Your Paintings

I was looking up exhibitions at the Tate Modern yesterday when I came across the Your Paintings initiative, and wow, does it sound neat (not to mention ambitious!). A joint venture between the Public Catalogue Foundation and the BBC, it seeks to put online a database of the United Kingdom’s 200,000 publicly-owned oil paintings. Whoa. From the Your Paintings website:

The Public Catalogue Foundation is a registered charity set up to create a complete [online] record of the United Kingdom’s national collection of oil, tempera and acrylic paintings and make this accessible to the public.

There are an estimated 200,000 oil paintings in the UK’s national collection. To give a sense of the scale of the collection, the National Gallery in London has around 2,300 oil paintings. So it’s nearly one hundred times the size of that.

The collection includes works by some of the greatest painters of the last 700 years, as well as paintings by thousands of lesser known artists. It offers a remarkable insight into the history, landscape and culture of the United Kingdom.

To help with the project, the PCF and BBC have asked the public to take part in the Your Paintings Tagger, which uses crowdsourcing to build the paintings database. Members of the public can tag people, places, things, and events in each painting, allowing people to search the Your Paintings website for paintings that match their query.

Each painting will be tagged many times by members of the public, and algorithms behind the scenes will calculate which tags are likely to be the most accurate. These tags will then be fed through to the Your Paintings website. The algorithms have been created for the Public Catalogue Foundation by the Citizen Science Alliance based at the Astrophysics Department at the University of Oxford, with input from the Art History Department at the University of Glasgow.

I’m sure Your Paintings will be an endless resource — for educational purposes, those who want to learn about art, and more — upon its completion. In the meantime, you can try tagging some paintings yourself or browse the more than 110,000 paintings that have already been cataloged.

More information on the project can be found via the Public Catalogue Foundation and BBC websites. I’m off to explore the database!

Oh, and Happy Leap Day!

Photo of the National Gallery in London by Taking of Toast

Wish List: Madewell

Lots of new arrivals at Madewell that make me long (even more) for spring.

1. Super™ Ciccio Sunglasses | 2. Two-Tone Silk Pants | 3. Painted Garden Daydress |
4. Charade Blazer | 5. The Holepunch Flat Sandal | 6. Silk Shutterbug Top

All photos from Madewell. Ink brushes from Brusheezy via Spoon Graphics.

Back to the Kitchen

I haven’t done any baking or cooking in weeks. I’m starting to get anxious. Tomorrow, February 22nd, marks a year to the day since I had my “I want to start baking!” moment. It was much easier to try new recipes and bake, bake, bake when I didn’t have anything to do with my time (other than work on my resume and draft cover letters). Now, having a job has meant two things: less time to bake, but also, more people with whom to share my baking! (Yes, there’s a theme here: I realized a few months ago that I enjoy baking a lot more than I do cooking. Cooking tends to stress me out more, but that may be because of my past attempts to cook a three-course meal by myself in the amount of time typically allotted for cooking one course. But still.)

I have been saying for months that I want to cook more, to expand my recipe repertoire — which is tiny! — and become more comfortable in the kitchen. I can cook more and keep baking, right? Of course I can. I just have to remember that I do, indeed, have the time, if I prioritized cooking/baking over a few other things.

I’m already inspired by some of the recipes on KinEats, a part of the newly-launched KinCommunity, “a community of like-minded women celebrating the simple artistry of everyday life.” In addition to recipes for grilled vegetable pizza, chopped chicken breast and farro salad, and chocolate macaroons, there’s also one for blood orange almond rice pilaf, which I think sounds particularly delicious.

Hopefully, these recipes — plus this list of 12 Recipes to Know by Heart from The Kitchn — will be the kick I need to start baking and cooking again.


A couple of months ago, I suddenly remembered a post on Design*Sponge featuring pillows with beautiful watercolor flowers on them. The problem was that I couldn’t remember any specifics — who the designer was, when the post was made, etc. — and attempts at finding the original post proved unsuccessful. But I didn’t give up, and just the other day, I lucked out (thanks, Google!). The post was this sneak peek into the home of Fiona Douglas of Bluebellgray. One year later, and I’d still be more than happy to own anything on the website. I’m not exactly in more of a position to own any of their things than I was a year ago, but I can still dream, right? I think my best option may be to save up for one of the cushions or paper prints.

I can only imagine what it all must look like in person.

All images (and products) by Bluebellgray.

Upcoming: Whistles

As someone who would gladly fill most of her wardrobe with their clothes and accessories (if only!), I always enjoy seeing Whistles‘ campaign videos every season. In addition to highlighting the clothes, the videos also always feature great music. The Spring/Summer 2012 video just went up, and I thought I’d share it here.

So many colors and beautiful prints! I especially like greenish, yellowy Wild Meadow Print Pleated Skirt. For a closer look at more of the upcoming line, there’s also this video, featuring Whistles CEO Jane Shepherdson discussing some of the pieces (with a genuine sense of enthusiasm, too, which is always welcome).


A couple weeks ago, a colleague of mine told me about Savored, a new website offering deals on restaurants. Unlike many other sites that offer coupons, Savored allows you to save 30% off your entire final bill, including alcohol. To get the discount, reservations must be made at restaurants directly through the Savored website, and the catch is that each reservation costs $10 (the company argues that it still offers a better deal than most others, and that if your “savings don’t exceed your booking fee, [it’ll] refund the price of your reservation”). The list of offerings is impressive and includes restaurants at a range of price points, cuisines, and locations. It would be a good way to test out restaurants that would normally be too expensive, or discover brand new ones.

Clockwise from upper left: Matilda,The House, The Wright, Desmond’s

I have yet to make a Savored reservation, but attempts to find a restaurant through the site for dinner last Saturday proved difficult — none of the restaurants in the neighborhood was available until much later. Here’s hoping that’s not always the case. There are some restaurants on there I really want to try!

Photo credits, clockwise from upper left: Matilda,The House, The Wright, Desmond’s


On the way home from a planned — but unsuccessful — museum trip (but a successful — and unplanned — cupcakes stop) two weeks ago, I was discussing the Canadian provinces with my coworker. That conversation, and a later one over the following weekend about UK geography, reminded me of this series of County posters by Paul Farrell. I have no connection, personal or otherwise, with any of the counties depicted in the prints, but I still get a kick out of them. And for better or worse, they remind me that I’d like to visit Devon someday. I wish the Cornwall/Land’s End poster were still available. I went to Land’s End on a family vacation years ago, but all I remember is that it was extremely windy.

Dorset/Thomas Hardy

Devon/Cream Teas

County posters by Paul Farrell, via Pedlars