Sunday, August 31, 2008

My QR Code --

I work a bit for a French company, Baracoda, that makes Bluetooth barcode scanners used in warehousing, hospitality, education, medical institutions and on and on. So codes elicit a bit of excitement in me.

Understandably, my ears perked up when I started reading about QR codes (developed not too much of a surprise, by a Japanese company) being used in retail. You can generate one for your website here at the QR Code Generator. There's a Ralph Lauren ad (below) featuring one in recent New York Mag back cover. The photograph is odd, because I was in the car and it is from an Iphone. It made me wonder if one could "find" or "design" really attractive QR codes. No, perhaps I should finish reading the newspaper.


Good Morning Neighbor

I bumped into a neighbor recently asked her what she was doing with these flowers.

She explained that she's been saying "good morning" to her friend this way for many years. What a novel and charming way to start the day.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Patterns: Paisley

For the past few weeks, I've been musing on paisley. It's a classic. One week, I couldn't find anything worth mentioning. The next I was inundated with images.

The perforated lanterns, above are from River, the wonderful shop in Essex CT belonging to my friends John and Joe. No one has better taste than they do. No 1. They opened in a new location there and it has changed the balance of the town. The following three images are Etro products. A tray, a throw that no Iphone can do justice to and a gorgeous tablecloth. I have successfully edited out Joe's leg. Cute as it might be. A word on Etro. The website is darling; not too great as a functioning site, but darling. Check it out.

Crate & Barrel sports this pillow along with some paisley linens.

Target has an understated paisley shower curtain reminiscent of Les Indiennes

And three good examples from the Bergdorf Goodman website. Check out the Stephen Dweck engraved paisley (silver?) earrings.

Love the Loro Piana cashmere scarf here.

Stella McCartney has the asymmetrical paisley print dress. Might have to see this in person.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yew Tree House Antiques

Stopped by Yew Tree House Antiques when I was in the city last week. Located at 414 East 71st Street, just off the FDR. What drew me in was a table full of bulb forcing vases.

Totally smitten by these colorful bulb forcing vases from the 18th & 19th centuries. Imagine being in rainy England (or Ireland for that matter) and having the pleasure of fragrant flowers growing out of them.

The two toned turned wood on this English chair is kind of quirky. The photo was taken with the Iphone, so it doesn't do justice to the green on this velvet chair.

The unusual look of the Scottish "Orkney"chair, below, is beyond quaint. The linen seat must be a restoration.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Septemberists

No photograph. No cool graphic. But I am so impressed by my friends at Cool Hunting for featuring this delightful concept from Charity Water.

Is this a trend? Are other month people this cool? I'm a Feb. Do we do anything other than dole out Valentine's day messages?


Monday, August 18, 2008

Summer's Silent Star

Ok, so summer is corn and tomatoes and basil, but it's also sweat, sand, laziness and zinnias. Oh yes, forgot the over-grown zucchini.

For some it's Nantucket or the Hamptons, but for me the humble zinnia says it all. Blooming from July through the nasty Ag Fairs in August I find it an honorable expression of lovely ordinariness. Vibrant colors, fragile stem, by the way -- though it looks tough to the uninitiated -- it's a timid reminder amidst some of the snazzier touchstones of the season.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sweet Swedish Welcome

Click here for the most charming welcome page that I've StumbledUpon recently.


A Rainy Summer Must Have

The past few weeks have been rainy. As in: the lawn needs mowing every five days. Typically lawns are parched this time of year.

So when I was in NYC on Friday and -- once again -- rain threated I headed for a reputable umbrella store not far from Grand Central. I adore single object stores, for example glove stores. So this was great fun. But they didn't like me taking photographs. SO. I won't write the name of the store. But that's not to say I won't talk about the cool umbrellas. The octagonal one above is by Piganiol , a French company that has been around since 1884. The Piganiol "welcome page" is very snazzy. The lozenge-shaped one below is from the German firm Knirps.

I vetoed the Knirps because the process is too lengthy. Open case, take brolley out of pretty sleeve and open it. That's too much for someone with my attention span. Instead I went with the model by Finnish textile maker marimekko (see below). It's got an impressive J-shaped wooden handle.

Here it is closed.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Euphorbias from Sunshine Farm

Got an email from Barry Glick aka King Hellebore today that arrived in my spam box. This man is a character. A true flower child. The address from which it was sent certainly looked spamish, as did the subject line, "She's FINALLY available!!!!). I have been acquainted with Sunshine Farm in West Virginia for years, but Sunfarm?

Knowing Barry, I warily clicked and was overjoyed that King Hellebore (he calls himself that; I just call him Hellebore man) has turned his attention to euphorbias. In fact he said that this was the first plant that he has ever been inclined to patent and coming from him, that's big news. He has developed hundreds of hellebores. But back to the euphorbias. Everyone has seen them. Sometimes they are weeds in which case we refer to them as spurge. Even the way the word spurge falls off the tongue suggests the blahs. I am drawn to both the euphorbia and hellebore families for the simple reason that the deer are NOT. Both are easy to grow and spread wonderfully in the garden. The photograph above is the new Euphorbia 'Jessie', she's lovely and for sale. The one below is Euphorbia 'Autumn Sunset' and it will be available soon. They will probably sell out fast, although Barry may have thought of that already and made thousands of baby 'Jessies'. Check out his site. You'll be there for hours.

Obviously, I couldn't resist adding an image of one of Barry's double hellebores. I bought a bunch of babies from him last fall and hope that they plan on blooming this winter.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Aero Concept's Keiichi Sugano interview

There's a interview today on the wonderful Japanese site PingMag Make with Keiichi Sugano who made a brief case for himself that others are begging for. The product line is called Aero Concept.

A couple of quotes are in order and then check it out for yourself if you're intrigued.

That’s why although I get plenty of orders for the Aero Concept, I turn down requests from big trading firms. For example, the sound it makes when you close the case. I spent half a year working on that. I wanted to get close to the sound of the shutter of a Barnack-era Leica camera. Those guys don’t figure that in to the value of a product. But sound is important.


How can I make something as beautiful as possible, how can I make it without any gaps. Thinking about how to solve those problems is a kind of philosophy. When I was still in training, one of my mentors told me to go outside and polish the car. So I was outside polishing it and he came and yelled at me, saying, “What are you doing? That’s not what I call polishing!” Polishing a car is a way to learn about the making of a car. You’ve got to notice that as you polish. “This part is this shape, that part is like that, all because of the thoughts and feelings of the person who made it.”


Glass House Video on Cool Hunting

The guys over at Cool Hunting made a video about Phillip Johnson's (1906-2005) Glass House in New Canaan.

The president of RISD, John Maeda, is featured discussing his thoughts on simplicity and how Johnson "manufactured" his simplicity (my word, not his). The surrounding landscape was tightly controlled by Johnson. He trimmed trees to create vistas. His stone walls look like much of New England, but they too were placed where Johnson wanted them.

I was fortunate enough to visit in 2007 on a chilly September day with my friend Laurie. The art gallery is built into the earth and contains a fabulous selection of contemporary art. I cannot even describe the way the paintings are displayed. It's so amazing. There are 14 builings in all and the tour is very tightly organized as the glass House is in a residential neighborhood and it certainly wouldn't be ok to have bunches of visitors traipsing around suburbia. That's why reservations are a must and 2009 is probably already sold out.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Madeline Weinrib Atlier

Wow. Found this wonderful fabric company this weekend. I love the graphic simplicity.

Colors and patterns are wonderful. I want to visit one of the stores soon.


I (heart) Google History* and Wrong Distance

Often when people ask me why I have this blog I tell them that it helps to organize me. That it gives me a place to chronicle the places I'd like to go (online) and rid my house of piles of paper that I mean to deal with later. Today I had a cyber-loss-of-meant to post-this-moment.

This morning I found an amazing site called Wrong Distance, but then had a couple of problems. First, because I never set up my mail program on this, my newest computer (ok, I didn't do it on its predecessor either, but that's just me) and second because there was a glitch on Firefox. I won't go into the details, but the gist is, there was no way via Firefox to figure out my history. Upset, feeling frustrated, I delved into my Google account. Sure enough. There is a Google History and if you look really hard (this could be a problem for some, just kidding) you can investigate your history in depth. I am so happy to have found this. But I'm sorry to have not addressed Mr. Wrong Distance. Where is he from? Germany? The photograph is of a
small theater seating 150 people in Amsterdam using reclaimed pallets by Denis Francois Oudendijk.

*Thank you Google History


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Joachim Froese Photography

Happened upon the work of Canadian born photographer Joachim Froese this morning. Wow!

At first I was drawn to his work because I like art/photography and just about anything else with insects on it. Except in my kitchen, little ants.

I particularly like his
first Rhopography Series. It's about the decay of everyday items; in this case fruits and insects. Poking about his site I saw a series of photographs of book -- another favorite subject. It is called Portrait of My Mother and speaks volumes (not funny) about his last days with his mother. Below is an excerpt, and here is the whole link (

She always had been an avid reader and literature played an important part in both of our lives. I had previously often thought about a project involving her library and I soon embarked on the idea to photograph all her books, one after the other in one long row. It quickly became our joint project.
At first it made us talk about individual authors and about literature in general but towards her end she could only recognize the objects and family photos I placed amongst the books. While her life was coming to an end the row of books grew and grew. I photographed at night and during the day assembled the pictures on the computer at her bedside as she wanted me to continue with 'our' project until her last moment. After her death I finished the series until all her books were photographed in 'her' order.