Pretty things vol. 8

Things I could see myself wearing in 2021/when I re-enter society after a self-imposed 6 month isolation. That’s 6 months of no dating and rare human interaction (save the grocery store clerk and maybe visiting a girl friend once a month).  The continued rise in COVID cases in my state is largely to blame for this but also I didn’t like how I was behaving in the dating world and realized I needed to stand on my own, abstain for a while, and figure out what it is I really want.

It is in this 6 months (ending in April) that I hope to glean some sort of new knowledge about myself as well as have honed some diy skill. It’s been 2 months so far. I last went out socially for Halloween. My last date was late September. I’ve deleted my personal Instagram. I have no social media.  I’ve experienced a 180 from the fear of being alone I felt at the onset of COVID last March (deleted post).  

What did the Time of Corona teach you? I learned a lot about myself and the type of person I was and who I want to be. What wasn’t working for me, relationships and personal toxic self-destructive behaviors. What I need to feel safe, heard, loved, confident, and happy. 

One that that remains unchanged is my love of clogs and a puffy sleeve.

Window shopping: Ceramics

Earlier this week I almost bought a $100 6 inch planter for a new plant baby. This pot in my cart can barely house a leaf. So I came to my senses and passed. I still want it because it’s sculptural and beautiful and in my Living Room Design Plan. The larger version of the pot I want goes up to $400, then over $1,000. I don’t love my plant children that much. Boohiss.

It got me thinking about all the pretty ceramic pots and vessels out there, the hard work, the artistry — then I remembered that makerspace of all price points – Etsy! 

Here’s some fun things I found on Etsy and elsewhere on the web in terms of affordable ceramics. 

Let me know if you have a favorite Esty/Instagram maker or independent small business boutique! 

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

As I string up a tacky shiny strand of green Dollar Tree garland (in the month of November!) in the hopes of some semblance of holiday cheer amidst the death and disappointment this year has shown us, I struggle to come up with a gift list. With COVID, racial inequality/equity riots, the Election, forest fires and hurricanes, the constant daily stress of 2020 has taken its toll on many of us. Holiday cheer pre-Thanksgiving makes a lot of sense right now. Just give us something we can hold on to! A bit of love. A bit of sparkle!

I spent most of the summer accumulating junk that filled the lonely void in my lockdown heart so creating this list was a challenge. What do I want? What do people want? Heck if I know. Here’s some pretty/fun stuff if you didn’t get your fill of packages April-whenever.

Happy Holidays!  For more ideas, see last year’s guide.

Pretty things vol. 7: Puzzles

I have a fond memory of finishing a train puzzle with my dad. He glued it to cardboard and we hug it on the wall like a painting. I bet my mom really hated that. I wonder what ever happened to that puzzle? I also remember a puzzle of the United States that I would do with my grandfather. I still have it. It’s frayed around the edges and water-logged in certain cities. It’s a vintage puzzle. It probably belonged to my dad or one of his brothers.

I’ve always liked puzzles. I’ve always liked assembling things and problem-solving (unless it’s math). I had one of those a-frame Barbie Dream Houses and would assemble the pieces in various configurations. I always made my own cardboard dollhouses. My own paper dolls with tabbed clothes. Today, I love putting together ready-to-assemble furniture, the bane of some people’s existence. I chose graphic design as my profession (everything is a puzzle). And I still like classic puzzles. 

Doing puzzles has a couple of benefits. Not only is it calming and meditative but when we finish, we feel like we’ve accomplished something. I don’t know about you but I can’t rest until the puzzle is complete. Those 1000 pieces nag at me, “I bet that piece fits there…” and the desire to master those unfinished edges keeps me going until the end. Give your brain a little boast with these pretty pieces. Lucky for puzzlers, there’s some beautiful ones to collect. And if you choose to back them and hang them on the wall, no one would fault you for it!

500 or less Pieces

1000 or more Pieces

New things!

I have acquired some new house things! Now what to do with them. Does anyone want to come help me hang my rice lantern (insert sweat drip emoji). Rachel Sanders was having a sale on the vases and I finally scored a blue lady! Super excited about that. And my sweet mama gifted me the kitty (now I have 4! ha) and lamp at Christmas. I keep going back and forth with what to do in my space. It’s hard to commit when you live alone and you’re the only person making decisions. Well, for me it is. I change my mind often. I’ve even become afraid to put new nails in the wall! Which is absolutely ridiculous because you can always fill them in. 

This is me wishing I had a partner to help with building projects. Where’s Mr. Man to go with me on Home Depot runs? 

 

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Every year my mother asks me what I want for Christmas and every year I struggle more and more with what to ask for. When you’re a kid with zero money, the sky is the limit for your toy desires! When you’re an adult and buy stuff for yourself throughout the year, there is little to be left to desire come Christmas. 

Most of the stuff I see that I think I might want or you might want comes to my eyeballs through the wonders of Instagram. So here are some things from makers and shops and such you may not be familiar with. I’m game to know what you’re asking Santa for this year. Is it anything on this list? Better yet, who are you following that has the good stuff?

From left to right:

  1. Female body beeswax candle.  Who doesn’t love the female form?
  2. I’m told women love jewelry. I love bakelite/acetate whatever (are they the same thing?). You can find some dandy darlings on Etsy. I’ve followed Dear Golden for a long long time now (not so much into vintage dresses anymore but her outfit combos are inspiring). Another great company for acetate earrings is of course Machete (they will repair your earrings if you break them!).
  3. Rachel Saunders evokes that beige sort of lifestyle many of us want but none of us have. I enjoy her ceramics, especially this little woman vase. I love following her and watching her stories of creation and watching her flip through pages of 1970s pottery catalogs.
  4. If it weren’t for Instagram I wouldn’t know about this puzzle company! Currently they offer 4 images, and this one is super fun! I ordered myself the fruit. It’s somewhere on a mail truck making its way to me.
  5. I’m kind of obsessed with this pan.
  6. Athena posts pretty food pictures and we’ve both dined at Al Di La Trattoria in NYC. That makes me pretty cool, right? Kidding. But this is a lovely cookbook for that special someone that likes to create memorable meals.
  7. Simone Bodmer Turner…I don’t know how she does it but she makes these otherworldly sculptures. They are devine.
  8. For the interior design lover in your life, a yearly subscription to Ark Journal. They only publish twice a year. Each volume is like a book. Coffee table worthy.
  9. Murad Essential-C Day Moisturizer. This stuff is amazing. Get you and your mother sister brother some. They also have a gift box.
  10. Are you sensing a woman theme? I’ve been following Tina for a while and love her work. Once I ordered one of her catalogs just so I could have wee pictures to enjoy. A large print would make a great gift!
  11. I think this is so special and such a great idea. It combines my love of pottery and nostalgia! Maxine will create a vase for you with your objects. I first learned about this because RS did a collab. I’m particular to all the shells!
  12. I’m so impressed with what people are doing with polymer clay earrings. Studio Ramii is on fire.
  13. You can find Paloma Wool here and there. I like this sweater. It reminds me of the 80s.
  14. I don’t really smoke but I’ve been following this account. I’m not really sure why but they’re modern smoking apparutusseees are neat and they have fun modern packaging design! One of their pipe designs would make a great gift for the …herbalist in your life. I also really enjoy Summer School Shop. She makes a pretty shell pipe
  15. I love these rope candles and would be delighted if someone bought them for me. I can never justify buying candles. But as a gift!? Yes please. Sunday Shop has all kinds of beautiful things is owned by the same ladies as Logan and Killen Interiors.

Pretty things vol. 6

Just some things I’ve eyeballed and perhaps purchased. In the fashion department! I’m into oversized silhouettes. My jam! Curious what you’re into?

I'm also interested in finding some roomy thrifted blazers this fall!
So, I have some of these from Target. These look way better. $

Coffee table books to collect

[Looking for Pretty Things vol. 2? This is it]

Dearest Reader, bookmark this page. I will update it regularly as I learn of new coffee table books. 

Remember when Kramer wanted to make a coffee table book about coffee table books and the book itself was a coffee table (it had fold out legs). I still think that’s genius.

The books currently on my coffee table are In the Company of Women, The Finer Things, The Shell, California Desert, and Mastering Hand Building

I think if someone saw those books in my home they’d assume I A. Like successful women and celebrate them. Maybe I want to be one. B. I like interior design and nice things. C. I just might like the desert or geography. (I am obsessed with the desert). 

Prosper Assouline, culture/lifestyle publisher says, “It’s the idea of building a collection – these are not just things that are big and expensive; they give an impression.

Books are just like our clothes. They tell our guests something about us without us having to verbalize our interests. My clothes usually lead people to believe I’m “artsy” or “unique”. And I’m okay with that. For my coffee table books, I typically enjoy art and interior design books. They are full of beautiful inspirational pictures and look lovely sitting on the table/shelf. Anyone who comes to my home knows these are my interests.

When the Marie Kondo Netflix show aired, there was an article online about how she obviously didn’t understand this concept. Of how books tell people who we are and you don’t just throw them away! We collect books like we collect anything else we enjoy.  You can read it here. It’s pretty much what I just said. 

I originally started this entry with the idea of “why are coffee table books so expensive?” I suppose you have to ask yourself what the book is worth to you. Is it merely a dang book with paper pages that a tree had to die for or is it something you can derive pleasure from for many many years? Can you apprepriate the subject matter, the price it cost to produce the book, the type of paper used, etc? 

Some books at Assouline are works of art themselves. A massive limited-edition version of Gaia, Guy Laliberté’s images from space, is available on watercolor paper featuring 25 gatefold images, 90 illustrations and layered topographic embossing, all hand-bound and housed in a linen clamshell case for $7,000. 

Interior designer Michelle Lloyd Bermann equates owning a beautiful book with something you can’t afford: “You can’t buy the $1,200 handbag but you can buy the Manolo Blahnik book and sit down and drool over it.” 

So true. I can’t own a Matisse but I love looking at the pictures in the books. And if you really wanted, you could snip out those pages and frame them. The $100 book may seem expensive (I am admitting to you I have sticker shock with books), but think of the years of enjoyment you’ll receive! And think of the story you’re telling about yourself as you collect and line your shelves and tabletops with beautiful bound works of art in and of themselves.

A hot tip according to me when decorating with coffee table books: I like to have covers and spines coordinate with the other things that are on the surface. It’s especially nice if there’s black type. Black is a unifying color.

The New York studio of artist and designer Doug Meyer

Today’s Pretty Things are coffee table books that pertain to my interests. I’m sure you can easily figure out what they are! I’d love to know what large scale books you have lying around the house! 

Geometry for adults

I may have barely passed geometry in high school (thanks Coach Sharpe for being a terrible math teacher. I hope you were better with the kids on the football field) but I’m all about shapes now as an adult. I have been admiring geometric shapes for a while now.  I can’t really tell you what it is about them that is so alluring. I swear the simpler the better.  Perhaps it’s because we find shapes repeated over and over again in nature. As designers, it’s always the simplest forms that are the most impactful. I love me a triangle or a semi-circle. I spent a long time agonizing over this website’s logo because I wanted to incorporate many things I love, shapes included. I never quite arrived at the logo of my dreams but I think it’s evident I’m a fan of circles and lines.

I’m fully loving the world’s continued journey pushing the boundaries of geometry and design, the harkening to the 80s, to softer tubular lines. Melding the shapes of the 50s/60s with forms of the 70s/80s is giving futuristic fresh takes to everything from chairs to home decor. 

Here are some finds I’ve been eyeballing for my apartment. Some are true vintage and some are new takes on old classics – the line, the circle, etc.

semi circles

Mid-century Paintings

About 6 years ago when I became interested in interior styling, I began to note all the mid-century flooding the market. I liked it. Growing up I always loved decorating my Barbie’s plastic a-frame and gluing together cardboard houses for the less stylish neighbors to sit in (because the boxes I had available were never big enough to build anything Barbie could stand in). I played with vintage toys like Betsy McCall and wished I had all the pretty vintage dresses for Barbies that kids in the 60s had. I was always fascinated with the craftsmanship and attention to detail of vintage toys – real metal zippers! This probably began my love of mid-century. I just didn’t know what it was. My mother has always loved antiques and bought me a Victorian-style dollhouse when I was in grade school. That aesthetic informed a lot of my own decorating choices up until I started paying attention to my apartment in 2013 and started my first design blog.

I grew up in a house full of floral paintings and terrible family photos on the wall. There was no attention to or celebration of art. As I began to study mcm on my own, I began to love the wonky portraits. You’ve probably seen them. Th single girl, the solo man. Sitting there, staring out. I don’t know what it is about the 60s style of painting that captures me so. I suppose it is the impressionist style. I enjoy the loose brush work and bright but never harsh color palettes. That’s the sort of art I’m drawn to most – fluid, hurried lines.  Also, the use of a lot of blue. I like blue. Blue is calming and serene. I also like that the person is the sole subject of the painting, there is no fluff detail around them. These are simple works. 

I’m working on my collection of nude mid-century paintings. I was inspired by Sally Breer‘s LA apartment some years ago. Sally is a designer who also chooses each piece with a lot of thought and intention. Here are some inspiring mid-century paintings for you to enjoy. Some of these have sat in my favorites folder for a long time and are no longer available for purchase but you can still appreciate their beauty. It’s fun to go to antique/vintage stores and look for mid-century paintings in real life. No one wants them because they’re of some random person. All for the more for you and me!