Stella Bleu Designs

William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

 And 19th-century architect Louis Sullivan proclaimed that “form ever follows function,” an idea that vastly influenced the modernist movement in design.

One can find much to uphold both maxims in the work of Stella Bleu Designs, where the creations of Mississippi-born designer Katie Katzenmeyer are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, elegant and sturdy.  In a word, useful.

On view at her website (along with her Etsy shop, here) are shelves and garment racks made from industrial steel pipe, reclaimed wood, and other salvage materials gleaned from local, family-owned salvage yards and demolition sites.  Everything is made from scratch in house. Read the rest of this entry »

Etsy Find(s) of the Week – A Little Love for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is on its way folks, so i’ve put together a little selection of fun, sustainable gifts you can still snag in time for the holiday,… if you act fast!

Metal wall art, made from recycled aluminum cans by Transcendant Treasure.  These pin up onto the wall in any configuration you want.

Love Pillow sewn from recycled plastic bottle felt by Personal Pillow.  The heart is a pocket you can hide a little note or treat in.

Light a torch in your loved one’s heart with this red current scented, 100% soy wax candle from Torch Illumination.

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Etsy Find of the Week – Year of the Dragon

In honor of this week’s celebration of Chinese New Year (January 23rd), I give you…

Vigor, the seriously awesome, recycled, drag racing steampunk dragon sculpture by Etsy artisans Reclaim2Fame.

Just look at that face! Read the rest of this entry »

Etsy Find(s) of the Week – Globetrotting Edition

I just returned from a brief (but fun) business trip to San Francisco, and once again I remember why I love to travel.  Seeing new places, making new friends, and getting out of my daily routine are so invigorating to me.  Now all I can think about are the places I want to go next!

Since I have such a severe case of wanderlust, I thought it appropriate to make this week’s “Etsy Find” a globe and map themed one.  Enjoy!

Map covered wooden chair by New Yorganize.

Collier’s 1935 Map Drawer Pulls by Sherry Truitt

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Shades of Autumn – Cassandra Tondro Leaf Prints

I once had the opportunity to visit Concord, MA just at the height of the fall color.  Swirling masses of gold, orange, scarlet, and yellow leaves were everywhere, and I felt as though I was walking through a postcard.   It was one of the few times I regretted living in the milder, Southern California climate.

Here, the heat of summer smacks right into the cold and wet of winter, with hardly any visual transition.  You have to search to find a tree displaying true fall color.  Luckily, Santa Monica based artist Cassandra Tondro is willing to make that search and give us a taste of autumn, Southern California style.

At first glance, you could be excused for thinking these are impressions from leaves that have been dipped in paint and pressed onto paper.  After all, didn’t many of us do that in crafts classes growing up?  Not that our childish blobs ever looked this amazing, but still, it’s been done right?  Guess again. Read the rest of this entry »

Etsy Find of the Week – Colorful Clocks!

Always a sucker for a “Clever Fox”.

And one that tells me what time it is (snack time!) is even better.

These charming clocks are the creation of Etsy seller Nicola and the Newfoundlander.

Constructed from a piece of reclaimed 1938 water tower wood, these clocks feature a hand screened print on silk, or other colorful printed fabrics.

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Etsy Find of the Week – Dinosaurs!

My son and I are going to check out the new Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles this week, so I have dinosaurs on the brain.  We’re excited because they have,…

not one,…

not two,…

but THREE T-rex skeletons on exhibit now!


So in honor of the tyrannically good time we are going to have, I present you with some prehistoric fun from Etsy…

Reclaimed wood TRex skull by Recycled State

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Artisan Profile – Cassandra Tondro, Artist

The fifth in a series of artisan profiles by contributing writer Emerald Atkins.

Don’t throw away that house paint!  It can be used for art.

Cassandra Tondro, an artist living in Santa Monica, CA, knows that secret, and has been using it since 2007 to create vibrant abstract paintings.  Her unique medium comes from many sources.  Sometimes the acrylic latex paint is literally repurposed house paint, gleaned either from the mistint shelves of hardware stores or from the local household hazardous waste center.  She also works directly with her clients by incorporating leftover paint from their architectural site to create truly custom art.

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Fearless Flying Chickens and Other Cool Artwork

I love this poster

I’ve never seen a more heroic chicken.  Have you?  That hen looks ready to take on the entire Luftwaffe all by herself!

The poster is just one of several great designs created for the Victory Garden for Tomorrow Campaign by graphic artist Joe Wirtheim.

Here’s another fave – “Grow Food“.  Guess I must have a chicken complex.

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Gettin’ Twiggy Wit’ It – Sticks & Stones

I love it when someone takes the simplest materials and makes beautiful art from them.

Or in this case, lighting.  The striking light fixture above was made of twigs and handmade paper, by designer/artist David Ward.

Originally trained as a landscape architect, David Ward soon found himself more intrigued by the twigs and branches trimmed from the trees than he was by the trees themselves.   After exploring different ways of attaching and forming the twigs he had accumulated, he began to make three dimensional artworks from them. Read the rest of this entry »