The Smithsonian Butterfly Pavilion

butterfly_ct_bday_smith_003Like I said yesterday, I took way too many photos of the butterflies in the Smithsonian Butterfly Pavilion. I couldn’t help it! It was an amazing experience. It is a long, narrow room that is just filled with hundreds of butterflies. SO MANY BUTTERFLIES!

butterfly_ct_bday_smith_005butterfly_ct_bday_smith_007 butterfly_ct_bday_smith_009 butterfly_ct_bday_smith_008butterfly_ct_bday_smith_010 butterfly_ct_bday_smith_011butterfly_ct_bday_smith_015butterfly_ct_bday_smith_012butterfly_ct_bday_smith_013

They had loads of places to land, but sometimes if you were lucky they’d land of you! they landed on my husband A LOT.

butterfly_ct_bday_smith_014Plus there are people walking around telling you about the butterflies and even helping you catch one on a paint brush (you aren’t allowed to touch them) CT was able to hold the paintbrush a few times. It was one of the highlights of her birthday.



Right before you walk into the pavilion they also an exhibit where they teach you all about the life cycle of butterflies and moths. If you go at certain times of day they also have other huge insects that you can hold… if you’re brave enough.

butterfly_ct_bday_smith_001If you are ever in DC I highly recommend this as a stop! It’s $6 an adult, $5 per kid to get into the pavilion, but its SO worth it. I’d do it every month, maybe even twice a month. I’d recommend buying tickets ahead of time just in case, they only allow a certain amount of visitors per half hour. Oh and if you on Tuesdays it’s free!! (but you should still reserve tickets online, I imagine the free days are packed)

I’m already looking forward to when the holiday season is over so we can head back down. We were told that each time you visit is a completely different experience. I want to see if that’s true.

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Instagram Roundup: September 10th

IG_090513_001 IG_090513_002 IG_090513_003If it wasn’t for my phone (and the constant need to share photos), I don’t think I would take half as many photos as I do. Well, outside of the house I mean. I take loads of photos inside the house since my DSLR is always handy. I thought I might share some of my favorite Instagram photos here every so often, for no reason other than I want to! Ha!

The above two sunset photos were taken on two different evenings, back to back I believe. The sky around dusk lately has been so pretty. I’m thankful I get to capture them with my phone! Same goes for all the insect photos I have been taking lately. Our back deck has been COVERED in insects and spiders all summer. We have to rush in and out of the door to make sure they STAY outside. I normally am not fond of pests, but the species around us are so colorful and different. Before moving here I had never seen most of these! (and I’m only an hour away from my home town). They also don’t seem to care how close I get to them, which makes for super neat photos!!

If you would like to see more of my Instagram photos just click here! If you are a member already my username is jessee_artschooldropout . I love meeting new people through IG, so please comment and say HI!


My Weekend: Flamingos at the Zoo!

flamingos_001 flamingos_002 flamingos_003 flamingos_004 flamingos_005 flamingos_006I took so many pictures of flamingos at the National Zoo this past weekend, I felt they needed their own post! They have always been my favorite exhibit. They are just so colorful and pretty!

When I was younger the entire bird exhibit was hard for me to get to, they were up a huge hill and I have pretty bad asthma. The temperature and humidity level had to be just right for me to make it up without an attack. I was so excited to find out that they have remodeled a few parts of the zoo and have made it super easy to get to the birds now. No huge hill! Just a nice little bridge that goes over the new elephant exhibit (which is cool and all, but now they don’t have giraffes and hippos, the elephants took over. But I won’t rant about that now)

I think we caught the flamingos during naptime, because most of them had their heads hidden in their feathers and had one leg up. That means naptime right? They also seemed a bit cranky, because a few were fighting non stop. Maybe CT’s loud voice was irritating them during their “naptime”?

I hope when we go back in the fall I can get even more photos of them, I seriously LOVE flamingos!

My Weekend: A Few Days Away & The National Zoo

This past weekend we took a short vacation! My husband was already off for 5 days because we had originally planned on going to Busch gardens or Raleigh. Both plans were cancelled and we were left with a 5 day weekend!

I have been working a lot more than normal lately and we haven’t really done much this summer due to colds and other illnesses. My husband, JC, thought we needed to do SOMETHING! So he used some hotel rewards points he had and booked us a hotel about a half hour outside Washington DC at no cost. It was only 30 mins away from our house, but it had an indoor pool, lots of neat restaurants close by and IT WASNT HOME! We spent the first day there kinda wandering around the local mall, eating good food and relaxing! For me relaxing meant reading the new Martha Stewart’s Living and sketching and for JC and CT it meant swimming. It was nice.

The second day away we spent at the National Zoo in Washington DC. One of my favorite places! It was supposed to rain, but apparently we had some luck for once and it was just a bit overcast. It WAS super humid, even though it was only 75*F out! My lungs hated it, but I pushed myself to keep walking. It was also CT’s first time visiting the zoo, I wanted to make sure she saw as much as possible.

Oh and of course I took a load of photos, so prepare yourselves, there are a bunch…

zoo_001 zoo_002 zoo_003 zoo_004 zoo_005 zoo_006 zoo_007 zoo_008 zoo_009 zoo_010 zoo_011I treat my trips to the zoo like photography challenges. It probably has something to do with the yearly field trips my photo class took to the zoo in high school (and the few times I chaperoned my siblings trips later on) We were let loose on the zoo for an entire day and told to take photos certain ways of certain subjects. I loved it! One of the nice perks of living near a big city growing up. We also did Baltimore trips, but nothing beat the zoo!

My personal challenge this time was to only use my 75-300mm Lens and the largest aperture my camera would let me. Nothing else. Its obviously not a hard challenge, but I still like the limits. This did mean that whenever I wanted to take a picture of something close by, I had to back up really far and look like a fool. The photos came out with such a nice depth of field that I don’t care!


(This ragged looking little bird wasn’t part of any exhibit, he was just wandering around. I just wanted to share a photo of him because he was so friendly and came right up to me!)

Anyway, back to our trip…

The zoo ended up being a huge hit with CT. Though her favorite part ended up being an orangutan who would throw up on the glass and eat it again. She’s STILL talking about that! I’m so happy we finally went. It’s hard to justify not going when we live so damn close to the city. I’m going to make it a personal goal to visit DC more often. We even live down the street from  MARC train stop that goes into the city every weekday!!! No excuses.

The rest of our time away was spent wandering IKEA and thrift stores. I ended up with some Blythe furniture from IKEA and a sweet Pyrex bowl from the thrift store. CT found a huge wooden modern dollhouse for $10!! SCORE!

I’m so happy we were able to do this and its made me a little more excited, and less nervous, for our NYC trip coming up in October. I’m going for BlytheCon, my family is just going for fun. Any of you guys going too?

Sneak Peek: Arrows and Flat Gems

whatimdoing_0529_002 whatimdoing_0529_001I felt like I’ve been editing photos all day! Seriously, and all I have to show for it are these two photos!!!

I’m trying out colored backgrounds for a few of my new pieces and when I show off unfinished pieces on Instagram. I’m not entirely sold on it yet, but I’m never sold on anything when I first try it, so we’ll see. What do you think?

Also, this is just a tiny sneak peek of all the new pieces coming in the next three weeks! I was able to cast A LOT this past time! Half glittery, half solid and opaque. I even figured out how to blend opaque plastic where it fades from one color to the next. I’m proud of myself, Ha. It’s the small victories!

I was going to update everything in the shop all at once, but I feel like that puts too much pressure on myself and also takes away from family time. So expect to see a few pieces added to the shop here and there, no rhyme or reason, just when I can find the time to edit and list.

Also, just a friendly reminder that you can still enter our 10 Year Anniversary Giveaway until Sunday night. Just check out Tuesday’s post!

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