Monday, July 30, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012


A good reminder that in art as in life, no one way is the "right" way.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. xo, Mary

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day Tripper

A lot of my internet friends have been posting pics of their summer vacations online, and while I'm stuck in DC, that hasn't stopped me from daydreaming about taking a small trip, what I'd like to see and do. Polyvore is a terrific enabler for such fantasies as is this website full of hidden gems in and around DC.

Day Tripper

(The polyvore widget thing was acting up, so if any of these links don't work and you'd like to know where something's from, just let me know in the comments.)

So, how about you? Any trips planned in the near future or are you exploring new places in your hometown?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

(Clockwise from top left: "Jenny" by tushtush; "Ellen" by tuesday mourning; Days Like This by Fine Point Studio - Carol Hopper; Portrait by Michael Hammer; "The Boy in the Black Bow Tie" by Kiki & Polly - Lisa Golightly.)

This collection features unusual portraits in a variety of styles, all hand-drawn or painted with a sparse or somewhat unexpected use of color. My favorite thing about portraits, and these are no exception, is each unique expression captured. Even the Kiki & Polly portrait, which lacks definite facial characteristics, still conveys a certain expression. I love to study faces, to look into the subject's eyes and imagine what this person must have been thinking, what his or her life might be like. Whether the subject is real or imaginary makes no difference.

Alice Neel (who is probably most known for her portraits) said, "Whether I'm painting or not, I have this overweening interest in humanity. Even if I'm not working, I'm still analyzing people." When I read that it rang true for me too. Despite the fact that I'm an introvert, I'm very interested in people. A good portrait can tell you so much about a person, don't you think?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Scenes from Life

These are the berry tarts I made for the 4th of July. The heart cupcake liners aren't exactly patriotic I guess, but much more me. :)

Pancakes and eggs at Luna Grill...right before they were in my belly.

I guess I've been into all things berry lately. I love these mini ice creams; they're the perfect size.

I'm trying to eat more salads lately...good for when it's too hot to stand over the stove/oven. In this one, I added avocado, hard-boiled egg, feta, spinach and other greens with a pomegranate vinaigrette.

We've had lots of rain and thunderstorms lately, as we always do in the summer. From our window, we can see planes taking off from the airport, and it always freaks me out a little to see planes ascending amid lightening bolts.  I know the pilots wouldn't take off if there were any real danger, but it looks terrifying from our vantage point.

Actually, the last two flights I took had terrible turbulence, and since then I've developed kind of a flying phobia, which I never had before. Any tips on how to calm nerves before a flight (I mean aside from taking some sort of meds)?

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Book Fair Kit

I ordered a book fair kit from Kate for my 6-year-old niece, Maddie, and I couldn't wait to share it with you guys. I'm not gonna lie, I kind of turned into a ball of giggles and squee as I pulled out each sticker, bookmark, and scented pencil. Peter had to remind me that I bought this for my niece and not myself. I loved book fairs when I was a kid, and um, I guess I still do! Maddie just signed up for her first library card at the beginning of the summer, and she's so excited about reading; I know she will love this kit. Each one comes with a vintage classic kid's book, and Kate let me pick Beezus and Ramona (she has lots of titles to choose from). Now I just have to find something to send to Maddie's younger brothers; you know how it can't send something to just one or there might be tears.

Check out Kate's other shops too...Flapper Doodle, sweet & lovely, and Puns Intended. She's one busy and talented lady!

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!! xo, Mary

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rose Bertin would approve

I was searching on Etsy for my latest Instant Art Collection when I came across these fantastic illustrations by Elizabeth Ocean from her Le Chapeau series. I could not pick a favorite--they are all too delicious--so I decided they deserved their own post. I love all the pomp and circumstance of the Marie Antoinette style paired with silly oversize edible chapeaus. That so many seem to be teetering this way or that, even spilling their contents over the side, makes them all the better somehow.

Each print is available with or without the hand-lettered title. (The titles are pretty great too, such as "Le Chapeau de Spaghetti et des Boulettes de Viande," which translates to "The Spaghetti and Meatballs Hat"...but it sounds better in French, doesn't it? Actually, I think a literal translation would be "The Hat of Spaghetti and of Balls of Meat," which is cracking me up right now. But alas, I'm easily entertained.

Anyway, these would be perfect for anyone who loves style and fashion combined with a bit of whimsy, and really, who doesn't?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Scenes from Life

We spent a lazy day in Old Town recently. Actually, I had a whole list of places and shops I wanted to visit, but it was hot as blazes. And so we abandoned my list about halfway down in favor of ice cream, sitting by the water, and milling around inside Torpedo Factory Art Center. An impromptu dance party broke out at a photography show opening while we were there, and it was hilarious. Too bad I didn't get photos of that. I found a couple of artists I really liked, but I'll save that for another post.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. xo, Mary

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

(Clockwise from top left: collage/painting by Karine L├ęger; textured pottery vase by White Earth Studio; paper necklace by Elsa Mora; string painting by Andrea Rogers; and "Plumed Bird of Paradise" by Aly Parrott.)

If you're the type of person who secretly wants to touch all of the art in the museum, this is the collection for you! (I mean, really, who hasn't wanted to run their fingers along a smooth marble statue, or grab hold of a wooley fiber art piece hanging on the wall?)

I love texture, and I get excited when I see artists mixing traditional "craft" with "high art." All of these pieces share a natural, organic feel...a rawness paired with precision. I feel compelled to note these are all women artists as well. In the 1970s, feminist artists went a long way to prove that craft was not "lesser" because it was so-called "women's work" or work made in the home...that craft need not be purely functional. This discussion is ongoing in the art world, though now I see more and more male artists exploring traditional craft media as well, and I hope it's losing some of the stigma.

When a piece of art affects you completely, when you leave an exhibit and keep thinking about it for days, it doesn't matter what media the artist used to get the message across. In my opinion, there's no high or low art, only successful or unsuccessful, in terms of whether the artist achieved what he or she was trying to do, and how it impacts viewers. And of course, objects or art pieces that are simply beautiful on their own need no classification.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I recently bought Pattern by Orla Kiely and thought I'd share a peek inside. It's no secret I love just about everything in her brand, season after season. Every once in a while, you come across a designer that fits perfectly with your personal aesthetic, perhaps what you're already making if you're a creative type, or perhaps the silhouettes and colors and patterns you wear or decorate your space with, and for me that's Orla Kiely.

I expected it to be full of glossy images of her products over the years and, of course, lots of juicy pattern inspiration. But there's also interesting info on Kiely's background, the history of the brand, and what inspires her work. I don't know why, but I was surprised to find out that Kiely continued working for other brands for years after she started her own company. I know lots of designers work for other brands as well, but she seemed to be successful from the start. I guess it's a good reminder that name recognition and sales do not necessarily equal lots of money, at least initially.

Anyway, if you are like me and are inspired by patterns with a bold graphic element and retro color palettes, I highly recommend this book!