Saturday, December 4, 2010

Elly Mackay

Whilst being a virus-ridden internet addicted couch potato, I've just discovered the amazing and inspiring paper artist, Elly Mackay. Elly does drawings with what looks like ink and possibly watercolor (?) and cuts them out to make these absolutely stunning scenes. Recently, I've started cutting out my drawings to make collages and 3-D plant illustrations so finding Elly's work is truly inspiring, to say the least. She takes really lovely photographs of the paper scenes that she's created and sells prints in her etsy store, Theater Clouds. I know what I'm asking for for Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What To Do When Sick

So, I've been sick for a few days with bronchitis and stuck at home with no energy to really do anything other than sip soup and go online. While browsing online for images for my next art project I came across what could be the holy grail of inspiration, Vintage Printable. This site literally has thousands of vintage illustrations and images, including botanical and scientific illustrations, even vintage postage stamps, all available for free downloading. It's really too amazing for me to keep to myself and I just had to share. The best part of this whole deal is that almost all of the images are public domain! Below are some of my favorites so far, but literally these are just the tip of the iceberg. Check them out here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday with your loved ones. Josh and I are enjoying our vegan feasts and looking forward to a fun upcoming holiday season together (we got our first live full-sized Christmas tree this year and can't wait to start decorating!) I'm thankful to live on this beautiful planet, which hasn't yet been destroyed beyond repair. I'm thankful for my incredibly supportive family and friends and of course my one special guy who shares every day of my life with me and gives me almost anything I could ever ask for. Oh, and of course I'm thankful for my two little fur-babies, Lily and Misha, who make every day of my life a little sweeter and a little brighter!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sweet Ólöf

The Blonde Redhead show was amazing, despite the two drunk and seriously annoying people standing next to us that were barely holding themselves up while screaming "Pink Love" at the band and spilling Bud Light on my Betsey Johnson dress.  
The opening act was the amazingly talented Icelandic singer Ólöf Arnalds, who I'm truly sad to say I had never heard of until the night of the show. We walked in as she was performing and I immediately melted as her sweet voice and delicate guitar strumming swarmed around the air. I bought her latest album Innudir Skinni on vinyl, which she graciously signed for me. Meeting her in person was definitely something to remember as she was quite enchanting and has an otherworldly beauty.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blonde Redhead and Miranda July

I'm going to see one of my favorite bands, Blonde Redhead live this Sunday at The House of Blues downtown! I love this video starring Miranda July, who happens to be an amazing artist / filmmaker / writer. I highly recommend you read her hauntingly beautiful and slightly uncomfortable collection of short stories titled No One Belongs Here More Than You. *The website for the book is fantastic!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween Y'all!

Wowza! This post is long overdue. I do believe it's been a good few weeks since my last posting. I know, I'm a lame blogger. Anywho, to help make it up to you, here's a special Halloween present. This is Lizzie, my latest art project. The assignment was to create a monster not based on any preexisting monsters, so of course I had to create a plant based monster!  She's drawn on green canson paper with marker underlayering, ink and colored pencil, cut out and placed in one of my favorite aged terra cotta pots with reindeer moss. Lizzie's DNA is mostly comprised of the carnivorous plant genus Sarracenia (commonly known as the pitcher plant) as well as a little piranha DNA and some unknown, unidentifiable genes which could be alien. Her botanical name and mini biography are provided on the ID tag.  Hope you like!

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Love

So, after reading this inspirational post from Claire, which was inspired by this and this, I've decided to share a little story about my first love. I was an impressional 12, or maybe 13, year old girl when this heartthrob captured me. Yes, I'm talking about Beck. I remember watching the video for Loser for the very first time on MTV after school and thinking "This is cool, who's this guy?" Then, the end of the video, dreamboat Beck goes walking in slow motion across the beach in a wetsuit. My heart stood still. I knew at that very instant that this man was the love of my life. Never mind the fact that I've never met him and the love is only reciprocated in my dreams. Beck is and always will be my first love. So, who's your first love?

Friday, September 10, 2010


Currently I am:
loving the music of St.Vincent
designing a mediterranean garden for my advanced landscape design class
tediously drawing this foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) being pollinated by a bumblebee with prismacolors

* Photo found during random search for foxglove on Flickr and after almost 10 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to find the picture again to credit the photographer...I gave up.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Still Alive

I haven't had the time or energy for a proper post lately for numerous reasons. While driving to work a few weeks ago, I was in a car accident. Luckily, myself and the other driver are perfectly unharmed. My car was totaled and the process of dealing with insurance and finding a new car has been exhausting. Alas, I was fairly compensated for my totaled car and am now driving the amazing feat of modern technology known as the Toyota Prius. However, I'm especially tired of talking about the whole incident, so enough

With all the stress I've been through, I did feel it necessary to treat myself to something lovely that I've wanted for a while. I must say, I was not disappointed with this beauty at all.

School is starting next week and have mixed feelings about it. The end of summer is always a bit melancholy for me. Summer holds all of my dearest memories and my heart is always aglow during the warm months. We're just now getting true summer heat in san Diego, so I'm hoping that summer will extend into fall this year.

To help keep me organized this school year, I bought Jill Bliss's Floral Leaves Datebook. This datebook is the perfect size to throw in my purse and I love that my days will be filled with Jill's lovely plant drawings.

Sorry for all the randomness. Nothing else exciting to report on from here and I promise do do a proper post soon.

*Photo of glorious Shasta Daisies taken early in the summer at the San Diego Botanic Garden.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer in Bloom

Summer here in San Diego has been lovely. We've had some pretty hot days, but the heat doesn't bother me at all. I love the way the heat weighs and slows everyone down. That's what summer's all about if you ask me. I've been enjoying my time off, lazily listening to music, reading, taking the dogs on evening walks and musing in my own thoughts. 

If you didn't already know, I work at a plant nursery. One of the best things about working at a nursery is getting first dibs on some of the most stunning plants as they arrive. Since I started working at the nursery, I've been yearning for a house with a yard desperately. We just signed another years lease at our current place so a house isn't in our future just yet. In the meantime, I've been keeping up nicely with my little patio garden. Here's some pictures I took this morning of summer's flora at casa de Toni. Botanical names listed below each plant. Enjoy!

Dahlia 'Mystic Dreamer'

Echeveria hybrid

Pelargonium 'George Marston' 

Sedum dasyphullum 'Major'

Tradescantia spathacea 'Tricolor'

Aeonium 'Irish Bouquet'

Gasteria hybrid

Monday, July 19, 2010

30 Reasons I'm glad to be 30: Part 3

Whew, this list was hard! In the weeks before my birthday, I had so many thoughts for this list just floating around in my head and I was sure that I had at least 30. Not so. While I was half way through reasons 11-20, I realized I was pretty much dry and I had to conjure up the rest of the list on the spot. So, here's reasons 21 through 30 and I apologize if some of these reasons seem a little redundant. I felt that it was my personal responsibility to follow through with this and get to 30 reasons, no matter what.

21. My appreciation for nature has deepened. I suppose this is just something that with age, naturally happens to a nature lover. Any opportunity I get, I want to be outside and observe the world. It is so important to me. I feel that being in nature recharges me somehow. Like the only way I can function at maximum efficiency is if I spend time away from the city, and in nature, at least a few times a week.

22. I'm much happier with my body now, then when I was younger. Sure, while I was in my early 20's I was almost 10 pounds slimmer and I hardly had to put in any effort to maintain my naturally thin figure. Yet, I couldn't see past any of the small flaws that I perceived (imagined or real) and I never felt anything near the confidence I feel now. I'm perfectly content now, knowing that my body is healthy and my weight is right where it should be.

23. I've learned that the only person's opinion about me that truly matters, is mine. Too many times in my youth, I've let the opinions of others impact me. In the last few years or so, I've realized that I can't be true to myself if I care too much about someone else's opinion of me.

24. I refuse to accept, or invite, anything negative into my life. I've realized that I have a choice in what I allow in my life. Negative energy is something I am wise enough to know not to tolerate anymore. I feel that it is an obligation to myself to either remove negative energy from my life, or remove myself from it. Without remorse.

25. I can laugh at the ridiculous things from my youth that I still haven't gotten over. Like the simple fact that I'm still a little afraid of the dark and I make Josh turn out the lights before bed after I'm already in bed with the TV on for a nightlight. Or that I still love Barbie and can't pass by the Barbie isle at Target without taking a minute to look at all the new dolls and imagine which ones I would pick out if I were still a little girl. I don't think I'll ever really "grow up" entirely and I don't think anyone ever does... nor should.

26. I'm truly grateful that I've never been materialistic. While I do enjoy having nice things, I do not depend on them to define who I am. Living in southern California, materialism seems to be a lifestyle for many people. In these people, there's no art, no depth, just "I'm elevated because I wear this brand and drive this car." This attitude is prominent where I live and I feel immensely grateful that it has never penetrated through to me. 

27. I know to trust my intuition. So many times I've ignored my intuition, only to discover later on that the deep feeling inside of my head and heart was right. I've learned that as ridiculous and illogical as it seems to make judgements on things based merely on a feeling, I usually end up making the right decisions this way and to ignore these feelings is to deny my very essence. 

28. I am so happy that I never followed through with any of my desires to get a tattoo. Don't get me wrong, I love tattoos. A lot of my friends have beautiful and meaningful tattoos. I just don't think I'm a tattoo type of gal. I'm pretty sure that if I had followed through in getting any of the tattoos I wanted in my youth, I would have totally regretted it now.

29. I'm beyond grateful to have my two sweet doggies, Lily and Misha. Before Josh and I adopted these little girls, I didn't know I was capable of loving something so much. They are always there for me and always in tune with my moods. They are the closest things to angels I've ever encountered and I couldn't imagine that my life would be nearly as great without them.

30. I'm happy to be 30 because I'm happy with my life! Sure, I have bad days, sometimes I get a little melancholy for no reason and my marriage isn't always as perfect as I'd like it to be, but overall I am happy to have the life I do. I'm glad that I've lived to be 30 and I've been fortunate enough to live on such a beautiful planet and to have the many lovely people (and pets) in my life.

Happy Birthday to all of my fellow Cancers!
Love Toni

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Dress to Want

I wish I could say I need this dress from Anthro. But I don't need it, I just want it. I want it desperately. Perhaps on payday I will just try it on and see how it fits, with no intention of course of actually spending almost $250 on a dress with no special place to wear it to. We shall see...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

30 Reasons I'm glad to be 30: Part 2

My birthday itself was a lovely day. Josh and I spent all morning decorating our place and then we went out to dinner with my family. We came home and had the most decadent cupcakes from Stephanie's Bakery (passion vanilla cake with raspberry filling, buttercream icing and fresh raspberries on top, all vegan of course!), Sofia champagne and homemade bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs. I've received some fantastic gifts, but most of all I've really just enjoyed spending time with all of the people I love the most in my life.
Here's 11-20 of 30 Reasons I'm glad to be 30.

11. I'm wise enough to know that I'm still naive. In other words, I know enough to know that I still don't know enough, haha. I will always be open to learning new things and I'm certainly not so egocentric to think that I know everything.

12. I've embraced my introversion. I've always been an introvert. I specifically remember when I was in elementary school and the other kids were playing together at recess, I was happily sitting alone under a tree reading (most likely a faerie tale). It's not that I didn't have friends or didn't enjoy playing with them, I was just happier being somewhere with my own imagination. This introversion is sometimes thought of by others as me being anti-social, that something must be wrong with me. Some people are introverts, some are extroverts. I am an introvert and I'm happy to be one, thank you very much!

13. I'm too old for mini skirts, thank goodness. I've always dressed a little "reserved" and mini skirts (a wardrobe staple for California girls in their 20's) kind of look ridiculous to me most of the time. Now that I'm 30, my knee length skirts and dresses simply look appropriate for my age instead of reserved.

14. I'm happy not having children. Sure I may be 30 and married and the conventional thing to do now would be to have children. However, I'm not ready to have kids yet and I hardly think mere age and marital status is a good reason to procreate. I'm still finding my way in the world and having a child is something I'm still not ready for. When, and if, the time is right I'll know, but the time's not right yet... Mom and Dad.

15. While I may not yet have a house, I know I'm on my way. I want nothing more right now than to have my own little house with hardwood floors and a sweet little yard where I can grow my own food and Lily and Misha can run around. I can finally see this in the near future and when the day comes, I'll simply explode with joy. Old dirt road... mushaboom, mushaboom.

16. I've learned how to see and appreciate unconventional beauty. It's no secret that the media bombards us with images of unattainable (and digitally altered) perfection as the standard of beauty. As a teenage girl I, and most others, was very susceptible to this. I have learned that there is no true standard of beauty. It's all about perception and if we open our minds to all kinds of beauty we can easily see beauty everywhere.

17. I've overcome a lot of my shyness. Oh my, when I was younger I was so very shy. I had a hard time asking for help from strangers without fumbling over my words. I guess shyness is something that simply fades with age because I never made a conscious effort to improve, it just happened, thankfully.

18. I couldn't be more pleased with my matured taste-buds. When I was younger, there were certain foods which I now love that I just couldn't stand such as onions, pickles, olives etc. I don't know when it happened, but I now love all of these and I can't even think of any foods that I don't like. With the exception of meat, dairy, eggs and other non-vegan foods.

19. I am on my way to learning time management. Anyone who knows me knows that I am always late, to almost everything. Well, I've got news for all of you. I've been on time more and more often. I'm not going to say anymore on the matter, just in case these words come back to haunt me one day when I'm running a half hour late.

20. I can make a garden anywhere. As you know from number 15, I don't live in a house. I live in a condo on the second floor and my only space for gardening is a 20' x 8' patio, yet I have turned this small space into my own sweet little garden with a bistro table, garden lights and potted plants galore. I have houseplants and orchids a'plenty growing inside and I know, a true gardener can find space to garden anywhere.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bright Star

Only two films have ever made me sob, not cry, but sob. Bright Star, which I got for my birthday, is one of them. The film is visually stunning and the love story of poet John Keats and his muse Fanny Brawne is truly the most romantic. I've had poetic thoughts and goosebumps in waves ever since I finished watching the movie. 

The other film that makes me sob is Disney's The Fox and the Hound, which I can't even watch very often because even after the film is over I'm still a blubbering mess.

*Part two of my 30 reasons I'm glad to be 30 coming soon.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

30 Reasons I'm glad to be 30

I know I know, I haven't posted in, ahem, quite a while. I've honestly been insanely busy and the time and energy it takes into writing a new blog post has been occupied by other daily activities. So here I am the day after my 30th Birthday. It feels strange. Usually I don't feel any different on or after my birthday but I definitely feel like a cosmic change has occurred this time. I've been thinking a lot lately about my life and the things I'm grateful for. While doing this, I've compiled this list (in no particular order) of 30 reasons I'm glad to be 30. I will post 10 reasons at a time as not to bombard you all.

1. I'm just plain happy to be done with my 20's. A lot of that strange confusion and angst about the world that I felt as a teenager seemed to linger into my 20's and I've finally started to find my own way in the world.

2. My marriage. I have an amazingly sweet and caring husband and I don't think I would be the person I am today without him. He accepts my flaws and has taught me to accept them in myself. He is my rock, shoulder to cry on, hero of any emergency I've ever had (real & over dramatized), best friend, baker of sweets, bearer of unexpected flowers, and the most generous spirit I've ever encountered.

3. I have learned to accept all of my mistakes and if I had the chance to do anything over again, I certainly wouldn't do anything different. We all make mistakes. We all do things that  embarrass ourselves. We all put our foot in our mouths without thinking and say things that hurt peoples feelings. I've learned to have the same forgiveness for myself in these instances that I usually extend to other people. All of my mistakes have taught me valuable lessons that I might not have ever learned without them.

4. As a woman, I'm lucky that I've developed my own personal style. I know how I like my hair and makeup. I know what dress shapes and colors look flattering on me. I know how to decorate my home in a way that makes it feel like my own sanctuary. Being artistically inclined, I would feel suffocated by someone else's ideas of style and so finding my own style has kept me somewhat sane in a way. Or at least not completely insane.

5. I'm so over being cool. Whether we want to admit this to ourselves or not, we have all been guilty of trying to be cool. Of not doing something we really wanted to, not wearing something we like, simply because it's not cool. I'm a nerd and I like being nerdy and I'm over being cool.

6. I know where I stand ethically. It has taken me a few years to develop strong and informed ethical opinions about the world dealing with politics, religion, feminism, animal rights, human and civil rights, and the environment and I am confident that I have made the right ethical choices for my own life.

7. I've learned how to eat healthily. For so many years I was terrified of gaining any extra weight that I deprived myself of eating certain foods. This became terribly unhealthy for me and caused me to obsess about ridiculous things unnecessarily. I am now completely content with my body and I know how to eat in a way that provides my body all the nutrition I need without depriving me of anything.

8. I've embraced my sensitivity. Ever since I can remember I was told not to be so sensitive. I am comfortable being sensitive and I've said this before, but I would much rather be too sensitive than insensitive. I think there is a lack of sensitivity amongst society and I'm proud to be a misfit in this area.

9. I'm glad I've finally found my calling in life. I'm happy to be in school, knowing that I'll be doing what I truly love when I'm done. My decision to become a botanical illustrator feeds my passion for art and my love of science and nature. I may be older than most college students, but I'm certain that I've found what I am best at and I might not have discovered this if I went to college right out of high school.

10. While I may not have a huge group of friends anymore, like I did when I was younger, the friends that I do have are amazing beautiful people whom I love and truly cherish.

Friday, April 2, 2010

She & Him... and by She, I mean Zooey!

Zooey is so adorable! I can't really blame Josh for being in love with her. Volume 2 of She & Him is turning out to be even better than Volume 1.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In the garden

Josh and I managed to get some spring cleaning done yesterday and we cleaned and organized our balcony garden. We planted some strawberries, cleaned, pruned, watered and fertilized everything. Who says you need a yard to have a garden? The plants looked so lovely and happy this morning, I had to share. Enjoy!
*botanical names listed under each picture

 Echeveria hybrid with Haworthia attenuata on left

Fragaria 'Chandler', Strawberry plant (flower)

Fragaria 'Chandler', Strawberry plant (flower)

Fancy leaf geranium (not sure of specific botanical name)

Haworthia pumila

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Happy first day of spring everyone!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Julie and Lumi

I just found this adorable drawing, collaborated by Julie Morstad and Fanja Ralison of Le train Fantome. It depicts Fanja Ralison's lovely characters, Lumi and Lewis, picking mushrooms together. I'm sure there is a place in my home for this sweet print.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Valentines Day: Part 2

Here it is the middle of March and I finally have the time to finish my Valentines Day post. This was probably the best Valentines Day I've ever had and it was definitely the best date I've ever had. Josh started the day by taking me to one of my favorite places, Summers Past Farms. Summers Past Farms is a charming little place with gardens, a small nursery, a handmade soap shop, a coffee bar and a gift shop with adorable garden themed gifts.

Later we went to the amazing Stephanie's Bakery. Stephanie's is an all vegan bakery with the most amazing pizza and cakes! Josh and I shared a handmade pesto pizza and a slice of passion vanilla cake with fresh kiwi and "cream cheese" frosting. YUMMY!!! They actually made our wedding cake 3 years ago and it was so delicious that it won over even the most skeptical guests. 

We ended the day with a delectable 5 course meal at Cafe India, probably the best Indian food in San Diego. It was a truly incredible day and I feel so lucky to be married to such a sweet and thoughtful guy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day: Part 1

Happy Valentines Day all! I love Valentines Day. I know it's quite commercialized and somewhat trite, but it I love it none the less. Josh and I had a lovely day. We went out and did so much that I will have to wait to share it all later in Part 2. So instead, here are the gifts we gave each other.

Josh gave me this pretty french locket from this amazing Etsy shop. He secretly logged in to my Etsy account and viewed my favorites. What a sweet surprise!

And I gave Josh this hanging glass heart terrarium with a little tillandsia plant and lichens from the amazing Flora Grub Gardens.