Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Shaker Breakers, Rockin' and Rollin'.  I have a whole new vocabulary that has nothing to do with black T-shirts.

So here's the thing:  my husband wanted to move to California years ago.  I resisted back then. And got my way for a long time.  Because of the EARTHQUAKES. 

Now I live in L.A. and  I count my blessings everyday to have gotten a chance to live in this glorious place.  But also, I count my blessings everyday that my house has not come crashing down around me.  

And that means I've had to think DIFFERENTLY about decorating and bric a brac.  And maybe not in the way you'd think.  After the little bits of a rumbler that we experienced about five weeks after we moved into this house, everything was RE-arranged in my shelving and cupboards.  And large quantities of museum wax and earthquake putty were broken out and blobbed about.  Now it is not possible to move much of anything in my house around, which is putting a crimp in my still life photography career!  I am now the "Queen of the Immovable Tchotchkes", and everything I require for use in my kitchen that is breakable, is now CLOSER TO THE FLOOR.  All the top shelves in my kitchen are empty.  I haven't headed in the direction of child-locks on the cabinets yet.   But I never say never.

Meanwhile, in the past year, I've thought that I needed a little more scale in my house.  So I've bought a couple of large glass vases from Ikea.  They are now full of pebbles and orchids, pebbles and cactus.  If you think of your interiors as landscapes and the top of your cupboards as a horizon, they are the mountains.  They are LARGE.  AND heavy.  Last week I bought four bunches of ranunculae at Trader Joes.  And put them in a large vase with water. They go on the ceramic tile floor in the kitchen or out the back door at night.  What was the first thing I thought of when we were caught, in the middle of the last Easter Sunday afternoon, down the hill, 20 minutes from home, while the ground shook all around us from the Baja quake?  Those ranunculae, sloshing across my dining room table onto the hardwood floors.  And pebbles.

So for the moment, this is where I'm going.  Got it at Anthropologie.  The price was right.  You may have seen it around the blog-u-verse.  

My husband, who enjoys more taking things apart than putting them back together (did I tell you he's 16?), couldn't wait to get his hands on these.  He says popping the pieces out of the rigid card is second only to bubble-wrap in terms of brainless elemental mysterious satisfaction.  So they go from looking like that (above) - tidy big glossy sheets of printed cardboard -

to this, in a brief somewhat autumnal jigsaw puzzle-like moment.

to THIS, the finished product.  (The colors are so lifelike!)

The outlines create such a nice visual energy.  Having something large scaled is always a great finishing touch in a space.  This also tends to bring the outside in.  But it's not going to shatter into a million pieces.  My cats can nuzzle it.  I don't have to put it on the floor, coralled by cushions at night.  The insurance company will never know its name. 

I know they're really supposed to be for kids.  But they are not colored with primary colors.  They have no rubbery garish parts to them that would ultimately serve as magnets for grubby fingerprints.  In fact this tree is not even really very CUTE.  It is just good design.  That creates a pleasant atmosphere in my house.

I'll take it!  And sleep a little easier at night with one less thing to worry about.  Just in case.......

And dream sweet dreams.


  1. your tree is beautiful ... it is funny because since few days I collect cardboards as I had a plan to make ... a tree !!

  2. Bonjour et merci de me rendre visite.
    j'aime beaucoup votre imaginaire, votre humour et votre talent.
    Je reviendrais souvent vous voir.

    Hello and thank you for visiting me.
    I like very much your imagination, your humor and your talent.
    I would often mean seeing you.
    Kind regards.

  3. Wonderful tree - I can see that it's going to be well-loved!

  4. Well thats something Ive never had to contend with ...quakes !

    What did happen to the vase and such? Did you tell us and I just missed it MLLE PARADIS?

    Love the tree...the whosle things is intriguing and so beautifully designed. Im glad I dont live near that store the website trawl is bad enough!
    well...have a good week over mofre moving ground i hope! -the bonzai post was great by the way...

  5. How delightful! It's quirky and fun and no wonder it cheers you! :-)

  6. great post as usual. having lived a large portion of my life in earthquake areas (Mexico City), I really take them casually even if one should not. I simply keep an eye on anything that may tell me it's happening such as liquid in a glass... And after years, I still at time check it even if I am in a stable area. The tree is great! and the text also!

  7. Hi everybody! Nice to see you all after the morning I've had! (More on that later....) I am surprised that anybody WOULD care at all about my cardboard tree (am I having an existential moment? but more on that later too.....) But I suppose that's why we blog. To find those other people in the world who like cardboard trees. And K., I., J, and D. - you all have a gift for saying just the right thing!

    l'Elegante - Thanks so much for your nice words! You are welcome to visit here any time!

    Sophie - No, thank goodness it was more of a faint swaying last Sun. and nothing seemed to have moved. Thanks for asking though! The things one imagines when one's not at home!

    Kenza - Most everyone here IS very casual about it. They think I'm a little koo-koo. Maybe because I was in bad storms in Michigan when a big oak tree and pouring rain came through the ceiling of my house at 8 a.m. or when floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows of the studio I was working in got blown in - maybe because of that, I have a healthy respect for Mother Nature! Anyway, makes a little drama for a Thurs. post, no?

  8. Very nice tree, a wise and pleasing new addition! I like how you describe the upper shelves in your house as being like the horizon line.
    Hope the quakes calm down and you have some steady months/years ahead.

  9. Love those trees, have seen them aropunf the traps down under too, and feel myself getting weaker to resist their charms.