Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Logic quiz:

Poor self-image is to fashion magazines as WHAT is to home decor catalogs?

I don’t know either, but sometimes I feel like I have it, whatever IT is.  Occasionally I get sort of taken over by staging my house…rolling up the throw blankets and storing them just-so in a gorgeous basket (you’re cold? grab one of these!), propping the white ceramic fish platter in a plate holder on my kitchen counter (look, it’s art!), stacking up a pretty set of books by my bedside (who has time to read?).  Maybe it’s some form of OCD, or maybe it comes from buying and selling multiple houses in the past five years (never know when you’re gonna have to put it on the market!), but I suspect that some of the obsession comes from looking through too many home design catalogs and shelter pubs.

Luckily, my little brother pointed me to a hilarious site that reminds me how idiotic some of those scenes from Pottery Barn (and others) are.  Catalog Living follows the fictional life of Gary and Elaine, the passive-aggressive, accessory-obsessed couple who live in your catalogs.  Created by actor and Tufts graduate Molly Erdman, Catalog Living now serves as my daily reminder that I shouldn’t worry if my throws aren’t just-so.

{But really, a little staging never hurt anyone.}

Image credit: Catalog Living, January 20, 2011


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My older son is really into Star Wars right now and decided (supported by my husband, and much to my chagrin) that he would love a “giant Star Wars poster with, like, Darth Vader or General Greivous or somethin'” on his newly painted wall of his new bedroom in our new house. 

Um, no.

Since lightsaber-wielding, gun-toting heroes from the Dark Side aren’t really my idea of great decoration for the room of a first grader (who, by the way, has never seen any of the movies), I needed to get creative. 

Better put, I hoped that somebody else had gotten creative for me.

 Urban Splendor

Tortuga Graphix




Great, right? 

Since I love WPA-style posters, and I’m still (for now) in charge of decorating my kids’ rooms, a little propaganda piece encouraging travelers to visit the relocated Rebel base was my selection.

Hope he likes it.


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I am so done with rectangular placemats on my round kitchen table.  It drives me nuts.  Just NUTS.  But a standard issue round tablecloth is a no-go either with my two jumping bean boys who would most certainly rip the thing off, dinner plates included, the first minute I put in on.

But a chalkcloth tabletop?  I could get behind that.

Spotted two weeks ago on one of my daily reads — Sweet Sweet Life — I haven’t been able to get the image out of my head.  Amy just bought some yardage from a local Etsy seller and cut it to size. 

Voila!  Table covering and kid distraction all rolled into one. 

Image credits: Amy Hanson of Sweet Sweet Life

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Linnea Prints

The first time I spotted the Linnea Calendar at my local Paper Source, I was instantly drawn to it.  I love woodblock prints, and although I wasn’t sure of the technique that was used, the calendar reminded me of one of my very favorite artists, Sabra Field.  But like most fabulous things I see when I’m and about running errands with my children, I promptly forgot all about it.

So this past weekend while I was catching up on my Google Reader, I came across a fabulous mood board that used a Linnea poster…so excited to discover these again!

As it turns out, the Linnea posters, calendars, cards and more are created by the mother/daughter team of Linnea Asplind Riley and Johanna Riley Kriesel, who specialize in “bright, bold graphics with images that appeal to children and adults alike.” 

You can say that again.

Image credits: Posters and prints from Linnea Design, from $2.50 {no, that is not a typo!}

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A recent exchange with my friend Christine — who’s currently redoing her office — reminded me of something I meant to post long ago.  I’m also in the (endless) process of updating my home office into a lovely creative zone, and I needed to find a solution for a long wall that my desk faces.  I thought about shelving (too heavy, visually and literally), a mirror (up at 5:30 a.m. to write? no thanks), and a series of prints (I’ve done that little trick in three other spaces in the house)…but nothing seemed right.  Then as I was cruising IKEA one afternoon, I came across the DIGNITET system in the Textiles department. 

Meant to be used as a curtain wire in lieu of a rod, the DIGNITET system had all the right qualities for my wall.  It was super long (up to 197 inches), could be hung from the wall or the ceiling, was lightweight, and was easy on the wallet ($14.99 + $4.99 for each package of clips).  I snagged a kit plus two boxes of clips and a couple of days later (when I finally got around to installing it) I had the foundation for an ever-changing inspiration board.  Love it.


Image credits: IKEA; Paige Lewin and her slammin’ photography skills (I’m working on it)

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Have you heard about the Missed Connections blog?  I hadn’t until I came across it here, but man, is it fabulous. Using posts from Craigslist New York “Missed Connections” as inspiration, Brooklyn-based artist Sophie Blackall has created a series of funny, whimsical and oddly romantic illustrations. She received so many requests for works from her blog, that she now sells them in an etsy shop.  Lucky us!

{These sure make me miss living in that quirky and fabulous city…}

Image credits: Sophie Blackall’s Missed Connections

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And while we’re on the subject of amazing women who have left a career track to explore a creative interest, I have to mention artist Abby Glassenberg.  Four months ago, I was lucky enough to meet Abby when our kiddos ended up in the same kindergarten class at school.  A Hopkins- and Harvard-educated former teacher, Abby began reading craft blogs and revisiting her love of sewing while on maternity leave with her first child.  What followed was a decision to dive into art-making and motherhood full time, and a fabulous and fun blog on crafting and motherhood.  I have no doubt that Abby was an incredible teacher, but she happens to be a really incredible artist, creating pieces with which I would love to fill my house — handmade, beautiful and filled with personality.

I’ve seen her work up close and it is even more amazing in person than when photographed.  The detail is incredible, the craftsmanship is exquisite, and oh, those incredible faces!  But make no mistake, while her soft sculptures are meant to be adored, they are not meant to be tossed around like a stuffed animal (for hands-on lovin’, Abby offers a selection of soft toys).


Late next year, we can all get an inside glimpse of the talent and work that goes into her soft sculpture when her book of fabric bird sewing patterns published by Interweave is released.  But until then, the only way to own an Abby Glassenberg original is to visit her etsy shop or one of the boutiques and galleries that carries her work. 

Image credits: Abby Glassenberg

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One of my favorite gifts to give is a piggy bank.  Not only are piggy banks classic, but fabulously functional, inspiring a trait I wish I had.  If 2009 has taught us anything, it’s that you can never go wrong saving your pennies.  So here are my three favorite piggies, at least one of which some luckies on my list will be receiving this year.

Sort of creepy and very cool, check out Harry Allen’s Bank in the Form of a Pig, made from the cast of an actual pig (no piggies were hurt in the cast-making process).  Available at AREAWARE for $95 in pink; also available in white, chrome, gold, copper, hot pink, mint green and black to fit into nearly any color scheme.



For a piggy that will blend in anywhere, go for Roost’s Glass Piggy Bank, available at Velocity starting at $18.  Also, check out similar ones available locally at Hudson.

For the perfect amount of sparkle, and the perfect price tag, hit your local Old Navy for their bling-y piggy.  My shop only had them in gold, but I hear they’re available in a disco rainbow.  At a mere $5, you can get this one for folks on your list and yourself.  Y’know…if you needed a bit of inspiration to become budget-minded in 2010.  Not that I know anyone like that.


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For parents, all photos of their children are exquisite, even when taken with a crappy camera phone.  But when your kid’s picture is taken by a professional photographer, the result can make you feel like a stranger has witnessed the soul of your child and captured it for eternity.  At least that’s how I feel about Jessica McDaniel of Boston Baby Photos.

I met Jessica for the first time when Weston was nine months old.  Jess had been in the baby photography business for a couple of years and was shooting in a traveling studio at a local children’s clothing store.  The session prices were fairly inexpensive, so I signed up, hoping for a better result than what I might get from a cheesy department store set-up.  Not only was Jess completely accommodating (the store had double-booked me with another mom, but Jess hadled the mishap like a total pro when the teenage sales associate didn’t know what to do), but she made me feel at ease during the shoot, gently directing us, watching and capturing natural moments.  A couple of weeks later I headed back to the store to see the proofs (this was in the early days of digital photography), hoping that there would be one decent photo that I could use to get the free 8×10 that came with the shoot. 

I bought every dang picture.  

A few years later when Levi arrived, I contacted Jess and arranged an in-home shoot — her specialty.  This time, Jess casually and near silently followed Levi as he crawled around the house, onto a wooden wagon, up the stairs, and ultimately into a giant L.L. Bean bag.  About a week later when I saw the result (this time on the web), I bought every shot.  Again.

Not only is Jess an uber-talented photographer, but she happens to be a wonderfully nice person…the kind of person you want to stay in touch with even after your shoot is over, and the kind of photographer that you will want to shoot your kids and family every couple of years.  At least that’s how I feel about her. 

So this holiday season, consider putting a Boston Baby Photos gift certificate on your wish list.  Or if you happen to be a grandparent, aunt, uncle or other generous soul, consider springing for your local loved one (Jess will travel within 20 miles of Milton, MA for free, or beyond for a travel charge).

To see Jess’ portfolio, visit her here.

For gift certificates, contact Jess at jess@bostonbabyphotos.com

Image credits: Weston at 9 months and Levi at 10 months, Jessica McDaniel, Boston Baby Photos

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Paper Plates = Art

Is anyone else totally inspired by the interiors of Anthropologie stores?  I’ve always favored their clothes and housewares, but even just walking into their retail locations is an experience.  I love that every store is different  — each location has its own interior stylist/visual artist, going way beyond the “merchandising” at regular retail that follows a prescribed map of where and how items should be laid out.  Without fail, I gather inspiration from the walls, ceiling, music, floors, etc. each time I visit Anthro.  Just check out the latest installation at the store in my ‘hood…

Anthro clouds 2

Cloud sculpture made out of paper plates…amazing!  Reminded me instantly of the brilliant paper plate chandelier that Nathan Thomas created for the dining room in his winning townhouse on Bravo’s Top Design

Nathan Thomas, Elle Decor

Both of these are definitely going on my Flattery Board (or Inspiration for Imitation Board)…

Image credits: Paige Lewin’s Blackberry, Elle Decor

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