The Semester is Almost Over

Please repeat after me. THE SEMESTER IS ALMOST OVER. Of course in theory, this mantra should make me feel better. In reality, it makes me feel worse.

Read it more like this:


(Now raise your arms over your head and give a good Kermit flail).

Now you know how I feel. Have a great Tuesday! click here for the rest of the story

The War of Art


If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen this picture on Sunday. What you don’t know is this is where I sat for 6+ hours straight. I think I got up once to use the ladies and get a coffee refill. I couldn’t tell you who was sitting around me and I swear if the building had burst into flames, I’m not sure I would have noticed. I was in my territory – designing and writing –  and haven’t ever had such a long stretch of time where I was so focused and creative. It was delicious.

I’m fascinated with everyone’s creative backstory – their creative journey, if you will. I’ve read and listened to so many interviews of creative people and I always read the About page first on a new-to-me blog. I want to know about the person who is writing. It’s very important to me to try and understand who people are. I guess I look at it like I am letting these people into my life (in one way or another), so let’s say if I met them at a dinner party, what would I take away from a conversation with them? I would probably at least feel like I got the main bullet points of who they are, and depending on how long the conversation was, I could probably decide whether I wanted to meet and talk to this person again or not.

So many people have mentioned the book The War of Art as a key source of their inspiration that I decided I would finally spend some time with it. Of course, I found the book on our very own bookshelf! I suppose we had bought it at one point and then forgot about it? That seems hard to imagine, although if you show Carl and Kristen a place that has/sells books, that’s our example of a good time. I suspect we have many, many more books that we don’t even know about!

So, this book. I’m not a big fan of the title, although of course I click here for the rest of the story

A New Perspective on Seeing

I’ve worn glasses all my life, so it seems. At some point in junior high I could no longer see the chalkboard at school, so off I went to the eye doctor (sadly awful eyesight runs in my family). I was fitted with a pair of glasses (with lenses that changed with the sun – how dreadful) and I immediately placed the offending accessory in my back pocket unless their use became absolutely, critically necessary. Being as stubborn as I am, I moved closer to the front of the class and spent most of the next few years squinting quite hard. However once high school rolled around, I could fake it no longer, and even though more “fashionable” glasses were purchased, I hated having to wear them with a passion. And then my world changed – soft contacts became available (well, lest you think I am a zillion years old, they existed for years before, but I’m guessing that by the time I reached high school I was deemed old enough to try them out).

So then, soft contacts, then long-wearing disposables, then weekly disposables. End of the story. Now if you wear glasses (or know someone who does), you know this can’t be the end of the story. When I am wearing neither contacts nor glasses, I can only see clearly about 6 inches from my face on a good day (not kidding). For years I have been doing what I suppose most of us in this situation do (those of us who have health plans that cover either contacts or glasses) – get new contacts every year, but only every couple of years spring the several hundred dollars for a new pair of glasses (frames and/or lenses). Of course, this leads, as in my own home, to wearing a pair of horribly out-of-style glasses, which are only useful for hanging around the house and maybe driving (in limited circumstances, a very bright day click here for the rest of the story

Residential Design Class – Project 4

Note: I try to talk about design school on Tuesdays and Thursdays if I can, but last night I had a Photoshop fail with Friday’s post and this post was all ready to go, so…Happy Friday!!

I know what you’re thinking – what happened to projects 2 and 3? Well the projects are running quite out of order at the moment (thanks, weather), so I thought I’d start talking about this semester-long project now, because why not?

We measured an area that is upstairs from our classroom (it is actually a cafeteria), but we are to treat the space as a loft. A loft that is, indeed, on the 26th floor of a high-rise building which overlooks Lake Michigan (so it’s in Chicago). The space has windows all along the north wall (I will post layout drawings once they are done) and the entry door is on the south wall, and the space has the dubious honor to contain several columns and pilasters that must stay in the space (they actually support the building’s structure). Quick tip: when you measure a long distance and two people are holding the tape measure, make sure that you lay the tape measure on the ground. Do not measure in the air if you want accuracy, of course.

The project is for us to design this loft space from start to finish and ultimately create a complete design package.

  • create a layout with a scaled floor plan – including furnishings, doors and swings, floor material indications, plumbing fixtures, cabinets, etc.
  • kitchen design (as part as the overall plan and individually as kitchens are usually drawn in 1/2 inch scale to show detail, whereas overall layout is usually drawn in 1/4 inch scale)
  • elevations of all spaces – including furniture, fixtures, accessories, artwork, etc.
  • furnishings/finishes for all spaces, with pictures and samples
  • written report
  • oral presentation

We interviewed our “potential” client a few weeks ago – he is a bachelor in his mid-40s who works in sales – and for the sake of this project, money is no object. Exciting! He loves earth tones, texture, traditional style, Italian architecture (not rustic), loves wood and more wood, and artwork that contains images of WW II planes specifically. We interviewed him based on several weeks worth of research so that we could really assess how he would want to live in this space.

We are click here for the rest of the story

The History of Typography

What if I said there is a fun little animated short out there that will show you the history of typography in 5 minutes? That would be cool, yeah? And…here you go.

I bookmarked this video months ago when I was going through Garance Doré during my daily blog reading session.

Have I talked about her before? If I haven’t, I should have! You’ll notice she’s listed in my sidebar and her site is so French, so excellent, and so inspiring. In fact, you must first read this about her thoughts on image and how we, as a society, perpetuate both good and bad myths and stereotypes. So. good. You’ll probably need to set aside time to read her blog from start to finish. Don’t say I didn’t warn you – but enjoy!

She is also quite a famous artist and photographer, and sells prints and posters of her original artwork, like say, this.

Garance Dore poster-vertica-4

Garance Doré

And she just collaborated with Rifle Paper, one of my all-time favorite purveyors of printed goods, on a new collection.

You’ll fall in love with her design aesthetic (and her), promise! click here for the rest of the story

On Spending Money

I would like every single item from Emerson Fry, please.
Emerson Fry

There’s been a lot of criticism over the past few years about design bloggers who seem to mostly talk about items to buy. Of course I don’t really think of myself as a “design blogger” (maybe an all-over-the-place-creative blogger – I guess that’s why I can’t quite find any audience yet. Yet). There was some impression out there in blog land that 1) these bloggers were purchasing all of the items and were therefore “rich”, 2) the bloggers were getting the items for free, and/or 3) these same bloggers were contributing to existing societal materialism issues.

I can’t speak for other bloggers, only for myself, and I can assure you that 99% of the items I introduce you to I don’t own, didn’t get for free, and I probably won’t ever own. The reason I am sharing them with you is because each individual item has something about it that I think you’ll enjoy – most often – original, creative design that I want to share with the world!

And on that note, I bought a coat. A winter coat, something I haven’t had (using a cheap coat from Forever 21, wearing multiple blazers with a big scarf, and other nonsense hardly counts) since probably we moved to the Midwest. Ridiculous. In my defense, I used to work in a building with a very close parking lot and I guess I thought I didn’t need one? Am I an adult, or what? For some reason, I just couldn’t justify spending the money on a real winter coat (but yet my coffee consumption “budget” is above reproach. What can I say, I am full of contradictions apparently.)

So, I found a coat on sale from Emerson Fry. It was $240 (half off) and I nearly passed out checking out online. So. Much. Money ( at least to me). To be fair, my husband thought I was being ridiculous. I now have a pink, ’60s click here for the rest of the story

Kari Herer Photography

Months ago I was at IKEA, as usual, and I saw a collection of prints which caught my eye.
Kari Herer for IKEA.
In fact, I panicked. I thought, “…these are just like the prints I bookmarked years ago! It isn’t like IKEA to sell someone’s copied artwork!” But, in tiny letters on the bottom was Kari Herer‘s signature. Whew. And then I forgot about the whole event, apparently.

I’m working on a baby boy’s nursery for a client (more about that at another time) and I was thinking about different artwork as inspiration pieces and I thought of Kari Herer once again. I love how she creates original artwork, adds live flowers, and then photographs the entire piece. What an original, creative vision! I love the multi-media, 3-dimensional qualities of the prints.

Her website is absolutely gorgeous and she does projects for so many other publications, including print photography, animal portraits, weddings, etc. I had no idea – and you’ll see I’m not the only one who has recognized her talent!

These are some of my favorites (you’ll notice that I’m a sucker for anything with peonies, pink, and cute animals) - but of click here for the rest of the story

Interior Design Decision

Very first day of design school - introductory project.
The image above is from my first day of design school (Design Basics class) – we were asked to display the personal items we were carrying in order to introduce ourselves to the class. We only had ten minutes to organize, style, photograph, crop, and upload the images and then chose the best one to display on the larger screen.
I’ve been thinking about interior design vs. interior decoration a lot lately, and while I know it can be a very polarizing topic, I’d like to talk about it a little and about why I ultimately made the decision to pursue interior design.

I think I’ve already said how much I debated whether I should go to school to be an Interior Designer. Now of course there are courses that you can take to instead become an Interior Decorator, and even a certification process. I considered that too, for a long time, but I kept coming back to the idea that I needed to take classes in person and graduate with a degree from an accredited college. Of course it’s going to take me longer than most because I can only take about 2 classes at a time, but luckily they are mostly in my major. I’ll graduate with a degree in Interior Design from a school accredited by the NASAD. I have already earned a BA and an MA and several other certificates and certifications in the past, so luckily I was able to transfer a lot of general learning classes, which helps.

What I struggled with was this – was I thinking about pursuing a traditional schooling path because I thought I should? I come from a family of education – my parents both have MAs, as does my husband, his parents, and our oldest is even currently in a PhD program. Whew. That’s a lot of education! However, and this is a very big however, I don’t think that you need click here for the rest of the story

La Piscine

Is there ever a movie you find yourself watching over and over again – appreciating every little moment?

For me that movie is La Piscine. Never heard of it? Well hopefully once I tell you about it you’ll go right to Netflix or YouTube and immediately start watching it! It’s that good, I promise.

So let us back up a little. One of all my all-time favorite movies is Swimming Pool, starring the immensely talented and perennially gorgeous Charlotte Rampling. Maybe you speak French? If you do, then you would know that La Piscine means swimming pool – sound familiar? In the course of researching that movie years ago to write about (which I will in the future), I read that a lot of critics have compared these two movies and pointed out obvious similarities in the main plot and location (although there are a lot of differences). So then, but of course, I set out to research La Piscine. I was utterly captivated by this movie – so much so that when I want to feel like I am in sun-drenched Côte d’Azur in the late ’60s (which apparently I do often), I immediately watch it again. Of course it’s in French with subtitles but this fact doesn’t distract from the movie (which sometimes happens with foreign films). The setting is gorgeous, and features many, many shots of a glittering sun and swimming pool (of course) and subtlety beautiful and nuanced performances by all the quite famous actors (Romy Schneider, Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, including an early performance by Jane Birkin). I’m predictably beside myself about the interior design and the outfits and just the glorious ’60s of it all – every little detail! It’s the kind of movie where quick glances between characters speak unsaid volumes of emotion and dialogue. It’s also the rare movie that you could probably watch click here for the rest of the story

Library of Flowers

Have you ever heard such a lovely product name? I know I haven’t and when I read about their perfumed products in a magazine years ago they were added to my list of items to research and tell you about.

And on a snowy Friday in February, what better way to look towards Spring than talk about flowers, right?

Their website is divided by chapters. Chapter 1 is paper, cotton & string, Chapter 2 is nectar + pollen, and Chapter 3 is arboretum. Such an inventive idea and the packaging, oh the packaging is so beautiful and unique!
Amazing packaging of the Library of Flowers, Honeycomb eau de parfum.
Library of Flowers
I think the products that most live up to their name as a Library are their sampler tins (4 different groupings, a reasonable $38 US each for 3 scents). What a unique way to familiarize yourself with their products and also create your very own customized experience. From their description, ” We invite you into the Library of Flowers where moments are captured in artful perfumes waiting to be released upon happy whim.”

Indeed I would like nothing better than to sit amongst a library filled to the brim with flowers. Oh and design magazines. And my husband. And coffee. And our cats click here for the rest of the story

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