gallery walls

I hope you all had a great weekend. We did, for sure. It started with my daughter’s first ever dance recital on Saturday. It was easliy one of the longest days I can remember, as my daughter and I were backstage for at least 4 hours before her 2 minute routine went on, which was followed by about another hour of routines/award ceremonies. But as much as I complained about how long the day was, it was so worth it. Watching my daughter get up on stage (she refused to during her dress rehearsal the day before), made me so happy. I found myself getting emotional. Emotional because I was so proud of her, because she was having so much fun and it was so cute to see, and because I realized just how fast she’s growing up. It feels like just yesterday she was learning how to walk. Sigh. Then on Sunday, we spent the whole day pool side, and as a result I look like I’m covered in a nasty red rash. I am horrible at applying sunscreen evenly (same goes for self-tanner), so my sunburn is in bits and pieces. I look awesome and feel even better.

The other thing we did this weekend was to create a gallery wall of sorts in our living room. I have long been an admirer of cool, funky art. And an even bigger admirer of grouping cool, funky art together. I’ve been collecting pieces here and there, but didn’t have enough to put together the look I wanted. Until this weekend. I had ordered three pieces from Made by Girl (http://www.madebygirl.com), a site that has great art and accessories. With those last few pieces, I had enough to make a cool grouping. After getting frames, I was ready to hang everything up. I already had some art on the wall I wanted to use, so I took everything down to start on a clean slate. I laid out all the art on the floor to get an idea of how they should hang. I played around with it a bit, and then put the hubby to work. Here’s how we roll on a Friday night:

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And here is the finished product:

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I’m so happy with the way it turned out. The photographs on the end (with the gray frames) were an afterthought-I wanted the art to take up a bigger space, so I took the photographs off of another wall and included them in the grouping. I actually rather like the variation that the gray wood frames add. I had been wanting to do something like this for awhile and have been collecting Pinterest images of different art groupings. It’s interesting to see how other people achieve a similar look. Some people use frames that are all the same color to give the art a very cohesive look. Some use art all in the same color palette. And some groupings have no rhyme or reason to be together other than they all just look great together. Whichever method you use, it has to appeal to you. If you like the way it looks, then you’re doing it right.

Here’s just a few of the looks that I have been using as inspiration:

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Aren’t these great? That last image is actually kids’ art. What an amazing way to make the (tons of) stuff your kids bring home look cute and sophisticated! I may have to steal that idea at some point. My refrigerator is running out of available art space.

Try grouping your art together in a fun way. It doesn’t have to “match” or be art from the same period or style. It just has to make you happy.

Above images from my Pinterest.

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signs of summer

There’s just something in the air when summer is near. The days are longer, the weather is warm, and people are just…..happy. It’s a pretty glorious time. And there some things that happen every year that let you know that days at the beach, outdoor barbecues and endless warm nights are right around the corner. Things like graduation (my daughter just had hers from preschool), pool openings, hopscotch with sidewalk chalk, that beautiful light just before sunset, flowers and having drinks outside on a balmy night are just a few telltale signs of better days to come. Here’s just a little of what has made me happy about the thought of summer:

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Preschool diploma. She’s kind of a big deal.

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Long days at the pool.

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There’s nothing like the last light of the day.

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This is the summer my daughter will become obsessed with hopscotch.

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Each year, mid-June, these beautiful flowers bloom. I have no idea what I planted (I kind of threw a bunch of crap in some soil and crossed my fingers), but I look forward to it every year.

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Ahhhhhhhh……. This needs no description.

Have a wonderful weekend and I hope you take advantage of as many early summer moments as you can.

A perfect day

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If you had asked me five years ago what my idea of a perfect April day would have been, I would have said sleeping until noon, having a great brunch with my husband (with booze, duh), strolling around NYC, maybe a drink or two outside, followed by dinner at a great Thai restaurant and maybe a movie. Just thinking about that makes me smile. And if you ask me now? I’d say a perfect day is when there’s no major incident involving feces or vomit, no temper tantrums from my kids that involves biting or throwing sharp objects at my head, and getting a block of sleep that lasts at least 4 hours before someone wakes up yelling “MOMMYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!” My standards have clearly changed just a bit. But when a day like today comes along- when I get to see some of my favorite people, walk around the city AND not get puked on? That’s so perfect, there needs to be a new word for perfect. Our cousins from London are in town (one of whom you’ll be hearing from on here very soon) and when they are here, we all get really excited. So today I took my kids into NYC to meet up with them at Chelsea Market. It’s an incredible indoor marketplace with amazing shops and restaurants, and the feel and look of the place is just so damn cool. It’s industrial at its best, but with a homey/historical thing going on. I love just walking around and taking it all in. After some soup, smearing cupcake frosting all over my kids’ faces and much needed coffee, we all had a walk on the High Line, which is the coolest park on the planet. Since we were all freezing our asses off and I could almost see the snot freeze on my kids’ little faces, the walk was brief, but lovely nonetheless. Here’s a look at my perfect (and vomit-less) day. First stop, Chelsea Market.

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And then, with dry diapers and full bellies, we braved the cold for a walk on the High Line.

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I don’t know about you, but to me anything with Diane von Furstenberg’s name on it is the coolest thing ever. So that was our perfect day. Tomorrow may bring diarrhea and an ER visit, but at least I’ll always have today.

Spring has sprung……sort of.

If you live in the northeast, then surely by now you’re among the millions who have put a hit out on Puxatawney Phil’s head. That dimwit could not have been more wrong and clearly needs an ass beating.  Many of us had snowy and icy conditions over the last couple of days and I, for one, am over it. Although the calendar says spring, it doesn’t feel anything like it, so I thought I’d give you some images that may help get you in the mood.

Happy spring!

Images from my Pinterest.

Ballerina Project

My first true love was ballet. I started taking classes at the age of 3, and it stirred within me a passion so great it remains with me to this day. Like so many little girls who put on their first tutu, I dreamed of one day becoming a ballerina. I would practice hard and often. My parents would take me to acclaimed music schools so I could take lessons with the best around. I even had an invite to audition for the NYC Ballet summer company-an audition that I would go to, make it past the first round of cuts, and then be sent home devastated. Somewhere in my parents’ home there is a picture of me from that day-in a pink leotard, eyes a little red, eating a Devil Dog. (which I hear are still available on ebay.) Alas, it was not meant to be. And although that experience was both heart-breaking and humbling, my love for the ballet never went away. I still cannot watch it without crying. Within seconds of the dancers coming on stage, I am in full on tears. Not because I’m thinking “boo hoo, I wish that was me” (ok, maybe a little bit), but because I find it so stunningly beautiful it literally moves me to tears. Every single time. Last Christmas, my mother and I took my daughter to see a children’s version of The Nutcracker, hoping to ignite a similar passion in her. As soon as the music came on, I felt my tears-just hearing The Nutcracker Suite has a similar effect-but after seeing the children basically fall over themselves, tears soon turned to smiles. My daughter enjoyed it, but for the most part just wanted to get the hell outta there so she could pee and get a cupcake. And after an hour and half of watching kids trip over their own feet, I was ready to get the hell outta there too.

About a year ago, I discovered something called The Ballerina Project. The Ballerina Project is the brain child of photographer and creative director Dane Shitagi. His idea to shoot ballerinas amidst the landscape of New York City began 12 years ago and was shot solely on traditional film up until 2012, when digital photography was introduced. Although the project was initiated in NYC, it has since included locales such as Boston, Miami, Toronto and Hawaii. The ballerinas are from renowned dance companies from around the world. The project itself is described “a collaborative work of dance, fashion design and photography played out against the city’s landscape.” I find it particularly captivating and I really love the juxtaposition of the beautiful dancers against the grittiness of the city-which is probably why the subway shots are my favorite. Now give me a ballerina in a pas de deux with a homeless crackhead pan handler… that’s a major moment.

Pretty major, right? All of these images and many, many more can be seen and purchased at http://ballerinaproject.com/. The site itself requires a yearly $14.95 subscription fee. You can also find Ballerina Project on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theballerinaproject?ref=ts&fref=ts, Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ballerinaprject/, their blog: http://ballerinaproject.com/blog/, and Tumblr: ballerinaproject.tumblr.com.

I’m thinking a spin-off of this with my kids may be in order…

Little masterpieces

A couple weeks ago I did a post about some of my favorite pieces of art, but I left out the kids. Today I want to share with you some of my favorite art pieces for the little ones. I think it’s really important to expose kids to art as early and as much as possible to encourage their creativity and inspire them. It’s also for you, too; you spend a ton of time in your kid’s room when they’re little so it should be aesthetically pleasing to you as well. And while I love the idea of framing the art that children themselves create, my kids’ art looks like crayon vomit right now, so for the time being I’ll leave the art to the pros. (And how many of you have had the above scene in your house? It’s a fun one.)

I’m such a sucker for French phrases. I took 5 years of French in school, and I remember squat. But even though I can’t speak it for crap, I still think it is so beautiful. My daughter is becoming a bit of a francophile due to one of her favorite books and is anxiously awaiting her first trip to Paris. This might hold her over until then.

They may be smearing poo on the walls, licking the public bathroom floor and throwing their scrambled eggs at your head, but at the end of the day aren’t your little guys your best works of art?

Every night at bedtime I say to my daughter “do you know how much I love you?” And she replies, “to the moon and back.” And then I say “and so, so , so much more.” And then I take a shower to get the scrambled eggs out of my hair. That have been there since breakfast. Don’t judge.

How sweet is this “Mademoiselle under the rain” print? The answer is really freaking sweet.

Isn’t this photography dreamy? What kid doesn’t want to dream about going to the carnival?

These are my absolute favorites; they’re from kiki and polly. I have 3 prints of theirs in my son and daughter’s room and I love them more now then when I first got them. When I was pregnant with my first child, we didn’t know the sex of the baby so decorated the nursery in a neutral palette, and these little gems fit in just right. They’re just precious.

Great prints from Super Rural. I have an odd love of ampersands, and the heart just makes this one awesome. It’s becoming obvious to me I also have a thing for typography for kids. Interesting.

Ok, I’m a little obsessed with these fairy tale prints from Land of Nod. My daughter is just starting to get into fairy tales, and my trigger finger is all ready to purchase one of these. Just waiting for the signal….

I love maps used as art, both in adult spaces and ones for children. They’re especially great for kids because they can also learn from it. Maps are cool. Who knew?

For all you chemistry nerds out there, I give you the periodic table banner! You go on and pass that awesome nerdiness down to your kids. You know who you are. They’ll thank you some day when they have 5 people arguing over who gets their coffee.

So go clean the poo off those walls and put something pretty up.

Art is my homeboy.

Wild Herringbone – Colorful Abstract Geometric Art.

I truly love art.  Being around it makes me happy. I’ve started a collection in my home and every time I look at the pieces I smile. Isn’t that what art should do, after all? And I didn’t spend a lot of money on the pieces, either. It’s not like I was bidding on Picassos at Christie’s. I have found some great sites that offer amazing pieces and are totally affordable. Here are my favorites:

1. Cozamia. This site contains the works of artist Nancy Ramirez, who combines abstract art with manipulated digital photography. Her art is bright, colorful with just the right amount of edge. And with pieces that start around $45, it’s reasonable.  I have 2 of Nancy’s pieces and they literally make me smile when I look at them. The above ‘Wild Herringbone’ is in my dining room. http://cozamia.com/

2. 20×200. This site is like a huge art warehouse; there is something for everyone.  It’s mostly comprised of new up and coming artists. And with prints starting at $20, there’s no excuse to not start your collection Like now. Go.  http://www.20×200.com (At the time of this post this site was under construction.)

3. Etsy. What doesn’t Etsy have? The answer is nothing. (Looking for a troll doll from the 70s? Some weirdo on etsy probably has one.) This site is made up of vendors who sell all handmade or vintage wares. And it’s an amazing source for art. But it you’re new to it, it can seem overwhelming. It can also seem like walking into T.J. Maxx;  you gotta wade through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff. But it’s there. Here are my favorite pieces from my favorite etsy artists: (prices range from $25-$200) http://www.etsy.com/

Paris photography Hot air balloons over by EyePoetryPhotography.

Print of Watercolor Painting fashion by silverridgestudio on Etsy.

Draw the Line Fashion Illustration Art Print by LeighViner.

4. Alyson Fox. I came across this artist in Domino magazine (when it was regularly published). In it I saw one of her pieces that I fell so instantly in love with, I immediately contacted the artist and requested it. Thankfully, back then she was relatively new on the scene, so it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I’ve since purchased more art from her for both for myself and as a gift for a family member.  She remains one of my favorites. Starting at around $40, you can buy her work here: http://alysonfox.com/site/category/keep-calm-gallery/

Ill Seen, Ill Said: February 2009.

5. Yellow Korner. With a location in NJ and NYC and an online store, Yellow Korner is very accessible. It’s like a photography superstore. The photographs are beautiful and of high quality and prices start around $100.  http://www.yellowkorner.com/

Yellow Korner : Photograph : No Refunds – Formento – Formento.

See? Even if you’re a broke student living on ramen noodles and Tang (that totally dated me), or living at home, there’s no reason you can’t pretty up those walls. But you don’t have to buy art-you can always make it. Take your favorite piece of fabric and frame it. Bam. Art. You could also frame a pretty piece of wallpaper, a napkin with a great print. Quite literally anything can be art. Whatever makes you happy. Because isn’t that what art should do, after all?