Monday, August 31, 2009

An Afternoon at the Fairgrounds

Saturday I stopped by the Stamp Scrap Art Tour down at the Erie County Fairgrounds. It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. The ad I read in the newspaper called the event a paper arts convention and mentioned that there would be a large variety of suppliers. So, I went expecting to find displays from paper companies, maybe a yudu demonstration, linoleum blocks, ink suppliers, and a sprinkling of rubber stamp vendors with embellishments like stickers, ribbons and buttons. In reality what I found was an event practically dedicated to rubber stamping.

On the plus side there were a ton of technique demos and I really enjoyed checking out all the different stamps with a hand sketched look. While it didn't turn out to be anything I could use for work I did find a lot fun ideas to play around with in my down time. My favorite score was a set of pastels that, literally, do not smear, smudge, or wipe off in any way - so cool!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thanks, I really needed to hear that. I've got a lot of work on my plate right now and I've stretched myself a bit thin this week. But, you know what, it's Friday. Which means tomorrow is Saturday and I can sleep in an extra hour. And sleep always makes everything A-OK. Now, if I can just make it to tonight...

{print by Jen Renninger of Please Be Still}

Inspiration Found: Katie Kirk

I love the design style of Katie Kirk of EightHourDay. I first stumbled apon Katie's work the other day over at Allen Peter's blog. He had shared some of her new wedding invitations and I found them to be fun and playful with a lovely color story. I immediately sought out more of her work and instantly fell in love with her quirky style and modern spin on old school retro design.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Want Wednesday: 1 Pair 2 Ways

I've had a love affair with boyfriend jeans for almost a decade now. In the early 2000's I wore a fitted dark wash straight leg pair, from the Gap, to campus nearly every day if not definitely every week. Except, then, I worn mine with a wide 3" cuff in a fit so tight it nearly resembled today's skinny jean. But still, with a boyfriend jean not much changes over time. By definition its always gonna be a straight leg, a bit worn in, and draped ever so slightly on the hips. Afterall, its supposed to look like you snagged it out of your man's closet.

But lately, I gotta say I can't enough of today's fresh take on the old classic - slouchy fit, rolled pant leg, noticeably distressed and, best of all, this version isn't just for keds and pocket tees. Today's slouchy pair somehow manages to look chic, not cheap (as in takin' the walk of shame home) with dressier elements like heels and feminine blouses. Of course, there's still something to be said for the ease of a soft cotton tee. So, this morning I thought I'd take my favorite wishlist pair of boyfriend jeans (even though I already own a few including this super soft pair and these worn in favs) and style them in two distinctive ways with some gorgeous finds that have captured my attention.
look one: quirky silver anemone blouse from Anthropologie would add just the right amount of femininity to a masculine jean; I've been drooling over this gorgeous peacock ring by Pamela Love for months; fav jewelry designer by boe made these lovely circle studs that I can't wait to snag up; indeed the perfect leather heels - feminine, a little casual and not overtly dressy; no one does nylon like MZ Wallace. They design classic shapes that are built to last and I've wanted this Bedford Clara version for months.
look two: coolest sweater vest in the world from the one store that can make the mall bearable - Ann Taylor Loft; can't help but love this fun sketched skateboard tee even though I couldn't skateboard to save my life; this delicate 18k dragonfly wing ring from Jesse Danger has definite appeal and adds just the right amount of personality to an everyman look; I don't do sneakers. As casual as I get is a comfy pair of flats and this ruffled suede pair makes my heart go pitter-patter; a bag lady through and through this less expensive periscope bag has major street cred and won't break the bank if it gets beat up.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Morning Movie: My First Crush

I have a folder in my favorites entitled "sketch 'n books". It has a million links to a vastly varied group of artists' personal journals and sketchbooks. Lately, I've been really feeling Julia Pott's sketchbook series. I can't put my finger on why I'm so drawn to her sketches, but I do know that my favorite samples of hers are her mixed media pieces - the ones with sketched faces over old photographs. I'm a sucker for mixed media or collage art.

I'm also a sucker for her animated short My First Crush. It makes me feel all warm and mushy and a bit bittersweet inside. I can't help but watch this animated piece over and over again. A lot of you may have already seen this one before, possibly some time ago, but for those of you who have not yet had the opportunity I just had to share this with you. It almost reminds me of an anthropological investigation into the culture of first love. Only instead of publishing the results they've been carefully and lovingly animated instead. Enjoy this one, its a gem.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Fall Finds at Toast

With fall just around the corner (and being my favorite season) I gotta say I'm not ready for it this year! It's been such a short summer here in Buffalo - well, shorter than usual. I mean swimming season didn't even start until two weeks ago and now its raining again!

But, since there's not much I can do but go with the flow of Mother Nature I thought I'd get myself into the spirit of things with a browse through Toast's early fall catalogue.

Besides I suppose it wouldn't be so bad being kept indoors again if I too could lounge around in these cute denim flares and relaxed fit tunic. Plus, just looking at this picture reinforces my delusion that once by bangs are grown out, come September I'll look this effortless and chic too. Sigh. Anyhow, here's a few more pieces that have me excited about my favorite season all over again. I hope you enjoy them too!

This autumn check tunic is definitely giving me something to look forward to come fall. And aren't those calvary boots utterly divine? I know, I know I already own one pair of black and one of brown knee high boots, but really can a girl help wanting more?

As military inspired clothing ranks high for the second fall/winter season in a row its no surprise that this fitzroy jacket is already a popular staple. I thought it would look lovely paired with this leandra dress. Don't you just love those sleeves?

This kim pullover is the perfect cozy sweater for fall; with the relaxed ease of sweatshirt and the warmth of wool. Speaking of wool - this tulip dress is the perfect wardrobe staple; classic and understated with the modern twist of an exposed zipper. You can pair it with beat up brown leather boots for a casual weekend look, a cardigan, textured tights and flats for a smart office outfit, and for evening pair it with sheer stocking, heels, and a little bit of bling. Its a dress that does it all.

A show of hands who thinks this merino tunic is made a million times more cool with the slouchy square bag? Like I always say a great handbag can make any simple look seem like the coolest thing since sliced bread. And another cool thing I adore is the way this leandra silk top gives these tomboy inspired peg trousers a distinctly feminine feel. Its one look I definitely wouldn't mind rockin' this fall.

Isn't this iona silk shift dress so sweet? The silhouette is great for a variety of shapes and I love that solid band of color at the hem. Speaking of gorgeous color, these deep pink fingerless mittens are such a lovely and stylish way to fight off the chilly temptures that fall brings in. And what do you know, they fit a variety of shapes too!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer Sun

Good morning and happy Monday! I hope everyone enjoyed themselves this weekend and did something that was either fun or utterly relaxing. I, myself, did a bit of both and all of it was outside in the glorious sun. So, last night when I woke up at 4am with skin that was on fire and a sunburn on my back, so bad that it makes it hard to simply scoop my long hair up into a ponytail, I wasn't too surprised. I knew it was coming. I could tell when showering with my loofah last night seemed a bit like rubbing my body with sandpaper.

You see, I'm not the kind to lay out and get a tan. I'm completely comfortable with the skin color I was born with. I have a big floppy hat, face cream with an SPF built in, and a strong aversion to premature wrinkles. I am, however, the kind to forget how long I've been outside swimming with my niece or just how long I've been perched on that beach towel engrossed in a vastly entertaining science fiction novel. And now my carelessness has resulted in a bit of uncomfort and I'm sure a few more freckles to go with the rest.

{freckles image via Julia Mogensen}

Friday, August 14, 2009

What's in Wonderland...

This week has been all about crafters and artists who've flexed their creative minds and come up with something inspired and full of magic. From the whimsical applied arts of frank to the overactive imagination of Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton. These artists stretched their minds as far as they would go and created a little bit of magic for us all to enjoy.

Since I don't want to let go of the whimsy of Wonderland just yet here are a few simple and ordinary objects that, either become a bit or, inspire a bit of madness on the other side of the rabbit hole:

Need a little illumination? How about you snag yourself a hat sconce; very lovely and very Mad Hatter inspired. Ready for a match? Nothing as simple as this lovely vintage table croquet set for the folks in Wonderland. There, only flamingos will do for the queen and her croquet matches. Sigh...I love, no I adore this clever, beautiful, inspired green house ad that was a part of the Albion Cosmetics campaign; a bit reminiscent of the constantly size shifting Alice, don't you think? In the mood to make your own magical concoctions? Well, these tiny dram jars will hold just the right amount. Just don't forget to label them! A rabbit hole is sure to be full of rabbits is it not? I thought this clever bunnies pouch by Thomas Paul would be the perfect reminder of one's time spent in Wonderland, and...well, its just really fabulous too! You can't go to Wonderland without being invited to a tea party. No, really you can't. I checked. It's a rule. And what better way to celebrate tea time than with this lovely hand painted tea pot. The Queen of Hearts was a little mad. So, I thought I'd pledge allegiance to the Spades instead and let everyone know it with this fun little tea cup necklace. Wait, maybe spades was the wrong choice because these crazy cards are attacking! But, I still love them and this attack of the cards mouse pad so much that I'll be adding it to my wish list folder. Its the perfect thing to sit on your desk and remind you that a little bit of inspiration can lead to magic.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Want To See...

I love classic storybooks for children like The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland. Although, they always seemed a bit too spooky for any child under the age of 12, but maybe that's just me. Afterall, I read them young and turned out just fine. Then again, my father let me watch The Puppet Master with him when I was nine years old. So, I was probably desensitized to spooky and scary stories at an early age. I wonder if that's why I always double check that the door is locked at night?

At any rate, I'm so excited to see this version of Alice in Wonderland and I'm not sure that I'll be able to stand the wait. I can't think of a better director to take on this story than Tim Burton - creative master of the imaginative, out-of-sorts, a little weird, and deliciously spooky. This film is sure to do the book justice and entertain us all. Just do me a favor, when it comes out, promise not to take your seven year old to the theatre to see this one. They'll get more from it when their older.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Let's Be Frank

I think we all need a little more frankness in life. Don't you think? Well, you should because frank is a funky applied art store based in Whitstable and is full of creative whimsy. The products that they sell are a bit hodgepodge, from stationery and hand printed art works to egg cozies and baby booties, but each item has one thing in common; they're all handcrafted one at a time. No mass production there. And now, thanks to their new online shop, we can all enjoy the great finds of frank stateside. I took a quick turnabout the store last night and here's what I found. Just imagine what awaits you there.

clockwise from top left: Do-It-Yourself limited edition screenprint by John Dilnot, ceramic baby bird by Hannah Turner, hand painted ceramic table lamps by Ruth Taylor, doodle book by Taro Gomi, lavender bods and egg cozzies by The Black Rabbit, Rosie Flo and Johnny Joe colouring books, hand knitted baby hat and boots by Kate Erbe, stitched and appliqued Man and Cat in New York by Laura McCafferty

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hand Printed Goodies

...I've been busily crafting a wedding invitation suite for a lovely gal I met on Etsy. This order's been a real treat for me since A.) the customer is so sweet and easy to work with and B.) its actually one of my favorite designs. I just love looking at the slew of hand printed batches waiting to dry; rows and rows of sky blue gorgeousness. In a few days the order will be complete and I'm so excited to send these well loved invites out to their rightful owner. Its a fun thought to picture all the places these little guys will go; to the homes of intended guests all as unique as each one-of-a-kind hand printed piece. Still, I know I'll be a little sad when my counters are clear of them and I have no more pretty rows to look at...but, thankfully at that point I'll be moving on to the matching thank yous! So see, there's always a brighter side!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Want Wednesday...

Lately I can't get enough of jewelry that looks like its been cultivated from nature. So, I thought I'd share some of my favorite jewelry designers from Etsy; designers whose work might just be mistaken for actual organic specimens.

Clockwise from center left: Rockwell stud earings, Jewelry and Storage Box, Seaside Collection necklaces, Copper Leaf earings, Lichen studs, Vinea and Folium earings, Bare Branch necklace, Dendrite II earings