Wednesday, May 30, 2012

People of Awesome

Episode One:
Rawaan Alkhatib

You know those friends you have that just sort of excel at everything and you really want to hate them for it but they also happen to be all sweet and lovely and gracious so you are forced to end up admiring them instead?

I've ended up with enough of these people in my life to leave me in a constant state of either insecurity or inspiration, depending on the weather.

I am lucky this way.

Rawaan Alkhatib is one of them.

I mean, she's just your standard Brooklyn-based poet-baker-painter-chef-printmaker-silk scarf designer from Dubai. Big whoop, right?

Seriously, though: Would you please go look at these scarves she just made?

my fave!
Ugh. She's so cool. A little group of us in Iowa used to have epic feasts together and she was always contributing things like pork belly simmered for two days in duck fat, and homemade pistachio and rose petal ice cream...

She even baked us the most delicious wedding cake which I still dream about eating.

Basically just go look at her website right this moment. There you can check out a bunch of other stuff like the chapbooks she's designed and the illustrations she's done and the postcards she's made etc.

Sadly you won't be able to taste the food she creates, or read her writing (Rawaan, where are your poems, girl?) or like, hang out with her over the internet, but that's probably for the best. You don't want to start feeling, I dunno, inadequate.

Rawaan, you are a Person of Awesome.

Top photos by: Eric Felipe-Barkin. Models: Bettina Huang, Kathryn Egelhofer.
Cake Photo by Jagger Photography 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Evolution of a brother in law

I broke out my grandmother's old travel watercolor set this past week to make little portraits of my sister Olivia and her soon-to-be husband Tristan for their wedding invitations.

I'm not really a painter, but I had a lot of fun messing around. I think I hadn't opened the set in something like seven or eight years?

Here's the evolution of Tristan:

And here's the lovely Olivia:

There will be flowers and words and things eventually.

Yes to love!

Friday, May 11, 2012


The reason this blog is called Paper Buttons is that a very long time ago I used to make (and sell) tiny little cut-paper collages of animals that I pressed into wearable buttons with my hand-held Badge-A-Minit button maker.

It was a silly little hobby that just happened to coincide with the launching of a brand-new site called Etsy, perhaps you've heard of it? In fact, and now I don't mean to be all I-liked-it before-it-was-cool or anything, but I ended being one of their first members. #HUMBLEBRAG

I think I sold a total of eleven buttons.

(I like to think this may have been because I had to dip out of the burgeoning Handmade Button business and move sort of abruptly to Zurich, Switzerland, but that's a story for another day.)

Anyway, MY POINT is that I happen to think that paper art is basically the highest form of art, and to that end I am going to show you some really cool stuff.

Exhibit A)

Artist Chris Gilmour makes these incredible life-size cardboard sculptures, like this Fiat and this super-detailed bicycle and this set of globes that I would just DIE to have in either my living room or my "study."

Find plenty more of his cardboard brilliance here.

Exhibit B)

Do you know about quilling? It's this crazy and time consuming process of curling hundreds of tiny strips of paper and Lisa Nilsson (unfortunately no relation) makes these slightly creepy yet ultimately badass anatomical cross sections with it, like this:

and this:

Wowie, right? Check out more of her intricate work here.

And how about Exhibit C) my ultimate favorite, basically the godmother of paper cutting: Mary Delany (that's Mrs. Delany to you.) 

She was an 18th century paper rockstar who at age 72 began messing around with cut-out flowers, and then went on to create over 1,000 of these exquisitely detailed botanical collages. 

I mean take a look at these and tell me they are not paintings...


Bananas, right? And this was in the 1770s, when scissors were really big and unwieldy, and Paper Source hadn't even been invented yet. The mind boggles.

My mom bought me this book last year which I highly, highly recommend. Mrs Delany was charming and sassy, and had an incredible life beyond her paper-stardom. Do yourself a favor and check her out.

And, you know, if you ever wanna buy a tiny paper animal collage in wearable button form, you know who to call.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

22 hours in Palm Springs

We finally managed to fit in a (very mini) getaway for ourselves, and Reader, it was precisely what the doctor ordered.

We spent Thursday night and most of Friday in fabulous Palm Springs, where the sun is hot, the Coors Light comes in these icy metal bottle-cans, and you can spend an entire morning and afternoon just reading in a lounge chair and nobody will say a thing about it.

We stayed at this amazing little hotel where each room had its own private courtyard (complete with hot tub!) 

We checked in Thursday evening, opened some celebratory wine, then went and grabbed some dinner at Spencer's. Afterwards we walked back through the warm night air, marveling at the giant craggy mountain looming next to us, the billion glittering stars, the overwhelming peacefulness, etc.  

Then we went for a midnight swim. 

I know! 

The next morning we woke up early and toasted the day with mimosas that we classily sipped out of plastic cups.

Then we hung out in our little courtyard soaking in the crazy desert morning sunshine as the smell of jasmine wafted over us from the actual wall of jasmine that separated our room from the next one over. 


I had all the supplies I needed:

In case you are curious, (and why wouldn't you be?) here is a lil 360 view of our courtyard. 

Can you tell that I am/was basically obsessed with it? 

Plant-covered walls FTW, amirite? 

Checkout was at noon, so we stayed until 11:59, just gettin' so tan and reading so hard.

Next we had a yummy Mexican lunch and headed out to the Agua Caliente Casino to see if we couldn't convince them to let us hang out by their pool for the rest of the day.

I think it was my giant pink hat that did the trick. They handed us a pool key like we were high rollers and we proceeded to lounge in the shade of a magnificent palm tree/umbrella combo for the next four hours, occasionally slipping into the water or padding to the tiki hut to get another ice cold brewsky. 

It was, what's the word I'm looking for here? Perfect? 

Something like that anyway.


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