LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFTS




If you woke up this morning and thought 'Eeek! Christmas is only days away and I still need gifts!' then never fear! Several years ago I did a round up of my favorite things on offer at Amazon that will ship for free in two days with a Prime membership (I have one; it's totally worth it!). Well, I thought that was a pretty fun exercise, so I am back again this year with an expanded list. Here are a bunch of things that will be sure to please all of the nearest and dearest folk in your life this holiday season and arrive on time!

GIFTS FOR BABIES

one | kid o color steps, $6.88






GIFTS FOR KIDDOS


seven | schylling kids accordion, $18.67



ten | 884 piece lego set, $50


GIFTS FOR GUYS

eleven | clark's desert boots, $39.99 - $149



fourteen | the essential bar book, $16.39


GIFTS FOR LADIES



seventeen | kindle paperweight e-reader, $99

eighteen | razzle dazzle amaryllis plant, $23.99


I am signing off today and will be away from the blog until 2015 (feels weird to say that!). I hope you have a fabulous holiday and enjoy the remainder of 2014 to the absolute fullest. Happy Holidays! See you next year!




*This post is not sponsored by Amazon (or anyone)! I just happen to be a big fan!



SASSY HOLIDAY CARDS



As I have been doing my holiday shopping this year, I have noticed an abundance of truly sassy Christmas cards in stores these days. Has that always been the case or are we hitting a new level of sauciness in our season's greetings? No matter, I love it and thought I would share some of my favorites here.

ONE
"HO HO HO, HO"
SadShop, $5 (also comes in sets)

TWO
"Santa and I both like making lists"
SadShop, $5 (also comes in sets)

THREE
(illustration of a broken candy cane) "Have a safe and happy holiday season"
PaperSource, $16.50 for set of 8

FOUR
(illustration of Jesus opening presents) "Christmas AND his birthday on the same day!"
PaperSource, $5.95

FIVE
"Dear New Year's Resolution, Well, it was fun while it lasted. Sincerely, January 2nd"
PaperSource, $5.95

SIX
"Dear Mary, Just admit that you slept with someone else. This is getting out of hand. Sincerely, Joseph"
PaperSource, $5.95

SEVEN
(illustration of gnomes in red convertible) "Rollin' with my Gnomies"
PaperSource, $4.95

EIGHT
"'Merry Christmas Eve.' —Adam"

NINE
"'Happy Mew Year.'—Cats"

TEN
"'I smell carrots.'—Snowmen" 

ELEVEN
"Dear __________, Let me be totally honest, you're on the naughty list. It wasn't even a close tie. Better luck next year. Sincerely, Santa"
PaperSource, $16.50 for set of 8

TWELVE
"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house everyone was on their phone"
Burro, $5.25



BEHIND THE SCENES: THE (NOT SO) SECRET LIFE OF THE OBSESSIVE IMAGIST




I had a little panic attack this morning when I opened my computer and saw the date. December 12th! What?!! How are we halfway through December already? I feel like 2015 is stalking us like a lion in the Serengeti. Wasn't it only yesterday that we were preparing for Halloween?

All of this panic sent me into the typical tizzy of an a classic overachiever, leaving me thinking, what have I done with myself over all this time? Well, it turns out that when time flies is usually not because you are having fun, but because you are busy as all get out. This fall, while not making as much progress on my dissertation as I would like, I still managed to submit several (labor intensive) fellowship applications, write essays for a professor's amazing new book, interview two very cool artists for my dissertation research (this guy and this lady!), help curate this show and put together its catalog and probably some other things I can't remember. So, you know what, dear readers, let's all take a moment every once in a while to give ourselves a break! We work hard. We get things done. And though you may never check off all the items on your 'to do list' in one day/week/month, you are still making a difference. You are still moving forward (just keep swimming!). And that's what matters.

Don't you feel better now about 2014 winding down?

But, I do realize that this blog is supposed to be about art and design and eye candy and not so much about me blathering on about work. So here are a couple of instagram shots I took this fall of fun things I did to take my mind off of the stress of school/work/life. Hope you like them!

above | Over Thanksgiving I checked out the newly renovated Harvard Art Museums. The building is beautiful. The collection is amazing. The conservation studio is to die for. I highly recommend you head over there yourself.
 



Plus they have a crazy awesome organization system for pigments and restoration materials. It took all my strength not to break into this private room and drool all over those gorgeous cabinets and rainbow colors . . . 



above | I like to relieve stress by baking. For Thanksgiving I made apple pie and cheddar sage biscuits. They were tasty. That is all.


above | Last week I had the privilege of doing a little side project under the guise of my calligraphy business: The Wright Hand. I promised not to spill the beans about the client's identity (Sorry!) but let's just say that I addressed 400 beautiful holiday cards for a luxury beauty company.*

not pictured but still cool! | In other random crafty news, I am also hosting a holiday crafting event tomorrow at the wonderful Jo Malone store on Bleecker Street! We will be making holiday baubles from 12pm - 6pm. Stop on by and see me!






above | My fabulous family friend, Andrew*, set me up with some sweet tech recently (hooray for new computers!) and as I thank you I used the opportunity to send over a little holiday care package (tips for making your own here). I somehow managed to resist eating all the goodies—including chocolate peanut butter fudge and chocolate chip cookies with sea salt—before sending them off. Heroic restraint, I know.

And that's pretty much it! I am looking forward to some serious Christmas celebrations in the coming weeks and kicking 2015 off right. In the meantime, no more debbie downer stuff.

As always, you can follow all my exploits on Instagram here. I would love to follow you too, so drop me a line with your info and I will get on it! Until then, Happy Friday and Happy Holidays!



*I have removed parts of the addresses on these mailings for the privacy of the recipients.



FORMA






Stumped as to what to give the ladies in your life this holiday season? I think I may have found a fabulous solution for you. I just stumbled across the Etsy store 'FORMA' which sells gorgeous, unique geometric jewelry pieces that are as chic as they are timeless. Personally, I am majorly in love with the gold fan necklace and the gold minimalistic bangles. Which would you pick?

Check it all out for yourself here.




SERIAL EXPLAINED IN INFOGRAPHICS



I realize 8 million other people have already sung the praises of Serial, but I can't help it. Have you caught on to this podcast? IT'S AWESOME. I have always been a mystery buff and obsessed with This American Life and Serial is basically the ridiculously good-looking love child of both.

In case you are not (yet!) as obsessed with me, let me give you a quick breakdown. Basically Serial is a new podcast hosted by the amazing Sarah Koenig (daughter of Julian Koenig who helped develop these famous ads) which follows one (true) story over a season instead of the normal radio podcast which follows multiple related stories per week. The whole thing is full of twists, turns and epic real life suspense that has me eagerly awaiting the arrival of new episodes on Thursdays. Curious about this mysterious story? Here's a tidy summary, pulled from the Serial website:
"On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t."







Anywho, since this is a blog about graphic design design and all things arty, I wanted to share a group of infographics designed by Michelle Rial inspired by her love of Serial. These won't make any sense if you haven't been following along with the podcast, but if you have they are on point! And, on a simply graphic level, I am impressed with their minimalist combination of bright colors and sharp typography—very well done Michelle!

Start catching up with past episodes of Serial here and see more of Michelle's work here.




THE HOLIDAYS ALREADY?


Whoa guys, where did November go? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was weaving through herds of costumed children on Halloween? And now I am buying a Christmas tree! Time flies when you are having fun (or just busy out of your mind, hahaha).

Anyway, to kick off the holidays right I wanted to share with you some fabulously Christmasy items from a favorite party supply brand: Meri Meri. I stumbled across their holiday display in my local party store the other day (while shopping for advent calendar treats) and was blown away. There is some seriously adorable stuff here, my friends. It took a lot of strength not to arm sweep the whole display into my cart and run off giggling hysterically. Luckily I showed great restraint and only bought about $40 worth of stuff. Ha!

I am particularly enamored with their Santa Claus-themed goodies. Those plates! That cupcake kit with the reindeer toppers! The reindeer cups! Seriously: cute overload.





Even their more generically 'seasonal' options are awesome. I love the whole Nutcracker theme, especially the Nutcracker crackers! Clever and adorable—a win win.





Not really interested in Christmas? That's cool. Meri Meri also carries super cute gift boxes for homemade treats and other confection-related goodies. (This may be where most of my $40 was spent . . . ). I think this pink, red and silver combination is quite fetching, and perhaps particularly suitable for a holiday neutral gift swap. 

See lots of other fun stuff at Meri Meri's website here.




PER YOUR SUGGESTION: NEW NORWEGIAN PASSPORTS





Hold the phone, guys. My dear friend Susie just sent me a link to an article about the coolest design project: Norway's new passports! Apparently in February the Norwegian National Police issued a call for submissions to redesign the country's identification cards and passports. This week they announced the winning proposal was submitted by Neue, a design studio based in Oslo. Their design plan is pretty ingenious (reminds me of these, actually), featuring a spot on color palette (that blue and red, yum!) and beautifully simple renderings of fjords and mountains that, wait for it, light up to reveal the Northern Lights when placed under a UV lamp. Security meets design. Brilliant. Now, where do I sign up for Norwegian citizenship? :)

Learn more about the project here and, if you speak Norwegian, the Neue design group here.