Archive: April 2013




Goodbye to 164

Saying goodbye to New York was like saying goodbye to an old friend.

“See ya later big apple,” I said.

“I’ll visit!”

Zorn and I had a lot of good memories in our lower east side apartment, and all my friends lived in NYC. Leaving was truly emotional (mostly mixed), but I was going onward, to figure out who I was, to start being a fish of a medium size in a small pond rather than feeling lost at sea. Driving my grandmother’s 2006 maxima, Francesca, Zorn, and rats Foxhunt and Fishhooks and I set out on a journey to get me south, to get me out of that concrete jungle.

I was distracted by the Luray Caverns: touristy but truly stunning, by DinosaurLand: tacky and delightful, by the quaint and historic Harper’s Ferry West Virginia. I was propelled by the thought of getting Bruce, whom I’d recently adopted from afar, who was waiting for me but didn’t know it.

This time, I struggle to be distracted.

Wentworth Street in historic downtown Charleston is just another incredible street on this penninsula. A-4 is just a series of walls, old, white ones with tall ceilings, chipping paint, broken screens, creaky floors, leaky faucets. But when I stepped in I knew I had to live here.

In exactly 13 days I will be moving to Warren Street, another amazing beauty of a road downtown, and this time, I’ve actually made the jump, the commitment, the freakish and monstrous step: I’ve bought a house. A home. A studio. A place to RUN MY BUSINESS. (!!!) A yard for Bruce. A leap into domesticity.

I’m excited! I’m thrilled! I’m scared. I’m terrified. This is it. Not it, it. I’m not going to die in this house, but I could raise a family in it (later!). I’m going to make it my own. But there’s so much responsibility. So much to care for. I can’t look the other way when the faucets leak or paint chips anymore. There’s no more messing around. Perhaps I’m afraid of becoming a real adult. A real woman.

When does that happen, anyway?

I know that home is where the heart is, and my heart is with Erik, Bruce, my art, my business, my friends, my family and of course my collections of beautiful things. In honor of moving, and the fact that I haven’t started packing, here are some photos of A-4 taken today, before the storm. Warren St. doesn’t feel like home yet, but I know that once every one and every thing I love gets over there, a new era begins.





beautiful bees and the world of beekeeping

Just a little playing around during bee prep time. Photo by Blake Suarez.

March was pretty insanely amazing. Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed, and so stressed, that I forget to stop and smell the roses. Let me tell you, that if you let a thousand wild insects with stingers crawl and fly all over you, and you completely remit all your powers you think you might have as a human, you get back to earth pretty quickly. But more on that later.

This past month, I did the following (in no particular order):

-Made an offer on a home/studio and got a mortgage (check your mailbox for a postcard in a few weeks)

-Illustrated a map for a book that will be published this year

-Attended a delicious pop-up dinner at Fast and French via the Lee Brothers

-Got a haircut and a massage in one day, and another day, a mani and pedi with Olivia (treat yo self)

-Attended the first of many book club meetings with my new book club (read “The History of Love” and now reading “The Invisible Bridge”)

-Finished a pet portrait and they LOVED it (yessss)

-Helped Erik through the healing process after his ACL/Meniscus surgery

-Created a taxidermy mount of my old pet rat (who died of natural causes) named Fishhooks, and was documented the entire time by the coolest dudes (and dudette) around: Lunch and Recess (thanks, guys!)

Fishhooks is pinned like that to dry properly!

-Created a new exhibit about veterinary care at the South Carolina Aquarium (opening in June)

-Designed a “save the date” card for my best friend Samantha Jill.

September 1 wedding!

-Was featured in GARDEN & GUN magazine, written by Monte Burke and shot by the talented, sweet and beautiful Olivia Rae James.

Photos by Olivia Rae James

-Prepped for, bought, installed, and will now keep a three pound package of honeybees (with one marked queen, whom I am affectionately referring to as “Queen Latifah”).

Now, to blog about that experience:

Bees in the package

I picked up the bees for Blake and Colin and myself in two separate three pound packages. I was really nervous, because they were making this incredible sound as they all vibrated in the back of my car. It was a little scary to drive back from Mount Pleasant with so many live insects in your car. I had the windows down.

Bees dumped in the hive

When we got to Colin’s, we were helped out by his friends, James and Shauna. They were a huge comfort, as they had done this plenty of times. The weird thing that happened was we had somehow attracted a bunch of random bees during the day and they were hanging on to the outside of our packages. There were no holes in the boxes. They were some type of wild or un-homed colony!

We suited up and Colin took the first step. We sprayed the bees with sugar water.  Then we got the feeder can out, got the queen out, and placed her. We had to remove the cork so that the candy keeping her in the cage was exposed. The bees will accept her once the candy has dissolved/been eaten. It takes about a week to ten days.

After dumping the remaining bees in the hive, Blake and I got the top bars in place and closed it up slowly and gently, brushing each bee away if it was about to get squished. I think we only accidentally killed one or two.

Then it was my turn!

Bees exiting and entering the hive

Doing the same steps that Colin did before, everything went really smoothly. I seriously had the time of my life. Other than the “no-seeums” that were biting the crap out of us, the bees were extremely docile and nobody got stung. Dumping the bees in the hive was so exhilarating! They were crawling on my hands and arms, and resting on our hats and backs, and they were so great. I seriously fell in love with each one of the bees.

The package is temporarily placed in front to coax the rest inside the hive.

 It’s incredible how the whole colony knows where the queen is, they know how to get her out of the cage, and they know that this random box they got dropped into is going to be their new home. I am amazed by their instincts; their sense of purpose even though each bee is just one bee. Everyone has a job and everyone gets right to it.

A mass amount of them in one place is a bit overwhelming, but having one land on your hand, or gently scooting some out of the way and watching how they interact with you and each other is incredible.

It gave me a renewed sense of respect for insects that I feel like I haven’t felt in a long time.

These critters are magical and I can’t wait to learn more about them, and take care of them the best ways I know how.



Recent bits and bobs floating around in the creative process


Follow @beccabarnet on Instagram for process shots and #boyfriendbruce