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DIY Weekend

16 Jan

So I’m having a do-it-yourself -ish weekend. Which involves a little bit of doing and a lot of just scrolling through miles of DIY/craft/design blogs and wishing I had the savoir faire to actually complete all those nifty products.

Here’s a good link from the website of one of my favorite magazines, Readymade:

More substatianal posts to come, I promise. At the moment I am knee-deep in reading for classes…more on that later.


Voila! A Mysterious New Look.

13 Nov

As I come up on finals week it seems I’m finding every excuse to do anything other than what I am supposed to be doing- a widespread affliction among students, which I have unfortunately caught. Case in point: the blog. It’s really just new fonts and a new banner, but I think it does wonders. I am especially fond of the new font for the post headings- loving the cursive look.

The banner up top is also new. While I was loathe to part with my lovely green-umbrella-holding Monet woman, situated just-so in my banner, I was feeling the cabin fever so it was out with the old and in with the new.


Gustav Klimt is one of my absolute favorite artists. You’ll recognize him from such famous works as ‘The Kiss’ (a poster of which is right behind me as I type this), ‘Tree of Life’ and his interpretive portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. There are all kinds of stories associated with his work, maybe I’ll write up something about him in the near future. For the moment though, look at this beautiful portrait. Of course, I have a curious love of the green background (when I think Klimt I usually think golds and browns, so the green is quite different). This is gorgeous. But wait, it gets even more interesting.

On February 18, 1997, this piece was STOLEN from the Galleria Ricci Oddi in Piacenza, Italy. According to Simon Houpt, author of Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft (Now on the reading list),  “Although the painting was stolen February 18, the theft was not discovered until the 22nd. The gallery was closed for renovations and some paintings had been removed, so guards assumed the Klimt had been put in storage. Investigations revealed that the thief climbed onto the roof, opened a skylight, and then used a fishing line to hook the painting off the wall! The frame was found abandoned on the roof.” The painting is estimated to be worth around $4 million. How shocking! The story adds some intrigue to the banner- I almost feel like I should add a, “Have you seen this woman?” tagline.

So, I’m pumped about the new look, but I want to know what you think. Comment below or, choose your poison in this poll:

Home Sweet Apartment and Bon Voyage!

4 Sep

Greetings from Chicago, Illinois

Salutations from the Windy City! Today, I moved into my first real, honest-to-goodness apartment in my kind of town, Chicago, IL. What a step up from dorm life- this apartment was a stroke of luck if I ever had one. It is picture perfect, cozy- yet spacious, and of course comes complete with a lovely roommate! What more could a girl want.

So, after putting kitchen utensils in drawers, lightbulbs in sockets and other such move-in day activities, I finally was able to get down to business decorating my room. Posters, painted canvases (canvi?), plants, pillows (apparently I have a thing for P-words?)- so far so good. I’m still deciding where everything goes- but it’s shaping up quite nicely.

One thing I haven’t quite found a place for yet is my wall calendar- a 16 month vintage travel poster. Now, I love me some vintage anything and I love me some world travel anything. So, it’s perfect. Being more than a few months into 2010, I decided it was time to take a pair of scissors to the thing and make myself a series of tiny (6″ x 10″ish) travel posters. So, in honor of my move in, here’s a taste of my apartment decor with a few of my favorite vintage travel posters (the first three are from the calendar- the rest posters I wish were also in the calendar).

My favorite! This is featured in the center of my carefully constructed bulletin board (a key feature of any good bedroom). I love the colors!

Another French poster- are you noticing a trend? Regardless, this is very Gatsby.

Mmm, ok, this may be my favorite. I want to go to there.

My favorite colors!

Looking good Palestine!

Getting there is half the fun!

As usual, I could go on and on and on…love. it.

Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park

7 Aug

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This May, I had the awesome opportunity to be a guest on the Frank Lloyd Wright housewalk in Oak Park.  Some may remember my interest in Wright and Oak Park was sparked by the book Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. After reading the book I looked into prices for the annual housewalk. Unfortunately, it was well out of my budget. Luckily, a friend of mine had some Oak Park connections (aka grandparents) who were able to take us for free as guests on the nighttime volunteer tour. Needless to say, it was splendid. See photos I took above. Please note that some of the houses are Wright’s and some are not- the tour was focused on Wright but included other notable Oak Park architecture.

Being inside a Wright house is very interesting. Due to the historical and artistic value of the homes, the owners are bound by a set of restrictions  in order to keep the house as near to the condition Wright intended it to be as possible. When I say owners, I also mean residents. Yes, these gorgeous historic houses are occupied year round by couples, families and individuals who own the houses. And yes, it is a rather odd experience to walk past an architectural masterpiece and see Finding Nemo playing on the big screen TV in the living room.

But I guess that’s what beautiful about Wright’s work- every square inch of house includes just as much utility as it does beauty.

(Notes on pictures: The brown house shaped like a triangle in the front is Wright’s home and studio, the one Victorian style house was not on the tour, I included it as a contrast to the Wright-influenced architecture.)

Inception’s Nod to the [Greek] Gods

27 Jul

In Christopher Nolan’s Inception, actress Ellen Page plays architect Ariadne. First of all, I love that name. If I marry a remotely Greek man, Ariadne definitely makes the baby name list.

If you haven’t seen Inception, I’m not going to attempt an explanation. (I’ll leave that to IMDb.) Suffice it to say, it’s about building and exploring dreams.

In Inception, Ariadne (Ellen Page) is studying architecture in Paris (cool!) when she is recruited by Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) to help with constructing dream scapes.

In Greek mythology, Ariadne, like many of her compatriots, is a variety of things in different evolutions of her story.

Here are a few fun facts about the mythological Ariadne…

1. The name ‘Ariadne’ is rooted in the Greek word àgni –which means ‘the most holy’ – also similar to the Latin agnus for lamb.

2. One story has Ariadne falling in love with and helping the hero Theseus  find and fight the minotaur in her father’s twisted cavernous mazes.

3. Ariadne appears in Homer’s The Odyssey – she is mentioned as having been abducted and taken to the island of Dia-where Artemis killed her out of pity for her unhappiness with Theseus- this version of her story is less common.

Ariadne at Naxos by John Williams Waterhouse

4. In some versions of her myth, she remains with Theseus, in others she becomes unhappy with Theseus and is rescued by the god Dionysus.

Ariadne and Dionysus

5. As a Cyprian version of the story goes, Theseus’ marriage to Ariadne forged a friendship between Crete and Athens- but on the couple’s journey back to Athens their ship runs aground on Cyprus where Ariadne dies in childbirth.

6. Some stories place Ariadne farther back in chronology than Theseus, having her become Dionysus’ bride before he mounts Olympus. In this version she dies in battle and Dionysus rescues her from the underworld.

7. Ariadne is the goddess of labyrinths- both literal and figurative- the goddess of twisted paths. She is also associated with the spiral motion.

“She represents tangled issues and their untangling, deep, core issues, and the dark secret at the center of the maze, that to be healed, must be brought out to light.” (Thalia

Which brings us back to Inception. Ariadne as the architect in Inception has the task of creating a dreamworld that resembles a maze. Physical anomalies, sharp twists and turns- created with precision and a clear head- that is the Ariadne of the movie’s job…quite similar to the mythical Ariadne’s navigation of the Minotaur’s maze.

Nice touch, Christopher Nolan, Bravo.

Judging Books By Their Covers

24 Jul

Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover

So goes the old adage, and usually I am hesitant to criticize anything with the implied sageness of an ‘adage’t. However, in this particular case, I would like to make a small revision.


Now, I am not suggesting that this is a hard and fast rule. As with human fashionistas, a fancy jacket is not necessarily indicative of an equally fancy interior. In fact, I have read many a incredible story off the yellowed pages of a tattered paperback. But I guess that is just my point, even if the cover consists of nothing more than a piece of frayed cardboard, the composition, shape, size and cover of a book really do make a difference. So, I’ve decided to do a bit of a fashion piece on some of my favorite literary sartorial connoisseurs…

Let’s start with a classic: leather-bound, gold-leafed, like the little black dress- when done correctly – this never goes out of style. Perfect for a great romantic like Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre.

I love this iconic edition of Gone With the Wind. The hard binding really contributes to the heft of the 1,037 page book. I love the font, the very vintage color scheme and illustration down in front. The best part is, this cover art is so readily available in stores like Borders or Barnes and Nobles where many classic books get nothing more than the ‘Penguin Classics’ paperback cover.

I found these copies of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (circa 1975-80) in my grandma’s basement in sixth grade and promptly devoured them. While there are much grander copies in existance I’m sure. These yellowed paperbacks will always be my favorites!

There is something so appealing about the turquoise, white and red color-combo in Julia Child’s famous cookbook. Not to mention I’m always a sucker for fleur di lis- especially tiny ones. I feel like I need to own this, even just to look at it.

And now I feel bad for disparaging Penguin Classics. This copy of Anna Karenina is not only beautiful- an exquisitely subtle reference to the book’s subject. It is also the best kind of paperback- that heavy matte-glossed kind that feels like it has scotch tape all over it.

As probably to definitely creepy as this cover of Madeline L’Engle’s sci-fi classic A Wrinkle in Time is, I’ve always loved the visual. I especially love Mrs. Whatsit and compatriots in the background.

Having read the entire Aeneid in my Latin IV class in high school, I continue to be grateful to Mr. Fagles for providing such a readable translation. This copy is sitting on my bookshelf looking a little tired. I love the bright red contrasted with the black and white of that awesome image of Aeneas carrying his father out of Troy.

Take a gander at that. I can’t think of much that is more rip-roaring than that copy right there. Any child wandering a library and taking this off the shelf is in for quite the adventure!

As much as I love actress Anne Hathaway, I was so disappointed when I heard she had been cast as the heroine of this preteen favorite of mine because the Ella of this cover had become the Ella of the novel for me.

At the risk of overdoing it, I am going to stop here- I could go on and on about my favorite covers- The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, etc., etc. but that will be for another day.

Also for another day, look forward to a post showing the brilliant illustration from my beloved copy of Pride and Prejudice

The Van Gogh I Didn’t Know.

22 Jul

Starry night, missing ear, sunflower, red hair, blah, blah, blah…while I love the Gogh-ian classics, I often find that the majesty of the art almost gets lost in the cliche of it all. While reading Little Einsteins: Van Gogh’s World of Colors to a 1.5 year old acquaintance of mine, I was struck by the fact that I am unfamiliar with the greater portion of Van Gogh’s great volume of work.

So, I decided to do some poking around on ze interweb- and I ended up rediscovering an artist I thought I knew. Not only did I find some awesome works of art- I also found some awesome Van Gogh quotes and some interesting tidbits about the life of the man who has become so firmly entrenched in popular culture.

“But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.” -VVG

“I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream.” -VVG

Van Gogh had an older brother who died at birth who was also named Vincent.

“One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.” -VVG

Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” while staying in an insane asylum

In a period of 10 years Van Gogh painted about 900 paintings

“I am always hoping to make a discovery here, to express the feelings of two lovers by a marriage of two complementary colors, their minglings and their oppositions, the mysterious vibrations of kindred tones.” – VVG

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