Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Roses in Winter

The David Austin Handbook of Roses 2012 arrived in the mail yesterday. We really do place it on the night table for a flip-through (often). It also makes lovely gazing when in a bubble bath. Definitely order one here (it's free & beautifully photographed). Even if you don't have a garden, many of the roses do well in pots. And if you don't have a place for a pot, you might consider giving a rose as a gift. (If you're not in the States, click here.)


PS: For a short list of wish-list catalogues to order, a post from Bricolage.

(lovely photograph by Cindy Prins via Automatism)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Venice, Now & Then

Both residents of GG Central are under-the-weather. We can tweet & look at photographs, though. We love these gorgeous 1890s color photochromes of Venice. They're in the Library of Congress collection on Flickr, but a nice edit was done by Retronaut.

Some things to consider for the week. Groundhog Day. Yep. It's here on Thursday. And if you are a Downton Abbey fan, Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham) is live chatting on PBS today. Click here.

ciao-meow/the management

(photograph by Andrew/Cuba Gallery)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lost & Found

Oof. What a day, what a week, what a year. OK, it's only been 27 days but still...we'll be back sometime over the weekend. Our favorite thing from today's internet travels: Here Comes The Sun: The Lost Guitar Solo via Open Culture. Go see it! And then blast the song on your music blaster of choice. (If you don't have it, gasp.) Remember to visit The Beatles website.

Have a lovely evening.


Sunday update - We'll see you tomorrow!

(lovely George via The Beatles)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winter Night Sky

"For most of the world, the moon and the blazing planet Venus will be closest together for the month this evening, on Thursday, January 26, 2012. It’ll be hard to miss this brilliant couple in the southwest or western sky at dusk and early evening. The moon and Venus rank as the second- and third-brightest celestial objects, respectively, after the sun. They’ll set in the west at early to mid evening."-via EarthSky/Tonight

It's a bit daunting to go outside at night to look at the sky (in the winter, in the city). So we're "watching" via EarthSky's Tonight & also by following NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on Twitter. Superb photographs & videos at the click of a mouse.

We're busy here doing some research for friends on their way to France & Italy in the coming months. Venice is on one of the itineraries. Hence, the moon-over-Venice photograph. For beautiful photos of Venice & the moon (& many other subjects), visit our friend Julie at Being Ruby. And heads-up, carnevale starts on February 11th!


(photograph by Alex Hanoko)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Fruit

Don't despair of the slim fruit pickings available now. One thing we've done recently: purchased a 99 cent package of mint to perk up oranges. The other: remember that pineapples are in season now. And while GG's editor is not overly fond of fruit in savory dishes, investigation of fruit salsas is on the to-do list.

Smitten Kitchen has two wonderful recipes: citrus with feta & mint and winter fruit salad with a star anise spiked dressing. (We bought star anise for the first time last month.)

If you have fruit on hand that's beyond redemption for your consumption but is not spoilt, consider offering it to a squirrel for supper.


PS: Giulia eats fruit but she doesn't know it (& we're not telling her!).

(photograph by liivia)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Valentine Prep

Remember last late January? Or the year before that? Surely, sometime in the last few years, you've thought: I would love to make valentines (or a present) for _____. Or many ____. If you have children or work with them, that goes without saying. You probably have it written down already: start the Valentine's Day crafts.

Or not.

Then...oops. It's February 12th (or worse). Well, we here at GG Central (OK, the editor & the redheaded feline) have decided to do a few prompts for Valentine's Day. Starting now. Maybe GG's editor seems to rely too much on Martha Stewart, but why start elsewhere? The site has links by holiday. Another excellent site is Poppytalk; here's their 2012 valentines label. We'll work our way through some other sites the next couple of week & post them (also on Twitter).


(photograph by the lovely Beata Rydén)

Monday, January 23, 2012

FEED Peace, Love & Nature

It's a dismal, rainy, foggy day here. So we thought we'd cheer up with a post about FEED Projects. If you bought gifts for everyone but yourself during the holidays, check out FEED Project Peace, Love, & Nature bags.

The (white) Peace bag generates 25 meal donations to those in areas of high conflict or war. The (green) Nature bag, 25 meals to areas devastated by the effects of natural disasters. A purchase of the (red) love bag donates 25 meals to those who live in areas of high HIV/AIDS infection. All of these meals are provided by the World Food Programme.


(photograph courtesy of FEED Projects)

Animal Alphabet

A Monday morning smile for Casey Girard's typographic series "Animals in Alphabet." We bring you the letter G for Giulia. And giraffe. See more here.


(photograph by Casey Girard via Illusion)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Squirrel

Don't talk to GG's editor about hating squirrels because we love them. They wouldn't have to hog the bird food if you fed them, too. Right? If they seem low on food right about now, you might look around your home. If you have some fruit, gourds, pumpkins, things you've decorated with (but not sprayed with paint, for heaven's sake), make a present of those. They love them. Also, of course, nuts. So make a squirrel some supper. Naturally, don't allow a squirrel to chomp on your finger, etc.

Hope your weekend is cozy & warm.


PS: We didn't even know until now but yesterday was Squirrel Appreciation Day!

(North American Red Squirrel by Gilles Gonthier)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Weather

A winter storm is creeping in from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest to...eek, here. Soon. If you're child wrangling tonight or this weekend, check in with the fun, interactive Weather Channel for Kids. The site is filled with games, climate change information, & more. (It's for grown-ups, too, we just decided:)

A related favorite site is EarthSky, especially the Tonight page. (The site is available in Spanish, too)


(photograph by Taesang via Автор)

Sandwich Artist

This Mondrian sandwich made us smile (just like Lori at automatism). Check in with Brittany Powell to see sandwiches based on Christo, Hirst, Pollack, Duchamp, O'Keefe & more. We're off to think of additional possibilities.


(photograph by Brittany via Swiss Miss)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Daydream a Garden

Because actual planning this moment may be too daunting. Whether you have a plot of earth or a balcony (or not) though, few things beat the pleasure of flipping through seed & nursery catalogues while lounging in your pjs. The catalogues are usually free (or very low cost). We pore over the lovely White Flower Farm offerings that arrive regularly.

Read this Washington Post article for a seed catalogue review. Check in with Martha Stewart for some ideas. And then click over to Terrain for some serious staring.

Then repeat (to yourself): Spring is 6 weeks away. (Give or take:)

ciao-flowery-meow/GG's gardener

(lovely photograph by Le Portillon)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Free Internet

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

If you do not understand why certain sites are not available to you today, please watch the video. If you think you do understand what SOPA/PIPPA is & think, "but people should be paid for their content, it's a good idea," please watch the video. Every seemingly good idea is not implemented properly, causing wreckage. Please make your voice heard by following the links to the online protest. If you aren't in the States, believe us, this affects you - a lot. (Thank you to Swissmiss for the video link)


(image via Comically Vintage)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Art of Victorian Photocollage

Sixty years ahead of the avant-garde, aristocratic Victorian women were already experimenting with photocollage. The compositions they made with photographs and watercolors are whimsical and fantastical, combining human heads and animal bodies, placing people into imaginary landscapes, and morphing faces into common household objects. With sharp wit and dramatic shifts of scale akin to those Alice experienced in Wonderland, these images stand the rather serious conventions of photography in the 1860s and 1870s on their heads.--from Playing with Pictures, Art Institute of Chicago

So sorry that we missed this 2010 exhibit (curated by Elizabeth Siegel) but were reminded of it this morning on Retronauts. Read a review of Playing With Pictures in the New York Times. Not all bunnies & hearts, those Victorians.

ciao-meow/the Management

(photographs via Retronaut)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Night at the Movies

You can go to the movies any night of the week, even with just a laptop, by checking out Open Culture's listing of 450 Free Movies Online. Most of them are accessible in all countries. There are Westerns, silents, drama, documentary, film noir, & more. A favorite here, especially in these difficult times, are comedies. Check out His Girl Friday with Cary Grant & Rosalind Russell. It's funny & has several points to make that will seem quite 2012.


(photograph via Dr. Macro)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Love in a Cold Climate

Quick few suggestions for a Saturday afternoon (or evening, hi friends in Britain & beyond)/Sunday:

--Winter poems from the Poetry Foundation

--Three-minute Ice Cream from Anne in Sweden. (Ice cream maker not necessary.)

--Read (or re-read) a
Nancy Mitford novel

Bob Dylan's tribute to Martin Scorsese from last night. It's great.

ciao-meow from Giulia. She's asleep in a sunbeam. xo

(photograph by Don Hunstein)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Prepare for MLK Day

There's no shortage of information for ideas on how to spend the holiday. Mainly, we favor a mix of commemoration & service. If you agree (or would like to find out more), check in at the MLK Day of Service page at Serve.gov.

If you will be child-wrangling on Monday (or anytime this three-day weekend), check out the excellent ideas, cute photographs & free download printables at Preschool Daze. It's absolutely wonderful. We applaud Kristin for her generosity.


(MLK image collage via Preschool Daze)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Haiti, Two Years On

Two years ago, on January 12th, a powerful earthquake hit Haiti. The quake left approximately 3 million people in need of emergency aid and destroyed or damaged more than 300,000 homes. Americans responded generously to this disaster. So generously, in fact, that one poll reported that half of American households had donated to Haiti relief efforts. - Charity Navigator blog

Please click through to read the rest of this short but important update from Charity Navigator's blog. There are a few links & also a suggestion, which we strongly second, that if you gave in 2010, if you can, please follow up with another.

The art of Haiti continues to inspire. These gorgeous flags by Evelyn Alcide of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. You can see more of her art here & here.


(photographs via Indigo Gallery)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Wishes - Paris in Winter

While we are catching up on work, some links to Paris in the winter. Also a big recommendation for people to visit Strasbourg (& all of Alsace) anytime but the wintertime is lovely. The Alsatians know how to do cozy.

Kiss My Spatula has a persuasive (if you need that:) list of 10 Reasons To Visit Paris in the Winter. Hop over to look at rental apartments at Haven in Paris (& also the HiP blog) - the photographs are wonderful. Then think about an itinerary for next winter (or sooner if that's a possibility). As we've said before, if you don't begin to plan, you will go nowhere - ever.

ciao-meow/GG Travel

PS: Paris & Beyond blog has lovely carousel photographs

(This photograph is everywhere w/no attribution. A combined 4-hour+ search turns up nothing. The only reason we're posting this is to find the photographer & give credit. Please contact us here or on Twitter)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chocolate Leftovers

We can hear the screams now: how could anyone have leftover chocolate? Calm down. Here's how. GG's editor made orangettes for Christmas gifts, remember? There's leftover, melted chocolate from that enterprise in the fridge, discovered this a.m. In the French manner of leaving no crumb unused, a hot chocolate break, using this recipe as a guide, is in our future. If you want another idea, these melted chocolate sandwiches look delicious.

We're also catching up on many household matters, virtually & off-line so posting remains lighter-than-usual.
Have a great day!

ciao-meow/GG Choco-Central

(photograph by Kung Fu Bonanza)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Perchance to Dream

We hereby resolve to go to bed early (or earlier) in 2012. Giulia will have no problem keeping that resolution; cats are talented sleepers. Here are 7 steps to better sleep. We'll be posting late tomorrow because we stayed up so late to read about getting more sleep. Yikes.

ciao-yawn-meow/the Management

(photograph via observando)

Meatless Monday - Rustic Roots

If you've not signed on to Meatless Monday, here's a reminder for the new year. The easiest of recipes is your take on roasted veggies, any season. (If you have a cat & she eats a balanced diet, she is eating her veggies. Just don't tell her!)

On our list today: red & golden beets, leeks, parsnips, red onion, Brussels sprouts, a handful of mushrooms. Purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, celeriac, & fennel are lovely, too. Name it & it can be roasted. Toss in some garlic cloves or a whole head. Some olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss with pasta, onto a pizza (buy the dough!), make a soup. So easy.

ciao-meow/GG's chef

(photograph via Livet Hemma)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Have a Cozy Weekend

It's already Saturday early evening (here) but there's still enough weekend left to make plans with friends. In any case, you could:

--Make this quick cocoa cake (or anything on Bake or Break);

--Watch Dr. Zhivago on Netflix Instant (or watch the BBC series, they're both available)

--Join Twitter (yes!)

--Watch this terrific time-lapse video of a trip around the world (love)

--Read about Eve Arnold, the extraordinary photographer who died at 99 this week.

--Seek out a fireplace if you don't have one. (our favorite in DC)

Here in the States, Downton Abbey, Series 2 begins tomorrow. The excitement builds; so does the annoyance with friends who saw it last year (in UK) & think spoilers are amusing. Honestly, some people!


(photograph via
A Beautiful Mess)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Peeps for Peeps from Heifer International

Are you looking for a winter project? What about teaming up with family, friends, a school or community group to raise some funds for a Heifer International gift? A flock of chicks, ducklings, or goslings are $20.00 each. A Flock of Hope is only $60.00. You could probably raise money quickly for those. Then think about continuing on through 2012, working up to a spectacular holiday gift at year's end. It's exciting to think about it.

Start with some peeps & see how it goes. To get started, visit Heifer International & take a look at their work, the gift catalogue, & their blog. (By the way, Heifer also has projects in the U.S.)


(photograph via Heifer International Flickr)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's National Ice Skating Month

January is National Ice Skating Month here in the States. It's too cold (for us) to think about skating outside today; however, a slightly warmer weekend forecast tempts us to think about the National Gallery Sculpture Garden rink. If there's a rink near you, outside or in, think about going. You don't have to be a great skater. Just have fun. (Plan treats for after or at the interval:)

If you're fortunate enough to live in London, Somerset House skating is on until January 22. Of course there are more rinks than that one. In New York, the famous rink at Rockefeller Center is fun, but our favorite is the Wollman. (A certain real estate mogul has insinuated into this area, as well. Refuse the 'T'...argh!)

ciao-meow/GG's editor

(illustration by Italian Alessandro Gottardo; see here for more. Love him.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book of Life Butterflies

Artist David Kracov was commissioned to create an award to be given in honor of, and named for, the late director of Chabad's Children of Chernobyl. Called the "Book Of Life," it was inspired by the extraordinary life of Rabbi Yossi Raichik, a man who saved thousands of children's lives from the devastating effects of the Chernobyl disaster. The metal sculpture has pages filled with words from those he touched, and also features a flurry of butterflies, each representing the 2,547 children he helped save and give new lives. --via My Modern Met

The rest of the post & David Kracov's website. The photographs there are much larger & gorgeous. So beautiful & inspiring!


(photograph by David Kracov via My Modern Met)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Winter Decorating

Don't throw out the holly & other holiday greens. First, it's not Twelfth Night (Epiphany) yet. Second, we've held on to evergreens well into late January/early February in year's past with great results. Look at what you have on hand, cull out the very dry, pick off brown leaves, etc. Look for containers or vases or even jam jars for a fresh look. If you want "fluffy," fair-trade carnations look good tucked into holly & pines. Also, poinsettia, amaryllis, & paperwhites are on sale because they're leggy. Snap those up (offer a lower price if you think it's warranted, btw) & use them as cut flowers.

While you're at it: maybe keep out a string or two of fairy lights & put them around the largest window in the house or apartment or just around a large mirror or painting over a fireplace. The real cold weather has just arrived here; keeping some decorations up, even reworked, keeps the holiday spirit alive.

ciao-meow/GG's florist

(photograph by Caro Sheridan via Elinor Brown Designs)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Here's to a fresh start, a happy & healthy new year for all. Cheers, peeps! (photograph by Sharon Montrose. Check out her wonderful new book)