What are you doing New Years Eve?

Happy New Year Baby!

If you know me at all you know I no longer make resolutions based on the calendar. Over the years I’ve resolved to lose weight, starts a business, pay off debt, stop smoking, travel more – you name it and I’ve probably resolved to do it. My good intentions rarely worked out however, leaving me feeling blue by February since I could never make my ‘new’ habits a reality for long.

I’ve adopted the mentality that I don’t need to wait until January 1st make changes to my life, which is quite freeing since I have the power to make changes big and small any day, hour, or minute that I am alive. So do you.

Happy New Year to you and yours and here’s hoping your own resolutions – made tonight or throughout the year – become your new reality!

What Are you Doing New Year’s Eve – Kacey Musgraves

11-30-19 Ephemera (Gift Guide Burnout Edition)

You really CAN find these [questionable] gifts online

Can you believe the holidays are upon us?  I feel like I’ve received a billion emails and insta posts over the last week identifying the ‘best’ gifts to buy NOW for that [insert the identifier for the person you need to get a gift for here] and frankly none of it looks that special to me.  While I am trying hard to get into a gift giving frame of mind I am always down for my favorite holiday of all, Thanksgiving.

For me, it’s a four-day whirlwind of cooking (this sweet potato gratin was a winner!), catching upon some TV and movie time with my favorite culture vultures (including 5-star worthy The Righteous Gemstones, The Irishman, and Knives Out), and catching up on all-things web. Here are a few stories which helped me recover from my tryptophan-induced lethargy……

…here’s hoping you are having a lovely – and long – weekend full of family, friends, and fun!


Remember a day before today…

In memory of…

Since the WWI battles in the poppy fields of Belgium these little red flowers have become a symbol of remembrance for soldiers around the world who have died during wartime. When I was little you could buy little cloth versions to wear as a show of thanks. We had the day off from school to attend our local parade honoring the WWII, Korean, and Viet Nam vets for their courage, bravery and sacrifice. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a community or city Veteran’s Day parade and even rarer to see anyone selling, or wearing, these cloth remembrances.

This year I won’t be attending a parade but I will have the honor of sharing breakfast with a group of veterans as part of Vanderbilt University’s Veteran’s Day Celebration. I’ll get to tour a Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter, which is used to care for wounded personnel by the Army’s forward surgical teams. Finally, I’ll get to attend a special screening and discussion of war journalist Morton Dean’s documentary American Medevac, which follows his efforts to reunite Vietnam War U.S. Army medevac pilots and crew members with the soldiers they rescued in 1971.

I’m really looking forward to meeting the vets, hearing their stories, and sharing a meal in their honor. If you’re reading this and you have served our country, supported a family member or friend during their war or peace time enlistment, or have a loved one who has given all, please accept my genuine and heartfelt thanks. This poppy is for all of you!

*Remember A Day – Pink Floyd

10-31-19 Ephemera (The Road of Life Edition)

The [Sketchbook] Road

The road we call life can take unexpected and inexplicable turns without warning.  Sometimes those turns are fortunate, sometimes they require a fight, and sometimes they end in chaos and tragedy. Here are a few stories from around the web with twists and turns of their own…

…here’s hoping the twists and turns of your own personal road see you arriving at the destination of your dreams!

7-23-19 Ephemera (The Cooks and Crooks Edition)

Farmer’s Market Breads

I haven’t assembled an ephemera post for quite some time, mainly because I am at turns feeling uninspired by, overwhelmed with, and/or suspicious of the internet. There are only so many ‘best of’, ‘you need’, and ‘cute [insert here] animals/kids/ kindness’ articles a person can take (or believe). That said, I still get lost down the rabbit-hold of the web with one click leading to another, and realized I am just a little bit consumed by anything having to do with cooks and crooks. In no particular order, here are a few of the articles I’ve enjoyed…

If you are surfing the web because it’s too hot to do anything else here’s hoping you find a good rabbit hole (or three) to fritter away the day with.  Stay cool…

I’m gonna buy a paper doll…

Kate & Meghan Paper Dolls by Eileen Rudisill Miller

Do little girls still play with paper dolls? I had quite the collection when I was young and spent countless hours playing with and organizing my collection. I can still remember waiting for the McCall’s magazine to arrive each month because there was always a seasonally appropriate Betsy McCall waiting to be introduced to my other dolls. I would draw my own designs for my dolls, which certainly helped lead me down the path toward becoming a fashion designer. All this to day when I was presented with an opportunity to review ‘Kate & Meghan Paper Dolls’ by Eileen Rudisell Miller I jumped!

Originally trained as a fashion illustrator, Ms. Rudisill is a talented illustrator and painter who is internationally known for her paper doll work.  Over the last 10 years she has produced over 40 coloring books and paper dolls for Dover Publications and Paper Studio Press, as well as over 50 self-published Paper Doll sets.

As its title implies, ‘Kate & Meghan Paper Dolls’ features a collection of memorable outfits worn in 2018 by the most famous royal sisters-in-law of all – Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Kate’s wardrobe features easily recognizable 2018 outfits from big moments like the Trooping of the Color Parade, Prince Charles 70th Birthday Family Photo, and Meghan and Harry’s 2018 wedding. Meghan’s clothing selection features many of the looks she wore during the 16-day tour she and Harry took to Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand, when she was pregnant with her first child but not showing much.

I believe any fan of the monarchy, Kate, Meghan, or paper dolls would appreciate this book. It is well-drawn and informative book, as Ms. Miller provides designer and historical information for each outfit. It would make an excellent addition to any serious paper doll enthusiast’s collection or serve as a great tool to introduce a little girl to the joys of paper dolls.

Checking out ‘Kate & Meghan’ led me down the rabbit-hole of the web to see what else I could find. A Google search of ‘paper dolls’ led to 17,400,000 results, including the Original Paper Doll Artists Guild, The 2019 National Paper Doll Convention in Kansas City (with the theme being ‘Mystery, Murder, and Mayhem’) and popular paper doll blog PaperDollywood and Paper Doll School.

Spending time exploring these sites has a) made me want to try my hand at designing my own series of paper dolls, and b) instilled the desire to introduce the younger generation to the hobby. How about you? Did you ever play with paper dolls when you were young? What doll was your favorite? better yet, do you collect paper dolls now? Did you even know paper dolls were still a thing? Drop me a line…Id love to know.

*Paper Doll – Frank Sinatra

Camptown ladies…

Barbie Pin | Olympia Le-Tan Caviar Bag | My Own Guitar Pic Dress | Max Star High Heeled Sneaker | My Own ‘Luck Be A Lady’ Vest | Katy Perry Present Slide | TU Sequined Bomber Jacket | Andy Warhol Brillo Camp Shirt | Chinese Takeout Evening Bag | Two Ladies Bodysuit | Katy Perry Hamburger Shoe

Today is Camp Day (aka: the 2019 Met Gala, which kicks off the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s newest costume exhibition “Camp: Notes on Fashion”) .  I equate the Gala to the Super Bowl of Fashion, bringing together a who’s who of artists, models, designers, and style arbiters to see who walks away with the ‘Best Dressed’ prize. This year’s exhibition (which opens On May 9th) was inspired by the 1964 Susan Sontag: Notes on ‘Camp essay which notes that “Camp…has the proper mixture of the exaggerated, the fantastic, the passionate, and the naïve.”

As a designer I have always had a camp mentality, creating one-of-a-kind garments that are tongue-in-cheek, irrelevant, and sly.  This sensibility is on display in two of my designs pictured above: the ‘Pic Dress’, made from beads and thousands of unique guitar pics (worn to a Grammys ceremony and which made music when I walked) and the ‘Luck Be a Lady’ denim vest, incorporating rhinestones, embroidery, and vintage naked lady playing cards (worn for a night in Vegas and which truly was a good luck charm).

You may be thinking camp fashion isn’t for you, but trust me when I tell you anyone can incorporate a little bit of camp into their daily look: shoes, jewelry, bags, t-shirts and coats are all easy ways to add a little fantastic into your everyday.

As for the ladies who walk the carpet in a few hours, you better believe a bit of attitude is going to go a long way toward pulling off whatever ‘camp’ they choose to wear, which is why I am already predicting who might end up in the Top 10 looks of the night.  I have high expectations for Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, two women who seem born to ‘camp’, along with Rhianna and Zendaya, both of whom kill any carpet they grace. Throw in Sarah Jessica Parker (representing the old guard) and Lupita Nyong’o (representing the new), actresses who seem to make statements with whatever they wear. I wouldn’t count Madonna out, or Kim K either – both either miss or hit spectacularly with no in-between. Since camp is all about irony, humor, parody, theatricality, and exaggeration I’d say any other ladies I’ve listed could easily end up with ‘Best Of…” tomorrow morning.

*Camp Town Races – Johnny Cash

2-18-19 Ephemera (The Fashion Edition)

An exhibit from ‘Dior: From Paris to the World’ (image by James Florio)

Lately I’ve really been focused on the world of fashion. This might be due to some recent travel which saw me killing time with lots of fashion mags while waiting for one delayed flight after another.  And while spring is just around the corner the Fall ‘19 New York and London Fashion Week collections may also be to blame.  Finally, there are two exhibitions taking place which I NEED to see: the V&A Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams (through July 14th) and the Met’s Camp: Notes on Fashion (opening May 9th). ‘Camp’ kicks off with the Met Gala on May 6thand I can’t wait to see what the two High Priestesses of Camp, Rhianna and Lady Gaga, bring to the red carpet.  I doubt I’ll get an invitation to the Gala, and travel to the Big Apple and/or London probably isn’t in the cards either, so I’ll have to be content trying on fashion-related articles I’ve stumbled, including…

…Here’s hoping you are having a fashionably good time, whatever you’re doing!

Happy new year darling…

Ma patronne – Louis Welden Hawkins ca. 1903

I love the time between Christmas and New Year’s since I can hang out with the family and live life at a slower than normal pace… 

One of my greatest gifts is the time to go to the movies or snuggle up on the couch to bingewatch whatever catches my fancy.  This week, I’ve seen The Favorite (highly recommended), The Death of Stalin (darkly funny), the win-at-all-costs sports doping documentary IcarusThe Marvelous Mrs. Meisel (season 2), The Wire (season 3), Maniac, lots of sports (Go Eagles! Go Notre Dame! Go Sixers!), and the newest seasons of The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition and Great British Baking Show. I am still planning on seeing The Mule, Mary Queen of Scots, and The Green Book before I head back to work later this week….

Speaking of the Great British Baking Show, here’s a fascinating article about the artist who creates the dessert drawings… 

I am not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions but last year I did decide to track how many books I read during 2018.  I am part of a Book Club at work (with our current pick – Tara Westover’s Educated – up for discussion in January) and took part in a summer reading challenge, achieving ‘Reading Rockstar’ status.  Turns out I’ve read over 130 books this past year…

My favorite reads of 2018 (in no particular order) include: James Frey’s Katerina, Christina Dalcher’s Vox, Sarah Bird’s Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, Josh Malerman’s Unbury Carol, Jonathan Miles Anatomy of a Miracle: the True* Story of a Paralyzed Veteran, a Mississippi Convenience Store, a Vatican Investigation, and the Spectacular Perils of Grace, John Connelly’s He, and Dara Horn’s Eternal Life

I may not believe in resolutions but I am a big planner. I’ve got some personal art projects I am working on, a few art installations to oversee (including the January ArtLab and April ‘Autism Arts’ shows), and continued travel (Miami, Denver, Mobile, and Philly for sure with more day trips and weekend getaways to follow).  

How about you? Do you make resolutions? What kinds of dreams do you have for the new year? Here’s hoping you achieve success in whatever you set out to do next year. All the best for 2019!

*Happy New Year Darling – Lonnie Johnson

Do you believe in magic…

Horn Sweet Home Unicorn Wall Décor  |   Pegacorn Large Art Print  |   Unicorn Snow Globe Night Light  |  Handmade Kids Party Gold Unicorn Headband  |   Galaxy Unicorn Pegasus Handpainted Converse  |  Banned Mane Attraction Unicorn Crossbody Bag  |  Unicorn USB Flash Drive  | 3D Printed Unicorn Sweatshirt |   I Love Unicorns Yarn Crafting Kit  |  Sassy Flashy Exquisite 18K Gold Plated Hand Painted Unicorn Ring   |  Just Add Magic Mug and Spoon Set   |  Loosen The Reins Flats   |   Majestic Night Puzzle  |   Unicorn Soap   |  Esoterical British Unicorn Mug   |  Crochet Rainbow Unicorn Hat        

Unicorns have been part of our world psyche since time began.  We must be experiencing a resurgence in their popularity because wherever I look these days I see horned products on sale for young and old alike. 

Over the next two weeks I’ll be posting gift ideas for aspiring cooks, fashion junkies, music lovers, adventure seekers, voracious readers and of course, unicorn lovers.  If you need a gift for someone who is a fan of – or obsessed with – this mystical creature the 18 ideas pictured above would make for a magical present to give – or receive…

*Do You Believe in Magic – The Loving Spoonful