ideas - inspiration - stuff

Monday, April 29, 2013

celestial maps

i have been decorating lately. the family summer rental in block island needed refreshing, on a budget though. so i have been trolling the internet for affordable furnishings - i am now a loyal customer. to keep things simple, i stuck to a mostly black and white palette. when i started thinking about wall art, it occurred to me that a celestial theme might be appropriate. i love the clean graphics and neutral colors of star maps. also, there is no better place on earth for stargazing than block island - as it is in the middle of the ocean, there is little to no light pollution. i found some great vintage national geographic celestial maps from the early seventies on ebay. the best score though was a little booklet called "star maps for beginners" (published in 1942 by i.m. levitt and roy k. marshall). i paid $3.75 for it and will cut out all 12 maps in the booklet, insert them in simple ikea frames and hang them in a grid above the sofa. stay tuned to see how this will turn out....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

mario testino in antwerp

rarely have i been so struck and inspired by a fashion shoot, as the one that was shot on location in antwerp for vogue uk last year by mario testino. yes, i am a little biaised about my hometown, and mario has managed to perfectly capture the mood and color palette of this amazing city. but beyond that, this series of photographs - featuring arizona muse and freja beha - is timeless and inspiring, and reminds me why i chose to study fashion design. kudos to lucinda chambers who styled the models after old belgian/dutch masters, with stark collars, cuffs and a strict black and white palette.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

brooklyn botanic garden

spring has sprung in the brooklyn botanic garden. here is an instagram report of last weekend's visit - both the indoor and outdoor spaces.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

silk scarves

the silk headscarf is a springtime staple as far as i am concerned. louise and I explored various ways of tying one on. the illustration that inspired us is from "the hat book" by alan couldridge (1980, a spectrum book).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


you know how when exploring a flea market, it seems like a theme emerges? say squirrels or pandas or... owls! last weekend, it was definitely owls. i had to buy the last one I spotted: a heavy cast bronze (?) specimen, with removable head. he looks a little grumpy, but i kinda like that.

Monday, April 15, 2013

thank you cloth magazine!

a big thank-you to english cloth magazine for featuring my bib necklace on the inbox page of issue #16. check it out:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

vintage decoration

a small part of my vintage book collection focuses on the subject of interior design and decoration. while most of these looks unbelievably dated, there is one particular book that contains the most amazing imagery. "decoration de france - appartments et hotels particuliers" (edited by olivier queant, published by les publications de france, 1949) explores the hotel particulier, in the french context that would be a townhouse of a grand sort. the images below are among the most inspiring and timeless i have ever seen of vintage decoration. they feel very current, indeed even directional.

we start with a minimal collector's study clad in cerused oak, a very un-politically correct hunter's trophy wall and a rather striking green bathroom all by jean-charles moreux.

next up is a dramatic man's study and a spartan but stylish gym, both designed by jean pascaud.

finally, a wood paneled library by ph.g. normand

Thursday, April 11, 2013


another collection that seems to have spontaneously developed at my house, is one of frogs. no, not the animal, the closure. apparently the name comes from the fact that a frog closure splays out across a garment , like the limbs of a frog. i picked up some great vintage ones in silver and gold lurex last year at brimfield and things spiralled from there. i can't wait to incorporate these into future craft projects.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the grandpa quilt

a very simple quilt, made with squares, cut from grandpa's old flannel plaid shirts - alternatively you can buy them at $5 a pop at salvation army. the whole thing is lined with a thick cotton fabric. vintage bakelite buttons are sewn at the crossroads of the squares to keep the front secured to the back. nothing better to keep you warm on a chilly summer night.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

el anatsui at the brooklyn museum

run, don't walk, to the el anatsui exhibit at the brooklyn museum - through august 4, 2013. this is the first solo exhibition in a new york museum by this renowned artist. the showstoppers are twelve monumental wall hangings made from bottle caps. other than the obvious comment on sustainability and the clear assertion of el anatsui as an important contemporary african artist, the works are simply of a staggering breath-taking beauty: the pieces look as if made from gold and silver, truly magical cloths draped in the most dramatic fashion.... words cannot do this justice. here's an instagram impression.

Friday, April 5, 2013

the portrait collar

after seeing the valentino fall 2013 rtw show, i have been obsessed with the portrait collar. an old-fashioned term/idea that deserves to be resurrected. there is nothing more elegant than framing the face with with a pretty, white (or off-white), starched, lace or crochet collar. it invokes a simple timeless beauty that could be found on portraits by artists as diverse as goya and vermeer. all collars below have been purchased at flea markets.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

scrap books - part two

following an earlier post about my growing collection of scrap books, here's another peek. i am fully aware that this is sort of an ass-backwards version of pinterest - pinning images the old-fashioned way, and then digitizing.... i don't care. i like ripping up magazines, and building a tangible collection of images.

Monday, April 1, 2013


the residents of brooklyn building where i live have a wonderful habit of leaving unwanted items on the "free" counter in our hallway. this is a fantastic way of recycling and preventing miscellaneous stuff from ending up in a landfill. one person's trash is another man's treasure as they say. this is my find of the week: a dandelion paperweight. this takes me right back to the days when my dad experimented with making resin paperweights. to this day, i love the toxic smell.... really.
let's hope this dandelion really is a harbinger of the spring weather we are are all dying for.