Friday, August 29, 2014

Scenes from Life

Late summer walks in the garden have been bittersweet this year. Everything is gorgeous, and for the first time in my life, I don't want summer to end! Fall has always been my favorite season, but I've never experienced a summer like this before. We've still had plenty of hot and humid days, of course...this is DC after all. But there've been so many days that were really lovely...the kind of weather that puts everyone in a good mood. I really just want it to stay a little longer.

This bee kept trying to get in the window one day, and I just watched him for a while, fascinated. This little bee is actually what inspired me to make this notebook.

My latest library book. I've not gotten very far in it. I took it outside to read on the back patio, but the afternoon sun and breeze kept my mind day dreaming. :)

Happy weekend, everyone! Hope you have a good one. xo, Mary

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Scenes from (Work) Life

Taking a break to plan out the rest of my week and flipping through Flow Magazine. It's so very pretty. I've been eyeing their website for a while now, but I'd never bought a hard copy before because it's a little pricey in the US. But the last time I was at the bookstore, I rewarded myself with this treat for checking a few things off my work to do list. Rewards are a new thing I'm trying out. I've never used a reward system as a motivational tool parents never did that growing up for good grades or good behavior or it's kind of a foreign concept to me. But it sounds like a fun way to motivate yourself to meet deadlines and accomplish goals, so why not? Anyone else do this?

I've been spending way too much time in front of my computer. I'm actually trying to find a way to spend less time on the computer and more time making stuff and drawing. I quit several Etsy teams earlier in the summer that had treasury requirements, and I'm trying to be more efficient when editing photos, doing promotional tasks, etc. I definitely don't want to stop blogging because I enjoy it too much, so I'm trying to find other ways to cut back. Any tips on how to find a balance?

If you were wondering what that pink card is on the wall in the photo above, it's actually my ticket from when we did The BIG Maze.

Here are a couple larger-sized notebooks I made that I didn't get a chance to blog about (both sold now).

I'm going to try to do more regular posts to show what I'm working on. I frequently draw or paint at night when it's too dark to take photos, but I know folks like work-in-progress posts too, so it's a goal anyway. xo, Mary

Monday, August 25, 2014

Shop Update!

I've been happy as can be scribbling away on some new notebooks lately. I added three to the shop over the weekend in dreamy pastel colors, and I've got a few more in the works that I'll list soon! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Let's Take a Walk

Here's this week's random shots. It's funny: that last photo was just a test shot (checking to make sure my camera settings were ok). Normally, I delete those shots, but I ended up liking this one. I'm not even sure why exactly, but I think it turned out better than some carefully composed and very intentional shots I've taken! I guess that's one of the joys of photography; there's always some level of unpredictability, more so with film, of course, but I think it's true of digital photography as well.

That reminds me that I have half a roll of film in my camera to use up. I'm not even sure if that camera still works, but I decided to take a roll of film anyway. I started last fall and then gave up during the ice age that was last winter. I meant to pick it back up in the spring and sort of, just, forgot. So I guess I have more shooting to do. Here's hoping we have some nice exploring weather in the next few weeks. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kitchen Update

A few people emailed me after the dining room update and asked when I would post more photos of the house. Every room is still a work in progress, but I decided to just go ahead and post them one room at a time and update the photos as we make changes. So without further ado, welcome to our kitchen! :)

The kitchen was renovated right before we bought the house, which we were thankful for despite the fact that the countertops and cabinets aren't exactly what we would've chosen if we'd been renovating ourselves. I should stress that they aren't bad at all; I actually think the warm wood cabinets complement the cool granite countertops nicely. It's just not exactly our taste, but like I said, not bad at all. We definitely looked at some what-were-they-thinking kitchens when we were house hunting. The pendant light over the island was really terrible though, and we changed that first thing. (You can see what it looked like here if you're curious.)

The one thing I didn't love (besides the light fixture) was the light green painted walls. The color has grown on me over the last (almost) two years since we bought the house, but we're still planning on repainting at some point in the future. I did go ahead and paint the back wall with chalkboard paint as that was a no-brainer and didn't require moving any appliances. I love the way it looks. There's actually only a bit of green now peeking out over the sink, the stove, and over the closets on one wall, which you can see in the top photo.

Sagaform Retro storage containers
The two retro stoneware containers are from Sagaform. I bought them from a small boutique, but you can find them lots of places online. The Russian doll is actually a set of 6 measuring cups that fit together like traditional nesting dolls. I found both those and the blue enamel storage bin at The Container Store.

Russian Doll measuring cups
Here's the whole gang. :)

We've been using the Radish hand soap from Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, and it smells so good. (Is anyone else a fan of those soaps? What's your favorite scent?) That bird tray in the corner is from IKEA, if anyone's curious.

I don't know how many years we've had that Cuisinart coffeemaker, but it's been a really long time. It still works great and makes good coffee. The paper towel holder is by simplehuman, and it works pretty well too. The sink caddy is from Joseph Joseph, and it's, by far, the best one I have ever owned. I went through so many sink caddies that rusted or fell apart over time before finding this one. It's made of plastic, so it won't rust, but it somehow manages to not look cheap and plasticky. Also, the whole thing comes apart and is dishwasher safe, though I just wash ours out in the sink. It's lasted a couple years with no problems.

Mid-century silkscreen print by Robert Darr Wert
The cute little print hanging above the sink is a silkscreen by Robert Darr Wert that we found at a flea market a couple of years ago. I'd seen his stuff at vintage shops mostly, and it was always a bit too pricey, so we were super happy to find this one for $15. Wert was a print maker and textile designer known for his mid-century modernist folk art style. I love folk art, and I love mid-century furniture and accessories, and Wert's art is like the best of both worlds.

If you're wondering what the other side of the room looks like...most of the wall is taken up by a closet that houses the washer and dryer. The striped rug is from Crate and Barrel; we bought it just after we moved in, and it's held up really well considering it's in the kitchen. I've spot-cleaned a few coffee drips here and there, and I vacuum it regularly, of course, but for the most part, it still looks great with minimal effort. The trash can is from simplehuman. I can't find the exact one we have--we did buy it three or four years ago, so it might be discontinued--but here's a similar one. I know not everyone really cares what kind of trash can they have, but I have to say, this one is pretty fantastic.

Kikkerland gingham paper straws
I'm a sucker for cute straws (haha), and there was no way I could pass up these sweet gingham straws from Kikkerland. I bought mine at a local shop, but you can find them at Paper Source too. I've heard people complain in the past that paper straws get soggy, but these are coated in beeswax so that's really not a problem. I guess they could still get soggy if you left your drink for a really long time, but it's never happened to me in the time it takes to drink a smoothie, and I drink smoothies fairly slowly to avoid the dreaded "ice cream headache." Also, they get bonus points for being biodegradable and compostable. (The solid color straws in the back are from IKEA.)

IKEA yellow cloud napkin holder
This little napkin holder is also from IKEA. I bought it last spring, I think, and it was the first napkin holder I've owned in my life. I never saw the need for one before as I guess I never used napkins all that much. But this little cloud is the cutest and was probably the best $1.99 I've ever spent at IKEA. And of course, I had to fill it with cute napkins, right? These are from Target, but only available in store.

Kitch Studios kitchen towel Etsy
I bought this kitchen towel from Kitch Studios on Etsy, and I love it. A lot of the printed tea towels I come across seem like they would be impractical to actually use and are more suited for display, but this one is 100% soft cotton, and it's absorbent and washes/dries well too.

So that's our kitchen! I hope you enjoyed this tour. :)

I'll update again if we should change anything. I do have ideas for the chalkboard wall. We will also probably tile the backsplash at some point and relocate the Wert print to another wall. And we are going to paint too...not sure what color, but definitely something brighter than the pale green that's there now.

How much else we do really depends on how long we stay in this house. Like I mentioned earlier, it was renovated right before we moved in, and even if we had the money to redo the whole kitchen right now, we wouldn't. There's so much waste in the construction industry already; we don't really want to contribute to that. If we end up staying in this house a good long while, we might think about it in the future.

I'm not going to add a source list because I think I already linked to everything above, but if I missed anything, just let me know in the comments. xo, Mary

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Cornershop by Lucy Sparrow

In today's news of my dreams, artist Lucy Sparrow has converted an abandoned corner shop in east London into an art installation completely stocked with handmade felt everything. It's open to the public from now until the end of the month. I so wish that I could be there to see it in person! I read about this installation on a few other sites but felt like I had to post about here too because FELT (*raises glitter-covered spirit fingers).

Sparrow is dealing with larger themes than omg cute felt, obviously, like asking people to think about the politics of consumption and the disappearing cornershops in London. We are dealing with the same issue in America, only we call them "mom and pop" shops. I think I've actually posted about this issue before...buying with intention, thinking about the businesses you support and why, and knowing where goods come from. (It's also possible that I wrote that post in my brain and never published it.)

The shop will also serve as a means to foster community building; Sparrow will host workshops and live sewing events too.

I know there are lots of people who make felt food and candies--that's nothing new--and there are also lots of artists who've broached the subject of a disappearing high street and consumerism, but I don't think an artist's work has to be completely groundbreaking to affect people, make them think, make them laugh, bring a bit of joy into their lives, or inspire change. And isn't that the point?

I really really wish I could walk into the shop, touch everything, and then probably buy a felt candy from the felt cash register. But the next best thing to being there in person is to order a felt item from the shop online. I feel so much nostalgia looking at pics of the felt digestive biscuits and Hobnobs, which sadly have both sold out.

If you are lucky enough to be in London during the month of August, head over to 19 Wellington Row,  London E2 7BB and let me know what it's like! :)

(via Colossal)