Mondo and April, here's to you (both).

I know I am not the only one who feels as though Mondo got robbed last night in the season finale of Project Runway as Gretchen stole the win right out from underneath him. And let's not forget April, who should have been in the top 3 but wasn't even in the top 4. As a tribute to this fan's (me!) faves, I am going to let their final runway collections speak for themselves in the images below.

Mondo (winner of my heart) and his loud Day of the Dead inspired collection. Who could help but smile after seeing these looks pop down the runway:



Even though April didn't end up in the top 3, due to Lifetime's effort to prevent spoilers she did have a runway show. Is it wrong that I kind of want to be her?
Sigh.

Coffee he(art).

Long ago when I used to be a jet setter, I had my first taste of espresso art in an Italian spa. As I drink my k-cup of cafe mocha, I feel sorely disappointed. These images help.

Etsy Wednesday: Pumpkin Lovely

Normally, I am not a huge fan of the color orange. Traffic cones and unflattering school-related t-shirts come to mind. But, this season as I bask in the scent of my pumpkin spice latte, I can't help but be a little bit in love with the colors that have recently set New England on fire, the warm yellows and soft oranges in the fall foliage.

In this week's Etsy Wednesday post, I am going to focus on some items that to me represent the spirit of the season and have the essence of pumpkin, whether it be obvious (like the You Are My Pumpkin Pie card) or slightly more subtle (like the This Is Halloween Chrysanthemum Ring). Not too over the top, showy, or cheesy, these items have a nice balance of the colors of the season and some of the cheekiness of upcoming Halloween.

[If you'd like to purchase an item pictured below, just click on the link of the seller name and it will bring you to the etsy.com site where it is listed. Please note, I am in no way affiliated with these sellers, so I cannot promise that these items will still be for sale by the time you read this.]



For those of you who don't know me, I love pumpkin pie. I could eat it all year but generally I don't (aside from the few times I have had it on my birthday, which is in May). I don't have a significant other or child to give this card to, but if I did, I would. Because if I were to love someone as much as I love pumpkin pie, well, it would be a lot.(card by friendsagain)

If you are in need of some new salt & pepper shakers, these could be the pair for you. To my hungry eye, they look like cream cheese glazed chunks of pumpkin loaf, but the neutral , rustic colors will work in the kitchen during all seasons.(salt & pepper shakers by glazed over)

It's hard for me to resist jewelry, especially flowery rings. The dark gunmetal filigree band provides the necessary contrast with the bright orange cabochon to make it both perfectly charming and a little bit spooky.(ring by tsubasafan)

If I were tea, I'd like to stay cozy, especially if it meant being snuggled up in a hand-knit pumpkin colored wrap, fastened by a wooden button. Not only is it fashionable with its cable details (I never graduated beyond basic ribs created by alternating knits and purls in my lessons), but I imagine that while it keeps your beverage warm, it could also protect sensitive fingers from being burned by hot ceramic.(coffee cup cozy by natalya1905)

Gone are the days of wearing your heart on your sleeve, today we all need to wear poppies on our heads. These soft felt flowers with button details will be a pretty accompaniment to your favorite fall outfit.(headband by itsvann)

The Keep Calm and Carry On poster was initially produced by the British government at the start of WWII to increase public morale in the case of a German invasion. Although it was little known and rarely used at the time, when the Crown copyright expired 50 years later, the simple design became public domain, was rediscovered, and brought back to the presses by the masses.(print by the KeepCalmShoppe)

If you think fingers are for fancy gems but also find that the orange cabochon is impossible to resist today, perhaps you'd like a pair of these harvest bouquet studs to decorate your lobes, instead.(earrings by linkeldesigns)

Whenever I wear a cable knit sweater, I feel a little too preppy for comfort. This bag is a sweet compromise. The chunky knit combined with a satin ribbon detail and bamboo handles will go just as nicely with a jean jacket and a pair of corduroys as it will with a tweed coat and wool dress pants.(shoulder bag by NzLbags)

My final pick has both whimsy and... fangs? Normally, a flapper is a Halloween costume in itself, but not for these cute characters. See these flapper-doodles dressed up as old standbys: a pirate, pumpkin, vampire, ghost, and witch in the print below.(Print by flapperdoodle)

*All of these products and many, many, more are available on my absolute favorite online boutique specializing in handmade and vintage items:
etsy.com. To go directly to one of the above sellers shop, just type in www.InsertSELLERNAMEhere.etsy.com)







The Exquisite Book

by Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski, and Matt Lamothe

Remember the days when you used to start a story chain, fold the paper over so only a teeny bit was showing and pass it on to a friend, who would then continue it, and pass it on to another friend, until the page was folded in a million places, wrinkled, and full of messy and almost incomprehensible handwriting? Then, someone would read it aloud and you'd find the group had created a story that made almost no sense but still resulted in giggles and tears of laughter. (Or maybe you don't remember, but I am pretty sure in the reader/writer/nerd-world I lived in, that's what we did for fun at slumber parties in between games of M-A-S-H and watching Arachnophobia).

This concept has recently been made into perhaps one of the most interesting art books I have ever seen: The Exquisite Book. Its founding idea is relatively simple. One artist starts a chain of drawings based on a theme. The next artist sees only the work of the artist before him/her, continuing the work along the same horizon line (in his or her own personal style). The result is a book that has 10 chapters made up of works by 10 artists (totaling 100 works of unique art, or 10 works of collective art, depending how you look at it).

The Exquisite Book from ALSO on Vimeo.

What I found made the book particularly interesting (and above and beyond the normal standard of art books), is that each drawing can easily stand alone while also managing to work in tandem without overpowering or confusing one another.

Even when the story doesn't come together in a clear way, by following the established horizon lines set by the artists before, there is a sense of fluidity between each page. This causes the viewer to take a moment to reflect on the scenes and take note of the influences the preceding artworks made on their followers. Two examples of this are this set of three drawings by Arthur Jones, Lena Sjoberg, and Mike Lowry...

And this set done by Mike Perry, Camilla Engman, and Lab Partners:

Almost remarkably, there are some pairs/sets of drawings that show a clear (and comic) narrative from scene to scene. One of my favorite moments of whimsy was in looking at the artwork done by Esther Pearl Watson (I've always had a thing for garden gnomes):

Then imagine the reaction to how Anders Nilsen took that concept to the next level:
And in this set of three by Mike Bertino, David Heatley, and Jim Stoten, the images work so well together, it is almost impossible to see where one page ends and another begins:Despite the fact the artists were working collectively on a project, individual styles and techniques were not lost. One of my favorites of those that can easily stand-alone is this one by Julia Pott. This is the sort of print one could hang on a bedroom wall to stare at while rocking out to indie pop.And, amidst the general loudness that would be a book devoted to 100 pages of solid artwork, there are breaks of quiet beauty, like the opening page by Katy Horan:Although I'd love to continue to wax poetic on this book creation, the truth is I've already lost hours of my life (and I am okay with that) analyzing and admiring each painstakingly designed page. Overall, The Exquisite Book truly lives up to its name and I highly recommend that if you cannot purchase the entire book to proudly display on your coffee table, at least take a look at the website so you know exactly what sort of treasure you are missing.

To build a home.

As a child, I always wanted to find a tree house. One that was hidden in the depths of the woods to be used as my own personal sanctuary from the perils of an ordinary childhood. Or, if the mood struck, to use as a clubhouse to gather my friends together so we could share secrets and paint our nails with glitter and make bracelets out of embroidery thread and seed beads.

One day that feels like forever ago, while my family was vacationing on Block Island, we encountered that sort of sacred space that I had always imagined as a child. It was a fort, built collectively on the beach by people who lived on the island and those who vacationed there. The driftwood walls sprung up almost impossibly from the rocky cove while other found objects were used to decorate and provide additional stability.

Each person who visited the fort was charmed by it and tokens were left behind in the forms of business cards, quotes written on or carved into the walls, seaglass, shells, and other beach totems. In many ways, this site was sacred in the way churches, temples, and altars are. A community of individuals created by the sense of wonderment that the fort allowed in an otherwise ordinary world.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the concept of a sacred space. As a child, it is the perfect place that usually exists only in your best imagination. As an adult, this space is what eventually becomes your home.

But, for those of us who constantly feel between places, spending our formative adult years (what I am calling my twenties) moving from apartment to apartment, city to city, living with friends, family, strangers, or alone, the sense of home is easily blurred; the idea of having a place in the world is smudged and loneliness ensues.

Thus, this blog was born. This will be a place where I can create my virtual home, my fort, clubhouse, secret garden, magic tree house. I plan to use it to collect my thoughts on life, living in a new city, pursuing dreams, in the only way I know how: sharing the things that I find interesting, unique, or just simply pretty, whether it be a book, an article, or a new (or new-to-me) artist or craft. Enjoy.