Thursday, 27 June 2013

Design Crush - Citta Design

If someone said I could only buy one brand of home wares for the rest of my life it would have to be Citta Design.  No contest.  Based in Auckland New Zealand, Citta designs home wares and other products inspired by our relaxed antipodean lifestyle.  You'll find a beachy meets urban vibe with lots of natural materials.  It's unfussy, with a refreshing use of colour to play against the delicious neutrals.  It's New Zealand summer distilled.  I'm sitting on a Citta ottoman right now.  I have two of  them.  So I can say from experience their products are as good quality as they are gorgeous!

Guarida Table Lamp with grey metal shade, Needle Point Cushion CoverColoured Weave rug, Seagrass Hola deep storage box set

Rattan Birdnest stool, Eye Spy grey coffee cup set of four, Origami classic mineral and carp paper cocktail napkins, Round Coffee Table with glass top.

I suppose grouping some of these things together might seem a bit random but I wanted to show just how broad their range is and pick out a few of my favorites.  While I was looking around their site I found their blog.  Normally, I don't like companies' blogs, they seem a bit impersonal and all about the sell but this one is done by Citta's own small team.  It's a great chance to peek behind the scenes and see how they work and what influences their collections/designs.  There are also links to  other great Kiwi blogs and business more of which I'll be posting about later =)  

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Life according to Jonathan Adler

There is no outfit that is too over the top... There are no fabulous items that are too cliched or uncool for you to embrace them... There is no reason to listen to wind chime naysayers... There is no concept out there so sacred that it isn't worth giving a twist to... There is no family portrait so precious that it wouldn't look better with a mustache... There is no fascinating place of character or idea in this world that you should not be open to explore... There is no reason not to delve deeply into your subversive side... There is no right or wrong way to live, just new ways to ponder... And there is no reason not to give yourself a break.

- Jonathan Adler, 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Eye Spy - Water color paintings by RiverLuna

My favorite thing on Etsy has to be art, especially paintings and photography.  One of the very first things I favorited on Etsy was RiverLuna; watercolor paintings by Marisa  Redondo.  The first thing I noticed about Marisa's work is how exquisitely detailed her paintings are and yet they aren't cluttered.  There is something incredibly graceful about the lines in her work.  The colors are beautiful and subtly shaded.  This Fawn Deer Painting is one of my favorites.

Fawn Deer Painting - Watercolor Art - Botanical Garden - Archival Print - 8x10 Oh Deer

Marisa's art is inspired by nature and she says that through her paintings she explores " the organic patterns and intricate details impressed on everything from the earth."

Marisa's paintings have a soulful, yet joyful feel to them.  This particularly comes through in her paintings of animals.  Clockwise from top left: Little Bunny Nahko, Fox in Ferns, Wren the Wandering Llama, Little Owl Mosi.

Bunny Illustration Art - Watercolor Painting - 5x7 Archival Prints - Little Bunny NahkoWatercolor Painting - Fox Illustration Art - River Luna - Archival Print 5x7
Llama Illustration Painting - Watercolor Art - 8x10 Archival Print - Wren the Wandering LlamaOwl Illustration Art - Watercolor Painting - Archival Print - Little Owl Mosi by Marisa Redondo

Marisa also paints beautiful feathers, sticks and other found objects.  Clockwise from top left: Chevron Feathers, Spring BundleWhite Moth Wings

Watercolor Feather Painting - Modern Art - Archival Print - 8x10 Chevron FeathersWatercolor Painting - Nature Art - Archival Print - Spring Bundle 11"x14"Butterfly Moth Wings Watercolor Art Painting - Archival Print - 8x10 White Moth Wings

Marisa's work speaks to me because it expresses exactly what I feel about nature; exactly how it feels to observe the tiny ridges in a feather, the whorls on a butterfly's wing, the soulful look in the eyes of an animal.  It is subtle, magical and elusive.  I love art that makes me want to keep on looking and looking and looking.  

RiverLuna was a Featured Shop on Etsy so you can read more about Marisa.  The photo below is via the Etsy article and shows Marisa's desk.  How I wish my desk was that pretty!


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Ink and Spindle - boutique textiles from Melbourne Australia

Watercolour in Toffee - cushion cover

Have you noticed how many wonderful things are designed in Melbourne these days?  It's relatively close to New Zealand and everyone comes back from holiday there raving about the city's vibe.  I've been there and it's true!  There's no where like Melbourne, especially if you like markets, food and all things creative.  

Ink and Spindle is a perfect example of some of the beautiful work you find in Melbourne.  Lara Cameron and Tegan Rose produce hand printed textiles inspired by nature.  They use organic cotton or hemp and water based inks.

I found an Ink and Spindle textile on the internet last year and then, as so often happens, I forgot who the maker was.  The fabric was Wrens in Inky Blue (below). 

Wrens in Inky Blue

I rediscovered Ink and Spindle through Design*Sponge who did a tour of the showcase apartment they did for the launch of Forte, the world's tallest timber apartment building.  Here's the living room (photo via Design*Sponge)

The chairs are upholstered in Kangaroo Paw in Red Orange and Snow.  Many of Ink and Spindle's textiles feature Australian plants and birds.  Reading the comments on the post, Grevillea in Grey Lead and Mustard (below) seemes to be very popular.  How cool would this look on a sofa or on a bed with all white linen?  

Something I didn't  know about Ink and Spindle is that they also make gorgeous flower prints.  

Set of 3 'Proteaflora' Artist Prints

Can you see how the colours overlap?  So lovely!  I wish they would make some smaller versions that maybe I could afford.  If these prints are out of your budget too, how about buying a streched canvas and stretching over a piece of Ink and Spindle fabric using  a staple gun?  This  is my favourite method for showcasing something gorgeous when I can only have a little bit.  I'm always on the lookout for new ways to use smaller pieces of fabric.  How about you?  Which is your favourite Ink and Spindle textile/print?  How would you use it?


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Green tips for black thumbs

I've been noticing a huge number of posts about plants lately; both houseplants and gardens.  Maybe this has something to do with the growing (pardon the pun) trend towards environmentalism and all things green.  It's my firm belief that house plants make a house feel homier and I've always had them.  In some of our scruffier rentals they made the house feel infinitely cleaner and more welcoming.  the cause, I hope it's here to stay because I have a real green thumb that's finally cool to admit to having =)  I've noticed a number of my favourite bloggers admit to having the black thumb so I thought I'd post my (amateur) tips on growing houseplants.  But first some inspiration...

Pileas by Mieke Verbijlen: Gardenista
From left: Chinese money plant (Remodelista) and succulents in assorted containers (Design*Sponge)

Four tips for growing beautiful house plants
#1 Start small and cheap.  The big, lush plants are tempting, but if you aren't sure you can keep it alive then buy a "baby" version of the same thing for a couple of bucks.  The kind sold in pots the size of a tea cup.  That way if it dies, it isn't so upsetting and if it doesn't you'll have a lovely big plant sooner than you thought.

#2 Match the plant's needs to your location.  Read the tag to see what the plant likes in terms of shade/sun, warmth and humidity.  Orchids like sun (not directly on their leaves though) and they like humidity; so if you have a well lit bathroom, they could grow well for you there.  Cacti like bright sun and dry soil so put them on your sunniest windowsill.  I bought a philodendron this weekend because I needed a plant that likes a bit of shade. 

#3 Find out how much water the plant likes.  Some plants, like succulents, need their soil to dry out, others like to be kept moist.  Most plants hate standing in saucers full of water.

#4 Plants need less water in winter, especially if you live in a country with cool rainy or snowy winters.  Over watering kills houseplants quickly and leaves you thinking "but I took such good care of it!"

Upcycled tins at www.myparadissi.comair plant by Kim Ludy: Gardenista
From left: coleus, succulents and cacti in tins (My Paradissi), air plant (Remodelista)
Bettina: Small Hypertufa pot, Concrete Pot, without plantPlant Pot Cover, Home Decor, Cover, Yellow Pot Cover
From left: from Truly Unruhly, from J Pavey Designs

Here's a list of plants I think are really cool and easy to grow!
Airplant - No soil means you can keep it in any container, anywhere.  Plants don't come more foolproof  than this.
Coleus - Available in several pink varieties! The best leaves. Ever!
Jade plant - sculptural and easy to grow from cuttings.  Poke a stem or even a leaf into soil and you'll have a plant in no time.  As a succulent they require very little water so they're perfect if you are away from home a lot.  
Bromeliad - just top up the pool of water in the center and this plant is self watering.  Tolerates shade well too so good for those rooms that don't get direct sunlight.  I love the ones with bright pink or purple centers - they look like they've been spray painted!

One last thought:
If you know a green thumbed person don't be afraid to ask what their plants are and how often they water them etc.  Growing plants is like baking - just follow the directions and you'll be fine.  And if you have a failure ask your green thumbed friends for advice =)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Two paper lantern DIY ideas

I am pleased to announce that there are no more naked light bulbs in my house!  You may know that we don't have Ikea here in NZ so finding something nice without remortgaging the house is tricky.  I took the cheap and easy route and bought paper shades for the living room and bedroom.  The living room shade looks something like this and is very big.  It comes from the Warehouse.  Not a place I would think to look for a lampshade, I admit, but I had a great tip off from someone who knows exactly what I like =)
In the bedroom I got the most basic round paper shade imaginable.  When I got it home it was smaller than I thought and it really needs something.  Fortunately the internet has the answer to absolutely everything and here are two very cool DIY ideas.  

Idea #1 Ombre
I stumbled across this wicked DIY on Remodelista when i was looking for the above photo.  She uses a can of spray paint to create the ombre effect.  My bedroom has a Chinese water colour painting over the bed which will be framed in gold when I get around to it; so a spritz of gold would be perfect!
Ombre Pink Paper Lamp Shade by Susanna Vento, Remodelista

Idea #2 Chinese inspired tassel
I've always loved paper lanterns of all kinds.  I especially like Chinese lanterns with tassels like this one
pretty pink Chinese paper lantern Stock Photo - 8880676
I have a round paper lantern, so now I just need the tassel.  Luckily today Design*Sponge had these beautiful ombre tassels by Ouch Flower.  Just the thing!  How cool would one of these look hung off a standard white paper shade?
Tassels are possibly the easiest thing to make in the world.  Pompoms for lazy people I call them. Of course making them as beautiful as the ones above is an art form.  I'm excited to give it a go though.  So more photos to follow when I finish my DIY lamp =)