Decor & Design
Via The Kitchn, I happened upon the Etsy store of Drywell (art by Alyson). The artist creates quirky and fun diagrams of various objects to include cuts of meat for cows, pigs, goats, and lamb. Most adults could benefit from these meat diagrams, but I’m going to purchase one to frame and put in my kid’s room. You never know when that butchering opportunity may come around. And didn’t David Letterman have a skit on his show called, “Know Your Cuts of Meat”? Anyhow, my daughter can choose what to do with her knowledge.
Alyson’s blog, I love Drywell, is very fun to browse through, and her meat sections project is funny and fascinating. She has created a sectional diagram for every day in 2010, and you definitely have to be creative to keep that theme going. Originally, she started off making diagrams of animal cuts in many formats (origami, cookies, watercolor, chalkboard and a lot more), but the subjects have since branched out to numerous food and drink items as well as other random objects. I love making origami, so I think the origami lamb with cuts of meat diagramed is one of my favorites. Check her art out if you have some time. I did (twice).
Anyhow, here are some of my favorite ‘meat sections’. If you double click the images below, they will enlarge. Support Alyson and buy some of her work.
I was struck by how the book, The Geometry of Pasta, by Jacob Kenedy reminded me of the kids’ books that feature black on white images. Young children are often mesmerized by contrasting black and white images, and there are several titles for sale on Amazon. I recently purchased Look, Look! for my new baby on the way, and I might try this pasta book out too. Granted, the subtleties of pasta shapes might not be as captivating to a young child as black-and-white flowers, fish, cats and cars, but it is worth a try.
With that said, The Geometry of Pasta cookbook would be a great addition to any cookbook collection. It has an elegant look with great graphic design. Also, the book jacket opens up into a nice poster of various pasta shapes that can be used as a pasta learning tool for the kids. You can see an image of the poster here.
If you are interested, you can check out The Geometry of Pasta website to get a better idea of what’s in the book. They have different pages with pasta shapes, recipes from the book, and the video below. The video is rather interesting, and I love the stark shapes and minimalist instruction — though it does go rather quickly at times.
The creative design of the book was done by co-author Caz Hildebrand of Here Design, and the technical drawings were done by Lisa Vandy, who is the Creative Partner at Now Ware. Lisa Vandy has designed similarly styled products for the Hairy Bikers to include this neat tea towel. There is also apparently a similar tea towel for the Geometry of Pasta that is soon to be sold. I really like the idea of these black-and-white tea towels, but I must say that I prefer the Hairy Biker one. It has more recognizable kitchen objects on it.
Of course, I can’t find the towel available in the US, but maybe I will look into having it shipped from the UK. The book can be purchased from Amazon for $16.50.
Even though Alessi products can be on the expensive side, I love their whimsical items. Most of their kitchen products aren’t necessarily made for kids, but the colors and design often appeal to them. One item in particular is this Bunny & Carrot Roll Holder for paper towels.
A paper towel holder is a rather mundane object in the kitchen, but the playfulness of this product really sets it apart. The designer, Stefano Giovannoni, with his ‘zoomorphic’ design style regularly incorporates animals and primary colors into common objects.
If you want to brighten up your kitchen with a playful paper towel holder, this would be a good option. The only drawback might be that your child will want to play with it instead.
You can purchase the Bunny & Carrot, Kitchen Roll Holder for $60 from Alessi. There are several different color combinations, but of course the carrot is always orange.
My daughter loves using food trays, and I think kids in general like to put them to good use. Until those little hands get bigger and more coordinated, a good tray can be very useful. What my daughter likes to do is prepare surprise meals for me. She lays out a spread of fruits, veggies, hummus, and crackers on a tray and surprises me with a mid-day snack. I really love it, and now I have a soft spot for food trays.
So today I came across this beautiful tray sold by the Scandinavian Design depot, Huset. Scandinavian design seems perfect for kids. The colors, clean lines, and whimsical images just seem to fit into a kid’s life so well. Or maybe I just like it because my whole family originally came from Scandinavia, and I grew up with these types of images.
Regardless, there are several items at Huset that seem appropriate for kids. The ‘kids’ section has some, but if you troll around the site a lot of items will pop out. I especially like the products by: Rice dk, Lotta Kuhlhorn, and Almedahls. The Almedahls tray above costs $36.
I love the look of this drying rack from Boon. The square of faux grass is elegant, yet whimsical and the good design comes without sacrificing functionality.
The rack is a good size for drying bottles but not too big that it can’t be stored after use. Also, the bottom tray is enclosed, meaning it’s portable. Dish racks that drain have to sit next to a sink, but this one can be moved around because the water won’t leak out.
But what I like most about this product is that the blades of grass allow any size of bottle and all the tiny bottle pieces to be dried in an upright position. Ordinary drying racks usually don’t have prongs to let bottles dry vertically, and smaller items tend to fall through the cracks. This drying rack eliminates a lot of these annoyances.
Lastly, this product is easy to clean. The grass part comes out easily and can conveniently be put into the dishwasher to disinfect it when necessary. That’s a nice feature.
The Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack costs around $16 on Amazon where it gets very good reviews.
I love the clean styling of Beth Mueller’s ceramics. Each item is hand painted, glazed in white, and usually adorned with some sort of short message or word. If you visit her website, you will see a large selection of items she has to offer, to include vases, dishes, and vessels of all shape and size. She also makes paper and cloth products too.
Beth studied art in college, but also studied print making in Italy and apprenticed to a potter in Detroit. Wherever her training comes from though, the combination is brilliant; she produces strikingly simple yet elegant pieces.
Her pieces would make great gifts for almost any occasion and can be found at several sites online. Some places to check out are Uncommon Goods, Zanisa, and Artful Home, and you can even purchase her milk bottle vases through Amazon.
These metal utensils from the Italian company, Italesse, are stylish, recyclable and pack up well. The aluminum flatware was designed by Tomas Alonso and takes up minimal space while being exceptionally light weight. For some good pictures go to Alonso’s site linked above, click on ’stamp cutlery’, and then click at the bottom to see more images. The story about the design process is pretty interesting to read through too.
These utensils simply stack on top of each other, and there is a little clip that holds the spoon, fork, and knife together for organization. They sort of remind me of the utensils from an old Army mess kit that I have, but these look much nicer. They’d definitely be perfect for camping or some outdoor entertaining. Alonso bills them as reusable/disposable, but the designer also hopes that people will use them more than once. Regardless, this is disposable flatware to be proud of.
Unfortunately, I cannot find these products for sale in the US or Europe, but hopefully Italesse will roll them out soon and some vendor in the US will pick them up.
I have been a fan of Paul Smith’s iconic colorful stripes for a while, and now you can get some expensive bone china to bring that color to the table. To the right is the breakfast cup and saucer of his, and one setting will cost $135. You can check out his coffee and tea service sets at paulsmithusa.com. Just click on the online shop and you will be redirected to the UK online shop. A set of four coffee cups, creamer, and coffee pot will run you $900+.
After making colored eggs for Easter, I ran into these interesting egg pillows from Vacu Vin. I don’t know at this point if the jokes about having pillows for eggs would be worth it, but if you have kids it might be a nice way to introduce hard-boiled eggs into their diet
But let’s be honest, if you have kids these pillows will be used for everything else but eggs and most likely be in some dollhouse somewhere. It’s worth a try though and they are dishwasher safe, so once the little ones lose interest, just pop them in the dishwasher, clean them up, and let them serve their intended purpose.
I haven’t been able to find this product on sale in the US, but this site from Germany offers them for 9.95 Euro (about $14). It doesn’t look as if they they ship to the United States since it isn’t even an option during checkout, but maybe if you sweet talk customer service they will find a way to get it to you. With that said, the Egg Pillow is a new product from Vacu Vin, so I am sure it will eventually be sold here; you’ll just have to wait.
Royal VKB out of the Netherlands designs some very interesting home products, and this puzzle dinner tray for kids is pretty neat. I think children would get a kick out of putting the pieces together before a meal, and it sort of reminds me of the Melissa and Doug dinner play set that my daughter used to play with.
I do worry a bit that the sunken areas where the puzzle pieces go will collect food and be difficult to clean, but that is a small price to pay to let a kid have some fun.
Also, the plate needs to be rotated perfectly for the pieces to fit, so I could definitely see a kid putting the cup in the slot only to have it tip over and spill its contents. You can see what I mean by watching this video on YouTube.
You can purchase the Puzzle Dinner Tray on Amazon for $50.