Loveland Garden Tour 2014

20140628 Loveland Garden Tour-67_WEBWhat a fun time we had this morning at the Loveland Garden Tour, held to benefit the local group Loveland Youth Gardeners.

If you’re apt to feel garden envy, this may not be the tour for you; but if you enjoy gathering ideas for beautifying your own slice of heaven then this is the place to be on a gorgeous Colorado morning!

The Loveland Garden Tour is an annual event which allows folks to visit a handful of impressive private-residence gardens that have been dotted with local artists’ work. You may not be able to bottle up the gorgeous gardens and take them home, but you are welcomed to purchase any of the artist pieces you fancy. In fact, I couldn’t help myself and bought a beautiful antique brass porch light in which the glass covers have been replaced by works of art, curated and assembled by Loveland artist Olivia Lowe. When the lantern is off, you see delicate, French seed packet designs and when the lantern is on you can see comical vintage American seed packets (Mr. Cabbage Head and other hand-drawn veggie characters) superimposed underneath. I am mad about it! I’ll have to post a photo once I have it in my hot little hands.

Library Angel, Street Art Devil, and Chuck Norris

May 2nd, 2014:

I started the day with my usual Reykjavik routine of editing the previous day’s images, blogging and a peanut buttered apple.

Around 2:00, with my homework nearly finished, I told myself I could finally go play outside so I packed up my day-bag and hiked around Reykjavik for some miscellaneous errands. I was headed to Harpa, the honeycombed concert center, when I walked by a delicious-smelling pizzeria and had to go in. It’s called Eldsmiðjan, on Laugavegur (the main shopping street). It’s two stories tall made of mostly windows and has a lovely indoor balcony where you can nosh pizza and people watch. It was a bit pricey, about $5 for a small slice of pizza but if you’re looking to splurge it is well worth it.

After pizza, I made my way down to the concert center and got a few more photos. It was crawling with EVE Online convention-goers and so I wasn’t able to get the photos I was hoping to get. It was lovely, however, to hear so many people speaking English. It’s funny how when I’m in a different country, the moment I hear another American I immediately think, “Hi, friend! I know you!”.

I had planned to go back that evening to get some more evening photos but in the few days I’ve been here the length of the daylight has gotten longer by a total of 56 minutes (the days get longer by 6-7 minutes every sunset and every sunrise during the month before the summer solstice. It’s amazing how quickly it changes.) and doesn’t get fully dark until just after midnight now.

I was hankering for a latte and Sigrun had recommended Cafe Haiti down by the water so I stopped in and set up camp. They roast their own fair-trade coffee, so I had high hopes. It was fairly good, though the smell of fish from the harbor was a little overpowering (I enjoyed the ambiance for the first 15 minutes but then the charm wore off).  I think I’ve been spoiled by having so many delicious coffee shops in my hometown that I’ve now become a bit of a coffee snob. ::she says, as she pricks her pinky up to the sky and turns her nose up, jokingly::

As I finished writing the previous day’s blog post I overheard an American man aggressively questioning the sweet barista where he can get his money changed over. I’m sure he was just tired from his flight but I wanted to save the poor girl from his demanding demeanor so I piped up and let him know that as far as I’ve experienced, and according to everything I’ve read, there is absolutely no need for having cash since even the smallest stores in the smallest towns take cards. He stared blankly at me for a moment and then asked me if my computer was a Mac or PC. He then preceded to tell me how his Outlook disappeared and he was hoping maybe I could help him. I had a PTSD-style flashback to my techie days and decided to play ignorant about technology. “My husband is my tech support, without him I’d be dead in the water too, sorry!”  …hey, it’s at least a half truth 😉

I chatted with the man a bit longer and he said he was from San Francisco, here on a skiing trip. He asked where I was from and I told him. He began to tell me how he lived in Boulder for a few years but his phone rang and in mid sentence he answered it and turned away. It was his tech support from work so I was off the hook.

I finished up my coffee and updated my Google Map and then headed to the public library a few blocks away. Before I left my hometown, Loveland author, Marissa Bloom, gave me a copy of her newly published book All Are Family for me to donate to the library. When I walked in I noticed how beautiful the place is. It’s white and a chic orange, with modern furniture and books and lots of canvased art for checking out (isn’t that the neatest idea??).  I walked up and chatted with the woman at the counter of the children’s section about what I was hoping to accomplish. Because of my nervousness and our language barrier it took her a while to understand what I was trying to say. I gave her the book to show her, and pointed out Marissa’s signature in the book. Suddenly, after a second round of explaination, her eyes widened a bit and she hugged the book and said “This… please tell the author this is a very generous gift and we to thank her.”  I asked if I could take a photo of her with the book as verification and she laughed a bit and said yes. No matter how many photos I took, she wouldn’t smile. But I promise she was very sweet about the whole thing. I thanked her for her help, and she told me they still need to put the barcodes on the book before it can be on the shelves but she will put it out soon.

Loveland's Marissa Bloom officially has a book in the children's section of the Reykjavik City Library!

Loveland’s Marissa Bloom officially has a book in the children’s section of the Reykjavik City Library!

Feeling very proud of myself for accomplishing a goal I had been nervous about, I quickly walked home to meet Sigrun and Andy so we could go to dinner. I had promised to take them out for a meal before I leave as a thank you and they chose a Pakistani restaurant.

When I got home, I asked Andy if he would help me with another project I needed to finish before I leave Reykjavik. He does a lot of work with local bands and he has experience with pasting up flyers around town so I asked him to help me make up some paste for a secret project. 🙂 A few days earlier I had purchased a paintbrush at the hardware store and so we packed up the paintbrush and wheat paste in tupperware then walked to dinner.

You see, before I left Loveland I was given a piece of art by a local artist to add to the robust street art scene in Reykjavik. I was thrilled to be a part of bringing Loveland art to Iceland! I can’t claim to have made the beautiful piece, but I did get to pick the spot and help hang it. Do you recognize the artist’s style?


The dinner was delicious at the Pakistani restaurant, and we capped the meal off with ice cream from Reykjavik’s most famous ice cream shop. Sigrun told me how Icelanders were mad about ice cream even though it’s so cold here. I thought that was pretty funny!

photo 1

While eating the ice cream we walked the streets to find a good place to hang this art piece. I decided on my favorite spot, between two other amazing works of art. Andy pasted the piece up as I filmed and we boogied out of there as fast as we could towards home. Oh my nerves! I’ve never done anything like that before. The chill of the wind quickly overpowered my nervousness about hanging the art and I just wanted to get warmed up.

Back home, we talked and drank wine. I told them I had made the decision to head out for the Ring Road on Sunday and wanted to try sleeping in the car to make sure my sleeping bag would be warm enough. I went to bed in the car around midnight and awoke an hour later, shaking I was so cold. I layered the bag with my coat, a hoodie and put my duffle bag on my feet. It was enough to uncomfortably get through the night but I will definitely be searching for blankets at the flea market, or at IKEA if I can’t find any at the market.

That’s all for now, but I thought I’d leave you with this restaurant we passed on our way to dinner. I let out a big guffaw when I saw it:


Documenting History

This one’s a bit belated, but back in March I was asked to help document the Feed & Grain building machinery for a piece in the opening of the Meantime Gallery and now that I’ve had a little time wandering around in that beautiful, cavernous factory I’m convinced that I have to go back and do a series of images featuring the building as a backdrop. That place is inspiring with a capital “I”.

Healthy Habits

The vibrant wellness coach, Erin Statter, was looking to get a new set of head shots for her website and upcoming ebook.  We had a fun and whirlwind 30 minute session in downtown Loveland last week and  got a few shots that made her smile that radiant smile of hers.

Check out Well Rebellion for more info on Erin’s services:


Glass Blowing

The amazing glass blower Jacqueline McKinny, creating a marble from start to finish. Makes me want to learn how to do it! (if only I weren’t so afraid of fire, haha!)
Jackie is often a featured artist at the ArtSpace Feed & Grain building in Loveland. Check out Jackie’s website for more of her awesome work:


Loveland Weekend Binge Film Fest

While we’re talking about videography and films there’s a fun fledgeling film fest that has been launched in Loveland called the Weekend Binge Film Fest. Mass FX Media, a Loveland film company, has created this 48-hour fest for those who want to keep their already rockin’ skills up to par, as well as those who have little to no experience but are interested in film. You can join as an individual or as an entire film crew team – everyone of all ages and fortes from prop-masters to actors, directors to make-up artists are encouraged to join in for the fun.

Check out the very first short created in June’s Weekend Binge Film Fest, where yours truly even joined in and tried her hand at acting… I guess it’s a good thing I have photography to fall back on 😉  If you or anyone you know would be interested in participating in the next leg of the fest in August, contact Shawna Schultz at 

Phase Trakker

I love meeting people who are passionate about what they do and have a great sense of how they would like to show off their products to the world! Meet my new friends, EDM, from Fort Collins Colorado. The first product EDM wanted to show off to the world is the Phase Trakker – a revolutionary high-tech tool used by the rugged linemen who maintain our electrical grids. The good folks over at EDM hired me to shoot and edit their Phase Trakker advert that they will use to stand apart from the crowd. I had an amazing time with these wonderful folks, learned so much, and can’t wait for the next product project. Check it out! (those of you who are High Plains Drifter fans will appreciate the opening scene):


PhaseTrakker Final (Web Version) from Alanna Brake on Vimeo.