Improvised Life If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Fri, 31 Oct 2014 02:26:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pineapple and other ALT Jack-O-Lanterns Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:00:48 +0000

Style Files

Haven’t gotten your Halloween act together? Here are some alternatives to the traditional carved pumpkin that you can do in time for Halloween, one of the BEST holidays for the wild creativity that is in evidence everywhere. A re-envisioned pineapple makes the perfect scary face…

…Traditional Cornish jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips. Dig this baby: (more…)

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A Spiky Red Block Wall Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:00:26 +0000

French artist Didier Faustino created this spiky red wall reminiscent of a cartoon explosion as an art installation on the grounds of a 1950’s villa designed by architect and sculptor André Bloc .

We love it for the ideas it gives us about doorways and walls: a wall painted that fab red/orange would make a wondrous “welcome” OR a reminder of “surprise” and “joy”.


via Dezeen

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Marie Kondo’s Philosophy of Decluttering Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:55:03 +0000

Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has taken Japan and Europe by storm. And it seems, it is in the US as well. What sets Ms. Kondo off from other decluterring experts is her underlying philosophy that dictates the work of “tidying”.

An article in the New York Times outlined Kondo’s two basic, somewhat radical/spiritual, tenets:

Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service and… (more…)

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Lost Bohemia: Inside Carnegie Hall’s Artist Studios Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:11:47 +0000

(Video link HERE.) For over 100 years,some of the 20th century’s most significant artists and performers lived and worked in the 165 studios that lay hidden atop Carnegie Hall. The studios were rented by creative people of all stripes, from fashion designers to painters and ballerinas, an eccentric mix to be sure. Some lived there.

Photographer Josef Astor lived and worked in his three-storey Carnegie Hall studio for twenty years. In 2007, when the Carnegie Hall Corporation decided to evict the remaining artists to develop the property, he made Lost Bohemia, about the spaces and the community they housed: (more…)

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Jack-O’-Lantern Inspiration + Advice from Anni Albers Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:00:17 +0000


Halloween is Friday, and we’re anticipating many examples of The Art of the Pumpkin. As with other materials-for-making, pumpkins inspire what to do IF we “listen to that which wants to be done“, a la Anni Albers. If the message is unclear, or you’re feeling uninspired, here are some unusual jack-o’-lantern examples to spark your imagination. (more…)

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Indoor, Portable and Fur-Covered Stoops Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:01:27 +0000

Having grown up as outdoor brownstone stoop sitters, we were intrigued by the possibilities for INDOOR stoops, and for portable stoops you can place outdoors if you don't happen to have a real one to hang out on.]]> 0
Scared? Great. Do It! Wed, 29 Oct 2014 08:53:32 +0000

Reading Holton Rower’s “Run Toward Your Fear” sign recently, I recalled a remark that Tom Robbins made to me years ago when I was fretting about whether to sign up to design a big, new project with a tight deadline that required a great many skills I did not have—skills I would have to learn on the job. A very scary prospect.

What if I dropped the ball and left the client hanging, (more…)

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Money is a ‘Material for Making’ Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:52:27 +0000

Holton Rower

Among Improvised Life’s many categories and themes is “Materials for Making“. We love finding surprising uses for materials and showing you how you can use them.

The other day as we were mulling our Friends with Benefits subscription program, we realized that money is a Material for Making as well. (more…)

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Horizontally Striped Walls that Really Work Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:18:30 +0000

At  Aqqindex, we stumbled on a room Italian Architect Paolo Portoghesi designed in Casa Papanice, currently part of The American University of Rome. His use of horizontal stripes are a revelation, working so much more fluidly than most clunky iterations we’ve seen of the idea because… (more…)

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Space Launch Tonight + A Noguchi View from Space Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:16:27 +0000

Isamu Noguchi

In 1947, American Sculpture Isamu Noguchi designed but never executed a face formed by huge mounds of sand. It was meant to be a  Sculpture to be Seen from Mars, visible only from outer space; the nose was to be projected one mile high.

Had it been realized, (more…)

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Wake up SILLY with OK Go (+Dig the Robo Scooter!) Tue, 28 Oct 2014 08:33:31 +0000

(Video link HERE.) OK Go’s wondrous new video is a strangely perfect way to start your day: silly, happy, beautiful. We watched, grooving, with the music on for a minute or so.  But we found it even more beautiful with the music OFF.  (more…)

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Maria Robledo’s Uncropped In-the-Moment Instagram’s Mon, 27 Oct 2014 21:31:42 +0000

Maria Robledo

When we need a hit of in-the-moment, we-never-would-have-seen-THAT zen, we check out Maria Robledo’s Instagram feed. It’s always full of miracles and beauty, of ordinary things. (more…)

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Le Corbusier’s Wall Built Tight-to-The Window, and Ours Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:00:34 +0000


This image of a room in Villa Savoye, the Le Corbusier-designed modernist villa in the outskirts of Paris, defies notions we had previously held about the WRONGNESS of having a wall run right into a window. That is what we encountered when we bought our laboratory space; we saw it as a major design flaw, the result of the developer cutting corners. To us, it made the room feel unbalanced and closed in. Our solution was to place a mirror directly adjacent to the window, to create the illusion of a corner window. (more…)

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Creativity: “A Constant, Continual Process” that Defies Age Mon, 27 Oct 2014 08:04:43 +0000

Erik Madigan Heck

Yesterday’s Sunday Times Health Magazine was thin…but PACKED with stunning insight and images. Themed “The Fountain of Youth”, it asked and partially answered the questions: What does it mean to age? and What are the secrets to doing it well?

The photo-essay Old Masters features luminaries 80 + years old who continue to be passionate about their work.  “They reign. ” Each one embraces the continual process of learning and growing, while ignoring usual notions of what aging looks like. (more…)

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