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The Bear Necessities

The economy might be in a bear market, but let’s look on the bright side: 

1. The Tiniest Cave Bear Necklace in Solid Bronze by Moon Raven Designs – Etsy. This tiny 3D cave bear necklace is a mere 7/8″ tall from head to toe. This little bruin is cast in solid jewelers bronze with remarkable detail for such a small specimen, he displays excellent hair detail and you can even see his little bear behind. He hangs in a natural standing position from a 24″ black gunmetal curb chain, ready to protect you with tooth and nail. The cave bear was a species of bear that only lived in Europe during the Pleistocene and became extinct at the beginning of the last ice age about 27,500 years ago.

2. Can’t Bear to Leave Sweater – Modcloth. Imagine yourself sipping hot cocoa, in a log cabin, warming yourself near the cedar fireplace. Vermont maple syrup included.

3. Teddy Bear Pillow Aqua – Thomaspaul.  What could be more decorative than a circus bear on skateboard wheels in whimsical illustrative prints? Thomas Paul was born and raised in New York City. He got his start in the fashion business working as an intern at DKNY in the mid-nineties after, graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Textile Design. Paul’s pillow collection utilized silk printing mill’s capabilities!

4. California Bear iPhone Case – Tilly’s.  The Bear Flag is the official flag of the state of California. The precursor of the flag was first flown during the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt and was also known as the Bear Flag. The Bear Flag represents the period of revolt against Mexico initially proclaimed by a handful of American settlers in the Mexican territory of Alta California on June 14, 1846, in Sonoma. History alert: The original Bear Flag of the California Republics was destroyed in the fires following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

5. Animale Bear Liqueur Glass- ArteltalicaSophisticated whimsy is perfectly portrayed in this Animale glass, which was inspired by pewter cups used to celebrate the hunt in ages passed. The base features an animal which stands proudly while not in use and sits securely to hold a favorite cocktail. Italian glass and pewter. Handmade in Italy.

6.  Polar Bear Box by Karl Zahn – Aha Life. This Beech wood polar bear-shaped box is made with sustainably harvested, new growth wood. Karl Zahn is a freelance product designer hailing from Brooklyn, New York. The founder of Boiler Design Office, Zahn’s designs feature delightful touches for the curious modernist, honest materials and construction, and unfussy yet thoughtful conceptual execution. Celebrate the smooth natural shapes of animals and plants by coexisting peacefully with this totem.

If you prefer your animals edible but cannot BEAR to eat a real bear, try this recipe instead. All you need to make this sweet teddy bear toast breakfast is bread, bananas, raisins, butter, cinnamon and sugar. If you’re alone and the window’s curtains are drawn, I give you full permission to eat this delicious Sunday morning snack while completely BARE.

 

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Full of Hot Air

First of all, hello friends in digital world! I took a long three-day weekend off and went to Napa Valley, California with my boyfriend! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break off as well (whether celebrating Passover, Easter, or otherwise)! I apologize for not posting in a few days, but as part of my “mental spring cleaning”, travel was exactly what I needed to re-enegerize and re-inspire. Michael and I went vineyard tasting, cold spring dipping, mountain hiking, redwood viewing, cave exploring, champagne (technically sparkling-wine) tasting, wisteria and poppy seeing, indulgent eating, friend visiting, and finally (the pièce de résistance) we went hot-air ballooning over the valleys!

The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology – it is also known as balloon craft. In 1783, the first successful (and untethered) flight was accomplished in France. Modern hot-air balloons are usually made of strong synthetic fabrics such as nylon, dacron, and other polyester – there are even technical terms for the balloon itself (envelope) and the vents left in the bag that allow for elevation maneuvering (gores).  No longer do balloons have to come in the “traditional tear drop” shape, because of innovations in technology, shapes have included bumble bees, caterpillars, castles-in-the-sky, turtles, BUTTS, and whatever the mind can muster. The mother of all aviation has also reached cruising altitudes as high as the jet stream! I was in a 16 person woven wicker basket – which itself weighed 600 lbs – and needed a crew to handle during takeoff and landing! Regardless of sophisticated history and vernacular (and there are PAGES upon TOMES as to the craft) – I was most struck by the color of the balloon’s fabric!

So how can one live in a world inspired by ballooning? The primary colors lit from behind (almost stain-glass-esque) are a wonderful place to start. The other important materials to include is a wicker or rattan (representing the passenger baskets). The bright yellows, sunny reds, verdant greens, and bold purples – aligned with calm, natural woven wicker – could make a room a happy yet rustic space!

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American Pi(Day)

First of all, happy Pi day. Pi day occurs on March 14th (3.14) and celebrates both math and dessert. Seriously, we need more holidays like this. I had a friend in high school who was able to recite Pi up to its 100th decimal point. It was actually, weirdly, relaxing to hear (almost hypnotic).

Secondly, AND I AM PUSHING SEGUES HERE, lets talk about American Pie. To me this song, and this ideal, represents a bric-a-brac of American culture. The song encompasses one man’s love of music in America that spans Bob Dylan (Minnesota), Buddy Holly (Texas), Janis Joplin (Texas and California) , Elvis Presley (Mississippi and Tennessee), and Carly Simon (New York). The song also mentions the changing American landscape during the death of the Kennedy’s. To me, this song commemorates America in a way that is not kitschy and uber-patriotic – it is totally genuine.


Based in Chicago, Illinois, the LGBT-owned furniture company 900Blok also celebrates the topography of America. I love the idea of designing in a patriotic way that isn’t the literal “Stars and Stripes”,  “American Flag Colors”,”Western”, schlocky and humdrum decor. 900Blok’s first collection called “50 States” aims to bring the shapes of midcentury design to the shapes of The United States. The shapes of the states are familiar, we have always seen them on maps on our elementary school walls, we see the shapes of the states on the news, the cutout is ubiquitous. Yet, we have not seen the shapes as tables. This design allows me to think of each area as an aesthetically pleasing form – rather than a political entity. I currently live in New York – but what an amazing way to remember where I grew up and commemorate their importance – Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

California Here We Come. Look at those solid oak legs and that lacquered tabletop finish! Image courtesy of 900Blok, HERE.

These nesting tables allow states to touch that otherwise wouldn’t. Ever wanted Ohio to touch Nevada (not the states seen above)? DONE. Image courtesy of 900Blok, HERE.

Chicago! Also can we talk about the Wayne Thiebaud coffee table book? This is probably a necessity in every home, in fact I might need to write a post merely about his cake icing and frosty pastel colors. Image courtesy of 900Blok, HERE.

‘Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends’, Ron Arad 2009, Corten and mirror-polished stainless steel , 5.5m wide, 3.5 m high, 40cm deep , Courtesy Ron Arad Associates and Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, © Ron Arad, 2009

The United States of Logos. Look at each state’s different branding, calligraphy, and colors! Found HERE.

United Steaks of America. I think this would be a killer print in someone’s kitchen. Image Courtesy of the artist, Dominic Episcopo.

Both of the above images courtesy of dirtsastudio on Etsy! Grab yourself a chalkboard state! Chart your travels, mark your favorite spots, or just learn some geography with a chalkboard map of the United States.

q.a. DESIGN has a circus-striped and colorful take on the U.S. I love the contrasting colors in the prints. The shop is filled with maps from various states, with a simple heart over the state capitol (or your favorite city of choice). A person’s home can features the states in which she has spent most of his/her lifetime. 

I could not help the pun of using Wisconsin as a Cheese Board. However, any state can be found in this design shop! A.Heirloom Design Shop, HERE.

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 (no longer available but if you Google Map Decoupage, DIY stuff comes up) / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 

What state are you?