Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Hallowe'en weekend! Hope it's mysterious ...

I've no idea who took this wonderfully atmospheric photograph — I can only tell you that their work is on Flickr somewhere. Perhaps they like to be mysterious, too ... Via weheartit.

Vintage Hallowe'en Snapshots

These are just a few of Steve Chasmar's fascinating Flickr set of vintage Hallowe'en photographs from the late 19th and early 20th century. Have a look at the rest of his eerie collection here. Some of these are seriously creepy ... Via Little Hokum Rag.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Buffet Special

Welcome to a special Hallowe'en edition of Buffet, where you'll find a few seasonal entries mixed in with the usual links. Enjoy.

Top Ten Haunted Houses in the UK
Ten spooky houses and hotels with lots of eerie residents, ranging from the terrifying experiences of a guest at Tulloch Castle Hotel in Scotland, who awoke to feel two ghostly girls sitting on his chest in an apparent attempt to suffocate him, to the benign ghost of a children's nursemaid in the Welsh hotel Maes-y-Neuadd's Morfa Suite, who creates an atmosphere of calm in her presence — guests find themselves drifting pleasantly off to sleep.

Industrial Landscapes
Photographer Dave Bullock is inspired by the bleak industrial wastelands of America, and manages to find both beauty and dignity in an unpromising subject matter. Via Cindy (thanks!)

The Literary Gothic
A website dedicated to classic gothic fiction, from its earliest 18th century origins up to 1950. There are quite a few links to etexts, so you can read online the full stories or novels of many long-forgotten writers in this genre. Perfect for getting into the mood for Hallowe'en!

OrangeBeautiful 2009 Calendar
A quick reminder that there's still time to pre-order a copy of OrangeBeautiful's gorgeous 2009 calendar, though you'd better hurry as there's only a couple left ...

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
A quick and easy recipe — you can nibble on the seeds while you finish carving the Hallowe'en pumpkin. Via Tastespotting.

Lost Film Footage of Edwardian London
An Australian historian looking through archives in Canberra has discovered a 12 minute reel of film shot in 1904 as a 'travelogue' for Australians curious about life in London. Besides what you'd expect (scenes of Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square), it also has glimpses of everyday life at that time, which makes it a fascinating social document as well as a piece of tourism history. Via Polymeme.

Where There's Smoke
Dutch designer Maarten Baas literally burns vintage tables, chairs and cupboards before burnishing the remains with an epoxy resin. The blackened results have an eerie presence, and would be right at home in a Tim Burton movie. Via Remodelista.

The Mincing Mockingbird
This is the Etsy shop of a mysterious Los Angeles-based artist who paints exquisite portraits of birds with very funny titles. Go have a look.

The eerie spider web eggs are from Martha Stewartrecipe is here.

Sometimes ...

... fashion is inexplicable. One of the more puzzling trends from the Fall 2008 ready to wear collections was horror chic. These two Addams Family-inspired looks are by Thom Browne.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gashlycrumb TInies

D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh.

I is for Ida who drowned in a lake.

M is for Maude who was swept out to sea.

N is for Neville who died of ennui.

I've always loved the macabre humour and beautifully detailed drawing of Edward Gorey's work. Here are a few samples from his classic book The Gashlycrumb Tinies, an alphabet of truly unfortunate children. You can see the entire series here.

Profit Magazine Illo

I have an illustration in the November issue of Profit Magazine. It accompanies an article about employer-rating websites, and how companies can ensure they don't find themselves portrayed negatively on them by fostering an open working environment. I had a bit of fun with this one ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Simple Pleasures

The messy creative fun of carving a pumpkin for Hallowe'en.

(This atmospheric still life with pumpkins was inspired by the tales of Edgar Allan Poe). Via Martha Stewart.

Archive: House of Mystery

In the office of Franck, a Louis XVI day bed is covered with a 19th century striped damask. Behind the 18th century wrought iron and marble table, a church candlestick is topped by a crown of painted wood. Above the bed hangs a painting representing the arms of the city of Amiens. Against the wall lean Louis XV panels of wood with their original paint.

In the small dining room, a statue of polychromed wood stands before a heavy canvas curtain. As is traditional with farms in the region, the walls are paneled horizontally with elm planks. On the floor is the original brick paving.

On an antique console, a still life designed in the spirit of 18th century curiosity cabinets includes religious artifacts, skeletons, old books and fragments of sculptures, 17th century prints and 18th century drawings.

Photo stylist Franck Delmarchelle and antique dealer Laurent Dombrowicz transformed their modest eighteenth century farmhouse in Picardy, France into a surreal home filled with the unexpected. Here the curious visitor, cautiously exploring, happens upon such surprising inhabitants as the stuffed ostrich residing in a box in the former stables, the cat sleeping for eternity on a pedestal, the rabbit throne in the kitchen, and the owl on the night table who watches over your sleep. Living here is to step straight into the pages of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, where the strange and the unexpected are part of everyday life. If you'd like a little bit of this fantastical world for your very own, Franck has a shop on rue du Poitou in Paris called Et caetera, where you can find items much like the ones in the Picardy farmhouse. Scanned from an early 2000ish copy of Marie Claire Maison.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ghoulies and Ghosties

It's a week of spookiness on automatism, in anticipation of Hallowe'en on Friday ... so sprinkled here and there over the next few days will be the odd post with a Gothic note (Gothic as in 18th and 19th century gothic fiction, with the requisite eerie castles, blasted landscapes and haunted heroines). Who's that tap tapping at my door? (Photo via ? — if you know, please let me know)

Chiharu Shiota

Japanese-born artist Chiharu Shiota graduated from Kyoto Seika University and spent some time in Australia before moving to Germany, where she currently lives and works. Her most recent installations express her ambivalence about desiring the security net of safety, love and home while at the same time fearing it to be a fleeting and misleading concept, leading to entrapment. Haunting and dreamlike work. You can see more at the Goff + Rosenthal Gallery, too. Via Le Divan Fumoir Bohémien.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Happy weekend! Hope it's a lovely one. This beautiful photograph of a dahlia is by Kari Herer — it's available as a limited edition print from her Etsy shop.

House of Love

This is such a lovely story. Ghanaian-born architect Joe Osae-Addo was living and working in Los Angeles, when on a visit to Ghana in 2000 he ran into (and eventually fell in love with) Sara Asafu-Adjaye, an old high-school classmate who was living in London. The two embarked on a long-distance relationship, and before long Osae-Addo sprang a surprise on Asafu-Adjaye: He suggested they build a house together on a piece of land in Accra, given to him by his mother. The result is this gorgeous open plan home with a mid-century modern influence. Read the rest of the Dwell story by Frances Anderton here. (Photos by Dook)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Welcome to this week's selection of links. Enjoy.

Vintage Photos of Paris
The online photographic collection of the City of Paris. Amazing. Via things magazine.

Ceding Control to a World of Random Beauty
Alice Rawsthorn looks at contemporary designers who work with natural crystals to create forms such as chairs and other objects. Unlike traditional design, where the final product is a predicted result of careful planning, these designers consciously cede control over the final result — the medium dictates the form.

Inspired Reading
Goodness blog recently asked a group of noted graphic designers to recommend a book that they found inspiring or meaningful in their development as a creative person ... but wasn't on graphic design. The answers are quite interesting. Via Swiss Miss.

Multicolr Search Lab by Idée
The Multicolr Search Lab has applied its visual similarity technology to Flickr — choose up to ten colours, and in return it'll find Flickr photos in those colours. Quite mesmerizing, actually. Via Kottke.

Words of Wisdom From Vivienne Westwood
A bit of eccentric but inspiring advice from a fashion legend.

The Politics of the Retouched Headshot
Virginia Postrel of The Atlantic examines just what constitutes a valid portrait these days in an increasingly image-savvy culture. Via Design Observer.

Subliminal Veggies
Alicia of the great bread & honey blog has photographic proof of frozen broccoli packaging gone weird. A must-see!

Download, Print, Fold, Paste
Low-tech Magazine has a great post full of links to sites with downloadable paper models, from vintage ones of 19th century French circuses to modern spaceships. Via Cabinet Magazine.

The pretty photograph is from the portfolio of stylist Lucyina Moodie.

Armchair Traveler: Japan

A pathway in the Oyakuen Garden, in Aizuwakamatsu City. Just looking at this photo makes me feel peaceful. Via descarga 6947 on Flickr.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Joseph of the Book Design Review blog lists these cover designs by the Canadian design firm Paprika as among his faves from this year's AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers show (now up in New York), saying he chose them as he's very fond of collage. I definitely agree with both his love of collage and his choice — I find these beautifully designed, too. You can see the rest of the AIGA show in the AIGA Design Archives.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Simple Pleasures

A good hair day.

(Photo of Jean Shrimpton via Donna Lethal on Flickr)

Jewel Tones

This exquisite series of photos is from a July 2008 spread of fall fashion in W Magazine. I love the jewel-like tones — and the gorgeous composition, too. You can see more here. Photographed by David Slijper and styled by Marcus Teo.

From top to bottom: Alexander McQueen silk tulle dress with Swarovski crystal and ruby detail, and silk satin bolero; Givenchy leather jacket, rayon and cotton blouse and polyester pants by Riccardo Tisci and Derek Lam belt; Alberta Ferretti double-felt wool dress and Stephen Webster ring; Giorgio Armani angora gown, Yohji Yamamoto hat, Iosselliani necklace (worn as bracelet), Chanel necklace (worn as belt).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dream Atelier

Emma of the gorgeous White & Wander blog had a recent post on this stunning converted French warehouse, about which I have nothing else to add except maybe Yowza! More photos here, too.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Happy weekend! Hope it's a relaxing one. This pretty (and very comfortable-looking) photograph is by Nan Whitney. Via Desire to Inspire.

Mini Modern

This tiny 16 square metre duplex in Paris was cleverly expanded by the addition of a small L-shaped mezzanine, reached by a floating folded sheet metal staircase. In turn the staircase leads from a white box that encorporates a TV and a kitchen cupboard. Below, the kitchen alcove can be instantly hidden from the living space by the silver slatted blind. Above, in the office/sleep space, the bedding is neatly folded away each morning, leaving the office free for working in. The bathroom is tucked away in the small end of the mezzanine and receives natural light through an interior window. Thoughtfully designed, this tiny home is an elegant solution to the eternal problem of living well in limited space. Via Marie Claire Maison.
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