Category Archives: Art + Design

Smile for Tiles—The Cutest Little Retro Animals Ever

Have you heard Kenneth Townsend? I hadn’t, but I’d seen these before.

Aren’t they wonderful?

Kenneth Townsend was an illustrator based in the U.K. and had quite a talent for making people smile with his art. You may not have seen his work in museums, but after all some of my favorite pieces of art aren’t in frames. Instead you can find his work on tiles, on mugs, on games, on cloth and definitely on people’s minds as his popularity grows today.

Kenneth Townsend worked with companies like Hornsea Pottery where he came up with that delightful menagerie series of animals you saw above.  Man, are they cute.  Here are other fine animal tile goodness!

Wouldn’t they be great in a kid’s bathroom? Perfection.

His glass tile and shallow dish pieces he created when working at Chance Brothers could make any anglophile smile!

He even did some work in textiles for Cuckoobird Productions, where you might have seen this lovely lion!

Kenneth Townsend’s probably peppered many adults’ childhoods as he was an illustrated for two game/toy companies, including James Galt & Co. Ltd, which we featured here awhile back.  I love this marble game Kenneth designed when he worked with Merit Co.

Here are some of the card pieces to his famous Galt matching game.

So next time you are about (especially in England) you may run across some of his work in a thrift shop! Be sure to snap it up!

Are you familiar with Kenneth Thompson? Do you have any of his art?



Having fun with Beautifully Kitschy Masks!

Have you made it over to Kitschy Digitals? It’s a fun marketplace filled with cute digital products like printables, digital scrapbooking kits, needlework patterns and more. Today we wanted to share with you their adorable new collection of Mask Printables that are just perfect for October (and of course) Halloween!

Their latest edition includes vintage-inspired Wizard of Oz masks that are too fun (you can find them here). There is also a great collection of classic masks—with fun additions like the butterfly and the bee hive (my faves!). You can find all of the masks here.  The good news is, they’re all digital, easily printable—and very reasonably priced! When you’re not wearing them, try pinning them up on the wall, for a colorful decor splash.

Hee. Told ya the bee hive was awesome! There’s something for all ages, boys and girls, and even adults! Hop on over to Kitschy Digitals and scoop ’em up today.

The Besty of Etsy :: ReStyle posters

Who doesn’t love a little catherineholm enamelware, but who can afford it? Especially, the oh so elusive teapot. But you can afford this wonderful poster from Etsy shop, ReStyle and hang it in your kitchen. What a nice treat to see every morning with your cup of joe. Sigh.

But o-ho, this very talented Czech illustrator, Jan Skacelik, has found inspiration not only in the beauty of catherineholm enamel ware but in a lot of other things that would make us a bit swirly with love.

Like this ode to Star Wars:

Or this charmer:

Wouldn’t this be fabulous in a nursery?

I’m very fond of this one too!

As you can see, this illustrator has many charms!

Charley Harper, you’re our guy.



Ahhh, Charley Harper! Charley Harper was a Cincinnati-based American artist who was best known for his highly stylized wildlife illustrations. His work has an amazing simplicity and charm—I just love it. And of course designer Todd Oldham loves him too. He and Charley developed a unique friendship and Oldham made it a passion of his to expose as many people as possible to his work. Since Charley’s passing in 2007, he has worked with the Harper estate to produce a ton of cool things. Like The Big Book of Charley (ok, ok, it’s really called Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life). This huge book (it’s gigantic) is a stunner. I don’t own it, but I’ve seen it and let’s just say you’ll need a big coffee table. (little tip, the book is a bit pricey, due to it’s large size, but it’s worth every penny! They re-issued it in a resized, smaller version that is much cheaper—$20— but I hear the quality isn’t quite as good. If you find a great deal on the book, make sure you check the size to see if you are buying the smaller version or the original!).

When Todd Oldham was at Old Navy (remember? he was the Creative Director for a while! I had totally forgotten about that…) he produced a really adorable kid’s collection, featuring Charley Harper artwork—board books, a memory game, a coloring book. We have them all and they are awesome.

In a style he called “minimal realism”, Charley Harper was able to capture the essence of his subjects as simply as possible. When asked to describe his art style, Harper replied,

“When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures.” — Frame House Gallery excerpt, 1977

Isn’t it gorgeous?? Of course you’ve probably heard about the new Todd Oldham line for Target, Kid Made Modern. It’s REEEALLY cute stuff….like these Paint By Numbers!

And then I discovered these adorable wood figures—little birds and leaves that you and your kiddo can paint. Sweet! I can’t wait to do these with Wolfie! {there are a ton of  other non-Charley Harper goodies in this line, I posted a bunch of photos on instagram under my handle: @galexina. You can see them here. You can also see more of the line in Last Month’s Hootenanny. #8 over here!)

Do you love his work as much as I do?? And are you planning on hitting up Target to scoop up some Kid Made Modern goodies??

That Wild Rumpus in the Sky // RIP Maurice Sendak.

I was so saddened to hear that Maurice Sendak died today at the age of 83. He created so many magical worlds for children to explore—none more famous than the brilliant, Where the Wild Things Are. This was one of Wolfie’s absolute favorites when he was little. Our copy is taped and dog eared from many bed time readings….it makes me happy just to see its well worn, well-loved pages. Wolfie had a “Max” plushie as well as 2 of the “Monsters” and I can still see his little three year old self walking around with them in hand.

All of Maurice Sendak’s other books are marvelous too. One of my favorites is the lesser known, What Do You Say, Dear? (1958) which was a collaboration with Sesyle Joslin. I loved it as a kiddo. The illustrations are so awesome!

And then there’s In the Night Kitchen. Which is a little surreal but weirdly wonderful! And of course “The Nutshell Library” (1962), a boxed set of four tiny volumes including “Alligators All Around,” “Chicken Soup With Rice,” “One Was Johnny” and “Pierre.” If you can find it, the Where the Wild Things Are (and Other Maurice Sendak Stories) DVD is really great….it has Carole King singing folksy cool musical versions of all the songs. Did you read these books to your kiddos? Did they love them too?

Such a creative mind….Mr. Sendak, we bow down before you. I hope wherever you are you continue to make mischief of one kind….and another.