December 31, 2009

Down to Your Toes

Everything you touch, use and wear should bring you joy and make your tasks easier. Witness these artistic, graphic, great colored socks by Happy Feet. Feel the color all the way down to your toes. Have a happy, joyful New Year's eve.


December 9, 2009

The Effect of Tulips

Tulips slay me. They have been the inspiration for great chairs, as in Pierre Paulin's tulip chair. Here is an array that makes me feel amazing. Ahhhhhh, tulips.


October 31, 2009

Are You Riveted?

Studs and rivets have been showing lately in great places, on necks, arms, feet, all over. A current interior and graphic design project I'm working on includes rivets, which I designed on window frames, as a cool nod to the client's high tech machinery. Ever since that project, rivets and studs have been affixing themselves everywhere. It's a style trend but still, a case of life imitates art. Here are some shining examples.


June 12, 2009

Color Tease

What color can do for you.

It's not a question. It's not a statement. It's just what it is. Isn't it magnificent. It's a color tease, in this case in a group of color tees. Let me tell you, life is good.


December 12, 2008

Taking the High Road

My kitty has started using the stairs and loft I put up originally for my other kitty over a year ago — and loving it.

Cat Stairs

Naturally, I had to paint the stairs in a cool color to coordinate with my office. The stairs and loft are by my web client, Kitty Cat Loft. I loved them as soon as I saw them. On cat is very light so bounding up the stairs is easy for her. The other is 11 pounds, which isn't heavy but she is voluptuous and maybe the stairs are too close for comfort. Still, the one using it has been with me for a year and has only just started using this awesome piece of cat furniture. She hangs out on the loft and has appropriated it.

kitty cat loft

The stairs are extremely space efficient, taking up only 14" of floor space. They fit in any corner or the middle of a wall. The loft sits over any doorway. I think you could put it over a window too.

November 24, 2008

Color from the Ground Up

In keeping with the super cool current trend that allows consumers to "design" their own sneakers (choose unique color combinations anyway), Pantone has partnered with Seavees to create Pantone-colored sneakers.

Pantone colored sneakersFor non-designers out there, The Pantone Color Matching System is the most commonly used color reference system for graphic designers. It allows you to communicate better about color to printers, clients and anyone working on a project. Such a system is needed because monitors, papers, printers and all sorts of variables mean that the purple or green you are expecting might turn out very different in a finished product if you don't have a common referral point. A few competing system exist, such as TruMatch but Pantone is the most widely used.

When you use Pantone for years, you come to "know" certain colors like you know your daily possessions or friends. Ketchup can look very 186 (bright but deep red). A sky could look quite 300 (sky blue) or more 312 (turquoise). I love the colors I use a lot and it's also fun to "shop" for new hues.

Being able to tint your own sneakers is a great idea. I would like this idea carried over into clothing. I'd like to be able to get my favorite JBrand jeans in any Pantone shade. That would make me really excited and boy would I buy a lot of them. I'd probably even start to buy outfits for other people since my way of combining colors makes people happy. Listen up, apparel manufacturers; this is a great trend.

August 27, 2008

Gorgeous Old Paint

Color on old painted surfaces seems extra intense.

Gorgeous Old Paint

This type of chipped painted surface holds my interest and takes me in. The lure of antiques is similar in that they have a past and sometimes pull you into their mysteries. The texture and vibrancy of chipped paint on wood is especially entrancing and seems oddly luxurious even in its state of disrepair. Maybe that's part of it. Maybe it seems to be living the high life with its clearly sordid or at least rich past. Not sure. Locks, bolts and keyholes seem extra intriguing too. I bought a couple pairs of old painted doors that are gorgeous in color because of this minor obsession. I've displayed them in various apartments and even hung a set in my last apartment's kitchen. They have depth and character besides astonishing color.

August 26, 2008

Berry Nice

Berry colors are bounding in for fall.

Berry Colors

Above are dresses by one of my favorite designers for dressier occasions, Nicole Miller, with the bottom right design by Muse. Go berry picking as the leaves start to change and bedeck yourself in scrumptious hues.

August 18, 2008

Magical Children's Books

Children's books are a great canvas for creative illustrators and thinkers/writers.

Zin, Zin, Zin, a Violin

The book pictured at left is currently being made into a DVD by my friend, Jacqueline Gordon and a newly formed company called Little Symphonies, Inc. headed by Lisa Cohen. The DVD voiceover is by Angela Lansbury, with a combination jazz/classical music track by noted musicians. I happen to own a copy of this book in my collection of children's books, which I unwittingly compiled over the past approximately 10 years of graphic design work, being captivated by the color, creativity and imagination in the best children's books. This type of picture book seems to be an ideal framework to allow imagination to run wild while keeping concepts spare and simple in humorous and inventive ways. The field is blazingly inspirational to a designer and lover of words cleverly paired with artwork.  

August 8, 2008

Pretty Purples

Pretty purples are popping up for fall.

Purples for Fall

Two gorgeous purple bags: L to R: Marc Jacobs, B. Makowsky

Purple is a great color in that it goes with every other color. I often use purple in websites because it goes with both red and green, whereas most, if not all other colors do not (except black, grey, white and tan, which are not vibrant). I'm really glad to see purple showing up in luxurious accessories this fall. The shade makes a big difference too. These are rich and deep but still vibrant, not too dark eggplant or too sweet lollipop looking. Look for more great shoes, boots and bags in this luscious shade coming to your wardrobe possibilities soon. 

July 31, 2008

Sonia Delaunay: Living in Color

Sonia Delaunay created dazzlingly colorful paintings, textiles and household items.

Colorful art of Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay was initially a painter but became increasingly attracted by color itself and designed fashion and other items, including a great deck of cards. Robert Delaunay, her husband, also created compatible beautiful paintings, viewable at the Guggenheim here in New York. Another great husband/wife meeting of the minds. They must have been incredible inspirations to each other.

Perhaps one of the first really modern designers, working in the early decades of the last century but active until her passing in 1979, Sonia unleashed her wild colors on dresses, cutlery and created the first neon sculpture. She was friends with great artists and supported by many art movements such as the Surrealists, Dadaists and Futurists. She collaborated with Coco Chanel and Sergei Diaghilev. Her fluid movement from everyday items to “high” art appeals to my sense that art should trickle into all aspects of life, making existence richer, more fun, more intense, more thoughtful and more colorful.

July 25, 2008

Timeless Design

Timeless designer Pierre Paulin created all the beauties seen here.

Pierre Paulin colorful furniture

The shapes, colors and even the names are beautiful, playful, inventive, smart and uplifting. Lucky for us, most are available today through Hive Modern in a great range of fabric choices.

July 19, 2008

Birds of a (Many Colored) Feather

Check out these amazingly colored birds.

Birds in Striking Colors

Pictured Left is a Paradise Tanager and Right, a Lilac-Breasted Rolle

These brazen beauties were cited by Colour Lovers, where you will find several more startling tweeties. We've all seen stunningly colored parrots. I loved seeing them when I vacationed in Aruba. But there are so many more varieties of birds attired in incredible color combinations. Nature is the consummate artist. 

July 17, 2008

Run Kitty

Modern area rugs in colorful designs

Modern Rug with Kitty ArtLast but not least in the recent onslaught of rug designs from my new rug business is this homage to my kitty. Her very feminine and curvaceous butt is recognizable to those who know and love her.

I did this drawing of my feline when she was a little kitten and everyone pointed out to me that it was definitely a female kitty. I hadn't realized, had just drawn what I saw. It's cool to see this art now make its way onto a rug design. You can never honor the kitties too much.

July 16, 2008

Rugs Are for Kitties to Twist On

Here is another of my new designs. This design also comes in a yellow/purple combination and was inspired by 1950s lampshade patterns.

Modern Rugs with a Twist

Have fun in your own house like the furball and check out the full line of our rugs grouped by motifs including painterly, graphic, rich solid colors and illustrative rug designs. Our rugs are custom made in any size and shape. This rug is a circle, which works well in a dining room and for ceiling gazing. We can make runners that turn a corner and all sorts of cool shapes. Live it up with our unique modern area rugs. Here's an image of the rug in the fuller room below.

Modern area rugs

July 15, 2008

Big Day for Modern Rugs

Today, I received a shipment of six rug designs for my business, my first full-size rugs with which to take promotional photos, show buyers the actual color and texture of the rugs and launch the business.

Modern rugs in unique colors

The colors came out beautifully and the rugs feel great under your bare feet. The rugs take a couple of months to make. Specifying yarn colors is, to me, the most involved and tricky part of the design undertaking, as what you see in a finished rug isn't always what you expect. You have to learn the translation process the same way you learn in graphic design work how printed pieces translate colors from the Pantone or other color matching systems. But hey, you get to play with colors for hours in the process, so not a bad task.

Modern Rugs in Artistic Colors and Designs

The Good Doggie rug design shown below is one of the ones that gets a big reaction from customers. There's nothing like a critter to get people all worked up. There are more animal themed rugs in the collection too.

Modern Rug Design

Rug designs are presented in four categories: Painterly, Graphic, Solids and Illustrative. Since color is one of my greatest design strengths, even the solid color rugs offer wonderful design options in colors that brighten your life, as shown in the long luxurious hall runner below. This color combination is called Blackberries.

Striking colors in modern rugs

The site shopping cart is not quite finished being set up so if you see a rug you're interested in, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. Thanks! 

July 10, 2008

Feng Shui and Kitties Too

Feng Shui is an ancient Japanese system to aid all aspects of life in the design and arrangement of your home. It breaks your living space into a nine section grid and advises that you focus on different aspects of your life and goals in the appropriate area of the grid.

Feng Shui Design

New bedding arrived today and Autumn gave it a test run right away. Thank goodness she approves. I have been hesitant to learn much about or to try to incorporate Feng Shui principles because, as a designer, I didn't want a system to influence me to possibly change layouts that I love. I think a lot of people feel that way initially. However, as I've learned a little bit about it, it really is fun and isn't hard to work with. It offers tips on ways to enhance your environment.

Your Wealth Corner is the upper left area of your house (when facing in from the front door). So you are advised to put tokens of wealth in that area and not to have it bogged down with things that might keep wealth from you. Your Love Corner is the upper right area of your house and the upper right corner of your bedroom and each room too. You are advised to use pink or red candles to attract love in that corner. The system is much more complicated than these simple tips but you can take it in bit by bit and it brings a fresh perspective. One of the biggest admonitions is to FREE YOURSELF OF CLUTTER. Feng Shui believes that clutter keeps all sorts of things away from us and mires us in the past and in incorrect thinking. It does feel great to clear clutter, even if it's inside a closet that no one normally sees; you can feel the clean spirit of it and that's the whole point: what you feel motivates what you do and what happens to you.

July 6, 2008

Paper, Patterns and Pleasure

Color is entrancing in many forms.

Colorful Paper

This gorgeous image is from a blog called Colour Lovers (thanks to Just Muttering). The blog is part of an overall site that focuses on color in many manifestations, from fashion trends to artwork to pretty much anything that employs color. Lots of good ideas and interesting topics.

July 4, 2008

Patriotic Recycling

Recycled sweaters are the forefathers of this patriotic blanket made by Crispina.

Recycled Sweaters Blanket and PillowsThe company specializes in blankets but also offers some really cute toys and other items. The fuchsia and orange add much pizzazz to the traditional red, white and blue.

Sustainable living and products are terms I'm hearing constantly, meaning to reuse materials and create less waste. These items made from fabrics that have already served people well but can live again in beautiful pieces are a great example of smart recycling. No reason to throw something away that has tons more life left to love in it. Refurbish and refresh, baby.

Recycled Possum

Possum made from recycled materials by Crispina is ready to be loved by a new family, like yours.

Happy Independence Day 

July 4th means it really is summer now. Summer means fun. Summer means swimming. Summer means dinner while it's still light out, sometimes at Leno's Clam Bar.

Leno's Clam Shack

Leno's Clam Bar really hits the spot. The best fried clams and huge portions. Fantastic corn on the cob. This is the kind of place that will always seem nostalgic and is very American. The present owner's family bought the place in 1967 and the building has been there as a joint since the 1920s.

Summer means walks down to the tiny beach with bare legs and feet in the water. Summer just feels so darn good. Give into it. Happy summer and Happy July 4th.

July 3, 2008

Loving Your Job

This little guy loves his job.

Loves His Job Would we were all so well suited to our daily tasks. I found this cutie pie on Hula Seventy, which I found following an enjoyable train of links including the following interesting resources:

Coudal Partners

Gelato Baby

Jim Flora

Irwin Chusid


Hula Seventy

Which is where this happy guy resided, under an orange-themed day. 

June 30, 2008

Symphonic Tableware

Iridescent tableware in transcendent hues helps makes dining an art form.

Gorgeously colored iridescent dinnerware

Pieces above are by artists Diane Bonciolini and Gregg Mesmer and are available through The Artful Home. The “unity in diversity” approach to the colors and textures appears to be at work in this collage of tableware. I've always thought of the best art as needing to work the way a symphony is structured, with a theme and variations. You set the theme, then amend it, play with it, move it around and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Works in so many areas of life but then you knew that life is a symphony.

June 23, 2008

The Island of the Color Blind

Oliver Sacks is probably my favorite living nonfiction author, although his stories have the action, drama and intrigue of a good thriller. He is “An investigator of the mind's mysteries, in a class by himself,” says Publisher's Weekly.

Books by Oliver Sacks

A few of Oliver Sacks' entrancing books:
The Island of the Colorblind
, Migraine, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

For anyone who doesn't know his work, Oliver Sacks is a neurologist who writes like a poet. Some of his books, all true stories, have been made into movies, such as Awakenings, starring Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro, directed by Penny Marshall and At First Sight, starring Mira Sorvino and Val Kilmer. Dr. Sacks' brilliance and impact is because he is a scientist who looks at his subjects like an artist, thereby allowing developments and conclusions that others might miss.

The Island of the Color Blind focuses on the tiny Pacific atoll of Pingelap, where Dr. Sacks traveled, spurred on by reports of an isolated community of islanders born totally colorblind. Dr. Sacks set up a clinic in a one-room dispensary, where he listened to these achromatopic islanders describe their colorless world in rich terms of pattern and tone, luminance and shadow. The adage that “when one door closes, another one opens” happens neurologically also. People with extreme limitations in one area often seem to develop or be granted extreme capabilities in another area. Apart from the innate intrigue of the subjects Dr. Sacks covers, his studies provide profound awe at the depth of the human spirit and appreciation of the scientist's acceptance that people are not just a set of physical facts.

Speaking of islands, Oliver Sacks used to live here on City Island. It said on the back of one of his books, "Oliver Sacks lives on City Island where he swims and grows ferns.“ It was, in fact, one of the three things that introduced me to City Island and made me curious what such a place in the midst of New York City could be. Alas, he had already moved off when I moved on.

Oliver Sacks' latest book is Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. It “examines the extreme effects of music on the human brain and how lives can be utterly transformed by the simplest of harmonies.” I can't wait to read it. Also worth reading are Seeing Voices and A Leg to Stand On, one of my favorites.

Books by the fascinating Oliver Sacks

If you believe that there is inherent value in people, you will like the writing of Dr. Sacks. If you are interested in unusual neurological occurrences, you will like the writing of Dr. Sacks. If you are an artist who knows that the unseen and the seen are two sides of a coin, you will like the writing of Dr. Sacks. If you enjoy a good thriller, stories with surprising conclusions, you will like the writing of Oliver Sacks. In short, if there is anything in which you are interested within the depths of human nature, you will find Oliver Sacks' tales well worth your time.

June 21, 2008

A Banner Day for Froggy

This super colorful frog is an amazing product of nature's design.

Fantastic Colorful Tree Frog

This gorgeous critter was photographed by my friend's talented father, Marty Sobel. Marty gave me permission to use this and more of his beautiful nature photos for a client's environmentally-oriented website. (The client loves the photos.) That's how froggy became a banner. He is miniscule, by the way, so don't ever doubt that great and astounding things can come in small packages. Creative in other ways too, check out Marty's main business venture: Han-D-Cut — ingenious streamlined cutters for signmakers and designers.

June 18, 2008

Dino Dines in Style
Courtesy of the Treehouse Restaurant

Dino is the very smart, sweet and gorgeously colored birdie pictured below.

Dino from City Island Treehouse Restaurant

Dino lives with Tanya and Shukri, owners of the delicious Treehouse Restaurant, here on City Island. As you can see, Dino is no slouch in the culinary department, as he enjoys his own serving of shrimp salad at a recent City Island street fair (photos by the owners' niece). Dino is a good will ambassador and tirelessly greets patrons to the Treehouse Restaurant, sitting outside most days and inside sometimes at night, at the more upscale Treehouse's Euro Cafe across the street. Dino talks a lot. Dino laughs a lot. With all his hard work welcoming guests and visitors, Dino deserves the finest in cuisine. He is a wonderful animal with a big personality.

The Treehouse is one of the few restaurants here on City Island that natives like to go to. Some of my favorite dishes include their fantastic pizza, a great side salad called Shope salad, eggplant parmigiana, spinach ravioli and eggplant rollantini. If you're not sure what to have, ask Dino. The Treehouse Euro Cafe, my favorite, is directly across the street and has no sign but be brave and venture inside if they're open. The menu is the same and the atmosphere is lovely. The Treehouse is casual; the Euro Cafe is more elegant but still very comfortable (jeans are okay). So if you're taking a day trip to City Island, the Treehouse is a good place to drop in and Dino will likely be here to greet you, surely the high spot of your outing.

Come Visit:

The Treehouse Restaurant
273 City Island Avenue, City Island, NY 10464

The Treehouse Euro Cafe
274 City Island Avenue, City Island, NY 10464

May 25, 2008

Bedroom Sanctuaries

Furniture maker Maine Cottage does especially well with beds. They love color.

The bedroom as santuary

Above: bed, sidetable and footstool by Maine Cottage

This simple New England-rooted furniture is available in gorgeous hues and can be custom-combined in some pieces. While you may not have the tranquil view shown above, it's really the interior of the bedroom that matters. You don't want light to pour in usually so the main ingredients are within one's control. For my money, besides a beautiful color scheme, a great mattress, plenty of super comfortable pillows, enough spaciousness to feel soothed and a good reading light next to the bed are elements that make for a bedroom where you can rejuvenate yourself.

Heavenly pillows, a good reading light and he's out

Above: Great pillows, good reading light and Sasha demonstrating the art of the nap

My girlfriend had bought herself an expensive Kingsdown mattress a few years back and encouraged me, as a lover of well-made things, to see what a difference it makes. She was right, although to me, great pillows are even more important to a good night's sleep. And don't forget soft bedding. Everyone's different in this area; some people like to be buried in covers and others want the whisper of a fairy's breath as a coverlet. Whichever you prefer, do yourself a favor and take care of your bedroom. Nighttime comfort matters as much as daytime pursuits and in fact prepares you to take them on. But yes, you're allowed to nap during the daytime too.

May 12, 2008

Mesmerizing Metallics

Metallic threads and surfaces crop up as fashion seasons come and go. As with other design areas, technology is a helpful ally to this trend.

Beautiful Metallic Surfaces

Above: L to R, Stuart Weitzman cobalt metallic bag, available at Bluefly and Nicole Miller metallic cocktail dress, available at Nordstrom

Sometimes the trend goes too far into the sci fi arena or the over-laden cosmopolitan but at times, it is artistic and worthy of a modern-day Cleopatra, as in the items above. Technology has enabled the easier creation of effects that are complex to achieve. Metallic threads in cloth and leather, when properly executed, are an other-wordly effect and will make you feel festive. Grab some stunning metallic fashion armor and storm the city and burbs.

April 21, 2008

Color Optimism

New client Liz Ward creates stunning mixed media collage paintings with colors that elicit extreme optimism to me.

Liz Ward, "Bliss" It is such a pleasure to work on her site handling her images. I often say how much I love graphic design work because it exists not just to be "art" but also to communicate. While that is true, art like Liz's communicates to me emotionally at a glance. Many of her works are available as high-quality prints and greeting cards so you can share in this beauty without forking over your whole bank account.


Image: Bliss © Liz Ward Art, Mixed Media
(note kitty contributing to woman's bliss)

April 12, 2008

The Beauty of Logic (Color-Coded)

Red Fire Engine

Well, to begin with, fire engines have 8 wheels and 4 people riding in them.
8 plus 4 is 12.
12 inches is a foot.
A foot is a ruler.
A famous ruler was Queen Elizabeth.
"Queen Elizabeth" was a ship that sailed the sea.
The sea has fish.
Fish have fins.
The Finns fought the Russians.
The Russians are red [sic]
and fire engines are always rushin'…
so that's why fire engines are red.

(courtesy of my sister, Anne) 

March 25, 2008

Spring Finery

Spring is flirting with us. Around here, it's just in sunshine, as the temperature is still a frosty 40s. But between the sun and great new designs sprouting up, the anticipation of a new season begins.

Gorgeous Spring Finery

Above are gorgeous spring designs by Kate Spade. The shade of green patent is even more striking in person. Lots of apparel looks better or worse on the body and in this case, these sandals look better on, always a plus.

One flaw in the small tote is that the bag closes with a snap over the top, never a good thing in a city where pickpockets lurk and when rushing, things could spill out. (Although I would think a thief would rather steal this for the bag than its contents, not to mention I think today's pickpockets are mostly online.) I wish the company didn't put a big logo on the front (not shown here); who needs that except the designer's mother?  The rope handles are beautiful but I wonder how durable they are and if they will show dirt too quickly. Kate Spade makes a larger version but it loses impact. The larger one is too tall and boxy, more of a regular tote, whereas the small one has a jewel-like aura. The clutch shown in the larger photo is usually shown folded over but works both ways. The company makes this model in many fabrications over the seasons.

Like us, most designs have strengths and weaknesses. Anything that gets you into the spirit of renewal and new beginnings is a welcome thing.

October 17, 2007

Chic Pet Furniture

Like all good design, there's more than meets the eye to getting cat furniture right. In my quest for great-looking and functioning furniture and objects, as well as to make my critters happy, I am trying out some new pieces. I already know a few things I would design differently than what's readily available.

Chic Cat Furniture

Lab technicians are busy road-testing this scoop-topped pedestal (available at The Cat Connection). It has a sisal rope pole and another soft rug section to claw (good for their nails and to keep them off furniture you don't want clawed) at the bottom. Two cats can use it at once and it's better looking than most of what I've seen out there. Pedestals and cat trees need to be very sturdy so cats can jump and scratch and really wrestle with them. This tends to make them quite heavy.

Rug parts, I have learned, are almost always made from remnants, which means you can't usually get very interesting colors. This "country blue" was the nicest choice for this product from among other pedestrian options. Standing scratching posts also have to be tall enough for a cat to stretch his/her entire length or they probably won't be used. One thing I find frustrating is that these are just too high to look good in my living room near either a couch or chair. I wonder if they couldn't be a few inches shorter and still work. Cats like to be high up but the few inches wouldn't be very different, I don't think, from a cat's viewpoint. The wide base also makes them hard to maneuver and lay out with tasteful human pieces. I'd be interested to see if a skillful facility or designer couldn't streamline some pieces and still make them work well.

October 7, 2007

The Good Life

"The good life" is a phrase that intrigues me. It gets my imagination going. What do you think the "good life" is? I think it's many things, both material and immaterial and striking a delicate balance in focus on both. On the material level, to me, it connotes gorgeous luxury (because there's an aspect of indulgence implied) objects that serve their purpose well.

Salviati Wine GlassesSalviati Blue and Green Glasses

Two lines of luscious stemware and drinkware by Salviati — left to right, water and wine glasses in their Fenice grouping in blue/green and orange/black combinations plus highballs (tall) and old fashioned (short) glasses in their Stringa offering — work together well

Good design should enhance your life. Glasses should fit well in your hand, feel smooth and satisfying on your lips and allow the beverage(s) for which they are intended to breathe or maintain their flavor as best as possible. There is both a scientific and an artistic element to this undertaking, as people will always have differing sensibilities — and that's as it should be in a rich and varied world. Still, designers who create objects that delight our senses are to be applauded. Thank God for the "good life!"

Kittens in My Underwear

Once again, I've got kitties in my underwear.

Kittens in My Underwear

Here is Autumn making herself at home in my underwear drawer, which is actually a shelf in a large cabinet. The kitties can't resist jumping in there when they get a chance, which isn't too often, as I know what they're up to when they're nearby and the door is open. That mess of black socks and stockings in the back is Autumn's handiwork too. I can't say I blame them since it's a soft pile of fabric and holds the added allure of being somewhat off limits. You can't even see her back there, as it's dark but the camera lit her up with its flash, revealing her lackadaisical yet mischievous attitude. I'm very glad she's making herself at home so quickly and can't believe she was out in the alley just a little over a week ago. She has adjusted completely to in-home life, instantly. Next thing I know, she'll be trying on my evening sandals and charging midnight deliveries from Murray's Sturgeon Shop. Sounds like fun to me.

September 21, 2007

Autumn Casts a Spell

Colorful kitty's working name is Autumn, which fits her artistic leafy coat aptly.


Escaping from the shed we had her in overnight, she must have scaled the wall on a small vine and gotten out through a hole we didn't see in the roof. Luckily, my friend Elizabeth found her yesterday afternoon, being slightly menaced by another tough cat under a car. She is so friendly that we were able to lure her with food. I took her to the New Rochelle Humane Society for a once-over and under the circumstances, she is healthy, which is great news. She needs some cleaning up and she's doing a lot herself. Her purrrsonality is so warm. Cats are as different as people and for those of us who have been taken under their spell, they are constantly fascinating. This little tyke went out and got herself a loving home, despite falling into hard times on the street. Would it were so that we all had such determination. See a few more photos from today here.

September 19, 2007

Colorful Kitty Rescue

Kitties kitties everywhere. So many to love. So hard to compare. Check out this super colorful kitty I rescued today, with the help of my fantastic friends.

Autumn, the Colorful Kitty

She looks as if Jackson Pollack had his way with her, which is a fetching way to look. She had been loitering in the alley next to my house in City Island. She is super friendly, which indicates that she probably belonged to someone at some point. She also seems very young so it's odd that she would be thrown away. She's a bit beat up, which doesn't really show in this photo. I'm having her checked out by a vet tomorrow. There's a possibility she may be pregnant, as people think they saw her cavorting with local tomcats but we'll wait to see. At any rate, she is safe and sound now and I pray she isn't sick. With her great disposition, she will make anyone an amazing companion and has already enriched the lives of the people who have come across her. What a creature. God knows what She's doing, even though it's a nutty world. See some more photos of colorful kitty here.

September 5, 2007

The Exquisite Cat

Cats are so elegant, it astounds me.


I'm still fostering a kitty named Sasha and trying to give him the best possible experience he can have and assure him that life is going to be good no matter what from here on in. Above is a captivating photo I took of him in a deluxe carrier I just got him because he was discarded with a carrier that would only hold a newborn kitten, it was so small. Below are a few more shots of this great carrier that I highly recommend. It's lightweight, comes in striking colors, has numerous compartments to store papers, toys, treats plus multiple vents and mesh windows to allow the kitty to see outside. It's meant for airline travel and complies with those standards. Get it at The Cat Connection — ask for the XL size for $5 more to allow for more room. The standard (large) size is fine but I like the bigger one (this cat is exceptionally tall too, which you can't see in these shots) and both are very light. More good colors are available than what they show if you ask. The carrier folds up easily for storage but I like to leave carriers out so cats relax in them and when it's time to go out, there is no fussing — it really works.

Sasha the KittySasha the Kitty

Sasha the kitty checking out his new Sturdibag from The Cat

August 27, 2007

Design by Color

Easily sorting by color is one of the things I love about shopping online.

Shopping by Color

Well-organized online stores such as Bluefly, Nordstrom and Zappos make it easy to shop by color and find just what you're looking for if they have it. This concept is at the center of You will be taken to multiple retailers but you choose a color to begin. I think it's a great idea. I find that thinking in color categories gets the creative juices flowing. The ability of web stores to let you think this way is a tremendous capability. I no longer want to go to physical stores to plow through racks to find what I might like. It can be fun occasionally to meander with a friend and wile away an afternoon but then I'm really just hanging with that friend, not shopping. To find what you like quickly and plentifully, being able to sort by colors and other smart categories is a huge boon.

August 16, 2007

Colorful Interior Life

My design career has headed in the direction of interior design recently.

Interior Design

This is a photograph of my gallery / hallway design in my last apartment in Manhattan. My designs are drenched in color, with plenty of open space and beautiful textures, such as Murano glass lamps with ceiling medallions (available from many architectural and hardware resources) and wrought iron details (the flower stand here is from the Gramercy Park Flower Shop).

For those who are interested, the paint-flecked slotted doors attached to the kitchen entry were found in an antique store in New Jersey. The blue over-painted small armoire is from Chester, New Jersey, an abundant antiquing town. The small stool is an Eames classic, available from Design Within Reach. The large mirror is a great value at Pottery Barn. The small lamp is from an antique store with a new shade. The small edge of a corner table you see was designed by me to fit in the corner of my previous apartment's kitchen to make more counter space. The rug is by Susan Sargent, who helped inspire my own rug design collection.

April 2, 2006

Booty Call

It's been time for booty call for a while now. Time to get and wear great boots. 

Beautiful tall boots by, L to R: Claudia Ciuti, Delman, Steve Madden 

Women love boots. Why does an expanse of leather or suede make us rhapsodic? For me, it's the color, the luxury of materials, the comfort that do me in. I am not specifically a shoe fanatic. However, I am a boot and a sandal fanatic. (Sandal season is almost upon us, one of the exciting ways to usher in Spring.) Why sandals and boots? Because they are so much more comfortable than mere shoes. Shoes for women usually mean stockings and any freedom-loving female generally eschews stockings.

Country-rooted booties with city slicker flair, by: L and R, El Gringo, Luchese center

There are countless odes to shoes around so this is a simple list. The primary elements that make me fall in love with boots are:

1. The toe — should be beautifully tapered, not a witch's point or rounded, as is this season's trend, although square is an okay second. As an artist, I appreciate that trends get us to look at things from new perspectives. However, my ideal is an elegant tapered toe. I'm surprised how many beautiful designs are ruined by a dagger sharp pointed toe.

2. The color — gorgeous leather and suede colors are that much more striking in boots, since there's an expanse of material. Don't resist color; it is here to make you happy.

3. The heel — beautiful and comfortable wins out. No higher than 3 3/4" for a dress boot and 2.5" is perfect for every day. I like the lift of heels but will not endure discomfort. Cowboy-style heels are graceful while still broad and luckily, you can find great styles these days. For dressier looks, I love shaped spikier heels. Some are completely comfortable; you just have to try them.

4. The materials/textures — swathe yourself in the luxury of high-quality gleaming reams of fabric in your favorite boots and see if it doesn't make you feel good throughout the day. Texture isn't the first thing most people notice in any item but it makes you love something long-term.

5. The reaction — this should probably be number one. My boyfriend had a very positive reaction to me the other day in boots. Suffice it to say you might want to get yo-self a pair.

January 1, 2006

New Beginnings: Modern Art Rugs Take Off

Happy birthday, world. It's 2006.

modern art rugs take off in 2006 
I wish everyone the best year of their lives. My personal good news is that my modern art rug design business received its first really significant retail store order on December 31, 2005. It was a nice way to bid adieu to 2005 and usher in 2006. The unique colorful rugs are being carried by Hers & Mine, an enticing furniture store in Park Slope, Brooklyn (250 Fifth Avenue; call 718-783-3500 for information). Owner Akua Hendricks has big plans for both the custom rug designs and the rest of her store this coming year. Akua loves color, among other design elements. The colorful rugs speak to that. She will have a full wall display of the unique rugs for your viewing pleasure as well as full size area rugs, to give you a rich taste of the line. Also find great armoires, wood tables in perfect sizes and many small decorative items such as picture frames and pillows at Hers & Mine. Akua is wonderful so pay her a visit and enrich your home decor.

Our modern art rugs can be ordered through Hers & Mine. You are welcome to direct any custom rug or other questions directly to us. Please note that one feature of the custom rug line is that you can order all sizes and shapes, including, for example, round area rugs, square rugs, extra long rug runners and more.

Up the street a couple of blocks, at 152 Fifth Avenue, is At Home on Fifth (718-399-0091), a sister store, that carries dazzling home decor such as glassware, tableware, bowls etc. from respected vendors such as Vietri. Akua's mom owns that store. An aunt owns a bustling candy store next door. This family is an inspiration.

Park Slope is a great place to spend a day or weekend, filled with delectable stores such as these, the beautiful Promenade for romantic strolls, Prospect Park and more restaurants than you could ever find time to eat in. 

November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Color

Thanksgiving is pretty much orange and shades of brown, with a little green thrown in. The orange is a leftover from Halloween pumpkins, not to mention delicious pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes devoured on this day.

How do you think certain holidays attain their color status? Christmas is red and green and we accept that. Never mind that most people would agree that red and green is one of the only unappealing color combinations there is. I think that's part of the success; the shock of the combination makes you take notice and sets the decorations apart from everyday imagery. Beautiful leafy fall combos also spill over into Thanksgiving imagery; there are nice table decorations in the shapes of leaves. Pilgrim buckles are the strongest holdover from that heritage and can still be found decorating shoes and hats, although I find them a bit clunky. Clunk has its place, though, I admit.

At any rate, Happy Thanksgiving. It's always appropriate to give thanks for the many wondrous things in our lives, despite fear, difficulties and struggle. A cozy holiday to us all.

November 6, 2005

The Color of Salsa

Salsa is a colorful Latin dance style that came into its own in my native New York City. It's a fiery but orderly dance that lets you cut loose and shine on the dance floor.

Eddie Torres is often considered the father of modern Salsa. Much of the order is thanks to him, since he formally documented steps (known as shines) and turns. He danced with the famous Latin musician, Tito Puente, who, incidentally, has a restaurant here on City Island. Eddie‘s dancers were at one time called the Tito Puente dancers.

It is my good fortune to be taking Salsa lessons with my boyfriend, David, at Morocco‘s Dance Studio with Danny Ramirez and Cindy Osorio (contact Danny or Cindy for info), amazingly great teachers. They take you through steps at a pace that allows you to learn without confusion. You also switch partners frequently, a technique that enhances the learning process. Their method is called “On 2.” “On 2” refers to the beat on which you step in this Eddie Torres-influenced system. You emphasize the second beat and this is key to proper technique and style.

Artwork, l to r, by Constructivists Lissitzky and Malevich

What color do you think Salsa is? You'll see lots of red and black in Salsa imagery and clothing. But I see it as a fiery orange or fuchsia. Interestingly, David has instinctively worn an orange shirt to class a couple of times. He must be seeing the same colors in this art form. I feel the orange impulse because it's definitely hot and red means many other things to me. Despite much great use of red in design, for instance, with Constructivist artwork, to me, red doesn't have the passion of either orange or fuchsia. Those colors talk to me more. Whatever color this dance conjurs up for you, I recommend giving it a whirl. It'll open your spirit, is good for your body, a ton of fun and is a civilized way to meet people.