Friday, November 30, 2012

Capturing Nature

Pale Seaglass Green Multifaceted Eco Resin Ring

These handcrafted, one-of-a-kind works of wearable art are created by sisters Jessica and Gwynne Burgess in their studios in Seaforth and Ottawa, Canada. They cast each bangle and bracelet in eco-resin, capturing natural materials like gold flecks, moss, bark, and feathers within hand-mixed transparent and opaque hues, polishing each one to smooth, faceted or non-faceted perfection. Gorgeous!

Red African Gray Parrot Feather Bangle

Birch Bark Round Resin Ring

Emerald Green Round Gold Leaf Bangle

- Cathleen 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's Your Holiday Weakness?

I have a weakness for Christmas ornaments, more specifically for Jonathan Adler Christmas ornaments.

Every year Adler puts out a collection of the most design-inspiring Christmas ornaments. Adler's ornaments are fresh and unique and he manages to tickle my fancy every year (that sounded gross--- sorry).

This year his collection consists of three different design categories : the Circus collection, the Menagerie collection, and the Utopia collection. 

I have the Gorilla from last year's Menagerie collection which is no longer available. I love hanging this little guy on the tree---he is so cute, minimal, and beautiful. This year I've purchased these two ornaments as presents for Clementine and Teddy.

The Circus Mrs. Acrobat Ornament priced at $28. Outrageous price, but these ornaments are high-quality and like little pieces of art for your tree. 

I chose the Tight Rope walker for Clementine because last year at Nursery School they performed a circus for the parents and younger students and she was a tight rope walker. 

My darling Clementine as a tight rope walker, 2012. Photo credit: Brian J. Searby (my hubby!)

For Teddy I ordered the Circus Lion Ornament.

Also priced at $28. 

The problem with these amazing ornaments is that I want every single one, but the price is prohibitive. 

What do you think? Do you think Jonathan Adler has his finger on the button when it comes to ornaments or is there another designer who you think does it better? 

- Grace

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Artwork of the Week: The Skaters

The Skaters by Will Barnet
1994, Screenprint on Arches Cover White paper, edition of 108
47 x 26.5 in, $2,200 from the Lincoln Center Vera List Art Project

Will Barnet, a painter known for his straightforward portrayal of domestic scenes, passed away earlier this month at the age of 101.  

- Cathleen 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

His and Hers Christmas Wish List Part 2

28 days until Christmas and here are this week's picks for His and Hers gift ideas. I've even added a hostess gift option 'cause lots of us are traveling this year and it is just so tacky to show up empty-handed.

Hers Pick #2: Hepcat Shades by Madewell.

My awesome friend Alissa showed me these sunglasses and I think they are just. the. best.  

They are currently on sale for just $39! Now that's a price even I can afford. 

My husband has a thing for unstructured bags---it puts a real strain on our marriage---and this bag would hit the spot. 

Priced at $118, the man in your life can stuff all of his crap in it without folding a thing, and be ready to go. I especially love the oversized lobster claw clip on the end. 

Hostess Gift Pick #1: Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap.

Great packaging and priced at only $6 through CB2, this gift is chic, thoughtful, and inexpensive enough that you can buy one for yourself. 

See you here Thursday for my musings in art, and check back here on Tuesday for my next Christmas List Picks---I've got some great ones in store. 

- Grace

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Stop Shopping with Sarah McNeil

Mittens No. 18 & 12
$68 a pair from SarahMcNeil on Etsy

You guys ready for Cyber Monday? I've already started in on my Christmas shopping, and really want to give the gift of handmade this year. Illustrator and maker of lovely things, Sarah McNeil has a little something for everyone in that department. Beautiful hand knit mittens in perfect shades of pink, gray and mint green. Original flora and fauna illustrations and prints. Funny eyeball stickers. Clever graphic zines. Fuzzy animal brooches. And thoughtful commissioned pet portraits. 
You can see more of Sarah's work on her website
And purchase her handiwork directly from her Etsy shop: SarahMcNeil

Trying to be Happy a Lot of the Time and Fox and Fir Giclee Print Set
14cm x 12.3cm, with 0.5cm borders and a 1.5cm border at the bottom

Updated Report of Observations Which Seem to Reflect Abstractly on Life Zine

Hand Cut/Drawn Eye Stickers

Commissioned Pet Portrait
$200 from SarahMcNeil on Etsy 

- Cathleen 

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's a Show! It's a Show! It's a Show!

Until January 27, 2013, the MET is hosting an exhibition of the work of master craftsman Abraham Roentgen and his son David.

Berlin Secretary Cabinet

Writing Desk

Roll-Top Desk

Gaming Table


All images courtesy of the MET and the NY Times. 

Roentgen created mechanical (meaning pieces that had moving parts) pieces that set the bar for the furniture-making industry of the 18th ce. The Roentgen work spans from 1742 to the shop's closing in the early 1800s. The German based father-son shop revolutionized the French and English furniture industry and created works that still inspire 270 years later. 

Looking at images of their work doesn't do it justice. 

The MET has graciously put videos of curators opening the pieces on its website and you get a chance to see first-hand how the mechanics of each piece works. 

I cannot get the videos to embed to save my life, but here's a link to the website with the videos: Roentgen Exhibit. 

There's also an accompanying catalog for the exhibit which I highly recommend you buy before they're gone!

This is a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit, if you can get to the MET---go! 

Ch-ch-check it out!

- Grace

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bronze Turkey
Albert Laessle
Luce Foundation Center, Washington, D.C.

James McNeill Whistler
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. 

Did you know that when the United States was first forming Benjamin Franklin suggested the American Turkey as our national bird. He chose this bird to signify the wealth and natural abundance of the Americas.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our dedicated readers. We are thankful to have your continued support! 

- Grace

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gobble Gobble Gobble

In honor of Thanksgiving this week, and in keeping with the spirit of sharing delicious, made-with-love meals with your family while learning what really goes into making grandma's famous turkey-shaped cheese ball, I bring you an introduction from one of my new favorite shows. My Grandmother's Ravioli on the Cooking Channel is Mo Rocca at his very best: cracking nudge-wink dad jokes while old people teach him how to cook their specialities. The best episode yet featured Jewish grandmother Ruth Teig showing Mo how to make (and properly pronounce) kreplach. She ate up every food pun Mo served and he relished all of her grandmotherly advice. The above clip is from an episode where Mo was schooled in scones and meatloaf from a benevolent Irish grandmother named Peggy Guiliano who clearly enjoyed taking the stuffing out of her assistant that day. The chef/sous chef interactions are adorable and the recipes are comfort food at its finest. If his program proves nothing else, it demonstrates without a doubt that old people love Mo Rocca and Mo Rocca loves old people. And I love Mo Rocca.

- Cathleen

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

His and Hers Christmas Wish List

Christmas is coming bitches!
Every week until Christmas I am going to post His and Hers gift ideas.

Hers Pick #1: J.Crew Stadium-Cloth Cocoon Coat

I want this coat so bad it's painful.

Can be purchased in-store or online and is priced at $325. Remember: if you're a teacher, bring your pay stub for your teacher discount!

His Pick #1: Brooks Brothers' s Supima Cotton Non-Iron Slim Fit Forward Point Collar Dress Shirt in White.

This is a great shirt. Brooks Brothers has their finger on the button when it comes to making great men's clothing. 

And when they say non-iron, they mean it. Pull it out of the dryer and you're ready to go. I highly recommend the slim fit too. My husband is not "slim" or into metrosexual clothing, but this shirt makes him look fit and tailored. 

Also please do me a favor and only buy long-sleeved dress shirts. The only person who is allowed to have short-sleeved dress shirts is my OBGYN and that's out of practicality.  

Priced at $88, it will be the longest-lasting, highest-quality shirt that special man in your life owns. 

- Grace

Monday, November 19, 2012

Artwork of the Week: King Frederick's Taxidermied Lion

Taxidermy is really an incredible art form. The deft touch of a talented taxidermist can truly breathe new life into an inanimate animal carcass. This, of course, is not the case with the lion you see here. The royal taxidermist tasked with stuffing this king of cats did such a hilariously terrible job that you can't help but love it. In 1731 King Frederick I of Sweden was given a lion, a wildcat, some hyenas, and a slave to take care of them all from the Bey of Algiers. When the lion died, the king handed the pelt and bones over to a taxidermist who had never seen a lion before. This dopey lion still stands, in all of its glory, at Gripsholm Castle in Mariefred, S√∂dermanland, Sweden.

- Cathleen 

[Source: Pinned by Kimberley Laurenti from]

Friday, November 16, 2012

Renegade Holiday Craft Fair!!!

Renegade is doing it again, holiday-style! Tomorrow and Sunday, November 17-18, 2012, from 11 am-6 pm at the East River State Park, the Renegade Craft Fair will be holding it's first EVER Holiday Market! Just be sure to wear your hat and scarfit might be a bit chilly down there weaving among the booths stationed next to the river, but it will be worth it! What could be better than giving all of your loved ones thoughtful, handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts this holiday season? Nothing, I tell you! NOTHING! For more information on where to go and which hand-makers will be there shilling their wares, visit

- Cathleen 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Covetous Desires

On December 1, 2012 Target and Neiman Marcus will have for sale, online and in stores, this amazing Tory Burch Lunch Box and Thermos. 

I know! Totally adorable. And the best part? Totally affordable. 
The thermos will retail for 24.99 and the lunch box for 19.99! 

I'm going to have to have this! Even if I'm that weird person camped out front of Target with a catheter bag strapped to my leg. 

- Grace

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Artist of the Week: Julia Harrison

Blue Belle, 2006, 2.5 x 1.5 x 5"
maple wood, gouache, lacquer, wax, nickel, magnet, epoxy

This exquisitely hand-carved wearable art is made by Seattle-based artist and jewelry maker Julia Harrison. Creating in wood and metal primarily, Julia also teaches jewelry and wood-carving classes. I'm amazed that she can pull these animated shapes forth from a dull block of wood, reducing the lifeless material to produce such a vibrant form. You can see more examples of her work on her website:

The Dozen Rosebuds, 2005
various woods, gouache broaches, also wall-mountable

Mirabella, 2005, 2.5 x 2.5 x 5"
maple wood, pearls, gouache, varnish, wax, nickel, magnet

Daikoku, 2006, 2 x 1.5 x 1"
pear wood, gouache, wax, nickel, magnet

- Cathleen 

[Images courtesy of the artist's website.]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beauty and Longevity

Finding toys for kids that have longevity is hard. 
Finding toys that are beautiful, have longevity, and you won’t be embarrassed to have lying around when guests drop by is even harder.

This toy isn’t new by any means, but it meets all the criteria.

Beautiful? Check.
Longevity? Check! 

I bought this probably four years ago under the guise of a gift for my daughter, but I really thought she wouldn’t like it. 
I was wrong. She not only liked this gift then, but she likes it still today as a 6-year-old. 
She doesn’t play with it everyday but she plays with it probably 4 times a year and anyone with kids can tell you that’s impressive. 
I love having this toy around and I think it will be cool to have to pass through our family for generations to come. 

MUJI New York City in a Bag can be purchased from multiple vendors, but this particular one is via MoMA. 

- Grace

Monday, November 12, 2012

Significant Object: Sweet Tooth

This little sweetie is one of my most prized possessions. I won this Sweet Tooth candy dish on Ebay last March, after spotting something similar in the pages of Domino magazine years before. I searched every flea market stall, Etsy vintage shop, and dusty antique purveyor I happened upon, and finally my hard work paid off. One of the best things about finding once treasured cast-offs like thisbesides the sweet, sweet victoryis imagining the life the object had before landing in my covetous hands.

Did it once reside on the desk of a dentist with a wry sense of humor? Though surely not filled with sugar rewards, but more likely, those cheap tin rings they used to hand out to kids for good behavior. Or did it ever corral the loose brown pennies on an old granny's dresser top? I can also imagine a young boy stashing all of his most important artifacts inside the tooth's cavity; flat rocks, rusty bottle caps, spiked jacks, sticky wooden ice cream spoonsbecause you never know when one of those might come in handyand that superball he fished out of the neighbor's pool drain, found floating next to a dead frog.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure I ever washed it out...

- Cathleen

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pick-Me-Up Music Video

I'm going to get a lot of flack for this, but I love Chris Brown's music video for Yeah 3X. This is not a new video at all, but it's remained a staple on my music list. 

This song is upbeat and worthy of being blasted from all car windows- mini vans included!

The video is its own beast. The dancing is fantastic. Love him or hate him, Chris Brown can sing and dance. 

Enjoy your weekend!

- Grace

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Who Do You Hang On Your Wall?

What art/artists would you hang on your own wall? 

One artist whose work I am especially moved by is Keith Haring. 

To me, Haring's work is graphic and bright as well as joyful, light-hearted, and suggests communityall the things he was trying to accomplish with his work! 

- Grace

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Artist of the Week: Colleen Ford

Colleen Ford is a Brooklyn-based artist and dear friend of mine whose mixed media work is both a humorous critique on our culture and a thoughtful response to what's found. The Depression/Recession series I've posted here are made of two images; the one on the left is a collection of drawings she found in her neighborhood thrift store signed by a woman named Elizabeth Fletcher in 1933, and the graphite drawing on the right is Colleen's interpretation of the same subject through the lens of today. The work makes a simple, eloquent statement contrasting two time periods that are separated by nearly a century, two eras that are so similar in their bleak economic state and hopeful outlook and yet so completely different in terms of their ideals and reality. 

Colleen is also currently trying to raise money for her newest project Saving For Our Futures through the fundraising site indiegogo. The work she is hoping to execute will be an installation of ten handblown glass piggy banks stuffed to the snout with lottery tickets, like this little guy:

The piece is a commentary on the debt we incur in the hopeful (and often fruitless) pursuit of our dreams, and the sometimes impractical investment in our futures, a reality that has smacked so many of us even before we reach adulthood. Once completed the work will be a part of an exhibition titled How Much Do I Owe You? produced by the public art organization No Longer Empty set to open in an abandoned Long Island City bank in December 2012. Please consider contributingeven the smallest donation of $10 will put your name into the work as a patron, $25 will earn you a piece of art in exchange for helping the artist realize her vision, but larger amounts will invest in even greater art rewardsfor your walls and your karma.

You can also see more examples of Colleen's work on her website:

- Cathleen

[Images courtesy of the artist's website:]

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Twist on an Old Favorite

Mantle clocks feel very dated to me. I haven't seen one on a mantle in a chic home in a loooong time. However Crate & Barrel has just released their Suspend Walnut Mantel Clock and this new twist on an old favorite is one I can get on board with. I also like the price- only 59.95. Perfect for our tough economy. 

Fresh and minimal, this clock begs to sit on your mantle and mesmerize your guests. 

- Grace

Monday, November 5, 2012

Decorate Yo Self!

Gold Plated Ant Broach, $42

Durango Hand-painted Brass Pendant Necklace, $38

Vintage Carved Stone or Shell Ring, $12

Set of Three Skinny Florence Bangles, $30

Gray Cotton Stripe Scarf, $34

Beige Sand Beaded Earrings

Vintage Faux Coral Necklace, $48

Seven favorites (I couldn't pick just ONE necklace) for your earlobes, wrist, finger, chest, and neck. Rounded up on Etsy. 

- Cathleen 

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