Monday, October 26, 2009

"It's a Thneed!"

When I first discovered this ad I thought,
(1) It's a THNEED!
 (2) I want one!
(3) which color should I get?..
(4) could I really wear this?...
and so on

In Dr. Seuss' 1971 childrens' story, a Thneed is a mass-produced item (which is produced at the cost of the colorful Truffula Trees, forest and wildlife therein).   The Lorax begs the Once-ler to stop making Thneeds.
These things are cool!  They literally come in every color, and multiple fabrics and have more applications than an Hermes scarf (at least 12 are shown)!  You can get a cozy cardigan, a cozy silk/cashmere cardigan, and so on.  Prices start around $195 and go upwards of $245 (I even saw one on ebay for $80).


I have always been a fan of Dr. Seuss and, in particular, his story of The Lorax. I was fascinated by the idea of Thneeds (as described to the Lorax by the Once-ler), what they might actually be and how they might work. I also loved the characters, colorful images, and the story!

There are lots of accessories to go with your cozy -- of the same color -- such as tees, pants and even a cozy for your iphone!

And finally, thanks to DKNY, it seems to be available!  It's called a cozy (not the one on tv commercials for the blanket you wear at night on the sofa -- the one which also exists as a garment for your dog). 

In defense of DKNY: the company has recently created: Chairi.Tee, a Donna Karan design t-shirt whose proceeds support multiple charitable organizations including schools and the arts, homelessness and addiction, and most recently to

This is beginning to sound like an environmentalist lesson, of which I had no intention...

That said, it brings a little tear to my eye and a goosebump or two when I read,

Catch!" calls the Once-ler. 
He lets something fall. 
"It's a Truffula Seed. 
It's the last one of all! 
You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. 
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula.  Treat it with care.
Give it clean water.  And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest.  Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back."

(I'll let you know which color I get.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Palette by Etsy

Fall is my absolute favorite season! 
The range of colors is amazing.  I thought I'd celebrate it with some handmade goods for sale found on ETSY. If you aren't familiar with this site, I hope you'll take a peek after viewing these goodies!
Etsy is a place for thousands of small online vendors to sell their handmade goods.  The abundance of charm and creativity found on etsy is limitless (and well priced to boot!)  Many vendors are happy to customize items and also accept commissions...and not a moment too soon for your holiday shopping list! -Enjoy!

'natural linen tote bag with fall berries'
by raspberryfairy  $29.50
'autumn sunset handspun yarn' (114 yards)
by springtreeroad  $23
'pumpkin pie handmade shea butter soap'
'set of 4 screen-printed napkins in deep orange
with chocolate brown scroll print'
'mini frame pouch - floral ribbon on brown dots'
by oktak $23
'bird in flight wall sculpture, Oriole'
by pfleghaar $25
'autumn bouquet ring'
by carmenesque $18
'set of 2 orange geranium sachets;
filled with dried organic lavender'
'block print quail towel'
by artgoodies $15
'pin - nest, rust and moss'
'october dreams stretch bracelet set'
'orange fleece fingerless gloves'
by Xmittens $20
'felt baby shoes - candy corn' 
by frannyandjune  $24/pair
'bright orange and yellow shrub silhouettes (set 6 note cards)'
by annacote $12
'custom crocheted kitty beds'
'red sea sediment jasper healing heart necklace'
'toasted cactus escher gloves'
by knithappens $58

NOTE: Click on sellers' names to go to their etsy sites.  As some of these items may no longer be in stock, contact sellers about availability if you are interested.  As these are smaller vendors they are usually happy to work with customers on an individual basis, and will often times fill custom orders.

R E L A T E D        P O S T S 

Etsy   Halloween!

ETSY  FALL :  soft + cozy!

Nature's     Amazing     Palette

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Decorating from Nature

cloissonne bee, dragonfly and butterfly napkin rings by Dransfield and Ross

As a child I was always excited to attend The  Nature  Museum,
our local inner-neighborhood living zoo!  We loved discussing the dangers 
of the snapping turtle, the huge owl's ominous eyes and the live-insect acquariums! 
(Actually, my first job was working the register in the Nature Museum's Gift Shop!)


Currently I am reminded of these happy days via all of the natural images coming forth in the design world.  Images based in Zoology (including taxidermy), Entomology and even Herpetology are making their way into current decoration.  These pieces from John Derian (above) are my favorites!   He is especially known for his decoupage trays and paperweights featuring antique engravings.

 Nature always plays an integral part in design and decoration.  In recent years we've seen an overabundance of zebra rugs (I still love them!) and Petrified tree stumps as side tables. Before that, it was every available form and manifestation (I still like coral too) along with seashells.  More recently, birds have become an ever-present element in wallpaper, fabric, accessories and so on.

As an interior designer, I should probably be ashamed to admit that I do not own a copy of Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities (ABOVE and BELOW) from Taschen!  Hailed as "one of the 18th century's greatest natural history achievements and remains one of the most prized natural history books of all time," the book has been a wildly popular "coffee table must" in recent years and influential in design as well.

The book has been described by Taschen "[Seba's] amazing, unprecedented collection of animals, plants and insects from all around the world gained international fame during his lifetime. In 1731, after decades of collecting, Seba commissioned illustrations of each and every specimen and arranged the publication of a four-volume catalog detailing his entire collection-from strange and exotic plants to snakes, frogs, crocodiles, shellfish, corals, insects, butterflies and more, as well as fantastic beasts, such as a hydra and a dragon."

interior by Steven Gambrel, published by Elle Decor

I love this powder room by interior designer Steven Gambrel, who "papered the walls with reproductions of 18th century drawings of flora and fauna torn out of an art book." -Elle Decor June/July 2004  The green wainscotting and red lampshades especially set off the papered walls.

Images from The Houston Chronicle July 31, 2009

The Houston Chronicle recently published an article: "Papering Walls with Pages from the Past."  It describes Steven Gambrel's (2004) Powder Room as spurring on a growing trend, and includes the use of Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities from Taschen.

interior by fashion designer Daniella Helayel on

Every time I turn around these days, it seems I'm hearing about Deyrolle in Paris, France. I'll never forget my first trip there.  It was the strangest "shop" I'd ever seen. Every square foot contained taxidermied animals -- from zebras and lions to birds and snakes. The walls were covered in glass cases containing preserved butterflies and framed prints of every living plant or animal! (Established in 1831, Deyrolle suffered a terrible fire in 2008. Fans came out of the woodwork to raise and donate funds for its refurbishment and it is now back in business and busier than ever!)

One of the main spaces inside Deyrolle, Paris, France

A longtime fixture of Parisian life, Deyrolle has taken on more of an international stage nowdays.  I don't know if the increased interest is due to the fire of 2008, or to (as their site puts it) "those impassioned by nature, by collections of insects and seashells, taxidermied animals of all types, and instructional materials for teachers of the natural sciences."  The stuff of Deyrolle and The Nature Museum are seeing a rise in sales as their wares appear in greater quantities throughout the design world.

I love this master bedroom by interior designer Alessandra Branca, featured in House Beautiful's October 2009 issue.  Part of Branca's recent work in a Chicago townhouse, the Master Bedroom, (upholstered walls and window treatments in Fortuny's 'Lucrezia in Pearl Gray') includes two glass domes atop the marble mantelpiece, each containing a small spectacle of preserved butterflies.  Flashes of  royal teal and emerald green with a speck of yellow and yellow-green are at once lively and elegant.  The article states that Branca found them in Paris.

 World of Interiors Magazine, December 2006

Speaking of butterflies, note these above in Kate Spade's kitchen,
designed by Steven Sclaroff

And continuing on with taxidermy, note the squirrel (above) 
from the Steven Sclaroff home, featured in Domino Magazine.  
On Sclaroff's 1st Dibs' site, I discovered an audubon bird print, 
and anotomical charts of leaves,  birds,  tapeworms, and  hydra.

Manhattan apt of Jeffrey Bilhuber

If you don't want bug and butterfly collections on your wall, 
how about a stuffed (taxidermied) peacock?

photo:, story: VOGUE October 2009 issue

Above: La Marea restaurant, at Miami's Tides South Beach Hotel,
was designed by Kelly Wearstler with antique tortoise shells.

What an amazing collection and display!
I'd like to have a closer look...

BUT what is the basis for all of these buggy, slithering and skeletal images?  A recent New York Times article entitled "The New Antiquarians" suggests that current interest in taxidermy, anatomical charts, entomology, may relate to the late 19th century Decadent movement

Hollister Hovey's shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; photo: New York Times

Ryan Matthew recently opened  Against Nature, a shop in nyc’s lower east side, whose name is based on the 1884 novel of the same name by Joris-Karl Huysmans.  Huysmans described his novel to Emile Zola as "a wild and gloomy fantasy."  According to Wikipedia, Against Nature (À Rebours), the novel, “is mostly a catalogue of the tastes and inner life of Jean Des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive aesthete and antihero, who loathes 19th century bourgeois society and tries to retreat into an ideal artistic world of his own creation.”

Against Nature has been called "the original handbook of Decadence." 
The Decadents were an anti-bourgeois society who preferred an idealized world of their own creation.   This new design trend may be a reaction against the sleek modern lines of the last ten years or so.  Others suggest the movement is based on a search for (items of) authenticity.