Thursday, May 31, 2012

Atlas for the Blind

My image is not doing this justice but this is a raised print atlas titled Atlas of the United States Printed for the Use of the Blind was published in 1837 for the children of the New England Institute for the Education of the Blind. Even the maps are in beautiful relief. 

The absence of color is so profound. 

- Grace

Find better pictures here

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Very Bestie Birthday

This is the card I would get you. And this is what I would write inside: 

Happy Birthday, Dear Bestie! Though we rarely get to speak on the phone anymore these days (remember those epic long distance phone chats we'd carry on in high school that got us in major trouble once the bills arrived?), I am always so happy when we do get to catch up because---without fail---it feels like no time has passed, and it totally makes my day. And now I'm even happier to share this blog with you, to have this space that keeps us connected five days a week. I am so grateful to have you in my life and wish that I could buy you a ton of presents to show you just how much I love you. So let's pretend I've got loads of money and these are all the gifts you'd be opening today, wrapped in beautiful brown kraft paper all tied up in turquoise and white baker's twine: 

A little wooden whale stapler for your desk because I know you like whales and I know you like nice staplers. 

And a whale tape dispenser while I'm at it, because he's really cute too and I can't decide which to get you, so heck! Why not BOTH?! 

Though I'm not quite sure where you stand on the broach front, I do know you like folded paper objects and I thought this looked cool. So here. 

I would also get you this modern mobile because, like this mobile, you are complex and multi-faceted. And you like to hang. Out. With me. 

I'd sign you up for Ice Cream of the Month , but I'd tell them to just keep the Mint Chocolate Cookie coming, because I know that's your fave.

A Sterling Silver Ice Cream Fork! Because I know you like to fork your ice cream in style! 

A fist-full of arrows to decorate your already well-appointed home. And so that every time you look at them you think of me. And your next post! 
You, too, should have a shell ring so that we can be Wonder Twins and so that you can wear it on our trip...

 To Sanibel Island!!! I will fly you here, all expenses paid, so that we can go shelling and I can finally make up for not taking you on that horrible cross country road trip I promised you years ago!

Love, Your Bestie, 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Number Love

These number mugs are just too cute for words. 
Available through The Spoon Sisters for $8 per mug. 

- Grace

Monday, May 28, 2012

Artist of the Week: Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan is a photographer whose series Midway: Message from Gyre (2009-Current) I found on one of my favorite blogs over a year ago and I haven't been able to shake it since. His images of dead baby albatrosses are at once devastating and hauntingly beautiful. Taken on Midway Atoll, a remote group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean over two thousand miles away from San Francisco and Japan, Jordan photographs the disintegrating bodies of birds who have died from eating the brightly colored pieces of plastic their parents mistake for food floating in the ocean and feed them in the nest. To see these images of so many birds' deaths as the direct result of discarded human waste is truly awful. All that's left of these majestic birds are a few feathers, bones, and a collection of plastic objects that will remain long after their bodies decay into the earth. The artist has also begun capturing the life and death of these birds with video that will soon be released as a documentary:
Much of his work deals with portraits of consumption, consumerism,
and questions of responsibility. You can see more on his website: 

- Cathleen 

Friday, May 25, 2012

The One Eye That Got Away

This hand-painted vintage anatomical eye model caught mine on Etsy two months ago. Just look at all those moving parts! Alas, it sat languishing in my Favorites folder far too long, and in a blink it was snapped up from Agent Gallery Chicago last month. I've been searching for another, but trust me, I haven't seen any this cool. Ahh. Non-Purchasing Regrets. I, too, have had a few. 

- Cathleen 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fox in the Museum

Yep, art museum surveillance cameras caught a stealth intruder in an attempt to view some art in privacy. 

I hear you fox. I hear you.

- Grace

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hair Jewelry

Sterling Silver Cast Human Hair Bangle
$251.89 from vanderglas on Etsy

I absolutely looove the look and texture of these silver bracelets and earrings cast from braids of real human hair by Polly van der Glas of Vanderglas Jewellery & Objects based in Melbourne, Australia. Inspired by hair, teeth, and fingernails, materials that change meaning once they are divorced from the body, Polly's interest in objects that define beauty and the moment of transformation once they are shed, is something that I too have always been fascinated by. Kindred spirits! 

Sterling Silver Cast Human Hair Hoop Earrings
$342.57 from vanderglas on Etsy

You can see more of her work on her website:
And more jewelry in her Etsy shop:

- Cathleen 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Children's Book Pick

Like I said, I love children's books! Here's my pick for this week. Mo Willems Pigeon series. I laughed so hard when my daughter's teacher read these to the class I almost cried. Check them out at your local library. 

- Grace

Monday, May 21, 2012

Artist of the Week: Michelle Armas

Effect Effect, 36"x 48" acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, $1500

Michelle Armas is a painter based in Atlanta, Georgia who works primarily in acrylic and oil. According to her online bio, she has no formal art training but instead possesses a Bachelor of International Relations and a post-graduate degree in Graphic Design and Branding from the Portfolio Center in Atlanta. It just goes to show that you don't need all the trappings of higher art education under your belt to be able to express yourself beautifully.   
I don't typically respond to abstract painting, but there is something in Michelle's workthe palette, the expressive strokes, the drips and drags of paint across the large fields of colorthat moves me. All of her paintings and prints can be purchased in her Big Cartel shop here:

Gallion, 48"x 48" acrylic on gallery wrap frame, $1600

Apple, 48"x 48" acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, $1600

Voluetrix, 36"x 60" acrylic on gallery wrap frame, $1600

Laura Print, 13"x 19" print on fine art paper with high quality archival photo inks. 
Signed limited edition, $35

Hadrian Print, 13"x 13" print on fine art paper with high quality archival photo inks. 
Signed limited edition, $35

You can see more of her work here, here & here: 

- Cathleen 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Prized Possession

Did you ever read this book as a child? 

I remember my teacher reading it to us in first grade and legitimately not getting that Miss Viola Swamp was Miss Nelson in a costume. I literally just got that like 2 years ago when I read the book to my daughter as an adult. Oops. 

The book had a profound impact on my life. My teacher asked us to draw pictures about the book and I drew cameos of both Miss Nelson and Miss Swamp and it was the moment my artistic talent was recognized by my teacher and the class. My teacher held the picture up and said it was the best one in the class. My destiny was sealed. 

When I read the book to my daughter I googled the author and illustrator remembering how important their story had been on my life. I found out that the illustrator, James Marshall, was now deceased but that Harry Allard was still alive. 

I immediately sat down and penned him a letter thanking him for his amazing stories. 

Having forgotten about the letter I sent, I received the below in my mailbox several weeks later. 

A letter from Mr. Allard himself telling me how much he appreciated my writing him and how he remembers sitting with James Marshall and concocting the goofy Miss Nelson series like it was yesterday. 

This is one of my most prized possessions. Mr. Allard is quite old now and I am glad I got to express my gratitude to him before it was too late. 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ask Me Another Riddle?

If there's one thing I love it's old children's books! I once spent an inordinate amount of time in the Rare Childrens' Book Room at the Library of Congress and even starting inquiring about internships where weird girls could come and look through old childrens' books. It didn't go over so well.

Here's a book from my collection. 
It's titled Ask me Another Riddle? and is compiled by Ralph Underwood with illustrations by Crosby Bonsall. This great collection of jokes and riddles was published in 1964. 

I love the illustrations with their bright colors and bold graphics. Something I love even more about the book are the way the jokes and riddles paint a picture of 1964. 

Old books are just that, old and therefore are little glimpses into the past. Some of the jokes are irreverent and would be considered non-PC today- but that's what makes this book so great!

My daughter brought it into school for show and tell and the teacher read some of the jokes. The kids were in tears laughing. Even though it's old the book still resonates with children. 

- Grace

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


So I've been thinking a lot lately about what I should be putting in my mouth. I also have tendencies towards hunger rage as the mealtime hour approaches, so I like to plan ahead. Rather than grabbing at the first "double fiber" granola bar or "justifiably better than Doritos" bag of pretzels I see, I've been researching superfoods that pack the most punch. Currently at the top of my list? Quinoa! It's got loads of iron—beets and spinach are closely related—fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc! (Pow!) It has more calcium than milk! (Splat!) And! It has the highest protein content of any grain! (Zing!) It's such a super food that they are actually considering including it as a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied space flights. Yes, it may soon be literally out of this world.

Naturally, I've performed an exhaustive search for "delicious quinoa recipes" on the internet and have found two that I'm eager to try:

Breakfast: Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa, via

1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 cup quinoa, (note: don't forget to rinse quinoa)
2 cups blackberries (or blueberries)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
4 tsp honey

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in berries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with toasted nuts. Drizzle 1 teaspoon honey over each serving. 
Serves 4
Lunch/Dinner: Quinoa Patties, modified from

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature

  • 4 large eggs, beaten

    1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt

    1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives

    1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped

    1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Gruyère cheese

    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    1 cup whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed

    Water, if needed

    1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

    Combine quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. Form mixture into twelve 1-inch thick patties. If need be, you can add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the mixture, though it is better to err on the moist side of things. Conversely, a bit more beaten egg or water can be used to moisten the mixture. 

    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 6 patties with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until the bottoms are deeply browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the other sides for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. 
    Yields 12 small patties

    I may soon be eating quinoa at every meal. Try and stop me.

    - Cathleen 

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    From My Personal Collection

    Decorative Arts is my passion. I am most moved by luxury material culture. However decorative arts is the red-headed stepchild of fine art. The graduate program I am a student of is aiming to break the barrier between fine art and decorative arts. The division between the two wasn't made until the late 1500s and even then fine art ranked below architecture.

    What do you think? Do you think decorative arts is a subcategory of art history? 

    Above is an image of a piece from my collection. A small caterpillar statue I got in Kennebunkport. My husband and I were driving back from the beach when we spotted a yard sale. This was no ordinary yard sale though—everything was free! This little guy was still there when we stopped and I feel so lucky to have found a treasure from New England to bring back to DC with me. 

    - Grace

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    Mother's Day Blood Bath

    In honor of Mother's Day yesterday I thought I would share the series of drawings I presented at my open studio exhibition this weekend, which also happened to be on Mother's Day, an unplanned but felicitous coincidence, I swear. Blood Bath is a collection of nine ink drawings of figures giving birth in water. I posted the first in this set a few weeks back, but thought I would share the rest now that the lot is complete. The images were created with red ink that bled through from the reverse side of the paper. I've always been fascinated by the idea of water births, the act of pulling your own child out of you, in a serene, calm environment that eases the transition from inside the womb to outside... the womb. Though, honestly, any way you slice it, I'm pretty much in awe of mothers everywhere.

    - Cathleen 

    Friday, May 11, 2012


    Isn't this amazing?? 
    Shipwrecked Armoire with Barnacles by Valerie Hegarty was just on view in a show called Altered States at Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea. 
    According to "Hegarty painstakingly crafts her works from foam core, papier mâché and ink-jet prints on canvas that she then paints, carves, twists, drapes, amputates, and grafts to create mutated originals where the fictional disasters behave as a catalyst for the works coming back to life."
    I love the idea of an artist constructing deconstruction. And then putting barnacles on it. Brilliant. 

    - Cathleen 

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    This Week's Wish List

    What I'm coveting this week! 

    Adorable kindle cover from Lands' End. The cover they have for the iPad isn't as cool, and I have an iPad therefore I'm not as cool. 

    Polka dot skirt from Madewell. 

    Sunburst mirrors from Alexander Westerhoff. Price Upon Request- that means expensive. 

    Baker's Rack from Allen and Aubert. 

    Chevron creamer on eBay by Taste Setter. 

    Brass doorknobs by House of Brass UK.

    Whale shutters from Seaport Shutters. 

    Utensil Caddy from Dayspring. 

    Enjoy your weekend! 

    - Grace

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...