When we started on our obsessive tree riff, hauling home huge logs to make into “furniture“, Pamela Hovland mentioned that Robert Frost spoke standing at lectern made of a giant tree. We’ve GOT TO SEE THAT, we wrote, and Pamela kindly went to the library to scan the image.
The other day, we spotted natural fiber rugs on the floor of a Swedish farmhouse — they look like coir or jute — that seem to have been stenciled with a pattern. Brilliant, why didn’t we think of that?!!! The technique would allow you add simple geometric designs to inexpensive and durable rugs. It might even be a way to give new life to stained or worned sisals (sisals ain’t cheap and show wear like crazy).
fridge + duct tape + tablet-or-phone….
A strangely swell idea, low on style (though it sure beats those ugly water dispensers.)
It reminded us of the great video Jesse Rosten made showing how-to secure an ipad to just about anything using velcro, possibly a slightly more elegant and practical solution to the one above.
In an effort to bring more nature into this urban home, Polish architecture firm mode:lina conspired with the own to make a chandelier out a tree branch. “It can not be just any branch!” said the owner, “I will bring one from the place where I used to spend my childhood holidays.”
We’re adding it to our file of tree branch inspirations, started when we started hauling home downed limbs after Hurricane Sandy.
The chandelier seems to be little more than the carefully-chosen branch looped with outdoor string lights and hardwired into the ceiling. It’s one of the best chandelier’s we’ve seen in some time… read more…
A rather ordinary chair with good simple lines becomes much more interesting with an assymetrical two-tone paint job. We love that color-blockish thing!
Here’s a chair transformed by two-toned upholstery: mattress ticking and velvet in tandem: read more…
Recently, we were enticed to buy a travel-size-two-fer of Les Floralies Sniff Boxes: one to encourage sleep, the other “focus”. Sniff boxes are little vials of “aroma beads” infused with various mixes of essential oils designed to assist well-being. We enjoyed Les Floralies‘ scents and charming packaging — and found that opening a sniff box did provided a lovely, instant break. But we have to admit that as soon as we opened the intriguing little vials, we started thinking about how we could improvise some ourselves, with our own, custom-mixed blend of scents. What would be the medium that would hold the scent of the essential oils for a good amount of time, without being messy when opened? White rice, balls of infused wax, salt...? Suddenly, we realized we had ALREADY improvised a solution — years ago.
The ladder idea came up when there was no more room in the cupboards for the pots and pans, and it looks great.
Although we’ve definitely disengaged from the holiday gift buying mania, we DO love the pleasure of giving gifts. Our favorite solution, do-able even at the very last minute, are charity donations. You can give money to a charity like the Robin Hood Foundation or Doctors Without Borders and then send out e-cards in your loved one’s names.
Our new favorite iteration: give a gift card that allows the giftee to give to the charity of his/her choice. At Tis Best, you can give real cards or e-cards, and best yet: you can design your own card online. We’ve made two this year: one with a pattern of Maira Kalman Stars, and one with Rockwell Kent‘s angel.
We find our family and friends always delighted to receive a charitable gift donation as we all try to figure out how to give in a bigger, more meaningful way.
A few weeks ago, after Susan Dworski mentioned that she carved stamps out of erasers, we started thinking about all the things you could do with home-made stamps. Why not stamp a pattern on sheets or rolls of paper to make your own fab holiday wrapping paper? (It’s easy, you just get yourself some Staedtler Mars Erasers and start carving, with whatever tools you have…dip in paint and stamp away — check out our how-to here).
While we were poking around floral designer Emily Thompson’s website, we came across this swell little tabletop decoration: pillar candles arranged on the bed of a vintage toy pickup truck (all sorts available at Ebay.)
Related posts: fab bird’s nest wreath (+ other found holiday decor ideas)
diy holiday wreaths (out of just about anything)
alt christmas trees made of string lights n’ things to d-i-y
d-i-y tape trees for walls, windows, or…
alt (wall) Christmas trees
holiday tabletop decor from the farmer’s market
After we posted about making wreaths of “just about anything“, Maria Robledo sent us a picture of a wreath that pushes that idea in the most wonderful and surprising way: a real bird’s nest nestled into winter branches whose leaves have dropped. It was a gift from inspired floral designer Emily Thompson, who even left bits of New York City debris that were part of the find.
Maria photographed on story on Thompson’s “wild” wreath-making for Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Wrote Maria: ”Emily’s wreaths are always naturally-shaped. Doesn’t use the pre-wreath gadgets.” We found a slide-show here.
We love that Thompson often uses found and foraged materials. Any of the materials she winds into wreaths could simply be arranged on the holiday table, instead of flowers… read more…
‘the improvised life’s former assistant Sarah M alerted us to this easy-to-make gift for the holidays: color block wooden spoons, along with a link to A Cozy Kitchen showing how-to. It could not be easier: buy some wooden spoons (they’re cheap), use painter’s tape to mask-off a striped design, then paint the spaces left and allow to dry. Then tie ‘em together with a ribbon. read more…
We’re not sure what Cara de Silva was doing reading Garden and Gun, but we love the story she spotted on wreaths made in the South. There’s a beauty made with tobacco leaves and a few sprigs of red berries, and another made from cotton plants: materials sourced from fields. It reminded us that a holiday wreath can be made from just about anything. Grapevine, which can be bought already wound into a wreath is lovely as is, and makes a fine round base into which to arrange all sorts of materials, from pine and holly to paper origami (It was the base of the cotton sprig wreath): read more…