Monday, December 12, 2011

Pressing Matters

A few months back I was in the middle of downloading a new app when my hard drive died. After I had everything restored, I was very intent on finishing the book design project I was in the middle of and had completely forgot about it until yesterday. It was like a opening an early Christmas present, my very own letterpress set-up! The app is called LetterMPress ($9.99) and produces prints that have all the charm and transparency of letterpress printing without the messiness of ink. It’s a delight to work the old way, having to visualize in your head the end results while designing plus the sound effects make it even more fun. The app is available for use on the iPad too. Now time to get cracking on a holiday card…

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baking Bloggers Unite

It couldn’t be a more perfect time of year to be baking and there’s nothing better than the smell of rosemary teacakes baking on a cold winter day. This coming Saturday, December 10th marks the fourth installment of Eat My Blog, a charity bake sale for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The vision of Cathy Chaplin, author of internationally recognized food blog, Gastronomy Blog, Eat My Blog unites food bloggers and food enthusiasts who come together to give back to the community. I’ve participated in the last 3 events and if you are in the area this weekend, I highly recommend swinging by and stocking up on treats made by local bloggers and restaurants. The array is mind-boggling and it always turns out a festive crowd. Since the first bake sale, Eat My Blog has raised over $12,000 for the food bank. If you’d like to try these cakes out, my recipe follows below.

Rosemary/Vanilla Bean Olive Oil Teacakes

  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary finally chopped and few springs for decoration.
  • 1 ½ cups granulated bakers sugar (extra fine)
  • 2 cups unbleached wheat flour+ 2 tbsp corn masa flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp powdered vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil (the better the olive oil, the better the cake)
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs


Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly coat the mini loaf paper cases* with olive oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, rub together the rosemary and sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant. In a sieve, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Sift over the sugar. Whisk to combine the dry ingredients, then make a well in the center. In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the oil, milk, and eggs, whisk to combine, then pour into the well in the dry ingredients and slowly draw in the flour mixture, whisking until incorporated. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared molds* using ½-cup measuring cup as a ladle. The molds should be three-quarters full. Place the molds on a large baking sheet, half an inch apart. You can add a tiny spring of rosemary as garnish. Bake for 35-40 minutes until nicely browned and firm to the touch. I like to sprinkle a little organic sugar on top right after I pull them out of them oven to add some extra sparkle and crunch.

* I get my plain brown paper mini loaf pans at Surfas in Culver City. You can find them online at N.Y. Cake and at many other baking outlets.

* Powdered vanilla bean: Split a fresh vanilla bean down the center and lay out on a tray in a cool dry place for a couple of days until completely dried and breaks into pieces easily. Grind to a fine powder (I use a Bodum coffee grinder just for herbs & spices to get the fine grain consistency)

Color Treatment

After a long summer of multiple eye surgeries, an eyepatch, a lot of healing and working in between, my blog was sorely neglected. I am happy to report that thanks to my deft doctor, I now have my vision restored and no longer need to wear contact lenses anymore. Very happy days indeed! On my radar are these Pantone glass ornaments that would make any designer happy to color code their tree this holiday season.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Slice and Dice

It’s been nearly three months since I've blogged and for that I do apologize to my faithful readers. I’ve been swamped with a whirlwind of design jobs and so many eye doctor visits, I’ve lost count. Tomorrow I will have the first of two eye surgeries and my doctor assures me I have a whole new clear vision world ahead of me. While I am hoping for a new bionic eye, all I can conjure up is this scene from Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí’s short film Un Chien Andalou. I do plan on blogging during my recovery since I have stockpiled many stories to share with you. See you all after the fog clears :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Of Moss and Bunnies

Earth Day celebrations and Easter/Passover prepping seem to be on everyone's mind this week. Tomorrow I'm decorating eggs and cookies with a friend's 4 yr old and celebrating Easter with my cousins Sunday with what undoubtedly promises to be a delicous brunch. My holiday decorations are always subtle and often humorous, so when I spotted this mossy bunny bank, I knew he'd be right at home for Easter and the rest of the year. Available from Greener Grass Design for $20 {back in stock this May 2011}. Wishing all a Happy Easter, Passover and Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

285 Sheets of Paper

As a graphic designer for all of my adult life, I pretty much feel I was born with a #11 xacto knife in my hand and I'm very handy with it. But certainly not as deft as graphic designer Taras Lesko is. In this fast-motion video he creates an anatomically correct scaled-down paper model of the new Audi 2012 A7 with 285 sheets of paper, a glue stick, tape and a xacto blade. The assembly took 245 hours and I would imagine quite a few blades and perhaps a few bandaids. If you are in New York this week, stop by the New York Auto Show where Audi will have it on display.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Festivals Abound

I’ve been too old to withstand an open-air 4 day concert in the desert for many years, so while all my young friends head out to Coachella this weekend I'll be headed to Artisanal LA in Santa Monica. Over 100 local, artisanal and handmade food vendors will gather in a vast space overlooking the bay at Santa Monica beach for a foodie extravaganza. I plan on sipping on Dry Lavender Soda and munching on handmade tiny pies and rustic chocolates. A wonderful event with expert-led panels, chef demos & speakers on craft beer, local honey, urban homesteading and much more. Ah, how times have changed :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh Deer

When I saw these antler ceramic spoons I instantly fell in love and then I fell even a little more in love when I saw they come pre-dipped with dark chocolate to make a perfect cup of hot chocolate. COCO A is all about creating a unique chocolate experience. Hand-crafted in San Francisco by chocolatiers using locally sourced cream for their ganache from happy Sonoma cows, the finest cacao beans and premium spices from around the world. The collection of truffles and caramels come in a array of exotic flavors, my favorites being the Smoked Sea Salt, Cayenne Pepper and Sage truffles. The Hot Chocolate ceramic spoons are available in the Deer Antlers, Vintage Keys and Cupid's Wings, making a most lovely gift for someone. For more gift ideas they offer a ceramic jewelry box that comes loaded up with either the truffles or caramels in a 6 piece set. Enough of this sweet talk, I'm off to exercise some of this chocolate off, smiling all the way.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Help Japan

It’s been difficult to even think about posting anything frivolous while the people of Japan are suffering so deeply while facing re-building and recovery from this catastrophic event. The design community has responded in a great effort to raise money for the Red Cross. W&K Studio has a simple and direct poster they are donating 100% of their proceeds to Japan recovery. Zac Neulieb designed the stunning text Red Cross poster with a simple message, donate $10 to Red Cross. Put them in your front window and show the support the whole world is rising up to.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Day

Wishing everyone a day filled with love and kisses :) Bulb from an edition of three bulbs from artist KAWS for the Standard hotel.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Le Cube Orange

Simply spectacular. Visually arresting. Happiness for the eyes. Another reason to go to France. Le Cube Orange by Paris-based Jacob & MacFarlane architects, a soon to be completed commercial and cultural complex in Lyon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cat Scratch Fever

Anyone who owns a cat knows only too well how independent and fussy they can be, especially when it comes to where they sleep, scratch their claws and feed. My 5yr old male cat has suddenly starting started sleeping on my furniture and bed instead of the throw rug under the coffee table, scratching the couch ends and clearly having nocturnal kitty parties with strays leaving dry food scattered around the kitchen floor. Realizing it was time to buy him an actual scratching post but not wanting most of the ones I've seen at the pet supply, I headed over to CSN's AllModern store for attractive alternatives to the hideous choices at the pet store. I love this site where I can find great wall art and decor to George Nelson lighting and knew I'd find what I was looking for. The Kittypod Couchette Modern Cat Scratcher is perfect and would not look out of place in my mix of mid-century and current furniture. I already have this great Holden Designs bentwood feeder and the cat loves it too but I needed a good mat for underneath. I think this vibrant orange Chilewich Pet Mat is a stylish solution for the crunchies spread around by all the critters that seem to come in and eat.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

You’re Glowing

This is certainly not a blog about just lighting design but I keep discovering such beautiful fixtures! I love the simplicity and clean design of these glass pendant lamps from Hanna Krüger.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lost in the Mail

The fact I'm even writing about stamps after the USPS lost nine of my bills I paid out last month is surprising to even myself. Despite the hours spent on the phone and setting up to pay bills on-line, I still want a sheet of these new stamps coming out this month. An ode to 12 very talented industrial designers, the new Forever stamp hosts the Pioneers of Industrial Design in a beautiful sheet perfect for framing :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let There be Light

This winter has brought so much rain and stormy weather, I literally have had to keep my lights on all day. In turn this starts tempting me to change out some lighting around the house and hang some new lampshades, just to mix things up. My friend Krysta sent me a link to these Skull lampshades from textile designer Amy Aardvark that just make me smile. Printed on organic fair-trade cotton, these shades might just bring some much-needed sunshine into any home. Available from the wonderful Hidden Art Shop.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merrie Merrie

The last of my cookies are baked, gifts wrapped and my waistline is already suffering from all the indulgent snacking. Kept my decorations pretty simple this year, lime green felt tree from CB2 last year and my favorite little birch reindeer standing in some grass ornament from Small Stump. Wishing all a very very Merrie Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Secret Desert Lodging

If you have ever wanted to re-live a vintage postcard from the 40-50s then the Hicksville Trailer Palace and Artist Retreat in Joshua Tree, CA is the place for you! Secreted away somewhere in the surrounding area of Joshua Tree in the California desert, this sweet set-up has so much appeal. Each individual accommodation is in a vintage themed trailer all set up around a common swimming pool and outdoor activities area. It is doggie friendly and run on solar power. There is no way to know where it is exactly until you book a trailer and get instructions from the hosts. Truly an under-the-radar kind of place and I love it!

Raising Monies

The Eat My Blog winter 2010 charity bake sale raised over $3,750 this weekend for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank! My lavender honey shortbread cookies sold out as did most everything else at the sale. Great fun, great sweets and a great cause!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sweets for a Cause

This coming Saturday, December 4th the Eat My Blog charity bake sale returns with a menu of sweets that literally makes me swoon! There will be over 2,000 baked goods from 50+ bloggers and bakers all in one location for all your sugar needs. View the menu and drool over such delights as Smoked Salt Toffee, Crack Pies, Curry Macarons, Bacon Caramel Popcorn and my Lavender Honey Shortbread. Founder and organizer Cathy Chaplin of the blog Gastronomy has been such an inspiration and the event has rapidly grown into quite the food event here in Southern California. The first two bake sales raised over $8,000 for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and this sale promises to be a huge success.

I feel honored to be a part of this event and I believe I am the only non-food blogger in the mix, although I do blog about food from time to time. I certainly tweet about it constantly with my food-loving friends on Twitter. So come on over to West Hollywood this Saturday and indulge yourself with this spread of sugar temptations!
Photo: Lavender Honey Shortbread by the very talented Ryan Tanaka

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lucky Love Chair

Simple, clean and very reminiscent of Scandinavian and Japanese design, the Lucky Love Chair by Dutch designer Maarten Baptist is rather breathtaking. So very inviting, it makes you want to sit in it. A series of them will be launching in early 2011. Via Contemporist

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sweet Tooth

It's no secret that I have a wicked sweet tooth and the holidays are full of temptations everywhere I go. When I saw these mini iced donut ornaments from Urban Outfitters, I almost got a little sugar rush! Decorating a little tiny tree just with mini donuts or any of the other charming food-related ornaments Urban Outfitters carry could be a fun alternative to traditional tree trimmings. For years I have always tried to come up with an artistic or modern tree solution, one year I had a giant tumbleweed decorated with mini lights as my tree. It didn’t last long between the cat and dog:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Lucky Winner Is…

The lovely Abi has won the $45 CSN stores gift certificate! Enjoy shopping and thanks for stopping by Design Nomad to join in on the fun:)