Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Peter Marigold: Make/Shift

Make/Shift, by Peter Marigold, is a modular shelving system designed to be wedged into whatever awkward nook or cranny your abode might hold. From his very read-worthy interview on London's Design Museum website:
The world that I live in is chaotic and densely populated by junk, both collected things and simple rubbish. It’s not a perfect place but it is consistent. Like wise, English homes are usually consistent in their shared irregularities – pokey architectural spaces, weird under-hangs, and unusable corners. I was interested in how a piece of furniture might adapt to and therefore reflect our acceptance of living with these innate problems.
One version of Make/Shift was built in the manner of packing crates; these could be used as boxes when moving house, then put in place as shelving units once there.

Units available soon from movisi are manufactured from expanded polypropylene with corrugated edges. This material is well-suited to the task as it makes the units sturdy, yet lightweight and easily wedged into gaps.

So. Cool, yes? And we all know that, just as my favorite category is "miscellaneous," my favorite item of furniture is the shelf unit. I'm crazy about Make/Shift as shelving, but I've also got to rave about the mind of the designer. Again, from his Design Museum interview:
I am interested in objects, and the vast bulk of objects that we experience have been, at least in part, mass-produced. In this respect, as with my impulse to become a ‘proper designer’, I feel a real impulse to ‘fit’ with the aesthetics surrounding me. However I am also conscious that most of the products that I see today, idealise a world that I doubt I will ever experience, unless through the media. I’m probably doing something wrong, but my house never looks like that, and I think there are probably parallels here with how the fashion industry actively encourages anorexia in women. It might look innocent, but, intentionally or not, a beautiful surface with perfectly rounded corners is a good way to convince a human that he is little more than a contaminant in the product process.
I just identify so much with this! I love looking at the magazines, but my life nor my home will ever be showroom pieces. At best, I'm shooting for functional. At least, at this stage of the game. Perhaps things will be different when I'm an adult, working at a real job and living in a real house.

After all, at forty-five there's plenty of time, right?


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Clash Mickey

I know this isn't new or anything, it's just the mood I'm in. Mickey Mouse does the cover of the classic Clash album, London Calling.

Designed by Japanese artist Roen. (WARNING: Site badly designed in detestable Flash.) Available at Medicomtoy, where I could order it if I spoke Japanese. And had piles of money.

And what does it mean when one awakens in a "mickey mouse does the clash" sort of mood?

Oh, right. Means I have to work today. *sigh*

via productdose.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Favorite Fabric

This is my new favorite silk print fabric. Isn't it great? Doesn't it rock? It's available here.



Click on the image to make it bigger--it's even better that way. You can download it for free at


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Inspire Co. Fairy Gift Tags

This one's the Cheeky Fairy. And a saucy little number she is, too. Go on over to Inspire Co. and check out the others for yourself. Cute as dickens!


Friday, January 26, 2007

Comments: An Invitation

The blogosphere is on fire with the issue that bloggers wish their readers would leave comments. Here I go and throw my hat and two cents into the ring. I think this great t-shirt from ThinkGeek sums it up. "I blog, therefore I am. Comments(0)"

Yup. We blog because we have this need to put it out there. We share our passion for the things we love, and it makes us feel more alive. And far too frequently, Comments(0).

We know we're being visited. We have these traffic tracking gizmos that we check (in my case) upwards of 30 times a day to see how many visitors we've had, where they've come from, what they've looked at and where they went when they left. Sometimes (for me, lately) these stats are a wonderful thing: I've got readers, therefore I am! Again, though: far too frequently, Comments(0). That's the disheartening one. That's the one where when we check our e-mail upwards of 50 times a day and don't have any alerts that someone has left a comment--that's the let-down.

So we're asking--I'll say, inviting--those who read to click on "Comments" and say a few words. You don't have to know me and you don't have to be a blogger and you don't have to say anything profound and you don't have to take a lot of time with it. But if you see something you like, something you're glad I shared, click on "Comments" and say, for example, "Cool!" I invite you to do this both because it fuels my passion, and because I've met some of the most wonderful people from all over the world simply because they left a comment.

Some are suggesting a poll or a contest to get people to participate. I love this idea. My biggest fear is that I'll announce a contest and have a lovely prize for the winner (hint: I sell used books, and some of them are awesome) but no one will participate. And then I'll feel like the kid who's picked last for the ball team. I'll feel like, "I blog, but still somehow I'm not."

So, consider this an open-house and come on in. Your presence will be welcome, and you'll be part of this small community, if only for a moment. And our hearts will both be warm and fuzzy.


Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and many of you may be surprised by what a sap I am about hearts and flowers and the whole lovey-dovey thing (you may puke).


Before any happy-sappy heartsy-fartsy Valentine posts, I feel I must do one for the more . . . shall we say. . . cynical among us. Allow me please to introduce the Cupid-be-Gone (above).

According to the copy writers at Uncommon Goods, the Cupid-be-Gone will "chase cheesy romance whenever it rears its rose-colored head." The diabolical creature is designed and hand-welded by Fred Conlon (also known for his garden villian, the Gnome-be-Gone, below).

Perhaps these creatures could spawn offspring that would carry away an especially reprehensible ex-lover. Probably not, but doesn't the thought make a lovely picture?


Passion Works

Above is a painted Passion Flower from the Passion Works Studio website. Passion Flowers are hand painted by artists with developmental disabilities.

The vision of Passion Works Studio:
To create and live out a best practice model for collaborative art making between artists with and without developmental disabilities. This new mindset demonstrates that creativity is innately a part of all people and recognized that art enhances the quality of life and strengthens communities.
All profits from the Studio go toward the continuation of arts programming.

How cool that the product is so original, funky and immediately on my wish list. How cool that the process and proceeds do so much good in the community.

So many of us create art or crafts or design, so I'm sure we can relate: there is nothing like looking at something beautiful and thinking, "I made that!" It feeds the soul.

via art for housewives.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Small Object

I'm pretty sure you've got to get on over to Sarah Neuburger's website, The Small Object, and check out the Peep Photograph Portfolios.

I can say with some degree of confidence I'm almost certain you won't be disappointed.



One of mine. Just for a change.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Straight Line Designs

Maryam of My Marrakesh liked the Alice in Wonderland look of the third Zoe chair (below), so I knew she'd love these cabinets from Straight Line Designs. Aren't they great? From the imaginative mind of Judson Beaumont, who lists Walt Disney, Dr. Seuss and Pee Wee Herman among his sources of inspiration.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Zoe Chairs

I love these whimsical chairs from Zoe.

No, this isn't an ad. I just think their stuff is kinda cool. Whimsical and cool.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

ATTACK! Or, rather, A TAG!


It seems I've been tagged. Twice, actually. Which at least affirms that several people know I exist.

Apparently I am to disclose six weird things about myself, and then to tag six other bloggers so that they must do the same. In this manner, the weirdness of bloggers throughout the design universe will be revealed.


Ok, here goes:

1. I'm a later bloomer. I got chicken pox in my early twenties. In my late twenties I took drum lessons. (As drummers go, I'm a pretty good psychologist.) I married for the first time at age forty-three. And yes, it was worth the wait.

2. My brain is weird. Though verbally bright, I have the worst sense of direction of anyone I've ever known. I can easily get lost within a few blocks of home. I can't do math in my head or balance my checkbook, but got an A in graduate-level statistics. My brain is weird.

3. The thought of John Lennon's death still makes me cry.

4. At my wedding, I walked down the aisle to "You're My Best Friend" by Queen.

5. I used to have a compulsive need to bring home every strange, unique or quirky item that I found at a thrift store. I have gotten past this only by convincing myself to photograph them instead.

6. I am currently in the midst of a highly non-trivial conversation with myself about the spiritual ramifications of blogging about things.

Well, that does it for me. Now I have to go out and recruit six other bloggers into the fray. I'll add them at the end of this post when I've done so.



OK, here's who I've tagged, may they curse me not:

Book of Joe
Design Milk
JuJu Loves Polka Dots
As Eye See It
Oo's Very Eclectic
Not Quite Perfect

(What's with the sudden *asterisk* fetish, do you suppose?)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Zolo a Go Go

I received many wonderful gifts for Christmas, but what absolutely delighted me was when an unexpected package arrived for my birthday: my brother and his family sent me a Zolo a Go Go!

I have longed for this. My "Most Coveted Objects" list has included the Zolo for more than a year, since I first discovered it. I want to play!

With the 48-piece kit, one can make such creations as this:

and this:

and, indeed, this:

The Zolo a Go Go has been designated as appropriate "For ages 5 and up."

Consider me ". . . and up."


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Casapinka: A House in Translation

Today brings the launch of a new blog: Casapinka - A House in Translation. Casapinka is a collaboration between Pink of Pink Mohair and Anna Spiro of Black & Spiro and of Absolutely Beautiful Things.

Pink has decided her house needs a bit of a facelift, and that the best designer to help her with this would be Anna. Rather an adventurous choice, in that Pink (and of course her house) are in the United States, while Anna lives in Australia. The two plan to work together across the more than 9,000 miles that separate them, and will do so without having ever met!

The blog will follow the two of them as the design proceeds, sharing their collaboration, frustrations, miraculous discoveries, and all that goes into a project like this. Watching a house redesign would be fun in its own right (ok, I'm addicted to HGTV), and watching them work together across the miles is bound to spice things up.

Reader involvement will be included in the project, and in fact already has been as the name of the blog came from a contest among their readers. I love the name they've chosen, despite the fact that none of my entries ("A Milieu Miles Away," "A Pigment of Our Imagination") was chosen. (I do, of course, remain available to consult on new blog names, and my fee is quite reasonable, I assure you.)

Best of luck to Pink and Anna, and let the games begin!


Monday, January 15, 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hal Taylor Storytime Rocking Chair

This is brilliant. Anyone who reads to their children or grandchildren knows how hard it can be to get situated so everyone can see the pictures and no one feels left out. To be able to do so in a rocking chair is absolute storytime bliss.

As you can see from the first photo (especially if you click on it and view it large), Hal Taylor's craftsmanship is as fine as it gets. But here's what I like best about this design--and others that do the same. Taylor takes the concept of "rocking chair" and draws outside the lines. He doesn't let a pre-defined notion of what a rocking chair is constrain him. Where others see "rocking chair," he sees possibilities. Zen mind, beginner's mind.

via smart stuff.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sarah Chilton Jewelry

Sarah Chilton makes great jewelry in which tiny objects are encased in resin.

My favorite piece is the Jailbird Brooch, above.

Though there's also a lot to be said for the Clown Necklace, below.

You'll find her work for sale online at the Hidden Art Shop.


A Design Quote They Must Have Missed

"If lesbian is the new black, then design must be the new lesbian."
--Steve Portigal on Core77

via Design Observer.

Design Quotes

“To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master”
—Milton Glaser

“We require from buildings two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it.”
—John Ruskin, 1880

“Questions about whether design is necessary or affordable are quite beside the point: design is inevitable. The alternative to good design is bad design, not no design at all.”
—Douglas Martin, 1989

These and other words of design wisdom can be found at the Interface Design Quotes page of LukeW Interface Designs.



Mysterious Russian Objects

I found this wonderful site with these wonderful things and I don't know how I got there and I don't know anything about them because I don't speak Russian. Or read it. But you've got to check these out! The site is

On the one hand I feel slightly ridiculous posting these things I can tell you nothing about. On the other, I feel I'd be remiss were I not to share them.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Just a Little More Barbie

The only remotely cool thing I've ever done with a Barbie. OK, I'm no Margaux Lange. But it did make me giggle.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Margaux Lange

And in the category "coolest things ever done with a Barbie," we have the brilliant and provocative jewelry of Margaux Lange. From her site:
Barbie dolls were extremely significant in fueling my creative life as a child. They were manipulated and controlled to fit infinite situations of my choosing. I immersed myself in on-going narratives (complete with elaborate handmade dwellings) where are my fears, embarrassments, joys and explorations of human interactions and sexuality could be played out like characters on a stage. An invaluable tool for the expansion of my imagination as a child, ironically, Barbie continues to be such for me as an adult.

Whether you love her or hate her, there are few who feel neutral about the plastic princess. I am fascinated with who she is as a cultural icon, her distinguished celebrity status, and the enormous impact she has had on our society. Specifically, I am intrigued with her influence in defining gender roles of women in contemporary American culture.
Among her recent accolades is inclusion in 500 Necklaces: Contemporary Interpretations of a Timeless Form, part of the Lark Jewelry Book series. (1000 Rings continues to languish, alas, on my wish list.)


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Strange Vacuum Cleaner Bag Neck Things

The second in our series of "strange things to do with the neck from a vacuum cleaner bag" pictures. (For the first, see here.) We're accepting entries for this series through the end of February; please mark your calendars.

Designed by Shay Alkalay.

via Design Spotter.


Marc Newson Voronoi Shelf

The Varonoi Shelf by Marc Newson is cut from a single sheet of white Carrara marble. From the designer:
Sometimes I start with the material, sometimes the idea. In this case the materials were the inspiration. I began by identifying materials that I had always been interested in but had never used. Often the context of materials strikes me more than the materials themselves. Context is new, not materials.
Exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, opening January 25th.

Marc Newson is the Australian designer who first took our breath away with the Lockheed Lounge in 1985.

As for me, still breathless.

via Design Obsession.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Threadless Shirts

I just discovered that one can put other people's slideshows on one's blog. This one is by Gustavo Gallegos, and features recent t-shirt designs from Threadless.

Please do bear with me; it looks as though this slide show widget is going to be an obsession for a while. Not to worry. Simply let it run its course, and I'll soon be obsessed with something else.


Baby, It's Cold Outside

Brrrrrrrrr! It's so cold outside you almost want to bundle up your housewares to keep them warm! Here are a couple that make me feel warm and cozy.

Above, tea maker by Eva Solo. Available at UnicaHome for $99.00. Below, sweaterknit votive. On sale at Anthropologie for $9.99, marked down from $24.00.

After all, people put their pets in little sweaters, right?


Monday, January 08, 2007

Charming Theater Skull Masks

This is one of the most hysterical skull items I've ever come across. I've been sitting on it for a while because I didn't want to post it until after Christmas--I was thinking about getting it for my niece, a 15-year-old actress. As it happened, I didn't have the guts. I wasn't sure how she'd react, and I knew my mom would be horrified. (The older I get, the less fun it is to horrify my mom.)

Maybe for her birthday.

The Comedy/Tragedy Skull Masks Charm is available at cybersilver925 for $14.95.


Cool Blog Widget

Isn't this cool? You can put this little slideshow widget in a post or in your blog template. I'd love to put one in my template but it's too big to fit anywhere comfortably.

The content? Some pics I made from Apophysis fractals.

Widget via K Style.