from the jazz age to the space age

Built By Wendy and Burda Easy Geometric Dress

My son Karl just graduated from Preschool and I wanted something special to wear as well as something to wear with the Twin Peaks collar necklace I made last year. I found this lovely geometric fabric at Joanne’s in the quilting section. I washed it a couple of times and it got very soft, which is pretty standard for most quilting cottons I’ve gotten there. It’s thin enough to be breathable in summer, but thick enough that I didn’t have to line it or wear a slip. Here it is on the morning before we left for the ceremony. photo (6)

photo (7)

And here we are after. I’m so proud of him! Yes, I’m a little wrinkled post sitting and socializing. Plus with a belt it has a tendency to creep upward, but all in all it’s very comfortable and easy to wear.

IMG_3939 IMG_3940I added cuffs and a sleeve pleat from a Burda Easy pattern. I wanted an early 80s look with the shoulders which I think worked out nicely. I’m one of those broad shouldered women with even broader hips (Hello Joan Crawford!) so a strong shoulder balances me out nicely and makes me look less pear and more hourglass shaped.




I used the Built By Wendy Shift pattern from her Dresses book and swapped in the sleeve head from Burda Easy Spring/Summer 2013 (one of Burda’s best issues in my opinion).IMG_3950Given that I’m 35″ bust and 41″ hip post baby, with a few more pounds and LOTS of toning to go, I should have cut a Small bust and a Large hip, but I like my clothes slightly more fitted & in my experience most modern patterns have loads of ease. Loooooooaaaaaaads of it. I used the Xtra Small through the bust and graded out to a Medium in the hips, which ended up being totally unnecessary and I ended up with a Small through the hips ( which is bonkers).

IMG_3951As for the sleeves, I used the Built By Wendy sleeve and added the Burda Easy sleeve cap. It turned out perfectly!

I added an invisible zipper, which took forever for me to remember how to put one in, but eventually it worked out. The insides are just pinked so there’s no fancy finishing to show off and instead of a facing I used bias tape for the neckline, which reduced bulk.

Now I’m off to the store and hopefully I’ll be able to get some drawing done this afternoon~

Princess Witch will be in Atlanta, GA; Miami, FL; and Austin, TX in June

Atlanta, GA
Friday 6/5: 4pm – 8pm
Saturday 6/7: 12pm – 4pm
Sunday 6/7: 12pm – 4pm
Ponce City Market

Miami, FL
Saturday 6/13: 12:30 – 4:30
Perez Art Museum
Austin, TX
Friday 6/19 –  Sunday 6/21:
12pm – 4pm
Umlauf Sculpture Garden Museum


We are all Wonder Women! Happy Mother’s Day!

princessdianasigng“Princess Diana”

I got an early Mother’s Day gift from my husband, a book called,”Wonder Woman- Amazon-Hero-Icon- ” Which was fun because I’d just finished an illustration of Princess Diana on Paradise Island before she becomes Wonder Woman- sort of a “what if?” Anyone following my Instagram knows how long I’ve struggled with this picture. It took forever to come together, but I’m finally happy with it.
A few years ago I was drawing superheroes with my son Karl. When I drew Wonder Woman I drew her costume a little differently each time (she’s had so many). One was a variation of this one & I really liked it. I love “Gladiator” and wanted to incorporate a Greek/Roman look, without falling prey to over designing it. While I’m also not a big fan of everything in comics having to be realistic or somehow “make sense,” I’m not opposed to a created world having its own logic.

Wonder Woman’s costume is constantly redesigned. For some reason people can’t deal with her swimsuit. Personally I love it. But the redesigns are usually a mess- not even a hot mess because there’s nothing hot about them- they’re just a mess. So, I set about figuring out why WW wears what she wears. I hit upon the idea that the Amazon’s think America worships Zeus bc of the American eagle on Steve Trever’s uniform. I expanded that to the Amazon armor having the animal totem of each Amazon’s patron goddess. In Diana’s case, a stag for the goddess Artemis. When she wins the contest to become Wonder Woman and travel to Man’s World the Amazons make her American armor with Zeus’s eagle.

Oh, and my dream Wonder Woman went to 1940s America with Steve and then went back to Paradise Island, only to eventually return to the US in the present day. Something she can do bc the Amazons are immortal- DUH DC Comics. Sheesh! Each reboot makes everything so ridiculously convoluted. She’s a magical princess! It’s so easy!

Anyway, here’s the lovely Princess Diana as she goes to investigate the mysterious crash off the coast of Paradise Island. (Yes, I know it’s Themyscira, but Steve can’t pronounce that so he just calls it “Paradise Island”. Poor Steve. He’s such a hot, good natured himbo.)

Princess Witch and the Sketchbook Tour 2015


My sketchbook project, “Princess Witch” is online over at the Sketchbook Project:

I have trouble expressing how happy this project made me. It provided me with final drawings for future paintings- one in the works right now- and crystalized my vision of this little world that I’ve been working on for the last 5 years. It’s a wonderful feeling to get to a place where you’re finally happy with something you’ve created (until you look at it the next day ;D ).

“Princess Witch” explores the 4th dimension intersecting with our own, time perception in animals, pictorial language, identity, and magick with a K- all wrapped up in a pop culture love letter to Twin Peaks and clothed in pretty 1970s Biba -esque dresses.

My book is currently on tour!


Brooklyn, NY
Friday 5/8: 6pm – 10pm
Saturday 5/9: 11am – 7pm
Sunday 5/10: 11am – 7pm
Brooklyn Art Library

Atlanta, GA
Friday 6/5: 4pm – 8pm
Saturday 6/7: 12pm – 4pm
Sunday 6/7: 12pm – 4pm
Ponce City Market

Miami, FL
Saturday 6/13: 12:30 – 4:30
Perez Art Museum
Austin, TX
Friday 6/19 –  Sunday 6/21:
12pm – 4pm
Umlauf Sculpture Garden Museum
Los Angeles, CA
Friday 6/26: 4:30pm – 8:30pm
Saturday 6/27: 3:30pm – 7:30pm
Sunday 6/28: 12pm – 4pm
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Oakland, CA
Friday 8/7: 6pm – 10pm
Oakland Art Murmur
San Francisco, CA
Saturday 8/8 – Sunday 8/9: tba
The Yard at Mission Rock
Seattle, WA
Thursday 8/13: 5pm – 8pm
Friday 8/14: 11am -3pm
Saturday 8/15: 11am -3pm
Seattle Art Museum / Olympic Park

Chicago, IL
Saturday 8/22 – Sunday 8/23: tba
Chicago Loop Alliance

Toronto, ON
Friday 8/28: 4pm – 8pm
Saturday 8/29: 12pm – 4pm
Sunday 8/30: 12pm – 4pm
The Distillery Historic District

Simple Modern Sewing- Maternity Dress

I made this dress last year when I was pregnant with Tony. These photos were taken in late August or early September- when I was around 8 months pregnant. The pattern is from the book, Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha. It’s pattern 3, the “Boatneck Dress.

I LOVE this pattern. It’s incredibly easy. The neckline is wide enough that you don’t need a zipper, but it doesn’t gape. Be warned, the sizing on this is… interesting. The dress is supposed to be loose, but I like my clothing a little more fitted. Initially, I made a size Small, which is a finished bust measurement of 38.5 inches, including ease. this was way too big for me, even in the shoulders. I ended up making an XS, which has a finished bust measurement of 37″ and grading out to a Medium for the waist and hips to accommodate my tummy. At the time, my bust measurement was 36″, but post pregnancy, as I’ve been going back to my normal weight, I’m going to have to take it in quite a bit. I know a lot of people shy away from Japanese patterns, thinking they’ll be too small, but trust me, the fit is usually so loose that you often have to take them in for a more American look. I am 5’9″ so I had to lower the bust dart, but I didn’t have to lower or widen the arm at all. On the book model dress length is mid calf, but I cut mine to right above the knee for a slightly 60s look.

After these photos Karl and I made cookies!

Words, Words, Words: On Toxicity and Abuse in Online Activism

As you know, I’m critical of “social justice warriors”- not actual social justice, mind you, but the hate spewing/tears drinking/new-speak ing variety that has taken hold online. Somewhere along the way liberals decided that adopting the debating tools of the belligerent Tea Party loving Right was really satisfying.
I hope that we, as a society, can step back from this kind of action. And especially as Liberal/Progressives we have so much to lose from alienating people. It’s not going to matter if we’re on the right side of history if people stop listening to us. Our message may be wonderful, but when we present it with a “you’re a fucking bigoted, racist idiot” if you disagree with the minutiae of my position, then people will bypass you. The good work may get done eventually, but why should we waste decades of possible progress bc we’re not interested in conducting civil arguments? This isn’t about being a doormat- if someone tells you to go fuck yourself, you can obviously say the same back. Why is any dissent is handled in the most obnoxious, bullying manner? Why do we display a complete lack of faith in people who we know are allies? Maybe ask for clarification before branding them a bigot. Let’s not have every discussion become an endless series of clarifications so that we never end up having an a discussion about whatever it was that we wanted to talk about- as well as maybe stepping back from making an entire argument about a single word they used while ignoring the rest of what they said.
I recently had a chat with my neighbor. “I don’t really consider myself a feminist” she said. I waited until she was done and then said, “Yeah, I definitely consider myself a feminist bc I can tell you, if I’m doing the same job as a guy, then I better be getting paid the same, you know?” She agreed and we just gently proceeded from there. Turns out she has a feminist sister who, at family get togethers, likes to talk about how any women who gets married & has children, as opposed to putting a career first, is wasting her life. I didn’t dogpile on her sister. All I did was ask, “Ohhhhh, does she have kids?” No, but she’d just gotten married and wants to have one. At that point I laughed, “Well, hmmmm, I guess you’ll see how she feels if that happens. I’ve had a career and now I’m married with kids. I don’t think either is a waste. All feminism is, is if a woman wants to get married or have kids, or both, then society can be set up in a way where it’s safe for her to do so- and if a woman doesn’t want to get married or have kids and instead wants a career, then she gets the chance to do that. It’s all good.”
“Wow, you are the first Feminist I’ve ever talked to that I agreed with,” she told me.

That didn’t make me feel good. All you need to do is connect with people. Take turns talking and listening. You’re not converting people. It isn’t instantaneous. People don’t need to agree with you. You can put the conversation to rest without nuking it. If you start getting heated just let the other person know that it’s a personal issue to you & you don’t feel like you can continue talking about it. And if someone like me can do this, then you can do this. 99% of all the days of my life I have felt like an alien anthropologist, studying humanity without ever feeling like I’m a part of it.

I don’t want the next decade to be a rehash of the 80s where we lost the progress of 70s bc we let our infighting get the better of us until it became our public face. I have friends who are all over the political spectrum. I’m not going to trash them bc they espouse somewhat different ideas from mine- ideas that are often shaped by their life experiences, btw. I’m not going to burn bridges when I’d rather build them. And yes, that means building a bridge to the most privileged members of our society that doesn’t involve discounting anything they say with an off the cuff, “check your privilege.” When I talk to guys who don’t believe in sexism I just tell them a story about my own experience. And I don’t expect the scales to fall from their eyes as they yell, “thank you! thank you! I have seen the light!” Seriously? No. It just goes into the collective pit somewhere and who knows, maybe they’ll experience something or see something and think- “ohhhh, hey that’s like that thing I’ve been hearing about. That really happens? That’s kind of fucked up.” And yes, that has happened to people I know. It’s also happened to me.

I recently came across this post and it’s so good. So right on. It’s kind of long, but I hope you give it a read.

Nuclear Unicorn

A landscape image of Shodan, a feminine face made up of green digital characters against a black background. Digital Shodan by Chris R (

To all new readers: I’ve written a follow up to this article.

Not long ago my partner and I were seated in her car discussing the arbitrary nature of certain holidays and I opined, perhaps halfheartedly, that New Year’s was a worthwhile holiday simply for it being a useful vantage point for reflection, however arbitrary. It provides an overlook whence one can see a year of one’s life and world. A recent tranche of writing by severalprominentmembersof the trans and queer feminist gaming community has renewed my faith in that idea– with the overleaf of the year we suddenly find a great deal of penetrating insight into activist discourse and the risks incurred by our silence about certain excesses that have come to define us too often.

The wages of rage in our communities, and the often aimless, unchecked anger…

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Mr. Blue Sky

“Hey you with the pretty face! Welcome to the human race!”

10690147_10205409122897306_3151403374821173313_nMr. Anthony Thorbjorn is 4 months old!

I went in for a scheduled c-section in October. Kaiser has upped its game- everything was really nice. After Karl’s disastrous birth (not at a Kaiser) which involved a neglectful midwife, hours of hard labor, & baby that was “sunny side up”, I ended up with a surprise c-section. Post baby, it wasn’t any easier- the nurses didn’t answer my calls for pain medicine, my c-section became infected, a colicky baby, and post-partum depression. I was determined to hedge my bets with Tony as much as possible.
My c-section was scheduled. I bought a belt to hold my guts in afterwards (surprise! Kaiser ended up providing one!). And I made sure that my pain management was something the nurses had to do every 4 hours.
For Tony, I had a spinal instead of an epidural, which was much, much nicer. And they asked what kind of music I’d like to listen to. I picked ELO, the Electric Light Orchestra. As fortune would have it, the staff liked 70s music & a couple were familiar with & liked ELO.

They almost didn’t get Tony out. Apparently I have a lot of scar tissue from Karl. Thankfully, they made it happen and as the opening bars of “Mr. Blue Sky” played, I heard a hearty cry. He was the pinkest baby that week and at 8lbs 5oz! truly a Thunder Bear!

Like Karl he has a different blood type than I do & was also jaundiced. Unlike Karl, he did not want to nurse. We tried everything. After receiving some spectacularly stupid advice from a lactation consultant- no Lady, I am not going to let him get hungrier until he eventually eats- I ended up pumping and formula supplementing. He had trouble with the bottle nipple too, but bc the milk could essentially pour down his throat, he at least got enough milk to poop out his jaundice.
I got a lot of push back for formula feeding, which I found so strange. After being told for the umpteenth time, “Well you know, breast fed babies have higher IQs,” I dryly intoned, “Yes. We’re hoping he won’t be TOO stupid.” Obviously I was pro breast. I had breast fed Karl until my 3rd bout of mastitis had put that to bed. Luckily both my obgyn & our pediatrician were supportive after I told them I had just started lying to people when they asked.
Interestingly enough, this time I’ve been pretty well rested. I bonded with Tony much sooner- and so did my husband. There was no colic this time around either. And I’m losing the baby weight much faster. It’s been *knock on wood* wonderful.

He is the sweetest baby. My little Libra is truly ruled by the goddess of love.

“We’ll join this cosmic saga”

Happy Valentine’s Day to my beautiful husband, Mikael.

Today is one of those days where I don’t want to do anything other than cuddle up with my husband, eat some cookies, and maybe power watch something mindless like “Scrubs.” We’ve both been sick with a sore throat cough so the most romantic thing I can think of is an enormous amount of snuggling on the couch. There may be cocoa involved in my fantasy.
A far as gifts, which are always low key for us, Mikael wanted to do surprises this year. I hate surprises. But I decided to roll with it this year. This organism is trying to evolve!haeckel_radiolaria

My love
Your house has many rooms
The kitchen’s filled with food
I’ll find a place inside

The dreams that pass across your face
Come from a secret place
Everyone close your eyes

It’s true
I am a shaky ladder
Intergalactic matter
Outside of space and time

But who is standing on your street
These buildings are not real
My tricks are useless here

“It’s true”
That’s what a lover hears
It’s what a fool believes
It’s not too late to try

I’ll step out from the shadows
Intergalactic matter
Outside of space and time

Dirty feet
Broke your teeth
Somewhere out beyond the stars
A funny face
Some lost in space
Are we?

Everyone’s enlightened everyday
You may reach nirvana when you comb your hair

I know
We’ll join this cosmic saga
Intergalactic matter
Where we will meet tonight
Spiralling out of sight
Outside of space and time

Happy Galentines Day!

Vanessa made these awesome Valentine’s Day cards!


When Margot suggested we celebrate Galentine’s Day for our February #UntamedStyle post, I was so in. I LOVE my girls! Friendship and Lady Love reigns supreme! This is my year of Love, Radical Self Love, The Joy of Love! Loving myself is about acting out of love instead of fear. It’s been a conscious journey and an amazing ride, and its only just begun.

We all have our good days and our bad days. On my bad days, I have found that the women I’v surrounded myself with feel my pain, lift my spirits, and help me rise.

So I want to spread a little Love to all my friends and chosen family, who make up my Feminist Community of Love! I’ve made some Inspired Galentines Day Cards for my real life Sheroes. Feel free to share the LoVE!

BadAssFeministQueenPatriarchy KittyPicMonkey CollageStardust

Galentines, Thanks for Supporting my Self Love Affair!

Sending you So much Love, Light, and…

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Backstrom (imagine skeptical emoji here)


Watched Backstrom last night. I love Rainn Wilson, but I’m over the trope. I was WAY over it while watching House- but the fine supporting cast kept me hooked. “Brilliant Asshole” still has the ability to provide some fun, but it’s going to have to be fresher. I don’t need another “not really racist-sexist cause they’re just tellin’ it like it is” character. 1. You’re never going to do it better than Hunter Thompson did in real life,

hunter-s-thompson-liebowitzand 2. you need an emotional anchor. Sherlock has Watson, House has Wilson & Cuddy, Bones has Booth, Angela, Cam… okay, she has every other character in the show.
Here’s a news flash for you- you know what would be really shocking in a crime procedural? The brilliant asshole not being racist & sexist. How about a character that had picked up a book? Orrrrrrrr, ventured out of their office? Right? OMG! No way! If you want to drop some fucking “truth bombs” how about you have the “smart” character call the other characters on their bullshit while still acknowledging that yes, sometimes women are more in touch with their feelings or yes, sometimes people who aren’t white commit crimes? How about having the kindly Hindu doctor shut down Backstrom’s 9th grade soliloquy about how everyone’s afraid of death? Hey man, afraid of death? That’s fucking DEEP. Or- no wait, that’s merely a normal experience of most observed life on Earth.

Step it up. Wilson deserves better and so do we.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice~ illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, published 1993. I was and am a big fan of the husband and wife illustrating team, Leo and Diane Dillon. I have a number of their books and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Nancy Willard crafts a sweet rhyming tale of the lovely apprentice Sylvia who apprentices with the magician Tottibo.

One of the best things about older children’s books is that in the copyright information they frequently include information about the illustrations:
“The full page illustrations were in watercolor, on Arches hot press watercolor paper mounted on board. The spot illustrations were in watercolor on Strathmore three-ply kid finish bristol board.
The geometric symbol worn by the sorcerer was devised by the artists bc of its meaning: the triangle stands for creative intellect, and the circle represents eternity- combined, they signify endless creativity.”


“Mount Dragon Eye’s? It’s very near,
yet no one travels it for fear
of beasts that mutter, huff, and blow,
round the magician Tottibo.
Beyond his house the earth looks dead.
‘Take heart, you beasts and bugs,’ he said.
‘Let spiders sing and panthers play.
My new apprentice comes today!'”

IMG_3164underneath the dust jacket, the front cover is embossed (I love details like this).IMG_3181Sylvia’s three wheeled trike. In the past women when women wore heavy skirts it was easier for them to ride bikes like this.
IMG_3165Sylvia’s clogs are on point.
IMG_3166 IMG_3167 IMG_3168 IMG_3169 IMG_3170 IMG_3173 IMG_3174 IMG_3171 IMG_3175 IMG_3176 IMG_3172 IMG_3177 IMG_3178 IMG_3179 IMG_3180“Mount Dragon Eyes? It’s very near,
and every day not far from here,
round a high stool with silver feet,
those who would study magic meet
at Tottibo’s…
The gryphons dance, the dragons doze;
they all admire each other’s clothes
while Sylvia teaches them to say
the spell she worked out yesterday
for turning pencils into pails
and failures into fairy tales.”

Sketchbook Project~ Doodles and Sketches

I thought I’d missed the deadline to send in my Sketchbook Project, but luckily I haven’t! It’s due in March. Last night I stayed up and collected all my doodles (they hardly qualify as sketches now) in one place. As soon as I have a final count for the book then it’ll be on to the next step: reference photos.

My work flow goes something like this- look at photos, movies/tv, & paintings for general mood. This helps a lot with composition. I have numerous Pinterest boards dedicated to inspiration.
– next, I doodle a general layout
-followed by a sketch
– then I take reference photos of myself. I’m going to be laying on our kitchen table for one of them which means my husband is going to have to snap a couple pictures.
-At that point I print them out on black and white, and start sketching in earnest. Sketches get cut apart, taped back together, & stuck up to the light so I can see them in reverse. I can do this in Photoshop shop too. It depends on how much tweaking the initial sketch needs.
-I trace over my rough sketch and draw. This drawing is still very simple with no shading. If it works for me, I transfer it to my final paper, which for paintings is Canson Acrylic paper and for drawings is Strathmore recycled drawing paper, which I prefer for the cream color of the paper itself.


doodlesprincesswitch IMG_3160 IMG_3161 IMG_3162

New Agent!

securedownloadI’m excited to say that I am now represented by Contact Jupiter! So far they have been a joy to work with and I can’t recommend them enough. I’m very excited to see what 2015 will bring.

Check out my new contact page!

Sherlock Holmes: Love is a 3 Pipe Problem


Sherlock Holmes: Love is a 3 Pipe Problem

is available as a tee shirt for adults, children, and babies-

It’s also available as a phone case, ipad case, pillows, mugs, and skins.

National Coffee Day!

Some places you can get free and/or discounted coffee today on National Coffee Day~


Shhhhhhh! I don’t want to hear any grousing about made up holidays when they involve free coffee ;D

And yes, I definitely got my Agent Cooper on and had a damn fine cup of coffee!

Snow White by Camille Rose Garcia

Unf- I love Camille Rose Garcia. Her art reminds me of lost Fleischer cartoons. I have her version of Alice in Wonderland (so incredibly acid pastel that it hurts my eyes) but the colors in Snow White are more to my taste. IMG_2488 I love when books have details like this- the cloth bound cover is printed.IMG_2490 IMG_2491

The book was designed by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich and it’s amazing. Amazing! So is his name. I thought maybe it was made up, but it looks legit! IMG_2493



IMG_2496 IMG_2498

I have to admit, the multiple eyes give me a headache.IMG_2499 The Prince shows up on some swans bc… of course he did!IMG_2500

She has a version of Cinderella that she’s been working on and posting wips on her Instagram. No word on when it’s due to be released, but it looks delightful as well!

Wild Swans -lost masterpiece by Gordon Laite

“Gordon Laite’s breathtaking artwork for a Little Golden Book edition of the Andersen fairy tale was found recently in the Golden Books archive. Planned for a 1970 release but never published, this Little Golden Book is finally making its debut for today’s fairy tale fans! And it couldn’t be a lovelier retelling of the story of a determined princess whose loyalty saves her brothers from being turned into swans by an evil queen.” ~Random House

What the what? Yes, you read that right. This is all the more valuable bc Laite died at such a young age, before he had the time to illustrate many books. I’ve already reviewed some of his other stories- like Cinderella, Diamonds and Toads in the Blue Fairy Book, and More Tales to Tremble By.

Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s story, the adaptor, Robin Davies does a wonderful job changing Anderson’s story (of which I’m not a fan) into something nearly identical to the Grimms’ fairy tale, “The Six Swans.”  The Late Medieval 15th century setting is amazing. Check out the evil step mother’s bizarre hennin. I also love that she’s nearly green with envy. FYI- if I’d had thirteen kids, I probably would have died too.  IMG_2530 The beautiful raven haired Elisa meets a fairy woman. I love the little details like mushroom gathering, leaf crown, and blue stockings. IMG_2531

Autumnal colors characterize all the illustrations. IMG_2532 IMG_2533 IMG_2534 IMG_2535

Those ladies are throwing some serious shade Elisa’s way. IMG_2536 But not as much as this guy! I almost forgive him bc his fur hat is all kinds of amazing. IMG_2537 Can these illustrations get anymore awesomely gothic?IMG_2538Why yes they can- I love that Laite ditched Elisa’s amazing truncated butterfly hennin so he could illustrate her gorgeous hair in the remaining pictures.
IMG_2539 IMG_2540 IMG_2541 IMG_2542

This little book is a dream come true for me. Not only is set during one of my absolute favorite time periods for fairy tales, it’s by Gordon Laite, the most influential of my childhood art heroes.

Murder! Mystery! So much good tv!

For a not particularly violent person, I love murder mysteries.

As I mentioned last time, I don’t find tv watching relaxing. The minutes crawl by, so I have to have something next to me to distract me, usually my phone where I’m reading an article (I don’t have social apps on my phone except Instagram). I would knit, but having the light bright enough doesn’t really enable my husband to watch tv comfortably. However, over August we made it through the first 5 seasons of “Supernatural.” After a predictably rough start, midway through the first season it got good- really good! It may have had something to do with Ben Edlund’s involvement (if you haven’t read or watched The Tick, find it immediately. It’s parody still holds up brilliantly, perhaps even more so now that ninjas & superheroes are hot again). After the end of season 5, which wraps up the series nicely, we decided to take a break before we watched the more recent seasons.


Next we watched “Broadchurch.” WOW. I mean, we knew we’d love parts of it bc of David Tennant, but everyone was well written and well acted, especially Olivia Colman. They’ve remade it for America as “Gracepoint,” which will be starting October 1st. I don’t know that I love Tennant’s American accent and to be honest every else looks so shiny. But while the first two episodes of Gracepoint are supposed to mirror Broadchurch, from there it diverges and has a different plot. Who am I kidding, we’ll totally watch it, but probably start at episode 3 & power watch 1,2, & 3 at once so we don’t have that sense of disappointment. We loved Broadchurch so much that it left us with that feeling of a bad breakup. Does that ever happen to you? You love something so much and when it’s over nothing else compares (cue Sinead O’Connor and her glycerin tears).


picture is Luther wallpaper from

We decided to rebound with Luther. We were first introduced to Idris Elba in The Wire (another show that left us like a bad breakup). Luthor is good, really good and it features a delightful anomaly: a female master villain. Neither my husband nor I found Ruth Wilson as Alice attractive. She has what I term, “the Innsmouth Look” (Lovecraft! & seriously, please stop putting fillers in your upper lip), but I soon fell in love. I explained to my husband that she’s like what would happen if Batman had to team up with Poison Ivy- (side note, how amazing would Idris Elba be as Batman? He’s tall, gorgeous, and radiates intelligence). He ended up coming around to her & now every time she shows up we squeal bc we know the show is going to get SO GOOD!!!

Oh! I should mention in case it’s not apparent, these shows are SUPER messed up and not for the faint of heart. Netflix has Supernatural and Luther, but you have to pay for Broadchurch on amazon. it’s worth it. Be careful, apparently the BBCAmerica version cut scenes out 😦

Inspiration- music

Along with my permanent musical inspirations- Bowie, Roxy Music, and all things late 60s/70s- there are a few more current musicians that I find inspiring.

Of Monsters and Men- My Head is an Animal- an Icelandic group with whimsical, cheery music. They’re like listening to a weird and wonderful children’s book.


Florence + the Machine- Ceremonials. Lush music that reminds me in some ways of Siouxsie and the Banshees. It’s like listening to velvet. Florence is also heavily influence by the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic, which is also why I love her! Doesn’t she look like Ophelia here?


Arcade Fire- Neon Bible. Oh My Goodness, is there anything better than “Black Mirror”? The lyrics will float up from my subconscious at those quiet moments. A few months ago I woke up at 4:30am with this on perma play in my head-

“The black mirror knows no reflection
It knows not pride or vanity
It cares not about your dreams
It cares not for your pyramid schemes
Their names are never spoken
The curse is never broken
The curse is never broken

Un! Deux! Trois! Dis: miroir noir!
Black mirror!
Un! Deux! Trois! Dis: miroir noir!
Black mirror!”


It may have something to do with us having a black framed mirror (thanks Ikea) as well as my ambivilent attitude towards tv. I love shows and movies, but I just can’t sit and watch something without doing something else at the same time. It makes my husband a little crazy bc it’s his go-to way to relax, but I don’t find sitting to be relaxing at all. Our nighttime hour of show watching is definitely something I do bc I love him- although we have been watching a slew of shows that have captured my interest! I’ll post about them next time.


Hello Autumn!

Despite what the calendar says, September is the beginning of Autumn! The days are hot, but the afternoons already show the long shadows typical of my favorite season. Fall also means I’m feeling invigorated. My table is full of projects that I feel great about. The work of the past year is finally coming together. It’s so nice to create something and be satisfied with it.

A few things I’m working on-

“Black Gloves”

Clothed in her retro 70s Biba style dress, Kora is busy adjusting her black gloves in a grove of abstracted, shimmering Art deco trees…


Here’s a work in progress shot that I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago-


Generally, my work flow is something along the lines of first getting visual inspiration. I watch my favorite movies or shows (like Twin Peaks), browse books and magazines (my favorite drawing books, Rackham, or Pinterest), &/or listen to music (Of Monsters and Men has been on perma play). Then I make a quick sketch in a small notebook (upper left). I take photo reference & print it out (upper right). And then I make a sketch in my large sketchbook. Sometimes that gets scanned into Photoshop, tweaked, and printed. But even then it may not still be right, so I’ll cut up the print and move things around, taping them until they finally look right. After that I transfer the drawing to thick Acrylic paper or canvas.
The color process involves going back to my sketch in Photoshop & slapping some color on there for a general idea before I actually put paint on the paper or canvas.

Some more wips (works in progress) in this same series-

“Dangerous Pleasures”


“The Schoolgirl”


As well as the dolls that are part of the same series-


Sigh, I have been dreaming of Pumpkin Spice Lattes! I’ve already had 4 so far. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I explained to him that they’re seasonal and so they’re gone after Thanksgiving. He was tempted, but decided to stick with his ice coffee.

Happy Autumn!

Star Princess and Pluta

My husband brought me flowers and a gift the other day! A week or so ago, I came across this paperdoll on Pinterest which I had when I was a kid. “Star Princess and Pluta.” Seriously, were the 70s/early 80s the best or what? he tracked it down and surprised me with it!

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They are thick cardboard dolls with plastic stands.


Inside the box there are outfits for both Star Princess and her robot friend, Pluta. This set was published in 1980 and seems heavily inspired by the movie/show, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” She looks a lot like Wilma Deering and wears clothing similar to both Wilma and Princess Ardala.

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OMLord, all I want to do is scan these in so I have a version to play with!

Barry Moser’s Alice in Wonderland

“All in the golden afternoon…”

For me, Alice in Wonderland is the quintessential summer book. I have a number of editions. Rackham’s glorious version- so hard to believe it was ever controversial. A Norton Critical Edition with Tennial’s original drawings. And Camille Rose Garcia’s delightful psychedelia. But Moser’s is not often seen and that it really deserves its moment in the sun. Copiously illustrated with his strange and detailed woodcuts, you really get a sense that Alice’s adventure is less dream and more nightmare…

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Moser’s Cheshire Cat is a hairless Sphynx.


The text is annotated throughout in red

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The Cook and Duchess. Moser really needs to illustrate Gormenghast. IMG_2381 IMG_2382 IMG_2383 IMG_2384

6th Anniversary & the marriage of cookies and ice cream

My husband and I celebrated our 6th anniversary yesterday, sort of for the second time. The first time was a couple weeks ago, when Mikael’s parents visited. We don’t eat out very much, maybe twice in a month, so food I don’t make from scratch is pretty luxurious for me. They watched Karl while we went out to breakfast at a local place I’d been wanting to try, Cafe Jolie. Mikael had an omelet & I had the croissant french toast (yes, french toast made out of croissants). Their coffee was delicious too.

Yesterday we took Karl into San Francisco, went shopping at Japantown mall and wandered through the Nihonmachi Street Fair. Then we popped over to Herbivore for Schawarma and afterward walked over to a game store for more shopping. Amazingly, neither of us found what we were looking for at either Kinokuniya (me) or the game store (him).

Finally we capped the evening with a trip to Cookie Bar in Alameda. They serve Thrifty ice cream, which was a blast from the past. I used to walk with my younger cousine to Thrifty for a 10-15 cent ice cream cone when I was a little kid. It was a solid 30 minute walk for us, but it was worth it. Our family didn’t buy a lot of sweets, so we had to save any change we got & buy our own candy bar or ice cream, as well as hoof it to the Thrifty ourselves.

This dessert pretty much embodies my husband and I. I love cookies, he loves ice cream. Together we are invincible.

I ended up with Chocolate Malted Crunch ice cream on chocolate walnut chip cookies. It was pretty ridiculously decadent! Karl had a scoop of vanilla on a sugar cone & Mikael decided to wait for Ben & Jerry’s caramel core (he’s obsessed). IMG_2289

 It was a lovely mellow day. We both marveled that it’s been 6 years since we got married. Six years! How is he still the most interesting person I know? It’s sorcery! Sorcery I tell you!

The Bees Knees at the Alexi Era Gallery

If you’re in St. Louis, MO please check out The Bees Knees Show at the Alexi Era Gallery. 

Public Opening Reception : July 19th 7-9PM

Special Collectors Preview: July 19th 6-7PM
(RSVP: $20, Call 618.407.5596 or email:
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The Bees Knees is an awareness and fundraising exhibition for Honey Love, urban bee keepers and activists trying to help our honey bee population. The Exhibition will feature 100 artworks on postcards from artists all around the world. All postcards will be priced $5-$50, and available to take home right away showing your support along with a honey tasting feature local harvested honey. On the back of each postcard is a special message about how you can help the bees. 100% of all sales go to HoneyLove and their commitment to save the bees! We aim to raise awareness, bring hope and also create a dialogue about the importance of bees.

I contributed a postcard to the show~
“The Message”
4″ x 6″
It depicts two of my ladies communicating a message in the language of flowers.

jordanwestermessage01jordanwestermessage02jordanwestermessage03In retrospect, I wish I’d made the background something other than blue. I feel it clashes with the purple. The background should have been cream or lilac. I’m thinking of doing a larger version with greater detail for myself, so we’ll see how that pans out.

Making Doll Clothes -concept to toile

I was ready to start making doll clothes before I’d even finished my doll. I’ve been drawing their clothes for the last couple of years and going to fabric stores & picking out fabrics & trims. Basically endlessly geeking out.

Concept art of Posy Rabbit’s clothing. She wears a Biba inspired outfit. As you know from this post- I love Biba.


Working on the slopers in Photosop. If you haven’t seen “Moon” starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son), then you need to.


Posy is a patient model during the fitting


Drafted & sewn tiny shoe prototype along with a sketch of Posy’s teddy or camiknickers


hand sewing the scallops on the teddy muslinclothrabbitdoll02Fitting the teddy muslin. The final will have ribbon straps. I tested out the dress muslin over the teddy & they’re a perfect fit!

Well, tomorrow I have to get the apartment ready for out Wednesday night get together. I have a full day of cleaning, grocery shopping, & baking peanut butter cookies scheduled. Then, Mikael’s parents are coming up for a visit. They’ll be here Thursday which means I won’t have any time to work on the final versions of her dress, teddy, and shoes. She has a caplet too, but the drafting on that is obviously very, very fast and easy.

I have a couple of blog posts I’d like to work on about my favorite illustrated books that remind me of summer, as well as a post about Biba fashion. Hopefully I’ll get to them along with the Sherlock t-shirt I’m working on.

If you want to see my wip in a more timely manner, I’m on Instagram. 

Favorite Doll Books

These were the 3 books I used quite a bit during my doll making journey:

The Complete Book of Dollmaking by Pamela Peake. It’s a really simple introduction I picked up years ago at Half Price Books in Berkeley. It’s a great book for beginners who just want to make a cloth doll to get their feet wet while perusing other doll styles.


It gives a basic overview of different kinds of dolls, but if you want to really make something complicated, I’d pick up books specializing in just that particular kind of doll making.


This basic cloth doll has a separate head and a simple body.


My initial dolls used this basic idea- separate head & center seamed legs. It was a good learning experience.


This doll has a shaped bust that I tried out, but ended up rejecting. I did like this head shape more though & it introduced me to the idea of placing a stick to strengthen the neck. The pattern itself is missing a leg piece, but it would be easy enough to draft. IMG_2185 IMG_2187

This felt doll is very cool. With a little tweaking you could get a really beautiful looking doll reminiscent of Dare Wright’s, Edith from the “Lonely Doll” series of books. In the future, I’d like to experiment with making my own felt masks. I haven’t yet though so I can’t say if this system works.



The book comes with patterns you can photocopy & enlarge.


Storybook Toys by Jill Hamor is awesome. Half of it is dolls & the other half is stuffed animals. It’s for an intermediate/advanced audience. Beginners beware.


Most of the dolls have “baseball heads.” See the seaming? Like a baseball. They were super popular in the 50s & 60s. Understandably, Jill doesn’t want you to use her patterns to make dolls to sell, but you can find similar vintage patterns online that are in the public domain & use them. I toyed with using the baseball head as the basis for my lady dolls, but the style is much better suited to children’s dolls, especially if you’re crafty and want to make a kid an American Girl’s style doll without the hefty price tag.


She makes the most beautiful yarn hair I’ve ever seen. It’s labor intensive, but turns out beautifully.

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One of the first dolls in the book is a flat pancake doll to get you started. She’s really cute.

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Some of the patterns are both in the book pages- to be traced or photocopied-


While others are on a pull out sheet in the back.


More Felt Friends from Japan by Naomi Tabatha. Nearly all of the items are felt animals, but there are a couple of awesome dolls.


Some of the patterns are inside the book, waiting to be traced, while others are inside the dust jacket, also needing to be traced.


Miss Kitty & her amazing wardrobe made me buy the book. Everything is made of felt, so hemming is pretty much nonexistent. It’s a great place to get the feel for constructing tiny doll clothes.


I LOVE Japanese pose dolls, so this was a big selling point. The dolls are anchored to their bases. There are simple instructions for wiring them that is way, way easier than what I’ve seen in other books. I wired a few of my prototypes, but the extra time and expense wasn’t worth it. Maybe if I ever convert one of my bookcases into a doll house then I might make posable dolls.

There were a lot of other books I found at the library. But they mostly focused on making cloth art dolls that didn’t appeal to me.

That’s about it. I’ve been working on Posy Rabbit’s tiny wardrobe. I love sewing tiny clothes!

Doll inspiration and evolution

I have two notebooks dedicated to doll ideas. My doll ideas have gone through an evolution from when I first started. Years ago, I wanted to do something with the 25-27cm Volks Dollfie bodies. They came in a range of skin colors, height, and bust size (recently discontinued). But, I knew with my schedule that it was going to be a while before I was able to tackle another craft like doll customization.

4518992340135_1_1Volks Dolls USA

Flash forward a few years and while pinning away on Pinterest I came across this little beauty:


Evangelione Dolls

There was so much to love! The sweet little expression! The tiny detailed clothes! The utterly beautiful hair from wool roving! And, she was made of cloth. I’d seen and owned cloth dolls when I was a child, but none as sophisticated as this. I was instantly drawn to the idea of combining two things I love: dolls and sewing. How hard could it be? (famous last words)



I mulled over which dolls I really loved and of course Blythe was in the top 5. She’s very popular in Japan and if you’re lucky enough to have a Kinokuniya Bookstore near you you can find issues of “Dollybird” Magazine with clothing patterns and customization tips for her.

They’re so cute! But I don’t make big head art, so after a few tries making dolls with oversized heads I realized that they weren’t going to make me happy. They are just too far from my own aesthetic, which is more mid century, 60s and 70s.

I started focusing on dolls that were closer to my artistic style~


Mod Barbie



Barbies from the late 60s to early 70s are my favorites (pre Superstar face mold). Characters such as Barbie, Francie, Casey, Julia, Stacey, & Christie. You used to be able to buy Barbie & her friends as blonde, brunette, or redhead- even as different shades of each. And characters like Francie, her mod cousine from England had brown eyes and a straighter body to reflect the Carnaby Street Twiggy look. I love me some side eye!


Les Petites Mains makes these lovely cloth dolls with wool roving hair. Her color palette is so dreamy.


The amazing Nadya Sheremet. Look at the face on this doll! The face embroidery is so fine and I love that the hair is made from embroidery floss.


Delphine Manivet This was a lovely little doll made for flower girls, but is no longer available. I flipped for this doll. I loved everything about it. The simple face, and the slim arms.


The mighty Momoko. Momoko is a Japanese doll who stands 27cm. She features the side eye that I go crazy for as well as the most beautiful clothes.


Vintage Japanese pose dolls

Japanese dolls in particular seem to be addicted to giving the side eye. I think what I love the most about this is that the expression is ambiguous from different angles.


And of course cloth dolls based on the doll patterns of Edith Flack Ackley

It was the Ackley dolls and patterns that crystallized a few things for me like the neck construction. I also borrowed her foot construction as well:

Posy Rabbit clothdoll nouvellegamine

Before that I had the typical cloth doll legs with the seams running down the middle. I’m too embarrassed to show you them bc they make me so unhappy!

Next I’ll post about some of the books and tutorials I used. I had never made a doll before and definitely needed help. The most frustrating part is that you don’t know how good your pattern is until the very end. You have to draft, transfer, sew, cut, and stuff before you can see the flaws. That’s why my house is littered with past dolls, half stuffed and then I had to stop bc suddenly there was a huge problem staring me in the face. Whew! I’m so glad to be done! Now I get to move on to the infinitely more fun part of designing clothes!

Posy the rabbit doll

cloth rabbit doll 1

After an embarrassingly long development, my dolls are almost done. Posy the Rabbit is roughly 12″ tall, not counting her ears. I made her 12″ to fit into 1/6 scale furniture, in case I wanted to stick her in a Barbie sized apartment. For something so simple, these dolls took forever. It was a constant process of paring them down. I actually don’t like overly realistic dolls, which is why I like Barbies from the 60s & early 70s better than modern ones.

cloth rabbit doll tutorial 1

That sword I’m using to sew with is a doll needle. It’s 5″ long.

cloth rabbit doll tutorial 2

Tucking and sewing the rabbit ears.

cloth rabbit doll tutorial 3

Just like in my paintings, her extremities are also blushed.

handmade cloth rabbit doll

And here she is next to her original sketch, which also shows her costume that I’m making. I’m having a lot of fun making early 70s inspired clothes for her. I love Biba and Ossie Clark so I want to explore that very lovely and romantic look.

Major Tom phone case in Redbubble Found :D

My phone case of Major Tom is on the Redbubble homepage today!

Ground control to Major Tom- new t-shirt


I’ve been working on, well a million projects really, but I’ve been wanting to make some cool t-shirts for my son, Karl. He likes David Bowie, so I dug up one of my old characters, Major Tom, the space cat co-pilot to my space girl, Martine. Available here is baby, children, and adult sizes-

Obviously Major Tom is inspired by Bowie’s tragic, beautiful, and wonderfully weird and hokey song, “A Space Oddity.”

My Major Tom entered cryogenic freeze and was revived thousands of years in the future. He has a successful career as a space pilot and loves his new home planet, Mars, but misses his family. *kri*

Happy Father’s Day with Kraang and a Ninja Turtle that’s not a turtle.

Happy Father’s Day to my beautiful husband! I bought a mug at Starbucks that came with a black and white porcelain pen. Karl and I drew on it, then popped it into the oven for 20 minutes. Once it was dry it’s ready to be hand washed and filled with lots of coffee!

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Karl is obsessed with Kraang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He’s also been referring to himself as Michelangelo, Mikael as Donatello, and me as Master Splinter.


I also picked up some See’s candy for Mikael and some flowers. Snapdragons are his favorites, but they were out and the peonies were amazing! And you can see our new goldfish in the old coffee pot behind the flowers.


Karl went to two birthday parties on Saturday. Unfortunately the first one decided that goldfish were to be the party favor. they meant well, but well… Anyway, we ended up with a goldfish. Karl kept calling him “Goldfish” so I explained that naming him that was like me naming Karl “Human.” I suggested “Spot” but after careful consideration Karl decided that the fish was named, “Ninja Turtle.”


The second was a costume party. Karl dressed as the Hulk, although he went back and forth over whether he was Hulk or Michelango. Looks like I’ll be making a Ninja Turtle mask and shell very soon!

Sleeping Beauty Ballet

With the movie “Maleficent” due to be released May 30th, I got into a discussion about the different ways the “wicked” fairy has been portrayed in the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty and it reminded me of this book floating around on my book shelf, “Behind the Scenes at the Ballet: Rehearsing and Performing The Sleeping Beauty.”. It combines two of my favorite things, fairy tales and ballet. The ballet, with a score by Tchaikovsky, was based on Perrault’s version of the story, “La Belle au Boise Dormant.” But, instead of being completely faithful, it takes off in a rather brilliant direction and embraces its fairy tale-ness with an almost meta quality.

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The wicked fairy, Carabosse


The benevolent and powerful Lilac fairy

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On the Princess Aurora’s 16th birthday there is a grand party.

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She receives gifts from many people, including (while her parents are distracted) a bouquet of flowers. The old woman is the fairy Carabosse in disguise. Hidden in the bouquet is a spindle, which Princess Aurora pricks her finger on, fulfilling the curse. This is also one of the best explanations for how Aurora manages to prick her finger. The versons where her parents are away on a trip didn’t make sense to me even as a child. Come on! They knew the curse was supposed to happen on her 16th birthday and they’re not watching her like a hawk?

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100 years later Prince Florimund is dancing with his fiance, the Countess at a hunting party. He does not love her and finds her cold. He wanders off into the forest.


The Lilac fairy appears and shows him a vision of the Princess Aurora.


The Prince and Princess dance and the Lilac fairy explains the curse.


Prince Florimund is guided to the castle by the Lilac fairy, finds Aurora, and kisses her, breaking the enchantment.


The wedding guests include many fairy tale charcaters


The White Cat dances with Puss in Boots


Princess Florine and the Bluebird


Red Riding Hood and the Wolf


And finally Aurora and Florimund dance their pas de deaux.

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The book also has behind the scenes photos. There are people sewing the ballet costumes. Dancers practicing. Ballet stage makeup being applied. And at the end a couple of photos of famous dancers such as Robert Helpmann as Carabosse (who can be played by either a man or a woman)-


and Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nurevev


I love the costuming of the Birmingham Royal Ballet production of Sleeping Beauty. The costumes are incredibly detailed and baroque.

Working away on dollybirds

After a year of futzing around, I finally got my doll pattern exactly the way I want it.



Pascale, Rose, Silvia, and Martine will be fitting together soon. My other dolls need some 60s dollybird company.

And WOW! Instagram just really does NOT want to show up. What’s with that?


brooksie jordan wester

I finished “Brooksie.” She’s gouache on 10″ x 10″ canvas. Unfortunately, this painting took me forever to complete despite its small size. I spent all of March with hives because I suddenly developed an allergy to rye bread. So, so weird. I’m not allergic to anything- or at least, I used to not be.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the progress from “Zelda.” This is much closer to what I had in my head. Now I wish I’d been bolder and more committed to outlines with “Zelda” but I’m not going back to rework it. I already have the next canvas for a new painting prepped.

As a teen, I discovered Louise Brooks in a book about silent stars and fell in love. She was so mischievous, passionate, and intelligent. I hunted for any of her films in the local video shops, but there weren’t any. I wouldn’t see her most famous movie, “Pandora’s Box” until decades later. If you’d like to know more about Louise, I suggest you read her memoir, “Lulu in Hollywood.” Peter Cowie put together an impressive and beautiful photo book about her, “Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever,” that is incredible. It’s expensive, so it may be a good idea to check the nearest library.

louise brooks pearls

  This is the photo by Eugene Robert Richee that inspired my painting.
Work in progress pictures:

"Brooksie" in progress. #painting #jazzage #flapper #louisebrooks #silentstar #surrealism

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"Brooksie" #inprogress #art #painting

A post shared by Jordan Wester (@nouvellegamine) on

A @thesketchbookproject ! Thank you, @wythehotel !

A post shared by Jordan Wester (@nouvellegamine) on

Brooksie #wip #painting #surrealism #aqua #art #flapper #1920

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Happy Birthday Wes Anderson!


I received the Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz for my birthday.


The book is beautiful. However I found the interior art serviceable, it didn’t knock my socks off.


But the book design more than makes up for it.


Each movie chapter consists of an essay by the author and an interview with Wes Anderson. The essays are brief and spot on, but the real treasure is the interview. Matt Zoller Seitz asks thoughtful questions and manages to get Anderson to open up about his work.


The interview is profusely illustrated with behind the scenes photos and inspiration.



Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Satyajit Ray’s The Lonely Housewife influenced Moonrise Kindgom


Sissy Spacek’s eye makeup from Badlands, contrasted with Kara Hayward’s makeup in Moonrise Kingdom.


When I first saw the movie, I fell in love with Frances McDormand’s 60s shift dresses.


I love how the aqua of the wall mural ties in with the aqua of her dress. I also just really love her legs.


Fake books created for the movie. Susie likes to read “stories with magic powers in them. Either kingdoms on earth or on foreign planets. Usually I prefer a girl hero, but not always.” I love the Isaac Asimov/Arthur C. Clarke mash up.

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The needlepoint of the church inspired needlepoints of the rest of the main sets.

One of the things they get into that I love is Anderson’s use of miniatures, rather than using all CGI. It’s not that he thinks miniatures look less fake than computer graphics, but that he prefers the fakeness of miniatures.

The book is wonderful and I can’t recommend it enough!

My book was chosen to go on the national tour!

I’m very excited that my Sketchbook Project: “Here Be Dragons,” was chosen to go on the 2014 national tour. It was originally part of a small tour last year called, “The Mysterious Maps.”


I’ve pasted the tour info below so if you’re interested in seeing my book in person, please check it out when it comes to a city near you!

3/29 – 3/30
Atlanta, GA
The Goat Farm Arts Center

Orlando, FL
Church Street Entertainment District

New Orleans, LA
Crescent City Saturday Market

Houston, TX
Lawndale Art Center

Austin, TX
The Contemporary Austin

Fort Worth, TX
Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Norman, OK
Norman Arts Council

San Diego, CA
San Diego Museum of Art

5/30 – 5/31
Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, CA
Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

6/6 – 6/7
Oakland, CA
1st Friday Art Murmur / Saturday Stroll

San Francisco, CA
SF Center for the Book

Portland, OR
Portland Art Museum

Portland, OR
Director Park

Vancouver, BC
Emily Carr University

7/10 – 7/12
Seattle, WA
The Central Library

8/13 – 8/15
Steamboat Springs, CO
Bud Werner Memorial Library

Chicago, IL
Galerie F

Madison, WI
Madison Public Library

Fergus Falls, MN
M State

9/18 – 9/21
Toronto, ON
The Distillery Historic District

Portland, ME
Maine College of Art

Philadelphia, PA
Franklin Square

Happy Birthday to my husband!

Today is my husband’s birthday! We celebrated with cake, ice cream, cream cheese bean dip, and chips last night. I developed hives after an allergic reaction to medical tape, so we had to post pone a get together with friends 😦
securedownloadI made a yellow cake from this recipe: and chocolate frosting by modifying my usual frosting recipe. Then I edged it in gold sugar-
Chocolate Frosting
3 cups conf. sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup softened salted butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup (and then more) whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt (and more to taste)
whisk the sugar and cocoa together in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix butter, shortening, vanilla. Add cocoa/sugar mix a little at a time. Add milk. Mix. Alternate cocoa/sugar with a tbspn of milk until the consistency is to your liking. It starts out really fudgey, but the milk will fix it. Lastly add the salt. You don’t have to, but I love salt in chocolate to cut the sweetness.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to a mix tape (on cd) that he made for me when we were first dating. This was one of the songs he put on it and it perfectly sums up how I feel~

Yes, I’m your angel
I’ll give you everything
In my magic power
So make a wish
And I’ll let it come true for you
Tra, la, la, la, la

Yes, you’re my fairy
You give me everything
I ever wanted from life
Have I made a wish
And is that why I have you
Tra, la, la, la, la

We believe in pumpkins that turn into princess
And frogs that turn into prince
We believe in moons that smile to us
When we hurry home before the midnight strikes
Tra, la, la, la, la

Yes, I’m so pretty
You’re so dizzy
And we’re so happy every day
Let’s make a wish
And let it come true for us
Tra, la, la, la, la

I’m in your pocket
You’re in my locket
And we’re so lucky in every way
We make a wish
And let it come true for us
Tra, la, la, la, la

We believe in houses built in the sky
And love that lifts us high
We believe in the sun that looks over our shoulders
And brings our shadows together
Tra, la, la, la, la

Yes, our hearts are one
Our bodies, too
And it’s so good (um) every time
We make a wish
And let it come true for you, too
Tra, la, la, la, la

Happy birthday, my love
I’m your angel
I’ll give you everything
In my magic power
So make a wish
And I’ll let it come true for you
Tra, la, la, la, la, la

Happy Birthday Edward Gorey

A while ago I posted once of my favorite stories of his, “the Deranged Cousins.” Check it out!

New sketchbook from the Wythe Hotel!

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In January, I was chosen to be part of the pop up at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, New York. Afterwards, the kind people at the Wythe sent the participants a gift, a new Sketchbook Project! As soon as the tours open up in March I’ll choose where it’ll be traveling to.

My title this time is, “Princess Witch,” featuring my ladies of the Four Forests. The idea behind is, that here in the western world, women are often put into 2 categories, either a positive one, “princess” or a negative one, “witch.” That doesn’t even begin to describe a whole person, but sadly, it’s what we women are often saddled with. What I’ve been exploring is that we embody both. Our benevolent and malevolent sides are often less dependent on what we do and how we view ourselves than by how we’re perceived by others.  I’ve experienced this first hand where I’ve been praised for being perfect when my desires jibed with whoever I was dating, and then denigrated as a “unreasonable” (aka, a crazy bitch) when they did something I didn’t like & I called them on it. Through art, I’ve been mashing those two sides together, featuring women who are conventionally attractive and horrifying at the same time.  I’m so excited!

Valentine’s Weekend


Thusday evening, Mikael brought me flowers and candy. See’s is my absolute favorite! (Yes, I already have candy on my pants.) We went to dinner at a local mexican restaurant and relaxed and people watched with our son.  IMG_1719

Friday I took Karl into San Francisco to Kinokuniya in Japantown. I found an awesome sewing magazine, “Female.” Afterwards, Karl and I went to Arizmendi Bakery and had coffee, milk, and treats. We picked up Mikael and got take out from Big Lantern (our favorite!). Their General Tso’s meatless chicken is to die for.IMG_1740IMG_1741 IMG_1743 IMG_1742

I love the fashion sense here! Everything is so clean looking!IMG_1744 IMG_1745

Some color photo instructions and some line art instructions.


There were quite a few patterns, but some also required you to draft them yourself using a sloper. A great challenge for a seamstress!


These are the patterns included with the magazine. So many really cute pieces.

Mikael is such a tv hog, but I got to pick what we watched and I chose “Pacific Rim!” It’s amazing! If you love mecha, Godzilla, Robotech, Voltron, etc, you’ll love it. Every character was an anime type. The movie had very few civilian deaths, little swearing, and no super creepy gender roles that you’re praying your kid doesn’t pick up on.

On Saturday we went to Berkeley. Browsed two books stores, got coffee and ice cream, and finally came home and crashed.

Singing Songs of Love~

The sun had set and I’d just started watching David Fincher’s “Zodiac” for the first time. My cell rang and it was an unfamiliar number. I got a sudden thrill. “A cute boy is calling me!” I was pretty sure it was the guy I’d given my number to the day before. I let it go to voicemail, paused the movie and listened to his message. Yep. It was him. I was giddy with nervousness and decided that I would call him the next day and see if he wanted to meet up. Then I unpaused “Zodiac.”


The next evening when we met up I found out he shared a love of the 70s, serial killers, and Donovan. And he lived in San Francisco. We have many “songs” but whenever I hear this one I’m instantly transported to the first time he called~
Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I open my eyes to take a peep
To find that I was by the sea
Gazing with tranquility.
‘Twas then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love,


In case you’re wondering what a hurdy gurdy is and what it sounds like,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Juggling Projects



Feeling incredibly rejuvenated. Karl is back in pre-school. Finished a large job for a client. And I have personal projects organized and ready to create. Today I put on Grant Morrison talking on Keven Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast. I loved Morrison’s “Supergods,” which made me feel like I could accomplish anything despite my anxiety. I knew that since I was going to begin painting “Brooksie,” that I would need an extra shove to get me started. Strangely, the detail work on a painting is the least stressful for me. It’s actually very relaxing to take each piece and tap away with my tiny brush. But the initial laydown of color always freaks me out. I start procrastinating. But I knew Morrison’s unique abundance of creativity would inspire and loosen me up- and it did. So much so that I started putting together a muslin of Karl’s shirt while the layers of my paint dried.

And I finally signed up for Instagram. Yes, filters are fun.


Zeldapainting10x10webFinished my new painting, “Zelda,” inspired by Hemingway’s passage in “A Movable Feast,”-
10″ x 10″
Acrylic and gouache on canvas

“Zelda was very beautiful and was tanned a lovely gold colour and her hair was a beautiful dark gold and she was very friendly. Her hawk’s eyes were clear and calm. I knew everything was all right and was going to turn out well in the end when she leaned forward and said to me, telling me her great secret, ‘Ernest, don’t you think Al Jolson is greater than Jesus?’
Nobody thought anything of it at the time. It was only Zelda’s secret that she shared with me, as a hawk might share something with a man. But hawks do not share.”

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on this and others like it for over 4 years. My early 30s were a time of feeling incredibly uninspired. I had focused on learning 3d which left me no time to express any ideas in the time consuming medium of painting. And my usual medium- india ink and watercolor on watercolor paper just wasn’t cutting it for me. I wanted to both eliminate the india ink outlines I’d been working on to give my watercolors a greater softness and also make the jump to canvas and explore texture. Back in my late teens, when I first started painting large pictures in watercolor, I couldn’t get those really big, smooth flat areas of color that I wanted, so I began stippling the color in and fell in love with it. So artistically, I milled about in my early 30s but all that changed when I got pregnant with Karl. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with ideas- must have been the hormones- and worked toward trying to uncover a cohesive theme. Finally I realized my overriding obsession wasn’t just quirky surrealism, nature, and maladjusted ladies, but our connection to nature and how our world constantly attempts to sever us from it. Not in an eco- “let’s recycle” way, but in pretending that we’re not animals and that our marvelous brains should allow us to overcome our evolution through sheer willpower. It’s a message we’re constantly bombarded with- from the way we eat to who we have sex with- and if we don’t conform it’s regarded as a moral failure. I’ve always been more comfortable with being an animal than fitting in with humanity, so my chimeras make me feel right at home.

If you’re in Williamsburg, New York, check out my Sketchbook!

My SketchbookProject, “Here Be Dragons,” can be viewed at the WytheHotel in Williamsburg, so if you’re in New York, feel free to check it out 😀


2013~ Take one last look at this Sacred Heart

One of the things that’s great about being older is, I’ve had so many years to discover, explore, and love, artists, books, movies, and music. The other day someone posted a Leonard Cohen line, and it suddenly brought me back to where I was when I first heard him (Pump up the Volume) and my subsequent frantic accumulation of secondhand cassettes. Through the years, my favorite song of his teetered between, “The Future,” and “Waiting for the Miracle,” but this one, “Everybody Knows” transports me to that moment- when I’m a young girl in my thrift store dresses (back when they were the only affordable option for someone of my means) with my head shoved between my stereo speakers (the same ones a horrible creature who I had to put up with bc of school politics constantly told me were cheap) listening to various cassettes all purchased for less than $3, giddy with the knowledge that Mr. Cohen understood the absurdity of life.
Life is still frequently absurd. This year came in like a rabid lion and is leaving a ram. Here’s to next year being as wonderful for my friends as the second half of this one was for me.

Happy New Year~

Tove Jansson’s Moomin Comic Strip, vol 1.



Tove’s commentary on modern art ;D


And her thoughts on being an artist.


The beauteous Snorkmaiden, beloved of Moomin.


The Moomins go to The Riviera. Snorkmaiden meets “The Great Little Audrey Glamour,” (Audrey Hepburn).

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Snorkmaiden tries her first lipstick and bikini.


And meets a Riveria rake.

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The Mymble and Snorkmaiden encounter adorable pirates and promptly fall in love.


But even in the early 1950s Pirates love rum.

Yellowcake on Redbubble!

My illustration, “Yellowcake,” was featured on Redbubble’s blog today celebrating National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. Not real? I disagree, we celebrate almost everyday in my house.


Black Lodge


Karl’s at preschool this morning, so I popped on some Twin Peaks and worked on, “Zelda.”


Recently two friends gave me the most beautiful gifts. They were complete surprises and way out of my current budget for myself. Everything I make currently goes toward paying for Karl’s preschool, and since we’re isolated from family and most of our friends up here, preschool is important for his socialization. Both of these were on my “dream” list, but they showed up on my doorstep!

Janice makes the most beautiful quilts. If you can, take a look at her shop and blog~
I love this quilt pattern and the colors are some of my favorites 🙂

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Another surprise was this little beauty, Harper, from my friend Jennifer~



Evangelione’s little dolls (they’re about 11″ tall) are handmade beauties. Made of muslin and simple embroidered faces they are ultra kawaii.

Even without these lovely and thoughtful gifts, I am incredibly fortunate. I always get the impression that when you write a blog you’re supposed to pretend that your life is “Pinterest Perfect,” even if it’s not. But living here in the United States, even though we’re part of the “first world,” is challenging and stressful. Obtaining healthcare for your family is difficult. Even though it’s provided through my husband’s job, he still had to forfeit any bonuses he made for an entire year. While I work from home, the work is uneven and requires late nights. And finding a job outside of my home would mean paying full time preschool/daycare for my son which is astronomically expensive- it starts at $800 a month and goes up- way up (we didn’t get into the only local co-op). Part time preschool, which starts around $600 for 2 half days simply didn’t work either. No one would hire me without a completely open schedule.
But this year, the ACA passed, my husband got a great internship at NASA, I’ve had the pleasure of working on a delightful and long commission, and we found a preschool that’s run through our local Parks and Rec that is completely affordable.

Now, I have some Thank You cards to write. God Jul and Happy Holidays! I hope everyone has much love and a respite from your burdens.

Fox Kami Doll

Thanksgiving was delightful and now we’re gearing up for Christmas. We keep things very low key and try to focus on enjoying just hanging out. It’s cold up here in Northern California- not Mid West cold, but when you can see your breath, it’s cold.

I’m mostly recovered from the “mini flu” and sinus infection and slowly getting back into working. I’ve reached a pretty good place with my dolls, pattern wise, and now I’m painting their little faces.


I’m really excited to start their tiny clothes! I’ve had their clothes sketched out for ages and it’ll be delightful to actually see them put together.