28 February 2012

Otago Peninsula & Dunedin


We CouchSurfed in Dunedin with a nice but very busy girl named Annabelle. She wouldn't be able to let us in at night until 10 or 11 pm, so we found other CouchSurfers to hang out with in the meantime. A sweet girl named Tarsh invited us over for dinner when we arrived, and we made veggie burgers with her and a few of her friends. 

27 February 2012


Moeraki boulders

Due to rainy weather and our very kind hosts in Oamaru, we didn't end up camping in Moeraki on our way to Dunedin. We made an epic day trip of it instead.

26 February 2012

Goodbye Oamaru

Sookie at rest

Dear Oamaru, thanks for the great company, our first penguin sightings, my first attempt to learn poker, whisky tastings, cute dogs & cats, and all the good moustache spotting.

21 February 2012

Fireplace Shelter

Fire Shelter

This fireplace shelter looks so cozy it almost makes me want to live in a cold place. Built on a playground in Trondheim, Norway, it serves as an enclosed space for school children enclosed to enjoy fire, storytelling and playing.

20 February 2012

Couchsurfing in Otago

With Elise & Sylvain

We spent our last day in Christchurch tracking down a tent and lunching with our friends Elise & Sylvain, whom we first met in Auckland at Olive & Graeme's. It was so good to catch up with them again after all these months.

Hay bales and the ocean

The scenery on our first day was beautiful, as expected. We hugged the coast for a while, spotting hay bales beside the ocean before heading inland to rolling hills of bright green farmland.

18 February 2012

A Curious Collaboration With Caddisflies

Hubert Duprat
Photo: Roy Larimer

Nature is a constant inspiration for many artists, and some of the most beautiful art is created when humans collaborate with the natural world.

Hubert Duprat
Photos: Jean-Luc Fournier & Frédéric Delpech

Hubert Duprat began his work with caddisfly larvae in the early 1980s. He collects the larvae from their natural environment and relocates them to his studio. There he gently removes their own natural protective sheaths and puts the larvae in tanks filled with his own materials, from which they build their new homes. By depriving them of other materials, he ensures they use what he provides.

When he began the project, he only offered the caddisfly larvae gold flakes. Since then, they have enjoyed various semi-precious and precious stones, including turquoise, coral and lapis lazuli, as well as sapphires, pearls, rubies, and diamonds.

Hubert Duprat
Photos: Jean-Luc Fournier & Frédéric Delpech

In the film below from the Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, the artist discusses a few of his beautiful sculptures. If you'd like to skip to the caddisfly project, it begins at the 2:40 mark.

"I create situations. I'm a bit like an architect who has builders carry out his work."

Hubert Duprat
Clockwise from top right: Jean-Luc Fournier, H. Del. Olmo, H. Del. Olmo, H. Del. Olmo

I first heard about this from Bug Under Glass, about whom I've written before. For more about Duprat's work with caddisflies, see Cabinet Magazine.

15 February 2012

Etsy Love: Up In The Air Somewhere

up in the air somewhere

Today I'm digging these decorative ceramic pieces by Up In The Air Somewhere on Etsy. With clean lines, pastel palettes and a splash of gilding, they are like a breath of fresh air.

up in the air somewhere

Up In The Air Somewhere is based out of Chicago, each piece hand crafted by Susan Dwyer.

From her Etsy bio:
"I'm creating a line of housewares inspired by the beautiful forms found in industrial architecture. Water towers, warehouses, factories, and silos are abundant in Chicago and endlessly fascinating to me. Although I work in different mediums (paper mache, ceramic, fiber, etc.), my work has always been primarily focused on volume and form rather than ornamentation and surface. The simplicity and utility of the industrial landscape is a constant influence on my work."

For more about Susan, visit her blog or her sculptural website.

up in the air somewhere

All images © Susan Dwyer

13 February 2012

Brotherly Love

Millers & Covingtons

Yesterday we said goodbye to the Millers, with whom we've been staying on and off for just over two months. This lovely family has taken us in, given us a lot of smiles, and inspired us to pursue cheese making, jam preserving, and beekeeping one of these days.

Harry asked me if the magic of being in New Zealand would fade after being here, but I told him I don't think so. Christchurch isn't too far different from a US city, with sprawling suburbs and landscapes one might see in America. I think our upcoming South Island road trip is going to be epic, and with mountains, penguins, and fiords, the magic will surely be continued, if not amplified.

Scenes from the Canterbury Museum


I'm digging the graphic design of the displays in the Science and Antarctic Exploration areas of the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch. They reminded me of something out of a Wes Anderson movie. If I knew who made them, I would tell them good job, but I think I'm just gonna to have to be secretly in love with these displays and leave it at that.

Antarctic display

10 February 2012

Tiny Homes : Simple Shelter

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter
Crystal River Treehouse, by Stephen A. Novy, AIA, and David Rasmussen, near Carbondale, Co., photo by Brent Moss

Have you heard of the book Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter? It's filled with photos and information about tiny homes and the people who love them.

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

09 February 2012

World of Jaspers by Hans Gamma

Jasper by Hans Gamma

In case you haven't heard, I love jasper. In fact, I wanted to name our cat Sebastian Jasper, but Sam vetoed the name. My love for this stone goes deep. Ranging in color and pattern, and resembling anything from abstract expressionist paintings to watercolor landscapes, jaspers are some of the most beautiful stones around.

When I came upon Hans Gamma's website documenting the beauty of jasper, I fell in love all over again.

08 February 2012

Jeremy Miranda

Jeremy Miranda

Jeremy Miranda's paintings range from the tropics to the tundra, and while I usually hate winter, my favorites among his work are those set in bleak, cold and dark places.

07 February 2012

Chocolate Editions by Mary & Matt

Mary & Matt pie chart
Chocolate Pie Chart

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I can't help having chocolate on the brain. Have you heard of Mary & Matt? While I have never tasted any of their Chocolate Editions, I have been sorely tempted both by the chocolate and the design.

06 February 2012

Animal Illustration by Charley Harper


You might recognize Charley Harper's style, as I do, from old Golden Books. I most prefer his simplified illustrations when jumbled in a collage, how about you?

05 February 2012

You can take the girl out of Texas...

This weekend, Sam and I went out with our host Chris and a few of his friends. Before we left the house, I got tired of my lank hair and put it up in my new favorite hairstyle, the sock bun. At the last minute, I decided to change out of the turtleneck I was wearing in case I got too hot. After a while at the pub, we headed to a club, but the first place we went wouldn't let us in because I forgot our passports and they wouldn't accept my Texas drivers license. So we went elsewhere.

For all these reasons, we met our first fellow American in New Zealand. He tapped me on the shoulder and said, "excuse me, are you from Texas?"

Score one for neck tattoos.
My Texas tattoo
Photo by Mike Garten
Sam at work
Sam at work

In other news, we are back in Clarkville with Chris and Paula. We finished repainting the windows last time we were here, and now we're prepping the eaves for painting, as well as the exterior stucco. We're going to be working extra hours in the next two days so we can take some time off to spend with Harry when he arrives, so it seems we'll be missing the Superbowl. I'm okay with that, though. My favorite part of the Superbowl is free food at my parents' house.

04 February 2012


I've been seeing a lot of nice triangles lately.

Triangles 1

14K Black Diamond Ring by KyleAnneMetals, Triangle Drinking Glasses from Dwell Studio


Triangle shelf by Sotiris Lazou of DeCode

03 February 2012

Geodesic Chicken Coop by Anthony Liekens

geodesic dome chicken coop

Anthony Liekens brought a smile to my face when I saw his geodesic chicken dome. Not only has he created the world's coolest chicken dwelling, he has generously provided the rest of us with step by step instructions and photos.

New Zealand has shown me I need chickens at my dream home, and now I can give my chickens a dream home of their own.

02 February 2012

Hello Hedgehog

Petting the hedgehog

I was collecting zucchini in the garden when Sam shouted my name at the top of his lungs. I thought he wanted a favor, but in fact, he wanted to show me the hedgehog he spotted in the chicken yard. I grabbed the camera from the house and the boys followed, Nico exclaiming, "I love hedgies!"

01 February 2012

The Shiny World of Leah Giberson

Leah Giberson
Desert Camper 2

Leah Giberson's work has always fascinated me. Her distinct style is as memorable as her subject matter of vintage houses, caravans and objects. In her work, mundane suburban objects are painted in harsh light, with their surroundings pared down until they appear otherworldly.