Many, many Decembers ago, a few days before Christmas, an animal fell down the chimney at our house. Not knowing what to do or if the critter was hurt, or worse, rabid, my parents called animal control.
When the animal control officer arrived at the house she suggested we open the fireplace and direct whatever was in there out through the living room and to the side door. Well, as my dad and the officer opened the doors... a completely terrified squirrel leapt out of the fireplace, onto the couch then catapulted itself on to the fully decorated Christmas tree across the room!
It ran up and down the trunk for atleast an hour until it finally got tired and ran out the side door.
My dad (who we sometimes affectionately refer to as Clark Griswold for lots of reasons) wrote a hilarious poem inspired by "The Night Before Christmas" about our own little Christmas Squirrel and illustrated it using totally awesome early 90's Corel Clipart.
He sent a copy to the animal control officer which she later framed and hung at the Mecklenburg County Animal Control Office. For years, people who went to get dogs from the pound would ask us, "hey, did you have a squirrel on your Christmas Tree once?"
It's a great story and it probably one of my favorite childhood memories.
Since then, I have always loved a good piece of squirrel artwork. In fact, we all do. It has kind of become a running family joke. And for some reason, Etsy is full of great squirrel art today!
Victoria and Albert would totally lay a huge art smack down on me for saying that. Fashion is a decorative art. Thus, some of it is allowed on this blog... Je regrette V&A, heart y'all. :)
Jenny and I are really hearting Marisa Lynch of the blog New Dress A Day. She has given up shopping for an entire year (how!?!?!) and is making all of her clothes from stuff she finds at yard sales and thrift shops. And the coolest part is that she is doing it for only a $1.oo a day.
She isn't just taking something that is pretty wearable, adding a few buttons and bringing up the hem. She is buying totally unwearable things (think 10 sizes too big) and turning them into something completely fabulous. She keeps a hint of the original's style though, which we like alot.
Marisa's Super 80's Glam Before:
The 'I would totally buy that' after:
Me thinks she is pretty close to a book deal or a stint on Project Runway. Go check out New Dress A Day. You'll heart it.
Like Etsy, it has the usual collection of handmade soaps, scarves and pillows. However, DaWanda's art offerings are not nearly as sophisticated. DaWanda seems to have a much higher population of weird sexy fairy art and I found myself digging a little bit more for the good stuff. And the fact that all of the prices are in British pounds is not a plus.
But one thing DaWanda does have that Etsy doesn't is Surrealerotik.
He is German and he sculpts shocking life-like "erotic fruit."
Surrealerotik knows he way around a bell pepper, that's for sure.
So, I think am going to bookmark DaWandaand peruse occasionally. I don't think she'll ever outshine Etsy but I am willing to give her a chance.
PS. If you want more Surrealerotik and you aren't at work...here'shis link.
I'm back, feeling a little less bored and a little more inspired. So, let's kick things off with a reader question. Lauren found me via my friend Jennifer of The Newlywed Diaries and she emailed with a question about this pretty, weathered print of what looks like a toucan:
image via Southern Living
She cannot find it anywhere and sadly, neither can I. But, I can tell you that this appears to be an older print, possibly used once in a classroom. I don't think it is a true antique, since the real thing would be displayed more carefully (I hope!)
While I couldn't find an exact match for Lauren, here are a few close options for her to consider.
A Toucan by Fransois Le Vaillant
South American explorer Fransois Le Vaillant found this long billed toucan while walking in the forests of Guiana and documented it in his book, Histoire Naturelle Des Paradis Et Des Pollier. You can see several beautiful plates from this book at the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery.
I found a print for sale at my favorite art gallery, AllPosters.com.
Okay, so AllPosters.com it isn't exactly my favorite gallery, but they do have a massive collection of historic prints and their prices are hard to beat. And since I'm an art lover on a serious budget, I highly recommend them.
This one, also by Le Vaillant is another great option.
If Lauren felt like deviating slightly from the original print of a single toucan, I think this colorful couple by English ornithologist John Gould is gorgeous option:
Short Billed Toucan
John Gould, 1804- 1881
All of these prints can be ordered without a border, like the one in Lauren's picture. To get the complete look of the mystery inspiration piece, Lauren will need to hang it using a rail system. Rail frames were often used to display those old school maps we used to have in class before overheads and smart boards took over. (Don't you feel old...)
I suggest buying a cheap hanging frame like this oneand spray painting it matte black. Since the rails are fairly light, she can replace the chains with a heavy duty fishing line or a perhaps a elegant cord for a more traditional gallery look.
Lauren, let me know if you find the perfect toucan!