Saturday, February 28, 2009

Staxx II Dinnerware

I'm really liking Crate & Barrel's 'Staxx II Dinnerware' (above). The clean lines of the Staxx would appeal to anyone whose tastes errs towards the contemporary and since you can stack all the pieces, they are a great option for a home with limited cabinet space. The shape and the interlocking design remind me of Heller's iconic 1964 design, 'Max 1' plastic dinnerware (see below).

Friday, February 27, 2009

M by Staples

I snapped this photo at a Staples in midtown. All these adorable file folders are part of the M by Staples line and are priced at $6.99/twelve (only a little higher than Staples's regular file folders). I thought they were pretty darn cute. The rest of the line is really appealing, as well.

PB Box-Pleat Slipcover

If possible, I would suggest avoiding ready-made slipcovers, but sometimes an ugly couch needs to be covered up without spending a ton of money. Trust me, I know from experience. I noticed Pottery Barn's Box-Pleat Slipcover on their website, and I was impressed with it's simple design and clean lines. I'd say this is about as good as an off-the-shelf clipcover gets.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Romance Gone Wrong

These flowers were in the trash at the corner of Carlton Ave. and Lafayette Ave. earlier this morning. It was both sad and funny to see this huge bouquet tossed in the garbage like this--it also made me desperately curious to know the back story for this discarded romantic gesture.

Two Crafty Exhibits To See

There are two exhibitions that I hope to get a chance to see. One is the 'Fashioning Felt' exhibit opening at the Cooper Hewitt on March 6th (image above) and the other is 'Recycling & Resourcefulness: Quilts of the 1930s,' which closes on March 15th. Here are short descriptions of both shows:
Fashioning Felt
On view March 6–September 7, 2009

This exhibition will explore the varied new uses of felt—an ancient material, believed to be one of the earliest techniques for making textiles. Made by matting together wool fibers with humidity and friction, felting requires little technological expertise and is an extremely versatile material. The exhibition will begin with historic examples of felts, showcase innovations in handmade felts, and feature contemporary uses of industrial felt in a range of fields, including product design, fashion, architecture, and home furnishings.
Recycling & Resourcefulness: Quilts of the 1930s
October 21, 2008 - March 15, 2009
at the Lincoln Square branch

Recycling & Resourcefulness: Quilts of the 1930s highlights twelve quilts from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, which were made during the Depression era by thrifty women who reused clothing, flour and feed sacks, and other recycled fabrics to create "new" bedcovers in a variety of vibrant patterns. Also on view are works from the American Folk Art Museum's collection that further explore the theme of recycling, such as the Wonderbread Rug, woven from plastic Wonderbread bags; Baby Blanket, made up entirely of condoms in aluminum wrappers; tramp art made from cigar boxes; bottle-cap figures; and quilts made from men's clothing fabrics and patriotic silk ribbons.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Restaurant Interiors

This morning I found myself eating breakfast at Five Leaves in Williamsburg (I took my boyfriend out for breakfast since it was his birthday). We had a lovely, lazy meal, which confirmed everything from the glowing review in The New York Times a few weeks back, including the assertion that Five Leaves may have the best coffees in the New York City (Ninth Street Espresso is also a contender in my book).

When we left we both remarked how pitch perfect the interiors were. I looked it up and according to Eater.com, "If you've been to Smith & Mills or Williamsburg's Moto, you'll immediately recognize the handiwork of designer John McCormick." We'd been to a Brooklyn Public House, a new bar/restaurant in Fort Greene this past weekend and had the exact opposite reaction. It was interesting for me to think about the difference between the two spaces and what made one so great and one so not-great.

Brooklyn Public House could have used a stronger hand to guide their decisions with the interior of the space. Nothing is glaringly wrong (except for the too-bright lighting), but it's just not quite right: The upholstery on the banquettes looks is an unappealing maroon vinyl, the tile on the floor look likes it belongs in a suburban basement, the wall sconces look like they came off the shelf at Home Depot and so on. Five Points, on the other hand, is handsome down to even the tiniest details: The rustic copper soap dispenser in the bathroom, the shockingly chic arrangements of carnations on each table and the various pieces of framed paper ephemera and art. I salute John McCormick for his success and hope that Brooklyn Public House can make some small tweaks to give their space the polish it deserves.

Three By Three Seattle

Three By Three Seattle has a new online shop. Check it out right here. I have always been a big fan of Three By Three's "Mighties" magnets--they're the super-strong and sleek and simple. While, I do feel silly shelling out $13 for magnets, the Mighties are so good that they're worth it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Funny: Brooklyn on Sale

I thought this Brooklyn "art" for sale was funny when I first saw it in a West Elm catalog. It's even funnier that it is now on sale. I guess the West Elm buyers missed the mark with this one--I can't imagine why people didn't go for it. Tee hee hee.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Links to Love

I've added a few new links to my blogroll. I realized that I hadn't updated the list since I swapped over to the new Blogger platform. I'll add more over the coming weeks, but here are four sites I have been checking in on.

Inchmark (image above) is written by a book designer and former Martha Stewart Living art director.

Designage is penned by freelance writer Kelsey Keith, who is a new friend.

Paper Love is the blog for a Park Slope stationary shop owned by an old friend of mine, Alison Alfandre.

Merriment Design is a blog for all things crafty and creative by Kathy in Chicago.

Jane Brody's Good Food Book

For the past couple of years, I have been cooking from Jane Brody's Good Food Book, and this past winter I have run through many of Brody's soup recipes with great success. This book's subtitle "Living the High-Carbohydrate Way" might send 21st century dieters running for the hills, but don't be fooled, Jane doesn't want you to dine on waffles and pasta at all times (even if that is exactly what I ate yesterday). Instead she argues for the health benefits of complex carbohydrates. Carbs or not, Brody's soup recipes are FANTASTIC. I've cooked the 'Vegetable-Bean Soup With Pistou' more than a dozen times, 'Potato Leek Chowder' was a more recent discovery and the 'Three C Soup' is delicious (and virtuous). Tonight I am planning to try out the Puree of Carrot Soup. If you come across a copy in a used bookstore, I would definitely encourage you to pick up a copy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

West Elm Chairs

West Elm's Overlapping Squares chair (above) has been a classic since the West Elm catalog debuted in 2002. (Does anyone else remember that first catalog's purple-heavy palette?) Since then, the Overlapping Squares chair has appeared in countless magazines, and I must say, it really is a classic design. I was pleasantly surprised to find two other stunners in a recent West Elm catalog. Both the Oval Back and Ladderback dining chairs (below) have great, clean lines, and me being me, I love them both in the glossy white finish.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bati

Yesterday's $25 and Under column in the NYT featured three African restaurants in Fort Greene, including Bati, which just opened on Fulton. I'd mentioned that I was curious about the new spot, and on Tuesday night, my boyfriend and I had stopped in for dinner. The reviewer for the NYT seemed to like Bati a lot, but after our experience on Tuesday, I don't suspect I will be tempted to go back.

The restaurant itself is pleasant enough to look at: Simply furnished with rough-hewn wooden tables and white walls with African-seeming art. However, the space is very noisy (neither of us usually have any trouble being heard and we were both leaning in to hear each other). The service was uneven, but it was administered by friendly-enough servers. The food seemed only so-so to me. I haven't eaten tons of Ethiopian food, but I've often dined at Awash in the East Village and uptown and I can safely say their food is superior to Bati's.

Our meal also seemed expenseive to me for what it was: We ordered one meat and one vegetarian combination, which came to $31. I usually think of Ethiopian as an affordable meal that leaves you STUFFED. We left full, but with room for dessert at home. That said, the NYT does mention that, "Food is replenished upon request, with seconds spooned directly onto your platter." All in all, I think I'll stick to my regular neighborhood favorites.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Best Neighborhood

A piece from the Daily News on Monday ran with the headline 'Fort Greene: The best neighborhood in New York?' While I don't agree with all the sentiments in this article, I do concur that Fort Greene is the best neighborhood. Here's a link to the full text.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Caroll Taveras’s Photo Studio project

I just read about Caroll Tavera's Photo Studio project on Time Out New York's blog, and I want to go and get my portrait taken. Here's the description of her project, which is taking place in a storefront on Atlantic Avenue:
She’s set up shop on Atlantic Avenue in a storefront space lent by Atlantic Assets and Art Assets (praiseworthy programs that aim to attract retail tenants with the lure of temporary exhibitions and the foot traffic they bring). For the past three weeks, a hundred or so visitors have posed for Taveras—friends, couples even a kindergarten class. The best part: no megapixels. She uses a large-format 4×5 view camera, lights and a backdrop. The cost is old-school too—only $5. For me, it was a nerve-racking experience. What am I wearing? Should I sit or stand? Smile or just look “normal”? But minutes after the flash pops, you walk away with a good-looking print—something you could even put in a frame, or send to your in-laws.

The Caroll Taveras Photo Studio, 539 Atlantic Ave between Third and Fourth Aves, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Tue–Fri 1–8pm; Sat, Sun noon–5pm. Through Sat 14.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Peugeot Pepper Grinder

I bought myself a new pepper grinder at Crate & Barrel a few weeks back because mine was terrible. (I'd made the mistake of buying a nice-looking-but-not-so-functional pepper mill from Martha Stewart's line at Kmart.) I cannot tell you how lovely it is to have a nice, working pepper grinder. There are some things in life on which it is worth spending a few extra dollars and apparently pepper mills are on the list. I also love the glossy sheen of the white Peugeot model I chose. Simple pleasures, right?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Vista Console Table

I recently admired my friend L.'s lucite console table at her apartment in Williamsburg. The Vista Console Table from Crate & Barrel caught my eye because of it's shelf, which offers a bit of extra storage while still keeping the light, airy feel of lucite. However, at $599, it's a major investment.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Grocery Tote Set

I lost my boat and tote bag from L.L. Bean earlier this fall, so I was poking around on their site to look at a replacement. I love how simple this pair of reusable canvas totes is. For $19.95 for two, they're also a great deal. Click here for the L.L. Bean Grocery Tote Set.

Icestone

Remodelista has a great post on Icestone, a manufacturer of eco-friendly countertops. My friend E. had told me about this company about a year ago, but I'd never followed up on researching them. All the information on Icestone's site seems to suggest they are a fantastic company making a igh-quality product.

Also, how cute is that wood-shingled backspash in the phot0 above?

Uraban Glass Open House

Urban Glass is having an open house on Sunday. I wish I weren't going to be working all day because I would love to go and see their studio, which is located right here in Fort Greene. Here's the information from the Fort Greene Association's newsletter:
HEARTBURN OPEN HOUSE
February 8, 2009, 12PM - 5PM

Free tours and demonstrations begin at 12 noon, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 pm. Each tour is limited to 25 people, please call ahead or arrive early.

Special workshops: Sandblast a vase or glass for that special someone ($15) or try glassblowing and make your own paperweight or cup ($50).

Featured demonstrations will be done by Moshe Bursuker as part of the special Blowing Big Intensive Class.

Reservations are required for most workshops, please call 718.625.3685 x 0 to inquire about workshop fees or requirements, or to make reservations.

UrbanGlass presents its Fourth Annual MFA exhibition featuring new work from four emerging artists, recent graduates of North American MFA Glass programs: Sungsoo Kim, Daniel Ostrov, Deborah Ruzinsky and David A. Schnuckle.
The exhibition provides an international showcase for new and noteworthy talent in the field of contemporary glass.

The four exhibiting artists were selected from applications submitted from around the country and Canada. One artist will be selected from the four finalists for a solo artist show in the Robert Lehman

Gallery at a later date. The chosen artist also receives an award of $1,500 in UrbanGlass studio credit to support the creation of new work for the solo exhibition.

Sungsoo Kim challenges viewers to rethink the value of everyday objects by recreating Styrofoam packing out of cast glass. Daniel Ostrov creates artwork to evoke universal memories buried within human consciousness. Deborah Ruzisky uses cast glass and mixed-media sculpture presented in the form of scaled iconic monuments, providing an ongoing commentary of "sugar-coated truths and the manipulation of desire and belief". David A. Schnuckle uses comic book imagery to reflect upon the presence of tragedy within the human experience.

MFA Exhibition 2009
January 30 -March 15, 2009
* Gallery hours: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm Tues-Fri, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Sat-Sun

The Robert Lehman Gallery @ UrbanGlass
647 Fulton St., 3rd Floor, Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, NY 11217
(Entrance 57 Rockwell Place

Thursday, February 05, 2009

LCD Text Card

Love this! Check out these fun cards from The Curiosity Shoppe by Yellow Owl Workshop. Love this idea!

G train

I have lived in my apartment for more than two years. I realize how little I have been home in the last two years because it is only now that I have noticed how much my apartment rattles and shakes as the G train passes beneath my building. Who knew?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

MoMA in Atlantic Terminal

Oh, neat! A Gothamist reader tipped the site off to a new installation by the Museum of Modern Art, which is being installed in Atlantic Terminal. Here's what Gothamist has to report about the project:
Reader Neil spotted a MoMA "installation" going up at the Atlantic stop in Brooklyn yesterday, saying posters like the above are filling up "every space in the station." It turns out that the museum is pulling all the stops for the expected plummet in tourism this year, and are targeting locals to come visit instead.

Crain's reports that starting February 10th, "MoMA will take over all the media space in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue subway station to install a kind of satellite exhibition of highlights from its permanent collection. Commuters will see reproductions of 58 iconic works like Claude Monet’s Water Lillies and Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh. They will be able to dial numbers on their cell phones to get information on the artists and paintings, similar to audio guides at museums. A new Web site will offer information as well."

I Can Sew!

I have spent the last two days locked in a windowless room with a bunch of people I met for the first time on Monday. I've been working fourteen hour days for practically no pay, and I have been enjoying it. One of the reasons it has been a pleasure is because it turns out I can sew pretty decently.

I have occasionally had to sew a hem or stitch up a part of a Halloween costume for work, but no one has ever expected me to sit down and SEW. The last two days have made me want to sew all the time. I have grand notions of creating a new slipcover for a chair. I imagine myself craftily stiching up all my Christmas gifts for 2009. It's a lovely feeling, the feeling of making something. And it is lovely to imagine all the things I might make.

So, I'm going to go and buy myself all the things that my friend V. recommended for a basic sewing kit in an article in Real Simple two years ago. Here's the link to her list of sewing kit essentials. (E., you were right that I didn't need a class to remember my way around a sewing machine.)

Grippiks!

Another entrepreneurial spirit has gotten on the customization for IKEA furniture bandwagon. Grippiks, a new company based in Sydney, Australia, is making big stickers to customize IKEA case goods. It's a cute idea that reminds me of the Bemz slipcovers I have posted about before. For a D.I.Y. version, you could always just cut contact paper to size. Or you could follow the directions for decoupaging furniture in the Martha Stewart Living article that inspired Grippiks.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

New Ethiopian Restaurant

Having drinks with my friends T. and V. last week, T. mentioned that he had passed a new restaurant on Fulton and that it was packed. Sure enough, the blogs are a-twitter with talk about Bati, a new Ethiopian restaurant that has just opened. I can't wait to try it out--it sounds delicious. (Clinton Hill Blog, Fork in the Road.)

Monday, February 02, 2009

This jumbo remote control is pretty funny. It'd make a great gag gift for anyone who is constantly trying to find their remote (my parents would be ideal recipients). You can get one for just shy of $10 at Bed Bath & Beyond. Here's the link.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

What's Next

About a year ago, I quit my job at a national women’s magazine to go work for a small consulting company working with nonprofit organizations. I spent a year learning a lot and being very inspired by the organizations with which I worked. However, it ultimately didn’t work out. (I also suspect that in the current economic climate I wasn’t likely to have my job for much longer anyway.)

So, as of last week, I am working freelance. I am not entirely sure what that means right now, but I have some exciting (but small) projects lined up, and I am looking for more. To start, I’ll also be spending a week working backstage on a major theater production being mounted here in Brooklyn. It’s been a long time since I worked in the theater, and I am thrilled to have a chance to return to it. This is an exciting and nerve-wracking time for me all around, but it also means I have more time on my hands to figure out what’s next. 2009 promises to be a year of change.

UGODOG Indoor Dog Potty

Flipping through the coupons in today's NYT (yes, I clip coupons). I came across an ad for the UGODOG Indoor Dog Potty. Many of my city friends with small dogs use "wee-wee pads" so their dogs can pee in the house when they are not home. I have always thought that this was rather unsanitary and well, just plain gross. The ad for the UGODOG made me curious enought to visit the company's website. According to their own literature:
UGODOG is an innovative and environmentally friendly indoor dog potty and house training system. UGODOG indoor dog potty will not only keep your dog's paws dry, but will keep your house dry, just the way you and your pet prefer it. UGODOG Indoor Dog Potty is designed to make clean up simple, easy, and certainly mess free without burdening the environment. UGODOG is an ideal solution for folks who love pets but don't have a yard. Or for folks who work long hours and worry about how their loved ones are doing at home waiting to be walked.
What do you think, is this a better solution than a wee-wee pad? Or should New Yorkers who work long hours just not have dogs in the first place?

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