There was an old dog who slept in a shoe, so happy was he and snuggly too.
A dandy young pup is properly dressed, his jaunty new scarf helps him look his best.
Frisky and feisty, the cat loves to play, fluffy pink den keeps her happy all day.
In my last post about the NY International Gift Fair I mentioned my finds at the Japanese Pavilion. I found a few more goodies that I wanted to share. Although most of my correspondence is done electronically these days, I tend to be old fashioned when it comes to writing thank you notes. I always feel like my gratitude is best expressed with a handwritten card. I found a few which are so lovely; they’ll inspire thank you notes for sending one.
I am not a klutz but accidents happen, especially at home and a well stocked first aid kit is a good thing to have around. But I find whenever I need something I’ve got to sift through a drawer filled with creams, ointments and bandages to get to exactly what I need and hope I’ve made the right choice for the situation. I’ve just discovered a solution to all this. The Intelligent First Aid Kit has the usual elements of a kit (which are all filed and color coded) and it also has an audio component, so you get instructions to go with it. That way you know the right thing to do when you get injured. As in my last post I think this is another perfect housewarming gift that’s practical and cool.
What’s the best housewarming gift you’ve ever received?
Things I love include: seeing how people live by visiting them at home, hor d’oeuvres or tapas and great conversation. That’s why I’m usually the first to accept an invite to a house warming party. I like the idea of helping someone to turn a house into a home. The hard part of this is choosing the perfect gift.
You want to give something useful, attractive and appropriate. I’ve found something that I think fits the bill perfectly (and I’m a little obsessed too). Take a look at these stylish and practical fire extinguishers by Fire Design. Every home should have at least one.
So what’s the worst house warming gift you’ve ever received?
Alright — brace yourself — Father’s Day is this upcoming Sunday. You’re cutting it close, but there’s still time to create a really cool, totally one-of-a-kind gift for Dad.
It’s almost Father’s Day — again! Seems like we were just faced with the age-old dilemma: What to give the man who has everything? No worries, we’re here to help with suggestions for dads who are into tools, kicking back, gadgets, the great outdoors, beer (yes, shocking I know, but some dads like their beverages foamy and fermented) grilling and more.
Be sure to check out our Father’s Day feature for hundreds of out-of-the box gift ideas sure to please all sorts of dads.
I find Mother’s Day the easiest of all holidays to shop for. The timing is so perfect — gardens have come far enough into spring to reveal their gaps, and nurseries are overflowing with goodies. Although my mama is now gardening in another realm, my husband’s mother, whom I adore, also loves most green things (a few exceptions include the kudzu which lurks at the boundaries of her yard).
This year I think she’ll love the new Flower Carpet ‘Amber’, which is a combination of peach-apricot-gold-yellow, depending on the age of the flower. Like the others in the series, it’s a pretty easy rose to grow (as in “plant it and ignore”). The ones in our garden haven’t looked quite as floriferous as the plant pictured here, but that’s because they’re in shade for a good part of the day.
There’s still a party going on with all the old-fashioned shrubs that have been made new again. It used to be that grandmas had to accept that the price of loving their flowering shrubs was waiting through the other three seasons of the year when not much was happening or putting up with disease-prone varieties, too-tall plants or floppy flowers. So now you can find tidier habits in just the size you want, with more disease resistance and even more flower color selections and interesting foliage.
About once a year, I feel the urge to do something crafty. Perhaps it’s my memory of making a Mother’s Day gift at school and trying to get it home before it fell apart. But, right on time, the mood struck me last week when I saw some lovely spring-colored translucent soaps that looked to me like perfect Mother’s Day fare. But they needed a little something, a little personality.
For many of us, Domino Magazine was a design bible. I have kept every issue of Domino in the past two years and I find myself going back into old issues for inspiration on a weekly basis. Domino billed itself as a shopping magazine — some said it was a shelter magazine — but I felt like it was a lifestyle magazine.
It was one of the first publications to make the Green Movement chic. It brought me into celebrity homes without making me feel bad about my home. Domino made me feel like I was part of a secret tribe of strong, stylish, independent women.
I know it’s borderline lame to mourn the loss of a magazine, but I’m really sad about the death of Domino. Based solely on the uproar in the design blogosphere, many other people are floating in my boat.
Here in the programming department of HGTV, we always chat about our desire to be featured on the “10 Things That Make Me Happy” page of Domino.
So, in honor of my favorite fallen monthly mag, I present you with “The Ten Things That Make Me Happy: Design Happens Edition.”
Who: Lindsey Weidhorn
Where: New York, NY
What: Program Development, HGTV
I was riding a vintage Schwinn for the longest time until it just gave out on me. This summer, I was at Governors Island and they were selling off all of the rental bikes because the season had ended. If you live in NYC, go to Governors Island on the last weekend that it is open and buy yourself one of these bikes. They retail for $300. Governors Island sells them for $75. I bought the bike, took it to my bike shop and got hand breaks and some speeders added on for only $35. Now I ride my brand new vintage inspired beach cruiser to and from work every day. It totally beats sitting on the subway in the mornings!
Personal Calling Cards from Crane & Co.
When I meet someone at a non-work related event I give them one of my personal calling cards. You can go to Finestationary.com and design your own unique calling card. I designed the one above using the Crane & Co. cards, but they have lots of fun and funky options all over the site that vary in price and style. I don’t want to meet someone on a personal level and give them my business card. It just devalues the exchange. Business cards are for business contacts, so why not have cards for personal contacts? I hate meeting someone new and standing there awkwardly while they type your number into their cell phone. These cards are such a fun and classy way to pass your info along.
Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Body Cream
This cream is expensive but TRUST ME…once you buy it, you’ll never spend money on perfume again. This cream smells like warm vanilla and it makes your skin feel like butter. You can buy it at Sephora.
Frye Cowboy Boots
I like to think of myself as an urban cowgirl (my bike is my horse). I bought these boots 5 years ago. I wear them at least twice a week and they are still in great condition. They’ve only gotten better with age. They take a boring all black outfit and give it a fun twist. They are impeccably designed and absurdly comfortable.
My Polaroid Camera
Ever since they announced the end of Polaroid film I have been buying packs like it’s my job. I love my Polaroid camera. I love how authentic and in the moment a Polaroid picture feels. I’m not a camera snob, but no digital image will ever feel as good as a Polaroid picture. Also, a Polaroid camera is a great conversation starter. I have an entire wall in my apartment devoted to my Polaroid pictures. When people come over to my place they spend the first 20 minutes staring at the wall.
Cashmere Herringbone Throw
Toastis one of my favorite stores. Unfortunately they are only in the UK but they do have an online store to make up for that. Toast specializes in comfort. This deeply soft, pure cashmere throw is from Scotland. If I am in my apartment, I have this blanket wrapped around me. It is the softest most amazing blanket in the history of blankets.
Apples to Apples
This is one of my favorite party games. If you’re entertaining and some of your guests don’t know each other, this game is a great icebreaker. This game will have you and your friends on the floor laughing.
I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy…Asking him to love me. My heart breaks every time I watch that scene. Notting Hill is my “trapped on a desert island with only one movie” movie.
Diptyque Feu de Bois (Firewood) Candle
I know this is extravagant. $65 for a candle, in a recession is insane. I get it, but I’m addicted. When I was a kid, my mother would make a fire every winter night. The crackling and the smell of wood burning always makes me feel at home when it is cold out. Wood burning, for me, is the smell of winter with my family. Here in Manhattan one out of every zillion people are lucky enough to have a working wood burning fire place. I am not one of those lucky people. So I buy this candle. It smells like winter and it lasts forever. You can get it on Amazon.
Here’s a little secret about the HGTV programming team…We LOVE CUPCAKES! It’s insane. We eat cupcakes all the time. We have been known to schedule “Cupcake Meetings” on our calendars on exceptionally busy days to lift spirits. Lately we have been getting Magnolia Cupcakes, but Crumbs is still, hands-down, our favorite cupcake spot. They have the craziest flavors, cupcakes you couldn’t even dream of. My personal favorite…The Fluffernutter Cupcake. Vanilla cake, marshmallow butter cream filling, vanilla frosting mixed with Peanutbutter and drizzled with white chocolate.
I know I’m not alone in always wanting to be in Domino’s “10 Things That Make Me Happy.” So, in the spirit of Domino Magazine…What Makes YOU happy?
February 14th may have visions of Cupid’s arrows, hearts and an overload of red and pink dancing in most of the population’s head. However, if you’re one of the many who are in a difficult-to-define relationship, our friends at Marketplace have put together some fun lists for picking the perfect gift. Secret love affair, confusing friendship, courtship reaching its end? They have them covered and all those in between.
Does your love affair resemble that of our favorite star-crossed lovers? Then, take a peek at their Secret Lover gift ideas.
Is your relationship winding down? Check out their Our Days are Numbered gift list.
If your friend wants something more, but your feelings haven’t change, take a tip from the Just Not That Into You list.
Don’t worry, they also have some great picks for those of you are in healthy, loving relationships. Check out all their gift ideas here.
Looking for fun, unique stuffers for your stockings? We’ve found five items sure to add a little design to anyone’s home.
Add some cuteness to your kitchen with these adorable tea towels from Ferm Living.
Often considered the symbol of wisdom and learning, this simple owl paperweight from Canoe is an elegant addition to anyone’s desk.
Fill this Vintage Camera Photo Album from Anthropologie with favorite photos for a unique and personal stocking stuffer.
These letterpress coasters from Elsa + Sam Dishware Boutique are printed by hand on a vintage Chandler & Price press.
Metal Architectural Letters from CS Post and Co. are the perfect stuffer for anyone on your list.
Share some of your favorite finds in the comments.
Only 20 days left until Christmas! We have the perfect gift ideas for the design-savvy people on your list. Plus, you have my full permission to pick up a little something for yourself.
[clockwise from top left] Outline Vase from the MoMA Store, Cook’s Choice from Dean & Deluca, I am not a Paper Cup from Fred Flare, Jessie Steele Leopard Apron from Wrapables, Twelve Days of Christmas Plates from Jayson Home & Garden, Mythos Doormat from Anthropolgie, Lumiere Pillar Holders from CB2
[clockwise from top left] Art Deco Venetian Mirror from Wisteria, Tea Light Holders from Horne, Sukie Perpetual Calendar from Fred Flare, Tea Towels from Rose and Radish, Vintage Flower Glass Storage Bowls from Fishs Eddy
Now that we’ve stuffed our bellies with turkey and the fridge with leftovers, time to focus on gift-giving season. Rather than trekking from mall to mall this Black Friday, do your shopping online — it’ll save you time, stress and energy (both yours and your car’s).
To inspire you, here are a few basic eco- and budget-friendly gifts that are perfect for friends, party hosts or even the office Secret Santa:
Recycled Bottle Platter, $18
Wine and cheese lovers will swoon for these platters, made from 100 percent recycled glass bottles. Whether sporting a selection of organic cheese and crackers or sliced fruits and vegetables, they’re perfect for a dinner party — perhaps even a holiday party if you ask the hostess to open her gift early. Add tea lights to them to dress up a sideboard or give some spoons a rest in the kitchen. Choose from cobalt blue or green; spreader included.
Eggplant Basil Planter, $12
Give the gift of fresh herbs this winter with this cheeky planter. Great dressing for a kitchen windowsill or a sunny desktop, the unglazed ceramic egg is filled with black sand soil and basil seeds. To start growing: gently tap with a spoon to crack open the egg, water the soil-and-seed mixture, and place it in the sun.
Bike Chain Bottle Opener, $10
Each month Graham Bergh and his team of crafty Oregon artisans collect 3,000 pounds of used bike parts from shops around the country. Bits that still might work go to a local non-profit group that teaches kids bicycle repair and maintenance, but the ones that are beyond repair turn into cool things such as this bike chain bottle opener — a quirky addition to any avid cyclist’s dry bar.
Plastic Bag Placemat, $18
Artisans in Benin (that’s in Western African) pluck plastic bags from the waste stream and hand-crochet them into these vibrant, circular placemats. Top one with a bamboo bowl (also under $20) filled with organic apples — voila, a cheerful eco-tabletopper!
Recycled Tree Ornaments, $0.99-$4.99
One clever eBay seller is transforming old soda cans — Coke, Sprite and Pepsi specifically — into small aluminum ornaments. They are perfect hostess gifts, stocking stuffers or small tokens for any soda-loving friends, but if your giftee prefers a more sedate tree, consider these simple bamboo ornaments ($10 for a set of four) instead.
Extra econo-tip: Whether shopping online or braving the crowded stores, check out this year’s Black Friday deals, including free shipping, one-day-only sales and even those much-coveted “door buster” items.
Have you found any other cheap-but-chic home gifts? Share your comments below.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite Christmas cartoons. It tells the story of a bitter, green creature who lives above Whoville, a town that happily prepares for the holiday season. The Grinch doesn’t like such joy and unity and decides to steal Whoville’s gifts and Christmas trimmings. The turning point of the story is when the Grinch realizes what Christmas is all about — and it isn’t decorations or gifts. The Whos are happy and grateful despite the Grinch stealing Christmas. “Maybe Christmas,” the Grinch thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!”
I love Christmas, but in some ways, I can relate to the Grinch. Black Friday denotes gloom to me. You’ll never find me camping outside a store before the sun comes up to save a few dollars. Holiday shopping, in general, is something I usually dread, both because of the in-your-face commercialism that can cloud the true meaning of Christmas and because of the hectic, exhausting experience of fighting the masses to find that one gift that may or may not be needed, wanted or even appreciated. In fact, my favorite Christmas gift-giving memory is when my family decided to forgo presents altogether. We pooled what money we planned to spend on each other and bought needed items (as well as a few fun items) for two residents living in a group home. Had it not been for our family playing Santa, these ladies would have had no visitors on Christmas and no gifts to unwrap. The entire experience was incredibly rewarding. It is true; it is more fun to give than to receive.
If you like the idea of alternative gift giving because it makes a difference in the lives of others, here are a few suggestions:
1. Pool family members’ money and donate to a common cause. The number of charitable opportunities is endless.
2. If you want to play Santa, buy gifts for a needy family. Ask a pastor for a referral. Or call a local nursing home, youth home or home for the developmentally or mentally disabled. Ask to be referred to residents who will not have family visiting over the holidays.
3. If you don’t have extra funds this holiday but still want to make a difference to others, get your family together and volunteer. For ideas, call your local United Way office.
4. Start a scholarship fund either for the children of your family or for a child who would not be able to go to college otherwise.
If you like the idea of alternative gift giving because it keeps you out of the shopping malls, here are a few more suggestions:
1. Get artsy. Make your gifts this year for a truly personal sentiment. Think of gifts that are edible, wearable, display-able or usable. Go one step further and wrap them in handmade wrapping paper. For ideas on how to make your holidays handmade, check out these handmade holiday ideas.
2. Like to travel? Instead of buying Christmas gifts, decide as a family to allocate money toward a trip fund. Even better, buy a plot of land on the water or in the mountains for an investment that the entire family can enjoy for generations to come.
3. Shop online. Shop from the comfort of your couch. Need I say more?
Does your family have any alternative gift giving traditions?
Mother’s Day is two weeks away, and there’s still time to get her a well-designed gift. Here are my picks for tech-savvy, earth-friendly and simply stylish moms who go crazy — just like you — for great design.
Left – One of those “I wish I thought about that!” gifts: The StoryCatcher or PhotoCatcher from Rory Siefer, family biographer and CatchMyMemory founder. I agree with Rory when she says these kits are instant family heirlooms, and especially handy because mom, or grandma, can sometimes be forgetful.
Middle – The Sansa Fuze MP3 player is not only mom-friendly (read: intuitive and easy to use) — it’s budget-friendly, too. For less than $100, gift mom with a place to hold her Beatles collection, photos and videos of the family, and special recorded messages from you. Plus, it’s pink!
Right – Break out your childhood masterpieces and turn them into art at Imagekind. With a few clicks, you can recreate memories for mom on canvas instead of construction paper. Get free shipping until May 11 with promo code MDay2008.
Top left – Save mom from stubbing her toe on a midnight jaunt to the loo with VivaTerra’s silver Leaf Night Light. It’s by far the most stylish night light I’ve ever seen.
Bottom left – Karim Rashid’s stylish, self-watering Grobal plant pot will impress mom’s friends when she has them over for tea: no more drooping houseplants!
Top right – From JCPenney, these eco-friendly Studio Capiz Shell Candleholder will remind mom of the ocean.
Bottom right – Mom will enjoy getting in shape with this stylishly eco-friendly, non-slip yoga mat from Shama Living.
Top left – The Firsthand Soap Dispenser from NapaStyle is perfect for moms who love being in the kitchen, and take pride in keeping it clean and stylish.
Top right – Violet’s Rare Beauty Eye Pillow is filled with flax, lavender and chamomile to soothe mom’s headaches.
Bottom left -Take mom on a trip down memory lane with Uncommon Good’s retro-style TV trays.
Bottom right – This hot pink Gerbera Daisy Umbrella from Patina might make mom wish for more rainy days.
Get more Mother’s Day gift ideas from culinary queens to animal lovers.
If the Design Happens gift guides didn’t appeal to you, you’re in luck. HGTV.com’s MarketPlace is a veritable smorgasbord of gifts — a gift buffet, if you will. All of my favorite online retailers list their products at MarketPlace, so it’s essentially a one-stop shop for the home and beyond.
The MarketPlace crew (who sits just a couple cube rows away) put in long hours to pick the best of the best for their 2007 gift guide bonanza. I could also call this a gift guide blowout, the prime rib of gift guides or the creme de la creme of presents, but you get the idea and I’m getting hungry.
You’re still reading this, why? Go shop!
We thought we’d wrap up the weekend with a showcase of some pretty designer gift wrap. After all, you spent so much time and money on the presents that newspaper comics just won’t do them justice. So wrap it up in style with our picks for paper that’s sustainable, reusable and just downright gorgeous.
Heidi, $21.99 for a wrap collection
Funnel Paper Goods, $12
Paper Source, $2.25-7.95
The Container Store, about $9-10
Elum Designs, $3.75/sheet
Pop Ink, $6.50/roll
Whimsy Press, $4.50 for 10 sheets
Garnet Hill, $10 for a collection
Red Stamp, $6-9
Broadway Paper, $3-4
Branch Home, $7.95
See all the 2007 gift guides for the home:
Guest Blogger: Chelsey Bowen, decorating editor, HGTV.com
Hopefully, you’ve got your Black Friday plan — coffee, credit cards, gift list and fellow conspirator. While you’re out, don’t forget to grab the perfect stocking stuffers for everyone on your list.
Get ready to stuff those stockings with our picks for the smallest, yet stylish gifts yet!
Jewel Wine Stoppers
These adorable Parisian blue wine stoppers will fit perfectly in your loved one’s stocking. You might even want to have a nice merlot or chardonnay waiting in the background.
Buy: Brocade Home, $49
Croc-Embossed Leather Travel Clock
The stocking is the perfect place for travel accessories, and my vote is for this classic silver clock and its crocodile carrying case.
Buy: Williams-Sonoma Home, $98
Never again will you have to guess what size picture frame someone needs. This decorative adhesive tape makes framing a cinch.
Buy: Chocosho, $12.50
Animal Rubber Bands
Who buys office supplies for Christmas? Well, if they’re as cute as these colorful rubber bands, I would!
Buy: The Shop at Cooper-Hewitt, $7
Vintage Luggage Tag
This is a must-have for the friend who loves to travel. Surely the airlines would never lose a bag with such a stylish tag!
Buy: Free People, $24
Everyone knows a Sudoku fanatic, so why not make their life complete with this puzzle-inspired pencil.
Buy: Kate’s Paperie, $25
Multi Task Planner Notebook
It’s almost that time of year again — time to make the promises we have every intention of keeping. Help a friend realize her goal of getting organized with this handy (and stylish) planner.
Buy: Vitamin Design Shop, $16
See all the 2007 gift guides for the home:
(7 of 7 holiday home decor gift guides my fellow decorating editor, Chelsey, and I have put together according to design style)
When I was a wee writer, my parents took me to visit my aunt’s amazing zebra collection. Now, I’m pretty sure I was there to socialize, but the only thing I remember is playing with my cousins in a room with a reclining ceramic zebra. Such was my first exposure to ethnic style, the style that makes no apologies for bold prints, patterns and the occasional zebra.
If you know someone like my aunt, take a virtual world trip in our ethnic gift guide. There’s something for every globetrotter here, from Russia to Scandinavia and China to France. And because we couldn’t stop writing about gifts, on Thanksgiving and Black Friday we’re bringing you a roundup of well-designed stocking stuffers and designer gift wrap, for all your gifting needs.
History lovers will appreciate this 9-inch English delft (tin-glazed earthenware) container that gets his influence from blue and white porcelain of the Eastern Ming Dynasty. A removable hat makes for a cheeky container to hold botanicals.
Buy: Williamsburg Marketplace, $50
Guinea Hen, small lt. blue w/cobalt
This accent was first crafted by Heidi Caillard, a potter in Provence. Now her son carries on the tradition, making the Guinea Hen a household name. Comes in several colors if you don’t like the blue.
Buy: lille, $129
From Russia With Love Box
I’m crazy about this box, handmade by artisans in the Karelia region of Russia. I’m just as crazy about this shop: World of Good is a fair trade shop that bridges the gap between foreign artisans and the United States. Besides bringing goodies statewide, they invest 10 percent of the sales back into the communities the products come from — a gift that keeps on giving.
Buy: World of Good, $19.95
Suzani Jewelry Box
Suzanis are detailed, needlework tribal fabrics made in Central Asia, but this one happens to be affixed to a jewelry box. Tulips and vines in bright colors conceal a mirror and ring compartments — and would look smashing on a globetrotter’s bureau.
Buy: Anthroplogie, $68
John Robshaw Pichhwai Pillows
You’re guaranteed the “Best Friend Ever” award if you show up to the holiday gift exchange with one of these precious pillows. Traditional usage of these painted patterns is in Indian temples behind gods and goddesses, so your recipient will truly feel worshipped.
Buy: John Robshaw, $75-165
Woven Elephants and Zebras
These woven animal accents from Madagascar mark the return of the rattan. Sold separately, they’ll bring a bit of whimsy to a world traveler’s space.
Buy: World Market, $14.99-19.99
Do you know how hard it is to track down a classy tabletop fountain? It took me two years before I gifted my mom the fountain of her dreams. Skip the light-changing, orb spinning fountains and go for the subtle sounds of the pagoda. Guaranteed, your recipient won’t want to return this one.
Buy: Z Gallerie, $24.95
Antava Folding Candelabra
Make room for mid-century Scandinavian style with a practical, arrange-as-you-like candelabra. Six taper candles are included so your recipient can have their ethnic style and light it, too.
Buy: RedEnvelope, $98
See all the 2007 gift guides for the home:
Shop for more Ethnic Style gifts at HGTV.com’s MarketPlace.
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