Ever have those days where you can't find something important in your bag and you look and look and it's not there?You search the whole house and finally you find it, when you check your bag again.
Or, is your place too small to have a table by the door and so you don't have a consistent, convenient place to leave your keys, sunglasses, etc?
Elefunction's newest products will take care of that for you; their tagline is Design That Never Forgets.
The Elephant mounts on the wall very easily and can become your command center to corral your things.. The strong cord holds glasses, sunglasses, phones, mail, and other small items, while super magnets embedded in the 'trunk' take care of your keys (even if you're a janitor, I've seen it in person).
Available in walnut or ash, and with or without an edge color, these products are all handmade in Colorado.
If you like to check your hair/teeth, or throw on some last-minute lipstick before you run out the door, the Echo mirror allows you to do that and has the same organizational function as the Elephant. Echo comes in walnut or ash.
Keeping your keys and glasses in one dedicated spot like this also keeps your keys from scratching the lenses of your glasses, which can happen easily in a bag. Plus, most importantly, you don't run around like a chicken with its head cut off looking for things when you're trying to get out the door to work or to meet friends.
Designer Brad Reed Nelson, founder of Board by Design - who I first met when I fell for his fabulous rockers at the AD Home Show a few years ago - initially started Elefunction as a way to keep track of his sunglasses. The product, the I Wear rack, was a simple board and tension cord (it and earlier iterations are still available). In the process Brad found that what they were doing was creating better relationships because people were happier, less stressed, more prompt, and more pleasant to be around all because they weren't wasting time looking for their things.
It's pretty powerful when a simple product can do that!
images via elefunction
Whether you are a devoted dog lover or just a really big fan of Go, Dog. Go! (as I am), you'll probably love this totally adorable cushion from Chelsea Textiles. This hand-embroidered cushion is designed by Scottish artist Domenica More Gordon on linen and cotton. It's high end, so not a cheap throw pillow, and too cute not to share! There are a few other styles available, as well.
Take a look at More Gordon's website, as it has images of her adorable wool felt animal figurines, watercolor dog portraits, and other whimsical drawings and illustrations, as well as charming video clips introducing her books, Archie, which came out a few years ago, and Archie's Vacation, which is officially available tomorrow, but you can pre-order today.
top image my own, bottom image via chelsea textiles
When you're adding global or ethnic touches to your decor, as many are wont to do, it's always nice if the pieces have an air of authenticity. Antique pieces often have a lot of personality, but new pieces can also bring great style to a space. Noted interior designer Sara Bengur recently debuted her newest products, which are inspired by her Turkish background and upbringing, as well as her extensive travels.
Sara has been in business nearly 20 years; her eponymous firm is located in New York. After hearing her name and seeing some of her work in publications for years, I finally had a chance to meet her at the gift show last month and she couldn't have been lovelier.
A lot of times when you ask designers what prompted them to create their own product line, the answer is that they couldn't find something they were looking for to use in their projects. "I often design custom pieces for my clients that have been inspired by either my Turkish roots or the location of the house I am working on at the time," she says. After increasing demand that she create her own line of products, she finally has.
Sara has spent a great deal of time studying and immersing herself in Ottoman designs. "The patterns have an organic quality and I love the idea of giving a new life to them in a different scale, form, and texture." Most of the products are made in Turkey, though the stoneware comes from nearby Malta. The collection features plenty of color because Sara believes rooms don't have to be neutral to be serene and cozy and she tries to encourage clients to follow suit.
Check out more of the new products:
Sara's favorite products are the peshtamals, more commonly known as hammam towels. "I call it my favorite travel accessory. You can use it as a shawl, scarf, towel, pareo, or blanket on the beach!" The peshtamals are woven by an all-women's cooperative in Southern Turkey.
My personal favorites are the covered bonbon dishes—love the scalloped edges—and the kilim runners shown at the top. A larger area rug incorporating the runners' designs is coming soon. Sara and I both share the opinion that the details and the layering of accessories are crucial to making a home more personal.
"My passion has always been to create the unexpected in interiors, something nobody has seen before. My hope is that through this line, people feel they own something unique and made just for them," Sara says.
images via sara bengur
I have this attraction to knit items, things with cable knit patterns, anything chunky and wooly looking. I don't remember if I've mentioned this before, but I'm basically allergic to wool. I can't wear sweaters with wool, even 10% wool content, for more than a miserable hour or two and cashmere is like sandpaper (truly) to my skin. I'm always drawn to clothing and home goods that incorporate chunky, woolen textures—I'm sure there's a psychological term for this. So of course when I saw these big, bright throws, I had to stop.
Loopy Mango, which also has a brick-and-mortar shop in Soho, was founded by two women who met at FIT. All the yarn is produced at the company's mill in Massachusetts and all the finished knitted products are handmade in NYC.
I love the Aspen Crochet Round rug, which unfortunately for me, only seems to come as a DIY kit currently. The kit is available in 20 individual colors but they also sell yarn on their website so you can choose additional hues if you wanted to recreate something something more mult-colored like this rug I saw at the gift show. The solid colored rugs are really chic and gorgeous, though.
The super-chunky finished throws come in eight colors, but again, you can buy your own yarn. They also offer custom sizes and designs upon request, so you can likely ask for a throw in any of the colors they offer.
In addition to various DIY kits, Loopy Mango also offers several free patterns on their website, in addition to links to their YouTube tutorials.
images are my own
Hope everyone is staying warm and lifting with their knees when they shovel, it's crazy out there lately. I drove down to New York last Friday to attend NYNOW, formerly NYIGF, the gift show at the Javits Center. In two and a half days—and 2700+ pictures later—I walked every single aisle of the show and saw some great products.
Mostly, I was really excited to be back in New York and to see a lot of the vendors I haven't seen in a while, since I missed the last three shows (not sure how that time flew so quickly). It was great to catch up with people and this was my first time experiencing the show since they changed the format and rebranded. I think it worked out well to have all the home companies under one roof, though as I walked the show, I realized there were several brands that I didn't see. I'm hoping they'll be there in August.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to sharing the things that I saw over the next weeks and months. In addition to new and interesting products, the booths themselves are often styled creatively. Here are just a few fun things I noticed:
I know I mentioned nostalgia when talking about the bicycle bells in my first post, but maybe even more universal for triggering memories is the ice cream truck.
“Do Your Ears Hang Low” is forever linked with popsicles of ice cream molded into the likenesses of cartoon characters’ heads complete with gumball eyes (especially the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). And last spring, before I moved from New York to Syracuse, my friends (my Real Simple home department co-workers) and I went on an afternoon hunt for Mr. Softee—no substitute would do—but he had moved on to another block and we wandered from 50th St. to 49th and back up 6th Ave, only to return to the office empty-handed.
At the first Kips Bay showhouse I attended, in 2010, the dining room decorated by interior designers Cullman and Kravis, had a 21" sculpture of a blue ice cream pop on the mantle. The next year, when I did an edit test for a job I was interviewing for, I pitched a DIY version of the sculpture as a craft idea. Probably the one and only time I've had a good idea for a craft project that wasn't an invitation to a party or some sort of decoration for a party. I'm not so DIY.
So I’ve had popsicle art on the brain for a while. Then last year at the gift show, I saw this print in Longstreet Collection’s booth:
So I took a little look around and found some other really great popsicle pieces:
These are limited edition giclée prints (above), available in two sizes from UK artist Joël Penkman.
A giclée print (above) by artist Mads Hindhede Svanegaard at Society6.
This digital painting (above) by Jane Schnetlage can be printed on paper or canvas at Imagekind.
And to take it in another direction: Dutch artist Vincent Vermeij (aka Chungkong) reinterprets superheroes in the series "My SUPERHERO ICE POPS UNIVERSE," available through society6. Thanks to geeksugar, where I first saw these.
Okay, who's hungry?
Just when I think it's hard to believe it's already August, August is more than half over. And as much as I love fall—and am already secretly pining for apple cider (hot and cold)—I'm not at all ready to rush summer out the door. So to celebrate the first week of my shiny new blog, I will be sharing summer-inspired finds.
To me, summer always feels like the season of freedom. And not just the freedom to frequently indulge in ice cream, which, obviously, I do. During summer, everyone seems more carefree and happy, work schedules can often be a little lenient, and I think people make more of an effort to take a break from all their responsibilities and feel the wind in their hair.
It doesn't take much to make me think of driving around with newly-licensed friends and staying out late, sleepovers where somehow we thought we were levitating each other (were we? I still don't know), and flying down the street on my bike. The unmistakable ding of a bicycle bell is one of those sounds that snaps you right back to those moments.
But, really, the totally cute designs of Poketo's pattern bike bells are why I kept returning to their website after seeing them for the first time. The modern styles are a fun update to the classic metal look:
By the way, don't miss the rest of Poketo's site. The company started out making vinyl wallets, and over the last few years has grown to design and carry a wonderful range of products. I've loved seeing their booth at the NY gift fair become more and more robust. If you're in LA, you can check out their brick-and-mortar shop.
I really like the pink/blue/white style, but the geometric monotone design (bottom right) goes so well with my own bicycle:
I don't have a bell yet, but I feel like I should get one. Which pattern do you like best?
bell images via Poketo
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