Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Blaze

Last night, my husband and I went to the amazing outdoor pumpkin "spectacle" called BLAZE at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, NY (located right near the town of Sleepy Hollow!). About 1,000 artists and volunteers scoop and hand-carve over 4,ooo pumpkins that are lit all over the grounds of the historic manor. It takes about 3 hours for volunteers to light all the pumpkins before the event begins! My photos aren't great, but I'm posting to give you an idea how spectacular it is. The manor house itself is all lit up with fog and changing colored lights that cast a spooky glow. 

Throughout the grounds, there are all different groupings and themes. My favorite was a buzzing beehive...keep in mind that all these sculptures are made up entirely of jack-o-lanterns! There was also a really cool replica of Henry Hudson's Half Moon, complete with scary pirates.  Other themes depicted were life-sized dinosaurs, a UFO with aliens, a fairy garden, and "pumpkin henge", graveyards and other spooky things.

On another Halloween note, I don't usually post about what other's have posted on their blogs, but I was so impressed with two of Mrs. Limestone's accomplishments that I wanted to share them. She has decorated her Brooklyn town home in the most awesome way... I'll give you a sneak peek below, and invite you to take a look at her blog to see the rest. As an art director, I often have humbling moments where I see something so excellent, and think, "I wish I had come up with that!" Her Halloween invitations evoke that feeling! Congrats to her on a Halloween extravaganza that's just top notch! She has also posted a free downloadable Halloween hang-tag that's hysterical. See it here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Spirit

On Halloween, we get some crazy number of trick-or-treaters... somewhere between 250 and 400 (yikes!). We were taken by surprise last year since it was our first Halloween in the neighborhood. We actually had to borrow candy from the neighbors because we ran out and panicked! 

This year I thought it would be fun to invite some family over to have a party while all the doorbell ringing is going on. I came across these fun recipes to make for our little get together. Truth be told, we may just end up ordering pizza as Jake has been sick all week, and I've gotten about 4 hours of sleep a night since last Thursday between his fever, and my adorable nieces visit! But, an ambitious girl can dream... I guess I could always put plastic spiders on the pizza, and that would be sufficiently gross!

(Snacks from Disney Family Fun; Halloween cupcakes from Bakerella; Funny drinks from Better Homes and Gardens)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thank you

Many thanks to Jenny at Pearl Street Interiors for featuring some pelmet boxes I made for my bedroom in my former apartment in NYC on her lovely blog. I sold the apartment last year, and although I love our new home in Westchester county, just 30 mins north of the city, I do miss all the readily available fun things to do in the city. Really, in just a 5 block radius from my apartment I had countless terrific restaurants, cool shops, yoga studios, a movie theater, Central Park, and great people watching. Westchester is great, but I do have to hop in the car to get most places other than our neighborhood bog (which is actually a great source of entertainment in itself!). As I'm feeling a little nostalgic about my small slice of Manhattan, I'll share a few photos from my old apartment!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Sorry I've been missing lately, but I've been consulting with the president on very serious national issues.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When books come to life

I came across this amazing sculptural art by artist Su Blackwell. She, quite literally, brings books to life through her cut paper art. I love this statement she makes, "It is the delicacy, the slight feeling of claustrophobia, as if these characters, the landscape have been trapped inside the book all this time and are now suddenly released."

Check out her website, to see more of her incredible images. Take a peek at the "Making a Paper TV Ad" video on her's really cool!

Her work is being shown an exhibit called: SLASH: PAPER UNDER THE KNIFE at the Museum of Art and Design in NYC through January 10, 2010.

All images © 2009 Su Blackwell

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Italy Photo

Many of you wrote to ask how I created the effects in the Italy photo I made for our dining room that I posted about the other day. It's actually pretty easy...I used Adobe Photoshop, and if you have the program, I can show you can do something similar by following these steps...

1.) Start with a color image...either in RGB mode or CMYK. Here's my original:

2. Highlight the entire image (command-A), and copy it (command-C). 

3. Change the mode to grayscale. My image then looked like this:

4. Then, change the mode back to RGB or CMYK, and paste your original image (command-V) over the black and white layer. You will now have two layers. 

5. Click on the black and white layer (which will now be on the bottom layer), select it all (command-A), and cut it (command-X).

6. Click on the color layer, and then paste (command-V) the black and white version over it. This will create a third layer. (Your first layer will be blank, and you don't really need it anymore)

7. When you are in your black and white layer, go to "Image/Adjustments", and up the brightness and contrast to achieve the desired effect. Here's what mine looked like:

8. When you're on your black and white layer, change the opacity of that layer in the layer palette so you can see the color layer behind it. Just erase the areas you want the color to show through

9. When you're done, change the opacity back to 100%. I tend to work by frequently changing the opacity back and forth so I can see what I want to erase, and then to see what it looks like. Mine then looked like this:

9. When you're all finished, flatten the image in the layer palette.

I'm still playing around with it, and have two more to go to complete the series, but this is pretty much final!

Have fun! If you try this...send me what you've made, I'd love to see the results!

Things that make me secretly happy

Jake's been decorating for Halloween. I found these stickers he got from Grandma stuck to the floor of my office. Having wanted a baby for so could I ever get upset about stickers on the floor??? Truthfully, I'm really psyched they're there!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nothing Says Halloween Like...

Nothing says Halloween like these Entennman's cupcakes. Whenever I spy them in the grocery store, I know the season has begun. Of course, I always get them, and I've been working my way through the box this week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A work in progress

I've been playing around in Photoshop with some of our photos from Italy. We want some artwork to hang in our dining room, and thought it would be have fun to have some reminders of the wonderful trip we took to Rome and the Amalfi coast when we got engaged...yet done in a cool "different" way. It's not quite finished, but I think I'm liking it. What do you think? (you can be honest...I can take it!)

On a funnier note, I took Jake to the zoo today, and I asked him what he thought we'd see. He replied, "AhhhMooo (Elmo)". I was sorry to disappoint, but we had fun anyway!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Little Elf

Happy Columbus Day! I had a few very productive hours at home today, and decided to whip up Jake's elf costume. Easy! It took less than about 45 minutes, and it actually fits! All made of felt. I just have to cut out some shoes and a hat, and we'll be all set for trick-or-treating. And Christmas!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I think we're going to win!

I came across this creativity contest for preschoolers that is sponsored by Alex Toys , and I love the idea that Jake can enter an art contest (he's a preschooler, right? 19 months?)!!! He did a lovely painting awhile back for his art show at daycare that I think I'll submit. I actually framed it, and it looks like kind of cool modern art (at least this proud mommy thinks so!)

But in all seriousness, I am a big fan of encouraging kids to CREATE early on. I think much of creativity comes with the freedom to create without worrying about the outcome. My grandmother had tons of fun art supplies that she let my sister and I go to town with when we were kids, and I think it was one of the reasons we have both pursued creative careers as adults.

Jake has an easel that he absolutely loves and plays with everyday. He's a little frantic with it, but I think that's just a sign of his talent!

P.S. Alas...I just checked the details, and Jake is not eligible because he is only 19 mo., and you must be 3-5 yrs. to enter. Don't they realize I have a prodigy on my hands?

To find out what others are hooked on this here and join the fun!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dining Room

I'm happy to say that my house rot is now cured, thanks to the handy handyman! So, despite the super large tree branch that fell in our yard last night that will now need to be removed, I'm trying to think about the FUN part of decorating our house. It's good to have a plan, (since for the moment, it's not all going to happen at once), so I put together what I'd like for the dining room. 

I love the look of the modern Eames chairs with the traditional wood table. My husband has totally burst my design bubble over the chairs though, stating that they look incredibly uncomfortable. I don't think they'd be design classics if they WERE so uncomfy, would they? We'll have to go sit in one and see for ourselves!

Table from Room & Board, lights by Paul and Galbraith, Eames chairs from All Modern, sisal rug from Pottery Barn.

Duck Duck GOOSE

Today, a goose took Jake's donut at the pumpkin patch we visited. That wasn't very nice, was it?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tea for two

I've recently been drinking this great Revolution Tea for breakfast, and absolutely love favorite is the Earl Grey Lavender. Each tea bag comes individually wrapped in these cute little boxes, that you just want to save. Unfortunately I spilled some in my keyboard at home last week. The ZERO key is pretty sticky as a result...oops!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Boston here we come!

We're heading to Boston for a super quick trip this weekend, and I'm hoping to stop in one of my favorite stores, Paper Source. It's always so inspiring! I'm also hoping to check out some of the cool stores on Design Sponge's Boston City Guide. It's such a good resource for design shops!

Hope you all have a terrific weekend!

P.S. Jake has started saying "fun!" I'm psyched! I guess I say that word a lot, and he's finally picked up on it!

P.S.S. Check out what others are hooked on...join the fun (that word again!) here!