Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Haus Party

I took a ceramics class at the Sharon Art Studio in Golden Gate Park shortly after I graduated from a great school for design with a degree in psychology.  I learned how to throw clay and play with glazes, but I was no Jonathan Adler.  Today's Etsy find is from ceramicist Heather Dahl's shop Dahlhaus. I think I first spotted her vases at this little store called Anthropologie, but a fuller offering is on her Etsy site. I want one in every color!

The Homies

Apartment Therapy is tallying the votes for the best design + DIY blogs of 2012.  I love these lists because I am constantly looking for new inspiration and projects and there are a lot of really smart small/new blogs on the list of nominees.  Poppy Haus made the list yesterday. Getting the word out that you even exist is a major challenge for a new blog, and AT has a vast readership. Just last night I got a little shout out on Maxwell's Daily Finds! If you like Poppy Haus you can cast your vote here: BEST DIY BLOG.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Feet

I hadn't bothered to replace the ugly Home depot standard issue door mat on our back patio since we've moved in, which is kind of sad since the ugly mat was in plain view of our eat in kitchen.  I picked up an inexpensive boring mat today and marked it off with painters tape into a Union Jack design, before coating it with satin finish spray paint.  It cost me under $10 and took about 5 minutes. What was I waiting for?

It Takes A Lotta Love

I love Lotta Jansdotter's simple, beautiful design style.  Inspired by the fact that she is self taught, I started experimenting with block printing.  After reading up on it and watching a few instructional YouTube videos I decided it would probably be a piece of cake. It was not a piece of cake.  For starters, instead of beginning with a basic shape I decided to make this thing which required carving a lot of detail into a piece of rubber, using a specialized tool for the first time. I can see this will be an exercise in trial and error and I will unfortunately not become a Lotta Jansdotter overnight, but I'm guessing she didn't either. Once I make a finished product I'll put up a tutorial.

Friday, February 24, 2012



I was pretty worried that I was going to start saying "totes" after watching the New Years episode of Up All Night.  It turns out my husband Adam prefers the term. 

Spring has arrived in February this year, and I have totes on the brain.  I have always carried some sort of tote. I think the obsession either started with ballet bags or later with my first ESPRIT bag...where is that thing? I just love nautical stripes and bold patterns, and the simplicity of the natural woven bag.  Totes are the best because they are so preppy and multipurpose; they look fabulous with both my top-siders and my gold flats.

Just before I had Wylie I splurged and bought myself an orange, leather trimmed Kate Spade tote to be used as a fancy diaper bag.  I had it sent to my house, gift wrapped in the signature green and gold tissue paper, with a personalized message from Adam (written by me) not to be opened until I got home from the hospital. I think the note said something like "To the greatest woman who ever lived". Fortunately he has a sense of humor and understands the concept of a push present, so he named her Katy and she got her own seat in the car. Isn't he dreamy? Totes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

About a Boy

My child dragged these branches from the furthermost corners of our property for several days to create this. Isn't it beautiful?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nose To Tail

Just in case you were wondering, this is my brand of humor.  So, I am super duper bummed that I can't go to the West Elm/Etsy event curated by SFGirlByBay this Saturday in Emeryville. I love West Elm and want to sleep there at night.  More importantly, Etsy is eventually going to figure in to my "empire" strategy and I want to become better acquainted with successful local Etsy artists. I also really wanted to meet Victoria, the prolific local blogger putting this group of designers together. Whatcha gonna do? In honor of the collective, I am featuring one of the local artists as my Etsy find of the week.  This print is by Drywell. The artist behind the pig is Alyson Thomas, whose bio says she is an attorney turned artist with no formal training and a love of meat.  She's my kind of gal.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Note Worthy

What do you do with your pretty calendar when the year is over?  It seems a shame to toss it out.  Today I got out the old paper cutter and made some note cards from last year's Snow & Graham calendar. Thanks to the rather large envelope collection I amassed a few years ago while making wedding invitations I was able to create 20 note cards. Way to upcycle and declutter! I can't wait for next year.  Who knows what will come of my Jonathan Adler travel posters...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Come On Get Happy!

My friend Becky writes a blog and runs a brand called Deluxe. Her slogan goes like this: Make Your Home Your Happy Place. It really resonates with me...I think that's what I try to do with my space.  I have creative, messy kids and an open space house. I kind of have to embrace the small child thing when keeping house and decorating. Here's some pages from  my rulebook:

1. Keep the walls white and touch up those dirty walls every 6 months or so.  Make space on those walls for colorful "art".

2. Clean it up every night, but focus on play during the day.  I've learned that kids get really creative when two unrelated toys meet, and my time is better spent not picking up after them all day.

3. When introducing a new color, spread it around the house.  I recovered my dining room chairs with teal linen.  I added accents of teal shades throughout the house, with books, storage and a patterned accent wall. 

4. Use the ceiling as design space.  I put the anthropologist lanterns over the formal table, a Calder-esque mobile over the kitchen table, and a molded plastic pendant lamp in the kids play space. It draws the eye up.

5. Lighting is key.  I get a little grief for putting a lamp on my Christmas list every year.  My lamp collection floods our house with soft, warm light in the evening, eliminating the need for overheads. For me it's a real mood changer.

We have a small house, but it's in a wonderful neighborhood with unique outdoor space fit for impromptu pirate treasure hunts.  Should we ever move away I hope to recapture some of what we've put together here in the woods.  It's our happy place.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Recommended Reading

We do a lot of reading out loud in our house.  Because of this, I try to pick out books with some snappy design and writing style.  My favorite of all time is Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak's gift to mankind, which I always read in the voice of Allen Ginsberg (try it sometime, it really spices it up).  Here are two new books that we added to our collection this Winter.  The first is Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts.  It's eye candy for me, and I'm planting the design seed in their heads.  The other is Stop Snoring Bernard! by Zachariah Ohora.  This book is incredibly fun to read, and has such a sweet story.  I love the saturated colors and illustration style.

All Dolled Up

Poppy Haus is becoming my place to curate, and as I've started to approach this more seriously, part of my daily routine is to troll Etsy for inspiration.  I'm going to start doing a weekly feature on my favorite Etsy finds. As I'm such a sucker for nesting dolls, modern folk art and happy colors, for this first week I'm featuring this print titled Matryoshka Dolls by San Francisco based mixed media artist Melanie Mikecz of twoems.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Glitter and Glue

Glitter and school glue are two of my favorites. I excelled at glitter art as a young lass.  Yesterday, I had to extol the virtues of creating handmade Valentines to my disgruntled kid, who pondered out loud about why we didn't get them at the store like everyone else, and made some noise about having to write "xo, jasper" so many times. Really this post is just to show off my new Roboto Glitter Hipstamatic lens (with a little Cherry Shine flash). I'm totally distracted by this crazy idea I'm working on to open a pop up shop this Winter.  More to come.  Happy Heart Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Spring Addition
At the end of March, I am going to spend 3 glorious days and nights  in Palm Springs in an Alexander home with some of my favorite girl friends. As I am already fretting about what to wear, I thought it would be the perfect time to make myself a mood board on Polyvore.  I plan to take this collection with me when I go shopping to remind me of the pieces I will need to create a cohesive look for the trip. Granted every garment here is more than my entire budget, especially that Takhoon maxi dress, but I think having the visual will allow me to put together a similar look at a combination of shops that have pretty things more pleasing to my pocketbook. 


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Some Local Love

Check out Jasper Hearts Wren's special Valentines limited edition xo! design.  I love that it's for both boys and girls and has a wear by date that stretches beyond February 14th, it's a perfect birthday suit.  Available in onesie sizes 3-6mos through 12-18mos either on JHW's website or at this spectacular curated best of Etsy style shopping event called Unique LA.  They have their Local Love shopping event this weekend at the California Center in downtown LA. For more Jasper Hearts Wren information and anecdotes check out their blog Tongue In Cheek.  Super cute and always funny.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Small Wonder

When I made the kids play table from a LACK end table and a bargain kitchen table top, I had visions of miniature bentwood chairs completing the look.  After spending a few days testing it out, I soon realized that the kids needed to be able to walk around it, and I had to revise my plan.  Unfortunately this meant little stools, and I decided that IKEA's MAMMUT stools would make sense.  They are pretty boring, I chose white so that I wouldn't have to add anymore color to the room.  Today when I was reorganizing my office I found a roll of woodgrain contact paper and had a thought.  10 minutes later the MAMMUT's are not so boring and also not neon green.  I think this could also be cute using red contact paper with circles cut out to look like toadstools. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Eat Me.

I will admit that I sometimes prefer brownie batter to actual brownies.  They can be so cakey, or too fudgey.  I prefer chewy with a crackly crust, a brownie that showcases the delicious flavor of the batter, with a toasty bite like a cookie.  When I read the description of this recipe, I had to give it a go, most especially because it involved sea salt. I found it yesterday on one of my favorite blogs The Daily Muse, which linked to the recipe posted on Eat.Live.Shop. which incidentally has some crazy Super Bowl food posted today...chocolate covered bacon? Yes please.  I digress. Here's today's recipe which we baked and tested this morning pregame:

Brownies with Sea Salt  

1 stick butter (8 tbsp)
1/2 c Brown Sugar
1 c White Sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 c flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
Tbsp Vanilla
Generous Pinch sea salt

1. Preheat Oven to 390
2. Melt butter in pot over stove
3. Remove butter from heat, let cool about a minute, then add sugars (just use the pot as your saves you more dishes). Mix well.
4. Add eggs, flour, cocoa, salt, and generous tablespoon-splash of vanilla, and mix well.
5. Line an 8"sq baking dish with parchment, pour in batter, and pop in oven.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes, test with a knife in the center and remove when only a few  little crumbs cling to the knife.
7. Cool one hour or overnight.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Oh Dear...

I was going through my bookmarked items collected over the last year and stumbled up on this beautiful specimen.  It's from Rachel Denny's Domestic Trophy collection.  I think every room in my house would be jealous of the one that got to have this on it's wall. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Panyl Me Happy!

I kind of had to share this find. I scooped it from Apartment Therapy's Marketplace. As the proud owner of a few of these EXPEDIT storage systems from IKEA, I have long wished for a way to make them cool.  Mine are filled with overstuffed "guy" bins that house talking action figures. They scare me in the middle of the night when walk by to get a glass of water. I'd been thinking about ditching the shelves until now...Made from architectural vinyl,the self-adhesive panyls come in every color of the rainbow, including wood grain stains. You attach them to the doors and drawers for EXPEDIT and other IKEA storage systems.
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