Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vintage Gorgeousness in Wood: Almond Hartzog

 It's not very often that I wish that I still had money. Swarovski encrusted masks aside, I'm not much of a "stuff" person. OK, that is not entirely true... I have a lot of stuff. But it is a lifetime acquisition type of stuff... not a rotating roster. I actually am more apt to collect other people's glorious junk from garage sales and thrift stores than anything else... and it is usually with the intent on using it in a photo shoot or similar type experience. That's it. I have theoretical experience based junk. And lots of it. Buuuuut.... there might just be room in my home for one or more of these things from Almond Hartzog's Gallery. (This would be the continuation of my unfortunately resurrected obsession with 1st Dibs. Ugh.)

The issue that I have is that I have always been mentally preparing for my forever home. As a renter, I am stuck with the irony that while I need to have "whatever works in this space right now" pieces, I also really want to be collecting what I really actually want for my future home. If only I could really really decide on just ONE style that I truly resonated with... I am getting closer all the time... LOL... sorta.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nicoline Patricia Malina

I have just wrapped up a post over on the other blog that revolves around the photography of Nicoline Patricia Malina and a piece from Harper's Bazaar Indonesia. Based in Jakarta, winner of ELLE's Photographer of the Year in 2009, and with a client list that runs the gamut from Esquire to Coca-Cola, I am not sure why I have not come across her work before.

Shooting in some very impressive exotic locales would help any photographer along, but this artist has a gift for clarity of form and for combining saturated colour with surreal moods to evoke an almost alien feel in her work. It truly is otherworldly. Gorgeous.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Want and Need are Relative

Not very long ago, I FINALLY received some back pay that I have slogged through acres of red tape to reclaim from the government. I kind of knew it was coming, but also was prepared for them to find a reason why I shouldn't need it more than some Victoria politician who, say, needed a new antique desk for his office. So for the months where I waited with somewhat baited breath, I (thankfully) budgeted and prioritized every penny to pay down debt, fix up the house, and replace the computer and camera I so desperately need...  This post is dedicated to my family and friends who somehow (... seriously, I have no idea!!! :P) see me as extravagant and impractical. What??? You see? If I were impractical, would I have paid off the hydro...?

Or bought a
...Swarovski Skull ring from Alexander McQueen for $450?! Huh?!? If I were impractical, would I have paid down the Gas bill? Or would I have paid $1,385 for a crystal spiked cuff from Philippe Audibert? Or Prada Butterfly sunglasses for $290?

No, seriously... are we aware of how fabulous I would be carting my two rugrats around Nelson wearing butterfly sunglasses and spiked cuffs? Or perhaps a hand painted Swarovski necklace?

Because what else would I wear with my Swarovski...

MASK!!! I know, Right?!? Anyone who knows anything at all about me knows that the only reason the mask is not currently in my possession is because I didn't see it till today, but still... just sayin' :)

All from Net A Porter...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


How amazing would it be to have bottles from an actual shipwreck in your study? These are 19th C and from the Netherlands., found in a shipwreck off the Java coast. They are hanging around at 1st Dibs... A site I should be kept from at all costs! Thank heavens I am not made of coin, although I dream of being able to outfit my future home with amazing pieces of furniture in that fashion. I think pieces with history are SO much more fun, not to mention the quality of the workmanship. I had to quit visiting the site last year when I found myself trying desperately to find a way to afford a pair of French lamps that were the exact ones that my grandparents had in their home years ago. This whole obsession was renewed last week when I visited one of my favourite blogs, the French Mouse. She has posted a photo on her "Country Mouse" House blog of the most glorious 18th century shop cabinet I have ever seen. This woman has infallible taste and I am completely jealous of her life. It is possible that I could afford a barnacle laden wine bottle though :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trend: Shipping Pallet Furniture

Pallet shelving (Love!) via Remodelista
 The most utilitarian piece of junk has recently stormed the design front in every application from headboard to sofa to wall shelf. The industrial look combined with everybody's favourite price (free) is definitely going to appeal, but there are two things that people may not be aware of. One very, very good, and one potentially very, very bad. Uh-oh.

This is actually wine crates, but same principle... and cooler IMO... via itsdesigned.
Years ago I dated a guy briefly who was figuring out how to build his house. He wanted to put as much re-use into it as possible and the creative genius he showed was waaaay out of the box. One of the things that impressed me the most was his research into things that, at the time, were unheard of.

Pallet pieces cut and placed in a herringbone pattern. Photo from a
 He decided to create the flooring from lathed pallets as they are found in alleys all the time with signs begging people to take them away. It occurred to him that since these pallets were generally coming from overseas, they would be made from wood that would be considered exotic to us. He took some samples to the woodworking school, and his suspicions were confirmed. Mahogany was everywhere, and many more types were found as well. The process of lathing the pieces down to similar size/thickness was offset by that gorgeous price tag. He was sold. So was I. I have been filing that in the back of my brain for over a decade now, and that is the very, very GOOD thing... exotic hardwood flooring, for FREE. Combined with my desire to reclaim and re-use and generally leave as small a footprint as possible... this is all good, right?

Headboard via desire to inspire
I have used pallets as sofa frames, fencing, and garden plot framing. I am the pallet PR person. It always seems like a good thing to me when you get creative with your sources, and some of these back alley pallets are new wood! The thing that kept me from using too many inside the home was the birth of Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Having kids meant that I started asking questions I would maybe not have otherwise. One year when I was looking for wood for a project, I hauled some pallets to my parent's place to use my stepfather's saws. He asked me if I was aware of the amount of toxins that were sprayed on the pallets before they were shipped overseas to keep any bugs or spores or what-have-you from traveling with them. Enter very, very BAD scenario. The things I was making were intended for the kids room, so I did some research, and what I found was not very happy.

Painting them out seemed like a good option. I really liked the wood look and feel though. And I am still unclear as to how bad the toxins are if they are painted over. Does it seal them in? Or are we taking chemical reaction on instead? Ugh. I am not here to scare the bejeezus out of anyone, but as I am seeing these everywhere (and loving the look) I thought somebody might want to bring it up. So far I haven't seen the subject of toxins raised anyplace else on the design blog front.

Like any worthy question, this one raises more questions... we all know that many of the furniture and finishing products in our houses conventionally are filled with toxins already, so if we are the type to just go and buy a whatever sofa, then wouldn't it be fine to jump on this trend? Absolutely. Many of the chemical treatments are the same (formaldehyde etc.) as a sofa from Target or Crate & Barrel or wherever, and this is far better for the environment in the sense that it is keeping these pallets out of a landfill. Could you varnish or somehow seal the wood first? Sure, if the woman down at "Colour Your World" is correct, any treatment of that type will seal in the toxins and you don't have to worry.

There is also the option of the greener pallet. They do exist, and if you are using pallets that were used to ship domestically (within your own country) there is a much greater chance that toxins were not used. There are also companies that use a heating process to treat their pallets instead of toxins. If you take the time to ask a few questions, not only will you find (hopefully) some answers, but you will have the added benefit of raising awareness with the companies using toxic shipping meathods. The demand for less toxins and environmentally damaging processes in the world from a consumer perspective always starts with asking questions!

Coffee table from upcycled pallet via Tina's Apt.
All in all, this is a trend that I LOVE. I really want to see more of this inventiveness and out of the box thinking during the time of economic crisis and the need of the common folk have always been the catalyst of such. I can't wait to see what's next!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Ohhh... if ONLY I had an extra $1800 kicking about. How the boys would LOVE this in their Tickle Trunk! Look at that gorgeous leather construction. This is just beautiful. I want. The word impractical comes to mind, buuuut.....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Noggins As A Canvas: The Steven Jones Milliner Competition

Today's post is dedicated to the recent display of bizarreness, AKA "the guests of the Royal Wedding". I used to make hats. Looooong time ago. It occurred to me that all those bitty pieces in the sewing room could amount to something. Lo and behold, after one trip to Roberta's on Granville Island, where most confections started at about two hundred smackeroos... the light bulb went on. So I took up millinery... of a sort. I created one hat in a particular design and by the time I was halfway through, three more had occurred to me. I loved it. About a hundred hats in I realized I was merely so so at it. The experience, however, taught me that making fabulous noggin-wear takes more than a cap with feathers plunked on it. There is definitely skill involved. The word finicky comes to mind. Persnickety would most likely also come to mind if I knew exactly what it meant.

Holly Gaiman. Creator of hats.
Anyhow... I digress. I caught sight of this hat this morning during my facebook stroll and even though I may have voted for it regardless because it happens to be made by one of my favourite author's daughter (he is tied with Terry whom he has worked with, so does he get extra points for that? He does do brilliant children's books, and definitely gets points for that...) I have to say that this piece is a work of art.

Holly Gaiman has created "Featherswept" as part of her Private View show from June. This piece, inspired by Japanese calligraphy, is an entry into a competition that will see the winner commencing studies with acclaimed British milliner, Stephen Jones. (Holly was mentored by Rose Cory, former milliner to the Queen mum, and also holds a masters in media and culture.) If you would like to see some of the competition and vote, you can visit the site. These are a few of my other favourites, although the list is so vast I didn't come anywhere near to getting through them all.

"Birds on Street Corners" inspired by graffiti artist Xenz. Submitted by Ani Stafford-Townsend.

"In Memory of: Amy Winehouse" submitted by Joosten Mueller.

"Yvette, en Vert" inspired by the work of Yvette Delort. Submitted by Tricia Roush

Brett Morley's submission.

"Embrise Regis" by Melanie Grieve.
Reversable "Halk/Kingfisher" sculptural piece submitted by Emma Yeo.
"Ma-sy" submitted by Masha Sylnyagina

And this has to go in there because top hats and octopi are two of my favourite things...

Submitted by Megan Bishop... who feels the same way.
If any of you have a serious hat thing, as I do, you really should go and check out the entire list... there are some brilliant works of art that I didn't include. Both structurally and imaginatively stunning. And vote!

*Sidebar: Not that I think everyone at the royal wedding was a hoot, there were a fair number of gorgeous pieces included, of course :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Asus Bamboo

 Could somebody please explain to me why it is that macs do not come in a bamboo sleeve?