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Through the front door

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

Settling back into things after returning from a holiday trip, and thinking of everything I’d like 2015 to hold. Seems appropriate that today is Epiphany. (Bonus for the day: it’s so balmy I can have my tea on the porch.) Welcome, new year. Welcome, welcome.

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Their favorite time of year

Christmas photo by Chandler O'Leary

Christmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearySnowy trees photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyTacoma photo by Chandler O'LearyChickadee Christmas ornament by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas in Ashland sketch by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'Leary

To me this season is not about a certain day, or even a series of holidays—it’s a collection of moments. It’s those moments that I cherish above anything else—especially when they happen with the people I love best, in this part of the world I call home. I hope your season, however you might celebrate or mark it, is filled with the moments you’ll want to remember always.

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays, from our home to yours.

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The holiday rush

Studio photo by Chandler O'Leary

Every day this month I’ve brought a stack of packages like this to the post office, fulfilling orders and sending my goods to every corner of the country and beyond. Normally this is the week that the orders taper off, as folks finish off their Christmas list or the holiday USPS deadline looms. This year, though, the orders are still coming in thus far, at an astonishing rate that keeps me busy the whole day, every day.

So I just wanted to pause a moment to say thank you—for your support for what I do, for your support of small and local businesses like mine, and of artisans of every stripe who make their living from what they create. I can’t begin to express what that means to me—except to keep making things, in the hope that it’ll mean something to you, too.

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Glass & gifts

Photos and artwork by Chandler O'Leary

I’m doing one last craft fair this season, and this time it’s at a brand new venue. Tacoma’s Museum of Glass is hosting its first-ever holiday craft fair, featuring 10 local artisans in the beautiful space of the Grand Hall. So if there’s something you still need to cross off your list, you can find it here:

Museum of Glass Holiday Craft Fair
This Saturday, December 13, 2014
10 am to 5 pm (during museum open hours)
1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA

See you this Saturday!

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Thanksgiving state of mind

Thanksgiving photo by Chandler O'Leary

Thanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'Leary

We’re celebrating the holiday at a friend’s house this year—one who, I’m happy to say, was the perfect partner in crime when it came to hatching our crazy state-souvenir table settings idea.

Whatever state you’re in this year (whether literal or metaphorical), wishing you a happy, safe and delicious Thanksgiving!

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One down, 49 to go

Washington state cards by Chandler O'Leary

Well, I know I have a lot more prints to add to my 50 States series, but I couldn’t resist starting a card series to go with it. Eventually I’ll have all 50 in my collection, but for now I’m starting right here at home with a little Washington souvenir. You can find these cards in the shop—or if you’re local, catch me this weekend at Tacoma is for Lovers, our beloved, weirdly-named holiday craft fair.

Tacoma is for Lovers craft fair
Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23
11 am to 4 pm, free!
King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, WA

See you there!

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Starting with the corners

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

Slowly but surely, this place is beginning to look like home.

Tacoma photo by Chandler O'Leary

Good thing, because the days are absolutely flying by,

Studio photo by Chandler O'Leary

the weeks passing me in a blur of time.

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

Neither the Tailor nor I could really take any time off from work for our move, so we can only settle in a little at a time. There are so many boxes to unpack, fixtures to mend, hidden spots to clean, surprises to deal with, infrastructure to set up—a million things to build and scrub and fix and dismantle and assemble and purchase and beautify and polish and rewire and dig up and plant and patch and strip and undo and restore and set up just so. Some parts of the house are perfect as they are; others need attention immediately; still others will just need to be lived with as-is for some years, until we can get around to tackling them. If I think about any of it too long, I go a little mad.

Home photos by Chandler O'Leary

So for now, we’re focusing on the corners. There isn’t a single room that’s done yet, but little corners here and there are starting to shape up nicely.

Steller's Jay photo by Chandler O'Leary

These images, then, are little glimpses of what my days have been like lately, of the moments that have alternately focused and fragmented my attention.

Home photo by Chandler O'LearyStudio photo by Chandler O'LearyConstellation illustrations by Chandler O'Leary

Through it all, work goes on, as close to uninterrupted as I can make it,

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

while the hum of everyday life picks back up around me.

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

I’ve gotten in the habit lately of keeping my camera on a shelf behind my work table. It’s a good reminder that while forward momentum is nice—

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

—I need to remember to stop every now and again and take a good look at where I stand.

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Double features

Atlas Obscura feature on Chandler O'Leary

 

I wanted to let you know about some fun online articles I’ve been a part of lately. First up is one I’ve mentioned briefly before: the folks at one of my favorite travel websites, Atlas Obscura, have been doing a series of features on roadside attractions, featuring some of my sketchbook drawings. The series started with an interview about my Drawn the Road blog—

Atlas Obscura feature on Chandler O'Leary

and has since expanded to a series of detailed features on some of my favorite roadside oddities.

Atlas Obscura feature on Chandler O'Leary

My favorite part is watching their ever-growing map dotted with pins representing where I’ve sketched things. I hope to see that thing peppered with dots before long! You can find all the features to date here. Many thanks to Allison Meier for devoting so much good ink to my sketches!

Roosterwax feature on Chandler O'Leary

The other series I wanted to share is one on a local architectural studies site for kids and teens called Roosterwax. When their president, Lauren Hirt, asked if she could feature some of my sketches on the site, I said yes simply because I was excited about Roosterwax’s mission. But I had no idea just how wonderful a thing I was in for when I went to look at the first post.

Roosterwax feature on Chandler O'Leary

Each week Roosterwax features a different architectural sketch of mine—but the sketch is merely the starting point. Lauren writes a thoughtful and detailed post to go with each sketch, and analyzes my work the same way an art historian might—breaking each piece down into its technical and compositional details for students to investigate.

Roosterwax feature on Chandler O'Leary

The result is both flattering and humbling for me (and maybe a little nervewracking, since my drawings always have mistakes in them!)—I’m used to analyzing the work of others that way, but I’ve never experienced it myself.

Roosterwax feature on Chandler O'Leary

Most of all, I love reading each post because it gets me to think like a student again. After a lifetime of drawing, many of the skills and tricks I learned in school (and afterward) have become ingrained, but I always feel like my sketches could be better. Reading each Roosterwax post is like having my own little private (and super kind) critique each week, giving me lots of ideas for improving as an artist. I can only hope that together we can inspire some aspiring architects, as well!

You can follow along each Friday, on the Roosterwax site. Thanks so much, Lauren—looking forward to the next installment!

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The hardest hue to hold

Tacoma autumn photo by Chandler O'Leary

We’re all moved into our new house, and fully in the thick of unpacking and setting up our lives again. But despite a pile of work to do that stretches from here to next year, I didn’t want to miss my favorite season. So every chance I get, I’ve been sneaking out to take walks among the autumn colors. And all the while, a snippet of Robert Frost plays on repeat in my head:

So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Tacoma autumn photo by Chandler O'Leary

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Home sweet home

House photo by Chandler O'Leary

In a season full of big events, tomorrow is the biggest day of all, because that’s when the Tailor and I move into our new home. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this—we’ve been saving for years and looking for months, and we finally found the house (and studio!) that is absolutely perfect for us, in every way.

House photo by Chandler O'Leary

It’s going to take a goodly bit of time, elbow grease and TLC to preserve our little piece of historic Tacoma just the way we want to, but we’ve had a lot of good omens to remind us that we’re headed down the right path.

House photo by Chandler O'Leary

For one thing, we found a poster I designed already hanging in the basement—

Tacoma photo by Chandler O'Leary

—and for another, we’ll get to come home to this every day.

I’ll be whipping my new studio into shape over the coming weeks and months, so I’m sure I’ll have photos and stories to share as I go along.

* * *

Thank you to everybody who came to my reception yesterday! We had a massive turnout—I think we gave the library staff a nice surprise by filling up that gallery. Many thanks for all your smiles, hugs and support, especially on the eve of the big move!

Hello! I am away for the Codex Bookfair (if you're in the SF Bay Area, catch me Feb 8-11 at the Craneway Pavilion!); all orders placed between now and Feb 19 will ship on Friday, Feb 20, 2015. Sorry for the inconvenience!