Correspondence Art: The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Earlier this month, a friend of mine visited an art museum showing the exhibit Please Return To: Mail Art from the Ray Johnson Archive (most popularly known from the documentary film, How to Draw a Bunny). For those of you unfamiliar with Ray Johnson's work, Ray Johnson was an artist associated with the Neo-Dada and Pop art movements in the 1950's, but became best known for being the founder of the mail art network- the New York Correspondence School, and for creating mail art. Mail art is simply small scale artworks that can be distributed in the post. Ray Johnson primarily worked in collage, but mail art can be made up of anything: collage, postcards, paint, recycled materials, music, printmaking. You name it! As long as it can fit in the letter box.

Image from Wikipedia

After returning home, my friend was so inspired by the exhibit that she asked if any of her Facebook friends would be up for creating some correspondence art.  And since I'm not one to back down from an art challenge, I decided that I was in. I spent about a week trying to crawl inside the mind of Ray Johnson and figure out what he would make if he were me, before I was able to send it away. I'll share a few of my finished pieces once my friend receives them (I don't want to spoil the surprise).

While I was creating my mail art, I started noticing that my friends and I weren't the only people creating little works of art to send in the mail. If you get on Google or Pinterest you'll find websites on how to make handmade postcards, how to send more decorative letters and packages, and Artist Trading Cards.

I think that in this new digital age, we're so used to information being transferred in a matter of seconds via e-mail, phone, social media, the Internet, etc. and our mail boxes are primarily the homes for bills and junk mail. But how often do you receive an e-mail and get as excited as you do when you get something nice and unexpected in the mail- like a card or letter? And how often do people write in their own handwriting (rather than type) anymore? In many public schools in the U.S., they don't even teach cursive writing anymore since it's so uncommonly used, in lieu of keyboarding classes. But, it's nice to see that there are people out there who recognize that there's something lacking in digital communication-be it creativity, structure, more careful thought, or just the human touch. So, I'd like to encourage you, my readers, to take some time and write a letter, draw a picture, color a page in an adult coloring book, or whatever, join the mail art movement, and stick it in the mail.

The Virtual Paintout: Lake Blejsko, Slovenia

Monday, July 27, 2015
In March 2014 The Virtual Paintout explored Slovenia, but I didn't stumble across this country online until June. While exploring Slovenia via Google Maps, I thought the landscapes looked like something out of a fairy tale, so I decided to capture the most dramatic landscape I could find: Lake Blejesko.

Lake Blejesko, Slovenia
watercolor, watercolor pencil, gouache, pen
6 x 6


What's Making Me Laugh: Clint Howard Reboots Pippi Longstocking with Milla Jovovich and Fred Willard

Sunday, July 26, 2015
If you haven't noticed, superheros are all the rage (hello! AntMan!) and so are Hollywood re-boots- which makes this parody all the more funny. Check out Clint Howard ( Ron Howard's "cousin") attempt to launch a re-boot of the 1988 film, Pippi Longstocking.

What I'm Listening To: ' Feeling Happy' Stay See Summer Mix 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015
If you want to know what my summer jam of 2015 is, I would not be able to pick just one. Instead, I'd tell you to check out the 'Feeling Happy' Stay See Summer Mix 2015 on YouTube. It has the perfect mix of melodic house, vocal house, disco with a little Notorious B.I.G thrown in there to keep me grooving all summer long. When I'm drawing or painting, I just throw this mix on repeat and I'm good to go. Give it a listen! It'll make you want to hit the beach.


Alaska Poncho

Friday, July 24, 2015
I'd been familiar with the Wool and the Gang (WATG) yarn brand for awhile, but it wasn't until I attended the 2014 Handmade Fair  and actually got to meet the gang at the Shopper's Market and touch the yarn, that I decided that I needed to give them a try. Last winter I purchased their Alaska Poncho knit kit to spruce up my winter wardrobe. I was able to select and customize what colors I wanted for the poncho online (I decided to go with the same colors seen on the example) and my kit came with 9 skeins of yarn, the pattern and a sewing needle, plus I had the option to get the knitting needles required if I didn't have them already.

Not only was I impressed with the packaging of the knit kit and how everything was included, I was also really impressed with the quality and softness of the yarn- Sugar Baby Alpaca. Once I started knitting this poncho, I knew it would become the type of clothing article I would never want to take off.

The pattern was super simple (basically a giant rectangle seamed at an angle, and while I knit it up in just a few days, I didn't get around to weaving in the loose tails until July. 

I am thrilled with how this poncho turned out and I can't wait for the weather to cool down so I can wear it. I'd definitely consider trying another knit kit again.

Have you knit anything from WATG? What did you knit and what did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Sales at Modcloth

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Hi Friends! I don't know about you, but I love the cute, unique and vintage inspired clothes and accessories at Modcloth and last night I was browsing Modcloth's website and discovered that their having a Last Chance up to 75% off sale, so I thought I'd share with you what's on my fashion radar:

On Crop of the World Top in Black This top isn't a part of the sale, but it's affordable enough to demand a shout out. Crop tops have been everywhere this summer, and this one may be too good to pass up.

Fluent in Gratitude Notecard Set You can never have enough Thank You cards on hand since you never know when you might need them and these are super cute!

Bathing Beauty Two-Piece Suit This swim suit is classic and looks like it could be flattering on a variety of body types. I also like it in red.

What I've Been Reading in June

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde/ After reading a lot of children's books and popular fiction, I decided that I wanted something a little different. I chose this book from a selection of classics available for free on my Kindle and I loved it! Oscar Wilde's wit is hard to beat!

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling/ I found this book calling to me from the library bookshelves (I mean, it's written by freakin' J.K. Rowling for crying out loud!) and I had to pick it up. It's a short read, written up from her 2008 commencement speech she gave at Harvard University. J.K. talks about her own post-graduate experiences, her struggles, her failures, and how it allowed her to pursue her dreams. It's full of great advice for anyone!

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion/ This is the sequel to The Rosie Project (that I read in April). This time, Don and Rosie are married and have moved to New York to expand their careers. and Rosie is pregnant. As Don begins to take on research opportunities to better understand how to be a father, there's trouble in paradise with his relationship with Rosie and more hijinx ensue. I didn't like this book as much as the first one, but it was still a fun read.

Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnerick/ Finally! A female superhero who's strong and bad ass in her own right! This comic has Air Force Major, Carol Danver's assuming the Captain Marvel title, ditching the girly costume for a flight suit, and allying herself with a squadron of female World War II fighter pilots. After reading several positive reviews, I finally picked this up and I'm so glad I did. I can't wait to read the next volume!

The Wardrobe Architect: Planning My Makes

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Now that I've cleaned out my closet and figured out what I'm going to wear this season, it's time for me to decide what handmade pieces I'm going to fit into my wardrobe. 

Finished/ Nearly Finished Makes
  • Even though I don't wear a lot of skirts, last fall I made 2 Colette Mabel skirts. This summer might be the perfect time to wear them.

  • I started sewing a tie dyed Moneta last summer, but I haven't finished it yet. I really need to get on that.

Haven't Started Makes

  • I have some peacock print fabric and pattern ready to sew McCalls 6319. I think the side zip looks very rock n' roll!

  • I'd like to make a slim version of the Violet top with my loan wolf fabric.

  • Since I'm not getting much wear out of my Marimekko Lou Box Top, I'd like to convert it into something more fitted like a Laurel top or something similar and then re-make another Lou Box Top in a more drapey fabric.

  • I'm a bit undecided on if I should sew or buy a jersey cropped top this summer.
  • I'd like to have something to toughen up my outfits and give them some edge- like a moto pant or some olive cargo pants. Since I'm not a confident sewing, I'll probably buy these rather than make them.

    Are there any summer sewing patterns that have caught your eye? Do you have any pattern recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.


    Sarah's Sale Picks: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

    Friday, July 10, 2015
    I know I've been working on reducing my wardrobe and building a capsule wardrobe, but Nordrom is gearing up for another Anniversary sale starting July 17, and Nordstrom credit and debt holders can get a special access from July 9-16. This is a great time to stock up on some key Fall/ back-to-school pieces. Here are a few pieces that are on my radar:

    Swimsuit- It always seems that you can never find the perfect swimsuit when you're looking for one, and when you're not they're all over the place. I love the print on this suit and it has an amazing back.

    Cargo pants (Jolt, BLANKNYC)- My work style is a little bit business and a lot of casual, but sometimes I get tired of wearing the same old jeans to work. I'd love to add a pair of olive cargos to change up my look. Plus, they've got extra pockets!

    Off-the-shoulder top- This one isn't on sale but I've been seeing them all over the fashion blogs.

    Olive jumpsuit- I just got a classic black jumpsuit that I love. This one reminds me of the jumpsuit my grandma wore when she worked in an airplane factory during WWII.

    Striped bag- The stripes and contrasting leathers are just beautiful.

    Fringe bag- This bag is also not on sale, but fringe is in and this bag looks like it would be the perfect way to add a bit of rock and roll to my closet.

    Kate Spade Emoji necklace & earrings- I think these are the cutest things! I'm a sucker for Kate Spades cute and kitchy accessories.

    Will you be shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary sale? Are any of these items on your radar? Let me know in the comments below.

    The Wardrobe Architect: Finding the Gaps

    Monday, July 6, 2015
    Now that I've created my summer palette, it's time for me to examine my wardrobe and start creating my capsule wardrobe. Here are the pieces I plan to wear this summer:

    Pieces from ASOS, Madewell, Old Navy, Target, J Crew Factory, GAP, H&M, Zappos, Toms and Topshop

    Pieces by Banana Republic, J Brand, Calvin Klein, Urban Outfitters, JC Penny, and others.

    Things My Wardrobe is Lacking:
    • WHERE'S THE COLOR!? WHERE ARE MY BELOVED POLKA DOTS AND SUMMER NEONS!? My wardrobe is sorely lacking in color (particularly pastels and greens, which my color chart determined were most complementary to me). 
    • I'd like to have a pair of wide leg gauchos or culottes for the summer.
    • The jumpsuit trend doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon and my wardrobe doesn't have one yet, so I purchased this 90's jumpsuit from Brown Cow Vintage on Etsy.

    You might have noticed that my wardrobe doesn't have any skirts. I didn't put any skirts on my list because I rarely wear them, but I might add my made-by-me Mable skirts to the mix.
    Do you see any other gaps in my wardrobe that I should consider? Let me know in the comments below.

    What's Making Me Laugh: Stephen Colbert Hosting Public Access Television

    Sunday, July 5, 2015
    It's not secret that I am a huge fan of Stephen Colbert (just do a search of his name in my blog and you'll find no less than five posts about him), and I can't wait for his new show to start up in September. Well, apparently Stephen Colbert can't wait either and this week he hosted a public access show in Monroe, Michigan and interviewed Eminem. You can watch the full episode below. If this is a sneak peek at what the Late Show will be like, then I'm in.


    What I'm Listening To: IDLEWILD "You Held the World in Your Arms"

    Saturday, July 4, 2015
    I just got back from visiting Edinburgh, Scotland and I'm feeling nostalgic. One of my favorite groups to listen to in college was Edinburgh based, IDLEWILD, so this week I'm sharing their 2001 music video for You Held the World in Your Arms. Enjoy and for those of you in the States, Happy 4th of July!

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