Saturday, 13 September 2008

Cold War Modern: Design 1945 - 1970

The Victoria & Albert Museum will be hosting an exhibition of Design during the Cold War Period, on both sides of the iron curtain. The permanent collection contains a few items from that period, and I'm looking forward to this much larger exhibition (over 300 exhibits). It promises to include items such as Eames furniture:

Photo by numstead

Stills from the film '2001: A Space Odyssey' directed by Stanley Kubrick:

Photo by K嘛

Other interesting furniture designs such as the Garden Egg Chair by Peter Ghyz.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this exhibition at the end of the month, and will report with photos if possible. I'm sure the shop will have many interesting items for sale in conjunction with this exhibition.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Ikea To Do List

Shopping at Ikea is more an activity than a shopping trip. With its late opening hours it conveniently fits into the working day. You can have a very reasonably priced (and reasonably healthy) meal, and then enjoy late-evening peaceful browsing. Personally I would quite happily go there just to peruse, and not buy anything (well perhaps just a mug, or tea towel.) It's not that I adore everything there, far from it. But I do really enjoy the basics and the cheerful colours, it's such an optimistic approach to interiors.

So this is an IKEA To Do List, not a Wish List...

Andrea Rug, to go under the coffee table to keep my feet warm, and the sparks from the fire off the carpet. Ivetofta candle holder, to keep out the creeping darkness of autumn. Ljuvlig Mug, for all the Mulled Wine I plan to make. Urban chair, for the new-and-improved kitchen (if I ever get started). Blomster candle sticks, I love candlesticks, and these are beautifully simple. Jorun cushion covers, as 'someone' spilt red wine on our current ones.

Can you tell I'm looking forward to Autumn?

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Shiny Shoes...

Today I went on a little shopping trip:

I have a serious thing for shiny shoes. I think it stems from my mother, who is known for her collection of red patent shoes. Perhaps I will start a Flickr group for 'Shiny shoes'.

Seaurchin (Etsy UK)

Despite clicking away furiously for quite some time, I can't find a way to categorize Etsy sellers by their countries. (I believe there is a map which will highlight any sellers near you, but no concrete way of separating UK sellers from all others). Whilst I quite enjoy buying items from the US every now and again, I'd like to focus on UK sellers here. The first Etsy shop to feature is Seaurchin. Selling a range of beautiful ceramics and sculptural jewellery, this shop offers unique pieces with organic detailing.

Based in Bristol, shop owner Lisa says 'I do not fight with the clay to make neat edges and smooth, even surfaces, preferring instead to leave the tool marks, the raw edges and the natural texture of the clay.' This natural texture contributes to the charm and you can really see the artist's work in each item.

Take a look at all the other great items for sale here. Thanks to Lisa from Seaurchin for showing off her lovely work.

More UK Etsy sellers featuring soon.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Duchess

This is the kind of movie that would be worth seeing even with the sound turned off. The costumes are stunning, the hair is huge, and the buildings and interiors are an absolute pleasure. The movie is based on the book 'The Duchess' by Amanda Foreman, and is based on the the life of Georgiana Spencer (1757-1806), who became the Duchess of Devonshire. She was a very popular and fashion forward lady, and it-girl of her time.

"Another of Georgiana's innovations was the dropping ostrich feather, which she attached in a wide arch across the from of her hair. In April Lord Stormont, the British ambassador in Paris, presented her with one that was 4 foot long. Overnight it became the most important accessory in a lady's wardrobe..."

Excerpt from Amanda Foreman's 'Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire'.

The Lady's hair in this movie is also remarkable, and unmissable.

"Women's hair was already arranged high above the head but Georgiana took fashion a step further by creating a three foot hair tower. She stuck pads of horse hair on her own her using scented pomade and decorated the top with miniature ornaments."
Excerpt from Amanda Foreman's 'Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire'.

Parts of the movie are filmed at Chatsworth House, Althorp and Spencer House. Most noticeable are the marble hallways and staircases, flooded with light - the perfect background to set off the costumes and the drama. All of these place are open to the public and a visit would provide the perfect opportunity to basque in period glory. (Whilst not forgetting to be thankful that you are not a woman in the 18th Century).

© Chatsworth House Trust, photo by Gary Rogers

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Amigurumi Dudette

The rather excellent site Crochet me provides a free pattern for an 'Amigurumi Dude'. This is a relatively simple and easy-to-follow pattern, and is an great introduction to Crocheting. Meet my Amigurumi Dudette Charlotte. She enjoys baking cookies and watching reruns of CSI.
To see other people's interpretations check out the Amigurumi Dudes Flickr Group. There's really no limit to creating these, so let your imagination run free! NB: Amigurumi are small knitted or crocheted animals or dolls. More on this subject soon.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Maneki Neko - Beckoning Cat

I first noticed a Maneki Neko whilst waiting for my Sesame Prawn Toast at a local takeaway Chinese Restaurant. A quick search on google revealed that these small sculptures originate from Japan, and bring good fortune to their owner.

The cats are most commonly displayed in shops, often near the cash register and close to the the entrace. As Wikipedia will tell you, a raised left paw will attract customers, where as a raised right paw will bring wealth and good luck.

The cats are available in various sizes and colours, and also with a battery operated, moving arm. Personally I would love a huge gold one, or this adorable little yellow one, avaialable on ebay at the moment.