Hi, my name is Nicole and I am the sum of many things. I am a photographer, a friend, a writer, a lover, an artist, a reader, an adventurer. I could go on. There are so many things in this world to love, to pursue, to be passionate about, and I love spending each day trying to strengthen my current interests as well as expand my mind into as many new things as I can.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had my finger in something creative. My first love was reading and writing. One of my life long goals is still to become an author. From the realms of words and towers of prose I gave birth to the images from my mind by sketching and creating collages. I’ve never been an exceptional drawer, but the things my mind conjures demand release in one form or another, and so it was that I broke into painting. First with acrylic, then a brief interlude with oils, until I settled upon watercolor as my favorite medium.

With the introduction of painting to my life, so too came the whole crafting world: scrapbooking, card making, crocheting, jewelry making, resin casting, paper making. Everything was open and available to me and I wanted to try it all.

Photography has played a huge roll in my life. I view the art of taking photographs as a way to tell a story with a single image. I enjoy documenting my life, vividly, crisply, dreamily, and creatively with a photograph. From self-portraits, to camping trips, all the way to life changing events, I use a camera nearly every day of my life. How I capture the moment, freeze it in time, can invoke as strong a memory for me as smell can. The way smoke curls off the leaping tendrils of a  fire brings to mind all the sights and scents of that exact moment.

Despite its dwindling presence, I still use mostly film for my photography, mainly for the sense of time and place the grain of film invokes in me. Going back to the roots I felt would give me a better grasp of the way camera, lens, film and light work together to solidify a snapshot of action so I took a darkroom class and rediscovered my passion for the act of creating a photograph all over again. My biggest joys are self-portraits, nature, and product photography.

When I was younger my mother held a small sewing get together for the women of our neighborhood and I participated as best I could but never really fell in love with it till I was much older. It was my mother’s other fantastic ability that I was utterly in awe of; crocheting.

My mother could create the most amazing and finely detailed doilies I’ve ever seen. I was always in awe of her ability and couldn’t believe that her only tools were her imagination (sometimes a pattern) some thread and a little hook. Despite my love for her gift, it wasn’t until I was going through a dark period in my life that I decided to pick up the skill of crocheting.

I was terrible at it! At least, at first I was. And now with lots of practice I feel more confident in my ability and have branched out to more complicated projects than just scarves.

I love to grow things as well. I’ve never had much of a green thumb, and that might discourage most people from attempting to have a garden, but I view it as a chance to practice. I do feel sorry for all the plants I’ve killed in the pursuit of my green thumb, but I know the future gardens I have will thank them for their sacrifice. Mostly I enjoy growing plants that produce edible parts: peppers, dill, green onion, tomatoes, ect. Sometimes though I just love to cultivate for the sake of a beautiful flower. My favorites are Iceland Poppies and Foxglove, both of which I’ve never been able to get to grow successfully in this hot, hot, hot state I live in.

I am married and live in a beautiful urban style apartment with my husband, Andrew, and two cats, Cloud and Mica. It was with the encouragement of my husband that I began this blog. Two years ago (roughly) we joined this non-profit origination called The Dallas Makerspace whose main reason for existing is to promote making. It’s a simple enough concept, but one I feel a world of automated, mass produced products has driven its people away from. The Makerspace, and other places like it around the world, strive to infuse the community around them with inspiration, ideas, and thought provoking solutions to every day problems. They have a shared workshop that encompasses so many different interests I can’t even list them all. And it grows every day.

Everyone is eager and willing to share their way of doing something and open source is a very big thing with the members of the DMS. DIY is a way of life with us and it is a movement that is picking up the world around. Having been self taught on most everything I’ve ever attempted to do, I found that so many people were tight lipped about the ‘secret’ of their success. They don’t want to give up their tricks and tips for fear of losing the corner on the market.

I personally believe that knowledge is power and that the more you share the more something can grow and become better than it once was. Giving away how to do something does not mean everything will suddenly begin to look the same. We affect what we touch as individuals too much. Everything I attempt to replicate, create, invent, or design will have the touches of my personality in it, as with each person who attempts the same thing. It will be uniquely theirs.

And so, to give my own insights, tips, tricks, wisdom, and knowledge to others so that they might be inspired and make once again I started Thistle and Leaves. I want this blog to be a place where ideas are born, where inspiration takes root, and people become empowered with confidence that they too can make something beautiful, functional, and all their own.