Improvised Life » blogs + sites (material) If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Weekend Eats: Shakshouka (Spicy Tomatoes with Eggs) Fri, 10 Oct 2014 08:11:48 +0000

Susan Dworski sent us an email recently with images of a dish from Green Kitchen Stories: Shakshuuka with Hummus and Sweet Potato Chips,  and this note:

We eat Shakashuka for Sunday night supper at leasst twice a month. Or more.
My recipe is very similar to this one, but their hummus sounds great. And the chips.

TELL US ABOUT IT, we wrote back. WHAT’S SHAKSHUKA??!!! How do you like to eat it?

Here’s what she wrote:

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A Splash of Light Painted on the Wall Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:00:32 +0000


Stumbled on at the great Aqqindex: an interior detail of Nemausus Housing designed by the great French architect Jean Nouvel.

Rays of light painted or chalked on the wall.

We also love the other odd shapes, (more…)

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Deirdre Newman’s Trompe L’oeil to Soften Hard Angles Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:00:56 +0000

Deirdre Newman

Decorative painter Deirdre Newman is one of the many creative souls we’ve connected with through Improvised Life. We’re hoping to meet her in person one of these days and see what collaboration might happen (dig her faux-stained parquet floor we featured). In the meantime, we check into her portfolio once in a while for ideas. We love this simple way of softening and charming up a standard staircase: with a wavey scroll.  (more…)

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Plywood Swirls via Jigsaw Make Surprising Tables and… Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:00:16 +0000


We stumbled on this lovely side table at the ever-illuminating Aqqindex. “Paint and parchment side table” was the only info. We instantly envisioned plywood, one of our favorite materials for its possibility and accessibility. You could make a table like this with three rectangles and two flat sides cut with whimsical swirls. (more…)

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Stylish Repurposed Tables from RioEtc Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:00:59 +0000

When we start poking around the google translate version of, a site meant to show the stylish side of Rio, we found, over several separate posts some compelling mashups of tables. The first, the coffee table, above, which appears to be made of mismatched crates, some with wheels, some not, and a cubist hunk of…is it foam rubber…with a glass top; curiously works.

Then we spotted this table made out of painted boards that had been stripped and affixed to the wall by what appears to be black pipe, (more…)

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Go DIY (or buy) and Fly a Kite! Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:00:49 +0000

Fredericks & Mae

Fredericks & Mae‘s beautiful Floralia – Fighter kite is meant to hang a wall to IMAGINE flying in air. Made of bamboo, rice paper, pressed flowers, waxed cord, and gold thread, it’s a “ceremonial kite…in honor of the ancient Roman holiday Floralia…a predecessor to May Day, a festival in honor of the titan Flora…goddess of flowers and the season of spring.”

But for us, it is inspiration for diy kites you can fly, like the one we saw the other day being flown from a Harlem rooftop.

Made by Joel has a great tutorial, one of many kite plans available online. (more…)

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Rough-stitched Ripped Linen Pillow Covers Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:00:11 +0000


Just as we were wrapping our head around learning to use our new sewing machine, we noticed these big pillow covers on IKEA’S blog Livet Hemma

…which sent us hunting around Ikea USA to discover that it is selling 100% linen by the yard for 7.99 a 59″ yard in white and gray.

We’ve long been fans of washed, shrunk, ripped linen and these couldn’t be easier: (more…)

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Holton Rower’s Money Art (Art Takes Money) Wed, 16 Jul 2014 08:00:10 +0000

Holton Rower

One of the many unexpected materials artist Holton Rower uses to make his art is money —physical paper money— rolled, folded and fashioned into all manner of unexpected scuptures. His concrete block filled with tightly-rolled bills resonates strongly with us, LOVING concrete block as we do for both their look and inherent possibilities, (more…)

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Kitchen Repertoire’s Charming, Doable, Delish Recipes Fri, 27 Jun 2014 07:19:19 +0000

Dana Gallagher

Our old friends from the food world Frances Boswell and Dana Gallagher have teamed up to create a lovely labor-of-love blog called Kitchen Repertoire. Their simple mandate is a breath of fresh air:

We are 20 year veterans of the magazine industry; a food editor and a photographer. We live real lives with kids and families and careers.

Time is short and finding inspiration in the little things makes the day easier.

We hope having a repertoire to pull from will help you find more joy in your day.


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Constantino Nivola’s Open Air Solarium Wed, 18 Jun 2014 17:00:35 +0000

c. 1952

We’ve written before about Constantino Nivola’s inspiring outdoor garden rooms at his home in the Hamptons in the 50’s. Recently enjoying Mondo-blogo’s stupendous visual riff on the sculptor, we came across his open air “solarium”, which was often mistaken for a pool.

According to Weekend Utopia, Alastair Gordon’s classic guide to modernist beach houses in the Hamptons, it wasn’t a pool, but a (more…)

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Wine Wise Guy Anthony Giglio Answers Your Questions About Wine Thu, 12 Jun 2014 22:30:24 +0000

EVERYONE we know has questions about wine and the best person we know for answers is Anthony Giglio, aka The Wine Wise Guy, an Improvised Life contributor and of late, wine blogger for Details. Anthony is the guy who pioneered using wine-friendly frozen grapes to chill a glass of wine without diluting the flavor. We excerpted a key fast-chill method for a whole bottle, below. His weekly Details column answers such perplexing questions as Do Those Wine-Aerator Gadgets Really Work?(more…)

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Annals of Paint: Bold Polka Dots + A Yellow Optical Illusion Tue, 03 Jun 2014 17:00:39 +0000

Eagle eyed Susan Dworski spotted this polka dot wall and floor in the portfolio of the write/stylie + photographer couple Amandine and Jules. We love the idea of a graphic element flowing from one to the other, softening angles, and make the space seem more…fluid.

Here’s another example of using paint to define a space in an unexpected way, without walls… (more…)

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Cheap, Portable Lightweight Laptop Stand (Kickstarter) Wed, 28 May 2014 20:00:26 +0000

(Video link HERE.) When we first saw this cardboard laptop stand by Icelandic Designer Sruli Recht of Foald Studio, we thought: Who needs that? We can just rig a stack of books to raise our laptop. Then we saw it in action and thought of all the places it would be useful. (more…)

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We Launch! Become a Friend with Benefits Wed, 28 May 2014 12:32:26 +0000

Susan Dworski

Today’s the day! We’re throwing our baby up in the air, and we hope you’ll help us catch her!

Today we start our Friends with Benefits subscriptions. If you subscribe, you continue to receive all Improvised Life posts and full access to our vast archive. If not, you’ll be able to read ten posts per month for free.

We desperately need subscriptions to survive without ads. But we’ve made the cost very tiny, hoping to get a big number of Friends. You can subscribe for $1.99 a month if you pay monthly. Or you can pay $18 per year, which works out to only $1.50 per month. That’s less than the cost of a pack of gum for membership in a worldwide online community full of breathtaking ideas and insightful visions.

This starts right now, right here. Please visit our Friends with Benefits page, and make sure our baby lands safely! (more…)

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