Friday, June 29, 2012

simon sailot

Little Big Kech 9

At first, I thought Simon Sailot's photographs were pictures of toys, like David Leventhal's little soldiers and plastic baseball players. But these are life-size outdoor scenes of real people and buildings; he uses something called the "Tilt-Shift" method, which plays with depth of field so that the image looks miniaturized. His lush, rich, strange, beautiful work is available online here. (Daily Candy recently featured the site, a gorgeous collection of Moroccan home goods, jewelry, and clothing.)

Little Big Kech 13
Little Big Kech 2
Little Big Kech 24

Thursday, June 28, 2012

nod institute of art

"Red Birds" by Jen Skelley

I'd been meaning to write about the terrific prints that Land of Nod is now carrying. And when an email appeared in my inbox minutes ago about free shipping on the company's "Nod Institute of Art" items, I figured today was the day. Crazy inexpensive ($19.95, to be exact), these pieces could go in any room—kid's or grownup's.

"Turkey Feathers" (no artist given)
"Frost Garden on My Window" by Anna Emilia

If you're looking for a wider selection (or want to spend more than $20), consider Land of Nod's other art. There's Binth and Banquet, both of whose charming, cute/modern work I've written about before (and am glad to see at such a high-profile store). This elephant is one of the least cloying wall decals I've seen: 

Elephant decal

I'm totally into this vintage-y, preframed London underground map:
London Railway map

 Back in the "Institute," this gorgeous photo is only $9.95. I think I might get one myself:

"Coast" by Marco Suarez

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

me elsewhere: momfilter

Flower box near our  houseboat last August

I've admired Momfilter since it launched, and today I get to be a tiny part of the all-around cool-mom-ness of it all. I promise a return to my art-finding mission next time.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

handmade on peconic bay

Chef's Garden No. 110

Matt Shapoff makes these cyanotype contact prints by hand. In theory I can too, with a pack of Sunprint paper and some clippings from the garden. But mine never look this good. And his beautiful feathers and skulls edge things up a bit:

Found Feather Cyanotype No. 120
Numbskull Cyanotype No. 135

While that skull would be great (both creepy and cool) for a preteen boy, this bird's nest would be sweet in a little kid's room:

Nest & Eggs Cyanotype No. 246

I like how this one is nautical, but in an eerie, faded, non-preppy way:

Defender Cyanotype No. 327

* Supermarket, by the way, is like a much smaller Etsy, in that you buy directly from the artists. Its size makes it easier to approach if you're new to the online art buying game; its aesthetic tends to be modern and pared down.

Monday, June 25, 2012

a new focus

ny.11.#42 by Jennifer Sanchez on 20x200

So far, I've been more or less dabbling around with this blog. When asked what it was about, I'd sort of mumble that it was about style and design for adults and kids, with the occasional book I like thrown in, plus some personal photos. I knew I didn't want to be a "mommy blogger" (no disrespect to mommy bloggers), but I didn't want to be a straight-up design blogger either; I love interior decorating, and I'm thrilled when friends ask for help, but others are way more qualified, and there are *tons* of them online. 

One thing I'm confident about, though, is my taste in art. I'm not talking about the Art World (capital letters), with its bicoastal scenes and insane prices and international fairs and esoteric conceptual work. After all, I live in Bethesda, with minimal connection to that world, and my family's disposable income goes to summer camp and a mortgage (and Legos and art books and cute shoes, if I'm being honest). No, the art I'm talking about is the incredibly affordable, appealing, just plain good stuff that we all want to look at on our own walls. In our bedrooms, living rooms, even playrooms. The art that you can find easily online, in a local art fair, or even in a mall if you know where to look. The kind of art that you might buy because you want it to match a sofa, or your kitchen walls, or a kid's favorite color—and there's nothing wrong with that.

And that's where I come in: I can help you find it. I'm going to use Blue Locket as a place to recommend accessible art. Yes, it will definitely have a point of view; if you've read even one post here or talked to me for more than one minute, you'll know I like things clean, simple, cool, soothing—not overly worked on or froufrou. Within those parameters, though, I'm open to all kinds of styles and media. 

One of the great things about the internet is the infinite number of places to find art. 20x200 is one of my favorites. It offers a curated (but broad) selection of artists and styles, working in drawing, painting, and photography. You've heard of some of them. You've seen their work on the cover of the New Yorker, adorning West Elm picture frames, and on the roof deck at the Met. One 20x200 artist, Jennifer Sanchez, above, makes prints that are bold but soft, with great graphic lines, appealing color palettes, and an unintimidating, house-friendly look. And when small prints cost as little as $24, there's no reason you can't put them on your bathroom wall. 

P.S. I reserve the right to post occasionally about a cute dress, or great boys' T-shirt, or beautifully designed toy, or my kids' latest activities. (It's all art, right?) And I'll definitely continue putting all those things on Pinterest.

Friday, June 22, 2012

henry alford

Get it on amazon

I'd read Henry Alford before. He's sort of a WASPy version of David Sedaris: he writes extremely funny nonfiction that sneaks up on you with moving insightfulness. (This book, literally about the wisdom of our elders, was especially moving and insightful.) I picked up "Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That," and he had me at the subtitle: "A Modern Guide to Manners." Alford's not talking about manners as things you should do; he sees them as kindness, compassion, putting others at ease. (The fabulous Philip Galanes, who writes the New York Times Social Q's column, shares his approach: kindness above all, from the vantage point of a snappy but sensitive gay guy.) He interviews the fantastic, old-school but very cool Miss Manners and teaches her how to (politely) steal a cab. He's got great recommendations for navigating the world of social media. And he's not above using his own clever snarkiness to teach rude people a lesson. A woman bashes him in the shins with a stroller, and he apologizes. She balks. "I'm saying what you should say," he tells her. Her jaw drops. I can't wait to use that line.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

joyner avenue on etsy (again)

That's a bowl of mangoes. I thought they were pretty.
Plus I needed something to lean the bag against.

I liked my Joyner Avenue mini clutch so much, I had the very sweet and speedy Laura make me a bigger, purse-size one. In cobalt suede , with a neon-yellow tasseled zipper. Think it'll work for camp dropoff or carrying sunscreen and snacks to the pool?

I'm trying to avoid the excess shopping this summer, but if I weren't, this tote would definitely be on my list:

Neon and neutral canvas tote

It would be more practical for the pool, after all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

where have I been?

So my last few weeks have been fully occupied with entertaining my kids. A preschool graduation. A third-grade conclusion. Trips to the park. Trips to the pool. A movie. Digging, sprinkler, fights over Magna Tiles. And in between, I just didn't want to sit down and compose a witty line or two about the latest shirt or bracelet or print I was coveting. 

Actually, I'm trying to covet things less in general. Admire, sure. Recommend, of course. Enjoy, definitely. But as I need to do occasionally, I'm trying to back away from all the stuff. It's one of my summer goals. Oh, I've got a few of my customary general resolutions, like "stay in shape" and "shop less" and "be outside as much as possible" and "make things with my hands." And there's my more specific, ever more pressing need to find some meaningful projects for myself, now that my kids are in camp all day (and even more once Tessa joins Charlie at elementary school this fall). I'm not sure what form that "meaningful project" will take, but I've been composing pitch letters and brainstorming story ideas on the fly (my phone's Notes app is overflowing).

And I love Catherine's idea, making a point of connecting with someone: an old friend you've fallen out of touch with, a new acquaintance who seems interesting. Here's to summer connections.