pennywise design


Off to Florida

I'm about to head out the door for the airport to start my vacation. Be back early next week! ;)

New at Zid Zid Kids

Zid Zid Kids has such incredible things for children, I think if I had my own I'd be buying up their store. I really can't say enough about their stuff. It looks like Zid Zid's in the process of updating their site from last year's catalog, but a bunch of beautiful new animal cushions, blankets and "poofs" (now in leather) have landed at Design Public. I think the owl can pass as "grown up," can't it?

Zid Zid's vibrant, imaginative designs remind me of the carnivalesque streets of Marrakech -- the city to which its founders Julie Klear and Moulay Essakalli moved from Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2003.
Moulay is a RISD-trained graphic designer and Moroccan native; Julie has exhibited her art in multiple American museums, and has 15 years’ experience teaching art to children.


Lil' lamps

I love the silhouette of this midget Lykta lamp Ikea introduced recently. The shade is made of glass, too -- neat. And not hard to justify buying considering they're only $12.99 each. These are little guys measuring 11 inches tall. The green, blue and white lamps are available online, but the red one is available only in stores.

What a rock

These hand hewn soap rocks from Auto are like museum-worthy chunks of gemstone. Extra long-lasting, they say.

Nothing's dreary at Mixko

Mixko Design is the British team Nahoko Koyama and Alex Garnett, who make an interesting and quirky range of furniture, clothing, and accessories. Grace at Design*Sponge wrote about their new lighting collection earlier this year. Browsing through their gallery, I immediately loved the handbags and jewelry...the "Every cloud has a silver lining bag" is so much fun. The "Clam" bag with detachable corsage is very British and elegant. I adore their felt flower and butterfly rings!

Somebody leave the light on...

Twinkling miniature lights have a way of making a space instantly inviting. Obviously, less is more, and they've got to be hung right to avoid looking too "luau at the RV", but it doesn't have to be that hard to pull off. There are god-knows-how-many online retailers selling every kind of string light, from NFL helmets and gnomes to delicate Japanese lanterns. How awesome are these Wizard of Oz ruby slippers?

If you're looking for some wackier ones yet, kickstart your party with groovy Airstream trailer lights, or maybe some mini red lanterns...or if you get hungry, you'll be set with these BBQ buddies. is a great resource for string lights -- dig these yarn balls.


The baroque! Brocade Home

Brocade Home was launched as a new brand by Restoration Hardware just a couple of months ago. Apartment Therapy wrote about it here and here. There is no actual store (yet) and the website only allows you to page through the catalog. Anyway, I got my second catalog in the mail the other day. Personally, I'm not a huge fan, but I know a lot of people are head over heels for it. For me, it's a little too European baroque castle with a moat and a ghost or two. Lots of massive tufted headboards. Lots of curlicues and wallpaper jacquard upholstery and curve back chairs. Lots of heavy mirrors, sconces and inordinately long taper candles. Lots of crushed velvet. Colors all very rich. Romantic and pretty, true, but not my idea of simplicity and comfort.

Bizarrely, the catalog shows these extremely low-hanging chandeliers all over the, no more than a foot above the bed or a few inches from the floor...All I could think about was that people in earthquake-prone California would be screwed. Nevertheless, the chandeliers themselves were actually some of the pieces I liked best. Not budget buys but too cheap for a real castle dweller to buy (The ones pictured below run $199-$499.)
This chair with lovely peony jacquard upholstery against that chocolate bedding is starting to grow on me, too.

A couple of other highlights were these upholstered circles in teal crushed velvet (nice and simple) and a gorgeous set of green and espresso glass taper holders.


Whiskas cat bed

Our cat Joey would so love this. It seems that all the UK online retailers are currently sold out of it, but hopefully they'll re-stock. It's about $50.

My baby!

Up To You

I feel about the Toronto store Up To You kind of like how I did when I first saw Tom Hanks dancing on that light-up floor keyboard in the movie Big. I haven't visited Toronto in ages, but when I go back I will not be missing this candy store for adults who love witty design. Fortunately, Up To You has an online shop filled with all kinds of awesomeness.

cookie shelf mug

cake candle holder, flashlight candle

hello napkins, pigeon light


The Good Book flask

OK, so this is kind of funny. A new arrival at British design team Suck UK's site is this stainless steel flask concealed in a hardback "biblical" case. Personally, I've never understood the need for flasks, but every dude I know seems to own one. So here you go if you're looking for one with a twist. (FYI: £15 = $28, and they do ship overseas)

Crewel pillows at Jonathan Adler

New crewel pillows have landed at Jonathan Adler. Wasn't sure exactly what crewel was, so I went to Wikipedia which told me that it's a wool used in an embroidery technique that is at least a thousand years old. Crewel wool is fine and can be strongly twisted.

I love the contradiction of the wool and linen with the sharp, symmetrical mod patterns in muted oranges and greens. The rustic fabrics are softening, not folksy here -- this is one sophisticated set of pillows. There's a crewel table runner, too!


Cute piggy banks

Dimes, nickels, pennies -- never enough quarters -- are found not so much in my purse as all over my apartment, and I usually don't know how or why any of it got there. It may be that I'm in need of a piggy bank. New for fall at NotNeutral is this handsome black-and-white trio ($26/ea.)

Shiver me timbers, it's Otter Otto

Otter Otto's jewelry reminds me of a super-futuristic, stylin' Swiss Family Robinson. My pair of faux woodgrain pirate ship earrings came in the mail the other day, and I can't take my ears off them. They're very well-made 2-inch acrylic discs with vinyl decals of an original drawing, hung by sterling silver earwires. Behind Otter Otto is the creative mind of Donna Soo of Texas, who has designed three dream-like collections: Time and Space, Milo's Glen and The Snowflake Factory. Read about them for yourself here. Now I just wish I had a giant treehouse. [The fab indie shopping blog Modish is where I found Otter Otto, so thank you!]