open space


The other day, I read an article that talked about negative space. It described a hand. The negative space in-between each finger defining the edges, and allowing our brains to make sense of physical matter. "Without nothing, there cannot be something," it explained. The negative space allows us to make sense of what is.

It got me to thinking about other ways in which this is true. I decided that it also holds beyond the physical. Without sadness, we could not understand happiness, and moments of quiet help us make sense of the chatter. That, is why it's so important to relax, to meditate, to do yoga, and to get out and hike in nature -- even if it's the middle of a snow-ridden winter. We need moments to free the mind, so that we can then reign her in. We need mother nature and her wide open spaces, so that the world and all her clutter can make sense.

That is why I return.

the miracles of honey


Note: This post was previously published here as a part of my freelance work. 

Honey. What a sweet sweet elixir. Its uses date all the way back to ancient times, and we’ve only begun to tap into it’s magical powers. From the skin to the immune system, it can work wondrous effects on the human body. For today, I want to address its benefits for a glowing complexion. Behold, your quick guide to honey skincare…

Raw honey makes an amazing face wash. It has anti-bacterial properties and is chock full of probiotics and enzymes that are beneficial for the skin. It acts gently, wiping away bacteria and oil while leaving the skin hydrated. Its way of stripping away the bad and leaving the good makes it especially great for acne prone skin. 

Keep a small jar of raw honey along with a spoon in the bathroom for easy access. When you go to use, lightly wet the face with warm water and then massage on about a little less than a teaspoon. If you want it’s antibacterial properties to really work in on those pores, leave it for 5-10 minutes before rinsing away. 

To give your skin a little pick-me-up, mix up a face mask with honey, yogurt, and flax meal. Smear it across your face, and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing off. They honey will work into those pores, treating blackheads, excess oil, and acne, while the yogurt and flax help to slough off the top layer of dead skin. Afterward you’ll notice skin that is plump with moisture and a dewy glow. What’s better than that?

Raw honey is well respected for its healing properties. It is both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory all in one go. Even modern day medicine touts it’s effectiveness. For cuts and burns, one of the best things you can do is to apply raw honey. Even better, pick up raw Manuka honey which is harvested from bee’s pollinating Manuka flowers, otherwise known as tea tree. Slather it on your wound and dress it appropriately to heal skin fast. If you really must pop those pimples, mix up some raw honey and tea tree oil to apply directly following. I find that this works wonders at healing the puncture, but also at preventing it from growing back into another embarrassing white head.
There you have it! Raw honey, great skin’s best kept secret. 

diy block print valentine’s day cards


Note: This post was previously published here as a part of my freelance work. 
The holiday of love is upon us! Say what you will, but I love Valentine’s Day. I loved it when I was single, and I love it now that I’m in a long-term relationship. It’s an excuse to express one of the world’s most important emotions. Love for your mother, for your friends, for you significant other, for anyone who supports you through this life. Where would we be without love?

I also stand behind the belief that it doesn’t take a lot to express; the simplest acts can show someone what they mean to you. Putting a little work into a handmade gift is the ultimate gesture. It doesn’t take a lot of money, but it does take time and effort. The act of physically creating a gift for someone embodies thought. The end effect is much more personal and meaningful. 

So this Valentine’s Day, I want to introduce you to a medium you’ve maybe never experimented with: block printing. It’s really fun, and holds a world of possibilities. Dream up any design you’d like and then follow the principles below or simply download the patterns I’ve handmade and recreate those. Either way, enjoy the process, get creative with it, and tell the people around you how much they mean to you. 

What You’ll Need:
Roller or Acrylic Brayer
Lino Cutter with Changeable Heads
Tracing Paper
Soft Artist’s Pencil (2B or 4B is will work best)
Acrylic Paint
4” x 6” Blank Card
1. Trace your pattern onto on tracing paper using a soft pencil. 
2. Flip the pattern over, and place it on your rubber printing block. Make sure that any words appear backwards to you. 
3. Trace over the lines of your pattern using a pencil and be careful not to move the paper around. This will transfer your pencil marks onto the printing block, so that you have guidelines for carving. 
4. Using your lino cutter, begin cutting into the rubber block, following the lines you’ve made for yourself. You can adjust the line cutter heads whether you’re cutting out a big or small area. An important rule to note is that every area you cut away will be negative space, while the areas you leave will represent color.
5. Once you’re happy with your carving, clean off debris, and set aside.
6. Squeeze a small amount of acrylic paint on a flat palette - you can use palette paper, plastic, a scrap magazine, tracing paper, cardboard, or anything along those lines.
7. Roll brayer in paint until evenly coated.
8. Roll brayer across block print to cover with a thin layer of paint.
9. Flip block print over and print onto your blank card. I like to line up the edges, and then set the whole block down at once. Evenly apply pressure across the back with your fingers. Make sure you press hard around where any words or fine detail appear. The process usually takes me a minute or two.
10. Evenly remove block print and unveil your creation. Should take 5-10 minutes to dry.