A Year Between Friends: 3191 Miles Apart



Some of you may know this, and others of you may not: I have a very talented sister and her name is Stephanie. Some of you may know her as 1/2 of the dynamic & gifted duo, Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes, of 3191 Miles Apart. For those of you who don’t know the work of Stephanie and Maria, let me tell you a little bit about it (and stay tuned, because after I tell you about it, I’m going to share with you about their latest book).

Maria and Stephanie met in 2005 back when blogs were a rather new phenomenon. They quickly developed a friendship based on a shared love of many things, including, in their own words, “film photography, art and craft, everyday beauty and a well-lived domestic life.” Just two years later in 2007, they decided to embark on a year long photo project together on a shared blog called 3191 — which was the number of miles between their homes in Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine. The first project was called A Year of Mornings, which culminated in a book that was published the following year in 2008 by Princeton Architectural Press. As part of the project, they each took one photo a day and merged them as diptychs without discussing content ahead of time — they did this everyday for a year! They quickly acquired a worldwide following of devoted fans inspired “by the magical coincidences and pictorial synchronicity of their photographic pairings.” (via Princeton Architectural Press).

Their friendship grew, and they have continued collaborating on endless ideas and projects for almost ten years now, including publishing A Year of Evenings (now sold out & out of print), a quarterly journal, among many other projects.

Just last week, their latest book (pictured above) A Year Between Friends was published by Abrams. Through letters exchanged over the course of a year and heartfelt sharing of real life events, the book includes the story of a year inside their friendship — including moments of serenity, sadness, and overwhelming joy. Nestled between their letters, the book is also abundant with Stephanie and Maria’s aforementioned shared passions for gorgeous film photography, art, craft, food, everyday beauty and a well-lived domestic life — including recipes and projects for living a sustainable, economical, and handmade life.

Just this past weekend, I went over to my sister’s house (she is one of the reasons I moved to Portland!) and we made one of the projects from the book: waxed cloth wraps! My mind was blown by these wraps. They are so easy to make. Totally reusable and sealable, you can use them to wrap sandwiches and other items instead of foil or plastic wrap.


The specific directions for making them are included in the book, of course. First, we cut our fabric to size (the book has specific suggestions for different usable sizes). We used some linen pieces and also some of my FABLE fabric from my Cloud9 Kindred collection!


Then you melt some beeswax and apply it to the fabric. The book offers specific techniques for applying and smoothing the beeswax onto the fabric.


Let dry and voila! You have reusable waxed wraps!




Want to take advantage of this project and others in the book? You can purchase A Year Between Friends on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Congratulations to my sister Stephanie and to Maria for this gorgeous new book!

CATEGORIES: For Sale | Inspiration

Experiments in Blue: Week 46



This week’s Experiment in Blue is a collection of cabinet portraits I’ve been decorating. I started drawing on cabinet portraits years ago, and started this most recent series the summer of 2015 while I was at my Hudson residency. I’ll have some of these for sale at my studio holiday sale on December 2 (more info on that next week, but Portlanders, save the date.)


Experiments in Blue: Week 45



This week’s Experiment in Blue is a large painting at 3 feet by 4 feet! It’s one of the largest paintings I’ve made in a long time. Here you can see my latest collection beginning to form in my new painting studio:


Hoping everyone has a great week!


Portland AIGA Speaking Event!



Friends, I’m so excited to invite you to Fake It Till You Make It: Building Your Toolbox for a Successful Freelance Career! It’s an event I’m doing with the Portland Chapter AIGA in their Career Toolbox series.

I’ll be joined on stage with fellow freelance Illustrator and Portland Icon Kate Bingaman Burt. We’ll be talking about  current trends in the creative world and ways you can set yourself apart from the rest and become a successful freelance designer or illustrator. We’ll offer tips and suggestions for establishing yourself, getting paid work, and managing your business with finesse. We hope you will walk away equipped—not only with the right tools—but also with the right mindset and conviction to conquer the freelance domain.

The event will be held on November 18 from 8-9:30! Be there or be square.

Sound interesting? You can register here.

The event will be held at:
52 Limited Creative + Tech Staffing
330 Southeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard
Portland, OR

Hope to see you there!!


Experiments in Blue: Week 44



This week’s Experiment in Blue: 8×10 inches, acrylic on wood. Can’t wait to share more from this new series I’m working on!