April 30, 2013

Impact Thrift Stores


Almost any magazine, blog or TV show about home and decorating includes
 advice on purging our unwanted items and organizing our homes.

Less is more. Minimize. Live simply.
During this season of spring cleaning and garage sales, 
consider bringing those unused items to an Impact Thrift Store.
It's a way of recycling back into the community.

So far there are four locations, all in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Impact Thrift Stores is a non-profit organization with a mission to assist local charities,
either financially or cooperatively, to help needy families by providing support, housing and food.
So, it's a win-win-win situation!

You can find lots of terrific things to buy there as well.
Sure, thrift stores have loads of clothes, accessories and home goods,
but what I'd like to recognize are some of the amazing furniture finds. 
Take this solid wood dresser for example, with its cute door and curved drawer.


You never know what treasures you may find!
How about these retro chairs? The Eames style is very cool.


 Another pair of chairs. Now, here's a reason for in-the-know fans of interior design to drool. 
These lounge chairs with sleek molded plywood arms, circa 1957, were made by Baumritter, 
as part of the Viko collection. Baumritter later changed its name to the now familiar Ethan Allen. 


 A gorgeous mid-century Danish Modern dining table with six chairs.


If you enjoy DIY, this is the place for you. 
Imagine this mirror becoming oh-so chic with a coat of paint in a funky color.


 Take a look at the wood frame of this chair. Great bones begging for a cushion update.


 An interesting accent table with an inlaid wood top sits next to a piano and two organs.


 In need of an affordable Tiffany-style light fixture above your pool table?


 You can place your bid at the silent auction, 
in hopes of getting an especially rare or valuable item at a real bargain.
Maybe this drum set... 


 ...or this adorable vintage car for your favorite mini-firefighter.


Shop or donate at an Impact in any of these towns:

Visit their website to learn more about Impact Thrift Stores.
They're on Facebook too!

April 29, 2013

Rag Quilts by Rory Unraveled


Carly, a stay-at-home mom in Colorado Springs, Colorado,
makes the most of nap times by creating custom rag quilts! 

She makes 3 sizes: standard throw, kiddie, and baby, 
which she sells through her online shop, "Rory Unraveled".



The quilts are reversible. Frayed rag seams on one side, flat seams on the other, as shown here. 



What a terrific job she does at choosing fresh, modern
fabric patterns and colors that look perfect together!






Carly also offers do-it-yourself kits! 
They come with pre-cut fabric and batting squares, 
plus detailed instructions so that you can make your very own rag quilt!



Visit Rory Unraveled on Etsy and Facebook!

All images used with permission from Carly.

April 26, 2013

Zinc – Industrial Décor in Lambertville, NJ


Strolling through Lambertville, New Jersey...what a find!
Zinc Home & Garden!

Here's the street view. I'm crazy about the quaint little town of Lambertville.


So, do you think this porch display drew us in? You bet!


Old wooden shoe forms hanging on twine continue into the shop.



Zinc sells industrial decor for the home and garden. Fabulous old stuff!
How about this scale filled with green lightbulbs?


Great industrial lighting.


An old minnow bucket filled with vintage billiard balls.
Any Bakelite in there? (Check out my previous post on Bakelite.)


How would these mushrooms look in your garden?


Plenty of storage bins, industrial tables & shelving, old school lockers.


A scale with weights.
Notice the little disc hanging in front? That's a Zinc price tag! A slice of tree branch on twine.


An old men's bust form next to an amazing cabinet.


Fire alarm bells.


Vintage street signs with more apothecary cabinetry.


Glove forms and large metal orbs.


Oh, that old vintage ice cream sign in the perfect shade of mint green!


Here's their checkout desk. Awesome signage! 
Notice the pendant lights made from glass insulators!


Visit Zinc Home & Garden at 74 Bridge Street, Lambertville, NJ.

Here's their Facebook page.

April 25, 2013

Etegami by dosankodebbie

Etegami is an art form I first heard about when I came across the talent 
of Debbie Davidson, or dosankodebbie, as she is very well known. 
In Japanese, "e" means picture; "tegami" means letter. 
I was delighted to interview her and find out more 
about these lovely "picture letters" known as etegami!

First of all, Debbie, please tell us something about yourself.
I was born in Japan of American parents and have lived here - mostly on the northernmost island of Hokkaido - basically all of my life. The "dosanko" in my art name means "a native of Hokkaido".

My early education was a mishmash of homeschool and international school. I went to college in the United States, married a guy I met there, and brought him back to Japan with me. We've lived here ever since, changed careers a couple times, raised up two kids, and plan to bury our bones here. After working as a professional translator for 30 years, I left that exciting-but-stressful career to pursue my other passion, which is etegami.

Frog Eggs

Explain the art of etegami.
Etegami is a Japanese folk art that has almost no rules, and it values "clumsiness" over the refined perfection of the classical Japanese arts. It is a combination of simple hand-painted images with a few thoughtful words. It is usually done on postcards because etegami is fundamentally a mail art and is meant to be sent to someone in the mail.

Here are some of Debbie's etegami inspired by Scripture.

Are there guidelines to keep in mind when creating traditional etegami?
Traditional etegami is at its best when the image is a single item drawn large and boldly, even to the point of jumping beyond one or more of the edges of the card, and also when the accompanying words are bold and square-ish, like the writing of a child, rather than being overly-controlled or self-consciously artistic.

Here are examples of her etegami inspired by literature, 
with Herman Melville's "Moby Dick", and William Shakespeare's "King Lear".

I'd like to hear more about this clumsiness, and how it coincides with traditional Japanese culture.
The "clumsiness" concept both coincides and conflicts with traditional Japanese culture. The founder and popularizer of the modern etegami movement, Kunio Koike, started out as a student of calligraphy who rebelled against the perfectionism and "follow-the-master's-example" way of instruction. He created the motto "Clumsy is fine. Clumsy is preferred", to express the idea that anyone can do etegami. You don't need artistic talent or training - you just need "heart".

Japanese people tend to avoid spontaneity lest they make fools of themselves. They feel safer following the many rules that define most traditional Japanese arts and crafts. At the same time, some aspects of Japanese culture (particularly that which developed out of the Zen tradition) find beauty and truth in that which is less-than-perfect or less-than-complete. Koike's vision for etegami fits well with this particular part of Japanese tradition.

"Bursting Chestnut" with a quote from Pablo Neruda's poem
 "Ode to a Chestnut on the Ground".

The poetry of Robert Frost.

What type of materials do you use, and why?
The traditional materials are sumi ink (for image outline) and gansai water-soluble paints (for coloring the inside of the outlines) applied with brushes on absorbent washi paper - almost always postcards. Traditional tools and washi cards with a high "bleed" rating are best for achieving the state of non-control that results in the shaky, blotchy lines we call "living lines".

You can learn lots more about etegami on Debbie's blog, 
Dosankodebbie's Etegami Notebook.

Her art is available for purchase at her Etsy shop and her RedBubble gallery.

Debbie publishes a free etegami newsletter each month that goes into 
detail about the history, tools, methods, and worldview of etegami.

Images used with direct permission from Debbie Davidson.