Monday, July 25, 2011

My Big Fat Wedding Updates: The Cake Topper

According to my cyber nemesis there are 26 days until our wedding! I have 188 to-dos, 125 are overdue, and frankly I have a hard time believing anything has 188 steps. I know people who restore antique clocks with less attention to detail.

Today I thought I would share our wedding cake topper with you! We found it in the etsy shop Melabo, which is filled with the fanciful, otherworldly works of Megan Bogonovich, a ceramics artist in New Hampshire. I can't say enough nice things about her style. Spend some time looking around her shop and in the gallery on her website--you'll thank me later. Her wedding cake toppers are a marriage between the surreal and the adorable. They look like the traditional ceramic cake toppers of the 50s and 60s with one important twist: the heads are swapped out for woodland creatures and robots.

There were many heads to choose from: squirrels, deer, goats, cats, monkeys. And with owls and robots as an option, you may be surprised to learn we went with rabbits.

We had many reasons to choose this rabbit couple, most of them rooted in childhood. To start, Ryan and I are getting married in the year of the Rabbit. We did not realize this when we set a date, but were delighted when we found out. Ryan loves Watership Down by Richard Adams, and my Mom has called me 'Bunny' since I can remember. (Shut up). Every child has that one favorite companion, the Hobbes to their Calvin. For each of us it was a rabbit. Most family and friends can remember my faithful protector 'Bunny Rab'. Even now at 29 years old, I'll admit Bunny is out here on the West Coast with me. She has been sewn and patched more times than I can count, but is holding up well. And Ryan, 6'3" 180 pound tough guy that he is, has 'Cookie'.

Bunny and I, the toddler years.
From left to right, Bunny, myself, and Snoopy
in what looks like a mugshot?
Ryan sick with the flu this past June, you can just see
Cookie's feet sticking out from his beard.

What about the cake? Okay, you got me, we're not having a cake at the wedding. Preston's wife Kaela works at the Frosted Cupcakery in Hollywood, CA and we're planning on ordering our wedding cupcakes there. You can watch Kaela demonstrating their delightful Easter themed cupcakes on the LA CBS morning show here. (How adorable is she?)

Why get a cake topper if you're not going to have a cake? Um, why have a video game expert marry us, why have a dude Maid of Honor and a lady Best Man, why have a Groom's Ninja? (That one was sprung on me last week).

Well, a wedding topper is one tradition we think is cute. And because somebody's got to watch over those delicious cupcakes. These rabbits won't serve as a "Cake Topper", but more of a "Cupcake Guardian". We plan to set them beside the cupcakes at the wedding and later keep them in our living room for children and grandchildren to cherish, because I don't imagine we'll be the last kids in our family to love bunnies.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wheat Whales

 The last few days an idea has been rattling around in my head, and this morning I painted two illustrations around it.

Wheat Whales: Imagination
Wheat Whales: Reality

Kids don't stop to consider impossibilities, and that's one of the things I like about them. When I was about six I was convinced a hill in our town was a buried dinosaur. The adults were too dumb to realize it, clearly, and I planned on being wildly famous once I dug it up. 

"It's a Hillosaurus!" I would proudly proclaim, adjusting my mustache as the camera bulbs flashed.
"My God, the Dunn girl is brilliant! First she grows a mustache and now this. Fetch her the nobel prize!"

Just as I hoped to be a great paleontologist without going to college or understanding science, this kid is imagining himself as a "whaleboy" driving a herd of humpbacks across the vast country. As a child when I wasn't spotting dinosaur graves, I was enthralled by cowboy and prairie life stories. I loved Pecos Bill and Calamity Jane, books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Kirsten, my American Girl doll.

Nice tea parties Samantha, but
Kirsten fought a bear and found a dead body.

And so this morning I penned this sketch, and was encouraged by Amy's enthusiasm when I described my imagination/reality idea of two illustrations showing the same scene differently.

Wheat Whales pen sketch

I may do one or two more of these "imagination centered" paintings. In the meantime I'm going to go buy a shovel--I have a hill to dig up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Seasons of Beard: Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred mustaches.

In other news Ryan shaved his beard this weekend.

I woke up to this looming over me.
Ryan is going to be 26 in a couple of weeks, however when he's completely cleaned up he looks about 17 years old.

No, seriously. This photo was taken last summer.
And so if Ryan can help it, he avoids being clean shaven. Here's a sampling of Ryan's facial fashions over the last year.

That's my shirt.
Ryan saying lines from 'My Cousin Vinny' in Nevada.
Victorian Gentleman Ryan
Victorian Boxer Ryan
Camping in the car on the way to Vegas.
(He had shaved for a job interview the day before).
Bearded school girl (at PAX west).
Halloween beard.
Christmas beard.
Easter beard.
Ryan's beard carrying a boom mike.
Ryan's beard running a Mystery Tournament.
The beard really showcases his modesty.
This may be cheating....
Ryan ponders the weight of his beard....
I've said before that Ryan gets 'whims' and his latest whim is an eye patch.
This is what he currently looks like.

Don't cry because the beard is gone. Smile that it happened. And a beard is never really gone (especially since he saved it and has been hiding it all over the apartment so I can stumble upon it unexpectedly and scream).

Prints, bound for postal adventure!

Yesterday I mailed out three bundles of prints to stores in Rhode Island. I must confess, I really enjoy creating a fresh batch of prints. Laying them delicately to dry, inspecting for stray spots, arranging the neat piles, signing the lower corner.... And then at last readying them for shipment, packing each one in a little cellophane baggie like a mother buttoning the last buttons on a jacket. "Don't get dusty! Play nice with the other prints!" Ah, they grow up so fast. Soon they'll be hanging on their own walls, and I will be just a distant memory.

A pile of prints, ready to go!
Stacks of business cards awaiting packing.
Parcels prepared for post.
And off they went, east coast bound! Rhode Islanders if you feel like a summer drive in South County (Lordy, do I miss summer those) my prints are now for sale at Livewire Boutique in downtown Westerly and Incredible Threads in Hope Valley. And sometime very soon they will be available at The Gallery on High St, also in downtown Westerly.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cloud Machine

Kate Bush is one of my favorite musicians. Her voice is haunting, her music is charged with emotion, and her lyrics drift between conversational and sensational from line to line. More than anything, her subject matter delights me. Not one to focus solely make ups and breaks ups like so many songwriters do, Ms. Bush writes songs about things like Peter Pan, Wuthering Heights, astronauts looking back on earth, watching clouds in a field, or a man worrying as his wife gives birth.

One of her songs in particular, Cloudbusting, is about inventor and psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich. Reich was a controversial figure, an Austrian who picked a lousy time to move to America. His work in psychology was met with strong opposition when he began to argue that sex was a healthy, vital part of life and he was questioned by the government repeatedly for his ties to Europe even after WW2 ended. The song isn't about his medical theories or citizenship, however. In 1953 Reich found time to build and operate a cloud machine in Portland, Maine at the request of the local farmers who were suffering from a drought. Whether it was mere coincidence or science gone strange, it began raining hours after he ran the machine. Three years later all of his writing and research would be burned by a judge's order in Maine. Cloudbusting tells this story from the point of view of Reich's young son Peter.

I love this song, and relate to the child's excitement over their whimsical-mad-scientist-father's work. Only days ago my Dad woke me up with a phone call, excited about a new project he is starting. While my father may not manipulate the weather, (yet) he's something of a sorcerer of the visual arts and sound. I grew up trotting behind Dad at art shows and gallery openings, facing his fans, followers, rivals, and critics in a series of stories only small towns can spawn. There's a certain pride a child takes in their parent's work and reputation, if the work is done well and the reputation is attacked, defended, and preserved often enough. I feel it for my Dad and his projects, and my Mom and her politics. They're both equally unstoppable forces of nature, sometimes kicked around but never counted out.

Last night while listening to the song I illustrated the cloudbuster. 

Fully painted in watercolor.
The penned sketch before painting....
A detail of the inventor and his son.
A detail of the cloud machine.

Here's the music video to Kate Bush's Cloudbusting. It was shot during that marvelous age when music videos were 6 minute movies and it's worth a viewing. Donald Sutherland plays Wilhelm Reich, and it's easy to see I styled my Reich after his portrayal in this video.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And then Ryan registered for Zoltar the Fortune Telling Machine....

There have been many requests to see our registry the past few weeks. Ryan and I are getting married next month, and it's only natural that friends and family would be asking this. However, I've been hesitating.

It might be that our wedding is so small I didn't think we'd be getting gifts. Originally we weren't even going to have a registry, but some family members asked us to make one. And while, of course, I'm happy and grateful folks wish to send gifts, I just did not expect it. 

It might also be that when Ryan was asked to pick out 'several reasonable items for our home' to put on the registry, he chose a "Zoltar the Fortune Telling Machine" for $7400.00 followed by a tasteful life sized statue of the Predator. I have no way to explain the hackey sacks, Street Fighter posters, or NeoGeo cabinet to my family other than, "this is the man I'm marrying. I promise he's not insane."

Please do not buy this for our home.

And so we have a registry filled with dishes, teapots, bed sheets, and Godzilla. Since we began putting it together many friends have heard about Ryan's picks and have been wanting to see just how crazy it really is. Finally you can click here to view our registry. We used so we could choose from several store sites across the internet, including Target, ebay, and etsy. You can play 'whose is whose'. (All of the garden gnomes and owl tea cups are mine, and all of the Short Circuit 2 movie posters are Ryan's).


And if you're family looking for something more traditional, we also registered for china at Macy's here. ...Okay, I registered for china at Macy's.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Big Fat Wedding Updates: What to wear....

I probably shouldn't share my dress or veil because Ryan occasionally reads this. However, I can show you my shoes. I have been walking in them nearly every afternoon, even when Ryan is home. I don't know if it's bad luck for the groom to see the shoes before the wedding, but it's definitely bad luck for the overly clumsy bride to not break in her shoes before she walks down a pier built in 1909. The spaces between the planks are pretty generous and I've already slipped and fallen in my own kitchen. In fact the first day I put them on I tripped over backwards in the living room and Ryan caught me just in time. He flashed a handsome smile and joked, "Oh honey, you're going to be so majestic on our wedding day!" There's nothing dangerous about the shoes, it's me.

Some of you may remember from an earlier post when I trampled my mother's heart by announcing I was going to wear blue shoes with my gown. Well, there's good news. She eventually came to love the idea (once I managed to convince her they would be a very light shade of blue). Being 3000 miles apart, Mom and I both sailed the cyberseas of the internet in search of the perfect blue heels until I found a vintage pair of aquamarine Nine West pumps on etsy for $18.

How seriously cute are these shoes?

About 15 minutes after I tripped and my dashing fiancee bravely caught me, I stepped down and crunched one of the heel tips right off. Again, there is nothing dangerous about the shoes.... And so I brought them to Emerald City Shoe Repair and had it fixed for $10. I highly recommend these gentlemen, they were real deal cobblers and knew their stuff. I felt comfortable leaving my delicate vintage find in their hands (let's face it, at that point the shoes were safer with them than with me).

I love objects with a history. As you can see
one of the soles has a price tag from March 1988.

When we first got engaged Ryan basically wanted to dress like a Roman soldier for our wedding. He described a breast plate, some kind of helmet in the shape of a lion's head, and a long red cape. He wanted to march down the aisle to Ennio Morricone's Esctasy of Gold and he wanted to kick in the doors of the church when the woman's vocals began in the song. When I asked when I would walk down he replied, "Before me, I'm the one in the cape!" 

Ryan is prone to whims, so I rode that one out and waited to see where it went. Luckily in April another whim struck him and he suddenly became very interested in suits and began a small collection. On the day of our wedding Ryan will be sporting his lovely grey suit, and as you can see from this picture he truly savors wearing it.

Ryan puts the 'power' in power suits.

We just have to find him a light blue tie, possibly with orange on it. I'm also on the hunt for a bow tie in blue and orange after this conversation with my bridesmaid Tim.

Tim: So what do I need for clothes?
Me: Oh, your pants and shirt from Preston's wedding will be fine. But do you mind getting a tie in either blue or orange?
Tim: You may have to help me with that.
Me, remembering Tim is color blind: Oh,...I'm a jerk.
Tim: Yeahhhhhh.

Once my maid of honor Preston heard that Tim was getting a bow tie he exclaimed into the phone, "OH! I want a bow tie too!" So now it's bow ties all around on my side! Preston asked if he could wear an orange or blue shirt. He admitted that a white shirt would be unlikely in his wardrobe as he "mostly dresses in purples".

It's true.

Ryan's sister Megan is his best man. She has been looking through orange dresses and showed me this pretty little number a few days ago. I'm not certain if she went ahead and got it, but I liked it very much. Megan has a great sense of style, I told Ryan whatever she finds is going to be fantastic!

And so now you have a pretty good idea of what we'll all look like on the big day. Except for my wedding gown. If you email me at and promise not to show Ryan, I can probably send a picture or two of it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

25 Items Every Home Should Have

Last year I put together a list of 25 items every home should have. Things that remind folks to never take themselves too seriously or forget the little things in life. I tried to pick simple items that are cheerful at a glance, enjoyable during a spare moment, and foster an appreciation of creativity, science, nature, being active, and life, friends, and family. 

Today I read over the list and thought I would share it here.

1. Rubik's Cube
2. Teapot
3. Record Player
4. Bubbles (with bubbles wand)
5. Chess Set
6. One kite per member of household.
7. One sled per member of household.
8. Rubber Ducky 
9. At least one pet.
10. Slinky
11. Photo Album(s)
12. Globe
13. Felix the Cat wall clock (with moving eyes and tail).
14. Magic 8 Ball
15. Picnic Basket
16. One bicycle per member of household.
17. Popcorn Maker
18. Coo Coo Clock
19. Barometer
20. Fire Pit (outside! haha). 
21. At least one musical Instrument.
22. Crayons
23. Aquarium
24. Cookbook(s).
25. Plant(s).

And that is my list! You may say it has too many toys, and I argue no, not enough. To quote Dr. Seuss "Adults are just obsolete children, and to hell with them!" You may also say that number 9 and number 23 are the same, but to quote Amy: "I can't shake the feeling that fish are decorations that die." And number 23 is a wonderful little world to peer into and care for! 

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Looking back on my inkless twenties.

I'm coming up on thirty in November, and I don't have any tattoos.

Twenty year old Georgia would not approve. She had plans for this skin, especially her back and shoulders. She loved to draw as much as I do. However a few things kept me from getting started--lack of funds, uncertainty of a design, a queasiness when it comes to needles--but I'd be lying if I didn't admit my primary fear.

My mother.

I knew full well that my Mom would go full blown ape crazy if I got a tattoo. And I knew I was not clever enough to keep my shoulders covered. Sooner or later I would forget. And twenty year old Georgia didn't foresee a benign tumor and spending years 22-24 in and out of hospitals wearing open backed gowns. Mom would have seen it for sure, and I would have been too groggy and weak to even give thanks I was already at the hospital. We're old Irish, my Nana still laments that I ever pierced my 'perfect' ears.

At the time I was so annoyed. I rolled my eyes whenever Mom lectured me on waiting to get a tattoo, tattoos are forever, you can't wash them off. "Yeah Mom, I know!"  She just didn't get it. She didn't get why my plans for a 'secret garden' on my back were so cool. (I cringe even typing the words, 'secret garden on my back' how would I feel now explaining it at 29? It sounds like an infection). Now I look back on my inkless twenties and give thanks.

I'm going to have this body--hopefully--for a long time. Would I really want twenty year old me scribbling all over it? She would have scrawled band names, inspirational quotes she didn't understand yet, and obscure references to impress other twenty somethings. Because, heck, that's what it's like at that age. It's all music, thinking you know it all, and showing off how deep you are. Without a doubt I would have had 'Shadowfax' written in elven or a Calvin and Hobbes tramp stamp.

Twenty year old Georgia:
This is the person who would have picked my tattoo.

This revelation begs the question: will I want thirty year old Georgia scribbling all over it?

An older woman, who looks like my Mom but isn't, looks up from a cup of tea somewhere in the future and asks me not to. A woman who remembers the lessons from my twenties, and my thirties, who knows me better than I currently know myself. Maybe this woman decided to celebrate her 40th birthday with a tattoo, or her 50th birthday. Or maybe she got to those ages and looked around and liked being one of the few people left from the twentieth century without any ink. I don't know. However, I do know that a lot of selves are going to occupy this body and all of them will be wiser than this one.

So I think I'm going to pass, and leave it up to that Georgia as she thankfully returns to her tea somewhere in the distant future. Maybe she'll also leave it for a future me to decide. And one day ninety year old Georgia will pick up her little purse, shuffle down to the local tattoo parlor, and finally sit in the chair to the confusion of the kids working that day.

And pay homage to another older woman who knew better.

Friday, July 01, 2011

TotusMel's Wunderkammer features the Time Weaver!

My sketches for the Time Weaver are featured today over at TotusMel's Wunderkammer!

The Time Weaver is a character from an ongoing project I have simmering on the back burner. He's loosely based on my buddy Kyle and is--you guessed it--a time traveler.

The sketches
A larger painting, 15x22inches
And right about now is the moment I realize I should just chronicle his journeys in my time traveler themed sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project! I literally just slapped my forehead. Why didn't I think of that before? It took typing out the words: 'he's a time traveler' for it to click.

Suddenly I'm excited about that sketchbook again!

My Big Fat Wedding Updates: The Location

According to there are 50 days left until our wedding, I have 188 to-dos to complete, I'm 99 to-dos overdue, and I'm just about the worst bride in the world. I'm not going to sweat it, as I kinda feel like theknot is a chiffon lined layer of Hell where David's Bridal employees go after they die.

Today I'm writing about our location, easily the least popular decision about the wedding we've made. Except for Preston and Megan, who are all for it!

Ryan and I are from Rhode Island. We live in Washington. And we're getting married in California. Why, you ask?

I'm sorry, have you been to California?

In case you've never heard a rap song, California is the place to be. It's easily the most beautiful, laid back place either of us has visited. We both love southern California. We visited Santa Monica back in April and adored the beach with its ferris wheel, carousel, and scary fortune telling robots. We were discussing wedding plans while we were still sitting on the pier.

Santa Monica Pier Easter weekend.

When we got engaged Ryan and I already knew we wanted a small, simple ceremony. We don't have a lot of money to throw around, and to be honest that's a cop out: even if we did have the money we'd want something small. It's important to us that the day reflects our tastes and story, and let's face it: We're weirdos. You're not going to get 150 people who are comfortable with wrestling entrance music going off during our ceremony and Ryan stage fighting one of our friends (I'm 100% serious, he wanted to do that if we had a big wedding).

Initially we planned to elope and knew we needed two witnesses. Los Angeles is not only home to the out-of-this-world-delicious Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, it's also where Ryan's sister Megan and my best bud Preston live!

Right now you need to stop reading this
and drive to the nearest Roscoe's.
As explained earlier, Ryan contacted Nathan Barnatt to marry us as Keith Apicary, and perfectly it turned out he was living in Los Angeles too! The stars were aligning: But would our families kill us?

Nope! Luckily everyone has been pretty wonderful about it. Amazingly some close family and friends are even flying out to join us! And those that understandably can't make it have been supportive of our decision to have a small, simple ceremony somewhere gorgeous.

And the new just keeps getting better. Apparently California is the easiest place on Earth to get married. There's no blood test required and no wait on marriage licenses (though we're still going to get one a few days in advance). Santa Monica Beach's wedding rules are basically "first come first serve, don't build a stage or start a fire." OH NO, WHAT ABOUT THE STAGE I WANTED TO BUILD AND SET ON FIRE? MY WEDDING DAY IS RUINED.

The location and size of our wedding has raised the most questions, and hopefully this clears up some of the confusion!

I have to confess, I'd really love to go around
on this at least once on our wedding day.
Photo credit: Cubagallery