Friday, November 28, 2008

Matte Stephens

Grain edit has an excellent interview with artist Matte Stephens — read it here. Bonus: there's also shots of his very cool home alongside examples of his wonderful paintings, too! And if you like the work you see here, check out Brainiac, Matte's Etsy shop, where you can purchase both original paintings and prints directly from him.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy browsing!

Wish List of Extinct Species to Bring Back Again
With the advances in DNA regeneration, recreating extinct prehistoric animals (à la Jurassic Park) is beginning to look more and more possible within our lifetime. Nicholas Wade of The New York Times draws up his personal wish list of species he'd like to see again. Via The Morning News.

Reverse Graffiti
Lovely Abbey of Aesthetic Outburst has an interesting post about the Reverse Graffiti Project, which, unlike the usual graffiti that adds images and words to walls with paint, creates its images by washing grime and dirt off selectively through stencils. Fascinating idea.

The 7 Best Lip Balms
W Magazine lists their favourite picks of the zillions of lip balms out there, just in time for winter. They all sound delicious!

The Agony of Quitting
This is a recent story that I illustrated for the Globe and Mail, but that's not why I'm mentioning it here. Despite a sombre subject matter (a man unhappy in his new job finds out his father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer) it's a lovely lesson on how adversity can teach us to have the courage to live happy lives.

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup
We're getting messy and slushy rain/snow around here — I think this soup would be the perfect antidote to a cold, damp and miserable day.

Meet Britain's Biggest Gigaholic
"After more than 5,000 gigs over 35 years, rock fan Ray Morrissey can claim to be Britain's most prolific concert-goer. On piles of notebook pages in Mr Morrissey's front room, thousands of gigs are listed ... (in what is) a personal history of British music, documenting the hazy glory of rock 'n' roll superstars and long-forgotten bands alike in meticulous, matter-of-fact detail." Passionate!

Regrets and Fist Bumps

DJ Stout, a partner with the almost mythic Pentagram design firm, talks about how good (and adventurous) editorial illustration used to be, and how difficult it is nowadays to get clients to use it, as they try to play it safe with photography (an attitude unfair to both illustrators and photographers). Seems like the New Yorker is the a lone voice in the wilderness ...

Anonymous Works
Great blog by the LA-based Joey, featuring American primitive folk art, vernacular photography, outsider art, and " ...basically anything visually interesting and great." And it is great. Via Cindy (thanks!)

The beautiful photograph above is by Marcus Nilsson, via The Bedlam of Beefy.

Armchair Traveler: Gotland

A lovely textured photograph of Gotland sheep by Astrid Westvang, on Flickr.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Japan Meets Sweden

When I saw this serene space on emmas designblogg, I was instantly struck by how calm and easy to live in it is. Located in Tokyo, it's the home of a Swedish husband and a Japanese wife, and, (as Emma notes) its design effortlessly blends the very similar elements of traditional Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetics into an elegant whole. Via Sköna hem.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Page 56

"Open the door, will yer?" cried the voice which belonged to the legs that had kicked at the door.

A little bookish fun to make your Tuesday a bit brighter — here are the rules:

- Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
- Turn to page 56.
- Find the fifth sentence.
- Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

The quote at the beginning of the post was my page 56 find — now it's your turn in the comments!

(The lovely still life above was styled by Paul Lowe and photographed by Ellen Silverman)

Simple Pleasures

An unexpected bouquet of flowers.

Photograph by the amazing Gemma Comas, via her lovely blog.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sweater Girl

Now that the weather is turning colder, I've been looking to stock up on a sweater or two for the winter. I was visiting the Anthropologie website this weekend and was quite smitten with their cardigans — particularly these ones. Love.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Happy weekend! Hope it's full of loveliness. The delicately beautiful photograph above is by Trine Thorsen (who is definitely a fave post subject of mine this week).


Doublenaut is a Toronto-based design company specializing in music graphics. These are just a few of the gorgeous silkscreened, hand signed and numbered posters available from their online shop (for a very reasonable price, too). I'm kinda tempted by the one for Broken Social Scene — a great poster for a great band! Via grain edit.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Welcome to this week's buffet. Enjoy.

The Dog Photo Booth
This is pet photographer Sharon Montrose's pet project (so to speak), and it's utterly adorable. Via lovely Joanna of A Cup of Jo.

Return of the Packed Lunch
With the economy being as it is these days, more people are packing a lunch instead of eating out. The Guardian asks chefs, cookery writers and other food experts for ideas on how to make a brown bag lunch that's both easy and interesting.

Millie The Model Comics
The Learning to Share blog has a fun collection of vintage Millie The Model comics from the 1960s. Dig those crazy threads! Via things magazine.

50 Photographs by Jessica Lange
About 15 years ago Jessica Lange rediscovered one of her first loves — photography — when her partner Sam Shepard brought a Leica home from a movie set. She's been shooting ever since. This month will see the publication of 50 Photographs, her first book of photos, which, alongside more personal studies, documents Lange's extensive travels as both an actress and as a volunteer for charities in Russia and Africa.

What Is Art For?
Last April Daniel B. Smith of the New York Times invited scholar/writer/poet Lewis Hyde (best known as the author of The Gift, from 1983, which explores how to reconcile the value of creative work with the realities of economics) to take a trip with him to Walden Pond in Concord, Mass., where they discussed the ideas behind the book and how it applies today.

The Return of the Interview Suit
Thanks to a competitive job climate, dressing for success is a serious issue again. A look at what works and what doesn't, plus some great suggestions for everyday office wear, too.

Downloadable Party Invitations
Canadian House and Home Magazine offers its readers pretty downloadable party invitations, inspired by ones created by Montreal graphic designer Michelle Secondi. Via How About Orange.

Touching Strangers
Photographer Richard Renaldi discusses his project Touching Strangers, in which he asks complete strangers to pose together in a photograph, with the condition that they have some sort of physical contact with each other. Fascinating, and the resulting portraits are just amazing. Via Design For Mankind.

The lovely still life above was photographed by the incomparable Trine Thorsen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trine Thorsen

I discovered the work of photographer Trine Thorsen on the lovely follow studio blog, and have fallen for just about everything Trine shoots — such as the summery studio home of Kirsten, shown here. This is pretty much perfect, I think.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shipshape Living

The main living space (and focal point of this compact French apartment) benefits from the natural light of the large windows. A tiny library is tucked away to the right of the sculptural staircase that leads to the mini-bathroom (and which in turn conceals a washing machine and a closet).

To the right of the fireplace (with slate hearth), an angled recess conceals shelves, keeping the walls clear and uncluttered. A simple colour palette of white and chocolate brown keeps the tiny space visually coherent.

The functional U-shaped kitchen has a counter of dark wenge that contrasts with the blond oak cabinets. Underneath are hidden a dishwasher, refrigerator and utensils, while up top, cabinets open at a touch. A wall of Plexiglass is illuminated from behind by white fluorescent lights, giving an impression of depth. The ceiling is lined with recessed spotlights.

An illuminated alcove above the headboard provides light for nighttime reading and a place to put the alarm clock. Around it, built in storage keeps bedroom clutter out of sight and the tiny floor space clear. Brightly coloured silk bedding adds a note of luxury.

The bathroom is barely 2 square meters in size, with a sliding door that disappears into the walls. Lit from above, it's lined with oak planks finished with a marine varnish — as are the integrated shower, toilet and sink. A high V-shaped shelf stores bath products, along with the sanded Plexiglass corner shelves.

Architect Marianne Pascal was challenged to bring space, light and fluidity to a tiny (45 square metre) two room French apartment. Inspired by the efficient design of ship cabins, she added a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom that echo marine quarters in their compactness, storage and paneling. What was once two dark and uninviting rooms with zero storage is now a comfortable and livable home that feels much larger than it actually is. Via Marie Claire Maison.

Simple Pleasures

Traveling by train. Anywhere.

Photo via the wonderful Square America.

Monday, November 17, 2008

L'Officiel de la Mode Magazine

1923 and 1925

1934 and 1938

1942 and 1948

1951 and 1959

1961 and 1964

A few examples of the many beautiful covers from the archives of L'Officiel de la Mode Magazine, the oldest French women's magazine still in existence. A luxury magazine covering fashion, art, travel, architecture and decoration, it's published in nearly 70 countries and has been in print for over 80 years. You can find more covers on the Jalou Gallery site — and (even better) view the entire contents of each issue online, too. Via things magazine.

P.S. The covers for 1948 and 1964 are by René Gruau.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Happy weekend! Hope it's a lovely one. This delicately beautiful photograph is by Nick Burns, discovered via We heart it.

Bye Bye Blackboard

Albert Einstein
Einstein’s blackboard, used in a lecture in Oxford on 16 May 1931, deals with some of the most fundamental questions in cosmology.

Brian Eno
‘This is the depiction of a theory that Arabic singing bounced around the world in several directions creating what we call popular music, and how the British Isles were central to this.’

Sir Bobby Robson
England international footballer and manager
‘This is one of England’s routine corner kicks in the 1990 World Cup campaign. The corner comes from the right-hand side, taken left-footed by Waddle. There are three alternative areas to hit (shown shaded) and the target area is signalled by Waddle. The England players are named, the white arrows are their expected movements and the blue crosses are their markers. Lineker waits at the back post for the long ball or to pick up a deflection. The three things I used to say we needed for the corner kick were service, movement and desire.’

Joanna MacGregor
‘I wrote the music on this blackboard while I was giving a lecture about Bach’s Goldberg Variations at the Holywell Music Room on 22nd March this year, before performing them ... There’s a lot of information in the Goldbergs – structure, harmony, a ladder of canons – and coded information we can only guess at – myths, cosmological allegories, and a soulful journey. It all starts with the bass line.’

The Oxford Museum of the History of Science took their most prized possession — a blackboard of equations that Einstein used in 1931 — and, as part of a new exhibition, asked scientists, artists, sports stars, actors, journalists, musicians, and politicians to sketch whatever they wished on an actual blackboard. These are just a few examples from the show — have a look at more here. Via Design Observer.


Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing allowed his five year old daughter to set her own place at the table recently — here's the result. Totally cute kid logic. Via Cindy (thanks!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


This week's links to sample. Enjoy.

A Year of Mornings Book Giveaway
Ali of Hatch: The Design Public Blog sent along a nice little note about a great giveaway she's doing right now — three copies of the fab book compilation of the wonderful 3191 blog. All you have to do is leave a comment on the post at Hatch to have a chance to win.

And while we're on the subject, be sure to take a moment to have a look at what Stephanie and Mav of the 3191 blog are working on now: A Year of Evenings. Lovely work and a lovely idea.

New Pyramid Found
Some interesting archeological news — archaeologists in Egypt say they have discovered another pyramid in the sands at Saqqara, just south of the capital Cairo. Follow the link to see photos of the discovery.

The Return of the Root Cellar
Michael Tortorello of the New York Times reports that storing food like grandma used to do — freezing, drying, processing and canning — is becoming fashionable again, thanks to economic (saving one's pennies) and environmental (eating locally and/or organically) reasons. Makes me want to finally try making my great grandma's amazing pickled beets!

Mr Bowyer's Fantastic Machine
Giles Turnbull of the Morning News meets a man who has taught a machine to replicate itself. It's a simple machine right now, but its inventor, Adrian Bowyer, foresees a sci-fi future for us, " in which goods are manufactured in a kitchen cupboard while you sleep, one in which your RepRap is connected to the Web and has a menu of items for you to make — something a bit like the iTunes Music Store, perhaps."

What's in a Logo?
Gary Hustwit, the director of Helvetica - A Documentary Film, asked Build design studio for advice on what type to use for Objectified, a new documentary he was producing on product design. Here's the fun result. Via Artsmonitor.

Oolong, the Tea Lover's Tea
Fascinating profile of oolong tea. The Taiwanese way of drinking oolongs gong-fu style (brewing the tea in several rounds in a small clay pot) sounds like a wonderful way to socialize with friends, gently brewing fragrant cups of tea while chatting. Lovely.

The Daily Aphorism
The product of a collaboration between the intriguing The School of Life and design firm St. Lukes, this site offers thirty aphorisms (one per day) to ponder or amuse — plus the option of signing up and having them emailed directly to you each morning for one month, too. Via Ace Jet 170.

The lovely still life above was composed by stylist Hannah Simmons.

Armchair Traveler: Greece

The town of Oia on the island of Santorini, photographed by Jennifer Squires. You can purchase this lovely image for your very own from Jennifer's Etsy site — and see a selection of her other new photographs from Greece on there, too. Guaranteed to warm you up on a chilly November day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


A moment of silence on Remembrance Day, for those who fought to bring us peace.

Photo of doves by Karen Strolia, via tatielle.


Plyctolophus leadbeateri
Leadbeater's cockatoo

Psittacara patagonica
Patagonian parrakeet-maccaw

Macrocercus hyacinthinus
Hyacinthine maccaw

Palæornis torquatus
Roseringed parrakeet. Yellow variety

The always fascinating BibliOdyssey blog has a post of Edward Lear's delicately beautiful paintings of parrots. See more paintings (and the excellent overview of Lear's life and career) here.
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