Sunday, November 30, 2008

Three Little Kittens

For holiday gifts, in these difficult times, remember thrift stores, eBay, & take a look at Vintage Children's Books. There are adorable children's books in very good shape for very little money. And don't forget the mittens...cute ones to knit (free patterns!), here. If you don't have time, look here. Yes, this also was an excuse to put in cute kittens; we can't help's GG's fault. Upcoming posts next week on free holiday clipart, The House of Mouse (finally!), frugal but delicious desserts, & more decorating tips from people far more chic than GG Central (though we do have our moments).

GG's editor

The Art of Coffee

Who says you shouldn't play with your food? Look at Have A Little Fun with Your Coffee. There's a devilish (or vampire?) bunny, musical notes, a swan, leaves, feathers, & more. We particularly like these photos: the bow-adorned little girl & what we think looks like the adorable Bella, an English spaniel we met on Thanksgiving. We're going to try this at home between real work today. GG wants a portrait en café & we try to humor her. (photos via pileofphotos)

GG's editor

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flowers On The Windowsill

We like flowers on windowsills, too, & have a fondness for doing just as seen above (even if friends & family rolled their eyes behind our back. They were just behind the design curve, that's all).We don't have the camera to show our windowsills so we leave that to the talented Christine Gill who does lovely work with her windows {& other subjects} here on flickr, & also on Imagekind. Also, a nice post on DesignSponge featuring Christine.

Today's plans call for a walk/search for more berries, holly sprigs, & the stray flower. So be inspired by Christine. GG is asleep but will direct design production later this evening. We've also taken out the fairy lights to string around our windows {we can't wait for the tree, in hard times, lights work wonders for one's mood...}

bisou to all...
GG Central Mgmt.

Waiting in Congo/Attente au Congo

Women in Kibati Camp, eastern Congo, waiting for food rations.Kibati Camp was attacked three days ago; women & girls, as usual, are the most vulnerable to attacks--from soldiers on all sides of the conflict. This maddening never-ending war truly boggles the mind. Here is a link to IRIN News Agency story.

Please go to the Enough Project for ideas on what you can do. An email or two goes a long way & costs nothing.

Photo by Les Neuhaus/IRIN. Courtesy of IRIN.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Girls & Their Pearls

Adorable mother-daughter photo from Life magazine archives. GG & her editor wish everyone a happy weekend. (photo Allan Grant/1959)

Darfuri Design

Al-Ghali Yahya Shegifat, president of the Association of Darfur Journalists, joins in tent painting with family and Lou Ann Merkle of Darfur Alert Coalition.Al-Ghali was imprisoned and tortured for several months for the crime of speaking the truth about Darfur. The Darfur Alert Coalition led an international campaign of human rights organizations to persuade the Sudanese government to release him. After his release, and despite death threats, Mr. Shegifat continued to speak out about the genocide in Darfur.

The tent above & others were exhibited in Washington, DC at the Tents of Hope November event. The Darfur basket is available through the Amber Chand Collection. They make great gifts & support the individual artists (members of the Darfur Peace & Development Organization's Women's Center in Kassab Camp). They are elegant & strong, just like the women who create them.

We hope you will consider either buying a basket or sending a small donation to DPDO for the schools, women's center, or solar cooker programs. Those in the camps know that people outside of Darfur are aware of their situation & this knowledge really does help. Thank you for the continued support.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

This looks suspiciously like a vintage Hallowe'en-turned-Thanksgiving postcard...but GG likes it (even though the cat is not a redhead). Visit Vintage Holiday Crafts for public domain clip art of all sorts; they are very generous, so please follow their rules of the road when using the site. And with that, for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving with us, cheers!

GG's editor

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cassatt Cat

There's a lovely new exhibit at Washington, DC's National Museum of Women in the Arts, Mary Cassatt: Friends and Family. The museum café-restaurant was always rather nice, though we've not been in some time. [We just noticed that 19-20 January 2009, the musem, shop, & café will be closed. Stay tuned for places you can go for free during the Inauguration; you might end up at GG's apartment!] Here is an excellent new-to-us site for the artist, Mary Cassatt - The Complete Works. When Giulia was a kitten, she looked just the one in Sara Holding a Cat.

Safe travels to all for the Thanksgiving holiday...GG & her editor

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Make Way for Ducklings

Or at least one make room for one. First seen on A Cup of Jo, this Etsy find from Modish Vintage would make Robert McCloskey & Nancy Schön happy. Who knew there were so many ducklings in need of a home? It's a baby animal appreciation day on GG's blog.

GG's editor

IKEA's Soft Animal Toy Campaign 2008

Check out the adorable collection of IKEA stuffed animals here. The annual campaign (through 24 December) contributes $1.00 for every soft animal purchased to UNICEF & Save the Children. [The campaign is ongoing in the UK & Europe, as well.] GG sleeps every day next to Celeste the IKEA Pig...a nearly-20 year old tiny pink pig who is none the worse for wear. Celeste still has a (little) spring in her tail so these cute animals survive a long, long time & appeal to everyone (including cats). The prices are low & it's definitely a good deal for everyone involved. Happy hunting!

GG's editor

Monday, November 24, 2008

Café crème in Paris

Don't you just want to be there? Photo by Glynnis Ritchie, an American photographer & writer currently living in Paris.

Bisou, bonsoir/GG's editor/rédactrice

Un petit mouton

GG's editor has had a lamb-sheep fixation forever. Her paternal grandparents had lambs-for-wool on their farm. Sofia Barão's l'oiseau rare shop has some charming handmade petit mouton-themed accessories. Inspiration for holiday gifts? Oui. [For those disinclined, or with no time, to make their own, Sofia's prices are very reasonable. But contact her soon as she lives in France.] One wonders if GG fancies a little lamb (as a pet!)...we think yes, absolutely.

bisou, ciao-meow!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bicycle love

Charming bicycle-themed items from CircaCeramics on Etsy. Here's their February 2008 profile interview as a featured seller. For those of us who are without a bicycle, these can help. Take a look at this sweet bicycle notebook from [via A Cup of Jo's 2007 Gift Guide] GG is asleep in a sunbeam (an unholy cold wind blows today) after looking at these bicycle basket photos from Copenhagen Cycle Chic...she dreams of flying down a hill, in a flower-bedecked basket, her ears flattened back against her head.

ciao-meow, baci, bisou!
GG's editor

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cycle Chic in Copenhagen

A beautiful photo, Waiting* from Copenhagen Cycle Chic. We'd be green with jealousy except that the photographer is so very kind to allow us to use the photo (here is his Danish website). Check out this elegant shot, one of our favorites (to choose even 20 favorites is impossible). After a look at these, we are ready to grab the passport, pop GG into her carrier, & move to Copenhagen. GG could ride in her basket, her editor could wear her high-heeled boots...without people tsk-tsking. Alas, we are in Washington. However, it's a wonderful feeling to walk around a friend said at Thursday's's not a dream, Obama is President-elect. Now if only we could fast-forward to 20 January 2009.

bisou, mes amis
GG Central

photograph by Mikael Colville-Andersen/used by permission of photographer

Friday, November 21, 2008

Taxi, Cab, Fun - Week's End

GG desperately wants to ride in a taxi (as well as a bicycle basket). Her editor loved taking taxis with her grandparents when she was a little girl. Her aunt Bettina looked just like Shirley MacLaine (& her look-a-like daughter) when she was little. Redheads, all! Bon week-end.

photo by Leo Fuchs via bbblinks
, via A Cup of Jo (phew)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Centerpieces for tough times

Real Simple has some lovely ideas for 60-second centerpieces. Go here to see the slideshow. We are taken aback by some prices quoted. There is a nice idea for carnations (again!) in a wooden bowl. We've done something similar with a terracotta bowl & one need not purchase eight bunches of carnations--that is not inexpensive. Use these as guides, only. Galvanized tin buckets & other containers are available at hardware stores, at IKEA (& possibly already in your possession). Pine cones are outside lying on the out & pick up lots of different kinds (as available). Purchasing them is a last resort. Have fun!

GG's editor

Scarf Chic, la huitième partie, Mont Blanc

Though you can barely make out the off-center, rakishly tied scarf-bow, believe us when we say that then-7 year-old Anne-Sophie was already adding a personal twist to her daily ensemble. Oui. Would we lie? GG's editor was so impressed with A-S's insouciant, charming manner (& her excellent manners, too). Click here to go to Garance Doré's Les jolies choses...this is where scarves go to grow up. The hike was in the Alps, on the Mont Blanc side. We don't want to slight the Italians, so here is a recipe for the gorgeous Monte Bianco. (Nigella Lawson's lazy woman's MBianco, here. Marcella Hazan's still-very-easy-classic, here.)

For good measure, here is a New York Times interview with Marcella & Victor Hazan in September. We look forward to her soon-to-be-published memoir. Finally, here are some cute kid photos by The Sartorialist.

baci, bisou...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Balcony in Trastevere

From Really Rome, now archived. It's the author's favorite balcony & it's easy to see why. It's in the Trastevere area of Rome (a favorite place of GG's editor, too). Bella. Here's the What's Cooking Wednesday? recipe section from Bleeding Espresso, a wonderful blog from Italy. There's something here for everyone. Happy cooking!

photo via Really Rome


GG Central


>Usually a spoonful of sugar & so on. Not now, though we are refraining from showing the worst of the photos of children. Please read the BBC's (Q&A Congo), or go here for the latest on Congo. If you're reading this, please go to Raise Hope for Congo, the Enough Project. If you're in the UK, France, or anywhere else, contact your governmental agency for international affairs. Something must be done & it can be but people must put pressure on their government. France has been trying to convince EU member countries to contribute troops but the answer has been an inexcusable "no."

From ABC News: Congolese women demonstrate in Goma, eastern Congo, Nov. 14, 2008, against war-related violence in the northern Kivu province. About 300 women responded to the demonstration called by local women's groups and nongovernmental organizations. The signs read: "Do you want us to also take weapons?" and "We are crying for our children killed in Rutchuru."
photo via Delay/AP Photo

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Omer Ihsas, Messenger of Peace

We're behind in posting photos & information about the Tents of Hope event in DC 7-9 November. A good, if exhausting, time was had by all. A highlight was the visit from Omer Ihsas, singer extraordinaire & Darfur Peace & Development Organization board member. Omer's visit was such a lift for everyone; how can anyone be so good-natured? Above, Omer is holding a basket made by a weaver at DPDO's Women's Center in Kassab Camp. These are very popular & there are variations on size/shape; there are also flat round mats that one can use as hot pads. Everything is beautifully crafted & 100% of the proceeds go to the individual artist who created the item. Please contact DPDO for information.

We'll track down how to buy Omer's CDs; many people approached GG's editor to buy them during Omer's stage turn on Sunday, 9 November. Alas, we were equipped to handle only cash that day. You are guaranteed happiness while listening to Omer. What more could you possibly want?! (photograph of Omer by Susan Burgess-Lent/DPDO)

Ciao, bisou
GG Central

Monday, November 17, 2008

Grace the Nurse Mouse to the rescue

GG & her editor are both under the weather. So a little preview of the The House of Mouse on Etsy. This is Grace the Nurse Mouse & we need her services. We feel better just looking at her. The charming Anna of The House of Mouse in Amsterdam creates scads of adorable mice characters (including 'occasion' mice); the mouse of your dreams is but a few (mouse) clicks away. Visit the THOM, here. [Note: Anna's cut-off date for U.S. holiday orders is Friday, 21 November. If you're in Europe, you have more time. Check the shop profile here for dates.] photograph/image used with permission of Anna Greaves/The House of Mouse

ciao-meow, bisou
GG Central

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Persuading the Paperwhite

Dreadful photos, sorry. The late great darling Oliver & bulbs. Recently read Persuading Bulbs to Bloom by Anne Raver in late October & finally checked out some bulb prices. Wow, have the prices gone up! The days of four pots (minimum) blooming are not making a return (this year), still a few pots through the winter are uplifting. There's a much wider choice of bulbs to "force" nowadays. Not just paperwhites, but all the minor & major bulbs. Try to get them soon though...many websites are sold out. There are still some in the stores.

ciao, bisou,
GG's editor

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pink carnations

We can't resist showing more Real Simple makeovers on supermarket flowers. GGCM is partial to big fluffy pink carnations (before Carrie Bradshaw declared her affection), tightly packed in vases, jars, & old etched glass pitchers or glasses from the thrift (or Mom). RS shows affordable wedding bouquets; by loosening them & holding the ribbons, the principle applies at home. GG's pink nose is the same color as the flowers above. When she's naughty (every single day), her nose becomes pinker & cuter. Must be some sort of defense mechanism because it works.

[update: check out a pink post from A Cup of Jo]

ciao, bisou!
GG Central

Friday, November 14, 2008

GG Central Café

...closed for the night. Have a good evening! ciao, bisou
Pictures of Amsterdam

What kind of world do you want? (Part 2)

Isn't she lovely? This lady (we don't know her name) posed for photographer Jay Dedman on the afternoon of 28 January 2006. We hope she is alive & well. But she lives in the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman. Please go to Raise Hope for Congo & the Enough Project to see what you can do; it's probably more than you think. We cannot stress the urgency of the current crisis in eastern Congo enough. If you own or use a cell phone, a computer, any kind of electronics, this affects you. Here is the link to Anderson Cooper's 60 Minutes piece, The War Against Women, in January 2008. It was repeated in August & the situation has only deteriorated.

Once you know, you can't say you don't.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November's full frost moon

November's moon is full tonight. Full moons have many names, depending on the culture. One name for November's is 'frost.' The Farmer's Almanac & other sources for the date/time of the full moon always disagree, within one day's date. It depends on where you live & the source. Some sites list November's full moon as the 14th (tomorrow night). We follow the lunar widget on GG's site for consistency's sake. The moon is really full & big both nights...that's our last statement on the subject. Finis.

Bonne nuit, bisou!
GG Central

Fresh Flowers for Tough Times

OK. In really tough times, flowers are out except for the single stem--try any lily with several buds. GG's editor places bouquets of parsley (only .99 cents) & other herbs in old jars & sets small inexpensive blooming plants in cachepots & painted tin pails. Rosemary, catmint, thyme, & sage are lovely anywhere. Real Simple's website featured these supermarket bunches recently, as wedding bouquets; but they needn't be limited to that happy occasion. Look for sales & use the same culling technique...let the flowers floop a bit in the container, of course. Look at their entire gallery & be inspired.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Scarf Chic, la partie sept...l'oiseau rare

A departure for a scarf series, yes...but a fabric necklace is hard to resist as a twist. The charming necklace is by Sofia of Paris. Her accessories shop, l'oiseau rare, is on Etsy. The necklace sold quickly--no surprise--but Mlle. Sofia has many unique pieces & is open to custom work. Contact her through her shop site's email.

These illustrated kittens are enjoying their new collars. GG resembles the ginger kitten; her friend Hermione is a brunette gattina.
GG would love a dress-up holiday collar. Her editor has lengths of Belgian lace (yes!) squirreled away. Hmmm. A new Christmas lace collar-necklace for GG? C'est bien possible.

ciao-meow, bisou

GG wants YOU to work for change

Would you like to work for the new Administration? GG would love for you to come to DC (of course, there will be jobs across the country). Even if you're not interested in that, please visit, President-elect Barack Obama's Transition Office website. You can write your story on it, you can apply for jobs, you can follow the transition process. This is the changeover from Photo of Lincoln's 1861 Inaugural...very cool Library of Congress collection.

TITLE: Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, 4 March 1861

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Red Poppy

Had hoped for a better thank you to veterans everywhere but not technically possible. Still, thank you. In Flanders Field, here...

Monday, November 10, 2008

An etiquette lesson

Children of all ages: don't be naughty like GG. Her mischief-making has us running late today. News about Tents of Hope & other matters soon.

GG's editor

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday night, en vélo

Time to jump on your bike & go...somehere. If you're not in Amsterdam (where this photo was taken), a good bet is AFI Silver Theatre's EU Film Showcase series in Silver Spring, Maryland (a few blocks over the DC-line). You can take your bike on the Metro (last car) & you're almost there. After that, take a trip to Mandalay restaurant a few blocks away. It's great.

bisou, bonne nuit,
xo, GG

(c) Free pictures of cities

Van Gogh Sunflower Graffiti

Van Gogh graffiti in Amsterdam--how civilized...

(c) Free pictures of cities

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Aujourd'hui, le vélo

Ah, le vélo...we miss you. The photo by The Sartorialist, 29 Jan. 2007, is one of his favorites. The bike might be an Automoto, very like GG's editor's battered old one in Strasbourg. The woman's self-possession & style? Not for sale. We cringe at those who slavishly try to replicate other people's is so not the point. It's mannered, inauthentic, & awkward. Inspiration, that's one thing...copying is so...comment dit-on? Icky. Ah, oui...eee-kee.


Blue Aster

We love asters, particularly the blue ones...some are still in bloom in our part of the world. There are many types of the species; particularly familiar are Michaelmas daisies. (Also Chinese asters which are different, but charming as well.) The word 'aster' is Greek for 'star.' [click here for Brooklyn Botanical Gardens' lovely entry on asters.] Bunches are available at a nearby farmer's market...we'd bend the food budget for these; however, as much as GG loves fleurs, she's not budging a centimeter on the subject of her beloved (expensive) Premium Feast natural cat food. That is going just too far.

bisou, bonne nuit,

Friday, November 7, 2008

What kind of world do you want?

A reminder about the Gathering of Tents for Darfur, 7-9 November.

Above are the youngest students at Darfur Peace & Development's Mastaria School of Peace compound. Improvements to their school, just like all of DPDO's schools, are necessary. The children must keep current with their education. It's the only way Darfuri children can advance to high school (DPDO is building a high school in El-Fasher), then university. Certainly it was not anticipated that Darfur would be in its sixth year of...this. Schools, camps are deteriorating throughout Darfur & in eastern Chad due to the prolonged nature of the crisis.

DPDO will be the beneficiary of approximately 300 tents to be used at schools throughout Darfur. Please help in any way you can. Moral support is always welcome & that doesn't cost a penny. Just some of your time.

Thanks, merci, ciao-miaow.

photo by Susan Burgess-Lent/DPDO/all rights reserved

Morning in Amsterdam

Obsessing about bicycles...GG desperately wants to ride around in the front basket (she prefers a white wicker one, goes well with red & white coat). With a big bunch of flowers. Since this is Amsterdam, of course, we choose tulips. While you're (virtually) here, in Holland, visit a lovely blog (in English) Bake & Sew.

(c) Free pictures of cities