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NtB Craves: Monochromaticism

Here kitty kitty kitty!Spooky?Who cares if it's comfy?
Now I want a napCoordinated with what, exactly?What could I make with this, hmmm?

In my heart of hearts, I’m lazy. I usually start decorating with two colors (or non-colors, whatever) and then branch out color-wise as I see things I like. My living room, for example, started with a palette of blues and browns, but I’ve since added orange, which meshes with everything else a lot better than you might at first imagine.

Black and white are easy starting points because ‘black and white’ is a proven combo. Once you’ve got your timeless and classy black and white interior established, you can start adding other hues, like vivid red, bright yellow, baby blue, or even apple green. Voila! Instant eye draws!

It doesn’t get much more useless than this

I buy my flour in bulk from King Arthur Flour, which means I get a new catalog in the mail every month. It never ceases to amaze me how many one-off gadgets and appliances are sold by a company that ostensibly caters to series bakers.

Things are going to get a little stickyWhat's wrong with using a plate?

The most recent example of flagrant pointless was the peanut butter and jelly spreader. It has a spreader on each end so you can avoid contaminating your peanut butter with jelly and vice versa. I personally prefer to use a knife in the PB and a spoon in the J, but that’s just me. I’d watch out if you’re using a runny jam, lest you find your fingers gunked up by sweet stuff when you turn it over to scoop your nut butter.

Then there’s the S’mores maker, which unfortunately did not come from King Arthur Flour. Back in my day — I can’t believe I just wrote that — we used a plate if we wanted to microwave up some s’mores. I’m guessing moms prefer washing a plate to scrubbing the defibrillator hands of an anthropomorphized…something.

Who buys these things, anyway?

That sweet Finn Style

Marimekko loveMarimekko love
Marimekko loveMarimekko love

These make me happy. They’re yummy. I’d even go so far as to say they’re “nummy,” except I’m just not into babyspeak. Now, I’m in a pretty good mood, but browsing all of the neat Marimekko stuff at Finn Style just puts me in a BETTER mood. I’m positively beaming.

If you’re not familiar with Marimekko, it’s a Finnish textile company best known for its bold patterns and playful designs. It was introduced to the American audience in the 1950s, but the popularity of the patterns surged after a 1960s Sports Illustrated cover featuring First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in a Marimekko cotton dress. Those patterns are now back in vogue and all over all sorts of things, from kitchenware to clothing. You can even buy the fabric on its own and make your own original designs!

A more colorful life

It’s a busy day here at La Casa Del Beard, which means all I have time for is a quickie post. Here are four ubercool kitchen accessories from Art Effect:

Pretty maids all in a rowMmmm, sweet stuff
Nummy? Gnomey!BEEP!

They’re all wonderful colorful and inexpensive enough to buy for a relative or friend who’s feeling a little down. What could be more cheering than robot plates, a gnome bowl, nonna graters, and vintage-style cake tins? Perhaps robot plates, a gnome bowl, a nonna grater, and one vintage-style cake tin all wrapped up in pretty paper with a sparkly bow on top!

A retail therapy day

It’s been on heck of a day…I won’t go into details, but a certain someone from my past likes to resurface every now and again to leave insulting comments on my online journal or elsewhere. My plan to post before leaving the house for the day were curtailed when I discovered his latest escapades. Let’s just say it’s a little freaky when you discover that someone you haven’t thought of in years is still thinking about you. Tres creepy!

When I finally did get home, I decided to calm my frazzled nerves with a little retail therapy, and by little I mean very little. If we’re really going to tear the vinyl siding off of our house and paint the whole thing, we need to save our pennies. Here’s what I bought:


Cloth napkins!Sham!Chococherry!
Food!Soap!Checkers!

Ahhhhh. There’s nothing like a little civility in the form of cloth napkins, tablecloths, lotions, and a nice snack to make one feel grounded again.

Dirty plates that can’t be scrubbed clean

There’s a certain category of things for the home that I like to call BK, or “before kids.” Tasteful nudes are one thing — I grew up in a very cultural knowledgeable family with plenty of boobs and wangs on the walls. Still, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t red in the face when my grandfather used the word pubis while sagely pointed out artistic elements in paintings! I interned with a woman whose entire house was a repository for vintage XXX pinups…I always rather wondered what her 13-year-old son thought of them.

I imagine that most people who have things like collections of erotica and Madonna’s Sex book and love dice probably put them away when their kiddies get old enough to read and start asking questions like “What does whore mean?” Or they just don’t reproduce, which is cool, too. Viva Le choix!

The cups, mugs, and tableware Trixie Delicious creates run the gamut from too coole to relatively tame to OMG QUICK PUT IT AWAY BEFORE MY GRANDMA GETS HERE. Unless, that is, your grandma happens to be my grandma, because my gram has quite the dirty mind. There’s something about the dichotomy that tickles me…the first thing you see is this flowery auntiesque-looking plate, then your brain notices it has the word arse splashed playfully across it.

Tame.Tame.Tame.

These are some of the tamer specimens. Racier, NSFWish plates can be seen under the jump!

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Birds of a feather

Twiddley dee, twiddley diddley dee

My grandmother on my mother’s side has a special tea cup she uses. The rest of us use Russian tea glasses while she drinks her blend from a dainty bone china cup and saucer covered in colorful flowers. It’s really a rather lovely thing to see on the table in the cold winter months because it’s so evocative of springtime.

Were I to choose a special cup of my very own, it would probably be a coffee cup and I’d more than likely pick the Chirp cup from Lenox. What can I say? I’m a total sucker for bluebirds…too bad I have a little trouble justifying the $25 price tag.

For now I’ll have to settle for my oddly-balanced yet beloved jade glass cup and saucer I bought at a Cracker Barrel store ages and ages ago. Do you have a special cup or mug or bowl or plate?

ROUNDUP: Napkin rings

There is but a single quatro of napkin rings in the whole of my house. They’re pewter, and I found them long ago while poking through The Beard’s things. I was mystified…why did The Beard have a set of fancy napkin rings embellished with a single engraved H? They were obviously old–the heavy cardboard box in which they were stored was too nice to be new.

All mysteries aside, I thought that lovely pewter napkin rings really ought to be in the general circulation, so I confiscated them and bought a mess of ecologically responsible cloth napkins.

Who’d have thought mannerly cleanliness could be so much fun? I like sending The Beard to work with a packed lunch complete with a pretty yellow napkin tucked into a napkin ring. He’s told me that his coworkers think it’s awesome, and there are few things I like more than impressing people from afar.

Born with one of these in your mouth?Wood you like one of these?Ooh, shiny!
ACHTUNG! They're glassOnce you go black...Dastardly pretty, no?

My favorite rings are the porcelain Lenox rings, but that may be because I already have a pewter set. Unfortunately, the rings I have will have to do for a bit…at least until I get some new napkins and start entertaining again. I’ve been too busy lately to even think about rolling a napkin into a napkin ring.

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