don't miss movie décor: miss pettigrew's pad

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There haven’t been many movies out recently that had enviable decor (can’t imagine any of you are rushing to steal ideas from There Will Be Blood or No Country For Old Men), but a film opened this past weekend that has wallpaper lovers swooning: Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day. It stars Frances McDormand as misplaced nanny who lands a job as personal secretary for a glamorous actress, played by Amy Adams — but design junkies would argue that film’s true star is the decadent 1930’s apartment created by production designer Sarah Greenwood (who also did Atonement‘s lavish mansions). With tufted slipper chairs, silk wallpaper, and mirrored side tables, it’s enough to make any girl swoon. To read more about it, check out this little piece in The New York Times. And, be sure to weigh in on our mega-post, What’s Your Favorite Big Screen Home Decor?

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post off: what do you collect?

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Apartment Therapy had a nice little post on what designers collect. Angela collects antlers and refrigeratorware. I’ve developed a thing for vintage Pyrex. (Somehow I’ve just noticed the amazing site Pyrex Love! Such great photos, like the one above, and such great info.) So what do you collect? Share with us in comments, and include links if you have photos online. (If no photos online, feel free to contact letters at shelterrific dot com.) We may feature some of your fine collections in a future post. –Mary T.

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real life test kitchen: slow cooker beef stew

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Here’s a recipe for those of you serving a crowd on St. Patrick’s Day — though I actually made this back in January (P.I. time — pre-Isadora) and froze half of it. Ironically, it’s “Mom’s Beef Stew” from a book called Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook. (I’m not sure what it says about me, that of all the recipes in the book, I picked out the one that was ‘Mom’s’). It’s amazingly easy, if you have a slow cooker handy.

First, place chopped up potatoes and carrots at the bottom of the cooker. Then coat two pounds of boneless beef chunks in flour, paprika, salt and pepper, and brown it in a skillet. Transfer to the meat to the slower cooker, and add in chopped onion, celery, mushrooms. Stir up, leaving potatoes and carrots on the bottom layer. Add in a mixture of beef broth, tomato paste, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and cloves. Tuck in a bay leave or two and some parsley sprigs. Cover, and cook on low for eight to nine hours. Right before you serve, stir in some frozen peas and cook for fifteen more minutes. We served our stew over mashed potatoes. Talk about a comfort food hitting home! This dish did the trick.

I’m sure there is a way to make this without a slow cooker — simmering in a dutch oven on the stove for three or four hours? Does anyone know? Click through to the next page for the full recipe! — Angela M. (more…)

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site we’re psyched about: populuxebooks.com

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We’re digging Populuxe Books, where you can buy from a rotating selection of original how-to books and building plans from the heyday of mid-century modern design. It’s great fun just to peruse some of the books’ screen shots, as well. Populuxe also runs Retro Info!, a blog jammed with great links and observations — we particularly enjoyed these notes on more retro wallpaper (we like retro and vintage wallpaper) and even more mod designs for the little ones (with a video of their own little one in his Boon-designed high chair).

From our partners

site we're psyched about: populuxebooks.com

populuxe3.jpg

We’re digging Populuxe Books, where you can buy from a rotating selection of original how-to books and building plans from the heyday of mid-century modern design. It’s great fun just to peruse some of the books’ screen shots, as well. Populuxe also runs Retro Info!, a blog jammed with great links and observations — we particularly enjoyed these notes on more retro wallpaper (we like retro and vintage wallpaper) and even more mod designs for the little ones (with a video of their own little one in his Boon-designed high chair).

From our partners