Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bloom Frame You are My Hero!

Outdoor Space Revitalized.
This is the solution we have all been waiting for. Any takers?

Check out how it works:
You Tube! Video Here

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good Clean Fun

As Le Owner will testify - I like things clean. One way that I motivate myself to do my chores is having tools that satisfy my senses. For example, when doing dishes I start by laying out a beautiful dishtowel. This one, depicting mushrooms is made in France by Le Jacquard Francais, my very favorite of all linen companies.
Add to that a vintage wire dish strainer. Mine belonged to my Great Grandmother, but you can find vintage inspired versions at Ballard Designs. I like that mine is small enough to fit in my sink basin so that I can douse my clean dishes with boiling water - a trick passed down by my other Great Grandmother, who was a French war bride.
Next I break out my yummy scented dish soap de jour - Method's Pink Grapefruit. I have sensitive skin so I use earth friendly soaps so that I don't need to wear gloves. Oh, and because I'm a hippie. ; ) Click here for other earth and skin friendly dish soaps.

I am now using white porcelain dish ware - I think it sets off your food better than colored or patterned plates and it mixes well with other dishes and linens. When I am done I feel relaxed - warm water, "happy" smelling citrus soap, clean white dishes....a meditation on life's simple pleasures.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"They're Grreat!"

Perhaps it is because I feel younger when surrounded by things that show their age more than I do, but I always feel more natural when in a space that has a few "ye olde" elements thrown in the mix. When I was at Penn State I spent many a Saturday combing through local antique stores and now have several collections to prove it; vintage canning jars, maps and birdcages to name a few.

Great Stuff By Paul is a wonderful website that saves you the afternoon. Organized by material or room, they make it easy to find milking stools, old sap bucket or Parisian bistro chairs. And the prices are unbelievably low - think budget Wisteria.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sandow Birk

I’m loving these paintings by California artist, Sandow Birk. Steeped in American pastoral landscape history, these modern works of correctional facilities (yes, prisons) creates a great juxtaposition: beauty vs. bleakness. Click through his other works- also rich with criticism of American culture and events.

Hand Soap

Soap hands. Creepy or cute...you decide. I find them somewhat appealing, but can understand how washing with what is most likely baby sized hands of soap might freak some people out.

Be Civil

There’s something really attractive about this seemingly overly articulate correspondence and other notions webstore called GREER. The opening manifesto -Civility is not a sign of weakness- immediately caught my attention, and their product categories- ‘live’ ‘scribe’ and the somewhat unusual ‘behave’ really sealed the deal. It’s love.

I could spend hours thumbing through their amazing stock of cards, notebooks, bookplates and other bits- but instead back to reality. I’ll certainly be visiting them in person next time I’m in Chicago! In the meantime, some favorites:

Biedermeier Chair Ribbon- come now, how amazing would birthday presents to all the design friends in my life be in this?!

Kitchen inspired 'Thank you' cards perfect in every way.

These amazing pens have actual vintage stamps lacquered to each pen, and packaged so adorably, you'll die.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Eco Greetings Eco Gardener!

Its a greeting card....no its a planter....no its SUPER GREETING CARD.

The Green Field Paper Company of San Diego, California is taking the green idea to the best extreme ever with SEED EMBEDDED GREETING CARDS. Now I can send LeOwner a "Happy Gardening Card" which she can actually plant.  Here's how it works (quoted from the back of the greeting card I just received in the mail):

"This recycled paper is embedded with a colorful variety of wildflower seeds that will grow just about anywhere. For best results, plant this card in an area that receives partial to full sunlight. Thoroughly moisten and plant in fine soil 1/4 inch deep. Keep moist until seeds germinate, tend to them with love and watch them grow. The paper will recycle naturally into the soil as the seedlings grown."

The Green Field Paper Company also offers a variety of handmade specialty paper, including hemp paper, recycled wrapping paper, and business cards, just to name a few. I don't know about everybody else, but I think my partner and I have already solved our holiday card purchase (and it's only APRIL!):

Femme Noir

Not since I proudly brought home Audrey Niffenegger's book The Three Incestuous Sisters have I been so enchanted with an illustrater. 27 year old French artist Anne Julie creates these haunting and enchanting images of pale neotenous women in the most inky dark environments. A little bit Winona in Beetlejuice and a little bit Edward Gorey
they are still highly original and inspiring. Helena Bonham Carter would be at home in Anne's imaginary world.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In Progress: Backyard Design I

Ever since I gave up my much coveted 500 sq. ft. organic garden back in Wisconsin and moved to NYC for design school, I craved to have my outdoor back! I tried lining my very small fire escape with giant, super heavy, plastic tubs stocked with heirloom tomatoes- only find that the neighborhood squirrels also had a thing for my tomatoes. But, let’s face it: a fire escape does not an outdoor garden make. I knew it was all over when, as I was watering my thirsty plants, I ended up soaking my downstairs neighbor- fastidiously putting her laundry out on the line, instead of my plants.

Last year my wishes to the heavens were answered when I stumbled upon what I know refer to as, “best apartment ever” on my way to work: a large one bedroom WITH A NICE SIZED PRIVATE BACKYARD. Yes, you read that correctly, a backyard!!!

I now spend most Friday nights at Home Depot, lugging bags of soil by flashlight into my outdoor space. I spend my free time designing in my head ever detail of the space, driving anyone within earshot crazy with my various plans to make my little yard into an amazing, sane, and useful space!

All spring and summer I’ll be posting ‘Before & After’ pics, asking (begging?!) Trixie and Em for help, giving my two cents on how to create an urban oasis, and just generally opening up the creative design process to the Ruleof3s. This weekend, I’ll be posting some of the before pics- but before that, here’s some of the inspiration that’s going into this backyard!!


+ Sculptural furniture: retro French inspired wire chairs, panton dining chairs
+ Bright pops of pink, purple, and fuchsia flowers against bright green (a color I see in a lot of florists- hey if it works for them…)
+ Lots of white and stainless planters
+ Glowing, diffused light for nighttime

Paper, please.

One of the things we seem to post a lot about here is being eco conscious. Everyone’s doing there part- and I’m thrilled to see it.

At SITE, we’re trying to do our part too- but it is enormously challenging as a business in a not-so-environmentally friendly- city to be part of the solution. We recently had the chance to be part of the new Greenopia guides- the first “zagat” like guide to green friendly business in the NYC area (Cali was the first guide!) and it really opened our eyes to what we were doing right and what we were not.

We already recycle the ENORMOUS amount of cardboard, packing peanuts and the sort to send out our internet orders. We use CFL bulbs in all our lamps. We sell vintage. And of course, we buy products that are what we call “Eco Chic”- repurposed, recycled, or earth friendly in some meaningful way.

My new favorite earth smart products are made by The News LA- fab recycles newspaper and magazine totes, bags, and other super useful products. They are all made in LA- which means I don’t have to worry about pesky sweatshop labor and international shipping waste*. I’m especially in love with the vintage National Geographic totes- what could possibly be more Mactastic?

*sometimes I joke that my next store will be called “ChinaFree” because its so tricky to buy from certain places overseas: contaminated products, terrible labor practices, horrible pollution track records, and so on…

Monday, April 14, 2008

Confessions of a 30 year old Orinthophile

I am enchanted by birds - both in their actual and represented forms. Perhaps it is because my first best friend was a parakeet named Sky, who was endlessly patient with me as I lured him with birdseed on to my "Super Friends" turntable and then switched it on. I also might have inherited my love of birds from my Grandma Isabelle, who collected wire forms of birds and hung them from her dining room chandelier. For obvious reasons, these hand made "wall prints" by Louise Body are the my latest ornithological obsession. Oh - and she works in Britain, which feeds my Anglophilia.

In deepest sympathy

"When Life Hands You Lemons" notecard from Just Another Day on Etsy.

This post is dedicated to all of you out there who were 1099-ed this year.

"I'm there for you" blank greeting card from DzDesigns on Etsy.

To those of you who keep track of your billable hours.

"In Sympathy" card from mlebel on etsy.

And to each and every one of you that has a separate bank account for sales tax.

Thank you for having the courage to push paper in order to reach your goals. Don't give in to the "Swamp of Sadness" that is tax season. It is almost over.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sonoma County Green Living Expo

All the cool kids will be at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds this Saturday, April 12th, to learn more about the options out there for sustainable living and building. It is from 10 to 5 and FREE! Click here for more information.

Mod Green Pod

While every bone in my body believes that we should all 'go green' - I sometimes get frustrated that green design has a "look" when I believe it more of a production method than an aesthetic . Enter Mod Green Pod, a company who's fabrics are beautiful AND hand silk screened on organic cotton.

Founded by two sisters in law, Nancy and Lisa Mims wanted, as their website says, to take organic "from hippie to hip." Click here to read more about their story. Oh- and they have a blog!

I simply cannot wait to find an application for their fabrics - "Atticus", shown above, is my very favorite from their collection, reminding me both of Galbraith & Paul and Hable Constuction.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Minimalist Scrapbook

When I left New York City, my boyfriend and I took route 80 all the way across the country to our new home in the California Redwoods. We considered driving the extra half hour to the coast once we got here so that we could have literally gone from sea to shining sea, but thought better of taking a 26' foot Pensky truck with a car towed behind it on Highway 1.

As a thank you to my boyfriend for going on such and adventure with me, I had a book printed of some of the photos from our trip. It is pretty simple, white glossy pages and dark grey text. The black and white and color photos in chronological order are made more powerful by the large 14" square format of the book.

You can make your own by visiting Shutterfly or clicking here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Elsa Mora

In response to your last post, I offer these two beautiful bees made by artist Elsa Mora. I am thrilled by art objects made from exceedingly delicate materials; porcelain, paper, silk or with embroidery. I respond, I guess, to preciousness and enjoy the extra care and deliberate action that it takes to live with such objects (a trait that each and every person who has lived with me will likely complain about.)

Each of these little (6cm) bees is comprised of 25 separate pieces of paper which she glues one by one until they are complete. She also signs and dates each one.

I found her through her Etsy shop: elsita.etsy.com , where I was deeply moved by her statements about the meaning of her own work and the value of handmade objects in general. To follow: excerpts from her profile.

I always think that inspiration is out there in the air available for everyone, everywhere. It is just a matter of observing and being alert and noticing the world around you. This is something that you develop just by participating in life with your five senses. But if I had to choose one thing that blows my mind that would be people. Think that we are millions of people on this planet, and each single person is unique, even if they are twins. I love different cultures, languages, the way we look, and the way we think and relate with each other.

I think that buying handmade is a way of expression and communication. You express yourself through the objects that you choose to live with and with the objects that you give to other people. Handmade objects have a different meaning compared to industrial objects because they carry a human energy. The thing that most impacts people is other people. That’s why we experience something nice when we get anything handmade. When you buy handmade you are not only buying an object but you’re also buying a concept, an idea that has to do with the appreciation of what’s human. By buying handmade you are saying in a subtle way that you care about other people and that you are open for them to bring something into your life, it is an exchange, it is human connection."

I could not help but explore her blog, elsita.typepad.com, where I was able to see some of her earlier work, which reminded me a bit of Joel-Peter Witkin.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I’m loving these super clean and simple greeting cards. I think they’ll be great in a display with these new clocks we just got in. I guess I’m feeling a bit to saturated with color and needing the purity of good design and white, white, white!!

A favorite sentiment:

My new favorite clocks @ SITE:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Go Green Portland

Go Green!
Go Green!
Go Green!

You can't swing a dead cat anywhere without hearing that phrase. So how can you jump on board? Start being active, of course! Here's my suggestion - check out this FREE series of discussion panels focusing on the cohesive vision of greener design and greener products which is currently touring across the country.

So check out the website and find the nearest conference to bike down to! (or take public transit - or maybe a Segway if you are that hip!)