Thursday, July 31, 2008


This week's selection, to be savoured over the course of a sunny afternoon. Enjoy.

Deadly Vintage
A vintage clothing website with lots of great finds (and very reasonable prices, too). For those who like their vintage with attitude.

Record Sleeves of the Month
The Creative Review blog picks their favourite record sleeves of the month. Some great design. But even better -- a new (and beautifully designed) album by Stereolab! Yay!

A Waterproof Picnic Blanket
A nifty idea from (who else?) Martha Stewart. We've been getting a lot of rain alternating with heat this summer -- our last picnic featured blazing sun and squelchy shade -- so this is the perfect solution.

10 Things to Scratch From Your Worry List
John Tierney of the New York Times calms your fears of killer hot dogs, toxic water bottles and other warm weather worries. Get outside and enjoy those summer holidays!

A.R.E. Naturals
A nicely designed online shop that features green and organic home accessories for the kitchen, dining room and bath -- plus organic bedding, natural cleaning products, and other good things. I rather like the Capiz Shell Chimes -- they might be a good substitute for the Verner Panton's Fun Pendant Lamp (without the light, though) until I can afford the real thing ...

It's How You Said It
Design heavyweight Paula Scher takes a look at the recent controversial New Yorker cover by Barry Blitt -- a satirical portrayal of the right's image of the Obamas in the White House. I agree with Paula's opinion about the illustration style not working, though (as an illustrator myself) I don't think it needs to be replaced by photography, but rather by an illustrator with a much tougher approach (sorry, Barry!). Via Design Observer.

Coming Soon: Your Very Own Jetpack!
The first practical jetpack is currently going through its trial runs, though it's not the compact one that James Bond was using in the 60s. Pretty cool, though.

Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling
This new show at MOMA sounds intriguing -- it's a history of the prefabricated home as well as a building project of five contemporary prefabricated houses in the Museum's Fifty-Fourth Street lot.

The lovely summery photograph is by Ngoc Minh Ngo.

Etsy: High Street Market

Kelly sent me a lovely email earlier this week about her great new Etsy shop, called High Street Market. Kelly is an interior designer by trade, and her shop is not only a small side business but a labour of love, where she sells one-of-a-kind vintage finds for the home as well as a selection of her own handmade pieces. Kelly sources her stock from flea markets, antique stores, estate sales, and auctions in New York, Philadelphia, and (she says) everywhere in between, too. There's new pieces being added each week, so it's worth checking in often to see what she's discovered in her travels -- or you can add your name to her mailing list if you'd like a regular email update.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Seaside Lighting

The 1982 Eclipse Lamp by Mauricio Klabin is designed to opened or closed to varying degrees. Available from Design Within Reach.

The Fun Pendant, designed in 1964 by Verner Panton. Available from twentytwentyone.

An amazing coral/twig chandelier designed by Todd Merrill, made in France in the 1950s. Available from Blinkdecor.

Some beautiful lighting, each inspired by the ocean. Someday I'd like to get my own Fun Pendant ...

Nautical Goodness

Love this modern take on sailor pants and top by Nino Bauti. There's lots more equally gorgeous pieces from this designer, too -- enjoy. Via apartment #34.

Paddle to the Sea

If you were a Canadian kid in the late 1960s - 1970s, it's a sure bet that you'll have memories of this 1966 classic Canadian children's film. Paddle to the Sea is based on the book of the same name by Holling C. Holling, with the film version directed by Bill Mason and produced by the great National Film Board. The story (from the NFB site): "During the long winter night, an Indian boy sets out to carve a man and a canoe. He calls the man "Paddle to the Sea." The boy sets the carving down on a frozen stream to await the coming of spring. The film charts the adventures that befall the canoe on its long odyssey from Lake Superior to the sea. This delightful story is photographed with great patience and an eye for the beauty of living things, offering vivid impressions of Canada's varied landscape and waterways." It's a lovely film to watch. You can order it directly from the NFB here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Cottage of One's Own

Visiting Nova Scotia always makes me want to have my own little (winterized!) cottage by the ocean. So, I had a browse through the LivingEtc Eco style gallery, and picked a few inspiring interiors for my imaginary little place by the water. I prefer a kind of rustic modern approach to decorating for a cottage -- here's what I came up with.

Gifts From the Sea

Just thought I'd show you a few things I picked up while in Nova Scotia. These two chunky bracelets, made of shell (a gift from my wonderful stepmum), and the mushroom coral were all found in Lunenburg. I love souvenirs that I can enjoy every day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Nova Scotia

Hi all! I'm back from my little holiday in beautiful Nova Scotia. The occasion was a fun one -- my stepmum arranged for my brother and I to fly down to surprise my Dad on his birthday (they had both flown there a few days earlier), and it went perfectly -- he was utterly dumbfounded but very happy. The weather was foggy for the most part, but despite the somewhat gloomy skies it was still a great trip. Here are some of the photos I took of the places I visited during my very short and very busy holiday -- Lunenburg, LeHave, Crescent Beach, Halifax, Blue Rocks and Chester.

Shell Candles

Pretty seashore inspiration from Martha Stewart -- shell candles. Find full instructions on how to make them here.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Wheee! I'm on holidays this week, so for the next few days you might enjoy browsing some of my favourite blogs (at right) while I'm away. I'll be back again next Monday (July 28). Hope you have a great week! This great photo, incidentally, was taken in Madrid around 1908, and is from the George Eastman House photostream on Flickr. Via Boing Boing.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Happy weekend! May you find beauty in the unexpected. This lovely photo is from the portfolio of photographer Francine Zaslow, whom I discovered via Design is Mine. You should really have a look at Francine's extraordinary website -- not only is her work beautiful, but the site design is amazing, too.

Vintage Posters

The aptly named Totally Amazing Posters has a fantastic collection of vintage posters from all over Europe. Looking at these, I can see the influence of Surrealism and other art movements in quite a few of these (such as the de Chirico-ish ad for Il Tempo in the bottom right corner) -- interesting to see how fine art spilled over to popular art.

White Elephant Vintage

Hollie and Jane over at White Elephant Vintage have another great theme sale at their shop. This time it's vintage sports and games pieces, with loads of fun items such as bull horns, game boards, boxing gloves, bowling pins, magic sets, roller skates, bingo rollers ... the list goes on. Hurry over to check it out before it's all gone!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


This week's link finds, for a happy afternoon browse. Make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy.

My Marrakesh
Maryam's beautiful blog of her Morocco experiences is now about to become a book, which she describes as "part memoir, part Moroccan design treatise." It's due to be published in 2009, and I for one can hardly wait. Until then, be sure to check out her blog regularly for lots of rich and wonderful inspiration.

Juntique Hammer Collection
A site devoted to one guy's hammer collection (though he's expanding it to wrenches and planes now, too). Quirky and a labour of love. Via Cindy (thanks!)

A Lost World Made by Women
Richard Woodward of the New York Times goes to Belgium to visit some of the last remaining beguinages, homes of the beguines — a Roman Catholic laic order of women that began in the 13th century and branched across northwest Europe (and possibly represented the world’s oldest women’s movement).

City Kids and Lemonade Stands
Lovely Joanna of A Cup of Jo blog wrote a great article for New York Magazine this week, interviewing kids about how they went about selling lemonade to jaded city dwellers. Joanna says on her blog that the kids were great (and hilarious), and reports that "their tricks to increase sales included purposefully misspelling "lemonade" on their signs and telling people's fortunes." Awesome.

Design Freebies
The very busy Summer, blogger extraordinaire, not only does the great Design is Mine blog and (with her friend Alicia) the lovely new Bread & Honey blog, but has just created yet another blog, Design Freebies, which is devoted to free design stuff. It's a great resource, though I hope Summer gets some time off soon. Whew! :)

Socially Awkward? Hit the Books!
Intriguing story by Hayley Mick in the Globe and Mail about how studies show that reading fiction helps you become more adept at social interaction with others. Mick reports that "... readers of narrative fiction scored higher on tests of empathy and social acumen than those who read non-fiction texts. And follow-up research showed that reading fiction may help fine-tune these skills: People assigned to read a New Yorker short story did better on social reasoning tests than those who read an essay from the same magazine." More reasons to love reading a big juicy novel ...

The Jazz Age in Print (20s - 30s) Pool
A great Flickr pool of graphic design from the 1920s and 1930s. Loads of eye candy.

Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence
Sakeenah of TCM emailed me about this a while ago, but sadly I completely forgot about it until now. Here's what it is: this month Turner Classic Movies premieres a new interview series, TCM Presents Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence. Mitchell, who has in turn been a film critic for the New York Times for four years, Editor-at-large for Spin magazine, and a writer for Esquire magazine, will talk each Monday in July with celebrity guests about how classic film has influenced their lives. We've missed the ones with Sydney Pollack and Bill Murray, but coming up is Laurence Fishburne (July 21) and Quentin Tarantino (July 28).

Glamour Horror
Judy Rumbold reviews a new exhibition of fashion photography at the Photographers' Gallery in London called Fashion in the Mirror, and reminisces about her own crazy (and funny) experiences as a fashion photographer's assistant in the early 1980s.

The delicious apple tart above was photographed by the ever brilliant Gemma Comas.

Armchair Traveler: Travel Collage

A great idea from Martha Stewart: creating your own framed travel collage from the odds and ends brought back from a trip, such as tickets, guidebooks, maps, menus, candy wrappers and other packaging. It's a bit of work (scanning your stuff and printing it out) but as you can see the end result looks great. Plus, you get to enjoy it every day. Full instructions can be found here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sitting Pretty

I absolutely love this table setting, styled by the amazingly talented Rebecca Thuss, and photographed by James Baigrie. Discovered via Tas-ka.

Fresh and Summery

I love the airy, summery feel of the pretty Danish home of Hanni and Steffen, originally a fisherman's cottage. The contrast of more formal elements (such as the chandelier over the dining table, and the lacy iron staircase) with the rougher textures of wood and baskets is playful and appealing, too. You can see more of their lovely home here. Via Sköna hem. (photographed by Joachim Wichmann)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Japanese Matchbox Covers

These are just a few examples from an amazing Flickr set of vintage Japanese matchbox covers by Jane McDevitt (aka maraid), a designer and photographer based in Yorkshire, UK. Jane writes that these were collected by the grandfather of her friend Michael, and date from around the 1920s-40s. Love these! Have a look at more great examples from the collection here.

Motivate Prints

Emily of Orange Beautiful just sent along a note about her cheeky new line of 4-color, hand screen-printed, limited edition MOTIVATE designs, all guaranteed to stop procrastination in its tracks. Perfect for the studio, office, or even at home. Available from the Orange Beautiful Etsy shop.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I'm laid low with a migraine at the moment, but I'll be back to post something new as soon as I feel more human. This delicately beautiful illustration, incidentally, is by the great book illustrator Arthur Rackham, for the classic fairy tale The Sleeping Beauty. I plan to follow her example for a bit ...

Friday, July 11, 2008


Happy weekend! May it be as creatively inspiring as this lovely photograph by Ngoc Minh Ngo is. Via la boudoir (thanks, Stacy!).

Living Room Inspiration

I've been having a lovely browse on the British Homes and Gardens website -- here are some great examples I found in the living room gallery. You can check out the galleries here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A refreshing selection of links to nibble away on during a warm summer afternoon. Enjoy.

A True Kafkaesque Tale
The strange but true story of the lost papers of 20th century literary giant Franz Kafka, hoarded for 40 years in the Tel Aviv flat of Kafka's executor's secretary.

The Vintage Cookbooks Pool
A Flickr pool of charming (and at times funny) vintage cookbooks.

Florence in Photos
A stunningly beautiful Flickr photo set by B. Katt. Makes me want to drop everything and rush off to Italy right this second ...
Designer clothes and accessories delivered to your doorstep. They also have fantastic sales that are well worth checking out. I recently purchased a beautiful pair of Kate Spade slingbacks from them, at half price.

The Top Ten Albums of 1989
Andrew Womack of The Morning News puts together a fantastic list of great music from 1989. Lots of good stuff to revisit.

Designing Homes for the Homeless
Jim Lewis of the New York Times Magazine looks at the many problems inherent in designing shelter for the staggering numbers of displaced people around the world (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are around 33 million people currently "of concern" at the moment), and what architects need to consider when tackling this serious problem.

It's back! And better than ever.

Trash Bag Balloon Animals
If you haven't got around to checking this out (it's been on the Web a lot over the last few weeks), take a look now at artist Joshua Allen Harris's fantastic balloon animals, created from garbage bags and tape and then positioned over subway exhaust grates in New York. Totally fun and accessible street art. Via Boing Boing.

The wonderfully cool and delicious salad photograph is by Ellen Silverman.

Armchair Traveler: A Summer Retreat

This lovely photograph by Virginia MacDonald reminds me of the classic children's book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett. I hope that you have your own special corner of greenery to enjoy this summer, whether it's in the backyard, on a plant-filled balcony, or under a favourite shady tree in a park.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Canadian-born fashion and interiors photographer and stylist Shani Beadle launched Étoile Home in 2006, inspired by the colours, textiles and prints she found during her travels around the world. There's some beautiful stuff here -- and not surprisingly the product photos are lovely, too. Via Purple Area.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bookshelf: A Vintage Cookbook

From one of automaticsweetheart's Flickr streams -- a sampling of some of the wonderful illustrations by Ruth McCrea from Simple Italian Cookery, a vintage cookbook automaticsweetheart purchased from a library cellar for 25 cents. She's now thinking of framing them and hanging them in her kitchen. These are seriously groovy. Via Flickr: the mid-century illustrated pool.

Portrait: Gerald Scarfe

There's an interesting short Q & A session with cartoonist Gerald Scarfe in the Guardian today. Scarfe draws caricatures, political cartoons, album artwork and designs for opera, film and theatre. His designs for the 1979 Pink Floyd album The Wall are published this month by Gloria as a limited-edition box set.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Archive: Nordic Beauty

In the dining room, the large Dutch table is lit by an 18th century chandelier. A collection of antique mercury glass candlesticks add sparkle to late night suppers. A mirror and framed artwork are ranged along a white-lacquered wood shelf running the length of the back wall, providing a simple and easily-changed display area. On the right, two Fortuny lamps add a decorative touch.

A view through the music room to the living area. In the foreground, a Nagato tabouret by Christian Liaigre is a stylish perch for CDs. French doors open onto the garden behind the low wenge table, also by Liaigre, that serves as a focal point for comfortable linen-covered seating and a Louis XVI chair recovered in a fabric by Carolyn Quartermaine.

The kitchen is separated from the dining area by a low counter, while open shelves serve as a display area as well as for storage. Simple white-lacquered cupboards are set off by a natural wood countertop, and antique silver frames add a note of luxury. The whole space is lit by plastic hanging lamps from the 1950s.

Top left: the bathroom floor and tub surround are in grey marble. Top right: The salon is warmed by a traditional Swedish ceramic stove. A copper half circle protects the floor from the heat of the stove. Bottom: In the bedroom, a long shelf runs along the length of the wall (interrupted by the bed) and serves as bedside storage. A large mirror by Christian Liaigre sits beside a photo-montage by Balder Olrik and antique candlesticks converted into lamps. Under the shelf are antique Chinese marriage chests.

The light-filled office overlooks the garden. A table and chairs by Christian Liaigre stand on coconut matting.

The serene home of Marlene Juhl Jorgensen and her husband Peter gazes out over a garden that runs down to the sea. The Copenhagen-based jewelry designer has kept the interior of her home simple, preferring to emphasize the light and the lovely outside view. A predominantly black and white palette is warmed by wood, grass matting, natural linen, and the glow of 18th century lighting and gilded mirrors. Calm and beautiful, it's a home of both elegance and comfort. Scanned from an early 2000-ish copy of Marie Claire Maison (sorry -- can't find a photographer credit).
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