A gifting season also means a thank-you note season. Last night I trolled the Felix Doolittle website like a world-class pyscho, mostly because I became obsessed with all the sweet little images. These lovely hand-painted cards make the perfect thank-yous while the amazingly elegant monogrammed versions are a beautiful gift (there’s still time!) You can make either one a thoughtful way to lure your child into learning how to write a proper thank-you (no, you can’t just beam your gratitude into someone’s mind, Generation Z.) Pick up pen and put to paper. You’re welcome.
Crystals are so ’90s but not when they’re lodged in a bullet. Unearthen’s sprouting styles house everything from phantom quartz to ruby and are small enough to sport on the daily. I’m far from New Age-y but there is something very grounding about wearing a semi-precious stone around your neck. My daughter spied these online as I was scrolling through my daily sites – she thinks they look like lipstick. And lipstick they are not, but might they give you the same sense of completion?
I tripped upon what I think might be the coolest gift for either me or a pre-teen girl. It’s the Lomography Camera (gold edition, natch) that uses old school film that needs to be purchased seperately. And while there is no numbing cream to the mellow the pain that is developing your photos at CVS, apparently it’s worth it. Think: Instagram-like dreamy, glow-y pictures in hard copy. And since the Instagram camera is clearly not coming out anytime soon, those who love the look but are less narcissistic can post collage-worthy snapshots of your kids, your food, your yacht-whatever-on the fridge. Followers not included.
Whenever I buy an expensive magazine I am reminded of a “Different World” episode when a friend gets mad at Denise for buying an $8 Italian magazine when she owes her $20. Like Manolo Blahniks, Euro mags were “cheap” in the 90s. And now, a Brooklyn-based mag like Cherry Bombe can set you back about 18 bucks. I have no shame admitting that I will happily plunk it down for a good indie ‘zine (I like a high quality paper from time to time!) and let me say this: foodies, entertainers and photography buffs alone will agree that this beautiful publication is totally worth it. And it’s timely! You’ll want the Karlie Kloss “Perfect 10 Cookie” recipe after your kids gorge on Halloween poison. It will practically be like a cleanse. And we all know how much that can cost.
Every now and then I find something that inspires me to get crafty. Not crafty in a Martha way but crafty in a well-within-my-own boundaries way. One of cool the things this Torafu make-your-own stamp set can create is a great-looking graphic wrapping paper. And I do love a DIY wrapping paper (see my post from last year on Ouef’s printable faces.) It’s gifting 2.0 and it’s just in time for those who are starting to think about the holidays. I just make sure that whatever’s inside comes assembled.
Whenever I’m back in New York I try to hit the spots that I can’t find here. On my list this past week were Emilie Jean Ethnic Antiques, The Future Perfect, Dagny + Barstow and Mud Australia. But I treasure the unexpected, so when I tripped upon a gallery in NoLiTa that featured Brit artist Karen Nicol’s amazing embroidered animals, I felt victorious. There was an oversized grizzly bear, an intricate floral swan and gorgeous sewn insects – all set into clear box frames. Nicol’s background in fashion is apparent – her use of shredded velvet and her immaculate appliqués could only be made by a woman who is also in the clothing industry. When I saw this piece I immediately thought of it in a very lucky child’s room. Monkey business encouraged.
I’ve always considered myself a creative person: I write voraciously, love to experiment in the kitchen and create something visual nearly everyday. And doesn’t high school Advanced Placement Studio Art count for something? Okay fine. But hand me a needle and thread and I will ask for the nearest tailor. Give me a DIY project and I will pawn it off to the craftiest person around. In terms of my kids, I enjoy being a hypocrite in this department. I like to emphasize the importance of making something for a friend when it’s his or her birthday, whether it’s a simple picture or a more elaborate collage. My eldest daughter is just old enough to get into this Donna Wilson “Make Something” kit – and would most likely create something great looking enough to serve as the gift itself. And me? I will happily watch on the sidelines.
I’m not one for a DIY post. But tonight my girls asked if we had any boxes to decorate for their jewelry. The first thing that came to mind was, did my nanny toss that Amazon shipment? And then it hit me: That! Is why I kept all that space-sucking Hermes packaging from my wedding china. I mean, they could have decorated the china as well for all I care – what a bad registry call on my part. So I dug up what once housed an ashtray and a creamer and the kids went to town with feathers and abstract drawings. A few glitter stickers and some scribble signatures later and they presented me with personalized, designer boxes for homemade name bracelets and Atsuyo et Akiko pom pom rings alike. And while it feels too young to introduce them to mandarin orange, it beats my fake bakelite purchase that have drawers that stick.
While I’m anti cutesy wall hangings for nurseries, I happen to love this watercolor alphabet poster by Brit artist Sarah Doyle. It’s playful enough for any child’s room but artsy enough for picky mothas. And please note: those who despise cutesy ‘hangings more than I do can opt for her “mythical creatures” version, featuring a vampire and werewolf in place of a vulture and walrus. They both appeal to me but a baby might learn his abc’s quicker with this one. And her grown-up art is edgy enough for even the biggest cute nursery haters.
We’re living in a time where the question, “How do you feel about taxidermy?” seems completely appropriate. Peacocks, hens – there’s even a major giraffe in my local Alexis Bittar boutique – this is now the norm. After my traumatic experience at the circus, my feelings toward stuffed, mounted animals were still up in the air. Until, that is, a fancy friend suggested that I put a pretty little bird in my vintage birdcage which sits empty on my rolling bar cart. This little rainbow finch would look lovely in it and I think the kids might even be down. How to explain taxidermy to them? Unclear. But at least the little tweeter won’t be performing tricks while being taunted with a whip.