I say—> it’s okay to play with your food as long as you eat it after the fun is over.
If I were the little sister to one of the world’s most famous pop stars what would I do to stand out?
I would do what Solange Knowles is doing- her own thing! The shadow of big sis Beyonce does not fall upon this singer, DJ, dancer and street style star. In late 2013 Solange was named Art Director and Creative Consultant for Puma. In her role, Solange not only co-designed two lines of colorful sneakers for the brand, but also art directed their campaigns. I absolutely love the art direction for Puma’s “Girls of Blaze” and “Wild Wonders” campaigns. The set design is clean and simple allowing for the color and product to tell the story. The models look like they were just interrupted from practicing their handstands and planks and stopped briefly to let the photographer snap a photo. The images are fresh, energetic and make me feel like putting on my MAC Lady Danger lipstick, Essie Tart Deco nail polish and Pumas right this second for a 12 minute AMRAP workout!
Here are a few of my favorite images/videos from Puma’s “Girls of Blaze” and “Wild Wonders” campaigns:
Solange created an early buzz about the new Puma sneaker line by releasing this sexy photo below on her instagram account.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Need an easy last minute gift? Go buy some beets for your sweetie! Beets are full of health benefits and they’re known as “Nature’s Viagra.” Below I posted a few creative garnishes you can add to a healthy dose of beet-vegetable juice as well as a link to a super sweet recipe for homemade beetroot lipstick.
Give the gift of health:
Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
Beets are high in many vitamins and minerals. To name a few- potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene and folic acid.
Beets cleanse the body. They are a wonderful tonic for the liver, works as a purifier for the blood, and can help prevent various forms of cancer.
Beets help your mental health. They contain trytophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, similar to chocolate.
Beets boost your brain and energy levels. They are high in natural nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is known to expand the walls of blood vessels so you can enjoy more oxygen, more nutrients, and more energy. Blood flow!
Beet flowers: thinly sliced beets anchored on a tooth pick with basil leaves. See the tutorial here. I attached the beet flowers to celery that I sliced and curled in cool water.
I use a clean piece of paper to create a perfect heart stencil. Press the paper on the sliced beet to get an outline of the diameter of your heart, fold the paper in half and cut out the perfect heart with a pair of scissors. Then use a very sharp knife to slice around the heart stencil.
The starburst shape above is a golden beet that adds wonderful color to your garnish. I also blanched the pineapple greens to make the color pop. Below you can see the before (left) and after (right) effects of blanching the greens.
Make some homemade lipstick with beetroot powder! I tried out a few recipes and the one from Gingerly Made turned out the best. The ingredient list is so simple: beeswax, shea butter and beet root powder.
Below shows what the lipstick looks like immediately after “cooking” it (left) and the final color when dry (right). The effect on your lips is a very subtle, natural looking lip tint. To see the final look on your lips you can reference the last two photos on the Treasures and Travels blog link here. Their recipe uses fresh beets instead of beet root powder but the result is similar.
Here’s a great Valentine’s Day song that perfectly describes the color of beets- Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and The Shondells (1969). This song makes me feel like I’m in love when I listen to it. The pink/orange geometric set in this video is amazing. Check it out.
And Joan Jett does a great cover of Crimson & Clover, too. She looks amazing in her muscle tee, tight leather pants and sneakers throughout the video!
I came across an issue of National Geographic from September 1954 and I was impressed by the magazine ads and articles that incorporated hand drawn illustrations. They’re so detailed and the artists must have spent many late nights trying to work with unrealistic deadlines. There are ways to create shortcuts when drawing, but overall it’s a labor of love and will always take longer than planned.
Check out artist Walter A. Weber’s snake illustrations below. Amazing! How wonderful that he could spend a lifetime drawing animals- his passion since he was a kid in the early 1900’s.
Seeing these illustrations got me thinking about how “easy” it is to illustrate now. You just need to know how to use a computer and have a very basic understanding of composition and design. Raw talent helps, too, but it’s not essential with all the editing software out there now. When I first encountered the Adobe Creative Suite I really disliked it. It felt like cheating and made the little art club that I was in feel like it suddenly had way too many members. But I learned to embrace the technology and see how it could provide new areas to explore. I still prefer to draw with my hands but I’ve taken a particular liking to Adobe Illustrator because I figured out that I can do in seconds what would have taken hours to do the old-fashioned way. Illustrator is the one program that still makes me feel like I’m involved in an artistic project. I get so involved that I forget that I’m clicking away at a computer.
One of my favorite features in Illustrator is “Image Trace.” You can pull a photo into the program and after playing around with the Image Trace settings you’ll have an image that resembles a paint-by-number, watercolor, or graphic logo in seconds. Then you can ungroup all of the traced sections and play with the image as if it were a puzzle of color. The National Geographic illustrators from way back would lose their minds if they saw how easy it is now.
I pulled a bunch of vintage inspired images below and created various effects using Image Trace. I included some detail shots to show the amazing color separations close up. I enjoy zooming in and out to see the effects and deconstructing the original image. The series of images below will either make you want to learn how to use Illustrator or perhaps go for a bike ride instead.
I lust after this white vintage Peugeot bicycle with rainbow stripes. A friend of mine had one years ago and I fell in love with her bike instantly. I was so envious. I have to find one someday. Playing with the image of this bicycle in Illustrator makes it feel like it’s sorta mine for a few minutes.
I do. I love white nail polish. It makes me look tan.
I randomly came across this Human Heart illustration while doing an image search online and it is perfectly fitting for Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure who the original artist is, but I think most people could relate to the humor and honesty portrayed here. Most people could also relate to the highs and lows of love, particularly around Valentine’s Day, and this artist nailed it in one simple illustration.
I put together a series of Valentine’s Day inspired images from my photo library. It is peppered with a few images of great gift ideas.
Before you begin, here is a classic Mirah song to listen to while you browse the Valentine’s Day inspired images below.
Alter Eco Dark Blackout Organic Chocolate. Fairly traded, organically grown, and 85% cocoa! Simple and pure delight. Have a piece first thing in the morning on Valentine’s Day.
In Fiore based in San Francisco “is total floral seduction for your skin and for your soul” (as their website states). They use certified organic or wild-crafted essential oils, herbal infusions, and floral waters to create balms, oils and more for your skin. A friend of mine worked at In Fiore and she got me hooked on the Vetiver balm. It smells divine.
I saw this bedroom (above left) in an article in Dwell Magazine years ago and the image stuck with me. I love the lavender ceiling (they claimed that it’s ), the upside-down lingerie artwork and the simplicity of this room. I painted the ceiling of my bedroom lavender in my last apartment and I can vouch for its calming effect. Also, having lavender on the ceiling creates a unique lighting effect during the day- a subtle, rose-colored-ombre hugs the walls which makes the perfect nap environment. Read the full Dwell article here about this West Village home
I have always been impressed with Urban Outfitters’ lingerie designs. They have a tendency to create soft silhouettes in contrast to the puffy, padded, underwire-laden designs that flood the market. The labels Silence + Noise, Kimchi Blue and Out From Under have designs this season that are lovely, comfy and vintage-inspired. I suggest getting the Silence + Noise Alexis Strappy Soft Bras in every color (above). Or as seen below, treat your lady friend to the Silence + Noise Front O-Ring Strappy Bralette, the Out From Under Sheer Lace-Back Bralette, or the Kimchi Blue Allover Scalloped Lace Bralette (more colors available on the UO website).
Create a sprinkle topper for your smoothie that tastes just like Red Hots candy by mixing the following spices in equal parts: turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon. Then dust the mixture through a small heart stencil on top of the smoothie. The spicy-icy combination is mood altering.
I recently found an original sketch for some t-shirts that I designed for a few friends that said “COOL BOOBS” in bubble letters. The design was hand screen-printed on tight, white cotton tees so that the letters would stretch across their chest and be barely legible. One friend mentioned that she still has the t-shirt which is now almost 10 years old and threadbare. It’s probably in peak condition at this point. Make a tight t-shirt for your sweetie!
Above is a pencil drawing that my mom did in February 1997. She was forced to do this by my high school art teacher at a parent-teacher meeting. I saved it because it is beautiful. If you don’t normally draw or make art, but you decide to make some art for someone special you might melt their heart.
My vegan-gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe can be found here. They’re protein-packed so your health nut friends will like them, too. Make + share these and you will win hearts — forever.
You can’t go wrong with gifting a pair of American Apparel Stripe Thigh-High Socks. Think about it, you could buy someone a long, fuzzy robe, or you could buy them these thigh-high tube socks. Both will keep them warm around the house, but one will keep them warmer. Find more great options from American Apparel in their Hosiery & Socks section.
This week’s #wcw is artist Margaret Kilgallen.
She created murals indoors and on the streets that pay homage to American folk art, printmaking, and letterpress, and recall a time when personal craft and handmade signs were the dominant aesthetic.
I like her statement from the PBS film about her and her husband Barry McGee (also an artist):
“I do spend a lot of time trying to perfect my line work and my hand. But my hand will always be imperfect because it’s human. If I’m doing really big letters and I spend a lot of time going over the line and over the line trying to make it straight, I’ll never be able to make it straight. From a distance it might look straight, but when you get close up you can always see the lines waver. And I think that’s where the beauty is.”
Margaret died of breast cancer in 2001, less than a month after giving birth to her daughter, Asha. She was 33 years old. It’s tragic that her daughter had less than 30 days in the presence of her mother. On a hopeful note, Margaret leaves behind an incredible collection of imagery for Asha to connect with.
Every time that I sit on my couch I think of artist Sonya Young James. She is a textile designer and fiber artist based in Atlanta, Georgia and she inspired me to make a wool, hand-felted throw that hangs over the back of my couch.
The throw has been on the back of my couch for some time now so it now more “matted” but when I first finished the piece it was much more fluffy as you can see in the photos below.
I hand-felted and needle felted the entire piece with roving wool and sheep curls. I purchased all the wool that I used from an Etsy store called La Tea Da Designs based out of Southern California. Felting is a process that I really enjoy because I like the smell of wool, warm soapy water, the repetitive motion of needle felting and the magic that transforms loose wool combined with a bit of soapy friction into one solid piece.
Although I made a bunch of pompoms as well they didn’t seem right for my throw so I didn’t include them. However, they make great hairpieces for kids.
Below are photos of five of Sonya’s finished pieces that first inspired me to make a wool, hand-felted throw:
Her wool throws are warm, inviting, and somewhat quirky. I fell in love with them instantly and knew I had to try to make one, too. I researched Sonya’s work and found that she documents a lot of her process in her Flickr account. I particularly love the photos where she’s felting the wool by dragging it behind a van and drying her finished pieces out in the sun. Sonya is a “maker” and it’s obvious that she’s a true lover of nature and all its wonderful shapes, colors and textures.
And lastly, this is not one of Sonya’s pompoms below, but how cute would this addition be on your couch!?