Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cool Caterpillar!

Today while birding with Sylvia and Dottie on the Dane County parcel of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, we found a Pandora Sphinx Moth caterpillar - a "lifer" for me! Pretty cool looking thing, huh? Earlier in the morning we went to look for warblers in the stream corridor and found two Magnolia Warblers, several Tennessee Warblers, American Redstarts, and a Northern Waterthrush. Tomorrow? More birding!

© 2008 Mike McDowell

Designer Spotlight: Robert Stilin

Robert Stilin ( is incredibly talented and one of my favorite designers. He is based in The Hamptons and now has his own shop there. What I love most about him is the way that he combines modern art with antiques. Though some of the furniture appears rustic the look in its entirety comes off as crisp and clean. Take a look at my favorite selections from his amazing portfolio below.

Calming blues and browns.

Wonderful black light fixture.

I love this ebonized trunk.

Beautiful sisal carpet and trestle table.

Note the green glass jugs on the shelf and the interesting fireplace configuration.

This bathroom above is so fresh and simple.

This light fixture is gorgeous...actually so is the whole kitchen.

The stool, the table, the chair, the sculpture.

Alicia B.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Movementality

Need to relax? Yoga is the answer. A friend of mine, Emily, started her own company called The Movementality, which offers private yoga instruction based on your personal needs and abilities. She has studied dance for her entire life and is a certified yoga instructor. Not only is she an amazing dancer/yoga expert, she is one of the most creative and fun people I know. Don't be jealous.

Check out her website

"Movementality:  the connection between one's habitual way of thinking and moving. It is the exploration of developing strength, flexibility, and awareness both mentally and physically as one."

Alicia B.

Operation Salamander Rescue

During the past few weeks, salamanders of the Middleton Hills pond have been migrating by the hundreds across Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue at night, but unfortunately cars are also squishing them. Salamanders generally wait for a rainy night and then initiate a mass exodus from the pond in order to reach woodlands. Houses have replaced most of the woodlands surrounding the pond, but some fragments remain. There was once a time when their journey was relatively safe – they could wiggle their way through grassy fields. But to reach the existing woodland fragments today, each salamander faces a much more dangerous journey through the urbanized habitat, including several street crossings.

Getting from the pond onto Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue is easy enough, but then comes the road. If successfully crossed, the salamanders encounter the curb – a veritable death-zone. A barrier many of them are unable to climb over. By chance, some of the lucky salamanders might find a side street or driveway and continue their journey through backyards. But many trapped salamanders fall prey to opportunistic predators or are killed by street sweepers. As the sun warms the pavement, the salamanders begin to dry out and some instinctively head back to the pond, placing their lives in jeopardy once again with another street crossing...their squished corpses are everywhere.

View showing the pond and F.L.W. Avenue

This morning Sylvia and I rescued and released as many trapped salamanders as we could. By 9:00 a.m., we couldn’t find any more that were attempting to cross Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue. A few weeks ago, I started a dialogue with Middleton Public Lands to see what might be done to help these salamanders conduct their migration safely. They seem open to at least putting some signs up to increase public awareness, but I think some sort of ramp or tunnel system should be installed.

Aerial view of Middleton Hills pond

Note: Aldo Leopold Way? Hahaha!

All images © 2008 Mike McDowell

Blogger's Favorites -- A Cup of Jo

images from top left -- ballet slippers via santoki vintage, bike via fine little day, cookies via the New York Times

It is altogether possible that Joanna Goddard is the coolest blogger ever. And it’s pure fact that she’s one of the nicest. (There’s really nothing better than a super nice “cool girl", doncha think?) Her brilliant blog A Cup of Jo is a trove of witty, interesting, lovely, delightful finds – a daily read for sure. A super talented writer, you've probably come across her articles in some of your fave mags like Cookie and the such, and oh yea, she’s also the editor of Glamour magazine’s new relationship blog, Smitten.

Whew…. And she had time to do a Blogger’s Favorites List for us. (See I told you she was nice!)

Herewith, Joanna’s favorites. Have a splendid weekend!
  1. Ballet Flats -- They're chic and comfortable. This summer, my friend wore actual jazz shoes with her vintage yellow dress, and I thought it would be great to wear real ballet slippers. I haven't bought any yet, but I'm on the lookout...
  2. My Bike -- I'm scared of subways so I ride my trusty bike everywhere in New York. Now I've become part of a bike community, made up of girls on vintage Schwinns, super fast messengers and delivery guys with wobbly stacks of pizzas.
  3. The American Apparel Summer Tee -- It's soft, cheap and comes in lots of colors. But the secret is that it has a slightly lower (and therefore very flattering) neckline. I wear one almost every day.
  4. Flickr -- I could surf through Flickr forever. There are so many amazing finds, like vintage photos, awesome illustrations and kissing shots.
  5. Linen Sheets -- My boyfriend and I both have trouble sleeping, but linen sheets are so soft and light (never sticky or hot) that we always wake up feeling refreshed.
  6. Cornwall, England -- My grandmother lives in a tiny fishing village full of seagulls, old castles and quirky old characters. During the day, we swim in the ocean, watch the sailboats race and eat warm Cornish pasties. We were lucky enough to spend many childhood summers there, and the town still makes me feel giddy and full of possibilities.
  7. Cookies -- I once heard that everyone has a trigger food -- pizza, potato chips -- and once you start eating it, you can't stop. Mine is definitely cookies. My mom always bakes a batch when I visit, and I dream about serving cookies instead of cake at my future wedding. I'd love to try this New York Times recipe.
  8. Abigail Vintage -- I adore the vintage brass figurines Abbey sells in her etsy shop. This tiny duck, which I put on my desk, makes me smile every day.

Video Game Tattoos

Yes we all love games but some people go to the extent of having their favourite game characters tattooed on their body. Pretty cool I must say especially when you can show it off to your friends.

Convert your Old TV into a Fish Tank

Since we’re environmentally aware and we really want to recycle as much as we can, we thought we’d show you a little trick for your old TV set - how to turn it into an aquarium. Naturally, the tube will have to come out and replaced with the aquarium. Fish swimming are certainly more relaxing to see than some of the shitty shows and news we get fed on a daily basis. Kitty seems to like it too!