Saturday, May 29, 2010

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! ~Maya Angelou

Still planning your Memorial Day bash?
Here are some inspirations on what to wear, what to serve and quick and easy ways to decorate.

Meryl Streep, classy and gorgeous as always in a patriotic Catherine Malandrino dress.  

If head-to-toe red, white and blue too much for you, this simple yet stunning leather necklace is a DIY piece of cake. M&J Trimming has a great tutorial that will show you how to put this together in about 20 minutes.
Not a do-it-yourself type of girl? Any outfit from a sundress to a pair of old shorts and a tank top looks chic and put together with a great hat. I am especially in love with this floppy striped hat from the Gap.

Since Memorial Day marks the start of summer, start it off hot in a traffic stopping, party starting bombshell sundress from Pin-up Girl Clothing.

Now YOU look good, Let's quickly dress your party. 

Photo courtesy of
The dollar store has hundreds of pinwheels this time of year - snag a handful and place in white or glass containers scattered across the table and you've got a playful centerpiece.

Photo courtesy of faveflowers on Flickr
Glass containers of any type can be found at the dollar store and you probably have some in your house already.  Fill them with alternating layers of any appropriately colored items. Fave Flowers (above) used petals but blue colored candy, rice or white mints and red hots (all available at the dollar store or local grocery store) would work as well.

Whew! All done - now....ready for a drink?

Slash Food introduced me to one of my favorite Americana inspired drinks - the Starfruit and Stripes Daquiri. Visit their site for the recipe for this sweet (and potent) drink and many more. 

Since I am no grill master and I do believe Memorial Day is all about BBQ, I will let someone else blog about the main courses but for dessert, I have a few personal faves:

Cream Cheese Strawberries are delicious and a snap to make. People expect it to be white chocolate so it is a pleasing cheesecake like surprise.  Find the simple steps here.

Photo courtesy of
Bake these fresh or use a favorite cheat of mine. Go to your local bakery and pick up plain cupcakes and just top with fresh fruit. No one will know you didn't make the entire thing.

You know you have made Jell-o shots so you know how to do this. Grab a star shaped cookie cutter and some food coloring and go to town.  You can't mess this up.

Have fun and enjoy your weekend. Be safe and I will see you back here Tuesday!

Weekend Art School: Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami (村上 隆, Murakami Takashi, born in Tokyo), is a prolific contemporary Japanese artist who works in both fine arts media, such as painting, as well as digital and commercial media. He blurs the boundaries between high and low art. He appropriates popular themes from mass media and pop culture, then turns them into thirty-foot sculptures, "Superflat" paintings, or marketable commercial goods such as figurines or phone caddies.

Takashi Murakami attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, initially studying more traditional Japanese art. He pursued a doctorate in Nihonga, a mixture of Western and Eastern styles dating back to the late 19th century. However, due to the popularity of anime and manga, Japanese styles of animation and comic graphic stories, Murakami became disillusioned with Nihonga. He became passionate about otaku culture, which he felt was more representative of modern-day Japanese life.

This resulted in Superflat, the style that Murakami is credited with starting. It developed from Poku, (Pop + otaku). Murakami has written that he aims to represent Poku culture because he expects that animation and otaku might create a new culture. This new culture is a rejuvenation of the contemporary Japanese art scene. In interviews, Murakami has expressed a frustration with the lack of a reliable and sustainable art market in post-war Japan, and the general view of Japanese art as having a low art status. He is quoted as saying that the market is nothing but "a shallow appropriation of Western trends". His first reaction was to make art in non-fine arts media. Then he decided to focus on the market sustainability of art and promote himself first overseas. This marks the birth of KaiKai Kiki, LLC.

In 2008, Takashi Murakami made Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" list, the only visual artist included.

Murakami's style, called Superflat, is characterized by flat planes of color and graphic images involving a character style derived from anime and manga. Superflat is an artistic style that comments on otaku lifestyle and subculture, as well as consumerism and sexual fetishism.

Like Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami takes low culture and repackages it, and sells it to the highest bidder in the "high-art" market. Also like Warhol, Murakami makes his repacked low culture available to all other markets in the form of paintings, sculptures, videos, T-shirts, key chains, mouse pads, plush dolls, cell phone caddies, and $5,000 limited-edition Louis Vuitton handbags. This is comparable to Claes Oldenburg, who sold his own low art, high art pieces in his own store front in the 1960s. What makes Murakami different is his methods of production, and his work is not in one store front but many, ranging from toy stores, candy aisles, comic book stores, and the French design house of Louis Vuitton. Murakami's style is an amalgam of his Western predecessors, Warhol, Oldenberg and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as Japanese predecessors and contemporaries of anime and manga. He has successfully marketed himself to Western culture and to Japan in the form of Kaikai Kiki and GEISAI.

Interviewer Magdalene Perez asked him about straddling the line between art and commercial products, and mixing art with branding and merchandising. Murakami said,

"I don’t think of it as straddling. I think of it as changing the line. What I’ve been talking about for years is how in Japan, that line is less defined. Both by the culture and by the post-War economic situation. Japanese people accept that art and commerce will be blended; and in fact, they are surprised by the rigid and pretentious Western hierarchy of ‘high art.’ In the West, it certainly is dangerous to blend the two because people will throw all sorts of stones. But that's okay—I’m ready with my hard hat."
In November 2003, ArtNews reported Murakami's work as being among the most desired in the world. Chicago collector Stefan Edis reportedly paid a record $567,500 for Murakami's 1996 "Miss ko2", a life-size fiberglass cartoon figure, at Christie's last May. Christie's owner, François Pinault, reportedly paid around $1.5 million in June to acquire "Tongari Kun" (2003), a 28-foot tall fiberglass sculpture, and four accompanying fiberglass mushroom figures, that were part of an installation at Rockefeller Center. In May 2008, "My Lonesome Cowboy" (1998), a sculpture of a masturbating boy, sold for $15.2 million at a Sotheby's auction.

***Information from

Friday, May 28, 2010

In My Own Back Yard

I tend to work in an office or home office and a rarely get outside in the daylight hours to truly appreciate the artistry of the earth. For today's Art-full Friday I took my camera into my own backyard to explore the beauty of nature:

The thin, tiny branches that crawl across the wall of the house thrill me. They would make a gorgeous fabric.

Under the canopy of trees in the backyard

One of the few pops of color in the mostly green yard. The contrast of colors and the soft "spikes" of this flower make it one of my favorites in the yard.

The mango tree is beginning to thrive again. 

Ticked by the mini white flowers within the bright purple petals

I have always liked that these berries look frosted, as if they were fake Christmas decorations. 

Another one of my favorites. These flowers collect the dew in fascinating ways creating watercolor like patters on their paper thin petals.

Mother Nature strikes again. A seemingly ordinary palm tree leaf becomes a work of art when the light hits in just the right way.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't Grow One - Buy One!

A friend of mine called tonight for a cupcake emergency. Logic would dictate that my post would be about cupcakes, right? Wrong! On the way back to the car we saw a man with the best beard ever - it was ZZ Top quality and so today's Etsy Treasury is all about BEARDS:

Beards are Sexy Tote Bag by The Bold Banana

Bearded Family Portraits - Chester by I Made You A Beard

Hammock Beard Print by Uncle Fatso
"...and how it pains me to carry your heavy heart upon the spine of my hairs"

Beard Collection Set of 3 Postcards by fric de mentol

Bearded Lady by Kath Atomz

Green Bearded Beanie by Tara Duff

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The No Good, Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Week

Have you ever had a time in life where things get so bad it is like time is standing still? I am happy to be back and while there is still a lot to deal with, it is nice to be able to let my mind wander online and well, my wandering led me to check out some "Very Bad Day" pieces:

My brother introduced me to Exploding Dog and I am obsessed. Robots and sarcasm - does it get much better?

Sometimes you just feel like the rain cloud is hovering over your head. Illustrator Riikka Kurka designs some beautiful pieces, but I am drawn to the Huono Päivä (translated: "Bad Day") T-Shirt she made for a TaiK school project. 

Wow octopus AND robot prints in one post. A moneky would be the holy trinity, but really...who wants to see a sad monkey? Tuesday Was A Bad Day by Emma Klingbeil just makes me smile. 

My sentiments over the last week exactly lol.  Love this - the "F*ck the Rain" umbrella seen on the Cool Hunting Guide. 

Some days a girl can't even bear the thought of going out of the house without a bag over her head. 

The Large Lucy and her Bad Hair Day Doll by Poppy Seed Tree is adorable. I love her paper bag disguise and want to just give her a big hug and tell her "tomorrow is another day."

Keep smiling and I will see you tomorrow!

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