Over the weekend, I finally started working on the decorations for our 10th anniversary vow renewal taking place this Friday. I'm kind of freaking out at how soon all this is happening. I don't feel ready, though a lot of it is falling into place. The weather even looks like it might be nice enough to do the brief ceremony outside. We would really like that since ten years ago it rained until right around when our ceremony ended. We didn't get to have any of the cocktail hour outside, though we did get some great photos because of the overcast sky. Bonus: no squinting!
None of the DIY decorations I'm doing are revolutionary, by any means. I'm sure it will look a lot like what you've seen on Pinterest, but I'm limited by time and budget, and it's a small intimate gathering. I know I make it sound like I never do anything DIY, which actually isn't entirely true. It's just that most of what I have done has been stationery related.
I did every bit of stationery for our wedding, and spent hours and hours cutting out japanese wrapping paper into small squares to make pockets onto larger squares of card stock. Into these pockets went another square with the name of the table people were sitting at, and the guests' names were written at the top. Also all the names of the tables were named after squares in Manhattan: Madison Square, Washington Square, etc. I was really into the theme...
At any rate, we started the table decor and the dipped tealight holder came out pretty well, so taping and spraying the rest is on the agenda today after I work on captions for an article.
Speaking of dipped and DIY, I'm glad I'm not the only one still into this trend. Here are three DIY dipped projects that anyone can do. Click the images for the tutorials.
These dipped bottles are similar to what I'm doing, but mine are all in gold. I love the palette Liz from Say Yes to Hoboken chose on these.
Carving pumpkins is fun, but this idea from Brit + Co. would really stand out on a stoop or front porch!
This project is a little more involved because Emily, of The Sweet Beast, had to remove pre-existing supports for a lower shelf. It's still a really doable project and inexpensive. I love how glossy the finish looks with the Polycrylic coat she applied at the end.
The last several days have been a bit insane, so I'm glad it's Friday! Hope everyone has a fun weekend planned! A few lovely things I saw this week (click images for purchasing/details):
This 14" diameter bowl ($40, Horchow) is made of recycled metal and jute rope. The pattern reminds me of dream catchers without the feathers and it's always nice to have natural materials mixed in with your decor.
I have an oval dining table, and it seems so hard to find placemats that I like and will fit well all next to each other. But regardless of fit, I love the colors of these ($36 each, ABC Home) and the metallic thread woven throughout the raw hemp. I also like that they're handcrafted at an economically sustainable embroidery co-op in Vietnam.
I know, I know. These have been around a while, but I do truly love the color combos and the space-saving quality of these nylon whisks ($18 each, Gretel). And I never got to feature them when I wanted to, so let me get it out of my system. There. I'm curious to know how they stand up under regular use. Has anyone used one?
This is one of those cases where something functional has been made beautiful. Looking at this piece you almost don't realize it's meant to put flies and other pests down ($14, Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.). It's handcrafted in Germany and made from leather and beechwood.
Little Sun ($28, MoMA Store) is a solar-powered LED lamp developed by artist Olafur Eliasson and solar engineer Frederik Ottesen. Every purchase makes it possible for Little Suns, which provide clean reliable light, to be sold at locally affordable prices to the 1.6 billion people worldwide living in communities without access to the electrical grid.
I've always thought FLOR was a genius product, particularly for klutzy, spill-prone people and those with kids or pets. I may fit into one or more of those categories. Something spilled? Just pick up the square, clean it, and put it back, or worst-case scenario—replace a square, but at least you're not replacing the whole thing or having to cut a random piece out and replace it as with a wall-to-wall situation.
And, I'm sure it goes without saying, but the extremely customizable nature is a huge draw. Rugs can be any size you wish, all the way up to wall-to-wall and design-wise, there are dozens of colors and an array of patterns that appeal whether you lean toward solids, graphic patterns, or traditional motifs.
My style has changed a lot since I first realized I was passionate about decor and it has been a long time since something like a patchwork of big, bright colored squares appealed to me. So I will admit, I hadn't checked out FLOR thoroughly in a while.
I am really excited about their fall collection. The patterns are sophisticated but approachable and very much fit in with my current aesthetic. And when you figure that it's going to cost somewhere between $450-$870 (give or take) for a rug slightly larger than 8'x10', it's also extremely affordable.
My tech-professional husband says no one uses USB sticks anymore, that everything gets stored in cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive. I'm fairly tech savvy and as excited as I get about new gadgets or apps, I'm just not ready to trust everything to float around safely in the ether or on other people's servers. I still like to have hardcopies of files. Plus, I have an active imagination and like to pretend I'm in scenarios where I'm transferring files I shouldn't have access to when I plug in and unplug a USB stick. Keeps things interesting.
These Cute hubs and memory sticks are very The Game of LIfe, don't you think? Each hub has four slots, and since the 4 GB sticks are purchased individually, you can customize your "family." Do you still use USB sticks? Has everyone embraced the cloud?
The sticks and hubs all come in both red or white and are available at Maxiga.
image via moddea
One of the easiest ways to create a look that's truly your own is to include handmade products in your house. The best thing about handmade goods is that they're generally limited in quantity, so few people will have the same pieces as you, and even those that aren't so limited are still special because it's very difficult to achieve uniform precision on each creation. But, I bet artists and designers prefer it that way; the happy accidents and imperceptible mistakes behind each piece may be totally unrecognizable to you but tell the story of their process.
The story behind each piece, or more precisely, the story behind the Maker of each piece, is exactly what the site BRIKA is after. How the designers got started, what music they listen to when creating, what inspires them—all of that matters and creates a connection to people all over the country pursuing their passion.
One of those people is Karen Young (above), the Brooklyn-based designer behind Hammocks & High Tea. Karen is a joy—I've been lucky enough to work with her in the past—and is just one of dozens of women (mostly) and men featured who've dedicated their lives to the imprecise, but monumentally fulfilling, work of crafting their products by hand. Karen is selling some of her fabulous dopp kits in exclusive patterns for the site.
Also, completely randomly, I came across jewelry maker Penelope Rakov who went to my high school, graduating only a few years ahead of me (I remembered her name)! Small world.
Many of the products featured on BRIKA are modern interpretations of traditional techniques practiced by past craftspeople and artisans, and the founders of the site hope that the pieces bought today will become new heirlooms to be passed down.
Here are my favorite products available at BRIKA right now (click the images to purchase or see more):
Check out the site and let me know which pieces are your favorite!
product images via Brika
Mainly because I have a preschooler, I find myself listening to a lot of (nonsensical) potty humor. I like a good joke, but I like to think my sense of humor is slightly more sophisticated.
Leave it to the Brits to have the proper level of bathroom humor. Train bathrooms are not places we generally like to find ourselves, but Chiltern Railways, a UK train company, is updating the look of their railcar restrooms to something more palatable.
The initial design—more are planned—rendered as large floor-to-ceiling vinyl wraps, is based on Compton Verney, an 18th-century country mansion in Warwickshire, which is about 2 hours northwest of London and currently serves as an art gallery. Featured in the restroom version are images of a Rococo Revival mantel, a pier table from southern Italy, and a painting of Compton Verney as it looks today.
The initiative is part of a plan by the brand to draw customers away from another train company.
Would you like it if extremely utilitarian places like a transit bathroom had some design panache added? I think it would make the experience a bit more pleasant and maybe people would leave their phones in their pockets/bags.
images via housetohome
Well, it's officially fall now. The boots have been broken out, and I've had my first hot cider and cider donut, so I'm a happy camper. We went apple picking yesterday at Beak & Skiff, one of the many amazing orchards in Central New York, and had a great time even though it was freezing. I felt like a terrible mom for not being prepared with mittens and hats (I did have a thick blanket for the baby), but they both loved the tractor ride to the u-pick section. And Sunshine got to eat some apple herself and Cupcake got a cider donut, so they were both happy.
We picked McIntosh, which are my favorite, and checked out the brand new outdoor kids' area and completely new barn housing a cafe and all their distillery products. If it hadn't been so cold, we might have stayed longer to explore everything, but we still enjoyed ourselves. Some people were picking pumpkins as well, but I like to save that for October. Don't rush me, fall! I do hope the weather warms up again soon and lasts for a few more weeks at least.
I'm not sure what it is about this season in particular, but I feel as though we have so many more family traditions in autumn than we do in any other season, in addition to the girls' birthdays and our wedding/anniversary. I love the fruit picking, but also corn mazes, and soon, everything to do with Halloween, my most favorite of holidays. But again, I don't want to rush it. Yesterday was cold enough; I'm not ready for the S-word most associated with Syracuse.
How about you? Do you go apple picking or have other family traditions during fall? Anything good we should try?
top image via beak & skiff
I have done some minimal fashion and beauty coverage here and there, but it's not my forte. With all the spring 14 runway shows happening though, I thought I'd give fashion a nod with my under $50 picks for this week.
The upshot of suburban life? The new designer collections at Target aren't totally decimated when you stroll in there at 8pm on launch day. I scored this pullover ($35, above), a skirt, and another top.
I love coats with funnel collars; whenever I wear them it makes me feel like some sort of undercover operative. For this baby ($49.95) from H&M, it's a toss-up between the gray and the black version, which has imitation leather sleeves.
I don't wear tons of jewelry because I'm sensitive to metals (not real gold or platinum, lucky for my husband), but I like the matte finish and style of this cuff ($48) available at Macy's, so I would wear it as regularly as I could.
For some reason I don't usually go for cap toe shoes, but I do like the blue and black pairing here ($49.50) from Loft.
This narrow bag ($42.19) and clutch (really more of a pouch; $16.86) hold the barest of essentials, but they sure are cute! Love the bright colors and take on pop art. Both from ASOS.
Now that I've unintentionally created pretty much an entire outfit, I feel like shopping. But first, I must work!
Yin and yang. Shadow and light. The infamous Seinfeld black-and-white cookie episode. We're always looking to black and white to provide harmony. Black and white are huge right now, though I think truthfully we can always say that. There is a comfort in the consistency, it's always chic, and the less-confident home decorator is safe in knowing the two colors always go together and with everything else, too.
Today I'm headed out to scout stores for a local magazine's holiday gift guide. But first, I wanted to share these two whimsical details from a house tour featured on new site, Clementine Daily. If you read other design blogs, you're familiar with Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind. She and several other known bloggers have formed a creative alliance called Clementine Daily which celebrates the reality and authenticity of life's experiences, though they sure make it look gorgeous.
The site featured the home of Rosie Winstead, a Missouri-based author and illustrator. In the slideshow and interview, Rosie describes how she worked with little kids underfoot, and it sounds very much like my current experience. It's always nice to know there's someone else out there who's been through what you are going through. Her aesthetic is light and airy with sweet details scattered throughout.
The chandelier (above) is a great example of her creative personality. Rosie began with a ballerina that broke off of a music box. She couldn't bring herself to throw it out (sounds familiar), so she hung it from the chandelier. Then added an ornament she wasn't ready to put away at the end of a holiday season (sounds like my pink glitter deer that hung around long past January), and it grew from there. A sort of 3D collage, a testament to the pieces of their family life.
The whole house is filled with vignettes to spend time admiring, but my absolute favorite thing was her little daughter's tea party set up in the air vent. She didn't tell anyone, Rosie just spotted it one day while cleaning.
Her daughter is a fan of The Borrowers, which I need to read, but is the story of a family of tiny people who live underneath the kitchen floor of an English country manor and use the detritus and easily reappropriated items of humans to furnish their home. I love the idea of this little girl earnestly and carefully setting this scene for tiny people who might live under her own floor.
To me, the clever display in the vent just speaks to the limitless creativity and magic of children's minds. Can't you just see her growing up to be an artist, interior designer, or some other equally creative powerhouse? Something about this just fills me with so much joy.
images via clementine daily
#checkout this blog with shop-themed puns
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