45 articles

Another thing I don’t really need but totally want, regardless…

HiFi Console by Department

HiFi Console by Department Home & Audio

So I was sorting through a pile of unopened mail and other misc papers that have piled up on my desk, and lo and behold, I come across the flyer for this most perfect incredible subtle wireless new style old school record player plus storage by Department Home & Audio in Chicago. And I fell in love.

And then I realized that there really isn’t anywhere in our apartment that I could put this.

And then I was sad.

But maybe one of you lucky souls out there has been in the market for a record player/LP storage cabinet. And now your prayers are answered.

You can thank me later.

Escape in a bottle

apoktheke room diffuser

Mind you, this diffuser comes from Apotheke the scented home products company, not the craft bar. Though both businesses are in Brooklyn and seem pretty great…

A few weeks ago, I was in our local pharmacy picking up a few last minute items for our trip to Maine and I saw these Apotheke room diffusers in their understated cardboard, artisinal, made-in-brooklyn style packaging that is my weakness… and then the scents were things like “woods” and “sea salt grapefruit”. How is a person supposed to resist that?

I went for “woods”, and I now have the most delightfully scented bathroom a girl could want. Not at all overpowering, but it does feel like a much needed escape every time I walk into that room.

And we all can use a little escape in our lives, can’t we?

Time to get outside…

This is the time of year when all thoughts turn outside… and rather than spend all of my energy worrying about ticks and how to keep those little buggers away from me and my clan, I choose to think about the earth and what kind of tools I might need in order to form a more perfect garden. Some people may say I am thinking about shopping, but I say whatever to those spoilers.

Here are a few of the things I’m thinking need to be making their way into my backyard sooner than later:


There is no such thing as gardening without digging. Landscaper’s Ultra light shovel, $98


So I’m reading this article about the 10 absolutely essential garden tools I’m going to need to survive and a garden wand is at the top of the list. Who knew I needed more than the simple nozzle I’ve had for years? Haws Brass Watering Lance, $80.

japanese garden pruners

Not sure why the Japanese hold the title for most bad ass pruning knives and clippers, but they do. Handmade Japanese Garden Pruners, $119.

edison string lights

You can’t really party in the garden if you can’t see anything, can you? Edison String Lights, $40.

wind chimes

Because sometimes the wind really is the best stereo. Porcelain Wind Chimes, $46.

marshmallow skewers

It is as beautiful to eat a smore by a raging bonfire on the beach as it is to pop one into your mouth by the fireside in the dead of winter. So why not upgrade the skewers? Marshmallow Skewers, set of 4. $24.


Birds need lovely summer cottages, too. Fieldstone Hanging Bird Shelter, $95.

gardening boots

Some people might call these rain boots, but I know the perfect gardening boot when I see it… Ilse Jacobson Laced Rain Boot, $168.

mier lamp

Taking the flashlight to a whole new level. M Lamp by Juniper Design and David Irwin, $220.

Jill Platner is going to turn your bathtub into a work of art

JILL PLATNER | Made on Crosby Street from Jill Platner on Vimeo.

This video celebrates the work that went into the design and fabrication of Jill Platner’s new Isla line of bathroom fixtures for Waterworks.

I have been close friends with Jill Platner for my entire adult life. Every season, for as long as I’ve known her, she holes herself up in her studio for an intense period of time, stays up till the wee hours, doesn’t return any of her messages and then, just when you start to get worried, emerges with a brilliant new collection that is better than anything she’s produced before. This happens every single time. Without fail.

But this month she’s outdone herself by emerging with not only a new collection of jewels, but the most sublime family of bathroom fixtures a person could ever imagine. With the esteemed brand Waterworks as her partner, Jill spent the past two years drawing and sculpting and dreaming and manufacturing a whole new take on the bathroom fixture. It’s enough to make me want to rip out my entire (rental) bathroom and replace it with this stuff. They are by far the most beautiful spouts and hooks and shower heads I have ever seen.

And we can all get our hands on them via Waterworks.

Less paper towels in 2016!

Swedish sponges are available from ancient industries, which is one of my favorite home shopping sites.

Swedish sponge from ancient industries.

I would be fooling myself if I claimed I could completely cut out all paper towel usage, but damned if I’m going to let that stop me from making a serious dent in my consumption.

So, in the spirit of every little bit counts, I give you these Swedish sponges which are kind of like a cross between a paper towel and a sponge. They are super absorbent, but also reusable and, quite frankly, they last far longer than any sponge I’ve ever had in my kitchen. When they get dirty, you just wash them and they are as good as new. I’ve had mine for about 6 months now and they are still gong strong.

I haven’t done any official measuring, but I do know that I go through far fewer paper towels than I used to. Plus I don’t feel the need to keep several rolls on hand as replacements, which gives us more room in our already overtaxed utility closet. And anything that helps save the trees, which helps the ecosystem and which helps save the air we breathe, is fine by me.

Baby steps…

What to do after you leave your job

Here are the hands of the team... hard at work!

Here are the hands of the team… hard at work!

My husband left his job at the end of 2015 which has meant all sorts of things for our little family… not least of which is a proliferation of project-doing around the house. Our utility closet has been entirely reorganized, Josh’s side of the closet has been Kondo-ized, pencil cases were hand-sewn for his nieces’ holiday gifts, etc etc.

The crowning glory (so far) of all of this domestic productivity, is the wall that he and our daughter painted in our closet. Down came the falling apart hooks and weird shoe rack and up went all sorts of lengths of blue tape. Evidently there were a few arguments between the co-creators as to how, exactly, to lay out the lines… but they came to some sort of agreement and the result is glorious.

Using cans of leftover paint unearthed during the utility closet sortie, they filled in the spaces with color, let the paint dry, and then carefully pulled off the tape to unveil their masterpiece. The upside is that I am now overcome with happiness whenever I see that wall. The down side is that my two artists are so proud of their work that they bring all visitors through the bedroom to see it. Which means my days of the unkempt bedroom and closet are over.

Something tells me that may have been part of Josh’s nefarious plan…

painted wall

The finished wall, in all of its glory.

Another thing I really don’t need but totally want, regardless

oven mitt

This oven mitt is brought to you by artstyledesignliving.com. They design lots of stylish and artistic stuff for living, in case you were wondering.

So there I am in Whisk, my friendly neighborhood kitchen store, innocently buying mini cupcake pan liners for the tiny red velvet cupcakes we’ll be making tomorrow for the school bake sale, when my eyes fall upon this absolutely perfect oven mitt.

It’s made out of denim, which makes it perfect in an understated, tough, dirt won’t show on it kind of way. Plus it’s 16″ long, which means it covers my entire forearm. I’m not sure why I find that so necessary in a pot holder, but for some reason I do.

My eyes glaze over and I buy it, ignoring the fact that I have two (yep, 2) mitts at home that are now officially obsolete through no fault of their own.

Whatever. You only live once.

And if you don’t live near Whisk, just go to artstyledesignliving.com and order up your own so I’m not the only one with too many pot holders in the kitchen.

And while we’re on the topic of clearing out the old…

The deconstructed VHS tape, on the dining room table. How many of these do you still have aying around?

The deconstructed VHS tape, on the dining room table. How many of these do you still have laying around?

Once the juices get flowing, it’s hard to stop. My plan is to systematically go through the bags and put away or get rid of (hopefully more of the latter) all of the various papers that lurk within. Then I tackle the two file drawers in my desk. And then the bits of loose paper on the shelves.

But my husband has no such devotion to a system and is much more of an all or nothing kind of person when it comes to doing these things. So when he glanced up and saw the pile of videos o my bookshelf, he lept at them, demanding to know what kind of useless nonsense was on them.

Turns out they are all copies of an incredibly cute video that his cousin and best man Mark made for us and played at our rehearsal dinner. But we have no way to play them and most definitely don’t need more than one copy at this point. So into the trash the other copies flew.

And then right back out again, because I can’t stand the idea of that much plastic going into the landfill if I can help it. And it turns out we can recycle everything but the film… you just have to take apart the casing, which I learned how to do from this video. (What did we do before YouTube?) Granted, it took about 3 minutes a tape, but I think that’s time well spent when it comes to saving the planet, don’t you?

Yesterday, at some point…


Another January, another attempt at clearing out all of the excess stuff in my office. This is not, to put it mildly, my first time at this particular rodeo. Nor my second. Or even my third.

But this time is going to be different. I am being kinder to myself. I’ve enlisted the help of a professional (the inimitable Martha Hayden– more about her at a later point), speaking with her over the phone for hours gathering up advice and working on gong about the project in a way that will stick. I’ve even gotten my husband (who has just left his job and is, as such, ripe for activities) into the game.

This is a huge job. It is going to take some time. We have only just begun. But we are determined to, in the words of the great Alan Rickman in Galaxy Quest:

“Never give up. Never surrender.”

Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day. The posts are meant to be stand alone images, though at times I can’t control myself, and I end up expanding the caption into a more lengthy bit of text. Hopefully the extra information is useful, or at least interesting. If not, feel free to ignore it.

5 great gifts you can get right now on Etsy

Felt gnome and mushrooms set by BlueRooster Arts on Etsy

Felt gnome and mushrooms set by BlueRooster Arts on Etsy

Ok first off, here’s a little thing you may not have known about me: I am a sucker for tiny handmade felt figurines. I love them. I have not gone whole hog, acquiring dozens of the little creatures and placing them all over our house, but if I were to go into someone else’s home who had such a display, I’m sure I would throw my hands in the air and squeal with delight.

Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, I wanted to start my own holiday gift guide season with a few ideas from the one and only center for all things handmade: Etsy. Because the sellers are just regular people, and not Amazon Prime, one has to be a bit more organized when ordering from them. But at this point we still have plenty of time to get the gifts to where they need to be. So now is the time to troll Etsy for the good stuff. And maybe even get something personalized while you’re at it!

First up (above) the felt woodland figurines. Maybe they are a gift, or maybe they are destined to become part of your own home decor. I like the gnome, but there are others to check out as well. Lovingly made in Montana by BlueRooster, $20.

indigo shiboro napkins by shoppromisedland on etsy

We need new napkins and I totally want these, which are linen and hand dyed using the ancient Japanese shibori technique. Just in case there are any people out there looking to give me something for the holidays. Made in Massachusetts by ShopPromisedLand, $32.50.

glass teapot etsy

I’m not quite sure I understand how this teapot is “handmade”, but it sure is pretty. And that’s gotta count for something right? This comes to us via Unihom in the UK, which might be slightly inconvenient, but hey– they ship worldwide, so who’s counting? $24.50.

memory game o etsy

This is one of those memory games that you play with your kids before they can read and if you’re me, your kids actually do much better than you because your memory is shot. Hopefully, you are not me, and you will kick your kids’ a**es. Regardless, this version is handmade by fourthavenue in Minnesota and if you get in touch with them, you can even customize the game with imagery of your choosing! $12.

log ipad dock etsy

I mean, if this wooden iPad dock and charging station doesn’t have ETSY written all over it, I don’t know what does. This is the kind of thing that the online emporium of handmade is all abut. Plus who else do you know who has one of these? I rest my case. Handcrafted from barnwood by valliswood in Croatia, $80.