Day With a Camera: Revamping your Space

So it’s been a few months since we moved into our big, white-walled apartment on a lake. I loved it as soon as I saw it.. I’m just contemplating what to paint the walls with the high ceilings (we’re going to need a ladder). One can still however design with color no matter how plain your walls are. I went out on an inspiration run yesterday, hoping to get odds and ends I need for decorating.

I still cannot figure out how I want to store/arrange my DVDs in an attractive way… there are way too many to stack them (I’m talking wobbly tower of doom). Possibly time for another huge entertainment center from IKEA? How do you organize your DVDs and records attractively?

???? Strolling through a kitschy field of flowers~
A bouquet of feathers for the mantel~ My headboard of lights~
How does one arrange DVDs attractively? A bouquet of feathers is just what I needed~

French Magazine Clippings: MiLK Home Decor

You’ll be noticing some changes around here.. mostly just cleaning things up and preparing for more change.. there are so many things I’ve wanted to get done but have continually put off!

Don’t throw tomatoes yet! .. remember, I’m a new mother!

I’ve decided that when you’ve figured out how to work with a baby on your lap you must be really driven. Ha!

So here I am preparing a move, trying to work and giving Colette every free moment and busy moment I have. I want to build her a world of dreams and wonderment — color and whimsy. I cannot WAIT to move and finally unpack. I’m starting to forget what my real office even looks like anymore..!

So in the middle of all of this I’ve been feeling the insatiable need to travel again.. and so I’m planning a couple of trips to cities in the USA but I’m having urges for more international travel. I miss my friends and family in Japan and I would love to go on a shopping spree for our new place. A trip back to Paris wouldn’t be so bad either, have you seen MiLK Decor in France? I’ve been EATING home decor magazines lately.

Do you want more??

MILKs
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Rice, the Colorful Home Decor Company

I recently had the delight of viewing rice of Denmark’s summer catalogues. The color and decor is very Jeu de Paumes and left my eyes swelling with sugar and sparkle. Eye candy and color for kids rooms, outside and of course, the home!

I can’t get enough, can you? I’m ready to have tea in the garden with all of these goodies tomorrow.

rice

“Rice is a basic survival product for many people in this world, and especially in the Third World.”
~ Rice

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Inspired by Lovely Lovely UK

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I *love* Lovely Lovely — you may even recognize seeing some of their goods in my apartment feature — I had to have quite a few of their pop art cute, neon sugar clad brand. Years later, they’re still my favorite plates.

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If your taste is anything like mine, the retro revival food (check out the rosy gelatin mould!) and cake-inspired palettes are enough to make your eyes gleam with eye candy overload.

Cleaning out the Closet

I figured I should write about something I’m currently tackling and how I dealt with it. I’m not just organizing my closet either, I’ve got everything (except my clothes) organized into boxes and in storage ready to move.. this ‘transitional stage’ is quite tough on a ‘nesting’ pregnant woman, but I found that I can feel confident simply by knowing I’ve went through and discarded/donated/saved anything I’ve ever had. I have a lot of junk. When I say junk I mean cute toys and nonsense from Japan, ridiculous amounts of assorted craft tools and art supplies, geeky technological computers and games (mine and my husbands combined), my husbands music equipment, my extensive Blythe doll collection (which includes a Blythe-size-inhabitable dollhouse)… wah!

array of clothing

I used to listen to others with absolute sympathy and little understanding as they complained about having to get rid of all of their Blythe doll boxes and anything they aren’t really attached to, having to slim down their collections, clothes and more.. I just guess being from the Midwest I assumed I’d always have a lot of space at my disposal.

Space is over-rated, having things is over-rated. First thing any psychologist will try to explain to a hoarder is that memories are not items. You can get rid of everything you have except your basic needs and you would still have your memories. Take photos of a cherished item. Store it in an album. There are many ways to reminisce without filling your house with everything you’ve ever loved. It’s easy (for me) to do.. but it’s not good, being attached to any item is dangerous.. Instead use that attachment on people and new memories, a 60s tumbler from your grandmother might be irreplaceable to you, but remember not to confuse the attachment you feel towards your grandma with the item.

It’s hard for me to get rid of anything I had in Japan, I feel if I lose it I’ll forget.. I just love visiting my room at my parent’s house and holding random items from my time there, it’s like the room is actually frozen in time and I’m still that same girl in school when I visit.

Before I move out of state I have to decide what I really do and do not need of course and start living a simple life, stop trying to save everything. After living in cute, tiny city lofts I quickly realized STUFF is exactly what I do not want. I did not want to carry boxes and boxes of junk down that tiny, spiral staircase and into the basement-looking living room. I quickly realized being on my own that stuff was useless — and yes my dolls were still with me all the way.

I do hope to someday have a home with more space, but I’m not ready to settle down yet. I’ve still got a lot of career-obsession driving my life.

Tips ala Real Simple

I found a lot of organizing tips in Real Simple Magazine, these were the ones I found most helpful.

If you are on the fence about an item, “flag” the hanger. As you wear each item, remove the flag. At the end of each season, items that are still marked with a flag should be donated. If the item is in good condition and/or if you paid a lot for it, think about selling it at a local consignment store or online at a site such as eBay.

Use every square inch of your closet. Hang shoe racks on the back of your closet door. Classic belt hangers with multiple hooks are also a good solution for hanging camisoles, bras, or scarves. Always remove sweaters from hangers and fold them. Hangers will ruin the shape of sweaters over time.

It’s possible that no matter how much you try to edit and organize, you just have too much stuff to fit in your closet. If that’s the case, then you need to resort to a seasonal system by rotating your fall/winter clothes with your spring/summer clothes. Out-of-season clothes and kept in your attic or basement or under your bed in storage boxes.

My Little Nest in Chicago

Let us take a trip
to a vintage land called Chi,
where the streets can tell you stories
and the buildings brush the sky.

chitownapartment012Nestled near the center,
in a place called Lincoln Park,
you’ll find a little haven
where the 20’s left her mark.

As you journey through the courtyard,
please step lightly and with care,
for it’s in this entry garden
you’ll find bunnies with brown hair.

Once inside the building,
behind a door with printed V,
you’ll find a little nook,
home to M and feline Zooey.

The chairs are bathed in velvet
[they’re the best for kitty’s naps];
the hardwood floors are shiny,
one can hardly spot the cracks.

The walls are filled with pictures,
an homage to icons past:
Edie, Audrey, Norma,
with their style unsurpassed.

This space is filled with history,
years are painted in the walls;
braided wire o’er the doorway
was once used to import calls.

The gas stove, it cooks with fire
[such a cozy, retro feel],
tempting single Misses
to don aprons for a meal.

Though not much from door to window,
rays of sunlight kiss the walls;
and there’s one grand walk-in closet
just in case things feel too small.

Wonder fills this palace
[or so it feels to those within],
there’s nothing more like heaven
than to feel your life begin.

Mew for Today: Where in the World?

It’s been quite a terrible week! What better reason than that to go shopping in Japan? Another department store no less, this one, tailored for us online shoppers! It’s a big stop for Japanese and Americans alike~

I’m a little speechless today because all I want to discuss is the features coming up soon and I’m trying to wait.. 😉 You’re probably not as silly as I am, but if you love toys, cuties, and more you’ll be happy!

Speaking of toys, cuties and more… let’s get a load of the goodies I found while searching high and low in the wonderland of Japanese whimsy splashed product. I’m certainly feeling the urge to go back to my heartland soon… Where do you feel you belong in the world? I’ve been questioning this a lot recently as we’ve been prepared to move for quite awhile and yet we find ourselves unable to make a move.. or should I say ME. Until very soon.

So to relieve my worries I’ve always found happiness in being surrounded in cute, lovely, well-designed items.. I’d love to hear your ways of coping with stress and anxiety as well! Feel free to leave them below — much appreciated~

Did I mention How Magazine added us as one of the Top 10 Sites for Designers this month? It’s funny because I *love* that magazine, always looking hot on the shelves begging me to dive into jumpstartworkmode.

Minimalism vs Hoarding and Decadent Interior

If I could just… if this was.. it still doesn’t *feel* right!

I’m often finding myself stuck when designing new layouts for Miseducated — it started so collage heavy as I was using tons and tons of popular icons.. then I started seeing the collage thing EVERYWHERE and it was feeling cluttered so I obviously cut it down… :p I always feel that deconstructing and ridding of any excess is a positive thing.

Now why is this?

My room was very cluttered as a child and I hoped for a day when I would have my own modern, minimalist house.

As you can see my minimalism kind of lost the battle with whimsical nonsense and fantasy candylands. Obviously I find my *greatest* satisfaction in cuteness, well-designed, minimal yet colorful homes (Jeu de Paumes went RIGHT UP my alley, didn’t they yours? ^_~).

.. but is deleting and deconstructing making it better really? Is it just my fucked up sense of things?

I *know* hoarding isn’t healthy, it’s very hard to overcome like any addiction… so does that mean that minimalism is the goal? We simply *must* know! I’m very familiar with hoarding regarding my own life and have studied it extensively in my obsession with psychology and helping myself and those around me.

(… and while we’re at it, why do you *insist* on using asterisks *everywhere*?!

Because I often despise italics, use bold for other things and have a strange need to use the only flower on my keyboard over and over and over! As well as inserting random thoughts that have no relevance to the subject at hand –if anything this NEGATES minimalism–because of course, I am a crazy rambler. With all positives come negatives. ^_~)

Hoarding

Hoarding is the excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them.
Hoarding, also called compulsive hoarding and compulsive hoarding syndrome, can be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
People who hoard often don’t see it as a problem, making treatment challenging.
Mayo Clinic

Minimalism

A twentieth century art movement and style stressing the idea of reducing a work of art to the minimum number of colors, values, shapes, lines and textures. – ArtLex

Funny thing is.. minimalism is many times regarded as ‘rejective art’ and I think of it as ‘perfective’ art — it’s a very tough thing to master correctly — it can be done both very right and very wrong.

A minimal lifestyle… now that’s exactly what I admire. When applying the rules of minimalism to your life and home it helps a lot if you’re moving (I was) or organizing absolutely everything — it’s good to do yearly (*spring*cleaning)!

1. Evaluate your possessions that sit on shelves.
2. Find a place for everything.
3. Enjoy what you have.
Christian PF

Zakka

Another design movement, but in Japan. Generally means improving your environment and seeing beauty in the mundane.

When I see zakka it reminds me almost of a minimalist cuteness and innocence, it is completed with the sweet kitschy illustrations and/or designs that are *just enough* to add color and sweetness into the room. It’s very natural and inspired by country lifestyle.

Which lifestyle do you lean towards? 😉

Gallery

Merci: Landscape Online, Momoy, Christopher Coleman, Elidur, Homepic, SoSuperSam, BKK Home, Zakka Candy

Create Your Own Incense, Spread the Love

Incense, you either love it or you hate it. That’s what I’ve found in being a lifelong pusher of it!

“Hey, you don’t mind if I burn incense do you?”

Often met with a casual eye-roll or possibly a sure and then, can I put this out? It seems a person either appreciates the presence of it in their home or they despise it because of the sheer invasiveness of the smokey scent. Many times powerfully strong, incense can leave your environment highly fragrant in a matter of minutes.

The process of making herbal incense without the use of salt peter, or even charcoal is actually quite easy. However, perfecting the art is another matter. Perhaps the easiest way is by using a binder commonly called Makko. Makko not only serves as a water soluble binder, but as a burning agent as well. Makko is a natural tree bark from an evergreen tree and contains no synthetic chemicals, charcoal, or salt peter.

Incense began use as an instrument in spiritual practices. With the killer scent it packed in such a small size, it also became a hit with hippies and homeowners everywhere. If you can appreciate the presence of lemony-sweet sodapop in your home, or more commonly a woody-spicy fragrance, you’re definitely a contender for incense!

Now, you can buy incense for pretty cheap just about anywhere that sells fragrant candles. If you can’t find it in your area you’re in luck because there’s an even bigger selection online! Be sure to gaze at the carnival of delicious, handmade incense scents on etsy and imagine the sheer wonder of your home or studio being transported to a fragrant fantasy land!

… but if you wanted absolute control over the fragrance you could make your own as well.

DIY Incense

Now, it sounds very easy to create your own incense but the trick is mixing the ingredients correctly so that you get a nice, even burn. Your incense might be too smokey, might not burn properly and could keep going out prematurely.

To begin making your incense (this is the Japanese way), mix an incense base with makko (incense powder), and add some warm water. When using a resin your incense will become more difficult to burn. Therefor you should use resins, like Frankensense, at much lower percentages as the burning agents (makko and sandalwood).

“Sandalwood is common to almost every incense formula, and serves as a wonderful base aroma as well as a burning agent of its own right. If you were making an incense of sandalwood alone, the amount of makko required may be a little as 10%.” , Baiedo Japanese Incense.

Mix the ingredients into a dough-consistency and knead it thoroughly. Form into cones or sticks (form sticks around bamboo reeds) and Knead the incense-dough thoroughly and form into cones or sticks. Allow them to dry slowly, about a week. Check them to see if they’re dry and enjoy your new incense.

In-SCENTS

My favorite part about candles and incense is the *aroma*, like most people I adore a waft of delicious fragrance to pass by me while working at my desk. It’s a shame you can’t have them in cubicles! It definitely would have lightened the atmosphere in the slightest way. Especially when there happens to be a microwave area in your office.

Don’t use cheap oils — they can irritate the skin and the aroma can provide no benefit.

You can combine oils to create aromatherapy benefits *or* just to delight your home. Find every scent you’re looking for here.

Incen-spiration

Ehehe.. my favorite part of blogging has always been the eye candy.

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(By Ilkka Suppanen)

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After seeing this incense design exhibit I *had* to find rainbow incense and well-designed incense packages~

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Japanese incense comes in many shapes in sizes, sometimes with especially cute scents and packing like these Cafe Time incense sticks.

Incense Holders

Now that you have some great incense to try you might want to purchase a cute handmade holder *or* make your own.

Bowl / Teacup Nab a cute bowl or teacup from the local antique shop or use your grandmother’s you’ve been saving in the attic. Fill it with sand, stick your incense in the bowl — add some to the middle or add in a circle around the center. Light and enjoy!

Holder These leave the most ashes but hopefully you’ll have this in an area where ashes can be easily cleaned up! Create a clay sculpture, be it a cupcake, mushroom or anything you like. Grab an incense and stick it into the (still wet) clay where you’d like your incense to be.. Move the incense around a bit to make the hole a little wider. Remove the incense and bake your holder (or let dry if it is no-bake clay).

Tray The typical wooden (or clay) tray is usually longer than the length of the incense stick, has a little ash dip in the middle and a hole on one of the ends for holding the incense. These generally leave ashes scattered also.