Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mark Your Calendar: Modern Economy Sale

If I can manage to sneak away from my coughing, sniffling, feverish, germ-ridden family (no, it's not Swine Flu -- at least I don't think it is) for a couple of hours on Saturday, I am so hitting the Modern Economy Sale in San Francisco.

Meg Mateo Ilasco's annual event features first- and (almost imperceptibly) second-quality bargains from dozens of cool independent artisans and housewares designers. So if you're in the area, stop by and snap up some lovely ceramics, textiles, potted plants and terrariums, and other modern home accents at up to 80 percent off retail.

Participants include:

Cursive Design

Emma Gardner Design

Ferm Living

Henry Road

Jean Pelle


Paige Russell

Papaver Vert


Rae Dunn

Soft Goods


Xenia Taler

... and many more.

The sale takes place this Saturday, May 2, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fort Mason Building A Conference Center. (In my experience, the place gets picked clean fast, so plan to arrive early for the best selection.)

More info here. My blog buddy Anh-Minh Le also had a great article about Modern Economy -- as well as how the modern economy itself is affecting local artisans -- in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle; read it here.

Cool Stuff: Kodu Design Refrigerator Skins

Decorative "skins" for your fridge ($95 to $140): Yea or nay?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Food for Thought: The 3/50 Project

I think we're all spending more time lately thinking about the things that we can do to make a positive impact on the world around us. For me, small, simple, and doable is key -- I'm not a crusader, an organizer, or even much of a joiner. But I have been trying to be more mindful about how the decisions I make on a daily basis impact my community, whether it's the immediate one around me or the larger global community we all share.

I've been distressed to see so many of the small businesses in my area hurting, and several actually closing their doors in recent months. So the 3/50 Project is something that I can feel good about committing to (and that doesn't necessarily cost me anything extra, in terms of my budget or my time). This grassroots campaign aims to support independent brick-and-mortars by raising awareness about the importance of shopping locally and by reminding consumers that more than two-thirds of the money spent at local businesses is funneled right back into their community.

For my family, this means alternating between the big chain supermarket where we pick up our staples and the smaller, mom-and-pop grocery store where we get our produce, health-food items, and gourmet goodies from small, local suppliers (and where the food is better, anyway). It means eating at locally owned and -run restaurants instead of chains (ditto). It means hitting one of our area farmers' markets at least once a month (I'm not much of a cook, but I'm always inspired to make something healthy and tasty with the fresh, organic ingredients we get there). It means catching a flick at our historic hometown theater instead of at the big mall multiplex (somehow, the films are better when viewed in a grand 1920s movie palace). And it means shopping for that Mother's Day gift, household necessity, or occasional treat for myself at one of the many wonderful indie boutiques here in Oakland (and where I'm more likely to find something really unique). Plus, since most of these businesses in turn support homegrown producers, artists, craftspeople, and others, we're essentially getting twice the local bang for our buck.

These are all things we're already doing, of course, albeit in a rather grab-as-grab-can way. But after reading up on the 3/50 Project, I'm inspired to make a commitment to my local economy in a more planned and thoughtful way. So Farmer Joe's, Bakesale Betty, Grand Lake Farmers Market, Grand Lake Theater, Mignonne, Atomic Garden, Urban Indigo, Scout, et al., here I come. Because if any of you went away, my world would get a little dimmer.

(If you live elsewhere -- and I know most of you do -- check out my "Shopping" links in the right-hand column: Arranged by locale, they consist almost entirely of independent home shops and art galleries from the Bay Area to Brooklyn, and even across the pond to the U.K.)

Find out more about the 3/50 Project right here.

Shameless Plug: My "Handmade Modern" Article in Sunset Magazine

Super-excited to see my piece on San Francisco indie boutiques specializing in handmade modern wares (as well as some great product picks from local design maven Meg Mateo Ilasco) in the May issue of Sunset magazine, which just hit newsstands.

Grab your copy today, or click on the images above to read it here.

Cool Stuff: Stitching Postcards

I love the idea of commemorating our family's travels in such a visual and tactile way. These Stitching Postcards come in the form of a map (choose from U.S.A., Europe, or World) and accompanying needle and thread, with which you literally stitch your route from one place to another.

Imagine the story that one might eventually tell if you framed and periodically updated it, the crisscrossing strands of thread tracing your journeys across the country or the globe and coalescing to mark the way home.

The postcards are $10 per set from Uncommon Goods.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cool Stuff: Ink & Spindle Fabric Packs

I'm stockpiling fabric at a ridiculous rate, but despite my endless good intentions, no cushion covers have been sewn. Still, I'm mighty tempted to snap up a couple of these yummy mixed-fabric packs from Melbourne, Australia's Ink & Spindle (aka the studio of textile designers Bianca van Meeuwen, Lara Cameron, and Tegan Rose).

Each of the packs comes with three cotton-linen, eco-screenprinted pieces measuring about 17.5-by-17.5 inches -- perfect for a trio of mix-and-match cushion fronts, don't you think? Above: Hollabee #2

Hollabee #5

Hollabee #8

Hollabee #10

Hollabee #12

Hollabee #14

Hollabee #15

The mix packs are $34 Australian (about $24 U.S.) each right here.

(If you have bigger sewing projects in mind, Ink & Spindle also sells an array of absolutely gorgeous handprinted fabrics by the meter. Check 'em out here. And if sewing isn't your thing, the studio sells cushions made with its fabrics here.)

Objects of Lust: Carved Wood Mushrooms

I started salivating the second I saw these handcarved wooden mushrooms from France at San Francisco's Battersea (aka, the retail showroom for hot SF interior designer Will Wick).

Measuring a substantial 12 to 39 inches, they're available for $685 to $3,000 apiece (I know -- dream on, right?) here.

eBay Finds

Lovely Bastidor Santo

Rare Carl Jacobs Designer Chair

Charles Eames Side Shell Rocker

Two Tufted X-Base Stools

Vintage Architectural Bullet Planter

Mohair Thonet Tub Chair (its mate is here)

Pair Hollywood Regency Iron Benches

Hans Wegner Hansen Y Chair

Midcentury Chair Pair

1960s Orb Lamp Pair

Handwoven Moroccan Kilim Rug

Knoll Vignelli Paperclip Dining Table Black

Architectural Column Base Cloche

Two Rolls Ferm "Branch" Wallpaper

Petite Faux Bamboo Pagoda Chandelier

Modern Woven and Chrome Rocker Chair

Midcentury White Scoop Chair and Ottoman

Charlotte Perriand Stool

Note: These auctions all end between today and Thursday evening, April 30. Happy bidding!


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