January 05, 2008

simon rodia.


I spent my early childhood in Los Angeles and I have very fond memories of it to this day. Long days visiting the beach, the art museum, the la brea tar pits, olvera street and a personal favorite, watts towers. I don't remember when I first visited them but it remains one of the most magical places I've ever been in my life. Talk about a dimensional, vibrant collage not to mention a spectacular, engineering feat! But it's the story behind its creation that gives watts towers its deepest meaning and spirit. "The Watts Towers are a complex set of 17 separate sculptural pieces built on a residential lot in the community of Watts. Two of the towers rise to a height of nearly 100 feet. The sculptures are constructed from steel pipes and rods, wrapped with wire mesh, coated with mortar, and embedded with pieces of porcelain, tile and glass. Using simple hand tools and cast off materials (broken glass, sea shells, generic pottery and ceramic tile) Italian immigrant, simon rodia spent 30 years (1921 to 1955) building a tribute to his adopted country and a monument to the spirit of individuals who make their dreams tangible."

I love that a place like this got made. I love the aesthetic of all the broken pottery and tiles and shells and rocks and impressions of tools and gears and horse shoes. What an exuberant expression of love. What a utter masterpiece! What a joy!

To see more watts towers pics you can look here.


January 02, 2008

byron wolfe.


I came across the amazing everyday the other day and I've been savoring it ever since. Honestly, it's one of the most moving books I've had the pleasure to spend time with in a long time. The artist and author, byron wolfe, is an associate professor in photography at California State University, Chico. As a personal creative assignment, he made one new picture everyday, within the criteria that each photo be "compelling and original". What has resulted is a wonderful, surprisingly moving story of regular life through the eyes and lens of one person. Everyday stuff, stuff you might easily miss if you weren't noticing, stuff that is so achingly wonderful about living. One critic summed it up perfectly for me: "this book is an extraordinary reminder to wake up to the lives we're already living, whose ordinariness might be more than enough." More than enough. I love this sentiment. The world is a very rich place already, there to be seen and celebrated by us if we just notice it, a philosophical approach which has been brought to life so well in this very special book.

December 31, 2007



Here's to a new, fresh year full of amazing art, beautiful design, occasional stories about very spoiled dogs, glorious gardens, health, happiness and peace. Not necessarily in that order, but most certainly, all of the above. Thanks to everyone who visited dear ada over the last year! And thanks for all the lovely comments, words of encouragement, smart ideas and terrific connections! Your presence has brought me so much happiness and inspiration. I hope to see you again soon as the adventure continues! Happy wishes to all!

December 24, 2007

a seasonal note.


Merry, joyful, peaceful, happy to all!

November 28, 2007

lost with a torn ear.


I saw this little sign the other day on my walk. So sad. It's amazing how much more I've thought about it since, especially because of the detail about the rabbit's torn ear. I don't know why but that just made the story sadder still for me. And now I keep looking for a white rabbit with a torn ear while I'm on my walks. I really hope it gets found.

ps. I removed the phone number on the sign...it's actually not that enigmatic.

November 26, 2007

principles of uncertainty.


I treated myself to the lovely book principles of uncertainty by maira kalman the other day, in yet another installmant of my ongoing book buying jag. And when I say treat, I mean treat with a capital T! What a special and delightful book, of course, beautifully illustrated in the now famous kalman painterly style we all know and love. What I'm enjoying, in additon to all the visual beauty, is the lovely meandering story, thoughtful consideration and philosophical questioning of this book, all of which are delivered in a wry, sensitive and somewhat ironic voice. I find myself parcing out sweet moments to read a few more pages and then setting it down quickly so I don't finish it too fast. I love this book, and want to give it to everyone I know. Honestly, run, don't walk to pick one up for yourself or someone you love. My guess is that you will most certainly not regret it!

November 22, 2007

happy thanksgiving.


It's Thanksgiving here today. Near the top of my list of what I'm thankful for is unsurprisingly my two dogs, flora and ruppert. Never too concerned with the worries of the world, they constantly remind me of what's important and what is not.

Of course, there's so much more that I'm thankful for today, including all the wonderful people who visit dear ada. I'm looking forward to more art, more conversation and more celebration of what's good in the world. Thanks to all of the kind readers who keep coming back for the same. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving if you're celebrating today and have wonderful day even if you are not!


November 05, 2007

pierre cavalan.


I'm really liking this brooch by pierre cavalan. I love the mix of enameled emblems, brought together as a narrative about the war. This piece was a part of a show at velvet davinci called anti-war medals from a few years back. The story, the crafting and the resulting aesthetic feel modern and sadly relevant for today. Art often comments on the times and this piece does it decoratively and smartly, all at the same time. (sorry about the small size of the photo)

November 02, 2007

peter wuthrich.


I love this way of telling a story. These relief prints by peter wuthrich are such a fresh way of expressing a narrative and the progression of a story line. Left to right, a picture per event or character. It's hard to tell if that's exactly what's going on with the story, but that mystery is half the fun. Plus I'm just loving the colors in their own right. So very nice!


October 30, 2007

thanks to bloesem.


Many thanks to bloesem for the kind post about dear ada. It's always nice to have someone you admire so much, like what you're doing!

October 28, 2007

flock sweater.


It's tettering on winter here. Cold nights and mornings, but the days are reaching a pleasant warmness. Glorious fall weather still, but not for long I fear. Which makes me want the perfect sweater and I believe I've found it from flocks. Not only is it just plain fabulous looking but the story behind the company itself it is lovely too. Each sweater or scarf or hat comes with an identification tag, telling the story of the sheep or alpaca that produced the wool for the garment. By identifying the creature that helped make the piece of clothing we're wearing, we're reminded of the larger story of making and consuming. We have a choice in everything we bring into our lives, so knowing that the sheep that contributed the wool, that keeps me warm, is well treated and from some far flung land, reminds me of the bigger picture. It's never just a sweater. That, and the fact that it looks absolutely fabulous too, makes this particular sweater a win, win all around!

September 29, 2007

laura normandin.


A few weeks back I got the opportunity to see laura normandin's amazing work in person. I've loved it forever from afar on the web, but up close and personal, it's better than I could of imagined. There's art that seems to speaks to us personally, as if it's tapping into some internal language and thinking we've never articulated for ourselves. That's how I feel about her work. She brings to life a visual language that strikes a perfect tone, for today, for an emerging aesthetic, and on a more selfish note, for me personally. I simply love it.


September 12, 2007

thank you to grace.


Thank you to grace at design sponge for her kind post about dear ada. I'm so happy that the beautiful and provacative art that brings me joy, seems to be doing the same for others. And I appreciate yesterday's compliment coming from a person who's blog has so generously inspired us by sharing the beauty of other people's work with such enthusiasm, intelligence and kindness. What a wonderful treat.

August 19, 2007

happy sunday.


Sunday is a day of refilling and catching up for me. I like to take time to visit my favorite blogs among other things. So imagine my surprise and gratitude in discovering that the lovely cruststation had featured dear ada as their blog of the week last week. I did not know until now so excuse me for the lateness of this thank you note for the kind nod, a compliment that is extra special coming from a blog I so admire.

hadley hutton.


I live in Portland, Oregon and I love it very much. I've decided to add a new link section called pdx list, to feature people and artists I know here, as well as ones I don't actually know in person, but I do know live here too. It's my attempt at a little local boosterism because pdx is so cool and also, there's so much creative talent and energy here that's worthy of a peek.

Like hadley hutton for example, who I've been meaning to blog about for ages. Her work is so lovely and dreamy. Birds, lotus and apple blossoms, nests and eggs are all rendered in a diffused glow, reminiscent of vintage, kimono patterns softened with wear and age. Yummy, yummy.



I've always been a great fan of juxtapositions. I like the tensions and the connections that arise from them. I've enjoyed 3191 for that very reason. And 2 views is another blog dedicated to the same idea. 2 artists, 2 views of a day. So smart. I love the practice of practicing something, so these 2 fine examples of 2 people practicing 2 views of the same world make me very happy.

August 12, 2007

lien botha.


Story can come in so many forms. Written, drawn, in pictures. I am personally drawn to visual stories that are simply presented and sometimes mysterious. I think that's why I'm so enamored with the wonderful project amendment by lien botha. Developed over many years, "it is possible that the work is a metonymic reflection of our genisis: murmurings lost to fractured atonement. But then again, it is also possible that these are just fourteen pages from a personal chronicle." Whatever the true story is, I really love this visual representation of it. Simple, potent and beautifully presented, it feels like a perfect story to me.

August 11, 2007

dirty wow wow.


When I was little girl, I had a blanket that I carried around until it was basically a ball of threads. It was such a source of comfort to me. But that was a very long time ago and frankly, I'd forgotten about my blankie until I stumbled on the new book dirty wow wow. I think I have to get this book. I love the concept, "a tribute to the threadbare companions of childhood", and I love the images of toys reduced to a mere shadow of their former selves through persistant love. Of course, this book brings to mind another favorite childhood classic, the velveteen rabbit which begins with the line, "there once was a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid." Ah, what a great story. I think I need to read it again too!

The toys shown above also remind me of a contemporary favorite of mine, kent rogowski who's reconstructed toys feel well loved but also a little scary. Wow. So many connections and stories and ideas, all stemming from finding a new book...

August 07, 2007

carola zee.


I love this idea from carola zee. I also really dig the results. Old flea market paintings, reborn through a second layer of art. I love the clash of styles, the new form derived from 2 hands and the overall mystery of the piece itself. I also love the idea of repurposing "worthless" art into something desirable again. Such a good story on so many levels!

tagged and very late about responding.


I'm over a week late in responding to being tagged by bon bonoiseau so first, an apology for being so rude. And thanks for kindly thinking of me. I'm going to do the first part (Players list 8 facts/habits about themselves) and not the 2nd because most of the people I'd tag have been tagged already. I hope that's ok...

Hm, so 8 facts/habits about me:
1. When I like a new song, I will play it over and over and OVER again, until I get sick of it. Which can take some time, much to the chagrin of others.

2. I LOATH scary movies, especially gory ones but I love murder mysteries on TV, the more british the better.

3. My favorite flowers are tulips...no roses...no orchids. Wait a minute. I don't have a favorite flower because I love so many of them...

4. I would eat pasta with butter and parmeasan every night if could.

5. I love the light best late in the afternoon or early in the morning.

6. I've been known to cry at commercials which is a source of great embarrassment to me.

7. I think toasted almonds are one of the best foods ever.

8. I feel like the random things I find on walks are somehow "important". Like feathers or seed pods or scraps of paper. I collect them and put them in bowls at home because of this. It's a strange habit but it feels meaningful for some reason.

July 22, 2007

the umbrella's of cherbourg.


Have you ever seen the movie the umbrella's of cherbourg? Well I hadn't until last night and oh my, what a treat. Rent it, watch it on the sundance channel next week (Thursday at 7:00 AM West Coast time) or maybe just buy it on a whim. It's such an amazing, simple, yet also kind of a wild ride. The story itself is basic enough but this movie is utterly unique because of the intensely colorful art direction and the fact that all the dialogue is sung in french. It sounds weird but it really works for some reason. The wild clash of patterns and the over the top color of the sets alone make this a more than worthwhile watch.

July 11, 2007

deleted images.


I don't know why I'm so drawn to the idea that there's beauty to be found in the things we discard. Ok, not all the stuff we get rid of. But certainly sometimes there is poetry and magic in what's left over or trashed in life. So no wonder my heart is going pitter-pat at finding the site deleted images (via design spotter). Oh my god, I love so many of these photo's! What does that say about what people think is trash? Or maybe the real question is what does that say about my taste? Hm.

July 05, 2007

mike thompson.


I'm really liking this grouping of paintings by mike thompson. Multiple paintings hung together always feel like a layered story to me. The collective tells a whole story, each piece a sentence or a paragraph or a page. And these paintings are such a lovely example of this. I like each of them on their own and I really like them all together.

July 01, 2007

aurora robles.


I love this photography by aurora robles. It's so glamorous and somehow not, all at the same time. I spent my early childhood in Los Angeles and this photo reminds me of the trips we'd take to olvera street. My biggest thrill was to get a blown glass animal from one of the street vendors we'd visit. I haven't thought about that in years. How very strange and wonderful, all thanks to finding this photograph.

June 18, 2007

radical goodness.


I'm a big fan of radical goodness. And so of course, I love the wonderful knitta please and their guerilla crafting efforts. Well now I can add guerilla gardening to my list, with the discovery of seed bombs thanks to apartment therapy ny, via heavy petal. "Seed balls are useful for seeding dry, thin and compacted soils and for reclaiming derelict ground (which is why they are often used in guerilla gardening). I like 'em because they're easy to chuck over fences into empty lots." Love it!

(image thanks to liz christy garden org)

June 15, 2007

birdcage perfection.


Oh I love this piece of art, this handmade birdcage by fun is always in style. I've loved the birdcage as a shape and form, as a symbol of home (though I can't bring myself to fill them with real birds) as well as containment and limit (i know why the caged bird sings), even because it's a practical thing made out of my beloved material, wire. The birdcage is a very powerful object for me personally and this particular one just takes my breath away.

June 06, 2007

a milestone.


Well this post is a bit of a milestone. This is my one thousandth post! I can't believe it. Who would of thought there was that much amazing art and design and nature and beauty and dogs and books to talk about? Who would of thought that I would connect with so many wonderful people who have commented and shared and been so supportive along the way? I feel so lucky to live in a time when this sort of connection and collection and broadcasting is possible. What a great experience dear ada has been and I'm looking forward to more of it. Thanks to all the great visitors and artists and designers and writers and bloggers and dogs out there. My life is significantly better because of you!

I've had the above photo for many years and unfortunately do not know who is responsible for it or the graphic layout so I'm not able to give credit where credit is due. A thousand apologies, but the image is just perfect for the occasion.

June 01, 2007

"what happened to me on Friday..."


I'm most definitely NOT the most tech-savy girl you'll stumble across. I'm still blown away that I know how to blog. So when it comes to imbedding stuff INTO a blog, well, that's asking a bit much from my tired, non-techy brain (at least anything that isn't youTube, which does make it pretty easy to figure out). So sorry this totally wonderful video by duplo isn't imbedded, but check it out anyway. Maybe you've already seen it, but if you haven't, it's a treat. It's so well done and such a great example of how compelling a simple story can be. And though I'm not particularly tech-savy, I'm certainly very happy that others are and that stuff like this is being made by smart, young, interesting people. Enjoy.

May 13, 2007

christine j. brandt.

Picture_11 Picture_9 Picture_10

The jewelry by christine j. brandt is soooo fabulous. Gutsy, stunningly crafted and so modern in it's juxtaposition of organic, sensual wood forms with raw, unfinished gemstones, this jewelry is far more than just jewlery. It's sculpture for your hands or neck or wrist. And if that wasn't enough, the wood used to make the pieces is gathered from farmed rather than logged wood and the crystals are also ethically mined. So on top of being fabulous designs in their own right, they're also conscientious in their use of materials. Good makes great!

April 22, 2007

make a wish.


Even in these modern times, we need to hold on to superstitions. Like the wishbones we save from the roast chicken from dinner. Well how great are these silver (I'm guessing) wishbones from new stone age, for the times when chicken's not on the menu? I like them so much I want to tie one up with piece of leather to wear as jewelry. Good luck all day that way!

March 27, 2007

tina ratzner blanket.


I had the pleasure of seeing and touching this a-maz-ing, handwoven, 100% merino wool blanket by tina ratzner a few weeks ago. The sustainable story behind it is wonderful. The sheep that makes the wool, are bred in a biodynamic system. The soaps and spinning oils are biodegradable. The dyes used to make the color, contain no heavy metals. The list goes on and on. Which is all very fine and good. But on top of all that goodness is the absolutely stunning softness and construction of this blanket. Well it's actually 2 blankets, "connected" through little strips of jacquarding throughout the pattern and totally reversible. And then there is the perfect color and design. A sophisticated, handcrafted plaid, made with the dustiest sage, the warmest cream and a beautiful, burnished coral. Oh my goodness, did I have to resist buying this beauty. The price is steep and for now, too steep for me. But maybe one day, because truth be told, I can't get this blanket out of my head. What a gem!

March 24, 2007

goosey press is born.


My dear friend amy has just launched her new, fabulous greeting card and paper company, goosey press. "Nostalgic, warm and sophisticated, Goosey Press puts a modern stamp on beloved childhood classics." The crisp black, silhouette graphics on a rich cream ground make these products feel contemporary and classic, all at the same time. Definitely stop by for a gander (ha!). Go Goosey!

January 16, 2007

itchiku kubota


In the spirit of winter beauty, I'm thinking about the amazing textile artist itchiku kubota. Many years ago, while visiting my mother when she lived in Washington DC, I stumbled across a show of his absolutely amazing landscape kimono's at the national museum of natural history. And I mean absolutely amazing! The exhibit featured 30 of the series, displayed side by side, so that the continuous flow of landscape and season could be seen as a whole. Each particular kimono was exquisite but together, the impact was breathtaking. Mr. kubota's lifetime's work is to create 75 of these garments, depicting the 4 seasons from start to finish. The kimono featured here is kan (winter) in honor of today. The detail below is a small example of how the imagery is depicted on the fabric. A painstaking technique, tsujigahana is "more than 350 years old, and is a complex method of tie-dyeing embellished with intricate embroidery, elaborate brush painting, sumi ink drawing and gold-leaf application. The technique, often referred to as "illusionary dyeing," flourished in Japan during the 14th to 16th centuries." Each kimono takes over a year to produce, a testament to the mastery and patience required to create great art and craft.

For more info on these amazing kimono's, this textile technique or itchiku kibota, check out amazon who has many books and catalogue's to choose from. I have this one, that I got at the exhibit a million years ago, and though expensive now, it's a true gem to have in a textile or design reference collection.


January 10, 2007

heath ceramics book.


I had the opportunity to leaf through the fantastic new book heath ceramics, the complexity of simplicity today. It's really wonderful. How it's designed, the story behind heath tableware, the manufacturing process, the new owners, the ceramics themselves. Simple, modern, storied. Sounds like great design to me and this is great book to add to any great design library!

January 08, 2007

bettina speckner.


The jewelry of bettina speckner is absolutely breathtaking. Pretty much every piece makes my heart flutter. The use of photography, shells, semi-precious stones, found objects, silver, gold, zinc, enamel, coral, beach stones, all combined together into these dimensional collages that are remarkable in their craftsmanship and storied narrative. Absolutely magical! Much thanks to karin eriksson for this very special link.


collecting as artwork.


Those of us who love things, often end up with collections of things. We become enamored with an item and then we stumble across another, a bit different, but still the same in general, and without much planning, we suddently have a collection. I just recently talked about this process of curation which is of course, at the core of any collection. We get to actually see the "personal collection story" when it all comes together in a cohesive presentation at some point. Which is one of the things I've found hardest to master. Vignettes, compelling assemblages, smart display are a lot harder to achieve than they look. You can have the most group of interesting things in the world, but displayed poorly, they can look uninteresting or jumbled or just plain silly.

One of my favorite examples of great collection display were done by the late ray eames in her case study house in Santa Monica (above). Her displays were so simple and yet composed in a way that helped the onlooker see each item seperately but also as a whole story. When done well like that, a rich story comes to life in 3 dimension.


So that's a long story as to why I'm so excited about apartment therapy, la's january collecting as artwork series. I'm looking forward to lot's of examples and maybe some helpful tips to teach me the way. I certainly have the stuff to display, and maybe in the future, I'll get better at putting it's best face forward.

January 03, 2007

birds in flight.


I love flickr. It can be so amazing and creative and smart. Like this interesting pool, tell a story in 5 frames, who's members post a series of photos that tell some kind of story. I love the idea though it seems a lot harder to do in actuality than it sounds. Many of the examples in the pool are so-so but I thought this one, story of a flight, was pretty great. I think I might try this sometime as a little design project. An interesting story or idea or event, captured in 5 frames. A nice editing challenge, to say the least.

December 29, 2006

charmed, I'm sure.


I had a charm bracelet when I was a little girl. Unfortunately it got stolen, which just broke my heart at the time. It wasn't about the value of the object in dollars that made me sad but rather the loss of the collective story that each charm brought to the bracelet as a whole. It was a personal story that got taken with those silly charms, this one given to me by my mother, this one bought at an antique shop on a trip to England. I still remember that bracelet foundly today. Which may be why I love the stella starsky and quinn cox necklace above and the sharon khazzam necklace below. So fabulous! There is no way I could afford (or would want to) either of them, but I love them as examples, nonetheless.


December 23, 2006

viva la curation.

I've been thinking about the idea of curation lately. A great store or museum or blog, all share a confidence in curation. There is somebody behind the curtain, picking and choosing what's right and what's not, all according to their particlar point of view and vision. Each thing has merit and aesthetics and value unto itself but it's when it's grouped together, by one mind and eye, that it takes on a richer dimension for me. I love the fact that the curators personality weaves through all the bits and pieces they've brought together, connecting them into a very particular whole.


The first place I became really aware of one person's particular exercise in curation was at the isabella stewart gardner museum in Boston. I visited there many years ago, and as I went through each room of the museum, it became clear that there was distinct connection from one piece of art or decorative object to the next. Not only were they each wonderful, but the mind and heart that selected them was very present throughout the experience too. I remember walking out of the museum feeling like I'd visited a wonderful person in addition to seeing some wonderful art. It was personal and intimate, and deeply resonating because of that.


I get a similar feeling when I visit the store moss in New York. Again, each object in the store has merit, but it's the collective grouping of merchandise, filtered through the vision of murray moss, that always feel special and utterly unique for me. I actually don't love all of the stuff I find there, but I always want to visit anyway, because the sum is always greater than the parts. Every piece, together with the next, says so much about an individual's confident view and vision of the world. And again, it feels somehow more personal and storied because of it.


A good blog feels like that too. I know that the most popular ones are supposed to be narrow and deep in subject. But I must confess that the blogs I like the best, are the ones where I get a sense of the person behind them. russell and phoebe and kalliope and lena, to name just few, let me bounce around with them and follow what catches their hearts and minds and eyes. I like it when I'm not sure what I'll find there. But I keep coming back because I know that there'll always be something interesting or thought provoking or delightful for me to see through their filter. Somehow, in the process of doing the blog, the person writing it becomes a part of the story for me. I don't know why, but I just love their presence in the process!

And PS. I'd love the john singer sargent painting from the gardner, the fabulous bowl by hella jongerius from moss and a piece of that pie that kalliope's husband made. Yum.

December 19, 2006



Hi there. I'm going to be away for a bit. Maybe a week. In the meantime, have great holidays. Be well. Enjoy.

December 10, 2006

vintage ornaments.


We decorated the tree yesterday. I've been collecting vintage ornaments for a long time and it's always fun to see them again. Like old, sweet friends. The faded colors, sparkly glitter and delicate, hand painted designs have somehow survived for decades. They so feel from another era to me. Lovely!

November 24, 2006

stranger than fiction


We went to a matinee of stranger than fiction yesterday in the pouring rain. I love matinees on big holidays. And I especially love them when they are as fantastic as this one. What a great movie. It's smart, poignant, funny, not so funny and beautiful acted. Will Farrell is wonderful, Emma Thompson amazing, Dustin Hoffman is pitch perfect and Queen Latifah and Maggie Gllenhaal are also both terrific. But it's the story I loved the most. I won't share the details because it's so good, but I can say that the story came at a perfect time for me, mid-life, when one considers life a little differently than they did a decade or two ago. Run, don't walk to see this great movie no matter what your age. You totally won't be disappointed. Scout's honor.

November 19, 2006

lucky birdie.


Last night was an early birthday party for me. Ten of my wonderful friends, a lovely meal, lot's of talk and laughter late into the night. What a total treat. My sweet husband arranged the meal with one of my dear friends who, along with her sweet husband, cooked the meal. That's the only way we'd feel confident enough to invite our friends to our house for a meal, given the fact that my husband and are inconsistent cooks at best. No need to expose the people we love to the vagaries of our cooking skills. But thanks to our great friends, the meal was perfect and frivolity flowed from there. What a wonderful party!

I feel so lucky to have such dear friends. Creative, generous, kind people. So not surprisingly the company was delightful last night, and to top it all off, I got lovely gifties too: a marvelous antique bowl, a fabulous crystal necklace, bulbs for the garden and the best hello kitty cases ever for my diabetes stuff. I'm a very lucky bird indeed. And along with making a lovely meal for 12, my sweet friend also created these amazing parting gifts for all the guests. I love birds nests, eggs, anything bird related as anyone reading this blog can attest. So she figured out how to make nests out of shredded wheat and marshmellow, baked 2 kinds of shortbread cookies, added chocolate eggs, beautifully wrapped them and topped them of with a perfect bow. Just amazing!

They say that it's the people in our lives that make all the difference, and I couldn't agree more. Without getting too maudlin or metaphoric, my lovely friends make me feel like I have a safe, warm, happy nest, from which I can thrive and grow. My wonderful husband and friends all make me feel like the luckiest birdie around.

November 05, 2006

fred free collages.


I love collages. I love the energy and narrative that results from "random" things coming together. As if it's actually random. Which it isn't, of course. It's totally considered and curated by the artist. Someone thoughtfully orchestrates the apparent disorder. This art form for some reason, totally moves me.

And speaking of collages, I really like the work of fred free, which I found on the terrific collage blog collage mania. Each piece stands on its own individually, but he also creates boxes and "books" that need to be seen collectively. The narrative of the one collage becomes one chapter of the narrative of the entire collection. Very cool.


October 27, 2006

just thinking.


I love blogs.

I was thinking about it this morning. About the types of blogs out there. I have a couple of favorite types that I consistently return to. There are well written, idea driven, smart ones like russell davies, stephen johnson or culture by. And then there are the design, art, craft, "look at these wonderful things" type like design sponge, lena corwin and karin's style blog. I also love the deep dive, one subject focused ones too, like collage a day or ace jet 170. I love bouncing around between them all, satisfying different moods and interests while at the same time being pulled into the worlds of smart, observant and interesting people.

And I've learned stuff about myself, that I didn't know before. I knew that I've always been drawn to things. I love jewelry and art and furniture and fabric and, and, and. But heh, there are limits to all that you can or should own, and so dear ada has allowed me to collect stuff without having to actually own it. I feel pretty satisfied knowing that some of the stuff I love is accumulating daily, virtually. Blogging, it turns out, is good enough. And in the process of doing it, I've discovered that I'm pretty satisfied with things that are good enough. Not always, but more times than not. And that's something I didn't know before blogging.

So I've been blogging for a little over a year. I have 2 blogs, dear ada and aiming for grace. One is about things I love, things that I notice, things that make me happy. dear ada is like those "look at these wonderful things" type blogs I so love. The other blog, aiming for grace, is about living with diabetes and all the struggles and triumphs that come with chronic illness. It's more of the "one idea, deep dive" type. Simply put, one blog is about the joy of life and creativity and ideas, and the other is about one of the real challenges of life. And both combined, are a conscious act of seeking out more happiness and integration in my own life. Nothing particularly noble, but the process has certainly been wonderful for me.

September 17, 2006

3 favorites of the week: 9.17

verre jewelry. Kind of girly, modern, globby drops of glass make this jewelry a nice alternative to going totally sweet and pretty.

year of color flickr group. One color a week, assigned on Sunday. A fun way to focus on color as inspiration throughout the year.

I have a dream speech by Martin Luther King. Just because it's so amazing and good to see once in a while. I found it while doing some research, watched it again, and still to this day, am moved by it's beauty and importance.

September 12, 2006

good morning


This is a small collage I did a while ago. I found the photo of the woman and her dog in a local antique shop. I love that "in the morning" was written at the bottom of it.

August 23, 2006

TED talks.


The TED conference is an annual conference focused on technology, entertainment and design. Great speakers, 15 minutes to present a wide variety of subjects and ideas. Well now they're sharing some of the best presentations on-line and they are well worth the visit. Check them out at ted talks. Amazing presenters, fascinating subjects. Some of my fav's were Julia Sweeney, Cameron Sinclair, Jimmy Wales, Al Gore and Sir Ken Robinson. Plus there are plenty more where that came from. Honestly, these are some of the most interesting and relevant presentations you'll ever see. Enjoy!

August 22, 2006

little miss sunshine


We went to see little miss sunshine last weekend which was totally fabulous. I laughed until I cried. So funny. And quirky and poignant and surprising. The performances of every actor in the movie were wonderful, but my particular favorites were by Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin and Steve Carell. Each brought to life their strange character in a seamless, believable way, making the idea that a real family could actually be this dysfunctional seem more than just plausible. Honestly, this is my favorite movie in a very long time. Run don't walk (as if you are pushing a VW bus, no less) to your nearest movie theater to catch it while you can. Check out a trailer from apple for a preview.

August 01, 2006

did you see the pretty weeds?


A friend of mine said that this blog is a bit like looking at shiny things. "Here's something fun to look at" or "did you see that?" I know it can be a bit random here, but the goal is to collect some things that are interesting and cool and wonderful and put them in this one place called dear ada.

I realize I've never explained why this blog is named dear ada. Ada was a very important person in my life and we shared a love for art, nature, design and culture. She was the most positive, curious, interested person I've ever known and this blog is a bit like a series of letters or notes to her, and everyone else, about some of the things that seem pretty amazing to me. Or funny, sparkling, sweet, strange, mundane, random, thoughtful, or beautiful too. I figure, you can never have too much of this kind of stuff in your life, so I'm always looking for more of it. It's as simple as that. In the spirit of looking at life the way that Ada did, I want to keep holding up stuff and saying, "isn't this amazing"?

July 23, 2006

being creative together.

I've been thinking about how much I've really enjoyed the color week projects. It's fun to have an "assignment" around something that you find purely enjoyable or interesting. It's also fun to do it with other people, people you don't know (the first color week I participated in) or with someone you do know (the second color week focusing on purple, just completed). Part of the fun is the doing of the actual project of course, and part of the fun is connecting with other people who like what you like, seeing what they come up with and also seeing what the collective results look like once you're done. Because it's always different than what you would (or could) have done on your own. I love that. Truly.

Thanks to all the technology (blogs, shared servers like typepad or youTube, websites, the internet, cellphones, instant messaging) we have lot's of great ways to let strangers from all over the world and friends alike know that it would be fun to do something together at the same moment or make something based on the same "assignment" or modify something that everyone can contribute to. Sites like learning to love you more and 1000 journals project to name just a couple of the many, many ways to collectively create. Which bodes well for the world, I think. The optimist in me hopes that all this global creativity might help counteract all the divisiveness in the world. Seeing how many people have dust bunnies and one shoe under their bed, reminds me that there is lot's of regular stuff we share. Probably niave on my part, but wishing it were so, doesn't hurt.

this picture of the sun is from learning to love you more, is by Lynwen Griffins at the Goodwyn Austin glacier in Pakistan. wow.

July 22, 2006

heart of the game.


I just got back from a noon matinee of the really amazing documentary, heart of the game, by Ward Serrill. The movie takes place over the course of many years, telling the story of the Seattle Roosevelt High's Rough Riders girl's basketball team as well as that of the talented player Darnellia Russell and the teams amazing coach Bill Riser. It sounds so cliche but I did laugh and cry and cheer while watching this movie. The story was so very rich, reminding me as to why sport is so compelling, inspiring and important to young people in general and young women in particular. Through Darnellia's journey specifically, we see how a young person rises above adversity and difficulty (even when some of it is brought on by herself). And the story of the teams coach, Bill Riser, is great study in the impact and influence a dedicated, caring and creative mentor can have on young peoples lives. On one level, heart of the game, is a great sport's movie complete with rivalries, brilliant athleticism and nail biting competitions. On another, it is a moving human drama, authentic, inspiring, tragic and hopeful. I really loved this movie and would highly recommend it. Especially as a matinee in an air conditioned theater when it's 90+ outside. A perfect afternoon!

July 02, 2006

silver lake.

I was born in Los Angeles and spent most of my early life, living in Silver Lake. We moved from California when I was 8 but I still have very distinct memories of the feel and aesthetics of the place. I have visited a few times when I've been in L. A. on business, to check out the fabulous mid-century architecture and the revitalized chi-chi grooviness of the small boutiques, antique stores and restuarants on Silverlake Blvd. and Rowena Ave.
Yesterday I found this fabulous book called Bohemian Modern, Living in Silver Lake by the architect Barbara Bestor, and discovered lot's of aesthetic memories and some inspiring new inspirations. The book has a great mix of history, personal story (on Ms. Bestor's part), design inspiration and a rich picture of a particular place, all presented in a great format. The book binding feels like a text book and the paper is not slick or shiny, giving it a familiar and intimate feel as you flip through the pages. For me it's both nostalgic and totally new and surprising, just like Silverlake itself. And it helps me to understand some of the deep aesthetic preferences I've had my whole life, from mid-century modern architecture and interiors, to bohemian arts and crafts, to gardening as extended, outdoor living space. I really love this book.

June 30, 2006

if these walls could talk.

I found a great article in Utne Reader a while back, that talked about a group from Toronto called murmur. They are doing this interesting take on city walking tours and the capturing of a neighborhood's voice and story. If you go to their site you can find a walking tour map of 3 neighborhood's in Toronto, one in Vancouver BC and one in Montreal. On various buildings on the tour there is a phone number posted for you to call on your cell. Once you dial the particular number, you are connected to a recording of stories about that location told by the people from that neighborhood. How wonderful is that? Stories of a place, history of a street or building or corner, shared by the people who know it best.

June 17, 2006

story objects

I have always liked the stories that random groups of funny and meaningful things tell when put together. The one in the picture sits in front of an old collage I did a million years ago and includes a buddha head I bought for peace of mind before a recent surgery, a vintage sprinkler head I found at a garage sale, a tiny enamel blue bird pin, a vintage dog sculpture I got at the summer antiques fair and a new bud vase, filled with love in the mist cut from the garden this morning. Recently, I found these great trays from publique living which work as a perfect canvas for these kind of collections.

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to visit the Eames house in Santa Monica which is available for tours through the Eames foundation. The wonderful arrangements that Ray Eames used to make of precious objects and fresh flowers throughout the house are kept up to this day by the staff of the foundation. They are so beautiful and very inspiring.


June 08, 2006

what is the story here?

The antique shop Bernadette Breu's has drawers full of old photos. Ton's of random pictures from different decades, most of which are small black and white images from people's past lives. Pictures of people together and by themselves, dogs, gardens, mountains, snowy trees, birds in the sky. We bought a bunch of them with the idea that we'd write stories about the pictures. Pick one and each write a story about what we thought was going on in the photo. We did it once which was very fun. These images are so haunting, sweet and curious. It'd be cool to write some more stories about these, don't you think?

May 17, 2006


In the spirit of objects with a story, the post below got me to thinking. If I had to pick out my most cherished object to tell a story about, what would it be? Well, the answer came pretty quickly which is nice. It was this painting my Granny Bar painted for me for my 10th birthday. I remember that even then, I knew that this was a very special gift, one made with love and time and consideration. On the back it says "flowers picked in Hampton, N.B. Painted for my granddaughters 10th birthday. Dogtooth violets. White Baneberry. Meadow Sweet. Hepatica. Wild Delphinium.

My Granny was a wonderful botanical artist and some of my earliest memories of art were pieces that she and my grandfather did for my mother. I think this painting helped me to decide to pursue art and design as a career as well as galvanize a growing love for plants and flowers that has stayed with me throughout my life. But most of all this painting made me feel so special because she painted it just for me. And to this day, seeing it makes me feel loved.