Good Design

January 11, 2010

My sister Sarah has always told me that my bookshelves are full of “coffee table books”.  While I do own books that are chock full of words (believe it or not), I seem to be drawn to those that are colorful, full of graphics, and endless hours of inspiration.  I am a different sort of bibliophile.  I would much rather prefer to look at a Mies van der Rohe chair, than I would to read Jane Austen.  I always judge books by their covers and I just can’t seem to move past my fascination for what you might call beautiful picture books.  The following books are three of my all time favorite design books.

1.  The Nest Home Design Handbook by Carley Roney – This book is fantastic!  When I first bought it, I sat down and read it straight from cover to cover!  My favorite things about this book?  In the back of the book there is a DIY mini floor plan you can play around with to get some ideas.  You can cut out the shapes of furniture and move them around until you find a configuration that suits you, without the hassle of actually having to push around bulky furniture.  Not feeling creative?  There are also several examples of both living room and kitchen layouts, as well as extensive examples of all different kinds of chairs, tables, sofas, et cetera.

2.  Domino : The Book of Decorating by Caponigro, Costello, Needleman – I recently purchased this book from Barnes & Nobles and I am so happy I did!  This is one of those books where you just want to sit down and read it for hours.  The photographs are beautiful and some of the ideas are purely ingenious!  I showed this book to my sister-in-law Leslie and my brother Aaron because they are in the works of creating a home and I immediately saw the gears begin to turn.  There is something that can be taken away from every photograph in here.  Truly good design.

3.  Apartment Therapy by Maxwell Gillingham Ryan – This was the first interior design book I had ever purchased.  Although I am not currently and have never lived in an apartment, this book is invaluable.  When all else fails, this book is a place to come back to for sheer inspiration.  The examples are all real homes and the creativity in design and manipulation of space makes this definitely worth purchasing.  You won’t regret it!

Although I am not an avid reader, there is something to be said for this class of books.  To me, anything that inspires creativity is a worthy investment.  I hope you find inspiration in these as well.



January 8, 2010

Christmas is always a big ordeal in my family.  This year was exceptionally good considering some difficult circumstances that took place several days before (more on that later).  Things were crazy, noisy, sometimes inappropriate and altogether funny.  Here’s a little peak into why I love my family so much.

Sarah bought Boylan’s for everybody from the market on Estudillo.  Yum!  Their Rootbeer & Lemon flavors are supreme, though Sarah swears by their Birch Beer.

Last year my dad discovered the Christmas markets in Germany and he came home armed with about fifteen mugs for the traditional glüh-wine beverage they make in Germany for the holidays.  This year he came back with more & James tried out the newest addition – the boot mug!

The highlight of this Christmas Eve were the glow sticks everybody got in their stockings.  We all made unique creations and Jesse took a family photo of all of us.  Here are some photographs I took.

This picture of Jesse, Sarah and James is by far my favorite!

Aaron (with food in his mouth?) & Leslie.

Liz & Jesse.

Holiday Window

November 29, 2009

Wow!  Things have been really busy with Black Friday, Christmas preparations, et cetera.  Our Christmas window went up about a week ago.  It was a lot of fun to put together and surprisingly wasn’t too stressful!  Here are some shots from a couple days later.  Enjoy!

If you get a chance, come down to Urban Indigo and do some shopping.  I’d love to see you and we have lots of really cool, unique gifts for the holidays.

Tip : Recycled Gift Wrap

November 24, 2009

About a week ago, we were unpacking new merchandise for the holidays.  By the time we were done we had two large garbage bags filled with brown packing paper.  Unfortunately, at work we are unable to have a recycling bin because of the limited amount of space.  My co-worker suggested that I take the paper home and use it.  I was planning on buying brown paper from Paper Source to wrap my gifts for the holidays anyway, so I thought why not use this instead?  Here are some photographs from my experimentation :

I’m pretty excited about how they look so far!  It’s great to be able to do something that is “green” in terms of gift wrap this Christmas because so much waste usually comes from Christmas wrapping.  It was also fun to be creative in coming up with the different techniques and making each one unique.  I’m looking forward to doing more Christmas shopping, so that I can keep on wrapping!

Tip : Paper Chain

November 22, 2009

I have been making paper chains for as long as I can remember.  They have always been and remain my most favorite holiday decoration.  I have done many different variations of paper chains, but I think this is my best yet, so I decided to share it with you.  Do you have any old magazines?

I took two or three of my old Anthropologie catalogs from last year that I have not looked at in awhile.

I ripped out all the pages that spoke to me.  I looked for variety in color and pattern.

Then I cut all the pages into one inch thick strips.  See?

Now, all that was needed was a good stapler!

It was a lot of fun hanging them around my room.  I even made a paper chain chandelier!

This was just the thing to get me in the mood for the holidays!  I hope you enjoyed these photographs taken by my dear James and that you are inspired to make your own paper chains!  Happy crafting.

Bag Lady

November 19, 2009

Tonight is the SFSU Student Runway Fashion Show & Showcase in Jack Adams Hall.  Here is a sneak preview :

Four friends & I made a garment completely out of plastic bags for a recyclable, sustainable project.  75% are Safeway bags and the other 25% are from small stores that read “Thank You”.  The top has a braided piece that is attached to the bodice and criss-crosses in the back.  The bodice was fused with eight layers of plastic bags and designed using a repetitive pattern of the Safeway logo.  The skirt is a 45 inch double-circle skirt with an extra layer of pleated bags underneath to add extra pouf.  At the very bottom of the skirt we decided to add a braided hemline.

To see this piece and other cool creations, come to the fashion show tonight.  Tickets are only five dollars.  The doors open at six thirty & the show starts at seven.  I will be walking this piece down the runway as well as another piece that is part of a “Reptilia” collection.  More photographs to come later.  Hope to see you there!


November 17, 2009

Here’s to a new decade!  Thanks to everyone who made my twentieth extra special!  Here is a visual diary of my weekend including an incredibly romantic date and a Thanksgiving birthday.  I’m quite tired from the weekend events, but it sure was fun while it lasted!  Enjoy . . .


November 10, 2009

The first experience I had at the symphony was amazing.  I was moved to tears the moment the music began.  Vivaldi & Tchaikovsky were definitely a good introduction.

The second experience I had at the symphony, however, was phenomenal. This past Friday James, Sarah & I all traipsed over to Davies Symphony Hall to hear Semyon Bychkov conduct a piece Rachmaninoff constructed to accompany Edgar Allen Poe’s The Bells.  There was a chorus that sang in Russian and it was all quite dramatic (& Russian, of course).

The second piece was his second symphony in A minor.  The moodiness, the romantic qualities, the crescendos – everything was right on, perfect.  I do admit . . . I was a little let down by the ending to The Bells.  I was expecting that climactic, dramatic ending of Rachmaninoff’s that I had so come to love.  However, the ending of the second number was the cherry on top of an amazing night.  Here are a few photographs from the evening.

The view from the balcony.

James & I.

Sarah & I.

Davies Symphony Hall.

Champagne.  I look so happy.

I was introduced to Rachmaninoff by a college friend and I immediately fell in love with this piece.  Once I get any sort of free time, I’m going to learn it.

Listen to it by clicking here.  My favorite part is around 8:25.  Enjoy!


November 2, 2009

Halloween was a lot of fun this year!  For an early Halloween party and for work, I dressed up as a zombie bride.  The dress was my cousin’s that she bought off eBay for a dollar! Can you believe that?

I know it is difficult to see our outfits in this photograph, but Hannah (a friend on Lakeshore) was an awesome cowboy and I was, of course, a zombie bride.

This photograph was taken at Kandance’s house with April and Tara who were so cute dressed up as Thing 1 and Thing 2. What a great costume idea!

On Halloween night I transformed into the bride of Frankenstein’s monster and we put on a whole haunted house for all the kids in the neighborhood.  It was a lot of fun to act and scaring the adults was the best part!  We had a couple hundred people pass through – I would call it a great success!  Here are some of the photographs taken last night :

The long tunnel leading to the backyard.

My darling Grandma.

My brother Aaron played Dr. Frankenstein, of course!  Here are some of the tools he used to create his infamous monster.

We all had very different pumpkins this year!  Mine was the second on the left.  I decided to make a “French” pumpkin and gave my little guy a moustache, as well as a pumpkin beret!

As I said, I arrived as a zombie . . .

. . . but quickly became the bride of Frankestein’s monster!  My mom backcombed my hair for about five minutes straight and the result was quite horrifying.  What was even more horrifying was trying to comb my hair later that night . . .

Overall, it was a very spooky evening.  It was really exciting to be able to be creative and make the night fun for kids.  Many of them had never heard Mary Shelley’s story of Frankenstein.  I hope to upload some more photographs later of my family (my dad as Igor, Sarah & mom as villagers) and James who played the monster ever so well.

See & Explore

October 28, 2009

My friends Tami & Steven have such a fun house!  There are sheep, chickens, an adorable beagle and even a chinchilla!  Here are some photographs I took of the place :

This girl is a big-eater.  She will eat almost anything that is green.  One of her favorite treats?  Fig leaves.

This baby lamb was recently born.  I’m not sure if it is a girl or boy, but the lamb is very skittish!

This is Boo the beagle.  I don’t need to describe her because you can see for yourself how adorable she is.

Here are three of the six chickens.  They all have really cool names like Perry, Disco, and Michael Jackson.

I think that this house would be an amazing place to grow up because there are so many things to see & explore!