"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Next Issue: Year-In-Review

Year-in-review pictorials always make me misty. Where did the year go? Trite, but true.
The good news: looking back is a great reminder of how far we have come and everything that has carried us to the brink of a brand new year.

The folks at Next Issue, the online magazine provider I came to love this year asked me to review my favorite mags and submit articles I found inspiring. The covers I've featured here provide a glimpse of a few unforgettable stories I found beautifully written, artfully photographed -and brimming with ideas worth imitating. Links to the articles are on the Next Issue blog. Click here to read if you missed them the first time around.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Got Gift Wrapping?

I recently interviewed Wanda Wen, founder and creative director of the fine stationary and gift wrapping studio, Soolip, in West Hollywood for the 
As the author of The Art of Gift Wrapping, Wen offers a wealth of tips and tricks for wrappers of all abilities. 
My favorite: use double-sided tape and gently crease the corners, folds and edges of the package for a finished look! For more inspiration, read the article here.
The countdown is on...happy wrapping! xo

Friday, December 19, 2014

MADE: in Long Beach

My friend and I steered the sleigh over to the new pop-up shop, MADE, in downtown Long Beach the other day to browse the work of local artisans. The loft-styled space featured everything from handmade jewelry and knits to gourmet olive oil, granola, coffee, pottery, candles, t-shirts, tote bags, handmade furniture, bird houses and beyond -all of it made in the LBC!
All is bright!
 Gatsby Books represented.

 LBC Home Kitchen! Just like we would make...if we were crafty like that, and had the time, and weren't just the teensiest bit afraid of canning...
The folks from Long Beach Creamery were also on site, and this weekend (Dec.20-21) they will be heading over to MADE for a final Kickstarter fundraising push! The gourmet ice cream enthusiasts are trying to raise enough capital to open a storefront creamery in Bixby Knolls -seems like a perfect fit for a town ranked first as the Ice Cream Loving Capital of America! To donate towards this very worthy goal, check out their Kickstarter video here.

 Ho! Ho! Ho!
 I caught owner Rachel Potucek restocking her shelves for The People's Soap Co.
Good clean fun!
 Stocking stuffer perfection! 
These shortbread cookies made by local baker/artisan Traci De La Torre for Saints & Sinners Bakeshop were absolutely darling -and looked delish too!
Got milk?
Localvore shopping...that's a thing, right?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Field Trip: Bauer Pottery Showroom

Located in a corrugated metal warehouse in an industrial area of Glendale, the Bauer Pottery Showroom borders the Forest Lawn cemetery on the far side of a dead-end road -the perfect pilgrimage for bargain hunting pottery lovers. I finally made the trek myself last weekend...just in time for the holiday sale.

In addition to browsing shelves full of slightly imperfect seconds, I also met, Janek Boniecki, the clever entrepreneur who purchased trademark rights to reproduce Bauer Pottery in 1998. 

While staying true to Bauer's original aesthetic, Boniecki has introduced a few new designs as well as several new colors. Another change: he uses glazes free of the lead and uranium once used to achieve the collection's happy signature colors -making the new pottery food safe. 
Good idea.

Boniecki uses vintage Bauer pottery to create molds for new production.

 Prices were dangerously reasonable...also, I found that tags for the same item varied depending on the imperfection --so be sure to look around. 
For December, the showroom is hosting their annual holiday clearance sale every weekend until Christmas. Last weekend, everything was 20 percent off. Next Saturday/Sunday 13-14 everything will be 25 percent off; and on Saturday Dec. 20 pottery will be 30 percent off.
After that seconds will be for sale online Dec.22-January 9.
Warning: shopping may result in unexpected purchases for your-very-own-self. Gifts? Ooops...

 In many ways, the spirit of J.A. Bauer, the original founder of the pottery company lives on --in fact, you can almost feel his presence. Literally. As fate would have it, J.A. Bauer is buried in the cemetery next door to the showroom and they say if you look, you can see his final resting place from the second floor window.
 Coincidence? Maybe.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Literary Inspiration: Great Expectation Scones (spoiler alert!)

 A few weeks ago at back-to-school night I signed up to bring scones for a wake the English teacher was planning to give on the occasion (celebration?) of Miss Jo's demise in Great Expectations. It sounded like a good idea at the time...

I decided to check the blogosphere for a good scone recipe and found The Best Scones Ever on Karlynn Johnston's  Kitchen Magpie blog. For my purposes, I have renamed them, Great Expectation Scones - but the rest is all Karlynn - and she's pretty cool.

She has done a terrific job of walking us through the recipe with step-by-step photos and tips, including her endorsement of the pastry blender: a handheld gadget that slices the butter into the dry mixture in lieu of using two knives in a scissor technique. 
I went out and bought one on her recommendation and am happy to report she was spot on. Worked like a charm! 

I also appreciated her suspicion that her husband married her for her baking...after trying her recipe, I wouldn't blame the guy.

Now bring on the literary luncheon...
I sprinkled a little sugar on top before baking...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Next Issue Curatorship!

Happy Friday, my friends!
Apologies for radio silence on the blog front this week! Today, however, I can share one of the projects I was working on as a guest curator for Next Issue.

If you read my post on the Next Issue app from last summer, you know I discovered the online magazine resource at the Blogher Conference in July -since then, I have been hooked! After tweeting my post (please follow me at @ThsAmericanHome!) the folks behind the digital magazine coop asked if I would like to contribute a weekend guest post.

The idea: select several articles on a certain topic from my favorite magazines to share with readers. It was right up my alley! I decided to focus on tips, advice and inspiration to prepare for Thanksgiving and it was a lot of fun. For once, I had a perfectly good excuse/reason to sit on the couch and browse through magazines --and I got a head start on my own Thanksgiving planning! Win-win.

Here's the link to my curated pieces, and whether you read them online or the good, old-fashioned glossy way --I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fall Back! Time for Change

Drumroll please...my first article for the Los Angeles Times Home section!

Tonight, we fall back and gain an extra hour in our day - in my article, Maybe the clock isn't all you should change I interviewed organizational experts Deron Bos and Nonnahs Driskill as well as professional home inspector George Baral and asked for a few ideas for making the most of this semi-annual event. Hint: it doesn't involve sleeping in.

Think beyond battery changing and read here!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Carving: Halloween Hideaway

Halloween is creeping closer...are you ready?

If you haven't carved a pumpkin yet, consider creating one of these countrified condos...


Since I've never been big on celebrating the scary side of this haunted holiday, I couldn't wait to try my hand at Cinderella-inspired architecture. Admittedly, guilty of cute, but predictable pumpkins for years, the pumpkin pied-a-terre was a wonderful way to change up my routine. 

The resulting, Halloween hideaway glows from within with a soft warmth that reminds me of Mousekin's Golden House, a classic children's book I read to my kids when they were little. The story weaves the tale of a small mouse who finds a discarded Halloween pumpkin and makes it his home. When winter comes, the pumpkin protects him from the wind and cold and keeps him safe and warm inside.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Anatomy of Style: Skeleton Chic

 Every once in a while you see something that makes an impression --like, say a skeleton lamp.

I noticed this gentleman lighting up a room at the Greystone Mansion Designer Showcase in Beverly Hills last fall and ran into him more recently at the WestEdge Design Fair.

We've got to stop meeting like this...

At the fair in Santa Monica, my friend was puttin' on the ritz, plated in 24 karat gold and silver, but I would recognize those cheekbones anywhere.

It turns out, the light-headed skeleton is the creation of Emmy-nominated set decorator Marcia Zia-Priven and Paul Priven, the husband and wife team behind Zia-Priven Extraordinary Lighting in Los Angeles.

After working together in Hollywood, the couple teamed up to star in their own production and have been turning on design leaders such as Jamie Drake, Lauren Rottet, Geoffery Bradfield, and the late Oscar de la Renta ever since. 

The duo designed the original, hauntingly beautiful piece for the designer showcase and it served as the inspiration for this year's glammed-up relatives.

The lamps are made using German-engineered teaching skeletons which are plated in 24 karat gold or silver using a proprietary process and priced between $1700 - $7000 (to the trade only).

Imagining how my dog might react to the expensive chew toy, and where I might put one in my own home, I asked Zia and Priven who they envisioned adopting the skeletal chic style.

"Celebrities, music industry clients, people looking to make a statement," said Zia, noting the lamp's inherent rock and roll vibe. "It's for people who want something that no one else has," added Priven.

Steven Tyler are you listening? 

Just when you thought Hollywood couldn't get any thinner...

Follow me on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome and Pinterest @Bonhome

Monday, October 20, 2014

On Trend: Mining Copper

Lately, the rosy warm tones of copper have been catching my eye. I have noticed it gracing details on the pages of magazines, Pinterest and store shelves. This past week, I saw the copper moon (shown above) in the window of one of my favorite, Long Beach, California boutiques, Luna. The following day, when I found copper mugs and accessories at Target I knew the trend had reached a tipping point.

To get the burnished glow without a major investment, consider going DIY and using metallic copper spray paint (available in stores such as Wal-Mart, Michael's, and Lowe's).

The possibilities are endless...

 Van Heesch Copper Bicycle

Hammered copper pendant lights via Lonny. 

Industrial copper fixture via Trendspanarna.

 Copper cages shown on the Trendspanarna blog (Fyi, it's written in what I am guessing is Swedish or Danish?)
Copper cups at Target. When a trend hits Target,
 it's gone mainstream.

 DIY copper hooks using copper elbow joints and caps via Remodelista.

Hammered copper soaking tub shown in The Artisanal Home book by Jorge Almada and Anne-Marie Midy. Found on the lovely, You Have Been Here Sometime blog.
Shine on!

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