It's been a busy spring, but one thing that took priority on my calendar was a trip to Wicked Tulips. I asked my favorite fellow photographer Forrest Elliott to join me, and we headed out at around 6pm to catch sunset on the farm. I had visited earlier in the week with my boys, but the sun was high in the sky and it wasn't the right time for pictures. I am SO SO glad I went back at sunset. It was a truly magical experience. If you live in New England put this on your calendar for next spring because Wicked Tulips is absolutely worth a visit (and order your tickets early; they sell out, especially on the weekends). As for the pictures where I'm in them...those are from Forrest, and I love them (and that is saying a lot because I'm super awkward in front of the camera!). I always love adventures that inspire my love of photography and leave me wanting to take a thousand photos. I hope I captured just a bit of the beauty here to share with you...
For years now, whenever someone emails me with questions about Providence- where to shop, eat and explore- I direct them to the guide that I wrote for Design*Sponge. In my mind it was still current, but a few months ago I realized that it had been five years! Needless to say, it was time for an update. As with any relationship, the one I have with my city is full of ups and downs. I love the vibrant food scene, the fact that we can afford a lovely house yet are in walking distance of everything. I love my community garden and farmer's market, and the coffee shop where they know just how I like my iced latte. I love our neighbors and the fact the kids run back and forth between yards to play with each other. But the public schools are not great, we deal with high crime rates, and occasionally I yearn for more space and the beauty of nature out my back window.
I'm learning as I get older that nothing is perfect- there is no perfect place to call home. That being said, I'm pretty darn happy with Providence (for the moment!). I'd love for you to pop over to Design*Sponge and see the guide that I put together. It is chock full of all my favorite spots around the city. We're lucky to call this vibrant, creative, design-savvy, food-obsessed city home.
It’s been a while since I’ve sung the praises of my adopted hometown, but this past weekend I was once again reminded of the fact that I live in a totally bad ass city. Perhaps it’s the back to school energy that infuses this college town of ours (seeing all of the wide-eyed freshman finding their way around Brown’s campus always makes for humorous people watching). Whatever it is, I’m feeling a contagious energy to get out and explore. Of course most of the students will never leave the comfort of the East Side, but let me tell you, they are missing out…there are so many interesting pockets of the city.
Growing up in a suburb of Michigan, my exposure to community gardens was limited. Every house had enough of yard to garden, so the idea of tending a plot of land away from home was foreign. In Providence, you can hardly throw a stone without hitting a community garden. I belong to one, and I LOVE it. I cannot stress enough what a learning experience it can be if you find a welcoming, and knowledgeable gardening network. I didn’t know what I was doing this year, but my plot mates all helped me out. We look after each others plots while people are on vacation, we trade tomato secrets and pest control advice. We collectively work to weed and spread compost, wood chips and mulch. We all seem to take immense pride in the space, and it shows. However, an urban farm is quite different than a community garden. This land is being WORKED (annually they produce 2 tons of food in a 3/4 acre space)…and the staff really know what they’re doing, which makes for a great learning experience as a visitor.
Every available inch of soil is being farmed, and it was inspiring to see how much could be produced on a single city lot. Each week, City Farm sells their produce at the farmers market. Think about that- a single city lot can produce enough produce to sustain a large booth at the market (again- 2 tons of food!!). Imagine the possibilities in your own city- abandoned lots, unused green spaces, all that lawn….makes you think!
As a beginner gardener, it was inspiring to see how they were growing- the particular way they stake their tomatoes (I’m so growing those deep purple ones next year), which plants they grow together (companion planting- I need to learn so much more), how flowers can add to the beauty of a vegetable garden (this is something I am determined to do next year in my small plot- grow flowers!). Anywhooo- I promise not to bore you with too many more garden posts; I can’t resist, that’s all I want to photograph these days. I know the growing season is winding down, and I can’t help but want to soak in the last green moments before colder weather comes a knocking. But with Squam and a family trip to Montreal coming up this month I promise some travel and adventure to break up the monotony. Oh and we’re celebrating our six-year anniversary by attending Outstanding in the Field tonight (please stop raining!). I’m beyond excited, and can’t wait to share. So there’s that to look forward to…but of course it’s held at a farm, so we’re right back where we started…more gardening stuff. Thanks for sticking it out with me!
Yesterday morning, the amazingly gifted Phoebe Wahl welcomed me into her home studio to capture a few snapshots of her work. I am in absolute awe of her talent, and after seeing her work in Taproot, and commissioning her to make a family portrait, I was left wanting more. Actually, I would very much like to live in the world Phoebe creates, where mothers are rosy cheeked, wearing patterned aprons while feeding chickens, babies slung on their back, and fathers have scruffy beards and rough hands from tending the fields and working in their woodshops. Yes, this is my kind of world.
Phoebe has sketchbook upon sketchbook filled with what she calls "scribbles" (and I call "blow your mind art")! If I had a fraction of her talent, I could pretty much die happy.
I especially love that her work celebrates women, child rearing, family, hearth and home. This is a girl who has her priorities straight (says the mother of two who has been nursing or pregnant for the past 3 years!).
As Phoebe and I chatted, I found myself intrigued by her upbringing- it was clear that her parents placed a high priority on creativity and individuality. One particular line stuck with me- "I can't remember a time when I wasn't drawing." It is clear that art runs strong through her veins. We shared our favorite children's books, and illustrators, a few we had in common, such as Tasha Tudor and Cicely Mary Barker. Mark my words- Phoebe will one day join their ranks. And that is her greatest wish- to create children's books. We both agreed that no other art form was as formative to us as books- no museum, or great piece of art can compare to the stories we cherished as children.
After studying for several years at RISD, Phoebe traveled abroad for a semester to Scotland, where she studied sustainability, and lived on a tiny island as part of an eco-community. Her stories were fascinating, as were her sketches influenced by that time in her life.
And please don't even get me started on her figurines. I have always had a thing for miniatures, and tiny little beings. Phoebe's seem alive, with their rosy cheeks and colorful clothing. The women with the baby in her arms- love. Shhh- don't tell Phoebe but I slipped that one in my pocket ;)
My only regret was that I didn't capture a picture of Phoebe smiling- she is utterly charming, and really lights up the room. Anyhow- here she is, in full concentration mode. And her artful apartment- you can feel, from the moment you step through the door, that this is the home of a true artist. Thank you, Phoebe, for inviting me into your world.
The snow came, just as predicted. It started Friday, coming down steadily through the day and into the night. The lights flickered as the wind gusted, and the snow swirled, but we kept power. Thankfully, we had a stocked fridge, and plenty of hot chocolate on hand, so we took full advantage of the snow day!
It only takes about 45 minutes to get Vijay suited up- I'm sure you know the drill. Snowpants pulled tight over boots, mittens tucked tight into coat sleeves. Snaps, buttons, velcro. It is not a small job! But when the view out the front door looks like this, how can you not head out into the wintery whiteness?
We went sledding, built snowmen, threw snowballs, shoveled, and made snow angels until evening. The air was crisp, the snow perfect for packing, and by the time we finished playing, the sky had turned into a beautiful watercolor.
We headed inside with our rosy cheeks for hot chocolate.
Although we repeated some version of this on both Saturday and Sunday, we also spent several hours inside snuggling, reading, and playing trucks. Talk about melting my heart- not one, but two little snuggle bunnies.