swoon of the day: a peek in donna wilson’s london studio


We’re big fans of Donna Wilson‘s whimsical designs, from her hand-sewn creatures to her charming ceramics. They instantly put you in a good mood. And, every time we get glimpse of the designer herself, whether it’s at a gift fair or something she’s writing about on her blog, we think, there’s a lady we could hang with. Call it a girl crush. So we were especially pleased to see that she’s been featured in the newest issue of Heart Home magazine. Her Bethnel Green studio is where the magic happens, as you can tell from the stacks and stacks of fabrics and rows of colored thread. The magazine follows Wilson around as she visits some of her favorite inspiration spots in London, giving us an instant virtual getaway. Today we really really wish we were in London. Donna’s having a sample sale, offering 50% off of her beautiful hats, mittens and scarves. If you go, say hello for us!

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post off: if you could live in a catalog, which would it be?

The other day I saw a tweet from a friend and fellow blogger, the mom behind Love That Max, that said “I want my next life to be in Restoration Hardware Catalog.” (Like the elegant room, above.) To which I replied, make this one of mine Land of Nod and I’ll be happy! With so many design magazines vanishing, and so many catalogs taking on more editorial features, it’s no wonder that that retailers have become the main source of decor inspiration in our lives. If so many of them weren’t doing such a cracker jack job at it, this could present a real problem. (Think Fight Club and Ikea an you know what I mean.)

But that makes me wonder, if YOU could live inside a catalog which one would it be? Here are few images for inspiration but feel free to mention one not included here!

California Dreaming Who can’t imagine lounging around with a book in this sunny, modern house? via Flor

Boho Cozy: Suddenly Ikea doesn’t seem so plastic, when its fabric patterns get the rustic English cottage treatment.

Our Kind of Movie Night: Outdoor screenings of family adventures? Sign us up for a Crate & Barrel fiesta.

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post off: what’s your favorite food writing book?

I just finished Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour in which he travels the world in seplace of the perfect meal. I loved it. While Chef Tony can be sort of abrasively arrogant on “No Reservations,” in his writing, his passion is infectious and his arrogance dulled to a swaggering, appealing bad boy disposition. Every chapter was a new adventure (Vietnam, Russia, France, Japan) and (almost) every meal described in all it’s mouthwatering glory. It was a great read. More importantly though, A Cook’s Tour also introduced me to a literary genre I hadn’t ever read before: food writing. Now that’s I’ve delved into the genre, I’m hungry for more (sorry, couldn’t resist). So how about it, Shelterrific bookworms: what’s your favorite food writing book?

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are bookshelves becoming a thing of the past?

This week I saw two stories about bookshelves suggesting they are going the way of the record player and rotary telephones. It seems that in the dawning era of electronic books (and I am the first to confess: I LOVE my Kindle) that bookshelves are becoming obsolete. Both Time.com and The Economist wrote about Ikea’s plans to remake its famous Billy bookcases to contain all sorts things besides books. The shelves are becoming deeper and they’re getting optional doors – all the better to hold things that aren’t books, like tsotchkes (and I am the first to confess: I LOVE tsotchkes).

In our house, we still have a lot of novels and other assorted paper products, like magazines, kids books, cookbooks, photography books. But it’s true that they are not the only objects that live on our shelves. When we staged our apartment to sell, in the photo above, we cleaned up the bookshelves so they contained very few books. Our realtor thought this would be more appealing.

These days, I find myself drawn more and more to old books and first editions. Is it the nagging sense that classic printed matter is becoming more precious? On our mantel is a first edition of EB White’s This is New York, a must have and read. I’m not buying fewer books now that I own a Kindle. Rather, now I am buying books that I truly treasure and want to have and hold and display. And for those, I need bookshelves.

What about your home’s future? Will bookshelves still have a place there? — Angela M.

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steal this idea: chalkboard contact paper labels


I’ve been following Nashville-based blogger ModFruGal for quite a while now. I really love her home, her stylish DIY tutorials, and her way with polished brass — this self-proclaimed “budget minded modernist” is worth a regular visit. Even a recipe post contains brilliant ideas I want to use in my own home, like using chalkboard contact paper labels on her food storage containers. That way, when you change out your item, the label can be easily changed too. It’s the kind of simple genius that makes me smack my head and say, “why didn’t I think of that?” Functional, simple, and attractive: that means this is my next organizational project! What do you think? — Megan B.

Update: ModFruGal, in response to our linky love, has given us the full tutorial on how she made these! Click here to see how.

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