Improvised Life » textiles If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:10:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cross-Layered Stripe-On-Stripe Table Cloths Mon, 24 Feb 2014 23:00:05 +0000

Spotted at Ikea’s Blog Livet Hemma, this a swell little idea for jazzing up a tabletop: stripe-on-stripe table cloths created with swathes of fabric.

via Livet Hemma

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Print All Over Me’s Custom Printing Service Wed, 22 Jan 2014 21:00:42 +0000

print all over me

Have a swell unique design you’d like to fashion into a one-of-a-kind gift? Print All Over Me will print your custom design — drawings, collages, photographs, signs — onto white tee-shirts, baseball hats, tote bags, pillows, scarfs or sweatpants. Print All Over Me also offers seasonal editions of different objects for you to print all over. In addition to ordering your own unique pieces, you may also sell your designs on their site and shop designs that other people have created. You’ll receive 20% of every sale.

We’re thinking how great this would be on a tee shirt or tote or cap: (more…)

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Find: Big, Stylish, French Striped Dish Towel / Napkin Mon, 13 Jan 2014 22:16:32 +0000

Over the holidays Ellen Silverman gave a dinner party for 14 and wanted a special napkin that guests could take away with them to remember the event. She found some inexpensive but wonderfully stylish big red striped cotton dish towels// that a friend machine-embroidered with a pretty design. They were in perfect keeping with the wonderful bistro-ish meal Ellen made featuring a pot au feu.  And, at 18-inch-by-28-inches, they are wonderfully ample, giving you that “tucked in” feeling when you place them across your lap at table. (more…)

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A Fab Fabric Room via Christopher Baker Thu, 14 Nov 2013 20:55:20 +0000

Christopher Baker

We were leafing through photographer Christopher Baker’s beautiful portfolio when we stumbled on this eccentric, charming  “room” made by hanging patterned textiles across a beam. The image is so clear, we felt like we could walk around in it, taking in its many ideas. (more…)

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construction foliage camouflage, a cool material for interiors? Wed, 13 Nov 2013 18:17:44 +0000

The other day, we passed a construction site made curiously beautiful by the addition of sheer mesh scrims displaying murals of leafy foliage and tulip fields (below). We love construction sites, but they do often present a rather bleak, harsh atmosphere. Although we could still make out the messy site behind the scrim, somehow the overlaid nature images transformed it into something oddly beautiful, and way softer. We thought:  Yay, someone has finally started applying a bright, aesthetic sensibility to these ugly spots.

Then we wondered if this scrim-like material could have applications inside a home. We found Camouflage, a Finnish company making delightful disguises out of sheets of die-stamped flowers. (more…)

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how to use fabric to disappear eyesores and clutter Wed, 02 Oct 2013 20:35:48 +0000 Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

I frequently do Skype consultations with people who need clever, inexpensive fixes for their spaces and are having difficulty envisioning possibilities. Often, they are only able to describe the change in feeling that they’d like to achieve.

In the many spaces I’ve looked at, I’ve seen a common problem: there is a lot of visual clutter. Often it is as simple as open shelving displaying a mash-up of books, boxes, collectables,and essential items. Their numerous small disparate shapes present as clutter, even though everything may be useful and necessary to the client’s life. This is especially common with people who are renting their space, and don’t want —or have the where-with-all— to invest in proper storage.

There is an amazingly simple solution: (more…)

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diy or buy: not-plastic beeswax food wrap Thu, 26 Sep 2013 20:02:08 +0000
photo: apartment therapy

photo: apartment therapy

Just about everyone we know wants to cut back on using plastic wrap and ziplock bags but are having a hard time actually doing it. One way is with clever Abeego food storage sheets: cotton sheets that are coated withpure beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin, known for their preservative properties. The sheets are malleable, and slightly sticky, so they will wrap around just about anything. And the are re-usable, depending on use for about a year. You just wash them with mild soap in cold water.

Abeegos were created by a young Canadian couple who set parameters for what they wanted to create: sustainable, re-usable, pure ingredients and then set out to figure out how:

I listened to idea after idea, thought after thought in what was to become Abeego, morning, noon, and night, for almost five months. I took the long way home from work occasionally for the peace and quiet. 

Here’s how Abeegos work: (more…)

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home design strategy: finding perfection in imperfection Thu, 12 Sep 2013 20:42:16 +0000 home in Bristol (UK) with vintage designer elements

photo: the guardian

In many parts of the world that which is old and imperfect is more highly cherished and valued than that which is new. Brand new Turkish rugs are often abraded before selling, their colors softened by dealers eager to increase their price by having them appear imperfect, used, showing their history.  In Persian, they call these qualities “abrash.” It’s a wonderful word that succinctly expresses a deeply held attitude about the beauty and value of imperfection, and its power to reconnect us with the past in a surprisingly profound way. It echoes the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi.

A green oak cabin in the heart of urban Bristol in the UK is an exemplary “abrash” family retreat (above), (more…)

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chic, draped + wrapped sofa = instant slipcovers Wed, 04 Sep 2013 17:24:43 +0000 These very beautiful cloth-draped sofas Max Zambelli teach an essential lesson: ordinary raw materials, artfully arranged, can easily outdo “done”. Zambelli has tucked and smoothed in just the right places, leaving the rest to fall as it may.

It’s a chic play on drop cloth covered sofas. 

Of course, it has much to do with the shape of the sofa AND how wide a piece of fabric you are using. For really wide swathes, our favorite two solutions:

-cotton canvas painter’s drop clothes that come in white or natural (we find the best selection at paint stores like Janovic Plaza OR

-linen flat (more...)]]> 2 deconstructed slipcovers like paola navone’s fab ghost chair Thu, 27 Jun 2013 19:14:48 +0000 Ghost armchair designed by Paola Navone for Gervasoni

Recently at Style-Files, Danielle de Lange was mulling whether to buy the pricey ($1,000), chic Goast armchair designed by Paola Navone for Gervasoni or a Ikea’s cheap, rather clunky and traditional alternative, the Ektorp chair ($199), below. She inadvertently pointed out a great lesson in slip-cover assumptions: the usual, standard approach with piping or neat seams is NOT the only way to go. Paola Navone devised a slipcover where seams are sewn inside-out, and the pillows are not squared and boxy but constructed of two squares of fabric. Rather than fitting the sofa perfectly, Navone’s slipcover drapes, imperfectly and wonderfully. It’s a great example of literally turning an accepted practice inside-out to create a fresh view. (more…)

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marble tables with a rough, unfinished edge Wed, 24 Oct 2012 16:55:47 +0000 Tillet's rough-edged marble table top

photo: courtesy of tillett and rauscher inc

We were instantly smitten with this kitchen, for its spareness and simplicity (on the upper East side of Manhattan no less), but especially for the marble slab table with a rough, unfinished edge. Such a simple detail to leave undone, yet the effect is bold and surprising. It could be done with any stone surface.

It is the vision of D.D. and Leslie Tillett, influential post-war textile designers whose townhouse on the Upper East side of Manhattan served both as family space and workspace for the textile design and printing. They are the subject of a retrospective that has  just opened at the Museum of the City of New York“D.D. liked surfaces to have broken edges. She had a ‘Wabi-sabi’ aesthetic,” says her son Seth in a recent New York Magazine interview.

We’re going to run over and see it as the house appears to be full of adventurous design ideas. In addition to rough-edged table tops… (more…)

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checkerboard stained floor and and… Tue, 22 May 2012 09:04:50 +0000 The focus this picture from Remodelista is DIY: High-Style, Low-Cost Party Decor, but our eye went right to the checkerboard “painted” floor…NOT with the usual opaque paint, but with a wash of diluted black and white paint. It stains the wood so its character still shines through: a wonderful solution to jazzing up and inexpensive pine floor.

The image is full of ideas that we love and have featured versions of: washi or masking tape drawings on the wall, and a tablecloth made of two contrasting,  frayed-edge cloths

It’s like a Where’s Waldo for grown-up design-o-philes…cool ideas hidden within the subject (more...)]]> 0 d-i-y instant color block tablecloths Thu, 03 May 2012 19:30:18 +0000

On Ikea’s impossible-to-translate blog, Livet Hemma, we found this image of the two-toned fabrics European Ikeas are selling. We’re not crazy about the color scheme but love the idea:  why not overlap vividly-colored tablecloths or large swathes of cotton or linen to make a color block table?  Unhemmed ends are CHIC.

Related posts: found: frosta/alvar aalto stool knock-off!!! ikea hack: reverse-painted glass brick room divider linen apron as improvised table cloth (more...)]]> 0 yves klein’s curiously inspiring shirt Fri, 13 Apr 2012 01:12:03 +0000

We’ve always loved Yves Klein‘s shirt printed with hand prints, foot prints and question marks: a mysteriously chic, primal cosmic design that makes us want to get some plain white shirts and paint whatever comes to mind.  It would be like wearing a flag of a personal country.

Mondoblogo reminded us of it.

Related posts: photo of the day: ‘leap into the void’ what helps you see things differently? 65 modern art books online…for free! (more...)]]> 0