Archive | Darling Community

Fight Food Deserts with Community Gardening

“Gardening is fun!” When I talked with David Thompson, founder of Food is Free Washington, that’s why he said he started doing it. It was so much fun, in fact, that he grew too much produce in his 2,000 sf garden to use it all himself, so he started giving it away. He went on, “The thing that became more fun than growing my own food was sharing it. It’s the joy of giving stuff away.” That is the heart of the Food is Free movement: building community by sharing food independence.

Read more about the real life gardener who inspired Chapter 3 of Calico Jill and the Search for Cheese!


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7 Ways To Support Local Small Businesses

You don’t appreciate something until you’ve lost it. That’s what people say, anyways. I remember taking Phoebe to downtown Tacoma for her fourth birthday almost a decade ago. We went to the Hello Cupcake shop; she got a ballerina topper, then we sat on bright pastel furniture and watched through the big glass window as people walked by on Pacific Avenue.

A few months ago, Hello Cupcake permanently closed their doors. They aren’t the only business to do so. The Harmon Bar and Grill is gone, as is the University Bookstore, and those are just a handful of examples from the two block strip of the Tacoma downtown. Times are hard.

Now is when it really makes a difference where we invest our money. Spending with intention and thoughtfulness is what turns us from consumers into a community. So here are some thoughts on how you can show your appreciation for small businesses and mom-and-pop shops while they are still here: (more…)

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The Invisible Self

A few months ago, I invited people to tell me about their invisible selves, and I said I would paint them.

The concept of an “invisible self” comes from The OA by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij. It is not the self that we present to the world, but our inner self, our true being, the core of who we are underneath all our masks and barriers and defenses. It’s the “you” that stays with you when you close your eyes, the part of you that aches and dreams, the part of you that no one can ever take away from you. (more…)

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Our Children Are Our Inspiration

This is a guest post by Justine Done. She is a single mom of two children. When she submitted her photos to me last year to be considered for my Mother’s Day series, she sent a heartfelt email along with the images. Her words are as follows.

I recently went through a divorce (“recent” meaning two years) but it still feels recent, and when we parted for the last time, I sent him all the pictures I had of him and the kids. Probably a few hundred. Candid. Beautiful. Every bonding moment between my children and their father.

He had none of me and the littles, which I expected. No candid pictures, no random snippets he thought worth capturing behind the scenes, not even from the day our daughter was born. (more…)

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Celebrating Contemporary Black Artists

Last year, to celebrate Black History Month, I did a series of portraits of important black female artists.
For Black History Month this year I want to step back and let the work of black artists speak for itself. We’re making our own stories right now & I feel it’s important to share those stories so that they can shape reality. Without further ado, I will let the following 11 Black Female Artists speak for themselves:


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Makers Who Give


When the heaviness of the world gets me down, the best ways I know to light the darkness is by nurturing my friendships, making art, and finding ways to help others.

And when you support an artist like me, you help keep our creative community alive, and we want to give something back. (more…)

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Video: How To Paint With Kids, Episode 2

Plan vs Free Form

In this week’s video we answer the following question from Clair:

I would just love to know if you guys have a general idea of what you are going to do or whether you just free form it. We tend to do a theme…like a city or mountains, and then we wing it from there but I’m curious to see how others do it!

Pull your kiddo up into your lap, watch the video, and join us as we make art together!


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