It’s not something I am proud of, but we have a dog crate in our dining room. We’ve moved it around the house, and really it’s the place that we find it least offensive, tucked into a corner that’s mostly out-of-site. However, when we sit down to a meal, there it is, just over my husband’s shoulder. It ain’t pretty, but it does make our house a happy place — both for Cupcake and us!
As you can imagine, my curiosity was peeked after seeing a press release on the Hudehutte (pronounced Hound HUT), a fancy covering for dog crates made by interior designer Kim Schroeder. A custom-made fabric cover drapes over the crate — which is honestly big enough to be a side table. It has a roll-er panel that can go up and down as needed, and a glass top which can be ordered separately. There’s no doubt that it raises the aesthetic bar significantly! This level of eye candy does not come cheap — prices start at $650. But a quick search tells me there are less expensive (though less polished) versions available on Etsy and through CrateCovers.com, which has the below one for only $99. Cute, huh?
Around this time of year, foodie magazines like to publish recipes that contain edible flowers. Resisting the urge to capture such a gorgeous and fleeting ingredient during its peak season is not possible. Look at this bountiful salad in the new MSL! Or this feature over at Food & Wine. But us readers, especially those without a green space, are left longing, relying solely on inventive chefs to toss a dose of colorful viola or geranium petals our way. The truth is edible flowers truly are everywhere, but without turning into a nighttime flower thief that raids the neighborhood beds, most of flowers are there to be seen, not eaten. Enter this adorable kit available from Rhode Island designer Sarah Rainwater at Etsy to solve the problem! It comes
all the goods you need to grow four types of heirloom flower seeds in in your home — calendula, lemon mint, nasturtium and starflower. In addition to including biodegradable folded paper pots for starting the seeds, it also comes with a lovely wooden display that will display your fresh flowers in glass vials — until you’re ready to eat them! What an inventive Mother’s Day present, don’t you think? Edible flower kit, $50 at Etsy.
What could be a better way to celebrate the month of love, February, than paying tribute to one of the purest loves in our lives: our grandmothers.
Our hearts swelled with admiration when we spotted this beautiful mixed media collage in Cashmere Bark’s Etsy shop. It reminds of not only of the bouquets we hope to give and get this month, but also the budding flowers resting in their beds, waiting to peek out at the first signs of thaw. When we learned that the artist behind the work was actually Mabel Minnich Miller, the grandmother of Sarah Miller, the designer behind Cashmere Bark, we loved it even more. We asked Sarah if we could feature her grandmother’s work and tell us bit about her.
Tell us about your grandmother Mabel and her home.
My grandmother’s garden and home were lovely–full of art and art objects. She was an avid and very successful gardener (then she brought the flowers up to her studio and painted them). I have fond memories of exploring her art studio as a child, and of her preparing our materials and teaching my brother and cousins and me to paint. I learned so much from her about how to live a beautiful life, and I’m reminded of this by having her paintings in my own home.
How did you come to sell her work in your shop?
My father and I are starting to have her paintings reproduced so that more people can enjoy them in their own collections. One that has been very popular is of the UC Berkeley hills in 1936. I think people enjoy the story that goes with it, about my grandfather proposing – they got married that year. The collage you chose was probably one of her favorites because it was over her bed, and when she moved into smaller places over the years the painting moved with her – always over her bed.
Can you tell us more about Cashmere Bark?
Cashmere Bark is the brand of a line of silk handbags I’ve been making for about 10 years. You can see some of the makeup bags in my shop. The name comes from an ayurvedic medicinal herb, and I liked the sound of it – something about it being soft and strong at the same time. This also describes my grandmother – who passed away in 2011 at almost 96 – she always a gracious lady, but very strong.
Pantone has announced its 2013 color of the year, and the good news is that it goes great with 2012′s color, Tangerine Tango. Emerald green – specifically Pantone 17-5641 — is the new hue to embrace. Lush, regal and radiant, it looks great on a dining room table, or against milky white winter skin. Here are a few emerald green picks available on Etsy right now, that could get your 2013 off to a glowing start.
Glass Fenton Button & Daisy Votives. Delicate and ornate, these will make any setting romantic. $20
Emerald green mod dresser. We love how the rich green is balanced with the wood drawer and white knobs. $400
Green Glass Napkin Holders. These 1950s beauties are filled with possibilities. Napkins, flowers, pine cones.. what would you put in them? Set of three is $42.
Placemats & Cloth napkins. There’s something super mod about these dainty green crosses. A set of three (lets hear it for odd numbers this year!), $15.
There’s something beautiful about stormy weather. Blues and grays mix with golden leaves, making everything moody and more interesting. That’s the feeling we get when we look at Eloise Renouf‘s prints. She takes the dark clouds of her native Nottingham, UK forests and mixes them with lovely repeats of leaves and flowers. We thought she’d be perfect for our Etsy artist spotlight this month. With unframed prints costing about $25 each, they’re divine when framed in a simple white border and presented as a series. We’re thinking kitchen but there’s no reason to stop there! Also available in tea towels and framed. We asked Eloise to tell us a bit about her art and her home.
How would you describe your work?
At present, I create prints and fabric accessories that are contemporary with a mid-century feel, largely inspired by nature, and with a strong emphasis on hand-drawn imagery and texture. I trained as a printed textile designer, so much of my work is of a decorative nature and it usually includes surface pattern or repeated elements. Everything starts as hand-drawn, painted or printed elements which then develop into collages, paintings or digitally manipulated images. I also place quite a strong emphasis on color, and enjoy unusual combinations and juxtapositions of these. Natural elements such as flowers, leaves, trees and clouds are recurring themes in my work. These are simplified, modernized and reduced to the most basic elements which are then re-enhanced with color, pattern and texture.
When did you start making your prints?
I began making my prints in the autumn of 2010. I’d had a bit of a career break to have children, and was feeling frustrated by my lack of creative output. The prints were a way of getting back into the flow of designing, and establishing my Etsy shop was just intended as a little artistic outlet. I hadn’t planned for it to be more than that, but it has created all sorts of opportunities and interesting projects that I’ve enjoyed being part of.
How does your home/city/neighborhood inspire you?
Nottingham is a fantastically creative city, and has become more so in the twelve years that I’ve lived here. Two new city art galleries have opened in recent years; there is a wealth of small, independent shops and boutiques; and you can find a craft fair, art show or creative event to go to almost every weekend. The two universities mean that there is a large, youthful crop of talent and that gives things a bit of an edge. My neighborhood is particularly rich in artistic blood, so I’m surrounded by others pursuing creative endeavors. You can’t help but be swept along by the energy. Nottingham is also blessed with lots of green open spaces and, being in close proximity to some wonderful countryside, it’s easy to escape and enjoy a different type of inspirational environment.
What kinds of artwork would one find on the walls of your house?
You would mostly find artwork from friends and family, and other Etsy sellers. These are mixed in with a few of my “experiments.” I have some lovely pieces by the very talented Cathy McMurray and equally talented Leah Duncan. My partner’s sister is an artist, so we have some of her prints and photographic collages. Another of my favorite pieces is a screen print from the 70s by a lady named Judy Gould. It’s a very simple repeating image of smoke stacks and is delightfully effective. And last but not least, you’d find plenty of artwork created by my 4 and 6 year old sons! Lots of dinosaurs, pirates and curious vehicles to enjoy!
Describe your decorating style.
I like the base of everything to be quite neutral, so favor white or off-white walls and wood flooring. I like furniture to have quite clean, simple lines, without being sterile, and I love mid-century style. To this I then add quite a colorful and decorative range of accessories. I find it impossible to stick to color schemes as my tastes and preferences in this regard change almost weekly. I enjoy having books on display, and also have quite large collections of mid-century ceramics and colored glassware. I’m also a fan of patterned fabrics, so these appear around the house in the form of cushions, tea towels and bags. I like things to be uncluttered yet warm, and simple yet visually stimulating.
To see more of Eloise Renouf’s work, visit her shop on Esty.