adventures in macro photography

Twenty five dollars and one frustrating night (“how the hell do you put this thing on?”) later I am the proud owner of an embarrassingly cheap and extremely amateur macro lens. Naturally the best way to test it out in the field was to spend a couple hours in my room trying to figure it out how to work this darn thing.

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the invariable importance of painting and calendars

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With Christmas behind us, I decided the next few days will be all about doing the things I said I would do over the break, but never actually do because I’m so busy doing everything else. This includes reading a new book (“Starting Point,” a Hayao Miyazaki autobiography), cleaning the bathroom (still haven’t gotten around to that one yet), and, one of my favorites, painting.

I love painting for a few reasons. The stroke of a brush is much more forgiving and supple than the hard lines of a pencil. While drawing easily becomes stressful for me, painting is purifying. When I paint, I feel that I have a goldmine of skill stored inside of me, and the riches can only be extracted if I keep going. It is the inescapable cliche of self-discovery through art.

So I sat down with my watercolors and brushes yesterday, trying to get inspired. I ended up sifting through my Pinterest board and eventually ended up with these cute little things.

A few years ago I remember buying a calendar with my Christmas money, and when my friend saw it, he couldn’t understand why I spent 12 bucks on it when there is a calendar app on my phone. I was taken aback and had a hard time justifying my purchase. I mean, each year I always bought a wall calendar. It was the way to start off the new year in my family. But, he was right – it was kind of a waste of money. Right?

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So creating these teeny calendars made me happy, because I don’t think paper calendars are obsolete. And I was glad to discover that some of my friends were willing to pay me to make them, as treats for themselves or gifts for others. I can’t quite figure out why, but I feel like there is something important hidden in the idea of having a calendar on your wall, not just on your phone. It’s validating to know that others feel the same.

the only tradition

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Growing up, there were never many Christmas traditions in my household. Since I moved around a lot as a kid, it was kind of hard to establish traditions when we were always in a new house and hardly ever near any family. But every year, without fail, my mom was always baking. This year she decided to rev it up a little bit. Maybe it’s because my brother and I are getting older, maybe it’s because she’s trying to feel closer to her mom, or maybe she just feels like baking, and, well, I’m not complaining. The product of her craze was a kitchen table with a healthy dose of sugar, frosting, and Christmas spirit. And here’s just a part of it.

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(Man, I wish I could be a food photographer for Good Housekeeping or something.)

Bonus photo of a Christmas gift I’m making for my parents.

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Next up is a bonus entry about her gingerbread cookies, which are so adorable they deserve their own post.