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Hazel Village

It’s been 49 days since my last post. I would apologize for the long drought, but I have a totally valid excuse! In that time I’ve had a baby (birth story to come later). Believe it or not, my newborn is now 1 month and 2 weeks old. Yet, I cannot seem to remember a time before baby! His name is Josiah, and for short we call him Joss. He was named after his late grandmother Jo Ann who was known to everyone as Josie. Joss is curious, alert, patient and generally content. He absolutely adores the sensation of bath time splashing and the comfort of warm water. I used to take roughly two epsom salt baths a week while I was pregnant (my respite from aches), so I wonder if  any of that carries post womb?

In celebration of Joss’ huge one month milestone, we took him to Hazel Village’s new Gowanus, Brooklyn workshop which is a short 20 minute walk from our house. Founded by Jane Van Cleef, Hazel Village is like an organic, hipster Build-a-Bear. Van Cleef was inspired to create these wonderful woodland creatures in homage to favorite childhood stories like Brambly Hedge, Uncle Wiggly, and the Little House tales. Her dolls are heirloom quality at a reasonable prices. They also have a retro whimsical affect to them that is ineffable; making them feel like treasured keepsakes from bygone days. As an added bonus, the brand upholds the tenets of fair trade and paid labor. Many of the stuffed animal’s clothing prints are collaborations from other famed children’s shops and printmakers such as Winter Water Factory or Liberty of London. The cute cast of stuffed animals ranges from Reginald Fox to Ella Toad to Phoebe Fawn to Lucas Rabbit and counting!

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We chose Jeremy Owl as Joss’ first ever bespoke toy. And we even hand stitched his name on the animal’s chest inside a heart. Jeremy is about 14″ tall, Joss was 19.5″. He is made of gray organic cotton fleece, with natural wing tips and face, green legs and beak. He is stuffed with washable polyfill and his eyes are embroidered with cotton embroidery floss. Jeremy Owl loves to paint portraits of his friends. Since he’s a creature of the forest, he uses smooth pieces of bark or wood instead of paper.

Please pardon mom’s tired eyes, unsupportive nursing bra, and general malaise. Focus on the babe. May Joss play with Jeremy Owl for many years to come and may it be a real HOOT! Get it? Groan. Now back to childcare.

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LEGO Bricks

The ubiquitous primary colored blocks and construction toys known as ‘lego’ were invented by a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932.  The company used to refer to the concept as “Automatic Binding Bricks”. The term ‘lego’ itself comes from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”. Indeed these blocks do play well, not just as toys but as home decor. Something about the square lines, the bright colors, and the whimsy of childhood help LEGO designs to be ultra modern and clean. The company has been known to branch its brand into video-games, clothing, robotics,  movie franchises, cartoon characters, books, magazines, retail stores, and theme parks; however the world of LEGO interior design is still new!

This charming rendition of Rothko’s No. 5/No. 22 was put together by John Wilson, it seems the staff members at MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art) had a very sleepy Friday afternoon, it seems.

The LEGO storage bins featured above are available for purchase via this store. Why not store your LEGOs inside of a LEGO? That’s so meta...

Introducing the 20,000 brick apartment; Photographs by Thomas Loof/Art Department of NY Mag.

“Play is the building block of childhood learning, and this romper room, collaboratively designed by Lena Seow, Vrinda Khanna and Suzan Wines of I-Beam Design, is an architecturally inclined child’s wonderland. LEGO boards cover a wall of this room, from floor to ceiling. “Children can build with or against gravity,” says Wines, adding that the child’s ability to impact the basic architecture of the play area by building on the wall is a large part of the appeal.”

55,000 bricks and one year later the genius men at NPIRE, a small agency in Hamburg, Germany completed this 3 foot wide Lego wall divider. For further information, go here.

This board room table consists of22,742 pieces clicked together with traditional lego construction techniques (no glue), a 136mm grommet is located in its center. It sits on a polished Stainless Steel square hollow section structure built by B.A. Engineering of Prussia St and is topped with a 10mm sheet of toughened glass manufactured by Action Glass. Photography by studioseventyseven, for further information go here.

Brick by Scirocco uses oversized Lego replicas to make modern day radiators and radiator covers. Definitely a vast improvement over unseemly rusting pipes!

The modern Lego brick was patented at 1:58 P.M. on 28 January 1958; bricks from that year are still compatible with current bricks. Technically those “vintage” blocks still play well with their ultra contemporary polymer counterparts. I am particularly proud of the LEGO brick because its patenting falls on the date of my birthday, yours truly.

When in doubt, just aim to live in the glossy and commercial world of a LEGO brick. Brazilian artist and photographer Valentino Fialdini‘s creates vacuous miniature Lego rooms, more here.

Modern day British graffiti artist Ame72  (pronounced ‘aim72’) is also known as Jamie Ame. He has a background in graphic design and advertising. In the three images above he uses stencils to re-appropriate the look of “the Lego man”.

LEGO Kitchen and Chairs by Munchausen, a duo formed by Parisian designers Simon Pillard and Philippe Rosetti. More images here.

Artist and Lego enthusiast Jan Vormann went around the quiet town of Bocchignano, Italy filling in dilapidated walls with lego band-aids.

LEGOhaulic built this midcentury-modern style house. For more images visit the builders site or go here.

This is from a project done in cooperation with the LEGO company and Scott Sternberg of the Band of Outsiders clothing label. The room is located in a clothing store in Hollywood called Opening Ceremony. It was made to showcase the new LEGO inspired men’s line from Band of Outsiders. Check out Scott’s site and more pictures at: playwell.bandofoutsiders.com or in this photostream.

Etsy creators and artists never fail to amaze me! Check out this “I Will Never Lego” print here.

© Lego via Flickr Moose Greebles’ photostream

Feminism, pride, opportunist, acceptance – where did ads like this go? This 1981 LEGO ad pulls at my heartstrings. Remember, anything is possible with LEGO, your only limit is your imagination. What will you build?