idea we love: recycled cashmere blankets

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It’s officially spring, but there’s still a chill in the air. Nothing would be cozier during a couch-top cuddle than a Sun Moon Lake handcrafted cashmere quilt. Created by artist-designer Moonching Wu, these cashmere throws are made from discarded cashmere sweaters. Each one is unique, chic, and amazingly eco friendly. Size range from a small baby blanket (30 x 30, $250) to a large throw (55 x 75, $900). Sigh. Too pricey to buy right now? Crafty types, get out your sewing machines. We’d love to see your own re-intepretation.

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strangely appealing: dna portraits

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I spotted this unusual art piece in the new MoMA store catalog: It’s a DNA portrait, which they call “a modern spin on a personal or pet portrait.” For $550, you will receive a DNA kit that helps you collect a “painless cheek swap” sample (though, perhaps not so painless if your pet bites you as you swipe). Mail your sample into a lab for processing, and in about six weeks, you’ll receive your DNA fingerprint on canvas in the color palette of your choice. Click here to read more about how the prints are made by DNA 11. Each one is signed on the back by the artists there, and like your own genetic stamp, completely unique. I know at first it might sound a bit gimmicky, but I have to say, I like the images. For a pet, well, that might be a bit silly… but how ’bout a high tech wedding gift? You can get two side-by-side in coordinating colors! What do you think: Are DNA portraits appealing or appalling? — Angela M.

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esty finds from kim b. — blank notecards

I send a lot of thank you notes. A lot. I send them to people I interview, people I know. I tend to get blank notecards, so I can send them for birthdays and the like as well, instead of wasting my hard-earned cash at Hallmark. Check out these fantastic cards and notes over at Etsy.

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Papered together has some cute little hedgehog hello cards. I adore hedgehogs, $12 for four.

These peapod flat notecards are bright and fun for any occasion, from Pink bathtub, $6 for three.

Click through to the next page for five more Esty card picks from Kim. (more…)

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i see london, i see france

Gifts for World Travelers

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Here are a couple of gift ideas that we think are so clever, you may have to pry from them our own well-journeyed hands. The first is MUJI’s city blocks, a grown up a toy that lets forlorn travelers recreate their favorite cities at home, and perhaps even have a play a bit of Godzilla-style chaos on them. Shown here is London, at MUJI store online and at MoMA you can get the New York one. Why not mix the two for our idea of urban paradise?

Below, here’s something we spotted at the gift show that we think is the best thing to happen to travel since wheels on luggage: Moleskine City Guides. They combine our favorite don’t-leave-home-without notebooks with just the right amount of essential information you need when visiting a city. Included between its covers: A Key Map that summarizes the overall layout of the city, showing the sequence and location of up to 36 additional zone maps; map of the metro system and list of stations; an alphabetical street index; up to 76 blank pages to jot down thoughts, fab finds and new friends’ phone numbers. Five cities in the series are now available now at flight 001 for $17.

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strangely appealing: anatomical heart vase

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Esque Designs makes gorgeous glass creations, and this Anatomical Heart Vase from their new collection really makes ours flutter. Andi Kovel from Esque explains their hand-blown, hand-sculpted technique: “We did look at real images [of actual hearts] before making. The glass is aqua and strawberry colored, then it’s dipped into water to give it a cracked surface. Then we apply red and blue veins, then pinch, blow and cut into final shape. There are four ventricles for flowers, but I’d recommend displaying as an art object.” Not only are they an amazing display of skill, but they also support a good cause. Part of a limited edition of 250, they were designed by Justin Parker and sell for $450. If you order from Esque’s site, 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Foundation (20% if you get it from another retailer). (Note: It’s not on their site yet but should be by the end of the week!)

So what do you think? Would you give your Valentine one of these? Would you be pysched to get one?

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