My Herbarium, Pt. 1

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   I've started a new project, an herbarium! An herbarium is a collection of pressed plant specimens that are affixed upon pages in a book. I first learned about herbarium when I went to the San Jose Art Museum with my parents. Usually when I visit my parents, we go to the San Jose Art Museum and it is always full of inspiring and beautiful exhibits. The exhibit in which I learned about herbariums was a photo collection by Annie Leibovitz where she took photographs of personal possessions that once belonged to historical figures. My favorite's were Emily Dikinson's personal possessions which included photographs from her herbarium. Emily Dickinson had a great love of plants and was an enthusiastic gardener as an adult. But her adoration of the natural world started young. When she was only a young teenager, Emily Dickinson wandered the woods around her house to collect plant specimens for her herbarium. But her herbariums completion, she had over 400 plant specimens.
  Herbarium's use to be a popular hobby back in the Victorian Era, but I think it should be brought back to popularity in the modern day. I am using a nontraditional format for my herbarium. I am pressing, identifying and mounting the plants on pages as per traditional herbariums, but I am also drawing pictures to go along with the pressed plant. Because I do not have my own garden and I live in the city, most of my plants are weeds I've collected from the side of the road, abandoned lots, growing from between the cracks in the sidewalk and various other spots that weeds are found thriving. Right now, my herbarium is a story of the invasive plants popping up and spreading around the Seattle area.

Common St. Johns Wort

Butterfly Bush:

Field Bindweed:

Sweet Pea:

Yellow Horned Poppy:

  My herbarium project is an ongoing project. I am excited for Fall to start so I can collect colorful leaves and draw pictures of trees for the project. This project is fun on many levels. When I am walking around outdoors, I like scanning the plants around me to see if there are any potential plant specimens for my project. I've gotten a couple of books from the library and it is fun to scan through these in search for the identities of various plants I've found and pressed. It is also a fun creative art project and an art project that celebrates the natural world. 

Learn More!
  1. The Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage exhibit that was at San Jose Art Museum a couple of years ago. 
  2. Emily Dickinson's love of plants.
  3. More on Emily Dickinson's herbarium.

Oxbow Park Part Two: The Garden

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  These pictures are from Oxbow Park's (the park with the giant hat and boots) community garden.  I love the idea of toiling in one's garden with a giant cowboy hat and boots just yards away. I also love the little free library that is in the garden (pictures are toward the bottom). I think these are awesome! It is such a sweet way to bring a community together. The Little Free Library was started by Todd Bol, who built one in honor of his book loving mother. What a wonderful tribute to her and even better that the idea caught on in so many different places. 

   Today there has been a thunder and lightening storm in Seattle. What a relief to get a break from this ever oppressive heat. Today after work, I cam home and read while drinking hot tea. Of course I kept the blinds open so I could look up to see rain drops streaming down the window. The thunder and lightening stopped by the time I got home, but the rain was still heavy. I sure have missed rainy day reading! 

Oxbow Park Part One: The Hat and The Boots

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  A long time ago, a giant cowboy must have been roaming this part of the world. Being a cowboy is tiring work. He probably took off his hat and boots so he could get a good nights sleep. But the next thing he knows, the hat and boots are gone! What is a giant cowboy to do!? 

   Here is the real story about the giant hat and boots. Once there was a man named Buford Seals who had the vision and creativity to build a Texas themed gas station called Premium Tex. The 44 foot wide hat was the roof to the gas station office. The 22 feet tall boots were bathrooms. The Hat n' Boots were a hit! People were utterly charmed by the quirky gas station. According to Seattle legend, Elvis Presley himself visited the Hat n' Boots. But modern day convenience soon defeated the success of Hat n' Boots. Interstate 5 was built, and like a roaring monster it demolished the success of many mom and pop stops that use to thrive on tourists and other travelers. The interstate diverted traffic from the landmark. Soon, the giant cowboy paraphernalia was abandoned and left to decay. They were now only stoic reminders of a kitschy past. The only people who seemed to appreciate the Hat n' Boots were skateboarders, whose skateboarding shenanigans led to the rim of the hat to break. Those skateboarders may have been destructive, but they were also inventive. But it turned out it was not just excitement-seeking skateboarders who loved the Hat n' Boots. The community of Georgetown had love in their hearts for the relics. The residents of Georgetown gathered enough money to move the Hat n' Boots to Oxbow park, where they remain in their majestic glory.
  Burord Seals and his lady friend Bernice Townsend were not deterred by the failure of their original business. The two dreamers moved to San Diego where they opened a twenty four hour candy shop. The shop was very popular among surfers and pot smokers of San Diego. It offered 2000 different varieties of sweet treats.
  Bernice and Buford sound like a perfect match. They were both beautiful eccentrics. They loved to wear matching cowboy outfits. Bernice was a former acrobat for the circus so she was obviously accustomed to charming eccentrics and the creatively inclined. 

Information found:

"Hat 'n' Boots, Seattle, Washington." Roadside America, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.

Here are the Secrets in the Land of Georgetown

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  Wandering! Few things are as enjoyable as going wherever your whim takes you. David and I wandered around Georgetown a couple of weeks ago. We were actually wandering with a mission though. We were in search of the cowboy boot and hat park, which we did find, but I will share those pictures in the future. These pictures are from the wandering portion of our Georgetown excursion. 
 I have made up one sentence short stories about some of the photos.

   Here is the little red car that traveled to Mars in 1969 with a car full of folk singers and a dog dressed like Abraham Lincoln.

  Here is the van that was built from pieces of excess sky.

Here is the man who traveled one-hundred years on his motorcycle, his only companion the wind who told him stories in a language only few people know.

Here are the barrels full of lost memories.

 Here is the truck that forgot what it means to be alive so instead turns into a ghost at night to travel the highways in a half dream state.

Here is the truck the children painted after they revolted and took over the town.

Here is the cemetery where the truck drivers thrive.

  Here's who makes the sounds that you hear every night when everyone else is pretending to be asleep.

  Here is the flower that tried to battle the sun and instead found sorrow clinging to the tip of each of her petals.

Here is the house that cloaks herself in cheer to stave off the threats of every passing stranger.

  Here is the garden of talking roses and instead of talk of sweet thoughts they plot their escape from the confines of their roots.

  Here is the plant that learned to glow and all it took was collecting the moonlight while the rest of the plants slept.

 Here is the house that has a forest within where all the woodland creatures dig tunnels backwards in time.

   Here is the house where all the old cats live along with your great-grandmothers ghost.

  Here is the bird that pretends to be asleep but springs to life at the first sign of danger to protect the entire world from catastrophe.

Here is the wise dog that knows your heart and everything else that ever was or will be.

  Here is the brick wall that has goblins trapped on it's surface but the goblins only need wait for a full moon to escape an make mischief in the quiet night streets.

   Here is where the furniture falls slowly to sleep before going home to strangers in strange places.

Here is a man who traveled back in time to live in place that is peaceful and full of fresh air.

Here are directions to the last place imagined and the first place your find on a late summer afternoon.

  Here are the remains of a library of forgotten books.

Here is a map to the small city you made-up when you were only nine.

Here is where they stand when they have no where else to go.

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