pennywise design


Rugs that look like cold cuts

I don't speak German and I don't know how much these cost, but I don't care. Anyone that makes rugs that look like cold cuts deserves some props. From what I can tell (and I can't tell very much as the site isn't translated), these rugs resembling salami, bierschinken, mortadella and blutwurst are a project of some crazy minds at Flachbild in Köln. Even if it gives the impression of a joke, these rugs are actually quite striking on their own. I'm a fan of the bierschinken! So the next time someone tells you Germans don't have a sense of humor, refer them to

Well, I'm headed home to Cleveland in the morning for a wedding- and amusement park-packed long weekend. Be back on Tuesday!

Rug crush

Aerial view of Stockholm, maybe? No clue, but it looks interesting. I'd love to have one like this of Cleveland. This cotton handwoven Ikea PS Gylsboda rug is $49.99 at Ikea, natch.

A few more standouts I noticed browsing the Ikea site, all for under $300: the Ikea PS in a vibrant dark red. Love the Spirograph-iness of it. And new on the site are the stunning Andrea Rund and Andrea Cirkel rugs, designed by Jon Eliason. The burnt sienna/white color combo and chunky swirl pattern of the Rund rug are fab, and same goes for the Cirkel's purple ink and gold geometric petals. Definite attention-getters.

I dig this teal and cream starburst Malou bathmat for $9.99.

Super Industrial Love

Super Industrial Love is the super creation of Dan Pongallo, an artist based in my hometown of Cleveland. These cards are awesome and so very wrong. As the artist notes on his site: "Send them to people you want to cherish or deeply offend." There are many more hysterical cards on his site, so check 'em. Only $2.50 each!


The Collection

If you want to see some enthralling design from overseas, head to The Collection. Three years ago, out of a desire to showcase the work of (largely unknown) British designers in France, Allison Grant opened a boutique in Paris. The Collection has since expanded to include designers from across Europe and they just opened an online store this past summer. Hurray! Grant describes The Collection's objects and images, such as an ironing board cover, velvety flowers, a paper clock, a creeping bookshelf, as "not here to impress but to seduce." She says, "We're not in awe of them. This makes for natural integration in our environment and easy companionship."

Most of The Collection's products are a bit on the expensive side, especially considering hefty international shipping costs, so I'm including only some of the lower-cost items here. It's so worth checking out everything, though.

These are the most bewitching tea (a.k.a. dish) towels I think I've ever seen. Such a great gift!

There are some clever key holders out there lately, but nothing I've seen comes close to this one. The circles are made of velcro! And it comes with five matching velcro keyrings. Love it.

Grace has a poll on Design*Sponge on whether the wall vinyl trend has reached the point of overkill. I totally get where she's coming from, even though I can't get enough of the stickers myself. Maybe it's because sometimes, some jaw-dropping designs come along that make the trend seem entirely fresh. An example of this would be the very sophisticated, very Euro stickers from The Collection.

If the idea of creating a photo wall in your house or apartment is intimidating, these flocked frames could be the answer. I love the fact that they look so dramatic and unique while cutting out the need to buy tons of individual frames, not to mention having to coordinate them all.

Modern hourglasses

Not sure I'd ever use them, but I love to look at these hourglasses from CB2 ($29.95/ea.) The sands trickle down in one hour exactly. Much sleeker than those little plastic ones that come with your board games. There's a wealth of beautiful, more traditional, sand timers at T. & K. Young, and an interesting history of the hourglass here.

Calling all young designers

Metropolis 2007 Next Generation® Design Competition!

The 2007 Next Generation® Design Competition prize will finance the development of a bright idea that focuses on ENERGY, its uses, reduction, consumption, efficiencies, and alternatives.

Win $10,000 for your design idea! Now in its fourth year, the Next Generation® design competition recognizes design innovation on all scales--from the efficient desk lamp to the innovative city neighborhood plan, and everything in between. The competition is open to young designers in practice 10 years or less; including CAD monkeys in large offices, design students, independent firms or individuals. On your own or in teams we invite you to submit work on urban plans, buildings, interiors, products, landscapes or communications design. The winner will receive $10,000 seed money to realize his or her idea, and will be featured in Metropolis magazine. Runners up will also receive full coverage to empower the next generation of design.

Questions? Contact: Kimberly Taylor at 212-886-2538 or

The fantastic Serious Gnome

I first found out about Serious Gnome on Design*Sponge and immediately fell in love. The small Vancouver-based design studio makes these totally lovely, offbeat wall plaques that look like the kind found in homes in the '30s and '40s, but modernized 'n glamourized. Check out the entire collection here. Each plaque, handmade by two partners, is roughly eight to nine inches in diameter and weighs about three pounds. Hang them on their own or arrange in pairs or clusters or grids. I have my eye on the gem one!

New for fall! This cupcake plaque is an exclusive design distributed by Nest.


Framing posters = a pain

Problem: Unframed Posters

Solution: Poster Hangers

My Dad got me the two prints pictured up top for Christmas last year, and they've sat rolled up atop our armoire ever since, collecting dust like the pants that don't fit me anymore in my closet. I've been talking about getting these prints, which I love, up on our walls forever, but I don't have a tube in which to transport them or know a framer anywhere in my neighborhood. Or, it could be that I don't want to pay the $150 (thereabouts) to have them framed. Then I saw these poster hangers by Jørgen Møller on Rare Device for $20. There are more sizes available on Posterhanger, btw. Looks like an easy solution to me! The kit comes with two black rubber-ended aluminum bars (in black or silver), six clips and a nail. Slide the clips on the poster, slide the clips into the bars and you're done.


An ode to real letters

As a follow up to yesterday, today's post is devoted to the beauty that is notecards and stationery. There is just way too much good stuff out there. When I was in elementary school, my friends and I seriously lived for stationery as we did for The Babysitters Club and figure skating. Lisa Frank and Suzy's Zoo were our faves. Kellee, Tina, Emily and I lived no more than a few streets apart, but we used up our moms' stamps like crazy sending off constant letters to each other. Ha!

A few nights ago, I was rummaging through a box of old college stuff, and came across a bunch of letters my friends and family had hand-written me in the mid-late '90's, before we were all glued to the Internerd. So before cards and letters go the way of the banana clip, please take a look at these.

Dog & Pony Show's designs are so wonderful I don't even know where to start. Cali-based Dog & Pony Show is the brainchild of Melissa Altman and the supremely talented painter Jen Garrido (definitely check out her work).

Lovely notepads!

One Good Bumblebee (Katey Nicosia of Dallas, Texas) makes my bunsen burn. Love her sense of humor! By the way, Katey also runs the fantastic shopping/design blog That's Hot.

Milky Elephant's Pee-Mail stationery set for $7, complete with yellow pen. Insane. I love it.

Found some really beautiful stationery and cards on Distinct Mink's Etsy shop. Don't the patterns look like velvet? All of her designs are hand-rendered and printed from her letterpress. Below are the black cherry stationery and the chocolate sky card. p.s. Her beer and steak wrapping paper rocks.

Seamripper is adorable. A small shop "run by Kathleen in Chicago," there isn't much for sale -- but what is there is delightful. Like this autumn notepad available from her Etsy shop for $7. I keep finding myself back on her site just to look around.

Of course you can depend on Fred Flare to have something ridiculously fun, like a Nintendo mushroom letter set. My 10 (or 29)-year-old heart would have pitter pattered.


Anti-Hallmark cards

Shopping the greeting card aisle at Walgreens is like watching nothing but Lifetime Television when you have a free subscription to HBO On Demand. There's a mind-boggling array of gorgeous, imaginative handmade greetings to be hoarded online (or in the shops where they're available). They really don't cost that much more than your Shoebox throwaway variety, and many times, less. Instead of running to the drugstore and scribbling out your birthday/baby shower/wedding well wishes in the car on the way to the event, buy a bunch online a little bit in advance, and you'll always be prepared. 16 Sparrows is an excellent place to start!

One of my absolute favorite card designers is Olga Krigman of O Plus D. Her petite cards brilliantly combine everyday language and expressions with uncluttered, witty design. O Plus D is the reason you become a greeting card packrat and five years later, don't regret it.

I recently stumbled upon and was wowed by the hand-printed greeting card maker Tall Cow. Artist/designer Deanna Ebner began creating linoleum block printed cards for her co-workers at an East Village restaurant to rave responses, and in 2004, Tall Cow was born.

It's a tough task finding cards much cooler than Sidepony's. The outrageously crafty Kimberly Dawn Robertson is a master of attractive design, feminist humor and hilarious retro themes (especially the '80s). L.A.-based Robertson runs this operation with her family out of their Koreatown apartment, and the word is getting out with help from glowing reviews in the press. Sidepony goods are carried in over 40 shops now -- check the list here.