blogwatch: where we’ve been clicking this week

orange and blue-1

Who knew the 18th & 19th centuries were so chic? Psychedelic Federalist wallpapers, at Readymade.

The Nub chair by Patricia Urquiola: like an atomic windsor chair. Via notcot

Smitten Kitchen went to Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster, and all she brought us was this recipe for sour cream cornbread with aleppo pepper.

Make an INSANELY easy MCM-inspired planter with inexpensive Target pots — thanks again, Curbly!

DIY life shows us how to dress up vintage black & white photos with bright & colorful matting — a great Mother’s day idea!

Put down that Morton’s salt! Harold McGee introduces us to the wide world of salt, and why it’s so important to go natural.

mother’s day gift ideas: toothpick holders

mothersday

When my mother-in-law started collecting toothpick holders several years ago, I have to admit, I didn’t really get it. Then I bought her a collector’s guide and my jaw about hit the floor when I saw all the different holders. Literally thousands — and that’s just pressed glass. There’s also toothpick holders made of metal (silver, pewter) and porcelain.

Although toothpick holders are no longer considered part of a well-set table, they come in handy for other uses. Filling out the front of a bookshelf, holding a miniature bouquet or keeping your rings safe, to name a few.

Toothpick holders have sold for as much as $10,000 at auction (that’s not a typo). I usually find good ones to gift for well under $20 but have occasionally paid more. With a lot of collectibles, however, there are recent reproductions so if you’re spending a lot, check out some of the collector’s guides first. They’ll help you identify the difference between old and new. You can also find information and links on The National Toothpick Society website. — Sarah L.

registry favorite: beverage dispensers

ColdBeverageJarWStandFCSP10
anthro bev dispenser

As I’ve been preparing for this year’s run of the summer wedding gauntlet, I’ve noticed a pattern: Crate & Barrel’s cold beverage jar with stand, $49.95, has been on every single registry I’ve looked at. I love everything beverage dispensers stand for: summer parties, cocktails, refreshing drinks! But never have I actually attended an event where I’ve seen one in action. Yes, considering the trend the reason could lie in the fact that the friends that would have the type of soiree that calls for one haven’t received them yet, but still, this item seems to be a popular one for these summer registries. It also calls to mind Anthropologie’s designer version, $298, but with its equally Anthropologie price tag, my summer drink serving needs are best left to the registry specialists at Crate & Barrel. What do you think, readers? Any other hot registry items to keep on the radar? Did you ask for a beverage dispenser, and if so, do you use it? — Sarah C.

Related:
planning a wedding: fun with the registry
post off: what item just didn’t work for you?
wedding registry idea: something old instead of new

oh happy day: the marimekko shop at crate and barrel is open!

marimekko

Crate and Barrel and Marimekko go hand in hand — in fact, their history together dates back to the early 1960′s. Even though C&B has been a reliable source for Marimekko textiles and bedding, it’s mostly been integrated into the regular stock. That all changed when Crate and Barrel opened the first Marimekko shop in their Soho location (as covered by Sarah C. back in October), featuring even more Finnish retinal delights than ever before. Now coasters west, east and in between can peruse this augmented collection, as the online Marimekko shop opens today! So shop now — or if you’re close enough to drop in to one of the brick and mortar locations opening soon, even better. Locations and opening dates are as follows: New York (Madison Avenue, April 28), Chicago (North and Clyborn, May 5), Los Angeles (The Grove, May 19) and San Francisco (Union Square, May 26). — Megan B.

And for more of what to expect when you go, check out more of Sarah’s photos of the Soho store at our Facebook page!

site we’re psyched about: shelfari

shelfari

As a rule, I say yes to book club. A guaranteed time for wine, food and friends, I look forward to our meetings and the set date helps me to incorporate a few good reads into my otherwise insane schedule. Recently, a friend turned me on to Shelfari, a social cataloging website for bookworms. Part of the Amazon family of web brands, the site allows users to create a profile (using their Amazon credentials) and create and share shelves of books they’ve either read, own or have on their wish list. Users also have the option of reviewing, rating, recommending or tagging books for quick and easy organization and discussion. Though I consider myself a beginner book clubber (and don’t have room for real bookshelves), this seems like it has potential to be a great organizational tool. What do you think, readers? Would you ever use a site like Shelfari to organize your reads? Are you in a book club? What are you reading? — Sarah C.