3/26/09

how to make a clementine candle

My friends and I are big fans of clementines, but we're also big fans of their boxes. The fact that such delicious fruit comes with a nice wooden box as a free gift - it's the greatest! But I have to say, I ain't never seen such an intriguing use of the clementines themselves. Check out this candle!It's not even a waste of a clementine - all you use is the peel.
How to do it:

Using surgical precision, slice the peel all the way around the fattest part so it's cut in two equal halves. Remove the innards (and eat them).

Cut out a little star on the top half. If you're going to unveil the candle during a romantic dinner, cut out a heart. Nothing says love like burning citrus.

There should be a little bit of pith (that white, less yummy part) sticking out of at least one of the sides. This will be your "wick."
Carefully fill that side with vegetable oil.
Time to light that motherf***er! This may not be as easy as it sounds.Watch Apartment Therapy's how-to slideshow for more precise instructions. Apparently this is a European thing. Finally, a more dignified end for peels than the compost bin!

3/23/09

fabric walls

I have fantasies about wallpaper. One day, when I'm certain my lease will be for more than a year, and when I find a landlord who sees eye to eye with my beautiful design visions, I am going to wallpaper the heck out of my home. Floral print, peacock feather print, bright colours everywhere. Until then, however, I'm forced to get a bit creative. And I'm willing to bet you are too.

For months, I've been trying to figure out how to fill up the blank white wall which runs alongside my bed. At the head on the wall I've got a cluster of art, at the base I've got a collection of found photographs from a road trip from Toronto to Vancouver in 1970 (Cha-ching! Best find ever), but the middle has always looked frustratingly bare. I played around with different things and eventually decided: I am going to fake wallpaper until I can have the real thing. I dug up a beautiful old floral sheet I'd bought for a couple bucks at Value Village because I liked the pattern, tacked it up, and in a matter of minutes: voila! Full wall, cozy room, wallpaper at a glance:

You can find lots of pretty vintage fabric on the cheap at any Value Village, Salvation Army, or church bazaar. I found a stack of beautiful ones at the weekly bazaar held at Mont Royal and St Hubert every Thursday for pretty cheap--go grab em!

Sheets work wonderfully if you want a bigger space covered, but smaller sections of fabric can be gorgeous as art on your wall, framed or unframed.



dresses as decoration

I have a dress problem. Floral dresses, 90s dresses, fancy dresses, country dresses, day dresses. I want 'em all. It's too hard to turn down a beautiful vintage find when you know it's yours now or never. But, quantity is eating away at the quality of my display and care for these dresses. The most beautiful fifties numbers are stashed in the back of my closet, white lace sharing a hanger with three cardigans. So, I resolve: no more! Now these dresses will get the tender love, care, and time in the spotlight they deserve. I love the idea of displaying beautiful pieces as artwork. They fill up a wall, provide a bit of colour and texture, and remind their owner that they're there ready and waiting for a night on the town!

I like they way they've done it here, from My Little Apartment:



And here, from Aesthetically Pleasing

Perfect for us young ones with little money for big, bright artworks and an appetite for impractical vintage!

3/17/09

bringing nature inside

There's something so sad about cities. Don't get me wrong, I'm a rapturous urbanite, but humour me for a second and look out the window. Look at the people across the street from you cooking dinner. Watch the neglectful dog owner look around furtively before leaving his pet's shit on the sidewalk.
NOW IMAGINE SEEING THIS INSTEAD:
Okay, so we can't exactly turn back the clock. But for all of us torn between loving our apartments and romanticising our past lives as hunter-gatherers, the least we can do is bring a little of the natural world into our homes.
It's way easy to maintain an herb garden - find a sunny windowsill and remember to water them. I also love these adorable thimblefulls of green.And hey, it's spring! Get thee to the corner store and pick up some daffodils!
(both photos from design sponge)

I may be a nature lover, but I'm also a devotee of what I'll call the Nature Colonialist school of decor. I've already posted about my love of taxidermy.
Artist Meryl Smith has an amazing collection of framed butterflies, seahorses and the like. I say, the more your apartment resembles a biology classroom, the better.
(photos from the selby)

Basically, I'm trying to get over my Guilt of Being Human so I can get busy embracing gardens, butterfly collecting, and other ways of taming the natural world.

BECAUSE I'M HUMAN, GOSHDARNIT, AND I CARE ABOUT AESTHETICS.

Recycle, everybody!

inside the white house: now and then

La Maison Blanche now:photo from the new york times

...and the WH dining room circa 1970, when it was inhabited by the Nixon family:photo from domino's daily dose

Boy, did Tricky Dick have great taste in wallpaper!

human nests

Spring is coming, and this time it's for real - I can feel it! Disregard my previous post and think about buildin' yerself a nest.

American artist Patrick Dougherty is way ahead of you. He weaves amazing nest-like installations - so the words "human nest" needn't conjure up Anne Geddes nightmares!

Now, to find a way to construct one on my balcony...

3/11/09

virtual tour of my apartment

All this talk about other spaces in other places - time for a look at the clutter in my life. I live on the third floor, in a 3 1/2 close to Jean Talon Market. This video doesn't give a very comprehensive look at the actual layout of my home, but I do have some objects of interest.
Starring: The Headless Taxidermied Owl!

video
(soundtrack: "Neat Little Domestic Life" and "My Favorite Boxer" by Of Montreal)

3/9/09

arctic interiors

Montreal spring is an enigmatic lady. One day, she comes on all friendly; the next, she's nowhere to be seen. I hate to say it, but maybe we should just accept the next month and a half of winter and drape our rooms with pelts like the snowbunnies we have no choice but to be.

(photos from a 1971 National Geographic story - "I Live with the Eskimo")

3/8/09

taking houseboats to the next level

City livin' got you down? I feel you. Luckily, we're not alone - rafts and houseboats of all stripes are making a comeback in a big way amongst the the artist types of America!

The Miss Rockaway Armada is a group of American artists who united last year with a common goal: to construct a flotilla of magical rafts and float them down the Mississippi River.The rafts were entirely constructed with recycled materials and powered by french fry grease. Talk about summertime heaven. Nothing short of inspiring. Check out their photos for views of the rafts' interiors if you can stand the envy.

The Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea ride the currents of the Hudson River, but a bevy of performances along the way.I almost can't stand looking at these photos, they're so summery and idyllic. Enough of this March business! Give me July!

3/4/09

picture frame medicine cabinet

I am really digging this beautiful homemade powder room storage! This would be especially perfect if you, like certain boys I could name, use only the finest and most well-packaged of bath products.
If you're like me, however, and usually opt for the cheapest drugstore options, this could be a beautiful shrine for reading material.
Grab yourself a big ol' frame at your local thrift store (or back alley, for that matter) and check out the way easy instructions for this project on the Country Living website.

3/3/09

dead animals as decor

Okay, animal lovers, listen up! I have something to say, and I am not ashamed:

I AM A VEGETARIAN AND I AM IN LOVE WITH TAXIDERMY.

I used to think stuffed animals were a little scary.

Then, in the summer of 2007, I came across something wonderful on the street: a taxidermied owl.
The owl's neck was broken, its head held on by a mere artificial tendon, but my accomplice and I scooped it up and gave it a home. Dearest accomplice later cut off its head, and now it's a headless owl, but anyways. Consider me converted!

That's why I just about hyperventilated when I saw Philadelphia artist Adam Wallacavage's house on The Selby. Wallacavage has an OUTSTANDING collection of animal paraphernalia, and they are all wearing jewelry.


This kitchen is the stuff of FANTASIES.

Not to mention his octopus chandeliers, which, despite not being made from corpses, I will find a way to accept as beautiful:

I want more taxidermy so badly! (I'm also in the market for a big framed spider.) But until I get lucky again and find some more feathered friends roadside, I will satisfy myself by visiting this amazing barber near Cremazie metro station here in Montreal. The guy has filled his window with animals that, for some reason or another, people keep giving to him (and not me):


Look how faded that raccoon is! I would take much better care of it, like Adam Wallacavage does:

3/2/09

telescoping a studio apartment 101

My last apartment was a 1 1/2 (that's a studio, to those not from Montreal) in Square St Louis, a ritzy little corner of the lower Plateau. Yes, I was living right on the edge of a park ringed by beautifully bourgeois old townhouses. Yes, I was paying low rent. No, I did not have more than one sink, or anything in my "kitchen" besides a two-burner electric hotplate and a toaster oven.
Living in a tiny space can be tough, but it also forces you to be neat. Everything in my apartment was inside/over/under one another - and I have a lot of stuff. While I chose to subject myself to studio living, I can only imagine how many people subsist in smaller places than mine in much less affordable cities.
As such, I really dig what Chicago photographer Joseph Desler Costa has done with his wee garret.

The bed is hidden around the corner from the main living area.

The all-white paint job works wonders here - dark paint looks great, but it makes every room feel wayyyy smaller. You know this place must have looked TINY before he got at it with the paint and his clever organisation! This has me jonesing for white floorboards. Time to find myself a permissive landlord.
Check out more photos from Costa's fabulous shoebox on ReadyMade Magazine's site.

3/1/09

fallout shelters - for the girl that fears everything

I recently read a great feature in the January issue of The Believer about fallout shelters, those "nuke-proof" underground hideouts most commonly associated with hyper-vigilant suburban families and Cold War paranoia. But no. More people in the U.S. of A. have fallout shelters now than ever before. Jesus.

But if you're gonna do it - do it right, the classic way.
Especially when this 1961 issue of Life makes it look so darned easy!

How about this nifty bunker in an underground steel pipe?

Barring that, just construct one in your basement!

Bunkers make swell hangouts for teens!

above pictures from the duck and cover! flickr set

The key to beautiful bunkers is to work WITH the natural starkness of the ambiance, not against it. There's so much to love about plywood and cinderblock.



Just remember to pack a shotgun - you'll need it to ward off your mutated neighbours - and eat your canned greens! Stay safe, citizens, and I'll see you in the next life!