Sunday, January 31, 2010

Look Up

It has become apparant to me that I have blogging ADHD.  Even while working on a new post, the moment something shiny catches my attention - whoooooop-  off I go....

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Bright Idea


Cologne 2010: Swiss Designers Jörg Boner and Christian Deuber were named winners of the interior innovation and best item awards at imm Cologne 2010 last week for their concrete and metal floor lamps.

(Sorry, honey - I know it's almost Valentine's Day, but my heart has been stolen.)

LOVE love love these lamps. The lampshades are genius - don't you think???

More images as featured on Dezeen this morning:


On the heels of Brooke's post this morning on her fab blog Velvet & Linen, these shades speak to me of the gorgeous way she and her hubby incorporate feminine and masculine elements throughout their own home.
Thanks to Dezeen for providing an always inspiring and interesting source of all things design.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where's Donald When You Need Him?

"Dear Mr/s. Real Estate Agent, You're Fired"







 (Yes - the listing with these beautiful outbuildings is still active - since 2007?!)

It amazes me when real estate agents insist they don't need to bring in or even consult a real estate stager. 
Enough said?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is Your Decor In Tune?


“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated.” - Paul Rand, graphic artist and legend


to make or fashion after or according to a pattern
-to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully.
to form or conceive in the mind; contrive; plan:

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's All Related

In one of our many get-the-grey matter-rolling-is there any more coffee?- early morning-wake-up chit-chats, my hubby said it all. Without pretension. Still technically half asleep. One of those sheer gut instinct verbal burps that roll directly from the brain and off the tongue. No meditative pauses here.

"Design is all about improving the quality of life."

"                                                            "


There it is, folks.

It all comes down to choice. Do with it in your life as you choose.


Very cool.

That evening, the universe being true to its infinitely brilliant ways,  introduced Emily Pilloton into my li'l corner of its swath. I just have to share with you  what she has chosen to do.

Personally, however impressed and supportive I am of this (which is more than I can do justice with here), I am ashamed to say that I am not as creative, or educated or motivated to even consider implementing design on such a grand and noble scale.

 I think that's okay, though.

Project H's mission is not wasted on someone like me. Inspiration truly is everywhere. It is people like Emily whose reach extends far beyond their intended audience. For that, the fires of inspiration continue to be fed. No matter how humble or how grand, the quality of someone's life will in fact be improved.

It's all part of the design.

Thanks, Universe.

**** all photo credits - right click image

Monday, January 18, 2010

You Are Needed

Morning routine: Brew a fresh pot of coffee. Get the fire going in the fireplace. Let the dog out. Pour a cup of coffee and settle into "my" overstuffed leather chair. Open up laptop and power it up. Click away on my keyboard and check in on the world "out there".

Lately, though - there's a blip on the screen. A skip in the record. A piece missing in the puzzle. And that's putting it mildly.

Helplessness. Guilt. Sympathy beyond sympathy. Heartbreak. A strong sense of unrest and discomfort that can't be shaken by the usual comforts.

I'm just one person. On top of that, just one person with limited resources. But I do have a computer. And a cellphone. And a few extra humble dollars. And the power of choice.

I choose to leverage those few things by shouting out to anyone who may read this post. And anyone who may check my FB page.

I know you know about the Haiti tragedy. I know you know about the myriad of relief efforts. I know you care. Please, if you haven't already, or can do so again, PLEASE choose to pick up that cellphone and text the word 'HAITI" to number 90999.  Or click on the American Red Cross website.  It's the least we can do.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I See The Light!!!

Shame on me. I should have paid better attention in my high school history class. Or perhaps it was one of those days I didn't even show up (amazingly I still managed to be an honor roll student). Recently, when I was doing research on some "stuff", I came across some very interesting info about the history of artificial lighting. Honestly, I never really gave it much thought before. I have come to realize what a casual approach I have to this no-less-than-miraculous invention..My thoughts are simply about how we know it and use it now whether I am advising a client on the 3 points of lighting or leaning in an odd and unnatural angle as I strain to see what I am reading under my own much-less-than miraculous living room lighting situation. Enough of my woes. Though 35 years late, here's my report. Hopefully my teacher will give me some slack

 The History of Artificial Lighting In The Home

In the history of artificial lighting, Ami Argand's development of the central draft burner had as much impact in the late 18th century as did Thomas Alva Edison's harnessing of electricity did in the late 19th century. His burner creation affected lighting devices in the first half of the nineteenth century. In the second half of the century, this new burner was used with both lighting and heating devices. In fact, the benefit of his design can still be observed in the circular burners of contemporary gas cooking stoves.

                                                                             Antique Sinumbra Lamp

Ami Argand, was a Swiss inventor and philosopher. He developed and introduced an improved lamp burner that revolutionized interior lighting. He developed a glass chimneyed central draft burner that produced light equal to that of six to eight candles. It also improved oxygenation at the burner, reduced consumption of oil, and practically eliminated the need for snuffing (snipping away partially burned wicks to reduce flickering).*

Argand's new burner not only led to the development of new lamp forms but also eventually affected both how people used their living spaces and how they arranged their furniture in those spaces.

Though gas lighting was used early in large interior spaces, smaller domestic spaces benefited dramatically from the development of the central draft lamps. Prior to Argand's development, lighting relied on hand-made candles and many types of opened oil containers to which cotton or rush wicks were inserted. Tallow, alcohol, and any available oli (fish, seal, whale and vegetable) provided the fuels. Although Argand's lamps required high grade vegetable or whale oil and was therefore costly to use, it remained popular among the well-to-do during the first quarter of the 19th century. By 1830, more and varied lamps became available to those of the more common classes.

Expensive lamps, typically made of heavy metal, continued to be manufactured. A popular variety was the freestanding table lamps that were newly introduced at this time. There were Solara lamps, thus named because their light seemed to be as bright as the sun; solara being the Latin name for sun. Again, originating from Latin terms, were the Astrala lamps; meaning stars. Sinumbras drew their name from sine umbra, or without shadow, since the large diameter reservoirs produced a bright light with fewer shadows than those casted by earlier lamps.

                                                                           Antique Astral Lamp

Artificial lighting also affected room use and the placement of furniture. With the introduction of the sinumbra lamp in the 1810's and 1820's, tables were placed in the center of front parlors instead of removing them when not in use to the outer perimeters of the room. A sinumbra lamp placed on a center table provided enough light so that several people sitting around the table could benefit from the illumination. It is also suspected that it is around this time that the family's main eating table evolved into a round-shaped design for this very same reason. Prior, the refectory, or rectangle-shaped table, was the common shape.

In the late 1850's kerosene was introduced as a more viable and economical fuel alternative. However, the sinumbra, solar and astral lamps did not go by the wayside. Many were retrofitted to accommodate the change in fuel.

Argand's contribution to artificial lighting was vital to many aspects of how people used and design the interiors of their homes. Impressively, his impact is still as relevant today.

*The Central Draft Burner: Ami Argand's Contribution to the American Home by Mimi Sherman

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Deft at Delft

In the midst of pulling together another post, I will take respite and inspiration in the form jumping on the tour bus through blogland. Man, there are a countless number of incredibly talented writers/bloggers out there with a myriad of interesting angles on stuff. Catch me at the right moment, well, actually, the wrong moment, and I could be very easily convinced to re-think putting myself out there and risking any chance of gaining respect or even an interested reader or two. Those folks are good. I'm well, .um, still learning............

Anyway, in my morning travels today I somehow found myself at the virtual doorstep of Dinosaurs & Robots.

Displayed in their front window was this little gem from Neatorama

                                                         NYC Delft Porcelain

Then on closer inspection, Holy Sh*t!!!!!!  A hot dog vendor's cart? Seriously? 

{{{{scerrrrreeeeeach}}}}}went the brakes. I've gotta go in. How could I NOT?

"Rather than focus on the newest trend, we will seek authentic, handy, rarefied, disgusting, illuminating, delicious, mysterious, intoxicating, commonplace, historic, intensely personal, entertaining and enlightened objects, both priceless heirlooms and exquisite trash."

Yup - their tag says it all.

Back to that fine porcelain ware, can you imagine setting a quaint tablescape with a set of these dishes? Accompanied by grandma's finest silver, a few heirloom linens and fresh flowers, I bet most would sit down expecting to find a traditional setting from which to nibble their crumpets.

 Then SUPRISE! Get ready to pour some extra tea for all those choking on those crumpets.

If your tour bus schedule allows, I highly recommend you pencil  Dinosaurs & Robots in..

ps to further enhance your viewing experience of this line, check this out. Very amusing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Good Intentions


Whaddya think? Looks kinda pretty, huh?

We can only hope that 2010 will be a pretty one. For everyone. All creatures big and small.

As part of the said creature population, I intend to do my part however big or small.

Which brings me to the topic of New Year's Resolutions.

My oh my.

I really have been giving them a whole lot of thought lately. To begin with, I prefer to swap out the word Resolution with the word Intention. Seems more positive and empowering.

Anyway,it's been awhile since I have bothered with either a resolution or intention. Well, that's not exactly true.  The past few years I have been pulled in many directions and had to place my focus on the welfare of some other folks in my life who needed it more than I. So it's not like I didn't care to look ahead and aspire to bigger and better things. I did. For them. That's cool. To every season, etc., etc.

Folks, this year it's MY New Year.

About 5 or 6 years ago I put together this thing called a LifeCycle Plan. The whole thinking behind it is that we can manifest the things we want in and for our lives by visualizing them in actual hardcore, right in your face, images. 

Long story short was at that point renting had become damn old. My husband and I reeeeaaalllyy wanted to own our own space. So in the spirit of doing everything we could to make that happen, I got busy cutting and pasting. And I mean that in the literal sense.  I plopped myself down in the middle of the hundreds of magazines that I admittedly tend to stockpile and got busy with my scissors and glue stick. Pictures that represented the pictures in my mind found their way onto the yellow posterboard that was left over from an old yard sale sign. Needless to say, all of the images were about what I saw as to how I wanted our new home to look like and be about. Briefly, I envisioned a ranch home (so we could grow old there and not have to deal with stairs), lots of gardens (for obvious reasons) and the space to allow myself, my husband and my young teen-age son the room to do the things we liked to do (lots). AND I wanted a home that would welcome in my Mom should she ever need a place to move to as she aged.

Fast forward to January 2010. This May will be 4 years that we have lived in our own ranch home with lots of gardens (though small) that has all the space that I, my husband and my teen-age son need for the aforementioned reasons. 

And yes - my mother did come to live with us. She did have a need and we were able to help her meet it

Guess there was something to that LifeCycle plan, huh? I dug it and took a few pics in order to share it with you.

Obviously, it is time for a new one. So I guess that tops my New Year's List of Intentions.

   2010's LifeCycle Plan which will include the following
(not in any specific order):

  • Get organized - On every level. Mind. Body. House. Car. Underwear Drawer. But not to the point that I become like the Wizard  hiding behind the curtain. Getting stuck in the seemingly important "behind-the-scenes" puttering does not generate all of  the stuff that needs to happen to better myself and my business The yellow brick road awaits but only for those who dare step OUTSIDE - literally and figuratively..
  • Buy a new computer so that I can install the software I need to expand my consulation services
  • Keep blogging in order to a) get good at it b) network c) learn more about design and decorating d) inspire even just one person in how they decorate their life
  • Celebrate a year blogiversary in October 2010 with at least 100 loyal followers/subscribers/contributors
  • Be published in a shelter magazine
  • Travel to at least one major trade show
  • Meet at least one of my design blog heroes
I could go on but I think this is a good start especially considering that part-time I work "another" job to help pay those nasty things that arrive in the mailbox every month.

As the year progresses and should there be more time left than intention, then I'll loosen my belt on those extra notches I've gained and get out my scissors and glue stick again.

Okay - let the fun begin!

***all image credits can be seen by right-clicking and viewing properties

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

She Rocks

                                                                         Danielle LaPorte
Honestly, I am working on my next post. My M.O.(should that be capitalized?)  for the New Year, will be laid out like a welcome mat for you to read. It will either provide some level of interest for you or maybe it'll just merely serve as a place to wipe your feet. And I promise, I will be working my way back to more specific design-related topics. It's all inter-connected, ya know?? 

Anyway - one of my daily reads is written by an amazing woman, Danielle LaPorte. Her blog, The White Hot Truth is as hot and invigorating as any morning coffee. Her post today is so right on and dovetails so beautifully with the spirit of my most recent post.The timing of her message is too perfect to not share it with you.                                                                                                           

(psssst...If I get up my courage, I may even ask Danielle if I could interview her on here sometime. Whaddya think? Do I dare? I mean,  I'm just a small potato blogger.....)

I hope you have a few minutes to take a look-see at what this gal is all about. She's very cool. It would be even cooler if any of you want to share your comments about what you think about her, too.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Coffee with Yoko

   As I state in my little box at the top of my blog header, design and inspiration is all around us - even where we least expect it.  It is my observation that it is within those mysterious nooks and crannies of our everydays, that the profound pieces of the puzzle, we call life, are provided.   

About 12 hours before the ball dropped in Times Square this year, it had already dropped in another sense of the word - in my world, anyway . I won't bore you, dear reader, with the details. All I knew for sure was that, in what felt like a heartbeat, the New Year was already full off changes that I had no part in creating - not knowingly, at least.  And it got me thinkin'.  Then, this morning over coffee, out of the blue, my hubby pulled out Yoko's CD and read me her sleeve notes and lyrics to Rainbow Revelation.    And those got me thinkin'.  All THAT thinkin'  combined with the thinkin' I was already doing about what to share on my next blog post, provided the perfect  coming together of, well, thunked thoughts,.... aka,  inspiration.   

Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to be conscious and conscientious; to step outside of ourselves as often as possible. As we move along through each moment of each day, it is up to us to make sense of those puzzle pieces in order to help us see the bigger picture, so to speak.  On occasion, those pieces have clean and predictable sides to them. Finding their tidy little niches comes easily. Mindless stuff. Smooth as "butta". No major investment required. Then there are those pieces that just don't make any freakin' sense..... what...  so.....ever. Some of us get stuck holding onto  those "stupid" pieces determined to override and overrule every aspect about them.  Wonder sets in about how to shove 'em, squeeze 'em and even manipulate 'em into where we want them to fit. God forbid we are left feeling powerless . Frustration creeps in. Before we know it, we find ourselves spinning our wheels like a car sinking deeper and deeper into the mud while randomly spewing muck all over everything and everyone within range. When this happens, it is a sure sign, my friend, that it is time to play the mindfulness card cuz mindlessness really isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
By now you are probably thinking -"ummmmm, wait - I thought this was a design and decorating blog!?"  The short answer to that is - Yes - it is.  The long-ish answer to that is- Yes, - it totally is. For me, design and decorating is fundamentally a reflection of how I happen to process life; part of the whole puzzle-putting-together process while doing my best to not track mud into the house. 
People. Places. Things. Time. Food. Money. Weather. Pets. Events. (etc etc) = Color. Texture. Placement. Lighting. Furniture. Art. Style. Perspective. Scale. Form vs Function. (etc etc)  My wishes for a Happy New Year to anyone who may take the time to stop by and read this. If I could, I would brew up some coffee and share it with ya while we chatted about life....and how you decorate yours.  So instead, perhaps you'll feel inspired to share some thoughts here before heading elsewhere.  I'll go put the coffee on. 


Rainbow Revelation
by Yoko Ono

It was after the rain. I was looking out from my window. The buildings on the opposite side of the park were shining with a touch of pink in the evening light. There was a faint rainbow hanging in the park right in front of my eyes.

I said to myself “Wait a minute, an arch is a segment of a circle and usually it has a support underneath it. Is there a support for a rainbow like the fertile ground that supports the trees? Is there a part of a rainbow we’re not seeing? It could even be that a rainbow is a circle!”

Then a tiny voice said to me “Yes, a rainbow is a circle, and more. You are just shown an inkling of a rainbow. Just like the best of you think and communicate in shorthand, things are shown to you in little bits.

And you know why?” I heard myself say

“Why?” with an exclamation point.

A perfect silence is what came back. Only the park was shimmering in its full glow. The little voice started to whisper to me again, this time in what i call long hand. I kept writing it down as it came to me until it was about a hundred pages, and the sun started to rise from the window.

This is its first page. I hope it will be of some use to you.

Bless you for your anger for it is a sign of rising energy.
Direct not to your family, waste not on your enemy.
Transform the energy to versatility and it will bring prosperity

Bless you for your sorrow for it is a sign of vulnerability
Share not with your family, direct not to yourself.
Transform the energy to sympathy and it will bring you love.

Bless you for your greed for it is a sign of great capacity.
Direct not to your family. Direct not to the world.
Transform the energy to giving.
Give as much as you wish to take, and you will receive satisfaction

Bless you for your jealousy for it is a sign of empathy.
Direct not to your family, direct not to your friends.
Transform the energy to admiration and what you admire will become part of your life.

Bless you for your fear. For it is a sign of wisdom.
Do not hold yourself in fear.
Tranform the energy to flexibility and you will be free from what you fear.

Bless you for your poverty for it is a sign of great possibility
do not hold poverty in your mind.
Every drop of your generosity will come back in 10 fold.
Give as though you were a king, and you will receive a king's due.

Bless you for your search of direction for it is a sign of aspiration.
Transform the energy to receptivity and the direction will come to you

Bless you for the times you see evil.
Evil is energy mishandled and it feeds on your support.
Feed not and it will self-destruct.
Shed light and it will cease to be.

Bless you for the times you feel no love.
Open your heart to life anyway, and in time you will find love in you.

Bless you, bless you, bless you.
Bless you for what you are.
Remember you are loved.
Remember I love you.

from the sleevenotes of the album STARPEACE by Yoko Ono

images courtesy of flickr - credits listed in properties of each pic

inspiration is all around even where we least expect it