Next week and in the many weeks that follow leading up to and into 2010 we will, if we’re lucky, find ourselves on the doorsteps of family; of friends. Surrounded by the warmth of their laughter and their homes we will share in old memories and create new ones. But before all that we’ll show up bearing gifts. Or, at the least, we should. Charmingly simple gifts.
My step-sister, Kate, is back in Pennsylvania this week for some visiting before she starts graduate school in the fall. She might be in between “homes” right now – aren’t all students? But she’s called Maine home for the last 5 years. So in honor of her and her own fabulous creativity, “Shop Local” is coming at you from the land of moose, snow, and trees!
Anabelfuzz creates delightful children’s bonnets, clothing, and accessories. They are quite obviously inspired by the climate of Maine. Some bonnets are lined with soft and warm cotton sherpa. Others are meant to keep ears warm on cool spring mornings. There are also apparel items with a distinctly New England shore feel. [Read more…]
My son remarked to me the other day that he felt that he had been born about 25 years too late, and should have grown up in the 80s. I laughed and told him that I thought the same thing about myself; I would’ve been right at home growing up in the mid-50s/early-60s. I have always been drawn to the architecture and design of the era and I can’t honestly remember a time that a good Formica counter top, a sunburst clock or an Eames chair didn’t make my heart beat a little faster. Eco-friendly tote, featuring an Eames chair silhouette (below), by Modist.
I don’t know if Atomic Age design ever really went away (not in my books, anyway), but it has really made quite a comeback over the past few years. I’m sure a big factor in that has been the popularity of the program Mad Men, but I like to think that it was just the world coming to its senses. After a couple of really questionable decades of design, we are once again appreciating the clean lines, bright colours and clever shapes of mid-century modernism.
Some creative craftspeople, like Mark and Jeff of Ypsilanti, MI are taking this appreciation one step further and incorporating the everyday items of this time into fresh, new objects of desire. Take this piece, for example – a simple container intended to store your leftovers has been taken off kitchen duty and transformed into an awesome table lamp (above). Check out the Boots n Gus shop for even more lamps in all sorts of shapes and sizes, like the pendant light at the top of this article; you’ll be seeing Tupperware in a whole new light!
Another ingenious example of retro kitchenware finding a home in the living room is this eggbeater clock, pictured above, by Kim aka The Sassy Crafter. Made from 12 recycled electric beaters (and a whole lotta cheek), these clocks are a brilliant reinterpretation of the classic mid-century sunburst design and can be purchased as-is from Kim’s shop, or custom ordered to match your decor.
When we’re talking about mid-century design, I can’t go without mentioning the advertising of the age. It was a time of rampant consumerism and the ads were a perfect reflection of that; shoppers scrambled to fill their homes with the optimistic, modern goods that would separate them from the stodgy belongings previous generations. To that end, ad agencies seized the opportunity and pushed the idea that new was best and the future was now, such as in this advertisement for Scripto Satellite pens, cleverly made into a durable coaster (below) by Jenn and Jenny of Robot Candy. Maybe it’s just me, but 50 years later it still makes me want to buy a pen (and a coaster, for that matter)!
Ironically, our nostalgia for this time has us channeling the Drapers and filling our homes with the relics of the atomic age. Even with the advances in science and technology since then, the many of the designs and fabrications still seem modern and relevant…perhaps the future is (still) now.
“Mad Men”-inspired print, above, by Yumalum.
I’m writing a Two Part series on Living Arrangements. This post is all about Happy Homes, how to be satisfied with your home and how to make the best of what you have. In the next series I will talk about the many different living arrangements people have around the World and why adopting a simple home can save you money but not take away from what you want from your living space.
As someone who has spent the better part of a year looking for somewhere new to live I can safely say that the whole experience of house hunting is not a pleasant one. There is a lot of bureaucracy involved, for a start. There are a lot of places we would like to live in but they are well out of our range in terms of everything humanly possible.
I think the problem with finding your ‘dream home’ (which is entirely like anything you’d dream up in your mind, non existent) is that when you set your standards they are rarely met. And if one or two things don’t fit, you make them fit so that a house becomes your home – and I’d go as far as to say that it turns into your dream home.
There is an age old “if these walls could talk” saying that I’ve heard more times than I care to count. If my walls could talk then I would consider getting my home dedicated/exorcised. Also, consider the certain Swedish furniture conglomerate that ran a TV ad campaign a few years ago in which they proclaimed that houses had souls – that love, not money was what gave the home it’s soul. I’m not swayed either way on the argument myself so, do you believe homes have souls?
What is it with our need to constantly categorise and humanise everything? After all in the Wizard of Oz there were three non-human characters all searching for human traits and body parts. The lion wanted to be brave, the tin man wanted a heart and the scare crow wanted to have a brain – I don’t even want to think how he functioned without one. They were humanised, much like Andy’s toys in Toy Story , the talking horses, cows, sheep, dogs, cats and everything in between that we’ve seen our whole lives. Animals and non-human characters speaking like humans and having human feelings and experiences.
Now homes have souls, hearts and our walls might be able to speak. I wonder if my walls are crying. No? Oh it’s just a leaky roof.
To be happy in your home, you need to be happy first and foremost. Where the house is plays a part in it; is the neighbourhood decent for your needs? If it’s not, do you have adequate security measures? Do you have enough room to swing a cat? If you cook a lot, is the kitchen to your satisfaction? Do you have the number of rooms you honestly need? If you have most of these things and you’re satisfied with your life in general then you’re more likely to have a happy home and be happy with your home.
I personally believe that most people have more than they need out of their homes yet they are not satisfied with their home and then I see others who struggle happily with what they already have. It’s all about perspective.
So, how can you be happy with where you live? It’s simple.
Get comfortable with where you live. Metaphorically and physically. When my couch started to get lumpy I felt annoyed at the couch. Then I realised if I throw a couple of pillows down I have comfort once more. It’s also about acceptance of where you live – if you want to stay there long term, be at peace with this. If you don’t, do something about it.
Big Love. No, not the TV show. I’m talking about thinking before you speak, acting before you react and flighting before fighting. In short: cut the crap. Stop picking at your house mates for every little niggle you feel about them. Show them love, bake them cookies, lace their brownies with tranquillizers if that’s the only act of kindness you can perform for them and yourselves – just don’t implicate me on that one. I’m working on House Harmony myself so I know this one can be tricky, especially when someone has annoying habits. The point is you need to learn to deal with it if you want a happy home. So deal with it!
Keep it fresh. A clean home to me is a happy home. When my home is a mess (around 98% of the time) then I feel a mess (so, again, 98% of the time.) I like to let the air circulate in my home by opening windows wide and keeping all doors open to let some good fresh air into them. Get others involved in the cleaning and running of the home, leaving it all up to one person is never going to create a happy atmosphere …okay who am I kidding. You can’t get others involved unless they want to be, so either live with the fact you live with slobs and do everything yourself, hire a cleaner or accept the fact you’re the slob of the house and you’re quite happy with the mess.
Make it personal. Add your own touch to your home; change over photographs in frames every few weeks of happy times you’ve had. Keep a diary of things you’ve learned that make you happy in the week (a challenge I have just started.) You don’t have to fill your home with ‘things’ to make it pretty; a nasty couch can be transformed with a favourite throw – or why not try and make some silhouette pictures? As seen on Life Is Sweet.
Join me next week when I talk about living in shipping containers, tents and the man who invented a sliding door system in his flat all in order to get more space from his living space.
I admit, I love Valentine’s Day. I know, I know. It’s a hallmark holiday; it’s a manufactured day to entice buyers back into stores after they’ve already maxed their limits over the holiday season in November and December; one shouldn’t need a day on which to show love to the people they hold dear. I know all the reasons we’re not supposed to support it. I just can’t help it. I still like it. And, I promise, that’s only partly because chocolate tends to be a heavy part of its celebratory traditions.
I’m the parent who, at the beginning of the school year, secretly hopes she’ll be put on Valentine’s Day party duty. I’ve had fun with the Halloween party, I always show my face at the holiday party, but the Valentine’s Day party is truly my favorite. I dream of fluffy, whipped, pink frosting atop cupcakes, red sugar sprinkles on cookies.
It’s one of the few days each year where I can cut-loose and fully embrace my inner girly-girly. I can admit that sometimes I like food — and even decor — that looks eerily like a bottle of pepto bismol threw up; I can tie packages up with frilly red bows; and, yes, I can show those dear to me I love them a little more thoroughly than I may remember to 364 others days per year. And you know, that just may not be all bad. Especially when the packages I am tying up contain some of the finest handmade and artisan gifts around; gifts that support small producers and their families so perhaps the love can flow through their homes too.
Haven’t picked a gift for your love yet? The clock is ticking, but there’s still time. Many Foodzie and Etsy sellers offer rush shipping options. Click over and get your shopping done now! Hedonistic Chocolate’s Raspberry Truffles, d’Lischka’s German-inspired cookies and Gauteau et Ganache’s Marshmallow hearts are just the tip of the iceberg.