object love…Apolis Activisim

So, a friend and colleague turned me on to Apolis Activism. I'm sure I'm a late comer, but nevertheless, I'm glad I've discovered it. It's for men, but the accessories can be rocked by ladies, too. At least I think so! Read more about the company and the brother trio who created Apolis.

All images from Apolis Activism. A few of my favorites.

family…remodel in progress

Our long awaited remodel has finally begun! We knew when we purchased the house that the kitchen and bathrooms were priority number one. All were quite drab, inefficient, and poorly constructed. 

I thought I'd document and share the progress on the blog. Everyone loves a makeover story, right?

Photos at week 1:

Before - the footprint of the kitchen is quite large, but half of it was used for dining. Lame, since there is a formal dining room with a pass through next to the kitchen. How about that soffit? 

Demo - I love it! It made me happy to see all of this junk in bits and pieces. I only wish I could've swung the sledgehammer a few times. D freaked out when he saw this. It took us by surprise because he's use to seeing and being on job-sites. I guess he just wasn't prepared for his own house to be a job-site. I felt bad. Really bad! But when I told him this is the worst part of the project, and that it will only get better from this point forward, he stopped crying. Ughh, bad mom.

Clean-up - Ahh, light at the end of the tunnel. It's just the beginning, I know, but it feels really good to be rid of that old kitchen. 

So, IF all goes well, the job should be completed in six weeks. 



small stuff…an art space

D is growing in all ways, and his art space needs to grow too. He outgrew his old table and chair, and his supplies and scraps were overtaking our craft room. So we dropped some cash, made a few upgrades and additions, and now we're all happy.

His old set-up in his old room.


His new set-up in our new craft room.


Close-up of desk and taborets.

We reused the IKEA legs from his old table [NOTE: I cut these with a hacksaw to standard height for a child's table] and replaced the yellow egg table with stainless steel one, again from IKEA. [NOTE AGAIN: I did not pay the web price in-store. I got lucky and only payed $60…I think.] I'm sure you all recognize the shell chair from Modernica and the Bisley taborets. 

I'm a big fan of the shell chairs. First, they are practically indestructible. Second, they are both kid and adult comfy. Even with the low base, it's quite comfortable for an adult to sit and lounge in. In fact, we swapped out the rocker base on an arm shell chair in our living room with the low rod base so D had some lounge furniture of his own.

The magnetic blackboard is an old steel top from a worktable painted with chalkboard paint.


The pen cubbies are Ikea kitchen storage items. TIP: if you use these, adding an adhesive felt "dot" to the back at the bottom will protect your walls!

While it might seem like a steep price to pay for an upgrade, we believe, like most of you I'm sure, that children deserve good design too. The advantage of each of these pieces is that they will grow with D and be useful for Doc and I when D is out on his own. The table top will eventually need new legs again, and we'll have to switch out the base on the chair for proper desk chair, but I think we're good for the next few years.

Best of all, the three of us can fit into one room comfortably and craft away.

Thanks for stopping by!


designerly tidbits…shelving

Shelving is such a necessary evil. I couldn't live without it. Let's face it, who can? But honestly, most off-the-shelf shelving systems, I find, are over designed, self-aware, and poorly fabricated. I'm also not a fan of built-ins as they tend to look heavy and over scale for the contents that they house. So what's a designer gal to do? Look to the industrial…or at least to her industrial designer husband.

About 15 years ago Doc discovered a shelving system intended for industrial freezers, E-Z Shelving Systems. He used it in his Manhattan loft during his bachelor days. Once he moved to San Francisco, he began using it for some of his clients' projects, and now, the love affair continues. It's fantastic! It's robust, strong, minimal and infinitely adjustable. You can mix different depth shelves to create cantilevered worksurfaces with shelving above or even a baby changing station like we did when D was a baby.

Anyhow, we love this stuff. It's hard to beat. But, when we moved from our loft into our old Victorian, the E-Z shelving in EVERY room just didn't seem to jive. Of course, it's still pratical in our craft room and D's room, but not so much in the more "refined" rooms of the house like the living and dining rooms. 


So, after searching high and low for a comparable system in functionality, we decided upon Vitsoe shelving. I've always loved this system but price and availability have kept it on my wish list until now.

I'm sure all you design aficionados know this wonderful timeless system designed by Dieter Rams has been around since 1960, but I'm betting you're in the minority. For those of you who aren't familiar with Mr. Rams or his 606 shelving, I hope this won't send you into a fit of despair for wanting. 


The wonderful design details that Vitsoe executed for the support material and accessories, including a level, was what impressed me the most. 


The good news about both systems is they are both modular and can be reassembled into many configurations. They also travel well should you move. The down side is cost. Both are pricey, and the Vitsoe has at least six week lead time, at best, but it's a one time investment that you can own and use forever.




object love…PlayShapes

I spotted these in the fall/winter issue New York Times Style magazine. These wood blocks are wonderful and a refreshing departure from unit blocks. Don't get me wrong, unit blocks are still the toy of choice in our house, but PlayShapes are, as the name says, playful. 

Some of my favorite configurations by the creators and designers of PlayShapes, MillerGoodman.

Make sure to visit their  Flickr group for more amazing ensembles.

I cannot wait to get these under the tree for D!

Happy Building,


family…lucky me!

Here is a small Easter gift I received from Doc and D. It's a wonderful intersection of things I love, crochet [learning to love] and curiosities! 

This scientific crocheted specimen was procured in-store at the Curiosity Shoppe. After some on-line detective work, the creator is Jessica Polka, and her blog is Wunderkammer which means a cabinet of curiosities. 

I realize I'm a latecomer to her work, and this may be old news to most of you. But man, I love her stuff! I squealed with delight when I visited her etsy shop and saw patterns for cuttlefish, squid, octopus, coral and more. Needless to say, I ordered all the patterns immediately!

Have a look at her site and follow the links. The photo on the right is from her flickr stream. It accompanies her article, Sculptural Crochet Primer, which is just the inspiration I need to continue my pursuit of crocheting. 

Safe to say, I will be be spending time with hook, yarn and jpolka's patterns. I'm super, super excited! I love that a thoughtful gift turned into a wonderful discovery. I'm very luck that my boys know me so well.

A Very Happy Crafter,



object love…flea market finds part 2

I saw these gorgeous block and tackle, hooks and trucks at the Alemany flea market the week before, and I could not stop thinking about them. I was determined to have them. We have a small collection of measuring and marking tools, and I thought these would be a nice addition. 

So, after searching two flea markets and crossing the Bay Bridge I found them at the Alameda Market! Again, overpriced, but with some bargaining, I scooped them up at a fair price. Now the tricky part is to figure out how to display them. 


D also found a box full of dice. He loves dice. I hope it's not indicative of a future spent at the craps table. We fished through the pile and walked away with these.


And how could I pass up these adorable vintage Valentines? 



small stuff…hypotrochoid art set

Lately, D and I have been changing up the bedtime routine. Instead of book time, we do drawing time. I like to pull out this hypotrochoid art set and a sheet of bristol board so D and I crank something out in silence, side by side before we say good night.

D still needs some practice to master the gears. He works hard to go around and around and around trying to keep the gears interlocked. I can see it's a fine line between being challenged and being frustrated. And this is when I have to admit to myself that I'm a "pusher"; I push things on D that I want or like.

In the meantime, while he learns to master the gears, I will be sneaking it out of his room and reliving moments from my childhood.  

Check out this amazing Spirograph collection. 



[really big] crafty things…Christien Meindertsma

Doc came across this wonderful picture in I.D. magazine of designer Christien Meindertsma knitting a panel for a rug. Doesn't that look like so much fun? I'm curious about those "needles"…did she make those? She must have. 

Christien's work is inspiring on many levels, and it makes me wish I could redo college art school all over again. I think she has found that rare intersection of craft, design and art, and her ability to execute bringing these three elements together is fascinating. Make sure you visit her site and peruse her other projects, like Pig. Do a google search and read some of her on-line interviews, too.

 More photos [from her site] for your viewing pleasure!

Now, I must convince Doc that D really needs one of these stools!