Week Forty-nine: Coracle Press

“a few cups (no. 8)” (2007)

I happened across Ireland’s Coracle Press while attending the recent London Small Publishers Fair, and instantly fell in love with the sublime, minimalist artwork of co-director Erica Van Horn. Van Horn’s line drawings are spare but enchanting: it’s the sort of work that draws you in, quiets the soul, and encourages introspection. Founded by Van Horn and poet/editor Simon Cutts, Coracle seeks to combine art with poetry and other remembrances of the small moments that make up a life. The offerings, which range from books to prints to keepsake-worthy ephemera, are a lovely reminder that simple pleasures can also be erudite.

Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Museum Library has an extensive online catalog of Van Horn’s work: the Coracle website is your best source for current stock lists and orders. 

“a bundle of clothes pegs” (2005)

“shaker hanger” (2004)

“an album of interiors” (2008)

“cafe alt wien” (1999)

all images from the yale university // beinecke rare book & museum library online catalog with permission of erica van horn. 

because i went all in on google research after spotting coracle at the fair, a few more online resources for information on coracle are: printed in norfolk, accordion publications, and publishers’ roundtable

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Photo Faves: November 2013

Thanksgiving weekend is winding down and Christmas is staring me in the face. Spent the holiday weekend at a couple of Christmas fairs, sipping mulled wine (a most wonderful tradition, if you ask me — I’m coöpting it immediately) and perusing the wares. Next on my to-do list is figuring out 1. what I’m buying for Christmas and 2. how I’m getting it to the states. I think it will be an amazon.com holiday as they are problem solvers.

Take a moment out of the seasonal bustle and enjoy a few of my favorite photos from November:

  1. Munich
  2. River
  3. November 11
  4. Untitled
  5. Morning light at home ….
  6. Driving through the Adirondacks today.
  7. Peonies peonies peonies :) ….
  8. Certainly is!(incidentally, I want this poster: anyone??)
  9. Peaceful
  10. Happening now! ….
  11. Making doorsteps bright! ….
  12. Sunday.

image at top :: november 28 ::/jane potrykus

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Week Forty-eight: Giving Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, and I’m sure many of you are in the throes of house cleaning and menu planning (or the alternate: packing and traveling) at the moment. Completely understandable. Tomorrow, though, I hope you find a quiet moment to say thanks to those who have helped you over the past year. Even though I may not be sitting down to a turkey dinner tomorrow (at the time of writing, our plans are up in the air) I know my successes over the past four and a half months are due mostly to the help of others. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some amazingly kind people, both in the UK and the US, and I’d like to take this moment to thank them.**

So, here goes:

Bridie: thank you for being one of the first to welcome me to London, for chairs (so important!), for coffee, for Paris. xx (and thanks to Ben, too!) // Sarah: your home decor + all-things-UK advice has been invaluable, but I’m even happier that we’ve become friends. // Christine: for knowing exactly who-what-wear (yes, I meant “wear”) I need to see // Rita: for 11th-hour picture hanging + problem solving extraordinaire // Neal: for a Twitter feed that never fails to turn my day around //  Katy: for always remembering to check in + see how things are going // Jo: for enduring awful London traffic to be my plus-one for a shop party //  Peggy/Amy/Chelsea/Sally/Allison/ Chelsea/Rori/Maybelle/Cindy/Liz/Jennifer/Jenny: thanks for your love, emails, texts and cheers from the US. you have quelled many an unsettled moment + continue to support me as I explore life as an expat.

And finally, a big Heart of the Home thank you to artist Susan Branch. I’m a huge fan of Susan’s charming illustrations and stories, shared at her blog and in her many books. I’m also a huge fan of Susan the personA Fine Romance, her latest book, tells of Susan’s love of England in travel diary form so convincingly (and is illustrated so delightfully) that whenever I need a pick-me-up concerning my own (mis)adventures, all I have to do is pull the book off the shelf and read a page or two (preferably while drinking a “Peah Cidah”) and all is better in my world. If you have even the slightest interest in England, you need this book. (It makes a great gift, too, but don’t wait, because it keeps selling out!)

** I realize this exercise is fraught with the potential for disaster: akin to the Oscar winner who forgets to thank his wife. Please know: even if your name is not on this list, if we’ve connected in the past 12 months I’m thankful for it, and thinking of you over this holiday.

image credits: book cover from amazon.com; excerpts from vineyardstories.com (publisher’s site)


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Week Forty-seven: Simple Pretty Picks / November 2013

My November favorites could double as a holiday gift guide, assuming you live by the “one for you; one for me” rule like I do:

  1. Virginia Johnson crewneck intarsia sweater swan: I love the graphic feel of this oversized swan. Bonus points that it’s knitted in a cozy grey cashmere/merino blend.  The style reminds me of J.Crew’s darling crewcuts sweaters that I obsessed over a few years ago. (This is about as maximal as I get, fashion-wise. The fact that it’s from Virginia Johnson, illustrator extraordinaire, may have something to do with it.)
  2. Sugar Paper for Target kraft-polka dot 2014 planner: I am a Sugar Paper super fan, and it’s killing me that there are no Target stores in the UK so that I could properly ogle this collection in person. This planner is sold out at the Sugar Paper website, but if I were you, I’d head over to your local Target stat + scoop up what you can.
  3. Baileys Home Tea & Cake book: I spent an October Saturday perusing the rooms at Baileys Home & Garden store (make sure you mark out a day for a field trip when you visit London). To break up the shopping, our “tour group” of three stopped for lunch in Bailey’s darling Tin Tabernacle Tearoom, where I spotted this small book. Illustrated by Charlotte Farmer, the tiny booklet is focused on the perfect tea: sharing favorite types as well as a few recipes for sweets. As I’m besotted with the handwritten gift tags, menus, etc that pervade Baileys, it made the perfect souvenir.
  4. Blue Crow Media Specialty Coffee Maps: As a map fiend, I think there’s a lot to love about these new coffee maps, available for New York, London and Paris. Equal parts art and reference, I’d love to frame + hang the London version in my guest room, as finding a good coffee shop while travelling usually puts you in a neighborhood ripe for discovery.
  5. Studio Sarah cards + notebooks: Studio Sarah’s gold-foiled stripes and lettering are the perfect glitzy accent to what are otherwise minimalist designs. (Besides, who doesn’t need a cute To Do notebook?)
image credits: 1. courtesy of virginia johnson 2. courtesy of sugar paper 3. jane potrykus 4. courtesy of blue crow media 5. jane potrykus // layout and type by jane potrykus
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Week Forty-six: New Lifestyle Books from Monocle + Remodelista

As a blogger, one of the questions I’m asked most frequently is “What are you reading?” And while that list is ever-changing (I seem to cycle between food and fashion blogs: surprise!), two constants are Monocle magazine and Remodelista. I read Monocle for its dedicated, global analysis of culture and design, and Remodelista for its effortlessly chic take on all things lifestyle/home. Both seem to have their finger on the pulse of things I want/need to know about. And both have books out this fall.

monocle: style

The Monocle Guide to Better Living (Gestalten, $60) I’ve been a subscriber to Monocle magazine for a few years now, finally wising up after months of delayed gratification acquiring a copy at US newsstands. In that time, Monocle has established itself as my go-to source for travel info, as each issue inevitably features an awesome new shop/hotel/restaurant I want to visit, and I was eager to see Monocle address “living” as a whole. Whether it’s detailing the best cities for business, considering happiness, or simply suggesting a list of wardrobe essentials, no component escapes the considered analysis (and thoughtful details) of Tyler Brûlé, Andrew Tuck and staff. (Monocle is definitely known for its attention to detail.)  The book is a mix of new and repurposed content, but that works for me as I consider it a smart way to reference the best of Monocle in one elegant, yellow-linen-covered tome.

It goes without saying that the book’s design is impeccable.

monocle: stockholm hotel ett hem

remodelista: architect elizabeth roberts’ home

Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home (Artisan, $37.50) Julie Carlson and her team at Remodelista have also assembled a knock-out book. Remodelista is known for its no-holds-barred take on subjects, delving into the details to explain what they admire about a home (or shop’s) design, and better yet, explain how you can translate the aesthetic for a similar feel yourself. The Remodelista book opens with pictorial tours (with accompanying narrative details) of twelve favorite houses. As a Remodelista fangirl, I was elated to see that architect Elizabeth Roberts + Remodelista co-founder Francesa Connolly’s houses made the cut. Both are favorites of mine.

I can picture myself living in almost every house featured, and I appreciate that, while the houses are stylish, they look like people are living in them. (Which, let’s face it, is not the norm: shelter magazines and blogs usually focus on unattainable perfection.) That said, as an avid researcher, I think my favorite part of the Remodelista manual is its back-of-the-book resource guides, covering topics like the “Remodelista 100″ objects, the how-to’s of remodeling, as well a comprehensive list sourcing designers + shops. Perfect.

remodelista: dissecting the style of amanda pays’ california kitchen

image credits: monocle book cover from gestalten.com; remodelista book cover from workman.com; excerpts from both books photographed by jane potrykus

* a review copy of the remodelista book was provided at my request.

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