Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm listening to

Stromae!  Not only am I listening to the soulful ladies below, but I can't get enough of the Belgian hottie who goes by the name of Stromae.  For some reason, rap sounds so dope in French.

Image of model Gaye Jocelyn McDonald via Van-de-Fashion.

Cleaning house

Dear readers, I'm trying to clean my house today.  I'm sure you're like me, and that you like to listen to music when you clean.  Here are some soulful ladies who are helping me get the job done.

What about you, are you out enjoying the day or are you cleaning?  What are you listening to?  Hope you are having a great day whatever you are doing.  xxoo

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'd like to meet - Cortney and Bob Novogratz

Dear readers, as you know, it's been a while since I've obsessed about color and decor.  I've been so fixated on Seattle, and photography.  So let's obsess about decor for a while - specifically over the top decor - shall we?  I have actually been thinking a lot about simple living so it's odd that I'm drawn to OTT decor right now.  That's how my brain works.  My plan for this blog over the next couple of weeks is an explosion of color and fun ideas and then we'll go dramatically in the other direction.  How does that sound?  I'm hoping to pick up a paint brush too.  I hope you'll join me on this journey.

Have you seen the new show Home by Novogratz on HGTV?  I think I've mentioned before that I don't have a TV, nor cable TV.  To me cable TV is not worth the cost.  Nor do I own DVDs or CDs.  I just don't feel the need.  The internet takes care of my entertainment needs.  Now it was just by chance that I was at my brother's home for the premiere of Home by Novogratz.  I consider it an example of cosmic serendipity.

The show features designers Cortney and Bob Novogratz, the owners of SixxDesign.  I actually had not heard of their show on Bravo, 9 by Design (I already mentioned I don't have cable TV).  But now that I've heard of them, I am obsessed!  Of course I recognized many of their designs, as many of them have made it around the blogosphere.  Aren't they a cute couple!  She is rocking those black booties isn't she?  And let me tell ya, he can rock a Fedora.  The reason their show is called 9 by Design is because they are a family of 9.  They have seven children!  Can you believe it?  Doesn't she look fabulous?  I think it would be so awesome to have an artistic career that you share with your husband.  They were on Design Star this week as guest judges, and they were so kind.  I fell in love with Cortney when she gently criticized a contestant's room.  She was sensitive and tactful.  These are the kind of people I would love to hang out with.

For their first show, they renovated a beach house for a couple of surfer girls from Far  Rockaway.  Their inspiration was none other than the fab Betsey Johnson, who I adore!  (See previous post here.)  Betsey said she needs pink all around her.  I hear you, girl!  I'm not happy without pink.  Here are some pictures of the fabulous beach house:

The first thing you see when you walk in the door is the stairs, so they decided to give them a cute paint treatment.  Ahh, nothing like a fresh paint treatment.
They added wallpaper to an accent wall in the living room.  Now, I'm not usually a wallpaper fan, but the Novogratzes might have converted me.  I love the idea of a funky, spray painted chandelier in the corner.  The Novogratzes know how to break the rules.  A chandelier doesn't have to be in the center of a room.  I love how the white pops off the wallpaper.  The kitchen sports a blue Smeg and a pink stove.  Really, the show was giving me heart palpitations.
They used graphic pillows in the living area.  I need these pillows.  I love how they pop off the white.  This is my favorite use of color.  Lots of white with pops of color.  Even though there are a lot of graphic punches, the overall look is very airy.

I almost had a heart attack when they had street artist extraordinaire Matt Siren do a treatment on the bedroom walls!  I adore Matt.  (See previous post about Matt here.)  This room is to die for.  The mirrored table and the chandelier add a bit of glamor.  Love the pink rug and all the white.  The room is funky, yet rather simple and totally glam.  Overall the house is a fine accomplishment and is my favorite style - feminine, but not too girly with just the right amount of edge.  Colorful and witty, but not overdone.  It's still simple and uncluttered looking.  The wood floors add a nice touch of the organic and all the white keeps it feeling fresh.  I could move in here and I wouldn't change one thing.

You remember seeing this book in the blogs a while back, don't you?  I've had it on my amazon wish list for the longest time.  Well, I took the plunge and ordered.  Because, wouldn't you know it - it's written by Bob and Cortney Novogratz.  The cosmos works in wonderfully, mysterious ways.  Thanks Bob and Cortney for being an inspiration.  I hope our paths cross one day.  xxoo

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rest in Peace, Angel

I'm not going to write yet another pretentious piece about the life of Amy Winehouse.  No one ever really knows what goes on in someone's private life and to guess is disrespectful.  What I do know is that Amy was a rare talent and she has left us a gift of her music.  I'll miss you, Amy.  Rest in peace, sweet angel.

Image from her website.


I scarcely know what to say about the horror that took place in Norway this weekend.  Norway.  The spot where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.  My heart is breaking for this peaceful nation.  Such acts of violence are incomprehensible to me, and I want them to remain that way.  I don't want to understand what makes a mind capable of this type of action.  I know this, however, if weapons exist they will be used.  I beseech the world's peoples - let's lay our arms.  Please.  It really is just that simple.

Image of beautiful weeping woman courtesy of flickr user NotforSale.  Montage by Peggy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Photography - Natural Talent

One of the most satisfying parts of being an artist and a blogger is discovering other creative people.  I find it particularly gratifying when I stumble upon natural talent.  Such is the artistry of Kelly Van Cleave.  Kelly is the daughter of Debi, the author of Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country.  She's only 14 years old, and as the following will attest, is a natural talent.

I was very flattered when Debi asked me to take a look at Kelly's photography.  She's never had any training, just one day picked up the camera and started clicking.  And I'm glad she did.  When I speak of being a photographer, I always stress the importance of closely observing your surroundings.  Kelly has done that.  What emerges is a real feel for living in a rural area.  Kelly obviously has the eye, and that can't be taught.  I hope she continues to pursue photography.  Here are just a few of my favorites.

 I think this one is my favorite.
Or maybe this one.  I can see both of these enlarged and hanging in a modern loft.
I love the coloration of this one.  Ahh, the lazy days of summer.

Great.  Love the composition.  The boot in the foreground and the chairs in the background.  Love how their colors match too.
Ever try to photograph a cat?  They're hard!  This photo is great.  Love that she was able to capture the claws.

Love this self-portrait!  I could see this as an album cover.  Notice the reflections in the sunglasses.  Genius.  I love working with reflections.  I've been encouraging Kelly to start a flickr account.  When she does I will update this post with a link to her work, she's one to watch.  Kelly, thank you for sharing your photography with me, and thanks for being an inspiration.  Keep doing what you do, girl.  Never quit!

This concludes my series on photography for now.  If you are an artist, and would like to be featured here, please send me an email.  If you'd like to see more of my features celebrating great photographers, click here and here.  Stay tuned for decor and color inspiration.  xxoo

Photography - Negative Space

One of my favorite types of photography is where the photo is mostly negative space.  Buildings, objects or people are a teeny-tiny part of the photo and most of the photo is made of space.  Think about it, people are actually very tiny when compared the cosmos - making this type of photography profound.  Max Wanger is a master at this type of photography.

Max is one of my favorite photographers.  I've experimented with this type of photography, to see my experiment, click here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Photography - Ultra Realism

To be a good photographer, all you have to do is closely observe your surroundings.  There is beauty to be found in every city, there's nothing more beautiful than reality.  Sometimes capturing a mundane moment can be extremely romantic.  What was this person thinking?  What is their story?  Isn't it amazing that there are six billion people on this beautiful planet and that each has a unique story?  Sometimes intentionally capturing something that is not beautiful can be extremely compelling.  Some of my favorite things to photograph are detritus, urban decay, guerrilla art and grit.  And don't worry about getting something perfectly centered.  An image is far more interesting if you place the focus of your picture to the side.

Flickr is a great place to discover raw talent and to learn more about photography in a supportive environment.  One of my favorite photojournalists, James Watkins, goes by the handle phototravel1 on flickr.  He documents interesting city scenes that seem more real to me than reality itself.  Each one tells a story.  I find his flickr set extremely compelling and can spend hours on it.  Here's a peak at just a few of my favorites.

If you look at reality, you will notice that it forms orderly patterns, like this shot of people reading in the park.  I particularly love the shot of people waiting for the bus, it looks like it could be in a romantic foreign film.  Perhaps each person is thinking about their most recent tryst.  In my own photography, I tend to prefer black and white for shots of people. Here's a secret:  If you like the deep blue of the shot of the bus above, boost is a feature in Picnik that will accomplish that nicely.  If you are interested in buying a print from James, his Red Bubble shop is here.

Photography - Sun Drenched

Dear readers, I've had a couple of busy weeks.  You know how it is.  Life.  It sometimes gets overwhelming.  When I get busy, I neglect my blog, but I miss it.  I spent a lot of time working on my Seattle posts, I love Seattle so much!  So I thought I'd spend a little time talking about one of my favorite pass times - photography - before I start obsessing about home decor and color again.  I have a lot of obsessions to share so stay tuned.

I adore photography.  I love taking pictures and I love looking at pictures others take.  Forget what you might have read about digital photography ruining the medium.  Sure, it's still great fun to learn analog if you have plenty of money to spend on the equipment, but many of us just don't have the resources.  With digital photography and the internet, everyone can have a voice, and I think that's cool.

Today I'd like to show some beautiful pictures from the web.  I love the lighting on these shots, they all look sun drenched and dreamy.

 Inmost Light via Design Squish.

Claudia Susana.
Judy Stalus.
Armas Design.
 Hound Design via Designlovefest.
Susannah Conway.

I'm going to give away some of my secrets.  Digital photo enhancing software is fun, and addicting.  I use a combination of Picasa and Picnik.  I also like Rollip, but haven't used it much lately.  Here's a way to achieve a sun-drenched look.  Use cross process in Picnik and then fill light in Picasa.  This is just one way.  The possibilities are endless.  Remember to have fun!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Moment in Time

Dear readers, this concludes my series on Seattle.  It's safe to say that I fell in love with the beautiful city of Seattle.  Seattle has great energy, great people, great food, lots of art.  I am so fortunate that I got to see so much, and there are still many things to see!  I can't wait to return.  I'll let Johnnie Gray and A Moment in Time take us out.  Thanks for reading!  xxoo

Seattle - Buskers

Pike Place Market was the highlight of my visit to Seattle.  Part of what makes Pike Place Market so charming is the buskers.  Busker was a new word for me - it's a person who entertains in public.  And these are no slouches.  These are bona fide, talented musicians sharing their gifts with the public.  The public donates in appreciation.  It's all about love.


This last band is called A Moment in Time.  They are the best a cappella group I've ever seen.  The lead singer's name is Johnnie Gray and you can see the Holy Spirit in him.  He's truly blessed and full of love.  I'd like to write an article about him, if anyone reading this blog knows how to get in contact with him, please let me know.

All images by Peggy

Seattle - Pike Place Market

I'm almost done with my little tour of Seattle, and I thought I'd save the best for last.  Pike Place Market!  It's a wonderful place, full of great food, flowers, music, interesting people, wonderful energy.
I've seen this sign in so many places.  On flickr, in the movies.  I couldn't wait to photograph it.  It was surreal standing there in front of it.  It had been a dream of mine to go to Seattle for many years.  Unfortunately, since I am vertically-challenged and since it was crowded, I never did get a clear shot of it.  But that's okay.

The flowers in Seattle are absolutely stunning.  These beautiful bouquets were only $10.00 each!  If I lived there, I would have fresh flowers every week.

 Here's a view from the pier.

We went to the original Starbucks.  It seemed only fitting since my sister-in-law and I had our first chai tea together.  We didn't even know what it was at the time!  Now we are both hooked!  I couldn't get many pictures of the Starbucks since it was so crowded and the lighting was bad inside the store.  I did get this picture of the original logo.  When the logo first came out, it was controversial because the mermaid is topless.  What I want to know is why is her tail split in two?  Did she have a combination of tail and legs?
This sign is at the other end of the market.  I was happy to get a clear shot of it.

All images by Peggy


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