snapshots from the plane

I make a point to always get a window seat when I fly on a plane. With my camera in my hand, I am easily occupied for a while. There's something so magical about seeing a landscape from up above. The way the mountains unfold like crinkled aluminum foil, the way the buildings look small enough to fit in your hand, the way the shadows seem even more exaggerated (though that could just be the time of day). It's beautiful. I could wax poetic about it for hours, but I'll spare you and just show the pictures.

The first three are from flying into Phoenix and the last ones are leaving Reno, I think.

From the last sunset of 2011.



snow inspired

Winter, where I live, is cold and allows for a lot of bundling up. Winds are fierce (which calls for scarves), days are chilly, and boots are a must for when the snow is falling fast. As much as I'd love to wear some cute ballet flats or my oxfords, the weather is a bit of a nuisance. I admit that I'm ready for spring, but in the meantime, I've been inspired by winter weather. Cool tones, many layers, and an abundance of mittens, hats, and boots. As blue is my favorite colour, January has been filled with it in varying hues.

Does the weather inspire your outfits?
ps. recognize the jacket + boots? they're some of my favourites.


inspiration boards

In my inbox, there is a tangled mess of Fernweh-centric emails. On panicking about design programmes and on changing the publishing platform and on writing schedules. And somewhere in amongst that mess are some inspiration boards we sent out in the process of planning, which I've returned several times this month. At the beginning of this project, when I sent out the first email, I had no idea what it would become. And I cannot thank you enough for your support over these first weeks. It's easy to forget what you're doing, to neglect the heart of a project and to the lose the reasoning behind ideas. But looking at these focuses me onto what Fernweh is supposed to be, and acts as a stimulus for taking this project to a new level. There's an overwhelming sense of comfort and home and small pleasures. It seems we are drawn to good food and lots of tea, cosy cardigans and floral prints, and anything {words, quilts, graphics} made artistically.


So much of Fernweh is visual--of course, the photography posts are, but we balance our photography with everything else here too. It's used in remembering where we've been and showing your our favourite recipes and even alongside poems. I love that. It makes me proud, in a way, to see how creative everyone is, and it inspires me to work a bit harder. Take my camera into manual mode, stay up writing poetry, learn to sew better.

And I hope that, in a small way, we have inspired you somehow. Maybe to make something or bake something or look into travelling somewhere. Or perhaps, just to fall in love with the world around you.

Thank you for reading Fernweh so far. What articles have you enjoyed most, and what would you like more of? February's going to be incredible.



january's song

I like winter. Or should I say, I like winter until January second. It's a sad, empty feeling when the festivity and merry-making and celebrating comes to an end, like flower petals that wilt and fall to the ground only a few days past their prime. And the memories are packed away with the tangible items--the Christmas tree, the wreaths, the crimson bows--only to be unfolded when a forgotten ornament is found under the couch, coated in a layer of dust. Because the happy part of winter is over, spring seems such a long, long way away, and the days are cold and bitter, one after another.

But I'm learning to love each month, regardless of the reputation it may have. January has a quiet, beautiful song, one that can only be heard if you're silent and are listening for it. January may seem terribly lonely and boring...until you discover its song.

much love,


hay bales.

Why we do this, I'm not quite sure. But more often than not, we pull over when we see one. I guess it's just our thing. My words of advice to you, friends? Do yourselves a favour and add this to your bucket list: see golden hour from the top of a hay bale stack. Pure magic.



travel books.

When I left for Europe last summer, I was faced with the enormous challenge of packing books. Until recently, I've never bought books. Most of the time, I borrow them from the library or friends. Which is all well and good, except for those few books that I couldn't envision not having for an entire month. That list of books has varied a little bit since last summer, with the most notable addition of John Green's newest book, the Fault in Our Stars.

Here's a short list of books that I bring with me whenever I leave the country.

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. 

This book makes the list because it's about writing. It's incredibly funny and well written. I like writing about the places I go, and this book makes me want to write. There aren't a lot of books that make me more enthusiastic about writing than about reading, and this is one of them. I've highlighted and underlined half of this book. It's brilliant.

Through Painted Deserts, by Donald Miller

When I was fifteen, I climbed on a plane to Jordan. On the last leg of the journey, the flight directly to Jordan, I pulled out his book Blue Like Jazz. The American girl next to me, a college student, I'd guess, glanced over and saw what I was reading. She started gushing about Donald Miller, and told me that I needed to read Through Painted Deserts. I bought it last year, and I've read it four or five times. It's the ultimate roadtrip book. In it, Donald and his friend Paul travel from Texas to Oregon, and this book is about their journey. You'll love it.

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Rather than list the numerous reasons why you should read this book, I'll just tell you two of the reasons why it's on the list. The novel takes place in two locations that are very dear to my heart. (Well, one is more dear than the other.) (Slight spoiler alert, for those of you who haven't read it.) Hazel and Augustus, the two main characters, are able to spend a few days in Amsterdam. Ammmmmsterdam. I love that city more than a lot of things in life. (Also, John Green loves it too. He once told me that he was jealous of me because I've traveled a lot, and I forgot to tell him that I used to live near Amsterdam.) So yes, his description of Amsterdam was beautiful. It's about time to go back. Hazel and Augustus actually live in Indianapolis, which is an hour and a half drive from home. It's so fun to read a book and recognize all the places.

Also on this list but not pictured: The Book Thief/ anything else written by Markus Zusak. His books are just incredible.

What are some books that you can't live without?

xo, katie


a winter's walk

every time we go for a walk,
my dad shows me something new. 
like how to spot deer tracks or tell
the wind direction. 
and in return? 
i make hot chocolate.




Inspiration is a sneaky little thing. Not often there when you're looking for it, but always there when you least expect it to be. To have an idea make itself at home inside your head is possibly one of the best things ever. But getting distracted or preoccupied sometimes in inevitable, and it's easy to lose grasp and let your idea slip away. Luckily, there's notebooks. I take one with me wherever I go. They're scattered across the house. I write my blog posts in them. I write to-do lists, reminders, and reflections. I write ideas.

Sure, phones and such devices are good for this kind of thing, but not nearly as satisfying as opening up to a fresh lined page and hearing the scratch of your pencil. In honour of these lifesavers that are notbooks, a few simple DIYs for you.

travel notebook

you will need: notebook with a paper surface (i used kraft paper moleskins for all of these), one envelope, gluestick, pen
how to make: cut off two ends of an envelope. if you'd like to write or draw something on it, do so, then glue anywhere along the opening edge of the notebook. glue the other end inside the front or back cover to use as a pocket for little things collected during your travels (ticket stubs, photographs, etc.)

chalkboard notebook

you will need: notebook with a paper surface, chalkboard paint, paintbrush, chalk
how to make: on the cover, paint a shape of your choice with chalkboard paint (or paint the entire cover, if you'd like). wait an hour or so for paint to dry. when dry, doodle away! the chalk comes off best with a regular chalkboard eraser or just a tissue.

gift tag notebook

you will need: notebook with a paper cover, gift tag, pen, glue, hole puncher, some string or twine, tape
how to make: write or draw whatever you wish on your gift tag. when finished, glue the gift tag on the cover. with a hole puncher, punch a hole right through the gift tag and the cover. you'll be able to see right through to the first page, which gives it a really neat effect. take some string or twine and thread it through the hole from underneath. pull until you can bring the end of the twine back inside the notebook. on the inside cover, tie the two ends of the twine together, or just tape it. 

Happy crafting! Do you have a favourite? 



three ways to wear//a striped top

From one teenager to another... I'm assuming you're skint most of the time. Maybe you window-shop in the fancy shops in town, but they're out of your price range. Whatever you do choose to buy has to have the ability to be worn at least one million ways, and you have to love every item in your wardrobe. Below are just three ways to style a simple striped top, also known as a Breton top. They come in all different colours--blue and white stripe is the classic, but different colourways may suit your style more.Once you've bought one top, you can wear it so many ways.

 with another pattern

Clashing patterns is a fun style statement but can be a little tricky to get right. If you pick a skirt or trousers with a close colour match to your top, this will really pull your outfit together. Plain tights and a cardigan  will make this outfit warm enough for colder days, but if you're in the Southern hempishere, bare legs and wide-brimmed hats all the way! Stripes and florals are my favourite combination, but there are so many fun prints to try. Wearing a patterned cardigan with a striped top and jeans is an easier way to step into a bit of a scary trend too.

with a pleated skirt

Striped tops are such a simple classic look that they can easily dress down a fancy long pleated skirt. Tuck your top into the skirt, add a belt, and you're ready to go! Again, a cardigan might be needed; please don't freeze for the sake of style. I think this is my favourite look. The pleated skirt I'm wearing always makes me want to dance, but the casual top makes it suitable for day-to-day activities.

with jeans & accesories

Of course, the simplest way to wear any top is with jeans. Skinny jeans, high waisted, flared, boot cut... Whatever denim is currently in your wardrobe will match any top, and from here you can add accessories. As above, you can keep it classy with pearls--thrifted fake ones, in my case--and maybe a cloche hat, or you can add bright bracelets and a fun hairstyle.

Which of these {slightly windswept} looks is your favourite?



cabin sweet cabin.

My grandparents, affectionately called Grammy and Boppa, have a cabin up in Truckee, near Lake Tahoe. It stands in the mountains, surrounded by pine trees and fresh air. I've been going there all my life and have collected a plethora of memories and traditions. In the summer, we flock to the lake nearby, to kayak, swim in the freezing water, and roast marshmallows over a fire. In the winter, I can usually count on getting my snow fix (since I live in Texas, which sadly lacks in that department) and the days are full of skiing, snow-shoeing, and ice-skating.

I visited for a few days after Christmas. This was not a big snow year but I still found comfort in the cabin.

Reading by the fire. Playing Scrabble with hot chocolate in one hand. Admiring the way the light falls through the windows on the wall. It's not always the most exciting things, but the simple ones, that make the cabin feel like a home away from home.

I love it, and I can't wait to see it in its summer splendor again.

Do you have a place like this, to which you return often and never grow tired of?




"I love doodlers," my professor told us at the beginning of class last week. "Feel free to doodle. I know a lot of people have to doodle so they can pay attention. I've seen some amazing dragons in this class. Why is it that you always draw dragons?"

Doodling is the only reason I take notes on paper, as opposed to using my laptop. I have to have something to do with my hands, whether it's taking notes or drawing pictures or both. I'm an amazing doodler. I can draw out some sort of intricate, nonsense design while I take notes and listen to the instructor. Drawing? Drawing is a different story.

I took a drawing class last year. It was a love/hate relationship. My professor had us keep a sketchbook. We were required to fill at least three pages a week of assigned drawings, and he encouraged us to use it to take notes, doodle, and draw whatever we wanted. The goal of the sketchbook wasn't to create great art, it was to give us practice in drawing regularly. For me, it was filled with notes from my American Lit class (Charlotte Gilman's the Yellow Wallpaper, anyone?) and scribbled lyrics and quotes that I loved. Some of those- the lyrics and quotes, especially- became habit when I started a new journal in the beginning of January.

The day after Christmas, I bought a three pack of Moleskins, and opened them on January 1st. I have the first one halfway filled at this point. It's habit: every night before I go to sleep, I write a page full of thoughts, draw out a lyric, or scribble down a quote I love.

I'm not sure why, but for years my journals have been only words. I've always identified best with writing, and words come naturally to me. Now, though, I have quick drawings of things that matter to me, like The Fault in Our Stars and the first two lines of one of my favorite songs. I have blackout poetry inspired by Kendall..."most men are gasping for breath."

It's inspiring to flip through and see not only the written record of my month, but the drawings as well.

Are you a drawer or a doodler? Do you keep some sort of journal?

xo, katie


becoming a winter girl

Winter? It's not my season. As much as I wish I could love it, it is a seemingly impossible desire. The storybook idea of snowy landscapes and roaring fires appeals to me, but in reality English winters are grey, rather rainy, and quite icy.
This season is going to roll around every year though. January and February will be here for a while yet, bringing with them dark mornings and slushy streets. And it is something that I may as well learn to love. The process of becoming a winter girl will not be something that happens overnight, but slowly I am finding the charm in these miserable months.

With winter weather, it is all extreme. It's sharply cold outside or blessedly sunny, the sky is either chalky grey or bright blue, and the grass underfoot is always sparkly with ice or shining with melted water. It's challenging at times to walk home through hideous rainstorms and the ice underfoot is, for me at least, quite a hazard. But it's beautiful!
Once inside, and away from the elements, I found even more that I loved. Hot chocolate, tea and coffee are sipped on year round here, but they feel much more suited for warming cold hands after winter walk, crocheting under a blanket feels like a cosy option that isn't a complete cop-out from socialising with friends, and, stylewise, is anything better than comfy PJs? My cosy flannel bottoms are the comfiest thing, and chunky knitted jumpers add an extra layer of warmth to my 'evening wear'. Fairy lights are strung above my bed this time of year too; I can't bear to pack them away after Christmas and they add to the welcoming feel of my room. A happy warm cat helps too. And foodwise--Christmas leftovers are often found at the backs of cupboards well into January, and all the citrus is incredible!

As I sit here typing this, I realise that maybe I do like winter. I love layers and staying up reading under the blankets and chai lattes and the sparkly frost and eating satsumas and crocheting with my mum and all these small things that come together to make Winter. It will take me a long time, if ever, to call these months my favourite season, but it's not the terror it once was.

Are you a winter girl {or guy}?