winter breeze very pleasant.

The Three Amigos (+ many more)


Sam has been playing a lot of music lately with Jeremias and Teppo, our fellow guests at Tasman Bay Backpackers. After serenading the hostel guests all week, the guys decided to try their hand at busking at the Nelson Market.

28 June 2012

Flight of the Conchords

Flight of the Conchords

For those of you who aren't a fan of keads on facebook, you might not have heard we entered a competition to win tickets to see Flight of the Conchords play in Nelson. I've been a FotC fan for years, so I really wanted to win these tickets. When I met Sam, one of the first things we did together was watch Season 1 of the FotC show. They have a dry, awkward sense of humor that we appreciate, and their musical parodies are genius.

20 June 2012

Everybody Loves Mike Hamm

Known as much for his big smile as the red moustache that perched atop it, Mikey Hamm was a true star. He has been dearly missed by family and friends from coast to coast, or perhaps I should say around the world, because surely I'm not the only one who said goodbye from across the ocean.

Mikey portraits

I've been working on and off on these drawings of Mike this year, coming back to them between long breaks, and I think they are nearly finished. I drew them for Mike, for his family, and for his friends that miss him. His birthday is a few days away, so what better time to share them?

When I first decided to draw Mike, I knew I couldn't draw merely one portrait; Mike was a man of many faces: candid, outrageous, silly, and sincere. I looked at dozens hundreds of photos that flooded his facebook page and picked a few that inspired me. I decided to keep them relatively simple, with bright splashes of colors that remind me of Mike. I tried to make them drawings that Mike would have liked.

I think I will run a screen print edition when I'm back in Texas. I haven't printed anything since my wedding invitations, and I find screen printing to be a very therapeutic act. I don't want any profit from them, but perhaps if people are interested, I could ask for a donation to a charity of his family's choosing in exchange for a print. What do you think?

If you would like a print, please let me know in the comments or by email. I would like everyone who wants one to be able to have one, but I also don't want to print way too many.

A Dash of Cuteness

Connect Design

I'm really digging these miniature house spice shakers from Connect Design. They're $8 for a pair (red and green or purple and yellow), or $15 for the set of four.

Synthetic Geodes by Elyse Graham

Elyse Graham

I have a soft spot for geodes. I like the idea that a plain looking rock could contain such beauty, a tiny world within it that becomes a two sided diorama when cracked. Elyse Graham loves them just as much as I do. She loves them so much, in fact, that she makes her own.

15 June 2012

Final Days in Australia

Harbour bridge at sunset

We consider our month in Australia something of a taster. We got to see a lot, but there is so much left to look forward to when we come back: Uluru, the outback, Perth, Melbourne, Tasmania... the list goes on and on.

We were given a few more days to explore Sydney when our flight back to Christchurch was cancelled due to snow.

09 June 2012

Vivid Sydney


We were lucky to be in Sydney for the annual Vivid Festival. Vivid transforms the Sydney waterfront with a beautiful, musical and, well, vivid display of light installations.

08 June 2012

Beauty in Brisbane

Self portrait in cubes
Self portrait in cubes

The weather was touch and go in Brisbane, so we spent a bit of time exploring the museums. My first stop was the GOMA, or Gallery of Modern Arts, which is conveniently located in the Southbank area next to the State Library, a Science Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery.

07 June 2012


The view from Kangaroo Point

I don't know what it is, but there's something about Brisbane that I really like. Maybe it's the remarkably efficient public transportation system and free museums, or maybe it's just the way the river snakes through the city, making it curvy and beautiful.

06 June 2012

Sale on Laurie Hastings Illustrations!


I met Laurie Hastings when she came to my college for a semester. The next year, I went to her college for a semester. I'm still not sure it was a fair exchange; I'm pretty sure my school got the better of the trade. I've always loved her work, and when I saw this sale I wanted to share it with my readers.

Yeppoon & Rocky

Meat eater
Hand feeding the magpies at Tony's house

Just to warn you, every single photo in this post contain animals!

We stopped in Yeppoon again on our way south, to visit Tony and his wife Katie and hopefully do some fishing. Once again, the fishing was cursed and the weather went sour. Despite the rain, Sam and I enjoyed our time at Tony's place. His deck overlooks a small nature reserve and we were visited by lots of different birds. Some of them walked right into the house to look for scraps until Tony's dog Snoop chased them away.

05 June 2012


Fishing in Stanage

This whole "fishing trip" thing didn't really work out. The fish weren't cooperating. There were setbacks or disappointments in Yeppoon, Mackay, and Dingo Beach, so the guys decided to try one last spot, Stanage. From everything we heard, Stanage is a fishing hotspot. A lot of this information said the best fishing was by boat, but other sources said there was plenty to be caught by land fishing as well. Sam and Matt gave it their best, but Stanage was yet another in a long line of fishing letdowns.

That's not to say we didn't have a nice time! Stanage was a very isolated spot to visit, and we had some excellent sightseeing.

04 June 2012

Dingo Beach

Beachcombing Dingo Beach

Dingo Beach was one of our favorite stops in Australia. We weren't originally planning to go there, but we were bored in Airlie Beach and it wasn't too far away. It is off the beaten path and not at all commercial. The long beaches are almost empty, and covered with chunks of coral.

03 June 2012

Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach area

From what we hear, Airlie Beach used to be a small, quiet place to sit on the beach beneath a coconut tree and take in the scenery. Now it's a strip mall, mainly an outpost for people heading to the Great Barrier Reef. We passed a few days here while we waited for the weather to improve before our reef cruise, and it was very beautiful on first sight, but without much to keep us interested.

02 June 2012


Shy hermit crab

We spent our first afternoon in Mackay exploring the beach at low tide. We walked for a few hours, sunk in quicksand up to our calves, found a wheelbarrow rusting in a tidepool and saw about a thousand tiny blue crabs scuttling en masse across the flats.

Sunshine Coast to Yeppoon


After spending a couple days in Sydney, we used our JetStar vouchers to head north to the Sunshine Coast Airport. Sam's friend Matt was nearby and heading north up the coast, so we went along for the ride.

31 May 2012


Sydney Harbo(u)r

We flew in to Sydney and spent a few days there before heading north to the Sunshine Coast Airport.

20 May 2012


Hopping greys

My apologies for the radio silence, but we've been on a road trip up and down the coast of Australia. I'll do a proper post (or 2, or 10) about this trip once we're settled again, but in the meantime, here is a picture of wild kangaroos. Enjoy.

09 May 2012

Putting New Zealand on Standby

Movie night at Bill's

On our last night in Nelson, we joined Bill and a few others for a movie night at his house in the hills. Under the supermoon we watched an Australian film, Samson & Delilah, ate homemade mussel fritters and roast veggies courtesy of two of Bill's French helpers, and soaked up the warmth of a glowing bonfire. In fact, the movie has a few bonfires in it, so it had a nice effect.

27 April 2012

Good Times in Nelson

We've been in Nelson for a month, and it's gone by so quickly! We've been living in a caravan at Tasman Bay Backpackers, where I've been painting and renovating the hostel in exchange for our accommodation while Sam works with Bill the joiner, our host in Nelson the last time we were here.

This is only the second hostel we've stayed in during our trip, and while it lacks some of the quality family time we're used to with homestays, we have been able to make so many nice friends from all over the world. Plus, as far as hostels go, this one is pretty homey with a fireplace, no TV, a big kitchen and chocolate pudding every night.

Centre of NZ
The "Centre of NZ" overlooking Nelson
Jam sesh
Sam and my homemade shortbread cookies

Mum's the Word

Mother's Day is coming up in 3 weeks, so I thought I would share some of my favorite card ideas while you still have time to send them. A handmade card is a great way to tell the mothers in your life you love and appreciate them. If you lack confidence in your card making skills, try one of these handmade-by-someone-else options from Etsy.

Classic Florals
Nothing is more classic than a floral mother's day card. These letterpress designs have an embossed presence that gives them a special weight.
Left: Cherry Blossoms by letterpress Right: Floral Banner by Honizukle 

15 April 2012

Zander Olsen's Tree Lines


Today I'm feeling inspired by these photos from Zander Olsen. The series of photographs of wrapped trees remind me of another photograph I liked by Joeri Bosma.

14 April 2012

Pancake Rocks to Nelson

Pancake rocks panorama

Our last leg of driving up the West Coast, from Greymouth to Westport, transported me to a landscape I've always associated with Central America. The blinding sun illuminated the misty humidity hanging in the air, and palm trees flanked the narrow, winding coastal road. Eventually we reached the much-anticipated pancake rocks of Punakaiki.

Pancake rocks

05 April 2012

A Tale of Two Passes

A hint of red
Mr. Kea gives a little flash of his red underwings.

Our route has been mostly coastal, but we decided to cut across the middle of the South Island and back again for a few reasons. First, we wanted to see Arthur's Pass, second, we thought it would be nice to visit our friends in Christchurch again, and third, we needed a jalapeño refill!

We had another kea encounter when we stopped to overlook a bridge. There he was, eating crackers someone had left, completely undisturbed by our presence. By the way he gobbled up the crackers greedily, he must have thought we were more of a threat to his snack than to his life.

30 March 2012

Camping on the West Coast

Coastal drive

Pink mountains

On the road from Arrowtown to Haast, we saw the landscape transform from rugged, dry mountains one might see in West Texas to a lush rainforest. Gillespie's Beach is one of the few free DOC campsites, and therefore very crowded. When we mounted a small hill to pitch our tent, we were struck with stunning views of the Southern Alps, pastel pink and purple with the light of the setting sun.

Arrowtown to Haast

Fog & hot air balloons
Fog & hot air balloons over Michael Hill's golf course.

Our ten days in Arrowtown flew by. We worked hard painting the house and enjoyed delicious meals and comfortable living in exchange.

Our hosts Paula & Bede were very nice, and one particularly memorable afternoon was spent driving up the river in search of gold. I felt like we were in a truck commercial when Bede told us to roll up the windows and plunged the ute into a deep ford, water sloshing up around the cab as we bounced over rocks in the riverbed. We zigzagged our way down the river, eventually finding a good spot to pan.

23 March 2012

QWERTY Walls by Sarah Frost

Sarah Frost

From afar, Sarah Frost's installations might look like just another tile mosaic. Up close, they are made of thousands of individual recycled keyboard keys. Obsessive, quirky and memorable. Just the way I like 'em.

19 March 2012


Boys panorama

When you hear someone mention New Zealand, you might recall the epic scenery from Lord of the Rings. While the entire country is full of beauty, little else can match the scale of the Fiordlands and the Southern Alps.

Frolicking Harry
 See Harry frolicking in the valley here.

18 March 2012

Taking the scenic route


From Invercargill we drove to Lumsden, a journey that can be made in 80 kilometers. We did it in about 280 kilometers, stopping along the way to enjoy the scenery as far west as we could go.

Invercargill to Orepuki

Munro Special

If you've ever seen the film The World's Fastest Indian, you will have heard about Burt Munro and his customized motorcycle that crossed the world to set speed records that still stand today. Burt built his masterpiece in his shed in Invercargill, New Zealand, and some of his bikes and parts are on display in the local hardware store.

Munro Special

15 March 2012

Jalapeño Jelly

Jalapeño jelly

When we were packing up to leave Christchurch, car full to bursting, every bit of consolidation seemed a small victory. I took our bulging bag of jalapeños and reduced half of them into jalapeño jelly. It was my first attempt at making jelly, and it turned out great, so I decided to share the recipe here.

14 March 2012

Etsy Love: Imaginary Animal

Imaginary Animal

These cutesy hair accessories from Imaginary Animal are taking me back to my youth, when I was obsessed with hair bows. Thankfully, these hair bows are dainty, unlike the bownormous things born of the 80s.