Sunday, March 31, 2013

Oh Conran Shop, How D-o-o-o-o-o- I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways.

I love the way you've always shown me how Modern Neutral and Confident Color can play so well together.

How Comfort need not obviate Style.

How Austerity alongside Ornament needn't necessarily translate into.... Mutually Exclusive.

How Honesty need not necessarily rule out Artifice:  For more on how to fake-up encaustic tiles for your dining room, deck or kitchen, check out these links: here at the LA Times and at Jess' new house in New Jersey via The Eagle's Nest.  (Jess' kitchen floor turned out so great!  This is a great option if you're totally in love with this trend - like moi - but worried about how over-exposed it is and how quickly it will be so yesterday as soon as you've made your major investment in tiles and installation!  This Conran Shop version looks like it was made with 14x14 stenciled masonite tiles.)

I only wish it had been a sunnier day so that my photos had not come out with this yellowish cast and you could have seen how this elegant color scheme so sings!   So what projects of your own did you complete this past weekend?  Will you be sharing the details with us?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

And Speaking of Cakes.......

A certain special member of the family is having a Birthday this weekend.

For this person, only a chocolate mousse cake will do.  So last year, I made him one from this book by Alain Coumont of Pain Quotidien fame.  I will never understand why they don't make them this way at the Los Angeles branches of PQ.   They sell, instead, small versions slicked over with a heavy layer of hard chocolate "couverture".   We prefer the sneeze-inducing cocoa powder covered version.   So of course I had to buy the book so I could make a proper one myself.  It's unbelievably easy and GOOD!

Just sayin'.

And yes, you guessed right, looks like I'm making it again.  Is there a special dessert at your house that enjoys repeat appearances?  And not just for the holidays?  Anybody else having a birthday?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Multiplication Fables

Taking a break from the UK posts.....

but I think you might like these just fine.

(*  All  pics sourced variously from many Tumblr sites where provenance, copyright and attribution seem just a twinkle in some old geezers' eyes.  How long can this Paradise of Randomness last?  Makers: come claim your work?)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

London Fills Me


Here's.....a little something to contemplate for the week.

I don't think it will hurt your brain, the subject I propose:

The number of cake shops in London these days!!!!!!!!

It's quite possible to find blocks in the city that seem to be nothing but cake shops!  End to end.   (Where can it end?  I think we can imagine.  At our waistlines?   Meanwhile....the young French woman standing next to me at this window kept exclaiming to her boyfriend: tu vois ce que je vois?  tu VOIS ce que je vois??!!!  maybe she had just spotted Hugh Grant inside, i don't know, but i have a feeling she'd spotted the cake of her dreams!))

I include South Asian goodies on Brick Lane in this assertion.

It's true that American cookies and carrot cake are noticeable in their ubiquity in London.

But...also cupcakes.  And  English cakes, American cakes, French cakes also!  Shall I mention all the Italian "Colomba" cakes that were making an Easter appearance?  Following in the footsteps of Christmas panettone?

It didn't take me long stepping off the plane, to realize that I was no longer in Kansas.  (Obviously in L.A. quite so many cake shops would never succeed.  Remember something called giant-screen TV's?  And....close-ups?  YEAH, talking about film stars et al.)

Try the length of sidewalk from Green Park to Picadilly: an Austrian-style cake shop is just one of two that have joined Laduree and La Maison du Chocolat on either side of the Burlington Arcade.

In London, only one thing can be said about economic austerity.  And it would have to be..........

L e t   T h e m   E a t   C a k e  ! ! !

(I was very sadly not quite up to the would require several lifetimes......soooooo, pictures instead?  What did YOU eat this weekend?)   HOPE IT WAS A GOOD ONE.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Selvedge at Anthropologie, and the Chelsea Town Hall - Kings Road

I don't know what's happening at the Anthropologie on Regents Street, but I can tell you about The Gallery at Anthropologie on the Kings Road.  Sadly this show closes on the 31st.  But you can find more about it, and the artist, Abigail Brown, here and here.  Concurrently this weekend (yes all you in the U.K., that means starting today and for the rest of you, there's something called high-speed air and train travel?  sorry, yes, teasing) is the Selvedge Fair at the Chelsea Town Hall, just a couple doors down from Anthropologie.  (Check that first link again.)

Oh God.  I felt lousy about leaving London on Monday.  It seemed far too soon.  And the Selvedge Fair reminds me why.

Can I get on a soapbox and rant for a minute?


This is what ART is, when it goes beyond craft.  These little birds are so lifelike, so alive, you feel you could hold them in your hands and feel them warm, their bodies shifting under your fingers, their teeny hearts beating under their feathers.  (And the feathers are made of teeny pieces of fabric!)

This is what the English do very well.  The training in the art schools is so very good, that the caliber of their craft and decorative art production is at a very high level.  I am an artist who is not snobbish about craft, a painter who is not snobbish about many American artists are, and have been.  But the sad fact about American art education is that it has so been steeped in abstract expressionism and conceptual art theory for so many years (which, don't get me wrong, I appreciate....but!), and now, perhaps commercial expediencies, that art graduates get very boxed in for their lifetimes in a complacency and reductivism about their own ideas and achievements and cheat themselves and the world of a richness of texture, detail, color, realization that.....they may not know they are capable of.  And which is very satisfying, and as I've said in a recent post, transcendent.

Work like Abigail Brown's is possibly also the product of a culture that, beyond London especially, still moves at a slower pace. Where it's o.k. to talk long-ly, to sit quiet and look.  LONG-ly.  To listen.  Carefully.  To persist, to adventure, to explore.  All this is what I LOVE about traveling to Europe.

(vs. bashing something out and talking very loudly about it then rushing on to the next NEW THING.  because that's what a commercial, "monetizing" and info-trash overloaded culture expects of you.  something America seems v. keen to sell to the rest of the world.)

We have a cliche in America about "raising the bar".

(Selvedge's mini-haberdashery)

To be fair, I think someone like Martha Stewart has succeeded fabulously well in doing this through commercial means, and changed a couple generations' worth of Americans' ideas of norms and expectations in aesthetics.  And in terms of what are valuable ways in which to spend your time and your life.  Values, which HAVE always existed in American life but which in the late 20th century were increasingly denigrated and marginalized by the "marketplace".  You can count Anthropologie  now alongside Martha in countering these attitudes.   And broadening our mainstream vocabularies (YAY!)  

Also now, we can give thanks for the internet.  My experience of it is that it can broaden everybody's minds and propose other choices, standards, and inspiration.  Should we so choose to seek in that way......  And I am so happy, through the internet, to share some of these with you.  We can't all travel, but we all can LOOK and learn.  And find lots to wonder at, emulate...... And.....enjoy.   (En-joie!) 

I guess what I'm saying is that work like this still seems extremely rare in America.  And I hope that situtation is changing.  (And quickly)!

...........Happy Weekend!

(Thanks for letting me get that bee out of my bonnet!  Guess I needed to!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blighty Beauty

It's true.  I ran away to England last week.

In search of spring.

Instead I found winter.  (OK, g-l-i-m-p-s-e-s of spring.)  But mostly snow blowing sideways.  Brrrrrrr.

London was, nonetheless exceedingly beautiful.

In most of its forms.

I always find delightful surprises.

(It's a scarf!)

The talk was of triple-dips,  Russians run riot......, protecting press freedoms (or not) but mostly yes, I found.  That London is OPEN FOR BUSINESS.  Here's just a peek at it all for you.  Till I get my feet more firmly on the ground.  I was ten days went so very fast!

Nice to be back though.  More on that soon, too.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tumblr FAVE: The Poetry of Material Things

I feel

that this site

is just

so perfectly


As much as we humans are capable of

ugliness, so also can we be masters of transcendent beauty. 

 The Poetry of Material Things reminds me.

Have a beautiful week please!

Friday, March 15, 2013

For The Weekend

Just a little something.......(Where are you?  Whatcha' doin'?)

I'm thinking of you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

That's So Square - An Homage

Before it stops looking like this outside, I thought I'd just explore.....

a little this idea of why

a square is so supremely satisfying.

Is it because it's snug and so seemingly

(All above, via BloodandChampagne tumblr)


(via PlentyofColour)

Is it about simplicity?

(Photo: Anja Mulder)

Or symmetry?

Is it because it seems so sensible.

(these last two: vintage World of Interiors)

And safe in every season?  (And lends itself to S-words?)

How do you feel about them?  Those squares?