DFM Inspiration E-ZINE

Erin, from the wonderful Design for mankind contacted me a while ago to ask if she could incorporate my inspiration board into her e-zine and if I would participate by answering questions about 'What inspires me?' I was very happy to oblige. Today the first edition of her e-zine has launched! I'm looking forward to studying it in-depth. Thanks for including me, Erin, and I look forward to your future issues!

Poupee land

Okay, with this link I regressed to primary school in the most gorgeous of ways. Dress up. Customise your character and spend your downtime trying out different outfits paperdoll style. And I'm not even that into fashion....

Office cutlery

Sadly, this new design will actually be quite useful for me - I spend far too many lunch hours at my desk...

--- via designboom
"designer's own words:
Turn your favourite office tool from your desk in a common cutlery...this is din-ink. A set of pen caps, including a fork-cap, a knife-cap and a spoon-cap, that replaces the normal pen cap during lunch time! All caps are made by annually renewable resources, like natural starch and fibres, to be 100% biodegradable and atoxic, warranting the best alimentary use. Dispensing each set in a compostable packaging the whole set is designed to respect the environment. Now give your office ballpoint pen a good excuse to be gnawed by your teeth: use them for din-ink."

name of design : din-ink
design by : andrea cingoli + paolo emilio bellisario + cristian cellini + francesca fontana from italy

Flavoured vodka...

Ok, so I've made vanilla vodka before - a simple sliced vanilla pod left to infuse in a bottle of vodka - and then stored in the freezer to be brought out at dessert time, splashed over fresh berries or added to cocktails. I've seen chocolate vodka prepared and I've admired (but not been brave enough to taste) chilli vodka. Absolut was a client of one of the agencies for whom I've worked and It wasn't unusual to 'salut' with a tot of vodka before noon if there was a particular reason to celebrate. So I've been exposed to more than a few flavours. But not until today would I have dreamed that someone would infuse bacon, yes, BACON into vodka....! I won't be making or trying it anytime soon but you have to award inventiveness points to mcauliflower. Perhaps you're more experimental than I am - you'll find her recipe at browniepoints.

Discovered on notmartha.

Brush script or comic sans?

I couldn't resist posting these. How often do you come across a hideous piece of packaging or poster that has obviously been slapped together in 5 minutes? Too often. Far be it from me to judge but may I please introduce the design police.

Seen at howdesign blog.

The bird cage theme continues! These are from igedesign and I spotted them on style-files. Beeeuotiful.

Fabric choices...

I'm looking for fabric for blinds for our kitchen. We were going to do bamboo/wooden blinds but now I'm thinking fabric. The kitchen has touches of red in it, with neutral creamy/taupe walls. (The colours are 'broken white' and 'rice paper'). I found this great site: fabric tales it's an online shop specializing in Japanese fabrics.
It's the English site of their Japanese online shop, Nunogatari....and they ship worldwide.
FIY, nuno is fabric, and gatari means tale.

Which do you like? Perhaps the patterns are too 'busy'? The owl or the rabbit prints are the simplest... not sure...

Completed crochet project 1

I made this bright baby blanket for my new niece, Nell. (How's that alliteration? : )
Kept the choice of stitches simple - not to get ahead of myself - but chose bright cotton wool and croched an organza ribbon border. Was fairly pleased with the end result, seemed to go a bit wonky though - not a perfect rectangle? But here's to the next project.

Jump rope

Jump rope, originally uploaded by black_kat1.

My gift, this lovely pin, from Hanlie (from her holiday in Argentina). Lucky me.

Silhouette love

These silhouettes are by Lucas and Hayley - see more of their work at keep-calm

Above was a gift from my SIL, she's got great taste. Shot around Hanlie's neck - thanks to my schmodel.

Natalie Walton's home - as shot for reallivingmag

decor8 rooms i *heart*

These earrings were found on tsilli's flickr page.

Before our wedding DH and I did silhouhettes of ourselves for our 'order of service'. They looked suprisingly like us and recently I've thought having larger prints made, framing (oval frames?) and hanging them in our bedroom. So I did a bit of a search around and found SO much reference... I still like the idea though, and it's a nice memory from our wedding. I also love the applications of silhouettes to the plates pictured above.

See some great silhouette images on the nesting spot.

The epitome of glamourous food.

This awesome image from nitrolicious found on ffffound!


I found the work of Jessica Hagy today. And I laughed and laughed. I love it. Her book will be available in February.

Designer birdhouses

I came across these images on atelier-ad. The designs are by Austrian architects raumhochrosen who seem to have added bird houses to their repertoire! Perhaps scale models from failed pitches? Either way, I'd be a happy bird.

Glitter rocks!

A beautiful, intricate business card by Peet Pienaar of daddybuymeapony

Bye bye birdie.

I have a good number of (beautiful) things with bird motifs. Fabric, artwork, a key rack... But in my humble opinion this is a trend that has been SO overexposed. I'm still loving bird cages... I wanted this cake for my birthday so much. Isn't it beautiful?

Wish list

LOVE these shoes. Please take note DH. We don't have Zara in SA but I can easily google the address of the closest Zara store to your NYC Chelsea hotel... : )

Anyone who notices the obvious contradicion between my 'wish list' posts and my 'declutter/simplify' posts, please ignore. It's the nature of the beast I'm afraid.

Organising. De-cluttering. Simplifying.

Where to start? With the guest room.

Following my previous 'purge' post, I'm determined to clear out, organise, de-clutter and simplify this year. It will require some change of functions of rooms though: our current second bedroom (guest room) is going to need to become a cleverly planned dual study/guest room. The problem with this idea is of course s p a c e ... we won't fit both home office and the current double bed furniture into the room. And I'm not a great fan of sleeper couches. A beautiful daybed would be great but would only provide sleeping space for one body not two. Alternatively there are those 'bed under a bed' type designs which could be styled quite simply as a daybed when not in use? So that's the dilemma at the moment. And with continuously rising interest rates this decision needs to be made with a small budget in mind. Sigh.

This beautiful, simple Alvar Aalto daybed from bonluxat.

Baked bread = Domestic bliss?

Actually it equals frustration in my case. My baked goods never turn out half as good-looking as that beautifully styled picture in the recipe book : ) I'd blame it on the oven or the dough hook of the KitchenAid or some other tool but I think this recipe is actually ridiculously easy so I have no excuse. I'm ashamed to admit I burnt the first batch of Gingerbread Christmas cookies that I made as well! My new years resolution should be to concentrate more...onwards and upwards I guess.

First steps in crochet

I've started to crochet - for the first time in about 20 years (I think I learnt in junior school). Starting with basic things like a scarf. On noticing my endeavours a friend of my mothers passed on this booklet to me. It'll be a great help as it outlines all the basic stiches and a few easy projects. But we had a real laugh at the fashion of the time so I felt it necessary to share some of the images. Poor quality shots, sorry, but quicker than scanning.

So if any of you have been dying to crochet the look of the moment "country" tie, I'll be happy to forward the pattern! And please notice the price - a whole One Rand and 50 cents.

Less is more.

The start of a new year is prompting my need to purge.

I have too much - too many clothes I don't wear, too many books I don't read, too many things I don't use. Too much clutter. Such an antithesis since there are so many things I'm convinced I still need - that wishlist of items I MUST HAVE that promise to fulfill once they've been consumed. I've heard it called the happiness gap. "I'll be happy when I have refurnished my lounge." "I'll be happy when I've got a new wardrobe" More, more, more! And not necessarily more happiness.

But I've always been a bit of a 'hoarder' and on my last house move - 2 years ago now - I called my parents to ask which one of them had passed down the gene of "collecting" to me. Unfortunately the answer was: BOTH! I think my Dad even recalled that at some stage he used to keep the lids of Parker pen refills simply for the fact that they 'might be useful' and ended up with a drawer full of them! I think it's a mix of instinct and nostalgia. Let me clarify - when I say collecting I don't mean stamps or art. I'm not compulsive and you won't find a room in my house stacked floor to ceiling with boxes but I find comfort in keeping letters and cards, linen I don't/won't use, clothes that could be given away, paperwork that is unneccessary and generally junk I 'might' use in the future. Even data. My email inbox is always overflowing. But somehow I don't just 'delete'.

The point of hoarding (I imagine a squirrel) is to collect away as much as possible to keep you through the lean times (to survive the winter). But I haven't the excuse of ever having gone without or been denied - no rationing and war times in my past... unless you count boarding school! But I think my (and many peoples) main problem is that we also collect memories - and the items attached to them - things that have little or no monetary value but yet we can't bear to let go of. I don't feel alone, many people are similar in this regard, why else would BBC's 'Life Laundry' and other such organising shows be so popular?

But letting go of things can be liberating. I came across a great article from Blueprint magazine (mag has recently sadly folded) that gives us "100 reasons to get rid of it": They mention some great reasons to clear out - because 80 percent of what we have we don't even use, because people waste almost an hour a day looking for things, because so much can be recycled...etc. But the best reason I can relate to is because SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS IT. Especially in this country - a place of people who have so much and people who have so little.

So that's my aim. Purge. One drawer or cardboard box, one stack of magazines at a time... to hopefully achieve the adage "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

And in the meantime I thank heaven my husband likes to throw things away.

Wishes for 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I think the above phrase is possibly the nicest New Year's resolution I've come across. (Originally from the movie "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure").

Ray Fenwick is a really talented illustrator - and this image is available as a letterpress print here.

See more of Ray on flickr

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