December 20, 2008

Are You On The Verge?

Are you getting teary-eyed in the grocery store when "Joy To The World" muzak plays ? Seeing commercials on TV - a smiley "family" exchanging gifts in front of a roaring fire. Wishing you had that perfect, unproblematic family.  Hearing Christmas carols being played endlessly on most radio stations.  When is it all too much ?

There is an older man who lives in my neighborhood.  He walks passed my place at exactly the same time every morning.  Where does he goes? He never has visitors, only goes out for his walk in the morning and to go to the local grocery store.  There is no existence of Holiday decorations at all.

Should I leave a small gift on his doorstep?  He has been my neighbor for almost 3 years. Or does he not celebrate the Holidays because he doesn't believe in them or maybe he doesn't have family, or are they disconnected.  Maybe he doesn't have anyone to celebrate them with and its easier to let it slide by quietly.  Has no-one invited him to a Holiday dinner.  Would leaving a token of the Holidays remind him that he is completely alone.  Why is he alone ?

And what about the woman who hasn't been able to find a job in over a year ?  I asked if she was going to see either of her daughters (who live locally) for Christmas?  "Maybe" she said, "I don't know".

The Holiday Season is bittersweet in so many ways.  Its is the one of the saddest and loneliest times of the year, for more people than we all know.  A time when people who had or are dealing with heartache, loss, tragedy in their lives have those feelings at the forefront.  When some would probably want to curl up in a ball and not deal.  Military families wondering if their sons and/or daughters will be celebrating with them next year.  Gaps around the Holiday table, family members who are out of touch.  

Am I the only one that feels like this?  Am I? Let me know either way.  Are you someone who has had tragedy but chooses to forge ahead with your Holiday head held high?

December 17, 2008

Back in the Land of the Living

I was here (the above photo), got back on Friday and on Sunday afternoon had possibly the worst case of food poisoning I have ever had.  I've traveled the world, eaten the weirdest food from the strangest places, and yet I know for sure that it was something from my local supermarket here, in Los Angeles.

December 5, 2008

Spanxs Alert Or Start Your Diet Now

Victoria Beckham (Posh to her friends) released her new line of dresses - "The Dress Collection" at Selfridges yesterday.  By 3:00pm - only 3 dresses were left.  The production was limited to 400 pieces and received rave reviews at New York Fashion Week.

OK - now lets be honest......some of the these are lovely but no one over a size 0 can really wear these dresses.   For those not included in that category it would entail wearing at least 3 pairs of Spanx.

November 26, 2008

Having You Been Craving Color?

Oh boy, have I ever?  I am forever searching.  My first prowl is always to Corine's Hidden In France.  She always finds the most amazing, colorful treats!  And she makes me laugh out loud!

I am all for color - the brighter, the better.  And right now hot pink has become a little bit of an addiction.  I have always loved color.  It started at an early age - painting my Barbie's plastic shoes with nail polish when I was young, as Mattel just didn't get them bright enough for my taste.

This is Nisi Berryman's 1,100 sq foot, 1950's bungalow.  Its situated in Miami Beach's Palm View Historical District.  She is the founder of NIBA Home showroom, which I could get lost in.

Her home is filled with refinished flea market finds.  She moved walls and added floor boards and valances, to reorganize the floor plan of the house.

The colors in the bungalow range from a very deep chartreuse in the living to this violet in the dining room.  Note: the very retro feathered chandelier.

Lisi designed the magenta Lucite coffee table.  The drapes are made from outdoor fabric.

The moorish-inspired custom headboard is fantastic.  The floor lamp is a custom design from NIBA home, the vintage bedside lamp is another flea market find.

I could be very happy living in this little slice of heaven.  She even has a hot pink front door. My kind of girl!  

And on that note: Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Source: obviously - Metropolitan Home

November 24, 2008

Hello Dolly

To celebrate Russian Vogue's 10th anniversary, some of fashion's biggest names were asked to design a dress for a matrioshka - a traditional Russian doll.  These dolls were auditioned off for charity.

The designer's sketches were "brought-to-life" so to speak by Russian craftsmen, who  hand-painted the dolls.

Yves Saint Laurent
Marc Jacobs
Emilio Pucci
Dries Van Noten

Others included Dolce and Gabbana, Celine, Giorgio Armani, Stella McCartney, Maison Martin Margiela and Marni to name a few.

Source: British Vogue

November 21, 2008

The Man Bra - It Had to Happen


Nothing fetish about this.  But all I can say is WHY, why?  I can't wait to unleash myself from its hold at the end of the day!  300 have been sold online, in the last two weeks.  Didn't Seinfeld call it "The Bro" or was it a "Man-sierre"?

Source: The Guardian

November 19, 2008

The Very Talented Soodie Beasley

She is one of my closest friends and after months of harassing her to start a blog, she has, and its just brilliant.  Not only is Soodie an extremely talented interior and furniture designer, web designer, arts and antiques appraiser and educator, she is also an amazing artist who sees the funny side of life.  
A very special Westie sidekick appears in her most of her artwork.  

Take a gander at her blog and website.

On a side note, I sense a cocktail theme in many of her drawings here, and in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with that.

November 14, 2008

Lets Move To.....oh OK, if you insist!

I just love to read The Guardian on-line.  One of my favorite sections is "Lets Move To......". Every Saturday morning, English houses of every variety are profiled.  From Property Of The Week to Wreck Of The Week (local mice and bats are included).

I spent my most of my "tween" years at a boarding school in the middle of the English countryside. It was originally an Abbey -  cloisters and all.  Extremely isolated - in fact the only structure that signified the village was a mail (post) box and a telephone booth.  

We had "bovver boys" (think bikers) - well what they liked to call themselves anyway.  They were actually the sweet, local boys who would come onto the school grounds at night riding their loud, clacketty motorbikes and circle the fountain.  Maybe thats a whole other post - very St.Trinian's-like.

When I read Lets Move...on Saturday mornings I'm transported back into that time when my only priorities were how to wear three pairs of tights to keep warm, and what concoction was for breakfast.  The school cook was under the impression that if frozen fish fingers were placed in the warming drawers early in the morning, "they'd be cooked by dinner.  Need I say more.

November 12, 2008

Heads Up Angelenos

Stark Carpet is opening its doors to the public for a limited time in Los Angeles.  There will be over 40,000 square-feet of designer merchandise, at sale prices.  This includes area rugs, wall-to-wall carpets, remnants, fabric and wall covering. 

There will also be specially priced fabrics by Brunschwig and Fils.  I am especially excited about this as I have been looking for fabric to recover a wing back chair which has seen better days!

The sale starts November 14th - November 26th at HD Buttercup in Culver City, California.

Sorry to anyone not in Los Angeles, we will be thinking of you though.

November 11, 2008

Tatebanko Paper Dioramas with drama

I have never been a fan of the old dusty, dead animal dioramas so these were pleasant surprise.

From Japan, they are a groovy and inexpensive gift.  There are several different varies to choose from and they are sold in kit form.

Tatebanko is the forgotten art of creating 3D scenes from paper.  Was widely popular in the 17th century to the 20th century and then disappeared.  

What a great way to revive and reinterpret this amazing art form.  They are sold individually, or in a box set of 3.

Kits can be purchased from B5+10 which is one of my favorite online stores.

November 10, 2008

Liselotte Watkins

I think in another life I was probably either Swedish or Danish.  I am forever interested in artists/designers from there.  My latest "crush" is Liselotte Watkins and her extraordinary illustrations and talent.

"People sometimes find the girls in my drawings to be too good looking and inaccessible, but to me they're not.  To me these girls are like friends because I spend so much time with them".
Liselotte Watkins was born 1971 in Nykoping, Sweden.  She studied at The Art Institute in Dallas, USA and has worked as a fashion illustrator since the late 1990's.  Her art reminds me so much of the Biba world in the 60's and 70's, which I love but was too young to be a part of.
She have worked with the following: Vogue (UK, Japan, Italy), Elle (USA,UK, France) and Mac Cosmetics to name, just a few.  I saw her illustrations in the autumn edition of H&M magazine.
She published her first book in 2003.  Entitled Watkins' Heroine, which is unfortunately out of print.  Her cheery, bright illustrations are such a vacation for the senses.

Q: You are famous for doing illustrations of girls with a distinct urban, cool and glamorous look.  How did it all start?

"Urban, cool girls are what inspires me.  Lately urban, cool guys as well, actually.  It started when I was about twelve and went to see Flashdance.  It was a revolution in my life at the time, coming from a small farm.  I wanted to live in a big city, to read Vogue, to have a pit-bull and to weld.  The welding never developed into  career, but I learned how to do it".

The entire interview is here on Pipel.

November 9, 2008

Kenneth Kvarnström

You may have all realized by now, my OBSESSION with mid century/50's furniture and design.  I simply love the way Kenneth Kvarnström has decorated his apartment in Sodermalm. He's the artistic director for the House Of Dance in Stockholm.
Three entrances into this room create open and easy access.  Kenneth worked with a Swedish architect to alter the kitchen.  What a great way to hold plates and bowls.  And the enormous clock is from TickTockClocks in the UK but I found a similar one at Simply Wall clocks.
These signs were found in Paris where he sometimes works.  Each sign has a memory connected to it.  Note the parquet floors which hide a multitude of sins and are easy to maintain.  I have them in my home and they are brilliant.
Small signs, tags and notes are hung in inexpensive, black frames and are rotated often.  Ikea is always a great place to find a bargain.  The floor has been painted a high gloss white which I personally love.  It brightens up the room and the reflection itself, is an art piece.
His apartment is filled with numberplates and signs as he says they are inexpensive art.  (Sadly in the US they are very pricey and most are fakes.  But the real can sometimes still be found on Ebay).  

Photos: Martin Lof/Martin Lof

November 5, 2008

Full of hope

130 million people turned out to vote.  The most ever to vote in a presidential election. 
A monumental day.  A bright and hopeful day.  A new day.....

Photo credit: maxedaperture

October 30, 2008

"Its The Editing and the Producers"

Is it really ? Lets be honest - reality TV is here for a reason.  Its entertainment and a platform to launch chefs, fashion designers, interior designers and/or anyone who is addicted to attention (ie. most of the girls on Rock Of Love Charm School, the "Housewives" ladies), to name a few. Reality TV and the blogs that come with them are brutal, and contestants on these shows need to have a thick skin going in, or they will crumble.  

But if you are going to launch a new "character" on one of these reality shows - admit to that fact that you are doing it for "camera time".  I find it disappointing when on "fallen contestants" websites and blogs, they constantly blame producers and editors for portraying them in a certain light.  The material has to be there for the show to use it.  Are they embarrassed and ashamed of the way they acted.  Has an enormous mirror been held up to them?  If there must be blame - why not split it.  Half to the producers/editors and half to the contestant, themselves.

The support of mean-spirited and insecure behaviour on these shows by bloggers, is the most surprising to me.  Comments are left commending them on their conduct.  "Friends"  and supporters leaving messages as to what a kind and talented person they really are, and how badly they were portrayed.  Thats just plain sycophantical.

In the end, shows are won on merits rather than dismal personalities.

October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 : "The Beggars Song"

I always go from gate to gate,
soaked to the bone and all burned up;
All of a sudden I'll lay my right ear
in my right hand
Then my own voice sounds to me
as if I had never known it.

Then I don't know for sure,
who it is that's screaming
me or just somebody else.
I'm screaming about next to nothing, really.
Poets scream about more.

Finally, I close my face
with both eyes shut;
which looks as if it's in my hands
with its whole weight, and resting.
That's so that they don't think 
I don't have a proper place,
to lay down my head.

~ Rainier Maria Rike, The Beggars Song, excerpt from The Voices, translated by Cliff Crego

Many of the blogs I read are participating in this today.  Here are a few of my favorites: Pia, Hidden In France and My Sister's In Darfur.

October 9, 2008

Are You In?

One of my fave bloggers, the lovely Pia, made me aware of this.  Next Wednesday October 15 is Blog Action Day.  This year's subject is Poverty.

Click on this link to find out more.  Also don't forget to register your blog.  This has a "hands around the world" feeling.  You don't have to be a writer to be a part of it all.  Even taking the time, to be involved, is enough.

The US, where I live, is one of the richest countries in the world and yet 12% of the population live below the poverty line.  This site brings it all back into perspective.

October 8, 2008

Scary storytelling

I can't vote as I'm a resident "alien" but I have lived in the US for more than 18 years.  I'm very interested in this election.  Its a monumental time that will go down in history.   
I have one question: why was John McCain speaking in hushed tones, last night at the debate.   It was like he was telling a very scary story to a group of school children.

October 6, 2008


"I consider steel a material with the same artistic merit as wood and leather"

Graduated from Copenhagen's Schooel of Arts and Crafts in 1952.  He designed furniture primarily for E. Kold Christensen but also did a few designs for Fritz Hansen.
Best known for the "PK25" chair. Its minimal steel structure combined with a thin wicker seat. 
He won many awards for this inventive design.
"PK20" chair.

"PK61" coffee table.  Satin finish stainless steel with tempered glass.

What really fascinates me about him, is he had two very different modes of design.  The architectural ie. the PK 25 chair, sometimes made with cane, canvas or leather, and the more sculptural forms like the PK20 chair and the PK9 chair (not shown) which was more like artwork.

Fritz Hansen took over the manufacturing rights for most of his work, although PP Mobler also has some of Kjaerholm's designs in production.  Precise manufacturing is required for his work, so the prices are HIGH!

All images: Courtesy of Fritz Hansen

October 4, 2008

Mulligatawny anyone ?

As the song goes, "It Never Rains In Southern California" - well today it did.  Sort of, for maybe an hour.  Enough for puddles.  Was also a little chilly for LA standards.  I know, I know.....its not like we live in the Arctic here but its great to have even a small seasonal change.

Got me thinking about SOUP.  I came across this amazing website "Vintage Recipes".  One recipe is more enticing than the last.  Not only covering vintage food recipes.  Buts there's recipes for Acid Salt - to remove ink stains, although I must admit, it initially sounded a little more sinister.  Here's another:  Thieves' Vinegar, invented by 4 London thieves in 1665.  It supposedly warded off the plague.  The thieves were able to remain in the city, and loot, while others were fleeing.

Think I'll start with the Mullatawny Soup, and go from there.  

Image: from

October 2, 2008


"Beauty is a superpower that should not be underestimated"

Born in Copenhagen, Nanna initially trained as a cabinetmaker.  She was interested in obscure shapes, strange curves and continued to focus on those throughout her career.  

Not only a furniture designer for adults and children, she also designed jewelry, interiors, and fabric.  Many of her designs including her award-winning Hallingdal fabrics, can still be seen in airports, hospitals and houses around the world.
"Hanging chair" - probably her best known designs worldwide.  There have been many imposter designs, but none can match the perfect simplicity of the original.
"Sausage" chair.  

Many of her pieces were made with rattan, fiberglass, foam rubber and textiles.  I love the fact that she designed furniture for children.  Even now, there is very little groovy nursery and toddler furniture.  Nanna's designs became very popular in the '50's and '60's especially the toadstool table (not that I was alive then).

I love the idea of the Egg Chair but I have never really been that comfortable relaxing in one. I'm always afraid that either the chain is going to break, or its going to pull out of the ceiling.