A Fond Return

Hello, again!  This past year has been a whirlwind of new experiences, at times overwhelming and very challenging but also rewarding, humbling, and growth inducing... the kinds of results that make you breathe a sigh of relief and accomplishment at the same time.  While I had fully intended to post updates throughout the process, it became very clear to me early in the year that my workload meant something else had to go.  I resolved that for some months, I needed to focus my time and energy on making art rather than writing here, so that's what I did.  That's not to say I didn't miss it, but my recent projects took priority during that time. Once I finished it took me a little while to find my footing again, but I'm happy to make a return to this space and look forward to getting on a regular posting schedule again!  For those who have not seen my latest work, I will be sure to share about that soon.  Also, more knitting!  More nature!  More knitted fungi, for sure (i vow to finish this series).  More... other things, as well.

Thank you for continuing to read and look at my pictures. :)

Blackfoot River



Back in July, J and I took a long-awaited trip to Montana, a place I have been wanting to show him for a long time.  I've looked forward to returning ever since I spent a summer there in college - at the time my university's Forestry program included a 7 week field school at an out of state location, and Montana was the destination for my class.  This post just includes one stop off on the trip, along the Blackfoot River just east of Missoula.  We spent an afternoon sitting by the river, exploring along the bank and observing the various things that grow there.  Unfortunately, the weather was not warm enough to make us brave the frigid water for a swim-- next time.

I'll make additional posts from this trip, hopefully in the near future.  I haven't been blogging much lately, because my time has been monopolized by creating artwork.  This is a good problem to have, but I'm hoping to start writing more again soon and balancing this space of inspiration, reflection and updates with my art making practice.  Until then...

blackfoot river 1

I was really excited to discover what I believe to be showy milkweed along the river bank!  I had just begun my project, Missing Pieces, at the time and milkweed was pretty much on the brain all summer long.  What a beautiful plant!

blackfoot river 2

blackfoot river 3

blackfoot river 4

Wolf lichen is incredibly fascinating to me.  Driving along mountain roads up north, you'll come around a bend to see a dead tree just covered in fluorescent yellow fruticose lichen, one of those things that I'm amazed is real.  Wolf lichen has inspired some of my work this past year, both that I have shared as well as another project that I haven't posted about.  That one will likely stay under wraps for quite a while, but check out my wolf lichen wall hanging.

blackfoot river 5

blackfoot river 6

Another type of lichen to inspire my work recently has been pixie cup.  I've knitted some pieces inspired by these for my shop, including terrariums, holiday ornaments, and a wall hanging.

blackfoot river 7

Tube lichen is especially fascinating - the texture and colors, the fruiting structures.  I recently created a piece inspired by this type of lichen for Cultivating Craft, an exhibition at 108 Contemporary in Tulsa that opens in December.  I'll share more on that soon.

blackfoot river 8

blackfoot river 9


Here we are, a month into the New Year and I've been resisting the pull to write a compelling "end of year" or "beginning of year" post, inevitably putting it off until, well, February.  My inner voice just keeps quieting the noise and telling me to take my time.

2014 was a year like no other.  It was full of direction and realization.  At times it moved too fast and other times slowed way down.  It allowed me to dream, create, and bring plans to fruition.  It allowed me to grow and nurture a space, raising my own wild and learning to care and create habitat for creatures far more complex than I ever dreamed.  I formed ideas that still need a path to be realized along.  I expanded my knowledge and became equipped to pursue another, parallel path.  I experienced love and heartache with my family, and stillness.

As I identify my ambitions for the coming year, one word seems to form on my lips over and over... Intention.  Setting an intention for every day or every action guides a more present existence.  I vow to exist more in the moment, taking time to nurture what needs to be nurtured.  Through this, all other aspects are affected in a positive light.

So now I will begin to resurface, find my footing and use my voice.  I hope this New Year finds you well and seeking your own truths.

Life Happens

You may have noticed it's been a little quiet around here lately -- I've had a lot going on with family in the past month or so, and sometimes you just need to take a step back for a little while, you know? On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, my grandmother, the center of our family, passed away.  She was a fun, strong-willed, loving lady, and family was everything to her.  We will miss her immensely!
I'm starting to get back in the swing of things and will get back to posting regularly soon.  We still have a lot of fungi to get through!
I hope you are all having a great holiday season.


I started to go through my photos from our trip out west and got a little overwhelmed, so here are just a few from Seattle.  Our friends that we stayed with live in Ballard, just down the street from the Locks so we took a walk down there on the first day.  I'm told that we arrived just as the rains began, so the weather varied between mist, clouds, and intermittent sunlight.  I can't say I was bothered by any of it; the landscape is so lushly green and covered with huge trees, ferns, moss and lichen that would probably not thrive were it not for that temperate climate.
This is pretty much the extent of my urban photography on the trip, as most of my photos are pretty much of the aforementioned incredible landscape, the North Cascades in particular.  One great thing about visiting in the fall is the abundance of fungi, which I must admit is the reason I became overwhelmed when starting to go through photos.  So many different types!  I would love to share them all with you.  It will take a while, but I'm going to break them up into a series of posts over the next several weeks -- small pleasures.
I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween and a lovely weekend.  More knitted fungi is coming next week!


 J and I just returned from a trip out west to celebrate our third anniversary - we spent about a week in the Seattle area staying with some friends, and spent a lot of time outdoors.  My friend Sharalee took these photos that I thought I would share since I have not had the chance to upload my own yet.  The middle one is a pretty typical scene on hikes with me!  I will share more soon about what caught my eye on our adventures.  There's nothing more soothing than immersing oneself into wild places.




Unpacked Studio!

Summertime, always a busy time, has seemed to fly by this year.  I've had multiple projects going, although not a lot to share just yet.  One big milestone occurred this weekend - my studio is finally fully unpacked and set up.  I've figured out an effective yarn storage method, bought a comfortable chair, and prepared my space in a way that is very minimalistic, inspiring to me, and open to a variety of uses.  So far, I'm pretty happy with it!
Last week I entered my 31st year, a pretty low-key event.  The chair was a birthday gift to myself, so I can start out this new year of life with vigor (and comfort) in my artistic practice.  Beyond that, life is full of ripe tomatoes, hot yoga, and finally making some headway on our home projects.  I'm looking forward to this fall and some possibilities on the horizon.

A New Adventure

I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to post anything about this here, since this is a new endeavor that I am very excited about… but if you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen the many honeybee photos and videos.  I am now keeping bees!  The video above shows the entrance of the hive within a couple of weeks of receiving them, and the photos below depict the installation process.  My apiary consists of a Langstroth hive, with Italian bees that arrived by package.
Beekeeping has interested me for a number of years, since I worked a plot in El Jardin Allegre, a community garden in Austin, TX.  That was really the beginning of my gardening experience, and I cannot recommend enough to get involved with a community garden--- it was probably one of the most valuable things I did while living in Austin.  Over in the corner near the compost station were a few honeybee colonies, and at that time the beekeeping coordinator position was vacant.  I spent a lot of time in my post of managing the compost and was always going past the hives, surprised at how little the cared about my presence and thrilled at sightings of pollinators visiting my plot.
Fast forward a couple of years, when I first learned of Colony Collapse Disorder.  Since the beginning of my gardening days I've felt very strongly about chemical free growing, and found CCD frightful upon first hearing about it.  Aside from the effects of harmful substances making their way into colonies and emergence of difficult to control pests and diseases, the number of managed honeybee colonies in the United States has dropped drastically since the 1950's.  With the size of our lot, our interest in gardening and native plants, and a continued concern for the impacts of human actions on the environment it seemed natural to add an apiary to the family.

I knew it would be a fascinating experience, but I had no idea how much I would love this new endeavor.  Coming home to go watch the bees and inspect the garden are the highlights of my day!  I still feel very intimidated when inspecting the hive, but have learned so much through books, Facebook groups, web sites and gaining experience through attentive beekeeping practices.  I hope to share more of this journey with you over time - this is just the beginning.

A study just came out confirming that plants treated with neonicotinoids to ward off pest problems are a major factor in CCD.  These plants are sold in many of the big box garden centers, including Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart.  Check out more about this study here.

Removing the can of sugar syrup from the opened package
Placing the package inside the hive.  After a few days I opened it back up and removed the emptied package to lean against the outside of the hive.  Any bees left exited and went in the hive entrance.


It's been a long while since I wrote much about anything going on outside of 52 Forms of Fungi or installations that I've been working on.  I thought it might be time for a new post on life updates via Instagram.  If you follow my Facebook page, you may have seen some of these already.

Aside from Niche and Succession, I've always got a knitwear project going - even if I don't get to work on it very often.  In addition, I try to keep a pair of socks with me all the time so I have a project to just whip out of my purse if I end up with some down time.  The pair in the top left was cast on in the festive spirit of Valentine's Day, though they still aren't done and I have yet to cast some on with a fun spring colorway.  (There's a pattern there.)  I'm also gradually getting my home studio set up, and as spring slowly started to show its face we started working out in the yard more…. getting the garden ready, seeds started indoors, and planting berry bushes.

New art by an artist friend whom I admire -- Erin Latham, fungi (always fungi), a new experimental project and lichen/tiny plants at home.
One huge update for this spring - I became a bee keeper!  It's more engrossing than I ever expected, and I really enjoy going out to watch bees flying in and out of the hive.  The colony has been set up for three weeks now and we should see a lot more bees this coming week as the first wave of brood emerges.
Now that it's warming up and there are blooms/leaves to forage, I've been doing some more solar dyeing.  Looking forward to sharing some of that later on and also trying some new experiments this spring.
Our yard has an abundance of fruit trees - can't wait to make cobbler with these peaches later in the summer!
We found an interesting structure on a hike recently - it felt like walking onto the set of True Detective.
The garden is finally planted!  Seeds are sprouting everywhere and I'm waiting (borderline impatiently) for my tomatoes to start putting on some growth.
Finally, a new studio detail - the Mantra Scarf prototype.  One of my goals for the summer is to start developing on this concept again!
That's what has been going on in my part of the world.  What's new in your life?

Mystery Plants Galore

A couple of owners back, a Horticulture professor lived in our house.  Fitting, huh?  I'm rather thrilled by it, as we've got quite the assortment of trees that I've always wanted to grow, in addition to many plants that I am not so familiar with.  Now that springtime has arrived, things just keep popping up -- first a chorus of daffodils, and then earlier this week I noticed all of these little yellow flecks from across the yard while I was observing a fruit tree (plum, I think) with bees collecting pollen to their little hearts' delight.  Upon closer inspection, I discovered these beautiful little shrubs - tons of them, all lining our far back fence and smelling sweeter than I ever could have expected.  And I will admit, I had NO idea what they were.
Fortunately, my fellow nature lover Misti, who is far more knowledgeable in non-tree plant species than I am came to the rescue… and identified it as golden currant!  We have currants!  I will admit that while I know what currants are, I don't think I've actually eaten one… but I do intend to try my hand at making some preserves this summer!  I know that mystery plants abound in our half acre yard, but I'm really looking forward to discovering more of them… and adding more unusual varieties as well.
Have any of you grown golden currant before, and do you have any good recipes to use them in?

A Taste of Spring

It looks like I got my wish!  While Saturday dipped into the most miserable of temperatures, Sunday brought us some sunshine and warmth.  It was a pretty good day.  The new yard will be an ongoing improvement project (just like the house), but we picked up some berry bushes to plant in the shade of the huge pecan trees along the halfway fence line and some strawberries for a circular planter on one of the back porches.  I have ideas for other projects out here, though some of them may need to wait until next year.  For now, we need to start thinking about getting a lawn mower (never needed one) and preparing for the arrival of my bees!  I feel this immense weight lifted with the introduction of later daylight hours.  Breathing a sigh of relief...

Snow and Socks

Has winter been ridiculously miserable everywhere this year?  We've had so much frozen rain and snow, and it's been extremely cold.  That said, it's been too unpleasant to get out much so I've been knitting A LOT.  Mostly on knit wear.  Socks, more specifically.  This year I vow to knit at least a few pairs of socks all the way through without dropping the project for several months before picking it up again.  The Halloween socks I started back in October lay neglected until a couple of weeks ago when I finally got over my "second sock syndrome" and finished them.  I'm working on a wintry/Valentine's Day pair now, and Knit Picks must have heard about my socks kick because they discontinued all of their Felici color ways.. so of course I had to go and order yarn in the ones I've had my eye on.
However, news!  I'm in the planning stages of a couple of big projects, and also have some knitwear pieces to shoot photos of and post soon.  Plus, this weekend I will be painting my studio!  I'm really excited to get everything set up in there so I can really get to work.  I hope it's warm in your neck of the woods -- spring is on the horizon.
Top left: socks knit in Knit Picks Felici, pattern: Kai-Mei from Sock Innovation by Cookie A
Top right: the Lisa Hoke installation, "Come on Down" at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Bottom left: working on Hermione's Everyday Socks in foxglove Knit Picks Felici, flipping through Emma Robertson's new book, Knitting By Design.  Beautiful styling and photography.
Bottom right: a frozen pond at Martin Nature Park.  It's beautiful there in the winter.



Happy New Year, my dear blog readers!  I hope your holidays were spent with people whom you love with reckless abandon-- joyful, comforting and rejuvenating for a new start.  After a particularly strenuous summer and fall, I found myself in need of a disconnect for a short time.  Large project commitments, buying a home and moving just before the holidays got here were a little overwhelming. You know how sometimes you have to take a step back, regroup, and allow yourself to feel ready and refreshed before taking the plunge back into your normal work and routine?  That was December for me.
Our home is slowly coming together and I've been getting inspired to start creating again (more like itching to create SOMETHING - just a month off is still too long!)  I plan to rouse the 52 Forms of Fungi project this week and get back on a regular posting schedule.  If you've been checking back every so often, thank you!  Know that this is the beginning of a new year of active blogging.  One good aspect of the hiatus was that I had a little downtime to start whittling down my list of knitwear WIPs.  I'm excited to write some Off the Needles posts and cast on some fresh new pieces!  Happy January and I'll see you next week!
The above photo was from the ice storm we had during December.  Just enough to glisten on the trees without much damage!  It was beautiful.


Snow Days

Some winter weather hit us last week, so I spent a few days stuck at home.  The dog sure seemed to enjoy it - she's still on a high of having her own yard and it was fun watching her sprint in circles in the snow.  Plus, winter brings the most amazing sunrises/sunsets, don't you think?

Foggy Morning

It's a foggy morning over here today.  These are some images from the front part of my back yard.   We are moved in, and finally finished cleaning up at the old place for the end of our lease.  Most of our stuff is in the garage, but we're gradually starting to unpack and figure out where things will go.  Since the weather was so nice this weekend, we (Emma included) were able to enjoy the yard a little bit and get the bird feeders filled up to watch for little winged visitors.  With all the huge pecan trees in our area, there are a ton of wild birds hanging around.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I will have a small announcement at the end of this week...

I Love October

October is by far my favorite month of the year.  Aside from our wedding anniversary, the month has just always brought refreshment and comfort to me for as long as I can remember.  Maybe it's because of how much I dislike the heat of summer.  Maybe it's because everything becomes so vibrantly colorful... Or maybe it's just that change has come about.. we need that every once in a while, you know?  J and I went to a pumpkin farm this past weekend to harvest a few of these little guys for our porch.  Disregard the windswept hair.  On another note, my tights are actually mustard colored - no, I did not go to the pumpkin patch to be all matchy-matchy.  It was fun to get a little bundled up on a chilly morning and do festive things, however.
Another exciting event will occur this fall-- we are purchasing our first home!  I will wait to post any photos until after the closing date, which is in late November.  All I will say for now is that it's in town and on a lot that's over half an acre, so I see a lot of tree planting, garden building, fire pit making, and beekeeping in my future!
Happy Fall, friends.  What do you love most about this time of year?


Unleashing Your Creativity

Following patterns, templates and tutorials can fulfill a creative need while helping you to hone an artistic skill.  There's only so much you can take from it mentally, however.  Skill-wise it can be great practice, but when relying on another person's instruction you lose the innovation, spontaneity and scale of creativity that comes from improvisation or original construction.  Even if you've always been a paint by numbers kind of person, you can find a way to create something that was conceptualized and developed all on your own.  Here are some tips for "unleashing your creativity" that are related to my own experience.

1. Identify your skill

I've always been interested in art/craft, but have to admit that I'm not that great at drawing and painting. Knitting became my strongest creative skill in my 20's, but I had never done anything beyond knitting accessories and garments from patterns in books with step by step instructions.  It hadn't occurred to me until a few years ago that I could do more with my skill than just follow a pattern.  Even if you don't know how to use your skill for something larger creatively, just open your mind to the possibilities.  An idea may come.

2. Develop a concept that you are passionate about.

Once you identify your medium, you have to figure out what to do with it!  It's easy to mimic the trends out there (and there are a lot of them), but the best work comes from developing a concept that you're passionate about - something that means something to you.  Even if you want your piece to be simply aesthetic, go with an idea that you think is great... not one that you only chose because you thought others would like it.  If you're passionate about the subject/concept of your work, you will be more likely to finish and to produce something of high quality.

3. Open your eyes to inspiration.

Inspiration is all around us.  As I really like to communicate through my work, even the tiniest details in nature hold inspiration if we stop to contemplate them.  Stop to observe a leaf that was skeletonized by an insect, or the patterns of decay in a fallen limb.  Pay attention to your surroundings, things in the urban environment and the creativity around you.  There are inspirational muses all around us if we take the time to notice them.

4. Surpass your perceived limitations.

Creativity is a mind-expanding experience.  I used to make things because they were functional.  I also used to have wild ideas that would have been amazing to see created, but I would think "nah..." and let the slip away.  Now I embrace my ideas.  I keep a journal on hand just to write them down for later.  The good thing about indulging your imagination is that ideas keep coming!  You start to get inspired and pretty soon you have more ideas than you have time to execute.  Don't let your own personal reservations keep you from pursuing a great concept.  Try to think outside the box, and on a regular basis, do something "just because".  Let your reason be, "why not?"

5. Experiment!

Interested in trying a technique but you're not sure how it will turn out?  Try it!  You might be surprised, and if it doesn't turn out at least you know what doesn't work.  By removing your reservations toward not meeting your expectations, or better yet, removing your expectations altogether, you open yourself to compromise and flexibility.  If you're a Type A personality like me, this will be difficult but all the more rewarding.  This brings us to the next point... following your instincts mentally and creatively.

6. Go with your gut!  Not everything has to be planned.

When I was preparing for my Decomposition: Colony installations, I obviously knew what the pieces of my installation looked like, but I had NO idea how the overall installations would turn out.  I didn't know what the site would look like, what I would install the pieces into or if I would find something that would work at all.  Finally on that day as I climbed up the fern enclosed trail to what would become Colony I, a lot was left to chance.  I took a deep breath, took my time, and just went to work.  It was almost like a stream of consciousness as I put each little mushroom in place.  I didn't second guess myself, and just continued on it with purpose.  It wasn't planned.  I just did it.  I did what felt right.  In the end I couldn't have been happier with the result.

7. Do the work.

Sometimes it's unfortunate, but I know from time to time I will get into a funk and it's hard to find the motivation to start on anything.  As Steven Pressfield talks about in The War of Art, the best way to get inspired to keep working is to just start doing the work.  Even if you don't feel like it, make yourself get going.  Chances are that you will find inspiration along the way and that initial work (even if you're not crazy about the result) will lead to more work.

8. Not a trained artist?  Don't worry about it!

If you don't have a degree in art it's easy to waste energy worrying about whether you belong in the art world.  Maybe you haven't taken an art class in a very long time.  Maybe you don't have formal training or experience with art critique.  Perhaps the word "artist" makes you feel self conscious.  Rather than allow yourself to be constantly riddled with anxiety, just don't worry about it.  As far as labels go, just leave them alone.  Just be you, and just do what you do.  If you have a strong concept and produce high quality work, people may like.  You may be surprised by the response you get - I was.  Art is a very subjective thing.  Just worry about your work and whether or not you're satisfied with it, and let everyone else worry about their own opinions.

It's scary to get started in creative endeavors when you are out of practice, but I hope these lessons that I picked up can encourage you on your journey.  So remember...


  1. Identify the skill that can most effectively and naturally help you to communicate your creative vision.
  2. Develop and pursue a concept or idea that you're passionate about or that means something to you, in order to produce the most satisfying, high quality work.
  3. Open your eyes to the inspiration that is all around you.
  4. Surpass your limitations and don't restrict your creativity with perceptions about what you can do or how your skill should be done.  Pursue ideas, because "why not?".
  5. Experiment, and don't let expectations hinder a potentially surprising good outcome.
  6. Go with your gut and stop trying to plan everything.  Sometimes the best outcome results from just doing, and not over analyzing.
  7. Do the work, even if you feel uninspired.  With effort, inspiration will come.
  8. Don't fret over your lack of formal training or experience in the creative world.  Trust your skill and your intuition, and instead focus on producing high quality work that you are passionate about.

Weekend Workspace || 6-30-13

Today the "weekend workspace" phrase is more fitting than it's ever been, because I've been building a home workspace!  Up until now I've had a bookshelf and have worked at our dining table or the couch... but last weekend we pretty much rearranged the entire house so half of the front room could be a dedicated space for me to work in.  My bookshelf has pretty much remained the same, but I have added another cabinet for yarn storage, and a desk (!!) where my yarn swift can remain set up at all times and I can sit and work on project/pattern development.  I also have the small beginnings of an inspiration wall.  Now, off to put it to use!


My little porch container garden has really been taking off lately, which makes me happy every time I go out front.  I enjoy noticing a new little leaf enlarging or an elongating shoot each day.
Lately things have been busy but also not.  We've spent a lot of time in the last month looking at homes in search of our first one to buy.  This is not as fun as I expected it to be; instead it's probably the most anxiety inducing experience I've had in the past five years (including planning my wedding).  I'm hoping that we will find "the one" really soon.
I've taken a little break from my constant knitting, with the exception of working on fungi.  The one that's in progress now requires a lot of i-cord, so it's taking a while to complete.  I'm hoping to post about it sometime next week.
Part of my break is just to relax and regroup, and also to work on some samples for a couple of patterns I've been developing and would like to release this summer.  It's a fun and exciting process!  I'm glad it's Friday so I can get started on it again tomorrow and hopefully be ready to move to the next step for one of the pieces.
Finally, I cast on my first pair of two at a time, toe up socks yesterday using the Magic Loop method.  It seemed like a good way to relieve some stress, and while I had wanted to set a sock knitting goal this year this is actually my first pair.... so I'll just be happy to make it through one project using this method and then take it from there.
I hope you have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!