Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A find

I first saw this great shelf/cabinet thingamob in a post on design*sponge and followed the link to the source, ladybird and fellow, because I had to find out more about it.

I love the look of it and the fact it is multipurpose (the car display kills me).
Turns out it was a $5 garage sale find that was painted black (the "display" portion is a mail sorter!)- what a cool way to repurpose this piece.

I wish I stumbled upon such possibility for a finski....

Friday, May 27, 2011

sarah + abraham

sarah + abraham is one of those shops filled with practical, yet sweet and fun gift ideas. The olliegraphic personalized dishware and placemats are fantastic gifts for kids- something unique and clever because you can specify hair color, eye color, etc. to resemble the recipient.

Another gift option on the site are their silhouette design cards. These are perfect for family note cards or thank yous for a new baby/ child's birthday. They are more sophisticated than the kid friendly olliegraphic line, but you can also customize the design from a wide selection of playful silhouettes.

You can't go wrong with personalized gifts and sarah + abraham has such a great selection.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

a swinging skirt

Once I'm on the other side of this baby growing - I'm going to get myself a full black and white skirt that I am going to pair with some fun bright flats. This is the beginning of my post-pregnancy plan. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Willie C.! Take care, man. Stay cool. Stay cool forever."

Every few months I come across the movie Beautiful Girls on television and I always watch it. It came out in 1996 and I don't remember ever hearing about it, but since then, during my absurd number of viewings, it has become one of my favorite comfort films. One of those movies I can watch over and over and I always enjoy it.

I will confess right now that a big reason for this is that the film takes place in a small New England town in winter and it is spot on. I love that everything takes place against a backdrop of near constant flurries and cold and the even the piles of old dirty snow that line the streets in certain shots make it feel like home to me.

The movie is about a group of high school buddies reconnecting for a reunion. It is a homecoming for one particular character, Willie, who now lives in New York City and makes his living as a jazz pianist in a bar. He returns home to Knight's Ridge where the rest of this group of close friends live and work...begrudgingly facing adulthood. He, too, battles with relationship and career decisions and the broader struggle of simply growing up.

Timothy Hutton is fantastic as Willie, but this film is really the definition of an ensemble. Matt Dillon, Michael Rappaport, Uma Thurman, and a young Natalie Portman round out a cast of endearingly flawed, funny, and real characters.

There are painful portraits of regret tempered with just the right amount of humor. It is like visiting with that group of good time guys from high school and seeing how it all played out- good and bad. It is nostalgic, immediate, and emotional- all that and worth the watch....every time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Behind the Camera"

I don't know if you've noticed, but here at "Hiving Out" we have a serious soft spot for Norman Rockwell.

Call us sentimental, but we love the sweetness and nostalgia present in his images. Recently I came across a book that's making me love the artist even more. Titled "Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera," its a collection of the original photographic images which Rockwell used to create some of his more famous artworks. It is so interesting to compare the photographs to the final pieces and then also see how he worked as a director, scene and set designer, and, of course, artist of nuance and imagination. This is such a neat book to look through...

images via THERSIC

Monday, May 23, 2011

Artist Trading Cards

Image courtesy of oakcreekprintworks
Image courtesy of artisttradingcards.org

Creating Artist Trading Cards (ATC) has become wildly popular, but I only just heard of it recently. They are miniature pieces of art on 3.5 x 2.5 in. trading cards and the mediums range from watercolor to multi-media collage. Some are created as one of a kind or limited editions (ACEO) and are actually sold, but otherwise they are designed for swapping, collecting and trading , with artist information conveniently found on the back side.

The display of these pieces is almost as cool as the work itself. I would love to find one of the shows or display galleries and check these little masterpieces pieces out in person.
Image courtesy of artisttradingcards.org

The concept of swapping and collecting art cards is so cool. There is information out there on how to design cards if you are interested and also how to swap them. If you already have the perfect piece in mind and just need the cards- they are widely available too.

Artists are always in search of ways to capture their creations and share their art. This is the perfect little way to do both.

Friday, May 20, 2011

snail mail bear hugs

How great are these letterpress, die cut, grizzly bear hug cards by blackbird letterpress? They just won one of the Best New Product awards at the National Stationery Show.

I want to order up a whole slew of them to have on hand to mail out for all of those "Congratulations!", "Get well", "I miss you" occasions. They are the perfect way to say so many things. Who wouldn't want to open up an envelope and find this inside?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

the centerpiece

We still don't have a crib. Or a changing table. Or just about anything else for Sweet Pea's nursery nook. But the one thing we do have is a print of this Dumbo poster. It's the Polish version of the 1941 Disney movie and it's just plain lovely. Because of its existence, I've convinced myself that now everything else will fall perfectly into place. How could I be wrong when I'm beginning with such a sweet illustration?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

kitchen envy

I have seen this one shot of actress Ellen Pompeo's home no less than a dozen times in various places online. Every time I think- I love this kitchen. It is not at all what I usually covet, which are the crisp, light, white kitchens with large islands and streamlined cabinets as far as the eye can see. This is actually one of those spaces I can see living in. I mean truly living in...with toddlers... and their often spilled delicacies and tracked in mud and ground in crayons. I think I am usually drawn to light and white interiors because they are total fantasies at this point- any night of spaghetti or afternoon with Crayola would be a looming disaster, but this room is different because it feels "real".

It is laid back and stylish (I think it has to do with the awesome choice of an oversized black and photograph for the wall) and the terra cotta floor makes the space, otherwise filled with the more industrial feeling stainless steel, so warm and welcoming.

Time to start saving my pennies for terra cotta tile :).....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

feline fashion

For the most part, feline inspired fashion has meant, for this cat lady, going to work with a lap full of cat hair or one of these little numbers. But, boy, would I love to switch it up and start wearing any of these prints! Any fashion-forward cat ladies with me?

Monday, May 16, 2011

a quote

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune
Without the words,
and never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson
US poet (1830 - 1886)

Friday, May 13, 2011

On the water

If I had a fairy godmother of sports equipment (and a fairy godmother of storage space I suppose), I would totally ask her for paddle boards or ocean kayaks for my family. I love both of those activities. They provide the perfect combination of exercise and exploration. We live close to a calm bay area of the ocean, so I can picture us using them all spring and summer.

If I had to pick one- it would be the paddle board. It is a full body work-out and is the coolest sensation of moving along the water.

If you live near the water, or vacation there, I recommend looking into trying some paddle boarding or kayaking. It is a great way to spend the day....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

a picture story

photographer unknown 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

potential quilts

So SarahJane recently announced on her blog that her textile line, Children at Play, a collection done with Michael Miller Fabrics, is debuting at the International Quilt Market. I have been a fan of her illustrations for some time and I really like the look of the fabric collection.

I will take three quilts made from these sweet and cheery designs for my sweet and cheery little ones, please.
I wish her lots of success in her new venture!

Monday, May 9, 2011

searching for a summer dress

It appears that my recent explosion in size is dovetailing ever so neatly with a heat wave here in North Carolina. The result is, of course, sheer discomfort. What's driving me further over the brink is a lack of cute and comfortable pregnancy dresses. Like everyone else - I'll make do by hitting the maternity sections of Target, the Gap, and Old Navy, but must every one of their summer dresses feel exactly the same? Like a brightly colored night gown made out of cheap cotton? Is is wrong to want to wear a dress that keeps me cool during this summer and actually looks cool too? I don't think that's asking for too much. I just need one. Just one. (And even though I'd rather go sleeveless in an NC summer - I'd love to grab up that Mama.licious dress from asos but, sadly, my size is sold out and my search must go on.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the Mamas out there - hope you have a lovely day!

{images from "Photobooth" by Babbette Hines

Friday, May 6, 2011

E.L. Konigsburg

Image courtesy of tales of a bookworm.com

Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away. That is, running away in the heat of anger with a knapsack on her back. She didn't like discomfort; even picnics were untidy and inconvenient: all those insects and the sun melting the icing on the cupcakes. Therefore, she decided that her leaving home would not be just running from somewhere but would be running to somewhere. To a large place, a comfortable place, and indoor place, and preferably a beautiful place. And that's why she decided upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.-From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg

In fifth grade we had to keep track of our "recreational reading" with an ongoing book list. Every month or so we talked about one of the books on this list to the class. Looking back, I think my fifth grade teacher was very smart to have this type of peer suggestion, because sometimes a classmate's recommendation carries more weight than those of a teacher or parent (particularly at that age).

Anyhow, I was nerdy competitive and read A LOT, not only because I enjoyed it, but because I wanted the longest list of course. Sometimes I would just zoom through a book without really taking much away, but other times it was as if I lived between the pages. When I read E.L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, it was definitely one of those living in the book times. I remember because I spent one whole recess going on and on about it to my teacher as she tried to monitor the playground and listen to me. I had to be gently reminded my time was up when I talked to the class about the book during my recreational reading recommendation presentation. This story about a sister and brother who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and become entwined in a caper that revolves around the mystery of a statue and a peculiar old woman was probably the best book I had ever read- I am sure I touted it as such - and I think it held that title for me for a really long time.

When I graduated from college, I returned home for the summer to figure out what the heck I was going to do next. One day in May, I received a package in the mail from my fifth grade teacher with a graduation card and a copy of The View from Saturday, an E.L.Konigsburg book that had just been published. I read it immediately.

I then spent the better part of a morning telling my mother, a middle school English teacher, about it and how fantastic it was and how she should tell her class about it. I also realized that of all the classes I had taken, all the subjects I had touched upon in the last four years, there were few things as exciting and interesting to me as children's books- everything from picture books to the young adult novels. With degrees in English and Studio Art, I think I had been circling this field without even knowing it and that summer I looked into graduate programs in Children's Literature. I figure I have a couple of Konigsburg books and my fifth grade teacher to thank for the best career decision I ever made.

Ms. Konigsburg became fascinating to me because of the books that were products of her imagination. Even as I read about her online before writing this post I was impressed and once again enchanted by the excerpts I came across from her work. She has two Newbery Medals (one for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and the other for The View from Saturday) and a Newbery Honor (for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth) under her belt. She is one of the few authors out there who can so deftly write of the humor, complexity, and curiosity of middle grade children as they struggle to define, and grow into, themselves. She is definitely someone whose work should be celebrated this Children's Book Week.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"The Nutshell Library" collection

One of my favorite children's book collections is the "Nutshell Library" originally published in the 1960s by Harper & Row. Each set includes 4 nutshell-sized (3.9 x 1.8 inch) picture books that were illustrated by one of 3 masters of children's picture book art: Sendak, Knight, and Kraus.

Maurice Sendak's "Nutshell Library" was published in 1962:

Hilary Knight's "Christmas Nutshell Library" was published in 1963:

Robert Kraus's "The Bunny's Nutshell Library" came out in 1965:

Sadly, only Sendak's "library" is still in print, but if you see any of these sets or even any of the books individually - buy them up! (especially if you find Knight's collection WITH book jackets on the cheap. It is one of the things that, like These are all beautiful books and the mini-ness of the format just makes them that much more lovely to behold as well as hold.

from Sendak's "Pierre" (via Little Lamb Books)

from Knight's "A Christmas Stocking Story"

from Kraus's "The Silver Dandelion" (via Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

there are no words

The wordless picture book is really nothing short of a triumph in communication. It conveys a narrative through illustration, inviting readers (or lookers in this case) to visit the story again and again, to imagine and re-imagine the tale. A successful wordless picture book is an impressive piece of art and an inventive mode of storytelling.

Images of Wave courtesy of babyology.com.au and kimprint.wordpress.com

There are wordless storybooks in most libraries, but if I had to choose ten favorites- this would be the list I would suggest every library have available (see Mae's post on Wave here). Check them out!

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Mayer
Sunshine by Jean Ormerod
Rain by Peter Spier
Wave by Suzy Lee
The Red Book by Barbara Lehman
Flotsam by David Weisner
Time Flies by Eric Rohmann
The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang
Chalk by Bill Thomson

 Images of Chalk courtesy of Tunix Events and hartford.edu


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