Northwestern American Gothic

For no particular reason, except being a couple of silly geese, we dressed up and posed for Northwest American Gothic based on Grant Wood’s iconic painting. I also like the Scrapbook version with the little guitar between us. We do have our fun.


Are there any other paintings we should recreate? Ooh!

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Urban Diary #3 | UW Quad | U District

It may seem weird to go from zero to 3, but hey, this is where we are right now. Zooming right along on a Saturday night… doing homework. I’m not complaining, though! Well, I was, but I acknowledge it could be worse. It’s all relative. My homework happens to be fun as heck. So fun I couldn’t help but share.

It’s for my History of Landscape Architecture Class. We’re looking at the shape and the language of spaces in all forms from ancient caves to modern cities. It’s all really fascinating, especially because our professor is particularly passionate about her field. Not only does she teach, but she also works at an architectural firm part-time.

That said, it is still history. There’s a lot of reading and lot of lecture. And then there’s the Urban Diary assignments. We’re responsible for visiting a new location every week, to document that space (in photo or video) and write a paragraph or so relating the space to our themes and ideas from our weekly readings.

This week we learned about paradise gardens and chahar baghs. It intrigues me that paradise is traditionally interpreted as a closed garden, split in four. And the chahar bagh reveals in early landscape architects an affinity with symmetry which may be reflective of ourselves; being that we humans have bilateral symmetry.

We get to choose from a few locations each week and the image above is our very own Quad spied from the interdisciplinary visual arts studio on the rainiest rainy day.


Later, Jared and I wandered the U-district. Umbrellas and dSLRs, can you imagine? I managed to get a few shots that also seem worthy of the title Urban Diary before water droplets took over my lens. Just outside the Simply Mac store, there’s this killer mural and we decided to get close. It was miserably raining, thick droplets—not at all like our usual Seattle mist, still Jared and I had so much fun! He’s a professional photographer so I love to glean as much knowledge from him as I can.


What do you think of landscape architecture? I love looking at beautifully curated spaces, but I also understand the argument that a great landscape is one that is so perfect you don’t even think about it.


Are you inspired by any lovely landscapes lately? Tell me all about it. Down there. Yeah, just scroll and comment. Mmhm. Extra points if you add a picture. 🙂

Brianna Wray Signature

Sh*t That Makes Me Smile / Kaleidoscope Photos

Due to the overwhelming amount of garbage in the media I’m responding with a new miniseries: Sh*t that Makes Me Smile. There are a million tiny things worth celebrating in the world. I want to start now.

Kaleidoscope Photos: literally taking pictures through a kaleidoscope. So easy. And so fun.

Kaleidoscope 2

What makes you smile?

Brianna Wray Signature

Make: Photograms

A few months ago I shared tips on how to take photos with pinhole cameras. Did you try? If you didn’t, you should ’cause it’s SO much fun. Pinhole cameras still require use of a darkroom and photosensitive chemicals. Photograms, however, do not. There are lots of places to find exact instructions. I did a quick search and found these. Here are some that I came up with. I began by playing with sharp contrasts, but quickly realized I love the look of the hazy double-exposures just as much, if not even more so. Because photograms require using actual items, I tried to play around with different options. Organic matter makes really interesting work and it’s even more fun to juxtapose organic matter such as leaves and flowers with very man-made items like my glasses and an old paint brush. Then I got loose. Below you’ll find my favorites: string, earbuds, jewelry and all the supplies in my pencil box.




What do you think? Have you ever made photograms before? Don’t worry if you have no experience, all it takes is a little patience and practice.

Don’t forget to Like and subscribe for more fun projects. See them all here.

Brianna Wray


Make: Pinhole Camera

Pinhole cameras are a great way to get down to the fundamentals of photography. In my personal camera history I recall going from the occasional Polaroid or disposable camera to a point & shoot situation. That was just for fun. It wasn’t until I entered the blogosphere that higher quality photos for everyday life became necessary and I lucked into my first dSLR camera. Since then I’ve upgraded to a better Nikon, a D3200, which is by no means the best camera around, but is certainly more than awesome enough for my needs. Still, in all that experience I never really had a chance to appreciate the physical dark room. I had the opportunity to take a class at UW where we learned our way around the dark room. We only had a few days, but it was quite the experience, so I thought I’d share.

You can recreate the conditions of a darkroom by using a Safelight. If you don’t have one of those you can use  a flashlight covered in several layers of red cellophane. I don’t know about that method, though. If you’re doing this at home, I definitely suggest using photo paper instead of film. If you were to print onto film, you’d be able to make prints but photo paper is easier.

Need: box or can, awl or needle, lightfast tape (duct works), photo paper, development bath, stop bath, water, three tubs (large enough for your photos to lay flat) and patience.

Camera Body

You can use a box or a can, but bear in mind the can would yield a curved photo. Almost like a fish-eye lens. I went straight up square box and still ended up with some rounded images. Whether you use a box or a can, paint the inside black.

Poking Pinholes

Use a thin sheet of metal for your lens, mine is steel but other students had pretty good results with thick aluminum. Good hole-pokers would be awls, needles, icepicks or the pointy end of a drawing compass. The direction in which you poke will need to face inside the box, otherwise your photos may be distorted. That’s the thing about pinhole cameras, it’s fairly simple but there are a lot of variables that can cause mayhem and distortion. But try it both ways, that may be the look you’re going for.



Cut a hole in your box or can. The hole should be smaller than the sheet of metal your pinhole is poked in. Tape all around the perimeter and then cut another piece of tape, fold over the edge and place over the hole from the outside of the box. The folded edge helps ease opening and closing your shutter quickly–which is how you take pictures–without shaking the box.


Lock & Load

Load up your pinhole camera with photo paper. I just used more duct tape to adhere it to the bottom of the box, but it got a little too sticky for the paper. I’d suggest something more easily removable. Put the treated side face up. Tape all the edges so it’s lightfast.




Take your camera somewhere cool, lift the shutter tape and wait. Time your exposures and experiment. This process requires patience, friends, as you’ll have to feel out the best exposure time for the lighting you’re working with.


Create a three-tub assembly line for your development fluid, stop bath and water. Follow the instructions and your heart in the development process. While the instructions for my development fluid said something around 3 minutes, I found that what I wanted varied widely depending on the shot in question. After your image is developed to your liking, move on to the stop bath which neutralizes the development fluid. 30 seconds there and then into the water. The darkroom at UW has student-technicians who rinse and dry your prints for you. At first I thought this would be awesome, but when I picked them up from a huge bucket of wrinkled prints all thrown together haphazardly, I had another opinion. Several of my classmates’ photos were ruined in the process. All stuck together. Fuff!

Of the photos I took using the pinhole process, these are my favorites. Pinholes actually print the inverted colorfield, so I scanned these and inverted in Photoshop. I like them both!

 Pinhole1_1 Pinhole1(inverted)

Pinhole8_1 Pinhole8(inverted)_1

Thanks for taking some time to craft with me today. Always a pleasure!



Winterful Washington

Why, hello, darling. How goes it? I’m running out the door to my first day of Winter Quarter at the UW. I capitalize the W and Q because that’s how expensive it is. Capital.

Before the skid-addling commences, though, I had to stop in and say thanks for the sweet comments on the Wray Family Christmas. Such a good time! And that was just Christmas festivities. I took so many photos. The light shining for our drive there was so beautiful I got a little click-happy.

But look at this scenery, though.


And I got to hang out with this lovely mare at Uncle Ron’s. He has a whole wall of trophies for his riding and training skills. He said miss mare hurt her leg, then suffered from subsequent stress on her other legs. She was far away and I said chk-chk and she came right up, eyeball to eyeball. She has the softest nose.



More pretty from the journey. I like long roads, silent stretches and giggly ones.



Severe Side Wind


WraysofSunshine Winter

See that?! A literal ray of sunshine. So sublime. Alas, heading home was a bit different. There was a big snowstorm at Snoqualmie Pass and while it was beautiful, it was scary.

But we made it through, as we tend to do.

Love and light, betch!




Fall Color

Further celebrating having lived in Seattle for 5 years now, I thought I’d bring you along and a walk with me and Honeybee. We had ourselves a mini-adventure walking from our house in Greenwoodish-Ballardish-Phinney-Ridgeish-land to Fremont. Well, upper Fremont, as they say. Whoever they are.

Secret Stairs over Ballard

It’s so beautiful this time of year. The light coming off the sun is just warmer and naturally quaint. It’s like you’re living in a Instagram filter. I love it! Dahlias are my 2nd favorite flower. They’re pretty much cornering the market on natural gradients and I’m loving every minute of it! And what the heck is this tree barnacle thing? Anyone?

So we’re walking along, right, and then we see these giant, out-of-contol-huge, like cyclopean sunflowers. I told Matt to put his big man hand in there for reference. The punkins were basically unimpressive after that.

Cyclopean Sunflowers

Fremont Peak Park has this lovely moon phase chart at its entry. Splendid. It also boasts a great view over Ballard.


If you know like I know, spiders are in your periphery right now. They’re fastidious architects, zooming around designing and building. The other day I saw one so big it made me say “wuguh” like an old cartoon car horn. That big. This one’s smaller, but no less noticeable from the sidewalk.



Thanks for taking a walk around and enjoying some Seattle sights with us. Living in a place where you’re surrounded by secret staircases, lush greens, great views and crawly critters is a luxury we appreciate and definitely try not to take for granted. Where’s the beauty in your world these days?



September Monthlies

Fall is upon us. While I can hardly believe it’s September again (much less that it’s over), here’s to letting the good times roll. We started off with a style post at the KEXP Wall with some incredible photography by Nataliya Ivanova-Brown. Good times!

Then we ventured out of our comfort zone to see some nature. Lyons Ferry sits just a few miles outside Starbuck, Washington and on a gorgeous day, offers a splendid view.

Lyons Ferry

Papa’s Garden is an all around great place to be. I shared some photos from our most recent trip, just as everything was blooming. So, so pretty.

I tried desperately to hang on to that last bit of summertime tradition with my cucumber sandwiches. So. Friggin. Yummy. Check out the Menu.

As you recall I was accepted to the University of Washington. Fall semester began and I shared some of my favorite back to school jams.


I shared my natural hair transitioning guide. It’s basically my new normal and I love it! Look at those shiny, happy curls.

Style 4: LBD @ KEXP

And last but not least, I introduced a business Bethany and I started called CatFightCraft. There, we share projects, recipes and our handcrafted home and fashion accessories. Making our first Etsy sale was a memory I’ll never forget. I was in the middle of sending a text message when I got the email and literally jumped in the air. Yah! Our production and techniques are growing by the day and I can’t wait to share more!

Teal Flower Clip

Fall is upon us! School is in session and my hands are busier than ever. Are you revving up for anything these days? Do tell!



Papa’s Garden

Did I ever tell you about Matt’s dad? Around these parts he’s known as Papa and he’s got the best garden in Walla Walla. Every time I’m there it’s the best time so I thought I’d share some views of his yard.

Inside the garden there are tomatoes, heirloom cucumbers, garlic and a sweet bird house.

Since the backyard faces West, Papa gets some gorgeous sunsets. He chose flowers that could take full sun for several hours. Naturally the sunflowers soak those rays up! I think they’re really pretty when they’re fresh and blooming, but when they start to wilt I find them even more alluring. Their decay is artful.

Weeping Sunflower

I love how all the flowers are so open. It’s as though they’re trying to catch ALL the sunshine!

Apparently these flowers need very little supervision. Papa said he planted one and they just spread all over a corner of the yard. I’ll have to get some, maybe I won’t kill ’em.


There among the flowers and herbs is Papa’s kitty, Catmandoon. He’s a very regal kitty who enjoys the finest pets.

Well, you guys, bookmark this page for some summertime eye candy when the winter gets tough. We’ve got a few weeks left before fall officially arrives, but it’s already chilly out in Seattle. Time to break out the sweaters.




Seattle Sights: Golden Gardens

Golden Gardens.jpeg

We got there when the sun was still bright and stayed until it set. This one of my favorite public places to have a bonfire and do some serious relaxing.

The view through the trees was perfect. Big time sunshine!


And there was that one time Matt was a crane.


Passing the yacht club on our way out, the light grew even more beautiful.


Thanks for journeying with us out to the park. Every time I go I wonder why I don’t go more often. I’m thinking these pictures will remind me. Are you visiting any pretty places these days? Tell me all about it!