Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Coolest Barbie Ever

OMG have you seen the new tokidoki Barbie?  She's due out October 1.  You already know I love me some tokidoki (see previous posts here).  I think this is the coolest Barbie I've ever seen.  She's sporting pink hair, tokidoki tatts, leggings and taking Bastardino for a walk.  Supplies of this babe won't last.

I collected Barbies when I was a girl, but I gave my collection away when I was a teenager.  I'm beginning to question that decision.  No matter.  Today's Barbies are way cooler than mine were.  Have you seen the Hard Rock's Barbies?  I photographed the top two Barbies in Chicago and the bottom one in Seattle.  Sorry for the poor quality of the pics, I had to do it on the down low.  The sales personnel got mad at me and chased me out of the store.  Man I love photojournalism.
Today's Barbie has the coolest furniture!  Sometimes I see a photo of a Barbie room and think it's a real room.  Just look at that hot pink lamp, turquoise sofa and soft orange silk pillows.  I want those for my own home.  I never had furniture like that, I just had the Barbie camper.  Although I must admit, it was the coolest.  I'd love to have a life size version of it to travel the country.

How I do mid life crisis

The few Americans I know who have not been touched by the recession are busy buying sports cars and convertibles.  I'm not impressed.  Here's how I do a mid-life crisis.  Thinking about a pink wig.  I've  written of my love for pink hair on this blog several times (see previous posts here and here).

I fell in love with pink hair the first time I saw Dale Bozzio.  I wore the Annie Hall uniform, but my hair was pink with white streaks.  Pink hair is an addiction I never got over.  I still love it.

I know I'm the only person in the world who is not a Lady Gaga fan.  But I gotta give props where they are due.  This is the prettiest I've ever seen her look.  The girl rocks a pink wig.
Ya'll know that Nicki Minage is the shit right now.  That girl really rocks a pink wig.  See previous post here.  This outfit was on a fashion faux paus list, but I kinda dig it.  Love the graphic leggings with the clear mini, the pink jacket, and I always love piles of bangles.
Look at this coy little cutie!  Innocent and sultry at the same time.
I should've bought this Hello Kitty bag I saw at Target.  I worried that I would look ridiculous carrying it.  By the time I went back, it was gone.  Surprise.  I wish I was one of those daring people who wore whatever they wanted and didn't think for one minute about whether people were judging them.  If self-acceptance is a topic you're interested in, here's a couple of cool blogs to check out: 

I bet this fab lady would carry a Hello Kitty bag, wear a pink wig and wouldn't worry what anyone thinks.  Advanced Style is an awesome blog written by Ari Seth Cohen.  If you love style, fashion, moxie, freedom and confidence, you'll love it.  Maybe I should just take the plunge and buy this pink wig.  What do you think dear readers, would you sport a pink wig?  Wanna see more?  Check out my flickr gallery, here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yellow Eyeshadow or the Face as Canvas

Today was one of those typical Mondays.  You know the kind, you have a fun weekend, and then bam!  You gotta come back to reality kicking and screaming.  So I thought we should postpone the reality for a little while.   Let's have some good girly fun, shall we?  What's more fun than makeup?  Not much.  When you live life as art, make up is another art form.  Faces are canvases.   Here's a great example.  I adore yellow eyeshadow.  It's a great color for summer.  Forget the fake tan and get some yellow eyeshadow.  It's the color of sunshine and it makes the face glow.  Yellow looks great with orange and with gray.  It looks great with purple and hot pink.  A little goes a long way, or a lot makes a dramatic statement.

I first discovered yellow eyeshadow when watching the gorgeous Annie Lennox in the Eurythmics' Love is a Stranger video.  This look fascinated me.  Yellow, orange and gray.  Would be perfect on a canvas.

Here's a look very similar to Annie's with yellow, orange and fab eyeliner. Love it with the two-toned hair.  Yellow eyeshadow can be wild, exotic, flamboyant.  But it can also be done in a demure way as the following couple pictures show.

This Betty Grable inspired look is updated and fresh.  A little coy and a little wicked at the same time.  Love the yellow shadow paired with fuchsia lips!  

Just a smattering of yellow in the middle of the lids, gives her a sunshiney look.  The always fabulous Doe Deere.  I just can't get enough of her.

Yellow shadow can be soft, especially when paired with pale lips.

This lovely creature sports an almost natural look with just a hint of yellow across the lids and pale lips.  Add to that a beautiful pale yellow blouse and tossled hair, and you have a wholesome, healthy and gorgeous summer look.

For a more dramatic look, yellow eyeshadow looks great with heavy liner and gray shadow in the corners.

DList Magazine, June 2011

For a daring look, this model wears the shadow under her eyes.  And dig that fab statement necklace.  Here are some totally dramatic looks, not for the faint of heart.  Any one of these lovely images would make a great painting, or great color scheme for a room.

Add purple to it.  Love the purple lashes and lips.  Image used by permission of Facebook user.  No link available at this time.  Please do not copy this picture without permission.

Or add hot pink, one of my favorites.

And yellow lips!  Too fab.

Yellow eyeshadow really brings out the beautiful color of this model's eyes.  Love the matching shadow, lipstick and scarf.

Fashion Bomb Daily

What do you think?  Would you ever try yellow shadow?  If you decide to try it, send me a picture and maybe I'll feature you here.  I'd love to produce a runway show with all the models wearing some variation of yellow eyeshadow, lipstick, nail polish, shoes.....  There's nothing to fear about yellow.  Try it on your face or in your home.  It's fun and sure to cheer you up!

Oh dear, I think I need these Christian Dior booties to go with my new yellow eye shadow.

Buy the Neighborhood

As I spoke with the artists at The Glass Bubble Project (see post below), I was reminded how fascinating urban photography is.

Over the years, I have watched the City of Cleveland flourish as an industrial city and then become a ghost town.  I now see a city with an identity crises, and enjoy cataloging it on my photoblog.  Ever watch the evolution of a neighborhood?  It's art which elevates a neighborhood in decay.  The Novogratzes say it best in their book Downtown Chic.  They say, "Buy the neighborhood, not the house."  They tell you to look where the artists are buying.  Where the artists move, that is where the trendy neighborhood will be, and proof of the power of art to elevate a city.

It's a bittersweet cycle, though.  Let's take the area of W. 25th in Cleveland as an example.  Bad area, you can't walk there at night.  There's a couple of good restaurants because it's right outside of downtown.  But you are risking having your car broken into.  The historic West Side Market is there, and it's one of the great places in Cleveland to visit.  The disparity of wealth in our country is very apparent in this neighborhood.  Rich people as well as homeless people walk the street.  Historically, it was a low cost neighborhood.  The projects are there, and lots of artists.  The artists have made it the cool area it is.  There are new horribly over-priced yuppie condos.  It is convenient to downtown, but only two blocks from the projects.

So here's how it goes.  You have poor people in an area.  The artists move in.  They're poor too, but non-conformists.  They make the area cool.  So the yuppies move in.  It's good because they bring an infusion of cash.  It's bad because they squeeze out the people who need low cost housing (the artists and the poor).  The cash infusion is only temporary.  The urban professionals are young and when it's time to start a family, they buy an SUV and move to the suburbs.  In the meantime, since the artists have moved the neighborhood loses what gave it its character to begin with, so new professionals are not attracted to the area.  It's a waxing and waning cycle that lacks sustainability.

I'm generalizing, of course.  These generalizations are based on my observations of currently-trendy and no-longer trendy neighborhoods in Cleveland.  I may be naive, but I think a lot of poverty in our neighborhoods is caused by a lack of planning and no consideration for sustainability.  I've been reading a lot about intentional communities lately and wonder if this may be the answer to neighborhood cycles.  I wish I had studied architecture when I was young.  I plan to do more writing on alternative, prefab, green and simple housing.  What's your take, dear readers?  Have you seen this type of cycle in an urban neighborhood?  Do you prefer city or country living?  I think I'd like a combination of the two.  I crave trees and water, but I'd also like to live in a neighborhood where I could walk to the farmer's market and the coffee shop, in safety.

Image by Peggy

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Glass Bubble Project

Since attending The Art of Artisans at Wall Eye Gallery, I'm on a mission to discover local artisans.  I've driven by The Glass Bubble Project many times - and have heard great things about the owner - but never gone in.  Well, I finally went in the other day and I'm glad I did.

The guys were awesome, they gave me a warm welcome and we had a great time chatting.  Artists are my peeps.  We talked about everything from the desire for a simpler life, the evolution of neighborhoods to the soul-killing life of corporate America.  You can say anything to an artist and they won't think you are weird.  

When it comes to decorating your place, you already know that lighting is the most important feature.  If you have great lighting, you don't need knick-knacks.  I'm embracing hand made works more and more.  The Glass Bubble Project is a great place to buy a unique light.  They have a ton of upcycled/recycled/found art.  And they have glass blowing classes!  You can even make your own lamp.  How cool is that?
I'm a sucker for found art sculpture.  Of course, I had to bore the guys by telling them all about my recent trip to Seattle.  They were so patient with me. 

 I think I need these.
As I've mentioned before, I need Antonio Ballatore to HGTV my home.  We should definitely  buy some cool lighting here.  Maybe have some custom pink pieces made.  Antonio would totally get my desire for a hot pink neon sculpture.

Look at their fab door!  I'd love to have a prefab house with a garage door like this.  It would be cool to have the entire side of the house opened to the outdoors.  This proves that inspiration is everywhere!  I may be taking glass blowing class in October.  If you're in the neighborhood, stop by, buy a lamp and send me a pic of it in your place and I'll feature you here. 

Images by Peggy

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A tour of my apartment... how and why I do what I do

My apartment.  It's humble, quirky, noisy and dusty.  But I love it.  It's taken a while for this place to seem like home.  I've been here almost a year, and I  may be moving soon.  Like many Americans, I've gone through several downsizes over the past several years due to the economy.  It hasn't been all bad, I was more prepared than most when the economy took a turn.  Downsizing can be really freeing, and I don't like too much stuff - even though it always seems like I have too much!   I've never been very successful at the corporate game, and never had much money.  However, as an artist my personal space is important to me and I've been blessed with creativity.  No matter where I live - and no matter how temporary my place might be - it's still my home, and it's where I experiment with color.  I consider my home my gallery, and my objects are part of an installation piece.  I enjoy moving things around and changing the look.  I can easily change the look with things already in my closet.

I am in love with minimalism, and was very minimalistic in my youth.  In those days, I could move everything I owned in my little car.  This is pre-digital age, so no pictures exist of this time period.  I am also a lover of white, and for years I decorated in a minimal, white on white scheme.  It was the book White Hot by Tricia Guild that first influenced me to start using color.  Pink has been my favorite color my whole life.  Any scheme I use will always include pink and generous amounts of white.  I've found color addicting, and now I love it.  I've experimented with colors I never thought I would use in my home:  yellow, gray and orange are but a few examples.  I'm still not really enamored with red.  Among my current favorites are turquoise, aqua, periwinkle, and silver.  I've been very attracted to blue lately and dream of a place done in a monochromatic cool blue and silver.

I was doing Shabby Chic long before Rachel Ashwell named the style.  I did it out of necessity, I had no money.  I pulled furniture from the curb and painted it, and amazed my friends.  I was cool and didn't even know it.  Almost everything I own has come from vintage stores, thrift stores, garage sales and The Salvation Army.  I've received emails criticizing me because my place looks too perfect, which makes me laugh.  It's true that I like things simple, and I don't like clutter.  But the place gets very, very dusty, which is another reason I don't like too many things.  You have to dust things!  And in this neighborhood you have to dust everyday!  Maybe I'll work up the courage to photograph the place when it's messy. All of my furniture is second hand and not in great shape, I'm making the best of what I have, proving that style can be achieved with very little money. 

I prefer clean and modern, and dream of living in an all white, open loft.  For now I am living in a quirky attic apartment.  There are many aesthetic decisions the landlord made that are bad.  I'd love to be HGTV'd by Antonio Ballatore.  I'd love to rip out walls, gut the kitchen and bathroom and paint the whole place - including the floors - white. I'd love to build a custom shelf for my pottery.  I'd love to build an armoire which houses my home office.  But for now, my place is okay.  I've been working on letting go of perfectionism and appreciating what I have.  I like things simple and casual.  I love beautiful things, but don't want to feel too attached. Nothing is precious.  My nephews are free to touch anything they want.  It's my place, and when I come in from the noisy, chaotic world, I feel embraced.

This is how my living room currently looks.  I bought my Danish sofa at a vintage store for about $200 a couple of years ago.  It is a comfy place to take a nap.  I can't afford to have it reupholstered, I don't sew and I'm not going to learn.  I have enough on my plate.  The sofa's current fabric is itchy, so I cover it in sheets.  According to many design pundits, slip covers are a big no-no.  But I don't care, I enjoy breaking the rules.  Sheets are a great way to go, they are machine washable, you can change the color on a whim, and you don't have to worry about spills.   I know I'm guilty of having too many pillows.  But again, I don't care - I love them!  I also love sparkly things.  My sparkly silver pillow is one of my favorites.

The tulip chair and the ottoman were found on the curb, and have been painted.  I found the mid-century table end table at a flea market for $12.00!  It's a bit out-of-scale, but I like it that way.  I love how all of my furniture has legs and appears to float.  The paintings are my own, and were influenced by Piet Mondrian.  Every time I look at this picture, I think how much I would love for the walls and floors to be white. I adore white floors.

I love deconstructing objects and made the turquoise vase out of a cheap lamp.  I love the look of pillows piled on the floor, this is also Tricia Guild's influence.  These pillows provide a pop of hot pink.  I must have hot pink to be happy.
I wrapped fabric around this lamp shade.  It casts a beautiful, ethereal glow at night.  I know it's out of scale, I am having an over sized lamp shade custom built.
My place is truly a work/live space.  Here is my work area.  I don't have a TV or CD player.  I watch a lot of Netflix and listen to Pandora.  I never really felt a need to buy DVDs or CDs.  I like my work area to be sparse and devoid of too much stimulation since my place has so much color.  I'm not inspired by clutter.  To me this area does not look empty, but rather full of potential.  I usually hang a blank canvas in the area and enjoy contemplating my next experiment in paint.  The canvas will eventually tell me what it wants, and this one wants to be Rauschenberg inspired.   For my critic who thinks my place is too perfect - just look at those cords!  Cords, a necessary evil.  I'm too lazy to try to hide them, so I just ignore them and consider it an act of rebellion.
The living room is L-shaped with a strange alcove in the front of the building.  I have my paintings piled up there, which I don't really like, but it makes for easy viewing for my guests.  I adore the pink filing cabinet!  I could easily live in an all pink place.

Here's the alcove.  I've tried many things in here.  I had the bed here, the dining room table here, even the sofa.  But none of them work for me.  I can see this area when I am chilling on the sofa, and I adore having a wide open space.  Sometimes I do yoga or meditate here, I can see the beautiful sunsets of Lake Erie from here.  I wanted a pendant lamp for the space, but opted for the $5.00 rice paper lantern from World Market.  I would like to do a cluster of these, but it was such a pain to hang.  I'm not a very good DIYer.

Here's the reason I'm no longer a minimalist.  Somewhere along the line I got infected with the vase sickness.  It started with ceramic vases.  Collections can be difficult to manage, and one usually starts another.  Now I am in love with glass vases too.  And I like mixing the two in display.  I probably change vases around a couple of times a week.  It's fun!  I wish I had a vase shop.  This display is reflecting my current love of blue.

I love pink and blue together.  That's one of my new paintings, I'm hooked on color blocking at the moment.

Here's the view from my sofa at night.  I like to have pretty views wherever I am in the apartment.  Love the open space, hate the mirror tiles. 
Here's a secret. You don't have to display everything you own.  I have a stash of vases in my closet.    Collections are meant to be dynamic.  After you arrange your room, edit about 25%.  Keep a stash in your closet and rotate it.   Pulling a piece out of the closet and rediscovering it is as satisfying as retail therapy.  And speaking of retail therapy, before you buy anything new, get rid of two things.  When I want a new vase, I sell or donate two vases (sometimes more).  This way you will keep your place simple and clutter under control.

Here's my hallway.  I've been thinking of turning this into an art gallery, but I don't really like groupings of painting.  I prefer a few large works.  I have my prize possession displayed here.  My Dee Adams painting.

My bedroom is so tiny, it's almost impossible to get pictures, even from the hall.  All I have in there is my bed, a night stand and a painting.  The nightstand is a recent yard sale acquisition and only cost $7.00.  I'd like to silver leaf it, but that's beyond my skill set.
I love the black curtains.  The room is very cozy, and I like it monastic.

I'm blessed to have two large walk-in closets.  I love organization.  I like things in their place, and I hate it when things get lost.  Fortunately, this doesn't happen often because everything has a place.  I don't have a dresser, so I bought this plastic bin on wheels.  I can roll it out of the closet, it's great when I am getting ready to to out.   It houses  my costume jewelery collection, some purses and hats.  I'd like to have another one for my shoes.

Here's a picture of my strange kitchen.  The cupboards and counter are all new.  What terrible choices.  Honestly, I don't know what landlords are thinking sometimes.  I'm grateful that there's a ton of storage, but I think that's the ugliest counter I've ever seen.  The ceramic tiles are okay, but I'd much rather have large subway tiles, and I wish there were an open shelf above the sink so I could display my teapots.  For the purpose of this photo (and my email critic), I left some stuff on the counter.  Usually I put the coffee pot, and the dish washing soap, etc. in the cupboard below the sink.  I like the look of an empty counter.
I have a cute turquoise bread box, but I use it to store tea.  And for some reason, I seem to be attracted to trays lately.  I like things that are functional as well as beautiful. 
I have a little reading corner in my kitchen.  It's a very pleasant place to drink my morning coffee.  This is about a fourth of the books I used to own.  I still love books, but they  look like clutter to me, which is why I don't have them in the living room.  The exercise ball is great fun to sit on and my nephews use it as occasional seating.  Ignore the awful tile - you already know I wish it were white.
This is my basil plant, Herbert.  Another of my critics is unhappy that I don't usually have house plants.  Here's my confession.  I kill everything, no matter how good my intentions, and it makes me so sad when a plant dies.  I am trying desperately not to kill him.  The deck is one of the reasons I fell in love with this apartment.  I have not been able to use it this summer.  Unfortunately, the crazy prof at CSU was correct when he taught us about global warming 20 years ago.
In a place of strange alcoves and niches, here is yet another in my kitchen.  I use this one to store my dishes.  I have a thing for white dishes.  I took the top doors off, since they were completely non-functional.  You could only open them an inch due to the slope of the roof.  I painted the inside teal to make the dishes pop.
Hidden in the corner of this alcove is another little alcove that really isn't visible.  An alcove within an alcove!  I painted the shelves gray and I have some of my collection displayed there.  In addition to pottery, I love dishes and teapots.  What keeps my collections consistent is that I like things that have a function and are simple in shape.   My pink Mikasa tea set is another of my prize possessions, I bought it at a second hand store for $2.00 about 15 years ago.  It's one of those things I've thought of selling, but can't seem to do.  I mean look it.  Simple and pink!  Not easy to find.

Here's a couple more criticisms I'd like to address.  Not that I really care about criticism, but it's worth a mention.  I've been criticized for my lack of family photos.  Most of my photos are electronic, and I often have them as screen savers or slideshows on my PC.  I also have a large family album, and a few pictures on my fridge.  There are people in my life that I dearly love, and I can clearly see their faces in my mind.  Another critic said a man would never like to live here.  To which I say, so what?  I don't design my place so that a man will want to live here.  I design it for me.  And here's a secret.  I was married, and I really didn't like it.  I actually like living alone.  It doesn't make me weird.  I'm a sensitive sort.  I like quiet.  I like the simple life.  I do like men.  I just don't want a husband.  I love people, and I enjoy visitors, but I also like solitude.  I think I must have been a monk in a previous life.

I read a lot of blogs, and one of my favorites is Apartment Therapy.  There is a camp of people who like simple and clutter free.  And there is camp of people who like clutter and lots of stuff.  Whenever an apartment is in the second camp, you can expect comments that say things like, "Finally, a real home where real people live."  Well, there are real people who like to live clutter free.  I grew up in a messy, hoarder type home and it didn't feel good.  I like space, freedom and balance. Exercising restraint is not as easy as it looks.  And I'm a real person.  My place does get messy, but I don't enjoy it messy.  I follow a rule Karim Rashid wrote in one of his books.  He said, spend 10 minutes a day cleaning and your place will never be messy. 

I have to give major props to interior photographers.  It's not as easy as it looks, especially when working with a small place.  To see larger images of the above, simply click on the pics.  Or if you are in need of an insomnia cure, you can see the evolution of my apartment at flickr, here.


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