Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolutions and Big Dreams

I was looking at my resolutions from last year, and I think I actually made progress on a lot of those goals. I still have so much I want to do in life, and I'm excited about the vast possibility this burgeoning new year brings. Above all, I want to be creative and make things and contribute to my little corner of the world in a positive way.

I found an old painting (which was just sort of an exercise in all-over composition) in one of many portfolios stacked under my bed and decided to turn it into a sign to point me in the right direction. I taped it over my desk so that I will see it every day.

I'm still thinking about the big dreams I have for 2012, inspired by Sonya's post. But for now, I'll list a few things I definitely know I want to accomplish this year:

1. I want to do a 30-day drawing challenge like Anabel did.

2. I'm going to focus on my Etsy shop even more, add artwork and other new things.

3. We're moving again, to a bigger place, and hopefully, we can get a dog!

4. I'd like to take a few weekend trips; it's been years since we went anywhere that wasn't to visit family.

5. I know everyone adds "exercise" to these lists, but I'm making it a serious goal this year. Other than walking everywhere, it's been a long time since I was on any sort of regimen. I want to be strong and healthy.

6. And of course, I plan to keep blogging here! I'm thinking of new features and different types of posts.

So, that's all for now. Are you making resolutions for 2012?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Scenes from Life

These ravens gathering (which they do every night) make me want to jump in my convertible and drive back to San Francisco. Very creepy. That makes me wonder, though, has anyone ever been to Bodega Bay? Does it look the same?

Super huge rainbows over DC a few days ago. There's another photo here.

A new dress from Modcloth.

When I found this little guy, he was in bad shape. His sled was broken, and he had many scuffs and scratches all over and was covered in dirt. I knew I had to try to patch him up and give him a good home. I think he's much happier now.

A vintage poster from WWII England. The Ministry of Food devised a campaign featuring Potato Pete and Dr. Carrot to encourage people to eat healthy vegetables that were easy to grow during the time of rations, which (I recently found out) lasted for 14 1/2 years!

I've eaten way too many treats over the last week. I'm sure Dr. Carrot would not approve. But wait, there is pumpkin in that pie, so that counts, right?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paper Cutting

I bought this book as a Christmas present to myself. I'd been searching for it high and low to no avail for some time when I finally found what seemed like the last copy on Earth. It was dented at the corners and looked as if it had had a tough go of it, but that didn't matter to me. It's beautiful pages harbor works by some of my favorite papercut artists like Elsa Mora (which I posted about here), Rob Ryan, and Su Blackwell, among many others. Here's a sneak peek inside:

I don't know exactly why I find papercuts irresistible, but I think in general I have a soft spot for works that are beautifully detailed, delicate in nature, and fragile. The ephemeral nature of things makes them all the more enchanting, don't you think?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Scenes from Life

Let's take a walk, shall we? And we'll look at some holiday lights!

Happy Holidays, friends! Wishing you lots of merriment.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Speaking of light...

Check out the gorgeous ethereal glow in this video, which was shot in Iceland at 2:00 am. It's like suspended twilight. And the song is pretty too.

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

Oh, how we love the sparkle of things! It's no surprise that we seek out reflective surfaces this time of year when daylight is scarce.

There's a video on Etsy's blog on the history of glitter that's quite interesting. Check it out if you've ever wondered at our preoccupation with shiny things. I think it's an innate human attraction to light and, therefore, objects that reflect light. From the time we're babies, we reach out for any object that shines (I've had many infant nephews and nieces grab for my necklaces and earrings). And I'm not sure we ever really grow out of that. As much as some protest and disdain glitter, deep down inside, they can't help but feel attracted to it.

I personally seek out light and reflections of light all the time: in art, in objects, in my surroundings. It's not hard to find if you look closely, and your day will be better for it, I promise.

*post title is a quote by Chekhov

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's finally looking a bit like Christmas

I made little paper trees and several garlands last weekend, and I put up stockings and a few other Christmas things.

Look who's peeking out from among the trees.

You don't need a tree to display ornaments. I made a garland out of about 25 felt ornaments I made years ago. It adds such a happy dose of color to the bedroom; I probably won't want to take it down in a couple weeks.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Friday + Tutorial

Tara, who is so sweet and from Brazil, interviewed me for her new blog. You can read it here. (Her blog is in Portuguese, but my interview is in English.)

What is everyone up to this weekend? I'm finally going to put up some holiday decorations. I'm also going to finish packing up all the boxes of presents to send to family that I won't be seeing this Christmas. And I'm going to make some Christmas cookies to include also. There's nothing like the smell of baking something sugary this time of year.

As for decorating, I'm making a garland. And since we're not buying a tree, I'm probably going to make a bunch of little ones out of felt or paper. I came across this video tutorial for paper trees that is awesome.

I don't know if I'll actually use this tutorial, even though it is really cool, because I want a bunch of trees of different sizes scattered around, like my own paper forest, and this tutorial is probably too time-consuming. I'm thinking more cone-shaped trees that I decorate with whatever I find lying around: ribbon, paint, felt, etc.

I'd love to see pics of handmade or non-traditional decorations. Have you posted them on your blog? Leave me a comment. xo, Mary

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday (1938)

Here are a couple of great scenes from Holiday, starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. I saw it last Friday and was reminded how much I love it, and how much I love the two of them together. You should definitely check it out if you've never seen it or watch it again if it's been a while. It's on Netflix, and also this person uploaded the whole movie to YouTube in 10-minute increments.

The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!

It's easy to get stressed this time of year with so much going on: making travel plans or preparing your home for out-of-town guests, taking final exams or meeting work deadlines, buying gifts, decorating, being forced into enclosed spaces with your family. It's a lot to handle. One thing that has never stressed me out, though, is wrapping presents.

I was always the designated gift-wrapper in my family from the time I was a little girl, I guess because I was deemed the "artistic one," or maybe just because no one else wanted the job. I have many memories of sitting on the floor in front of the TV surrounded by piles of boxes, ribbons, and bows. I even wrapped my own presents; how sad is that? My mom would just say, "Wrap this, but don't look inside it." So tragic.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few of the things I've been wrapping lately. I've already told everyone likely to be getting a present from me not to read my blog for the next couple of weeks, so I shouldn't be ruining any surprises.

How cute are these baby socks? The socks and onesies I bought came in packs of three, which is really convenient because they're going to triplets(!), my boyfriend's nieces. The blue monkey is going to one of my baby nephews; I got two this year!

Lots of stuff from Etsy: handmade soaps from Ranchman's Soapery (I've never tried them before; I have bought soaps from Sweet Petula for my mom in the past, though, and she loved them); a vintage Swedish Dala horse from Dipper Vintage; a print from Nan Lawson;

a 2012 Paris calendar from Alicia Bock;

and an Instant Comfort Pocket Box from Kim's Little Monsters. Packages full of awesome Etsy stuff keep arriving every day; it's actually fun to get the mail right now.

And I made a photo album for my brother full of pics I snapped of his family last Christmas. I think he's going to love it. If anyone's curious, I used Blurb, and I think it turned out pretty well.

The book itself looks better in real life; my camera was doing weird things the day I tried to take photos.

I know that Christmas is about more than presents (I've seen How the Grinch Stole Christmas! many times, thank you very much), but buying a gift for someone that you know is perfectly "them" is the best feeling, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Playlist - Christmas

Washington, DC photo by sparks of fire
I love all those classic Christmas songs sung by crooners like Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole; who doesn't? But chances are, you've already heard those tunes several dozen times this season, so here's a slightly less traditional holiday mix for you. Enjoy!

Tuesday Playlist - Christmas by Mary on Grooveshark

Flickr Favorites

bird fight over frozen lake
carl fredrik's birthday.
Going to organise my jewels today. Think I'm in for the long haul!
Holbourne Museum
Schaatsen / Ice skates

(Click on images to go directly to sources.)