D Moms Loves: Art Adventures at The Modern, Cobalt Blue Goodness at V.O.D., and Duro Olowu for JCPenny

We are furiously working on finishing the spring issue of D Moms, but that doesn’t mean we’ve abandoned our “Loves” list. Herewith the people/places/things we’re digging this week.

  1. The Modern in Ft. Worth: Specifically we’re crazy about The Modern’s monthly Drawing from the Collection for Children program. I took my six year old and her buddy last Sunday and had a total and complete blast. I would highly recommend. (I would also highly recommend making a reservation for lunch at Cafe Modern and ordering the Moroccan chicken salad…just saying.)
  2. Isabel Marant’s Adele Sandals and Claramonte’s Suede Bag: Both are available at V.O.D., and both are utterly and completely gorgeous.
  3. Fashion Designers A-Z: The Taschen book celebrates designers represented in the permanent collection of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology  (MFIT), New York. We’re especially loving the Stella McCartney Edition adorned with the neon abstract print from her Summer 2013 collection. Bonus: MFIT Director and Chief Curator Valerie Steele will be doing a Q&A about the book this Thursday from 6-8 pm at Neiman Marcus NorthPark.
  4. Duro Olowu for JCPenny’s Tribal Print Pants. Our D Moms creative director was sporting these bad boys yesterday, and, friends, they are seriously fantastic. Oh and they’re only $35. I’m planning on snapping up a pair stat.
  5. Diptique’s 34 Boulevard Saint Germain  Candle. I’m loving the earthy but bright scent (all moss and fig and blackcurrant), I’m loving the opaque white, handmade porcelain jar. I’m loving the 70-hour burn time. Pretty much loving it all… You can get one for yourself at Forty Five Ten.

Buy This Book: Unbored-The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun

My girlies have a less than awesome tendency to declare that they are “bored” far too frequently. I always retort with my friend Christine’s genius mantra, “only boring people get bored,” to which they, well, completely ignore. Good times. And given that we have a long winter break in our future (almost 3 weeks sans school, but who’s counting?), conditions are ripe for a litany of boredom declarations. Or not…

Enter (the utterly genius) Unbored.

Authors Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen have packed this 352 page tome billed as, “The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun,” with a trove of imaginative ideas and projects designed to delight, inspire, and (most important) occupy kiddos age 8 to 13.

In addition to information ranging from how to use the library to the history of video games, a cadre of 30 diverse makers and thinkers, including writers, environmental activists, illustrators, and crafters, contributed such creative boredom-busting activities as how to build a geyser with a 2-liter bottle of coke and 6 mentos candies, how to make a make a secret book safe, and (my personal favorite given my potty mouth), “how to train your grownup to curse without cursing.”

Count me in Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen…oh and thank you for salvaging my winter break 2012.

A Few of Krys Boyd’s Favorite Children’s Books

I’m awfully fond of Krys Boyd. Not only is she smart, funny, and immensely kind, but the mother of four (!) also helps create some best programming on the radio as host and managing editor of KERA’s midday talk show, Think.

Given that a large portion of her daily life revolves around children and books (she reads stacks each week to prep for Think), we thought she was the perfect person to weigh in on her favorite titles for young readers in our premier issue of D Moms. She kindly obliged with a stellar list, plus she threw in a few extras…

Herewith Krys’ thoughts on reading as a family and four more of her book picks for children.

“For our family, reading is a shared activity. Although our children have been reading on their own for several years now, we still read out loud as a family when we can—handing off the book every few pages so everybody gets a turn. We have explored all kinds of wonderful stories together, and the children have learned a lot about the art of negotiation when it comes time to choose the next book. Reading, critiquing and discussing different books as a family not only gives the children a nice grounding in literature, it also provides a common frame of reference for the whole family in a media landscape where so much broadcast content is either inappropriate for kids or cloying for adults.”

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
This was our favorite of the ubiquitous “Max & Ruby” series. Sweet, hapless Max tests the patience of bossy sister Ruby as she tries to make a birthday cake for Grandma—but his mud-and-worms masterpiece is no less delightful than her raspberry and sugar-stars confection. Funny and cute but never cloying.

Olivia by Ian Falconer
Although Olivia’s appeal has now launched a cottage industry of toys and spin-off books that make her a bit “overexposed,” the first story and quirky black-and-white pencil drawings by Ian Falconer are more than worth the price of the original book. Recommended for any family raising a little one with a larger-than-life personality.

Geraldine’s Baby Brother by Holly Keller
Geraldine the pig is none-too-pleased to welcome the noisy, attention-grabbing new piglet in the family—until she discovers her natural gift for making him giggle. Preschoolers coping with the arrival of a new sibling will surely identify with Geraldine’s jealousy—and be relieved to learn how special it is to be a big sister.

The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson
While the premise of this book (the aftermath of a virus that kills everyone on earth older than twelve) might be disturbing for readers before fourth or fifth grade, slightly older kids will relate instantly to the courage and ingenuity of Lisa, who becomes a leader for other children left behind by the epidemic, finding not only food, clothing and even transportation, but also helping to build a new society ruled by compassion and equality rather than brute force. This book is sure to spark fascinating discussions.

Into The Weekend: BooksmART Festival

Bryan and Audrey are off on a father/daughter camping trip this weekend, so the Millster and I are flying solo. We’re planning on a little lounging about, some swimming, a few ice cream runs. Nothing too taxing, except…the BooksmART Festival at the DMA.

The action goes down tomorrow from 11-5, admission is free, and the line-up looks amazing. We are all in. BooksmART Festival, here we come!

tiny loves

I’ve been in the doldrums lately, which is odd and untimely considering the weather is so gobsmacking beautiful. To cure my ills, I’ve taken to cooking, as I often do when things get internally murky. So here’s a list of food related loves that have me feeling better(ish).

Am I right when I say that those brass kitchen utensil holders by KUMU are perfect? Yes, yes I am. (via ii-ne-kore and available here.)

These bread spoons by Niels Datema apparently give you the perfect measurements of flour, water, sugar, oil and yeast to make the perfect loaf of bread. Bread is always a deep-feeling comforter.

This was one of the first cookbooks my husband and I ever bought, and it’s still one of our most used and well-loved. In keeping with the Northern California sensibilities of fresh, whole foods, this book finds beautiful ways of reimagining some of the kitchen’s greatest staples — like scones, mashed potatoes and a wide array of delicious chutneys, not to mention an incredible (and easy) cheesecake. This book never fails me.

And this kitchenai caramba. It’s one of my favorites and belongs to Argentinean architect and designer Alejandro Sticotti (also one of my faves). The wood-marble-metal mashup has pretty much burned itself on my brain for all time. And that view is also fairly enviable. I feel loads lighter just looking at the place. Now… off to eat something.

five questions: teresa rafidi

I met Teresa Rafidi by chance three years ago when I went into Dunn and Brown to review Linda Ridgway’s show there. Teresa was photographing the installation, and my family struck up a conversation with her and the artist. Ridgway walked us through her show and Teresa interjected witty comments from across the gallery. Meeting Ridgway and Rafidi that day was one of those moments that begins to define a new life chapter, as my husband and I were about to launch our brainchild, the culture site Renegade Bus, and these women would figure greatly into what that venture was to become.

Since that time, Teresa and her boyfriend, the artist and designer Ric Martin, have become good friends. Teresa is a regular presence in Dallas gallery scene, and has photographed all of the rising stars of Dallas’ old and burgeoning art culture, like “it kids” Bret Slater and Gabriel Dawe (pictured above, respectively). In her portrait practice, she’s got an incredible way with people, as good photographers always do — she’s kind and funny, and always manages to effortlessly capture the essence of people. And her practice an artist has produced a body of work that’s haunting, beautiful, and full of open-ended narratives.

Being with Ric for the past six years, Teresa has necessarily helped raise Ric’s two teenage boys. I imagine growing up with this wonderful lady around is nothing short of influential and inspirational, so I had to pick her brain a little about some of her own inspirations.

Your favorite photographer from back in the old days?
I find inspiration in so many. Paul Stand is one who still inspires me with his numerous genres and forward thinking. I enjoy Elliot Erwitt’s humor. I admire Irving Penn and Arnold Newman for their expressive and thoughtful portraits. Duane Michaels deeply inspired me in college with his movement and documentation photographs.

Your favorite current photographer?
Again – I don’t have just one. Susan Kae Grant and Beau Comeaux have some beautiful work . I admire Keith Carter for his dream-like imagery. Sacha Goldberger – who did a fabulous series on his 91-year-old grandma being a super hero, makes me laugh.

Best advice when raising boys?
Teach them to be kind, thoughtful, loving and accepting of all. Help them to understand that you define yourself – don’t let others define you. Follow your dreams, because that is what will make your heart happy. Living by example is better than living with words. It doesn’t hurt to bake homemade cookies and add in some tacky “boy” humor once in a while.

Favorite art-related thing to do in Dallas?
Besides going out and photographing random things, it would have to be seeing what other artists are doing. Gallery night or Dallas Arts District first Saturday of the month.

Best book?
On Photography by Susan Sontag. It’s one of those books of which I have a few copies laying around. I pick one up and read it when I just want to read a few pages to help me re-examine what I’ve done and where I am going.

the tactile workshops

Just discovered this book called The Tactile Workshops by designer Bruno Munari over here via here. Looks wonderful:

do not touch! how many times do children hear this order? no one would ever say: do not look, do not listen, but touching is different. evidently a lot of people think you can do without. the books in the new workshop series describe different working techniques, from educational to explanatory pamphlets and “poetic” play… with basic explanations and plenty of stimuli, suggestions and maps to get adults and children, teachers and students working together.

Available here.

wishing traditions

On a recent trip to nyc I picked up Wishes, a beautifully illustrated children’s book by Roseanne Thong. My four-year-old has loved reading about the different ways children celebrate holidays and make wishes around the world, and I’ve learned a thing or two myself. It sounds almost silly that such a simple book would have such an impact, but it’s been a jumping off point to talk about cultures I might not otherwise think to mention. I’m thinking it might be fun to create some of the symbolic objects used in the celebrations — like kites in the spirit of Guatemala’s barriletes gigantes or the boats made of banana leaves that are used during the Loi Krathong Festivals in Thailand to bring the ideas even closer to home.

tiny loves…

Papier Mache magazine…I picked up a copy at Barnes and Noble on Preston and Forest last weekend and have been glued to it ever since. Just insanely beautiful in every way.

And speaking of hugely inspiring foreign kid’s publications…I’m also a bit obsessed with Little Fashion Gallery’s magazine.

Completely genius handcrafted ukuleles that would make any kiddo want to start playing.

A monkey, donkey, robot, pinata party. Holy awesome.

tiny loves

So simple. So good. Found object printed type spotted on Kindra is Here. It reminds me of the genius alphabet photos by the photographer Domi Mora.

I was really feeling this sentiment during the holidays when we had a blissed out, no-tech week or so. Thankfully, by way of a reminder now that life has resumed its frantic gadget-checking, the kooky and grand Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont has this campy poster to help us resist our more disconnected urges. (I seriously might get this for my too-plugged-in younger siblings….)

And, in the spirit of all things heartily hands-on, I am loving Stephanie’s book club idea. Random folks showing up in a cozy spot for coffee and a book discussion? Brilliant. There are few things better than lively book chatter, and the idea of creating community through it is spot on. That Stephanie is mighty clever.

And if you haven’t made it over to Barry Whistler Gallery to see our friend Jonathan Cross’ excellent show Plane Forms, you have until Saturday. His new ceramic work is stunning and earthy, especially alongside the hilarious and beautiful drawings by Lawrence Lee. (Image courtesy Allison V. Smith for Barry Whistler Gallery.)

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