I see color bars.

I visited Mass MoCA with Tara a couple of weekends ago. I am only just getting around to writing about it now. And I can't seem to get it done. So I am breaking it into parts. This is part 1. (Part 2 will come along... sometime in the future TBD. How's that for specificity?)

Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective (ongoing at Mass MoCA)

I'll admit that when we walked up the covered walkway into the Sol LeWitt retrospective at the Mass MoCA I said to Tara, "See, this is the stuff that's hard for me to get into."

We were faced with a wall of painted color blocks. Nothing fancy. Nothing you couldn't do in your home in a few hours time with some blue painter's tape and a little patience. (Not that I have any of those things).
But as we strolled through floors and hallways of color... I changed my mind. The meticulously mapped out "wall drawings" when looked at one after another became overwhelming in a good way. They drew us in (we literally had our noses up to the walls to see the finer details of the lines) and pushed us away. We watched a video that showcased the installation process: It took 65 artists and art students 6 months to install the exhibit by painstakingly following step-by step instructions (like the image below) and will be available on view for 25 years (2033, when the world will be ruled by robots).
It's hard for me to explain what it feels like to walk through this exhibit and wonder about the artistic madness? genius? extreme OCD tendencies turned into art? that linger behind each drawing. The best description of it is from the Mass MoCA write up:
As the exhibition makes clear, these straightforward instructions yield an astonishing—and stunningly beautiful—variety of work that is at once simple and highly complex, rigorous and sensual. The drawings in the exhibition range from layers of straight lines meticulously drawn in black graphite pencil lead, to rows of delicately rendered wavy lines in colored pencil; from bold black-and-white geometric forms, to bright planes in acrylic paint arranged like the panels of a folding screen; from sensuous drawings created by dozens of layers of transparent washes, to a tangle of vibratory orange lines on a green wall, and much more. Forms may appear to be flat, to recede in space, or to project into the viewer’s space, while others meld to the structure of the wall itself.
Overall, I found myself happily surprised by how much I liked the labyrinths of color that we spent so much time exploring (and wondering "have we been here already?" as things started looking the same... yet different... but also the same again).

Then comes the big question (it always has to sneak in there, the eternal naysayer whispering in my ear): Is this art?

Sol LeWitt didn't come in and install these himself (he passed away a few months before work began), but he left a series of instructions that anyone could follow, much like a composer writes music for anyone to play. In a former life, when I preferred the classics over our contemporaries, I'd probably scoff at something like this because it tends to irk me when people make a big deal over art that anyone could do. But after walking through the halls of this exhibit, I can't help but wonder if I have been wrong all of these years.

Sure, each wall is generally made up of boxes filled with lines filled with color, but something about the composition of it all, the extreme pattern (or complete lack of pattern) makes the collection as a whole nothing short of mesmerizing. And isn't that art? Something that is so enchanting and hypnotizing that it can draw even the most skeptic of viewers into its lair? If so, it works for me.

I'll be your harvester of light.

With the holidays quickly approaching, the world has suddenly become alight with mini lights. I love the festivity the tiny twinkling bulbs bring to even ordinary objects.

If I could decorate my life with mini-lights, I am pretty sure I would. In fact, I am wondering why I haven't done that yet. They would be a perfect accessory to every party dress.
And colorfully strung along tree branches they'd bring brightness to the darkest and coldest of these long winter nights.

I'd love to turn a corner and find this city ablaze with golden light.

Or walk out my door to houses connected by color.

And if all else fails... just throw some lights on the floor and dance. Because why not?

Be thankful.

First and foremost, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of you who celebrate this particular holiday. I'm hoping yours is filled with lots of pies and Muppet balloons, or whatever it is you like most if it is not either of those two things.

I originally started writing in this blog because I found myself whiling away the hours on the internet with nothing to show for it. With all that is out there that is both visually and mentally stimulating, I wanted a way to share it.

One of my favorite features that has come about and taken a life of its own is the Etsy Wednesday. It started out simply enough: a way to showcase some of my favorite finds of the week from etsy.com. To keep it cohesive, I came up with the idea to compile products based on weekly themes. All of the items that I find are just that: items I have found and thought were worth sharing. No one has paid me to do this and no one ever will. There is no cost to liking something and it costs even less to tell people about it.

The surprising twist this project has taken on is that I suddenly found myself in a community of people who are also earnestly trying to get the word out about handmade. The sellers that I feature recommend other sellers to me; sometimes it is a seller they know personally, other times it is a stranger's work that they admire and have been creeping around their shops and favoriting items (like I do, every single day, I am such an etsy lurker). It's a really cool thing to see so many people who want to help other people out.

A few days ago, I read a post on Indie Fixx about this very thing and how easy it is to support independent sellers even if you can't buy all of the products yourself:

… it’s about *hearting* other’s shops and works on Etsy, it’s about commenting on people’s blogs when their creations and artistic voice make you take notice. It’s about community and support, and communication, and LOVE.
That to me is the spirit of thanksgiving. Being thankful for what you've been given and finding a way to give back (or forward or sideways or whatever way makes sense these days).

So, if waking up at 4am tomorrow to bust down the doors of whatever store is offering the best sale on whatever item is hot right now doesn't sound like your cup of tea... sleep in. Wake up whenever you want, pour yourself a cup of coffee in that vintage mug you love, read your horoscope, check the stock market (I am trying to cover all bases here), and log onto etsy.com and sites like it. Obviously you aren't going to be able to cover all of your shopping with handmade items (or can you? I smell a challenge and it smells like hot chocolate and magic and the winner gets PRIDE), but consider putting, say, 25% percent of your shopping efforts this holiday season towards homemade or repurposed or indie sold goods. Or, if that's not possible, make your wish list this season include some of the things you've been *hearting* lately. Not only will you end up with good gifts, but it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy knowing you supported the shop of someone who is probably a lot like you.

To help you get inspired, watch this gem of a video:

E-Dubs: For the love of pie.

(E-Dubs = EW = Etsy Wednesday)
"This is a pie-house, not some sort of herbal crack den." -Olive Snook.
I admit the above quote/picture has almost nothing to do with this post. But whenever I think about pie, I think about the beloved show Pushing Daisies. I digress.

I promise I will lay off on the food related Etsy Wednesdays soon. But, how could I resist a whole collection of things based off of pie when Thanksgiving is just around the corner (tomorrow)? I think we all know that the number one most important part of turkey day is not just to sit around and be thankful but to sit around and be thankful while eating a slice of pie. Pumpkin, apple, rum raisin, mincemeat, ricotta, stone fruit, berry, sweet potato, pecan, lemon meringue... if a kind of pie exists it can show up on your Thanksgiving table. And I love pie.

The fun part about Etsy is that everyone has their own take on what makes something pie related. There were the obvious items like pie plates, pie birds, pi puns and then there were items that were 'as sweet as pie' or even more abstract. As always, here are the ones I found most interesting. The link for the complete treasury is at the end.

If you like to stamp things and you like to bake pies, this could be the perfect item for you to use when giving pies as gifts. Because who doesn't want a pie as a gift? (Hint. Hint.) I especially love the heart shaped steam. Adorable.

This 'sweet potato pie' necklace is made from fabric rosettes with a ribbon tie. It would be an absolutely stunning accessory to wear to your Thanksgiving dinner (or any other day, don't limit yourself).

I love this dessert stand made out of a pie plate. It shows that cakes aren't the only things that deserve to be put up on a pedestal.

The background on this print reminds me of old wallpaper. I love it. (It doesn't take a lot to win me over when it comes to patterns).

I love this pie server turned into an arm bangle. How exquisite is the combination of the cut outs on the serving end and the antique, sculptural look of the blossoms on the handle.

I love tea towels. Not because I find them particularly useful in the kitchen (maybe I don't have enough tea parties or something) but because usually they make amazing art. I tend to collect tea towels thinking I will turn them into neat wall hangings. I love this cherry pie print, and I think it would look great mounted on a canvas (or matted in a frame) and hung up above the kitchen sink.

This pumpkin pie soap looks good enough to eat. My guess it doesn't taste good enough to eat though, so don't try that at home. (Oh, and it is vegan friendly for those of you who need to know that).

I love the whimsy of this pie-themed brooch. Made of vintage crocheted layers and glass stones and beads atop a felt leaf, this would like great on any outfit. I think we all need to make a conscious effort to bring brooches back. Seriously, let's start a movement.

I can't be the only one who loves vintage recipe cards. And I don't think it's a coincidence that the two pies pictured on these are my personal favorites (lemon meringue and pumpkin). It must be fate in a meant-to-be kind of way.

I know I've shown hand stamped forks before, but I love these just as much as the garden variety I showcased a few weeks ago. And if you have a pie in front of you, you need a way to eat it. So there you go.

It's impossible for me to resist puns like this one. Especially when I do heart apple pi.

Just a frame of me, you see.

I have an eye doctor appointment today and this is how I feel about it.

Since my glasses are almost 6 years old and I left my last pair of contacts at a friend's house last weekend.... I figured it was about time for some updates. I guess despite my hatred of doctor's offices, I am a little excited to possibly pick out some new frames. Glasses have suddenly become cool (along with hipster haircuts and moustaches), with all of the big bold styles that are trending right now. I just might have to jump on the bandwagon.

(all photos via weheartit, except for the first one, which is a film still of Ellen Muth in Dead Like Me)

Books & T-shirts.

I am in the process of trying to write up my road trip to Mass MoCA this past weekend. In the meantime, I leave you with some lovely t-shirts based on books. Because books are cool. And so are t-shirts.
(T-shirts by Out of Print)

Nerd Alert: I'm going to see Harry Potter tonight.

The first installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows opens today. The trailer looks terrifying and I am pretty sure parts of it will make me cry (don't judge me). I can't wait to drink lots of butterbeer with we heart robots' Tara, as we toast the beginning of the end of a treasured series.
(Harry, Hermione, & Ron and Expecto Patronum! by NanLawson)

You can bring me flowers.

(photos via dujour)

Tiny Furniture (2010)

I'm pretty sure this film would fall under the category that Netflix is always telling me I love (and rightfully so) of a "Quirky, Dark Comedy, Featuring Strong Female Lead." I have only watched the trailer below, but it made me laugh, it made me cringe, it made me wish I lived in a convenient location to see the full feature in the next month or so instead of waiting for it to come out on IFC On Demand.

What I found inspiring about the creation of this film is that it was written (by Lena Dunham) in 6 days and produced in 6 weeks in her mother's Tribeca apartment. It stars herself, her family and some of her friends (who are all relatively talented and somewhat famous), so granted, she had some help. But, it proves that if you get enough creativity in the room, magic can happen.

Tiny Furniture Trailer from Lena Dunham on Vimeo.

(via Bird and the official site of Tiny Furniture)

And the world is filled with energy.

I woke up this morning wanting to be inspired. I looked through my inspiration folder (yup, I've got one of those) and just felt blah. So I scoured around for something new and found a new blog to add to my list (where the lovely things are) and this image. I was blown away.
These two posters are by Heisuke Kitazawa (PCP) and found by Mallory (blogger from where the lovely things are) via this post on Poketo and you can buy the prints here. (Holy lots of links, batman).

Etsy Wednesday: TEA TIME!

Lately all I have wanted to do is curl up with a book and a cup of tea, preferably in one of the little nooks pictured in yesterday's post. Granted, I do have the luxury of a flexible schedule (the benefits of unemployment until grad classes start) and one would think that would allow me time to snuggle up in cozy corners during the day, but I have been too busy applying to dog walking jobs. (Seriously, I want to be a dog walker, can anyone in NYC hook me up?)

So, sorry, this post is not about clocks (a good idea that I will file away for later use) but about the fine art of enjoying tea. (I recently watched the new Alice in Wonderland, which I liked despite its mixed reviews). So drink up friends! Maybe I will invite you to a tea party.

I've always liked the color yellow. It just makes everything feel all sunshine-y and happy. This vintage teapot would do just the trick to make these gray days just a little bit brighter.

I want a teapot collection, but like most people, I just don't have the space for such types of frivolity loitering in my cabinets. Here is a cute compromise in print form.

I once read an article where it was recommended that you take vintage teacups and line a dresser drawer with them to use as little spots to hold your jewelry and spare buttons. I think I like this stacked approach to jewelry storage better.

One of my past featured sellers (keepcalmshoppe) sent this tea boutique my way. I imagine this loose leaf blend will curb any cravings for apple pie that you might have this holiday season. Or if you are me, drink it with the pie, because you are a fatty and you want your pie flavor and to eat it, too.

Will you come to my tea party? The invitation is in the mail.

If you drink the potion in the jar on the table (labeled DRINK ME), you will shrink down to be small enough to enjoy a sip of tea from this teeny tiny cup. Wear it around your neck so you have it with you always.

Because everyone needs a little place to set their used teabags.

Fancy a brew? Why yes, yes I do. How hospitable of you.

The inspiration for this post was this mug. Because, every mug needs a moustache. Am I right or am I right?

Honestly, there were so many things I found, I really couldn't contain them all in a blog post. SO... I got with the program and created an Etsy treasury of these items AND MORE. You can view it here.

[Please remember, I am not associated with these sellers... I just like their stuff. If you want to view the item, click on the product. If you want to learn more about the sellers/their shops, click their names. If anything is sold before you get there, I am truly sorry but it was probably me who bought it.]