Happy weekend! Hope it's a relaxing one. With the busiest part of the holidays done, it's a good time to relax and really enjoy the company of family and friends. Can't wait. (photo by nicole franzen via modern hepburn)
How to Write a Thank You Note
This handy no-nonsense guide will inspire you to treat yourself to some lovely notepaper (or note cards if you prefer), brew some tea or coffee, and settle in to write thank you notes for your Christmas gifts. So nice for your recipients to receive in the mail instead of the usual bills, too.
The Downton Abbey Gingerbread House
Wow. Watch a time-lapse video of Curtis Jensen constructing an elaborate gingerbread version of Downton Abbey using little more than gingerbread, icing, green- and red-colored candies, and (as Vanity Fair notes) "...focus so steely that it would likely earn an approving head nod from the Dowager Countess."
BeetBox Turns Root Veggies Into A Drum Machine
New York-based designer Scott Garner not only likes a good play on words, but enjoys making them into something, too — so he built a BeetBox drum machine that uses beets as conductors. Follow the link to see it in action. Very fun.
A Real Life Hobbit House
A true blue Tolkien fan in Pennsylvania recently commissioned architects Archer & Buchanan to build him a hobbit house for his Middle Earth memorabilia — follow the link for photos. It's actually a rather nice interpretation — aside from the most notable hobbit details (round door, for example) it really reminds me of late 19th century lake stone cottages in Ontario.
Best Art Books of 2012
Lavishly illustrated review over on Brain Pickings of their fave art books from 2012, ranging from Indian folklore to Paris vs. NYC, by way of Japanese Wonderland and 80 years of loving of dogs. Wonderful.
Check out this time lapse video of artist Yayoi Kusam's interactive work Obliteration Room at the Tate in London, which starts out as minimalist monochrome living room that people are invited to “obliterate” with colourful stickers. Lovely to see visitors of all ages participating, too.
23 Show Stopping Desserts
Make a splash with one of these extravagant desserts for your New Year's Eve dinner — choose from a classic croquembouche, baked Alaska, almond cream tartlets, butter saffron cake and white chocolate mousse among others. (photo by anna williams)
I'm smitten with my new Christmas book — Encyclopedia of the Exquisite by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins. From the description: "Encyclopedia of the Exquisite ... takes a cue from the exotic encyclopedias of the 16th century, which brimmed with mysterious artifacts, focusing on the elegant, the rare, the commonplace and the delightful. A compendium of luxury that merges whimsy and practicality, the book traipses through all the fine arts, showcasing every sphere of style: fashion, food, travel, home, garden and beauty." So looking forward to reading this — plus, Jessica started a blog that's a continuation of her book, with more fascinating things that didn't make it into the book in time.
As Roy and Ola Norberg settle in to enjoy the holiday season with their children Theodore, Cornelia and Vincent in their beautiful turn of the century home in southern Stockholm, it's hard to believe it was anything other than the idyllic space they enjoy now. But eight years ago when they purchased it, the house was in rough shape — it was falling down in places and was buried under decades of linoleum, particleboard, carpeting, scary '70s wallpaper and a leaking corrugated metal roof. Taking on much of the renovating themselves, they steadily stripped away all the bad later additions, replaced the windows with authentic ones, added a new tiled roof (discovered in drawings of the original house), replastered the walls by hand and put in new doors, switches, handrails and other details that were in harmony with the age of the house. Now a fire crackles in the original ceramic stove in the living area, rooms are candle lit and the house smells like hyacinths and pine boughs. Happy holidays indeed. More here on Lantliv.
When a Danish family moved from a modern, minimalist house to an elegant old one, it was not just the house that needed a complete renovation — the furniture was revamped as well. The result is a new and softer version of a modern interior — one that retains its clean edged lines while at the same time remaining sympathetic to the atmosphere of the older home. More here on Femina.
Just discovered the lovely online (and print) food, arts and culture journal The Gourmand and am utterly smitten — wonderful read.
A Quirky Little Bookshop in Cyberspace
This sounds intriguing — Los Angeles-based multimedia director Claire Cottrell has begun Book Stand, an online bookshop dedicated to limited-run, hard-to-find coffee table-type print publications — plus other books, magazines, zines and the occasional art film.
Mid-Century Modern Churches
Photographer Fabrice Fouillet traveled throughout Europe to capture the best-preserved examples of Modernist churches built after the devastation of the Second World War, for a series he calls Corpus Christi. Stunning architecture.
Top Ten Literary Party Hosts
Professional party organizer Suzette Field picks her fave party throwers in literature, ranging from Jay Gatsby to Mrs Dalloway to Odin. Quentin Blake at 80
An idol of mine, English illustrator Quentin Blake is probably best known here for his lovely illustrations of Roald Dahl's children's books. As he turns 80 and is celebrated in Quentin Blake: New Lithographs and Drawings at the Marlborough Fine Art Gallery in London, Jenny Uglow offers a lovely appreciation of his career.
Entertainment for Women From The Morning News: "When it launched, Playboy was a literary power and a force for change. The magazine’s offices also happened to be an interesting place to work—for women.Jessica Francis Kane interviews her mother about life as a secretary in 1960s New York City." And — her mother loves Mad Men!
The great styling of this photo makes wearing a cape actually look good — normally it's such a tricky garment to wear without looking like an extra from The Hobbit (much as I look forward to seeing the film). More from the same shoot here.
(photo of model lydia carron by takahiro ogawa with styling by claudia carretti for amica magazine, december 2012. via fashion gone rogue)
When it comes to decorating for Christmas, Liselotte Ertner prefers a simple and classic look inspired by nature — one that harmonizes with the modern look of the Svendborg home she shares with her partner and their six year old daughter. Keeping to mainly black, white and natural-toned palette, she decorates with pine cones, twigs, pine and lots of hyacinths as well as ornaments in natural materials like the ones carved from horn on the Christmas tree. Love this look. More here on Bolig Magasinet.