31 December 2008

Happy New Year

A little collage from some favorite things from 2008... a red journal in which I've been writing short stories, Topi and Lina in their favorite outfits, discovering my mother's unused sewing machine cover in a box in my childhood home, a trip to The Henry Ford in Detroit, and lovely little tags by Bluebird Lane.

30 December 2008

Back Home

I've flown over the ocean and back, and am now awake at 3am reading design*sponge, clearing out my inbox and lamenting the fact that I have nothing involving pictures to blog about. My photos from our trip are all on a CD that I lent to my father-in-law because he took literally 100s of photos of my childhood home. Not people, but inch by inch of the house. Every corner. So I need to get them back from him and sort through them.

The children are sort of sleeping normally, but I'm still waking at odd hours and scouring the kitchen for naughty things. This image is of the cake topping for Topi's birthday (Oct 20) and I just found it now. It's not really in focus, but I love the little toppled snowman.

In some ways, slowing down right now is a good thing. I felt kind of manic before we went home to the US, trying to keep up with work, adjusting to a new baby, unpacking from the move, and packing luggage to travel. It's probably been over a month since I blogged, and in blog land that's an infinity, but it'll pick up again once I get paintings on the wall and take pictures.I'm back with a new camera, which has been oodles of fun to play with, and a wireless printer/scanner that actually works. And stacks of books. I have more fun ordering books and asking my father to be postman as they roll in the weeks before I go home. I think I came home with 10 magazines, too.

Now if only I could answer the question which home is home? Wisconsin? Turkey? Not answerable at 3am, I guess, though both makes the most sense.

27 November 2008

Kiln Party

Yesterday we enjoyed a delightful party celebrating Zeynep and Meryem's new kiln that Nest helped them buy using a micro-loan. It was so exciting to see the first things that came out of the kiln. We all got interviewed by the local Golcuk newspapers, and I did my best in Turkish, and later were filmed by a Turkish-Dutch couple who are doing a documentary on the area. 10 years ago they came to Golcuk after the 1999 earthquake and followed 6 families after the disaster. Now they are back to follow up and see the changes. I am happy that Zeynep and Meryem are contributing to the resurgence of the area. They were so comfortable in front of the camera, and I felt all nervous and bouncy, with Lina on my shoulder falling asleep.

Way in the back of the photo you can see a bright blue square, and that is the kiln. In front of it is a red ribbon that we cut, as is traditional here, when a new shop (or in this case, a big item like a kiln) opens or is celebrated for the first time. We cut the ribbon with scissors embellished with The Knit Box beads.

I know that I must also post photos of our apartment now that we are moved in and mostly settled. But without art on the walls, I don't want to do it just yet. I may be posting less in the next three weeks as I'm going home to visit my family for an early Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving!

10 November 2008

Sequin Clutch in Good Houskeeping

Well, we've officially moved in and are dodging boxes and stuff everywhere, so pictures will have to wait. I found out that Sevinc's Sequin Clutch for Nest has been featured in Good Housekeeping's Holiday Ideas Gift Guide for Teens! One of the most gratifying parts of being a loan facilitator for Nest is seeing these amazing items get noticed abroad.

30 October 2008

Apartment 9 In Progress

I might not surface for a few days because we are moving this weekend, so there is no better time to show you just what we've been up to in our new apartment. It's 10pm and I'm exhausted but can't sleep properly, and during the daytime I'm making mental lists, real lists, and running back and forth between our rental and our new place. The thing is, it's still not done. So many little things to do, and I had NO IDEA that getting something installed, painted, sawed, drilled, laid, fitted, meant that it still wouldn't be done. Knicks on the walls? Check. Holes where there shouldn't be? Check. Misaligned cabinet pulls? Check. But the point is, as my dear sweet husband keeps trying to tell me daily, is that none of those things prevent us moving in this weekend.

So moving we are, and one minute I am so happy, the next ready for a hankie. Or a drink. But we are pleased, I am pleased, and the colors in our new place make me so happy. We transformed this place from its economic/ecological cement ground up, and I'm almost willing to throw out our possessions and just sit on floor cushions so we can admire the straight walls and non-20-year-old-carpet tiles.

There is still packing/straightening to be done, so that is what I should be doing right now. But after seeing the kitchen installed today and the toilets hooked up, I'm feeling generous and optimistic that somehow it will all work out. I may not have the internet for anywhere from a day to a week, so hopefully I'll come back with some AFTER, if there ever is....

20 October 2008


Now that the ceramic tile has been laid (yea!) we are moving onto flooring, and moments ago just decided on Akçaağaç (how's that for a mouthful... ak-cha-aa-ch) Elegant from Moonloc. Akçaağaç Elegant. This will be in the living room and all three bedrooms. The entryway has tile, as well as the kitchen, bathroom, and half bath. The Before & After photos are still coming, but here are some views from our various windows and the two balconies.

16 October 2008

Nancy Coat

I'm catching up on my posts, here, and adore* the Nancy Coat from BurdaStyle. I think because I'm a brunette and like red lipstick it makes me think I might buy the pattern and have someone make it for me. That sounds so luxurious, but I could use a little bit right about now. I know I'm supposed to make these things myself, but my sewing machine won't cut it, nor will the 1-2 hour window of time a day that I have to work.

I need to think of new adjectives for the things that I like. Even I'm getting tired of adore, love, gorgeous, amazing, lovely....

Dedicated to the one I love*

From my e-Flux mailer for the NY Art Book Fair. E-Flux is what separates me from being completely uninformed about all things art related around the world. *This one goes out to the love of my life, Devrim, for taking a chance on a girl with funny red shoes who lived north of 8 mile in some artist commune, or something.

"I Married an Artist"
by Anne Collier and Matthew Higgs
Signed and numbered edition of 150
C-print, 20 x 16.5 inches
2008 Fall Benefit Edition

11 October 2008

Flocked wallpaper

I love this selection of flocked wallpaper from House Beautiful. While I won't be putting any wallpaper in our new apartment (yet), I do adore these patterns and may look for something similar here to do a corner or a wall sometime in the future. They feel very fall to me.Right now our floors have huge holes from the plumbing being put in. I know very little about cement, except that nearly all buildings here are made with it. It is strange to me to think that to put in a new electrical line one has to drill through cement to do so. Once the walls and floor were stripped of tile, it looked much like a commercial building site... chipped tile powder, lots of crunchy pieces below your feet. I'm getting ready to do the Before of the Before & After, but want it to look teeny bit nicer inside before I do that.

08 October 2008

Angel Wings

Dreaming of drinking Cafe Au Lait out of these amazing Gold Wing Bowls by Sami Rinne.

07 October 2008

Nest interview

Hey, I just realized I was the featured facilitator/designer this month! Take a look!

Nest and Parker Posey

I got a very happy email from Nest today... Parker Posey, the amazing Parker Posey, is a supporter of Nest and their efforts to fight poverty. This is not only an organization I believe in strongly, it is sort of like a child I have watched grow from infancy to adulthood. Having worked with them on so many levels, as designer, loan facilitator, organizer of projects here in Turkey, I feel so proud to watch Nest reach a larger audience.

Take advantage of Nest's generous 25% off while you can!

06 October 2008

All my favorite words...

Word fun thanks to Wordle. Can you figure out the rest?

28 September 2008


treasures, originally uploaded by ATLITW.

The small treasures in this photo are so diverse and beautiful. What is it about collections of things that drive me wild? Here I am, on a Sunday night attempting to declutter my studio (my magazine stack to throw away is 30 high), and yet, I see little piles of other people's things and I get a crush on their stuff.

I discovered Cooliris.com tonight, and it is the best thing I have found for photo viewing online in it's own separate window, all the images neatly organized.

26 September 2008


Today is my 30th birthday. Lina is on the couch breaking smiles at me after a long nap. In celebration of my birthday, I bought new paint for our bedroom walls, and then went grocery shopping, where I bought pastirma, soy sauce, orange sauce, peanut butter, coffee, chocolate, and a meat tenderizer. I'm going to make a stir-fry. Thanks for all the wonderful phone calls and messages today. Funny that I've been waiting for 30 since I was 16. It feels right.

25 September 2008

Why are you here?

Allow me to indulge in a little brooding. I rarely do this in my blog, and truth be told, probably have not made a post without a cheerful picture of some sort.* But I had an Unfortunate Experience with a fellow countrywoman yesterday, who asked me the very question my blog title poses, but with no philosophical intentions and with a very (can I repeat this again? VERY) unfriendly attitude. And even after a good night's sleep, I am still alternating between bristling and hurt. This experience helped me to come to three conclusions:

  • After 30 years, I still don't have good comebacks. This has become a lifetime ailment, I'm afraid. Just ask my brother.
  • Being nice doesn't guarantee the same treatment in return, but anger certainly does
  • I hadn't really thought to ask myself Why am I here? to such a degree since an existential crisis in high school
Brooding be done (and leaving out every possible detail, I know), the rest of the day was far more interesting, and fittingly surreal (sorry), with a visit to the Salvador Dali exhibition at the Sakip Sabanci Muzesi. I love his illustrations for Dante's The Divine Comedy. And there is no doubt he has been credited as an amazing painter, but I think he is a far better draftsman and it shows in his exquisite sketches and notebook pages.

I still have "The Return to Innocence" playing in my mind since yesterday after sitting in a cafe where it was playing, along with Crowded House. "RTI" - no thank, Crowded House, yes please. To brighten my day today I saw two very well dressed Japanese girls in my neighborhood walking arm in arm. I smiled the rest of my way home because I hadn't seen a hat that great in a long time, and it is nice to know every now and then that I am not the only foreigner around here.

*The little un-cheerful picture is from Dali's illustrations for The Divine Comedy, called the Delightful Mount.

Emily Dickinson

The Emily Dickinson silk scarf? Want it now ($35). Perhaps better in concept than reality, though - the design feels a little clunky and tries too hard to be readable. But still, I want to be swathed in the words of Emily this fall, from Poets.org.


Yummy. Through Mikasa and Amy Butler's site (in October). Wish I could write more, now, but I have to run. Eye candy it will be for now.

23 September 2008

Styrofoam Pink

The first coat of paint went on the walls of our bedroom last night, and well, how can I say this delicately?... it looks like pink insulation. It should be called Styrofoam Pink in the catalog. This little diagram below should explain pretty clearly: It's been plaguing me all day. Of course, it is the first coat and you can see the beige below because the painter did not use a primer. So after another coat, it'll be smooth and lovely, right? And once our dark furniture is in there, it'll contrast in a nice way? Oh, and the painter accidentally started with turquoise in our bedroom, and as everybody knows (or should know), intensely pigmented colors are impossible to cover without a primer. So you can see a lovely smear of turquoise below my insulation pink bedroom wall. Which means I'm going to sandpaper the spot myself where he painted the turquoise and try to start from scratch.

Edges? I've had better moments than when I saw blotch after blotch of paint on the ceiling and on the doorframe. See, the thing is, the person we hired is a painter. He doesn't bring brushes. He doesn't buy the paint. He doesn't clean the walls. He only paints. It is our job to sand, tape, and prime unless we tell him and supply him with the materials. So, it is our fault we didn't give him painter's tape to go around the edges. But he didn't tell us we needed to give it to him in the first place. Any he didn't tell us the roller we got is wrong for the walls, either. He painted the room first, and then told us. This is why my brain hurts right now. I can't quite figure out how it was supposed to happen.

The most positive thing about the pink walls so far is that while searching for a image of pink insulation, I was brought to the work of Kim Beck, above, who was written about in Minutia, and whose work I love. Would I set up my bedroom in her installation, though? Probably not. Will be thinking about either toning down the pink with some white or crossing my fingers that the gorgeous warm pink we picked from 1,001 colors will emerge once the second coat is up.

22 September 2008

Lists again

I'm testing the PictoBrowser for Flickr photos with my mother's lists from a previous post. It's nice not to have to add every single picture and allow easy browsing.

21 September 2008

Anna Maria

This Radiant Pillow ($84) is exactly what I need on a rainy Sunday evening like tonight. The beautiful bursts of pink and yellow feel both warm and cozy and energetic at the same time. Likewise, the Eccentric Warm Studio Half Stack of fabrics is absolutely delicious. I love the names Anna Maria has chosen for her fabrics... they feel are descriptive and personal at the same time.

Fascinated by Anna Maria Horner's line of fabrics and home goods, I read about her eagerly and discovered that she "grew up in a house full of her dad's paintings and with a closet full of her mom's handi-work. Beds were warmed by the hand-loomed wool blankets sent by her grandmother from Greece." And that she is a mother of five. 5! I want to give her a medal. But this also confirms to me that motherhood is a most excellent device for creativity. And perhaps, like me, she shares the feeling that being pregnant and having children can give an almost instant creative buzz. While managing it all is challenging, I would never say having a child prohibited me from doing my most meaningful and important work. In fact, it has facilitated more ideas and possible ways of working than I can remember before having babies.

Her studio is amazing, too, as can be seen above.

Thank you, Catherine, for sending me a link to her fabric!

19 September 2008

On my nightstand

I'm not procrastinating, I'm willfully ignoring the fact I'm over-committed. So rather than dwell on it, I played around with my super state-of-the-art four year old digital camera and took overexposed and blurry photos of my nightstand and studio. Exciting!

On my nightstand:
  • Imagining the Turkish House: Collective Visions of Home, by Carel Bertram, a very engaging and interesting study of the classic "Turkish" home and how memory has infused it with meaning long after it's been virtually stripped from the urban landscape.
  • September Turkish Cosmo
  • Dwell magazine from 2007
  • Baby wipes called Baby World (identical to every other pack of wipes but with a different name)
  • My white Nokia cell phone
In my studio, below:

  • Holy computer, always on
  • Painting in progress
  • Coffee mug
  • Stack of journals
  • Recycled packing materials in piles

18 September 2008

London Fashion Week from my couch

While I sit at home wearing orange sweatpants I bought at a bazaar three years ago, a periwinkle-gray-blue shirt, and navy blue orthopedic slippers (my poor feet!), let me comment on London's Fashion Week. Ahem. This will be good, I promise. I am mainly interested in color, so these designers popped out at me immediately. The Aquascutum collection is my absolute favorite, and that shimmery blue just glows - I love the transition from light to dark and deep as it flows while walking. I adore the draping and tailoring in fantastic bright and muted colors of Richard Nicoll's collection, too. And though I want to leave my flowing, hippie-esque, pregnancy-reminiscent clothes behind for a very long time (two pregnancies in three years is enough), Ossie Clark by Avsh Alom Gur's gorgeous dress made me take a second look.

This Jaeger London dress is all about lines and drawing and stop-action camera work at night. Splendid.

Pantone Spring 09

Look what's coming, everyone! Seeing as our color tastes are chosen way in advance of the approaching seasons (thanks, Pantone!), I thought I would share two of the upcoming spring color trends, Super Lemon and Palace Blue. Love the lemon, will be saturating my studio in a similar color, and the Palace Blue is well, close to my heart because I live in Turkey. The others, a lavender, slate gray and vibrant green, did much less for me in terms of tone. Surprisingly, the fuscia red seemed kind of dull considering how intense of a color I think it to be. Thanks to Infomat for alerting me to NY Fashion Week's Pantone colors for spring.

Color chart

I found the color charting in the New York Times of the Wall Street firms' descent into loss oddly similar to Marshall's Most Preferred Colors chart (I promise this is the last time I will post something on Marshall's until I have the actual paint on the walls!). Does someone consult a color expert when doing these charts? How is it I was mesmerized by the placement of the color blocks rather than focusing on the crisis?

17 September 2008

Gretchen Wagoner

Gretchen Wagoner was featured on Design*Sponge today, and I fell in love with her work. Reading her blog was very engaging, too, and seeing her work in progress. These pieces were posted in December 07, but I liked them so much I'm sharing them now. We've both got Wisconsin roots, which is why I think her work also resonates with me.

I've got a completely un-sleepy baby on my lap with the hiccups wearing a pink sweater and smiling at her own hand. Hard to complain about her nap-less day today under those conditions. Also hard to think, sometimes, when my hands are always busy holding, dressing, changing, a little one. But I am thinking more about Gretchen's blog and why I like it - the idea of leaving home and moving to NY is something many artists dream of; while reading her posts, I felt like I could be doing the same. My own decision not to be in NY is something that at times I still question... being outside of a network of familiarity. But as each year passes here, I feel more connected to living in Turkey and creating something I couldn't replicate anywhere else. So for just a few moments, I got to experience what it might have been like, so thank you, Gretchen.

16 September 2008

Pink bedroom

Sometimes I don't want to write a new post for awhile after adding something really important to me, like my mother's aprons. But I want to close the night by sharing the pink we've chosen for our bedroom (we decided not to do blue) from the Marshall Key catalog (above, in a kitchen setting and with the color swatch). I think it is quite pretty but not overpowering, and I already have some accents that will look nice with it - the quilt Meg made for Lina, a pink scarf on my dresser, and two framed stitchings done by Jenny.

I just love this corner from the Marshall Key website, too. The infusion of red and beige is really homey but striking, and I can't resist an attractive chair with reading material on it, either. Gives me ideas for how I might do some stenciling on the beige walls in the hallway.


Two of my mother's aprons found their way to me this year. This might not seem like a remarkable thing, but my mother died in 1985, and without consulting each other, first my grandmother, and then my aunt, sent me a apron my mother had made over 23 years ago. And both within four months of each other! I attribute this to some kind of synchronicity in my universe, that my mother comes back to me in ways I could have never expected.

I took these photos with Photo Booth, and love the grainy vintage feel that happened because of the way the light was coming in the window.

15 September 2008

Maria's Serving Bowl

This gorgeous, hand-painted and fired serving bowl is available from Nest ($40). Maria, the designer, used her microfinance loan to buy a kiln in Mexico that enables her to make beautiful, safe pottery to support her family. I love the glossy black and white floral in a solid earthy clay bowl. I can imagine the weight of it in my hands and would probably display it more than use it.

14 September 2008

Wonting florals

Oh Joy! blogged about these lovely set of floral prints from wonting. Blogging about something I would love to have is nearly as good as owning it, but in this case, they would look absolutely great in my soon-to-be-aqua kitchen. I must wait until I finish framing a small stack of stitchings before I add anything new, though. They remind me of the herbal stitching sampler my mother did, or vintage seed packets.

Clutter away

The delicious photo above is from Joel C. Robinson and Leslie Ross's home and workshop that I took from The Selby. This is my reminder that really, my home is really not that cluttered or disorganized, nor my studio room as full of piles as I imagine. I love it when other people's homes and studios are full of fantastic things, but not when my own borderlines on overstuffed. It seems genetic that I create piles and tableau on every available empty surface, though, and have yet to tame the compulsive arranger in me.

Now that we know we are moving house, we're putting less time into keeping the house clean (we did vacuum today. yea!) and more into daydreaming about walls without peeling wallpaper, a kitchen counter that doesn't leak water from the sink, and bathroom cabinet doors that aren't on their hinges (should I be admitting this?). When I was a child, my floor could rarely be seen between the piles of clothes, books, shoes, and things. Then one day in Turkey, snap, everything became quite tidy. I think it was my 28th birthday. Now that I am 12 days away from 30, it seems this habit is here to stay. But I do need the reminder every now and then that it not need be picture perfect in my little home, and sifting through the amazing photos on The Selby is an excellent way to procrastinate on throwing away those piles of cardboard egg cartons (I will use them for packaging material someday, really) and miniature fabric scraps.

I love this little serger sewing nook in Cheri Messerli and David Rager's LA home.