Pizza, Art, Automattic & Fireworks in New York City

One of the perks of my husband Dave’s really amazing job is that he gets to travel to meetups to work with his coworkers. This was my 3rd time I’ve tagged along with him. I’ve gotten to go to Santa Cruz and Tokyo which were both amazing. I just got back from a week in New York City and since I’ve blogged about my other two meetups, I thought I’d make this a tradition. Dave does work for the Mobile team at Automattic so he goes on the meetups. The Mobile team is very spouse friendly so I get to hang out with the team and other spouses more than I would on other meetups.

This was my first vacation trip to New York City. All the other times I’ve gone, it’s been for work. When I was there I had only a day or two to explore the city. I intentionally didn’t plan any business meetings because I wanted to just enjoy myself.

First stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I walked around the Met for FIVE hours last Monday. If you haven’t been, GO! I’ve taken quite a few art history classes while in school, which gave me a great appreciation of what I saw. I had only seen things in a text book so it was so wonderful to see it in person. The two highlights of the Met for me were the Egypt and Greek/Roman wings. I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of everything.

Here are some photos of the Egypt wing. Look at the design and colors. INCREDIBLE.

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In Art History I, I just fell in love with Greek sculpture. They just captured the form of the body in such a breathtaking way. This was the first time to see Greek sculpture in person. It was just simply amazing. I am so thankful I got to see it.

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I shopped so much on the second day of our trip because the next day was Dave’s birthday. I stopped by MarieBelle to pick up Dave a tin of Iced Chocolate. Ahhhhmazing! Also picked him up some Sugru at MoMA. That night I went out with a few Automatticians to a moving party for one of Dave’s coworkers.

The next day I visited the Frick Collection in the Upper East Side. I can’t stress how incredible this museum is. I was BLOWN AWAY. They don’t allow you to take any pictures in the museum so you’ll just have to look on their website. It was the home of the Frick family. Then they turned their home into a museum with their collection of art. I loved how intimate it felt. I told Dave I felt like I was viewing art like it was meant to be viewed – in a beautiful home.

Matt Mullenweg (WordPress creator and CEO of Automattic) invited the Mobile team and other Automatticians to his apartment in SoHo for pizza. That was just such a treat for me because I have been wanting to meet Matt. He’s a celebrity in tech/internet world but he is so nice and personable. He grew up in Houston, Texas. He lost his accent a bit, but didn’t lose his Southern charm.

After the meetup was over, Dave and I visited the Museum of Natural History. Then we went to Brooklyn to see the fireworks on the 4th of July. This was highlight of my trip. It was simply incredible to watch. We were on the East River at Pier 2. We could see the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower (World Trade Center), Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge. The fireworks shimmered off the buildings and river creating this magic I’ve never experienced before. I am telling everyone that it’s worth the trip to go just for the fireworks.

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Here’s a few food recommendations for you!

Shake Shack  Ahmazing burgers!

Totto Ramen Tasted just like it did in Tokyo. GO.

Ladurée Incredible Macaroons. I bought a box for Dave’s “cake”

Dean & Deluca I know it’s a chain, but they have an amazing Tres Leches Donut I just loved.

Summer Scarf Collection

I’m not quitting Little Things Studio. But I needed a break. I had burned myself out completely from keeping up with inventory and all the tiny little details that come with running your own business. I’ve struggled to stay motivated the past year for LTS. I’ve been doing this for four years now and I needed something new.

Painting three dimensional objects was so liberating for me. I didn’t have to keep up with old work. It was always new and fresh and I didn’t have to keep up with the inventory after I painted it. I threw myself full force the past two months into just silk painting for a break! I showed at a local show last weekend ONLY textiles! It was so scary to step outside of what I know. I’m going to make new prints. I’m listening to all the requests of quotes, hymns, Bible verses, etc. I’m going to start pursuing fabric companies again for that fabric collection that I dream of.

SO since we got that out of the way, I’d like to share the 2014 Summer Scarf Collection Lookbook! Please visit my NEW etsy shop to view all of the new scarves!

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HUGE thanks to my beautiful friend Helen Simpkins for modeling for me in my backyard! And huge thanks to Andrew Le for letting me use his white wall (with the most perfect natural light) to take my product shots.

 

 

SPRING CLEANING SCARF SALE

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I realize that I just wrote “Spring Cleaning” when it’s SNOWING outside my window in Nashville. But I want spring to be here. I am having a BIG CLEARANCE sale on scarves. They are mostly flat crepe (which is perfect for spring and summer) with just a few raw silk scarves. Right now the count is up to 19 I think? I’m pricing them to SELL! It will be 50-60% OFF. This is a permanent markdown, but once it’s gone, they are gone! You can view some of the scarves that will be for sale tomorrow on etsy. For the rest of the day I’m gonna be photographing the rest then uploading them online for tomorrow. I hope the sale will start around 10:00 am Central time. I’ll post it on all social media if you have one you REALLY want.

Kate

Make Art That Sells Bootcamp

I think I discovered Lilla Rogers when I was in school. She represents some of the best of the best in this little field that I’m in. Lisa Congdon, Suzy Ultman, Jennifer Judd-McGee, and Helen Dardik are some of my favorites who she represents. She’s started teaching online classes I think a year or two ago to teach artists how to make art that art buyers are interested in. Secrets on how to get Anthropologie to call you! I knew a bunch of folks that I really respect taking it and I really liked some of the work that came out of there. They aren’t cheap classes and I wasn’t at a place where I could do it.

She’s now offering a bootcamp class which is kinda get your feet wet and not as intense as the other online classes. I talked with Dave about it, because I have been feeling that my work was just not as good as it was in college. I spent countless hours refining and perfecting projects in school. I confess I have not been doing that since I got out of school. I haven’t had to present my work to my classmates and have them critique it. It’s been just Dave and me editing my work. It is tough for me being the only one that pushes me. I must admit it’s lonely at times working by myself.

All that to say, I signed up for her bootcamp last Monday and it’s been awesome! Last week we had to sketch cuckoo clocks. Here is where I started. But I knew I wanted a lot of detail and I loved the geometry in the bottom right sketch.

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Below is my stack of sketches and final pieces to my big piece. I lack a lot of skills on drawing figures compared to my friend Tim. So there were a lot of animals that were meant to look like something but ended up looking like cats!

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Here is the final piece! I am so happy with how it turned out. It felt so good to spend over a week working on this. The more I kept going, the more questions I had to answer. What if I put people in it? Ooh trees would go great here! Should it be a fence or should it be a door. Windows or just little doodle decorations? What animals should I draw? Or should they be children? Do I need to put anything on the roof? I’m so glad to be taking the class and plan on taking the next two BIG classes that are coming up. The community is really encouraging and drives me to be better.

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One person in my class commented that she wanted my drawing made into a physical clock! And now I can’t stop thinking about making that happen! I know it would be crazy expensive for me to manufacture. But maybe someone like Land of Nod would see this and get that notion! ;) I’ll keep updating my blog with more new work and hope you enjoyed reading the process!

Kate

30 Things I love about Japan or 30 reasons that all Southern women need to travel to Japan

Meiji Temple

I have been thinking about writing this for a week now. This list is meant to be a little entertaining and just give you a taste of the amazingness I found in Japan. There is no way I can capture of all the depth and beauty to be found in Japanese culture. I was only able to leave the hotel for just a few days! So here is my list of things I loved in Japan, or rather why all Southern women need to go to Japan.

  1. Kindness. The Japanese are VERY kind. They go out of their way in everything to never shame or embarrass someone. I don’t think I’ve ever said “thank you” in such a short period of time. And bowed! That’s all I knew to do since I didn’t know anymore words to tell them my appreciation. Bow a lot if you want to be polite. And you’re gonna want to be polite. You are representing your country. Show some proud.
  2. Gracefulness. Everywhere I went, I was consistently a little jealous of how graceful they were at pouring tea. It was beautiful to watch their hands move. They move their hands differently that I do! It’s so pretty and we are so awkward.
  3. Work Ethic. Everyone takes pride in their jobs. Work is very important. That means all the public toilets WORK. And aren’t disgusting at all!
  4. Toilets. Which brings me to my next point. Their toilets are way better than our toilets. The toilet seats are HEATED. Since I was there in January, I can’t tell you how much I loved that little thing. And water starts running as soon as you sit down so no one can hear anything. The Japanese get the little things in life.
  5. Convenience Stores. Japanese convenience stores ARE AMAZING. They have the CUTEST food. The baked good at the 7-eleven blew my mind. I thought I’d run in and get a Snickers or something. Oh no. It’s way better. Delicious and beautiful and all for about $1. The only thing I can compare it to is a fancy bakery where everything starts at $5 each. It’s an adventure going and Dave always was shocked with my huge bag that I’d return with and I’d say “I just spent 1,000 Yen!” Thats just $10, y’all. Below is a photo.japan convenience store
  6. Sanitary. Everything is clean. Everything, including subways, convenience stores, and bathrooms. Y’all. Seriously. Just stop at ANY gas station from Nashville to Jackson and you know the kind of grossness that goes on…
  7. Cabs. All of their cabs have lace covering the backseat cushions!!!! WHAT. And I didn’t get in a cab that had a horribly loud TV playing. cab-japan
  8. Masks. Oh. I’m sure you’re wondering why Dave is wearing a mask, right? If you are sick even with just a cold, you wear a mask in Japan! Everyone was doing it. It’s a way to prevent your sickness from spreading to others. I wish someone had done that for me last February when I got the dang flu (I think I got it from my gym).
  9. Cab Ride. When the cab ride is over, there is not a mad rush to hurry out of the cab. You put your money or card in a tray, then the driver puts your change or receipt in the tray and hands it back. Civilized. Not rushed. Good ole fashioned service. I know most of us don’t remember what that is like, right?
  10. Service. OH! There are no automated card readers where you swipe and enter your pin! At every single place (including convenience stores!) you put your card in a tray on the counter. They swipe the card then hand you a pen and a receipt to sign. You put that back the tray and THEN they hand your card and receipt to you. And they make eye contact and smile! It’s incredible. Revolutionary. Why isn’t this happening in America! Why did service have to leave us!
  11. Packaging. They package and tape up everything and they do it beautifully. Including $1 little snacks from the 7-Eleven and FamilyMart. It’s all about presentation and service. I didn’t spend near as much money as I felt like I did, because the service made it seem so expensive!
  12. Standing in line. They stand in line waiting for the subway. There is tape on the floor directing you where to stand at the convenience store. You know when you’ve been standing in a long line and then someone cuts in. Nope. That’s not normal there.
  13. Pencil cases. I have the hardest time finding a cute pencil case here. Not a problem in Japan. I love a good pencil case.
  14. Pens. The cutest pens you’ve ever seen in your life.
  15. Washi tape. Need I say more? Nope.
  16. Stationery. I’m probably going out on a limb here and unintentionally offend a bunch of my designer friends. I love their stationery more.
  17. Fabric. Also about to offend more friends. Their fabric is incredible. I was blown away, and let’s all get real for a moment. I’m very very VERY critical when it comes to pattern. Let’s just put it this way. If we have children, I’m ordering fabric from here for their clothes. If you don’t know who Nani Iro is, google her now.
  18. China. Their china (dishes and stuff) are way better than ours. I went to a department store and was blown away with the selection of chinas. The only option I had to register for our wedding in Yazoo City was Jars or Vietri. No thank you. I LOVED their china. LOVED IT. Wanted to ship it all home to our tiny kitchen.
  19. Ramen. Here in America, all we think is Ramen noodles. No no no no. Not the same thing at all. It’s cheap, amazing and delicious noodles and broth that you just have to go to Japan to experience. From what I’ve been reading, sadly it’s really hard to find good ramen in America. Below is a photo of the best ramen I’ve ever had. And it was only $8. ramen
  20. Sushi. Poor Dave has know I’ve not liked sushi. But I tried some there and loved it. It’s kinda the same thing as eating fried chicken in Detroit, Michigan! Don’t do that! If you want real fried chicken, you come down South. Same goes for sushi. And ramen for that matter. Go to Japan.
  21. Chopsticks. Y’all. There’s pretty much no way you could have sucked as bad as I did at using chopsticks. I was nervous about using them in public, but when in Japan, you just gotta. I’d like to brag that our waitress complimented me (and NOT Dave) at my chopstick skills! I laughed SO hard but apparently practice makes perfect. Oh! Also, do NOT scratch your chopsticks together. That is considered rude, like their chopsticks aren’t good enough. Also put them back in the paper case at the end of the meal. That is being considerate to the servers. Manners matter.
  22. Cherry Blossoms. I must go back in the spring to see the beauty.
  23. Shoes. Oh my goodness I felt I was constantly taking off my shoes but I eventually got used to it. And the they were very understanding and gracious when I messed up. You’re even supposed to take off your shoes for the bathroom and put on bathroom slippers.
  24. Automobiles. They actually have CUTE minivans in Japan. Like,  I wouldn’t want to just give up on life if I drove one of them! I wouldn’t want to just live in a houserobe and perm my hair. HA! And the trucks are adorable. We aren’t talking Fords vs. Chevy. Here is a photo of Dave with one of my favorite cute trucks. I want it.truck
  25. Maneki Neko. Anyone that considers a waving cat is a lucky charm, well they need to be my friend.
  26. MarioKart. Japan is the home of Nintendo and for that, the world is forever grateful.
  27. The Language. Now hear me out on this one. If you’ve heard me speak, you know just how thick my Southern accent is. I took Spanish two years in high school which did not go well. It was the rolling of the “R’s” that I just couldn’t handle. If I was to speak German or Russian, I’d assume I’d be spitting most of the time trying to enunciate my words. But look y’all, Japanese isn’t like that. It is possible for a thick Southern accent to pull off speaking Japanese. It’s definitely different but it’s SO fun to speak once you get the pronunciation down. It was one of my favorite things to hear over the intercom on the subway, “next stop Yoyogi Station.” Writing it doesn’t do the cuteness justice. Yoyogi is one of my favorite words now. Poor Dave has heard me say that word over and over just like the woman did haha!
  28. Calligraphy. Well it’s just beautiful. I could just stare and study it all day. Calligraphy is so boring now to me compared to the wild and beautiful letters to be found in Japan!
  29. Shibori. Did you know it originated in Japan? Unfortunately I did not get to see any while I was there. This is why I must go back.