Archive | February, 2011

Organizing the Bookcase

25 Feb

As someone who loves both books and design, this stop-action video made me grin from ear to ear, and I definitely pressed repeat a few times. Enjoy!


My Idol, Al

24 Feb

It’s about time I talked about my artistic idol, Al Hirschfeld, pictured below in one of his self-portraits. I discovered him a short while after I had developed my illustration style, and his artistic philosophy resonated with me. He pretty much epitomizes what I hope to be as an artist. On the surface, many of his drawings are quite simple—often black pen on white paper with minimal if any shading and occasional use of spot color. His fundamental aesthetic is said to have been respect for absolute simplicity.

He is a true master of line. A few of his pen strokes convey much more than layers of brush strokes, color, and crosshatching by other artists. It’s this absence of extraneous visual clutter that make his drawings so powerful.

He said, “When I’m rushed I do a complicated drawing. When I have the time, I do a simple one.”

One of the things I most admire is that while he was a caricaturist who distorted and emphasized a subject’s physical features, he was considered to be a nice caricaturist and being drawn by him was an honor instead of an insult.

He drew Broadway actors, casts of television shows, movie actors, musicians, dancers, journalists, politicians, and many others.

In spite of this simplicity he was able to capture true likenesses of his subjects. His drawings are fun, quirky, and continually awe-inspiring.

The drawings shown are just a miniscule sample of his work. Visit his website to see a larger collection or buy one of his books. Hirschfeld On Line is a fantastic one.

All images courtesy of

More Guest Room Updates

22 Feb

The guest room has seen a few more updates and is inching very close to a finished state. As a refresher, here are the before/very early progress pictures:

We brought in the headboard I made (more information about that here); a print of the London tube map, which I love for being both functional and beautiful; my bed; and my fluffy down comforter, down mattress, and extra pillows. Here’s the current state of things:

I’m very happy with this room—it makes me chipper every time I go in there. And the word chipper makes me chipper too.

Vanity Affair, Part 4

21 Feb

I wanted to do a cartwheel when I unpacked these late last week.

The larger-than-expected size and pretty detail on the back were happy surprises. Over the weekend, I finished painting the mirror, reattached it to the vanity, and moved it into place in the guest bedroom closet. As a reminder, here is the before:

And here’s the final finished piece:

I’m really happy with it. It turned out exactly how I’d pictured it in my mind when I started, which is always a great way to finish a project.

You can see the first three parts of this project here, here, and here.


18 Feb

The bathroom has already been through a couple of paint colors, and while we ending up not loving the first color we painted it (more on that below), it was certainly better than the way we inherited it. And I’m sorry to say I don’t have a true before picture, but here’s the info for your visual: the baseboards, trim, vanity, and cabinet were all a natural, unpainted wood and the walls were a deep beige color that had some texture to them.

We initially painted the bathroom a mustardy yellow (Glidden’s Summer Day in eggshell). It was a beautiful color but it just didn’t work with the lighting in there. Here’s that version:










Realizing that color wasn’t working, we opted for the gorgeous grayish beige (Valspar’s Oatlands Subtle Taupe in flat) that we used in the hallway and living room (those pictures to come eventually). It worked so much better with the lighting, and we ended up with this:

We then painted the vanity, added crown molding, brought in a longer shower curtain, and raised the shower curtain rod. This is our latest iteration.

More changes are likely to come.

Vanity Affair, Part 3

16 Feb

My vanity project is moving right along. So far, I’ve sanded, primed, and patched the desk portion and applied two coats of Martha Stewart’s Enamelware. (I had the paint color-matched in a Behr semigloss paint.)

For a refresher, here’s what it looked like before:

And this is what it looks like now:

I’m really quite thrilled with the color. It’s a very subtle blue, which is a departure from the brighter blues I normally pick, but it’s exactly what I had envisioned when I started this project.

All that’s left (which is still a good bit) is to sand, prime, patch, and paint the matching mirror. (I’m on step 3 or so of that process—I’ve primed but I’m doing a bit of patching that may need to be primed.) And I’ll need to add the gorgeous color swatch knobs from Anthropologie when they arrive.

If you’d like to get caught up, read part 1 and part 2.

The Search for the Midnight Blue Dress

14 Feb

The Search for the Midnight Blue Dress was just as exciting and melodramatic as the Nancy Drew–inspired title suggests. It all started with this “What I’d Wear…If I Could Find It” drawing I posted last month.

While I didn’t find this exact dress, I did find a suitable (if not better) replacement. Here it is, courtesy of Shabby Apple. In person, the dress is a much deeper blue than it’s showing up onscreen. It’s flattering, comfortable, and the perfect length. I’m really looking forward to the spring when I can wear it.

The Search for the Midnight Blue Dress: case closed.

I was in no way compensated for this review. I generally like the company and the clothing they sell and wanted to share my experience.