Monday, June 30, 2014

Artwork of the Week: Unknown

As promised, my mom and I spent some time in the garden this past week while she was in town for a visit. She helped me identify the purple flowering shrub with the sweet smelling leaves planted just off the patio. And we built a little retaining wall out of old bricks to keep my front yard from invading our walkway every time it rains. She also informed me that the rose bushes just to the right of our house  have come down with a spotty leaf syndrome that I need to fix with a spray of milk and water. 

This drawing reminded me to add it to my list of things to do this week. And also that there can be such beauty in the way something destructive manifests itself. 

You can see more botanical drawings like this one (without attribution... maybe from A History of the Earth and Animated Nature?) on greyherbert's Flickr stream. 

- Cathleen 

Friday, June 27, 2014


Summer's in full swing in the Lively house and we've been taking advantage of the extra free time. One of the incentive rewards for our Star Chart was to do a rag doll project. Ev has been begging me to let her make her own rag doll and I've been putting her off because, little does she know, she's going to be receiving an American Girl doll in August from her grandparents. (She's going to lose her mind.) But she wanted to do the project so badly that I gave in. I made one doll (named Violetta) for Ev and a dress for Violetta and a dress for Jo's doll, Polly.

Polly's on the left, Violetta's on the right.
So, the rag doll ended up looking a little bit creepy but Evelyn doesn't even care. She loves the doll to pieces and even if Violetta's replaced by an American Girl doll in a month, I think it was worth the effort.

In other news, the chair that Polly and Violetta are sitting on is about to get a radical makeover. A friend and I came up with the brilliant idea of painting the upholstery since I get tired just thinking about reupholstering it myself. Then, Jenny posted about her upholstery painting project a couple weeks later so I feel confident that they're going to look fantastic when they're done. Mostly confident. I'll be sure to keep y'all updated.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Clementine First Communion: Part 2

If you've been following my Pinterest pages... which you should, you'd know I've only amped up my efforts to find the perfect First Communion Dress for Clementine. I recently discovered this beauty from Dolce and Gabbana. There's no price listed which means EXPENSIVE! But as you know, I'm willing to splurge because of my own horrible First Communion Dress memories... thanks, mom! 

So what do you think, readers? Here's my only issue: it's a fall/winter dress so I'm worried it might be made in a warm woolen material.
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Cross Creek Box
featuring Farmer's Daughter Brand Preserves, Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon Pickles, and Mt Olive First United Methodist Church Blister Fried Peanuts

NC MADE are these totally awesome thoughtfully curated beautifully packaged gift boxes stuffed full of handcrafted NC-made edibles. The company was recently launched by my new friend Nicole Bogas who has traveled all over the great state of North Carolina sampling and selecting each product that goes into her brown paper packages tied up with string. YES! You heard it right! There is brown paper and string involved! They include all sorts of delectable snacks and fancy drink mixers, and right now she has four different gift sets to pick from at various price points, so you're sure to find something for anyone in your life who deserves a nice present. Which is pretty much everyone you know, right? Yeah, I thought so. Check out for some seriously tasty treats. 

A closer look inside the Cross Creek Box

Plank Road Box
featuring Cloister Honey, Ritchie Hill Bakery Cheese Straws, Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Butter, Farmer's Daughter Brand Preserves, and Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon Pickles

Inside the Longleaf Box
featuring Hickory Nut Gap Farm Milano Salami, Crooked Condiments Autumn Night Apple Butter, Blue Blaze and Soda Syrup Co. Honey Ginger Ale Soda Syrup, Num Num Southern Grilling Sauce, Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Pecan Butter, and Ritchie Hill Bakery Cheese Straws

Old North State Cocktail Box
featuring White Whale Cocktail Mixer, Crude Rizzo Bitters, Blue Blaze and Soda Syrup Co. Honey Ginger Ale Soda Syrup, Hickory Nut Gap Farm Milano Salami, and Mt Olive First United Methodist Church Blister Fried Peanuts

- Cathleen

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Extremely Detailed Drawings of Cities- Ben Sack

Benjamin Sack is an artist based in Virginia.  He creates massive drawings with insane detail, mixing details of past, present and future cities around the world.  I want to find where he exhibits because one could spend hours examining each section with a magnifying glass.  He probably can't upload ultra high res imagery without fear of people stealing the work, but it would be amazing to pull them up on a big screen and explore, much like a Google map.

You can follow him on tumblr:
or take a look at his site for drawings:


Monday, June 23, 2014

Artwork of the Week: The Velveteen Rabbit

Endpapers from The Velveteen Rabbit illustrated by William Nicholson, 1922

We have three rabbits that like to hang around our yard. They're rather brazen too. Graham has gotten within a few feet of one of them, and they only slowly hop off when they decide they don't want to be bothered anymore. Though since they started work on our new screened-in porch, the bunnies have been pretty scarce. I will probably rue saying this once we've planted a garden, but I miss seeing those little guys on the daily. It makes me feel like we live in a Disney movie. 

- Cathleen 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Charles James

If I'd heard the about Charles James before last month, I'm not sure, but I've read about him so much recently that I feel like I must have always known about him. Recently, he has been featured in The New Yorker, Vogue, and The Wall Street Journal and, I'm sure, plenty of other publications that I don't read on the regular. 

Charles James photographed by Cecil Beaton for Vogue

After reading about him, I started looking for images of his work and I'm in LOVE. His dresses are so gorgeous and sculptural and amazing. Apparently, they were a pain to wear (heavy, uncomfortable) but I'm pretty sure I'd still manage to be thrilled running around in one of them. 

Tree Gown

Tree Gown
Butterfly Dress

Charles James: Beyond Fashion 

I'd look that happy if I was wearing Charles James, too.

Have a beautiful, drapey, floaty, pleated weekend, Friends!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I Hate Pants!

I hate pants... I mean I really, really, hate pants. I rarely wear them to work and I can remember being as young as Kindergarten and opting to wear a smocked party dress to field day over a pair of pants. That being said I have found a pair of pants that I don't just like, I actually love them.

The Andie Chino from J.Crew. These pants are awesome! A co-teacher at work had them and then I went out like a loser and bought the exact same pair in the same color and then wore them in right away. I have them in two colors, the fatigue and navy. They are comfy, soft, and fit great! I'm really short, 5'2", so I got the petits in a waist size one up from my usual size and the fit is perfect! So if you need a good work pant, get these!

Another item I've had so covetous thoughts about is this clutch from Vineyard Vines

I have absolutely no need for a clutch as I cram so much crap in my purse and I never go out. Buuuut, if you do need a clutch get this one! The preppy vibe paired with the gorgeous graphic puts me in the best mood. 

No to top you off, if you need something to do this weekend, check out the exhibit Farm to Table: American Silver happening in Asheville, North Carolina at the Asheville Art Museum. 

Worst Picture EVER.... sorry readers.
A grad school friend worked on the exhibit and it looks like it's going to be a great show. 

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Liking Lately

Vintage Green Tin Picnic Basket 

A brief collection of things on Etsy that I've been liking lately with just as brief an explanation. Enjoy!  

Sawtooth Cuff

Sweatertoy Narwhal

Belief in Inquiry, 42 x 52" framed oil painting 

African Print Midi Skirt

- Cathleen 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Artwork of the Week: Lawnmower Man

Since yesterday was Father's Day, I thought I'd share one of my favorite photographs that I've snapped of these two in a while. Micky taking care of business while Graham looks out at his dad, totally amazed. I really love watching these two together. Graham so obviously thinks his dad is the funnest funniest guy in the world. Hearing him say DA DEE is one of my favorite sounds. And Micky so obviously loves being this little guy's dad. It seems like he's made it his personal mission to make his son laugh every single minute they are together. Seriously, I have warned him more than once: "Watch out! Graham just ate! You don't want him to spew all over you!"

Happy Father's Day to all the fun dads out there!

- Cathleen 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Carrots, Stars, and Other Incentives

A couple days ago, my little darlings and I sat down to a special breakfast and thrashed out what we wanted our summer to look like. After getting past the various food requests, which were many, they came up with a list of fun projects that they've been wanting to do, like making their own rag dolls and planting a garden for the fall. Cute, right?

I'd love to say that I'm one of those mothers that just inspire creativity and watch it blossom, unchecked, around them. But I can't. 
I need order and planning. A lot of it. I realized that to make these summer dreams actually come true- we needed a summer plan. So we came up with a (only slightly) more relaxed version of our regular morning schedule to get us going every day because if I wake up late or lounge for hours, my day is basically shot. I start to panic at 1p that the daylight is fading and there's no way that I can accomplish anything at this point and I might as well give up. It's like living in my own Roz Chast cartoon.

I ran out of electrical tape- hence the missing horizontal lines.

So, to stave off panic and motivate these little people, I made the star chart that I've been thinking about for months. Each baby has their own star color and they get to put it in the right box once they've completed one of their daily tasks. This is not a "chore chart"- just a "get through every day with minimal house destruction chart". But at the end of each day, we'll look at the chart and if everyone has all their stars the day gets a silver star. And a week full of silver stars means that I spend the weekend getting prepped for a summer project the next week.

Someone got a little preemptive with the silver stars

Of course, my eldest sweetheart Ev has never been more motivated in her life and she's been seeking out dishes to put away and toys to pick up. She's even been combing Mae Delphine's hair and making up the crib so she can put Mae's star (blue) on the chart. However, my little sprite Jo couldn't be less concerned with the things of this world- she only gets stars on her chart when Ev puts them there. And then I have a puppy (Dash) that gets really excited about the stars for two minutes until he gets distracted by a ball and forgets about everything else. 

So, like most of my brilliant ideas (i.e. shiz that I copied from other people) it's going to be an evolving organism. It won't solve all my sticking points with my children but I think it will help to make life run a little more smoothly for a while and help me stay motivated on following through with my promises of togetherness projects. Plus, it was really, REALLY satisfying to cut up the magnets that I've been saving for years into perfect little squares that would fit foil stars on them. PS I know I have a problem, you don't have to tell me.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Let There Be Light

Industrial Chandelier 

Today I bring you the results of my exhaustive online search for a new dining room pendant light/chandelier. The one that came with the house looks OK, but needs to be replaced as the constant high-pitched buzz ringing out just inches above our heads is quickly driving my husband insane. We've decided to have a yard sale this weekend to 1) get rid of junk like old sprinklers and bird feeders that the former tenants left behind, 2) say goodbye to things that we have moved multiple times (sorry, Micky!) that just don't belong in our lives anymore, and 3) make a couple of bucks that we can put towards buying a new light and paying an electrician to install it. It will be my very first yard sale as an adult, and I am very much looking forward to bargaining with all of the early birds. I have real TAGS that I intend to tie to everything emblazoned with reasonable sale prices and I've been thinking a lot about our display strategy --- tables with objects arranged at arm's reach work way better than tarps stretched across a soggy lawn piled with things that no one wants to bend down and dig through. Yes. I've given this system many thoughts. Hopefully it won't rain and we'll pass all of our old things to new homes and make millions doing so. 

Oh! And I think the above Industrial Chandelier from West Elm might be the winner. Which one do you guys like the most?

Mobile Chandelier 

Large Industrial Milk Glass Pendant 

Vega 5 Chandelier 

Victory Pendant Lamp

Satellite 3

Hampton Bay 1-Light Brushed Nickel Warehouse Pendant

Mobile Small Pendant 

- Cathleen 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Short Film of the Month- Mis-drop

I like a lot of different movie genres but recently I came to the realization that I am a huge Sci-fi nerd.  It is the genre I will always gravitate towards and am very happy when I find a well made sci-fi short.  
This one is shot completely from a future soldier's helmet cam. Nearly the entire film is just looking at his face and how he reacts to what is going on around him.  You get glimpses of action reflected through the glass but most of the story is built around the sound as well as his facial expressions.  It is a creative way to tell a story and forces you to focus on things you might not have, if they showed everything.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Artwork of the Week: Loft

Loft by Francesca Buchko
10 x 14" archival giclee print

Weather reports are calling for rain all week. ALL SEVEN DAYS. I wish I could face a week of being cooped up inside with a 16-month-old with 16 bite-y teeth this peacefully. 

You can see more of Francesca's work on her website,, and purchase some of her prints in her Etsy shop, The Vintage Postbox

- Cathleen

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tiny King

I wanted to share my latest favorite children's book: The Tiny King.

The Tiny King by Taro Miura
I bought it recently for a friend's son and then immediately bought it for my own little birthday boy. It's about a king that is tiny (obviously) and he is unhappy in a life that is way too big for him. How his problems are resolved are hilarious and sweet and the pictures are fantastic to look at. I can't wait until Dash's birthday so that we can start reading it!

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It's Official! Handwriting Still Matters!

Did you see this New York Times article on the importance of handwriting?

Photo credit, Michael Mabry

A fascinating quick read which dissects studies that link handwriting to an improved ability to hold in information as well as express creativity.

Not going to lie, I've always been a big handwriting is important person but even I was starting this think maybe we were just keeping an archaic relic of our past alive for the sake of nostalgia. But the truth is handwriting is still important!

So what are your thoughts? Have you seen a decline in the teaching of handwriting in your own child's school?

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Artwork of the Week: Woods

Woods by Rosie Gainsborough

My mom is coming to visit in a few weeks and I've already started a massive list of things we will do when she gets here. The highlights include going to the Raleigh Flea Market, eating at the new BBQ restaurant downtown, and identifying all of the trees and new plants that have popped up in our yard since we moved in. It's been kind of a nice surprise seeing what the former tenants sowed while they were living here. But I'm having trouble discerning what was planted purposefully from what are just weeds. Micky wants to chop it all down, lay grass seed, and start fresh, which I am inclined to do considering how much easier it is to simply mow a lawn and be done with it. But the little flowers and smelly grasses (herbs?) are so nice!

If you'd like to see more work from artist Rosie Gainsborough, head on over to her blog:

You can also download the above image as wallpaper for various electronic devices on

- Cathleen

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, Alissa!

So normally you only get a birthday post if your birthday happens to fall on a weekday, but sometimes exceptions need to be made --- I could not let such an important day pass by unrecognized. 

Alissa Guin Lively turned 30-something on Saturday! 

(I know! Two big birthdays in one week! May is a doozer.)

Even though I don't know her as well or hang out with her as much as I would like, I can say with full confidence that she is a wonderful person with a truly lovely light inside of her. She is a fantastic mom with beautifully-named and -behaved children. An awesome cook whom I have poached multiple recipes from and passed off as my own. A keen-eyed crafter whose creativity always inspires me. (I will be attempting a mobile myself this week!) And OH so much more! 

Hope you had a wonderful day positively bursting with love and fun. 

xoxo, Cathleen 

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