Sunday, May 25, 2014

Yard Pottery

sunshine, pottery, and a chain-link fence // neighborhood garden shots

This empty pot sits on the outer edge of my neighbor's garden. The chain-link shadows fall on it beautifully.

20 Inch Leaf Bowl

// $74.95 //

Teal and Blue Pottery Bowl made in UK, Useful in the Home or for Outdoor Eating, House warming Gift

// $20.73 //

Handmade Pottery Jar / Vase

// $35 //

Pottery Indoor or Outdoor Planter in Rich Creamy Blue. Pottery Planter with Attached Base. Violet Flower Pot. Pottery Indoor or Outdoor Planter in Rich Creamy Blue. Pottery Planter with Attached Base. Violet Flower Pot.

// $13 //

Friday, May 23, 2014

Inch By Inch

outdoor fire pit, new flowers for the garden sitting on a bench

From left to right: the outdoor fire pit, a weathered patio bench, and new plants that my parents picked up this morning from East Bay Nursery. My whole street is going garden-crazy, and I love it! The developments in my own front yard are particularly delightful, since I see them through the window while I'm working. I don't have a green thumb myself, but recently I ate fresh strawberries straight out of our raised beds, and immediately felt an influx of gratitude for my family.

At our old house, the one where I spent a decade of childhood, we had a glorious tiered garden. I remember pansies, rosemary, red hot pokers, and plenty of places for fairies to hide. When my parents bought our current property, it was an atrocious mess, so it's taken a while for gardening to become a home-improvement priority. But now that other pressing concerns have been dealt with, my mom and dad have become wild about baby trees and lettuce heads.

I've been watching this green progress from the sidelines (read: the couch), but maybe I should step in with a trowel and a handful of seeds. There is evidence to suggest that gardening is a happy-making hobby. Some of it is just common sense, but there's also surprising science. Naomi Sachs explains, "All sorts of reasons have been posited: [gardening is] a meditative practice; it's gentle exercise; it's fun; it allows us to be nurturing and to connect with life on a fundamental level." She goes on to describe recent research which indicates that a bacterium in the soil may elevate mood levels and reduce anxiety in those who interact with it.

On the other hand, a different study asserts that urban gardeners are worryingly unaware of potential soil contaminants and how to limit exposure to them. So... ingesting dirt might act as an antidepressant, but that's only if it doesn't ruin your liver first! Alright, I'm being dramatic. I have no doubt that people underestimate the toxicity of city soil, but I think it's worth a little heavy metal to have fresh, homegrown strawberries.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Coloring Book Architecture

Rainbow House illustration by William Rihel, exhibition at Powell's Books in Portland

Illustration by William Rihel for his exhibition at Powell's Books in Portland. Along with the show, he compiled a coloring book, available with either a yellow cover or a blue one. The artist described his featured works as "inspired by space, mostly industrial space, exteriors of industrial space to be precise. Places where things are manufactured have always been interesting to me. They are space that is created for a function." So, okay, this isn't strictly home-related, but I'll take what I can get. When I was there in person, I took a couple of appalling iPod snapshots:

pink building #illustration by William Rihel for an installation in Powell's bookstore Coloring Book by William Rihel #art

Friday, May 9, 2014

Stuffy Old Glamor

The Grand Bedchamber, Chateau Champs-sur-Marne in France. Photo by Amber Maitrejean.

One of the luxurious rooms in Ch√Ęteau de Champs-sur-Marne, photographed by Amber Maitrejean. According to Paris Museum Pass, this early-1700s building represents "the archetypal leisure mansion", marked by visits from "famous guests, including Diderot, d'Alembert and even Voltaire." Apparently Marcel Proust also graced the already-graceful residence by residing there.

For a while I had a skinny copy of Voltaire's Candide that I picked up at a library bag sale, but I never did read it. Yeah, I'm an egregious philistine. Most of "the classics" bore me. I've watched at least four screen adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, but I always get bogged down in the first chapter of the book.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Yellow Chairs

Two Yellow Chairs by Ana Frois #illustration #art #home

Two Yellow Chairs by Ana Frois: encountered on Facebook and for sale on Society6. Would you like a yellow chair of your own? I've got ya covered:

// $35 //

// $706.28 //

Previous post with a similar color palette: "Overcast Sunshine".

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Guesthood & Dominion

girl sleeping on couch holding a mirror

I haven't been literally sleeping on a couch, but figuratively I don't quite fit into my accomodations.

Being a guest at someone else's house involves a certain amount of frustrated impulses. I can wash the dishes, but I don't know where to put them afterward. The shower will give me a scalding trickle or a freezing blast, not the sweet Goldilocks level in between.

As I've mentioned, homefeel requires a sense of sameness. In addition to that incorporeal feeling of continuity, homefeel needs confident familiarity. Actually, familiarity is a prerequisite to sameness: how can you know whether something's changed if you're not acquainted with its former state?

The familiarity can't be a shallow kind. After all, you could say that I'm familiar with the place where I'm staying now. I've known my hosts longer than I can remember, since I was toddling around the preschool playground, and I've slept in this specific house countless times (albeit in various rooms). This is definitely a place that I know. But I don't know it enough for it to feel like home.

I can't fully relax here. Maybe that's partially the guest mentality: I don't want to be burdensome or annoying. I can't arrange things just how I like them, because then my presence would be disruptive. I can't decide which drawer ought to hold the silverware.

What's funny is that I might feel more able to flop around and assert my character in a hotel room. Although that's a rented domain, it is MY kingdom for a night. I don't mean that I'd drag the furniture around, switching the desk and the bed, or trash the bland wall-hanging. A hotel is too temporary for me to care enough. Rather than an active impulse, occupying a hotel room confers a tacit feeling of ownership, of personal power.

Anyway, that's enough musing. Here's the perspective of the host rather than the guest...

Sleeping on the couch

pink heart GO AWAY patch on denim