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Sticky Fingers, Homemade

Remember those hot summertime days that seemed to stretch on forever? Joy came easily in the form of a fast-melting popsicle that dripped down onto fingers and wrists and the sizzling blacktop. Luckily, some things never change, and easy joy is still obtainable, at least on the weekends. I will, however, recommend that you leave the HFCS to the kiddies and make your own popsicles at home using body-friendly ingredients like pomegranate juice and muddled blueberries.

zoo pops

Forget secondhand popsicle sticks and paper cups — nowadays you can DIY up yourself an old school treat with Tovolo Rocketpop molds. Just like Rick the ice cream man used to deliver, and why were all the ice cream truck drivers named Rick, anyway? Or get funky with Zoo Pops molds, which I somehow doubt will look anywhere near as good as they do in the picture. Oh well! When it comes to drippy, delicious popsicles on a hot summer day, looks aren’t all that important, right?

Browse: The Conran Shop

Every now and then I highlight a shop here on the Home blog, though admittedly I haven’t done so for quite some time. Nothing, to tell you the truth, has caught my eye lately. Today’s seller of note, The Conran Shop, actually re-entered my field of consciousness when I found an advert I’d ripped out of the New York Times Style mag ages and ages ago. I loved the selection of products featured in the ad: multi-color headphones, a miniature electric guitar and amp, toy helicopters, retro iPod docks, and other stuff designed to add a little fun to life.

the conran shop

Here are a few things that just now caught my eye… Charles and Ray Eames succumbed to the charms of the elephant and in 1945 designed a toy version made of plywood. However, it never made it into mass production, until now! This adorable red one is plastic, but what can you do? And how about that spacey radio? Designed by Yves Malka & Pierre de Poucques, the Apollo AM/FM radio’s controls are integrated into the design, rather than relying on buttons and knobs. Have a blast watching your friends figure out how to turn it on! Then there is the cheerfyl Japanese moneybox, the magnetboard sheep with farmalicious magnets, and all of the gorgeous furniture sold by this store.

Seriously, go and have a look — it’s worth the time. Even if, like me, you can’t afford much, it is still fun to browser shop.

The Monsters Under the Bed

The stylish Sterlingspider wrote to point this totally sweet rug out to me. Monsters in the bed? Monsters under the bed? Tentacles, claws, and paws? What’s not to like?

Boogieman rug

Unfortunately, my dreams of owning it were crushed before I even saw it as she mentioned the price in her e-mail. How much are we talking here? A cool $1,400 will buy this 8′ x 10′ Boogie Man Rug, which is a tribute to all things that creep and lurk under the beds of wee ones. Jellio recommends placing it underneath your child’s bed, an idea that I imagine may lead to sleepless evenings and overnight luminosity. Of course, if you don’t have a kidlet who’s of the impressionable age where the Boogieman seems oh-so-real, you could display this scarily awesome rug right in your living room.

With the Look of Real Wood, Because *It Is* Wood

Calling all wood enthusiasts! Designer Singgih Kartono, known for using green-friendly practices in his designs, takes tech green and pulpy with the Magno Radio from Areaware.

wooden radio

The knobs, casing and antenna knob in this delightfully retro AM/FM radio (with mp3 hookups, no less) are all made from uncoated sustainably-grown new growth wood, and for every tree used in production, a new one is planted to take its place. Did I mention that it’s handcrafted in an Indonesian farming village? That makes it cute and quaint, for those with first-world guilt. Sure, you have to rub it down with some oil now and again, but that’s a small price to pay for great design. Well, those periodic rub-downs and $250, the going price.

If, however, $250 seems a bit much to pay for a radio, may I recommend something somewhat similar that’s a tad less expensive but no less beautiful.

The Ikea Naming Scheme

Ever wondered about the Ikea furniture and decor naming scheme? I have two Billy bookcases, for example. Why Billy? I also have a couple of chairs that I’m sure have equally strange names. Oh, and I am the owner of a Jokkmokk kitchen set.

Ikea catalog

After a bit of searching, I came across this naming scheme that apparently appeared once upon a time in an un-cited article and was later confirmed by the Wikipedians.

Items in and for the bathroom are named for Scandinavian lakes, rivers, and bays.

Kitchens and kitchen items are named for grammatical terms, while kitchen accessories are either labeled with foreign words or are named after spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, or fruit.

Chairs and desks have male names, materials and curtains have female names, lamps and lighting accessories are named for terms in music, chemistry, meteorology, and measures, as well as seasons, months, and days.

Sheets, bed covers, and cushions are named after flowers, plants, precious stones, and words associated with sleep and comfort.

Children’s goods are labeled with adjectives or the names of animals and birds.

Cornices and other accessories for curtains are named using mathematical and geometrical terms.

Frames and clocks are referred to with expressions, although some still have Swedish names of places.

So why the odd naming conventions? Company founder Ingvar Kamprad, who is dyslexic, found that naming the furniture with proper names and words, rather than a product code, made the names easier to remember.

Funny, I always thought that Ikea names were rather like Häagen-Dazs — foreign sounding, but ultimately meaningless. But no, my Jokkmokk is named for a municipality in Norrbotten County in northern Sweden and Billy is a masculine name in that same country!

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? Nah…

I have a good but casual relationship with many of my neighbors, especially since having a baby. Nothing encourages crossing the street or popping around the fence more readily than a fresh-out-of-the-womb infant! We chat about the weather and gardening and the baby, of course. We wave hello if we are in our cars. We occasionally lend one another implements like wheel barrows, and once, my neighbor Paul even took pity on our snowblower-less butts and plowed our driveway! And yet, there’s a closeness lacking that might be nice to have. If I needed a cup of sugar, I’d drive to the Stop & Shop rather than knock on a neighbor’s door.

bad neighbors

With that in mind, I was intrigued by a post over at The Simple Dollar that explained how one could set up a simple neighborhood cooperative.

Household equipment Why not share a lawnmower with your neighbor? How about a snowblower? One great model for this exists in our neighborhood, where one person owns a snowblower and provides fuel for it, but is not in good enough physical shape to operate it. Thus, one of her neighbors actually operates the snowblower, using it to blow the snow out of both driveways (and often doing a large swath of the block’s entire sidewalk as well).

Gardening If two or three neighbors all have gardens, why not specialize the gardens and freely share the produce? This allows one family to focus specifically on a crop or two, making garden maintenance easier for all of the people involved. You can even carry this to the level of canning and/or freezing, agreeing to swap prepared garden products with neighbors.

There are other ideas in the post, though I’m not sure how readily I’d leave my baby with a neighbor or share cooking duties on a weekly basis. I would like to get to know my neighbors, however, as previous to this, I’ve been living in apartments for years and years. This was in the cheapest possible sections of Brooklyn, so there was a lot more wall banging and language barriers than friendly interaction. Now I’m curious to know how well you are acquainted with your neighbors.

Old Style Charm, Useful Today

For a little retro flair in the loo, you can’t beat this bright red enameled first aid kit tin.

first aid kit

It has form and function covered, with striking retro design and plenty of space in which to store your adhesive bandages and mustard plasters. Or your Valium and secret stash of medicinal M&Ms. All that will run you an easy £22.00 (Valium not included) at Cox & Cox.

Who’s the Man?

surge protector

This little fellow is Electroman, and he’s here to help you with that tangle of wires snaking underneath your desk. Each grounded socket is controlled by an on/off switch, with an indicator light placed right where Electroman’s heart should be. I say should be because as cute as this little guy is during the daytime, my irrational fear of anthropomorphic home appliances comes out at night. Will he stand and walk and ZAP us all? For $25, we can all find out… though I don’t think I’d ever realistically spend that much on a 4-outlet surge protector. You?

Pink Isn’t my Favorite Crayon, But I Can Dig It

I waver where pink is concerned. Whereas I know I’m definitely not into the whole bubblegum thing that I’ve posted about before, pink in smaller doses can pretty up an otherwise drab interior. On the other hand, it’s still so girly — case in point: I had a daughter, and suddenly my overwhelmingly gender neutral layette was immediately pinkified by friends and relatives.

Pink living room

The interior above — featuring fabric from Designers Guild — contains just enough pink to make a statement and, barring the fact that it’s just a tad too plushie for my tastes, I am definitely digging on the overall color scheme. There’s something a little retro about this living room, what with the thick furry couches and carpeting, but the jewel-like colors add excitement. Of course, you can achieve the same effect without ever introducing pink into your home’s color scheme with vivid and vivacious blues or greens or purples. Pink is just one place you might consider beginning your journey.

To help you start, here are six pink pieces that will add some va-va-voom to your office, kitchen, bedroom, or living room:

pink deskpink throw pink cat dish
pink butterfly chairpink tupperwarepink hamper

If you like what you see, click the pics for more info!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Never teh Bride!

Last year on this most romantic (or most un-romantic, depending on who you are) of days, I featured furniture for the broken-hearted. This Valentine’s day, I’m feeling a little more upbeat and a little more optimistic, perhaps due to the little one on the way, so I shall present you with a quintet of quirky gifts for the home from Kikkerland.

Kikkerland hearts

While it’s certainly no gaudy heart-shaped box of inferior chocolates, a tin of heart-shaped paperclips is a lot less fattening. Ditto for the heart hot water bottle cozy, which will at the very least keep some part of your anatomy warm. The cupid’s arrow scroll holder will either get you a kiss or a restraining order, depending on your message. You might also say it with heart-shaped magnets or perhaps even combs, though I’m not sure what exactly you’d be saying… Get organized! Brush your hair! I love you!

Romantic? Not quite. But if you’re dating someone and you’re still in “I like you a lot and don’t want to scare you off” territory, you could do worse.

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