Wood Wire Desk

You would think that living in a smallish NY apartment would deter M&I from taking on projects like building furniture. Well we have two couches built from scratch that suggest it isn’t as bad an idea as you would think. We have been hemming and hawing about a new computer desk for a while. The one we have is perfectly serviceable and nothing has come along to catch our eye. What we have now is a glass top metal desk that we picked up off the street on day. My main issue with the desk is that the wires are all over the place and it makes the desk look messy. I love the simplicity of this wooden desk top that is made to hide wires and look good doing it. In fact the only thing I love better than the simple design of this desk is the wonderfully simple, easy to follow, and beautifully designed instruction manual.

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Seal Pelt

Move over Slanket there is a new way to keep warm! This adorable Seal Pelt for babies is made of Icelandic wool and has an interesting bit of mythology to go along with it. I have to say I am a sucker for cute things to put on babies and I love that it is wool and not synthetic material . I can’t say that I think the adult version is nearly as cute and I may go as far as to say it is a bit scary.

Been There

It is no secret that I love traveling and I love to make stuff. I have been pining away after a print of a hand painted travel map by Oliver Jeffers since seeing it on swissmiss. (BTW, if you don’t know who Oliver Jeffers is, you should go right away and check out his Creative Morning talk.) When I saw this DIY travel map I immediately fell in love with it. Thanks to the step by step tutorial I may get around to making one. I am thinking it would be nice to have a map of the world though since we have actually been to quite a few places already and have plans to get to many more.

I Heart Birds

I have an IKEA malm dresser to hold my clothes. Actually M and I each have one. You know the one. It is blonde wood, totally nondescript. I used to like that, but I think I am ready for something a little less boring. Today I read about wallpapered furniture and figured if there was ever a project that screamed DIY, it was this one. I had in mind a wallpaper I had seen that I loved. It should be easy for me to find again, right? It has birds and clouds on it, Google has to turn up something with those keywords. Nope. Ok, I bet I starred it in my RSS reader, let me search “birds” and “wallpaper”. Nope. Ok, I am sure I starred it so I will just search “wallpaper”. Scroll, scroll, click. Nope. Scroll, scroll, click. Nope. Sigh. Wait, is that it? It is! Yeah. Now I know where I can order it and get started on my brand new wardrobe. I also happen to love the yellow boots in this image. I am definitely going to have to figure out a way to work yellow into this project.

I Wish I Was German

Well I kind of am German I guess. I am a pretty typical American mutt with roots in Italy, Germany, Hungary, Ireland… Anyway I wish I was fully German and living in Germany. Why you ask? Because they have the most amazing felt products! I swear any time I see a lovely product made of wonderfully thick gorgeous wool felt, it is from Germany. The latest felt object I am lusting after is this laundry basket. While I love grey felt luckily Google offered to translate the page for me because it comes in every color of the rainbow. If I had to choose right now, I would go for white. Simple and beautiful. via

Information is Beautiful

A part of my job requires me to take data and make it visually understandable quickly and easily by someone who may or may not be familiar with the information presented. Sounds boring right. Sometime it is, but sometimes it is anything but boring especially when this raw data is in the right hands. I ran across a site today called Information is Beautiful by David McCandless that shows off  some amazing information designers. The post that really grabbed me features work by London-based data artist, Stefanie Posavec. The graphic above looks a lot like a dandelion to me but is actually an interpretation of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. Who knew literature could be so visually beautiful? I am inspired to make my next bit of data a work of art. This is the breath of fresh air I needed today when I was feeling a little mired in the everyday.

Zen and The Art of Sign Painting

Thanks to Google street view I was able to find a picture of the original sign.

When I was little every Tuesday my noni would pick up my sister and me from school and take us to ballet lessons and then to her house for dinner. The ride in her car took us past a very distinctive Mack Truck sign which I am sure I was drawn to because it had a bulldog on it. Sadly that building and the sign have been torn down and replaced with a Walgreens but luckily for me one of my grandfather’s many many talents is that he is an experienced sign painter! For Christmas I asked for a replica of the Mack Truck sign I remembered so well. He was going to go ahead and make the whole thing for us, but then I had the even better idea that I wanted to have Grandpa teach me how to be a sign painter. The Mack sign just so happened to be the perfect first project. He set about cutting out the shape and giving it a coat of white paint. Over the course of a few weekends I have traced the design onto the sign from a picture we found on the internet and given the whole thing a first coat of paint. I even had help from my dad to paint the dog.  It has been great hanging out with my grandfather and learning a new skill. This weekend I got to paint outside and the weather was so beautiful and painting takes just the right type of concentration, it is almost like meditating.

Michael Bierut

A few Fridays ago I was lucky enough to score a free ticket to see Michael Bierut speak as part of Creative Mornings put together by Tina Roth Eisenberg of the swiss miss blog. Instead of dragging myself to work first thing I hurried over to DUMBO and managed to get one of the last seats in the house at Galapagos. I thought I was going to have a terrible view, but it turns out it was great! I was up in the balcony, at a little table and a lovely seat mate. This picture is from the swiss miss website, I was too afraid that if I tried to take a picture with my phone I would manage to drop it into the water below so I didn’t chance it. The talk was all about clients, how to hold on to the good ones, ditch the bad ones, and how even Michael Bierut gets bad ones sometimes. What a great speaker. And to top it off there were a few free goodies to be had. A rep from Blurb was there showing off all the lovely book options and giving away a code for a free book and a rep from Behance was there giving away a sample from their line of action journals. Once the video has been edited you can check it out (and other Creative Morning talks) via Vimeo. And to top it off, I got a few macarons form Almondine which is right next store. Yum.

Phoenix Commotion

While recovering from tryptophan overdose this weekend and visiting family I accidentally caught the evening news. Thank goodness I did, otherwise I would never have found out about the Phoenix Commotion. Started by Dan Phillips the Phoenix Commotion strives to provide affordable housing to those that would otherwise not be able to have a home of their own using salvaged and donated materials in Huntsville, Texas. These tiny, beautiful homes are whimsical with mismatched roofing, wine cork floors, picture frame sample ceilings, and crystal plate windows. Materials that would otherwise have made their way to the landfill instead get a new life in one of Dan’s small homes. Anything and everything is fair game for Dan, his crew of 5 “unskilled” workers, and the future homeowner. Not only do these houses reduce landfill burden, but touch the land lightly with their small footprint and ecologically minded design. I might have to move to Huntsville to work with Dan and get the skills I need to build my own salvaged treasure. You can read more about Dan and see some amazing pictures of his work here.

I Heart Green

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Over the course of my life I have had many favorite colors. For a very long time red was the favorite, but at some point over the last few years I started to really dig green. Bright yellow greens make me especially happy. I have been seeing a lot of green show up in kitchen photos lately and it makes me wonder… I mean I love green now, but who knows when the shift will be to yellow or blue or back to red? Then I am stuck with green cabinets as a haunting reminder of my green period. This kitchen is a wonderful use of green accents and vinyl wall decals, which may be so last year, but are something I still happen to love. The swatch of green on the wall give the table and chairs a special place. I have been coveting those IKEA chairs since I saw them and I think they look great in this small kitchen. If you will really closely you will also see another of my favorite things, a little birdie. This is a really great way to add color quickly to a rental space that you have to paint over. Way to go, Jennifer!