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31 posts from February 2009

28 February 2009

Happy Clouds

 Happy Clouds by Stuart Semple

 

Oh please, London readers, tell me you saw these. What were they like? How did they make you feel? Did you kidnap one and take it home with you? (Despite the grey skies and general doom and gloom coming out of the UK, they made me very nostalgic for London today).

London artist Stuart Semple wanted to cheer people up, so he released 2057 pink smiley faced clouds made of helium, biodegradable soap and vegetable dye into the sky. After 30 minutes they dissolved in the air. More deets here.

Keyboards of Desire

 

I want one of these so badly it hurts (though probably not as much as my hands would hurt using one, as I can currently only use a very ugly ergonomic keyboard). I never knew before that there was a hole in my life only a decorative keyboard could fill.

NISHIKI Handmade Keyboard

NISHIKI Handmade Keyboard

NISHIKI Handmade Keyboard

USAGI Handmade Keyboard

USAGI Handmade Keyboard

Handmade and available here and here for about $165 or £115.

{via If It's Hip It's Here}

26 February 2009

Two More Awesome Videos

 

A sign of the times - which has inspired me to count up those coins {via The Daily Dish}

 

This is long, but if you're struggling to create something, anything, it's well worth the listen. I wasn't a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love but she sure can give a cracking a motivational speech {via the ever-inspirational Uncle Beefy}.

Man Cooking

Tuesday was Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day in the UK - so like good little expats we whipped up some batter and pretended we were in England.  English pancakes are more like a French crepe than fluffy American pancakes, but are cooked in a smaller pan and are tossed to make them brown on both sides - with much ensuing hilarity in the kitchen. 

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Pancakes are most traditionally served with a sprinkling of lemon juice and sugar, but this year the Husband introduced a new level of danger and excitement by caramelising the sugar with his blowtorch. 

This proved to be a great innovation, as it introduced a layer of sweet crunch between the smooshy folds of the pancakes, and family cooking is definitely made more interesting by the brandishing of naked flames and throwing food around the room.

25 February 2009

Fabulous Lampshades - Insatiable Studios

The wonderful lampshades in the house featured below are handmade by Seattle-based designer Jill Smith, owner of Insatiable Studios.

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The shades are all meticulously crafted using a papier-mâché process and then decorated with found papers. Her lampshades are available to buy online and her work also adorns several commercial spaces, such as PCC and the Dahlia Lounge here in Seattle and Nordstroms in Chicago.

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Two of my favourite places to go - the Dahlia Lounge and PCC 

I really want one for the lucite lamp base I found on Ebay last year which is currently adorned by a VERY dull Ikea lampshade.  It's going to have to wait a bit though as I've just had a nasty bill for camera repairs.

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This is NOT a fabulous lampshade

Go Love Your Room - Seattle Craftsman

I was flicking through last month's Sunset (which just gets better and better), when what did I see? A Seattle Craftsman house very much like ours, even down to the need for kid-friendliness. 

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Loving the furniture placement here.  Unfortunately we can't emulate it because of our built in bookcases.

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They've even got a Tripp Trapp! And I like the way they've done the lighting over the table.  I've been contemplating doing something like this, but am wondering about maintaining the symmetry in the room.  Need to think about this.

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Nice kitchen, for when we ever have the money to do ours.  I like how the cabinets and shelves look modern, but completely fit in with the look of the house.  

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I ADORE this lamp. The house is owned by an architect couple, and from their website it seems that they've done some very sympathetic renovations of Craftsman properties in Seattle.  I'm keeping them on file just in case we ever win the lottery and can afford to remodel our basement and downstairs kitchen.

Adventures in Knitting

I've recently, and very belatedly, signed up to the very fabulous knitting site Ravelry, which is not only an incredibly useful resource, it is also very inspirational. As a result I've been knitting up a storm in recent weeks, though I'm sure this will soon pass, cursed as I am with butterfly-mindedness.

But in the spirit of making knitting while the sun shines here's what I've been working on recently.

Firstly, the socks from hell continue to drive me nuts, though I've managed to get as far as the heel on the second sock, so I should be finished soon. The pattern is not difficult but it is complicated, and so not compatible with watching telly, which is when I usually knit.  I blame Jon Stewart entirely.

I also accidentally started knitting some socks for the Minx. I took her to the playground last week, forgot to take my existing sock knitting and so had to pop into the local yarn shop so that I didn't explode with boredom. I've been promising to make the Minx a pair of socks for a long time and she has become sweetly fascinated by the process.  I wonder if you can guess who chose the (very fluffy and splitty) yarn? 

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Finally I've been sorting through all the knitting stuff I brought over from the UK and am thinking about reviving the blanket I started knitting for the Minx before she was born.  I was astonished to find that I'd actually completed eleven out of sixteen interminable squares, knit entirely in tiny stocking stitch and I really feel like I ought to continue it. Unfortunately I'm not so sure I like the colour very much any more (why on earth did I choose BEIGE?) but I will persevere, despite it being desperately boring to knit. It's probably the project I should turn to when I'm ogling Jon Stewart.

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I am determined to have only three 'Works In Progress' on the go at any one time.  So please yell if I show you something else before I've finished any of these. 

All details of yarn etc. are in my Ravelry notebook.  My user name is 'mirrormirror'. Please come and find me on there.

23 February 2009

Some Random Oscar Observations

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I love them

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He loves her

- Thrilled that Slumdog won.  Such an amazing film.

- When they brought the little kids on at the end I cried. Sorry.

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- Thrilled also that AR Rahman won Best Score and Best Song.  Seriously the soundtrack is absolutely awesome and has been playing on a loop here at mirrormirror's intergalactic headquarters (aka my bedroom office)

- Also very glad about Sean Penn as I can't quite manage to look at Mickey Rourke's face.

- What am I not getting about Hugh Jackman?  He leaves me stone cold.

- RDJ on the other hand was looking HAWT. Excessive drug taking is obviously good for the complexion.

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Cutie pie

- Speaking of acronym people, when is SJP going to realise that she is no longer an ingenue and that people with long faces shouldn't wear centre partings and hippie hair?

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- Lots of lovely British accents on the podium tonight.  How come Brits always looks so scruffy? Wouldn't you at least get a haircut if there was a chance you were going to win an Oscar?

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Scruffy Brits.  You can spot them a mile off. 

- Except for Kate Winslet.  I swear her hair was carved out of marble. And her dress looked like armour. Scary stuff.

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- Kate Winslet's Dad should have won the 'Best Dad' and 'Best Hat' Oscars.

- 'Best Dressed' and 'Funniest Person' was Tina Fey.  I adore her.

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Another candidate for 'Best Dressed'

- Hated all the frothy fishtail pouffery.  And Miley Cyrus. (Why was she even there?)

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Worst dressed (and Whoopi Goldberg, but she's allowed).

- Halle Berry is just insanely beautiful.

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THE END

22 February 2009

Love - the Watts House Project

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Tula alerted me to this fun project down in LA where local artists are trying to enhance the community through art and architecture.

Artist Alexandra Grant wants to create this giant Love structure on a family home and is selling necklaces to raise funds for the project.  The necklace is available in both gold and silver here.

Alexandra Grant Love Necklace

Alexandra Grant Love Necklace

Living very close to the Fremont area of Seattle, which prides itself on its many quirky works of public art, I know very well how much they can engender a sense of local pride and just raise a smile on a grey day.

20 February 2009

What's Your Decorating Style?

There's a great quiz here on Sproost {found via Esthetic Eclectic} which will help you find your decorating style. Mine is apparently 100% Cottage Chic, which, while I hate the name, seems to be pretty much spot on.

What's yours?

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19 February 2009

Stacked Neon

As you know from Matthew Williamson's house, I do love a bit of neon, though I've got none in the house and I'm not entirely sure how I could get it to work in a turn-of-the-century craftsman (though it would be fun to try with the multicolored lamp below).

So I made a note to write about neon artist Roger Borg when I saw his lamps on Kanye's blog (yes, I LIKE Kanye's blog) and was delighted when the man himself then contacted me.

Here's the person to call when you need a huge neon installation in your stairwell.

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18 February 2009

Go Love Your Room - The Airstream Dream

I've always wanted to have an office in the garden and in my dreams that office is a vintage Airstream.  This month's Readymade featured a young couple in Minneapolis who are living my dream with an Airstream they bought for $4,500. I wouldn't mind the rest of the house either (with maybe a bit more colour and pattern in the main rooms).

What special things would you have in your dream house?  Mine would also have a a turret with a completely circular room.  And be in Provence not Minneapolis.

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17 February 2009

Be My Valentine

These are the Valentines that were exchanged in the 'mirrormirror' household this weekend. I wonder if you can guess who got what.

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A Jean Pelle candlestick.  Sometimes dropping hints via your blog actually works. My vintage lucite owl likes it too.

 

The beautifully packaged Chocolate Pie Chart from Mary and Matt, perfect for the geek in your life.

 

A tee-shirt featuring parachuting Bambis from Etsy shop Circles and Squares. This is NOT the Husband.

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 A heart-shaped Hello Kitty pendant necklace with matching bracelet (I have no idea what has become of the bracelet though)

15 February 2009

Project Nemo - The Story of the Cake

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I  have to admit that the general concept for the cake was not original.  There are always loads of greatl ideas on Coolest-Birthday-Cakes.com

I baked three separate chocolate cakes using the recipe for 'Mom's Chocolate Cake' from the Macrina Bakery and Cafe cookbook. This is a superb chocolate cake recipe. It always comes out moist and, having used it for three different birthday cakes now, it seems to be very forgiving. (I just made the basic chocolate cake and not the vanilla syrup or chocolate frosting specified in the recipe). 

I didn't have a small enough tin for the upper tier, so I just made two medium-sized cakes and cut one down to fit.

I was a bit nervous about making a tiered cake as it had to be transported quite a way up the freeway to the pool where we were holding the party, so the the Husband, thank goodness he's an engineer, constructed quite a complex structure of wooden sticks and cardboard circles to make sure that the cakes didn't sink into another or slide about.

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I then mixed up a large quantity of buttercream and tinted most of it sea blue - I found that about 2-3 drops of Royal Blue colouring to 1 drop of Leaf Green worked well.

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We then coated the whole thing, including the base board, with the buttercream; piped on some green seaweed tendrils and jaggedy coral; and then decorated it with the shells. I am so pleased with how they turned out as they made the whole cake.

We then sprinkled it with some blue sprinkling sugar (which you can't see on this photo but which gave the icing the texture of bubbles) and topped it with Nemo and his daddy.  I cheated massively here and used some bath toys - the Minx thought this was an excellent idea as she got to keep a souvenir of the cake.

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And the kids were mesmerized...

13 February 2009

Project Nemo

We've hired a swimming pool for the Minx's birthday party tomorrow (we've managed to get round to organising this only a month after her birthday, bad, bad mummy) and thought it appropriate to make a Finding Nemo cake for all the little swimmers.

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First step was to make a lot of colourful shells, using a Wilton shell mould and Wilton candy melts.  These things are amazing - just melt in the microwave and then pour into the mould, put them in the fridge, tap the mould to release and watch them come out all shiny and professional looking. The only downside is that they are FULL of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and other undesirables, but whatevs, it's a birthday party.

Go Love Your Room - Fatboy Slim's Yacht

Or in this case go love your yacht.  I've realised that I don't post enough pictures of rooms I find inspiring, mostly because I don't come across them all that often. 

Everything about this boat though - which belongs to superstar (in the UK at least) DJ and producer Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim - is utter perfection. It's even moored in Sardinia, of which, as you know, we are very fond.

The only teensy problem is the price tag, as it will cost you £20,000 (approx $30,000) to rent the four spacious cabins for a week.  Oh, and the name Barracuda, which now reminds me of a certain governor of Alaska.

For more details and pics, including what music they have on the fully stocked Ipod, go here. If you want to hire it more details are here.  

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{via the ever fabulous Style Files}

11 February 2009

P'kolino Little Reader

It's been mentioned in the comments below, and for anyone with a pre-schooler at home, I can't recommend our P'kolino Little Reader chair highly enough.

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It's made of high-density foam and incredibly light weight and so can get carried around by the pre-schooler in question no problem (there's even a handle on the back for the purpose); is covered in easy-to-wipe-clean microsuede; is very difficult to tip backwards (though the Minx has managed it once, but that's the Minx for you) and has two side pockets for corralling books and the other random cr*p which seems to follow my daughter around. 

Apparently it's good for one year olds but the Minx is now four and it still fits her fine and she's quite tall for her age.  I suspect she will get at least another year's use out of it.  And at $70 + Free Shipping on Amazon, it's not even very expensive.

The only downside is that it comes in the usual range of startling colours which are great for kids' rooms but not necessarily so good for adult rooms.  When will designers realise that it's nice to be able to incorporate well-designed kids' furniture into an adult scheme?

Case in point is the wonderful Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair below which we have in walnut and blends in fabulously with our dining table and chairs.

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10 February 2009

Pink or Green? Or Something In Between?

I've been going through agonies of indecision about the paint colours for our main living room. I can't tell you how many different sample colours I've tried out and rejected.

Just to bring you up to speed, we're looking for a colour to replace the egg-yolk yellow walls in the downstairs living room. There's a bit of a crazy colour scheme developing in here of chartreuse and white with raspberry sorbet, cranberry, dark brown and er, orange accents (see pictures below) and I need a paint colour to pull it all together.

And before you say anything, yes, I am well aware that this room needs lots of 'editing', though at least it is mercifully free of the toys which are normally scattered about with gay abandon.

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The sitting area is going to be a white, though a white which will pick out the mouldings and the white fireplace which you can see better here.  This white is TBD. However I'm looking for a colour to go above the panelling in the dining area.  The colour needs to be sufficiently bright to withstand the grey Seattle winter light; sufficiently deep to emphasise the panelling, but not so pastelly that it looks like a little girl's bedroom in bright sunshine (the room has lots of south and east facing windows, so can get very bright).

After much deliberation I have narrowed it down to this green (Greenwich by Ralph Lauren) or a pink.  The pink in the sample is actually the pink of the sample board itself which I rather like, but I don't actually have a paint identified.  I wanted your input before I go searching further though.

First up the green.  It is a beautiful colour and I think it's the right green if we decide to go the green route. I'm just a bit worried that with green curtains and a green table runner and a green rug the room is just going to end up being rather er, green. 

Here it is in strong sunlight

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And here it is when the light is more subdued.  I'm pleased that it doesn't go too grey.

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On the other hand here is the pink in strong sunlight

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And here it is when the light is more subdued which is when I like it best. Subdued light happens a lot in Seattle.

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Here finally are both colours in tungsten light. The green stands up well, but the pink goes a bit too 'bubblegum' for my taste. Sorry about crappy blurred photo - my little point and shoot doesn't do well in low lighting conditions and flash would have defeated the object.  I do miss my camera!

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Anyway, shall I go for the green? Or keep looking for the right pink? If so, do you have any suggestions for pinks I should try? Or should I do something completely different entirely?  

New In Store - Atelier LZC and Abigail Percy

Just a quick run down of some new stuff now available at mirrormirror .

Firstly we did get some Eiffel Tower bits and pieces from Atelier LZC after you were so positive about them before Christmas. And you were right, they've been selling well for us.

First up is this hanging steel Eiffel Tower cut-out in a delicious deep cranberry.

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Then two tea towels featuring iconic Parisian images.

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And finally double-sided greetings cards also featuring images of Paris.

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I know from our previous poll that these items are popular in the US and now that the pound has tanked against the dollar there isn't a better time to buy them.  They're also very light, so shipping will be super cheap. 

Just in time for Valentines Day we're also got two new necklaces by Abigail Percy - a beautiful cut-out Anemone Flower necklace and another necklace featuring an internally gilded 3-D Silver Leaf and a cluster of Rose Quartz beads.  All non-sale jewellery is currently reduced by 10% until Valentines Day, so this is a good time to drop a hint via the mirrormirror  wish list.

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09 February 2009

I 'Heart'

Just in time for Valentines' Day, here is a small collection of heart-themed pieces from British design company Deadgood for Barker & Stonehouse stores.

I'm trying to work out whether these are kitsch or cool.  Unfortunately I suspect the former, though I'm loving the shapes and the detailing such as the covered buttons on the chair and the beautifully executed heart-shaped joinery.

Thoughts?

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{Images via Deadwood. Found via 'If It's Hip It's Here'}.

Our New Lamp

Bought at Christmas from Habitat in the UK and shipped to the US at vast expense.  There are some shops I just can't live without.

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One day that wall and wood trim will be painted a different colour.  However, I really wouldn't hold your breath.

07 February 2009

A Random Cool Thing

The Jesus Lamp

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By designer Ricardo Garza Marcos. {via Kanye's Blog}

I want to work in an office again so I can have one of these behind my chair. Apparently it gives the perfect light for reading or working.

Seattle News

Just a quick heads up for Seattle peeps. Firstly there's a sample sale TODAY at the Seattle Design Center in Georgetown.  Normally it's open to the trade only, but today it's open to  the public with hopefully loads of sale goodies available.  We'll be there later this morning.

Secondly the best Italian restaurant in Seattle has, very excitingly, recently opened two blocks from our house in lower Wallingford (just north of Gasworks Park).  We went to Cantinetta last night and had the most amazing time - fabulous buzzy ambience, friendly and knowledgeable service, a rustic but airy space in a converted corner brick house and incredible food and wine. The rabbit with wild mushrooms and polenta was one of the best things I've ever eaten in Seattle.

I'll try and do a proper review with photos next time I go, but in the meantime I advise you to run there as fast as your legs can carry you.

05 February 2009

Modern Jewellery Boxes

Anyone got any good ideas?

My jewellery is a nightmare of disorganisation which I've been meaning to sort out for ages. But, I've been held back by not having a nice jewellery box and the Husband owes me a Christmas present.

I've tried searching on eBay and Etsy but most vintage ones are too frilly and kitsch or look like they'd be a bit icky and musty inside and make me think of incontinent old ladies wafting cheap perfume.

I'd like it to be simple and with lots of compartments but beyond that have no great preferences.  Here's what I like so far, but I'd love to know if you've seen anything else.

This Muji one is great, but too small really.

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I would of course not say no to one of these from Smythson's, but at $1,650 (!) they seem a teensy weensy bit overpriced.

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I love these modular boxes from Rare Device but even these seem pricey once you've bought a couple together with the inserts.

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Or else there's these ones from Crate & Barrel

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Or this one from Pottery Barn, but they all look a bit Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn respectively (though the Pottery Barn one scores highly in the 'lots of compartments and look, even a cute little travel case' department).

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And then I'm trying to decide whether these mirrored ones from Marks & Spencers are worth the trouble of being shipped from the UK.

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Finally this white lacquer box from Conran is almost perfect AND it's on sale, but the compartments don't look very practical. 

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Any more ideas?  I am in a dither here. (There was a great discussion of this topic over on Apartment Therapy, but it was some time ago and most of the links are out of date).

04 February 2009

Go Fug Your Room

This is why I won't miss Domino.

For some reason they decided, at the tail end of last year, to give a feature to Eddie Ross, a former Martha Stewart Living editor and very-full-of-himself losing contestant on Top Design who seems to be trying to set himself up as some sort of lifestyle guru.

Now Eddie, if you're reading, I'm sure these are all carefully collected and treasured antique pieces and there's not a SINGLE PIECE of repro in amongst all this clutter, but where is your flair and imagination?  Where are the quirky, original pieces; the unexpected combinations; the touches of wit and personality? And why on earth is everything so fussy and maiden-auntish?  You're only about 30 I believe but there's not a single thing here that suggests you have had any contact with this century whatsoever.

I say this with love, but piling antiques onto every available surface in a vaguely symmetrical fashion does NOT good design make; Canada Dry bottles and huge rolls of brown paper are not very decorative and I can't believe you're still using zebra.  And Domino, I can't believe you thought this was worth showing to us.

I do, however, very much like the colour of the wall around the fireplace.

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No poll today.  I'd just like the answers to two questions.

1) If you're a young, happening guy about town, why would you feel the need to decorate your house as if you were Martha Stewart's GRANNY?

2) When is America going to join the rest of the world in the 20th (never mind the 21st) century and give up its love affair with fuss, clutter and ornamentation? This is a young, vibrant, dynamic country and yet I see so many rooms in magazines and blogs where Queen Victoria would feel right at home. Is it because you just all love dusting?

UPDATE: There's a discussion going on in the 'Comments' as to why Domino is going to be so missed. Can anyone who will sincerely miss Domino explain why?  And was it really better in the good old days?

Hermes Smart Car

One day, when I no longer have to ferry a child and all her attendant stuff around, and when I have a housekeeper to do all the shopping (I realise this may be quite some time in the future), I shall tie a Hermes scarf around my head, put on some huge sunglasses, sling my Birkin bag (gently) on the passenger seat and pootle off into the sunset in one of these.

The Hermes Smart Car, full of little Hermes accessories and available in a variety of colours to match all your Birkin bags.

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{More images here.  Found via the ever fabulous designers block.}

Sunset Chicken with Tomatoes, Apricots and Chickpeas

If you're mourning the loss of Domino and live on the West side of the US, you could do a lot worse than to pick up Sunset. It's more of a lifestyle-y magazine than pure decor, but they do feature some great 'real-life' interiors and gardens and also have some fabulous recipes. The website is really excellent too.

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A couple of nights ago we made this recipe for supper which I share with you because it is perfect weekday supper fodder - quick, easy, healthy, unusual and utterly, utterly delicious. Chicken is braised in a sauce of chopped tomatoes, canned chickpeas and chopped dried apricots with middle-eastern spices, which we served with couscous and spinach. The only changes we made from the recipe in the link was to use chicken thighs not breast and to not add any extra sugar, the apricots make it quite sweet enough as it is.

I took some photos but wasn't very happy with the performance of my little point and shoot camera in the low evening light.  Instead I took my slightly blurred photo and ran it through the completely awesome Poladroid app, which makes your existing digital photos look like Polaroids - not just the border but also the intriguing white balance and slight soft focus.  You even see them 'developing' before your eyes. Huge fun.

03 February 2009

Further Adventures in Felt - the wonderful Wonder Washer

My new toy arrived at the weekend and I got busy felting my little bowls.

And it's fab. I threw my knitted bowls in (sorry, forgot to take before pics) added some hot water from the tap and a tiny bit of Woolite and then turned on my electric bucket. About fifteen minutes later (twenty for the larger bowl) this is what came out.

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The felt is thicker and hairier than the hand felted bowl and they're a more straight-sided in shape for some reason but I can't believe how quick and easy it all was.  The Wonder Washer gives you precise control over the amount of water you use, the temperature of the water (I topped up from the kettle for the larger bowl); and the amount of time (you can check as often as you want). When they're done all you need to do is rinse and leave to dry.  And all the fibres and lint stay in the bucket, and won't clog up your washing machine.

And for those of you who don't have a basement full of junk in which to store it, the base unit fits neatly inside the bucket, so it doesn't even take up much space.

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{my new BFF} 

I am so enamoured that I even put it on the 'gentle' setting and did all the handwashing that has been languishing at the bottom of the laundry basket for months. My next adventure in felt will, I think,  be the Aran sweater.

02 February 2009

{today I am mostly}

 

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enjoying the sunshine

One day I will revive Today I Am Mostly. I miss it.

Jean Pelle

Speaking of Jean Pelle, I absolutely love her stunning wooden candle holders (also in the roomset below).  Made from hand-turned Douglas fir and 24 carat gold leaf, they're treated with a flame retardant and then finished to a smooth polish.

Available from her Etsy shop, at $115 a pop. (She also has smaller, darker, not gilded, cheaper versions, but obviously Mrs Expensive Tastes here doesn't like those ones so much).

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Making a Chandelier?

One of my resolutions this year is to finally get the house sorted out.  The major remodeling of the basement and kitchens that we planned will have to wait because of George Bush and Gordon Brown, but we ought to at least be able to get the house PAINTED.  I mean, we've only been here two years.

Two things which really need to go are the two brass light fittings in the main downstairs living room.  I presume they're originals in the house and so must date from about 1912.  This doesn't stop them looking like strange brass jelly fish hanging from the ceiling.

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As a Brit I've been taught to be respectful of original features, but I really can't cope with these and the Husband loathes them. I mean look.

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I would obviously like to spend several thousand dollars on two groovy light fittings but George Bush put the kibosh on those as well (he's got SO much on his conscience). And then I saw this in Ready Made magazine.

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Designed by Jean Pelle, they're made from three light fittings, round glass bulbs and these gorgeous handblown 'bubble' balls from CB2.  All tied together with bits of string. I even have an electrical engineer (turned online advertising guru) for a Husband, so we shouldn't even get electrocuted.

My questions for you are as follows:

- Should I ditch the original fixtures?

- Where's the best place to sell the original fixtures?

- Will someone really pay MONEY for them?

- Am I really going to have the patience to put these together?

- Should I even bother?

- Are they going to look like expensive fixtures?

- Or just like a hopelessly homemade bundle of balls tied together with string?

Answers on a postcard please.

We'll be talking paint colours next. FINALLY, we're going to ditch the icky egg-yolk yellow.  Am beside myself with excitement. Some colour samples arrived in the post today.  I just have to paint them onto boards and then we can have a chat.