January 29, 2010
Have a wonderful weekend! I think I might make it out to the falls for another hike, so I'm crossing my fingers for some nice weather.
Also, I've been super enjoying a new blog (discovered via Good Long While) called My Scandanavia Retreat. Browsing through it, I keep asking myself, "Could that elusive, particularly Scandinavian aesthetic be any more awesome?" My Answer: No.
Labels: Random fun
Wooden Rounds & Antique Gold Necklace . Wooden Keepsake Box . Alright Alright Print .
Fern Hemp Zip Purse . Collecting Feathers Print . Long Horn & Brass Necklace .
Vintage Japanese Sweets Mold . Weeping Willow Pillow . Turquoise Branck Napkins .
Some neutral and nature inspired Etsy finds for Friday morning.
January 28, 2010
Oh my goodness, guys. Oh. My. Goodness. It looks like the crazy-voiced Joanna Newsom does indeed have a new album coming out February 23. And it's a triple album! Be still my heart. If the album's good I have a feeling that this will make my month.
I know that lots of people can't stand Joanna Newsom, and I used to be one of those people. I had tried, really tried to like her, but I just couldn't get past that voice that she had. Then my roommate while I was studying abroad in college played her albums over and over in our apartment and I found myself humming the melodies later in the day without realizing it. Once I could connect with the patterns and rythyms in her songs, I found that the dreaded voice didn't bother me anymore, and now I count Joanna Newsom as one of my all-time favorite artists.
I know I shared some earthy inspired jewelry last week, but when I came across these necklaces from the awesomely named Unearthen, I had to post them too. Such gorgeous colors! Paired with a sleek black outfit, any of these pieces would look super dramatic and classy.
January 27, 2010
January 26, 2010
January 25, 2010
Another weekend of playing with the new kitten and trying to capture her on film (most of my shots are just of little black blurs--hold still, Echo!). Being a November-born cat, she spazzed out over the unseasonal beams of sunlight shining into the kitchen, leading me to the startling realization that she had likely never seen such sunlight before in her short, Seattle life!
This part of the winter always feels very overwhelming to me. The holidays are over and it's a long, rainy, windy, and cold way until Spring, but I am trying extra hard this year to retain the positive atmosphere I cultivated in December through these in-between days. People make fun of New Year's Resolutions these days and indeed, "resolutions" seem silly and easily broken to me. I did, however, make some purposeful intentions for the year that I am very passionate about keeping up, even when the warmth and light of Summer seems a long way off.
January 22, 2010
Everyone knows that certain kind of girl movie (long-suffering boyfriends and husbands especially): the ones full of British accents, lavish dresses, gorgeous scenery, and perfect period details. I love this kind of film as much as the next lady (Emma Thompson's Sense & Sensibility remains one of my favorite movies ever), but I must admit, I'd gotten a bit tired of them lately. The last few I'd seen seemed to lack heart, and without that they were just...well, just pretty, and not much else.
Young Victoria had it all. It was indeed visually lovely, but the romance between the queen and Prince Albert was such a real, sweetly enduring love story that I've found myself thinking about it often over the last few days. While Emily Blunt was beautiful and regal, it was Rupert Friend who made the movie for me--more than just a pretty face, the quiet strength he displayed as he supported and encouraged his powerful wife was marvelous to see.
Also, I dorkily only put two and two together at the end of the movie, but of course Britain's Victoria & Albert museum (possibly my favorite museum in England) is named after this couple. For some reason, that makes me like both the museum and the movie even more.
January 21, 2010
photo by Linn Heidi Stokkedal
You know how sometimes when you have a lot going on--even it it's all mostly good things--and you just get overwhelmed for a little while and need some space? Well that's me for today, and even if I can't actually go there, I choose wherever this photo was taken as my reclaiming-my-focus-and-taking-things-one-at-a-time space.
Labels: Random fun
Nealy Blau's photographs have always made me do double takes. I see them, glance away, and then quickly look back at them again, examining them deeper and realizing what I didn't realize at first: these seemingly real (albeit dreamy) landscapes are actually photographs of natural history museum exhibits! Of her work Nealy writes:
"Viewing dioramas inside natural history museums can be a deliriously disorienting, slightly eerie, and discordant visual experience. Yet photographing them, I often feel or sense a presence in them that parallels my experiences in nature in fascinating and subversive ways…"
I imagine that seeing these photos on the computer only further distances the experience.
January 20, 2010
I don't read a lot of non-fiction. Don't get me wrong--I read a ton, it's just that 99% of what I read is fiction novels. So I probably wouldn't have picked up Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses if a friend whose opinion I value highly hadn't recommended it to me. I'm very glad she did pass on this recommendation, however, since the poetic, thoughtful, and extremely interesting short essays within this book have been immensely enjoyable to read. I've been folding a tiny corner of the pages with some of my favorite passeges on them, and now just about half the pages in the poor book are turned down. Here's one of my favorites:
"Both science and art have a habit of waking us up, turning on all the lights, grabbing us by the collar and saying Would you please pay attention! You wouldn't think that something as complexly busy as life would be so easy to overlook. But, like supreme racehorses, full of vitality, determination, and heart, we tend to miss sights not directly in our path--the colorful crowds of people on either side, the shapes left in the thickly rutted track, and the permanent spectacl of the sky, that ever-present, ever-changing pageant overhead."
I've been doing some rearranging in my kitchen lately, finding better jars to hold my ingredients and little bowls and saucers to keep track of bits and pieces here and there. Too bad I didn't find these Good Egg containers from JFish Designs earlier--they would have been perfect! Maybe I'll just have to get one or two and then come up with something to store inside them after the fact.
*I know, I know--my hilariously lame (or lamely hilarious?) titles need some work.
January 19, 2010
January 18, 2010
This weekend was essentially the weekend of "The Kitty" (as my boyfriend calls her) or of "Burbler" (as I call her, because of the adorable burble-chirp noise she usually makes instead of meowing). I found myself making excuses to lounge around on the sofa doing nothing specifically so that Echo, our new 11 week old, black & white kitten could fall asleep on me.
I did stand up enough to make some cranberry syrup for our Saturday morning pancakes, however, along with a pear & almond tart for my Mum's visit tomorrow.
January 15, 2010
I had a pretty impressive collection of children's books when I was young. My parents kept me well stocked with books by "the greats": Barbara Cooney, Chris Van Allsburg, Audrey and Don wood, etc. and I spent hours pouring over them.
I'm pretty sure that if I'd had books as a child with Catia Cheng's illustrations in them, I wouldn't have been able to put them down.
Lately I've been on a big folk music kick. And I'm not talking about folk music-lite, like Iron and Wine and Fleet Foxes (though I love them too). No, I'm talking about folk music: the more traditional, sometimes very dark ballads and story-songs, full of betrayal, deaths, and star-crossed lovers. Heavy stuff, I know, but also beautiful and haunting in a deeply Romantic way. Rachel Unthank & The Winterset and Jackie Oates are two bands that are interpreting these old songs and putting amazing and intense spins on them. I've been sipping tea and listening to these albums on repeat--highly recommended.
January 14, 2010
Beautiful still-lives by Laura Swytak. I saw the first image in person a few months ago at a group show and it was by far my favorite piece in the show. It reminded me of some of John Singer Sargent's work (I immediately thought of this painting) and I imagined Laura's piece as the breakfast scene instead of the evening birthday on the table in Sargent's painting!
January 13, 2010
January 12, 2010
If I had an extra £220 (I'm not even going to translate that for myself into US dollars) to buy a limited edition silkscreen print by Sanna Annukka, I would frame this beauty up nice and find for it the most fantastic place of honor in my apartment ever.
Image by me, taken at the always amazing Volunteer Park Conservatory
Making me smile today:
Art in My Coffee
Any Occassion Greeting Card
An Open Letter to James Cameron From Papyrus
Emiliana Torrini's Sunny Road music video
XX by XX
January 11, 2010
Baking bread, listening to Steeleye Span, drawing, drinking tea, reorganizing the apartment--all small things that added up to make the weekend lovely.
On Saturday we made all the necessary preparations and purchases for a super exciting something coming up this week...the boy and I are adopting a kitten! I cannot wait to bring her home.
January 8, 2010
January 7, 2010
I was blown away when I saw these huge (8'x6') paintings by Ann Petty at her MFA show last spring. While admiring them, I kept doing the classic museum-goer dance step: running up close to peer at the buttery brush strokes and paint daubs, then stepping slowly back to take in the painting as a whole, then moving up close again--you get the idea. Clearly she's been busy--Sandpoint Gallery is showing an exhibit of new works by both her and fellow MFA graduate Hugo Shi until January 24.
January 6, 2010
My list of favorites isn't books that were published in 2009, but rather books that I read in 2009 and enjoyed the most. I included The History of Love even though everyone and their cousin has already read it simply because it was just that good, and I also threw Tad Williams' really fun fantasty epic in to balance out the sad and serious nature of the rest of the books on the list.
Again, not ranked in any particular order:
Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
Resistance by Owen Sheers
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett*
Shadowmarch by Tad Williams
*I love Ann Patchett, and have read almost all of her books. I don't think, however, that I have ever like or been satisfied by any of her books' endings. Some of them make me downright mad, like the ending of this book did. I think it's a testament of how good her writing is that her book can make my list regardless, and that she can suck me in again and again.
January 5, 2010
Ranked in no particular order, save for Alela Diane, who is my undisputed #1 of the year:
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
Bruce Peninsula - A Mountain Is a Mouth
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
Alela Diane - To Be Still
Mark Knopfler - Get Lucky
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Alasdair Roberts - Spoils
Nancy Elizabeth - Wrought Iron
What were your favorites this year? I'm always on the lookout for new good music!