On Sprinkles and Springs, we came across this diy striped tee inspired by the modish tee-shirt Marc Jacobs recently featured in his chic, stripey collection. It is a great example of I COULD MAKE THAT thinking that has infiltrated many a clever head. Sprinkles and Springs saw it and figured out how using a plain white tee shirt, masking tape and fabric paint. And then she generously posted a how-to that you could use to make Jacobs-ish stripes or your own graphic pattern (the method would also work fine on jeans, slipcovers, pillows, many fabrics…) read more…
(Video link here.) One of our favorite films has long been My Dinner with Andre, which is, on the surface, a conversation between two friends during dinner in a French restaurant in New York City. Andre Gregory vividly describes his revelatory, new-ageish, risk-taking experiences in experimental theatre while his modest less-adventurous friend Wally Shawn listens and mulls. Finally, Wally questions the necessity of such extremes, extolling the small sweet moments in his everyday life, culminating in a legendary cup of cold coffee at about 1:20. We’ve always loved this 3-minute-long scene, finding that it has illuminated many small blessings in our own daily life, including morning coffee.
To our suprise, while watching interviews about the making of this unusual film, we discovered that Shawn’s purpose in writing the scene was very different than the message we had taken from it: read more…
We really love Flavorwire’s recent The Craziest Advice from Famous People which includes some wild stuff from cultural icons like Courteney Love, William Burroughs and Frank Zappa. We couldn’t help thinking that Jack Kerouac’s Belief & Technique for Modern Prose is a very curiously syncopated Beat poem full of jazzy wisdom about the creative process and living in general.
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow read more…
Two images spotted on Japanese Trash recently opened our eyes to the possibility of using geometic cuts of plywood veneers as a wall covering. Ah, no, on closer inspection, the fireplace surround above appears to be stone…but it COULD be done with plywood…
To get a sense of range of possibilities, we recommend read more…
Recently, a friend mentioned her attempt to paint her wooden kitchen cabinets white using latex paint. Several months after she’d completed them, they’d yellowed and were difficult to clean. We’ve heard that complaint before about latex-painted furniture, and experienced the way it can remain “sticky”, a serious problem with bookshelves. We’d always thought that oil-base paint was the only serious solution. Fortuitously, Jim Dillon, a reader and cabinet maker, had just commented on our ‘the magic of an orange table top + high gloss oil paint‘ post, sharing a water-base solution he’d discovered in his furniture-painting forays.
…it was one of those techniques that I heard about in passing and tried out because it met the needs of the moment – - I had a client who wanted me to build new built-in bookcases and paint them white. Somebody told me this was the solution to books sticking to painted bookcases in August humidity, and it worked too well to not try in other places.
Try it he did, with great success. read more…
Last Fall, designer Susan Dworski, a reader and frequent commenter, happened to mention carving rubber stamps out of Staedler Mars erasers to make artworks. “How did you get into that? we asked. Her answer was stunning:
Been carving them since 1980 when our house burned down, and only my studio was saved. All four of us all lived in that one room for a while, and the only art I could make was something small, low tech, and cleanuppable: ink, paper, and stamps. After buying some commercial ones, carving erasers was a natural move, and proved effective therapy for the kids, who spent many hours stabbing away at erasers, and swabbing with colored markers, retelling their stories of the fire illustrated with the stamps. The neighborhood kids all got into the act, too. It was a lively time!
When your house burns down, make art!!!! An amazing point of view. read more…
We thought we were so smart when we thought to blog about the hacks we’d imagined for Ikea’s Löbbo shade, which is basically a sheet of polypropylene that you form into a drum and secure with metal struts; it can be placed on a lamp base or hung from a pendant. It comes in various sizes, but we bought several of the biggest with the idea of using the sheets of polypropylene — which is pretty heat-proof —as a RAW MATERIAL with which to fashion all sorts of shades, using our trusty exacto knife. (We’ve been searching for readily-available shade materials for years.)
First thing we planne was to tailor the Löbbo shade we’ve got on a standing lamp: slice off a 2 or 3 inches from the drum-like shade to give it a more sleek, retro look. Then we’d go to town playing with the remaining sheets of Löbbo polypropylene we have, to fashion some sort of scultpural pendant light, like this one we found at Ouno: read more…
(Video link here.) Mike Breach never knew he was an artist, until he started working as a barrista. He discovered that the foamed milk inspired him to draw in cappucinos and lattes. The way he found his unique expression seems like kismet to us.
If you’d like to try your hand at drawing in milk froth but need a palette to begin with, we find battery-powered milk frothers make an easy way to make a thick foam. Follow Breach’s basic method, pick up a skewar or a toothpick and then…see what happens.
(We’re thinking kids could do it with a rich cup of cocoa….)
Related posts: the coffee improvisations (pt 1) + oscarina’s old brazil brewing method
the coffee improvisations (pt 2): roasting your own
the oddness and power of real cook’s tools
kramer’s coffee table book (imaginary d-i-y)
coffee-can pot as mystery + reminder
(Video link here.) We’re sometimes leary of the trend of making useful things our of ANYTHING because the object made are often so homely. We find ourselves inspired by French Designer Pierre Lota’s video introduing his video series 1 Object in 1 Minute. His assemblages of coat hangers, paper, and spoons have a strong design sense, and his videos show them to be do-able. What the video’s really do is encourage us to see visually-appealing, useful possibilities for ordinary materials and realize we could, with patience and perhaps some experimenting, do them ourselves.
One of our favorites: a spoon bent into a hook you can rest on a table to keep your handbag off the dirty floor of a restaurant, read more…
Once again, our unlikely wiseman Louis C.K. nails it in a recent interview in the New York Times about his thriving success and upcoming HBO special:
Q-Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?
Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?
Q-You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.
So why do I have the platform and the recognition?
Q-At this point you’ve put in the time.
There you go. There’s no way around that. read more…
We are smitten with Tables for One, reviews of imaginary restaurants, dreamed up by designer Evan Johnston using the nom de plume A. Pontius. We are charmed by Salé, where “salt is nowhere to be found in the food, nor can you find it in a the familiar little container on the dining table. That’s because the dining table, and plates, and chairs, are actually made of salt itself.”
…and especially love Acoustia:
“We don’t serve food,” the chef and sound designer for Acoustia explained to a passerby who was baffled by the specials for the evening, “We serve sounds.”
Going to the site spurs our own fantasies of wonderfully eccentric restaurants designed to feed other senses.
But we were especially touched to discover how Tables for One came about, read more…
A slab of wood on a repurposed base made fab by the orange lacquer surface: the miracle of high gloss paint.
The secret to getting truly shiny high gloss is to use oil base (alkyd) paint. When we did side-by-side tests of high gloss alkyd and water-base latex paint we made a big discovery: the latex doesn’t shine or reflect nearly as much as the Alkyd. On a table, it will be prone to waterspotting and staining.
For those who are adverse to using alkyd paint, we wondered if you could use latex paint and seal it with a high gloss polyeurathane. We asked a friend who seems to know everything about paints and fine fixes for interiors. He said: read more…
When we first saw this sign, we though ‘Yeah, for sure’. Then we started thinking more critically about fear and realized it is not always a bad thing. We searched “antidote to fear” and found bits and pieces about love antidoting fear, and especially, being present antidoting fear. Then we stumbled on a rough draft of a speech called “The Mastery of Fear or Antidotes for Fear” by Martin Luther King Jr. in an archive at Stanford. Here’s an essential piece:
Fear is a powerfully creative force. read more…
The virtues of virtual stone skipping!