Archive of ‘flora & fauna’ category

Limited Edition Pins from Wormwood & Rue

Marine Magic

Wormwood & Rue is the creative endeavor of Carisa Swenson, a lovely, long-time friend and the uncanny sculptress/stitchy mistress of GoblinFruit Studio. Carisa’s work strikes a balance between the odd and the endearing, the familiar and the fantastical–she creates some truly remarkable, utterly unique beasties and creatures, and I would populate my entire house with their strange little faces, if I could!

Earlier this summer I wrote of Wormwood and Rue’s inaugural series of enamel pins full of woodland magics–wise owls, earthy mushrooms and the mystical mandrake.

I am pleased to share her latest, limited edition series of extraordinary art pins, this time around with a focus on wondrous marine life magics, and featuring the Southern Blue-Ringed Octopus and Chambered Nautilus.

Between the wonderful designs, the vivid, vibrant colors, and the luxurious feel of their weights in your palm (they’ve got a serious bit of heft to them!) these little works of art are incredibly special, and obviously created with a great deal of care and intention. Even the backing on which the pins are affixed is decorated with beautiful ocean flora illustrations! And if you flip them over, you will find some interesting data on these fascinating creatures…

“… providing some facts or fun info on the creatures I’m illustrating/creating is part of my desire to educate people about the wildlife that we share the planet with”, Carisa thoughtfully shared with me.

These pins are each a limited run of 100, with the opportunity to purchase each charming cephopod individually, or as a set (which saves you $2)! Click on the creatures below to be whisked away to the Wormwood & Rue site, where you can both purchase something quite exceptional and support a fantastic artist as well.

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Wormwood & Rue

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Wormwood & Rue, a small pin and design company located in NYC, released their first series of pins today, Midsummer 2016. Inspired by the unceasing wonders of nature, mythology, folklore, this initial collection includes three enamel lapel pins: the magical mandrake root, the iconic fungi fly agaric, and the ghostly, intuitive barn owl.

Wormwood & Rue is the creative endeavor of Carisa Swenson, a lovely friend and the uncanny sculptress/stitchy mistress of GoblinFruit Studio (whom I have written about previously.) Carisa’s work strikes a balance between the odd and the endearing, the familiar and the fantastical, and these charming new creations have a similar quality: predatory night birds, hallucinogenic botanicals, and things that thrive in dark forests, rendered splendid and soft, with a folksy, charming storybook appeal. In gazing upon these small treasures,  I’m reminded of the illustrations that might accompany an obscure, vintage gem, a children’s book of mysterious folk tales and legends.

Per this marvelous artist, in her own words: “So many ideas and interests have coalesced within this new venture… small pieces of art that are relatively inexpensive, jewelry as personal amulets, a desire to apply my illustration skills to projects that are quick and fun. All the designs chosen for this first series contain my own personal interests: ornithology, mythology; the use of herbs, roots and mushrooms as medicine, poisons or pathways to other worlds. These pins have been incredibly helpful in freeing me from blocks I’ve been experiencing lately with my other work. If all goes well, I’d like to release 3-4 series of pins per year, released on the turn of the seasons, with limited run pins dropped in between each solstice or equinox. Creature from folklore and myth and endangered species designs are already being planned.”

I, for one, cannot wait to see what marvels Carisa conjures for us next! In the interim, click on each of the image below to be whisked away to her shop!

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Links of the Dead {4.22.16}

Art by Noah Scalin

Art by Noah Scalin

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about  related to matters of death & dying & mortality.

Previous installments:
Links of the Dead for March 2016
Links of the dead for February 2016
Links of the dead for January 2016
Links of the dead for December 2015
Links of the dead for November 2015
Links of the dead for September 2015
Links of the dead for August 2015

Dearly beloved, with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of Prince…

💀 No Doves Cry Here: Prince Retrospetive

💀 A Look Back At Prince’s Unfiltered And Unapologetic Style

💀 His Music Does The Talking’: Manager Owen Husney On Prince’s Legacy

…and elsewhere

💀 Graveyard Botany: Patricia Lundy writes on haunting flora which festoon final resting places.
💀 Speaking with the Dead: Life and Learning in a Cadaver Lab by Madeleine LeDespencer
💀 A list of valuable Grief Reads, via Modern Loss
💀 Literal Heartbreak: A Spouse’s death can make your heart skip a beat
💀 Six Feet Over helps people who’ve lost loved ones to suicide through funerals & more
💀 The Complicated Wallpapers of Grief: A review of the film Midnight Swim
💀 Pain Is Not Redeemed by Art: Grief, Loss and Creative Practice
💀 Beverly Hills of the Dead: Luxury Tombs complete with Kitchens & Air Conditioning
💀 Most Distinctive Obituary Euphemism for ‘Died’ in Each State
💀 5 things you can do to join the Death Positivity movement and value life more

Our favorite city: Portland (part one)

Back in 2012, my fella and I visited Portland, OR and had a lovely time -delicious foods were devoured, delightful cocktails were quaffed, old friends met for the first time. It was a marvelous trip and we have been talking about it ever since.

It only made sense then, to make a return visit -this time with several friends in tow! And since I have a dreadful habit of glossing over the human aspects of my adventures, let me say that I could not hope for finer traveling companions. Everyone’s personality is so different in our group – boisterous and exuberant; clever and droll; taciturn and brilliantly observant -but they all add up to the most wonderful circle of friends! And it feels strange to say that, “friends”. These gentlemen were originally comrades of my beau* but over time, as I’ve gotten to know them, I feel like they might actually be friends of mine, as well.

*(I don’t mean to sound pretentious, but I hate the term “boyfriend”, so I’ll use just about every other descriptor I can wrangle.)

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We found a fantastic place to stay via Air BnB, a spacious and welcoming spot to call home base whilst exploring the city. A renovated 1920’s bungalow, it offered four bedrooms and two bathrooms, a large kitchen, and plenty of community space for boardgames and D&D and Dark Adventure Radio Theatre (we’re a nerdy group, you know). Again, we stayed in the Mississippi neighborhood and reveled in the chance to revisit some previous loves while staking out some new favorites with my fellow travelers.

If you’ve a hankering to visit the City of Roses, perhaps you will consider the following suggestions? Portland friends, commence the eye-rolling now.

At Mac! you’ll find all sorts of macaroni and cheese related shenanigans.  We shared enormous plates of their Truffle Mac, Cheeseburger Mac, Artichoke & Spinach Mac, and Cordon Bleu Mac. Somehow we lived through it.

 

We had a few breakfasts at Sweedeedee, a small corner cafe which is an excellent place for people watching and listening to records and eating pie – if you get there early enough, before the place starts to fill up. Recommended: the egg sandwich with shredded lettuce and avocado on the most delicious thick-cut, molasses bread. Also, salted honey pie. Skip: the breakfast burrito (too much mealy, undercooked potato).

tiki

At Hale Pele, in the lurid glow of torchlight and under the baleful glare of the gods, we sacrificed our dignity with friends and fellow fire drinkers.  I am fairly certain I had just about one of everything on the menu, and I will admit, near the end I am not even sure what I ordered.  I have to recommend, however, the Corn ‘n’ Oil, which as the menu would suggest, is indeed a strange name for an amazing drink. If you are looking for a nosh, they have several things to munch on; my favorites were the fried taro chips and the tuna poke. I love tiki bars for their kitschy escapism and potent cocktails, and Hale Pele now sits at the top of my list.

Elsewhere in the city, I met these two magical humans for art and cocktails; at Antler Gallery for the Unnatural Histories show – where I finally got to see one of Jessica Joslin’s exquisitely crafted bone and brass menagerie in person – and at Victoria Bar, where the drinks were Princess Bride inspired!

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Normally I am not keen on photos that other people take of me, because I have only like, 1/8 of a good side and no one knows how to capture it properly. That’s not their fault, of course.  I just don’t photograph well.  I shudder to think that I might actually look like a poor photo all of the time… but I suppose that’s a possibility that I can’t rule out, no matter how much it bruises the ego.  I do love this picture, however, taken at Tidbit Food and Farm food truck pod thingy whatever you call it. I don’t recall what we were discussing, but the look on my face is ridiculous and I love Minna for meeting up with us to visit, and for making me make that face.  I also do not recall what was eaten, but there was rice and noodles and karaage and takoyaki and I felt like the heroine of an action packed food anime trying to stuff it all in. Afterward, Minna marched us over to Fifty Licks for boozy adult ice cream super fun times. Pictured above is the Velvet Shiso made with plum wine, Riesling, and their Coconut Lemon Saffron sorbet with is spiced with saffron, star anise, and cardamom. It was amazing as it sounds. The only thing missing from this wonderful evening was our good friend Robyne, who was nursing a cold. Hopefully we will see you in January, Robyne!

The Lan Su Chinese Garden is a beautiful spot to gaze quietly upon art, architecture, design and nature, and I was just enamored this time around by the mosaic courtyards with their poetic names – “Plum Blossom On Cracked Ice” being the best-loved by my ear and my favorite to speak aloud.  I have heard that the guides sometimes suggest walking barefoot on the stones to feel the different patterns  and such, and I think that sounds like a lovely idea and a pleasant exercise in mindfulness (…or something?  At least it sounds like a nice massage for the feet!)

Also, if you ever wonder if I actually wear the things that I have purchased from Stitch Fix, I present to you Exhibit A: the Everly Peter dress from Fix #10. I wore it with leggings and an asymmetric black Helmut Lang jacket and it was super cute. This photo, by the way, was taken in a startlingly clean nerdy game shop bathroom.

Next up: roses! more cocktails! doughnuts All of the shopping!

Cicada Weekend

Illlustration by E.A. Séguy” via BibliOdyssey

Was awakened by the discordant song of cicadas yesterday morning and from their chatter was foretold the heat of the day.  On weekends like this is it wise to lock oneself in a dim-lit room with the shades drawn and a stack of books, and a pitcher of something well-iced within reach, and the AC at the lowest setting possible.

I find that I cannot eat hot foods…or even lukewarm foods in the summer months.  It is often salads or here-and-there nibbles for dinner.  Bread and cheese and olives. Vegetables and hummus. Or maybe just a bowl of cereal if the heat has made me too lethargic to care, yet my stomach is grumbling and grumping at me.  What are some of your favourite warm-weather meals for when turning on the oven  is an exercise in torture and you cannot bear the thought of a hot meal?

This isn’t even a recipe, just something I saw over at The Pioneer Woman last summer and tried once and found it to be quite lovely.  Mix a bit of plain, greek yogurt with milk (she uses heavy cream), stir until smooth, and top with brown sugar.  I serve it over blueberries, but I am sure it is just as nice over other summer berries or whatever fruits may be in season and pair well with creamy, lightly sweetened toppings.  Served alongside a special postcard for pretend afternoons at the lake house when one is actually stuck inside an overheated apartment with no central air.

My upstairs neighbor’s tomatoes. My attempts are never this successful.

 

Saturday evening, chez Mlle Ghoul

Portrait of a Sunday Morning in late July

Thanks goes to my sister for informing me that one can make cold-brewed iced coffee with a french press!  I had been utilizing a messy method which involved multiple containers, coffee filters and drips and dregs all over the floor.  This is infinitely easier and it makes me happy that I can finally put to use the french press I overpaid for 3 years ago.  There are some useful instructions for this method here.

The cicadas are at it again, the rise and fall of their droning din a constant background to mornings and well into the afternoon this time of year.  I find it rather comforting in a way though; I know that in the colder months I will miss their buzzing symphonies and the simple entomancy of their hot weather insectile hum.

Secret Summer Flowers

There are certain things  I will truly miss about New Jersey when I am back in my alternately scorching and sweltering home state.  Cool, hidden pockets of summer greenery in this neck of the woods, for one.  Leaves so thick on the branches that the light does not pass through. Ivy coiled loosely around a neighbor’s  lamplight. Vines knotted and tangled and trailing down a rotted wooden fence. Grass cuttings strewn across the sidewalk on a Saturday morning after everyone has gotten up early to mow their lawns.  There is so much green it makes my heart hurt a little and my eyes burn a bit,  in the very best sort of way.

And the flowers, oh the flowers.  They are beautiful blooming breakers of hearts as well.

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