Friday, May 31, 2013

Handmade Riot

Handmade Riot
Aren’t these shelves amazing? I’ve been dreaming about fixing up my sad bedroom and although my plans keep changing, these pretty hexagons keep popping up in my imaginings. 

Not to mention that their name just kills me. AND their photographs were taken by Emily, my talented friend from college. 
Pretty awesome combination, if you asked me.

So I’m going to keep these little puppies stored in my files until I actually do bite the bullet on my bedroom. 
Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Birthday Books!

This week we have two big birthdays to celebrate! Both of my blog cohorts—that's right, Grace AND Alissa—are turning one year older on Thursday and Friday respectively, so I thought I'd do a literary version of my birthday post from last year for the two of them. So without further ado, here are the books I would gift to you guys if we actually gave gifts to each other!

For Grace: 

With everything you juggle, from raising two awesome kids to teaching art to going for your masters while selling things that you find/make online all while pursuing your own unique interests, you prove again and again that moms can do it all. 

Because of your entrepreneurial spirit (I am always amazed at your successful money making schemes) and boundless creativity, I thought you might enjoy Mom Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Cat Seto. It's a practical guide to doing what you love while working from home. 

For Alissa: 

Though I haven't known you as long as I've known Grace, I do know that you're ultra creative and passionate about slowing down and appreciating the beauty in life —something I have always admired about you

Because I know you love to cook (you made some seriously delicious Rice Krispie treats when I saw you last) and spend quality time with your sweet family, I thought you might like Dinner: A Love Story. This cookbook was written by Jenny Rosenstrach
and along with featuring delicious recipes, the book emphasizes the importance of coming together to share a meal and strengthen those all-important family bonds.

Happy birthday, you guys!! I'm really happy to have friends like you in my life!

Love, Cathleen

[glitter birthday banner via Confetti Design Shop on Etsy]

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Art is Everywhere.

A lot of times when people think about art, visions of old masters and painting come to mind, but the truth is art is still alive and comes in a variety of forms.

A Redditor with the screenname SquishyMcPhee recently had an interesting experience at a car repair shop:

“I went in to the dealership for my free oil change and saw this cup sitting there. The cashier said that a young man had come in to have some work done and it was going to take about three hours. ‘I’ll just doodle’ he said, and grabbed a ball point and a coffee cup.”

Artist is William Hersey.

Whether the story of this cup is true is irrelevant, the work is superb and is a simple reminder that art can be found anywhere. Although the materials are humblea styrofoam cupit speaks volumes about our current culture and society. 

The thing I like most about the cup, though? It's looking back to antiquity with the alternating Greek key and rope background. 

- Grace

Monday, May 27, 2013

Artwork of the Week: A Soldier's Kiss

A Soldier's Kiss, 1940s

In honor of Memorial Day and all of the soldiers who have given their lives in the name of duty to their country and to all of their loved ones who have lost them. Thank you. 

- Cathleen 

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Battle We Didn’t Choose

I came across this photo essay this week and it is one of the most painful and moving series I’ve ever experienced. 
I thought I’d share even though most of the world has probably already seen it. 

Have a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Star Wars Geek

My son is a Star Wars geek. I did nothing to promote this fascination and I have no clue how he even knows about Star Wars but he does and he's into it. My son also likes to tell me various ways he wants to decorate his room, all of which include painting his room Washington Redskins colors and putting football decals on the wall- this is all a no-go. However, while trolling Pinterest I came across these adorable Star Wars prints.

Apparently no longer available on Etsy but were through a shop called Purple Cow Posters.

I think Teddy and I could compromise on these. 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Picnic in a Box

I'm not sure if I told you, but our anniversary picnic, for which I made a few celebratory sweets, was rained out. By baby tears. We were all ready for a happy meal in the grass and almost as soon as we laid everything out for our repast, Graham got a serious case of the cranks. Micky spent most of the 20 minutes we were there walking around with him while I feasted on cheese and chicken salad alone on our blanket. When we realized he wasn't going to let up anytime soon, we called it a day and packed it all back up to finish on our couch in front of an episode of The Americans. (Which is SO good, by the way.)

This traveling picnic briefcase, complete with idyllic landscape and patch of sod, would be just the thing to enjoy an al fresco luncheon in the comforts of your own home or office cubicle when the out of doors (or children) aren't cooperating. Plus—no ants! Everybody wins!

- Cathleen 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Countdown to Summer - #2

It's beginning to warm up here in DC. Finally! And it's no secret that May is my birthday month! Hooray! So here's my #2 pick for the countdown to summer: Zodiac shoes! Adorbs!

Designed by Charlotte Olympia these shoes are show stoppers.

Can be purchased via Net-A-Porter.

Super pricey at $695 a pair but they are sure are cute. 

- Grace

Monday, May 20, 2013

Artwork of the Week: Dialog 9

Dialog 9 by Rudolf Bonvie
1973, 13 x 38 x 28 cm
 from a series of 13 photographs

I love this quiet moment.

You can see the rest of the series plus more on the artist's website: 

- Cathleen 

Friday, May 17, 2013

For Every Action...

...there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

We’ve all heard Newton’s third law of motion and probably seen it demonstrated in an school classroom. I can’t imagine that Newton had popular culture in mind when he was formulating his theories but that is where I see his law played out the most. In response to every technological advance, there seems to a (maybe not quite equal) return to the origin of the technology.

In an age of iPhones, Instagram, and Flickr, one man, Elvis Halilovićis returning to the most basic photography with pinhole cameras. And not just any pinhole cameras: wooden pinhole cameras.

6x12 Multiformat Pinhole

Sliding Box Pinhole

Mr. Halilović’s motive for a simpler type of photography is to help us return to a time when it was a more thoughtful process. He says; "Suddenly, you remember what you were doing on the day you took the picture in detail, who approached you to ask about your camera, how you took the shot, and how you felt when you developed the film - all the things missing in today's photography.”

Not only are the photos beautiful and interesting, the cameras themselves are works of art. It kind of makes you want to slow down and enjoy them. At least, it does for me. I hope your Friday is full of noticing- whether from behind the lens (or pinhole!) of a camera or not.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

On My Travels

I hang out in weird places. Really weird places. This past weekend I hit up an estate sale in Virginia and I could not pass up these Breton Morse paintings. 

Kilroy Was Here

Mr. Ufo

Cool, right? Do you estate sale? I love digging through other people's stuff, it really reveals who they are without ever meeting them. 

- Grace

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Artwork of the Week: Bunny Rabbit

This week's artwork comes from the talented Ms. Tekla Frey, my mother the artist. I featured her work on the blog last year—making her the only artist to be featured TWICE on Swings & Arrows, which is no small feat, let me just tell you. My mom gave me this wonderful little watercolor painting as a gift long ago and once Graham gets his own room I plan to hang it over his bed as I often call him my little bunny rabbit. Redundant, yes, but fitting. Especially when his ears were all covered in the fine dark hair that early bird babies often sport just out of the womb. 

Today is also my mom's birthday! So happy day to the woman whose example inspired me to pursue my big art dreams. She goes after learning new skills with gusto, from ceramics to Chinese watercolor to marshmallow-toasting—and she never fails to master each with seeming ease. I have always admired your appetite for instruction and your can-do attitude, mom. Keep it up! 

- Cathleen 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Countdown to Summer #3

Still cold here in DC which is pretty unbelievable since it's mid-May. Anyway here's my #3 pick for the Countdown to Summer; Kate Spade's New York Margherita Floral iPhone 5 case.

Love it! I don't have an iPhone 5, I have an iPhone old. This case can be purchased at a variety of places including one of my favorite retailers Nordstrom. Retails for $40. 

Bring it summer, bring. it.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Gee, These Balls Taste Terrific

Since I found the recipe for these tasty balls on Pinterest by way of a few weeks ago I have made probably seven or eight batches and have no plans to slow down anytime soon. I have even whipped up different versions with varying degrees of successone particularly solid attempt involved almond butter, lemon zest, and copious amounts of vanilla extractbut good ol' peanut butter-chocolate chip always wins out in the end. And rightly so!

No baking. No butter. No sugar. No eggs. No milk. These things are super easy to make and even easier to put away, and you don't feel guilty eating them for breakfast. They're full of protein! And fiber! And omega-3s! You would practically be doing your body a disservice by NOT eating at least 4 of them a day.

Energy Balls
[modified from]

1 cup dry oatmeal (instant or old-fashioned)
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Toast coconut for a few minutes on a small cookie sheet in your toaster oven if you've got one, though a regular-sized oven would work just as well. Once toasted to a golden brown and smelling sweet, dump coconut and the rest of the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Then pop the dough bowl into the fridge for an hour or two so the mash can solidify a bit. When ready, scoop up and roll the dough into balls with your hands. The recipe produces approximately 27 small balls, but you can make them any size you please. Store them in the fridge. Or your belly.

- Cathleen

Friday, May 10, 2013

Natural Evolution of Our Brains?

I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone when I lament the time warp that occurs when I get sucked into Facebook, blogs, Pinterest, and random internet cruising. I go on to “just check something, real quick” and suddenly over an hour has passed. It definitely has an effect on my real life- how much I get accomplished, how much I pay attention to my children- and I try to give myself boundaries to help regulate it.

It turns out that my time management might not be the only thing that is affected by the use of the interwebs but my brain itself. For my last book club, we read The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Mr. Carr believes that the internet is fundamentally rewiring the way our minds work. Apparently, over the course of the evolution of cave painting to the Gutenberg press, we’ve evolved from a state of distractedness to one of having the ability to sustain prolonged periods of concentrated thinking. Until now. The omnipresence of connected media is returning us to that previous more distracted state where we find it difficult to focus on, say, reading a book for long periods of time but find multitasking easier. 

As someone who is not adept at handling multiple sensory inputs at a time, the idea of my brain adapting to receive them better sounds pretty attractive. Unfortunately, the downside of improved multitasking seems to be decreased creativity.

So what’s a pretty girl to do? Attempts to shun the internet completely haven’t proven to be super effective so far -- I just end up getting sucked back in -- so it seems, as a book club friend put it, that the answer must be moderation. Facebook and the blogosphere will stay but with limits and alongside more challenging reading and my big book of New York Times crossword puzzles. I’m not sure this is enough to stave off the atrophy of important parts of my brain but I’m going to hope for the best!

Happy Weekend, Friends! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Design Always Repeats Itself - Tent Edition

Tent Room
Kingston Lacy

Napoleon's Bedroom at Malmaison
Percier & Fontaine

Tent room. It's been done.

- Grace

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Artwork of the Week: Wave

Wave by Bernard Pras

Yesterday was my dear dad's 69th birthday, so here I am thinking of him and all of the times he's taken me to the great museums to see their most famous works of art. Years ago I discovered dad has an affection for the Japanese woodblock print. Today I found a reboot of one of the most famous, Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa, in the form of a photograph by French installation artist Bernard Pras. Pras recreated the image below using a precise configuration of found objects and everyday detritus, then photographed the arrangement head on. From any other angle it just appears to be a random conglomeration of junk, though still interesting in it's own right (see below below). So today I celebrate the man who taught me how to appreciate art and see beauty from every perspective. Thanks, Dad. You're the greatest. 

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai

Side view of Pras' Wave

- Cathleen 

[Images courtesy of the artist's website,, and Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Countdown to Summer - #4

Alright Spring, enough is enough, this is DC and in DC by mid-May it should be blazing hot with humidity to match... what is going on?! If you don't live in the area, I'm complaining about the weather. It has been gray and in the 60s for weeks and I've had enough. All my leggings (I don't wear jeans, don't ask) have holes in them from being over-worn and I am seriously ready to break out my shorts and sandals. In the spirit of my countdown to summer, here is my #4 pick - a gorgeous color block maxi dress from Anthropologie

Aquatint Maxi Dress

Awesome dress I could see myself lounging around in on hot days. Adorbs, but with the usual prohibitive Anthropologie price tag of $395.... ouch! 

Think summer, people, think summer. 

- Grace

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Bangles

Arc Bangle by Another Feather 
$64 from Need Supply Co.

Because it's just another manic Monday I have rounded up some simple yet totally excellent bangle bracelets, one for each member of the band. 
(Yes, there were indeed originally five Bangles. I had to look it up too.)
((Woah! Did you know Manic Monday was actually written by Prince?)) 

Rele Bracelet by Fay Andrada
$110 from

Twisted Brass Bracelet by Fort Standard, New York
$40 from Magpie & Rye

Arrow Bangle Bracelet 

Ponti Bangle by Ursa Major 
$920 from The Cools

- Cathleen 

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