Little Peanut Magazine Feature

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My collaboration with Wren & James for this "little people" top was photographed and featured by Little Peanut Magazine. Isn't it adorable? I thought it turned out so well. Kiley of Wren & James is an incredible seamstress and visionary. She approached me to do a series of textile designs for her company, and this was the one we chose for SS15 launch next month! 

I want it in big kid sizes. (ie. FOR ME PLEASE).

I'll post when they are available, so keep your eyes on this spot!

Hammersmith Bridge in Oils

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I live by Hammersmith Bridge, and walk, run, or bike to it almost every day.
 It's always a sight for sore eyes. 
It was first built in 1827 and has since then been updated, and the structure re-done to make it stronger. It is a lovely green color, surrounded by old pubs and gorgeous riverside houses. There is a pub we go to called The Dove that Hemingway and Thomas Moore 
are said to have frequented quite a bit too.
I am determine to paint it in it's various times of day. I'm so lucky to live by such a beautiful river. William Hogarth, the painter, was said to have lived in my area, and I can see how inspiring a place it is to draw and paint! I'm hoping to do many paintings while being here.

And that's my Grandma Christensen by the way, in the frame next to my painting. She is beautiful and lively in that photo. This is before she got sick. She died while I was quite young, and was very ill during the last years of her life. This photo gives me a constant remembrance of who I have come after, the life and the joy of my relatives, who are still watching over me, and want me to succeed.

1700's Hair & Hygiene at Kensington Palace.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I visited Kensington Palace this weekend, and found out a few tidbits of historical facts that boggled my mind, and made me so excited to draw.

Social events were very big back then (probably because there wasn't anything else to do) and class and status was very important. For example, you could go to Kensington Palace to see the king eat. Supposedly it was proof that he was doing well health-wise to see him eat full meals, and what a novel activity! "Let's go see the king eat tonight!" 
"Okay! He's probably eating more tonight than I will ever eat in my life!" 

True story, peasants.

Going to social events at the palace was also a way to socialize and network with other "bigwigs" (NO PUN INTENDED... TBD). To be let into the palace, you had to dress the part. The dresses had to be of the best fabrics, brocades, and embroidery, or you weren't allowed in. The halls of Kensington were always lit with lots of candles, so the dresses were embroidered with lots of gold and silver thread, so that they would glitter and be noticeable and stand out. 

The way women (and men) dressed was absolutely out of this world. The style of extravagant dress for women around the 1700's was the huge "mantuas"-- wide puffy netting that was worn underneath dresses. These dresses were so wide, they had to go sideways to go through doors, and had the nickname "pop-up dresses" because they had to fold them to get into carriages.

 The hairstyles were huge powdered hair-do's that looked like wigs (but a lot of them weren't), and they had to be AT LEAST a head and a half tall, and preferably done with your own hair along with some extensions. They were embellished with all sorts of things, and arranged into heart shapes, long shapes, and just plain huge shapes, then powdered white.

 Men and women's faces were smeared with goose-fat and then a layer of white lead make up was applied, covering even the eyebrows. Rouge was applied where necessary, then they would apply mouse hair eye-brows above their real eyebrows, which gave them all a very surprised look. Then the beauty spots would be applied, also in different shapes, and put in different spots around the face,
 to represent various social statuses or meanings. 

The men's suit-coats were very taut in the back so that they would stand very straight.
They wore three pairs of stockings, so the legs hairs wouldn't stick out, and 
they wore very short-cut powdered wigs themselves.

The point of these outrageous styles, was to step into the palace and be
 transported into an unearthly, almost alien-type of world.
It was an experience, a party,
 a masquerade of the most extreme kind.

Now, with all of this going on, you can imagine how uncomfortable being in these outfits were, especially for the women. They all could barely move. The tops of carriages sometimes even had flaps so the headdresses of hair could have a space to be when they went to these gatherings. 

It was considered very rude to show your back to the king when present in his palace, so everyone shuffled around with their ridiculously huge hairs and dresses, to avoid insulting the king with their backs. Sometimes the king would "rump" someone on purpose, by turning his own back to show he didn't like them, and then the "rumped" person would be banished from court. There was supposedly even a "rump" club in London, where others who had been "rumped" would go to discuss how to get in better graces with the king and court again. 

So while all of this "rumping" and shuffling was going on for hours and hours (up to at least 5 hours) you have to wonder about the basic bathroom necessities, correct?


A woman just a few years ago, found a little dish with a handle that she used as a gravy dish for some years. She had it appraised by an antique expert. They discovered it was actually a miniature porto-potty. Used for just the above moments! If a lady during one of these social events needed the loo, she would signal to a maid, who would bring over one of these little ceramic-handled bowls, go underneath her dress, and the woman would hold it between her legs, 
and continue on with her conversation. 

Supposedly turning your back on the king was more offensive then peeing into a bowl hidden underneath your dress.
The men would simply use fireplaces, or corners of the palace. 

Shocking I know.

As you can imagine, the palace was a very smelly place. Mixed with perfumes, urine, and bodily odors. I don't think it was as glamorous as all of us think it was at that time. But I'll just keep thinking about Marie Antoinette, the movie by Sofia Coppola, because that is exactly how I'd want it to be. Not smelly, just BEAUTIFUL! DECADENT! PERFECT!
 With Mogwai just playing ALL THE DAYS in the background!!

So there you have it. History in Hygiene and Hair 101. 

Kensington Palace itself is very intriguing, with so many stories, and very personal history that is different than a lot of the other ones we've visited. It almost was torn down, but Queen Victoria decided last minute to keep it. 

Take a visit sometime. You'll be glad you did.

Finishing Scenes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The view from my studio is beautiful. The sky changes about 20 times during the day, with rain rolling in, and clouds rolling out. I decided to draw it today. From where I sit, I just see a sea of chimneys... it feels very Mary Poppins.

Feeling more settled every day here. 

New Rings!

Monday, January 12, 2015

New rings in the shop! These are all portraits I did of old 1700's paintings, 
all hand-painted and sealed with resin. 
You can get your own painted here. And the rest here


Je suis Charlie

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I hope and pray we can all stand up to those who ever threaten our freedoms with hate and nonsensical violence.

 Pray for Paris, pray for our world.

Mushrooms & News

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Like these?

You'll be able to pre-order your own in about a month. There's a new clothing line I'm designing coming to the shop in just about a months time. Get ready! I can't wait!!

Happy 2015!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!

This was our first New Years in London, and we camped out for a few hours down by South Bank to see the fireworks at The London Eye. It was a beautiful show, a little windy, but fun. We were crammed in with a ton of other people, but thankfully we had a good view.

Thank you for the years of support and following.
 Here's to a new year of new ideas, design, and inspirations.

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