Then and Now

It’s almost hard to believe I took the photo above at the end of November. With a late Thanksgiving, my birthday, and dear family friends visiting, it was a busy (and food-filled!) few days, in the best possible way.

Then, the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s seemed to take their time, which can be a good thing when there’s so much to do. (I like Christmas and the holiday spirit that comes with it — at least in non-overwhelming doses — but I do not live day-to-day in anticipation of it during the rest of the year. I know some people do, but I just never have. So, I don’t mind that those first three weeks of December don’t go by in a flash.)

Now, January is here! I am very happy to say that I am still knitting, with just one month to go before I hit my one-year “anniversary.” These days, if I’m not knitting, I’m thinking about knitting, or thinking about how I should be knitting those mittens for my friend.

In terms of “Internet things” (I really must come up with something more clever/catchy): I’ve put this tea pot on my wishlist. | I’ve decided, maybe somewhat prematurely, to try my hand on knitting a sweater (eek!) this year and have been bookmarking a lot of posts on this blog. | There’s been a lot of “house envy” over all the beautiful interiors/exteriors Elise of Pennyweight has been posting here.

Oh, also, hot chocolate? It does the trick this time of year.



I enjoyed compiling links for this feature the last time I did it, and I thought it might be time to bring it back again.

+ This may now be considered “old” news, but Intelligentsia is opening up shop in New York City this spring! I have high hopes that it will feature special design details, like the tile in the Silver Lake location, which I wrote about here.

+ T’is the season for the flu/common cold. I came down with the latter last week, and yet I still didn’t think to check out Design*Sponge’s great compilation of “Cures for the Common Cold: Tips from the Creative Community.” (via The Curator)

+ I can’t wait to watch this FM4 Radio Session of Danish band Efterklang performing three songs off their new album, Piramida. Even though I just saw them in concert in September, I’m thinking of doing so again when they’re next in New York in the spring. They’re currently on tour (and I highly recommend them), so check out their tour schedule here.

+ Katie of blog What Katie Does just posted an amazing guide on getting started with calligraphy. Her introduction already has me wanting to run out to the nearest art store to buy the tools and start trying it out myself.

I added a number of new blogs to my reading list this past week, and I’m already discovering all sorts of new things. Here’s to a relaxing, hopefully-not-too-cold weekend!

Tea and Thread

Upper left: I have long been looking for a program similar to InstaPaper that I could use on my Android phone). Pocket (formerly known as ReadItLater), which I downloaded last week, seems to be doing the trick. It means I’m more likely to read articles that I come across but am not in the mood to read at the time. Those articles, more often than not, just don’t get read. I’m not a frequent user of the program (yet), but I’ve been pleased so far with the layout of the articles on both my phone and computer.

Upper right: I have become a bit of a master tea drinker as of late as I attempt to cure my sore throat and cough. By “master tea drinker,” I mean I’ve been drinking three (usually caffeine-free) cups of tea a day for the past few days. For someone who’s often vowing to drink more tea and not following through, this is something.

Bottom left: Even though I have an e-reader, I knew I had to have this copy of Emma, with cover design by Jillian Tamaki, part of the Penguin Threads collection (I felt okay with the purchase because the e-book was free, and I’ve been doing some of my reading at home from the book). I remember reading about the embroidered covers a couple years ago and adding them straightaway to my wishlist. The actual book covers are embossed, not embroidered, but my copy of Emma still feels so special, and it looks like real thread from afar. Check out the detailing on the cover of The Wizard of Oz, designed by Rachell Sumpter!

Bottom right: Ever since seeing this preview post of ASOS Salon‘s spring/summer collection on Park & Cube (via Note to Self), I’ve been waiting for it to appear online in full. Color! Lace! Flowers! I could never wear this dress, but I love the watercolor-like flowers.

Tea and book photos (edited in Instagram) by Taking of Toast. Pocket app photo via the official site. Dress photo via ASOS Salon.

A Few Blossoms

I missed my chance to take photos of all the pink blossoms (and tulips) along Park Avenue. “I’ll take them tomorrow” is not a good way of thinking when it comes to trees, especially with all this earlier warm/later cool weather. I managed to snap these out on Long Island over the weekend. It was a smaller tree, and I didn’t have my camera with me, so this one, not-even-in-focus cell phone picture will have to suffice. One year, I will make it to DC (or back to Japan) for the cherry blossoms.

As always, I’ve been collecting links to share:

+ It was a sad moment when, after seeing this cup on Eat Drink Chic, I discovered in the comments that it was not one I’d be able to purchase for myself.

+ Will you look at that typography?! So glad a friend brought the work of Simon Walker to my attention (via The Fox is Black).

+ I was intrigued by the art featured in this post on For Me, For You and decided to check it out. It turns out Mammoth and Company is a bit like 20×200, featuring art prints in different sizes, with the 8×10 versions costing only $20. There are many prints from which to choose, but I think my favorites are “New Nature Systems 7” by Russel Leng, “The Season of Life” by Mark Warren Jacques, and “Moraine Lake” by Grant Harder.

+ One of my favorite bloggers, Anamu, is moving from London to Kuala Lumpur, and she’s having a moving sale on her webshop, The Pond Market! There are lots of great finds from her flea market adventures across Europe, so be sure to give it a look.

Photo by Taking of Toast

Seasonal Thoughts

With spring (even summer?) seemingly just around the bend, I’ve been thinking about starting afresh. Spring begs you to be outside, take advantage of the (hopefully) endless blue sky and just-warm-enough weather, before the humidity of summer makes you want to be anywhere but outside. I have a tendency to laze around inside, but I want to make sure I do things this spring. I’ve decided that those activities don’t have to be outside themselves, as long as they’re inside some place other than my own room. I just have to commit, right?

I’d love to buy some watercolors and paper and practice making cards (I find myself constantly thinking back to these prints by Jessica Durrant) or figure out something to do with these amazing fabrics (after seeing them on Oh Joy!).

I haven’t been to The Cloisters since I was in middle school. I’d like to go back for the Medieval Garden and the views of the Hudson.

Very up there on my list is a visit to the Conservatory Garden in Central Park. (I’ve been meaning to do this for almost a year.)

In the realm of trying something new: I’m no coffee connoisseur and don’t have a clue about how coffee flavors translate from description to taste, but Caffe Vita‘s Caffé Del Sol sounds pretty good to me.

I caved and decided to link my blog to my Pinterest. I’ve had my account for a few months, but I’ve only been updating it every few weeks when I think of it. I’ve done some significant pinning and repinning today, though, and think it’s ready for its debut. (I’m having the most fun with my Home Inspiration board. Aah, the possibilities when you don’t need to worry about a budget!)

So. Let’s see what happens.

Photo by Taking of Toast

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

The A-List

The Oscars are tonight (hence the title of this post). I’m moderately excited for the ceremony, but mainly, I’m excited to see what everyone’s wearing. But Oscars or not, here are a few things that I’ve been thinking about lately:

The Random Oscar-Related Slide Show I’ve Been Thinking About

Regardless of your feelings on Joel and Ethan Coen’s update of True Grit, it’s hard to deny that 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld has already proven she’s got her red carpet sea legs. She always looks put together and age appropriate (which, in this day and age, is becoming less and less the norm), and when commentators suggest her outfit is “not age appropriate,” at least they don’t mean inappropriate. It’s refreshing, right? I think it is, but maybe I just think about these things more than others do. Anyway! The Fug Girls over at have made a slide show all about the actress’s red carpet looks so far, and in anticipation of tonight’s ceremony red carpet, I thought I’d link you to it. Go have a look at it here: The Fug Girls Survey the Many Looks of True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld, Future Fashion Icon.

The Politics-Related Tumblr I’ve Been Thinking (and Laughing) About

I spent some time last fall in London, where most of my (academic) focus was on Parliament and the UK’s political system; in other words, I have some experience with how Prime Minister David Cameron is perceived by the people. With that said, I probably find this site more entertaining than most non-UK residents would, but I wanted to share it with you anyway: David Cameron Pretending to Be Common. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but see The New Statesman for a bit more background. If “entertaining political Tumblrs” are your thing, there’s also Kim Jong Il Looking at Things (yes, really). Curious about Tumblr? Our good friend Wikipedia lets you in on the growing phenomenon.

The Delightfully Infectious Song I’ve Been Thinking About (and Listening To)

Ever since I came upon British pop artist CocknBullKid‘s “Hold on to Your Misery” on Disco Naïveté a few weeks ago, I have been practically unable to stop listening to it. It’s fun, upbeat, and catchy! Rarely can I say no to a song with those three words in its description. The video is pretty cute, too. I highly suggest having a look/listen:

The Probably-More-Difficult-than-I-Anticipate Recipe I’ve Been Thinking About (Tackling Next)

Last week, I got an interview request for an internship to which I applied a few days earlier, and for some odd reason, my first (okay, second) thought was, “I want to start baking/making things!” It was a wake-up call of sorts. So far, I’ve been doing pretty well for myself, which, in one way or another, has meant zesting a lot of blood oranges. As much fun as making muffins and cakes and cookies is, I think I should start tackling more substantial recipes, ones that would fall under dinner rather than dessert. I’m considering a recipe for Mick’s Mouthwatering Moussaka found on What Katie Ate, but we’ll see how long it takes me to get around to it. Who knew compiling recipes (and actually making some of them!) could be so much fun?

I promise I’ve been thinking about more things, lots of things. But most of them are pretty unexciting and not all that blogworthy. Oh, well. I’m a big fan of what I did post, and hopefully, you will be, too!