Steeltown Anthem

Rachel Arnold Sager’s 100 Days


I see a lot of these on social media where folks do an art project that goes on and on for so many days in a row. I dream of attempting to participate but I know it takes real determination to start and finish! I follow Rachel Sager on Instagram and I saw her posting artwork with the tag #100daysofrasager. As this project kept going, it was wonderful to watch her pieces unfold.


Now that it’s finished, WildCard is showing these pieces in an exhibit Thursday, July 30 from 6-9pm! I’m pretty excited to attend because I really love the pieces Rachel has been putting out. I asked her to tell us a little bit about this project and what made her want to do it.



“100 Days began as participation in Elle Luna’s The 100 Day Project, which encouraged doing something (anything, really) for 100 days in a row and sharing it on Instagram. While it started out as an excuse to execute a few sketchbooks’ worth of ideas, it quickly became journalistic – more often than not, each day’s 5″ x 5″ piece was inspired while out walking the dog, news or family events, etc. I also wanted to experiment in media, subject, and style. But most important to the project was a) finishing it, and b) sharing the pieces regardless of whether they each turned out the way I wanted them to or not. Mistakes are hard to show, but it’s an important part of growing – so I wanted to celebrate even when things veered away from my intentions or beyond my skill.”

Worker Bird Studio Tour

I was so excited when I finally nailed down a day to hang out and visit Kim Fox’s home studio. We first met when I moved back to Pittsburgh in 2009. I went to Handmade Arcade and her display instantly caught my eye. I introduced myself, we struck up a conversation and the rest is history.


Artist Ryder Henry

Photos by Quelcy Kogel

A few months ago, Quelcy and I had the chance to visit Ryder Henry’s home courtesy of the Mattress Factory 500 tours. Ryder’s creative endeavors include paintings, murals, sculptures and spaceships. Yes, on his site, he lists spaceships!

The Victorian house is beautiful with stained glass windows, dark wood trim and pieces of furniture that make you feel as though you’re in a different era. We were able to wander through each room, look around and listen to stories about the home.

Sunday Finds

When I started the blog, I use to round up my favorite finds from Craigslist. It started to become more tedious because that was before the site had actual photos. As I was perusing through, I came across some wonderful finds that I thought were worth sharing. To my surprise, it was much easier to put this round up together. I’m hoping to continue posting frequently. Enjoy!

Carnegie Coffee

Photography by Quelcy Kogel

Carnegie is a small, quiet town. I felt a bit far from the city but that happens anytime I travel more than 15 minutes from Pittsburgh. On our way to find the coffee shop we took a wrong turn but once we arrived, I felt at ease.
Carnegie Coffee Company is located in what used to be the Carnegie Post Office. Instead of tearing everything away, I love how the owners decided to keep the post office fixtures, the old door and the mailboxes. Working within the confines of the historic space, the coffee shop has a bright, airy and modern feel.

Makers Roundup

We have a lot of local talent here in Pittsburgh. Instagram has become one of my favorite ways to keep up with different makers in our area. Here’s a few you should follow:


Day Shift

I was first introduced to Day Shift’s work from a trunk show that was put together at TOWNHOUSE last year and the pieces blew me away! This design studio is run by Justin Lacey and Miriam Devlin and is based right here Pittsburgh. I could just call them a furniture manufacturer but they take it to another level by offering design and interior services. I’m seriously in love with the work they do. Their pieces are handcrafted, simple, modern, sustainable and they pay attention to detail.

Take a look!

The Land In The Fork

You can’t tell from my screen but this booklet was printed by hand and each page was done by letterpress. Whenever you open it, you can feel the textures and how each of the letter blocks indent the page. This was published in 1959 by DUODECIMO, designed by the Advanced Typography Group at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now CMU) along with several contributors for each page. It goes through Pittsburgh’s history and gives a brief snippet of the years starting with 1754 all the way to 1959. These books were limited editions and only 250 copies existed. I managed to get my hands on this one through Kelly Carter of PghBox, her grandfather contributed to it and she was kind of enough to lend this one to me.

1404 Swissvale Avenue – House of Gold

My zip code is 15221, this area is Wilkinsburg or some will just call it Regent Square. I first moved to this neighborhood in 2000. Back then Craigslist didn’t exist and you had to browse through the newspaper for apartments. I made an appointment to see one on Whitney Avenue. It was an older, four story home that was painted a pinkish color with a huge porch and a back yard. I applied and got the place! My family seemed concerned about the move to this neighborhood. Me being young, I really didn’t care and I had a good feeling about my new apartment. My landlords lived below me and were very welcoming. Also, living near Regent Square was a huge bonus. Up until this point, I had only lived Downtown, in a small studio apartment and didn’t venture out into other neighborhoods.

Photos are from House of Gold website

Fast forward to a few years later, I moved away and then when I came back to Pittsburgh, I reconnected with the same landlords, they had an apartment coming up for rent. This time, the apartment was more towards Penn Avenue. I wasn’t sure what I would think but I gave it a shot. Of course it was beautiful with wood floors, working fire place, a sun room and a fenced in back yard. I love my apartment and I love the neighborhood I live in.

The reason I’m explaining this is people sometimes make the worst assumptions when I tell them where I live, as if it’s crazy or dangerous. Living in a city, you just need to be careful where ever you go. I’m always rooting for Wilkinsburg and see that it has great potential. All the politics and money make everything slow moving when it comes to developing the area. When you drive on certain streets, you pass by a lot of abandoned houses and empty lots. They have started a couple programs where folks can buy up these properties but you need to be willing to put in a lot of work since most of them have been sitting empty for years. There’s also other the fun challenge of attempting to get loans from the bank when you do decide you want to make the commitment.

When Dee Briggs emailed me about the House of Gold, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Is this some installation? An art project? The home was built in 1875 and was scheduled to be demolished. As an artist, Briggs felt a responsibility to bring people’s attention to the value of this home’s rich history. How could you draw people’s attention? Paint the house all gold! I enjoy her approach to this because it draws people in. We are so accustomed to driving by all the abandon homes here in Pittsburgh, that we don’t really stop to think about what’s behind them? I will admit my first thought was “why not revamp it into a livable space?” After reading more about it in the Tribune Review, I understood her reasoning behind this. My favorite quote from this piece is her explaining why she decided to go with gold paint – “Gold because I wanted to emphasize that it still has value. This is not just a vacant house; it’s a place. People grew up here. Everybody in the neighborhood once had a relationship with this house. I want people to identify with it again.”

Briggs also built a website that explains everything and the house’s timeline. Being a designer, I really enjoyed reading through the history behind it and the fact that you can voice your thoughts or comments. If you sit and think about all the homes in Pittsburgh that have been abandoned, they all have a story, and they all had someone that once live inside them. As someone who lives near this place, I don’t know what the solution is to all the abandoned properties. I have ideas just like the next person but sometimes there’s so much redtape that it’s hard to see any progress being made. I hope projects like this can bring more attention to the problem and maybe things can start to move forward in a positive way.

Lisa + Jeff’s Penn Avenue Home

Photography by Jenny Karlsson

I have visited Lisa and Jeff’s home a few times and it’s one of my favorite spaces. I love how eclectic it is and whenever something catches my eye, there’s usually a great story behind it. I asked Lisa to tell us a little bit about their space:
“We live in an early 20th century shoe store/book store/general store converted into an open-plan living/studio space. We are collectors, and most of our finds from flea markets, our travels, and even the trash inspire much of our work. What we love most about our unconventional home is its challenges: it’s not a typical space, so we are always coming up with creative ways to decorate and utilize space, as well as strengthen communication with each other while living in close quarters. We love how the space has evolved into a larger art piece, representing who we are as artists, as well as a couple.”