Sally Schneider

Vintage Painted Brick Walls Etched with Swirls and Runes

At Chai Wali restaurant in Harlem, we saw a wonderful treatment for the old painted brick walls of the brownstone that that houses the restaurant. It was much more interesting than a plain stripped brick wall, and would be a fine technique to apply in a living or work space.

Read More 5.25.16 | 2:40am

Tony Feher’s Wondrous Blue Tape Paintings

Years ago, we visited a friend house-sitting a loft with a wondrous blue tape artworks on the windows. Astonishing, we thought, how a pattern of torn pieces of painter's tape can change how we see. We discovered it was the work of artist Tony Feher, whose more elaborate works border on transcendent.

Read More 5.24.16 | 2:08am
Mikihiko Hori/Flickr
Sally Schneider

$4 Adventures in Artisan Perfumes

We spent several illuminating hours exploring the website of Twisted Lily, a fragrance boutique in Brooklyn that features artisanal perfumes. Buying $4 sample sizes of several of their 648 offerings proved an exciting, affordable way to learn about the mysterious, sensual world of fragrances.

Read More 5.19.16 | 10:21am
Matthew Sporzynski

Matthew Sporzynski’s Aluminum Tablet Stand

We were thrilled to find an email from paper artist Matthew Sporzynski , aka Couturier de Cardboard  (whose work we’ve featured in the past), that said simply XO from W23! with photos of his a la minute improvisation: a tablet stand. Of ...

Read More 5.18.16 | 2:00pm
Tom Ashcraft: Make the Heart Light Up

Tom Ashcraft: Make the Heart Light Up

( Video link here. )  For years, Thomas Ashcraft has been documenting atmospheric phenomena —meteors, space dusts, the sun, fleeting emanations of cosmic light called  sprites . Although he’s gained a lot of recognition for the remarkable sightings he’s recorded in his All Sky ...

Read More 5.18.16 | 2:49am
Sally Schneider

Sign Interventions for Friends and Self

When a hugely-talented and hard-working friend was savagely comparing her progress to other people — mostly strangers — whom she perceived to be way more successful, masterful, and able than she, I did an intervention (one that I do on myself as well).

Read More 5.17.16 | 2:21am
Gustavo Matamoros

Wonders and Possibilities Hiding in Plain Sight

In Fly By Night , artist Duke Riley trained 2,000 pigeons to fly above the Brooklyn Navy Yard at dusk with tiny lights attached to their legs. The performance invites us to really SEE something we are so accustomed to that we’ve become ...

Read More 5.16.16 | 2:06am
Twisted Lily

Quick Delicious: Riff on Icebox Cakes + Stacks

When a dessert chef renowned for her decadent chocolate pie didn't show up one day in a restaurant I worked years ago, a prep cook whipped up a quickie dessert: the old-fashioned icebox cake that his mother used to make. It proved a giant hit. Since then, I've done a number of riffs on that endlessly improvisable approach.

Read More 5.13.16 | 2:57am

Art-Inspired Outdoor Wallpaper

Viewing the installations scattered through Marcus Garvey Park's art fair, we were struck by a brick wall covered with vivid flower patterns, overlaid with portraits of women of color. OUTDOOR WALLPAPER! Why hasn't anyone thought of that...or have they?

Read More 5.12.16 | 2:31am
Sally Schneider

A Practice for Dire Straits

In January, after Improvised Life had been down for several days, I sent out a message to Friends with Benefits members. The message said, in essence: "The site is down, I hope it will be back and that years of writing and images have not been damaged; please send whatever personal magic you employ my way." Then it seemed, my only option was to wait and practice Improvised Life's principles...

Read More 5.11.16 | 2:34am

Non-Procrastinators’ Bed Work Stations

This bed-studio with storage ladder is a symbol of NOT-procrastination. Every element in the room is designed for work without impediment or delay: the neat arrangement of camera, brushes, books, snug against the tumbled bed, in good light….with the ...

Read More 5.10.16 | 2:16am
Sally Schneider

A Thought Experiment for Cultivating Creative Magic

In the park across the way, we found a classic children's book that we'd somehow never read: The Secret Garden. As Spring transforms the park, it is perfect timing to read about an abandoned garden coming to life. We saw the garden through the eyes of Colin, the young shut-in who experienced Nature for the first time. We discovered an interesting idea to experiment with as well.

Read More 5.9.16 | 2:40am