Thursday, September 20, 2012

lj lindhurst's squirtguns

LJ Lindhurst is really killing it with these photorealistic paintings of water guns (no pun intended). As is natural with photorealism, she has replicated these toys with unreal detail. Check out her website for more paintings of what she calls "often-overlooked detritus of our popular culture."

how-to: put a bow on it

For the past year or so, the only new shoes I've bought are black flats. I basically have two different pairs, one I leave at work and one at home. So when I saw these glittery flats and remembered seeing a really cute redesign of them and thought to myself... why not? Turns out that not only are they super cheap, they're also really comfortable! Head over to Stars for Streetlights for the full how-to and keep reading for my abbreviated version.

pair of shoes
scarf you don't mind cutting up 
hot glue gun 
minor sewing skills

When it comes to cutting the strips of scarf, you just want to make sure it's wide enough to sew into a tube and flip inside out. So when you cut the strips, the finished bow will be about half as wide as the strips you cut. My bow is not quite as voluptuous as the original DIY pair, but it's totally up to you. The scarf I was using had a border around it and that was the section that I wanted to use. Since I will mainly ware these to work, I wanted them to have clean lines. I'd definitely like to make a more colorful pair with a larger bow for next summer.

After you cut your strips of scarf and sew them into tubes, turn them inside out so the seams do not show. If your tubes are really skinny you can do this by using a safety pin to guide your way back through the middle of the tube. Then it's as simple as tying a bow and hot gluing the bow to the top of your shoe! Then a dab of hot glue under each arch of the bow to keep it in place, and a stripe of it on the edges to glue down the end pieces. This is slightly different than how Stacie did it, but again, it's totally up to you. I love how it makes the bow seem like it wraps around the entire shoe. The final step? Prepare yourself for compliments.

Friday, August 10, 2012

nectarine & blueberry pie

When it finally decided to cool down in Michigan I was really excited to turn my oven on again. When you don't have air conditioning and it's close to a hundred degrees outside, you eat a lot of cold food and take a lot of cold showers. Anyway, since I hadn't baked in quite a while, I decided to go all out and make a pie. I have to admit that I'd never made a pie crust from scratch before this, but I was extremely pleased with how it turned out. And the combination of nectarines and blueberries was absolutely delicious. I didn't follow a recipe for the filling, but you can see all the details below.

Crust Recipe via Simply Recipes 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 to 8 Tbsp ice water

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough.

Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape the dough mixture into two disks. Work the dough just enough to form the disks, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

Pie Filling Recipe:
3 1/2 pounds Nectarines, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup Blueberries
3/4 cup Sugar
3 tablespoons Quick-Cooking Tapioca
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest

Toss all of the ingredients together and let sit for 15 minutes. After rolling out one disk of the pie dough and placing it in a pie pan, fill the crust will the filling. Roll out the second disk and place over top, crimping the top and bottom crust together at the edges. Lightly brush a beaten egg over the top of the crust and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar. Cut a couple decorative slits in the top to allow for venting. 

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 425 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool when the top is golden brown. 

corydon cowansage

Maybe my fascination with geometric patterns is just too strong, but I'm really loving these oil paintings by Corydon Cowansage. The extreme close ups and use of cropping create really beautiful patterns out of everyday objects that we're quick to ignore. Who knew shingles or siding could look so fascinating. They almost make me want to move to the suburbs so I can have that white picket fence. Almost.

Monday, July 2, 2012

striped flicker scout

striped flicker scout
There are probably only so many Kate Spade bags that I need to own, but the second this one goes on sale, I will be purchasing it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

gavin hammond's london

image courtesy of magnum photos

Henri Cartier-Bresson's 1932 image of a jumping man's reflection in a puddle has always been a favorite of mine. The symmetries created by the reflection along with the jumping figure on the poster in the background create a beautifully composed image that seems so spur of the moment that it's hard to believe it was caught.

So when I saw the London in Puddles series by Gavin Hammond I was excited to see some similar uses of symmetry and the alluring portrayal of a dreary London.

I particularly enjoy the dark silhouettes against the geometric patterns created by the sidewalk stones. It's almost as if you're looking at an old daguerreotype photograph and the world just couldn't stand still long enough for the photograph to be taken. It's a very dream-like way to look at the world where you can't quite make out the details but the overall feeling of the environment is more important anyway.

For more information on Henri Cartier-Bresson, check out Artsy. Artsy's mission is to make art accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

oxford circus in a puddle
regent street in a puddle

it's all go on oxford street - captured in a puddle

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

kevin cyr's vans

I've probably only shared this with a few people, but I have a serious love for big, boxy, dilapidated vans. Whenever I see one, I think to myself about how I would love to drive one. It makes no sense, but I'd love to travel the country in one, sleeping on a mattress in the back and laying on the top to stargaze.

So Kevin Cyr's derelict vans really appeal to me. I love how they are taken out of their environment and displayed almost as a portrait. Each solitary van is given an importance that is usually reserved for unused or restored vehicles in pristine condition. These colorful oil paintings capture the worst of the worst and for me that means the best. I can almost hear them rumble to life.





Monday, June 18, 2012

dark chocolate ganache with cherries and a shortbread crust

I realized the other day that while I bake quite often, I never post about it. I rarely remember to take pictures and if I do they are never quite as high quality as I want them to be. So I've decided to try a little series of food blogging, although I make no promises about length or quality. Here's to experimenting!

The cherry crop in Michigan didn't do very well this year, but I was able to get a hold of some and knew I had to bake something with them before they disappeared. I went with a cherry ganache tart with shortbread crust recipe I saw over at Always With Butter and it did not disappoint.

The shortbread crust was absolutely delicious and I was really impressed by how smooth the ganache was. Next time I would add more cherries because they really helped balance the richness of the rest of the dessert. Speaking of which, did you know you can pit cherries with a paper clip? It worked extremely well and left the rest of the cherry intact for presentation.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

cork city bangle

cork city bangle
Typically bangles are not my preferred piece of jewelry because I feel like you have to wear more than one and then they make a lot of noise clanking into each other. I can only imagine what that would sound like in a quite library. But anyway, I'm really loving this Kate Spade bangle and the contrast between the cork and the gold. The use of such an unexpected material adds interest to the piece. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

got a light?

My first impressions of these photographs were based solely on the fact that they are beautify composed. But as I researched the project a little bit more it became disturbing just how many lighters were found around waterfronts in New York City from August 2010 to May 2011. 1,946 lighters were found from 47 different locations, which were all logged and photographed. You can learn more about the project here and see even more collections of lighters, ranging from as few as one to the 488 found at Bergen Beach seen below.

So many of the products that we use daily are disposable and we think very little about what it going to happen to those items once we've gotten our use out of them. I personally own three disposable lighters because I very rarely use them and when a birthday comes around it's usually easier to pick up a new one than try to find the one I used last year. This is exactly the mentality that I need to change because these small conveniences are not always the best.

488 from bergen beach

19 from plum beach east

16 from summerfield creek

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I love this modern recreation of the old message-in-a-bottle idea. A cute little empty bottle capable of holding 2GB of your most secret messages. Find out more over at Spoon & Tamago.

"blank" designed by Saburo Sakata

Monday, June 4, 2012

alex maclean's arial photography

Arial photography has always had a special place in my heart. There's just something about the physical separation from the objects pictured that allows you to see so much more, both physically and mentally. When you're sitting at a stoplight surrounded by ten other cars you probably don't think very much about them at all, but seen from above you start to remember just how many people there are in the world and how you're surrounded by so many other people going about their lives all the time. On the ground it seems chaotic, but from above it almost seems choreographed.

Alex MacLean's photographs go beyond just giving the viewer a new perspective. The way he frames and crops his images create almost abstract geometric arrangements. Along with interesting color palates, patterns begin to emerge that you would never think exist on the ground.

B-52 "bone yard"

floating daisy docks

I highly recommend checking out his other pieces, specifically his series on beaches and abandonment.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

confetti ring

I have a really hard time remembering to put jewelry on every morning and when it comes to rings, I usually end up taking them off at some point throughout the day. But I feel like this ring from Twinklebird is one of those staple pieces that you could wear everyday and never get sick of. Like a pair of diamond studs or a simple chain necklace. It makes a statement without being big and bulky, and as Christine from Twinklebird says, "you only need one confetti to remember the party."

confetti ring by twinklebird

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


1. gayla from kate spade 2. uo south of 5th cat eye sunglasses from urban outfitters 3. the original wood veneer sunglasses from tumbleweeds 4. sunny day shades from madewell 5. selima sun for j.crew belle sunglasses from j.crew 6. dylan sunglasses from fred flare

comic book paintings

Hold it, Joker!
Coming from an art history background, I always tend to look at comic book art for exactly that, the art. But after years of studying graphic novels I've come to appreciate the way in which comic books tell a story. The way in which frames are used to depict time and pages to create a pause. It is extremely interactive and makes any form of graphic story hard to put down. You just can't help turning the page to find out what will happen next.

This interaction is probably my favorite aspect of Sharon Moody's photo-realist paintings. I love how she captured these comic books as the page is turning, accurately capturing what it feels like to follow the story from frame to frame and page to page. And even though we haven't read the beginning of the book, we are still drawn into the action as hero takes on villain and calamity ensues. I highly recommend Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics if you want to know more about comic book art.
Something's Going Down In That Museum Right Now, detail

Zit! Throom! Krrakkk!

Monday, April 30, 2012

decorating with signs

While I've been too timid to try anything like this in my own home, I am very into the idea of using old signs from businesses to decorate a large wall. Here are some that I've seen recently that I'd love to use in my own home. What do you think? Do they take away too much attention from the rest of the room?

vintage seamstress shop signs from willow tree antiques

the pines sign from lost & found

vintage industrial offence sign from epoch co.

vintage industrial electric fence sign from aurora mills

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

featured: jenny åkerlund

When I first saw the work of Jenny Åkerlund at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago about a year ago, I was intrigued by the idea of how a copy of a copy further distorts and changes an image, and ultimately the original item itself. That is, until I realized that these pieces were actually drawn reproductions of photocopies, and therefore a copy of a copy of a copy. It would be obvious to discuss how technically beautiful these are, or how the composition of each one is stunning and unique, but I feel the need to do just that. A photocopy tends to be extremely cold and sterile, but the hand-drawn aspect of this brings it back to life, creating depth in an otherwise flat medium.

Monday, April 23, 2012

little black flats

1. kingdom by steve madden 2. abby by diane von furstenberg 3. the polka-dot sidewalk skimmer by madewell 4. emilia by calvin klein 5. belt ballet flat by attilio giusti leombruni

Friday, April 20, 2012

matte nails

Beauty products are not something that I usually spend very much money on, but let me tell you, this nail polish was worth every penny. I like shiny things just as much as anybody else, but there is just something sleek and modern about a matte finish. And so, let me introduce you to Mat Top Coat by Chanel. Paint a coat of it over any other color of nail polish and you get a stunning matte finish almost instantly.

Inspired by the bottle itself, I decided to try it out with black nail polish. You can really see the difference in the before and after photos below. In the future I think it would look extra fancy if I only painted the top coat over half of the nail, really showing off the difference in texture. Or maybe it would look interesting over a glittery nail polish. Oh how the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

how to: cooling rack memo board

In an effort to appear more grown-up, I decided a while back that I wanted to take everything off of my fridge and have it be totally clutter free. However, I still needed a place to put important reminders and other randoms that had no other home.

So I created this little memo board out of two cooling racks and a cork board. There are probably many more attractive ways to hang them, but I just pounded two nails into the wall at a downward angle and used the little feet of the cooling racks to hang them. Since the nails are the same color as the racks, I think it looks fine.

Originally I was just going to do three cooling racks, vertically stacked on top of each other, but I found this cork board while I was grocery shopping one day and thought that it was pretty much the perfect size for this project. All together, the project cost about 5 dollars, 99 cents for each of the cooling racks from the Salvation Army, and 3 dollars for the cork board.

I do not actually think that this makes me look any more grown-up (note the Paul Frank mood chart), but I do enjoy how the fridge looks now.

Monday, March 26, 2012

choices by richard stultz

where milk comes from
Richard, Richard, Richard. I hope it's not awkward that I'm talking directly to you in this post, but some praise deserves to be direct. Sometimes an artist goes out into the world and captures exactly how I feel about it, and in a strikingly beautiful way. Do we really need this many types of milk to choose from? How much of it will expire and just be thrown away? Why is it that a can of soup with Elmo's face is on the lowest shelf? Further reminder to buy in season, from local farmers, and to enjoy the cooking I do at home everyday. And have I mentioned how much I enjoy geometric repetition?

five cans gone

basic breakfast