Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter One-Ups-Manship

I love Easter eggs and I love decorating them. Every year I have grand plans for the gorgeous crayon relief eggs or the decoupage eggs or silk transfer eggs that I will lovingly labor over. 
Unfortunately, my plans are usually thwarted and I end up tossing my eggs 
into the same dye/vinegar bath that I do every year (I still love them!) 
whilst shelving my egg ambitions until "next year". 

Fortunately for me, I may no longer be feeling the tug of ambition at all. In my yearly trolling of the internet for amazing egg decorating ideas, I came across Franc Grom, an egg artist whose work is so stunning and intricate that decoupage and whatnot now feels a little run of the mill. Here are a few examples of his work...

Apparently, Mr. Grom drills anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 holes in each one of his creations. And I thought that dyeing them was exhausting. I’m not sure whether I feel galvanized to make my eggs more beautiful or depressed about the futility of it all. I suppose since it is almost Easter, the time of rebirth and new life, maybe I’ll use these as inspiration to make my eggs just a little bit more special.

Here’s hoping that your egg decorating is inspired and beautiful as well!

Happy Weekend and Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Doggie Style

We adopted a dog in October. He looks super fierce but he is by far the most loving pound puppy ever! We love him and are so glad he's ours! However, one downside to Nelson, our shelter pup, is that he frightens people because he looks so tough. To counteract his tough exterior, I checked out Agatha and Louise for the perfect preppy dog collar and leash.

Photo Credit: Sarah Harper
Agatha and Louise
The Agatha and Louise website is jam-packed with preppy collars and leashes. I purchased the green and navy whale collar and leash pictured above. Total with shipping was $47.85. I was thrilled with the cost! Here are some other collar patterns that I think are just fab!
Ooo lalaso Lilly Pulitzer-ish. 

Lacoste style. 


I should mention we adopted our pup through Mid Atlantic Bully Buddies. If you are looking to adopt a dog, I highly recommend adopting a shelter pup and we were thrilled with the Mid Atlantic Bully Buddies agency. 

- Grace

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Artwork of the Week: Zip Thorax

Zip Thorax by Elodie Antoine
zippers, 30 x 20 cm, 2008

The grotesque combined with an everyday object? Gets me every time. 
You can see more of this interesting Belgian artist's work, including this cool mushrooming easy chair, at

- Cathleen

[Image courtesy of the artist's website]

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Email Treasures

I love getting mail. I wait for the mail all day and relish opening everything, even bills. I know, I'm weird.

The Cooper-Hewitt has just begun a subscribed service called Object of the Day

Pair of Pier Tables
Attributed to William Moore
Ca. 1785

Everyday the Cooper-Hewitt delivers to your email inbox an art or decorative arts item with a brief history and significance of the object.

It totally rocks!

Sign up here. You can thank me via mail. 


Monday, March 25, 2013

All the Small Things

There are many things I don't appreciate about our apartment. The screamy downstairs neighbors, the crazy upstairs neighbor, the howly next door neighbors; all loud in their own distinct ways at all times of the day and night. The derelicts that hang out in our "lobby" smoking weed and cigarettes, leaving behind garbage, graffiti and stink in their wake. The crappy basement dryers and leaky upstairs bathroom (also that crazy neighbor lady's fault), both ruining our nice wedding-gifted towels on a semi-weekly basis for awhile there. It's enough to make a person declare every other week that they want to move out. 

But after four years together—me and the apartment, that is—there are a few things that I do like about our space, and it's mostly in the details. When we began the search for our first home, Micky was totally sold when he saw the chalkboard wall in the kitchen. Once I assured him that we could do that ourselves anywhere we lived and that we had to look past the bells and whistles to see the real bones of the place, it was the old pre-war touches that really drew usok, mein. The filagreed light switch in the bedroom, the portrait molding in the living room, the built-in ironing board in the kitchen that I have never set up for fear of unleashing a colony of live spiders and dead insect carcasses. This was the stuff that Brooklyn apartment dreams were made of!

Now that we've got another little person in the mix, with all of his bulky baby trappings, I'm definitely looking forward to finding someplace bigger with less baggage to live in soon. In the meantime though, I do admit that I will miss the features that made this place so special. With that I give you a photographic love letter to all the small things I love most.  

- Cathleen

Friday, March 22, 2013


So, I’m still on the search for a great cake for a certain little girl’s birthday that is (rapidly) approaching but luckily I’ve located the perfect cake plate.

Enter Jadeite:

Jadeite Cake Stand
There might not be a cake to go on it, but this baby is so pretty that I think my little birthday girl would totally understand... Right?

Happy Weekend, Friends!

PS A huge congratulations to Grace who is finishing up another year of amazing hard work and dedication with her Week of the Arts. Way to go, Grace!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

She Brakes for Art: Kiki Smith

Concluding my fascination with different artists' tool of the trade, I bring you Kiki Smith's hands. "Hands?" you ask incredulously. Yes, I know that all (ok, most) visual artists use their hands to create, but Kiki's are something altogether enchanting and mesmerizing. I got the chance to see them up close recently when she sat across from me on the subway. (Gah! It was all I could do to stop myself from shouting at her, "You are the reason I art today!!") I've searched the internet high and low for a close up of her hands at work, but have yet to find something truly illustrative of their abilities. And beauty—they are marked with a delicate constellation of turquoise tattoos that only adds to their allure. Her hands contain a certain character, unparalleled skill, and a yearning to create.

"Her hands constantly fiddle: she’s always drawing or making things out of clay or whatever. Partly, it’s a way to distract her gaze. Mostly, for her, making art is like breathing."

[Images courtesy of,, quote from a great feature titled The Intuitionist by Michael Kimmelman on]

- Cathleen 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Artwork of the Week: My 13 Cups

Yeah, that's right. I'm keeping the tea train on the tracks this week! 
(Because I love themes! And classifications of things! Hot damn, it's a twofer!)

My 13 Cups by Angela Dalinger

- Cathleen

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

She Brakes for Art: Julia Child

Cooking is one of the most delicious artforms there is and Julia Child was unquestionably a headmistress in the school of French cuisine. Her tools of the trade were her many copper pots and pans, and of course, her mad fine cooking skills, but it was her visual organization techniques that most impressed me. The photo above is of her instruments outlined and displayed on a pegboard in her Cambridge, MA kitchen, a system she and her husband Paul designed. 

"It did my heart good to see rows of . . . copper pots at the ready,” Julie wrote in her 2006 bestseller My Life in France, “I could hardly wait to get behind the stove.”

Photo of a white gloved curator tending to the kitchen's installation 
in the National Museum of American History. The entire kitchen and all of its contents were donated by the Child family to the Smithsonian in 2002, while the coveted copperware collection was later acquired in 2008. 

- Cathleen 

[Images and quote sourced from]

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tea and Biscuits

Chocolate Digestive Screen Printed Cushion

I've been hitting the Raspberry Leaf Tea hard these days (spoiler alert: it's for increasing milk production!) and have seriously considered establishing a regular afternoon tea time replete with biscuits and tea cakes to make the whole thing a bit more festive. These sweet treats in giant pillow form handprinted, sewn and stuffed by Scottish designer Nikki McWilliams would definitely help brighten my long afternoons spent pinned down by my sleeping baby Graham cracker on the couch.  

Nice Biscuit Screen Printed Cushion

Tunnock's Teacake Screen Printed Cushion

Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Screen Printed Cushion

Taste test more of Nikki's scrumptious goods, including prints, iPhone skins, and coasters, on her website:

- Cathleen 

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Space is Small. My Life is Big.

Living with Less. A Lot Less.
I know this article has been making the internet rounds, but at the risk of over saturation I think it’s definitely worth posting again. In it, Graham Hill talks about his move from a life filled with possessions and the burden of caring for them to one defined by freedom. 

Sometimes, it can feel almost impossible to extract yourself from the lure of all the new stuff that you can have or buy. For Mr. Hill, it took a relationship with a woman he loved to change his perspective and realize that the things in his life didn’t matter- his life is what matters. Love and other people are what matter.

It seems to me that there is a movement, however small, away from the Bigger, Shinier, Newer, Better societal attitude that has been steadily increasing for a long time. But maybe people are finding that when they get rid of the things (and the obsession with things) that clutter their lives, they’re finding the freedom to let their lives expand to fill that space. That’s why I love Mr. Hill’s closing line: “My space is small. My life is big.” How beautiful.

Here’s to big lives.

Happy Weekend! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

She Brakes for Art: Diane Arbus

Continuing with our tools of the trade theme while Grace is away, I bring you an inspiration board of sorts (waaay before the likes of Pinterest ever existed) created by photographer Diane Arbus and explained thusly: 

“I like to put things up around my bed all the time, pictures of mine that I like and other things and I change it every month or so. There’s some funny subliminal thing that happens. It isn’t just looking at it. It’s looking at it when you’re not looking at it. It really begins to act on you.” 

(From Diane Arbus Revelations, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, October 2005–January 2006. Photographs and other items as they appeared on the wall of Diane Arbus’s apartment, circa 1970.)

- Cathleen

[Quote excerpted from Exhibiting Photography by Shirley Rea, image via

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Artwork of the Week: Spotty Banana Peel

Spotty Banana Peel by Aubrey Levinthal
Oil painting on masonite panel, 5 x 8 in

I love the idea of elevating a cast off fruit rind to fine art status.
You can see more of Aubrey's work on her website:
And purchase some of her small original paintings from her Etsy shop: Tastycakeartist 

- Cathleen 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

She Brakes for Art: John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent's Palette (1933.49), Oil Paints and Brushes (Straus.919)

Grace is currently tied up producing the annual Week of the Arts extravaganza that she helms every year, and so, will be taking a short break from the blog for the next two weeks. She did an awesome round-up of artists' palettes and their work last January, so I thought in honor of the hard work she puts into inspiring young minds towards creativity every year it might be cool to see some more tools of the trade used by the great creative minds that inspire us everyday. 

John Singer Sargent is one of my favorite portraitists, but I especially love his en plein air work. Imagine him toting all of this equipment out to capture the ephemerality of nature in slow-drying oil paint no less. More to come! 

- Cathleen  

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Time Has Come

I have never been more acutely aware of time as I have been since Graham was born. First of all, he arrived early, taking us and my unpacked hospital bag by total surprise. Once home came the daily feed schedule, with it's slow suckling minutes and swift napping hours, a rather demanding routine that will now be ruling my life for the foreseeable future. I've had to calculate how many precious few days I have left in maternity leave. Then there was the one month marka major milestone in all babies' lives. And last Monday my 6-week postpartum appointment hit and then all of a sudden my break from the blog was up and it was back to the inspiring grind as usual. And boy, is it nice to be back in the fold again!

Mani-fold, that is! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.) The Manifold Clock was conceived by Studio Ve of Israel and brought to fruition by way of a very successful Kickstarter campaign in 2011. It is a modern, sculptural timepiece that I don't think would help me keep track of my day very well, but it would look beautiful trying. Check out this video of time in motion: 

- Cathleen 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Velvet Obsession

via Pinterest
A couple of months ago, I got it into my head that I wanted hunter/emerald green curtains for my living room.

Against the better judgment of two of my arts and design friends, I decided to go for it. Unfortunately, the professionals ended up being right. The curtains I found looked like a bad camo-green blanket; sucking up all the light in the room instead of reflecting it luminously as my imaginary velvet had done. Just a case of a good idea with bad execution? I'm not sure.

You’d think that I’d learn from my mistakes and stop dreaming about this darn velvet but I keep coming across more images and I’m just sure that I should be able to make it work…

Maybe as a sofa,

Rue Magazine
Living Etc. Magazine, h/t: I Hate to Alarm You

or a headboard,

Grand Oslo Hotel

or my Louis XVI (ish) style chairs, 
(Grace can correct me on what style my chairs actually are)

These are really leather but you get the idea.

or ... CURTAINS.
Charm Home Design

I know, I have a problem. But a girl can dream, right? I hope your day is full of great ideas and great execution.

Happy Weekend!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Art in Unexpected Places

I stand by one concept: you learn something new every day. My dear friend Kait, posted onto Facebook, images of French artist Hubert Duprat latest work:

All images via

Caddyfish larvea build for themselves cases out of found materials. The cases are usually made out of twigs, sand, gravel, and other like materials. Duprat isolated the larvae and provided them with beads, pearls, turquoise, and 18-karet gold pieces. This is the result  of the larvaes' work. 

Video via You Tube. Duprat discussing his work. 

Yep, I agree beautiful and interesting. 

- Grace

Monday, March 4, 2013

TED Talk + The Art of Asking

This past weekend I tuned in for my first ever TED talk, of all the ones I listened to I found this one to be the most relevant to the art community. 


PS- Birthleen will be back next week, ready to take back Mondays and Wednesdays. And we would also like to officially annouce that Alissa Lively will be our new permanent Friday blogger. Hooray!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Change of Perspective

The pairing of white and gold has long been one of my favorite color combinations. Together they can evoke so many different moods...


Clementine Gold Lip Dish


Tiny Bouquet Earrings

Gold Leaf Bowl

Periodic Table
I’ve believed that silver has been rightfully quarantined where it belongs: mid 90’s jewelry. 
However, I recently rediscovered an unlikely combination of materials that has me rethinking my standards of beauty.

Enter: dark wood and silver.

Silver Moon Crib

Silver Moon detail

Alone, neither silver nor mahogany is my favorite but together they have become a source of inspiration. Now I’m re-evaluating my other prejudices and wondering what other revelations I might have.

So here’s wishing you a weekend filled with pleasant about-faces in your point of view.

Happy Weekend!
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