Thursday, March 29, 2012

Amy Friend

I recently came across these images from Canadian artist Amy Friend when I was searching for something completely different, as is often the case when wandering the internet, and these photographs kept lingering in my thoughts for the rest of the day.

The artist states, "Through small deliberate interventions, I altered these vintage images, allowing light to pass through them. (After all, photographs are made possible with light.) In a literal and somewhat playful manner, I aimed to give the photographs back to the light, hence the title of the series, Daré alla Lucé, an Italian phrase used to describe the moment of birth."

The photographs themselves already seem to tell a fascinating story, but her manipulation of light makes each one feel tinged with the supernatural...and possibly closer to the way people appear in our dreams and distant memories?

(via The Jealous Curator)

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's a Boy!

Two guys I grew up with (who are brothers) had baby boys within a couple months of each other. So, needless to say, I've been looking at lots of cute boy things on Etsy. I'm having a hard time choosing what to get. I don't know the etiquette for how long you can wait to give a present for a newborn, but I've known both of these new fathers since I was born, so I guess they'll forgive me. Also, it's very strange to think of them as fathers! :)

Here are a few things I've added to my favorites lately:

(Clockwise from top left: wood letters from hindsvik; knitted sweater, pants, socks, and hat from tenderblue; crib mobile from Love Felt Creations; and vintage wood stool from Passed By.)

(Clockwise from top left: burp cloths from little hip squeak; sock monkey from Baron Coco; organic giraffe rattle from smiling tree toys; and vintage baby shoes from ethanollie.)

Do you guys have any favorite places to shop for unique, personalized, or handmade baby gifts? Please do tell.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Scenes from Life

My pal Winston.

It's that time of year when outfits are made by pulling random layers out of my closet,

and windows must be open.

We did go to see the exhibit of Frida Kahlo's personal photographs that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I wish I could share it here, but of course, photos weren't allowed inside. The exhibit felt very intimate, looking through photos of her family and her life with Diego. But the images that moved me most were taken after her accident. For those who don't know, Kahlo was in a serious tram accident when she was 18, which left her with life-altering injuries, a "broken body" as it were. She had many broken bones, including a broken spinal column, pelvis, ribs, collarbone, leg, as well as a dislocated shoulder and foot. Her abdomen was also pierced by an iron handrail, which would affect her ability to have children later in life. She spent months in a full body cast, bedridden. There were several photos taken during this time where she had cut herself out of the picture. And there were other images that showed her painting in bed, flat on her back, with an easel propped up above her. These images are still in my mind. I don't want to forget that art can be made even under the most challenging circumstances and the power it can have to heal.

We went for a walk at night and all the blooming things took on an otherworldly glow under the street lights.

Till next time. xo, Mary

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shop Update

I finally added two new journals to the shop!

A hand-painted secret keeper...

with one of my favorite quotes handwritten on the back.

Me + You journal, hand-drawn with ink and colored pencil.

And last but not least, I made a custom Oscar brooch for Courtney to give to her friend who just got a French Bulldog. Aside from clearly being an awesome friend, Courtney is also an Etsy seller, animal lover, and all-around awesome lady! Check out her shop full of fun and colorful vintage things.

What have you guys been making lately?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Studio

Yesterday, Sonya from Kanelstrand unveiled her latest project, The Studio. I was happily surprised to find that some of my handmade goodies are featured! It will be a monthly magazine featuring all things handmade with a focus on eco-friendly goods. Take a peek below; you might discover some new artists! I did. :)

Isn't it gorgeous? You can subscribe here so you won't miss future issues.

Monday, March 19, 2012

On Seeing (take 3)

(via The Citrus Report)

I couldn't agree more. This pretty much sums up why I will always prefer hand-drawn, hand-painted, handmade...because in that spot where the line isn't perfect, there's a heartbeat, an exhale, a personality. My favorite paintings are often those with visible brushstrokes, where you see the path of the artist's hand. Everything they put into that work of art is right there on the canvas. I'm not against modernization, and I know that technology affords amazing possibilities for artists. But I never feel as emotionally connected with digital art or animation where no hands got dirty in the making, so to speak.

And even though I know Margaret Kilgallen is speaking about art here, seeing beauty in imperfection is a good philosophy for life, no? Think how much happier we'd all be if we learned to love our perceived waverings.

Read the first On Seeing and take 2.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Scenes from Life

It's hard to tell in this photo, but I'm wearing my necklace from Heather.

I've been making whale cards lately to send with orders, a bit like my shop button on the sidebar. I guess Cousteau has become an unofficial mascot for my shop.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Indoor Fireworks

I mentioned last week that I had completed a large embroidery project, and this is it! A photographer based in Florida named Yami contacted me to request a custom photo backdrop with an embroidered fireworks theme. She sent me a rough sketch of what she had in mind and then left the rest up to me. I knew she would be using it for infant portraits so my goal was to make it fun and colorful and spontaneous, without attracting too much attention away from the subjects (as it is meant to be a backdrop after all).

It was challenging and time-consuming to cover such a large piece (the final size was 36" x 30"), but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. And more importantly, Yami was happy with it! I'm so flattered that she chose me to work on this project because her photos are gorgeous. Check out some of her infant portraits here. (The one with the baby propped up on the telephone--gah, I can't even talk about it. It's so cute!)

Also, as you can see I've rediscovered playing with my camera out of focus. Sometimes, it works and something magic happens. Other times, it just looks like you don't know how to operate your camera. I'm shooting for the former, obviously. (Get it? Shooting? Ok, I made myself groan with that one.) Anyhoo, I'm trying to challenge myself to take more interesting photos, so if anyone has any recommendations or photo idea prompts, please share! xo, Mary

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

There's No Place Like Here

There's No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books from Etsy on Vimeo.

I love the idea of a secret bookshop. It seems like a quiet refuge tucked away from the brazen clamor of city life. And all those stories waiting to be read!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Scenes from Life

Whenever I have a spare minute, I've been winding my embroidery floss on bobbins and organizing them by color. It's immensely satisfying to see all those pretty colors begin to line up in rows. Also, I completed a large custom embroidery project a few weeks ago, which I'll blog about next week.

 A surprise delivery of pretty pinks and sunny yellows.

A rainy day outfit. And, no, I'm not really a giant, but I do sometimes forget that I am indeed a bit too tall to stand so close to the camera.

A vintage pin and vintage-inspired ring make the 80-year-old lady who lives in my heart very happy.

We ate at a Mexican restaurant downtown that turned out to not really be Mexican at all.

I did like the Oaxacan animals though. That reminds me: I used to have an Oaxacan peacock years ago. I wonder where he wandered off to?

Happy weekend!
xo, Mary

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Description of a Lost Thing


It never had a name,
Nor do I remember how I found it.
I carried it in my pocket
Like a lost button
Except it wasn’t a button.

Horror movies,
All-night cafeterias,
Dark barrooms
And poolhalls,
On rain-slicked streets.

It led a quiet, unremarkable existence
Like a shadow in a dream,
An angel on a pin,
And then it vanished.
The years passed with their row

Of nameless stations,
Till somebody told me this is it!
And fool that I was,
I got off on an empty platform
With no town in sight.

-Charles Simic

Tuesday, March 6, 2012