Category Archives: The El Monte Project

Invisible Improvements, Naked Ladies, and the Bunny Hop

I don’t even know how to begin this post.



The trip took it’s toll on me and I finally almost feel back to normal.



And I still have TWO letters I have to write!


But what you don’t know is all the work I’ve been doing behind the scenes!

(Super Top Secret)

However, it feels as if every time I go to do something, not only does it take me longer than expected, there are SO many road blocks in my way.

I just.  Want to. Finish this one thing!


I apologize, I don’t mean to complain.  In fact, one thing I can share with you is that I visited with my Grandma again on Friday to work on the El Monte Project!  I am also thrilled because I think I am beginning to formulate a way to exhibit and share this epic project I am working on.  (More to come on this later, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.)


Anyways, the funniest part about our visit yesterday was hearing my Grandma talk about Naked Ladies.  They are actually a type of lily, but if you listen to the audio, the conversation is pretty hilarious.  Well, maybe only a little hilarious.  Anyways, the image I am sharing is not of the Naked Ladies, but of a similar lily of the Amaryllis family (I hope I got that all straight…)


Anyways, pray for my sanity and I WILL be sharing something with you soon, even if it means I have to photograph the darn things with my iPhone just to prove to you all of the hard work that I am doing behind the scenes over here.

Happy Sunday to You ALL!!


Evernote Snapshot 20130816 092801



Seed Pod Mysteries

A busy, fun day filled with family and friends.  Ocean views and backyard barbecues.  Squeezing in a drawing today was difficult, and I grabbed the object that was nearest on my desk, the seed pod that was given to me yesterday by my grandma.  The seed pod has an interesting back story, for those who like a little scientific mystery.  Here is how the story goes:

My grandma was given this particular Orchid tree from a friend.  The tree was a seedling from her Bauhinia veriagata, which has bright pink blooms.  However, when my grandma’s tree bloomed, the orchids were white.  What is bizarre about this, is that there is an Orchid tree with white flowers, however it is a completely different plant, the Bauhinia aculeata.  So, we are going to plant these seeds and see what happens.  Is there a recessive white-flowering gene in the Bauhinia veriagata?  I don’t much about science, but I do love a good experiment.

The drawing is for purchase on my Etsy Shop: myquiethouse


bauhinia seed pod 72 border

Climbing the Mountain

It’s Thursday again, which means I went and climbed the mountain with my Grandma and talked about plants.  The weather is exactly how the fourth of July should be.  Hot.  My brother just arrived in from Boston and we are going to spend the rest of the day celebrating with family, playing outside, and eating good food.

I used to be really cynical about politics and the government, and maybe I still am a bit jaded by all that.  However, I see the sacrifices that families make on an individual level, who have relatives and loved ones in the military and I want to say “Thank You” right now.  You guys do so much that we take for granted, and even if I find America to be a little boisterous, nosey, and opinionated, I feel blessed to feel safe and protected.


In other news, I learned some new things today about plants.  One of the plants was Cercocarpus ledifolius, otherwise known as Mountain Mahogany and it is a plant native to California.  It has these amazing seed pods that have delicate feather-like tails that cause the whole tree to glimmer. The seed pods fly to the ground and then, over time dry and curl and then burrow their way back down into the earth.  Pretty amazing.  I drew and image of a few of the seed pods below.

You can purchase the painting at my shop here

Mount Mahogany 72


Thursday: El Monte Project Update

Spent some time up on the hillside recording and photographing today with my Grandma.  We are meeting on Thursdays to work on what I am calling The El Monte Project, where we are compiling an archive of all the plants on her property.  The archive consists of the image and name of the plant, as well as an approximation of year it was planted, and any personal or other important information about that specific plant.   As far as the project goes, I am loving it.  I feel like I am in a one-on-one nature class, which is also a family history class, and I get to spend time with my Grandma.  Triple Bonus.  Also, for you other “hunter and gatherers,” we have been using the app Evernote, which seems to be working well right now.  Eventually I will illustrate and transcribe all of the audio and “hopefully” combine it into a book or series of some sort.  We shall see.

Also, moral lesson for today as we were climbing the hills: Nature’s will to survive is incredible.  Many of the plants she showed me, at times were near death, and then pushed through.  Some plants would suddenly burst into life and have a growth spurt, leaving one to wonder, what was holding it back before?  However, some plants didn’t survive.  Like her Flowering Eucalyptus, which was a tree my dad and aunt and uncle used to climb in as children.

Things can be reborn, however.  This is a cross-section of that Flowering Eucalyptus, which has now become part of the placard deeming the property a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

Evernote Snapshot 20130627 094322

Also, pinecones from their gigantic Chir Pine

Evernote Snapshot 20130627 094826

A Brief Addendum…and a Project Announcement!!

I feel like I need to clarify a few things here, in response to my previous post.  Yes, I want a life filled with joy.  And yes, I have chosen to stay at home to raise my child.  That all being said, I’m not just messing around here.  This blog isn’t a fun little game that I am playing.  I am very serious about it and every post I make (even if they are currently full of typos and have a tendency to seem rushed).  I still consider myself an artist.  I still want to move people and make them think.  I still want to learn and grow and explore this thing called life and seek out the Unknown.  I still want to have an artistic career, even if it may be different than I imagined.

In fact, that is the very reason why I started this blog.  To open up an artistic dialogue.  So, I am not just sitting out here in my bubble, conjuring up weird philosophies and filling my drawers with pages and pages of scribbling sketches that nobody sees.  It may not be avant-garde, and perhaps it just is another “mommy-blog,” but at least I am putting my work out there.  And if all of my projects ever do start to take over, or if this blog evolves into something larger then it is right now, I want it to be made known right now that if it is getting in the way of my joy or my appreciation for life or my ability to spend quality time and watch my little being transform…someone sound the alarm.  Please.


And on that note, I bring you my latest project:

I’m currently titling it “The El Monte Project”  although that may change in the future.  This project is going to take a long time and is just in its infancy stage, so I don’t have a lot to share with you at the moment, but I will in the future.

The project involves cataloguing, recording, photographing, and then illustrating every species of plant on my Grandparents property.   How do I tell you everything in a few sentences about how epic and awesomely large and special this project is?  How my Grandpa built the house with his hands over fifty years ago.  How my Grandma has filled the house and hillside with hundreds and hundreds of different plants, each with a different history, a story behind each one.  How some of the irises were actually bred by my Great-Grandfather.  How Christmas trees planted forty years ago have now become sixty-foot giants that quietly have taken watch over their property.  I can’t tell you it all here, but perhaps my project can someday.

So, every Thursday, I will be heading over to their property until the project reaches completion.  I am thinking it will take a year, because we will want to catch all the flowers in their bloom.


This is an Orchid Flower from the Bauhinia Veriegata

Evernote Snapshot 20130620 094424