Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year's End - Goodbye to All That

Call it what you will; I say good riddance to a thoroughly disagreeable decade. Cheers!

[unattributed photograph via LIFE archives]

Drama Queen

No, not me. (How dare you!) Fireworks, tossing appliances out the window, & red underwear. What's not to love? I had to post this link to Aglio, Olio, & Peperoncino's post on New Year's Eve in Italy. Napoli is the 'drama queen of the boot-shaped peninsula'? Oh yeah. [Maria Callas as Norma by Gordon Paris, via LIFE archives]


Go buy some almonds & you can have these done in less than 15 minutes--no kidding. (They'd be fine with other nuts, too.) I've eaten far too many since ice & snow have kept me from delivering a lot of Christmas gifts. So, I'll be making some more in a moment. [Photograph & recipe both from Martha]

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas Baby

Hey, it's only the fifth day of Christmas. Some people want to rush things. Anyway, I'm still not feeling very well but this is an excuse to: 1) put in a sweet year-end photograph from the folks at the NSW Australian State Library (by my fave Sam Hood), & 2) say hooray for Bruce's Kennedy Center honor. (Plus a shout-out to the local boy who still can't believe he's in the band:)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Week's End - Winter Lace

The house at Varykino has been transformed into a sublime white and icy landscape. [by Ken Danvers, still photographer for David Lean's Dr. Zhivago. via]

Wednesday, 30 Dec. update: I'm way under-the-weather. Off & on & unpredictable. Hence, more uninspired-than-usual images, etc. Trying to keep stuff current on the GG blog through New Year's Day. Also wondering how nervy I have to be to stretch (in my opinion) fair-use policy. Believe me, I see photographs & images that are cool &/or useful seems, dare I say, wrong. Somehow. Does this keep anyone else awake or at least worried? I've asked this before...over & again on both blogs.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

There's No Place Like Rome

...ever. Especially at Christmastime. Merry Christmas especially to SBL in Darfur, Sudan, AB in Uganda, CLS in Afghanistan. [photographs by Enzo D. & the wonderful & generous Giampaolo Macorig via flickr]

Santa in Black & White

December 1953 [via myvintagevogue's tumblr blog]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Acqua Alta in Venezia

Ah well. Poor Venice...what would Christmastime be without acqua alta? It would be better, that's what. Here's a bookstore doing its very best. Here's a link to a good slide show; it's so pretty that I feel guilty for saying so. I skipped & hopped across empty café tables from one side of the square to the other. One Venice November. Not sure why they were still out--maybe for that very reason. [photograph by lexihaze, via we heart it]

A Christmas Surprise

Sure hope my mother doesn't see this dreadful photo-from-slide (she didn't see it on GG's site last year). If ratted out by a sister or three, or many nieces, I promise that hideous Christmas-pix-of-past (of you) will appear soon. The uncharacteristically bizarre outfit & coiffure are what happens when moving house two or three days before Christmas (the tree is up, that's the important thing!). I never saw those plaid pants before or after. She was on the spot & is smiling like she's ready to go out for the evening. Dad looks goofy (he always looked goofy in photos; he was usually the photog). I've a fondness for the photo because the surprise was a new neighbor 's appearance as "Santa."

At the least, my mother made sure that her daughter's hair was quickly bow-tied. I think the lesson of the photo is being absolutely delighted when surprised by well-intentioned new neighbors when you have a little girl, one on the way, & have just moved hundreds of miles away from family two days before Christmas & are wearing the most dreadful plaid pants. Good manners.

Off to have my hair made fit (if not beribboned) for festivities.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Diplomat

I've been in love with this cat, Alvar, for over a year. I've used several of animal rescue heroine Marianne Perdomo's photographs on Giulia Geranium & a few early this year on bricolage. Here, Alvar finds himself in a situation quite familiar-to-me. Oof. That's Humphrey on the left & Eli the dog on the right.

Christmas Correspondence

And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.

For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
- W.H. Auden [Night Mail]

[by Roadside Projects on flickr, via Creative Inspiration]

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why Wear Anything Else?

Hey, please do a good deed for my fellow Benevolent Postcard Society member. She needs some votes to win a very cool contest. She's tied (!) with someone else who is also talented. But I really do think hers is the best illustration. I've voted every day since Lori Langille of automatism (& creator of BPS) posted on it. Haven't received a speck o'spam. Below is the text from Lori on the BPS blog:

Interested in helping out a fellow BPS member? Samantha in Istanbul, Turkey is a finalist in a design competition and needs your votes! Last year she designed a shoe for Fluevog that was eventually made into a real shoe named the
Zaza (after her). This time around, she's in the running for a competition to design the ad for the Zaza. The winner is determined by the number of votes their design receives, so Samantha needs as many votes as she can get to win. Help her win by voting for her beautifully illustrated ad, called Why Wear Anything Else?, here. You can vote once a day until December 22.

Good luck, Samantha!

[illustration used by permission of the very same talented Samantha]

War is Over! (If You Want It)

You can download any number of sizes of the classic John & Yoko Christmas card, at the Imagine Peace site, here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Snow

Some nice shots (like those mischievous eyes in the top shot) by Max Cook via DCist. Click here for more..& here for the continuing brouhaha about an edgy DC detective "brandishing" his gun during a highly-advertised "guerilla" snowball fight. Wow. Calm down. Everyone. Nearly went, to watch the hijinks. Glad I did not...I get nervous when people brandish their weapons (especially without stating why-the-heck..). Hey, but that's just me.

Have a good rest of the weekend (& Monday to the Aussies & Kiwis)...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Week's End - Lazy Susan, Waiting*

Charge Bikes_Lazy Susan from Charge Bikes on Vimeo.

Friday Evening Update: wild & woolly snowstorm on its way. From the scene in the market (especially dairy & pet food aisles) it seemed people thought an invasion was imminent. Buying a gallon of milk is the last thing on your mind if that's the case. Of course, I was there too, so... Anyway, to satisfy my OCD weekly ending thingies, this shall serve as such until tomorrow sometime. Have a good Friday/Saturday.

I can't resist posting this advert/video seen on
Cycle Chic from Copenhagen, one of my favorite blogs. I hated the words 'lazy' & 'Susan' together when I was younger. This, I don't mind. The photographs are called Waiting* & Frosty. A copy of Waiting* is on the wall by my desk. Expecting snow this weekend.

Swedish Christmas Kitchen

Congratulations to Lori Langille, Canadian illustrator! Lori's blog automatism was included in the Times (UK) 50 of the World's Best Design blogs yesterday. That calls for an exclamation point. So !!!! for Lori. She was the first person to link to Giulia Geranium (& I didn't know it for months--it never occurred to me that anyone would) & has been so supportive. She's also the creator of the Benevolent Postcard Society project of which I am a proud participant.

This pretty image is from automatism's 2008 24 days of Noël series. Lori was kind enough to "lend" it for the GG blog last Christmas season. It's scanned from her personal Marie Claire Maison collection. Why, oh why, did I give so many of them up?

I had a wonderful 4th grade teacher. She was born in Sweden & remains an inspiration--of style & substance. I was thrilled to attend her Christmas-season wedding. Shopping for a gift, my mother & I decided on a silver teaspoon in Miss B's wedding pattern. That year, Santa had the good sense to leave a Madame Alexander Swedish doll under the tree. If I ever get this place in order, the doll will be part the Christmas decor, as always.

Congratulations again to Lori.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The well-reviewed Washington Ballet's Nutcracker has only $85 tickets left. So, a still of Dance of the Snowflakes is as close as I'll get this year (after I made fun of TN forever, serves me right). The photograph is via The Washington Ballet. The snowflake doily photograph is from a DIY design*sponge post. Very clever, old-fashioned, & inexpensive. How easy? With a cat standing on my head? Reportage forthcoming.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Wrapping Rumpus

Dreading tonight's second holiday wrapping-for-donation gig. I used to be fairly good at it. Years of inability to give gifts have rendered me as four-thumbed as this child. Seriously, wrapping-under-pressure is stressful. The only thing more stressful? Two weeks ago there were very few customers in the large bookstore. Eep. Hope for better tonight. And no lectures from those who disapprove of Amnesty International. In a departure from my tight, slight, polite smile, I fear I might roar back causing said person to back-flip in manner of Peanuts characters. Off to brew calming ginger tea. Do visit Hazel at The Clever Pup who is back with amusing Christmas tidbits (original art, French video, handmade moose ornament, & much more).

It's also supposed to go colder & wetter this evening. But of course. Wish me luck.

[photographs by Nina Leen via LIFE archives]

PS Update: Amy Merrick on Design*Sponge has a funny post on lagging behind in holiday spirit & what she did about it. Hint: it involves a fishnet leg lamp & a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December Evening in Strasbourg

Christmastime in Strasbourg--in all of Alsace--is Christmas market in Europe. Absolutely. Also, tarte flambée (flammekueche in Alsatian), vin chaud, & the best of French & German cookies, pies, cakes, etc. I'll be taking flammekueche lessons from a friend's mother who is visiting the States for the holidays. Will try to remember photographs. Here's a little GG post with at least one photo credit.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Week's End - Anouk in Black & White

La Dolce Vita still. Good luck finding the still photographer. Maybe Fellini took it. Here's the link to the full credits.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa Baby

Surrounded by the guts of a fake tree (cannot believe I agreed to this). It defies reason. The Tasmanian Devil is tangled in fairy lights & squeals when she is removed from the Fairy Light Beast. Apparently it is feline performance art; I am not amused. She tore up (& ate? I have no idea) part of the (real) wreath. It's freezing in here & it's been a dumb day. Cranking up Santa Baby CD & ignoring all else. Here's a goofy video of Eartha Kitt (with three backup singers) singing the (kinda creepy) song. I cringe, I really do...

[images via GG blog]

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spanish Dancer

Perhaps because stamping my feet & tossing my hair would be oh-so-more-attractive when dressed thusly. Otherwise, I'm just another person in Washington, DC pitching a fit (even if they are for good causes). Who wants to face that? Not me.

The photograph is via we heart it. (There's a winding way back to the original. Will do that tonight.) The papercut is A Night in Seville by Tina Tarnoff of Sylvie Guillem papercut fame; the necklace is the one I could not resist though it is less wearable daily (except I am wearing it under pullovers). The title because it is one of my very favorite songs, ever. I finally downloaded it (& the whole album) because the only version I had was on this thing called a cassette tape--yes, that long ago.

[ papercut & pendant images courtesy of Tina Tarnoff/all rights reserved]

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Pop Culture Quiz

I may have officially lost my mind. Serious business at hand & I post a cute deer picture on GG's site. Then I opened Martha Stewart e-mail -- yes I signed up. Then, I'm taking quizzes like "Test Your Christmas Pop Culture IQ." Snarl. I worried that I'd do too well, but I missed two questions, thank bleep. By the way, there's an ad-video that pops up & starts out, "Can a company really have a soul..." NO, I shriek & hit pause. Cat goes flying off the table. Ahem. You've been warned.

PS: OK, I don't feel so bad. Upon further review, I see that Wyclef Jean is cooking with Martha. Here's WJ's
Yéle Haiti site.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sylvie in Silhouette

Tina Tarnoff sent this original papercut of French ballerina Sylvie Guillem in a package as a surprise. Isn't it beautiful? (I don't know how Tina still has her eyesight.) More tomorrow night, but I thought this would be pretty for anyone wandering over here on a Sunday night. Then they can just wander on over to see Tina's blog & shop & exhibition news. I don't know if she is full-up with holiday orders, though she is really busy--that I do know. Ah, a new post on Thought Patterns is up, so signs of life in her San Francisco studio. (Thank goodness!) Good night...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Week's End - Dachsie Dress

I'm running late. I know I always write that...let me be clear: I am not late for events or people. I'm one of those reformed people who are usually early. (Also, I'm too self-righteously indignant about The Late Bunch. Hence, the label personal character defects.) It's snowing, I'm coordinating a local group's little gift-wrap-for-donation at a bookstore this evening, can't find my snow boots, want to post pictures on both blogs about Tina Tarnoff, see here. And dozens of boring bits, including deadlines. So I play with the time/space continuum by posting this dated Friday, but it is Saturday. Because I can & the earth will remain spinning. If it doesn't, man will I be cheesed off. Because I would've gone to George Clooney's new film. Anyway, real Week's End will come up some time later this weekend & do justice to Tina.

When I saw Mary-Laure's darling dachsund Benjy the Oracle's photograph just now on AUREA, I knew this dress would be perfect for her. (Yes, I see that it's a skirt...that would mess up the alliteration, silly.) The photograph is via busy Jess's myvintagevogue. I maintain that she does not sleep, really. For you dachsund lovers, take a look at Liberty London Girl's hilarious find of a dachsund nativity set.

A rushed adieu....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fields of Gold

Cringing at typing that title but it's what I thought first, second, last. I do have news, though. Last evening I received a lovely necklace ordered from Tina Tarnoff in San Francisco. I was puzzled by the large envelope/package. Opened it...she sent me her gorgeous Sylvie Guillem, No. 3 papercut as a gift. With a sweet note. I'm rarely rendered speechless. Part of me feels guilty (of course) & I feel I should give it away. But I cannot. Am I selfish or what?

Here is Talented Tina's etsy jewellry shop (she also paints & God knows what else). I highly recommend her wonderful blog Thought Patterns. Tina is exhausted as she's setting up for a new exhibit...perhaps as I type this. I want to do right by her, the necklace, & her gift - so I will post on that for the week end.

Here in Washington, President Obama & family hit the switch on the National Christmas Tree this evening. A friend sent me a photo (she thought), but I couldn't find a link to click. Then she rang from the Metro...uh, she lost her DC-cool & forgot to attach the jpeg. Hey, Maria Caterina di Perugia, it's the thought that counts!

[lacy umbrella-parasol via we heart it]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Girl Effect

I apologize in advance that this lacks cupcakes, cute babies, the WH party crashing twits, fabulous dinner party plans, what-to-buy, gratuitous exclamation points, pink objects, & baby animals. (The Girl Effect website)

I rarely look at Google Analytics. It creeps me out & also points out that more people would rather look at stuff about my dumb life than at the much better (not to mention, cuter) Giulia Geranium blog. So humor me & click on the video. Yes, worlds collide here. Every. Single. Day.

[Domino Cascade photograph]

Monday, November 30, 2009

True Blue

...The stony street
Displayed the stillness in which buildings stand,
The street-lamp’s vigil....[Delmore Schwartz]

[photograph via a blog & I don't want to link it-- too weird. Via we heart it]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

La Danse, le ballet de l'Opéra de Paris

Just returned home from AFI where Frederick Wiseman's documentary is playing in the gorgeous Art Deco Silver Theatre. Now back to real life. [photograph via La Danse site on Facebook]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Week's End - Woman at the Window

Salvador Dali's 1925 painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art via Artcyclopedia. The Dali print is in my bath & the plumber is entranced by it. (I think it's the colors, he's not quite sure yet.) Meanwhile, he feels that I am unhealthily fixated on the photograph & that it does not belong next to the Dali. While noting his opinion, I respectfully disagree. Mostly so I'll stop thinking about the subject. I hope. Good night.

[The photograph via we heart it from an unidentified tumblr blog,

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

On verge of birthing a cow as I'm running late & afraid I'll look like one in my dress. Ah well. Here's what I'm taking to hosts (whom I don't know well). Flowers, chocolate, & stinky cheese. That should do it. (Arriving with half-a-Frenchie famille, so this won't be out of order). Hope everyone has a happy & safe holiday.

[Images via we heart it, Whole Foods blog]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flowers for India

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Mrs. Gursharan Kaur in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, Nov. 24, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton) Because they look beautiful (the ladies) & the flowers are great. Spiffy title eludes me. The photograph is much nicer in large format, here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


You must not find symbols in everything you see. It makes life impossible.
--Oscar Wilde

No bloody kidding.

[photographs: Chrissie White; voscheveuxmagnifiques/tumblr; unidentified; all via we heart it]

Friday, November 20, 2009

Week's End - Lena in Black & White

Glamorous Lena in 1948 (in Paris & NYC). I cracked up listening to various versions of I Feel Smoochie (LH reportedly singing it in close-up club shot). I could not pull off saying it, much less singing it, & be glamorous. (Yes, I know I am not glamorous no matter what. Don't rub it in! Snarl.) Julie the Cat seemed to enjoy a few versions of the song but then, being a modern sophisticat, she barfed onto the modem, nearly shorting it out. This sums up the last few weeks.

Update: 9 May 2010 - RIP, Lena. She did a lot more than look fabulous; she fought for civil rights - her own & others (notably, African-American GIs in WWII). Obituary, here. It's more than annoying that everyone seems to have chosen "sultry" for their headlines. Ah well.

[photographs by Yale Joel & W. Eugene Smith for LIFE archives/Lena arriving in Grand Central Station via myvintagevogue]