Sunday, April 03, 2011

things are getting pinteresting

have just discovered Pinterest. It's a new world over there and a delicious one... Come find me -- xx p

oh, & ps... have I told you I'm moving to california? things are good over here! hope with you too.

image via enthusiasm documented.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

a tea set that I suspect my mother will disapprove of

What do you think? I just bought this set on Etsy. The best part about it? It's super baby pink. The second best thing about it? The seller said it's Haviland, Danish mid-century modern, but it looked art deco to me, so I did a bit of research and yup! it's marked Johann Haviland, Bavaria, which means that it can only have been produced between 1907-1924.

Now I have to tell my mother that I bought a pink tea set. She's going to wrinkle her nose gingerly and wish me well. She's a Norwegian from Montana stock, loves Sir Edmund Hillary, Martha Ballard, and other stoic heroes, and wears jeans and a bit of vintage Marimekko. She likes whites, and woods, and blues, and the occasional red. Not into Bauhaus pastels. And that's where she and I lovingly agree to differ.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

cricket bats, cherry blossoms and korean girls with pin-curls

Surely we can all agree that this wintery winter's been lovely, but that it's now time again to start dreaming of longer days, sprays of forced quince blossoms in the entry hall, and that beautiful, frosty, misty, foggy part of early spring, that part of the season that is so delicate and promising, that almost-melting, not-quite-slushy, sauntering-out-in-Wellies part, when every living thing seems to be entwined in ether, curlicued in vapor.

At least that's what I start dreaming of when I see these odd, enchanting images from a Korean Vogue shoot, called "Romantic Sport Fashion."

Via Abby's Road.

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Betsy Dorman: the Kara Walker of animal silhouettes, perhaps...

Reyer Stolk, 1945 (seen first by me here, and then in various places, such as here.)

Love the above Dutch picture book madly (but aren't prepared to search through vintage dealers for a copy)? Try Betsy Dorman's fascinating, beautiful take on animal silhouettes, found in Besty, her Etsy shop. She manages to be both unsentimental and yet sympathetic, even affectionate, towards her subjects. Check out her porcupine. Not exactly a pretty guy. I revel in the courage of it.

And, "S" is for Sloth.
Few animal silhouettes are observant and witty enough for anyone to dare class them as portraits (e.g., these, which are pretty stock), but hers do actually make it as portraits. Each profile, each face, has its own look, its own particular, watchful, attentive gaze beyond the frame.

I also find it deeply impressive that BD's sloth, and several of her other silhouettes, manage, successfully, to toe that ambitious, elusive line between abstraction and absolute specificity.Poster, $60, Besty.

Good, no? Let's be honest; we're talking so damn fine.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

a silk print for the last days of November

and with a a swatch of vintage silk in a feather print, we let November go, say goodbye for now to Thanksgiving, and welcome in December with its pine needles, its brown paper packages, its mittens, its champagne, its snows.

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Monday, November 08, 2010


my vote? yay for turbans.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

fortnum & mason green, grapefruit, and the nubbly black of an avocado skin....

just discovered the inspiration boards at snippet & ink. damn does that girl have an eye.

she picked the gorgeous image above, by photographer arjan benning, for this one.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

dance and repose: carolyn anderson

Just discovered Carolyn Anderson, an extraordinary contemporary painter. (click on the photos for larger images.) It would be interesting to see what she did if she moved out of her comfort zone of 19th c. subjects, but either way, what she's currently doing is pretty incredible. The sense of motion conveyed in the Native American dancer is inspired. You can feel that shuffling, rhythmic, explosive, moccasin'd step...

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

fiiiigaro! figaro figaro figaro!

Spotted a beautiful vintage car in pristine condition on the street near Victoria station today, and just had to take a closer look.

Turned out to be a Nissan Figaro. Not currently available in the US, but oh! the possibilities!

Come to think of it, it's been a lucky 24 hours. Was out walking with my husband in Picadilly, yesterday evening, after work, and it was drizzling and cool and there were masses of crowds as usual but all was fairly calm because of the rain and the dusk. Suddenly I grabbed my husband's arm and whispered: LOOK! It's SOAMES! It was. He was out and about with his wife, looking just dashing. Went up to him, a bit starstruck. He didn't expect it, and was pleased. Mmm... So was I.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Violet is the name of a cake shop in London

Such a treat this past Friday: went with an American friend, her British husband, and their beautiful new daughter on a little jaunt to Violet, a teeny, tiny, little bakery near their home in Hackney, London's answer to Brooklyn. Violet is owned by Claire Ptak, a transplanted Californian who used to work at Chez Panisse, and now tempts the likes of Stella McCartney and Jamie Oliver with her cakes. I chose a clotted-cream cupcake with lashings of raspberry jam. Delight.

Pics from Violet, and from the rewarding blog, This is Naive.

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Monday, August 02, 2010

wish you were here, from Cap Ferrat...

back now in London, after an absurdly beautiful weekend on the Côte d'Azur with a Catalan friend and three Italian friends of hers. We sunbathed on high, quiet rocks, ate trofie al pesto under umbrellas, and browsed in tiny shops smelling of incense and the sea.

Gràcies, Anna; grazie, Fede!

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handmade toy blocks on etsy

So love these delicate, squat blocks, washed in watercolors and polished with beeswax. Their soft corners remind me of those sweet, buttery, chalky mints that you eat mindlessly while waiting for a table in slightly sketchy but really good Thai restaurants. (Available for $24 in the Etsy store of JustHatched.)

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Friday, June 18, 2010

wallpaper for a summer guest

So it's really properly summer, isn't it? I'm in London and it doesn't feel that way-- it's grey here today and cool, and the helicopters are circling overhead of Buckingham Palace because apparently Sarkozy is in town.

I'll be posting off and on this summer, and if you're willing and able to read an "occasional blog" as I now think of Silk Felt Soil, do join me from time to time...!

Here is a little treat:

Honestly, cannot tell you how much I adore this Lulu DK wallpaper that I spotted on interior designer Elizabeth Martin's website-- it's called "Sunshine" and it looks insanely gorgeous in red, shown here. Can't you just imagine a guest bedroom by the sea done up in it? Really strong, yes, but the hand-drawn feel of it softens it and makes it playful.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Aesthetics of the Japanese Lunchbox

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

loving industrial restaurant lighting

gorgeous sconces with industrial bendy-arms hanging over the tables at Mile End deli in Brooklyn (image from the NYTimes's tantalizing "makeover of the delicatessen" slideshow). They look awfully like the ones I publicly coveted a couple of years back on design*sponge's xmas gift guide.

(the ones, dear reader, I bought!)

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Monday, April 05, 2010

spiny lobsters and other textilic delicacies served up by anthropologie for spring

some stunning new textiles from anthropologie for spring... adore the soft blues and terra cotta pinks and corals of this needlepoint-esque lobster, made edgy and beautiful by its surprising scale, and slightly menacing, fibrous legs....

more favorites include another rug, inspired by a vera print, in scalloped-woven silk; a "freckled fish" pillow in hot pink linen, and anthropologie's take on dwellstudio's popular avian "Chinoiserie" bedding-- I think they got their watercolor parrots exactly right. beautiful, infused saffrons, and soft floral branches. really nice.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

the foyer of wendy burden (vanderbilt heiress, now lives in portland oregon), within which "four generations of riding boots" hang out.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

curtain rods made out of pipe and other good ideas

understated but truly elegant curating on the part of a cobble hill couple... love love love love love the use of plumbing pipe and burlap for curtains in the living room.

images via nytimes.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

loving beehives for spring

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thornwillow letterpress is so good you'll hang up the phone on your husband too

I was talking on the phone to my husband late last night (he's in business school in Philadelphia right now), and absentmindedly clicking through sites for decorative papers at the same time. Clicking onto Thornwillow, I suddenly stopped, unable to talk. I started to stutter. "Oh my! oh my!" I gasped. "I'm looking at a letterpress online that is really good. No: I mean, Really Good! Let's talk later! Bye!"

Check out a sampling of the custom monograms they offer-- almost as nuanced and as unusual as those offered by Leontine Linens...

The great thing about Thornwillow Press (other than the fact that Cynthia Kling, the woman who gave Domino the name "Domino," has praised them to the high heavens in Vanity Fair's July 2009 ed, I discovered today) is that they balance a lot of tricky extremes.

a) They do the "Letterpress Is Posh" thing oh so effortlessly... (love that lion like nobody's business)

b) They do the wry, tongue-in-cheek, ironic, "Letterpress can be Naughty" thing well too....(love their "spanking babies" set of note cards)...

c) & then, best of all, they do lots of OTHER things too-- charming things that are actually charming, (vs the too-gooey, the too-treacly, the too-sweet). I guess the best way to describe Thornwillow is that they seem to have been designed by someone who lives in a Sempé cartoon, and whose life is half-lived in tails, giving toasts--

and the other half, lived at the circus--

or in dreamy, teetering castles of books, shared with friends, in the air.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

great site: beauty is a thing of the past

I've been fascinated by a new blog discovery recently: Beauty is a Thing of the Past. All sorts of amazing images of hair "sculpting" from 1700s to the 70s. enjoy!

(this particular image taken from skaro, a site I found via b.i.a.t.o.t.p.)

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

stenciled fish floor at prada spring/summer 2009

"Poor thing!" was my first reaction after seeing this model take a spill in Prada's Spring/Summer 2009 collection (on Huff Po). Must admit that my second was, "gorgeous floor!" Wouldn't it be so chic to stencil the black, matisse-like, fish design on the floor of a wooden or lino bathroom, a nursery, or even on a large piece of canvas?

Beautiful description of the show from Luciole Press, a blog named for the French word for firefly, which reported that the Prada catwalk "meandered like a river and was painted with fish similar to ancient cave drawings... the models’ skin [was] slicked with water as though they had just risen from the sea."

Image via Bryan Boy.


Monday, December 14, 2009

ysl, safari, and a gold-splattered plate

urban flea made a mini-gift guide for those of us who like our dark, rugged, woody, Yves Saint Laurent safari aesthetic splattered with gold... I particularly like these fine looking plates from bailey doesn't bark.

See here for UF's adventures in gilding a slate-grey sideboard. Inspiring.

Image of YSL's former home via Vanity Fair.

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Some of you might know that I'm what people in English departments call a "poetry person"-- a writer who writes about poets.

But what hardly anyone knows is that sometimes, once in a while, I'm ever so tempted to write about poets & their eyeglasses. Just look at Robert Lowell. Doesn't get much better. I mean, really.

PS: if you're in the market, SEE has some lovely Lowellian specs for both sexes...

Image via Yelp.