Tag Archives: home accessories

The Inspired Jar

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

Canning Print by Old School StationersCanning Letterpress Print by Old School Stationers

My trip to the farmer’s market this weekend had me itching to do some canning. All those bushels of ripe fruits and veggies just asking to have their summer freshness preserved all year round. Part of the lure of canning is the simplicity and design appeal of canning jars; I just love the shape, functionality and old-school charm of them, and I am definitely not alone in this feeling based on the number of canning jar projects and products you can find online. Today’s post is not so much about what you can put in canning jars (although I do talk a little bit about that), it’s more about the jars themselves and what they can inspire.

Hamilton-based housewares companyimage via bespoke rising

Bespoke Uprising is a print studio from Hamilton, Ontario that makes screen-printed housewares, accessories and textiles. Many of their designs feature canning jars, like this tea towel set. They also make an apron printed with mason jars that any canning enthusiast would love.

Jar Chandelier by Jeff and MarkJar Chandelier by Jeff and Mark

Love this jar chandelier by Jeff and Mark, especially for the kitchen or deck. The mix of yellow and clear jars makes this light fixture extra special. They also make solar powered garden lights out of old jars that would make great housewarming gifts.

jar votive by Alyssa Ettingerporcelain jar votive by Alyssa Ettinger

The iconic canning jar gets a ladylike makeover by Alyssa Ettinger who creates porcelain jars out of slip cast vintage jars. The delicate porcelain is perfect for letting a warm glow shine through when lit up with a tea light.

Cuppow Jar Lid - turn any wide mouthed jar into a sippy cup or travel cupCuppow jar lid

I have to admit that I was underwhelmed with this idea when I first heard about it, but after seeing one of these cuppow jar lids in action the other day I realized this product’s simplicity is what makes it genius. With this BPA free lid you can turn any wide-mouthed mason jar into a sippy cup for kids, or a travel mug for grownups.

Marissa McClellan's book Food in JarsFood in Jars by Marisa McClellan

Over the past two summers I’ve been experimenting with canning. There is something about rows of neatly stacked jars in the pantry that make me feel so accomplished. After flipping through the book Food in Jars by Marisa McClennan at the bookstore I think I am going to have to add it to my cookbook shelf. Her recipes look easy to follow and the pictures are gorgeous.

Food in Jars' Pear Cinnamon jampear cinnamon jam via food in jars

McClennan also has a blog (which is also named Food in Jars) where she has a decent stockpile of recipes ranging from the standards to more adventurous ideas. I think I might give this pear cinnamon jam a try this weekend.

Happy Canning!

Slick as Can Be: Lacquerware Then and Now

Bamboo spoons coated in black lacquerUrushi Bamboo Spoons by Mori Kowa from Ashes and Milk

The technique of lacquer can be traced back to as early as the Neolithic period in China and the Jomon period in Japan. Practices for lacquer vary from region to region and country to country;   the traditional Japanese technique of Urushi, for example, uses the sap of a lacquer tree which is handpainted in thin layers using a paint brush made of women’s hair.  In many instances powdered gold was added to create intricate designs.

a lacquer treelacquer tree image via UniProt

Housewares, furniture, jewellery and even armor were popular lacquered objects in Japan, and there are still people practicing this ancient art in inventive and inspiring ways. Let’s take a look at some examples of lacquerware, both old and new.

Japanese antique black lacquer tea setJapanese Lacquer Tea Set image courtesy of Greentea Design

The Japanese tea set pictured above is an excellent example of the sorts of household objects that were often lacquered. This set exhibits the traditional colours of black, red, and gold as well as a traditional vine motif.

Japanese lacquer combs19th Century Japanese Combs from the Victoria and Albert Museum

How lovely are these Japanese combs? Such beautiful colours and impeccable workmanship. The delicate paintings on these combs show the level of artistic skill that the masters of lacquerware were capable of. These particular combs are part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection.

"Brick Screen" lacquer screenClassicon Brick Screen by Eileen Gray via Private

The Brick Screen by Eileen Gray is an example of how the art of lacquerware has been adopted outside of Asia. Gray designed the Brick screen from 1922-1925 after learning the art of lacquer from a Japanese artisan, and this work is still an iconic piece of art deco design.

Red lacquer Urushi BoxUrushi box by Kuroda Tatsuaki via architonic

Kuroda Tatsuaki’s magnificent red Urushi box is a textural and visual masterpiece. The flowing lines of this piece are accentuated by the way light is reflected off the lacquer surface.

Nendo's black laquered paper objectsLacquered Paper Objects by nendo

These lacquered boxes by nendo show how the old and new can be blended. The small boxes are made out of paper using a 3D printer and then hand finished with lacquer. The rolled paper and thin layers of lacquer almost give the impression of wood grain.

Gold and black detailing of this dining room mimics Japanese lacquerSteven Gambrel via Odi et Amo

And finally, this stunning dining room is of course not lacquered in the traditional sense, but the high gloss of the walls and the black and gold tones throughout the space give the impression of Japanese lacquerware, don’t you think?

Happy Friday Everyone!

Fall Fashion For the Home

Image via Anthropologie from their fall home lookbook

I don’t want to see summer go.  Does anyone, really? But I suppose it has to end.  And there are some pluses to fall:  cool evening walks, soul-warming soups and stews, fabulous fall fashions. It’s not just fashion for your wardrobe either.  The changing season is a great time to update interiors too.  So it’s time to cozy up our homes for the shorter, cooler days.  There are some quick, easy, and cheap ways (that’s a near-mythical trifecta!) to do this with the odd well-placed accessory.

I think I could laze away many an afternoon curled up in that blanket, the soft fall light pouring in...

Image via Design Labyrinth

This fall I am looking forward to being more of a homebody: baking pies with the apples from the trees in the back, hosting cozy dinners and spending a few late nights curled up on the sofa with a good book.  And nothing makes for a cozier couch than pretty, pouffy pillows and luxurious sofa throws.   Updating your living area with an autumnal palette is fairly inexpensive if you focus on these simple textile changes.  Here’s a ten step guide to sewing your own throw pillow covers, if you’re so inclined.

Image via Pinterest

Speaking of sewing, this swatch above is from Marimekko‘s fall fabric line available late September.  It’s joyous and bold, warm and just plain beautiful.  Surely gazing at a pillow made from this would cheer you up on a particularly grey November day.

via Anthropologie

Yes it will soon be time to bundle up as we head outdoors.  As the parent of a toddler I’m kinda dreading this.  But won’t it take the edge off a bit  if you have a lovely place to hang your hat on your return?  These Creature Kingdom Hooks, available at Anthropologie ($20/per) are whimsical and strangely handsome.

Maybe it’s the impending Jack-o-Lanterns, but autumn is the season for candlelight for me.  Maybe it’s because the warm glow of candlelight echos the soft golden light of September here in Toronto.  The light this time of year is lovely.  If you’re a lantern loving person too,  Ruffled Blog has a great tutorial on making these Moroccan inspired lanterns (using upcycled metal radiator covers no less).

Welcome fall!

Lace: Defying Expectations

porcelain lace bowls by Hideminy

Lace has a reputation for being dainty and delicate; picture confectionairy wedding gowns, grandmotherly doilies and delicate shawls, but that’s not all lace is. Lace can be edgy, sophisticated, unexpected and sexy and here are a few examples showing it’s extraordinary versatility.

image from Living Etc. via lanalou style

This exquisite headboard was created by blowing up the intricacies of a segment of lace on canvas. The over-sized scale of the canvas headboard in this high contrast black and white room is phenomenal.

Philip Treacy shoes via lovestiletto

There is nothing demure about these black lace stilettos designed by superstar milliner Philip Treacy for Valentino’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection. Witchy and sexy with just the right amount of couture drama, these shoes are meant to be noticed.

Photograph by Emily Anderson found via lolalina

A black lace tablecloth could quickly send any room into Halloween territory, but in here it looks perfectly at home. I spot a Chinese lantern, contemporary furniture, baroque candelabra and rustic antlers along with the black lace tablecloth, and while none of these elements seem to belong with one another, in this airy dining room they work together beautifully.

lace bag by tortilla girl

Soft and sophisticated, I am seriously coveting this lace embellished bag by French Etsy shop tortilla girl. Ladylike, but not too much so, it also comes in a few other fabric choices. They also have some lovely knitted pieces in their shop, like hats and mohair scarves, that would be perfect for fall.

lace earrings by batsy

Want a pair of these modern lace earrings pictured above? No problem, you can make them yourself by following this simple tutorial by Petrina Burkhard. I only wish I had my ears pierced so I could make some for myself.

Doily Tree by Janet Morton via Pikaland

Finally, just to prove that lace can be unexpected, here’s a lace covered tree by textile artist Janet Morton. That is one decked out tree, and one dedicated stitcher. Wouldn’t it be amazing to walk through a whole forest of these lacy trees?