Amity Home

It’s been a while since we featured nursery items here, and one look at these gentle charmers from Amenity Home was proof enough that the time had come to do so again.


California mothers Nicole Chiala and Kristina de Corpo started Amenity back in 2004.  Their simple, nature-inspired designs were from the first part of an effort to bring the peaceful tranquility of their youth into the urban, adult homes.  Two years later the pair realized their goal of offering their designs exclusively on organic or sustainable materials, and from there the business has only grown.  Nursery items are only part of a wide-ranging selection from Amenity. Read the rest of this entry »

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 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 »

Artisan Profile – M Design

The little wooden robot sits there, head cocked, arms outstretched, vacant drilled eyes staring into space.  Its expression is puzzled and innocent.  It looks like it wants a hug.  It’s cute.

Sometimes, in the earnest seriousness of striving to live green, we forget our sense of humor.  Marjolaine Poulin of M Design hasn’t forgotten… and she loves nothing better than to make other people smile, hence the little army of wooden robots marching out of her workshop in El Salvador.

Marjolaine (“Mao”) has taken scrap wood & discarded furniture and raised them both into art.

A native of Quebec, Canada, Mao splits her time between Montreal and El Salvador, always looking for inspiration.  Her introduction to woodworking came in 2004 in Guatemala, where she learned classical bamboo carpentry from a Taiwanese master.  Shortly afterward she began crafting her own designs hoping to promote bamboo’s many advantages as a building material in Central America.

Read the rest of this entry »

Temporarily Transformative – Inkshuffle

Dwelling in a rental can be so… uninspiring.  Who likes living one’s life surrounded by bland walls which cannot be painted or papered without sacrificing one’s security deposit?  But that’s how it is, right?

Not anymore!

Thanks to the folks at Inkshuffle, we renters can have our cake and eat it too.  How?  Reusable wall murals… or, “Easy Off” wall murals, as the company calls them.

Read the rest of this entry »

ART From the Ashes

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

~Henry David Thoreau

"Seconds Count" by Jason Wilbur

In the face of natural disaster, where others see devastation, Joy Feuer – and the many artists & volunteers who work with her – see opportunity for transformation and renewal.  Life is often about new beginnings.  Since 2008 Joy’s non-profit organization, ART From the Ashes, has been helping communities and individuals rebuild from the ashes of their former lives.

The concept for ART From the Ashes came to life autumn of 2007, during one of the most destructive fire seasons in the history of California.  AFTA was created to use the cathartic properties of art as a means of supporting the renewal of lives devastated by wildfire.  Members travel to a disaster site and from it reclaim materials – burnt wood, ruined household goods, architectural elements, anything that inspires – to be transformed into works of art and later sold at an exhibition-auction benefitting the effected community.

Joy Feuer, photo by James Carbone

The process is deeply meaningful for Joy.

“We have seen up close and personal the powerful connection and healing properties that our art programming has on communities in Southern and Central California,” she said.  “In the wake of disaster…watching what occurs to people and places, in that moment, you are there as well.  Its human nature to want to help in any way possible. In the actions of ART from the ashes, we can provide resource and support to communities in need.  Art provides a connection, provokes inspiration and invites hope.  There are no boundaries geographically or creatively.  Our desire is to honor this and expand our mission to help as many people as possible.” Read the rest of this entry »

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 – 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.

Read the rest of this entry »