Sunday, May 15, 2011

I love birds!

So, I'm obsessed with birds.  Not a specific bird, but the idea of birds, flight, freedom.  I'm not totally sure where this obsession started, or how it manifested into the obsession that it is, but I do have some ideas / theories.

Growing up, I did gymnastics and loved the sensation of soaring through the air and not touching the ground.  Doing back-flips off of the balance beam, shooting stars off of the uneven bars, or aerials on the floor - loved it all.   This is probably one of the first pictures of me "in flight"...

Another thing that I think added to my obsession with birds / flight was having a pilot (among other things) for a dad.  He flew small 4-seater Cessna airplanes, and I would fly with him often.  I loved our little afternoon jaunts over to Catalina Island for a burger at the airport, then a quick flight home.

A little later in life, I decided that I wanted to try sky-diving.  Yes, I'm a little crazy, but I absolutely LOVED the experience.  I truly got to experience flying without being in a flight-worthy contraption.  The initial sensation of jumping out of the airplane was quite unnerving, but after a second or 2, it turned into an amazing experience.  Hurling toward earth at who knows how fast - before the parachute opened - was really loud and exhilarating.  Once the parachute opened, it was quiet, peaceful, and amazing to float through the air and land safely standing up on the ground.

I haven't done any more dare-devil-ish activities recently, but every time I see birds in flight, I fondly remember flying with my dad, skydiving, and that feeling of freedom.  I know it is impossible to read a bird's mind, but I like to imagine the joy and elation they must feel soaring with the wind.  Letting the velocity of the wind propel them up and down, and riding the wind to their heart's content.  I absolutely love it.

I love it so much so, that I had some amazing birds tattooed on me...  I knew I wanted some birds, but it was very conceptual in my mind for over a year.  My sister introduced me to an AMAZING tattoo artist in Los Angeles - Adam Kilss (click here for his Facebook page, and click here for where he tattoos).  I spoke with Adam briefly and showed him some images of what I kind of liked.  My sis and I came back the next night and he pulled out the most amazing pencil drawing that was absolutely perfect.  2 hours and some pain later, I've got 4 beautiful birds gracing my left side.  Love.

One of the images I found in a random magazine was of flying birds wallpaper.  I couldn't find a reference for where this wallpaper was from, but I absolutely loved it.  One afternoon, I was driving down Ventura Blvd. in LA with my sister, and saw a large print of this wallpaper image.  We stopped in the store to inquire the price of said photograph - it was almost $900 - way out of my price range.  My sister, ever the internet sleuth, found it for me here.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  I'm thinking of ordering a piece of the wallpaper and framing it as art.  We'll see... 

My bird obsession has also translated into decorating and jewelry.  My sister created a "Jenny Bird" list of cute bird-themed items found on Etsy - click here.

I picked up the cute little stenciled bird clock and have it hanging in my bathroom.

Also on Etsy is a great artist who does little prints of birds.  I have a few hanging on the wall in the hallway.

I first saw this guy's work at the Renegade Art Fair in SF a few years ago.  I bought 2 prints from him there (The Mincing Mockingbird).  Then found him on Etsy and bought 2 more to complete my collection.  I love how the birds look a little curious and really have some personality.

Several years ago, I purchased a little birdcage at Pottery Barn.  I had it hanging from the ceiling in my old apartment.

I added a glass bird ornament to the cage, and now in my new apartment, have it on top of a bookshelf with a few other bird figurines I've purchased over the years - 1 from Anthropologie, 1 from an antique store, and another from a great little store in Hudson, NY.

In 2000, I took my first trip to Europe - Germany to be exact.  I went to the World's Fair in Hannover.  I read an article in the AAA Magazine (click here and click here for more info on the Expo) and it sounded amazing.  So, off I went.  Spent a few days in Hannover, a few days in Berlin, a few days in Munich, a day in Baden Baden, and a day in Frankfurt.  Amazing trip.

One of the things I knew I would be bringing back with me was a cuckoo clock.  I bought it in Baden Baden, the cutest town in the Black Forest.

While I don't have the clock "on" (too noisy), every once in a while I will make it cuckoo - makes me smile and laugh every time.

A long time ago, I saw this wire rooster in the Ballard Designs catalog (click here).  Don't ask me why I wanted this rooster.  I just did.  So, I ordered it.  It was much larger than I thought it would be.  I thought it would be interesting to turn it into some kind of light fixture.  So, I stuffed it with a strand of clear Christmas-tree lights, and voila - a unique, sparkly, bird-ish item for my place.  For a time I had it hanging from the ceiling but now it sits atop a vintage dresser in my living room.

I liberated this little pink, sparkly bird candle holder recently from a local store in my neighborhood - When Modern Was (24th between Castro and Noe).  Couldn't resist - pink, sparkly, and a bird.  Had to have it.

They have amazing furniture, jewelry, art, mirrors, etc.  Without a doubt, I go in there every time I walk by and they are open.  I don't always buy something, but I thoroughly enjoy looking around.

I was on the hunt for a new throw/blanket thing for my couch.  I scoured various web-sites and department stores, and couldn't find what I envisioned having on my couch.  Something colorful (bright - maybe pink), something fun, something interesting.  Everything I saw was either a yucky fabric, a muted and dull color, or just simply way too expensive.  I found this lovely blanket on an excursion in the East Bay to Maison d'Etre with my dear friend Kelli.  I saw it and immediately fell in love.  On one side, it is off-white with birds in all kinds of bright colors standing on branches, and on the other, it is stripes of the same colors with the birds in negative.

I've seen these lovelies in a few stores around SF recently.  Beautiful feathers encased in glass globes.  I thought they would be astronomically expensive, but most are under $20.  Found them at this on-line store - Digs.  I've also seen them at Paxton Gate and a few other places.

Love them displayed like this picture - in clusters with several different feathers.

So pretty!

Every year, I go to the SF Open Studios at Hunters' Point Shipyard on the last weekend in October.  Several years ago, my friend and I saw this artist selling jewelry out of a silver airstream trailer.  My friend and I each bought a beautiful ring from her, and every year since, we go and see what Kristiana has created.  She has BEAUTIFUL pieces (I have since bought 2 other rings).  I perused around on her web-site recently and found some really cute bird designs...  Check it out here!  Side note - she recently went parahawkling in Nepal.  Talk about an amazing experience - WOW!

I could go on and on and on about my obsession with birds and all of the cute bird things I see and want. 

Canary yellow bird candle holders from CB2

Ceramic birds from West Elm

Paper Mache bird from West Elm

Since this is a blog and not a novel, I'll stop now.  More bird stuff later.

Until next time - imagine flying anywhere you want, just like a bird.  Flight is my top superhero power that I wish I could have.  I'll keep on wishing!

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