New to Me: Himmeli-Style Hanging Planters Made from Brass

Design & Designers, Stunt Double

Mandi Gubler at Vintage Revivals shared a tutorial for making himmeli-style hanging planters:

Vintage Revivals Mandi Gubler Himmeli Hanging Planters

Mandi Gubler at Vintage Revivals.

Hers are made from brass tubing and leather thongs for durability. I like the updated materials! I’m not so sure about the modern shapes, though – I’m fond of this particular Finnish tradition, but I do realize turning a traditionally-shaped himmeli into a planter would be very difficult (see some examples in a past post of mine).

Visit Mandi’s blog for the video tutorial in stop-motion.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Updating Past Styles: Estonian Architect Allan Strus

Design & Designers, Stunt Double, Thumbs Up

Estonian architect Allan Strus uses historical styles as springboard in his building designs. Filled with modern features like triple-glazed windows plus high-quality insulation and soundproofing, his houses nevertheless charmingly nod towards earlier styles like Jugend and Neoclassicism. Other contemporary features in his buildings include French balconies, underground parking structures or roof terraces.

HS Allan Strus Tallinn Vesivärava 40

Vesivärava 40, Tallinn, Estonia. Design by Allan Strus, photo by Marko Mumm; via Helsingin Sanomat.


The design ethos is described at Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus website like this:

“We believe that built environment should enrich the environment surrounding us, harmonize with it, depart from local customs and traditions instead of shocking the observer. We also think that buildings should tell their users and watchers about their essence and birth as well as about their owners. We hold that buildings and entire built environment should be beautiful and elegant, not ostentatious and arrogant. We hold that harmony and beauty of buildings must be clearly understood also when we are gone, not only in the perspective of a short-time trend. We are convinced that buildings must be physically and visually solid and durable, that they must certainly last longer than for one human generation, because this is the only way to restate the consistency and transmission of man-made values from one preceding generation to the following. […]

“Therefore we depart from traditional and classical architecture and try to combine it with local customs, circumstances and specific requirements as well as with latest technology. We believe in consistency of traditions and vitality of classical values precisely because they are essentially not derived from trends but stem from technical, logical and aesthetic solutions-tectonics- formulated by centuries long experience of mankind and easily adjust to changing needs and demands of a specific period.“

Strus doesn’t only design apartment buildings, though. His private residences and vacation retreats follow the same design principles.

Allan Strus Pirita-Kose Tallinn Private Home

Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus.

As Jugend is one of my favorite building styles, I love Strus’s work a lot. The proportions of his buildings are more pleasing than those of later styles like modernism or functionalism. (Some of them ping my Jane Austen radar, too; or at least remind me of what I associate with Regency period building styles.) I wish his approach were already more widely known, for the work is so very beautiful, balanced and harmonious.

More at the Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus website or Facebook page. (I especially recommend FB for more amazing project photos!)

Found via Helsingin Sanomat (NB. Finnish only).

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Quotes: Today’s Young People Are Proud to Be Smart and Curious

Inspiration, Thumbs Up

“What’s remarkable is the way ‘nerd’ is such a badge of honor now. Growing up, I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who read Spider-Man comics and learned how to do the Vulcan salute, but it wasn’t like it is today. I get the sense that today’s young people are proud to be smart and curious, to design new things, and tackle big problems in unexpected ways. I think America’s a nerdier country than it was when I was a kid—and that’s a good thing!”

– President Barack Obama

Smart and curious people designing new things and tackling big problems is exactly what’s needed at the moment. Proud of my fellow geeks and nerds!

Ransom, Cliff. “President Barack Obama on How to Win the Future: Questions and Answers with Popular Science.” Popular Science

Online Finds: More Exoplanet Retro Travel Posters

Bits in Spaaace!, Design & Designers

Do you remember the exoplanet retro-style travel posters I blogged about last year? Now there’s more of them! NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a series of 14 posters:

“Nine artists, designers, and illustrators were involved in designing the 14 posters, which are the result of many brainstorming sessions with JPL scientists, engineers, and expert communicators. Each poster went through a number of concepts and revisions, and each was made better with feedback from the JPL experts.”

NASA-JPL Planet Poster Collage 2016

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech; collage by Eppu Jensen.

Aren’t they just fantastic? They’d make a great wall art, especially if hung in a large grouping. Many of them also remind me of book covers.

Access the collected posters at the JPL site. The posters are available free for download. Check out the JPL Image Use Policy for more details.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Movie Directors’ Styles as House Posters

Design & Designers, Geek out!

Architect / graphic designer Federico Babina makes fabulous posters, including melding architecture and a wide variety of subjects. For the series Archidirector, he encapsulated a number of famous movie directors’ styles as houses. They’re pretty awesome.

Federico Babina Archidirector Mashup

Federico Babina; collage by Eppu Jensen.

(Yay, Finland was mentioned!)

More on his website, shop or Twitter.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Discoveries: Rolling Pins with Laser-Cut Patterns

Design & Designers, Food & Drink

Wow, these embossing rolling pins are really, really neat:

Etsy ValekRollingPins Collage

ValekRollingPins on Etsy; collage by Eppu Jensen.

They are made and sold by Zuzia Kozerska at Valek Rolling Pins on Etsy. Kozerska uses a laser engraver to create the patterns. She offers a variety of patterns from historically inspired to folk to geometric. Some of the geekier motifs include ghosts, dinosaurs and robots. And this reindeer roller immediately reminded me of the House of Baratheon sigil in Game of Thrones:

Etsy ValekRollingPins Reindeer

ValekRollingPins on Etsy.

(I know the Baratheon stag sigil isn’t usually depicted head-on. I guess my brain is just making leaps today.)

The designs must take a good white to create, not to mention transfer to the laser engraver. Impressive job!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Discoveries: WoW Classes as Brands

Design & Designers, Games

Creative Director and artist Matt Stevenson shared his designs for World of Warcraft classes / specs imagined as real-world commercial brands. Wow! I’m seriously impressed not just by the top-notch designs, but by the imaginary products the brands have been applied to. Here are a few of the best, IMO:

Matt Stevenson WoW Brand Guardian Druid

Matt Stevenson / dcmjs on Imgur.


Matt Stevenson WoW Brand Subtlety Rogue

Matt Stevenson / dcmjs on Imgur.


Matt Stevenson WoW Brand Fury Warrior

Matt Stevenson WoW Brand Fury Warrior


Found via BlizzardWatch. Stevenson also designed a retro-feel set of minimalist WoW class posters (available for sale on Etsy). My favorite is the balance druid poster:

Etsy Matt Stevenson SBTRCTV Balance Druid

Matt Stevenson / SBTRCTV on Etsy.


Very nice work! Check out his business website at

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: Exoplanet Retro Travel Posters

Bits in Spaaace!, Design & Designers, Geek out!

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released retro style travel posters for three confirmed exoplanets: Kepler-186f, HD 40307g and Kepler-16b:

NASA-JPL Planet Poster Collage

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech; collage by Eppu Jensen.

So cool! They’ve also included little snippets of information on each planet in the poster write-ups. The images are available for download in high resolution from JPL’s website! (Make sure you check their Image Use Policy, too.)

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Creativity Is: Soundweaving

Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials

Soundweaving is an interdisciplinary, integrative and experimental art project by Zsanett Szirmay. She took traditional cross-stitching patterns used in Hungarian folk embroidery and transformed them into tape-like punch cards which in turn were played by a comb music player. (Follow the link to listen to samples.)

From the project Introduction:

“Soundweaving equally stimulates all senses, and calls for interaction. … It belongs to the analogue and digital realms at the same time as the handmade embroidery is translated into laser cut patterns. At the same time, the visual world is presented in audio, or rather the graphic aspect of music gets a role in developing the tunes.”


Zsanett Szirmay and Bálint Tárkány-Kovács. Photo by Sándor Fövényi; via Dezeen.

Zsanett Szirmay and Bálint Tárkány-Kovács. Photo by Sándor Fövényi; via Dezeen.

Szirmay was inspired by punch cards used in weaving machines to program patterns and in some musical instruments to produce music. She describes the roots of the project in an interview like this:

“I used to do folk dancing and wore traditional Hungarian embroidered clothes… Contemplating and taking it a step further, I was curious to find out what cross-stitched patterns might sound like.”

“The principles of [musical] composition are similar to textile design. Both areas use the prime form, inversion, retrograde and retrograde inversion… I played with these transformations in the creation of the punchcards with the help of musician and composer Bálint Tárkány-Kovács as co-producer.”

The punch card patterns themselves look like this:

Szirmay Punch Card Collage

Melodies 1, 2, 3 and 4 by Zsanett Szirmay and Bálint Tárkány-Kovács; collage by Eppu Jensen.

For exhibiting her project, Szirmay reproduced lace-like cross-stitch patterns on huge laser-cut sheets and surrounded the music boxes with these sheets and some original works of traditional embroidery.


Zsanett Szirmay and Bálint Tárkány-Kovács. Photo by Sándor Fövényi; via Dezeen.

(Additional reporting from Dezeen magazine and Colossal; both have multiple images of the project.)

I find the embroidery-to-music aspect of the project fascinating. Also, as a textile history nerd with some knowledge of traditional Finnish patterns and techniques, simply looking at traditional handcrafts in a completely new light interests me.

The hanging laser-cut sheets are the most impressive aspect of the project for me, though. The combination of traditional patterns with a modern production method works seamlessly, and reproducing several individual motifs on each sheet keeps the whole interesting. Despite the huge size, there is enough transparency to let some light through. In fact, you could model room dividers after them. Love it!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: Free Printable Gift Tags

Arts & Crafts, Bits in Spaaace!, DIY

I enjoy making my own gift tags, but we all have times when it’s just not possible because life. Fortunately, the Amazing Internets!! comes to the rescue. Here are a few cheerful, colorful holiday gift tags and other printables.

Free Printable Gift Tags

Clockwise from top right: rainbow party printables by Jaime at Everyday Art; Let It Snow gift boxes and tags by Emily Hingston; jumbo Christmas light garland by Bettijo at Paging Supermom; tags with a knit print by Amy Moss.

Thank you for your generosity, everyone!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.