Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Take a Leap

Leap Day is half over & we still haven't thought of something to do to celebrate. Maybe we're trying too hard. Off to learn something new. Meanwhile, more felines a-leaping.


(Jean Seberg & cat by Philippe Halsman)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Snapshot: Painters & Photography

The invention of the Kodak handheld camera in 1888 gave post-impressionist artists a new source of inspiration. Investigating the techniques and compositional strategies made possible by the new apparatus, artists captured their private lives, as well as their public domains, in surprising ways. The exhibition debuts many previously unpublished photographs taken by seven European artists, renowned for their paintings and prints. Approximately 200 photographs and 80 paintings and works on paper by artists including Pierre Bonnard, Félix Vallotton, and Edouard Vuillard explore the dynamic relationships among the various media. - The Phillips Collection

If you live in the DC-area (or will be visiting before May 6th), scamper on down to the The Phillips Collection to see Snapshot. If you're so inclined, this photography contest in which you use one of 9 images from the exhibit as inspiration, looks like fun (& you could win a Nikon 1). In fact, even if you won't be able to attend the exhibit, why not use the contest as a guide for a photography project of your own?


(painting by Maurice Denis & a photograph that informed it via Phillips Collection's Flickr)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Arthur Recreates Scenes from Classic Movies

For a little Monday after the Oscars fun, visit Emily Cleaver's Arthur & his recreation of classic movie scenes. Arthur's range is extraordinary. From American Beauty to Zulu, he shows a lack of snobbery which is key in appreciating movies in all their glory.

There's also a calendar that raises funds for the NSPCC (in the UK) & the Make-A-Wish Foundation (in the States). Emily's literary website has reviews, fiction, & lots of good links. She's a cheerful & amusing tweeter, too.


PS: For another baby at the movies, see Don't Call me Oscar.

(photograph by Emily Cleaver)

Meatless Monday - Easy Gratin

Today GG's editor is making this easy & highly-rated dish from Martha Stewart's site. Basically, three turnips, two sweet potatoes, a bit of broth, cheese (only 4 ounces) & a few pantry items = 8 servings. (It looks easy enough to make a half recipe.) Paired with a quick green salad or sautéed spinach, a lovely Meatless Monday.

ciao-meow/GG's Chef

PS: Sweet potatoes & turnips are fresh in farmer's markets now. There will be some over-wintered ones, too, of course. Either is just fine as long as they are firm. And yes, Giulia eats sweet potatoes...she just doesn't know it. Her editor has come to embrace the sweet potato later in life, understanding finally that one can dispense with the marshmallow & brown sugar element entirely. Simple but a revelation nonetheless (to us).

(photograph via Martha Stewart)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Night at the Oscars

There's still time to put on a bit of a party for tonight's Oscar ceremony. Here are some suggestions for dinner, snacks & drinks. A list of nominees, a ballot. Play for honor or a bit of money (everyone adds to the kitty). You can watch the Red Carpet live online, too.

Top tip: if you don't have cable or satellite, follow people on Twitter. There are funny tweets & often live links for online viewing. If you don't have a Twitter account, what the heck are you waiting for? You don't have to do anything but create a good password & have fun.


(photograph via IMDb)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tea Time

GG's editor is trying to get back on schedule but the boring under-the-weather situation continues. We still do not have concrete recommendations for helping the Syrian people other than becoming familiar with the situation if you are not. Meanwhile, here is a lovely essay about tea time in Toast Travels.

Back this weekend (before the Oscars!).


(photograph via The Nifty Fifties)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Perce-neige (Snowdrops)

We are in opposite-land. Last year, snowdrops were slow to arrive & leave. Now, with the odd winter, daffodils (!) are popping up. We just saw some snowdrops in a little bunch. So here's a popular post from last year.

PS: Many have asked what they can do to help Syrians. We're in the midst of working on that very subject. Updates as soon as possible.

(March 2011) We should be seeing daffodils as it's March but snowdrops (perce-neige in French) are still about as spring is slow to arrive to GG's city. If you know any children who like to color (or adults...GG's editor likes to break out the crayons now & again), here's a coloring page of spring flowers, including a snowdrop. And here are more online art resources for kids of all ages.

ciao-meow/the Management

(snowdrop by photofairy)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Henri's Walk to Paris

A little boy in rural France dreams of going to Paris. (Who hasn't?!) Leonore Klein's charming story, originally published in 1962, is a GG fave. We didn't even know (then) that the amazing illustrations were by a genius graphic designer, Saul Bass. The out-of-print book, long a collector's item, has recently been republished by Rizzoli. Click here for more pictures & more design posts. (via Brain Pickings)


(photograph detail via Brain Pickings)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Venetian Carnevale

Do forgive our absence. Under-the-weather + busy (+ some fun) = Oof

A quick mention of the last day of Carnival. Of course, this takes place all over the world but a favorite is Venice (or anywhere in Italy), so a few links for some fun. A visit to The official Venice site is well done, wonderful graphics, photographs, & ideas. (Venice Carnival 2012 has a nice site, as well.)

A visit to Juls' Kitchen takes you to the Tuscan countryside & the talented Giulia's house. Beautiful photographs, wonderful recipes. Here's one for cenci, a Carnival treat. You probably have all the ingredients on hand & they are so good.

A GG pal,
Merisi travels to Venice often; she's there right now snapping wonderful photographs of mysterious masked people. Go & then hang around for her daily updates of life in Vienna.


(photograph by Stewart D. Halperin)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Downton Dolls

Well, of course someone cooked up Downton Abbey paper dolls just in time for Sunday's season 2 finale. We can hear Granny now, "I forbid it!" There are four PDFs with funny details. Click through to New York magazine. Not into playing with paper dolls? Collage, anyone?

For more Downton Abbey enjoyment, tweeters can follow Laurel Ann (Austenprose) who co-hosts a Twitter party for Masterpiece/PBS. You might also want to follow Lady Mary's Eyebrows & O'Brien's Bangs (yes, we are serious, but they are not:)


(photograph detail via Masterpiece/PBS)

Swedish Semla

Carnival (pre-Lenten goings-on) is ongoing in many places where it's not much part of the culture - except for treats. One such place is Sweden, where we have yet to visit for real. But trips to IKEA, Swedish blogs, & House of Sweden will have to do for now.

But enough non-productive swooning at photographs of semlor (the plural of semla). We finally found a recipe that looks simple, straightforward & authentic. Here's a good post about semlor (& fika) via the official Sweden site (it has several wonderful blogs, too). Better than making semlor, though? Being able to pop into a bakery where most Swedes buy their treats.


(photographs by Le Portillon)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pippin Pick-me-up

This photograph by Bob Willoughby cheered us immensely this afternoon. We have it in a book of photos but forgot until we saw it on Maquette. While we cannot imagine that Giulia would welcome a fawn into the apartment, she would welcome some higher spirits. We'll see what we can do. Meanwhile, some red lipstick application is in order...soon. (Remember to check the latest lead warnings on lipsticks. One more thing to worry about. Mimph.) Immediate spirit raiser à la Audrey: pasta tonight for supper. Update: an extract from Bob Willoughby's new book about working with Audrey.


(Audrey Hepburn & Pippin aka Ip by Bob Willoughby)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count

Bird watchers across the U.S. and Canada are getting ready to tally millions of birds in the annual count coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada. Participants count birds at any location they wish for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their tallies at Anyone can participate in the free event, and no registration is required.--GBBC website

The Great Backyard Bird Count begins on Friday & runs through Monday, 20 February. Do it! (Giulia does a bird count every day, ahem. But her editor is seriously thinking of participating officially. We'll see how we feel on Friday.) Update - We counted 8 species at a friend's house on Saturday, 18th Feb. It was fun; keep your eyes open for next year's count.

ciao-chirp-meow//GG Bird Central

(photograph by Nastya Jour)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Evening

We know some people are under pressure at work (or looking for work) right now. So some Valentine's Day advice: maybe it would be better to wait until the weekend to celebrate in a more elaborate manner. Meanwhile, here's Valentine's breakfast-for-dinner inspiration. And a sweet card can definitely do this at your desk or at the kitchen table. If you don't have watercolors, dash to the nearest drugstore. Whatever you do, have a great evening.


(Paris by Irene Suchocki - visit her lovely shop)

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Funny Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day a bit early from Julie the Cat aka Giulia Geranium. (Do you see the two hearts?)


Friday, February 10, 2012

Have a Lovely Weekend

While GG & her editor try to get out from under-the-weather (oof), there are some fun things to do right here at home. We hope you get out & about. If not, here are some links just for you:

The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show 48 years ago this week:)

Mad Men + Fashion Week advice

Informative & funny Downton Abbey recaps

The Grammy Awards are on Sunday night (go Adele!)

Twelve adorable piglets

Romantic movies for Valentine's Day


(photograph by Linda McCartney)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bees, the Sweet Alternative

Perhaps you aren't so excited about the consumerism surrounding Valentine's Day. GG's editor isn't but doesn't want to ignore it all together. That's why we enjoy looking for free or inexpensive card projects, cookie & candy recipes, & DIY craft projects.

But on the theory that people spend money anyway, why not consider a gift of bees for $30.00 via Heifer International? Especially if you're looking for a project for an annual year of giving (as suggested here). Heifer has a little valentines section with suggestions & a PDF of (free) cute vintage-inspired kid's valentines cards.


PS: Here are two more wonderful DIY card ideas: A sweet easy watercolor project & a whole Flickr set from generous Samantha Hahn (see her pretty Maquette blog, too).

(illustration via Reusable Art/GG collage)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Catapalooza 2012

Catapalooza 2012: a Valentine’s Day adoption open house and celebration of all things feline at the Washington Animal Rescue League (71 Oglethorpe Street, NW, DC 20011). More than 50 cats for adoption. All cats spayed or neutered, vaccinated, examined by a veterinarian and a behavior specialist, and tested for feline leukemia and FIV. This day only the adoption fee for all cats is a “just the two of us” $2. Free mimosas, cake and cookies, cat-themed grab bags, children’s Valentine card making. Admission is free. For information call 202-726-2556 or write WARL

GG's editor, a cat nerd, looks forward to Catapalooza with a somewhat disturbing enthusiasm (according to a few friends, ahem). Even if you're not in the market for a new family member, you should make plans to stop in. Check your local shelter for similar goings on because a quick search showed 'Catapalooza' events.


(Andy Warhol illustration via Warhol Museum)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr Dickens

There is no shortage of online material for Charles Dickens enthusiasts for the natal day (& year) celebration. Those fortunate to live in London, should visit the Charles Dickens Museum. Online, they have a creative writing project for students. There are resource links for parents & teachers, as well. (The museum will close in April for renovations so plan accordingly.)

A new-to-us David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page looks excellent. So many links to good sites, synopses, illustration information, & much more. And, of course, Dickens 2012 is birthday central.


(photograph by Bob Penn)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter Walk

The White House is celebrating the second anniversary of Let's Move, the program the First Lady started to solve the problem of childhood obesity. Visit their website & be inspired (no matter where you live).

Whether you live with children or not; whether you wrangle a redheaded feline (or not), you need to get out for a walk. Even if you're not living in one of the 25 best walking cities (we do, hooray), you need to get out for a walk. If you use the word flâneur you'll feel even better about the whole business.

There you go, out for a stomp...but remember to stop at a café or to admire a view.


(photograph by Aya Brackett)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sunday Charade

Here at GG Central, we will be juggling the Super Bowl (yep) & Downton Abbey. But perhaps you're not interested in either option.

What about whipping up something French for supper & watching Charade with Audrey Hepburn & Cary Grant? You can watch for free online (in America). It's also on Netflix Instant. The movie is a lot of fun & actually kind of scary (spoiler alert: Audrey & Cary survive). There's pretty Paris scenery (& the witty opening is in Switzerland).

Have a great (rest of the) weekend, wherever you live!


(photograph via Doctor Macro)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Make Vintage Valentine Cards

We quite understand that you can't time travel to make some valentines. (Please tweet us if we are mistaken, for it would be utterly cool to receive a time travel tweet.) What we mean is, visit Vintage Holiday Crafts, The Graphics Fairy, Karen's Whimsey, & The Vintage Moth to download images you like (there are many different styles of vintage) & then put together some cards. (Or get everything ready & then have children or friends make some cards.) If you'll be hand-delivering, these doily envelopes are pretty, easy, & inexpensive.

ciao-mushy-meow/GG's editor

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Something Sweet - Dulce de Leche

Idea for a frankly less-than satisfying afternoon: make something sweet from the cupboard/pantry for coffee, sauces, ice cream, baking, what-have-you. Do you have a can of sweetened condensed milk? We do & here is David Lebovitz's easy peasy Dulce de Leche recipe. We're off to make it now.


(photograph by Francine Zaslow)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Maps as Inspiration

...for travel plans or for your walls at home. Or both.

You can download beautiful vintage maps at the Graphics Fairy (for free). Hang them by your desk or in the kitchen, anywhere you want a pop of color & a reminder to plan that trip - now.


(Vintage NYC map by Sam Rogers)