Illustration Inspiration - Deidre Wicks

You know the kind of cute that makes your heart kind of ache (in a good way)? That's the kind of cute sprinkled all throughout the work of Deidre Wicks. 

As you can see, she specializes in adorable animal watercolors, and sells prints (and originals) in her Etsy shop, Water In My Paint

I am currently trying to decide which of her numerous squirrel prints to purchase for my apartment next semester. My school is chock full of squirrels, and I'd love to pay tribute to that. Right now, I'm thinking of getting this cutie. Of course, it's a very hard decision to make.
What strikes me especially about her work is that she is extremely talented at blending realism and whimsy–all in one go. I absolutely adore her work, and I hope you do too.

To see more of Deidre's work, you can visit her portfolio, or her Facebook page

The Whole Kit and Ca-Doodle {3}

Here's a quick sketchbook update from the past couple of weeks. The style of my doodles has a pretty large range, mostly because I'm experimenting with different looks at the moment. I'm really liking the boldness of my new micron pens. It's a good, clean look.

Of course, you can't go wrong with a good old HB pencil either. I just went back to the basics with these two.

And then there are these little guys. They were lots of fun to draw. You can't tell from the photo, but three of them have little fur detailing on them. I have to say, the unicorn is my favorite.

On a different note, my summer job is officially over. I am definitely going to miss seeing the little camp kiddos everyday. I didn't think I'd be sad to be done with work, but I am. Working at the camp was a total blessing from God.

Now that work is over, I have time to finish my quilt project (maybe); hang out with my fam-bam and friends; and also to do my summer homework for Cru. I'll hopefully be leading a freshman Bible study this next school year, and I have to do some leadership reading to prepare for it. 

I just know the last bit of summer break is going to fly by... and I honestly don't know how I feel about that. 

Anyway, I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! Rest up. You deserve it!

Blog Commenting Systems (Or How I'm Like a Golden Retriever)

via ChelseaDogs
I've been blogging for a year and a half, and in that time, I've used four different commenting systems. For the first few months, I just used the default Blogger system, mostly because I was a naive little blogger and had no idea that other options even existed. 

Since then, I've used IntenseDebate, Google+, and (now) Disqus. I liked InstenseDebate, but switched to Google+ to give it a go. After being blocked from responding to many comments, I decided that I didn't like not having that ability to interact with readers. So, today I made the switch to Disqus.

I honestly have no good reasoning behind this switch other than that it is the most widely used third-party commenting system for blogs. (Basically, this indicates that if all the other bloggers jumped off a cliff, I would too.) Plus, you can log in with FB, Google+, and lots of other good stuff. That means it'll make commenting easier, I hope. I kind of hated how Google+ didn't allow non-Googlers to comment. How elitist is that?!

Unfortunately, the comments from the IntenseDebate and Google+ eras didn't carry over... which is kind of sad. So... I think you all should go back and redo all your comments. (Kidding, kidding!)

But seriously, do any of you have a preference for commenting system? I have read lots of articles, but frankly, I feel like a golden retriever trying to fetch multiple tennis balls, all at once. I enthusiastically pick one up, and then drop it at the excitement of finding another. Sigh... Blogging problems.

Anywho, I have to go clean up around the house (and that's a real world problem). I hope you all had a happy Tuesday! 

Illustration Inspiration - Victoria O'May Alves

Lately, illustration has been on the brain. I've been down many internet rabbit-holes, learning more about the illustrator community. It's exciting to find new artists, and I will be featuring these illustrators from time to time here on the ole' blog. 

Today, I would like to introduce Victoria O'May Alves. She is an artist based in Spain who works in pen, watercolor, etching, and many other forms of mixed-media. 

I was really excited to find her Heart on a String etching in her shop, Oh'May. I took a studio course last semester in intaglio printing, so etching is something near and dear to my heart. 

She has lots of other prints and original paintings in her shop, and she keeps a beautiful blog called Oh-May. If you have time, you should definitely take a look. You can also look at her Society6 shop here.

If there are any particular illustrators you are interested in, please tell me! I am always delighted to find new work to gawk at. 

I Just Started My First Quilt!!!

This Sunday, I went to the fabric store and bought fabric to make my very first quilt. Goal number 10 in 20 Before 20 is to learn how to make a quilt, and that is exactly what I am doing. No lie, I am super excited about how it is turning out.

Before starting, I spent a lot of time searching for patterns online. I'm glad I invested time in doing so because it helped me to pick up a few techniques. I ended up using this tutorial from Blue Elephant Stitches for the blocks. 

I ended up modifying my technique a little by sewing strips of 2.5"x5" fabric together, and cutting the strips in half to make the rows. It's just easier and more efficient... I'll post on that technique later, because I don't think the way I wrote that made any sense. The kids at camp are sucking out my brain cells–I swear it!

Another helpful resource for me has been Elizabeth Hartman's Practical Guide to Patchwork, as well as her blog, Oh Fransson!.

I haven't sewn since last summer, but it sure feels good to be at it again. I imagine cutting and ironing could be a chore; but I've been watching Downton Abbey simultaneously, so it doesn't seem too repetitive of a task. It's a wonder I haven't cut or burned myself yet... being distracted as I am by that show.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Genius of The Family

Last week at camp, we made magazine collages with the kids. In between helping them cut and paste, I flipped through the magazines, just to look. Most of them were National Geographics from the 1970's, and boy did I find some gems in there! 

I ripped out a few of the pages with my favorite pictures in them, and cropped them once I got home. I have a whole wall in my bedroom dedicated to photos, magazine clippings, and other paper goods that strike me as pleasing. (I hang them up using artist's tape, in case you're interested in making your own wall.)

It seems a little silly to spend so much time decorating my room because (a) I only live there for maybe 4 months out of the year, and (b) it is admittedly super messy a good portion of that time. Oh well. I'll ignore common sense on this one.

This particular clipping is my favorite. It's a Polaroid advertisement from the 1970's. I was going to just cut out the camera, but I really liked the context that the advertisement text gives to it. Plus, I can totally relate to the part about being "the genius of the family." (Just kidding!)

Psalm 40:16
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvations say continually, "Great is the Lord!"

The Bear Paw

This week the Bear Paw Festival rolled through town. It definitely has a small-town feel to it, but I still enjoy going to it on an annual basis. 

This weekend, a few of us went downtown to watch the parade. As you can see, there were go-carts, "Little Sebastian" ponies, and of course a troop of bagpipers. After all, a parade without bagpipes would not be a parade at all, now would it?

Early on in the day, I found a lost cellphone on the ground. I ended up managing to return it to the owner, and she was so grateful she gave me five dollars (I tried to give it back, but she insisted). Later, I passed by this booth full of cute handmade accessories. I ended up buying a pair of turqoise-colored fish earrings with it. The best part is they only costed five dollars!

The earrings were made by Love Nugget Designs, an indie-handmade business based in Palmer, Alaska. Laura, the owner of the shop, is on Etsy and sells tons of adorable (and stylish) accessories–at a great price I might add. If you have time, you should visit her shop here!

I wish you all a wonderful start to the new week.

Hidden Treasures

My sister and I have recently started geocaching. In case you don't know, geocaching is essentially a treasure hunting game. Geocachers world-wide leave caches in various locations, and provide the GPS coordinates to fellow finders. Then, using the coordinates, players go and search for the hidden container. It's tons of fun, and I'm surprised I haven't ever done it before! 

In Alaska especially, a great deal of the caches are hidden along hiking trails and mountain-sides. So, we get a good hike, as well as the sense of adventure that comes with hunting for hidden treasure. 

This past week, we went out to some local trails and found a couple of caches along the way. We had a blast, and encountered lots of wildlife (including a grazing moose!). As you can see, we took a lot of photos along the way.  :0)

If you're interested in trying to go geocaching, all you need is a GPS enabled smartphone and an account on There are lots of apps out there that work very well. On Android, my sister and I use C:geo. It's free, and easy to use–so get out there and start finding caches!

Have a blessed Sunday!

Proverbs 2:4-5
"If you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." 

Geeking Out About {12} // Arrested Development

Links to Stores:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 

Wow! This was a very long week for me. At work, I felt like "No touching!" became my catchphrase. I kept telling the kids not to touch the art in the museum, the stuff they found on the floor, the sticky stuff on the telephone poles, each other... you get the idea. That's what inspired this round-up, at any rate. 

All of these artists are on Etsy, and I heartily encourage you to visit their shops. Each of them has their own sense of style, and just lovely things to purchase. 

I wish you all a wonderful weekend! If you find a Bluth's Banana Stand laying around, let me know. We could split the $250,000 lining its walls between the two of us. We don't even have to split it equally. I'd be quite tickled if you gave me even 10 percent. 

The Whole Kit and Ca-Doodle {2}

I just wanted to share some of my sketchbook entries from last week. We spend the week out on the water fishing. Prince William Sound and all of the little otters I saw were the inspiration behind this one.

I am also on an animal kick. I used to feel like drawing animals was kind of juvenile–but I've recently decided, I don't really care if it is. My life could use some immaturity every now and then. I am kind of jealous of the dapper fox's sweater. No lie.

And finally, the fancy giraffe. His banner isn't painted... and I don't know that I will. That's the best thing about sketchbooks. There's no pressure to have everything look like perfection.

I thought it would be worth noting that I'm using a new sketchbook now. I tore through my Molskine cashier sketchbook faster than I thought I would (which completes 20 Before 20 goal #4!), and had to buy a new one. 

Because I'm left handed, I don't like spiral bound sketchbooks. They just make my hand sit all funny, and make my wrist uncomfortable. So, I bought an Art Alternatives hardbound sketchbook. I really like it so far. The paper doesn't feather, and it holds up to watercolor washes quite handily. Plus, I was able to use a 40% off coupon since I got it from Jo-Anns, and it only costed me $6! I think it has 100 pages in it, so I'd say it was quite a good deal–and I'm a sucker for a deal. :0)

Photo Journal

This post was extremely fun for me to make. It was my first time really delving into the possibilities of different post layouts, and it was very rewarding. I think this might be the kind of thing that can help bring me out of the blogging slump I've been in for a while now! 

I suppose we'll see.  :0)