It's a Hard Life

Following the latest blow to the shelter magazine industry, my dream job in design journalism might just have to wait a little while longer. I suspect that as the industry itself adapts and changes with the times, so too will my dream. In the meantime however, I think my dream still looks a little something like this Parisian apartment.

Owned by Australian fashion designer Martin Grant, this former maid's quarters is now a drool-worthy loft.

The restricted colour palette is broken up by the warm browns of the exposed timber beams and floorboards, not to mention an enviable collection of mid-century Scandinavian furniture.

Splashes of colour connect the apartment, however subtly, to the overgrown terrace that overlooks the rooftops of Le Marais.

From acid green curtains to a yellow beaded necklace hanging off a timber column, Grant's apartment is both subdued and surprising, much like his designs.

Renowned for his elegant and timeless designs, Grant has been known to slip some delightfully bright designs into an otherwise demure collection.

His latest offerings in his Spring 2009 RTW collection is no different, with a largely black, navy and cream collection infused with acid greens and oranges, electric blue and bright teal.

So if something bizarre happens and I find myself no longer wanting to live in a glamourous, understated Parisian apartment, I can at least buy a dress that was designed in one.

Happy weekend lovelies! What do you have planned?

Oh, if anyone has any tips on how to get to sleep at a reasonable hour, send them my way pretty please? Ever since staying up til 4am to see a certain Inauguration speech, my body clock has been on holiday! Ta!

[Images via Vogue Living Australia + Martin Grant Paris]

To Build a Home

I think I may have found the most beautiful song in the world. And when I say found, I really mean I saw it on Grey's Anatomy, and then in this ad...

I was so enamoured the first time I saw this ad, then so disappointed when it was for Schweppes. Actually, the first few times I saw the ad, I kept expecting it would suddenly be for something better by the end, so I had a little Groundhog Day disappointment over and over when it wasn't. I still don't really see the connection, but I can't help but love the ad (it has balloons in it, I can't resist!) It actually makes me a little teary every time I see's a soda ad for heavens sakes!

The song is by no means new of course, it's from a 2007 album by The Cinematic Orchestra. The song itself is called To Build a Home, and features a very talented Canadian lad Patrick Watson.

I then made the mistake of looking up the lyrics whilst I watched/listened to this live performance. And then I got all teary again. And goosebumps. So I just have to share the beautiful lyrics with you, along with the equally beautiful images I thought of as I listened to this gorgeous song. I suggest hitting play on the video above, then scrolling down slowly to follow along with the song. But make sure you're wearing waterproof mascara.

There is a house built out of stone

Wooden floors, walls and window sills...

Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust...

This is a place where I don't feel alone

This is a place where I feel at home...

And I built a home
For you
For me

Until it disappeared
From me
From you

And now, it's time to leave and turn to dust...

Out in the garden where we planted the seeds

There is a tree as old as me

Branches were sewn by the color of green

Ground had arose and passed it's knees

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top

I climbed the tree to see the world

When the gusts came around to blow me down

I held on as tightly as you held onto me

I held on as tightly as you held onto me

And I built a home
For you
For me

Until it disappeared
From me
From you

And now, it's time to leave and turn to dust........

Dagnammit, where are my tissues? If the song wasn't so beautifully depressing, it would be so lovely for a wedding. Especially if it was a wedding with water bombs that sailed across the air in extreme slow motion. And especially if it was Meredith and Derek's wedding, if that ever happens. If you didn't read my initial comments or watch the first video, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about. But that's ok, neither do I.

Anyhoo, thank you to the lovely Ineke for letting me share her beautiful photos with you all. She photographs abandoned castles, mansions, farm houses, asylums and hospitals, and as someone commented on her Flickr page, she is able to write poems without words. I'm inclined to agree.

Jump into Some Wednesday Wisdom

Don't be afraid to take a big step
if one is indicated.
You can't cross a chasm
in two small jumps.

- David Lloyd George (1863 - 1945)

[Image via WeHeartIt]

On Your Bike!

I decided to go for a nice little bicycle ride this afternoon, despite the overcast weather and threatening rain. It just seemed like a good idea. I had some errands to run that would take way too long on foot, and as you may know, I'm completely useless and still don't know how to drive despite my advancing years. So cycling was the answer. Until I caught a glimpse of myself...on my bicycle...wearing my ridiculous helmet. Oh how I wished I looked like these people...

So effortless and casual and happy. I totally need to get a cute little basket for my bicycle. Here's some more cycling chic-ness.

Do their hats look a little chunky? No? That's what I thought too, which was why I was completely blown away to find out that they're actually helmets! Fiiiinnnnaaalllly, someone has designed some safety gear that's actually sexy. They're by Danish brand Yakkay and here's how they work...

Ingenious! But pretty straightforward, I'm sure you didn't need an explanation but I can't resist a good flowchart! Unfortunately they're only available to the already fashionable kids in Europe, but with a few strategic bribes, I will have one in my hot little hands in no time.

So...anyone going to Europe soon? Any European readers who feel like making a little trip to their local bicycle store for me? Come on, you know you want to! Just in case, here is my wishlist...

[Left to Right, Top to Bottom - Paris model in Harringbone and Army Velvet,
Tokyo model in Pale Denim and Stripes B/W Denim ]

And although I don't have a hope in Hades of looking good in this, I love it anyway.

[Tokyo model in Pink Jazz fabric]

Pink isn't usually my colour at the best of times, but this is just plain cute. It even has a bow! How many helmets do you know that have bows? That's right, NONE! I can't wait to say goodbye to my ultra sporty looking helmet.

Arigato to Joanna at A Cup of Jo for sharing this wonderful find! She also has a great guide to the New York City Bicyclist, which one are you? I wish I looked like Vintage-Bike Fashion Gal, but I think I need a new that includes the words ridiculous, heinous and whack. And possibly a reference to the fact that most "real" cyclists don't even consider my chosen mode of transport to be a "real" bicycle. I'll show them! Me and my hot new helmet!

It's the Little Things...

January is well and truly whizzing past and Valentines Day is fast approaching. It's been a big year already, but the global economic drama seems to be sticking around. Fortunately for us lovebugs, we know that it's the little things that count, and Valentines Day is no different.

And what better time to get into real estate? We all want the world for our loved ones, so why not start one tiny city at a time?

Ok so it's not strictly a Valentines Day present, but I just had to share it with you (and it fits my Little Things theme.) HOW CUTE IS IT?! Take a closer look...


Awwwww yeahhhhh, check it out, your latest foray into the world of property development! Get your hands on your own Shelf City with a little help from awesome little Etsy store, Weeds and Wild Things. Seriously cute.

Next up is this decidedly more V-Day print care of the lovely Jennifer Ramos of Made By Girl fame. She's also behind the gorgeous range of incredibly popular Love Candy screen prints, but as someone who loves tea, blogs, and of course you *flutters eyelashes*, this one is my new favourite.

Speaking of tea, Ez over at Creature Comforts has given us all an early V-Day present! She's bringing sexy back to teabags, with adorable (and free) tea bag bling, complete with a fantastic step-by-step tutorial. Thank you Ez!

I also adore these limited edition Lovebird cards by Naomi Murrell, yet another great little Etsy find. They come in a set of four so you can keep the love all year round (or share the love around, we won't judge!) But this year, I'm sending Mr. Unreliable a little letter...

A REALLY little letter from the World's Smallest Postal Service. Tiny. Tinier than tiny. Miniscule in fact. Check these out.

These letters are SO tiny, they need a magnifying glass to read them.

They even have a tiny little stamp and a tiny little wax seal.

Lea Redmond is the lady behind the letters who only recently discovered that she had an uncanny talent to write with really, really small lettering. She travels around California with her adorably tiny desk, and now shares this wonderful service with the world thanks to our beloved internets! Get your order in soon though, she's already swamped with Valentines Day orders!

And last but not least, for the partnered and non-partnered alike, this is a time of year when animal shelters receive a disturbingly high number of pets, so if you've got a little extra love to give, head to your local shelter and share it with a cute kitten or an adorable dogsie! Aussie readers can head straight to RSPCA's Adopt A Pet site and find their new love online...ooh la la! Just make sure you narrow down your search to your area, otherwise you'll fall in love with a gorgeous little guy on the other side of the I did. Meet Lior, my new online love.

I'm not even a cat person, but any kitten that can look so thoroughly unimpressed yet so adorable definitely wins my heart.

Anyhoo, happy Australia Day to all my countrymen, and happy Monday to all!

I'm Melting!

I know some of my esteemed Northern Hemisphere blog-loves aren't particularly sold on Pantone's pick for 2009 Colour of the Year, but for us Southern Hemisphere kids that are currently sweltering through record-breaking heat (Sydney just experienced its hottest night in 12 years!), I think it's pretty fitting. According to Pantone, this particular shade of yellow embodies "hopefulness and reassurance in a climate of change". I first read that last bit as 'climate change', and I think that works too.

I've always loved yellow, even though I can't get away with wearing most shades thanks to my pasty skin and blonde hair, but I still just can't seem to get enough of it, even when it's everywhere! But I particularly love yellow today. Why? Because I've just spent the largest part of my day running all around town in the 40°C (104°F) heat, trying to find a fan. I found nothing. Not one. Not ONE single fan. So I'm going to the beach. But before I do, I'm going to imagine I'll look like this.

[Image via Carter Smith via coco+kelly]

And suddenly, everything is that little bit better.

I love you, Mimosa.

The Train of Thought Chugs Along

So I know I kind of bad-mouthed tensile structures, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised how many beautiful examples there are! It's not all daggy shade sails and tatty vinyl. So I thought I'd share a few of my very favourite examples by none other than Anish Kapoor (and a few of his non-tensile examples too.) I actually bought an amazing book about Mr. Kapoor last year on a little trip to Brisbane, and I popped it on the shelf for a bit of holiday perusal...and then of course I completely forgot all about it until I was pondering some sexy lighting a few days ago.

I don't have anything particularly intelligent to say about any of these pieces, mainly because I've yet to actually read the book and find out the theories behind the beautiful sculptures. So for now, it's all about the eye candy.

[Melancholia, 2004 - image courtesy of ICA Boston]

And of course the fact that such a simple looking sculpture actually took a team of engineers to figure out all the finer details. Who knew turning a square into a circle could be so complicated?

[Marsyas, 2002 - image courtesy of ICA Boston]

Marsyas, however, looks as complicated as it is. This beast of a sculpture took over the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern back in 2002, and I'm still distraught that I didn't manage to see it in person (I was 2 weeks to late! Arrrrrg)

[Marsyas, 2002 - image courtesy of Tate Modern]

The scale of the work within the confines of the Turbine Hall actually makes it impossible to view the entire sculpture from any one point. This was quite deliberate - as with much of Kapoor's work, it was designed to be experienced rather than just "viewed" from one perspective.

[Marsyas, 2002 - image courtesy of Tate Modern]

Marsyas also manages to address the multiple levels of the Turbine Hall beautifully, addressing the people on the lower main level...

[Marsyas, 2002 - image courtesy of Tate Modern]

...And those on the mezzanine. I'm still hoping Kapoor has a lighting range in the works, but I don't really like my chances. Not content with bring sexy back to the world of tensile structures, Kapoor's love of materiality, plasticity and colour (red features prominently) are expressed in a number of different media. Two of my personal favourites are installation pieces featuring massive blocks of wax, paint and vaseline. Both pieces go by the title Svayambh, even though one is located in the Haus der Kunst in Munich, and the other in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes.

[Svayambh (Munich), 2007 - image courtesy of ICA Boston]

Both pieces crawl along slowly on tracks from space to space. The movement is barely noticeable at first, but becomes mesmerising as the wax blocks inch their way through doorways and slowly disintegrate.

[Svayambh (Munich), 2007 - image courtesy of Art Moco]

I pity the foo' who had to clean the walls after this!

[Svayambh (Nantes), 2007 - image courtesy of Knowing Nantes]

I may be a little biased given my love of all things French, but I prefer the Nantes installation purely because of the arched doorways. Maybe the double height space and the higher platform has something to do with it too, there's just that extra level of drama that makes this version of Svayambh that little bit more breathtaking.

[Svayambh (Nantes), 2007 - image courtesy of Art Moco]

This incarnation of Svayambh can be seen from all vantage points within the gallery, and the blood red demands attention.

[Svayambh (Nantes), 2007 - image courtesy of Art Moco]

I think I need to visit Nantes some time soon - even without a bit o' Kapoor, the gallery looks gorgeous! And not to be a two-trick tensile and wax pony, Kapoor is also pretty good at making shiny things too. Shiny cool things at that.

[Iris, 1998 - image courtesy of ICA Boston]

I'm really intrigued by his "shiny things" series and I'm looking forward to reading more about them, but at the moment all I can offer you is my opinion. Which is that the shiny things are cool.

[Turning the World Inside Out II, 1995 - image courtesy of ICA Boston]

I suspect there's a common theme that pushes us towards questioning, or at least becoming aware, of our own spatial perception. To look at an installation like Turning the World Inside Out II, or any of the Iris series, it really needs to be experienced from a number of angles before you can discern the geometry. Then again, I could just need more coffee.

[Cloud Gate, 2004 - image courtesy of ICA Boston]

Nevertheless, shiny things ARE cool, especially when they draw people to them and allow them to interact. Cloud Gate in ol' Chicago town is a great and particularly well-known example of this - it allows people to interact not only with the sculpture, but with those around them and their surrounds. And when you're hanging out in Millenium Park on the edge of Lake Michigan, wouldn't you want to stop and take in the view too, even if through a large blobby shiny thing? I know I would. Someone take me to Chicago!

So as I was saying, I bought this book at the Gallery of Modern Art bookstore when I made a quick weekend trip in Brisbane (I just HAD to see the Andy Warhol exhibition!) and rumour has it that the GoMA loading docks had to be enlarged during the late planning stages due to one of Kapoor's larger works (I suspect it may be this one) being featured in the first exhibition held in the new gallery. And can I just was totally worth it.

Anyway, enough of my babble Have a wonderful weekend all! I might head to the gallery to see a bit of Monet methinks, what do you have planned?