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:
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
Based in Toronto, Post Calligraphy artist Lisa Mavian finds her calligraphic inspiration in beautiful shapes and spaces and voids. Self-taught, the simplicity of Lisa’s style is irresistible: I’m smitten by her selection of elegant holiday tags, as well as her custom work for invitations and events.
Seems the minimalist eye runs in the family: her son Michael is responsible for Post Calligraphy’s gorgeous identity work, which offers a modern take on the classic postmark.
“it came upon a midnight clear” tags
images courtesy of lisa mavian
There’s something about November 1 that thrusts me into a contemplative/dark mindset. I’m sure it’s partly due to the literal darkness of the dwindling light – which is much more noticeable in London. When 4:00 rolls around these days, it feels like bedtime should be near. Not good! – and partly because Christmas no longer seems like a concept. The reality of the holiday season is staring me in the face, and I’m finding this year particularly hard. We’re going “home” for the holidays, but we have no home, but I’ll have to see my old house + I’m terrible at moving on. Terrible meaning that I hate it + I find seeing my old house so painful that I’ll do anything to avoid driving by it. Which will be a challenge given that visiting old friends and neighbors requires just that.
To counteract the darkness, I am going to spend November cultivating a spirit of gratitude, and quiet. And, while I’m at it, acceptance.** This week on Twitter, I mentioned that I feel like I’m living life on fast-forward. I think spending more time living “in the moment” will help. Not being wistful for time passed; not being anxious of what’s to come; just being. Wish me luck. It’s so much harder than simply typing it out.
A few of my photo favorites from October:
- bird. boy. bird.
- Autumnroad blur
- best friends…
- Soft Fall
- Getting On A Plane
- view from my bicycle ….
- Pumpkin carving movie night ….
- Into the woods.
- Today is one of those days ….
** it might also help if i cut back on my arcade fire “melancholy and the infinite danciness” habit
image at top taken outside baileys home & garden on october 26 / jane potrykus
a.mag issue 04
My discovery of architect Vincent Van Duysen happened in a roundabout fashion. First, I fell for his austere (but beautiful) wooden bowl for When Objects Work at Maison et Objet. Then, I stumbled across a T Magazine piece featuring his Antwerp home. That led me to the Van Duysen website + its rabbit-hole-for-the-minimalist portfolio. Thames Hudson published a Van Duysen monograph in 2010, but the printed reference guide I’m determined to get my hands on is issue 04 of A. Magazine, devoted entirely to Van Duysen. (My love of Van Duysen’s aesthetic is shared by Dana Tomic Hughes, an Australian interior designer whose blog, Yellowtrace, served as my source for the images below.) As my life in London feels mostly chaotic, I find Van Duysen’s austere approach to interiors calming and inspiring. As I get older, “less is more” feels increasingly apt.
image credits: a.mag cover photo from adotmag.com; van duysen interior photos by manolo yllera, via yellowtrace.com.au