Friday, August 30, 2013

The Perfect Dessert

It probably comes as no surprise that we love cake around here. So I think this book is right up our alley:

The author, Caitlin Freeman, creates gorgeous pastry versions of art masterpieces.

Theibaud Cakes

Lichtenstein Cake

Avedon Parfait

Art and cake? Seems like a pretty sweet combination to me!

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Fungus Among Us

Part of our new routine these days is an early morning walk in the neighborhood. While wandering around, I noticed these amazing growths in someone's yard and thought for a second that they were purposely planted ornamental cabbages. But no! They are mushrooms! Maybe I've been living in a city too long, but I've never seen anything like them. I don't know a whole lot about identifying mushrooms, so my internet search has proved pretty fruitless. Is it a Chicken of the Woods? That doesn't seem quite right. Or perhaps a Giant Polypore? Might be it! Either way, it was such a nice surprise to stumble upon that morning so I thought I'd share. 

Of course it sparked an intense Etsy search for a proper identification print. This one is the stuff of my old school chart dreams. 

Vintage Botanical Mushroom Pull Down Chart

- Cathleen 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Artwork of the Week: Position 2 of 4: Untitled

Position 2 of 4 : Untitled
2013, C-print, 11" x 14"
work by Pooneh Maghazehe
photographed by Nicolas Scordia

This image looks grimy, damp, and unsettling. And I really love it. Another amazing work by Pooneh Maghazehe produced during her most recent trip to Berlin. You can see more from this series (Four Positions: Untitled) plus other great stuff on the artist's website: 

- Cathleen 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Painter of Flowers

Have you seen these enormous peonies by Thomas Darnell? I’m pretty sure that peonies are the most romantic and ephemeral flowers on the planet. And I’m also sure that I could look at these paintings all day long. 

 Maybe I’m just in a romantic mood because I’m headed to a wedding this weekend, but seriously, aren’t they gorgeous? 

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stomach Bug Edition

Please excuse that my blog post is soooo late today but I had a stomach bug this past weekend that flared up again today so things have been pretty grim around the house.

I'm a sucker for a china, lots and lots of china. When I was growing up my mom stuffed our houses with all sorts of china sets. On the weekends we would go as a family to a little shop in Bethesda called The China Closet (now defunct). I have since inherited most of my mother's china and I have to tell you, I cannot find enough uses for it!

Versace has just released a china pattern called "Iconic Heroes"... here's a peak:

Versace sold through Rosenthal

Even though I'm not a fan of the color combinations for my own home I am loving this Greek pottery inspired line!

This set would make such great conversation at the table, which by the way is the reason dinnerware began being decorated in the first place. 

Are you loving this line as much as me? 

- Grace

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cole's Slaw

Some people hate mayonnaise. I do not understand those people. In my book, there is nothing better than a smear of Hellman's on a turkey or ham or roast beef sandwich. But I know their aversion to the white stuff often keeps them from enjoying all of the delicious deli salads (potato, macaroni, tuna, cole) that are smothered in the creamy condiment. THIS cole slaw recipe has NO MAYO WHATSOEVER and it is my new very favorite way of preparing the dish. It came to me courtesy of one Mr. Cole Simmons, son of the fabulous Susan Begy, and so I have dubbed it Cole's Slaw (I mean, what ELSE could I possibly call it?) and modified it just a bit for your consumption. 

Cole's Slaw

Half a head of red cabbage
1/3 of a red onion 
1/2 bunch of cilantro

2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lime 
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp cumin 
1 tsp fresh ground pepper (more or less to taste) 
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

Cut the cabbage head in half, then quarter it and remove/discard the thick inner stalk. Lay those quarters flat on your cutting board and slice the cabbage lengthwise into thin ribbons, then add those beautiful purple ribbons to a large mixing bowl. Chop the red onion and the cilantro leaves (removed from stems), mince the garlic, and add all of them to the bowl, along with the soy sauce, olive oil, lime juice and the rest of the spices. If you can manage it, toast the walnuts either on low in a pan on the stovetop or on a cookie sheet in the oven while you are assembling the rest of the slaw. (I have trouble multitasking and usually do this before I start chopping the other ingredients or after I'm done.) Allow walnuts to cool, then add them to the mix and toss all of your ingredients to coat and serve! 

It's good the day you make it, but it's MAJOR good the next after it's had time to marinate in the fridge overnight. This salad has a zip to it that you wouldn't believe. Hope you enjoy! 

- Cathleen 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Finds & Treasures

With school starting next week for my little first grader I've got supplies on the mind. I spotted this adorable Gladly Gladee pencil case from the MoMA store.

So cute and super original. 

- Grace

Monday, August 19, 2013

Artwork of the Week: Untitled

Untitled illustration by Jordan Crane

Thought this was a rather fitting illustration of my current state: still wrapped up in "home making." We (mostly Micky) transformed our dark beige bedroom into something crisp, clean and white this weekend, and I just bought a couple of bookshelves for my studio/guest room that I can't wait to fill with art supplies. It's been three weeks since we landed and we're nearly finished unpacking. Nearly! I also baked these cookies for our Breaking Bad screening on Sunday night. I'd never browned butter before, so I have to crow that they turned out pretty amazing, even though they were rather labor intensive. That's what's been going on here! 

You can see more of Jordan Crane's work on

- Cathleen 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Holding on to Summer

Although the temperature in DC is not supposed to break 80 degrees for the next four days, I’m trying to convince myself that summer is not over. I just got home from the Jersey shore this week and I’m not ready to let it go.

Fortunately for me, my vegetable box came stocked with the gold standard of summer produce: heirloom tomatoes. With all the gorgeous colors and interesting shapes, I was a little nervous about not doing them justice. None of the recipes seemed worthy and I’d almost decided to eat them raw until I came across this puppy in the latest House Beautiful:

Heirloom Tomato Pie!

Heirloom Tomato Pie

I grew up eating my mom’s tomato pie and it was delicious even though I did get some funny looks when I’d tell my friends about it. This tomato pie promises to be just as incredible (if not more so) with an herb spiked mayo, gruyere, and most importantly, amazingly fresh tomatoes. It’s on the menu for tonight, the pâte brisée is resting in the fridge, and I might burst with impatience. If you live in the area you need to swing by and taste it... if there’s any left.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday Love

Happy Thursday readers! 
I am off today to set up my new classroom at my new school! 

Should be an exciting academic year, both in my art room and here at Swings & Arrows.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


We've been having some difficulties with sleep training around here. Graham has pretty much gotten his naps down at this point, but sleeping through the night is still giving him (and us) a fair amount of trouble. We continue to fight the good fight though. As much as it twists my heart to hear him cry and cry before he finally settles down for the night, one of my favorite parts of the bedtime routine is singing to the boy while he sucks down his sleep snack. For months my go-to lullaby has been "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music, which never failed to calm him. But I was getting a little bored of the same old song day in and night out. So for the last few days I've been trying to learn the lyrics to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," a gorgeous song that has been covered over 300 times, according to Wikipedia. I had actually never heard the original version until today. My favorite rendition has always been by Jeff Buckley. With such a simple arrangement, what I love most about it is his haunting, stirring delivery. Give it a listen. It's just beautiful. Graham seems to like it too.

- Cathleen

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finds and Treasures

I found this adorable dachshund valet several months ago at an estate sale. I had every intention of selling it but then we just fell in love with this adorable pup! 

Happy Tuesday! 

- Grace

Monday, August 12, 2013

Artwork of the Week: Thumbs Up

Thumb by Marcus Oakley

As a rounder faced preteen, I was notorious for flashing thumbs up in photos. I was never much for the peace sign. Nor was I ever edgy enough to go for the bird. It was the thumb for me all the way. Those pictures are now a terribly embarrassing reminder of how totally radical I thought I was. 
[Speaking of which, The Awkward Years Project deals in just this sort of thing.] 

This thumb and eleven finger salute is a square drawing by London artist Marcus Oakley that a professional thumb gesticulator like myself can fully endorse. 

- Cathleen 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Finds and Treasures

Currently lusting after these whale bookends from Anthropologie! 

So cute, and so nautical!

- Grace

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Artwork of the Week: Vintage Pyrex

Vintage Pyrex Poster created by Pocono Modern
100# coated stock, 11 x 17 in

Still in nesting mode! There is something so satisfying about finding a rightful place for all of your belongings in a new home. 

- Cathleen 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Let's Talk About Jeans

I hate jeans. Hate, hate, hate jeans! I find them stiff and uncomfortable. This is not a new occurrence, I have always hated jeans. For the most part I have always worn whatever "other" pant has been in style ie leggings or chinos. However sometimes you just gotta wear jeans! I have a ton of shirts that are too short to wear with leggings and that would just look best paired with a great jean.

I received an email in the mail from Madewell - owned by J.Crew (by the way, I did not know that until like a month ago). They say they have created an awesome comfortable jean and now I'm wondering... should I drop the $120 to try their jeans?

Please note, I don't look anything like this in jeans. Add about 20 lbs and a lot more "Mom" and you've got me.

So readers....thoughts? Have you tried Madewell's jeans before?

- Grace

Monday, August 5, 2013


We landed in Durham exactly one week ago today and have been unpacking and settling into our new home every waking moment since. I can't wait to share photos of the place once we have painted the walls and battled the massive heap of empty cardboard boxes that has taken over the back porch. Even though we filled a 16-foot moving truck to the brim with all of our worldly possessions (ok, mostly MY worldly possessions), now that we have a bit more room to spread out, I'm noticing some holes around the place. Specifically in the living room. I have spent every relaxing-post-unpacking minute searching online for something to soften up these hardwood floors. Especially with Graham on the verge of crawling any day now(!!!), we need something to protect those little knees STAT.

I've torn through West Elm, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, CB2, The Land of Nod, Pottery Barn, Target, Home Depot, Macy's, Sears, Amazon, Craigslist, Ebay, and something called, all to no avail. Everything is beige or floral or Persian, and we are having none of that. Oh! We also don't want to spend more than 150 bucks since Graham will probably be staining it up like WHAT, so that too has narrowed the carpeted field significantly.

And then IKEA rugged up and totally blew everybody else off the floor:

It's colorful! It's geometric! It's got a high pile! And selling for $129!??! You really cannot beat it. Only problem is the nearest Swedish purveyor of particleboard furniture is over 2 hours away! Long gone are the days of hopping on a quick bus to Red Hook for cheap home goods in Brooklyn, I suppose. Sigh.

- Cathleen

Friday, August 2, 2013

If You Can...

Hit this estate sale this weekend:

A lot of the items pictured look like crap but these four items caught my eye. Love the Scandinavian desk and chair as well as the easy chair. Also am loving these Eames rockers! I am in need of one of those Christmas candle whirly things- no clue what they're called but I do know this- new, they're VERY expensive. 

Sale is in Potomac MD and opens today at 11am. I may try and pop by tomorrow. My days of lining up, pushing, and getting squished are over.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Line: Fine Art & Craft

Since as recently as the mid-1500s fine art was placed higher than craft in the art hierarchy. This has been problematic and disrespectful to the intense labor and beauty that craft consists of. A bare bones definition to explain art is: something that is useless- without function, while the definition for craft has always been: something that is useful - something that has a function that may also happen to be beautiful. But this gets messy, take for instance Necklace designed and made by Tone Vigeland:

Using a strict matrix by which to judge this piece one would say it's craft, it's a necklace after all and can be worn. However here's the problem, it can't actually be worn. It's made of hand forged and flattened steel to ultimately achieve a feather-like look. Because of  its construction it loses its function. So, is it craft or fine art? Should there even be a distinction? Or should we simply allow craft to stand side-by-side with painting in the hierarchy of the arts? 

- Grace

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