i heart this stuff

It’s already February 1st, which means we can start talking Valentine’s Day and gifting.  These are some of my favorites for everyone on your list- kids, mom, husband, teacher- all in the spirit of the holiday. Of note: those Del Toro “Bombshell” loafers crack me up. Click on the link and browse the rest of their collection – one pair is funnier than the next (where to wear them is a different story). Also loving the stuff from Artifact Uprising, they have a ton of fun ways to repurpose those Instagram pics you take, like this wood block photo, for example. Order now and you’ll have it by the 14th…

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// Gold Arrow Decor // Athletic Tee // Clutch // XOXO Tray // Dress // Beach Towel // Loafers // Wood Block Photo // 60s Time Capsule Candy // Socks // Necklace // Bourbon Balls (couldn’t resist!) //

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But first, tea

Last week I went to the opening of the 15th biennial tea pot exhibit at Craft Alliance, called Interpretations 2016. It was comprised of roughly 50 hand made teapots, created by local and national artists alike. My first question to Craft Alliance Executive Director, Boo McGloughlin was “Why the Teapot?” The answer: the teapot’s historical significance makes it an interesting subject for artists…a history that eschews cultures and social boundaries. It’s rooted in conversation and camaraderie, dating back to the Sung Dynasty in China roughly 500 years ago (yes, drinking tea is a much older tradition, but the actual tea pot came about later). The teapots are on display until March 20th at the Craft Alliance Delmar Loop location. Some teapots were made specifically for the show, the only constraint to enter was that the tea pot must have a handle, spout and a body that could hold volume. They don’t have to be functional, although a handful of them are.  If you’re local, it’s worth checking out. And because I know a lot of my readers are moms, I’d recommend going on Feb 28th, when you can see the exhibit and then create and decorate a 3D tea pot with your kids. It’s free, from 2-4 pm and for ages 5 and up.

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A Miami Must-See

This is the first time I’ve written since the new year so a very happy 2016 to you all! My fingers are a little cold, as it’s freezing in St. Louis, but hoping they’ll warm up with the subject matter at hand.

We were in Miami for the holidays visiting family and explored the coolest area… the Wynwood Art District, just north of downtown Miami and a stones throw from the much-hyped Design District. It’s park meets art gallery meets town square, the center of which are the Wynwood Walls- huge walls painted in colorful, crazy ways that surround a faux grass green. There’s a cafe in the center, The Wynwood Kitchen and Bar and a ton of people taking in the sights. The walls were erected in 2009, in a then-downtrodden warehouse district of Miami, where many artists had studios because rents were cheap. Graffiti littered the buildings, many were vacant…not a place you’d want to be found alone at night. You get the idea.

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Art and/as activism

If you’re local, perhaps you’ve seen some of these images on buildings around town. I found out about them the same way I find out about everything else lately: Instagram. Done by the director and co-founder of Chalk Riot, Chelsea Ritter-Soronen, the murals were created to raise awareness for the Syrian refugee crisis. She has secured 12 locations around St. Louis on which to put her wheatpaste images. Wheatpastes are made out of a glue consisting of flour and water, with an end result kind of resembling thick butcher paper. Unlike graffiti, they are not permanent, but expected to last 5-10 months depending on the weather.

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Stop the presses

This is going to read much like a paid advertisement, but I promise you it is not. It’s just the story of a girl falling in love with a tiny print shop near the corner of Oregon and Cherokee Street in St. Louis. There stands the Firecracker Press, a studio that’s damn good at making new, hip art that kinda looks old. They design and print everything from posters, to invitations, to stationary, to business cards.

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Sheila Hicks

If you live in St. Louis, you have until the end of the month (December 27, to be exact) to check out Sheila Hicks’ work at the Contemporary Art Museum. The show has a wide variety of her art- all abstract and made from fibers – from the last 60 years. Some are large, some small, some colorful, some monotone, some hang on the wall, others are lumps on the floor. Basically what they have in common is that they are all cool and done in Hicks’ unique style.

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Living Room Design Idea

If you’re on Instagram, you’ve seen this Lulu and Georgia desert rug.  It’s everywhere and seems to be in everyone’s house.  Despite its popularity, I still love it  – bright, cheerful and a great pattern. So when a friend decided to renovate her house and redecorate her living room, we went shopping for things to match that rug. Below is what we came up with. One room down, 7 to go. So looks like my next post might be about crowdfunding…

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Sofa // Lamp // Art // Bar Cart // Chair // Coffee Table // Tree // Rug

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Andrew Millner

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When we first moved to St. Louis, we were invited to a neighbor’s house for dinner. I spent the whole meal staring over the host’s shoulder at the artwork behind her: a dark brown background with millions of fine, pink branch-like lines extending from the bottom, it was at once simple and complex. I loved it and found out later it was by St. Louis artist, Andrew Millner. Since then, I’ve seen his things here and there and loved every piece. So when I read that there was a collection of his work at the William Shearburn Gallery until Nov. 7th, I made it a point to stop by.

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Color for your health

Last Friday night Joe and I came home to a babysitter sitting at our kitchen table coloring. She might as well have been abusing our kids by the way I reacted: “What in the heck are you doing?!?” For some reason, seeing a twenty-something coloring (with no kid in sight) caught me off guard and seemed kind of….strange? We got to talking and she explained herself. She said how research has shown that coloring can be as calming and therapeutic as an hour of therapy – black leather couch and doctor – kind of therapy. So when she left, I got online and read more. And indeed, there are some promising research results: cancer patients have reported a sense of calm and comfort after only an hour of such “coloring therapy” ; the act has shown to reduce blood pressure and stress in some adults ; and college students with ADHD find it easier to focus when they color during class.

These coloring books have much more intricate, detailed designs than the kid variety and unlike traditional “art therapy,” don’t require any particular kind of artistic inclination, which might make the whole idea more palatable to some. This research has made “adult” coloring books surge in popularity and hit bestseller lists nationwide. Have you tried it? I did (briefly) but couldn’t stop thinking about all the other things I should be doing instead. The book is back in our playroom for now, but I might be more inclined to color with my kids the next time they ask.

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What you’ll need:

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Gel Pens // Coloring Book

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A Studio Tour

I was wandering through Lafayette Square recently, when I stumbled upon the unexpected. Blocks from the Square, there is an ivy covered pergola that leads to the studio and gallery of artist Daven Anderson. Originally from Chicago, Daven and his wife have lived in St. Louis for almost 10 years. Now retired, he focuses on his art full time. He describes his work as “urban realism” — painting scenes from city streets and urban environments. He’s done commissioned pieces for the US Coast Guard, The Sheldon Concert Hall and the Missouri Athletic Club, to name a few.  The gallery is a little more Miss Havisham than Gagosian, but I’m not complaining. My personal favorite is a work he painted of City Garden at night. And, if you aren’t in the market for a piece of art, but still want to experience the studio, Daven offers day and evening watercolor classes. Below are some pictures from my visit, but check out his website for more info and better photos of his work.

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