Contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara released his first children's book yesterday, The Lonesome Puppy. It's about a gigantic puppy that is so large that no one notices him except for a little girl who becomes his friend. I'm excited about the artwork, and Chronicle Books always has fantastic design and packaging, but I can't help but think--wow, this sounds a whole lot like Clifford the Big Red Dog. Maybe...that's the point? Perhaps the intention was to take a popular children's book storyline and spin it with Yoshitomo Nara's unique art. Or, maybe dogs are just popular and cute? All of the above? I can't exactly pass judgment because I honestly haven't picked up the book yet, but this storyline doesn't initially thrill me. Hopefully Nara's work will, because he has such a great style and I think Chronicle Books has done a great job publishing his artwork on postcards and books. Purchase Yoshitomo Nara's very first children's book, The Lonesome Puppy, here.
One of the pleasant surprises of our little weekend getaway to Solvang/Santa Barbara/L.A. was The Getty Center. It's a little silly that I have never been to this museum before, because now I think it's my favorite museum space in the entire world! It was such a beautiful day, and as you can see from the pictures, the garden was absolutely gorgeous.
We took a couple of museum tours that helped shape our visit. I didn't really feel like hearing any Art History lectures while the sun was shining and the birds were chirping and the outdoor sculpture garden was calling my name. But, boy was I wrong! I actually really enjoyed them.
We took a tour about the architecture (the building was designed by Richard Meier) and it was a really interesting tour about Meier's design. One of the things that I found really fascinating was that the entire building is based on a grid, and that all the squares that make up this grid are divisible by 3. The squares on the building were 30 inches x 30 inches, so you could measure yourself by standing next to it. Unfortunately, Meier's design really points out how short I am. I won't hold it against him.
If you are in L.A., go visit The Getty Center! It was really beautiful and lots of fun.
I had a long weekend with the boy in Solvang, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. We had a blast! While in Solvang, I stopped by this ADORABLE little vintage shop called Picket Fences that sold antique furniture, knick knacks, jewelery, housewares, stationery, really the whole shebang when it comes to super cute things that you find in an attic. Well, no attic of mine, but an attic belonging to someone really hip and romantic. Unfortunately I couldn't find a website for them, but if you are ever in Solvang, the name is Picket Fences and it's at 1588 Mission Drive.
Woohoo! The 1st place winner of Design*Sponge's DIY contest is this adorable suitcase doggy bed from Kirsten of Hershey is my Baby. Meomi (my cat) currently sleeps on a soft blue bed we bought at Petsmart, but I have a hunch she'd want to be different from all the other cool cats and have this bed instead. Want to make one for your precious pooch (or cat)? Check out the instructions here.
I despise junk mail. I open up my mailbox and usually sift through the contents and then recycle 75% of what I just received. Sometimes if I receive postcards from photography agencies I'll keep those in case I hit a wall trying to find "the perfect photo" and need some more sources...but I rarely give them a second look and usually stuff the really pretty postcards in my drawer until one day my desk begs me to clean it. And then they go in the recycling bin.
So yesterday, I received a postcard from a company I had never heard of, Jack Cards. As I was sifting through the papers and stuffing things in the recycling bin, I was about to toss the postcard from Jack Cards when something immediately jumped out at me.
They had handwritten my name and address. It wasn't typed up on a generic mailing label like all the other mail I receive, it was actually written with blue ink. My name was also spelled correctly. No one spells my name correctly. Important bills come to our apartment with my name spelled incorrectly, I receive greeting cards with my name spelled incorrectly, the guy at Starbucks spells my name incorrectly. But Jack Cards had written my name down with all the correct letters. In the right order. With the correct spacing. Amazing.
So I kept the postcard and looked up the website. And I'm so glad I did! As a great alternative to Hallmark, Jack Cards offers lots of options from independent artists and designers for all your greeting card needs. They also keep track of important dates and send you pre-stamped cards in the mail so you don't have to frantically make a trip to the store the day before your best friend's birthday. Check out the entire line at Jack Cards here.
Did I mention they hand wrote my address and spelled my name correctly?
The mini zoo animals by e.soule reminded me of photography duo Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz, who have absolutely incredible scenes comprised of miniature figures in snow globes. The photos are at first charming and whimsical (check out their other series, Travelers,) but if you look closer they're really disturbing and not as cute as they first appear (ie: the people jumping off the cliff!) But the photos still draw me in, completely amazed and wondering--how did they make that!? Check out the New York Times article about this amazing couple here.
Seeing the ultra-cute kid wrapping paper from Denise Lynn Studios reminded me of a studio I used to follow regularly but haven't checked up on in a long time--Whimsy Press! This team is amazing and produces some pretty awesome and quirky designs. And, what do you know, Whimsy Press has expanded their line of awesome wrapping paper to include notebooks, note cards, invitations, placemats, ribbons, bookplates, and even onesies! I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't find elephant-themed wrapping paper, but I think I'll live with the paper invaders.
I'm happy that they are doing so well. Check out all of their items here for a little bit of whimsy.
Yet another great find for the baby to come--cute, whimsical, and absolutely delightful wrapping paper by Denise Lynn Studios! These elephants would be perfect for my sister's elephant theme. What a great way to wrap a present.
[Flickr birthday cake from Flickr's 2nd birthday, image from Lucy Huntzinger]
If Flickr were a person, I would marry it. We would have camera-toting babies, and they would always tag their images and always remember to add the appropriate Creative Commons license and they would make billions of moo cards and decorate their walls with their creativity....ahh Flickr. How you make my life so much easier (and more fun!) Here's to many more years, so sad that I can't be at your birthday party. Maybe I'll make an appearance for year 5.
I'm slowly adjusting to my new adopted city, San Diego, where I have been on a scavenger hunt for things I miss in Berkeley/NY. Cute paper store? Check. Museums in which I can wander aimlessly? Check. Good ramen? Check.
Letterpress classes/uber cool gallery/beautiful building/art and music library? Check!
Behold, the La Jolla Athenaeum, which I had the pleasure of strolling into today. Not only do they have a long list of art classes, but they also have a beautiful gallery space, a long list of events, mini-concerts, artist talks, and a special collection of artist books. An extra plus is that there is a special children's art section in the library, complete with some cute chairs to lounge in and these really odd action figures of former presidents...I forgot my camera, forgive me.
Cookie Monster was my favorite character on Sesame Street. Forget Elmo. Forget Grover. It was all about cookie monster, who, by definition, got to stuff his face with cookies all day long. And no one could do anything about it. Because that's the type of monster he was. Cookies. All day long. So imagine my squeals of delight when I saw these cupcakes by Crazy Cake Company based in Sacramento, CA. Last year, the boy surprised me with a ginormous vegan cupcake topped with gigantic candles spelling my age out to everyone in the world. I think this year should be a new age of maturity in which I receive some cookie monster cupcakes for my birthday. Because C is for cookie. And that's good enough for me.
I love picture books. I could probably sit for hours just flipping pages of picture books, reading and admiring illustrations. So I was quite intrigued by the San Francisco Chronicle's article about Lookybook, a very attractive and smart website that makes it possible to view picture books online. When I think about books being scanned for online digital libraries, I think of people sitting in cramped rooms filled with scanners at midnight scanning page after page after page after page after page with the constant sound of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz in the background.
I wouldn't expect the scans to be very sharp in quality.
But these picture books on Lookybook look amazing on screen. The art work really shines--just take a look at Ann and Paul Rand's Sparkle and Spin!
Of course I am still in favor of having the actual book in hand--there's something about holding a book and feeling the paper and dog-earing my favorite pages that's so comforting. Holding a tablet with a digitized version of a book while I sip my afternoon tea is not the most cozy of images. Nevertheless, I'm still bookmarking Lookybook--just don't tell my local children's librarian.
[Karen in the lobby of Mondrian Scottsdale; lobby ceiling at Mondrian Scottsdale; me and the rooster at Asia de Cuba; bbq chicken and coconut sticky rice at Asia de Cuba; rooster-filled booth at Asia de Cuba; all images by Karen]
I stayed in Phoenix over the weekend for work. It was really hot and dry (85 degrees!) but overall a good time. One night we dined at Asia de Cuba, a fusion of Cuban and Asian cuisine, at the Mondrian Scottsdale, an "urban resort" in Old Town. This place rocked--the decor was uber cool and starkly white. Really dramatic elements gave the place a bit of a twilight zone aura (gigantic puffy clouds, enormous lamps, roosters!) and was such a visual feast after seeing all the strip malls and construction around town. And the food was yummy, especially the coconut sticky rice which tasted especially good the next day when I was baking in the sun. Thanks to Karen for finding the place and taking the pictures!
I am excited for Jennifer 8 Lee's new book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, which was released today. Once upon a time I wrote a report about Americanized Chinese food--my "research" was eating at Panda Express. Jennifer 8. Lee's book would have been very handy back then! I'm also a big fan of the cover and am really happy that the designer decided to use bright orange instead of red. That soy sauce packet really pops out in all its sodium-rich glory. Yum!
Why must Anthropologie continue to toy with me when I'm on a tight budget?? This new dress by designer Chan Luu is really, really pretty. I need some fabulous excuse to buy it and run off to a foreign country to sip granitas under the sun.