Monday, March 29, 2010

Liberty of London

Yesterday, Justin and I ran to Target to pick up some steaks for dinner since it was a sunny and warm 57ยบ. As I was doing my usual lap through the home decor clearance section, I saw the patterned watering cans, gardening gloves, and more by Liberty of London (no they aren't on sale yet for those of you whose hearts just leapt).

As I fawned over the gardening tools, I remembered that I have these luscious patterns as my desktop wallpaper and I shouldn't keep them all to myself, but share them with you! A few weeks ago I was sucked into a feature on Target's site advertising the upcoming Liberty of London items. The graphic illustrative patterns drew me in like a bee to honey and lucky for us, Target posted links to download desktop wallpaper of the beautiful art. You can see all of them below and download all five wallpapers here. As we walked away, Justin teased my easy-to-please attitude while I was thinking to myself, "I have to get those gardening gloves!"

Dunclare by Liberty of London for Target

Garla by Liberty of London for Target

Grace by Liberty of London for Target

Peacock by Liberty of London for Target

Sixty by Liberty of London for Target

Aren't they lovely? I have them rotating on my computer's desktop every 15 minutes at home and at work. Sorry I've been holding out on ya!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Little Bit of Bull

I thought my fellow typographers would join me in praising this Australian man and Hungry Beast for their video Arial Font is Bullshit.

Happy Friday funday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hawaii Part 3

I'm not trying to draw out the posts of pictures from our vacation in Hawaii in January, but here is part three (see part one here and part two here), capturing the fourth day of our trip (if I still have your attention).

On this day, we jammed our itinerary with another trip around the island including Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, Punalu'u Bakery, South Point, Volcanoes National Park, Hilo, Rainbow Falls, and Boiling Pots.

Our first stop was Punalu'u Black Sand Beach where, if you didn't guess, the sand is black. Like all other days on the island, it was hot and sunny the day we visited and when we took off our sandals to walk along the shore, the sand was so hot we had to walk in the water so our feet didn't feel like they were being burned.

After catching rays on black sand beach, we stopped at Punalu'u Bakery and picked up some donuts and delicious lunch.

Then we cruised on down to South Point, the southern-most point in the U.S. As one of the windiest places on the island, we held on to our hats and watched the waves crash into the cliff shore. Justin told me that if I was to conveniently fall in, the current would take me to Antarctica—thanks honey! The water in this tidal pool was the most beautiful cerulean blue I have ever seen.

To reach South Point we had to drive down this narrow road that was surrounded by grazing cows and wind turbines. As you can see from this picture, the constant force of the wind has permanently altered the growth of this tree and all others around it. We thought it looked like it had gotten a bad buzz cut. Ha!

Finally, around lunchtime we arrived at our main destination, Volcanoes National Park. Unfortunately, part of crater rim drive was closed due to elevated levels of sulfur dioxide gas, but we were still able to hike up to Kilauea Caldera. Here's the view looking across the crater from Pu'u Pua'i Overlook.

Then we hiked through the Thurston Lava Tube, which is one tube that did not collapse after the lava had flowed out. (Most lava tubes cave in after the lava leaves because they have no support holding them up.) Can you image this thing filled with lava? It looks like a giant snake burrowed through the earth.

I snapped this photo on the trail leading to the Thurston Lava Tube. It's one of my favorites of the two of us from our trip.

After seeing all the sites at the top part of the park, we drove down to the coast where the most recent volcanic activity has occurred. Unfortunately, just a couple weeks before our visit, the current volcanic activity stopped flowing. In the photo below, you can see how the waves of lava engulfed the land and road that used to be there. See the road sign? It says ROAD CLOSED—no kidding!

After viewing so much devastation in the park, it was pleasant to see some beautiful things along the coast. One of the many sea arches we saw on our trip, this one was created when the water punched a hole in the land and kept wearing it away.

There is also a ton of new foliage growing out of the cracks in the lava. This particular succulent's vibrant green caught my eye surrounded by all of the weathered black lava.

On our fourth day, we also visited Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots in Hilo, but by the time we got over to that side of the island the sun was setting and I couldn't catch a good photo. So, you'll have to go see them for yourselves. Aloha!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I may have overdone it

From the title of this post, those of you who know me may be thinking, "How many shoes did she buy this time?" or "Poor Justin, having to eat burnt grilled cheese again!" But, oh how mistaken you are today, my dear friends!

Last weekend I was cleaning up and organizing things around my house, putting things in a pile to go upstairs, a pile for Goodwill, and a pile of the magazines that I still need to go through before the May issues start rolling in a week...

Do you see that? Twelve issues from nine different magazines and all mostly from April. But before you jump to the conclusion that I bought them all off the rack, let me explain. Over the winter holiday I received an email blast from the lovely people at Hearst magazines offering a deal I couldn't refuse, $5 yearly subscriptions. Yes, you heard me correctly. Five. Dollars. So, what was a girl to do?

If you can't read what I've got  in my cue to read flip through before the end of this month, check out the list:
Ready Made
Country Living
Elle Decor
House Beautiful
Coastal Living
Real Simple
Martha Stewart Living

Oh, one more small confession, I just sent in a subscription form for Better Homes and Gardens last week...c'est la vie.

What magazines do you subscribe to? Do you have any favorites that you just can't part with on matter the cost?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Long before we painted our gigantic 2-story front living room, I had a plan for this massive wall that greets you upon entering our home...and my idea is as grand as the 18 foot wall.

As soon as we got some paint on the walls, taking it from insane asylum white...

to Teddy Ruxpin velvety brown...

I was chomping at the bit to implement my next vision, the appearance of windows on that wall. I raced to the nearest Ikea and picked up two of these show-stopping-Mongstad mirrors that I have had my eye on for nearly a year now. The first attempt at purchasing them resulted in huffing and heaving them out to the car, grunting and groaning as we tried to shove each of their 50 pound bodies into our car's trunk (ha!), and sad puppy dog faces when we realized they weren't going to fit (well, at least I made a sad puppy dog face). But never fear, that's what the in-laws' car is for right? The following weekend, my mother-in-law and I went back to Ikea and returned home victorious, thanks to her minivan. (Remind me again why I don't want a minivan...)

Any-who, back to the story, I believe the natural stance of these mirrors is to lean, but since I foresee this area of our home being a high trafficked space, I didn't want to leave open the opportunity for these to be bumped and go crashing to the floor. I also want them to be window-like, which are normally off the floor and not at an angle, so, I decided I to hang 'em up—all 50 pounds each.

Because I had carefully measured where I wanted to hang these and since they are so hefty, I knew that I was going to need special drywall anchors. I was not going to succumb to hanging them only where we could find studs, so in order to ensure their attachment to the wall I called upon our all knowing and having friend, Home Depot. There, I found drywall anchors that promised to hold up to 75 pounds (25 more than the weight of these mirrors). So I bought a set for each mirror and within 30 minutes of being home had Justin drilling holes...and no more than 10 minutes later had them in place.

I was so excited to see them on our walls and happy that they didn't fall within 15 minutes, 24 hours, or 7 days later. (Yes, they are still up, even today!)

What do you guys think? While I love them to no end, I think that wall could use a little more oomph, and don't worry, I've got some coming.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Catch that mouse!

The other day I came across a neat little freebie that tracks your mouse activity with the click of a button. I downloaded it and let it run its magic for a full 7.5 hours while I was at work. Here are the results of my day's digital rodent activity.

I'm all over the place! At first I was wondering what activity created the large black circles and I realized it was idle time, when my mouse isn't moving. So, giant black circle in the lower left corner was when I went to lunch.

I think it would be an interesting exercise to track your activity over a couple days and overlay the maps to see what areas are the most dense. These could also be cool if you matted and framed a small series. Who knew you could create art while not even realizing it?

Does anyone else see the shape of the US in my mouse tracker?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Burning the Midnight Wax 2

In December, I posted a how-to on removing the hard-to-reach leftover bits and remains of wax a candle leaves in its jar once it has burnt out. Since then, I learned of a much better, easier, and safer way to do the same thing thanks to my mother-in-law. So when another candle flickered out last weekend, I thought what better time than now to try it out and boy, I'm glad I did!

Here's my candle after the flame died.

You can see from above that it left a nice, thick ring of wax taunting me from the inside of the vase.

So, what I was told to do is soak the candle in warm, soapy water for an hour or so...

and the heat from the water makes the wax soft and malleable. In fact, my little hunk of wax loosened itself up and floated to the top of the jar.

All I had to do was grab a hold of that sucker and pull it out.

And the best part about this method is no waiting 24 hours for it to freeze. No knives. No potential to stab yourself as you slowly chip away at the wax.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Makeover: Tricia's Mom's Kitchen Cabinets

When my coworker, Tricia, told me that she was painting her mom's dark kitchen cabinets with a fresh and bright white, I told her I couldn't wait to see the results. Then I continued to bug her about it for the next couple months and finally, the results are in!

Here are the cabinets before:

The rustic hardware

After a lot of Tricia's elbow grease and a few months of putting in weekend hours, the cabinets breathe a breath of new life and look young again. (I bet that the kitchen looks 10 times bigger too.)

The new contemporary hardware

Doesn't it look ah-maze-ing? Great job Tricia, your mom is one lucky lady! What else do you have up your sleeve?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Volcano Wine and Kona Beer

When Justin and I go on a trip, be it to Europe or our neighboring state of Michigan, we like to drink in the local flavor, literally. It is always an ambition of ours to taste wine from the local wineries and drink beer from local breweries when we travel, and in Hawaii we did a little bit of both.

On our second drive around the big island, we swung into the Volcano Winery in Volcano, Hawaii, no more than a couple miles down the road from Volcanos National Park. We had fun sipping and tasting their wine made from grapes and fruit grown just out the back door, but were not impressed with the flavor, packaging, or prices ($16 a bottle!). Call us cheap, but generally when we buy wine straight from the house it was made, bottles are somewhere between $6 and $12.

Back at the hotel, we ran to the grocery store in the shopping center next to our hotel and snagged a mixed 6-pack of Kona Brewing Company beer that included 2 Fire Rock Pale Ales, 2 Big Wave Golden Ales, and 2 Longboard Lagers. Unfortunately, I can not comment on the taste, since I am not a fan of beer, but the speed at which Justin was draining them leads me to believe that he either thoroughly enjoyed them or was having a bad day, which, let's be honest, can anyone have a bad day when they are on vacation in Hawaii? I didn't think so.

Just like any other graphic designer, I am a sucker for nicely designed beer/wine/alcohol packaging and Kona Brewing Company's packaging is a case in point.

I especially loved their bottle caps because on the flip side was a hawaiian word and it's english translation. While Justin was drinking, I learned that ipo is lover, aloha is hello and goodbye, pupu is appetizer, wikiwiki is quick, and keiki is child.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Best of CS Interiors: Winter 2010

When I casually flipped through CS Interiors Winter 2010 issue a few weeks ago, this quote from Adam Sorkin immediately jumped out at me. I think it suits more than just him, don't you?

And of course, accompanying his spot-on quote, are photos from his verde-licious home located in Chicago's neighborhood of West Andersonville. On the left is his dining room with a green striped FLOR carpet square rug and if you look in the background, you can see a sliver of his kelly green lacquered foyer. On the right is his living room complete with an astroturf rug. No. Joke. Actual astroturf, I wonder what Justin would say...

Photo by Bob Coscarelli, CS Interiors

Then a dozen pages later, this image of Joe Paolucci and Tom Hitchcock's modernist, mid-century patio complete with wire-framed furniture had me at hello. Where can you even find an entire, mint-condition, vintage patio set anyways?

Photo by Tony Soluri, CS Interiors

In the magazine's TRENDS! section there was an impressive display of clear glass terrariums that promise greenery all year round, which is important to me and my fellow chicagoans who bear the bone-chilling winter weather every year. These pear shaped ones from Vivaterra are made from recycled glass and my favs from the assortment.

Also to top the TRENDS! section was a medley of string obsessed items. These two, the flock of swallows mobile and the delta bell strand both from Anthropologie, had my heart swinging from the trees. I love their naturally neutral colors and think the swallow mobile would look amazing hanging above a baby's bed for that modern meets nature look.

One of the best parts of having a Modern Luxury interiors magazine in Chicago is that it features Chicago retailers and designers. I had to include this little guy on my best of list because it is completely unique and unpredictable. This gnome stool/side table was created by Phillipe Starck for Kartell and if you're in the area, you can get it at Orange Skin.

These may just look like decorative blocks of twigs but they are actually big enough to be used as a bench, side table, or coffee table. Any ideas on how to DIY? I'd love one, or two, or three in my foyer.

One of the featured homes in the Winter 2010 issue hails from Caroline Scheeler, the creative director of Jayson Home & Garden. Her living room, embodies pattern, comfort, and, what CS Interiors calls, "global-vintage." I can't believe how put together this room looks with everything that is in there. I love the textures, animal influences, vintage pieces, and brooding color scheme. If only one of the rooms in my house could look like this.

Photo by Tony Soluri, CS Interiors

And last, but not least, I just like how this room's designer used the vertical space to the right of the fireplace to store some firewood. Obviously the fireplace is gas (see the rocks in the fire), so the wood isn't necessary, but it looks natural and provides a great texture/pattern for the space.

Photo by Jememy Bustos, CS Interiors

If I didn't show you enough of CS Interiors Winter 2010 and you want to see it all, click here. I'm interested to hear if someone else has a favorite that didn't make my list.

All photos from CS Interiors.
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