Celebrating My Life of Living Well. Domestic and Otherwise.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

And the Party Planning Begins!

Just placed my order for these adorable birthday hats! Aren't they darling?

My youngest daughter requested that she have "pointy hats" for her birthday party (which isn't until April by the way!). She actually wanted the Disney Princess hats but I think I found something even more special. Another Etsy find at thepolkadotpinwheel .

I showed them to her and she smiled from ear to ear. I just love them too so as we like to say in our family , Everybody Happy!

For the girls, the Sparkly Sweet collection hats...

and the Boys will be Boys series for our young male visitors!

Expect more birthday party planning posts in the weeks to come!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Art Books for Children

We love books in our home. We have them everywhere! On shelves, chairs, tables, in baskets, on ottomans, in our house a book is always within easy reach. I love the way they contribute to the clutter in my home that I like to refer to as my "organized chaos". Books are our favorite gifts too, both to give and receive.

My last post got me thinking about how I could decorate my girls room using the hundreds of books they have accumulated through the years, not only by incorporating them into the decoration but having the books play the key focal point in the design of the space.

This library that Kelly Wearstler created for her sons is particularly inspiring.

At last count, the children's books we owned were a just a few shy of 500 titles. Ours is a very varied selection with all the requisite series for little girls - Madeleine, Eloise, Olivia and Fancy Nancy to name a few. But amongst all the titles we have amassed over the years, I particularly enjoyed putting together a small collection of art books for children and to date, we have 60 books that fit under this category.

Many friends always call me for ideas on what to purchase for their children or as gifts for a special child in their life and I find that books or stories with reference to art or a particular artist are always greatly appreciated.

Here are my top picks for art books for children:

We also have "I Spy Animals in Art" which is a great book as well.

This book will forever remind me of my two little girls. They each adored this book and it is a very special read for mothers and daughters. So appropriate are the Mary Cassatt pictures.

We also have the Museum 123 version of this book and the companion nesting alphabet blocks, a great introduction to letters or numbers, wouldn't you say?

I have this book in French but it is also available in English. I bought it at the Musee Picasso in Paris but have seen it in bookstores outside of France as well. And with Amazon, all is C'est possible!

Who doesn't love Babar? and Celeste? and their children? Had to have this one to complete our Babar collection!

This is a fun book below, Seen Art? (just in case you can't make out the title) published I believe right after the Moma in NYC reopened after it had been remodeled 5 or so years ago.
I grew up going to this Museum and for many reasons, it will always be a special place for me. No trip to NYC would be complete for me without stepping into the MET . I love that I can share this book and this museum with my children.

This book is published by the MET and is a story of prima ballerina Anna Pavlova with the art of Edgar Degas as a background to the story. A great gift for any little ballerina!

Inspiring and enlightening prose by Maya Angelou set to the artwork by Jean Michel Basquiat.

A compendium of art for children. It's and excellent reference for me as well!

Wouldn't you just buy this book on the title alone? It's so playful and the illustrations are very colorful. Will be a favorite with preschoolers and early graders for sure!

James Mayhew has authored several books in his Katie series. We have them all but Katie and the Mona Lisa is the one we read over and over again.

Another great series for an older girl (8 and above). Also available are Charlotte in Paris and Charlotte in London , which are equally as wonderful.

We have two titles that refer to the same story of Edgar Degas and his dancers, this one and another book, Marie in Fifth Position. Two other great books by the same author, Laurence Anholt are Camille and the Sunflowers, a story about Van Gogh , and Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail.

This book originally hails from Norway and it is an entertaining introduction to art history for the youngest of readers.

Can you imagine the icon Andy Warhol for an uncle? He definitely was the cool uncle everyone wish they had!

And a few more titles that we enjoy...

A story about Rene Magritte,

another about Georgia O'Keeffe,

and last but certainly not least, a book about the life of Jackson Pollock.

I really hope this list serves as reference for all of you and encourages you to share an art book with a child soon!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Decorating with Books Part 1: Lonny Style

Over the past few days, I have been collecting images for a post related to the idea of decorating with books and incorporating them into room design. I was planning on releasing the post sometime next week. But as I was reading through Lonny's 3rd issue, I couldn't help notice the numerous images of how different decorators use books in their design composition and I have decided to preempt that post with this one.

Here are just a few photos taken from the current issue of Lonny , that capture the many ways we can showcase the books we own .

1. Books set on a table as a part of a vignette with other objects and curiousities.

2. Books on a shelf, again mixing other paraphernalia such as photos, sculpture, and other tchotchke. I love the ladder idea, especially since we often only see ladders used with tall bookshelves in formal rooms. This is a very unique way of incorporating this idea in a more casual setting.

Another bookshelf of interesting sorts but with a dual purpose. In this room, the bookshelf is used as a divider between the living area and the bedroom.

3. Books on the bar cart. This gave me an idea, place books where you may not think of using them in conventional design. It may work well on a dining table where you would not expect to find a stack of books. Also, notice here the copy of Osa Johnson's "I Married Adventure" and its Zebra skin- like cover on the bottom. This book can be found in so many of my pictures and I only realized why after reading this post at The Peak of Chic.

4. Books piled up on a chair. There is something so stylish and confident about this look.

Highlighting a magazine collection works equally well.

5. Books stacked high on the floor. This is my favorite picture in the current issue of Lonny and I think I'm going to say that amongst the designers featured , Ryan Korban's work really grabbed my attention the most. His rooms were so sexy ! I think we can expect to hear more about this talent in the years to come.

6. And something I have never though of before, in the absence of a book collection, or maybe as a supplement to one, the use of wall paper or wall stickers. The one above is from thecollection. Look closely at the picture above, what do you think you see? The books aren't really there. Isn't it great? It sure had me fooled.

All these great ideas from just one magazine issue! I'll publish part two next week with a whole bunch of gorgeous images . Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lonny Issue 3 - just a click away!

Just a quick post before I'm out the door. You must all drop by and visit the new issue of Lonny. Boy, my "grab" mode was on overdrive this morning! 218pages (219 if you include the cover) of the most scrumptious, inspiring eye candy- and it's free ! I'm missing Domino just a little less now that Lonny has arrived and is beginning to get it's groove.

I would like to think of better adjectives to describe this new and brilliant on-line magazine, "modern", "chic" and "vibrant" are the first that come to mind. But like I said, I'm in a rush, so those will have to do for now. You get the idea.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Keep on dreaming!

Years ago I started a file of sort, filled with tear sheets of pictures from magazines , brochures and alike. The idea was that when the time came for my husband and I to build a new house, we would have a vast array of personal references to ease our selection for the many things we would need to furnish our home. This precious collection of sheets with tattered edges of all shapes and sizes, were tucked away in a clear book that I quickly named "My Kokuyo". I have spent many, many happy hours filling and looking at this book! I would like to say that Kokuyo means something elegant, like "a repository of ideas" but not quite. Yes , I am just about that prosaic to call my beloved KOKUYO by the Japanese brand that my clear book really is!

I am happy to say, however, that the "Kokuyo's" time has come. We are beginning to furnish our new home and this weeks decision to be made: a headboard for the masters bedroom.

Among all the pages I have, (and believe me there are hundreds!) this photo above, of what seems to be a European, possibly Italian, piece of wood that may have once served as a top of bed, was the picture I made sure not to loose or misplace. I fell completely in love with this idea and was determined to find something similar to replicate this look exactly! In Manila, finding a similar antique with European provenance would prove to be quite challenging. I decided that if I could find a similar Philippine antique, that would be fine, even better perhaps, but no luck there either . Sadly, I decided to abandon my headboard dream.

Years later, in the age of blogging , I came across this photo on Velvet & Linen by Brooke Giannetti, I fell in love a second time. .... I reinstated my search, but still no luck. I haven't given up though . I am hoping the next time I come across something like this, it will not be in a picture but at an antique store, preferably one on this side of the world. Well they do say third time's a charm right?

But in the meantime, maybe it's time to dream another dream.

I do like this headboard. I don't know exactly what it's made of but it seems to be inspired by by architectural detailing, and it reminds me of molding. I could easily have my plaster supplier make something like this, but do you think it's plaster or wood? This might be a great way to add some character to my 5 year olds bedroom, but I don't think my husband will want this for us.

Below is another option. I love the tufted look. It's got that modern classic twist that I'm always drawn to.

Another tufted headboard from Usona. The height and the way it envelopes the mattress frame is quite interesting. What do you think?

Yet another tufted headboard, but I'm pretty sure I kept this picture because of the Herve Van der Straeten mirror hanging above the bed. I love him. Mental note, separate post on my man Herve!

Another way I could dress up my headboard aside from tufting, would be to add nail heads to an upholstered piece. I do love these guys. They dress up anything and look very tailored and smart.

The gold pillows and quilted duvet really look gorgeous against the shade of blue, and make this room absolutely stunning .

The pillows soften the masculinity of the nail heads and I do like the idea of hanging a piece of art above the bed.

This Moroccan headboard is by Alessandra Branca. Love her, but am not sure this shape is for me.

Another ravishing bedroom by Madame Branca below.
Beautiful! This is more my style.

Still the art over the bed is proving to be a good option until I find my gold headboard!

So now I'm thinking upholstered head board, definitely. But what will it be folks, tufted or with nail heads? I'd love to hear from you. Either way I think I'll finish the look with a nice piece of art hanging above. And you know what, I think I have just the piece!

It will be perfect, well almost perfect.
For now, I'm still holding on to my dream.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kung Hei Fat Choi

Ok, so I'm a tad bit early but I just couldn't wait to post this image.

This adorable and child friendly chinese zodiac wheel is the work of my friend, Isabel "Pepper" Roxas. Pepper is an accomplished artist, illustrator and designer and has exhibited her work both in the Philippines and internationally. She is also a member of Sheer Joy, a group of remarkable Philippine illustrators. Please click on the links above to take a look at other creations of this gifted lady and other equally talented Filipino artists.

A few years ago, I bought some giclee prints of this wheel to give away to some young friends on the occasion of Chinese New Year. Something I thought would last a wee bit longer then the bills in their red envelopes! As I was recently rummaging through my drawers, I realized that I only have two left. I better save them for my girls, they are her biggest fans !

Not that they lack in their own collection of Pepper's work, below are some pieces that I commissioned a while back for my children. The four originals are hanging on a wall at home. I was, however, able to share three images with my friends and family, as Studio Roxas produced blank cards that I gave away one Christmas. Needless to say everyone loved them!

"Puppet Play"


"Glitter Girls"

Which do you like best? I find it very difficult to choose just one!

If you reside in Manila or are planning a visit, you can find some of Pepper's work on display and for sale at:

Tawalisi Antiques
Ground Floor, L'aO building
1000 Makati Avenue corner Arnaiz St.
Makati City
(632) 844-1977

You may also purchase items from the Studio Roxas website with link above.