[Alternative Muses] Style Guide: Schokko with a Red Hat

 Schokko with a Red Hat by Alexej Jawlensky is my favourite painting. She lives at the Columbus Museum of Art: I like to visit her when I go home.

Schokko with Red Hat by Alexej Jawlensky, 1909

Schokko with a Red Hat by Alexej Jawlensky, 1909. Columbus Museum of Art.

Schokko was an artist’s model. She adored drinking hot chocolate so much that it inspired her quirky nickname. I wonder if it kept her warm during long hours of working in drafty ateliers?

Her gaze in this painting is simultaneously direct and circumspect, which nicely mirrors her unnaturally presented yet magnetic appearance. She’s a woman with something to say, but what?

Did Schokko like or care how she was presented to the world, through other people’s eyes?  Was she a fan of modern art? Was drinking cup after cup of hot chocolate, between poses, the highlight of her day?

What did she look forward to, go home to, do in her spare time? Did she even like the colour red?



There’s more to style than what they tell you about in the pages of Vogue. Inspiration is everywhere. In this case, it shines at us from inside a picture frame. 

What does it say?

Colour is expression. Hats are relentlessly chic. Boldness is armour.

Building an unusual colour palette, deliberate and nuanced, isn’t just for paintings. Continue reading

Shopping for the Bookworm: Nancy Drew Edition

Continue reading

[Book Nerd Links] Lighthearted Literary Links for a Gorgeous Monday

It’s Opening Day! If you live in America, you know what this means. For the rest of you, I’m referring to our national pastime: baseball. This is my excuse for being (otherwise) absent from the blog today. Here are some links to tide you over. See you tomorrow!

Bob Feller for Roadmaster, 1941

Legendary Cleveland pitcher Bob Feller for Roadmaster, 1941.

[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Françoise Sagan

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”-Yves Saint Laurent

Françoise Sagan was the ultimate cool girl writer. If you believe that style should be effortless and detached, then she is your muse. Even today, a wardrobe like hers can take you almost anywhere, and anywhere it can’t you probably don’t want to go.


The writer looking brilliantly modern. Oh, that skirt! That shirt! That hair!

Her uncomplicated look remains fresh more than five decades later. Who needs nail varnish and lipstick when you can look like this? She is proof that decadent lives do not need visible gilding. Continue reading

It’s My Birthday!

I’m spending today gallivanting around town with the husband, doing birthday things. I will see all of you dear readers tomorrow. Have a lovely day!


Birthday pedicure

Birthday pedicure

“There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know.”-Lewis Carroll

Daily Diversion #142: New Studio View

I am not a plant or flower or tree person. I cannot keep green things alive. I’ve no idea what kind of tree this is-I only know that it overlooks my second-story studio and that it is refreshingly lovely.

New studio view

New studio view.

It’s a beaut, isn’t it?

Take two

Take two: first-floor view from the front porch.

The studio will be ready next week. I can hardly wait.

“To the great tree-loving fraternity we belong. We love trees with universal and unfeigned love, and all things that do grow under them or around them-the whole leaf and root tribe.”-Henry Ward Beecher