that pillow

I joked on Twitter yesterday about seeing this pillow from Ikea all over all the design blogs I read. It seems like it pops up on every post and in every house. I like this pillow, sure, but I’d also like to see some new, fresh pillows!

ikea pillow

What is cool about seeing this pillow everywhere is seeing how people use it. It’s the exact same item, but these houses are all so different. Even if we all shop at Ikea, it’s your personal style that matters most. Click through each image to see the original post/more pictures.

chair with pillowfloor pillowbed with pillowliving room with pillowliving roomcouchhome with ikea pillow

So, time to spill: Do you own this pillow? Let me know–I’d love to see how you use it! Tweet at me or email raesdays [at] gmail.com

S. (embroidery no. 20)

embroidery of s. by doug dorst and j.j. abrams

Jen and Eric of S. have no problem writing in the margins–this is one of the only things I’m certain of after reading S., J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s mysterious book.

S. tells many stories, within the text, in the margins, and on the web. Jen, a senior undergrad, finds the book the Ship of Theseus after grad student Eric leaves it on a table. She takes a peek, likes what she reads, and writes a note to him in the front cover. When Eric writes back it kicks off love letters, research, mysteries, arson, threats, secret codes, and more. The book within a book structure is similar to House of Leaves (which I wasn’t crazy about) and reminiscent of The Princess Bride (which I am completely crazy about).

I was always a bit more interested in what was going on with Eric and Jen than what was going on in the text of the Ship of Theseus, but both the story and the marginalia are really fun to read.

embroidery of s. by doug dorst and j.j. abrams

And they were both fun to investigate. Jen and Eric are researching the author of the Ship of Theseus, a man called Straka. But no one knows who Straka really is, and he could be anything from an assassin, a 20-year-old man who committed suicide, a group of writers, a man who keeps reincarnating, or, I don’t know, even a monkey.

As Jen an Eric keep investigating, their secrets also spill into the margins. There are secrets on secrets on secrets, and it is so fun to snoop.

embroidery of s. by doug dorst and j.j. abrams

And since it’s J.J. Abrams, the mystery isn’t contained inside the book. There’s even websites that are all a part of the game–with hidden messages, no less. All you have to do is start researching like Jen and Eric did to find some.

House of Leaves felt like work to me, but S. felt like play. And like sneaking on someone’s love letters, but minus the guilt. I have a lot of theories (most of them having to do with the number 19), so did you guys read it?! Hit me up! And check out Word bookstore’s Q&A with the writer!

I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here:

house wish list

your home wish list
(
Destruction’s house, as I see it.)

One of my favorite parts of The Sandman is how different each of the Endless are–from each other and my expectations. Death is charming and friendly; Destruction is jovial and caring. Dream is many things, but lighthearted is not one of them. And Delirium is too many things all at once.

Each member of the family has their own responsibilities and is in charge of their own realm. And each realm perfectly reflects its ruler. I love the unique and ever-changing landscape of Dream’s world. And Despair’s is gray and full of mirrors looking into others’ depression. It’s creepy and perfect.

I want my home to embody me, but I have to work within the rules of our physical world and think of what’s practical. I did some apartment searching last week, and this was my wish list:

  • A one bedroom*
  • wood floors*
  • lots of natural light*
  • close to the train
  • a dishwasher*
  • a doorman
  • an open floor plan
  • big closets*
  • Short commute
  • Outside space
  • Allow cats (obvs I’m not leaving #fatcat behind)*
  • A work out facility in building
  • Quiet street*
  • In unit laundry
  • Fireplace(s)
  • Elevator
  • Big kitchen*
  • Storage space*
  • Top floor so I have no neighbors stomping around above me
  • Close to a grocery store*

Ok, so maybe all these things aren’t exactly practical–there’s no way I can get all of that on my budget. But I went looking for apartments in Chicago and the one I picked has a lot of what’s on my (totally negotiable) list. Everything starred is what I did get. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to show you.

Five weeks til moving day! What do you guys have on your wish list?

i’m moving!

20140214-093152.jpg
I moved to New York almost five years ago. I stayed for the usual reasons: the beautiful city, my job, and my friends. (And where else would I have gone?) It has been nothing short of amazing–the city and the people in it are the best.

But in March, I’ll be moving to Chicago.

I am so excited! I’m moving to work in the Chicago office of my company and it works out SPLENDIDLY that my boyfriend lives there already. I’ll be within driving distance to a lot of my family in Kansas City, and I love, love, love Chicago.

This weekend I’m checking out apartments and hanging out in what will be my new city. So cheers to the weekend, and new adventures, and to you!

(And happy Valentine’s Day!)

project life: a new niece

project life: a new niece

My Project Life catch up is continuing in the cutest way possible. We were lucky enough to welcome a beautiful baby girl to our family in November. My niece Dylan Henly Nudson was born Nov. 27, and these pages are all for her.

project life

I particularly like how groups of photos and project life cards are paired together and play off each other. My brother’s hand is the same shape of his arms holding her, and her sweet smile is mirrored on the top.

project life new baby

I will never get tired of looking at this sweet little face. Look how cute she is!

project life: new niece

You can see my other project life updates here:

trying out sketching

I am into words. I am an editor, I love to read, and I believe you need to write clearly to convey your ideas even if you’re not a writer or an editor.

But words aren’t the only way to share your story. As I’ve seen with The Sandman and all the other graphic novels I’ve recently started to read–not to mention every museum, photograph, or artwork everywhere–pictures and images are just as valuable storytelling devices.

I want to use images to tell my stories, too. So I’ve been checking out sketching and fashion illustration, and this weekend I got to play around with watercolors. I started with this really cool sketchbook that has all the figures already on the page. It’s called The Fashion Sketchpad, and I saw it first on this post by A Beautiful Mess that talks about fashion sketching. I’d like to keep practicing and draw the figures on my own, but for now it’s a great way to get started. I started by sketching some looks from the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. (Please forgive my weird mannequins, I’m working faces/hair/etc. Well, I’m working on all of it.)

opening ceremony singer fashion illustration

 

opening ceremonies sweatsuit

I also tried some looks from Fashion Week. Here’s some from Kate Spade and Prabal Gurung.

kate spade fashion illustration

 

prabal gurung fashion illustration

I sketched directly on top of The Fashion Sketchpad’s figures, but I’d like to experiment more with using actual watercolor paper. I also love this idea for drawing interiors.

interior design sketches

I have a lot more practicing to do, but I am excited about what sketching and painting can do!

beyonce (embroidery nos. 18-19)

beyonce embroidery

Going to the Beyonce concert this year with my friend Laura was one of the best things that ever happened to me–no lie. We love Bey (but who doesn’t?), and it was so fun to see her sing. So as a gift for Laura before she moved into her new apartment, I stitched some Beyonce lyrics for her to put on her walls.

beyonce embroidery

The best part of making these was that “Crazy in Love” and “Love on Top” were stuck in my head the whole time. I love having handmade things in my home, but I love even more sharing them with friends.

beyonce embroidery

I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here:

the sandman, vol. 8: world’s end

sandman worlds end vol 8

It’s been a few hours since I’ve finished World’s End. It’s been a few hours since I settled in to listen to the stories of my fellow travelers. It’s been a few hours since strangers became less strange by sharing a part of themselves–by taking a few hours themselves to share a story. It’s been a few hours, but I can’t get it out of my head.

Stories are how we connect to one another. Whether we tell these stories with the clothes we wear, or with our voice, or with our body language, these connections are as necessary as breathing. And Neil Gaiman has never made this point as beautifully as in World’s End. (At least, until I get to the next two volumes of The Sandman.)

As a group of travelers hits a reality storm, they end up stuck in an inn until the storm passes. And the price of a stay is telling a tale. These stories celebrate lands from all over many worlds. There are cities of the living and the dead, and other Americas, and monsters on land and under water.

My favorite story in the volume tells of both the living and the dead. In the necropolis of Litharge, masters and apprentices learn and practice their trade of burial. They show respect to all cultures and dispose of their clients in the way the clients choose. And in an air burial, it is tradition to spend time telling stories after it’s complete.

This idea is beautiful and simple: people may die, but stories live on.

This necropolis holds the stories and secrets of the dead, and all the stories in World’s End held secrets for astute readers. They revealed hints of the past and foreshadowed horrors to come. Familiar characters popped up like old friends, and it was wonderful to spend time with them again.

We have a history with the Lord of Dreams and his worlds, and Gaiman trusts that we’ll be able to make these connections. There’s no need to re-explain a character or draw us a map of a place we’ve been before. He trusts his readers, as the best tale tellers do.

It’s refreshing to dive into a story that allows you to draw your own conclusions. This isn’t easy, to be sure. The story has to leave enough clues and at the right times. But if you want a lesson in how to lay a story out, World’s End is a master class.

The ideas and hints Gaiman has planted along the way come together brilliantly in the last few double page spreads. The art is gorgeous and huge. And so is the slow realization of what has happened to these travelers. Gaiman paints pictures with pure heartbreak, and I have not yet recovered.

Just like all forms of heartbreak, I’m not sure quite what to do now. But if you have some time, won’t you tell me a story?

You can read my other posts on The Sandman series here.

(I picked this series on my own and am not being paid to write about it. But these are affiliate links, so if you buy through my links I’ll receive a little bit of money.)

2014 book releases

booksMy real life book shelf.

There is so much to read. There are wonderful new articles on the internet every day that stretch my mind and teach me new ways to think about things. There is a never-ending supply of celebrity outfits to critique with the Fug Girls. There are already too many fantastic classic books out there. I feel like I spend most of my time trying to catch up on reading one thing or another–a book everyone says I should read, a classic I haven’t picked up yet, or an article making the rounds on the internet.

But one of my goals this year is to read more new releases. Part of the fun of reading is talking with people about what you read, and it’s a little easier to do that if everyone is discovering it for the first time at the same time. Here’s what I’m looking forward to coming out this year:

March 6Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi (Kindle here). I read Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox (Kindle) last year for book club, and it was an interesting, fun read. It’s magical realism with some folk tales mixed in, and it told of Mr. Fox’s relationships with his girlfriend and wife by weaving different tales of their interactions. Boy, Snow, Bird is based on Snow White. But like Mr. Fox, I’m sure there will be crazy twists in the story–and in reality.

May 13To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris (Kindle). I love, love, loved both Then We Came To The End (Kindle) and The Unnamed (Kindle). Ferris writes beautifully, finding the humanity and beauty of life in stories that are unexpected, funny, dark, and heartwarming. Then We Came to the End is one of my favorite books–I hope to write more about it here at some point. To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is about a man whose identity is stolen online. Not just credit cards, but Twitter and Facebook. And he faces the possibility this impostor is living his life better than he is. Everyone should jump on board the Ferris train, as far as I’m concerned.

June 3: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Kindle). A Stephen King book? About a high stakes mystery with a retired cop trying to stop a disaster? I’m in.

Aug. 5: The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (Kindle). I’ve read the first two books in this series about a boy who goes to magic school. But this is no Harry Potter. Quintin and his friends live in a harsh, modern world with drugs, dead end jobs, and big mistakes. This is the last book in the trilogy, and I’m excited to see where everyone ends up. [First two books are The Magicians (Kindle) and The Magician King (Kindle)]

All of these are new this year, but they are all authors I have read before. Does anyone have suggestions for other books I should be looking forward to? Holler at me in the comments or on Twitter.

(I picked these books on my own and am not being paid to write about them. These are affiliate links though, so if you buy through my links I’ll receive a little bit of money.)