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feast for the eyes: dan pollock’s hand carved bowls

Lets take a pause for a moment just to appreciate the beauty of these bowls by artist Dan Pollock. Hand craved from reclaimed wood each piece is then sanded to reveal gentle lines from its life, as well as the occasional abrupt markings which perhaps give a hint to its demise. It is art that is meant to be touched, proudly wearing nicks and gentle bruises that help tell its life story. The prices place them out of reach for anyone but serious collectors (bowls start at $1000), but there’s no cost for admiring. Visit suiteny.com for more information.

holiday how-to: making angel noodle ornaments

The other day my resourceful husband, who’s also an extremely hands-on dad, saw a link on our local Baristanet site that gave instructions on how to make noodle ornaments — cute little angels made from different kinds of noodles to hang on your tree or give as gifts. Apparently it’s a Swedish tradition, but in our house, noodles are always on the menu du jour. We had most of what we needed already in our cabinets: Glue, a Sharpie, paint brushes, string, farfalle, elbows, rigatoni. A trip to Michael’s and we got the rest of the supplies — wooden beads, white gloss paint, metallic scrapbook paper.

This project took several days to complete and is a little tricky, even for nimble fingers. You have to be patient and wait for the glue to dry before adding the next element. Also, the dry pasta is extremely fragile; we crushed a couple just picking them up too carelessly. Still, it was fun to see our little choir singers come to live. This week we’re giving them out as gifts to all those we want to say a special thanks to.

Here is the step-by-step for Noodle Angel Ornaments:

What You Need:

Macaroni elbow pasta (note: make sure they are not the curly kind)
Farfalle Pasta
Tubettini Pasta
Rigatoni pasta
Wooden craft beads 3/4″
Craft/wood glue or hot glue gun (we used both and the glue fun works better)
White gloss- spray paint — be warned: it’s stinky!
Paint brushes
Metallic scrapbook paper
Scissors
A fine black sharpie
String

1. Glue the noodles together to form angels. Make the head and body separately. We started with rigatoni body and the farfalle wings.

2. Next, glue on the tubettini to the wooden balls. Spread the glue over one side of the wooden ball and place the pasta around its crown and back of head. Leave the hole on top empty for your string. We went back and filled in blank spaces with extra “hair.”

3. While the heads are drying, add the elbow arms to the body.


4. Let dry completely and then glue the heads to the bodies. Let those dry, perhaps overnight.

5. Spray paint the angels white — in the basement or somewhere where you won’t fill house with fumes. Let dry overnight.

6. Glue gun folded pieces of paper — about 3/4″ x 1/2″ — to the arms.

7. Draw on the angels’ faces with the sharpie to draw on your angel’s face.

8. Glue a loop of string in the hole at the top of the head.

7. Let dry and hang on your tree.

Do you have a favorite holiday craft? I’d love to hear about it!

hollywood regency goes to the dogs with this over-the-top bed

If there’s one thing that is clear from all the catalogs and emails we’ve been getting about holiday pet products, it’s that Santa loves our pooches as much as he does kids. In between all the sliver-plated bowls, cashmere sweaters and gourmet treats, we spotted this over-the-top dog bed from Duroque that stopped us in our tracks. Insanely chic with tufts, black piping and gorgeous Damask print, it looks like something that Zsa Zsa would have for her pooches back in the 40s. Pure fantasy at $1200, it’s fun to dream about the Hollywood palace that would house such a throne. Take a look at Duroque’s full dog bed collection, it’s a treat.

becki’s gorgeous home redesign: what she learned along the way

I recently redesigned my entire living space (a project that’s not for the faint of heart). I relocated from a cozy Victorian to a sleek, modern condo, and all of the overstuffed furniture and copious collections of books and tchotchkes I’d collected over the years suddenly looked worse than out of place in my new home.

Now that I’m done, I have a space I love that’s full of calm vibes, neutral tones and – best of all – no clutter. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite tips from what turned out to be a trickier process than I could ever have imagined:

Styling books: Stack books horizontally from largest to smallest (max of 3), but when stacking vertically, put the tallest books in the middle and shorter on either side. It gives the group a finished look, without looking too perfect. Also, if you have a lamp on a table that needs some added height, try stacking a couple of coffee-table books underneath.



Texture:
I went with a very neutral palette for our new place – there’s almost no color to be found. To counteract what could easily have been a stark space, we used all kinds of texture to add warmth and dimension. Raw wood coffee tables, chunky woven poufs, nubby linen pillows and that amazing Moroccan souk rug (oh Rugs USA, how I love you). It all adds warmth without visual clutter, which was exactly what I wanted.

Tables: Table sizes were the trickiest thing to manage. Luckily, coffee tables can be custom made…did you know? Hire a designer: they are magic. And when no side table on the planet seemed to work in my living room, Restoration Hardware came to my rescue in a huge way with the perfect side table. So simple and stylish, it takes up almost no space, and blends in so perfectly, it’s like it was always here.

A sense of humor: Even though I call this my “grown-up house”, because it does feel very adult, you have to have a bit of fun in any home. Like the giant ceramic tiger I rescued from my mother-in-law’s house – he brings a bit of levity to a serious space. As do the brass animals on my mantle, and the dog portraits on my wall.

Lamps: I completely and totally underestimated how much fun I could have with lamps, but they’re one of my favorite things in this new space. Don’t be afraid to go a little crazy with colors and styles that seem out of the box.

Overbuy: If you’re not working with a pro (and really, you should be…they’re amazing), always overbuy accessories, making sure you can return what you don’t want. Have extra lamps, books, knickknacks, clocks, throws and pillows on hand, so that you can play around with your space and see what works. Trust me – you won’t know until you’ve tried a few options.

But really, the smartest thing I did? Enlist the help of a designer. Particularly if you find a local design store you love (if you’re in Portland, I can’t say enough about Manor Fine Wares), you’ll likely find that their in-house designer works for an incredibly reasonable price, and will save you infinite amounts of anxiety.

Are any of you contemplating a home makeover? What’s keeping you from taking the plunge? ~ Becki S.

PS: If you’re curious, you can check out more pics right here.

post off: do you like your bedroom calm or bright?

I’m always torn between wanting my bedroom to be clean and calm like a luxury hotel suite to help me sleep, or bold, bright and cheerful to wake up to. If you’re in the first category, you’re going to love Crane & Canopy’s new Luxe Collection. Aptly named, these classic (and unbelievably soft) bedding sets look like just the thing to up the style quotient in your boudoir, even if it’s lacking any trace of a Zen vibe. I’ll admit, the jacquard feels a little old-school and romantic to me, but then, a bit of extra romance never hurt anyone in this department.

I’m curious – do you favor bold, bright colors in the bedroom, or do these more soothing, spa-like shades speak to you?