Sunday, November 10, 2013

Diamond in the Rough

For some reason over this past year, this weekend being no different, I work better at the cabin. I have more patience which allows me to get more quality work done and I'm wondering why that is.

Perhaps it's the lack of cable television, the disassociation with day to day routine, being surrounded by weird but inspirational odds and ends or simply the peaceful quality of being in the woods.

While it's likely a combination of all of those things, it's unlikely my actual work surface is helping. My desk is not ergonomically correct like at home, in fact the surface isn't even by a quarter of an inch in some places.

I made this desk top in a college furniture class. An MCAD alum had dropped off a load of seriously distressed, grey, splintery wood that he had rescued from a barn demolition. Being a poor student who needed wood and wood being expensive, I grabbed an armful of barn scrapes and ran it through the planer only once to find some gorgeous red and white oak underneath.

I glued it together, sanded it down and shaped it on the table saw. The original design included an extremely heavy concrete and rebar shelf component that still exists but is living in the forest by my parents house. It resides pretty much exactly where it was pushed off the back of a truck after returning home for the Summer following my senior year. The wooden top was in my parents basement up until last year when I realized that with a few brackets (and one leg for good measure) it would make the perfect floating corner cabin desk… nevermind my uneven sanding job.

Can you believe this used to be on a barn?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Back In The Saddle

I'm back in the blog saddle, it was nice to take some time off but I'm happy to be back at it. I've been collecting a few things for blog posts over the past six months while mainly focusing on getting comfortable in my new day job. This blog and my independent pursuits had a lot to do with where I was lucky enough to be offered a new position which brings me to this weeks topic:


It's a trending topic everywhere I turn, everyone's talking about. Mostly it seems to be in reaction to this double-down economy that has folks casting about for new options that allow them to have a life in addition to their career. It's also the other side of the crafter/maker indie business trend, it turns out burning the candle at both ends is not sustainable in the long run.

I've been thinking about it a lot myself. In addition to having always held a full time graphic design day job I also do freelance, write, illustrate, publish, and create various other projects on the side. For the past few years I've been working on cleaning out some of the work clutter in my life, the things that drag me down instead of building me up, side projects that I'm no longer passionate about, it's all got to go. A great start for me was by getting a new job with new opportunities in an industry I can be passionate about, all of which goes a long way on the happiness meter, but there is more to be done. I want to do more of what I love, less of what I don't and I don't want to get bored, it's just that simple. Yes, I've been thinking a lot about happiness.

Randomly I ran into this fabulousness at the Cultural Center in Chicago while in town for a wedding this past September.

I love Stefan Sagmeister and I love that the subject of happiness isn't new to him. I don't want to go on and on about Stefan (you should get his books) but it was just such an appropriate installation to have stumbled upon that it felt serendipidous. The photos below are from the exhibit but don't come close to the actual experience of traversing the show, find it if you can. Oh, and you should also watch his TED talks: TED: Stefan Sagmeister

So here's to keeping things interesting, getting better at saying no to projects that I don't find inspiring and progressively plodding along toward that shiny light.

Oh, and here's to more travel, let's go places:

Facts That Will Make You Want To Travel

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hodag to Appear on the History Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum"

Well hello, it's been awhile since I've checked in via the blog. Obviously I've taken the Summer off except for the occasional check-in.

I'll do a Summer review at a later date however I wanted to check in and post about a hodag sighting, the hodag will be featured in an episode of "Mysteries at the Museum" on the History Channel, August 29th at 8 p.m.

The film crew stopped by the Rhinelander Logging Museum / Pioneer Park Historical Complex earlier this year and I'm very excited to see how they piece it all together for the show. Each segment is under 10 minutes long so let's hope the hodag makes a lasting impression!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hodag Season

Tis the season of Hodag love! Check out the well loved book in the hands of this adorable Minneapolis Happy the Hodag fan.

ALSO don't forget to get your Hodag on!

New tees available at the Pioneer Park Museum, the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce and of course over at (also known as but some people have trouble spelling my last name ;)

Kids and adult tees in greens, greys and pinks. Pink is hot, hot, hot right now!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sandstone Vandalism

The sandstone walls in Southern Minnesota's Whitewater State Park are riddled with carvings, essentially vandalism of public property, and it's beautiful. I'm not sanctioning vandalism at all but you have to agree that the way the water and wind have weathered the carvings of hundreds of hikers is simply amazing.

The handmade typography which is mostly names, initials and hearts becomes an abstract mural and in some cases faces and other literal shapes start to appear where unintended. The natural umbra of the sandstone paired with the soft edges of the carvings is really quite breathtaking as you hike along it's edge.

I would just like to reiterate that I do NOT condone the defacing of public property, especially natural elements such as rocks.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Record Store Day 2013

These are some of my finds from the cheap bin down at Hymie's. The Longfellow neighborhood had a fun little street fair for Record Store Day with great live music, it could have been warmer though. As you can see I picked up some classic polka albums, that's right, I'm already getting ready for Octoberfest! Of course all of my choices had mostly to do with the album design...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chasing Spring

I just got home from a long weekend in Georgia. My husband and I simply drove around to different state parks and hiked around the wilds of the South for a little Spring break. It was in the 70's and absolutely beautiful, the forests where filled with a sweet palette of spring greens and the constant bird song chorus was almost overwhelming having just escaped another dose of Winter from that lovely lady, Mother Nature. When we had our first cloud break view of Minnesota on the plane this morning it was like coming from technicolor back to the land of black and white. Ah well, Summer will come soon enough although it's always tough to miss a Northern Spring, I think it's going to be one of those years where we just skip that whole season.

Here are some shots from the weekend, pretty typical of me, I know. We thought we had a little white owl sighting at one point but it ended up being a bird with an enormous amount of toilet paper in its beak. I really wish I had taken a picture but we were so excited for an owl and ended up laughing so hard when we finally caught up to it and realized what was going on that I missed the opportunity. We had owls on the mind after a night filled with some loquacious and soulful hooting by at least several owls.

I thought the chives, in the third image above, were pretty amazing. We were touring an old Southern settlement that had long ago been made into a National Park destination and these chives were sprinkled sporadically in the lawn, we think probably that the lawn was once that settlements garden. I know we weren't the only ones to notice because all of the chives were snapped off at the top, apparently we all just had to check and make sure. Once I got a whiff it immediately rendered my PB&J in the car inedible, I wanted something savory!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I have a rabbit living in a woodpile in my backyard. He or she must have moved in at the end of last Summer and it makes quick work of getting in out of the yard through various seemingly too small of cracks in the fence. I know I shouldn't feed it but I've been throwing veggie scraps out for it inconsistently over the Winter. Strangely I've seen the cardinals picking through the scraps but have yet to witness the bunny enjoying any of it.

Of course this gives my husband heartburn because we just took down our small garden box this past Fall and created two proper garden beds, a rabbit smorgasbord come Summer, he thinks. I don't know, you see that rabbit or a completely different rabbit, could be spotted in the garden box every morning over the Summer but never really did any damage that we could tell. My guess is that our overzealous lettuce planting and ensuing crop created a perfect balance between human and rabbit consumption. I've suggested planting a nice variety of lettuce around the woodpile just for the bunny but the jury is still out.

With Easter in the rearview mirror and bunnies in my yard it got me to thinking about the night my dad woke me up in the middle of the night and handed me a singed baby bunny. I can't remember how old I was, a tween I think, and the bunny couldn't have been more than a few weeks old. My dad was the volunteer fire chief for our small little country community and had been down the highway fighting a fire at what was the last (and only) little country store out our way. He had found the little bunny somewhere in the rubble, put it in his pocket and brought it home to me. I nursed it through the night and then we took it to an animal sanctuary in a neighboring town the next morning.

And so I give you a my rabbit selections from the ever awesome Etsy:

This last image is from the Glacier National Park's Facebook page, they posted it on April 1st and I laughed and laughed...