Monday, June 30, 2008

Cool Stuff: Porcelain Coral Lights

I spotted these amazing light sculptures during our visit to Portland's Canoe recently, and was instantly mesmerized by their delicacy and organic form.

Created by Israeli-by-way-of-British Columbia ceramist Lilach Lotan, the accent lights -- which mimic coral, barnacles, and other underwater forms -- are handcrafted from unglazed porcelain and gently illuminated by a small disc. They're available as votive lights, wall sconces, and ceiling pendants as well.

Check 'em out right here, and contact Lotan directly to find a retailer in your area. (The non-electrified votives are available from Canoe's online shop for $135 each.)

More eBay Finds

RSS users, click through to see my latest eBay picks.

And for those of you who've written in asking for advice on finding what you're looking for on eBay, this article I wrote for awhile back is a good primer on shopping the auction giant, and includes lots of tips and tricks for rooting out the good stuff. Happy hunting!

eBay Find of the Day: Vintage Pants Hangers for Displaying Art

This genius idea, from the Summer 2008 issue of O at Home, has been making its way around the interwebs recently. And for good reason: Using vintage wooden pants hangers is a simple, clever, and inexpensive alternative to framing your prints and photographs.

Here's another iteration of the idea from Jean and Dylan, the bloggers behind Ladies & Gentlemen Home, who came up with a grid-and-hangers system to display art without marring the walls in their rented Seattle apartment.

Want to try it yourself? You can find the vintage clamp-style hangers at flea markets and garage sales -- or maybe even in the back of your parents' closet. And, of course, there are dozens of them to be had on eBay at any given time. The set shown above, for instance, includes seven hangers in a variety of sizes.

Current bid: $10. (Hurry -- the auction ends Tuesday afternoon, July 1.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wanderlust: The Requisite Vacation Snaps

We're back home and a bit comatose from the 650-mile drive back from Portland yesterday. I've been spending the morning going through our vacation snaps, and thought I'd share a few. (I didn't take a ton of PDX shopping pix this time around because, well, I've done plenty of that before. Plus, something about dragging along two bickering, sulky kids made me a little shy about introducing myself to shop owners and asking permission to take photos -- go figure.)

Far Northern California's Mount Shasta, as seen from a moving car.

We stopped over at the Rail Road Park Resort outside the quaint mountain town of Dunsmuir, California, where a group of real train cabooses have been turned into a motel. Our room had the most uncomfortable beds we've ever slept on, but the setting was gorgeous and the kids seemed to enjoy the novelty of it.

Laurel begged us to take her camping on our next trip. This girl loves the great outdoors. (Honestly, I don't know how she wound up in our family of avowed non-campers ... )

Soon after hitting Portland, we went for dinner at Cava. Art from hometown boy Evan B. Harris adorns one wall, and I'm pretty sure the handpainted details on another wall are by local artist Amy Ruppel, who owns Cava along with her husband, Randy Montgomery. (It's an absolutely lovely restaurant, but the location -- a few doors down from a strip karaoke joint and an auto body shop in a relatively desolate part of town -- is a bit random.)

Locals cool off in the fountain at Jamison Square in the Pearl District.

Don't even think about trying to hop this fence at Pistils Nursery.

Cool metal shingles at the offices of Our United Villages on North Portland's Mississippi Avenue.

Thrifting at House of Vintage on Hawthorne.

Clowning around at the Ace Hotel.

Art by Ryan Bubnis and Ryan Jacob Smith at Fifty24PDX.

Hokey as it was, the pirate-themed 3D mini-golf at Glowing Greens was a huge hit with a certain 13-year-old I know. (Thanks to Jewelie at the lovely Flora for the tip!)

Simple Scandinavian goodness at Clinton Street's Broder. (If you go, you must try the Danish pancakes!)

Somehow, this Bettie Ford seems like a lot more fun than the other one ...

Our house-swap partners have a beautiful collection of vintage Bauer and other pottery. (By the way, the house swap worked out great. The worst part was simply trying to get our own home spic and span before we left. But we were overdue for a deep cleaning, anyway.)

Austin checks out the action at Burnside Skate Park, the setting for Gus Van Sant's recent film, Paranoid Park.

The Hollywood Farmer's Market, where we picked up delectable artisan cheeses, bread, juicy cherries, and fresh pasta and pesto sauce for dinner one night.

The movie theater at the Kennedy School. (The couches here looked way more luxe than the IKEA specials at my beloved Parkway in Oakland ... Plus, microbrew!)

Hot dog.

Go, Beavers!

Oaks Park was a fun respite for the kids from all of the tedious shopping, museums, art galleries, and cafe-sitting we forced upon them. (Repeat after me: "Yes, I am the boss of you ... Why do I get to decide what we're doing today? Because I am The Decider ... " Uh-huh -- just go ahead and renew your birth-control prescription right now.)

Alas, time to go home. Nick took to Portland almost as quickly as I had on my first visit there, and even the kids seemed to think it was OK. It'll be interesting to see if they continue to howl in protest every time I joke about moving north ...

Anyway, bye for now, Portland. I like you -- I really, really like you.

(P.S. Thanks so much for your patience with my light posting during our trip. I'll be back on a normal posting schedule next week. Have a lovely weekend!)

Objects of Lust: Stonegate Drum Lights

More lighting goodness at Portland's Lux: Gigantic drum pendants from Stonegate Designs. Each pendant can be custom ordered with your choice of silk fabrics from Agnes & Hoss. I love the subtle effect of having the patterned fabric inside the shade.

Table and floor lamps are available as well. Prices at Lux range from $599 to $969. See more from Stonegate's Agnes & Hoss Collection here, and find a retailer in your area here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More eBay Finds

Today we're making the looong drive home from Portland to the Bay Area, but I'll leave you all with some minty fresh eBay Finds. (RSS readers, you'll need to click through to the blog to see my latest picks.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Etsy Find of the Day: Clock Wall Hangings

What a clever and fun idea: Etsy seller decoylab (aka Kansas City, Missouri designer and illustrator Maiko Kuzunishi) has created clocks from paper that's been gocco-printed with pretty designs and backed for sturdiness. Above: Aqua Bouquet Clock

Orange Bouquet Clock

Lime Cuckoo Clock

Pink Cuckoo Clock

Each limited-edition paper clock measures about 6 by 9 inches, and is just $28 right here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Artful Home: Summer Collection at Tiny Showcase

Print-release site Tiny Showcase just unveiled its Summer Collection, consisting of four open-edition 8-by-10-inch prints from artists Julie Morstad, Ryan McLennan, Amy Ruppel, and Andrew Holder. All are wonderful, but Morstad's haunting Untitled, above, has me swooning.

McLennan's Haul

Ruppel's We'll Be Fine

Holder's Owls

Buy all four prints for $100, or any of them individually for $30 right here. Add a handcrafted ash frame by Rhode Island artist and woodworker Joel Taplin for $80 per print. 10 percent of the proceeds from the print sales will be donated to Clean Water Action.

Cool Stuff: Anna Joyce Pillows

Whenever we're on vacation, my normal thriftiness seems to go flying out the window. (I mean, we're already going to be paying off the credit card for the next year, so what's one more purchase?) Case in point: Today I bought a pillow that cost about three times as much as I'd normally be comfortable spending. But oh, how I love it!

I actually first saw this pillow -- handmade by a local designer named Anna Joyce using linen and appliqued with colorful vintage fabric scraps, filled with down, and generously sized at 20 by 20 inches -- a few days ago at Olio United, a stylish eco-boutique here in Portland. I oohed and aahed over the cushion, stroking it and hugging it to my chest for an embarrassingly long time, until finally I put it down and walked out of the shop like a good girl. But I couldn't stop thinking about it, and today I begged Nick to pilot the car a good 20 blocks out of our way so I could go back to Olio and make the pillow mine.

I'd never seen Joyce's textile designs before, and a Google search didn't turn up much more than some of her other pillows for sale in Olio's webshop. Plus, since I forgot to ask the shopkeeper, I can't tell you what exactly makes these "green" -- but I'm happy to know that they are. And you know what else? I don't regret this little vacation splurge one bit.

A few more of Joyce's lovely designs:

Green Linen Pillow, $105

Grey Linen Pillow, $125

Pink Hemp Pillow, $105

Brown Cotton Pillow, $125

OK, your turn: What did you splurge on during your last vacation?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cool Stuff: Powell St. Pendants

I spotted this colorful trio of Powell St. Pendants at Portland's Lux Lighting the other day. The spun aluminum shades measure an impressive two feet in diameter, and the interiors are painted in candy colors that soften and tint the bulb's glow. I think one of these would look super-groovy over a circular dining table -- but the lights are especially awesome hung in a grouping at various heights.

They're available for $416 apiece at Lux, or $212 each for the 12-inch version.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More eBay Finds

Hi everyone -- just popping in quickly to share a few eBay auctions worth checking out ... (As always, those of you viewing via an RSS reader will need to click through to the blog to see the eBay widget.)

That's Random: The Joy of Shopping With Your Parents

Wicker World from MWTWT on Vimeo.

Yep, I'd have to say that this video, by my awesome brother-in-law, pretty much hits the nail on the head as far as my kids are concerned. (Oh well, at least they're bonding over their shared loathing of this particular brand of vacation fun.)

We're having a great time in Portland, though. The house where we're staying is incredible. We're eating often and too well ("breakfast" at VooDoo Doughnut, lunch at Kenny & Zuke's, and dinners so far at Cava and Paley's Place, plus an afternoon chocolate tasting at Cacao -- yum!). We stopped in at Powell's Books today to stock up on reading material, goofed off a bit in the photo booth at the Ace, and are having fun just hanging out together and exploring the city. We even ran into a long-lost friend at the grocery store last night. Nick and I knew him years ago in San Francisco, but he lives here now and runs his own indie record label -- which is just so quintessentially Portland.

Anyway, P-Town freakin' rocks! (And yes, I am totally cheating on Oakland with Portland right now, and I don't care who knows it.)

Thanks everyone for the Portland tips -- and for bearing with my lack of posting here this week. See you soon ...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Over and Out

We're off for our roadtrip and house-swap in Portland. I may pop in here once or twice while we're gone -- but no promises! We'll either be on the road or out and about most of the time, and when we're not, I plan to be in a lawn chair with a glass of lemonade in my hand. (You know, vacation ... )

I promise to have tons of great finds for you -- as well as some other cool features I've got brewing -- upon our return. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the archives (the blog index is on the left) and to visit some of the fabulous blogs on my blogroll (on the right, just below my sponsors). While you're at it, please visit some of my lovely sponsors, too. If only in a small way, they help me justify the fact that I spend most of the day hunting around for cool stuff to show you -- instead of, like, getting a job or something.

Have a lovely week, and see you all soon!

(P.S. I know several of you are waiting for your Design Dilemmas to be posted. I promise I'll get to them just as soon as we return. Thanks so much for being patient with me!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cool Stuff: MetroSofa Repurposed Classic Furniture

One part of the "Green" equation ("Reduce, Reuse, Recycle") that often seems to be overlooked is repurposing older things instead of replacing them with new ones. (No joke: I recently received a glossy press release for a new, "green" home here in Oakland. Great -- except that the place was over 5,000 square feet and no doubt replaced a much more modest vintage home that had been torn down to make way for the supposedly eco-conscious behemoth. Honestly, how green is that?)

Luckily, the folks at MetroSofa have taken the "Reuse" mantra to heart in an incredibly stylish way. The brainchild of MetroShed founder and green building pioneer David Ballinger, MetroSofa rescues vintage sofas and chairs that would otherwise be headed for a landfill and reinvents them with new, eco-friendly cushions, upholstery (many of the fabrics used are remnants left over from big commercial projects), and paint.

The results may be certifiably green, but they're anything but crunchy. Take a look:

Green and White Striped Chair

Green/Numbers Louis Armchair

Pink and Black Modern Sofa

Red and White Curved-Back Modern Armchair

Black and White Retro Lounge Chair

Red/Multistripe Modern Louis Settee

Chairs range from about $700 to $1,100 apiece, and sofas run about $1,900 to $3,600 each. See all of MetroSofa's eco-fabulous seating right here -- and contact the company directly for exact pricing and shipping details. (Pssst -- if you're in the Portland area, Flutter stocks a few MetroSofa designs, as does Seattle's Revival Home & Garden.)


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