Happy Holidays everybody!

I'll be posting now and again but likely back again in early January.
I plan to:
Read, shop, bake, crochet, taste, watch, garden, relax and play...

'Bling' table

I'm afraid I can't identify the source of these images as they were forwarded (uncredited) in an email to me. But isn't this an interesting piece of art/furniture/decor/design? If anyone knows the designer please share.

UPDATE 8 January:

More info found here

Details from Moss follow:

Robber Baron
tales of power, corruption, art, and industry, cast in bronze
by Studio Job

Conceived in 2006, Robber Baron is an important suite of five cast-bronze furnishings, consisting of a Cabinet, Mantel Clock, Table, Standing Lamp, and Jewel Safe, each to be offered in a limited edition of five, exclusive to Moss.

Magnificent in scale, exceptionally finely modeled, detailed, and cast, with precision mechanical movements where required, incorporating deeply carved iconographic reliefs, with areas highly polished, gilded, or patinated, these works are guild-like in their master craftsmanship.

Their mirror finish reflecting the outrageous excesses of America’s 19th century tycoons and Russia’s new oligarchs, these surreal, highly-expressive furnishings, each a complex composition of multiple visual elements depicting a narrative - much like a cathedral’s stained glass windows or its majestic bronze front doors - represent an interior belonging to a powerful industrial leader or his heirs. With clouds of pollution belching from towering smoke stacks, and missiles, falcons, gas masks, warplanes, and wrenches adorning golden surfaces, Robber Baron celebrates and shames both Art and Industry.

Seen here
I've also seen a candle poured into a beer glass - two tones - larger and a head of white foam/wax.

Wallpaper I'm loving..

This is from Anthropologie, spotted at apartment therapy. I want it I want it I want it....

Time's 50 Top 10 Lists of 2007

Top Fashion trends, Top quotes, Top 'buzzwords', Top Magazine covers and The Top 10 viral clips of 2007 by TIME magazine. Including 'Leave Britney alone', Miss South Carolina Teen USA and 1,500 Filipino Prison Inmates version of the 'Thriller' video...

Vintage bottles

These are crystal perfume bottles circa 1920's and were a birthday gift from friends. Until they are filled I think they are just beautiful to look at. Would look great on a mirrored dressing table..

A passion for perfume.

Perfume is described as marking the most important times in life - birth, death, health and seduction. I suppose I think it has always been an interest for me - but recently I've decided to make it a hobby. Images of white coats and chemists beakers aside I've decided I'm going to order an 'organ' of base/middle/top notes and start to make my own scents. Even if I only achieve marginal success and manage to create a room or linen spray that doesn't make my nostrils burn I guess I'll be happy. I plan to get The Perfumery Training Kit K26.

Fragonard is a perfume factory that I visited while in the South of France, about 2 years ago. It is in Grasse. What a heady experience. It was great to be at the centre of perfume-making where the techniques were perfected and all the history of perfumery lies. Below image of Grasse.

I'm sure in another life I was destined to be a 'nose'. I have a keen, almost overdeveloped sense of smell (in this life) which seems to have been genetically handed down to me from my father - along with a particularly 'roman/retrousse' profile...

Isn't it amazing how strongly scent and memories are linked? Some of my favourite scents and scent memories inculde -

*Nine years old, my mothers perfume sprayed on a lace hankerchief. I kept it under my pillow in my little cold dormitary bed for comfort when I went off to boarding school for the first time.
*The chlorine clean bleach-blue smell of the school swimming pool - very institutional smell which conjoured up feelings of nervousness and even now is associated with competitiveness and butterflies in the stomach!
*The smell of freshly cut grass. Also a school association, usually accomanied by sharp bursts of whistles and running.
*My mothers baking. Comfort and saftey.
*Lavender 'Vinolia' soap and Colgate Apple shampoo - immediately transported to childhood.
*Wet dog, most likely one of the reasons why we don't have a pet.
*Wet swimming towels, damp smell usually equalling a scolding as they'd been left in a heap on the floor.
*Cedarwood. Vanilla essence. The lavender growing in our garden.
*Malibu - sunscreen and Hawaain pineapple cocktails.
*Laundry detergent and the smell of softener.
*The cloying heady smell of incense. Too strong.
*Dried roses - pot pourri - reminds me of Valentines days gone by and old ladies houses.
*Clothes and hair after being in a smoky pub/club. Yuck.
*New car: new anything actually - a new leather handbag - happy, happy.

What are your favourite scents or those linked to a strong memory?

I was given this book as a birthday present and was quite suprised when it was made into a movie. I thought the only way to sucessfully communicate all that had been described in this book would have been to release scent into movie theatres and make it a REAL sensory experience! Not a bad adaptation but as usual, I enjoyed the book more than the movie.
Still shot from the movie (below).

On to perfume:

CLEAN perfume - I think this company has been extaordinarily clever to replicate scents that we all love: warm cotton, clean laundry, shower fresh, the smell of a baby.

This book is on my list to purchase.

I know this was an extremely long post today, thanks for reading if you made it this far! : )

Holiday reading

For any readers out there - I discovered a great link recently what should I read next?

You register and then enter the Title/Author of a book you like. The site analyses their database of readers' favourite books (over 32,000 and growing) and suggests what you could read next. You can add an entire list of your favourite reads and compare to other similar lists. There is also a link to do the same with Music and Movies.

Great for someone like me who can blow the budget at Exclusive books quite easily.

New York, New York..

{sigh} A city I am dying to visit...

We heard yesterday that my husband, Brandt, (on flickr here) has been invited to be one of the design judges of the 87th Art Directors Club Awards. So I had to brag. I'm very proud of him. And the last time he came back from NY he brought me a little little turquoise box. : ) Very lucky me!

Taxi photo by bugged out cars.

Sweet Surrender by Francois Van Reenen

An exhibition by Frank Van Reenen at Whatiftheworld / Gallery 208 Albert Rd. Woodstock
From 07 Dec 2007 - 12 Jan 2008 (Opening: Friday 07 Dec 2007 18h00)

From whatiftheworld
"The first solo exhibition by artist Francois Van Reenen at Whatiftheworld / Gallery, feautring a selction of new sculptures, prints, paintings, and animation. A pioneer of Flash animation filmmaking in the 90’s and an accomplished sculptor, van Reenen extract’s sentimentality and nostalgia from his 50’s based toy and comic collection, transferring dilemmas of taste and emotion onto his prints and sculptures. The artist’s rye sense of humour and self conscious ironical take on the world combined with autobiographical references form the basis of his conceptual and aesthetic approach."

I love Frank's work and was fortunate to have been given a 'Shy girl' print (below) from Frank and Tracy for my birthday a few years ago. More here

The perfect bookshelf

I heard about this idea a while ago - a bookshelf that doubles as a place-holder for your current read. It was described to me as a shelf that looked kinda like a birdhouse.. I finally came across a pic of the design in visi. Their latest cover is scratch and sniff!

The bookshelf is designed by David Restorick and you can see more of his work on his flickr page.

He's also been featured on design spotter "The bookhouse is a bedside unit. Somewhere to place your book as you fall asleep, keeping your page, as well as providing essential storage inside. Availiable in Azzure, duck egg blue, pink and white."


Image and some info from Domino how-to section

From drab to sassy from cheap to expensive? Using a high gloss lacquer-like finish is a great way to elevate a wood piece from plain to luscious and add glamour to any room. Its the look-of-the-moment.

But how to duplicate this high gloss finish? (Apparantly the practice started in ancient China and caught on in Europe during the 1600s.)

The look to achieve (in white in my case):

The furniture in question:

A little research here gave me some information - but it sounds like a timeous and tedious process...

Lacquer can be used to achieve a beautiful finish. Lacquer is considered more difficult to apply than other finishes because it requires several coats with sanding in between. It dries very quickly and is usually sprayed rather than brushed. It cannot be used over paint or other topcoats since it will soften and lift the finish.

For the best finish, lacquer should be sprayed. There is at least one product available which combines a lacquer base with a sealer in an easily applied topcoat which can be sprayed or brushed. If you use a brush, work quickly and apply lacquer with the grain using a good, natural bristle brush.

A properly applied lacquer finish is a thing of beauty worthy of the finest furniture. The final coat can be rubbed out with 0000 steel wool and paste wax, or it can be polished with polishing compound (automotive compound is fine) for a soft luster.

I'm wondering if it's possible to achieve a similar look with Velvaglo hi gloss white paint? I'm hesitant as I don't want to see any brushstrokes on the end result. Perhaps better to go with the Duco spraypaint? At least that is 'sprayed'.

Found some info here on duplicating a black lacquer look - but its all too complicated for me and unfortunately the products are from the US.

The last thing I want is a real 'home made job' effect on this project... advice?

No Calories

How cute are these knitted cup cakes by Chrissy Brown? Seen at poppytalk

For the week end:

A quote by Anthony Hopkins:

“I have a punishing workout regimen. Every day I do 3 minutes on a treadmill, then I lie down, drink a glass of vodka and smoke a cigarette.”


I was recently introduced to the most amazing website. TED.
"Inspired talks by the world's greatest thinkers and doers."

From Ross Lovegrove, Stefan Sagmeister, Bono and Branson... to new amazing advances in medicine. You have just GOT TO check out this site.

Inspired by the upcoming exhibition of wooden sculptures by Adrian Köhler I decided to put this group of images together. Woodgrain rocks! Even that fake plastic wood veneer is very nostalgic for me, I remember specific platters that my mother used to serve cocktail snacks when I was a child. The embroidery on the chair in this inspiration board and the duvet cover/quilt detail are two applications I haven't seen before and really love.

Credits -
Pen and paper
Vitamin design milk
Earrings by Orno
Mr French
Heather Moore
Adrian Köhler

birthday cupcakes

birthday cupcakes, originally uploaded by black_kat1.

Diamond ring

Diamond ring, originally uploaded by black_kat1.

This perspex "Diamond ring" is from the MoMa shop, NY.

Crochet attempt

I was inspired by a scarf I saw posted on flickr by gifrancis her end result looks fantastic:

Aren't the colours of her shot beautiful as well?

My attempt was less sucessfull -

But since I haven't tried to crochet since junior school, it's no wonder that my choice of needle and wool was wrong and the result ended up slightly more comical than chic... nevertheless I've decided to document my attempt before unravelling it. I'm definitely planning a re-work once I've bought the correct supplies. I still like the silver wool though.

'Lovesick' dinnerware

Plates from Mr French that were a gift from my sister and her husband. YAY.

An exhibition of sculptures by Adrian Köhler

Cup of Tea 2007 wood 8 x 18 x 15cm

Swiss Army Knife 2007 wood 18 x 4.5 x 35cm

A postcard for this Exhibition -WOOD 4 Dec 2007 – 26 Jan 2008- is floating around the studio. I think it's the most beautiful work. It looks painstakingly perfectly crafted and I am diarising this one as a must-see. More info here 34 Long
All images © Adrian Köhler, 2007

7 hours of training...

...has left me brain dead.. I spent today in a 'refresher' and update training course on Photoshop CS3, InDesign and Illustrator. It was great though. I now can't wait to get the CS3 updates for those programs. Really enjoyed the introduction to kuler I think I'll have to register. Watermelon and Linen are two colour schemes that caught my eye.

Training was by Eva at friends of design

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

I've come across this PIF concept a few times, most recently on Helouise's blog - my imperfect garden

I couldn't resist being one of those to leave a comment - she's someone whose handmade creation is bound to be great.

So although I'm convinced no one but my family reads this blog - now it's my turn and the invitation is extended to YOU.

Perhaps a piece of embroidery, perhaps a handmade scented candle...I'll think of something. I'll do my best to make it worth your while : )

A thing of Beauty

My birthday gift from DH (that's 'dear husband'). I'm ecstatic. This is the Porcshe of mixers. Now to make counter space - banish the blender - and decide what the inauguration recipe should be...
Image from

Favourite card company

Bald guy greeting cards. My sense of humour I guess.
bald guy greetings

jp33 :: the work of Jeremy Prasatik

Really like this identity. Perhaps it's the colours... see yesterday..Not mad about some of the grungy stuff but pretty cool work on his site Jeremy Prasatik

CSA images

I'm in love with this image. New gallery online. csa images

15 minute sketch

For the night of 1000 drawings.

Invite design

I'm getting old...

Jean Pant

For sale at Big Blue stores. Just a bit of fun. Not printed in my suggested colours unfortunately.

Pics of the decor and pattern designed for our wedding.


Designed a pattern for a handbag for Design Indaba - also entered into

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