Sunday, July 24, 2016

* hola hola *

We've been enjoying island life for about 4 months now and I'm obsessed with all things piƱa and palm. Every time I see a pineapple I want to dress him up - this little fella appears in my Society6 shop; please do tell me if you order a print of him! Puerto Rico has so much to offer and I'm planning a few travel posts on here to share our discoveries. In the meantime if you have any tips on learning Spanish in record time I'm all ears. My friend Selena suggested going to sleep with tacos on my eyes. This approach hasn't helped my verbs and conjugations but they are great midnight snacks. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

* see you later, NYC *

...and just like that, the New York adventure is over {for now!}. We've been living for the last two years in beautiful Brooklyn Heights, which has been a dream come true for me on so many levels. Although I'm in lust with all corners of the city, sometimes I craved the sensation of carving out my own village in the city {I loved living in Barnes in West London and Crystal Palace in South East London for the same reason} and the neighborhood vibe of the Heights definitely gave me that. It's not cool like other parts of Brooklyn, its not buzzy like SoHo or Gramercy, but it's been a wonderful place to call home. We will miss the window boxes, the dog-obsessed neighbors, the cute cafes, the wander into Dumbo and the constant debate about where to get the best pizza. We will miss our friends and discovering the hidden gems of the city. 

So for now its see you later to NYC. Thanks for having us. You've been a challenging, exhilarating, fascinating, blooming' grubby place to live and we wouldn't have changed a thing. Next stop...Puerto Rico! 

:: all photos are my own. I could have posted a bazillion, of course...! :: 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

* go nuts for donuts *

Tomorrow is one of the most important days of the year in my new life as an adopted 'Merican - National Doughnut Day! Donuts - doughnuts - have become such gourmet delights that I wanted to share my absolute favourites with you my dear, hungry, sweet-toothed readers. 

My London-based mate Ryan over at Borough 22 is a whisking wonderman, whipping up the most beautiful and glossy doughnuts {as well as Brownies and cupcakes} which are "free-from" all the nasties. Which means we can have double the amount. Which is fine by me. Check out Ryan's website and Instagram for all the ordering and delivery info; if you are in Old London Town you might even get your box delivered by the baker boy himself. 

:: All photos copyright Borough 22 :: 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

* wooden beads yes please *

Not so long ago, I lost one of my favourite necklaces. My love had treated me to a pretty, colourful, simple string of beads from an Etsy seller as a 'thank you for moving around so much' present! After hunting around in a frantic panic, I was truly depressed, especially as the creator seems to have closed her shop so I couldn't even replace it. I know....what a spoiled brat I seem to be. One day, whilst sinking into an Instagram rabbit hole, I stumbled across an artist with whom I am now a little obsessed: Anna Joyce is a multi-talented, multi-tasking maker and mother who creates the most beautiful string necklaces from her studio in Portland, Oregon. I sent a little link to Ben {nudge nudge winkety wink} and a few days later I was proudly showing off my hand-painted, unique necklace which is a very well-qualified replacement for my original gift. Anna also makes ceramics, bags, indigo-dyed fabrics and other interesting pieces for the home. An inspiring lady indeed. 

Anna will be running a bead painting workshop on Sunday, June 14th - check out her website for more info. 

:: all images copyright Anna Joyce and my own little shot:: 

* summer treats *

Happy summery weekend dear readers! I wish we were back in Blighty enjoying the Bank Holiday with friends {Pimms, Eaton Mess, tennis in the garden} but thankfully Brooklyn is sunny and bright so we will make the most of it. I've been doing a little bit of blogging for my favourite florist Ivy, Pip & Rose; tracking down beautiful floral pictures is one of my passions so its lovely to be writing for this gorgeous blog. Check it out y'all.

Some recent shots of our blooming marevllous hood in Brooklyn Heights and wonderful, spangly light in SoHo... 

Next month we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary {gasp!} and I find myself reflecting on how The Boy and I have grown as we've shared these fun years together. When we were first married, we had a little flat in South London that we crammed full of colour, patterns, pictures and clutter. We loved it. Then there was a studio room in Nigeria which we kept extremely simple and clean; the outside world in Nigeria is a colour-riot so we wanted a peaceful sanctuary. Next up was our Victorian flat in West London, with its high ceilings, beautiful fireplace, minuscule kitchen and super-strict landlord! We did our best on a tight budget, thrifting and up-cycling and borrowing with the occasional splurges. 

Here in NYC, I've found myself in another studio space and I'm finally finding my decorating groove - still on a tight budget {hello Craigslist!} but we are both getting better at only buying things that we truly love. One of my recent treats was this fun Origami Swan print from the very talented Andrea Lauren via Society6; I've also fallen in love with these cheeky tigers. Have you seen there are now l e g g i n g s available? I can't imagine I'll be brave enough to go for a pair, but if you are tempted, check out Project M, my friend Emeline's very cool graphic options, as well as these cactus badboys by Andrea Lauren. They would definitely make my Living Room Dancing sessions a bit more fun. 

Have a relaxing and interesting weekend. We are having friends over tonight for falafels and dips. Madly in love with every recipe in Amy Chaplin's gorgeous new cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, so might attempt something delish from there too. 

Until next time!

:: all my photos are pretty crap so you probably won't want to swipe them; Society6 images copyright Andrea Lauren :: 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

* interview: artist jael baker *

When I started gg, the main aim was to simply create a visual scrapbook of the beautiful things I saw. It would be wonderful if this blog had a huge following and if one day I'm needed in Paris to do a book signing, but for now, I love that I can get my teeth into a subject and jot down my thoughts here. 

Lately I've been trying to keep up with the gorgeous work of my creative and prolific friend Jael Baker. With her equally creative husband, Jael is living not too far away in Upstate New York and agreed {not sure I left her with too much choice...!} to discuss her work with me. 

When did you start to paint and create? 
I dabbled with painting and drawing a little when I was younger, but I really didn't start creating anything until my late teenage years. I had a very close friend who's mother was an artist and she has been a great influence to me. When I started college I studied art, primarily focusing on jewelry/metalwork and watercolor. At that time I also became interested in encaustics.

How do you refuel yourself creatively? How do you find the time in your daily routine?
Refueling myself can be difficult at times, with a busy schedule, but as I develop more as an artist , I find myself giving myself more time to create. It's the one thing that I can lose myself in. I try to find time on a daily basis to think, whether it be during a workout (yes I think when I workout),or on a bus ride, I focus my thoughts on something that gives me emotion, developing that emotion usually gives me a thought for a project.

How has your style evolved since you began painting? Do you have any goals for developing your work?
I definitely gravitate towards the abstract. When I started with watercolor, I worried about my drawings and paintings being "perfect" , but then I realized that it was holding me back. I like to create a feeling or emotion and I like the idea that everyone sees and feels it differently. Do I still work on my technical skills, like figure drawings and basic principles of design and composition? Yes, but I don't let it rule my work. My goals are to produce things that give people a feeling or an experience

Abstract art is difficult to define - how would you explain your style? Where do you begin and how do you know when you are finished with a piece?
I define my style as whatever moves me. Sometimes it can be a color that I connect with a feeling or maybe an experience, but in any case ultimately it's whatever the viewer sees or feels, whether they love it or hate it, that's good because it evoked a response. One of my teachers constantly reminded me not to overwork. That to me means that to an artist it will never be finished, but you can complete your thought. I know I'm finished when I have completed a thought. If I have something else to say, I'll do another piece.

Could you describe the process of encaustic painting?
Encaustic means "to burn in" put simply, it's an ancient process of melting beeswax, adding pigment for color and damar resin to help harden. It can be done on many surfaces, I prefer using wood panels or specially made clayboards.

How does creating art make you feel?
It makes me feel like I'm talking and getting everything out. I'm not a hugely social or outgoing person. I prefer to watch and listen, when I have something to say , I'll say it, but I like to take a more creative approach.

Thank you so much my generous friend for sharing your expressions! Dear readers, Jael's paintings are untitled, which I love - let the viewer decide what he or she sees. If you are interested in discussing the paintings with her, please leave your contact details for Jael in the comments section below. 

:: all images copyright Jael Baker - please do not reproduce without permission via this blog :: 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

* indigo-go *

Greetings from a rather chilly, snowy Brooklyn. Slobby Saturday has kicked in with some good old British bacon and eggs sizzling away courtesy of my hungry husband. Other weekend plans include checking out the ice skating at Central Park and pulling together some ideas for my first guest blog post for the wonderful Ivy Pip & Rose..I'll keep you posted on that one!

The new year has begun and thoughts turn to making the nest even cosier and homey {not homely, as we would say in Blighty; here that means something ugly or unsightly! I learnt the hard way by complementing a new acquaintance on her 'homely' apartment. We haven't been back}. At this time of year when the silver light makes black look too harsh and grey look a little drab, the majestic indigo kicks in as my colour of choice. Ever since travelling in 2010 to Abeokuta in Nigeria and watching the distinctive Adire fabric being created, I've had a love affair with the depth of tone that can be achieved with indigo. The Japanese Shibori fabric is everywhere and makes for a perfect DIY project {there is a great tutorial on Design Sponge: Shibori Designs 4 Ways}. I'd love to grab some paint and slosh it behind my mustard coloured loveseat, but that might not please the landlord too much. In the meantime, I've gathered a few inspiring ideas and do let me know how you use indigo in your home! 

:: all photos copyrighted, see the links below for more details :: 

{top left: Shibori kitchen towels from ShopDEND; top middle: mix up your fabrics in the bedroom like this masterpiece in Marrakesh; top right: sleep deeply by painting the bedroom walls in a deep indigo just like Lesley Graham; bottom left: from sfgirlbybay, various tones together looks classic and fresh against a white wall; bottom middle: pops of indigo look warm in the living space as seen in Domino; bottom right: I am madly, deeply, desperately in love with these ceramics from Michele Michael at Elephant Ceramics and I love the Marimekko fabric too!} 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

* i'm in love with some pots *

Oh yes, ceramics are my weakness. Handmade, earthy and versatile. I love my little yellow cups from somewhere in Notting Hill {a gift from mama!} which have been used for tea, flower buds and storing Sharpies. Thanks to Poppytalk I've fallen in the love with the muted colours of Cathy Terepocki's creations, which would look marvelous in my little NYC place and really do cheer up these succulents in the top right image. My jade plant is doing ever so well on my window sill and a nice pot would complete the look {darling husband...are you reading this?!}. Through my daily obsession Design Sponge I discovered Brit McDaniel of Paper & Clay and thought how gorgeous her Danish and Scandi-inspired pieces were, almost like they've been dipped into summertime and the colours have stuck. Imagine slurping a hot chocolate in one of her chunky mugs {bottom left}.

Live in Brooklyn and interested in learning more about ceramics? Brooklyn People's Pottery start the next round of classes on January 5th. I'd love to check them out. 

:: all photos copyright the artists ::  

* remember when it was hot?

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea"
Isak Dinesen 

It was the summer of 2014...we were falling fast in love with NYC but my lungs were screaming and we needed to feel the breeze of sea air. Along with our extraordinary talented florist friend Rebecca from Ivy, Pip and Rose  we took a road trip to the mellow and beautiful Cape Cod then to the Hamptons. Lounging in every cool chair at The Surf Lodge in Montauk was on my to-do list; eating everything on the menu at the Canteen in Provincetown will have to wait for another time.

:: all pictures by me...I wish I had a proper camera and not a knackered old iphone! ::

Thursday, October 16, 2014

* brooklyn makers: raw talent *

For my first proper new gg post, I want to introduce a new category which really gets my creative juices flowing: brooklyn makers. I already follow a fabulous site called, would you believe, Brooklyn Makers, and it so if you aren't patient enough for me to slowly uncover my faves, check out this wonderful collection of handmade goodies! This area is getting expensive and congested, but I can't help feeling that I'm living in the middle of a makers paradise. More than two years ago, with palpitations and glee, I discovered brooklyn to west, the blog of ariele alasko the woodworker extraordinaire. A few years later, the 248k followers on instgram don't seem to affect her grounded, humble spirit and its exciting to me to think that she is carving away somewhere nearby! In her own words, she is a "builder, a fixer, and a do-it-myselfer", scavenging for lathe and old planks anywhere she travels. The wooden wall in her Californian restaurnat il vecchio has got me inspired for our little hallway area...or maybe I'll start with carving some spoons?

:: all photos are from the wonderful blogs linked above, copyright ariele alasko ::