Otters and Other Critters Take Over Tea Bag Designs

Design & Designers, Food & Drink

The Japanese tea company Ocean Tea Bag has taken tea bag design to a whole new level. Their models include intricate animal shapes from hammerheads, giant squids and cephalopods to turtles, kitties and red pandas. My favorite is this cute otter…

Ocean Tea Bag Otter in Cup

Ocean Tea Bag

…although the frogs are a close second:

Ocean Tea Bag Frogs

Ocean Tea Bag

But here’s the question: would you want to use up such gorgeous tea bags?

Found via Colossal.

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

New to Me: Constellations on a Jack-o’-Lantern

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Inspiration

Husband and I do Halloween in a very minimal way in our house: usually we only carve a pumpkin, light candles and get ready for trick-or-treaters. Despite not growing up with Halloween, I love seeing what creative decorations and tips other people have shared.

Earlier in the month I was going through some of my notes and found this photo of a gorgeous Jack-o-‘lantern carved with constellations:

Martha Stewart Magazine Oct 2017 p107

Martha Stewart Magazine, October 2017, p. 107

It’s from the October 2017 issue of Martha Stewart Magazine. Apparently they used a LED light string and pushed into each hole an individual light as a star. No wonder they’re so bright. Very nice!

Happy Halloween to those celebrating!

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

Faux Fireplace with Tablecloth “Tile” Surround

Fabrics & Materials, Inspiration, Stunt Double

I’m always on the lookout for unusual solutions to decorating problems. The fireplace below certainly applies: despite it’s traditional looks, the reality is very non-traditional.

DSponge Schroors Netherlands Fireplace Sm

It’s from the Drachten, Netherlands, home of Mindy and Theo Schroor. From their description (the mantel is “purely decorative”) it sounds like the fireplace is a faux one built around an electric stove. The tile surround is actually a tablecloth mounted to the wall.

I’ve seen clever faux fireplaces before. In this one, it’s the tablecloth surround that really makes the whole, however: the print displays copies of Dutch artists’ work and details from Delftware ceramics, repeated tile-style, as a lovely nod to the local history. The history nerd in me definitely appreciates the choice!

Found via design*sponge.

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

On the Visual Design of Birnin Zana, Wakanda’s Capitol

Design & Designers, Geek out!, Movies & TV

All the “best of 2018” movie lists I’ve seen remind of how much I loved Black Panther. So, I’m stealing an early start to the Martin Luther King Day weekend and reading about the design of Wakanda’s capitol city.

It’s called Birnin Zana and nicknamed the Golden City, although neither name appears in the movie. The Birnin Zana we see on the screen is the creation of the movie’s production designer, Hannah Beachler.

In a CityLab interview with Nicole Flatow, Beachler recounts her starting point:

“You know what’s keeping us together: the connectivity of people, not the connectivity of users. We’re not users; we’re people, but we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re users,” she said. “So I took all of that, and I just chucked it out of Wakanda, because the people were the most important thing about it, and we’re forgetting it. And I think that’s why people responded to Wakanda on this massive level: people.”

CityLab Marvel Studios Wakandan Street View

Marvel Studios; via CityLab.

The first impression of Birnin Zana is of course the skyscrapers, but if you look closely, there is water and ample greenery, too. The skyscrapers don’t seem to block the light too badly either.

Wired Marvel Studios City from Above

Marvel Studios; via Wired.

And if you really look, you can see greenery both in and on the buildings.

fxguide Marvel Studios Royal Landing Pad

Marvel Studios; via fxguide.

Vanity Fair Marvel Studios City Concept

Marvel Studios; via Vanity Fair.

Ahh! Nice.

Many of the building shapes hark back to traditional African aesthetics; also the surface detailing is rich and striking. In an interview with Collider, Beachler talks about the influences for her work:

“I started poking around and looking at really modern architects who have designed in Africa, all over Africa, east and west Africa. And someone who I really fell in love with was Zaha Hadid, who has passed away, but she is one of the foremost architects. So I started looking at her. Her architecture is very voluptuous and very flowing, very organic. So I thought this would be good. And the more I started digging into Senegal and Nigeria and finding things, while not necessarily futuristic-looking, very modern in their sensibilities as far as the way they’re putting together their elements and the colors that they use. I was struck by that. So I took a lot of that in. And a lot of it does come from Nigeria. I think in Kenya, Uganda, Johannesburg was another one, where no matter where you go, you really do see that they’re always keeping in mind the tradition.”

Los Angeles Times Marvel Studios City Concept Low-Built Area

Film Frame / Marvel Studios; via Los Angeles Times.

Collider Marvel Studios Wakanda City Concept

Marvel Studios; via Collider.

Beachler also created a 500-page “Wakanda Bible” for the actors to study, including the history of Golden City and names for all the buildings. The records hall held special meaning for her:

“Because [Wakanda residents] know everything about their past”—a privilege that real-world African Americans don’t have—“and [that] will never go away again in this city.

“I felt that way because I never knew my history. I didn’t know my ancestry, I didn’t know how far back it went …That was truly the most important thing to me. I don’t have that, but I could give it here in this fantastical world.”

I wish we got to see it, but I don’t think we do. (If you’ve spotted the records hall, let me know!)

Anyway; gorgeous through and through, isn’t it?

Now, I’m a city girl and have been almost my entire life. However, my concept of a city is different: all urban areas back home are typically so roomily built I’ve heard that if we were to follow some particular EU directive the whole country of Finland wouldn’t have a single city. (No idea whether that’s true, though.) Add my introversion to the difference in our respective urban population densities, and I suspect I would need a lot of alonetime were it possible for me to visit the Golden City.

Other than that, I LOVE everything we see: Color! Fantastic public transit (maglev trains, streetcars), but with people and their needs (and not cars) clearly at the focus. Traditional crafts and art that live very comfortably next to high-tech. Street vendors of almost every stripe – especially the food vendors make my mouth water every time I see them.

I do wish we could have a real-world Wakanda, for many reasons, the fabulous design being just one.

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

Online Finds: DIY Medicine Cabinet Hides Behind Wall Art

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Inspiration

What a gorgeous DIY medicine cabinet project! A photo frame functions as the door:

A Beautiful Mess Laura Gummerman Make-A-Hidden-Medicine-Cabinet

Laura Gummerman at A Beautiful Mess.

So clever! And, of course, it’s highly adaptable to any taste.

However trite it may sound, the ingenuity of people never ceases to amaze me. Now I kinda want to make a row of these in our front hall, bathroom, my workroom, etc. and store all sorts of little necessities right where they’re needed… 🙂

For the tutorial and more photos, visit Laura Gummerman at A Beautiful Mess.

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

New to Me: Made of Sundays

Design & Designers

Made of Sundays is a new-to-me design studio focusing on creative wall graphics – decals, posters and stickers – based in Helsinki, Finland.

I have to confess their style isn’t quite to my liking in general; I’ve never been big on polka dots, sprinkles, or triangle or dot patterns, for example. However, this door hug decal is incredibly cute!

Made of Sundays Door Hug Decal Bathroom

Made of Sundays.

 

Ok, I confess that I like the green-to-blue rain drops, too. 🙂

Made of Sundays Gradient Rain Drops Blue Green

Made of Sundays.

 

I guess I’m more of a fan of their style than I thought! 😀

Visit Made of Sundays for more!

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

Happy Halloween!

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY, Inspiration

I’m impressed – and cheered! – by the DIY rainbow pumpkins by Brittany W. Jepsen at The House that Lars Built:

House that Lars Built Rainbow-Pumpkin-Porch-0102

The House that Lars Built; photo by Jane Merritt.

Isn’t the array simply stunning?!

Happy (Rainbow) Halloween!

P.S. An honorable mention goes to Brittany DeMauro at Costume Supercenter for sharing Avengers pumpkin-carving stencils. Avengers assemble!

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

New to Me: Red Quilt Wallcovering

Colors, Room of Awesome

This photo in the June 2017 edition of Country Living magazine caught my eye:

Country Living June 2017 p27 Quilted Wallcovering

Country Living magazine June 2017, p. 27.

“Quilted wallcovering. Create a warm welcome with this unique spin on an accent wall.”

It seems to be from a bathroom or a half bath with a red wooden dresser repurposed as a vanity, plus a red and dark brown wood-frame mirror set against a coordinating red, black and white quilt. By all appearances, the quilt is permanently attached to the wall.

Wow, what a wonderful look. The mirror on top of the pieced multicolor quilt is too busy for my taste, but I really like how striking the wall is and how well the space is pulled together.

A comparable look would be relatively easy to achieve with paint and a stencil, if you don’t want to use a quilt or are worried about the longevity of textiles as a wallcovering.

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

Colorful, Geometric Paper Jewellery

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, DIY

This amazing geometric paper jewellery pings the same receptors in my brain as the geometric quilting patterns I found earlier.

The House That Lars Built Paper Earrings Necklace

The House That Lars Built; photo by Jane Merritt.

They come from a set (tiara, earrings and necklace) inspired by the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry of Britain.

How inventive – kudos! Visit The House That Lars Built for the tutorial.

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