Wednesday, July 22, 2009

attic treasures

We're having some exterior work done on our 1939 English Tudor-style house, and it's been a very exciting process. Todd and I walk around our little property every night to check out what's changed and try to imagine what it will look like when finished.

I plan to post before-and-after pix once it's all done but in the meantime, I just had to show you this:

Aren't they darling? Our contractor found them tucked away in an unaccessible part of the attic. He said he normally throws stuff like that out, but since he knew I liked antiques (I had told him about going to the Expo a few weeks ago), he saved them for me.

I love to imagine their history and will definitely find a way to incorporate them into some of my assemblage pieces!

rae dunn ceramics

I've long admired ceramics artist Rae Dunn. I own several of her smaller pieces and have them sprinkled throughout the house – seeing her little inspirational eggs always makes me feel happy inside!

I hadn't seen many of her tableware pieces before until I visited her website:

And while some of her lines are more mass-produced and sold on a national level, anything you order from her Etsy shop is still made completely by hand by Rae herself!

Great gift idea if you're looking for a personalized or inspirational gift (how cool would the napkin rings be as place cards at a wedding, or a little nest as a favor...)

Love the inscription on this plate:

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

stylist jaimi holker

I love it when an image evokes a certain mood, especially when the subject is something pretty mundane. That's why I love the images that Jaimi Holker has on her website. She's a prop stylist based in San Francisco and has worked for companies whose style and photography I've admired for years, including Smith & Hawken, West Elm, and Red Envelope to name a few. These images were some of my favorites and they all exude a sense of peace and simplicity:

Monday, July 20, 2009

broder café

Several months ago my friend Amy and I embarked upon a marathon treasure hunt that included hitting every thrift shop in NE and SE Portland. We stopped at Broder Café to refuel and I've been lusting for more of their fabulously simple Swedish cuisine.

When I finally was able to go back, I was not disappointed: I ordered a melted-to-perfection grilled cheese made with Swedish Farmers cheese and fresh tomatoes on the most delicious whole wheat and rye bread. It was served with their "breakfast salad," which included peas, bacon and gorgonzola cheese.

Todd ordered the Farmers sandwich, which was basically a warm ham and cheese sandwich served on a sweet sesame brioche bun. At our server's suggestion, he added a fried egg on top – oh, such goodness!

Next time my parents are in town, we may have to brave the crowds and bring them to this little gem in SE Clinton – I'm sure Broder's food will take them back to the four years we lived in Denmark!

BRODER CAFÉ • 2508 SE Clinton St., Portland, OR. 97255 • 503.736.3333

Friday, July 17, 2009

illustrator – david hughes

I recently came across British illustrator David Hughes' website and loved it! His gestural style is so expressive and modern while the subdued color choices and small numerical details remind me of old scientific illustrations.

His editorial work has appeared in magazines like Esquire, The New Yorker, GQ, and Outside Magazine. The design of his website itself is fun to look through, too, with lots of doodles, notebook pages, and other ephemera mixed in.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

feelin' fresh

It's amazing how a scent or smell can brighten my mood. That's why I'm a huge sucker for all those fancy soaps and lotions – especially when the packaging is just a gorgeous and yummy as the scent!

While I try to be frugal and save my pennies, it's hard for me not to splurge on fancy soaps that smell divine. It's one of my little luxuries.

So I was thrilled to find these affordable bars of house-brand soap at Whole Foods. Hours of sudsy, sensuous scents packaged in pretty patterned paper for $5 a bar. Here were my favorites that found their way home with me: vetiver cedar, pomelo, and (my favorite!) lemon verbena.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

more sadness

When Todd read in the paper that Smith & Hawken was closing shop and having a liquidation sale, we both assumed it was just the store up on NW 23rd. Imagine my shock and surprise when we went there and found out that it was the entire company that was shutting down!

Apparently, the announcement was made internally last Thursday morning, then made public that afternoon. I found this notice in my email box this morning:

While I generally found their merchandise to be quite pricey, I loved visiting their store for inspiration and wishful thinking. Plus it was a great place to find gifts for my gardener friends.

Thanks, S&H – I'll miss you.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

expo loot

I love antiquing and one of my favorite places to go is the Portland Antique Expo. This show happens three times a year with approx. 1,000 dealers all under one roof.

The July show is my favorite, though, because an additional 300+ vendors exhibit outside in the parking lot and that's where I find most of the good stuff!

My friend Amy and I went yesterday as Early Birds, when a lot of vendors were still setting up. Yes, you miss out on a few booths that haven't arrived yet but on the flip side, you get the best selection among the things that are already set up!

1300 dealers can be quite overwhelming so I usually try to stick to a budget and try to decide whether there's something specific I'm looking for so my eagle eyes can scan all the booths quickly. This year, I wanted to keep my eyes peeled for beer paraphernalia for Todd as well as storage solutions (my one and only new year's resolution for 2009 was to get more organized).

I came away with some great finds:
I found a great metal bin with a wooden handle (the one on the other side is missing) that I can use in my office. The round tin with cute side handles and a clean interior that will be perfect to store the cat food outside by the back door.

The cute little lunch tin is perfect to hold loose ends in my office, and I couldn't walk away from that awesome little "25" badge. I'm sure it'll find its way into some of my assemble art.

The old horse bells on a leather strap will be repurposed to help potty-train Tucker. Just that morning when I dropped Tucker off at doggie daycare, the folks at Wag the Dog told me to tie bells to all exterior doors. The idea is that he'll associate hearing the bells with opening doors and access to the outside; hopefully, he'll get the picture and start nuzzling or pawing the bells to announce his needs!

I even found a few things for Todd: an old bottle opener and a piece of a bill board advertising non-fattening Acme beer! With a title like that, I bet the beer wasn't much good, but I love the graphics and color palette.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

tulip mania

Growing up in Northern Europe with Dutch parents, grand parents, aunts and uncles, it's only natural that I have an affinity for flowers. However, despite having lived in the Netherlands for six years, I don't remember ever having been to the famous tulip fields or the auction in Aalsmeer.

Seeing these pictures makes me think next time I happen to be in the Netherlands in spring, I simply must make the time for a visit:

I love how the rows of color create a graphic pattern:

I would like to credit the photographer for these photos but they were sent to me in a forwarded chain of emails so I don't know where they originated...

sad for swee swee

I'm sad to report that Swee Swee Paperie in West Seattle is closing it's brick-n-mortar doors. I've always admired Ann Conway's style, especially her fashion sense – just take a (last) look at some of her window displays:

TOP PHOTO: via BOTTOM PHOTO: via Swee Swee Paperie

They're going to revamp and reopen their online store in September so at least we'll still have access to some of the great paper products Ann discovers.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

illustrator – daren newman

I recently came across some of Daren Newman's work and thought I'd share it. I love his illustration style and he's a whiz when it comes to typography!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

birthday invitation

This weekend, I helped Todd prepare for a Belgian beer tasting and I realized I never shared photos of the big surprise party I planned for his 40th birthday back in April.

I won't bore you with fuzzy photos of total strangers, but what I will share is some of the fun details I planned for this special occasion. After all, what kind of designer would I be if I didn't practice what I preach and create a fun invitation that set the tone of what was to come the night of the big party!

First up were the invitations: fun and colorful, yet tasteful and with a hint of beerishness. I used chartreuse envelopments that I picked up at PaperSource ages ago (the green is a perfect match for Defteling Design) and glued in the actual invite with double-stick tape (designed in Illustrator and printed right on my little desktop inkjet).

I also created a custom logo that I used everywhere, including on stickers (also from PaperSource) that I used to seal the invites. The logo was inspired by one of Todd's favorite Belgian beers (St. Bernardus) and included small details like his profession (librarian), age (40), birth year (1969), even the correct beer glass shape and the little halo (he's Saint Toddeus, after all).

I knew I wanted to have a Sachertorte from Market of Choice as his birthday cake, but unfortunately they didn't have a way to recreate the logo so I went online and ordered a couple printouts using edible ink on rice paper. The result was stunning!

And what's a beer tasting without the right accessories! You guessed it: the logo founds its way onto pint glasses and beer coasters, which doubled as party favors.

I had a ton of fun designing and planning this event and was so happy when it all went off without a hitch (well, besides Todd coming home through the back door instead of the front door, so none of us were prepared to yell "surprise" when he walked in!)

Monday, July 6, 2009

summery stationery

It never ceases to amaze me how excited I get to see the final printed product of something I designed. It doesn't matter whether it's a personal or a Defteling Design project – I can hardly wait to tear open the box and see how it turned out.

Today I was utterly delighted to reveal the finished stationery for Distinctive Beach Lodgings. The logo colors and design elements are so summery, just looking at the stationery makes me long to be on the coast...

We went a little unconventional for the letterhead: a narrow third-size sheet that neatly tucks into a standard business envelope. The front has the logo and contact info while the back repeats the website and the main logo element, a silver dollar, which also creates the wallpaper background.

The double-sided business cards take advantage of the extra real estate by boldly displaying the logo and website, using a black background to really pop the colors and the design.

The front of the card ties in with the back of the letterhead by using the sand dollar subtly in the background while the blue bars and cream background nicely reference the logo.

And in case this summery palette tempts you to book a weekend getaway, do check out the website for a listing of all their wonderful properties. I've been to several cottages and absolutely love them!