In a recent post on my new illustration blog Les Voyageuses, I cited by way of inspiration a book called A hauter d'enfents by photographer Olivier Föllmi (do stop by his site...you'll be amazed). I originally discovered the book by way of Charlotte's (VDJ) inspiration blog, but could not find a source for it here in the US.
As it happens, Nath of mimimouse offered to find it for me, in exchange for some decorations she was having a hard time locating for her daughter's birthday. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance, and a couple of days ago a package arrived in the mail. Q, who celebrated a birthday recently, was thrilled to find a little book included for her as well (here she is all pink-cheeked and sleepy from her nap, opening her gift). Since autumn and change was in the air, I'd spent the morning dusting our little collection of antique bottles and filling them with fall-colored flowers from the garden. The book was even more spectacular than I'd expected, and the rich, jewel-tone colors of the photography meshed perfectly with my floral palette. Are these children from Bhutan just stunning? The book features children from various cultures, from Africa to India, Bhutan to Afghanistan, and the shots are just so rich in emotion, so arresting and inspiring on so many emotional levels. It isn't a large book, and not a page is wasted. I have thumbed through it from cover to cover so many times since it arrived that it's already a bit foxed. Pure magic. Thanks to Nath for helping me find this magnificent little treasure, and for making Q smile ;)
A delightful new blog discovery: La Tulipe, exploring simplicity through the senses. Kenza's photography is amazing and poetic (I can't get enough of this luscious shot of Japanese mosses, above). The simple recipes from around the world are a cultural lexicon of flavor, written in shorthand. It isn't often that you see a blog that breaks the mold like this. A brilliant idea, beautifully executed, and a new daily stop for me.
So, waaaaaaaay back when I was editing the NYC portion of our trip, I posted an adorable picture of a couple embracing on the banks of a duckweed-covered lake in Central Park. You may remember that I called them the 2nd cutest couple in New York...and here's why.
Take a good look over the shoulders of my (undeniably adorable in their own right) husband and daughter, all the way across the walled gardens... Do you see a splotch of bright red there on a stone bench at the far end of the gardens? At first, I didn't even notice them myself. Then, as I explored the gardens with my camera, I became aware that we were not quite alone.
This pair were sitting quietly, sheltered from the weather, admiring the view and whispering amongst themselves the entire time. When I noticed them, I simply couldn't resist...I had to ask them if I could take their picture. They graciously agreed, and I had to concede that they were, quite simply, the cutest couple in NY...or at very least in the Hudson Valley. Those plaid rainboots! The red hoodie! The unexpected yellow leggings! That pixie face...and to top it all off, the cherry on top of the cake is that gorgeous grin on her beau. Just makes me smile all over each and every time I look at this picture.
I kind of have a thing for felt slippers. Not sure what it is. But when I saw these ballet-style felted slips from Etsy seller FrenchPressKnits, I almost keeled over. I ask you, is this not perfection? And just look at the box! All I have to say is, Christmas is just around the corner.
You may remember that a while back I posted a link to some lovely photos of us, taken by talented photographer Melissa MacDonald, while we were staying in the Hudson Valley. The photos were shot on a rainy late-summer afternoon at the Blithewood Mansion, now comprising a portion of the Bard College campus on the banks of the Hudson River.
As it happens (never able to give my own camera a rest) I took a few photos myself. I mean, it isn't every day that one finds oneself in such a fanciful and painterly setting! The Blithewood mansion was built in 1900, its grounds and stunning gardens originally designed by renowned landscape architect and horticultural journalist Andrew Jackson Downing. Although the weather during the bulk of our trip East was magnificent (even uncharacteristically so), on this our last day in NY, it rained...slightly, and then steadily, and then torrentially, and then slightly again for the entire afternoon and evening.
Which was fine. Really it was. It seemed somehow fitting in this setting. It did nothing to decrease the delight of our photo shoot, and...well, everything is easier to swallow when one knows one will soon be en route back to the more clement climes of Colorado. Ahem. I couldn't resist snapping this shot of QQ studiously reviewing her closeups with our portrait photographer ;) After our photo session (during which it was raining too hard to move out from under the massive pillars of the portico) the rain let up a bit and, amid a gentle drizzle, we were able to venture into the stunning walled gardens.
Incidentally, I'm not familiar enough with the Victorian language of landscape architecture to know what you call that seating area at the far end of the garden, but if you look closely you can see the only two figures brave enough to weather the storm that day with us. They sat there so still and so discreet during our photo shoot and our inspection of the gardens that it took me some time to notice them. When I did, however, I was so inspired as to ask them for permission to snap a few photos of them myself. Remember this, because it may just turn up again in my next post ;) Q turns into such a sprite in these settings, straight out of a storybook. Exploring her own secret gardens. The balconies look out onto a spectacular view of the Hudson River valley and the Catskill Mountains beyond. Promenading with laolao. On the way home, though the rain had closed in again, we stopped long enough to admire Frank Gehry's design for the Bard College performing arts center. It's difficult to see, in this light, the way the skin of the structure reflects the sky in all its various moods, but it's quite spectacular.
I rarely buy clothing for the Q, largely because she grows so very fast - at just barely over 2 years of age, she is already the size of your average 3-year-old. She has put on nearly an inch in height each month since coming home from China in the summer of 2008. It's difficult to keep up with her, when it comes to clothing.
We subsist mainly on beautiful hand-me-downs from friends, and on the terrific resale store in our neighborhood. When I do buy new, it's generally from unique designers whose clothes are structured to fit for more than a year.
But last spring, I discovered the online shopmimimouse. I don't remember how I found her, but I was immediately drawn to Nath's modern, classic silhouette designs for t-shirts and onesies. Her combination of French design sensibility and British aesthetic struck a chord for me, and I immediately ordered a fanciful summer tank top for Q. If you're the kind of mother who is drawn to your favorite children's designers (as I am), you'll be happy to discover that mimimouse has a line for women as well. I particularly love this pirate design. And the lion tamer resonates for my daughter's fearless personality. I absolutely adore this scarf, scattered with stars. I ordered it even though my daughter was much too small at the time. In the meantime, I have been making good use of it myself ;) Her ad campaign for the season strikes me as particularly appealing. This design, dubbed "the uncle", reminds me of my early fascination with books like the Mary Poppins series, and the original Peter Pan. Incidentally (and serendipitously), mimimouse has recently begun offering individual items from the fabulous Design Interior collection of miniature designer chairs. A chair buff from way back, I fell in love at first sight with these when I found them at a bookstore in San Francisco's Japantown last winter, and have been pining for more ever since. I applaud Nath for offering these by the individual box (since they are hard to find, and generally available only in bulk on the net).
It used to be, when we lived in the mountains, that "scenery" was just part of every-day life for us. Not that our little garden neighborhood is an eyesore, by any stretch of the imagination. Quite the opposite! But from time to time we have to remind ourselves to get in the car and go higher. Mountain passes are touched with gold this time of year, and the season is fleeting...blink and you'll miss it!
This morning, we leaped in the car and manage to squeeze in a tour of Squaw Pass, between Evergreen and Idaho Springs, before our babysitter arrived at two for an afternoon of work.
We only just barely had time to make the circuit and get home in time, so most of the scenery was through the car window. We did however find this idyllic meadow in which to stretch out legs and soak up the peerless September sunshine. The itty one, fast asleep on the drive home.