pine & bramble

New Pattern!

outdoors, illustrationMolly McCraw

I've just recently finished up this mushroom pattern! It is a combination of all my Colorado mushroom illustrations, both edible and poisonous. I plan to print it on fabric and get the design on to some mugs, t-shirts and other goodies as well. I love how the shroomies came out!

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get inspired

Molly McCraw

Recently, I've been fighting little bouts of art block. Sometimes I just can't get into the groove of a drawing or painting, somethings I just plain can't get inspired. My past four years at art school has taught me a few tricks to get my mind back on track.

1. Walk it out. Ah yes, the classic "go take a walk". You've probably heard this before if you weren't feelin' yourself. But SERIOUSLY GUYS! There's nothing like fresh air to clear your mind of that foggy feeling after you've been sitting at a desk all day. We are animals, we aren't meant to sit in a chair all day long! Get that body out and start moving! Take a moment to observe whats happening around you. If you live in the city, find a park with life! Watch what nature does around you, but don't just watch, think about it's purpose. Pay attention to the little details, you'll be amazed at what you see and where it takes your mind. And if you live around any state parks or wildlife areas, I highly recommend going for a hike. Sometimes nature is the best therapist.

2. Get away. Stuck on the same part of a drawing and you just aren't satisfied with anything? Sometimes, the best thing to do is just get away for a while. Preoccupy your mind with something else. For example, I love to cook! Coming back to a painting after a successful, tasty meal often makes me think "This piece isn't so bad after all". I come back with a fresh mind, so I am able to come up with new answers. I've found the most success when I am doing something completely unrelated to art.

3. Make a list. When you have a good idea, write it down! I keep a list of ideas in my planner, so if I ever find myself with some free time and I can't think of what to draw I can always turn to my list. It reminds me that there is always something to do, and an endless amount of ideas to visit. Just don't overwhelm yourself!

4. Revisit old art. Recently, I got a new flat file for my artwork, which meant I got to go back and see a lot of my older artwork. This was all work that I did in college, and even some in high school! Afterwards, I noticed how many pieces I had ditched half way though and it got me super inspired to either finish them or totally redo the whole concept. I was also able to see how much I've improved in the last few years, which only gets me more excited for whats in store these next few years!

So what am I inspired by? Old books, vintage typography, black pools of water, falling leaves, wood grain, old doors, white buildings, the tap, tap, tap of rain, anything that chirps or squawks.
A good hiking trail, speckley eggs, the way the sun hits a bed of moss, driving at sunrise, lamplight in the snowfall, the smell of colorado.

And some photo's that speak to me. Most of them I have taken [except for the  beautiful, colorful tiles and the very vivid flowers]

el paso to do list

outdoors, travelMolly McCraw

A couple weeks ago, we took a trip to El Paso, Texas to visit Jesse's family. El Paso is a wonderful border city, located about as far west in Texas as you can go. We travel there a couple times a year, and every time it grows closer and closer to my heart. If you ever find yourself wandering through the sun city, here are a few of my favorite places to go!

Chico's Tacos

If you are looking for a cheap, late night treat and you've exhausted your Whataburger cravings, good ole Chico's Tacos is the place to go. Open til 3am on the weekends, Chicos is an east side classic. Their flautas are served in a magical bath of watery tomato soup, topped with a fistful of cheese. I typically order a double with fries and a drink. If you really want to clog your arteries, Jesse might tell you to get a double order of cheese.

Mission Trail

If you've been following me on instagram, you may now know my love for white buildings and old doors. The El Paso missions have it all! These beautiful missions lie on a mission trail that starts in Ysleta (about a 20 minute drive from the city). It continues south to Socorro and San Elizario (15 minute drive tops). If you admire old buildings, you will love this! The doors are so elegantly carved and the walls are blindingly white. I was able to get some product shots done of my stickers while I was there too! 

Hueco Tanks State Park

Hueco Tanks State Park is a lovely desert oasis about 40 minutes east of El Paso. Its a boulderers paradise, where people come from all over the world to climb its rocks. If you are a history buff, it has many petroglyphs ranging from ancient civilizations to passerby cowboys in the 1800s. There are several miles of hiking trails if you are doing a self guided tour, however the park has so much more to offer if you take a guided tour. I haven't had the chance to take a tour yet because you typically have to make a reservation far in advance, and we always forget. 

The best time to visit is fall through spring since the weather is a bit cooler, but we have definitely made it out in the summer time to do some exploring and didn't mind the heat too much. This year we visited in April. The park was completely dead and quiet, there were only two groups of climbers around 9:30am, which seemed a bit unusual. I was even able to get a yoga session in completely unbothered near one of the main trails. I highly recommend to check this place out!

Downtown El Paso

El Paso has a fantastic night life! There is so much amazing, authentic foods paired with some creative, modern bars. The people love to have fun so you can guarantee a good time. These are a few places I recommend stopping by if you find yourself downtown.

Chihuahuas Stadium
The Chihuahuas are El Paso's new minor league baseball team and they just got a new stadium. We went to an one of their games opening night this year and it was a great time! The fans were really into the game, and the Chihuahuas were entertaining to watch. Before we went to the game, we chowed down on some burgers and drinks at Dark Horse, a local bar that was a five minute walk from the stadium. And we may have stopped by afterwards to enjoy a few more drinks. I always love a good whiskey sour!

Dream Chasers Club
A new gallery/clothing line has opened up downtown featuring sick art and street wear. Regretfully, I haven't been in their brick & mortar store yet (ran outta time!), but their instagram is always impressing me with new, contemporary art, products and clothing. If you are looking for some unique art, stickers, accessories, and more stop by this local business to support local artists!

Dream Chasers Club
200 S. Santa Fe St, El Paso, TX 79901
Hours: Tues-Sat 2-8pm

Union Plaza
Grab a coffee from the Coffee Box and walk on over toUnion Plaza, because is a must see at night time. It is a nice, little park located in the middle of downtown. There is an alligator sculpture in the middle, made by the same artist that created ole Bluecifer by the Denver International Airport. At night, the Plaza is lit up with lights and it is a gorgeous sight. Play some chess or enjoy a nice conversation with a friend. Or be me, and try to get pretty bokeh pictures of all the lit up trees.

Franklin Mountains State Park

El Paso wraps around the Franklin Mountains, a deserty end to the Rocky Mountains. In the heart of the Mountains lies Franklin Mountains State Park. There are over 10 miles of hiking trails that feature everything from tin mines, to old volkswagon buses, to the crash site of a small plane. There is a variety of wildlife too! I've caught collard lizards, earless lizards, and spotted my fair share of desert birds including quail and orioles. If its the summer time, check out the adobe nature center. There are bird feeders and a water source set up so you are sure to see something!

I recommend the Aztec Caves trail and the Cottonwood trail, both take you up to nice, scenic areas overlooking the park.

There's so much more to do around El Paso, I could keep this list going! If ya'll have any other questions about fun things to do in and around El Paso, do not hesitate to reach out! I have many more recommendations (and many resources) on the outdoors, food, bars, you name it. Until next time!

colorado homesteads

outdoorsMolly McCraw

i love living in denver. i'm 15 minutes away from the city and 15 minutes away from the mountains - technically, if you count the foothills as mountains. recently, an old friend and I took a drive out to golden gate canyon state park. we hiked one of my favorite trails out there, only because of the beautiful old swedish homestead that lies about a mile up the trail. it still stands, but many parts have been refurbished. its still an old beauty. 

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the little ranch house sits on a hill over looking a trout pond. it brought me back to simpler, rougher times. i imagined cold, harsh winters, only to be rewarded with warm mountain summers, lush with wild raspberries and fresh trout. i may spend a few summer days up here myself when the weather warms up.  here are a few more photos to curb your outdoor + vintage inspiration cravings!

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crystal jewelry!

Molly McCraw

february was quite a busy month! i'm working on a few different projects right now, including re-painting our home! in january, i challenged myself to do a craft every month because there are so many things I want to try! february wasn't very productive on the craft side, because I have been working on some nursery rhyme illustrations for a client. BUT, I did make some gem jewelry! i applied gold foil to the tops of the gems and sealed them so the gold foil wouldn't chip. i may make a DIY post of my process for making these, so stay tuned!

 

from left to right: amethyst, colorado rose quartz, calcite, clear quartz, citrine

from left to right: amethyst, colorado rose quartz, calcite, clear quartz, citrine

craft a month + recent trips

outdoors, craft a monthMolly McCraw

Hello!

Happy new year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. We spent ours in the Rockies and then traveled down to El Paso. Spending some much needed time away from home and with our families was just what we needed. During this time away, I did some brainstorming on how I could expand Pine + Bramble to provide other aspects of our daily lives. I settled on practicing one craft a month, something to do in the mornings when I wake up and before bed. Just a little experiment to see what other forms of art I may enjoy! This month I will be tackling jewelry. I was inspired by a mineral I found in our front yard, which we think was left by someone that lived there before us. Rustic Relics, a wonderful little crystal and antique shop in Lakewood, identified it as fluorite! 

Various minerals [and the big piece of fluorite we found] I picked up recently from a gem store in El Paso, as well as a little shop here in Lakewood

Various minerals [and the big piece of fluorite we found] I picked up recently from a gem store in El Paso, as well as a little shop here in Lakewood

So keep an eye out each month on what I will be doing next! If the project is a success, I will be putting up the products on my etsy, and may even continue to make them! Here's to a new year full of travel, exploration, creativity and productivity!

Jackalope Art & Craft Fair!

Molly McCraw

Hello, Molly here!

These past five months have all been leading up to this one weekend. So many late nights creating and building and stressing and wondering if we were ready for this. Heck yeah we were! This weekend, Pine & Bramble attended its first big craft fair, the Jackalope Art + Craft Fair! Located in downtown Denver at the McNichols Building, it featured a wonderful mix of local artists and makers, and what a blast we had! We met so many impressive artisans [and took home some of their awesome goods] and had some lovely customers. Here are some photos of this inspiring weekend: 

 

our collection of vendor products from the fair!

our collection of vendor products from the fair!

and the artists in their natural habitat!

and the artists in their natural habitat!

So thank you to everyone who came out and supported our little business! Every little purchase means so much. It is still a work in progress but I'm so excited to see where 2017 is going to take us!

And in case you're wondering where to see the work of the vendors above, here are their websites/social media:

Carrot Illustration - by Bethany Siekmeier - heybettyart.etsy.com
Hummingbird holiday card - Velvet Ears - velvetears.net
Fluorite Necklace - Mile High Beads - etsy.com/shop/milehighbeads
Deliciousness Jams - Red Camper Picnic Supply - redcamper.com

Until next time!