Thursday, July 31, 2014

I cannot believe it's the last day of July already! The two days of hard rains we had last week scared me straight. I know it will be rainy everyday soon enough and I must take advantage of the sun, beyond the motivation it gives me to clean. I have finally decided what doesn't get done, simply doesn't get done and have been thoroughly enjoying this week out and about in the sunshine. The end of next week we are off for a little trip to Idaho and Montana and then it's M+L's birthday (6!!) and then school is right around the corner. No time like the present to be present is my new mantra for the rest of the summer. 

+ Flash Sale! My good friend and talented designer, Mary Jo Matsumoto is having a 3-day flash sale. It starts Friday but you all can get a preview of the sale here. There are many great deals to be had and free shipping in the US!

+ Speaking of books I have been taking my time reading this one this summer. Taking my time partly because I have been busy with other things and partly because I know, know it's one of those books that I would normally burn through and then wish I hadn't read it so quickly. I have found some books are meant to be read slowly and to let languish and linger in your mind. This is one of them and I am positive it's going on my all-time favorites list. 

+ We really don't mind being gluten-free around here, 99% of the time. But that 1% of time that we do seems to be summer rolls around and I think "S'MORES!" and then when I remember that it just isn't an option for us my heart deflates a little bit and I feel so sad. So I was super excited when I came across this s'mores krispies bars recipe.

+ This anti-aging face scrub recipe. I made it and it's really lovely!

+ I really am almost done with M+L's room! I have a few little things to finish up but here is a little sneak peek

I know I usually do takeout posts on the last day of the week that I am posting, but I will be back tomorrow with a little announcement so I hope to see you then! 

Destination PDX

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I meant to post this a little closer to the beginning of summer for anyone who might be making a trip to Portland for summer vacations, but as they say, better late than never. Having lived here my whole life I sometimes have wondered why anyone could come here for a vacation. There's no Disneyland, or Castles, or Cesar's Palace or tropical beaches. It's just a rainy little city - though this city is beautiful, especially in the summer as all that rain makes our land green even in the midst of long summer heat waves. And once I started thinking about it I found this post incredibly difficult to write, there are so many places I'd want to send someone - so be warned, it's going to be a long one. Here are my can't miss pdx picks.

Crush | Scarr Co. |

Monday, July 28, 2014

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. Ours was a good one, but today I am going to get right down to business because I am so very excited to share with you, not only the beautiful and intriguing collection of Scarr co., but an interview with the woman behind the brand, Sonia Scarr. As soon as I clicked on Sonia's webshop my heart skipped a beat. I wish I was a more eloquent writer so I could adequately describe how completely enamored I am by her designs, but I am confident that you must be feeling the same way at this point. The juxtaposition of the graphic shapes, with the pale and supple leathers, the hand-stitching, and the precision of each design - it is completely inspiring and intoxicating.

Sonia lives in a beachside town called Sea Cliff, NY, which is about 20 miles outside of Manhattan/NYC, where she used to live until last October. Sonia shares her home with her also amazingly talented boyfriend Ryden (he is owner/designer of the lighting company Allied Maker), their rabbit Cecelia and their hamster Mr. Brown. Scarr is Sonia's leather goods/home accessories company that she started just a few months ago (can you believe that? just a few months ago!).

1: When and how did you get started in leather working?

I began producing the leather and textile accessories for my boyfriend’s lighting company. At the time a few products had a touch of leather or felt on them, and we worked in collaboration. I loved working with leather so much I began working with it exclusively and started my own company. I lose myself in the tactile, visceral, sensuous experience of creating a three-dimensional piece. 

2. What is your design process like? 

I think of products I'd like to own, that I haven't seen before, that others may enjoy using too. I try not to create menial products just because I "should"--I want to be wholly inspired in the work. In my studio, I create a sample pattern out of canvas or paper, then a prototype out of the real material.

3: All of your items are hand-stitched and hand-crafted, which I wholly admire, can you share with us about what it takes to craft each piece? 

After years of working as a graphic designer, staring at a computer screen all day and feeling so disconnected from my work, I longed to create products where my handwork was really evident. Hand-stitching leather is a fairly slow but traditional process that is known for its longevity and resilience. I could certainly use a sewing machine or outsource production, but my current process creates an intimacy between maker, product, and customer that cannot be found in mass-manufacturing. 

4. What are most inspired by creatively?

Nature and science. Specifically the geometry found in nature, like the hexagons of a honeycomb, but also phenomena that's not structured at all, like a nebula or a storm. I grew up in the country, so all the workhorse tools that surrounded me, and their aesthetic, also inspire me.

5. I see that you also take custom orders, can you share with us what kind of custom items a client might be able to have created by you? 

I welcome any custom project or idea. I can stamp your company's logo onto coasters for your office, work with your design to create a custom handbag, make a decorative wall hanging, or add a leather inset to your own craft object (which is how I got started--wrapping leather onto wooden bases of lamps). To give you an idea, I've worked with interior designers to upholster chairs and hanging racks, with retailers on custom colorways of existing products, and even jewelry designers to create displays for their work.  

6: Where can people find your products? 

My website, scarr.co, or for custom orders: studio@scarr.co

Retailers: General Store in Venice and San Francisco: http://shop-generalstore.com/
Love Ding in Austin, TX: http://withlovefromding.com/

Scoutmob Shoppe: http://scoutmob.com/a/scarr

Many thanks to Sonia for sharing not only her amazing hand-crafted leather-works but also giving us a behind-the-scenes look at her process and inspirations. 

Magazine Display Hacks

Thursday, July 24, 2014

One of the things I haven't tackled yet in my seemingly never-ending house de-cluttering, is all of my magazines. I have so many and most (we're talking 90%) haven't even been cracked open yet. So every time I think about tossing them out I end up just shoving them back in their respective dust ridden resting places. At some point I don't know what kind of list I got on but I was getting at least 10 free subscriptions, everyday it seemed I'd get another magazine dropping through my slot. And, really, I would like to go through and look at them, but there are so many it's overwhelming. I saw a few of these pins and thought maybe if I found a way to display a few at a time I could actually start flipping through them. Though I am not completely confident on that, I do have one hanger on my bathroom that I have had an H&M catalog in since, well, I think it was a fall issue of last year (see why this cleaning spree is taking me so long?), and before that I think it was a vanity fair that hung there for about ten months before that. Really the only magazine I always read front to cover and love keeping a collection of is this one. One of my other long neglected goals is to submit something to them someday.

Images: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Ikea Picks

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's been awhile since I have done any shopping at Ikea. Honestly I kind of swore it off for a bit. We didn't have a store in Portland until sometime in 2008, and the closest one before then was near Seattle, so when it opened here I went a little overboard on my Ikea purchases. I recently have been trying to replace some things that I bought that just didn't hold up very well over the years, or that I simply got tired of. Though to be fair I do have a few things from Ikea that I really love (like my bookcases). But in trying to get M+L's room done (I am so close!) I took the three minute drive down to Ikea to get a few things for said room, I even spent a few minutes wandering around their showroom and where I found myself oohing and ahhing over a few of their new pieces. Unfortunately I just picked up a few practical items like shelving, but I did get this cool light cord for their "new" room. 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

House Tour | Converted Church |

Monday, July 21, 2014

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I promise I won't bore you with anymore play-by-play's on my purging and cleaning projects, but, yes, that's still what I am doing. I have reached a bit of slump now being faced with the task of putting everything back together. It always looks so much better in my head than it does when I actually start doing it. So my weekend was peppered with lots of starts and stops - mostly stops), as I took lots of breathers from it all to go out to eat at the food trucks, visit the farmers market, and to see a movie. 

I also found this house over the weekend and, like many of you, I always love converted buildings turned homes. On one of my regular drives I used to make I drove by a house that was once a school house and one that was once an old wooden church. While I loved them both the school house always seemed like it would be more livable to me. I don't know why exactly, but the idea of living in a church kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies. However, that doesn't mean I am not intrigued by them. This one is in Melbourne and from the outside it definitely looks like it is still a church, but on the inside you really can't tell except for maybe the beautiful stained glass windows. I am only guessing but I imagine the ceilings are of a pretty spectacular height as well. You can see a few more photos and read an interview with the owners by visiting The Design Files.

Kids Room Wall Ideas

Thursday, July 17, 2014

So the thing about decorating kids rooms is there are so many freaking adorable ideas. With the rest of my house, while I love many things and many styles, there is just something engrained in me that gravitates pretty heavily towards vintage/modern. No matter what design styles I am currently coveting, or what I buy, or how I try to decorate my house, it always ends up going in the same direction and having a similar vibe. As much as 'things' in my house have changed/rotated in and out, or as I have tried to "drastically" change things up at different times in my life I can always look around and see that this has always been me. It just evolves. Never really changes. Kids rooms, though. Even within one style like vintage or modern, or black and white, or colorful or whimsical there is so many wonderful ideas and directions one can go. And I tend to love them all! But having kids and kids rooms for years now, I do know it's best to pick a style and stick with it, which I am trying to do (so hard). For some reason the chaos of toys that ensues in a child's room looks a little less crazy if it has a styled backdrop behind, under and around them. So while I know I want to go with a pretty simple color palette and in a more minimal direction (black/white/grey/ and of course a splash of pink for milo) I feel like before I go any further I need to decide what to do with the walls. I think there is bound to be more painting in my very near future. I have to give this pin honorable mention, because while it's not the direction I am going in, every time I see this image I swoon a bit. 

Images 1 (can't find the original source, if you know of it please let me know!) | 2 (diy tutorial) | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 (diy tutorial) | 8

Moodboard | White Noise |

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The truth is I am pretty exhausted and I've felt a little disconnected from everything that I usually feel most connected with. I have been getting a lot done, but I feel like I have just pulled back the first couple layers and am still a ways from where I want to be with my de-cluttering, reorganizing, decorating projects. Basically I keep finding more and more to do. And I want to be done. I want to enjoy the summer, but I have it in my head that I neeeeeed to get all this done, and then, enjoying summer will really be enjoyable - the work will be done. But is the work ever done? Oy. By the time I am done with my current projects I am going to have to catch up on other work. Vicious cycle, I say. But time slips by so fast. Blink and school will be starting. Then things gather so fast. Stop and I'll have another pile of stuff to sort through. I think most of us go through this on some level. And for the most part I really just try to deal with one thing at a time. It seems to be a golden rule of sorts that works ninety-nine percent of the time. But of course there is that one percent, which is where I seem to be. 

And maybe the biggest culprit of all is that all the time I have spent with my head buried in these projects it has allowed me a lot of time with my thoughts. They just ping pong around my head as I am painting, clearing a closet, going through old boxes. I go from completely spacing out (my favorite), to making more mental to-do lists, to replaying old conversations (least favorite), to childhood memories, to my business, to my kids (oh my god, i need to teach them to write their letters before they go to school! what am i doing inside this closet?!), and generally thinking about the things I am not doing while I am doing something else. I am not sure which is actually more exhausting: the work or listening to myself ramble and argue with myself for hours on end in my own head. 

Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

The Other Side

Monday, July 14, 2014

This weekend felt like a really long one to me - though I am happy to say I believe that is so because I got so many things done. Really when I think of all the things I crossed off my list I can't believe it was only a few days that went by. The yard sale was a success. The extra cash was nice, but mostly because I emptied out an entire room full of stuff, which is hard to believe when I look around my house, honestly I think I could probably empty another room full of things. I knew for awhile that I was feeling more like my stuff was owning me rather than I was owning my stuff - not a good feeling. If you aren't vigilant, which I am not, about keeping things minimal and purging consistently it just adds up so quickly and before you know it you have a bag of mismatched socks, clothes that don't fit anyone, and random things gathering dust that you never use anymore. So after this weekend of unloading I feel an amazing sense of lightness and accomplishment. I still have a bit to go, but after a last load to goodwill everything from here on out is the fun stuff. This week I am going to focus on trying to come up with a concrete plan for M+L's room, which feels super exciting now that when I walk in there I see nothing but a blank canvas. 

This weekend was also really hot, in fact it's been hot for weeks. It's that kind of hot I have always associated with Portland summers, though they have been a bit elusive over the last few years. The hot where there is a haze in the air and your skin burns even in the shade and everything feels quiet and slowed down. We didn't get out much because of all the work we were doing around the house, but of course we went for a few evening walks. And in honor of being on 'the other side' of things, I thought I'd share a few photos I took on one of our walks of 'the other side' of where we live. While we live in this gorgeous little pocket and have acres and acres of green around us - thanks to the gardens where we live and the golf course across the street, we also live next to a freeway, large and small businesses, and main roads all around us. Which all might not be as pretty as the greenery, though I suppose the city dweller in me finds the beauty and comfort in our urban surroundings too. 

Agua Fresca

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I am happy to report that I have been furiously tending to my projects the last couple days. I found out on Tuesday that my neighbor is having a yard sale today and Friday which turned out to be just the motivation I needed to kick myself into high gear and take the opportunity to get all the things I have been piling to get rid of outside of my house. So that is what I will be doing over the next couple days. And I while I am a bit 'wah wah' about spending the next two days putting on a yard sale, I am so, so happy that I will very soon be turning the corner of the less-than-fun process of cleaning, clearing and de-cluttering, I will soon be able to move on to the fun task of decorating M+L's room. 

We have been having quite the heatwave around here and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. I am not complaining though, I love summertime. But I am not always the best at drinking as much water as I should, truth be told I have a pretty bad diet coke habit, but obviously it takes on a whole other level of terrible when it's soaring in the 90's for days on end. So one way I try to get more water is by making my own infused waters and agua fresca. And considering I will be outside baking in the sun at our yard sale I decided to make a couple batches to have on hand over the next couple days. 

One of my favorites is to make Agua Fresca. I made this the first time when I bought yet another watermelon that just wasn't that good. So instead of tossing it out I cut it up and blended it up in the blender with filtered water, a bit of mint from my garden and a squeeze of lemon. It's so refreshing and really simple to make. All you need to do once it is all blended is strain it to get all the chunks out. 

Another favorite of mine is Infused Water with cucumber and basil. I get a large jar (or two) fill with filtered water, ice, cucumber slices, whole basil leaves and stick it in the refrigerator  for a couple hours before drinking (usually I let it sit overnight). Sometimes I add a squeeze to lime right before I drink it and, I also will trade out the cucumbers for leeks - but I skip the lime if I use leeks.

In Print

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A few months ago I was contacted by Gray Magazine requesting to feature my work in an upcoming editorial feature. Gray is a really wonderful design magazine for the Pacific Northwest, so of course I was very excited. But you never know how these things will turn out, they could, in fact, at the last minute pull me from the issue, so while I was extremely honored to have even been asked/acknowledged/recognized by a publication who "celebrates the most exciting and innovative designs coming out of the Pacific Northwest region," I held out too much excitement until I actually saw it in person. But sometimes, things turn out even better than you could have imagined, - this was one of those times. It's in one of the featured cover stories for the June/July publication and my little blurb is even front and center (!) of the style section of the story. Very exciting. You can flip through the who magazine above via Issuu. 

Photo Diary | 04 |

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hope everyone had a great weekend and all my friends in the states were able to stay out of the emergency room over the 4th of July. The weekend moved much faster than I did, so my grand images of me getting 3 weeks worth of work done in 3 days didn't exactly happen. But it worked out because other things got done and mostly spending time together simply took over - which is way better than tackling projects anyway. We had a nice and mellow 4th celebration. It was just me and M+L, I wasn't sure how our puppers Marla would handle fireworks, so we stayed close to home and kept our fireworks small and simple. Ironically, however, while Marla is afraid of shadows and garbage trucks and leaves and flies and trash cans and wind and sun and rain - she wasn't the least bit put off by the crackling and whistling and booming sounds of fireworks exploding all over the city.  But it turned out to be just perfect, besides I wouldn't call myself an overly patriotic person, I definitely celebrate the 4th more as a welcoming of summer and sunshine and that we did. We went for a long walk in the blistering sun, dipped our toes in cold water from the hose and had the traditional fare of hot dogs/potato salad/watermelon/ice cream, of course ending it all with some fountains and sparklers and, my personal favorite, smoke bombs and snakes. 
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