Wednesday, July 29, 2009

an ode to flat-faced dogs, part trois.

okay, so i've basically already forced everyone who reads this blog to watch this video, but since i watch it approximately three times per day, i thought it would be worth preserving here. i found it via cute overload.

Monday, July 27, 2009

book love.

as you may be aware, i am practically incapable of cooking. it's not like i want to be that way, it's just that i am too tightly wound to get all free-spirited in the kitchen. i don't like making mistakes or do-overs. plus i live alone, and that does not bode well for any baked goods that might issue from my kitchen. well, it bodes well for the baked goods but not for my hips. still, i love a good cookbook. and by good i mean it must be lavishly illustrated and devoid of detailed instructions for deboning some piece of meat. tessa kiros's apples for jam may be my favorite cookbook OF ALL TIME. i cannot wait for her newest book, venezia, to come out in september.

who could resist those red shoes on the cover? and yes, m.d., you'll notice a surprisingly pleasant combination of pink and red. this cookbook is a combination of recipes and memories, and it is organized by color, which is pretty much the snazziest thing ever.
here are some more snapshots of its interior.

each chapter starts with a list of recipes for that color and a photo or two. here's brown with a photo of the family dog and a few doodles by tessa's children.

and then each chapter has a memory for that color. and here you see a chocolate loaf. a LOAF OF CHOCOLATE, people.

i love this photo combination. that's raspberry ripple ice cream from the stripes chapter. (and the vertical stripes in the photo are courtesy of my blinds.)

um, yeah. i don't think i need to say anything here.

there are little passages of handwritten text throughout the book, and i love tessa's script. they're often paired with the children's illustrations. the kids are given credit on the title page with this endearing notation "illustrations by the mice." i love it, almost as much as i love these little horses.

what it comes down to is that i want to show you all the photographs and illustrations and recipes in this book, but that's not exactly feasible. so please go buy it so we can gush over it endlessly. thanks, and you never know, maybe i'll get all crazy in the kitchen as a result of tessa kiros's cookbook genius.

Friday, July 24, 2009

inherited no. 3

grandmother, katherine, and me
(i'm the one wearing the sweatband, yes, i said sweatband.)

my grandmother was probably my first best friend. hers was the second phone number i learned, after my own, and i loved to call her and discuss the merits of sesame street. besides spoiling me completely rotten, what i remember most about my grandmother was long conversations about whatever suited our fancy. when i spent the night my grandaddy was relegated to the guest bedroom, and she and i would stay up late trading words in the dark, in the same house that my father had nearly burned down as a teenager. (he wasn't kidding about coming home shooting and yelling.) my grandmother died in 1994, when i was twelve, and the loss seems somehow magnified with each passing year. how i would love to dial 236-6182 and hear her voice on the other end! i want to have the luxury of knowing her as a person, not just as my grandmother. i have a few things that help me out in this department, and one of my favorites is this, her box of rembrandt pastels, which i never knew existed until after her death. (and i am thankful to m.d. for noticing them and bringing them home when we cleaned out her house.)

the box is wooden and stained and clearly BEAUTIFUL. there's even a little dutchman sitting in the corner holding a pastel the size of his body. why don't pastels come in such snazzy packaging these days? even more lovely than the outside, though, is the inside:

there are rows of dusty pastels, tattered wrappers and broken bits, well worn by time and use. when i was little i knew my grandmother liked to draw, but it wasn't until she was gone that i came to understand that it was more than just a hobby. she studied and read and practiced and filled notebooks with directives, and now that i'm older, now that i know how dear drawing is to my own heart, it is comforting to think that there is yet another thread of kinship stringing us together. she and i, you see, we would still be best friends. i leave you with my favorite photo of muriel, in happy days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

sweet treat

sometimes you just need to watch something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. feist, on sesame street, with penguins, monsters, and chickens. love.

an ode to flat-faced dogs, part deux.

image from silocurb's etsy shop

oh how i wish i had snagged this little frenchie figurine from silocurb's etsy shop. i saw it, favorited it, and then it was gone. i'm not normally a fan of figurines, but this one is just too perfect. luckily, the listing indicated it was made by erphila in germany, so i am always on the lookout for another one. one day, little pup, you will be mine.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

a to the z...p is for pollaiuolo!

so, we all know that i like art, and i like systems of order. that means i was thinking i might do a little alphabet-based series of my favorite artists, because that is SO original. watch out, sister wendy. as i was thinking about the artists i might choose, i started to get overwhelmed. i mean, how am i to choose between bellmer, balla, botticelli, and bernini? and that's just the first four "b" names i came up with. i am therefore trying to narrow it down a bit by choosing artists whose work has profoundly affected me in some way. like in a walk into the gallery and want to die from awesomeness kind of way. and because i don't feel like writing about any of my "a" options, i'm getting a little crazy with it and starting with "p." (does this make using the alphabet kind of pointless?)

p is a nice letter. you know what starts with p? pollaiuolo. yeah, sesame street, you just try and sound that one out. take that, elmo. anyway, want to see what pollaiuolo looks like?

image from wright, the pollaiuolo brothers

before i assault you with a description of how jaw-dropping this work is, i just want to say that i scanned this image out of a ten-pound tome, and it was all for YOU. on to our pal antonio, who never receives the credit he is due, poor man. p was rocking it in the late fifteenth century in florence, and to be honest, i never thought that much about him until i was studying drawings at the uffizi and this one landed on the table in front of me. i loved it from the moment i saw it, and i continue to fight for its relevance with a vehemence i never thought i'd feel for pollaiuolo. please, dear and beloved reader, please click on the image so you can at least see it larger for a moment. then come back to me so that i can tell you that each line is almost incised into the paper, sketchy but sure, executed with a rapidity rarely found in drawing of this time. the subject matter helps, it's saint john the baptist, all decked out in his animal skins, looking, um, ascetic to say the least. the stroke of the pen, the quickness of the hand mirror the intense emotional tenor of the saint -- the image almost seems to vibrate. if you could only see the density of lines in the face, if you could see the way the tiniest dashes of ink create a face that is read as rugged and worn from the elements and the passage of time. this drawing rocks my world not just because it's aesthetically pleasing, but also because it's the kind of drawing that you can feel being drawn, you can see pollaiuolo thinking on the page, the hand and the mind skirmishing a bit, a little here, a little there. to have this drawing sitting on the table in front of me, in the city of its making, with nothing but the sacred air of the uffizi to separate us, is practically a religious experience for me. for a moment my pen could be pollaiuolo's. i am home, i understand.

and now you see why i'm writing a dissertation on this whole business, because obviously i can't shut up. if i keep at it, no one is going to read this blog, even people who are obligated to read it. i am talking to you, m.d. forgive me, i just love it so, and that can't be a bad thing, right?

soundtrack: matt & kim; sophie chewing on her bone

Friday, July 17, 2009

the stewart girls

after my sister katherine was born, my mom, sister, and i were collectively known as the stewart girls. we did everything together. my mom was even crazy enough to take two children under the age of ten on extremely long road trips by herself. it's a good thing i was there to be annoyingly bossy. right now my sister is visiting my mom in alabama, and i wish i were there.

as to the above photograph, i never gave much thought to the massive map that was plastered on our living room wall when i was little, but now i think it must have been pretty awesome. luckily you are not being subjected to any visual evidence of the burnt orange crush velvet pit group on which we are sitting. also, see that quilt i'm snuggling with lovingly? yeah, that disappeared, and someone claims to have no knowledge of its fate. hmm. please note the adorableness of sleeping katherine aka katosaurus rex.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

anxiously awaiting...

the posting of this print on giant robot's webshop:

(photo from boygirlparty)

i love, love, love the way susie ghahremani draws. it's a boston terrier on a bike with a cat in his basket and they are wearing SCARVES. it seriously gives me the warm fuzzies.

Monday, July 13, 2009

inherited no. 2

my father, wearing some really unfortunate pants

as i was considering what sorts of things i might include among this collection of inheritances, i realized the list was getting quite long (and grows still). which is a nice feeling, actually, to be surrounded by things that once belonged to people i love. i thought i might begin with a most meager of inheritances, a letter from my father to his parents, scrawled in little boy cursive handwriting on tissue thin tracing paper. i should also say that, somewhere along the line, i became the treasurer of all the family photos and documents. not because my mom didn't want them, but because i pretty much demanded control of any material goods that preserved our familial history. (and now they're all labeled and filed away in acid free envelopes with family trees hand drawn on the back. and no, i don't need therapy.) i can't imagine life without all of these smelly old papers and crinkled photographs. if i didn't have them, i wouldn't be able to post embarrassing photos of my father on the internets.

this letter from camp reads: "dear father and mother, i am enjoying my stay here. i bought myself [a] davy crockett t-shirt and two dragnet pistols. [ed. note: pistols?!?] monday i rode ponys [sic]. tuesday i rode [a] pony and went to a picnic. wensday [sic] i went to stone mountain and the zoo. i took pictures of stone mountain and the animals in the zoo. i am a member of the davy crockett club. because davy came to atlanta. i am also a member of the dragnet club. i will bring doug [ed. note: his older brother] something back if i can. your loving son, scott p.s. i'll be coming home shooting and yelling."

ah, just what every parent wants to hear. also please note the artfully drawn floral motif directly above this threatening postscript. i love this letter, of course in part because it's a window into my father's childhood, and who doesn't enjoy that? but it's also that my father's letters to me when i was a child are one of the few things i have left of him. i can confirm that his correspondence remained charming and spunky, even forty years after he penned this epistle to his parents.

and because it's awesome, here is my father mounting what appears to be a triceratops:

i am feeling a bit self-indulgent (i guess i should feel that way by virtue of having a blog), but feel free to rein me in if i get too indulgent. xoxo.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

an ode to flat-faced dogs, part one.

you already know this about me, but i'll say it anyway: i love flat-faced dogs. boston terriers top the list, but i'm also continually charmed by frenchies, pugs, boxers, bulldogs, and any combination thereof. what do you get when you have an obsession with smooshy faces and paper goods? paper goods featuring smooshy faces, such as this painfully adorable letterpress card by sycamore street press:

here it is all framed up and ready to be hung, because i want to look at this EVERY SINGLE DAY. look at that face.

just so we're clear, there are a few reasons why i love the brachycephalic breeds. it all began with the much beloved monsieur mickerdoodle.

that's right, people, mick is here pictured sporting an anthropologie sweater.

two of my greatest loves, mister puppy and hedgie.

and then came romey-roo, the dearest of dears.

sorry, i realize the above photo probably caused you to convulse with shock. never fear, it's just milo the kilo. he has a complex about his flat face and once tried to take off my nose to level the playing field.

and then there was sophie aka soph-a-doph. forty pounds of flat-faced goodness.

sometimes she's a bit of a coy critter.

don't worry, as much as i enjoy captioning photographs of my pets with ridiculous dialogue, i will not morph into a doggyblogger. i just thought we'd get the introductions out of the way. stay tuned for additional odes. xoxo.

listening to: regina spektor, 'dance anthem of the 80s'

Friday, July 10, 2009

coeur de pirate love

i love coeur de pirate intensely. i very rarely know about what she's singing, but no she is covering 'umbrella' with julien dore. lovely, lovely.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

inherited no. 1

as i was thinking about things we might discuss, i realized i would really like to document all the amazing things i've inherited over the course of my twenty-seven years. it would be nice if i could pretend that things aren't really that important, but the truth is, i LOVE my material possessions, especially ones that have a history. really, the idea of cataloging my inheritances satisfies two desires, the first being to talk about beloved objects, the other to document, document, document. my grandfather was a genealogist, and it seems that his tendency to research, organize, and preserve was most definitely passed down. so, here is my first inheritance, and one that has taken way too long to become functional.

suffice to say that i am not the best photographer in the world. (attention m.d. aka mommerdoodle, why is this so yucky? please assist.) suzannah, my employer and friend, gave me this little turquoise lamp awhile back. isn't it darling? but it didn't have a shade, and that presented a problem that ballooned into "the neverending and absolutely ingratiating quest for a lampshade with appropriate parts." finally i ordered a burlap lampshade from one of our vendors, thinking this would be perfetto. yeah, measuring first would have been good. the lampshade was way too tall for this petite little lamp, here accompanied by a crispina recycled sweater chick and kata golda turtle tea cup. i don't think of myself as someone who typically goes ninja on household projects, but i got a wild hair and started decimating the lampshade. basically, i shortened it, which entailed purchasing double fold bias tape and approximately seven different types of adhesive. it's not perfect, but its imperfections are fairly negligible, which means i can finally use this lamp! it's only been lying dormant in my closet for a year. i should go ninja more often.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

i heart marimekko.

most cool people love marimekko. as a cool person myself, i can vouch for this. there's this neato shop called always mod, and they claim to be "everything marimekko." they do seem to have every possible marimekko product, from napkins to tshirts, shower curtains to duvet covers, fabric by the yard to keychains. i've never actually been to a brick and mortar store that had this much marimekko, but every summer i usually visit a shop called linn-sui in rome. they have lots of marimekko, and i'm guilty of hauling away tons of it every time i'm there. (of course, i also accidentally bought three bars of 16 euro felted eastern european soap last time. the accident was not knowing i was about to pay approximately $32 for soap.) anyway, back to the subject at hand, marimekko. here's what i'm loving at always mod:

um, i think this is awesome. if i were more inclined towards the ridiculous, i would own this. i mean, it's a giant shark belly. on your bed. but what i seriously want is this in duvet form:

this is probably one of my all time favorite marimekko prints, kaiku. as i am currently searching for a new and PERFECT duvet cover, i would really appreciate it if marimekko could make me one. lest you think i'm being deprived of this particular print, i should admit, in the interest of full disclosure, that i own this shower curtain, tea towel, and mug. but i would gladly sacrifice it all for a duvet cover.

speaking of marimekko mugs, here's one i actually purchased from always mod. i really love this calf design. look how spritely he is.

so stunning. i love how the design maintains the appearance of being hand drawn, the sketchy contour lines of the cows.

i'm very tempted by this kippis tray. i love marimekko trays. don't tell anyone, but i already have two. i picked up a bottna one in rome a few years ago.

egad, egad. i think i must have these kanteleen postcards. i love the folk aesthetic that has pervaded all things designy these days. and the tea towels! oh, how i love tea towels!

always mod, you are frightfully dangerous.

and thank you, helen, my audience of one, for reading. even if you are always my one and only reader, i am glad to be documenting these things that i love, and i'm glad you are here. also, remember how some blogs used to have a little "listening to" part of each post? well, here's mine:

listening to: thao, we brave bee stings and all

and p.s. all of these photos, less the the calf mug perched atop gone with the wind, are borrowed in a friendly way from

Saturday, July 4, 2009

your love saves my day

i'm off to an impressive start here, but i feel certain this momentum is not sustainable.

so i sort of have this problem, it's an etsy problem. more specifically it's that i have 69 pages of favorite sellers. it's obscene, and i really mean that. still, despite having more favorite sellers than i know what to do with, i have a few favorites among the favorites, such as pearl and marmalade. hello, awesome name. here's my most recent purchase:

painfully adorable is the only acceptable way to describe this letterpress print. every time i see it, it saves my day.

is this thing on?

i am admittedly a bit late to this game. i've considered having a blog before and even went so far as to set one up a few years ago. it was called paper and polaroids. i never posted a single time, and then polaroid stopped making film. it seemed a bit disingenuous to have a blog whose title suggested there were going to be polaroids, when, in fact, there were increasingly few polaroids.

so i'm giving this a whirl now, mostly because i'm inspired by my pals' blogs, a pocket novel and the museum cupboard. these are two of my dearies in real life, and really, who wouldn't want to be like them? i am a total copycat. it's a good thing they sort of like me.

one of the biggest reasons i haven't ever blogged is because i am intimidated by the idea of coming up with a good blog name. that's right, i exiled myself from the blogosphere over a title. over the past couple of weeks i have been considering coming out of exile, and then this morning as i looked around my room and pondered witty phrases that might somehow describe me in a limited number of characters, i knew exactly what i wanted to be called on the internets. nevermind that some french blog already had my url, i was not deterred. so here i am, no day without a line. don't be frightened, it seems highly unlikely that i will actually post a line here everyday, but "no day without a line" is one of my favorite combinations of words in the whole wide world. it comes from pliny's natural history, when he's getting down with the ancient artists and writing about how apelles never let a day pass without drawing a line. this is exactly how i want to live my life (and since i'm about to start my seventh year of graduate school, how i *need* to live my life). you can take the phrase to mean all manner of things, but in the end it reminds me to never let a day pass without remembering what i love, whether that means typing out sentences for the dissertation or writing a postcard to a friend. no day without a line.

let's see what happens, shall we?