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force friday: this star wars BB-8 video deeply appeals to our design sense

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There’s a great deal of excitement building in our house around the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s a little out of control, as each new trailer has tears running down my husband’s face. Today the first wave of toys is hitting stores for Force Friday. For the most part, I patiently indulge and understand these deep pangs of adolescent nostalgia, but don’t feel them myself. This video from Spherio of the new mini BB-8 droid toy changes all that. Not only is it insanely cute and programmed by an app on your smart phone but it’s gorgeously designed. And the house this video is shot in? It’s a glass and concrete modernist’s dream. Just tell me how to make that succulent garden!

If you want more info on the toy itself, and when and where it may be available for a rumored $150, see this story Geek.com.

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holiday gifts 2014: elevate the everyday with porcelain paper plates

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There’s something so charming about ceramic and porcelain pieces that mimic the look of toss-away items. We love putting berries in ceramic “cardboard” containers or sipping hot coffee from the I Am Not A Paper Cup mug. Spotted at Provisions, Food52’s e-commerce shop that is brimming with foodie treasures, are these delicate serving fool-the-eye plates. Molded porcelain that looks like the most common of paper plates, they are both sturdy and beautiful. Made by SIN, a Brooklyn-based design company, they have received accolades from the design world, and will no doubt create pleasant sensations for dinner guests and gift recipients a like. $77 for an 8″ plate.

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etsy find: this showercurtain makes every day a day at the beach!

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I’ve yet to feel the sand between the toes (thanks to a little renovation project that is sucking up our free time) this summer. I am yearning to lie back and listen to the sounds of the shore — splashing waves, distant gulls, far off kids laughing. Hopefully me and my beach towel will have some quality time before summer closes, but if not, this shower curtain from Wanderlustography should help. It’s made by photographer Catherine McDonald, who brings her camera skills to shower curtains, pillows, and prints that are available on Etsy.
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Not a beach person? Perhaps a mountain scene would inspire your mornings… a quick trip to the Hollywood Hills. Each shower curtain is printed on to woven polyester fabric and costs $60 at Etsy.

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rolling with laughter: customized pins add flair to baking

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Isn’t it a wonderful world when a young Polish designer who lives outside of Warsaw can suddenly find herself a design blog darling? I heard about Zuzia Kozerska and her beautiful, engraved baking pins via This Is Colossal and was even more enchanted after clicking through to Zuzia’s Esty page. A baker and a designer, she wanted to make pastries that were fun and delicious without spending an entire weekend slaving over them. Using a laser engraver (take that Star Wars fans!) Zuzia discovered a way to engrave wooden rolling pins with whimsical patterns, like cats, robots, dinosaurs and even charming Polish phrases (like “sto lat” — a birthday greeting which means 100 years). “It all started with my niece birthday, she is absolutely nuts about cats!” says Zuzia on Etsy. “I knew without any hesitations what would be the first pattern I would make.” Made from locally harvested beech wood, the pins cost about $42 plus $13 shipping from Poland. They arrive in a carefully wrapped box with local postage stamps to show off their country origin. Without a doubt, this is going on my holiday gift list — I do have some Polish bakers in my family!

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a father’s day gift that will blow his mind: ecool, in-ground beer storage

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If the dad in your house is anything like the dad in our house, he might spend a lot of time watching survivor shows and thinking about gizmos and tools that will help us survive Armageddon. It’s like the natural cave-dweller’s hobby evolution. Well, if your alpha male doesn’t sleep well unless there’s some cold beer in the fridge, this gift idea may be the best thing since riding lawn mowers. Introducing ECool, an in-ground beer cooler that will hold up to 24 cans of beer and chill them without electricity — in your own backyard! Best installed with a garden drill (last year’s gift, perhaps?) but a shovel will do, ECool is contained in a hole in the ground, where your beer will be earth-cooled. Not only is it eco-smart, it will help save space in the fridge and create a feeling of security when the hurricane is blowing offshore. Made in Denmark, ECool costs $349. And while it probably won’t arrive before Sunday, it will arrive in time to enjoy all summer long.

If you’re not quite ready to invest in such depths in beer storage, consider another great Father’s Day gift, Craft Beer of the Month Club.

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