Friday, January 13, 2017


Recently, my brother was at my house and we were having a conversation about the 'deep web.'  I first heard about the deep web on a Portlandia skit where Fred, Carrie, and the Mayor arrange to buy fireworks on the deep web.  My brother is a computer guy and we were talking about whether it is an actual thing (it is).  Well this conversation must have resonated with me because I had the craziest dream last night

I dreamed that I was perusing the deep web.  My brother, knowing that I was on the deep web, asked me to do him a favor. He had a pet snail and he wanted to buy some lingerie for the his snail.  The lingerie he requested was something you could buy at Kohl's - just some purple silk pajamas (like the ones below).

It wasn't that the pajamas were clandestine or anything, my brother was just embarrassed that he was buying pajamas for his pet snail.  Seriously how do snails wear clothing anyway? My brother didn't want anyone to know he ordered the snail pajamas. So being the nice sister I am, I went on the deep web and searched for some purple silk pajamas for snails.  This is where the dream got really vivid and funny.  In my dream, I was shocked at some of the pictures of snails in purple pajamas. I can't find anything to show what I saw in the dream, except snails became cartoon characters wearing pajamas - and weirdest of all snails had legs, and were tall.

Anyway, I searched what it means to have snails in your dreams.  According to this website  , it means that I am peaceful right now.  I may be peaceful because I am dreaming about snails, but what does a snail in pajamas mean?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Boring charts and free work

Today, I am getting ready for  a meeting with a new post doc.  A new post doc (Natalie) is joining the lab that I worked in, both as a cartographer and as a research assistant, for the past 3.5 years.  She is taking over my Chapter 2 thesis research (which I never ended up completing).  Although, I am not getting paid by the lab anymore, my advisor (who still needs to sign off on my thesis) wants me to debrief her on my project.  Since I never got very far on the project, it is a bit difficult.  However, I can show her some boring graphs and such.  Such as this one below:

What does that graph even mean!  Seriously -- I bet in 3 months I won't be able to tell anybody what it means either and I feel bad for Natalie having to look at it.  However,  she needs to see that the NREI changes depending on the depth within the water column.  I am also going to make a map that illustrates the same concept for her.  I am sure the map will make more sense, but just in case she is a graph person, I am going to show her this really boring graph (and poorly made at that) too.

Besides getting ready for an unpaid meeting, I have spent the last couple of days applying for jobs.  Two days ago, out of the blue, I got a phone call from a potential employer.  He is putting together a proposal for a contract and interviewed me right over the phone.  He also called me back and negotiated a salary with me.  If he gets the job, I might get the job too.  This job is for a contract cartographer with the federal government. I think it would be a good job, and would allow me to use both my GIS and design skills, plus still keep me creative. I am particularly happy that the job is more design based, and less GIS.  I will work a GIS job because I am very good at it, however, it would not be my first choice.

That's all for now.  I know this is kind of an abrupt ending, but I really just am using this blog to document my daily thoughts, so no ending here....

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My dog

Scrappy (otherwise known as Sir Pappington the 3rd)

Scrappy is a maltese-yorkie-poodle-?.  A friend of my husband's family was trying to sell the puppies as the designer-type Morkie for $800.  My husband, who has a lot more courage than me, wanted to get me a puppy, but wasn't willing to spend that kind of money on a dog.  He called the person and told her that he would pay $50 for a puppy.  She kindly declined and many weeks went by.  We had totally forgotten about a puppy.

After about 2 or 3 weeks, the lady had gotten rid of all of the puppies, except for the last one (Scrappy), which she thought she was keeping for herself. Well, she must of gotten tired of cleaning up after puppies because the night before my 35th birthday, she called my husband and sold him the puppy for $50!  My husband came home from work on a normal friday night, but it wasn't normal at all.  He was holding Scrappy!  A 3 lb. little tiny  bundle - he was so small, he looked like a baby squirrel. 

We tossed around quite a few names for him: Flea, Biggie Smalls, Copper (Kevin's mom has his sister and she is named Penny), but ultimately, we decided he was a scrappy little thing.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Graduate school blues

Not that I ever had any followers, but just in case someone reads this....

I am going to start blogging again. I have taken a 5 year hiatus. This blog is not meant to rehash that time, however, at some point I may share some things I did in the last 5 years....

So I just defended a Master's of Ecology degree last friday.  My project was focused on Bonneville cutthroat trout habitat - which I think sounds extremely boring, but it wasn't.

The ONE and ONLY Bonneville cutthroat trout! (made by using image trace in illustrator)

The bonneville cutthroat holds special place in my heart.  I spent 50+ hours underwater, snorkeling, and spending time with these magnificent fish.  I have so many fond memories of the fish allowing me to spend time with them in their habitat.  It turns out, fish are not scared of humans when you are below water with them.  Rather, they are very curious of humans.  I had quite a few fish approach me and try to get a better look.  At times, it was a bit creepy when one of the larger fish (20" +) approached me and wanted to get a better look!  So, the best thing (besides the awesome fish) was that, my project was fully funded - meaning I didn't pay a dollar for tuition and I was reimbursed a stipend each month.  In that time, I was also given the opportunity to become a skilled cartographer which I have fully embraced.

As for my thoughts on graduate school -- Unless you are young (and not 37 like me), it is simply not worth it.  I have lots of GIS/analytical/creative skills, but I haven't even received a single call back from potential employers.  I don't know if my resume is not telling the whole story, but I feel if the employers met me, we would hit it off! Also the process of getting a masters degree is no fun.  The process involves tracking down advisors who have no time, making them read your work, getting unconstructive feedback.... I don't really have anything pleasant to say about graduate school, especially as a women.  Tons of times, I felt like I was in an abusive relationship, where I just wanted my advisor to notice my work and my work ethic for one tiny moment.   I don't mean for this to sound like  graduate school isn't worth it for everyone.  However, I think the whole process is meant for 20 year olds -- when you are nearing 40 and have a family, it's just not worth it.  So in a nutshell, if I could, I would not go to graduate school.  I would pursue a career much sooner. 

Here is a pretty river I made while attending graduate school

And here is a bug (also made with image trace)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

watercolors and patterns

Lately, I've been inspired by the work of Alisa Burke.  She is an artist that utilizes watercolors, markers, fabric, pencils, pattern, and graffiti to create stunning works of art.  She is listed under my blog roll if you want to see any of her work.  With her inspiration in mind, I created this during the moments I needed to stop packing!  It's called "in the garden."

I think with some digital editing this watercolor could create a unique piece of fabric for quilting.  What do you think?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Watercolor carrying case

The dilemma!!  Haha!  I'm packing to move and will soon be taking a 7-10 day road trip across the US.  We will stop at many beautiful places so I wanted a way to carry some extra paints with me.
The inspiration -- my old watercolor carrying case (with not enough colors available)

I've been reading lots of tutorials all over the web about converting Altoid boxes into miniature paint carrying cases. If you want to read about other carrying cases, just google "Altoid box watercolor carrying case."

Some of the colors I would like to have with me, but I don't want to carry a palette and this whole box.  Space is a premium in our little car with four people and a dog!!

All done!!  6 more colors -- Yay!!  I just pushed Sculpey clay  into the bottom and made miniature indentations into the clay with back of a pen.  I baked it at 275 degrees for 15 minutes.  When the box was cool, I added my new colors.

As you may or may not know, we live on the outskirts of Philadelphia (well for the next 12 days we do).

During a recent trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, I spotted these doors.  I want to make these for my dream home someday -- check out the handles.  

A perfectly bonsai'd Moutain Laurel in Wissahickon Valley Park

A beautiful old home in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.

My backyard Eden is a website that allows people to post all their handmade projects.  If you want to check out all kinds of neat new DIY projects, click on the link below.

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

Friday, May 27, 2011

new and old

 A new quilt -- the perfect size for a picnic.  This quilt was an attempt to use up most of my fabric.  I am moving in two weeks, and would rather move the fabric as a quilt, than in boxes.  I didn't buy any fabric for this quilt.

The back of the quilt

A new sketchbook page -- playing around with watercolor washes, markers, gouache, and yarn.

An oil painting from when I was 18.

 Stained glass stars I made two years ago.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A painting for my friend's birthday.  I actually painted two, but the second picture was too dark.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I made my sister five owls for her birthday.  This is the picture she sent me of them hanging in her room.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

design seeds: leafy hues

Design seeds is an amazing blog for choosing color schemes. Check it out if your looking for some inspiration!