Articles on this Page
- 12/19/13--12:00: _DIY: Pendants Light...
- 12/20/13--02:00: _Creation Story: 10 ...
- 12/20/13--04:00: _Animal-Friendly Ant...
- 12/20/13--06:00: _Gift Guide: For the...
- 12/20/13--09:00: _Trending on Gardeni...
- 12/20/13--10:00: _The Iris Diaries, P...
- 12/20/13--12:00: _Babylon by the Beac...
- 12/21/13--02:00: _Current Obsessions:...
- 12/21/13--04:00: _Gift Guide: 10 Stoc...
- 12/23/13--02:00: _Irene Finne's Mount...
- 12/23/13--04:00: _DIY Block Printing:...
- 12/23/13--06:00: _Gift Guide: Juicing...
- 12/23/13--08:00: _10 Decorative Pears...
- 12/23/13--10:00: _Gift Guide: For the...
- 12/24/13--02:00: _Steal This Look: A ...
- 12/24/13--04:00: _San Francisco's Bes...
- 12/24/13--06:00: _High/Low: The Fur-C...
- 12/24/13--08:00: _An Artful Black and...
- 12/24/13--10:00: _DIY: Winter Market ...
- 12/25/13--02:00: _10 Easy Pieces: Sim...
- 12/19/13--12:00: DIY: Pendants Lights Made from Drinking Straws (for Less Than $20)
- 12/20/13--02:00: Creation Story: 10 Reasons to Craft with Kids
- 12/20/13--04:00: Animal-Friendly Antlers for the Holidays
- 12/20/13--06:00: Gift Guide: For the Hard-to-Please Teen
- 12/20/13--09:00: Trending on Gardenista: Top 5 Posts This Week (Winter Whites)
- 12/20/13--10:00: The Iris Diaries, Part III: Accessorizing with Iris
- 12/20/13--12:00: Babylon by the Beach: A DIY Artist's Hotel
- 12/21/13--02:00: Current Obsessions: The Holiday Table
- 12/21/13--04:00: Gift Guide: 10 Stocking Stuffers to Outlast Christmas Morning
- 12/23/13--02:00: Irene Finne's Mountain Home in Norway, Christmas Decor Included
- 12/23/13--04:00: DIY Block Printing: The Customized Tea Towel and More
- 12/23/13--06:00: Gift Guide: Juicing Essentials
- 12/23/13--08:00: 10 Decorative Pears (Partridge Not Included)
- 12/23/13--10:00: Gift Guide: For the Holiday Host
- 12/24/13--02:00: Steal This Look: A Rustic Holiday Table from Australia
- 12/24/13--04:00: San Francisco's Best Kitchen Shop—Now Online
- 12/24/13--06:00: High/Low: The Fur-Covered Armchair
- 12/24/13--08:00: An Artful Black and White Restaurant
- 12/24/13--10:00: DIY: Winter Market Punch Recipe from Sweets & Bitters
- 12/25/13--02:00: 10 Easy Pieces: Simple Kitchen Clocks
We've admired Seattle designers Iacoli & McAllister's Spica Pendant for some time now, and were pleasantly surprised to come across a similar looking light via Swedish blog Mormors Glamour. But unlike the Spica (which is handmade from brass-plated steel, and starts at $795), this shade is a DIY project made from drinking straws that are formed into diamond-shaped pendants and spray painted gold.
Photos via Sköna Hem for blog Mormors Glamour.
Above: Hanging pendants made from drinking straws. Since straws are easily trimmed and bent, a multitude of shapes are possible.
Above: The Swedish project makes use of old-fashioned coated paper straws that are spray painted. We'd like to try using stainless steel straws to make a sturdier shade. Stainless Steel Straws are available from Williams Sonoma; $10 for a set of four.
Above: For a finished design, pair the straw shade with the Nud Classic Pendant by Swedish Company Nud Collection, shown here. It's available in eight cord color combinations; $45 from LBC Lighting. Also consider a budget alternative, the Hemma Cord Set in white; $5 from Ikea. You can always spray paint the cord and fitting black.
Above: To make the shade, you'll need drinking straws (such as Just Artifacts' Solid Color Party Paper Straws, 25 for $2), Pipe Cleaners ($3.99 for a pack of 100 via Amazon), and a pair of scissors (if you like the look of these, Brook Farm General Store sells Chinese Scissors for $12).
Above: To make a diamond-like shade, cut the drinking straws to the right lengths for your setting, and use pipe cleaners to connect the straws.
Above: You can use several pipe cleaners in each straw hole to make the shade sturdier. Once you've completed the shade, the blogger recommends glueing the joints, but don't add glue until you're done.
Above: Spray paint the shades in brass or gold. Consider using Krylon Metallic Spray Paint; $7.47 from Amazon and available in several colors.
Above: A sampling of the shapes and sizes that are possible.
Into brass pendants? Check out our recent post The New Bestlite Collection, Brass—and feel free to join the Bestlite vs. Ikea Renarp discussion at the bottom of the post.
When I picture attempting a holiday art project with my kids, I envision us sewing buttons on felt as holiday music plays and a fire crackles away on the hearth. In reality, the kids scream, I threaten to take away their hot chocolate, and the botched ornament looks like a turtle squashed by a candy cane. Is it worth the headache? Yes, in fact—it’s important for you and for them. Here, 10 reasons to get out the glue and the glitter this season.
1. It’s important to make something—anything—with your hands every once in awhile.
Research professor, bestselling author, and public speaker Brené Brown says, “If we can’t make meaning, we need to make art.” Even if what you make is terrible, the act of creating something by hand cultivates meaning. As woodworker and educator Doug Stowe, author of the blog The Wisdom of the Hands explains, “Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract, and the passions for learning will not be engaged.”
2. Making things by hand can put you and your child into a state of “flow.”
Psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term flow after interviewing countless architects, athletes, chemists, engineers, musicians, sociologists, writers, and others about the creative process. Flow is a blissful state in which action and awareness merge and self consciousness disappears. (Note: with children, periods of flow may be brief, interrupted by calls for snacks and outbursts of frustration.)
3. Value process over final product.
Whether creating a button and pipe cleaner ornament by yourself (or with a two-year-old who insists on adding a piece of her brother’s hair), let the project unfold in its own organic way. The goal is human connection, not perfection. Remember, Thomas Edison made more than 3,000 versions of the light bulb before he arrived at success.
4. Stop consuming, start creating.
Yes, it’s easier to go online and buy the tree topper you need. And we certainly can’t make everything by hand or we’ll be celebrating the holidays in June. But notice how consuming—buying, taking, getting, acquiring—leaves us feeling depleted, while making things allows us to feel pride, accomplishment, and connectedness.
5. Handmade work teaches children to be original and inventive.
When you make something your own way, comparison, competition and that terrible “less than” sense of shame falls away. It's a powerful message to send children. Be original and be yourself.
6. DIYs let kids use their imaginations, a skill they have in abundance.
We can learn by stepping back to admire the fearless imagination in our children, who have not yet learned about embarrassment and self defeat. As writer George Bernard Shaw said, “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you will, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.”
7. Research shows a strong connection between creativity and well-being.
According to studies by Dr. R. Keith Sawyer and others, people who spend their days involved in creative pursuits have a greater sense of well-being and self-worth than those who don't. And remember that creativity isn't limited to the arts; it includes any innovative activity.
8. Accept that we are all creative.
Anyone can tackle a DIY project with their little ones—yes, anyone. The robust creative spirit flourishes in all humans, especially children: we are all natural makers and explorers. David Kelley, founder of IDEO and one of the greatest thought leaders of our day, says that many adults “opt out of creativity” in fear. But he insists that creativity thrives in us all—it’s a skill we can practice, hone and develop.
9. Notice the sense of wonder in your child.
True, your daughter might be taping paper snowflakes onto the dog instead of the window, but she's doing it blissfully. The creative mind of a child knows no rules. Their innovation and originality is like a raging river: organic, free of inhibition, and fearless.
Above: Designer Justine Glanfield with her son at their ad hoc arts and crafts attic via 5 Quick Fixes: The Versatile Biergarten Table.
10. Go head, dive back into your childhood reserve of wonder.
Resist the urge to self-censor, make your project look a certain way, or complete it in a fixed time frame. We all have a bright place inside—our inner creative spark—that can heal us, teach us, shape who we are, and become a source of great happiness for us and our children. All we have to do is remember to turn inward and look for it.
Ready to DIY? Have a look at any of these projects, all great to do with kids: Rope Light Strand, Easy Art Leaf Prints, Wooden Bead Trivet, Painted Pine Cone Ornaments, Gilded Holiday Decor, Dip-Dyed Terracotta Planters, and Wrapping Paper Made by Your Kids. We'd love to see your results!
We often read that decorative objects harvested from animals were created in a humane way: using antlers that are shed naturally, sheepskin that's a byproduct of the sustainable meat industry, and so on. We like to believe what we read, but when in doubt, we also like alternatives. Take these animal-friendly antlers made from lime wood for UK store Rowen & Wren, for instance.
Above: The Hand Carved Lime Wood Antlers are £68 each from Rowen & Wren, who ship within the UK, across Europe, and to the US.
Above: Hung with an ornament or two, the wooden antlers become holiday decor; shown here are Rowen & Wren's Elvie Ceramic Pinecone Decorations, £11 for two.
Above: The pale lime wood matches the chalk-white-painted mount, which hangs from a pair of stealth hooks. The design measure 13 inches high and about 16 inches wide.
Teens are tough customers on the gift front. Pleasing them is not inexpensive, but here are five ideas to thrill even the surliest in the bunch.
To make sure we've got everyone on your list covered, we're posting a new gift guide every weekday from now until Christmas. See all of the Gift Guides to date in our archive.
Above: For music lovers on the go, the new Mini Jambox offers big sound in a small and stylish package. The pocket-sized Bluetooth-enabled speaker (measuring 6 inches by 2.28 inches by 1 inch) is available in a rainbow of colors and works with any device that has a headphone jack or audio line out; $179.99 through Jawbone.
Above: Consider a traditional Cornish Barefoot Belly Board for riding waves, wakes, and even snow. And it doesn't hurt that it looks good hung on the wall; £40 at the Barefoot Kitchen.
Above: For the shutterbug with a nostalgia streak: the Polaroid Instant Print Digital Camera offers Instagram-worthy digital images and retro Polaroid instant prints. Available in white or black case for $179.99 at Amazon.
Above: If you're contemplating jewelry, put cutesy aside. This soft Leather Wrap Bracelet is made in Portland, Oregon, for Alder & Co., and is available in black pebbled leather (shown), as well as gold- and platinum-finished leather; $50 each.
Above: Appeal to your teen's inner mystic with a box of Wild Unknown Tarot Cards. Beautifully illustrated, the mysterious deck of 78 cards comes with a guidebook to start your soothsayer on a card-reading journey; $40 at Spartan.
Above: Looking for a stocking stuffer? Consider the glass BKR Water Bottle, dressed in a silicone sleeve in inspired colors. Based in San Francisco, BKR's philosophy is "clean design, clean body, and clean world." Leakproof and available in 21 colors, 16-ounce bottles are $28 each.
Over on Gardenista, Michelle and Erin sleuthed out the best of the season: a pop-up shop in London; a garden store in Healdsburg, CA; a beekeeper's bonanza, and more.
Above: Kendra dropped in on the New Craftsmen holiday pop-up in Mayfair and admired the traditional English goods.
Above: Sarah discovered a new garden shop in Healdsburg; we're all hooked.
Above: The ingredients for a Wild and Foraged Christmas Bouquet.
Above: What to give the beekeeper in your life.
Above: Sarah, an inveterate scavenger, makes holiday swags with cardoon thistles.
Since arriving last month, Iris, Lowe's smart home management system, has become an indispensable member of the household. With Iris, I control our thermostat and lights with the touch of my keyboard or iPhone. I also use it to monitor our energy use and keep track of movement around the house. And there's more: Iris came with a suitcase of accessories that I recently put to work.
What is Iris? The Iris Home Management System offers home monitoring (via door and window contact sensors, motion sensors, and alarm monitoring) and energy control (via smart plugs and a hooked-up thermostat)—which means that you can monitor, customize, and control these devices from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Adjust the lights, arm your security system, and turn on the heat on your way home.
With the arrival of the holiday season and winter's short days, it's no surprise that my favorite accessories in Iris's kit are tools that help me with lighting, indoors and out.
Above: White lights ready to decorate my window boxes through the holidays. Photo by Janet Hall.
I like to think I'm not alone in the jury-rigged set-up I use for my seasonal outdoor lighting. To light the window boxes in the front of my house, I feed the light cord between a shutter and through a window. The worst part is that the plug is located behind my living room sofa. It means that every evening I have to clumsily drag my sofa forward to get my white lights twinkling out front—and repeat when daylight arrives. Imagine how eager my back is for this season to end.
Above: This year I'm putting an Iris Smart Plug to work. That means after it's in place I won't have to move the sofa at all. From here on out, Iris will turn on and off my white lights using the settings I entered on my Iris Smart Home Management screen on my laptop. Photo by Janet Hall.
Above: Another accessory in Iris's kit of parts is a programmable light switch. Using existing wiring (and your existing single gang GFI switch plate), the GE White Decorator Light Switch with Iris Technology is easy to install and enables you to remotely control the on/off function of hard-wired lights and fans. Now, my front porch light is set to go on and off on its own.
Above: This year I brought home a simple boxwood wreath to start my outdoor decorating. When my family balked that I veered from the traditional pine wreath, I had to come up with something to win them over. With Iris's help, I realized I could adorn the wreath with a small string of pin lights plugged into an Iris-equipped remote outdoor outlet. Photo by Janet Hall.
Above: The water-resistant GE Black Single Electrical Outlet with Iris Technology remotely controls outdoor plug-in lighting. It plugs into an existing outdoor outlet and lets you control it via your smart phone or computer.
Above: The small Iris Smart Key Fob might be the most powerful accessory of all. It offers a one-button command to turn your Iris Smart Home Alarm System on and off. And it does more than that: The Iris Smart Home Management System detects the key fob and can send your smart phone notifications when anyone carrying one enters or exits the house. I would like to surprise my kids each with a key fob; when you're at work or away, they're a great way to know that your child has arrived home after school or at night.
Above: Controlling Iris's smart home accessories can be done remotely with smart phone apps that make communicating with Iris easy. With all the comings and goings of my family, the Iris iPhone app enables us to change accessory settings (for instance, I can turn up the thermostat before arriving home unexpectedly early) and set up text messaging for alerts (such as for the key fob and when its carriers have entered the house). The Iris iPhone app is available through the Apple App Store and the Iris Android app is available through the Google Play Store. Both are free.
Last summer a group of Brooklyn impresarios—Robin Scott and Jamie Wiseman, owners of the nightclub Output, along with Diego Galarza and Eduardo Suarez, of Williamsburg restaurants, El Almacen and Rosarito Fish Shack—opened the Playland Motel on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Queens. A hotel, restaurant, and beach hangout for hipsters—just jump on the A train—the year-round getaway is located in a resuscitated 19th century building a block from the beach and the subway. Polar bear swimmers welcome.
Importing their music and food, the owners also introduced their own decor by giving artists, local and international, the creative license to transform the twelve bedrooms into handmade installations. We say: It was only a matter of time before Brooklynites moved beyond the borders of Brooklyn.
Unless otherwise noted, images via Playland Motel.
Above: The Playland Motel is named after the Rockaway Playland Amusement Park that was torn down in the 1980s. Weathered wood siding on the exterior hints at the unexpected interiors.
Above: The mix of natural wood on the floor, weathered wood on the bar, and and painted wood on the walls lends a relaxed beach shack atmosphere to the restaurant and bar.
Above: Yellow painted window frames and orange tabletops add cheer.
Above: The artists Robbie & Apples created a room within a room by paint-blasting a Teepee from Indoek Wavewam. Also see artist Sallie Scott's Instant Guest Bedroom, which she created out of a canvas tent.
Above: British fashion designer Simon Spurr used white and green paint to play with the concept of perspective in his room.
Above: Spurr was inspired by the work of minimalist artists from the 1960s, such as Sol Lewitt, Robert Mangold, and Brice Marden.
Above: Ben Pundole of A Hotel's Life and Jessica Baker of Baker Creative Productions introduced a marine-blue color block while mixing in nautical motifs. They describe their concept as, "If my yacht dreams collided with a Wes Anderson movie."
Above: Music and entertainment producer Javier Padraza Polo and artist Adrien Travis upholstered a wall with a grid of fasteners, creating the tufted look of a Chesterfield sofa.
Explore more of the Playland Motel at Artists and Rooms. Off-season rates range from $99 to $125; in season they're $150 to $250.
Location of the Playland Motel in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York:
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Hello, winter vacation. Here are some recipes, projects, and inspirational images to put you in full holiday mode. Stay tuned this coming week for our Winter Wonderland issue full of snowy cabins and warm hearths.
On December 26, Room & Board in San Francisco (685 Seventh Street) is holding their once-a-year annual clearance event from 10 am to 6 pm; floor samples and discontinued items (including sofas, tables, storage pieces, rugs, and accessories) will be marked down up to 50 percent.
Christine was pleasantly surprised to hear Kanye West talking about the importance of architecture at her alma mater.
Above: Julie is obsessing over Céline's current collection via The Idea of Simplicity.
Admiring a built-in desk that can be disguised as part of a kitchen pantry by Gwyn Duggan Design Associates via Cultivate.
Above: Just in time for holiday baking: we have our eye on KitchenAid's Mixer in copper, thanks to Popsugar Home.
Above: Izabella is making birch candlesticks for her holiday dinner table discovered on Swedish blog Home 2 Tiny.
Struggling for a last-minute gift? We're taking a look at these three DIY gift baskets via Sunset Magazine.
Above: Proof that contemporary animal barns can be great looking and high functioning: a Cow Barn in Lignières, Switzerland via Architzier.
Our kind of advice: last-minute entertaining tips via Huff Post Home.
I learned how to fill a Christmas stocking from a master. In my house, the Christmas stocking was not an afterthought; every year, my mom came up with an inspired mix of gifts—a wooden hairbrush, wallet, tiny flashlight, nail polish, ceramic mug, and pair of earrings—each individually wrapped and buried in a trove of foil-wrapped chocolate.
The perfect stocking stuffer is small, relatively inexpensive, and not destined for the garbage can. Think: tiny treasures that are fun, useful, and a little more extravagent than what the recipient would buy for him or herself.
To make sure we've got everyone on your list covered, we're posting a new gift guide every weekday from now until Christmas. See all of the Gift Guides to date in our archive.
Above: This Rosewood Tape Measure has been on my stocking wish list for a while. It's a tiny 2-inch square but measures up to 6 1/2 feet and would be a delightful alternative to the clunky tape measure I often tote around; $14 from Spartan in Austin.
Above: Though I scoffed at my mother's suggestion of a nice pen as a gift for a love interest, I myself am a sucker for pencils. Left: From Germany, an Adjustable Brass Pencil Sharpener that creates three points: sharp, medium, and rounded; $22 at Canoe. Right: Cedar Pointe Pencils are made of California incense cedar by a New Jersey company founded in 1889; $5 for a set of twelve at Canoe.
Above: The Midori Grain Memo Pad is filled with ruled sheets for writing and plain white sheets for drawing, and is covered in recycled Spanish leather; $8 from Vetted.
Above: I know few people who would buy $11 French toothpaste for themselves, but it makes for a great stocking stuffer. Botot Toothpaste has a wintry clove and anise flavor and displayable old-school packaging; $11 via Amazon.
These pins from Ancient Industries are daily luxuries. Above L: Red-headed Spanish Lace Pins are made by the oldest pin factory in Spain and are useful as thumb tacks; $12 for a box of 200. Above R: Black enameled Entomology Pins are suitable for mounting butterflies, and for pinning delicate fabrics; $10 for a box of 100.
Above: Mexican-style Taza Chocolate is stone-ground in Massachusetts and ideal for drinking, eating, and cooking. A set of three flavors—guajillo chili; cinnamon; and salted almond—is $16 at Shed in Healdsburg.
Above: Danish Hudsalve lotion was originally developed for military use in the 1950s. An all-purpose healing salve with a vanilla scent, it's still made in Denmark; $12 at Mjölk. (Photo at right via PlejeShoppen.)
Above: Anyone who likes to draw can always use a set of Conté Crayons. A limited-edition tin of six sketching crayons is $5.19 at Blick.
Above: Well-designed hardware is always appreciated by design aficionados. These powder-coated steel Wall Hooks by LA's Scout Regalia are available in orange or navy-gray; $18 each.
A few years back, we spotted Irene Finne's blog, Loppelilla, via Decor8, and ever since we've referenced the blog as holiday decor inspiration. Loppelilla is a chronicle of Finne's life in the pristine Norwegian town of Evanger. Along with two friends, Finne runs Patina, a café, store, and bed-and-breakfast. We especially like her simple, organic ideas for Christmas decorations: knitted ornaments, stars made of kraft paper, and cardboard Christmas trees.
Above: The snowy Norwegian landscape surrounding Finne's home.
Above: Layers of Norwegian and Icelandic sheepskin meet pewter plates, candles, and antlers in the living room.
Above from left to right: A knitted ball ornament, a branch and crocheted taper candle holder, and a crocheted fir tree ornament.
Above: A branch displays ornaments; a chair is casually draped with a sheepskin.
Above: Star ornaments made out of natural and white kraft paper and twine.
Above: A glass vase (left) and laundry hamper (right) both receive a hand knitted sleeve.
Above: Finne adheres to a palette of white with gray and black accents.
Above: The house is filled with wooden bowls, nature brought indoors, and plenty of candles.
Above: The kitchen is neutral in color and simple in style.
Above: A Christmas tree made from wooden planks topped with a crocheted star.
Above: An antler lamp with a crocheted shade.
Above: Christmas trees made from painted cardboard cutouts.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on December 22, 2011 as part of our Christmas Parties issue.
For another winter house with a similar palette, have a look at PS Arkitektur Fjällhus in Sweden. And to get your own rooms ready for the holidays, don't miss Single-Ingredient Holiday Decor, 10 Ideas.
I've had some experience dyeing and weaving textiles, but the idea of carving stamps and block printing has always intimidated me. Then Izabella showed us Arielle Alasko's hand-blocked upholstery and three fabric printing techniques; it was time to give a new craft a try.
Using a DIY kit from Darby Smart (a new SF company that partners with designers and craftspeople), I tried out the Fabric Block Printing Kit by illustrator and designer Danielle Broder, which was inspired by John Robshaw prints and traditional printing techniques. Have a look at what I came up with (at home no less)—and consider trying block printing yourself.
Above: My just-completed cotton tea towel; the kit comes with two tea towels and a burlap table runner to block print. Original photography shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital SLR. The filmmaker's camera.
Above: The Fabric Block Printing Kit includes the essentials for making your first block-printed projects, including a Speedball linoleum carver, rubber brayer, acrylic sheet, six block printing ink colors, rubber stamp for carving, and detailed instructions; $69 from Darby Smart.
Steps 1 and 2: Draw your design onto the rubber stamp pad—you can either cover the entire block with a repeating pattern, or draw a single pattern, as I did above. Then, using the lino carver, carve out the design—this isn't tricky if you keep your design simple and follow Danielle Broder's advice: begin with the smallest carving bit and then more on to the larger one.
Step 3: Select a single color or mix your own on the kit's acrylic sheet; here I've mixed equal parts white and black to create a black-gray with some depth. Then, using the rubber brayer, roll out the ink to mix your color and coat the brayer evenly.
Step 4: After you've rolled the brayer across the surface of your carved stamp, begin printing the fabric.
Step 5: Replicate the pattern across the fabric as desired, rolling the ink across your stamp in between each stamping. Don't worry if your print doesn't take perfectly during the first round; you can fill it in using ink and a paintbrush.
Step 6: The ink will be dry to the touch in about 10 to 15 minutes, but I let it dry on a clothes hanger overnight just to be sure. Set the ink with an iron by either placing a towel or rag over the top and ironing the front, or by ironing the back of the tea towel.
Juicing can be intimidating; when words like centrifugal and oxidation are applied, we start to shy away.
We prefer to keep things simple and easy. Start with an affordable juicer and some fruit and vegetable—and a little peeling, chopping, and pouring later, you're done. Here, five pieces to get you started:
Above: The Bella 5-Speed Juicer in Stainless Steel is a more-than-basic juicer at a good price. An easy-read LED dial tells you which speed to use on which fruits and vegetables, and a wide feed tube means you can add many ingredients without pre-chopping; $99.99 on Amazon.
Above: Prep your produce with a good-looking stainless steel vegetable peeler that's super-sharp, and made in the US. The Rada Cutlery Deluxe Vegetable Peeler with Aluminum Handle is $7.75 on Amazon.
Above: These wood fiber chopping boards are dishwasher-safe and maintenance-free. The Epicurean Kitchen Series 15 x 11-Inch Cutting Board in slate is $24.99 on Amazon.
Above: Bypass grocery store throwaway plastic bags by using cotton produce sacks for shopping and fridge storage. EcoBags Drawstring Cotton Gauze Produce Bags are $7.31 for a reusable set of three 8-1/2 x 11-inch bags on Amazon.
Above: Duralex Picardie Tumblers are a classic and durable French design that's perfect for juice (and wine, too); $23.95 for a set of six 8-3/4 ounce glasses on Amazon.
Is the pear having a moment? Made of ceramic, wood, and marble (and polished or rustic, high or low), the humble fruit adds a festive note to the holiday table.
Above: A Black Ceramic Pear with a painted pewter twig and leaf by Creel and Gow of New York; $275 from The Line.
Above: Penkridge Ceramics outside Birmingham, England, specializes in hand-painted porcelain fruit. Penkridge's Silver Pears (and many other varieties of pears and other fruit) are available from Sweet Bella USA; prices available on request.
Above: An Italian marble pear by Laurent Trade & Design from John Derian at 6 East 2nd Street in New York, $62. To purchase, call (212) 677-3917.
Above: New Moon Studio's Simple White Porcelain Pear Set is made to order in Providence, Rhode Island; $145.
Above: A Penkridge Ceramics porcelain pear with metal twig and leaf; $315 from John Derian. To purchase, call (212) 677-3917.
Above: Set of Twelve Pears by Pope Valley Pottery, $250. Life-sized single pears also available for $40 each.
Above: Guaranteed never to go mushy: a Set of Six Green Pears made of painted plastic; $16 from Pottery Barn
Above: A 1970s Wooden Pear, $25, from Etsy vintage seller Hedgerow Home of Reading, England.
Above: 3D Paper Pear Sculpture made from a discarded novel by UK Etsy seller Tigers4Tea; $10.
Another decorating motif of the moment? Have a look at our post 14 Ways to Feather Your Nest.
We recently had a big group of friends over for a dinner party, and, to my surprise, one of our guests brought my favorite candy—Swedish-made salty licorice. I was delighted (and I got to keep it all to myself, since none of my family members like it). Yes, wine is always welcome, but here are a few unexpected gift ideas guaranteed to thrill the hard-working host.
To make sure we've got everyone on your list covered, we're posting a new gift guide every weekday from now until Christmas. See all of the Gift Guides to date in our archive.
Above: A reusable Maple Bottle Stop handmade in Cincinnati; $22 from Spartan of Austin, Texas.
Above: In Japan, the sea bream is associated with good fortune. Welcome Soap, made by a 120-year-old Tamanohada soap factory, is a good house gift. It has a brown sugar scent; $45 from Nannie Inez.
Above: Summon dinner guests by sounding this hand-made Dinner Bell with the tag line "Heed the Pavlovia call!" It's made from steel, leather, and brass by Brooklyn designer Pat Kim for Best Made Company: $50.
Above: Who can resist a cup of hot chocolate? From La Boîte à Epice, a New York spice lab founded by chef Lior Lev Sercarz, Reims N. 39 is a hot chocolate laced with honey, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger; $18 via Food52's shop Provisions.
Above: For drying wine glasses without leaving a trace of lint, these Belgian Linen Kitchen Towels are $25.95 each from Kaufmann Mercantile.
Above: A Small Lot Selections postal tube containing three sought-after coffees; $40 from Blue Bottle in San Francisco.
Above: Play pioneer indoors and outdoors with these 4-inch-tall Copper and Brass Handheld Lanterns hand-forged in Wisconsin (and ideal as a backup during blackouts); $24.90 each from Kaufmann Mercantile.
Are you hosting this year's holiday party and looking for table setting guidance? Check out our post Expert Advice: Setting a Table With Food 52.
Since first admiring photographer and stylist Kara Rosenlund's 19th century worker's cottage, we find ourselves frequently lost in her artful account of daily life on her blog.
That's where we spotted her holiday table, but as an Aussie, Rosenlund's winter holiday has a summery vibe to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition to the many details to admire (feathers from molting chickens in the yard, olive branches, and place cards taped to plates), we especially like her use of space with a hanging drinks bucket—so much so that we recreated a similar look ourselves.
Above: A woven table runner serves as a platform for walnuts, olive branches, and cloves: "I love the heady fragrance of cloves and rosemary," says Rosenlund. Photograph by Kara Rosenlund.
Above L: Rosenlund swaps a traditional floral arrangement for a rosemary chandelier. Above R: Vintage horn-handled flatware. Photograph by Kara Rosenlund.
Above: Casamidy's Pila Seca Pendant Lamp is made from wrought iron with saddle leather; contact Casamidy for pricing and availability.
Above: The Two-Gallon Galvanized Bucket from Dover Parkersburg is $7.99 from Amazon.
Above: Rough Linen's 24-Inch Square Napkins (shown) are made from a blend of Orkney and Smooth Linen and are available in white or natural for $24 each. The company's Orkney Tablecloth (58 inches square) and Smooth Linen Tablecloth (60 inches square) are $130 each.
Above: Rosenlund fills vintage mustard pots with feathers in lieu of floral arrangements; we like vintage Lab Lagny pots from France, which are widely available on Etsy (most for under $20). You can source feathers online from the Feather Place.
Above: Anthropologie's Seaborne Flatware is made from polished beech wood and stainless steel; $98 for a five-piece set.
Above: The Bexley Wine Glass is $11 from Canvas.
Above: West Elm's white earthenware Linen Textured Dinnerware Set is sold in sets of four of each piece (a dinner and salad plate, bowl, and mug); prices range from $24 for four mugs to $40 for dinner plates.
Looking for more tabletop inspiration for your next part? See our previous Steal This Look posts: A Simple Table Setting from Sue Fisher King, A Parisian Oyster Party, and A Pacific Northwest-Inspired Table Setting.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 30, 2013 as part of our Entertaining: Summer Edition issue.
March, the kitchen and pantry shop in San Francisco's Pacific Heights, has a permanent position on the favorites list here at Remodelista. Thanks to the curation of owner Sam Hamilton, it presents kitchenware as couture—and is one of the few places in the US where you can find designs by Michael Verheyden, Jasper Conran, John Pawson, and Brickett Davada.
For those outside the Bay Area, we have good news: March recently launched an online shop setup for US shipments (inquire about international orders). March initially offered a full range of home furnishings; two years ago, inspired by the Bay Area's slow food movement, Hamilton transformed it into a concept shop with a laser focus on the kitchen and tabletop. Here's a look at some of our favorite March designs (Aga cooker included)—all available online.
Above: March is an official stockist for the Aga Cooker, the heart of the traditional English kitchen. It's available in several models with two to four ovens (in natural gas, electric, or propane) and in 12 colors as well as custom options. Each is manufactured in England to order; visit March or contact for more information.
Above: The Brown on Cream Splatterware Platter is 17 inches in diameter and made in Italy of glazed earthenware; $118.
Above: Exclusive to March, the Pot Rack with Shelf is made in the US from oiled steel. The rack is a special order item and can be customized; $2,400.
Above: The Aga Matte Black Cast Iron Egg Fryer is $140.
Above: One of our favorite mugs, the Jasper Conran at Wedgwood Casual Breakfast Mug has subtle striations in the off-white glazed earthenware; $18 each.
Above: Hand carved by Joshua Vogel in Upstate New York, the Blackcreek Mercantile Large Round Board is made from sugar maple and ranges from 12 to 14 inches in diameter; $190.
Thinking of visiting March? Have a look at our Shopper's Diary: March in San Francisco Relaunches. For more on the Aga, see our Design Sleuth on Classic Aga Cookers.
As you might have noticed, here at Remodelista we love living with sheepskins: Julie and I drape our sofa and chairs in sheepskins (my cats have quickly figured out that they're the nicest surface to nap on in our house), Margot has sheepskin rugs on either side of her bed for a soft start and finish to the day, and Alexa uses hers to cover up her TV.
A while back, we admired Ilse Crawford's reindeer fur addition to Alvar Aalto's classic Tank chair, a limited-edition design unattainable for most. We were recently surprised to find a less pricy cousin: West Elm's Leather Fur Sling Chair with a removable sheepskin.
Above: The iconic birch Armchair 400 designed by Alvar Aalto in 1936 with reindeer fur upholstery, an Ilse Crawford twist to celebrate Finnish manufacturer Artek's 75th anniversary. To learn more about the hard-to-come-by design, including how to create your own deerskin covering, see our previous post: Ilse Crawford Alto Armchair. Knicknamed The Tank, Armchair 400 is offered in a zebra pattern for $5,850 from Hive Modern.
Above: The Leather + Fur Sling Chair has an ash frame and gray leather seat covered in a soft sheepskin; $1,099 from West Elm.
Shopping for sheepskins? For draping ideas and sourcing, have a look at Design Sleuth: Sheepskin and Fur Throws and Design Sleuth: Sheepskin Bedcover. And if there's a dog in your house, don't miss DIY: Scandi Sheepskin Dog Bed.
Heading to Basel any time soon (the next Art Basel is June 19-22)? Last spring, Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron finished work restoring a classic 1925 building in the heart of the city. Volkshaus Basel, a onetime concert hall, now houses a bar, brasserie, and concert space, with a hotel coming next. The world-renowned architects went to great lengths to restore the former grandeur of the space, which had been aesthetically compromised during a 1970s renovation. The architects stripped the building back to its original frame and restored the original height of the rooms while preserving as much of the original detailing as possible. Using a black and white palette, the decidedly modern decor successfully restores an air of Old World glamor.
Above: The design of the chairs are based on the original Volkshaus chair model.
Above: Bentwood stools arrayed in front of the bar and the floor is tiled in a fan pattern.
Above: Thick hand blown LED pendants are a modern take on chandeliers.
Above: Metal-topped dining tables. The architects chose materials such as metal, leather, and wood that will gain a weathered patina over time.
Above: A table setting with embossed leather cover.
Above: Wallpaper with 17th century etchings are used in the antechambers of the restrooms and hark back to the early days of Basel, when this area was a medieval manor.
Above: On the wall, a mural provides a guide to all the Volkshaus ventures. For more information, go to Volkshaus Basel.
Location of Volkshaus:
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on May 15, 2013 as part of our issue, The Gold Coast.
Want some Swiss simplicty for your own rooms? Have a look at Golden Biscotti's Paper, Wood, and Clay Designs.
For our first-ever Remodelista Market in New York last month, we asked Mira Evnine of the quarterly cookbook series Sweets & Bitters to create an opening-party holiday drink. She came up with this easy-to-make, citrus-spiked Winter Market Punch that's not only delicious but a perfect accompaniment to snowy weather.
Punch, as Mira points out, is ideal for big parties: "Your guests can help themselves to as much as they like, while you visit with them instead of fussing over drinks." Here's her recipe:
Winter Market Punch (adapted from David Wondrich)
Makes 24 (three-ounce) servings
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained
750 milliliter bottle vodka
1 quart cold water
nutmeg (for garnish)
*You can vary this simple recipe with whatever citrus strikes your fancy—clementines, blood oranges, Meyer lemons—or embellish it with a sprig of rosemary or handful of coriander seeds. Just keep in mind that if you use grapefruit or orange, you’ll need to adjust the balance of sweet and sour to taste.
Photography by Liz Clayman.
1. Peel the citrus with a vegetable peeler. Put the peels in a glass jar and add the sugar. Seal, shake, and leave overnight.
2. Add the lemon juice to the sugar-peel mix, seal, and shake until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Pour the mixture into a one-gallon punch bowl. Add the vodka and cold water.
4. If serving immediately, add a quart container of ice cubes; if the punch is to be ladled out slowly, add a one-quart block of ice instead. Grate nutmeg over the top, and ladle out in three-ounce servings.
For more on Sweets & Bitters, see our Gardenista post Required Reading: Sweets & Bitters Quarterly. N.B. Sweets & Bitters is offering Remodelista readers 10 percent off a four-volume subscription to the Sweets & Bitters Quarterly; use the code WINTERMARKET.
Looking for holiday entertaining ideas? Have a look at 5 Quick Fixes: Holiday Entertaining Prep.
Is it just us, or is a kitchen not a real kitchen without an easy-to-read classic clock to keep everyone on schedule? Here's a roundup of kitchen clocks; all with quartz-battery mechanisms.
Above: The Classic Clock was designed by Howard Miller (son of Herman) and measures 12 inches in diameter; $55 at DWR.
Above: The Aluminum Wall Clock measures 9.45 inches in diameter; $48.75 at Muji.
Above: The Max Bill Wall Clock with Numbers, by famed Bauhaus designer Max Bill, is $400 for the small (8.80 inches in diameter) and $450 for the large (12 inches in diameter) at Lumens; photo from Loft Modern.
Above: Embossed Numbers Wall Clock; $59.95 at Crate & Barrel.
Above: The Swiss Railway Clock by Mondaine is available in two sizes. The small (10 inches in diameter) is $195 and the large (15.75 inches in diameter) is $395 at MoMA Store (the small is also available with a red finish).
Above: West Elm Market's Industrial Ceramic Clock is currently on sale for $39.99.
Above: The simple, well-designed Pugg Wall Clock is $14.99 at Ikea.
Above: The Bi-Color Plywood Clock from Yuichi Nara features a natural wood face with die-cut numbers; $95 at MoMA Store.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on December 8, 2010.