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Oct 21

2014

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Tweed Fabric

I am so elated that this Winters trend fabric is Tweed, and the Harris Tweed especially!   Though there are many types and variations the Harris tweed is superior in my estimation. One can hardly refer to Tweed as a Trend- its origins stem way back. Its more of a revival.

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As the nature lover in me is always identifying the commercial market back to its natural origin, being able to correlate the rough moorlands of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides and its range of colours is relatively easy. For those of you never fortunate enough to venture to this part of the world, think …. Mel Gibson in Braveheart, or The writings of Thomas Hardy with those wonderful scenic descriptions.
Conjour the peat marshes and ragged dark mountains, heavy grey mists over bleached grassy plains or bright heathered slopes against freezing blue bottomless seas. The sure footed mountain sheep with their neutral tawny mix coats against ochre slate for an alternate palette.  There is such artistry woven into these artistic patterns. The warp and weft blending colours and textures symbolic of its history.
Tweeds really do reflect the natural colours of their origin, and they are captured even more so as many of these wools were spun and dyed using natural plant dyes.
Harris Tweeds are the only mix blend yarns that are dyed before being spun.
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Colours reflect our mood and seasons, they also calm and excite the senses. Texture adds depth and definition.  So as you browse through the racks this winter selecting your hounds tooth or herringbone, basket weave or glen check, remind yourself that history repeats itself and that your money would be well spent investing in tweed because it will always in be fashion.

Oct 06

2014

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Work space

As we transition out of summer and into fall, for many, this time of year marks the end of laid back vacation days and the start of school or getting back to the grind of work.  This last quarter also seems to be a busier season, with many a festive holiday looming. So perhaps some early planning with some glam organizational office
gadgets will help you feel better prepared this year and make your desk top feel more colourful, functional and stylish. Office accoutrements seem to have attracted many designers to bring these daily used items into the fashion world. Nate Burkus at Target makes it easy to afford or splurge with one of the more lavish quality Italian lines.

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The workplace has evolved quite a bit since the days of secretaries like Miss Moneypenny in the Bond series and endless rows of sterile cubicles. In fact, many people don’t even go into an office much these days and instead telecommute. Whether you’re working from a neighborhood coffee shop, remotely from home or a corporate environment, I believe one’s work space or desk space is critical in fostering productivity and output.  I colour code my files, Pink personal, Blue business, Orange accounts etc and have many of the basic magazine folders covered in favourite wallpaper off cuts and gone are my home file cabinets which always felt like an eye sore as I battle going paperless. Though I confess I am a huge notebook addict and collect them from everywhere I travel, a kaleidoscope of covers of many various mediums and even a few I’ve made myself. I store them mostly unused afraid to blemish the pages for years.

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We are now able to entertain our pets at work too.  Paul Frank’s offices are a big advocate of this, as am I.  Or David Parnes from Million Dollar Listing with his two pampered Bassett hounds, Bella and Maxi.
Though my black German shepherd Jet, constantly knocks my hand away from the keyboard when I work from home, its worth her company.

So, this week I want to highlight a few of my favorite picks for making a fun and creative workspace.
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Please feel free to send us your creative work spaces to view too.

Sep 11

2014

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COLOUR CHOICES

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I am faced with that task of making colour and design decisions all day and every day, its my profession — actually it’s far more than that because I see and feel everything in terms of colour and balance. Have you ever thought about the process of how you make your colour decisions? What do you base them on, is it something predisposed because you are a creature of habit and favor certain colours? Or is it because you are just accepting of what is around you through familiarity? Or is it at random?  Perhaps you don’t even really consciously think about your daily simplest of simple colour choices at all. I know, I do … in fact, to the point of absurdity sometimes.

From the moment I wake, my life is guided by my colour choices.  My choice of toothpaste and brush, down to what cup I will use for my morning coffee (and what I’ll proffer my husband his in).  My collection of tea cups and mugs is quite extensive — but my decision is formed after taking many things into consideration, like my mood, what I am drinking (coffee or tea), day of the week, or an event, just to name a few. You can imagine how my choice of drinking vessel changes daily. From there it quickly progresses and expands to the clothes I wear, the sock/shoe complement, the nail polish I choose, the food I eat (also colour grouped these days to ensure a balanced diet), the ink colour I write with, the sheets on my bed, the list goes on and on.

I am so truly aware that it is ingrained in everything that I do. I systematically make decisions based on colour.

 

Do let me know if you have any colour quirks in your day and how colour helps balance your day. How does colour effect your life?

 

Love the colours you live with.

 

 

 

 

Aug 19

2014

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Matte Paint

It’s not uncommon to immediately associate matte paint with those dreaded school chalk boards from our childhood. Despite being quite utilitarian, the trend has now thankfully evolved past that one dimensional function and entered lifestyles, design and most importantly colour!
Matte is a finish that has very little to no sheen. In the same family of finishes as flat and eggshell, matte can be used for you interior painting needs. However, be mindful that once it is scuffed, it is hard to return back to its original state.
But don’t let that deter you from being creative. Here are some interiors with flat and semi gloss stripes that are subtle yet noticeable.
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Matte paints have reached new audiences and products including car paint and nail polish in any colour imaginable.
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Nail polish brands like Essie and OPI have issued matte top coat finishes that allow you to easily transform your favorite glossy nail colour to matte.

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Aug 11

2014

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Banana Leaf wall coverings

This week, I am spotlighting banana leaf wall coverings. As it is the middle of summer and blisteringly hot, I liked the idea of bringing the outdoors in and creating an escape without leaving your home! I am particularly attracted the various green hues and vivid patterns of banana leaf papers, I feel that they immediately transport to you to Palm Beach in the 40s.

Perhaps the most recognizable banana lead paper is the Martinique “A” Wallpaper BH90210 as seen in the Beverly Hills Hotel. Originally designed for the hotel’s hallways and coffee shops, the iconic print has withstood the test of time and is still being used in modern design today. Most often pictured and used in green, the paper actually comes in Burgandy and Mustard Yellow as well.
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Here is the famous Martinique paper featured in Nikki Hilton’s dining room
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again in NYC restuarant Indochine
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Designer Nate Berkus’s home in Milan
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A similar but different print also made popular in the 40s was by eccentric designer Dorothy Draper. Titled “Brazillance”, this particular paper gained fame when Draper designed the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. She saturated the hotel with the print throughout the lobby and even on the hallway carpets.
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If you’re feeling bold and looking to bring some colour into your life, Martinique and Brazillance is the way to go!

 

Aug 04

2014

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Drought Tolerant Landscaping

More than half of California has been experiencing the most severe level of drought since the federal government started issuing drought reports in the late 1990s. California is more than a year’s worth of water short in its reservoirs and the state’s top and sub soil moisture has nearly been depleted. The drought’s effects are hurting central California’s irrigation and leaving northern and southern California at increased risk for wildfires. The state has adopted regulations to fine those who waste water up to $500 per day.

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In light of a recent trip to the Coachella Valley and bearing the 120 degree heat, this week I would like to share environmentally efficiently uses of water by utilizing drought tolerant landscaping.
The most common plants for low maintenance and drought tolerance are cacti and succulents. Integrated with the desert’s existing natural landscape of rocks and gravel, this landscaping style is climate conscious and not wasteful. Trees that do well in the heat include, Palo Verde, Euclayptus, and Olive. There are also various flowering shrubs like Rockrose, Desert Spoon, Oleander and Woolly Thyme, which give soft pink blossoms.
Which ever style you choose is right for you, it is responsible and very respectable to be environmentally conscious, not only to benefit our and future generations but also for your wallet.

Jul 21

2014

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Yves Klein

Yves Klein was a French artist in the 1950s who pioneered the development of Performance Art. Although he passed at the young age of 34, his artistic legacy lives through IKB, International Klein Blue.

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IKB is a deep blue hue, comparable to ultramarine, patented by Klein and co-created with chemists to have the same brightness and intensity as dry pigments. This colour is achieved through suspending the dry pigment in a synthetic resin. The intensity of the blue is so vivid that it almost seems to vibrate off surfaces. This creation was phenomenal in the 50’s and quite incredible by today’s technological standards as well; the colour is almost impossible to match.
However, Kremer Pigments sell an ultramarine pigment that is the closest match I have seen to IKB. For pure paint, I recommend Swiss Paint Manufacturer, KT Color. For $350 per gallon, you too can colour your walls Yves Klein Blue.
Klein utilized blue throughout most of his career but IKB is most notable in his performance pieces where nude models are painted and dragged or strategically positioned on a canvas creating the images and acting as “living brushes”.
In conjunction with the estate of Yves Klein, Artware Editions offers a vitrine coffee table made of plexiglass, glass, and steel filled with International Kelin Blue pigment. Slightly more attainable than his $20 million dollar paintings, these functional artist designed furniture pieces come numbered and signed with a certificate of authenticity.
Here a few more images of how IKB has permeated not only contemporary art but also interior design.

Jul 11

2014

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Art Inspired Fashion

Valentino’s summer collection for 2014 is colourful and dizzying. The geometric prints are  great for mixing and matching and appropriates Frank Stella Paintings.

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Frank Stella is an American painter and printmaker. He is known for his minimalism and post painterly abstraction. His simple but colourful works reflected that of the colourfield movement, where colour is freed from objective context and becomes the subject in itself.
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The movement started in the 1940’s where artworks were composed large flat planes of paint usually depicted as targets, stripes and geometric prints. Artists like Barnett Newman, Morris Louis and Frank Stella moved away from the busy action style of painting like Jackson Pollack and created a calmer, colour focused style of art.
Stella often used the path of a brushstroke to determine his composition and utilized common materials like protractors and house paint to produce works that now value over $500,000.

Jul 07

2014

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You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream

It’s officially summer and that means it’s the season for mass ice cream consumption! Whether you prefer ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet, the variety of flavors, toppings and most of all, colours, are endless.
The market has expanded far beyond the Baskin Robbins chain’s slogan of 31 flavors, originally meant to entice customers with the chance to try a different flavor every day of any month. Companies like Ben and Jerry’s create new products with nods to pop culture movies like, “Berry Potter”, “Whirled War Z”, and “Hazed and Confused”. Architecture inspired, Los Angeles ice creamery Cool Haus boasts pun-y names like “Eric Owen Moss-capone”, “Mies Vanilla Rohe”, and “Thom Mayne-go”.
If you ever find yourself in in Santa Barbara, CA on State St. be sure to stop by McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, my favorite. The family owned business creates delightful treats using local, organic and sustainable ingredients–which takes the guilt out of eating a 3 scoop sundae!
The ever growing multitude of flavors have allowed for the expansion of colours respectively. Pink coloured ice cream used to only be associated with strawberry, but now there are a variety of hues to distinguish flavors like bubble gum, cotton candy, peppermint, rose and many more! The juxtaposition of colours in Neopolitan ice cream and assorted scoops in Banana Royale sundaes can spark great color combinations and design choices, here are a couple of my sweet treat influences:

Jul 01

2014

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Fourth of July

Since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, July 4th has become a federal holiday celebrated every year to commemorate the United States of America’s independence from the United Kingdom. People commonly celebrate with barbecues, parades, fireworks but most importantly proud displays of the American flag.

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The colours Red, White and Blue have become synonymous with the United States of America. But have you ever wondered how many other countries hoist the same colours on their national flags? Off the top of my head, I was only able to name a few countries, The US, Great Britain (of course!), New Zealand, and France. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered there are 35 countries that prominently feature red, white and blue on their respective flags.

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Thanks to Betsy Ross and our bold flag design, we proudly display the colours of our country through stars and stripes. But, it is interesting to see how the design has been altered over the years as the country has expanded. Arguably the most recognizable flag, it’s easy to track the lineage of how it’s been appropriated in pop culture, art, fashion, etc…

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(Painting by Jasper Johns. Flags,1958)