Saturday, March 31, 2012

Get in [Rain] Gear

Score one for the stormtrackers.  It's a-rainin' out there today!  When I must venture outside into a rainstorm, I love bundling up and gathering my waterproof gear.  Cheerful and cheeky rain gear helps brighten the mood, providing welcome color and smiles in a gray situation.  Some favorites:

  1. I like the clear umbrella for its simplicity and versatility—it won't clash with any outfit.  Plus, it allows you to go a little crazier with your boot and/or coat selection. 
  2. Polka dots are classic, as is red.  
  3. I actually own this rainbow umbrella (had to purchase it to safely confront the rainstorm that trapped me in New York City's MOMA).  
  4. Love the "goggles" that let you see out of the deep dome of this adorable yellow umbrella
  1. How cute is this NYC subway poncho?  I wish it were printed with other city maps as well.
  2. I think I need to purchase this anorak, pronto.  I have cute boots and umbrellas, but no rain coat.  Speaking of boots . . .

For Your Feet
  1. Hunters are the quintessential wellies, and I'm a fan of the short version.  In pink.
  2. Again, you cannot go wrong with polka dots.  I would love to splash some puddles with Chooka's Posh Dots in mimosa
  3. Believe it or not, these floral cuties are from Target! 

Treat for your ears 

Ok, these earrings will not assist in keeping you dry.  At all.  But, I couldn't resist including one last bit of rain-inspired adornments.  
  1. I adore asymmetrical earrings.   
  2. I just want to spin these red and white umbrellas like I'm Gene Kelly and their main purpose in this world is to serve as my dancing prop.

p.s. If only someone would invent something to protect that area between where the coat ends and the boots begin . . . curse you, sideways rain!     

Friday, March 30, 2012

Craft the Rain Away

Weather reports predict more rain this weekend in my neck of the woods.  More rain = more indoor time.  More indoor time = nonstop craft-fest (okay, maybe not nonstop, like, I'm sure I'll pause to feed my cats now and then. And should you concur with my transitive relation re: rain + craft time, you are welcome to take snack breaks, of course.).  So, I browsed ye olde world wide web in search of fun, rain-related projects to share with you.  Behold:

Bust out your scissors and electrical tape to create a mural with brightly colored construction paper, then admire your relaxing rainstorm like Color Me Katie.  If the outdoors aren't currently cooperating, might I suggest this soothing sound accompaniment?

If you'd rather create more dainty wall art, try your hand at embroidery.  Take inspiration from Katrien of pilli pilli.  Aren't her cloudy creations delightful?  I love the simplicity, and how they feel simultaneously modern and traditional.  I know the third piece depicts snowflakes, not rain drops, but it's so pretty, I just had to show you.  (Onetwo, three.)

Feel like channeling your inner Calder?  There are some darn sweet tutorials for cloudy/rain-inspired mobiles online.  Granted, the instructions for the one above (available here) are in French, but I'm sure someone with your smarts, and a little help from Google Translate, would make it work.  Other options:

Happy Raincloud Mobile

Or, if you'd prefer to pretend you're a Project Runway hopeful, alter some t-shirts using homemade appliques or bleach.  (I'm certain you could work wonders with a bleach pen if you'd rather "draw" than "paint".)

If you complete any of the above projects, you deserve to treat yourself.  This charming crocheted brooch would be a perfect reminder of your rainy day crafting—like a grown up Girl Scouts merit badge.  Be prepared (for people to compliment your uncommon ability to accessorize)!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rainy Day Comfort Food

My most cherished comfort food, no matter the weather or season, is a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.  Imagine my delight when I discovered a recipe that merges the flavors of each into one sandwich.  

I intended to make that tasty sandwich and attest to its awesomeness here.  Alas, I got lazy.  Or more precisely: hungry.  I didn't have time to roast tomatoes for 15 minutes, people.  I opted for a shortcut version, which was tasty, but I'm sure doesn't compare.  I am content, however, that this (↑) was in my belly in under five minutes.   

Shortcut version:
  • Slice a tomato.  Salt and pepper the slices.   
  • Spread some fancy stone ground mustard on slices of whole wheat sourdough.  
  • Slice* enough cheddar to cover the bread.  Arrange cheddar slices on the bread.  Grind some pepper on the cheese, as well.  Trust. 
  • Place the tomato slices on top of the cheese, and pop the concoction in the toaster oven for a few minutes.  
  • Voilà!  Open-faced grilled cheese + tomato sandwiches for the impatient/famished.

*This post brought to you by the word, slice.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

If candles aren't enough

Fact: baking bread, muffins, or cookies further enhances the cozy factor during a rained-in morning, afternoon, or evening.  The aroma wafting from the oven is almost as delicious as the end product.  Almost.

I baked these Almond Roca Cookies for Ben's dad yesterday because a) it was his birthday, b) Almond Roca is his favorite candy, and c) see above.    

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rained in

If touring my Rain Gallery and listening to my Rain Dance playlist aren't quite enough to entice you to pledge the Rain Appreciation Society, perhaps I can convince you with the following cozy scene.  Don't get me wrong, I love running, letterboxing, picnicking, and all sorts of outdoor activities.  But when I'm rained out (or in, as it were), I revel in the opportunity to create a snug-as-a-bug atmosphere.  Imagine: lit candles in comforting scents, starry string lights, soft and colorful blankets, chunky wool socks, and a treasured book and/or favorite film.  And if you don't have access to the real thing, this could help set the mood as well. 

What are your must-haves in a snug-as-a-bug situation?   

Please note: In the interest of a symmetrical vignette, I left out two of my favorites: warm beverages and cuddly kitty cats.  In no way should this reflect upon their essentialness.

Left to Right, Top to Bottom
Hazelnut Latte Soy Candle by Koko Candles 
Warm Vanilla Soy Candle by Sprout Candle Shop
Bee Keeper's Quilt, pattern by Tiny Owls Magic Attic
Starry String Lights @ Restoration Hardware
Brahms Mount Cotton Herringbone Throw @ Schoolhouse Electric and Supply Company
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Amélie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Monday, March 26, 2012

Let it rain

Further inspired by the rain, I compiled a playlist.  I hope my favorite rainy day songs encourage you to celebrate the awesomeness that is spring rain! 

Rain Dance by jesuissarah on Grooveshark

p.s. My seventeen-year old self would be very disappointed that November Rain was not included.  And I fear to think what nine-year old Sarah would have to say about my deliberate snubbing of Prince.  Don't get me wrong.  Prince is brilliant.  I love him.  I just wasn't in the mood for eight- and nine-minute, gospel/pop/rock/orchestral pieces with epic guitar solos.  If you are in that very specific mood, by all means, enjoy the Purple Rain.  :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rain Gallery

It's not a secret that I am a fan of rain.  Yesterday was a non-stop bucket fest, and it got me daydreaming about creating a cozy space.  In my next home, I plan to dedicate a wall to art that celebrates the wettest of weathers.  Please join me as I take you on a virtual tour of which prints I'd include in my Rain Gallery.  If it's not currently raining where you are, might I suggest you click here for simulating the proper mood to browse such a collection?  Ok, got the sound effects—real or simulated?  Let's dance.  In the representational puddles.  

Rainy long walk, by holli

I'm a sucker for images of a moody/pensive/solemn girl and her creature.  Add in some raindrops?  Sold.

Out of the Rain, by blackoutwell

Foxes seeking and sharing protection under a stripey umbrella?  Get out!

Rainy Day, by Ashley Percival

More anthropomorphism?  Gorgeous sweaters and colorful eyewear that I want to wear?  I can't take it!

rain drops, by lulubeaucoup

Great color and composition.  I'd use the simple drop images to break up my obsession with whimsical animal scenes.  ;)

The Rain, by Aeropagita Prints

Love the color combination.  This print would be perfect on a painted door, framed by beveling.

Take Shelter, by Ashley G

Are you beginning to recognize the aesthetic I'm drawn to?  The funny thing is, I didn't even have to conduct a search for "rain".  All of these prints are from my favorite artists' shops I stalk follow on Etsy.  Apparently people with good taste are inspired by rain.  ;)

Let's Stay Home, by Ashley G

That's some pretty rain right there, don't you think?

One of Those Days, by Ashley G

Klimt-like, no?  Ashley G's illustrations are stunning.  I own two of her prints that are non-rain related, and I adore them.*
Monsieur I, by Cosas Mínimas

Blanca Gómez is another favorite.  Her colors slay me.  
Mademoiselle under the rain, by Cosas Mínimas

I'd pair this gal with this guy (↓).  Back to back.
Monsieur under the rain, by Cosas Mínimas

Seeing all these prints stacked here has me imagining various arrangements and cluster formations.  So fun to work around a theme.  If you were curating a collection of prints on a particular theme, which would you choose?

Thanks for touring my make-believe Rain Gallery, friends.  I hope you are able to enjoy the sounds and sights of spring rain from a cozy vantage point. 

p.s. Wouldn't cloud lanterns hanging above the Rain Gallery suit the theme delightfully?

image by alexis mire

*Said prints may or may not depict a moody/pensive/solemn girl and her creature.  :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's Wednesday

I usually don't condone violence of any sort, but I feel you, Wednesday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Customize your Notes-to-Self

Today I turned a blank Moleskine into a customized spot (pun intended) to record my notes-to-self.  If you'd like to do something similar, all you need to gather is

  • a blank notebook
  • various papers (I used what I already had on hand: origami paper, a postcard, and a TOMS catalog that came in the mail yesterday.  But think of the possibilities!  Gloriously colored junk mail, favorite photographs, index cards, graph paper, wrapping paper scraps, etc. etc. etc.!)
  • a 1" diameter circle punch (similar to this guy)
  • glue

I simply punched out some circles of the colors and patterns I fancied, arranged them around the cover until I had a layout I liked, then glued the little dots in place.  My only suggestion to help you make a less janky version is to use a paint brush when applying the glue.  Distributing a smooth and even layer of glue might help eliminate some of the bumpiness I saw under some of the thinner papers (I'm looking at you, origami paper!).  If you don't have a circle punch on hand, you can use something circular, like a can of tomato paste or a quarter, and trace it with a pencil, then cut it out with scissors.  I think different-sized circles would be très cute, too.  Or abandon the circle idea altogether, and cut out star shapes or triangles or hearts.  Or create whatever kind of collage you like.  Endless, the possibilities are!

A tiny little notebook is perfect for carrying around with you at all times.  You never know when you'll need to record a magical moment (e.g. when you discover a fantastic mural in your otherwise sleepy hometown, splash about in some puddles with your fancy rain boots, or create the perfectly cheerful playlist).  I write in mine at the end of each day, and challenge myself to list all of the wonderful things I observed, created, or felt during the past 24 hours.  By simply knowing that I expect this of myself each evening, I am more aware of noticing the goodness as its happening each day.  

Or you could use a little notebook like this to keep a running list of all the things you'd like to createHere's a list of ideas to get you started, if you're drawing a blank.  ;)

Happy weekend, everyone!   

p.s. (Blurry) bonus photo of Cleo's photobomb attempt.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Synchronized umbrella twirling?

If it were snowing where I live, I would be outside doing this, right now.  I wonder what the comparable activity to do in the rain would be?  Ideas?

Snow Drawings by Sonja Hinrichsen, found via Colossal

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Great GOOD article + Ira

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Remember, yesterday, when I said "we should create because we can"?  If your response was either "Yeah, but I'm not creative," or "Yeah, but what I come up with is crap,"—well, then, today's post is for you.

First, I'd like to remind you that both Ursula Le Guin and Pablo Picasso believe that creativity is innate; it's just a matter of recapturing it (if you ever feel you lost it).  If Ursula and Pablo's wisdom still isn't persuasive enough, please read Becca Nath's article on GOOD, How I Learned to Be Creative.  Before she needed to hem a pair of pants for a hot date, Becca would've said "nature" when asked if creativity was a nature or nurture thing.  But, now she knows the truth: being creative truly is a matter of being creative.  Creativity begets creativity.   

Now, for the scary truth: you may not like what you create, at first.  But fear not, friends.  Every creative person who is renowned as a "genius" created "crap" at some point.  (Don't believe me?  Perhaps Milton Glaser will convince you.)  And, if all of the words offered so far are still not enough to encourage you to create something, I direct your attention to Ira Glass's take on creative work (watch video up there ).  True, he's speaking of storytelling, but the same principles apply to creating in general.    

So!  What will you make because you can?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fill in the blank

You may have noticed that I like me some whimsy and cheek in my street art.  I also have a penchant for pieces that make me think.  But Candy Chang's Before I Die project goes beyond simply making me think.  She re-imagined an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans, and gave her community a public place for reflection and awareness.  Using plywood and chalkboard paint, and offering chalk to all passersby, she created opportunities for individual expression and community interaction.  Brilliant.  I am in awe of her vision and its execution.

The project has grown, and continues to spread into other communities.  I found the wall in Santa Cruz particularly poignant.  And, as a runner, I appreciated San Francisco's twist: I Run Because.  Reminded me of the exceedingly sage pontification I once offered the world, via Twitter (the source of all contemporary philosophy worth its salt): we should run because we can.  

I now expand my credo to incorporate living an art-ful life—we should create because we can.  Thanks for the reminder, Ms. Chang.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Makes me smile

when people re-imagine their surroundings—

making streams of hearts gush from once-obsolete pipes,

and dumpsters smile.

Makes me smile when folks see potential in objects, and use them for something other than their original purpose.

And turn something mundane into something amusing.

Makes me smile to daydream of a home that greets me with a cheeky grin.

Color Me Katie's heart pipe 
Kristin Farr's smiling dumpster
refrigerator magnet letters mural
piano stairs
smiling house