Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Have a happy holiday. Wish I looked as calm & collected as this Viennese lady by Mela Koehler (Austrian, 1885–1960). She was part of the Wiener Werkstätte artists’ collective founded in Vienna at the turn of the century. This card was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's catalogue this year (it's on sale now). If you are or will be in NYC before 17 January, you can stop in to the Neue Galerie & see an exhibit of postcards from the collective. The online site is very pretty (as is the gorgeous catalogue). Cheers!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Day

...and I'm running in place. So off to do so for real. Herewith a few not-so-great photographs but we do what we can. Are you sure you want a cat? It does give one the opportunity to practice patience, I suppose. Cheers to pals in Australia where it is past midnight & therefore Christmas Day. I maintain the Twelve Days of Christmas policy--it really does take the pressure off, as I see it. Back later. Cheers. PS: There's still time to donate to Toys for Tots, if you're going to be at IKEA, the Soft Toy campaign goes until they close today.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


"Poetic Illusions" Illustrations by Mats Gustafson. I saw an orchid at my neighborhood market that looked like this (if you squint). Yes, I'm goofing off more than usual. (Vogue China, December 2010) Via the Fashion Spot, on Vintage Rose Garden)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Byrne on Burton

I cannot explain how I ended up on the Irish Times website reading Gabriel Byrne's remembrance of Richard Burton/review of Furious Love. A visit to a few Irish newspaper sites & there is Byrne at every turn; he was appointed Ireland's cultural ambassador (to the States) earlier this year.

Studiously ignoring the baking of cookies, the cleaning of the apt. More fun to read things like "a flame of love never quenched...". I'm just's a quick & interesting read--especially the anecdote about a dinner in Vienna with Olivier, Burton, Gielgud, & Richardson.

(The photograph is from The Burtons tumblr. I saw it earlier this year but it seemed more of a winter thing. There's an amusing entry about the meeting of a bellhop & Burton, here.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shoot Your Sandwich

From the Saveur website: Everyone has a favorite sandwich, whether it’s a homemade Dagwood pulled together from leftovers, or a cult hoagie that waits at the end of an hour-long line. SAVEUR wants to know what you think is the best thing in sliced bread — find your best photo of your favorite sandwich, and upload it to our photo contest. One winner and six runners-up will be picked by the SAVEUR editors to be featured in the pages of our all-sandwiches April issue. (photographs from the contest. I kind of overdid it, but I'm hungry.)

The rules.

The prize - glory, bragging rights, & your sandwich.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Clair de Lune

There's a total eclipse of the solstice moon overnight. The last time this happened, it was 1638. Wow. I could make much of this but I'll spare one & all. This very pretty Isabel Marant boutique window in Paris by Fan & Gab. (To be fair, I saw it on this Dreaming in White Pinterest board. But just like FB, it is having some sort of mini-breakdown today.)


These are from the so-much-fun Strasbourg Christmas Market, here. (Christkindelsmärik is Alsatian.) Julie continues to wrestle with her ambivalence towards fairy lights, here. You can listen to Mon Beau Sapin, here. Here is Kristin of French Word-A-Day on donner (a mignon Provençal tabby caught my eye). More anon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Lights

Same as on Giulia Geranium tonight. No pudding recipe yet. Freezing cold here. Cannot decide how much I like the song...maybe it's the balloons & fireworks over London in the video. Actually, I put this up on both sites to say hi to a friend who is seriously downhearted. Cheers! (photograph via Vintage Rose Garden via Pinterest) Thursday Update - here's a link to video playable in Europe.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pumpkin Ginger Vanilla Pudding

The cat-pudding has repaired to the room with The Dragon (a heater), freeing up my Aran pullover upon which she snoozes quite often (see grainy photograph). One more holiday do-gooder event in which I have admin duties.

I did make a pumpkin ginger vanilla pudding & it went over well. More of a custard but the word 'pudding' is much more fun to say. It's a combination of three recipes, so a codified version is forthcoming. If the power stays on. (Hiss)

A few notes: Angie has a Romanian childhood holiday memory & chocolate recipe, here. Also, Vanessa's very helpful & delicious index of recipes. Carina in Copenhagen's "I want to" series is fun.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Week's End - The Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Unless you've been under a rock (man, I hope not), you know that the ceremony was today but that the award could not be given. Liu Xiabao was not allowed to be there as he's in prison for 11 outrageous years. Those who have been in contact with his wife Liu Xia have not heard from her in at least 3 days. It's believed that she is under house arrest.

The last time a Nobel Peace Prize was not handed out was 1936. Guess who nixed that one? You can watch the video on the Nobel Organization page, here. By the by, today is International Human Rights Day & Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign runs through the 13th. Wherever you are, you can do something without joining anything. A letter with a stamp. That's it.

Sadly, I can't have comments on these posts due to spamming.

(The lovely holiday candle photograph is by Aimee White)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back Where You Belong by Tina Tarnoff

This elegant & romantic piece was a summer surprise from San Francisco-based artist Tina Tarnoff. I wore it frequently with two linen tunics, too low-cut for comfort. Worked like the charm that it is, no sewing & lots of compliments. The last photograph shows two winter possibilities. I highly recommend that you hop over to Tina's justly-popular Etsy shop & her inspiring Thought Patterns blog. (Her husband, novelist Terry Tarnoff has a terrific website, too.) Tina's 18 sets of cards (update - 17 sets, sorry) are based on her intricate original papercuts. If you're like me & can't afford much this year, these are a great deal. I've given several sets to a variety of people & they are always loved. Thank you so much to super-generous Tina.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Early Christmas Gift

A lovely old friend from Strasbourg days sent me a teeny leetle Kodak camera, battery charger, & batteries (so thoughtful). He thought this might keep me from total madness until the real bigger deal comes along. A terrific photographer, he said, "I prefer film, always will...". I hear you, buddy. Already, I'm swearing up a storm. Many bisous, baci, & asstd xoxo to B & his kind wife Mary Lou in NY.

Julie the Cat is exceedingly annoyed because I keep moving her around to take a snap. Poor bunny. It's so cold & windy here that moving back into the bedroom (with The Dragon space heater) is necessary. On Netflix Instant (if you have it or the UK/Euro-zone equivalent) are, in no particular order:
Hannah & Her Sisters, Manhattan, About A Boy, 84 Charing Cross Road (highly recommend), Charade, The September Issue. Vanessa in Berlin recommended Metropolitan & I hope to watch it tonight.

Liberty London Girl (aka Sasha Wilkins) is here in town for the TEDWomen conference. Highly recommend checking in on her blog. It's a terrific mix of the fun, stylish, & serious. And the seriously stylish.

The sun is sinking & so is the temperature--inside. Sometime soon I hope to regain energy to post on what's happening here. (One thing is that
Patti Smith will be at the Portrait Gallery on Saturday--naturally, I have an ironclad commitment that afternoon. Bah.) (photograph via Rebecca Schley via Pinterest)

Elizabeth Edwards RIP

Elizabeth Edwards died this morning. Condolences to her family, especially her children Cate, Emma Claire, & Jack. The loathsome boor who smeared her in a book was invited to speak about her this afternoon. Such breathtakingly bad taste, even for Washington, it's making me dizzy. Here is EE's Senior Fellow page at the Center for American Progress; you'll get a much better idea of her accomplishments there. (Update - the CAP link changed after Elizabeth died; I've put in the link to the CAP Fellow announcement press release.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reindeer Cheer

Sunday Update (5 Dec 2010) - It's been that kind of week. I hope to be back by mid-week. Meanwhile, please check out Made4Aid, IKEA Soft Toy Aid, & Tina Tarnoff's Etsy shop (here's a Giulia G. post about a beautiful pin Tina sent me this past summer). And of course, check out all my comrades here in the right sidebar & on my profile page. And yes, I have a thing for reindeer. This cute dude is by John the Finn, here. xo/Susan

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Change in the Weather

This illustrates what happens when you haven't really done the seasonal clothes rotation. Yet. UK Tights is a good tight-site. If you order enough & get them on the right day, little to no delivery charge from UK to US. Wolford are gorgeous but out of my reach (for now).

Just about everyone I know in the States, Canada, & Europe is trudging around in the snow. Here it's been in the 50s/60s & now zooming to a freeze. The last 15 hours have brought torrential rain, winds, & who knows what this afternoon-into-evening. This is mainly to switch over to December. Strasbourg at Christmas holiday soon, I hope, but things are still rather tangled here. Oops, there flickers zee lights.

Everyone in my sidebar & also on the profile page if I've not linked yet, have some great suggestions for holidays. (Joanna's always-entertaining Cup of Jo Gift Guide has just begun.) Giulia Geranium has ideas for good gifts that help. (photograph via audrey hepburn complex)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Street Shopping

I cannot take a man seriously if he does not own a real coat. This bothered me way before Mad Men was a twinkle in Matthew Weiner's eye. I'm tired of walking amongst 6' tall toddlers. If you are a Canadian lumberjack (I just looked at Googley-tube Analytics, eek), no offense. You shouldn't be reading this anyway. It's not (or shouldn't be) a class thing. My maternal grandfather was a steelworker & he always wore a coat & hat. If that makes me a cranky whining baby boomer, I do not care.

I've no idea if Paul Newman was left or right-handed but I notice that he's carrying a monogrammed leather portfolio (or notebook?). Here's an Etsy seller with excellent feedback who has a left-handed journal. I'm sure there are vegan alternatives but this isn't a shopping post. It's just a plea for some men (you know who you are) to smarten up. (I saw some wonderful coats at a secondhand thrift recently--no excuses.)

(Gordon Parks for LIFE)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week's End - Now, It's Up To You

I hesitate asking "do this in honor of" but I've been trying to decide for an entire week about what to do, hence the non-posts, the "hey look at this pretty picture (more than usual)" business. A very close friend's son died last week. He was studying to be a veterinarian & he also worked with children on his holidays & summer breaks. This was a sudden & horrible event & so please do this on his behalf.

I hope to return to regular posting soon. Giulia's blog will post daily as it is easier to set up & not so very personal (in the first-person sense).

Update: Monday. Thank you dear Carina for passing it on.

Cheers & have a good weekend. I hope you will pass on the information or do a post yourself. There is a toolkit on each IKEA website. Below is the text from GG's site:

Join GG in the Soft Toy Movement for every child's right to education. Please go to your country's IKEA website & click on Soft Toy campaign at the bottom of the homepage. There you will find all the information you need to pass the word on. It has downloadable wallpapers, a coloring book, a banner for blogs & Facebook pages, & videos.

This year, from November 1–December 24, for every soft toy sold, 1 euro (USD $1.35) will go to IKEA global partners UNICEF and Save the Children to extend and start new children's educational programs in 22 countries.

Pick up an inexpensive soft toy at IKEA & put it in a holiday gift donation basket if you don't need it. Giulia is holding a meow-in this very moment because she wants a soft toy this year. The spring has gone out of Celeste the IKEA Pig's curly tail. We'll see about an addition but Celeste the IKEA Pig (her full name) is not going anywhere...there's a familiar orange & white pink-nosed feline draped over her every day. (images via IKEA website)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Keep the Peace on Thanksgiving

...are you fighting yet? Wait a few's early. If someone is getting on your nerves, picking a fight, get outta there. I mean out of the house/apt. Even if it's your place. Take a walk & look for materials to make centerpieces, wreaths, swags, or little art installations. If you come up short on the flower-y/greenery/berry front head on to a market. Most of them have floral foam & wire if you want to make a more formal centerpiece arrangement. (Beg for a little bit of foam or wire, if that's what you really want. Of course, offer to pay.)

I saw some pretty Lady apples, Seckel pears, & teeny white pumpkins a few days ago for little money. Arrange on large platter or plate (runner/large placemat/tablecloth/pillowcase), tuck in sprigs of holly (or pine) the neighbor gave you, search your cupboards for a bag of whole nuts that are now, I assure you, stale. Arrange.

Personally, I like Emily Thompson's delicate wreaths & have made similar for years & endured teasing by unimaginative people with scads of cash. A dangerous combination. If all else fails, garland thyself. A crown implies power beyond words. Most people are not going to pick on someone wearing a crown (it would seem especially in America from all the breathless Royal Wedding Reports on the evening news). All of these ideas work for any holiday, in any country. But for fellow Americans & their guests, a special happy Thanksgiving from Julie the Cat & her obedient servant.

Here's the link to Design*Sponge labels Thanksgiving & flowers. (images via Design*Sponge)

Monday, November 22, 2010

London Light

Two of 16 photographs by Sally (aka Letty) at Made4Aid. More information is on Giulia Geranium blog. The cards are gorgeous, well priced, & they ship free anywhere in the world. (Here's the full set; you can choose which ones you'd like.) Hope to be back before too long. Cheers.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Week's End - Noir sur blanc

Fun under $5.00. Download a Beatles song that you somehow do not have & two Françoise Hardy songs. I like her 2010 album La pluie sans parapluie. I was reminded of this when visiting the newish tumblr, le temps perdu, created by blogger friend agelessbeautyalways & secret fragile skies. She connected to a YouTube video of Il est des choses, here. (Noir sur blanc is one of Julie The Cat's favorite songs.)

On FH's beautifully designed website there are some videos & a slide-show of lovely FH photographs by Jean-Marie Périer. These include two with Bob Dylan, who wrote the poem referencing FH for the liner of Another Side of Bob Dylan. Bob--she wasn't interested in you. Men. They are so cheeky & clueless sometimes. (No this doesn't mean you, you.). Abonnez-vous à la newsletter de Françoise Hardy, ici.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, it really doesn't have to be, eh? Playing the Beatles & Françoise has calmed Julie. She's had one long asthma attack since Thursday evening. It's really upsetting.

Busy trying to track down the dust or whatever the offender may be, making bread, visiting fabric, knitting, & other textile blogs & sites. I really like
Kitty Couture by a bilingual Frenchwoman, Isabelle. Her tagline:
No garment is complete without kitty fluff. (If it's going to happen anyway, do as a cat & act like that was the plan all along.)

Giveaways I have seen lately: Cabbages & Roses fabric via Lobster & Swan. She has links to 3 other blogs holding C&R giveaways - all themed to different colors. Leave a comment by 29 November to enter.

Photographs via the website & Annie's Poetic & Chic's Bang Envy series. I still laugh at this (not at her!)...someone stopped me once a day last week: I love your bangs/hair. Why don't they have some cut then? Ooh. I don't think I can. It's what I hear about hats & why people can't wear them. Yes they can.

Once at a fairly large wedding, I was the only person, seriously, to wear a hat. If nothing else, it protected me from the blazing summer sun. Oooh. IloveyourhatIcannotwearthem. Later that summer, I took approx. 15 wedding guests - one at a time - hat shopping. They all looked great.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rose Hips

I already had the title last week & was going to show rose hips that I'd swiped. Too late, they're through the chipper. I decided to keep the title because I'm silly. I like this sewing tutorial idea/tutorial. I won't be wearing it anytime soon but I would have done, definitely, in the not too-distant past. And there would have been whispers of 'oh I wish I could do that but I don't have the nerve." That is not nerve. You know what nerve is? Wading into the deep waters of war & "conflict" zones. (My friend Susan has nerve.)

If you don't want to wear a big ol' bow around the waist, understood. Here's a cool way to jazz up your coat collar via genius Caitlin at Colette Patterns. It's quite clever & if I didn't already have something similar, I'd do it in a jiff. (OK, lots of swearing & a long day's journey into night). It's a reminder of stylish women who made do in eras past--& wow, they looked better than most of us today. I am convinced of this.

In a rush this week & working on GG blog matters. I will definitely visit blogs (if I've not already, I think I did a fairly good job of it yesterday) this weekend.

(pink skirt via say yes to hoboken via automatism on Pinterest)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Venice in Black & White & November

At the mere mention that high winds are expected later today, the power is starting to go in & out. I'm serious--the wind has not kicked up yet. So here are three photographs by an old friend from Strasbourg days. He took these on a trip to Venice in a November. The little boy's name is unknown. Trying to think how old he'd be now is making my head hurt. Ahem. The photographer & friend (it's not me but I've not asked her permission yet so I'm not showing a third that focuses on her) are very sporting about the pigeons. Bernd claims that he remained unscathed during this shoot. I called him a liar (on Facebook!) & as usual he took massive teasing with equanimity.

Bernd was prescient about taking photos in Venice (& France, Germany, Switzerland) that many of us would value so much later. I hereby apologize publicly for all the times I rolled my eyes when asked to stand still...for a second. Or two. I am now painfully aware of how obnoxious I look when exasperated. See here for explanation...or I'll just tell you. I unwittingly took a video of myself trying to figure out the web camera. It's excruciating but I saved it as a reminder. (Here's a link to a digital library of World War II photographs, including Venice.)

As black & white as these are, I think they are very warm. I like that they are not super-sharp. They are much, much larger in their original print. (Venice in November by Bernd Krause)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mnemosyne/November, 1967

"A previously unseen work by Dante Gabriel Rossetti is to go on show at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery next year." BBC


Dr. Zhivago was playing at the Paramount
Theater in St. Cloud. That afternoon,
we went into Russia,

and when we came out, the snow
was falling—the same snow
that fell in Moscow.

The sky had turned black velvet.
We'd been through the Revolution
and the frozen winters.--rest of
November, 1967

If I seem overly-reliant on the BBC website lately--what can I say? Guilty. That it's about Mnemosyne (Memory) makes it even better. Here's a link to the Delaware Museum of Art's Pre-Raphaelite Collection where the Rossetti painting is currently on view. (It's in a private collection.) I would love to see the new exhibit in January titled The Poetry of Drawing. (Here's the Birmingham Pre-Raphaelite Collection link.)

The poem because no less than 4 people emailed to ask, did you hear/read that poem on Writer's Almanac? (It was a few days ago.)

That's not a photo of Mnemosyne. It appears to be Tim Walker's take on Ophelia. I like the pearlized gray folds in the gown. (I most certainly do not identify with Ophelia, so let's nip that one in the bud.)

(photograph via Vogue Italia)

Monday, November 15, 2010

O Gattina!

Fussing with the new Giulia Geranium header & colors took a great big bite out of the weekend. Please take a look. I hesitate to say it's finished because that would undermine my as-yet unwritten manifesto on 'things are never finished' (it can get you out of so many jams. And into them, too.). Besides, it's not as though I do this professionally. It's all given me a tremendous headache. Speaking of headaches, of the feline variety....

The carpet above could be mine (same pattern) but mine is currently flecked, nay strewn, with holly berries & bits of sage, rosemary, oregano, & basil from a friend's garden. There are also apples & pears on the carpet. Julie usually goes for all things sparkly so I'm not sure what is up with this vegetal vandalism. That must have been some wild rumpus while I was out walking in lovely autumnal gardens yesterday. The must-do list is woefully lacking "done" ticks & now I have cleaning to do. I'll answer comments & visit people soon. I hope tonight. (A clean carpet via audrey hepburn complex) Update - Tuesday - Or maybe I'll catch up tonight. Oh dear.

PS: Today is the last day to vote for your favorite dress - Shabby Apple Dare to Design Contest. I still haven't decided.

Update - because I can't stand for people not to get a good deal & it's a kitchen sink post: Holiday Vogue Knitting patterns (over 1,300 to choose from) are all $US 2.99/per. Zee email just arrived- here's the link.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Week's End - Hot Off The Press

The BBC has a slideshow featuring some past winners of the Hasselblad Masters competition.

I sifted through the fashion/beauty category on the Hasselblad site & there's not enough time & bandwith (I finally typed it - bandwith, grrrr) to see as much as I'd like. I did not espy a new Tim Walker (yet). Benedikt Ernst's newspaper lady reminded me of the paper tutu by talented Kelly Murry/Jolis Paon.

The competition is open until 31 December. (There's an Up & Coming section, too, so don't count yourself out.) Here's the link to see the rules. Scroll all the way down to the very bottom of the page, the pertinent stuff is there. Hasselblad web-peeps, you should know better.

Can you tell I'm in a hurry? Oof.
Need to wrap things up. I have an impatient cat & an impatient human on my hands. I'm outnumbered.