Thumbtack Press

I may or may not be totally clueless but I just discovered this fantastic resource for prints called Thumbtack Press... which gathers together prints by dozens of artists. They have a very big selection of really wonderful things at very affordable prices - most things are under $30. They even give frame recommendations. I could spend hours looking through it (in fact, I just have). If you haven't already uncovered this gem, I would recommend a visit! Here are a few of my favorite finds:

Primo Presagio by Gianluca Foli.

Rome by Matt Mills.

Come Pick Me Up by Jared Drew Moody.

HiFi by Chris Silas Neal

The Bear (Ursa Major) by Lilly Piri.

Predatory by Brad Yeo.

Old Sicily New by Jaime Zollars.

Lux Graphique Mini Dress

Isn't this mustard and navy printed dress from Urban Outfitters just divine? at $58, the price isn't bad either. It's just the right sort of piece to transition from summer to fall...wear it now with gladiator sandals, and later with ribbed tights and spectator pumps.


To Coffee Table, or Not...???

I'm on the hunt for a coffee table.

I've uncovered a few likely contenders. Trouble is, while all of them are relatively affordable for most people (under $500), they're still too expensive for me. $300 for something on which to rest my feet and some magazines seems like a total joke at present. But as my daybed is currently the only seating surface in my apartment as I await the arrival of some chairs, I'm finding a coffee table would be very handy.

I've canvassed the IKEA website (and store) over and over again. I really thought that I would pick up the Parsons-style LACK table with shelf, but when I saw it in person the white was really off-white and the wood laminate looked cheap. For $29.99 you really can't complain but I do have some standards.

The only way I can imagine it working is if I decoupaged it with some pretty paper from the Paper Source. A few candidates:

The Stockholm table would suit me very well but I saw it in person and it's enormous; absolutely too big for my tiny studio. Of course IKEA has lots of other options but none of them really fit my very picky qualifications.

I'm looking for something in a light or medium-tone wood to add some "color"/depth to the space, with very clean lines and some interesting but undistracting detail. Also, most importantly, I would like something that serves a double duty, with either drawers or some kind of storage below. If it is lacking in the latter qualification, it would have to be a pretty stellar design and price.

Here's what I've uncovered so far:

Bonsai coffee table, $329 at DANIA.

Vintage lucite coffee table, $395 at ModHaus.

Patterned Veneer Coffee Table, $349 from West Elm.

Parsons Storage coffee table, $249 from West Elm.

I think I would like this table if it came in something other than black. A light wood could be nice. $89.99 from IKEA.

I really like the decoupage nesting tables from Anthropologie, and they are nice on their own, but having seen them in person I think they look the most interesting as a set.

Any ideas for cheaper options would be lovely....I'm going to the flea market on Sunday and I'm hoping that something special will turn up.


Galbraith & Paul

I love the crafty/ethnic appeal of Room and Board's new textiles line designed by Liz Galbraith and Ephraim Paul. Their graphic prints are fun and modern. I liked the website feature that gives you some background on the design duo and shows photos of them at work.

The pillows are quite fun..

but I adore simply adore their pendant lamps:


Imperial Vases for the Modern Home

How lovely are these vases, named after the Empress Josephine, the great tastemaker of her age? Empire-style neoclassicism is often so ornate, but this one has been stripped down to the bare-bones simplicity that classicism was initially going for. Josephine would be proud, I'm sure.


Time for me to get a land line...

As you may know, CB2 has updated their fall catalogue with lots of new goodies and an interesting color palette of grey and orange. I loved the peekaboo spark bunching table, and was particularly appreciative of the vignette in their catalogue, which features the yellow Sculptura, or Donut phone which I am still obsessed with.

I feel like my Tom Thumb-sized apartment (with its green, white, beige and yellow color scheme) will not be complete without one. The less space you have, the fewer opportunities you have to create an impressive space. Beautiful nonutillitarian objects become superfluous, beacuse there is hardly any room for them. My argument follows, then, that even your functional objects should be a work of art. I think the Sculptura qualifies, don't you?


White on White

I love the idea of embellishing your living space with personal collections. It's what separates a hotel room from a home, whether your collection is of vintage postcards of Venice collected at flea markets or the Tema e variazione plates by Fornasetti, which each sell for around $200 (or more, if they're vintage). Even both.

I would normally say that moderation is key here and not to go overboard, but then an exception like Sir John Soane's wonderful house comes to mind. I suppose it all depends upon balance. If you have many collections, perhaps rotate them every few weeks/months, or display them in a way that is unobtrusive, not overwhelming, for the appreciative viewer. Or, if you possess Soane's brilliant eye and unfailing attention to aesthetics, then go all out there and cover your whole house. Whatever you end up doing, your collection should express you. Every piece should be valued by you, not there just to fill a gap.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I know it's often been done, but I really like the idea of all-white objects. I don't have a lot of space in my apartment, but I do have three sizable windows and thus a lot of windowsill. I've been thinking about collecting an assortment of white ceramic objects - figurines, vases, etc., and putting them all in a row on a sill. I should add that my whole apartment is painted white; it's a rental and I can't change it, but it does magnify the space. They would express continuity in terms of color, but regarding form each would be unique. Remember - just because it's white doesn't mean an object has to be boring. Here are some of my favorites:

Friendly Two-Headed Dog (I always wanted to keep Cerberus for a pet...), by Melabo

FÄRM Vases, at IKEA

Large Horse Sculpture, by Jonathan Adler

Ceramic Bird Sculpture, at the Curiosity Shoppe

White Notes 3D Flower Vases at Blue Bell Bazaar

Ted Muehling's Tree Branch with Moss, at moss

Nymphenburg Porcelain Skull, at Unica Home.

Astier de Villatte Aphrodite pitcher, at Moss

Mr. and Mrs. Jones juicer set at Sprout Home

Aalto vase, at Finnstyle



Remember these?

Probably only my mom does, but it was worth a try.
I enthused about CB2's Larch bed linens in only my second post, Silhouette Fever. Now, you can get a taupe version for your shower. I only wish they made them for windows....then all of my curtain woes would be solved.



When I think of Crate and Barrel, Classic but Boring usually comes to mind. No offense, it's just not really to my taste. However, I was happy in this case to be proven wrong. On a recent visit to the store, I came across a set of accent tables or stools inspired by chess pieces.

Even if you don't realize the reference at first, I still love their organic, playful quality. An aerial view shows that the wood is still relatively log-like, and I just love it when wooden pieces retain their imperfections. It really looks much less manufactured than I would have expected. Well done, C&B!


Well, well, well. I've been tagged for the first time by Tara from Swan Diamond Rose, another first-timer. I have to say I feel a bit like I'm back in middle school (alas) and I haven't, for one, been picked last for the dodgeball team. Luckily nobody here has to see my woeful ball-throwing/catching "skills" in action.

The rules are that I have to tag 7 other people and tell you 7 things about myself. I'm going to have fun with this and try to be a little weird and a little random. Just because.

1 - As a kid, Halloween was my favorite holiday aside from Christmas. I would get so excited about it that I would insist on getting my Halloween costume in July. I loved the idea of roleplaying...I think I would have been an actor if I wasn't so timid and award. In first grade, I wore a magenta satin astronaut suit, complete with silver space-girl wig. No joke. The next year, I was Carmen Miranda - fruit headdress and all!

2 - Which funnily leads me to the next item - while I will happily wear (admittedly fake) fruit on my head (given the proper occasion), I do not eat it.

3 - In 6th grade, I sang in the children's chorus for the Broadway performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dream Coat in Chicago, and got to hang out with fellow cast member Donny Osmond and look at the videos he brought of his new black lab. At that point, I didn't even know who Donny Osmond was or why he was famous, so it is really much less exciting than it sounds. We wore rainbow-colored clothes (I was in green tie-dye) and had to practice our perkiness.

4 - I just moved to an area which I have decided is the best neighborhood in Chicago, on account of its proximity to Lincoln Park and the lake, charming old homes, fun shops, and 24-hour Starbucks and 24-hour gym! emphasis on the latter, as I am definitely a 24-hour girl.

5 - The color scheme for my new apartment is going to be yellow, green, white and "natural" (I'm afraid of the word beige). I'm super-excited.

6 - Since my summer school course is reading-lite, have been reading a lot of books this summer. I finished The Once and Future King yesterday (for nostalgia's sake) and I'm almost done with The Sixteen Pleasures. I'm a bit of a historical-fiction freak (next, I start Philippa Gregory's Earthly Pleasures.

7 - I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and can't wait for the last book's release. But that doesn't mean I'd put Potter stuff in my home!

Now you know a bit more about me than you ever wanted to. I've decided to tag...
Shiny Squirrel, A Cup of Jo, Pink Mohair, Another Shade of Grey, Armas Design, Blogue Fonetik, and last but not least, Eclectic Detective.

Adventures in Decorating

Moving has been such an...interesting experience. This wasn't any ordinary move, as I am finally ensconced in my first studio apartment whereas before I had always been thrown in with family or roommates.

I've gotten used to blissful solitude very easily. And having my own place is so exciting - I don't have to defer to anyone else for decorating decisions! I don't have to worry about whether or not my roommates will like the new rug, or whether they will spill a glass of wine all over it - because all of the spilling will most likely be done by me. I can handwash clothes in the bathtub and hang them from the shower curtain rod, without any concern whether anyone will see my unmentionables!

I'm also learning about patience. I had this idea that two weeks after having moved, I would have all of my furniture and everything would be unpacked - that the apartment would be magazine-ready, so to speak. Hah! As it is, I'm still eating on the floor (on my great-aunt Anna's fiestaware-like glass plates, at least) amidst a sea of neat little piles of books and papers. I'm going to the 24-hour Starbucks down the street to check up on the news, or checking my e-mail at the gym, because I still don't have internet. As much as I can complain about not having a table, or chairs, or sufficient storage...a month into this experiment, I'm loving every minute of it.
Most of the time.

It's kind of nice to be doing my decorating at such a leisurely pace, because it gives me more time to think about what I really want and need. When I finally decided, after two weeks of hanging a garbage bag on a hook in the kitchen, that I definitely needed a real trash can, I hemmed and hawed and finally fell in love with this clever item from the Container Store.

It's definitely a classic, but it took some convincing before I decided that it was OK that my first thought upon seeing it was "where's Oscar?"

I think that great design often has the capability to make one laugh (Philippe Starck being a prime example) so I'm glad that I found something so ordinary - yet also so extraordinary.
Does that make sense?


Take a Seat

I like the combination of clean midcentury lines and a rather ornate print (love those peacocks!) in the Lulu chair from Urban Outfitters. Plus, the price is pretty good...well, I couldn't afford it, but for $380 a whole lot of other people could. I think it would look pretty great in my apartment, if I had the space, or the cash...oh well. It also comes in a fun mint green color.

I'm actually contemplating curtains in a similar print, which are much cheaper (what do you think, Mom?).

Bravo, Blueprint

I have to say that I loved the new Blueprint. I was a little bit hesitant about the magazine at first, thinking that one Domino was good enough, thankyouverymuch...but this was the issue that finally convinced me to get a subscription. I really appreciate all of the practical little tips (I can't wait to find the perfect vintage wooden dresser on which to try out the liquid sander!) and their aesthetic really clicks with me. I adored the bungalow they featured - the owner's use of color really wowed me (those log stools! that kitchen!).

I'll let you run to the newstand to see it all for yourself, but I just had to share these really stylish and unbelievably easy little mood lights that they featured:

I love the subtle patterning and the warm glow these babies give off.
They're called Gorgeous Helen and they cost $20 at Charles and Marie. Gorgeous indeed. Wine glasses are not included, but you can pick up some super-cheap ones pretty much anywhere. IKEA, for example, sells red wine glasses for $1.99.


Under the Sea redux

Now that I've posted about it, I can't seem to get away from aquatic imagery. I've found a few more lovely items that I was kicking myself for not incuding in time. I just couldn't leave them by the wayside!

I really like the circular composition of this Underwater Circus Screenprint by Jaime Zollars. I think it could be enjoyed both equally by both adults and children.

Kick back in these fabulously plush Stubbs and Wootton Octopussy slippers named after one of my favorite campy Bond movies. They possess an impeccable pedigree and a sense of humor to boot!

Julianna Swaney of Oh My Cavalier continues her long run as one of my favorite Etsy artists. I love this delicate, nostalgic print of a whale, entitled In the Heart of the Sea. Even the title is wonderful!

This drawing of a girl with fantastic octopus earrings by Ali J is awfully charming, don't you think?

Finally there is this beautiful set of fourteen starfish prints produced through the "nature printing" process from Anthropologie. I love the varying compositions and the delicate linework.