Blogging about a variety of things I enjoy. Also peddling my wares at Thicket and Thistle on Etsy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

miniatures in the big city

The Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago is a collection of meticulously constructed living rooms from different eras of British and American history, commissioned by Mrs. James Thorne of Chicago in the 1930s. The 68 rooms silently tell all sorts of stories of the inhabitants of noble British drawing rooms in the 19th Century and more humble Puritan multi-use spaces.
I love the arched alcoves and all the molding in this drawing room:
A23: Virginia Drawing Room, 1754, c. 1940
And the shocking orange of the airy curtains in this bedroom:
A32: Louisiana Bedroom, 1800-50, c. 1940
And the tonal ambers and saffrons in this dining room:
A14: Pennsylvania Drawing Room, 1834-36, c. 1940
And the neutral zen of this foyer:

E-11: English Entrance Hall of the Georgian Period, c. 1775, c. 1932
Seeing the Thorne Miniature Rooms a few years ago struck a serious chord for me. I cherish the dollhouse that my mom got me for Christmas in 1993, the painstaking construction of which my older brother took on as a hobby when he was in high school. He stained the wood floors and layed them strip by strip, added electric wiring for the chandeliers, wallpapered the hallways in my favorite cream-and-gold fleur de lis pattern, caulked the brick apron that runs the perimeter of the house, and carefully painted each spindle of the porch (which my niece has subsequently knocked down). The house is still a work in progress (yes, still) but once the "construction" is done, it will be filled with all the beautiful pieces my mom has purchased over the years, on business trips and in our favorite little shops around DC. She splurged on gold leaf-trimmed living room furniture, traditional swaths of greenery bedecked with faux fruit to hang over the mantle at Christmas, a set of "wicker" furniture to mimic the Wicker Room in my grandparents' old house, a butcher's block for the 1950s (or so) kitchen, a coat rack complete with little cane hat. It was sometime still in the 1990s when my favorite aunt gifted me an enormous, exquisite collection of miniature food--a tin of loose bisquits, jars of lemon curd, a copper pot full of boiled potatoes, another dish of beef stew, ice cream sundaes, canned goods, and my personal favorite, tacos.
The saga that is the evolution of my dollhouse makes me appreciate all the more Mrs. Thorne's attention to detail and the imagination involved in her project, even when building with such historical accuracy. And if there's one thing I can really appreciate about the Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute, it's the lack of miniature people. If you've ever seen the tiny dolls meant to fit into dollhouses, you know that they always fall short of the images in your head. There's no reason to complete the daydream. All images - Art Institute of Chicago

Monday, April 6, 2009


I just this very second purchased a set of prints I have had my eye on for some time. They are prints of original papercuts by Mon Petit Fantome. They are haunting yet whimsical and they're titles make them all the more mysterious.
"There Is Something about You"

I wonder if that fox is as friendly as I want him to be. Or maybe the little boy is more cunning and less innocent than he appears. His is a full-on top hat, not the Tom Sawyer straw flop we expect from the looks of his idle pose.
"I Do Not Know Where We Are Going but at Least We Are Together"

The relationship between the rabbit and the deer is also intriguing. The rabbit assumes a serene slouch that makes him appear older than the deer, perhaps a fawn, whose straight neck is youthful and almost carefree. The title belies the evident servitude of the reins. The image is wrapped in botanical antlers, making me feel as though I'm peering through a clearing in the woods of Narnia.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

blue hawaii

The Hawaii Five-O spread in the spring 2009 issue of Wall Street Journal Magazine was a standout (in addition to the lengthy but continuously intriguing article on the dapper luxury brand megastar Bernard Arnault). This $1,520 bathing suit by Emilio Pucci is gorgeous. The perfect creamsicle hues, draped block-color torso, and vintage cut make for a classic look with modern spunk. The model reminds me of Joan Blackman (a.k.a. Elvis's girlfriend) in Blue Hawaii.
Image 1 - WSJ Magazine
Image 2 -


Domino Magazine may be a thing of the past but the retro game is renewed in the form of bright, near-edible confections at Pottery Barn. Were I free of rent and car payments, I just might splurge on a set. And take a refresher course on the rules of the game.


I'm currently obsessed with the TypeRacer online typing game. It's really quite upsetting when I don't get first place. Despite that I have never played a competitive (or even friendly) sport in my life, maybe I'm more competitive than I thought. One day I'll make it to the ranks of the 150 words-per-minute players.